Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 56, September 2012
(From the Hauraki Plains Gazette, March, 1944)
"The Brighton of Ohinemuri"—that is how Waihi Beach was known in 1899. On March 1, 1899, a report in the Ohinemuri Gazette stated that a party of 24 had left on a week's camping there. "With the present fine weather a most enjoyable time should be spent at this ideal camping ground," stated the article.
The weather then was apparently as changeable as today for on March 27 Paeroa had a narrow escape from a serious flood. Heavy rain had fallen in the three previous days and the river rose rapidly to within a couple of feet of the railway bridge.
"Mail coaches were unable to cross Doherty's Creek and had to go over the old Rahu Road,'' stated the report in the Gazette. "Mr R. Jones, in an attempt to cross the creek on horseback, was swept away into the river, but was recovered unhurt."
Te Aroha was likened to a "Modern Bethesda" in the poem by "Clematis". Poetry played a large part in the news side of the Ohinemuri Gazette. Scarcely an issue went to print without some scribe trying his hand at it. Even Robbie Burns emulated:
"O wad some power
The giftie gie us,
To see the bailiff
Before he sees us."
Short stories too, played an important part, especially those by an author known as E.E., who was also something of a poet.
People then, and now, were complaining of large hats in theatres. "Some people go to a theatre for the purpose of seeing the play; others, apparently with the object of showing off their millinery," wrote an injured victim. "On Saturday evening I had the misfortune to secure a seat behind a lady who had a hat of Brobdingnagain proportions and my efforts to secure a view of the stage during the first act were entirely futile. All I could see was that hat—or its trimmings—an immense aigrette of ribbon, feathers, flowers and things."
Millers of Auckland were selling ladies' glace walking shoes in 1899 for 2 shillings and 11 pence (31 cents) a pair, superior qualities ranging from 4 shillings and 6 pence (46 cents) to 9 shillings and 6 pence (96 cents) a pair. Ladies slippers fetched 7 1/2 pence (7 cents) a pair of men's boots from 6 shillings and 11 pence (71 cents) to 16 shillings ($1.60).
A reminder to those who require spectacles: We import large quantities of spectacles to suit almost any sight. Good specs, and case for 6 pence (50 cents); real English pebbles 3 shillings and 9 pence (39c). Ladies' roll gold watches cost 37 shillings and 6 pence ($3.76) and men's watches 4 pounds 4 shillings ($8.40 cents) at Millers."