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Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 43, September 1999

PAEROA GAZETTE: Paeroa Gazette's history started on 1891 with the issue of the Ohinemuri Gazette since when it has changed its name a number of times; 1920 Hauraki Plains Gazette, 1977 Thames Valley Gazette, 1988 Paeroa Gazette. In 1995 the paper was a finalist in the Qantas NZ Media Award for "Best Suburban/Community Newspaper". The last issue of the newspaper under the name of Paeroa Gazette, was that of 26 August 1998. After that issue the Gazette amalgamated with The Thames Star to again become the Thames Valley Gazette.

On 27 April 1999 both the Thames Valley Gazette and the Waihi Gazette announced that the issue for that day was the last. Publication of both papers ceased together with the Mercury Bay Sun and the Hauraki Herald commenced to be published twice a week instead of weekly as before. The Waihi and Whitianga newspaper offices closed. Articles dealing with the Gazette's history have appeared in Journals 36 and 30.

TOYOTA FACTORY: The Toyota factory at Thames produced its last Toyota car on Friday, 10 October 1998. The car was a Corolla 1.8 GLX lift back and will be kept by Toyota New Zealand as it is the last to be made in New Zealand. They also kept the first car produced, (in Christchurch) a Corolla.

GAMBLE'S DRAPERY: On 1 February 1998 Jeff and Sarah Gamble recommenced business in Paeroa. This was at the same premises that had originally been Gamble's Drapery from 1923 until the mid 1950s. An article outlining the history of Gamble's business appeared in Journal 41.

JUDD ENGINEERING: In 1869 Charlie Judd opened an engineering business in Thames. It was first known as Thames Iron Works then in 1908, became Judd Engineering. With the retirement of Mr Bruce Judd at the end of 1998, the business closed after being in the family for 130 years.

Mr Judd started at Judd Engineering after completing his apprenticeship in Auckland and was at the workshop for over 40 years. He says that when the workshop first opened the main line of work was building and repairing heavy machinery required for the gold mines. Around 1900 Judd Engineering got into the business of building cast iron lighthouses. They were also a leader in innovation; it was the first business in New Zealand to produce domestic rotary mowers commercially and the first to assemble cars in Thames - assembling drag cars in the early 1920s.

WAIHI COMMUNITY BOARD: Another chapter in Waihi's local body history came to an end when the Waihi Community Board held its last meeting on Tuesday, 6 October 1998. The Boards in the Hauraki District Council area have been replaced with three ward committees.

MINE SKIP: The Waikino Railway Station now exhibits a restored mine skip found at Waitekauri. It had been buried in a large mullock heap near the Grace Darling Mine but became exposed when a tree blew over. It was retrieved by Mr Chook Sutton and his wife Jeanette and friends John Greenwood and Peter Walden. The wooden parts had completely rotted away but it has been fully restored. It is of an unusual design and is considered a rare find.

QUERY: Mr C W Malcolm writes: "Regarding article "Paeroa's Own Gold From the River", Journal 30, pages 13-14, where I have contributed a diagram and article concerning the Gold Extraction Works on the Ohinemuri River by Mill Road. On page 14, in the 4th paragraph, I have described the tall agitator tanks as "some 80 feet in height."

Ever since boyhood I have, for some reason, had the idea of this 80 feet. It recently occurred to me that this is particularly high and might well be incorrect. In the interests of accuracy I should like this corrected or confirmed by anyone knowing the facts.

Editors Note: [Some comparative heights] Mr J B McAra in his book "Gold Mine at Waihi" mentions the agitator tanks at the Waihi Battery as being 15 feet in diameter and 50 feet high. Mr A Jarman in his "paper" says the agitator tanks at the Talisman Mine, Karangahake were 12 feet in diameter and 30 feet high.

CORRECTION: Journal 42, page 39. Martin Reunion: In the last sentence of the report it was stated that "The youngest descendant was Sarah J Bax, who was 10 years old." It should have stated that Sarah was 10 days old.

CALLAWAY HOUSE: Callaway House at Kikowhakarere Bay, north of Coromandel, celebrated its 150th anniversary in December 1998. It is the oldest house on the Coromandel Peninsula and was built by John Callaway. He was a ship's carpenter who arrived at the bay in the late 1840s, built the house and started a kauri milling business. It was thought to have been built for a brother of Judge Manning, but research shows that it was more likely built for his nephew, who is buried at a hillside grave near Kikowhakarere. Callaway was given permission to take the kauri for the house on the basis that he also built a house, and flour mill for the local chief, Paora Te Putu.

