Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 10, October 1968
By MARY TREANOR
I was just a little girl in 1896 when my parents moved from Thames to Paeroa. At first we lived in what had been Quin's house on the corner of the Waihi and Reservoir Roads, near the Cemetery. There were several other homes further up the road for at that time it was one of the rough routes to Waitekauri, then a thriving mining town. (The Karangahake Gorge road, was not yet opened). As its name implies Reservoir Road also led to Paeroa's first Water Supply.
Greydons and Sheehys lived right up on the hill and Bowdens were near the Reservoir, Mr. Trotter used to snig [pull out with a chain by horse or tractor – E] logs for Mr. C. F. Mitchell whose land adjoined ours. He was the proprietor of Paeroa's first Newspaper, the "Hauraki Tribune" and was the Coroner and a J.P. My father bought his farm after he died. There used to be a Brick Kiln where our present cow shed is and in 1885 a seam of coal had been located further up the valley but it was never worked. Other residents on the road were: Farrelly and later Fitch where Mrs. Bedford now lives, and Kings lived in the old house near our own.
As Mrs. Gamble mentioned in a previous article, there used to be three houses between the River and the Waihi Road, opposite the Catholic Church property. They were owned by Messrs Coote, Vincent and Porrit and were sold for removal after the Stopbank was built because the area became subject to flooding when surface water couldn't reach the river. Our family bought Mr. Porrit's house and moved it to its present site where it still remains our home. Quin's old one was pulled down. My father, Patrick Treanor, was a Contractor who had horses and drays and did much road work in those early days, in fact he helped to construct most of the roads round Paeroa.
Opposite our corner, on the other side of the Waihi Road, were Kennedy's big stables. For many years afterwards, the building was occupied by Chinese who had a large Market Garden that supplied both Paeroa and Karangahake. Further down towards Paeroa there was a large house a little nearer the river than where the "Boiling Down Works" was later established. It was the home of the County Engineer, Mr. W. Littlejohn. After his death the family moved to Mackaytown, and for some years the place became Mrs. Pitcaithley's Nursing Home until it was burned down. The once substantial house that is now a "wreck" was the home of the Morseby family and then the Barretts lived there. Mr. Tom Barrett was connected with the County Council for many years, becoming Chairman in 1944. There was a small house opposite that was owned by Maidens who had a Market Garden and then by the Denton family. Buchanan's original house was on the site of the present one and for a time after Mrs. John Buchanan senior died in 1902, the Kennedy family lived there but Mr. George Buchanan took over the property in 1914. Some time after the Karangahake mines closed the Talisman Office buildings became the Sharemilker's House on the Buchanan farm. That would be in the late twenties.
Another of our neighbours was Mr. Gentil who lived at the foot of the Cemetery till 1933. He followed Mr. F. Beattie as Caretaker, and was also Magazine keeper, and Manager of the Abattoirs, then at the foot of Turner's Hill. This was opened in 1899 and Mr. A. D. Lawrence was head slaughterman for 40 years. His mother lived in the house on the hill where Mrs. Scuffs now is, and he and his family retired there in 1939 but he died soon after. His widow was a great friend of ours and now, over 90 years of age, is living with one of her daughters in Wellington.
There was then no traffic bridge across the creek (Tarariki's) at the foot of our hill but wagons and. coaches used to cross a ford beside a little foot-bridge. About half a mile further on there were lagoons and that part of the road was always subject to flooding, now avoided by the big new cutting through our farm. The only house between us and Maoris' houses near the Abattoir was Bill Sorensen's. They were also troubled by floods so the house was moved to higher ground but, became empty and I now own the property.