August 2017 saw a 150 year jubilee which marked when the Thames Goldfields was opened and the township of Thames began.
Thames in 1869, the year the Thames Stock Exchange formed. A bustling, noisy, dusty, gold mining town which was expanding rapidly to accommodate those seeking gold, on the newly opened Thames Goldfields , a fortune or providing all manner of services and provisions to the " diggers" ( goldminers).
Thames Goldfields early 1870s Photo taken by HT Gorrie courtesy from Gwen Buttle photo album. PLEASE DO NOT COPY - seek permission to use
Stock brokers and scrip sellers plied gold mining shares on the corner of Brown and Albert Streets, Thames becoming known as "Scrip Corner".
Typical of money making ventures, some were professional and welcomed a formal Stock Exchange and some were unqualified and said also to be unscrupulous. For here this was where fortunes, gold and shares were bought and sold. Scrip Corner was a great location for on an opposite corner was the Bank of New Zealand.
|Major T L Murray |
Here was Manager of the Bank of New Zealand -Thomas Leitch Murray who had his finger on the pulse of money, gold movements and the economics of Thames for many a year. In fact about twenty five years until 1893. Murray had been sent to Grahams town in 1868 as the Bank of New Zealand's Agent , not long after the officially opening of Thames Goldfields in August 1867. Murray was a typical settler from Perthshire, Scotland. As well as a banker, Murray was involved with family and community. Passionate about the militia, Murray joined the Thames Naval Volunteers on arrival in 1868 as Lieutenant. Service to the various volunteer militia was continued until his death in 1900.
Between the years of 1869 and 1872 initial stock exchanges operated at Auckland and Thames. Based on the rules of the London Stock Exchange and Melbourne Stock Exchange respectively.
A very first meeting was held at Samuel Cochrane's auction mart, Auckland on 16 July 1869 . In July 1869 a meeting held at the Governor Bowen Hotel of Grahams town and Shortland shareholders, saw a newly formed Thames Stock Exchange. Office holders elected were Captain Skene chairman; Joseph Lyle, secretary; and Oliver M Creagh, treasurer.
In 1870 pioneer settler,Joseph Newman commenced business as a sharebroker, in which he continued till laid aside by illness, when Mr. George Alfred Buttle assumed the management, and became a partner in the firm.
Four brothers - John, Robert, James and William Frater came to Thames to try their luck. While other " diggers" were digging to find a fortune or working for some else to dig their fortune , the three Frater Brothers - John, William and James found selling scrip more lucrative than digging for gold. On 20 March 1872 they established a stock broking business in Thames The fourth brother Robert moved to Auckland setting up the Frater Brothers stock broking firm there on 18 June 1872. This gave more of a professional look to what Frater Brothers and many were doing on street corners - selling scrip. The name Frater Bros became synonymous with stock broking. John Frater remained in Thames,contributing also to the Thames Hospital Committee for a number of years and recorded as president in 1879.
Five members of the Frater family, whose collective ages total-413 years. From left to right: Mr. William Frater, Mrs. Fletcher, Mr.. Robert_ Frater, Mrs. Whitelaw, and Mr. John Frater. . Auckland Star 19 March 1926 courtesy Papers Past NZ National Library
One month after opening of Frater Brothers at Thames ,The Daily Southern Cross reported John Frater on the Thames sharemarket:-
" Mr. John Frater reports, inspecting the Thames sharemarket :—": — " The market was very active towards the end of the week. I have sold— Caledonian, £20, £21, and £18; Thames, £5, K5 5s ; Sons of Freedom, £10 ; Cure, 21s, 32a 6d ; Otago, 235, 40s; Moanataiari, 85s ; Nonpareil, 755, 77s 6d ; Central Italy, 32s 6d, 37s 6d ; Golden Calf, 30s, 36 1 ; El Dorado, 1s 6 1, and 10s ; Ruby, 5s 6d, ss, and 6s; Unicorn, 4s 611, 6s; Bright Smile, 30s, 28s; Bird in Hand, 63; Smiling Beauty, 3s 6d ; West Coast, 10s and 12s ; Tokatea, 80s ; Pride of Tokatea, 8s 9d, 9s 6d ; Red Queen, 6s, 7d ; Black Angel, 'a 6d to 3h 6 1 Mary Ann, 2s and 2s 6d Windsor Castle, 10s ( Daily Southern Cross 22 /04/ 1872 P 2 )"
June 1872 saw the establishment of an Auckland Brokers Association. The formation of this formal group was encouraged by Joseph Newman who was Chair of this organisation for nine years. Thames soon after, followed suit with the establishment of a Thames Stock Exchange ,with first members being Thomas Melhose, John and William Frater, D R Gellion, W.S Styak, John Wilson and E F Tizard.
Auckland benefited from the Thames " gold rush" and saw a number of investors synonymous with investments in the stock and share market - well- known names of Thomas Russell ( one of the founders of NZI and the Bank of New Zealand and also an owner of the very lucrative Caledonia Mine ) John Logan Campbell ( regarded as " father of Auckland" with early involvement in goldmining at Tararu Thames ) , David Nathan ( merchant) , W Aitken, Thomas Morrin (a pioneer of the Thames goldfields and T. and S. Morrin and Co., Ltd) , James T McKelvie and Robert Graham who had formed Grahamstown.
Thomas Morrin In Chadwick, J. 1906. Men of Mark In the World of Sport in New Zealand. Brett Publishing Company Ltd.
Robert Graham in own publication Robert Graham Waiwera Hot Springs near Auckland, N.Z. 1876
In 1873 the twin settlements Shortland and Grahamstown had merged to form Thames. By June 1877 the following were recorded as members of the Thames Stock Exchange: John Salmon, M Hennelly, John Frater, R McDonald Scott, B.C.Fryer. D.R. Gellion, Louis Rudolph Wilhem Melhose, Samuel Turtle, John L Whitford, George Alfred Buttle.
In the early days of the Thames Goldfields George Alfred Buttle was a Press correspondent for the Herald. Returning to Auckland in the 1880's Buttle assisted his uncle Joseph Newman from 1892 . With Newman's death in 1895, Buttle became owner of the chair on the Auckland Stock Exchange. He became Chairman of this organisation and remained so for a number of years. Known for " his word was his bond."
By 1896, the Auckland Brokers Association was firmly established with well known names from those beginning days on the Thames Goldfield, members - Buttle, Frater, Lennox, Garlick, Armitage.
A part of the past of our New Zealand history of goldmining, stock broking, shares, land agents and mining company managers and what is the New Zealand Stock Exchange today with its boom times and bust times and ups and downs.
- Cyclopaedia New Zealand Auckland Province 1902
- Grant, David. Bulls, bears and elephants: a history of the New Zealand Stock Exchange. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 1997.
- Daily Southern Cross 22 July 1869 Page 4
- Daily Southern Cross 22 April 1872 Page 2
- Page 1 Advertisements Column 1 Thames Star 16 April 1874 Page 1
- Thames Advertiser 3 June 1875 Page 3
- Page 3 Advertisements Column 5 Thames Star 11 June 1877 Page 3
- Ohinemuri Gazette 9 February 1898 Page 3
- New Zealand Herald 16 June 1925 Page 10
- graphic stock. Com