GOLDFIELDS RAILWAY SOCIETY: The James Say Trust has granted $10,000 to the Goldfields Railway to purchase and modify a 1968 Baguley-Drewry locomotive, which was originally built as a tunnelling machine, and was one of two machines used to convey waste rock during the construction of the Kaimai Tunnel in the 1970s. The opening of the tunnel led to the closure of the Waihi line and to the Goldfields Railway formation. Following construction of the tunnel, the engine was modified to use New Zealand Railway tracks and was used by the meat producing company, Affco at its plant at Horotiu.
The James Say Trust is in its fourth year of operation and makes annual donations to community projects.
PAEROA WOMEN’S BOWLING CLUB: The Paeroa Women’s Bowling Club celebrated its 50th Birthday in August 2002. The Club officially opened on 12 August 1952 and during its 50-year history, the clubhouse has been burnt down twice. Three of the founding members, Sylvia Plummer, Lynne Roberts and Zel Crocker, attended the birthday celebrations.
BANK OF NEW ZEALAND, NGATEA: The only bank in Ngatea, the Bank of New Zealand, closed its doors for the last time on Friday, 27 September 2002. The bank had had a presence in Ngatea since the late 1940s.
PAEROA ROTARY CLUB: The Paeroa Rotary Club is the oldest in the region. It was chartered by the Auckland club in 1942 and went on to charter Thames and Waihi Clubs as part of the Northern District 9930. It was the first Rotary Club in the world to own a bank building. The Club also built Paeroa’s first information centre.
WAIHI FIRE STATION: The Waihi Fire Station hosted its first ‘Open Day’ in 20 years on Saturday, 9 November 2002, in honour of the launch of the Brigade’s Centennial Book (1899 - 1999) compiled by Jack Patillo, Des Robertson, Jack Morgan and Murray Pennell.
WAIHI MINE TRUCK ICON: A mine dump truck has been set in place on a specially constructed concrete pad at the mine lookout.
90th BIRTHDAYS: The Paeroa & District Historical Society congratulates members Hazel Bourne, Sylvia Plummer and John Cotter on the celebration of their 90th Birthdays during the last year. Congratulations are also extended to Mr W E (Bill) Lawrence of Waihi on his 90th Birthday.
MARIE MARSHALL: Mrs Marie Marshall, a Serving Sister of the Order of St. John, died at Paeroa on 5 January 2003. Mrs Marshall originally joined the Paeroa Citizen Ambulance Association in 1956. In 1983 she was awarded the Paeroa Borough Council’s Outstanding Citizen Award.
KEITH and JAN AUSTEN: Karangahake residents, Keith and Jan Austen, have featured on a Country Calendar episode. The programme focussed on Braeside Aquaria, a goldfish farm in Te Aroha in which the Austens have an interest. Keith Austen is a well-known poet and playwright.
TIROHIA QUARRY: On Friday, 29 November 2002, 400 people celebrated 50 years of quarrying in the Thames Valley at a reunion held at the Tirohia quarry. Harry Leach and his sons, Mervyn and Bruce, came to the Tirohia quarry in 1952 with two trucks, two small crushers and a horse and the company has remained in family ownership. HG Leach & Co has run the Tirohia Landfill since its commencement. (See Journal 46, page 38.)
MILLENNIUM BRIDGE, NGATEA: Ngatea’s Millennium Bridge, a working replica of the central span of the Orchard Bridge, which spanned the Piako River, was opened at noon on Friday, 13 December 2002, 85 years to the minute since the opening of the original bridge. The model opens up in the middle and is at the Tilbury Reserve, beside the Piako River, close to the location of the original bridge.
Planning for the original Orchard Bridge started in 1913 and the expected cost was about £2000. Without the bridge, the Hauraki Plains could not have been opened up for development. The bridge was opened by the then Prime Minister, William Massey and it served the Hauraki Plains for over forty years before being replaced in the mid-1960s.
PAEROA WATER BOTTLED: Paeroa water is again on sale, being bottled by the Kiwi Bottlers factory. The purified water is sold as New Zealand Clear, both here and overseas.
COLIN TOWNSEND: Former Paeroa resident and member of the Paeroa & District Historical Society, Colin Townsend, has completed another book about Paeroa’s past. The book, Ohinemuri - River of Gold was released prior to Christmas 2002 and outlines the history of dredging the tailings from the Ohinemuri River. Mr Townsend is now living in Timaru.
PURIRI SCHOOL and DISTRICT REUNION: About 400 people celebrated 125 years of the Puriri School when they met together over the weekend of 8/9 March 2003.
THELMA BAX: Former Wharepoa resident, Thelma Bax, died at Thames on 24 March 2003. Mrs Bax (nee Swan) moved from Auckland to Omahu with her parents in 1917 and she went to school at Wharepoa and Puriri. The family shifted away in 1919 and in 1936 Thelma married Esmond Bax from Wharepoa, returning to live at Wharepoa in 1937, where she remained until 1987.
WAIHI SOCCER CLUB: The Waihi Soccer Club celebrated its 25th Jubilee on Sunday 2 June 2003.
DR DEREK HARDY: Waihi GP, Dr Derek Hardy, received the Queen’s Service Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Awards, 2003. Dr Hardy has been a general practitioner in Waihi for 30 years and the Award recognised his public service and dedication.
GRAHAM WATTON: The Paeroa & District Historical Society congratulates its Secretary and former President on being awarded Life Membership of the Thames Valley Rugby Football Union. Graham began collating the history of the union in 1977 and it was in recognition of this work that he was rewarded with life membership. Graham is also a life member of the IHC., Jaycees and Paeroa West Rugby Club.
EUNICE BROWN: Mrs Eunice Brown, wife of the late Jim Brown of Paeroa, died at Paeroa on 20 June 2003, in her 106th year.
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