Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 19, June 1975

[this report is one of several covering the 1975 Centenary Celebrations of the Opening of the Goldfields; see 1975 Centennial Programme for the programme of events, and links to other reports - E]


Visual evidence is closely involved with the re-creation of the past. The business people of Paeroa did a wonderful job in this respect during the Centennial. They accepted the challenge of adapting their windows or premises in order to make some contribution to the spirit of celebrating a century. Relics of bygone years were retrieved from their hiding places to intrigue curious eyes and old-time prices certainly belonged to another age.

To augment the efforts of the townsfolk, the Historical Society was glad to supply, mount and label over 100 pictures of early scenes featuring both town and country, river and horse-drawn transport and picturesque Komata, Karangahake, Waitekauri and Maratoto where gold mining flourished before the great Waihi mines that outlived them.

Nor were our forbears forgotten. In the window of the Waikato Savings Bank we displayed some treasured Maori paintings and photographs most of which were on loan from the Royal and Tukukino families. At considerable inconvenience Messrs Shoosmith & Lynch gave us the use of their windows to display another hundred photographs of some of the European Founders of Paeroa and District. We began with a few readily available pictures, soon to be joined by wonderful old Enlargements, once so prized and later almost disregarded, as well as "Grandparents and Families" from old albums. Interest was amazing and rewarding. Surely we might work towards a permanent collection such as this, together with brief details concerning our early citizens.

If each family could sponsor its own material the Historical Society might be able to assemble it in some concise form. Mrs. Ruth Wilkinson of the Cambridge Historical Society compiled a loose-leaf Book entitled: "First Families of Cambridge". It is a worth-while idea for a project of the not too distant future.