Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 38, September 1994

IAN PARLANE: Mr Parlane, well known member of the Paeroa Historical Society, was honoured by the Lions, Paeroa by being awarded Life Membership of their charter. Mr Parlane has given long and devoted service to the Club and the community. He was club vice-president then President from 1961 to 1963. He was bulletin editor for five years and had audited the club's books for 30 years.

PARTYLINES: July 1993 saw the last of telephone partylines in the Thames area change over to private lines. The last two partylines were to subscribers on the Kopu/Hikuai Road.

HERBERT DUNCAN: Mr Duncan, of Paeroa, died in June 1993. He was the proprietor of Criterion Hotel for 30 years and during the 1960s and 70s was one of New Zealand's leading racehorse owner-trainers.

HARE BROS LTD: After more than 70 years in business in Paeroa, Hare Bros. Ltd. closed in June 1993. The last owners, Gerard Rawson and Rex Morgan, bought the business in 1969 from Oliver Hare, whose father founded the firm in the early 1920s.

PAEROA CHOIR REUNION: In October 1993 the Paeroa Choir held a reunion, attended by a large number of past and present choir members. The Paeroa Choral Group was formed in 1945, the Ladies' Group in 1961 and the present choir in 1973. A booklet containing the brief history of the choir was published.

PAEROA'S FIRST AEROPLANE: In Journal 35 [see Journal 35: Paeroa's First Aeroplane - E] Mr C W Malcolm recorded his experience of a flight in Paeroa's first aeroplane. A check of old Hauraki Plains Gazettes reveals further information.

Monday's Gazette, 15 May 1922: "Yesterday there arrived in Paeroa from Tauranga the Avro airplane which has been making such successful flights in various towns lately. The plane which is in charge of Captain Fowler and Lieut. L T Tatton, is stationed in Mr T P Vuglar's paddock from which base trips will start. The fares are from one guinea upwards. The plane is a Walsh Bros. three-seater Avro of 100hp."

BOOK LAUNCHED: In November 1993 the book, "The Wild Highways" was launched at a function organized by the Waihi Historical Society. The novel, a drama set during the goldmining days of Thames and Waihi, was written by Mrs Cecile Read. A further function to launch the book was also held later in Thames.

REUNION: More the 120 descendants of the late James and Mary Lowry attended a family reunion at Lauriston farm, Maratoto Valley in March 1994. The reunion celebrated 90 years since the couple's arrival in New Zealand in 1904. With ten of their children they travelled by boat along the east coast, settling eventually on a farm at the corner of Mill and Ryall Roads in Paeroa. Late in 1914, James won a farm ballot in the Maratoto Valley and carted timber and corrugated iron to build his family home - the beginning of the history of Lauriston. The name Lauriston is a combination of Lowry and the "stones" which were shifted by children from the area before the homestead could be built.

HISTORIC EXCAVATOR: The oldest working Hitachi excavator in New Zealand is owned by Paeroa contractor Stan Pearce who was unaware of the historic value of his machine until Cable Price informed him. Cable Price had made a nationwide search for the oldest Hitachi excavator as part of its 30th anniversary celebrations with the Japanese franchise. Stan purchased the Hitachi from a Waihi farmer who had owned it for the previous 12 years. The machine, the UH03 model is 26 years old and among the first Hitachi excavators to be sold in New Zealand.

ST MARY'S CHURCH PAEROA: In March 1993 St Mary's Church, Paeroa celebrated 100 years of worship in Paeroa. Two hundred past and present parishioners attended the celebrations. The celebrations included a special mass at St Mary's and a lunch at the Paeroa Racecourse.

MANGATARATA SCHOOL: At the end of 1993 Mangatarata School closed, a decision made because of falling roll numbers. In 1916 application was made to the Auckland Education Board to establish a school and on 1 September 1916 Miss May Risdale was appointed the first teacher. The school was first conducted in a building provided by the local people and it was not until 1920 that the first Education Board school building was provided. The school celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 1966. The last head teacher was Mrs Kay Trim. The children of the district now attend either Ngatea or Waikakaruru Schools.

ROTARY JUBILEE: Paeroa Rotary was founded in October 1943 and in October 1993 celebrated its 50th anniversary. The last surviving foundation member, Jim Brown, died earlier in 1993. To mark the anniversary year, Paeroa Rotary has donated $3000 towards travelling expenses for Rotary exchange student, Cathryn Fisher, to travel to Norway.

PAEROA CHURCHES: In September 1993 one hundred and eleven years of Methodist worship in Paeroa came to a end when the members formed a co-operating parish with the Presbyterian Church. The Paeroa Methodist Church was established in 1882 when a church was built on the corner of Normanby Road and Arney Street. Later the Karangahake Church building was relocated on the corner of Arney Street and Willoughby Street and used as a church hall and Sunday School. This building was rededicated as a church in 1978 when the original church was demolished. At that stage it was envisaged that the next move for the Methodist congregation would be in to a new church. However, with the advent of co-operation with the Presbyterian congregation, it was decided that the Presbyterian complex was suitable for the new Co-operating parish.

GRAHAM WATTON: After forty-three years in the newspaper industry Graham Watton retired in December 1993. Mr Watton, who was born in the Gisborne district, joined the Gisborne Herald early in January 1950 as an apprentice machine typographer. In 1954 he came to Paeroa when he obtained a position as a linotype operator with Thames Valley Newspapers Ltd, which was owned by the late Rei Darley. In 1963 he became a reporter/photographer and then in 1967 the editor of the Gazette, following the retirement of the late Mr W E Waldegrave. Mr Watton has been a great help to the Paeroa Historical Society in allowing both newspaper photographs and articles to be used in the Regional History Journal. The new editor of the Paeroa and Waihi Gazettes in Mr Peter Shand.

