Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 18, June 1974


25th - 28th October,


Karangahake Reunion. (Sec. Mrs. Wills, Schoolhouse.

26th Feb. - March,


Centenary – Opening of Goldfields, and Paeroa Central School

90 years – Ohinemuri County Council.

60 years - Paeroa Borough Council.

13th - 16th March,


Katikati Centenary. (Sec. Mr. B. Duckmanton [or Duckmanten ? – E]).

When Franklin His. Soc. visited us, our Goldfields Pictures inspired a wonderful impromptu talk by 84 yr. Mrs Kathleen Hill (nee Corbett). Born in Waitekauri she nursed at Thames. Her father, E.M. Corbett had charge of the "Big Pump" there before erecting the 41 Stamp Mill with its famous Water Wheel at Waitekauri. He became Superint. Engineer at Waihi and represented W'kauri on the Ohinemuri C.C. His son H.M.(Bert) was County Chair. for 8 years and Robert taught School both at Waihi and Karangahake. (Note "Corbett Street" - Paeroa).

When members of the Paeroa Hist. Soc. visited Thames they were much impressed by the local decision to lease the disused historical Methodist Church for a Museum. Dr. R.E. Edward is Chairman of the new Committee and Mr. A.M. Isdale of the Mineral Museum, introducing Mrs. Arabella Anderson (a dedicated old identity) referred to the long years of effort she and others had put into the museum project. Mrs. Heaven demonstrated how chicken-wire "models" could represent human figures to be clothed for an old fashioned "Church Wedding". Mr. Isdale conducted the party round the many historic sites and buildings of Thames.

"Sparky is dead", announced a Newspaper in 1973. Harold Spark had spent more then half of his 83 years in his beloved Maratoto Valley, living a simple existence in a one roomed shack, remaining untouched by the world's changes. Yet few men knew the geology of Maratoto as be did and many drew on this extensive knowledge and his hospitality. He was always ready to "put on his old black tea-billy". As free-lance prospector, miner and custodian of the Golden Spur Mining Coy. he gathered enough silver to live according to his needs, but developed diabetes and died in the Waihi Hospital lamented by his many friends, old and new.


At 7 p.m. on 31-8-1973, Dr. Rex Hetherington took down his shingle, ending 43 years of service to the Waihi District, including 39 years as part time Medical Superintendent of the Hospital. Many functions were held to honour him and his wife and to pay heartfelt tribute. He had gained the respect and affection, not only of his patients but also of his professional colleagues. Apart from formal evening receptions nearly 300 senior citizens attended an afternoon farewell. Dr. Hetherington was awarded the O.B.E. in 1973. He has retired to Taupo but still has farming interests and many warm friendships in Waihi where he was the recipient of many gifts, including a Colour Television Set. "It is", said the Mayor (Mr. Dean) "as typical of Waihi today as a block of gold was of yesterday".


who was to become so well known during the early days of Waihi was instrumental for the founding of the B.N.Z. in 1861. A colourful Irish character with unlimited ambition Russell came to New Zealand in 1839, trained as a lawyer and in 1861 became M.P. for Auck. City East and later Min. of Defence. In 1866 he devoted his energies to business, mainly the N.Z. Loan &Merc., large scale land speculation in the Waikato and the B.N.Z. He had strong personal reasons for establishing a N.Z. based bank as his 'large and troublesome account' had created difficulties with existing Banks. In 1890 [1887 – E] Russell came to Waihi, purchased the original Martha Claim for £3000 [no, his son T.H. Russell did that, 1890 – E] and formed the London based Waihi Goldmining Co [late 1887 – E]. The infusion of English Capital (+ cyanide treatment of ore) turned Waihi into a boom town. He remained a Director of the Coy. until his death in 1904.

Russell Street in Waihi honours his name.