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Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 48, September 2004

ELLEN CORDELIA (NELL) SHAW: Nell Shaw, a foundation member of the Paeroa and District Historical Society, celebrated her 100th Birthday on Sunday 18 July 2004 at Moana House, Whangamata, where she had resided for the last eleven years. Mrs Shaw was born in Onehunga and spent her early years in Hamilton East. She moved with her family to Paeroa in 1919 and attended Thames High School. Mrs Shaw died at Moana House on 25 July 2004, one week after her one hundredth Birthday.

PAEROA GOLF CLUB CENTENNIAL: One hundred years of golfing in Paeroa was celebrated on 23 and 24 April 2004, with 150 people registered for the event. The celebration commenced with registration and an informal get-together on Friday evening. Good weather on Saturday provided a great day for the Golf Ambrose, with teams of six. A dinner was held on Saturday night at which a cake was cut by Club Patron, Tony Thorne-George, Life member Viv Speechlay and Brian Crosby who has been a continuous member of the club since 1946. Mr Thorne-George and his wife, Josie, donated a Centenary Stone to the club.

KARANGAHAKE WALKWAY: Minister of Conservation, Chris Carter, has announced a funding boost of $282,000 to enable further work to be carried out on the Karangahake Walkway. The money will be used to complete a 40-minute loop walk up the Waitawheta gorge by extending a tunnel beyond the "windows" feature to connect with the swing bridge over the Waitawheta River.The Karangahake Gorge's Window Walk was opened to the public on 19 December 2003, allowing visitors to walk through the ruins of the Talisman Battery at four different levels.

RESTORATION OF A STEAM PRESSURE TANK AT WAIHI: A pressure tank, separated from Waihi's Cornish Pumphouse since 1953 has been returned to Waihi. Mr Phil Smallfield purchased the tank from the Waihi Gold Mining Company and for the last 51 years it has been on a Matatoki farm where it has been used as a water pressure tank for farm supply. Since Mr Smallfield purchased the tank, the farm has changed hands five times. The tank was donated back to Waihi by the present owner of the farm, Mr Terry Leonard. One of a group of tanks, it was originally used to supply an even pressure of steam for the purpose of power supply, prior to hydro power, which was introduced in 1914.

PAEROA WEST RUGBY AND SPORTS CLUB: Paeroa and District Historical Society Museum Curator, Graham Watton spent six months piecing together the one hundred-year history of the Paeroa West Rugby and Sports Club. His research has been published in a book entitled "Once a West Man Always a West Man". An article on the centennial of the club was published in Journal 46 (September 2002).

BASIL MORRISON: Basil Morrison, Mayor of the Hauraki District Council since its inception in 1989 will not stand for re-election in the local body elections to be held in October 2004. Mr Morrison has been involved in local politics since 1971 when he lobbied for a better water supply for Hikutaia. In recognition of his service as Mayor and as President of Local Government New Zealand, Mr Morrison was named as a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2004 New Year Honours.

OWEN MORGAN MEMORIAL MUSIC FESTIVAL: The Waihi Summer Music Festival, held in conjunction with the Waihi Summer Festival, has been renamed the Owen Morgan Memorial Music Festival in honour of Owen Morgan, the former Mayor of Waihi. (See the Obituary at page 10 of this Journal.) The late Mr Morgan had been involved in the Festival in the thirty-three years in which it has been held.

PAEROA BOWLING CLUB CENTENARY: The Paeroa Bowling Club celebrates its centenary during the 2004 - 2005 season. A Centennial Tournament will be held in January 2005.

PUMPHOUSE, WAIHI: The future of Waihi's old Cornish Pumphouse, which is protected by the Historic Places Trust, is causing concern in the wake of a study into the stability of the ground surrounding it and beneath it. Possible options are being considered by the Hauraki District Council. The building has been off limits since the ground collapse in December 2001.

IRENE BLACK: The Waihi Leader of Tuesday 4 May 2004 published an obituary for Irene Black who died at Hetherington House, Waihi on 19 April 2004. Irene was born in Battersea, England in 1908 and it is probable that she was the love-grandchild of a Duke. During the Second World War she joined the Royal Women's Air Force and worked with coded messages, being privy to many state secrets, some of which she took to her grave, believing that state secrets remained state secrets. She was Secretary to Sir Anthony Eden and, during the crisis over the British Throne, actually typed the divorce papers of Wallis Simpson. She emigrated to New Zealand with Ken in 1950 and they were married here, living in Auckland, Te Aroha and Waihi, where Ken died in 1989.

PAEROA POST OFFICE BUILDING: The Hauraki District Council has purchased the seventy-eight-year-old Paeroa Post Office building for the sum of $255,000, the effective date of purchase being 1 April 2004. The building has an Historic Places Trust Category 2 classification which means that the outer appearance has to remain as it is. The main tenant of the building is New Zealand Post.

SWAMP TIMBER FOUND AT MARTHA MINE: The Waihi Leader reported on Tuesday 24 February that a segment of log, estimated by a geologist to be at least one and a half million years old - but less than seven million years old - had been found in the mine's east wall. The wood was discovered ninety metres below the present ground level and Martha Mine Manager, Kevin Rogan said that it would have fallen into a valley and been preserved by an inrush of ash and pumice. Several other geological vents [events? - E] would have filled in the valley before it was 'capped' with ignimbrite. While buried charcoal is often found in local opencast mining operations, Mr Rogan believed that this find was unique because after volcanic ash "cooked" and apparently sterilised the outside, it appears to have been covered in water. The result is a perfectly kept piece of swamp timber, such as would normally be expected to be found in the Kaimai Ranges.

