Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 31, September 1987

Charles Stuart Borrie, Thelma Esther Robinette Crimmins, Bruce Townshend, Mary Ellen Williams


John (Jack) was born at Mackaytown on December 2 1908, the only son of Alexander and Ann Milroy. He had two sisters, the late Jean and Grace (Mrs Morran), who still resides at Mackaytown. He commenced school at Totara, Thames, where his family resided at the time, but in 1915 they returned to Mackaytown and Jack attended Karangahake School and later Thames High School.

On leaving school, he worked for the Inland Revenue Department in Wellington for four years. Feeling the need for an outdoor life, he then worked on sheep stations in the Gisborne area, before returning to Mackaytown about 1930 where he resided for the rest of his life.

"He married Alma Power in December 1935, who sadly died in 1957. He remarried in 1968 to Claudia Clarke. There are three children, Graeme, Glenice and Mary." [as corrected in Journal 32: Reports - E]

His poultry Farm and Hatchery were well known in the Bay of Plenty, and his work for the Karangahake Hall Association and the Mackaytown Domain Board will long be remembered. He was one of the first members of the Paeroa Historical Society.

In his youth, he belonged to the Tarawera Tramping Club, a pastime he enjoyed all his days, as well as being a great traveller of New Zealand, Europe and Australia. One of his life-long ambitions had been to travel right around Australia, and it was at the completion of this that he was taken ill with pneumonia, and died unexpectedly on September 17th 1986, in Kalgoorlie, where he is now buried.


Charlie Borrie died on 9 April 1987 as a result of a boating mishap on the Firth of Thames. Mr Borrie and a friend, Jack Copeland, had been fishing off Kereta and they were the victims of a sudden deterioration in the weather.

Mr Borrie was the Deputy Principal of Paeroa College from 1965 until he retired in 1981. He was a member of the Paeroa Rotary Club and Paeroa Branch of the New Zealand Labour Party. In 1983 he became a member of the Paeroa Returned Services Association Executive. He was Vice President from 1984 and also Chairman of the RSA Welfare Committee from the same year. Shortly before his tragic death, he was elected to the RSA Club Committee.

The Society extends sincere sympathy to Mrs Borrie and her family.



On 26 June 1986 Thelma, as she was always known, died just after her 86th birthday.

She was born in Waihi, eldest daughter and second child of seven, to Thomas and Grace Clarkin (nee Kirby). The house in which she was born is still standing, not far from the Waihi Museum. Thomas and his brothers were contractors and he met Grace while working on the West Coast. They were married in Hamilton where his parents farmed in the area now bordered by Clarkin Road in Hamilton.

The Clarkin Brothers, Jack, Tom, Fred, Pat and Bill continued their contracting business in the Paeroa/Waihi area. They were engaged in carting the heavy machinery from Paeroa Wharf through to the Waihi Mines.

Tom and Grace moved to Paeroa about 1902. They lived in what later became known as Mrs Salt's boarding house - a two storied house near the subway in Railway Street. Thelma's memories of Paeroa at that time were of hiding in the cabbages, riding down the stairs on a trike and being with the horses and bullocks in the sheds across the road (in the area of the Te Aroha Thames Valley Dairy Company.)

As the need for cartage decreased owing to the railway going through, the Clarkins left the area and four of the five brothers and a sister took up land in Eureka. Thelma's family left Paeroa about 1904 for Eureka where they remained until the 1920's. Her parents were both active in community affairs. On arrival in Eureka they were welcomed at a special social gathering instigated by a big land owner in the area. Later they learned that the hosts were very anti-Catholic and had not been aware of the Clarkin's religious affiliation - this remained one of the family jokes as it was speculated that there would not have been a welcome if that had been known.

Thelma attended Eureka School (a first day pupil?) and high school at the Hamilton Convent. In those days she proved herself as a good athlete and horsewoman - she rode at many of the Waikato Hunts. Her mother died when she was 18 and she assumed the role of raising her younger brothers and sisters.

In 1928 she married Bill Crimmins, son of Maurice and Brigid Crimmins of Waihi. Maurice ran the coaches between Paeroa and Tauranga with the firm Deverell and Crimmins for many years. (See Journal No. 11 page 30 et seq.) [see Journal 11: Coaching Stables of Deverell & Crimmins - E] They had been friends of the Clarkin families since the 1890's.

Thelma and Bill farmed at Leafield Pedigree Jersey Farm at Waikino. In Waikino Thelma was a foundation member of the Women's Institute. Bill served on the Ohinemuri County Council. Their home was always open to visitors and those in need.

In 1937 they moved to Paeroa where Bill became Manager of Alpha By-Products, which was on the site of the newly established Namron Meats Abattoir.