ATHENREE HOMESTEAD: The Athenree Homestead was built by Hugh and Adela Stewart in 1878 and in June 1993 a meeting of people keen to see the homestead rebuilt was held on the site and various proposals outlined. The outcome of the meeting was the formation of the "Homestead Committee". Following investigation of the proposals the Western Bay of Plenty District Council approved the purchase of 2.61 hectares of land, which included the historic homestead, from Mr John Rapley. The park will be developed and managed by the community based Athenree Homestead Trust who will undertake to fund raise and rebuild the Homestead, recreate and maintain the grounds. The original homestead is beyond restoration hence the intention to rebuild in the original style. Life at the homestead was described in the book "My Simple Life in New Zealand" written by Adela Stewart in 1908. The book describes her life during the period 1878 to 1906, when Adela returned to England.

TE AROHA LAW FIRM: The Te Aroha firm of Gilchrist Burns and Johnston recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. The firm came into being when Peter Gilchrist was admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of New Zealand on 16 April 1894. He was appointed county clerk to the Piako County Council in 1892 with the right to practise law. His son George joined him in partnership in 1921 and the firm became known as Gilchrist and Son. The late Frank Burns became a partner in 1928 and the firm changed its name once more to Gilchrist Son and Burns. David Johnston joined the firm as a partner in 1948 and Peter Gilchrist in 1939. The present partners have retained the name of Gilchrist Burns and Johnston.

McWATTERS MENSWEAR: After 79 years of business in Paeroa the firm of "McWatters Menswear" was sold at the end of March 1994. The late Mr Dave McWatters started the business in 1915 and it was later taken over by his son Mr Phil McWatters. The business was purchased by Mr and Mrs Ross Mitchell and renamed "Look Sharp Menswear Ltd."

BEREAVEMENTS: The Paeroa Society records with regret the death of the following members:

Miss Joan Wight; Mrs Noeline (Joy) Bell, a foundation member of the Society; Mrs Annie Nield; Mr Tim Daly; Mr Robert J Hughes, the Society's first secretary; Mr Archibald McDonald; Mr Bruce Wheeler; Mr Bert Day; Mr Bill Taylor and Mrs Del Te Whero.

SYBIL LAWRENCE & MURIEL CARBUTT: The Waihi Historical Society records with regret the deaths of Mrs Lawrence and Mrs Carbutt. Both were members of the Society's committee and will be sadly missed at their meetings and on bus trips. The Society extends sympathy to Bill Lawrence and Fred Carbutt.

MARGARET KENNEDY: The Paeroa Historical Society congratulates member, Mrs Margaret Kennedy who was awarded the Queen's Service Medal for community services in the 1994 Queen's Birthday Honours List. Mrs Kennedy is a long serving member of the St John Ambulance Service.

MYRTLE BAKER: A well known Waihi resident, Mrs Myrtle Baker, died in December 1993. The elder daughter of the late Sid and Hettie Thompson, one of the pioneer farming families of the Waihi Plains, Mrs Baker lived almost all her 86 years in Waihi. She married Joe Baker in 1930. Joe died in 1981. Mrs Baker was an active member of the Salvation Army and was responsible for the establishment of the original Thrift Shop in Haszard Street. For many years she delivered meals on wheels and visited people in Hetherington House and Waihi Hospital.

ADA ROGERS: Waihi Historical Society congratulates society member, Ada Rogers on being made a life member of the Waihi Beach Bowling Club in recognition of her long association with the club. She joined in 1964 and since then has taken an active part in the club.

PERCY CUBITT: Mr Cubitt of Waihi was awarded the Queen's Service Medal in the 1993 Queen's Birthday Honours list. His award was in recognition of his long service to the community. For many years Mr Cubitt has been involved in a variety of community service projects and groups. He was involved in the setting up of the Anglican children's camp at Waihi Beach and responsible for the building of the extension to St Peter's Church. He was a vestry member for 28 years. He has also been involved in the Scout movement, was a member of the original committee formed to establish Hetherington House, was Welfare Officer for the RSA for 11 years and regular assistant at Waihi Day Care.

BATTERY POWER HOUSE: The power house at the Victoria Battery, Waikino, is to be restored by the Department of Conservation and used to display mining machinery. A two foot gauge mining railway locomotive has also been bought and plans are under way to operate it on the site as a tourist attraction. The restoration of the power house is expected to take two years and the development of the whole site will be carried out over a ten year period. The power house was originally commissioned in 1913 to handle the power generated at the Martha Mining Company's [Waihi Gold Mining Company – E] power station at Horahora on the Waikato River.

WAIHI MINERS REUNION: The annual Waihi Miners Reunion, held in February 1994, was attended by 187 miners of the pre 1952 era. The reunion was the sixth that the Waihi Gold Company has staged. The former miners were taken on a bus tour of the mine, treated to lunch at the Waihi Athletic Rugby Clubrooms and a performance by Waihi East Primary School's Maori cultural group.

KARANGAHAKE HISTORY: Copies of the book published in 1989 are available from Mr G Staples, Box 92, PAEROA. The book is of 92 pages, printed on glossy paper and includes chapters on the history of Karangahake and Mackaytown as well as present day historic walks. It contains many photographs and a number of maps. Price, including postage is $26.00.

CONTRIBUTOR'S DEADLINE: Contributors of articles for the next Journal should note the deadline date - 15 June 1995.