As well as house building, Callaway was known as a boat builder and he built several schooners and cutters in the 1850s and 1860s. He married a Tauranga chieftainess, Huihana Te Awawaire, who is buried in the same graveyard as Judge Manning's nephew. To celebrate the anniversary, the present owners of the house, Bill and Marija Algie held a picnic lunch party on the front lawn and extended an invitation to anyone interested in the home to join them.

PAEROA HISTORICAL SOCIETY records with regret the death of members; Ivy Mead (formerly Pope, nee Pitkeithly) on 31 October 1998, Lawrence Hill on 4 August 1998, Jim Mills in October 1998, Noeline Reid on 9 December 1998, Ian Parlane on 12 August 1998, Frank Strange on 15 October 1998 and Gordon Kaa on 14 October 1998.

CORRECTION: Journal 42, page 22. Regarding Radio Hauraki. In the second column and in the second paragraph, a sentence reads; "It was not caught in the act until the following year, when three charges of illegal broadcasting finally came to court, although the pirates were convicted."

This should have read,"It was not caught in the act until the following year, when three charges of illegal broadcasting finally came to court, although the pirates were convicted on none of them."

HILARY TIMANUS: At 80 years of age Hilary Timanus of Waihi is still promoting the arts. She was a foundation member of the Waihi Arts Centre and Museum Association when it was started in 1962 and still plays an active role. She has been gallery director for four years. Mrs Timanus is a qualified art teacher and taught at Katikati and Waihi Colleges before retiring 16 years ago. She also took night classes and organised weekend workshops with other artists.

PAEROA VISIT: On the weekend of 20/21 March 1999 some members of the Paeroa Old Pupils Association, Auckland and the Paeroa & Districts Citizens Association, Hamilton, made a visit to Paeroa. The Paeroa Historical Society made the arrangements for the visit and members met the visitors at the Paeroa Historical Maritime Park on Saturday. Mr Graham Watton guided them around the park to see the river boats that have been restored and others still in the process of restoration. Lunch was eaten at the Park before going into Paeroa town to look around. Later in the afternoon the group gathered at the Museum to look at the exhibits and have afternoon tea.

Some of the visitors then returned home but others stayed in Paeroa with friends or relatives. On Sunday they met at Karangahake for a walk though the old railway tunnel and back to the car park along the loop walkway track. After lunch a visit was made to the gardens of Mr Henton at Waihi.

ALVIN M DRINKWATER: Alvin Drinkwater died, aged 71, in January 1999. He was born at Waitawheta and from the age of 18, worked at the Martha Mine, Waihi until it closed in 1952. He then became a power board linesman in Paeroa and later in Coromandel where he and his wife Betty moved with their children in 1966. Together with his friend, Rob Morgan, he spent many years restoring the old Coromandel Stamper Battery in Buffalo Road. This had been abandoned in 1939 and using parts from the McCall Mine in Colville, they eventually repaired the battery and opened up to tourists.

Mr Drinkwater was a keen member of the Coromandel Mineral and Prospectors' Association and the Hauraki Prospectors' Association in Thames and for a time worked a small claim. At the time of his death he was a committee member of the Coromandel School of Mines and Historical Society.

ATHENREE HOMESTEAD: Journal 38 (1994) reported the intention of the Athenree Homestead Trust to rebuild the homestead. By May 1999 funds amounting to $9000 had been raised and this was sufficient to stabilise and square up what remains of the original building, thus protecting the remains until further funds are available. It is estimated that full restoration will cost $500,000, making the project a long term one. Mr Snow Browne is the present chairman of the Trust and Mr Phil Hamilton, the Construction chairman.

PAEROA COLLEGE: At Labour Weekend 1998, Paeroa College held its 40th anniversary reunion. This was attended by 550 ex-pupils. Mr Gordon Mathieson is preparing an article regarding the history of the District High School and the College Reunion.

WAIHI HONORARY CITIZENS: For a small fee, people throughout New Zealand can become Honorary Citizens of Waihi. The idea launched by WEN Community Agency, is to increase awareness of Waihi and gain historical information about families in the area. Honorary citizens receive an information pack, membership certificate and card and their name will be recorded on the Honorary Citizens register. Honorary Citizen packs are available at the Waihi Museum and Arts Centre, and the Waihi Information Centre.