Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Islands of Coromandel's Eastern Seaboard NZ

Shoe and Slipper - looking  out to sea from Paku - Photo C R Ball 2015

Having visited another Island of the Pacific got me thinking about the islands where we live on Coromandel's  Eastern Seaboard. The stories passed down through several generations about these, often, rocky outcrops. Their place in the history of the Coromandel Peninsula, a relevant part of the past New Zealand history. First people to the shore - Maori - named them. Captain Cook arriving on New Zealand coasts in 1869 gave them English names. ( Often saying they reminded him of something at home). Some of those English names stuck and some have returned to their original name.
Whiritoa and Paku at Tairua are two of the few places where one gain a good view of most of the islands up and down the coast.  That is if one is on the shore and not out at sea.
These Islands have become a part of the past history of  the area with tales and stories passed down through families - memories of fishing trips, holidays at the beach, living on. The islands with the coastline are one of the first sightings Captain Cook had in  November 1869 when he made his way up to Te Whanganui-o-Hei - what has become  known as Mercury Bay  ( named such by Cook for the transit of Mercury observed by those of the ship Endeavour on 9th November 1869 ) 
In fact Cook   voyaging Northwards to Te Whanganui-o-Hei named a number of Islands on the way. One of the first of these was Whakaari which he named White Island - the reason, he wrote" because as such it always appear'd to us " (Wharton , 1893 ) Parkinson Banks' draughtsman recorded in his journal that Whakaari was " rocky, high and barren". ( Stanfield, ed.)

Whakaari - White Island in the Bay of Plenty
TAYLOR, Richard - M.A., Missionary in New Zealand. 1870. Image taken from page 275 of '[Te Ika a Maui, or, New Zealand and its Inhabitants ... Second edition, etc. London: British Library HMNTS 10491.dd.8." p 275.

Sometimes on a clear day from the shore one can see the smoke plumes  of  Whakaari (White Island )  down in the Bay of Plenty (Te Moana a Toi ). Very occasionally in the right place onshore, Whakaari can be seen. Hence including it in the islands of the Eastern Seaboard Coast.
In 1914 one of New Zealand's worst Industrial disasters occurred when there was a landslide killing 10 men of the Sulphur Works which was on Whakaari then. The camp cat was a survivor. According to various accounts "Peter the Great" was found three weeks later. Reminders of Tarawera eruption and another cat at Te Wairoa that survived a disaster.

In 1936 George Raymond Buttle bought Whakaari and today the island remains privately owned by descendants of  George Buttle's  family. Whakaari is  a private scenic reserve ( on 3 December 1953) , a tourism venture with tours  by boat and helicopter to the island  and an active volcano.
Most of the islands of the Eastern Seaboard are privately owned - Tuhua or Mayor Island administered by the Tuhua Trust Board. Tuhua is the Maori name for obsidian, thus describing aptly the Island for this dark volcanic glass that was here in quantities was sought after by Maori in pre European days for some sharpening tools and working with other tools.
Tuhua ( Mayor Island ) from Whiritoa - Photo C R Ball 2010
Mayor Island as it has become known ( a name Captain Cook gave the island  back in November 1869 when sheltering overnight on the North East corner) is home of the Mako Shark. According to Goldsmith  in a paper he read to the Auckland Institute in 1884 Mako " is found off this island and nowhere else in the world " ( Goldsmith 1884)
Today there is a Marine Reserve around the Northern end of Tuhua ( Mayor Island ).  The waters near Tuhua ( Mayor Island ) have became popular recreational fishing spots for  big Game Fishing - Tuna, Marlin and King fish, especially during the 1930's and  1940's.
WHEN THE FIGHT IS ON A striped marlin swordfish broaching in an endeavour to secure its freedom on t... [truncated] New Zealand Herald, Volume LXXII, Issue 22028, 7 February 1935, Page 8 courtesy Papers Past National Library NZ 

In past history, it was not just the game fishing that Tuhua ( Mayor island) was renown for.  Back in 1922 pioneer film maker Rudall Hayward, backed by a syndicate of 20, produced  the film " My Lady of the Cave. A newspaper serial, written by nearby Waihi School Master H T Gibson, was used. Mayor Island ( Tuhua ) was the scene of film shots for six weeks of filming out of seven. The film was said to be amongst stunning scenery and the film set in 1890's Bay of Plenty, a romantic drama. Camera man, Frank Stewart, was kept busy with even a  " shoot- out amongst moonshiners.'

