Waihi Borough Council Diamond Jubilee Booklet 1902-1962

The only mining "official" left in Waihi today is Mr George Chappell of Walmsley Road. It is difficult to realise that he is 83 years of age, for his sprightly step and extremely alert mind would do credit to anyone thirty years younger. Those who knew him in the past vouch for the fact that he has always kept himself very fit and that he is also very "able" in every way. He was trained at the Thames School of Mines and before the turn of the century was an assayer at the Talisman Battery at Karangahake, a position he held until going to the First World War. On his return he spent a year with the National Bank at Paeroa.

Mr Chappell then spent 35 years as Chief Assayer at the Martha Company's Refinery at Barry Road, Waihi. This was officially closed in 1953, but Mr Chappell was employed by the company for two years after that and retrieved £48,000 worth of gold from the ruins. The position was always one of very great trust and responsibility, and Mr Chappell told us how it was part of his job, accompanied by police, to escort thousands of pounds worth of gold from the Refinery to the National Bank in Auckland. In the old days it was taken via steamer from Paeroa.

Mr Chappell has always been a keen photographer, using an old time plate camera with great success. He has between six hundred and eight hundred stereoscopic photographs of great scenic beauty, true evidence of his love of Nature and particularly of the less accessible places. Some shots taken in the various gorges and others in the bush or on the coast are most outstanding.

Nowadays he confines his interest mostly to his home and his begonia glass house, but he still drives his car, though he has persuaded his wife to learn. There are two sons, George married at Dannevirke, and Maurice still at home.

We would like to record that Mr Chappell's article was given to us in beautiful copperplate hand-writing and he had it ready for us a day or two after seeing him.