Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 2, October 1964
By Wm Hammond
Often when I have passed through Paeroa I have noticed the name "Flatt". It sends me back to my childhood 90 and more years ago. About the year 1872, Messrs Flatt, Heron, Morton, Craigie and my father were engaged in building the Ponui Lighthouse. This Mr Joseph Flatt was the son of Mr Flatt who came to New Zealand 150 years ago with the Rev. Marsden's party to establish a Mission in this country. He was to instruct the Maoris in gardening and other pursuits. When Hone Heke cut down the flagstaff at Kororareka in 1845, Flatt sent his wife and two children to Auckland. He followed and twenty-two years later the family moved to Thames on the opening of the Goldfield. The son, Joseph was now a young man in the building trade and the daughter married Mr Muir, a leading tailor and outfitter.
My father and Joseph Flatt became great friends and in time his eldest son Fred and I became school mates. Eventually, about 1883, the family left Thames for Puriri, and later were farming at Te Aroha, but moved to Karangahake about 1890. Fred had been mining on the West Coast but at Karangahake suffered a severe accident to his eye which rendered him unable to earn for some time. His wife then opened a boarding house at Waikino and again disaster followed for they were burned out and Fred was injured in the thigh by broken glass. However a good friend (by the name of White, I think) lent him £25 to open a shop at Waikino, just before the Christmas rush. This venture was a success and he was able to pay his debts and later open a stationery business in Paeroa, where he was a great worker for the Druids Lodge. Those were the days before Social Security and Fred knew what it was like to be faced by poverty.
Another family who were almost our next door neighbours in the 'seventies were the Moores. William Moore, better known as "Shorty" took a great interest in Fire Brigade work and in football, being the first referee in the Goldfields. He went to Paeroa about 1903 to work for his brother-in law, Charlie Short who had livery stables in many places, after leaving Thames. Harry Moore had the Commercial Hotel and after restoration his step-brother Ernie Fathers re-established it as "Fathers Hotel". Ernie had been connected with the coaching business and later with an hotel in Napier. Maud Fathers married Walter Phillips the son of Horatio Phillips who was the Head Master of the Kauaeranga Boys School. Mr and Mrs Walter Phillips lived in Paeroa on the Te Aroha Road, but he managed the hardware business of Hague-Smith in Waihi and became the first Mayor of that town in 1902. They had one son, Walter, who now lives in Auckland and one daughter, Mrs Murray Miller of Wellington.
It would be comparatively easy to trace the descendants of the Moores and the Fathers. William Moore married Miss Severs of Thames and their children were Ernest, Eric, Harold, Edna and the late Marjorie. Harry Moore's daughter, Ivy lives in Auckland.
The Hague-Smiths for many years carried on a large iron-mongery business at Thames, with branches at both Waihi and Paeroa.
Another Thames boy was Bob McDuff. As a student at the School of Mines he made a name for himself and was put in charge of the Karangahake School of Mines. Later he proceeded to Chicago University where he distinguished himself as head in mathematics. He returned to New Zealand and joined the staff of Hemingway and Robinson, before becoming Engineer for the Mt. Albert Council, but was a victim of the Flu Epidemic of 1918.
Waihi became the home of many of my old Thames acquaintances. Mr Wm Rowe well known manager of the famous old Caledonian Mine, and with Sir George Grey member of Parliament for Thames Electorate in the mid 'seventies was the uncle of Wm Rowe who opened up a business in Waitekauri in 1900, and afterwards in Waihi. As a boy he was a school mate of mine at Thames in 1880. Another one was Peter Brady, who opened a drapery business in Waihi for Mr Hetherington. Peter was a fine athlete and a champion sprinter. John Whitehead opened a boot business in Waihi about the same time. In 1893 Ernest McLeay established his boot business, now carried on by his son Pat.
A well known builder of Thames was Mr Francis Chappell. About 1885 Chappell, McAndrew, Smith and Lidgard were engaged in building the bath houses for the Lake Hotel at Rotorua, whence they made a visit to the Pink and White Terraces. Members of the Chappell family were pupils of mine at the Kauaeranga Boys' School and George became well-known in your district in connection with gold refining and assaying. I was delighted to see him again recently. His brother, Harry lives at Waihi Beach.
Mr Asher Cassrells was a well known land owner and hotel proprietor in Paeroa but for a time Mrs Cassrells and her son Louis and daughter Olga were pupils of mine at the Kauaeranga School.
A Thames miner Maurice Power, met with an accident in the mine and Dr Payne amputated his arm, after which he made his way to Paeroa and for years was a well known hotel proprietor, later having an hotel at Waihi East. His son, Bert Power came to Thames as a school teacher and I believe that subsequently he became the first Mayor of Taumarunui. A daughter married Mr Budd and for a time they lived in Paeroa.
