Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 3, April 1965
MRS. CECILE READ
and her husband chose to build their home in the Maratoto Valley because of the picturesque seclusion it afforded as a contrast to their city life in England. Mrs. Read is the successful author of many published short stories and her delightful home and garden reflect her artistic talent, while her keen historic sense has caused her to delve into and appreciate the background of her present environment.
MR. HAROLD SPARKE
is one of the very few practising Miners left in the field. He was born at Kopu, and his father owned the Norfolk Battery at Thames. He has spent over 40 years in the Ohinemuri area and is still living alone up the Maratoto Valley where he holds the claim originally opened up by Mr. McBrinn. (He tells us that the first drilling machine used in mining was a rock drill called a slogger, and that he intends to give one to the Museum.) Mr. Sparke has the indomitable courage of the true Prospector who, having both knowledge and experience also has hope.
MR. ALLAN CAMERON
of Tauranga, once drove a truck for Mr. Jack Forrest, Paeroa and became acquainted with mining men Buntings, Gwilliam, Leach, Grace and Dare. Later employed at the Talisman Dubbo, Mine, Karangahake. (timbering, tool sharpening and aerial tram work). He was transferred to Maratoto as caretaker of the Ohinemuri Gold and Silver Mines, and on prospecting and development work with Mr. Harold Sparke, for the Golden Spur Coy. Responsible salvaging rails, piping, etc. from the working and was the last man employed by the Coy. Some of the work done included hand winching a 30 h.p. engine and compressor from the bed of the stream to the Golden Spur Mine, a height of about 900 ft. and its installation at the mine; the building of an aerial tramway to transport the quartz down to the old Maratoto Battery, the cleaning out of the old Water-races from the Waitekauri Saddle, and the installation of a reinforced concrete pipe line to supply two pelton wheels to drive 10 head of stamps and a banner [vanner - E] table. Later with Ministry of Works.
MR. JAMES SILCOCK
was born in Paeroa in 1883, his parents having settled at Pereniki's Bend (between Junction and Puke Roads) in l879. Later they bought 27 acres near present Station Rd. from Mr. Wick who then owned much of Paeroa. Because of its shape it was called "Pudding Hill" and this became the Quarry which supplied large quantities of metal for streets. Mr. Silcock (Sen.), a tenor singer was Choir Master at the Anglican Church. James Silcock began his career with the Northern Steamship Coy. and later was Manager for many years until the termination of water transport to Paeroa. He was already a member of the 6th Hauraki Regiment when he married Miss Rae Edwards, the daughter of Mr. Edwin Edwards (Sen.), in 1910. They went to Hokianga where he was in charge of the Shipping Office, and Lieu. of the Nth. Auckland Regiment. After 3 years he returned to take charge of the Paeroa Ship. Off. and rejoined his old Regiment. Early in 1915 he went to Featherstone Mil. Train. Camp with the rank of Lieu. and Platoon Com. of the 7th Reinf. of the 6th Hauraki. A serious Operation delayed his going Overseas, and he was trans. to Home Service as Adj. and then Capt. During the closing stages of the War he was sent Overseas till 1920 to assist demobilisation at Larkhill Military Camp, Salisbury Plains. Mr. Silcock was a Paeroa Borough Councillor for 12 years (1922 - 31) and was responsible for Domain and Sports Grounds improvements. He always took a keen interest in Football and is the only survivor of the 1902 West Club, as well as being the oldest male resident born in Paeroa. During the 2nd World War he was Captain and Com. of the local Home Guards. When his home on Puke Road was destroyed by fire he moved to a farm at Waitoki before retiring to Cullen Street. We are indebted to Mr. and Mrs. Silcock for many details of Paeroa's early days.
