The Ohinemuri Coal Field
Ohinemuri Coal Mines
From: the Daily Southern Cross, 15 March, 1875
The. following account of the coal deposits in the Ohinemuri district is extracted from the letter of the Thames Advertiser's correspondent, which appeared on Saturday last.
"A great deal has, from time to time, been said and written about the coal seams of Ohinemuri and it will, no doubt, be of interest to many of your readers to know something definite regarding them. As you are aware, there are several claimants for the coal of this district, and one of the parties, Messrs Hennelly and others, have for the last few days been engaged in making search. On Thursday morning, Mr. Hennelly, accompanied by Messrs. Wright and Bayldon, surveyors, Mr. Cashell, and Mr. Smith (one of the claimants of the prospectors' reserve), started for the creek on which the gold had been found. This creek runs down at the back of Takerei's house, midway between Mackaytown and Paeroa. The party returned to camp on Thursday night, and I am indebted to Mr. W. C. Wright for the following information regarding this coal:—
Waihi Mayoral Chain
Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 32, September 1988
Talk to Waihi Historical Society on 23/9/87 by Owen Morgan
MA TENEI TOHU KA TANGAENGAE TE TOHU ARIKI
which translated by Mr, H. Tukukino, President of the Thames/Coromandel Historic Places Committee means;
BY THIS SIGN, LET IT BE KNOWN TO ALL MEN THAT THIS IS THE SIGN OF A GREAT CHIEF
There is some confusion in the literature regarding the early history of mining in Waihi. Matters are further complicated because both Nicholl and McCombie, during their lifetimes, wrote several different versions of early events (Philip Hart attempts to sort them out).
Two batteries were built more or less concurrently in 1882. The “Martha” (15 stamps) was on the eastern side of Martha Hill, for the Martha Company. The other (“Manukau” Jones’) was on the Ohinemuri River upstream of the present Victoria Street Bridge (20 stamps) for the Waihi Gold Mining Company. This Ohinemuri River battery was briefly called the “Waihi Battery”, but soon took over the name of the defective Martha Battery.
Hardships of Pioneers
Diamond Jubilee of the Ohinemuri County 1885 - 1945
The Late Mrs. Mary Pennell
In the articles that appear on these pages we have not tried to describe the hardships of the pioneers, lest our pen should not do them justice. Toiling over tracks and muddy roads, men and women of the early days suffered alike, and were forced to go without most creature comforts. They lived in impoverished homes, some of them for many years, far from old friends and comparative ease and elegance; but the common difficulties brought them new and firm friends, and although they lacked many things that make the way of life smoother, they were a happy people.
History of the Waiorongomai Goldfield
Re-produced by the Te Aroha & District Museum Society in 1978 with the kind permission of Mr A.G. Matheson, author Historical Soc. Journal, publishers.
Probably few people other than residents of nearby districts know where Waiorongomai is. But nearly a century ago the area was a scene of bustling activity, when it was opened as a gold field. The field promised to be one of the best in the colony, but the ore proved to be refractory and of a low grade and the terrain difficult. Fortunes were lost time and time again as massive capital investment in plant and development was only rewarded by gold in low quantities. Only eleven years after the opening of the first crushing battery, there were reported to be just sixteen men left on the field. The town, which at one time boasted three or four thousand inhabitants and a hall, three hotels, and a number of shops, was all but deserted. Today, some 96 years after gold was first discovered at Waiorongomai, the only signs of the once-thriving town are a couple of old chimneys standing in a paddock. Further up the valley, the bush has not yet claimed all the relics of men's struggle to win fortune from the earth.