  On up the Coast are reminders of volcanic activity in the rocky outcrops along the coastline. Northwards from Whiritoa is  Petley’s Rock – named for Mr. Petley, a Whangamata Fisherman of renown. Distinct craggy outcrops worn by the sea and storm  - known as the  “Pinnacles” –  grown up with, in sight from Otahu and Whangamata – reminders of what was the Tunaiti Caldera.

Looking towards Pinnacles from South Beach - photo C R Ball 1997

On up to South Beach Whangamata and the main surf beach  three Islands lying offshore from Whangamata – Hauturu (Clark Island) Whenuakura (called Doughnut Island sometimes because of its cave and hole near the middle), and Rawengaiti where it has been known to catch the odd strange fish nearby. These islands were once home of Tuatara, our quaint New Zealand lizards from prehistoric times - unfortunately in 2015 -gone.

Maukaha  Rocks, Whenuakura, Rawengaiti - photo C R Ball 2000

Hauturu ( Clark Island ) from Whangamata Peninsula - Photo C R Ball 2010

Lillian Clark , of Whangamata in the 1940's ,would have probably been the first conservationist of forest, seashore and beach life. A reminder to visiting holidaymakers to respect and not destroy. 

Government legislation records that Whenuakura, Rawengaiti Islands and Maukaha rocks lying to the northwest of Whenuakura Island were declared Wildlife Sanctuaries in 1976. This was the Wildlife Sanctuary (Whangamata Islands) Order 1976 and was declared sanctuaries because of the presence of Tuatara. This order was made pursuant to section 9 of the Wildlife Act 1953 and administered by the Wildlife Department of Internal Affairs - later Department of Conservation in April 1987.
Further up the coast from  Opoutere one can sight Hikunui Island near the Wharekawa Entrance, From Onemana, Opoutere, Ohui and Pauanui , one can sight Whakakau (Slipper Island) - home for many years of the Normans latterly of Opoutere and then the Needham family.  Both farmed this Island and there are memories of the barge to Tairua return used for supplies and livestock.
Whakahau ( Slipper Island ) Rabbit and Penguin  Whites Aviation photo 1959 J M Stewart photo collection
Also seen is Motuhoa (Shoe Island) which is at the Tairua River Entrance – the scene of the shipwreck of the cutter “Glance” in 1877. 

Motuhoa ( Shoe Island) from Main Surf Beach Tairua - photo C R Ball 2011
Looking back over history of Slipper Island many were the vessels and people that sheltered at Whakahau (Slipper Island) including the Tauranga Rugby Team aboard s s Fingal in 1907 - on their way to a rugby match against the Mercury Bay team at Whitianga.

Whakahau ( Slipper )- view through pines on main beach Pauanui - C R Ball 2014

From early European settlement days   waters around Whakahau (Slipper)  had gained a reputation for good fishing grounds. However fishing also had its dangerous moments as was reported in 1936. The Auckland Star reported on a fisherman's injury in 1936:- 

"  As the result of a fight with a shark which had a large hook fastened in its tail Mr. William Clarkson, a fisherman, of Whangamata, suffered a severe injury to his left hand on Sunday morning when fishing off Slipper Island, near Whangamata. When the shark was hooked it put up a lively fight and it was some time before it was brought alongside the boat. Mr, Clarkson then attempted th seize the struggling fish by the tail, but was astonished when he found that his left hand, between the thumb and the first finger, had been penetrated by a hook which evidently at some time had become fastened in the shark's tail"   ( Auckland Star, 6 /10/ 1936, P 11)

My own memories of  my father aboard Clio in  Eastern Seaboard Waters are the damage sharks did to the nets which had to be constantly repaired. Other memories are of a white pointer shark in the  Channel between Rabbit and Penguin Island. That was back in the late 1970's just after the movie Jaws had been released. Don't think the one at Whakahau ( Slipper), was as big as the 35 foot Great White Shark of the movie, however it did give moments of disquiet.  The Slipper Island version was real - not the robotic version of the movie which 40 years later still remains terrifying.

