Waihi Borough Council Diamond Jubilee Booklet 1902-1962
The 1900 Cyclopedia records that at one time Mr Hollis had the Martha Mine and Battery on tribute and for a period was Mine Manager there. Later he managed other mines in Waihi, Waitekauri and Coromandel where, with Clem Cornes, he reopened the Kapanga. His story is typical of that of so many early prospectors who discovered satisfactory stone but found the cost of extraction prohibitive.
At one stage he abandoned mining and purchased a farm at Te Puke near "Muir's Reef," later returning to Waihi to become the proprietor of a Blacksmith and Coach Building business. One of his final ventures was at Waiomo [Waiomu – E], where he opened up a mining claim and erected a smelter only to lose money. During this time he stayed in Thames with his daughter, Mrs Hayward, and died there in 1914.
Mrs Hollis continued to live at the homestead until it was taken over by Edgar, her youngest son, when she went to live with her daughter, Mrs Langford, at Waihi Beach. She died in 1945, aged 85 years. Some of the Hollis land had been taken by the Government for building purposes about 1900 and for the Public Hospital in 1902. Some was later leased by Dr. Deck and party for a golf course. This was finally purchased by the Education Department as a site for the present College.
As a youth Bill was apprenticed as a wheelwright with W. G. Grey, later working in the blacksmith's shop at the mine till 1909. After a period in Auckland he returned to Waihi in 1913 and for 15 years was on the electric pumping plant on the bottom level, 2045 feet down, where only six hour shifts could be worked because of the heat. He reminded us that all reefs below sea-level carry water. This collected in a sump and the sinking pump raised it to the level above (150 feet). The suspended pump then sent it to No. 12 level (600 feet), it being sent the last 1,300 feet in one push to the surface. The pump could handle 2,000 gallons of water per minute, and for a time this water from the flume was used to flush the streets and for the Public Baths.
(It is interesting to note that one of the first electric pumps was brought out from Switzerland and Mr Jacob Walder (83), now of Owharoa, was in charge of its installation during 1906-1908.).
Bill Hollis has two sons who are farming, Jim in Te Puke and Jack in Waihi, and his daughter Beverley, Mrs Rapson, is in Papatoetoe. There are over 40 descendants of William and Sarah Hollis whose elder children were among the first to be born in Waihi.