MR. CYRIL GWILLIAM
is well known as the elder son of the late "Old Ben", in whose footsteps he has followed so far as knowledge of our district is concerned. He was born at Karangahake in 1900, had his early schooling at Waitekauri and Sec. at Paeroa. Later taught, - 5 years Overseas Service. Throughout his life has been great Church Worker - Organist, Lay Reader. His services greatly missed in Paeroa when last year he retired to Tauranga where he and his wife are still very active and where his nearly 90 year old Mother lives with his sister. He is an invaluable member of our Hist. Society, his chief hobby being delving into the past, tramping the old haunts and writing reminiscences.
MR. GEORGE CHAPPELL
who has contributed articles to each of our Journals, is the only mining "Official" left in Waihi to-day, having spent 35 years as Chief Assayer at the Martha Coy's Refinery. He is a veteran who has proved invaluable to us.
MR. C. W. VENNELL
has been a Journalist (Aust. and N.Z.) for over 40 years and twice has been awarded the Cowan Prize for historical writing. He wrote the centennial history of Cambridge in 1939 and was part author of the "History of the Matamata Plains" in 1951. Having spent some years in the Bay of Plenty, he has been closely associated with the Tauranga Society, of which he is a life member, and also a member of the Elms Trust. Since joining the staff of the New Zealand Herald he has contributed many historical articles to that paper and to the Weekly News.
Mr. R.W. LOWRY
Mr. R.W. Lowry (now aged 78 years) and his wife (nee Jessie Forrest, member of a pioneer Paeroa family) have lived in their own-built home at Waihi Beach for 17 years, and during that time he has built many houses. He served on the Ohinemuri County Council from 1943 for 17 years, and. in 1948 represented, the Waihi Riding and later the Waihi Beach Riding where he gave much voluntary service. During the First World War he took an active part in the Home Guard, was Secretary-Treasurer of the Hikutaia Bowling Club and holds a gold medal as Life Member of the Hikutaia Bowling, Tennis and Croquet Clubs. He was Chairman of the Hikutaia School Committee for several years when his 6 children attended the school. One of his daughters, Adeline (Mrs. Phil McWatters) lives in Paeroa,
We are proud to publish a tribute to his son, the late "Bob Lowry".
THE LATE R.W. (BOB) LOWRY
The late Robert W. Lowry who died in December 1963 at the age of 51 years, was the eldest son of our Contributor who wrote "Memories of Hikutaia". He was indeed an illustrious son, though one who was little known in this district since his Primary School Days at Hikutaia. He had such a distinguished career as a printer that he was known as the father of modern typography in New Zealand. Many of the finest and most arresting publications of the last 30 years had come from his hands, among them the much praised Auckland Festival Society Programme for 1963, and. the papers of the Architectural Pacific Congress. He designed the style of the "Tasman" script logotype, which is extensively used on letterheads, publicity material and. the cover of the Tasman Logbook.
After his death many well-known writers paid tribute to him, Dennis Glover concluding his with the following:
"Whatever he did was done with unmistakable genius; anyone who knew type would say; "I'll bet Bob did that". But what he actually did is not nearly as important as the fact that he existed. His influence on other people, on typography and printing and his joy of living were the things for which many hundreds of us will always be grateful."
The press-room of Auckland University has been formally named "The Lowry Room, Mount Pleasant Press" in his memory. The ceremony carried out in the Vaile Building was conducted by the Chancellor of the University, Sir Douglas Robb who commented on the first collected editions of the University's Bibliographical pamphlets entitled "Experiments in New Zealand Bibliography".
Born at Hikutaia, Bob went to school there and won a scholarship to Auckland Grammer School. He completed his B.A. Degree while serving with the Army in World. War II. Later he printed, the forces' newspaper in the Pacific while stationed at New Caledonia,
After the War he founded the Pelorus Press and developed a distinctive style of typography. In 1953 he started the Pilgrim Press with which he was associated until 1960. He was a former editor of the magazine "Here and Now".
Mr. Lowry taught in primary schools for a time and. was printing instructor at Seddon Memorial Technical College. With A.R.D. Fairburn he published the humorous book "How to Ride a Bicycle". He also published a number of other books written by New Zealanders.