Looking further out to sea in the distance are the Aldermen Islands - a wildlife sanctuary since 1933. Named by Captain Cook in 1769 because their rocky caps reminded him of a court of Aldermen. Captain Cook having sheltered overnight at what he named Mayor ( Tuhua ) on heading up the coast wrote :-
" The Cluster of Islands and Rocks just mentioned we named the Court of Aldermen; they lay in the Compass of about half a League every way, and 5 Leagues from the Main, between which and them lay other Islands. The most of them are barren rocks, and of these there is a very great Variety, some of them are of as small a Compass as the Monument in London, and Spire up to a much greater height; they lay in the Latitude of 36 degrees 57 minutes, and some of them are inhabited. "  ( Wharton 1893)
Looking out to the Aldermen islands from Opoutere/ Pauanui Forestry Road - photo courtesy Sam Ball  August  2015
Within this group is seen Hongiora (Flat Island) home breeding ground of grey faced petrel – sometimes washed up on our beaches in storms. Also the rocky caps of Ruamahuaiti, Middle and Ruamahuanui Islands. In 1933 the area was declared to be a bird sanctuary.

ISLANDS OFF THE COROMANDEL PENINSULA TO BE OBTAINED FOR A BIRD SANCTUARY A deep-sea fishing launch p... [truncated] New Zealand Herald, Volume LXX, Issue 21422, 21 February 1933, P 6 courtesy Papers Past National Library NZ 
Yes we are fortunate to have these Islands of Coromandel's Eastern Seaboard, with their tales of flora, fauna and people through the years - a part of past New Zealand history.

Reference Source:
  •  Ed. Captain W.J.L. Wharton R.N., F.R.S. 1893. CAPTAIN COOK'S JOURNAL DURING HIS FIRST VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD MADE IN H.M. BARK ""ENDEAVOUR" 1768-71 A Literal Transcription of the Original MSS. London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/8106/8106-h/8106-h.htm
  • Parkinson, Ed. Stanfield. n.d. A Journal of a Voyage to the South Seas in his Majesty’s Ship, The Endeavour .Faithfully transcribed from the Papers of the late SYDNEY PARKINSON,. London: Paternoster Row. http://southseas.nla.gov.au/journals/parkinson/141.html
  • Taylor, Richard - M.A., Missionary in New Zealand. 1870. Image taken from page 275 of '[Te Ika a Maui, or, New Zealand and its Inhabitants ... Second edition, etc. London: British Library HMNTS 10491.dd.8." p 275. FLIKR
  • Grenfell, Hugh. 'The 1914 White Island/Whakaari mining disaster'. Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira. First published: 20 May 2015. Updated: 16 June 2015.URL: www.aucklandmuseum.com/collections-research/collections/topics/the-1914-white-island-whakaari-mining-disaster
  • Transactions & Proceedings NZ Institute ( Royal Society ) Art. LIII.—Description of Mayor Island[Read before the Auckland Institute, 11th August, 1884.] By E. C. Gold-Smith District Surveyor, Tauranga., from Volume 17, 1884
  • The Film Archive - My Lady of the Cave
  • WHEN THE FIGHT IS ON A striped marlin swordfish broaching in an endeavour to secure its freedom on t... [truncated] New Zealand Herald, 7 February 1935, Page 8
  • FIGHT WITH SHARK. Auckland Star,  6 October 1936, Page 11 
  • ISLANDS OFF THE COROMANDEL PENINSULA TO BE OBTAINED FOR A BIRD SANCTUARY A deep-sea fishing launch p... [truncated] New Zealand Herald, , 21 February 1933, Page 6

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

From Disaster - One of First Pieces Safety Legislation in NZ

Sign indicating Site of Kuranui Battery - photo C R Ball 2010
Currently in New Zealand, the Health and Safety Reform Bill,   introduced in June 2015,   is being tracked through Parliament . One of the contributing reasons for this reform was the Pike River Coal Mine Tragedy of 2010. Another piece of Health and Safety Legislation - 140 + years after one of the first legislation pieces introduced in NZ. Then it  was the outcome of another mining disaster -  on the not long opened Thames Goldfields. Campbell in 1987  was to write the following:
“However in 1874 the Inspection of Machinery Act was passed, it no doubt stimulated by a fatal boiler explosion that had occurred on the Thames gold field”. (Campbell, 1987, p.13)
This was what came to be known as the Kuranui Boiler disaster which occurred at the Kuranui Company in one of the battery machines. The Kuranui Battery was close to the Shotover Mine - this Mine famous for the first major official discovery of gold on the Thames Goldfields. Both mining sites were close to the shoreline. 
The Shotover on Kuranui or Shotover Creek - Photo in
Grainger, John Thomas. The Amazing Thames. The story of the town and the famous goldfield from which it grew. Wellington: A.H. & A.W. Reed, 1951.