WAIHI HISTORY PUBLISHED: A comprehensive history of Waihi entitled "Pukewa Waihi" has been written and published by Waihi Art Centre and Museum Association president, Don Lockwood. The book was commissioned by former Waihi man, Jim Say and funded by the James Say Trust, set up in 1998. It was launched at a ceremony held at the Waihi Museum on Saturday 6 September 2003.

NUNS LEAVE PAEROA: Paeroa's two remaining nuns, Sister Angela McArthur and Sister Verda Kelliher of the Order of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart, left Paeroa in January 2004, ending a connection that spanned more than one hundred years.

HAURAKI HERITAGE: The Historic Places Trust is preparing a brochure covering the Hauraki District. The brochure will showcase twenty-five historical sites in the district, and possibly several significant but unregistered sites. Heritage research enthusiast, Eric Lens is helping to ensure that the remains of a gold dredging plant, regarded as an innovative engineering feat, becomes the latest historical site to be registered in Waihi.

MARTHA MINE, WAIHI: On 24 October 2003, old miners were invited to a function to mark the 50th anniversary of the last gold pour from the early Martha Mine. The Golden Legacy Centre in Waihi was turned into a "crib cuddy" with the help of dull light and pink candles. A crib luncheon of fish and chips, ham and corned beef and pickle sandwiches were provided.Special guest at the occasion was Mr Ernie Thomson of Tauranga, who was the foreman at the time of the last gold pour on 22 October 1953. Mr Thomson commented that the job was very secretive and that you couldn't talk on the street and say when the next gold pour was. Five men were locked in the refinery while they worked. It was shift work but, once started they couldn't stop until finished, so they would work for twenty-four hours. About four bars a fortnight were produced.

PAEROA RACE COURSE: The Paeroa Race Course has been purchased by the Barbara Anderson Trust.

WAIHI LEADER: Waihi's popular weekly community newspaper, launched on 4 March 1981 by Rob and Annette Bowater and Dave and Anne Mackay, changed hands on 18 November 2003. New owners are APN (NZ)Ltd, formerly Wilson and Horton. Dave and Anne Mackay had interests in the Te Aroha News and initially the Leader was printed in Te Aroha. Later, the Bowaters bought out the Mackay's interest. Printing was subsequently done in Rotorua, Thames and then, in 1987, to Tauranga. For an eighteen-month period during the 1990s, the newspaper was published twice weekly.The Editor thanks Annette and Rob Bowater for their co-operation over the years, and particularly for their generosity in allowing articles published in the Leader to be used or reprinted in the Journal.

WAIHI BEACH FIRE BRIGADE: The Waihi Beach Fire Brigade celebrated its 50th Jubilee on Saturday 21 February 2004 with a parade through the township. Also, as part of the celebrations, competitions and demonstrations took place on Wilson Park. Members and guests enjoyed a lunch at the Fire Station and a barbecue dinner in the evening.

The Waihi Beach Fire Brigade was formed in December 1953 following a public meeting held in the Waihi Beach picture theatre. According to a report published in the Waihi Leader on 17 February 2004, the new Brigade spent as much time battling bureaucracy as they did fires as it sought recognition.

A site for a fire station was purchased in 1956, plans for a station were drawn up and a portable pump was purchased. The first uniforms (second hand) were issued in late 1956 and a boot allowance of £4 7s 6d was made. Helmets were still to come. A fire engine which had seen service in the Air Force during the Second World War was acquired. The original appliance is now at Mystery Creek but a mural featuring this appliance has been painted on a wall inside the Fire Station by Waihi artist, Natasha Hume.

CRUISING ON THE RIVER: An article in the Hauraki Herald of Tuesday 11 May 2004, told of the cruises now available on the local rivers. The cruises pass many historic places of interest, including the innermost landing of Captain Cook. The ventures are supported by the Paeroa Maritime Museum.Voyages on the River Launch Ariana include the Waihou River from the Paeroa Maritime Museum wharf to Cooks Landing at Turua; Museum wharf to Paeroa on the Ohinemuri River; up the Waihou River to Te Aroha; and Pipiroa to Ngatea and Kerepehi on the Piako River.Tug master on the RL Ariana is Peter Vandersloot. It took Mr Vandersloot eighteen months to restore the Ariana to the Maritime Safety Authority of New Zealand's heritage classification of a 1900s river launch. His vision is to create the atmosphere and surroundings experienced by the early settlers when river launches were the only means of transport in the Hauraki Plains District. RL Ariana is a close example of craft used by the Northern Steamship Company to service its larger vessels that plied between Auckland and the main river ports between 1880 and 1940. The first sailing of the RL Ariana took place at Easter Weekend, 2004.

Riverhead Ferry offers trips in its vessel, Kawau Isle from Thames to Paeroa on the Waihou River. The Kawau Isle is a fifty-two-year-old vessel which has been fully restored. It used to ferry passengers between Sandspit and Kawau Island and it is now owned by Cath and Paul Meyer of Auckland who have been offering cruises on the river and other Hauraki Gulf cruises since late 2003. The Waihou River trip includes watching the Kopu Bridge opening to allow the vessel through.