Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 11, May 1969



Mr. H. P. Barry was superintendent of the Waihi Gold Mining Company almost from its foundation in 1890. He retired in 1913 making way for Mr. E. G. Banks who continued in office 'til 1927 when he went to Siam [Thailand – E] later being consultant mining engineer in Melbourne. He was succeeded by Mr. F. Hopkins 'til 1939 and Mr. J. L. Gilmore who died in office in 1942. Mr. J. H. C. Banks took over for a few years, yielding place to Mr. A. F. Lowrie, who was still in office when the mine ceased operations in 1952.

The first mine manager in 1890 was Mr. Thomas Gilmour who was granted his First Class Service Certificate under Mining Act 1886 without examination. He was then residing at Thames. He was succeeded in 1903 by his son, James Gilmour, who gained his First-Class Mine Manager's Certificate by examination under Mining Act 1891 at Thames where he had studied at Thames School of Mines, (it may be added here that he studied with some who later made a name for themselves in the mining world overseas:- J.A. Agnew; McDermott Bros; Matthew Paul who was for many years Inspector of Mines stationed in Waihi). Until 1911 control was shared with Mr. R. E. Williams who had worked in Deadwood, Arizona where the use of square sets to support the stopes was first introduced. Later he was at Block 14 Broken Hill and at Waitekauri before coming to Waihi. With various assistant mine managers, Mr. Gilmour successfully managed the mine 'til 1939 when he became superintendent. Among his associate managers were: N. Everard, who later went to Canada; W. Morrison who spent many years in the mine, eventually retiring to Waihi Beach. Mr. Gauvain and Mr. Roche were also keen men.

Upon the retirement of Mr. Hopkins as Mine Superintendent in 1939, Mr. Gilmour was appointed to the position and Mr. Morrison became Mine Manager, with Mr. A. Lowrie as assistant manager. When Mr. Morrison retired, Mr. Lowrie became Manager, with Ken Birchall as assistant. Mr. Lowrie was appointed Mine Superintendent when Mr. J. L. Gilmour died and Ken Birchall became the Manager with Alec Waite as his assistant. He in turn assumed the position when Ken Birchall died and was Manager when the mine ceased operations.

Among the many section managers or shift bosses that I recall, none is more vividly remembered than Charlie Lloyd. He was at one time in charge of No.5 shaft during the sinking when the "B" and "C" pumps were operating, He transferred to No.2 shaft where he remained till he retired. He was a most capable man and was respected by all for his capability and his integrity.

At various times Jack Cornes, Walter Dutton, Jim Currie, Bill McConachie, John Beeston, Vic Healey were in charge at No.4 section. Bill Goldsworthy and Frank Boxall were in charge of No. 6 shaft section which embraced the Martha Arches (the milking cow). Bill Gardiner followed Harry Carter as mullock boss, later to be succeeded by Alec Waite. The rotating shift bosses were Charlie Kingsford, George White and George Watkins who were the only ones to work the three shifts. Joe Cooper was for many years the shaft boss in charge of the repair and upkeep of all working shafts. He was followed by Ken Birchall senr. and later by Bill Radford.

Mr. R. G. Milligan was the local attorney for the Company living in Auckland. Mr. Ossie Bell was in charge at the refinery, and later Mr. George Chappell the only remaining veteran today, was chief assayer. Mr. Walter Johnson was the chief surveyor. He had as assistants at various times: Eric Green, Stewart Walmsley, Fred Fraser, Roy Carnachan, not forgetting Bill Carnachan who accompanied the surveyor on measuring up days. Mr. J. G. Banks a brother of E. G. Banks was battery superintendent at Waikino. Mr. C. Aiken was chief construction engineer, followed by Mr. T. Watters who had as assistant Harry Mills. He was succeeded by Percy Menhennett. Mr. F. W. Malyon was in charge of general engineering construction.

This would be incomplete if mention were not made of the valued work done by the staff of Waihi School Mines under the direction of Mr. P. G. Morgan and his brother Mr. A. H. V. Morgan who with their staff did so much for mining education. Among those who instructed so many pupils were Mr. A. E. Ellis, electricity; Mr. F. W. Malyon, drawing [drafting – E]; Mr. C. Sims, chemistry and assaying. Mr. Morgan taught Surveying, Geology, Mathematics and later took the assaying and chemistry classes and the Mining class as well. So many owe so much to the instruction received from these tutors.

OUR CONTRIBUTOR: MR. ANDREW ROBINSON received his primary education at Waihi East School. While at Waihi High School, he attended classes at the School of Mines under that well remembered tutor, Mr. A.H.V. Morgan, M.A. While doing practical mining he gained a First Class Mine Manager's Certificate and was appointed shift boss at the mine. In 1939 he left for New Guinea as Mine Manager at the Edie Creek mine. New Guinea Goldfields Ltd., transferring later to Misima Island as Mine Superintendent. After being evacuated during the war, he returned to the Waihi mine and later to State Coal Mines. In 1962 he was appointed Inspector of Mines and Quarries, (succeeding the late Mr. A. E. Waite) with Headquarters at Palmerston North.