Another name closely linked with Thames and Ohinemuri was that of Hogg. Mr Hogg did most of the clerical work for James Mackay in the early days of Thames but in later years made his way to Paeroa and Karangahake. His eldest son, Bain Hogg, a successful School of Mines student, occupied good positions in the mining world in Nicaragua and in West Australia. Tasman Hogg in a similar manner attached himself to mining companies and managed the Blackwater Mine on the West Coast, South Island, for many years. A younger brother Wallis held similar responsible positions in North America. One daughter, Miss Jean Hogg, died at Thames recently, but another, Mrs Pauline McEnteer who was a celebrated hockey player at Karangahake, now lives in Baillie Street, Thames.
When giving the names of Percy and Viv Morgan, so well known in Waihi as the Directors of the School of Mines, I might say that Viv was a member of the Thames Rowing Club about 1900 and on three occasions he, Tom Mullins, Jack Crawford and I competed in regattas at Ngaruawahia, Mercer and Auckland in 4 oared gig racing. The mention of Tom Mullins reminds me that his eldest brother Pat had a bakery business in Waihi and a daughter of Pat's had cottages on Waihi Beach about 1924. Tales used to be told of the strength of Pat Mullins; how on one occasion he for a wager carried on his back five 200lb bags of flour across the bakehouse.
Some of you may remember that for some years Mr Frank Murphy was the Head Master of the Paeroa School. He was the son of Sergeant Murphy of the Thames Police force in the 'eighties. Frank and I were pupils together at the Kauaeranga Boys' School. He was my senior by about a year but he and I had several trips together. Another old Thames boy Charles Pocock changed his name to Taylor when he went to teach at Paeroa.
William Simmonds and I were Pupil Teachers together in the old Waio Karaka School in 1888 and in 1893 he was Head Master of the Waitekauri School. He married Stella Hope, daughter of John Hope later connected with mining in Waihi. Miss Gertrude Palmer, once a very popular teacher at the Karangahake School and Miss Graham one of the brave teachers of the Waikino School originally belonged to Thames. So did Miss Kate Truscott, the first Head Teacher at the Waihi school. Her brother George Truscott also found his way to Waihi.
About 1893 Jack Darrow son of James Darrow, bush contractor of Thames opened a store in Waitekauri. I imagine he married a Miss Ryan the daughter of an hotel proprietor there. Banks was a well known name in the mining towns, especially that of Mr E C Banks who was Superintendent of the Waihi Gold Mining Co. from 1913 till 1927. His father was for many years a gum merchant at Thames and secretary of the Thames Hospital Board. His sister Florence and brother Charles were pupils of mine, the latter making a name for himself in the mining world, particularly in connection with Mt Edie and Bulolo Mines in New Guinea. He became Sir Charles Banks, Governor of Vancouver.
About 1880 Mr Peter Landy was engaged in constructing the road from Thames to Crosbies Settlement near Table Mountain and later in mining at Waiomu. On one occasion he was returning to Thames with Mr Judd and two Tasker Brothers when on top of the hill the horse bolted and went over the bank, a drop of twenty feet to the beach below. Landy was killed and the point was for many years known as Landy's Point. In 1896 his son Richard Landy made his way to Waihi, where he was engaged in mining and battery work. Until he married he lived with his sister Mrs Walter Brown was famous as a Rep. footballer. I send him greetings.
One of the original pioneers of Crosbie's Settlement from which much kauri gum was marketed, Mr Crosbie had four sons who went to Ohinemuri first, I think, to Waihi and then to Karangahake where Alex was killed in the Talisman Mine about 1908. I remember that they were particularly good rifle shots and I hear that Bill, the son of William still lives in Karangahake. Fred Dare, the son of another old Thames family lived there for many years and was also a 'crack shot'. Carol Nash was one of the first proprietors of the old Munster Hotel at Thames and years afterwards had the Mackaytown Hotel.
Big Charlie Mc Lean was a conspicuous figure in Thames from the earliest days. Standing over six foot in height and of fine build he looked very imposing in his kilts and busby as Drum Major of the Scotch Battalion. He was a mine manager and his son William McLean became a successful miner and footballer in Waihi around 1903-06.
My brother Fred Hammond was for many years working with our old friend Mr W Towers (Mayor of Paeroa) and afterwards for Wells and McGee in Waihi, about 1902-26. He made many visits to Waihi Maori ancient stone workshops and collected a great number of artifacts of the ancient Maori, many of which are now in museums. He died at Thames in 1943. Thames families who moved to Karangahake included Adams (miners and drapers), Charles Rockley (billiard saloon and rep. footballer). Kelly (hotel keeper) and Scanlon (Tom still in Paeroa). The son of Wm. McWatters, amalgamator of Thames, opened bakeries and stores in Paeroa and the goldfields, and his brother Dave is a well known Paeroa businessman. Chris Johnston went to Waitekauri, and the Dunstan family settled in Waihi. I must mention Jack Gallagher, "Hobart Town Jack", a noted character, bushman, miner and long-distance runner, who could race the coach from Waihi to Thames and then from Thames to Waihi.