Saturday, 23 June 2018

Thames - Scrip, stock brokers , gold , money and a goldfield



 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.






 Robert Graham
 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."

 3 October 1896 AUCKLAND. BROKERS; ASSOCIATION.BACK ROW.-G. A. BUTTLE, W. A. RYAN, H. S. FENWICK, D. MCLEOD, CHAS. CLAYFORTH, R. B. ISAACS (Secretary). THIRD ROW.—J. FRIAR CLARKE, V. J. LARNER, DUNCAN E. CLERK, JOHN MOWBRAY.JAMES FRATER, PHIL B. MORRIS. SECOND ROW.—H. S. RUDDOCK, GEO. F. BRIMBLECOMBE, R. G. MACKY, J. M. LENNOX (Chairman), D. B. MCDONALD, F. HULL. R. FRATER FRONT ROW.—A. R. GARLICK, J. T. ARMITAGE, JAMES REID, W. A. KNIGHT.         Courtesy 
 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.

Reference Source

  • 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