During her life, Thelma served in many community organisations.

She was a foundation member of the Paeroa Catholic Woman's League and attended many national conferences at Knock-n-Cree and elsewhere; St. Mary's Bowling Club; Waihi and Paeroa Historical Societies; Bridge Club; Senior Citizens; Woman's Section of R S A. She also belonged to the Drama Club, A & P Association, Crippled Children's Association, Recorded Music Society, National Council of Women; was honoured by the Croquet Club, Golf Club, Plunket Society. She served for 15 years on Thames Hospital Board and was instrumental in starting (and delivering) Meals on Wheels in Paeroa.

All her life she was dedicated to the service of others which is embodied in St. Matthew's Gospel, which she would often quote, "For I was hungry and you gave me food, thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, sick and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me."

The high regard in which she was felt was very evident by the large congregation at her Requiem Mass and Burial at the R.S.A. Cemetery at Paeroa.

Two daughters survive Thelma, Mrs Grace Richards of Tapu and Miss Judith Crimmins of Auckland. She also had 6 grandchildren.


Bruce Townshend, Member of Parliament for Kaimai, died suddenly at his home in Tauranga on Saturday 25 April, 1987.

Bruce was the son of Mr Charles Townshend of Paeroa and he was well known in the Thames Valley area before he entered Parliament. He went to Netherton School and Paeroa College, later taking over his father's farm in Pukahu Road, Netherton. He was a Rural Valuer and Director of the New Zealand Co-operative Dairy Company. In 1968 he was chosen by the New Zealand Jaycees as one of New Zealand's three outstanding young men.

In 1971 he was elected to the Hauraki Plains County Council and three years later became Deputy Chairman. He successfully stood for the National Party in the Kaimai Electorate and entered Parliament in 1978. He then moved to Te Puna. On entering Parliament he soon demonstrated that he was a hard working representative and he served the electorate well.

As a Member of the Opposition, he was appointed spokesman in a number of areas, including labour, state services and employment.

On his untimely death, many tributes were paid by people near and far, confirming that Bruce Townshend was a well respected citizen and Member of Parliament.

Sincere sympathy is extended to his family.


The late Mrs Mary Williams.

The late Mrs Mary Williams.

Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 31, September 1987
The late Mrs Mary Williams.

The passing of Mrs. Mary Ellen Williams aged. 79 years, on July 15, 1986, ended many years of unselfish service given to the community of Waihi.

Mrs. Williams with her husband, David, and. their young family, moved to Waihi during the depression years for the employment mining offered.

She joined the Labour Party in 1938 which had a 240 strong Waihi branch with Miners' Union members being the backbone of the party. During her lengthy association with the Labour Party she was Secretary/Treasurer for 28 years and also served as vice-president. In recent years she was honoured by being given life membership of the New Zealand Labour Party.

Prior to 1954 Mrs. Williams worked for Gadabouts shoe factory when she commenced work with Pye where she-rose to the position of checker. Through her gift of being a precise and constructive orator, she became the Electrical Union delegate which position she held until her retirement in 1976. She worked relentlessly for the workers well-being and spent many voluntary hours assisting their needs.

Borough Service - Mrs. Williams was elected to the Waihi Borough Council in 1956 and served on that body continuously for 24 years, being the only woman on the council for most of that time. Her contribution and reasonable approach round the council table was greatly respected. The high regard in which she was held led to her performing the opening ceremony of the new municipal library as chairperson of the library committee. She was very much concerned with housing for the elderly and she was honoured in 1984 by having the newly built pensioner units named the Mary Williams Flats and also performed the opening ceremony. She was also very much to the fore in her desire to provide better facilities for council workmen and this was achieved at the time the flats were opened.

Hospital Board - She served as Waihi representative on the Thames Hospital Board for a term of 28 years from 1943 to 1973, of which six of these she was the only woman on that body.

Mrs. Williams was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1943 at which time it was necessary for pensioners to apply annually for pensions. She spent many hours assisting pensioners to fill out the necessary forms.

Waihi's Mayor, Mr. Owen Morgan, paid tribute to her at a Borough Council public meeting having himself served with Mrs. Williams for 20 of her 24 years on the council. "Those who were privileged to work with Mary Williams found her selfless in her attitudes and humble in her achievements," Mr. Morgan said.

Service to the community was very much part of Mary Williams' life and being a good organiser, she raised funds for many charitable appeals. In recognition of her community work, she was awarded a meritorious certificate by the Waihi Rotary Club. Whether on the street, at the council table or just playing housie at the community marae, Mary Williams always had time for people and their well-being. She will always be remembered as a very friendly person who always had Waihi and its people at heart.