Waihi Borough Council Diamond Jubilee Booklet 1902-1962


Mr Joseph Slevin came to New Zealand in 1878 with the first batch of Vesey Stewart Settlers and took up land at Katikati where he farmed till 1891. He later made his home in Bulltown but had a valuable property at the corner of Main and Kenny Street. He completed and opened the Waihi Public Baths in 1900. There were six bathrooms with hot and cold water and shower. The heating apparatus consisted of a high pressure water jacket with a 200 gallon tank for hot and a 600 gallon tank for cold water. The baths were a great boon to residents.


Many folk will remember the Slevin family, who have been closely associated with Waihi from pre-borough times. Mr Frank Slevin, in reply to our query re Education (which has been his life work), recalls some incidents of his career.

He says, "I began my schooling under dear old Laura Roberts in 1897, was later taught by Bella Pattison, Louisa Wilson, Jean Hume, and Bill Lloyd, in the primary department and then spent 13 months under seven different teachers in the old building next to Twomey's — our secondary department. Our best remembered secondary teacher was a handsome young muscular man, Stewart, who took us to the "cricket field" on the rutted slopes by the School of Mines and regularly placed 3d on the middle stump. We pocketed the money if a lucky ball hit its mark.

After leaving High School I joined the Waihi Borough Council as a cadet under that grand old man, H. D. Morpeth, Town Clerk. Always keen to be a teacher, I commenced my pupil teachership at the East School in 1910. Returning from overseas service in 1918, I taught for 18 months as an assistant master under Bob Carnahan and H. T. Gibson.

Naturally I was rather proud to be appointed in 1932 Headmaster of the Waihi District High School, with its newly designated Intermediate department. It was like coming home. The five years I spent there were happy and rewarding ones for me."

We may add that Mr Slevin held very important positions after leaving Waihi, his final one being the Headmaster-ship of the Auckland Normal Intermediate School, connected with the Teachers' Training College. He is now a widower and lives with his daughter in Auckland but still devotes much time to youth movements.