Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 8, October 1967



The centenary of Thames has given many people a new insight into past surging days of old customs and usages, and of old ways of living. Mr. Isdale, as readers of this journal well know, is the authority on that history, and it was to be expected that his erudition should supply us with the back-ground story of those exciting early days. We cannot fail to appreciate the volume he has now published. He begins in the far distant geological past, takes us into the shadowy period of the Moa Hunters, leads us through the Maori period to the coming of the Pakeha, and completes his story with accounts of the gold-mining days and of more modern times.

This is no dry-as-dust history, the story is enlivened with accounts of many incidents, and his passion for accuracy corrects some legendary accounts. The wider sweep of history comes alive because he remembers that history does not happen but comes through the creative activity of persons. Two-thirds of the book is taken up with accounts of the principal claims of the gold mining days. The illustrations are well-chosen and interesting, and detailed maps give the reader an impetus to see these things which here he reads about.

We commend this book most highly. Those who are interested in the early years of our country will find it invaluable.