According to the Thames Miners Guide, one of the first crushing machine's was purchased, it was said , for £1500 from the firm of Fraser & Tinne by the Kuranui Company and erected in those early Thames Goldfields Days about November 1867. The Thames Miner's Guide wrote outlining Machinery on the Thames Goldfields: -
Kurunui Battery (late Fraser and Tinne's) of six stampers, and a one stamper specimen battery with Berdans at the end of tables to grind the tailings. The battery has three stampers in each box, double cams, quicksilver placed in battery boxes, grating perpendicular, with round holes. The copper-plate tables are about 12ft. long by 5ft. wide, and raised about 14in. above the blanket boards; a slide dividing them is raised about l 1/2 in. at the bottom. The blankets extend about 10ft. They appear to be ordinary grey blankets of a very inferior description. There is no appliance for saving the tailings, the sluice being only 10ft. long, terminated by a small tub. There are no amalgamators connected with this battery. The engine is powerful, and reflects credit upon the engineers, Messrs. Fraser & Tinne. Nevertheless, there is room for much improvement, to render the saving of the finer particles of gold complete." ( Thames Miners Guide, 1868) 
 The diagrams below shows what two stampers used to crush quartz rock looked like.

Stamp Mills in  Johnson, J.C.F. Getting Gold A Gold-Mining Handbook for Practical Men. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/43027/43027-h/43027-h.htm, 2013.

The disaster occurred on 24 January 1874, causing the serious loss of three lives. The Daily Southern Cross, after the accident, and after some of the evidence given in the inquest reported
 “The cause of the accident is briefly this, so, far, as it can be understood: The boiler had 'been repaired and cleaved about a week ago, land has only been at work five days. It was discovered today that a thick coating of saline deposit had crusted the iron in the crown of the boiler to a thickness of half an inch. This prevented the water from coming in contact with the iron, consequently the latter became red hot over the furnace, and owing to the pressure of the steam it collapsed, as much as the tension of the iron allowed, but when the utmost extent of its expansion - was" reached the iron rent along the seam." The consequence was that the steam and water together burst into the furnace and rushed through the flues, carrying death to the poor fellows.”( DSC 26/01/1874, p.3)

The three lives lost were those of Alfred Cook, Amalgamator, Kuranui Company. Richard Watson, crushing supervisor, Queen of Beauty Company. Matthew Paul, crushing supervisor, Crown Prince Company. In the aftermath of the disaster, the inquest with recommendations at its conclusion and concern for the safety of machinery on goldfields, rose in several quarters before, there were calls for action. Amongst these was that of Mr. John Sheehan, MHR.  The Wellington Independent reported that a Royal Commission appointed would be appointed to investigate the accident causes and to make recommendations. (Wellington Independent, 11/02/1874, p 2)
 Members appointed to the Royal Commission were Joseph Nancarrow, James Stewart and Charles O’Neill. All three had both practical and technical knowledge of boilers and steam machinery, Nancarrow being Colonial Chief Inspector Steamers and Stewart Inspector of Steamers Auckland – both with the then Marine Department. O’Neill formerly mining surveyor for the Thames goldfield and engineer-in-chief of railways, tramways and wharves and elected MHR representing Thames 1871 – 1875. 
Two of the Members  Appointed to the Royal Commission
By mid - March the work of the Commission had begun with the Daily Southern Cross reporting the official opening of the Royal Commission , Charles O’Neill Chairman of the Commission.
In what could be said to be a relatively short time for reports of this nature to emerge, the Daily Southern Cross in July 1874 (four months later) reported the result of “The Steam Boiler Commission” writing:-

“The Kurunui Boiler Accident Commission, in an elaborate report, say they are of opinion that such accidents can be prevented by a carefully revised and well balanced enactment. The Board of Trade system of marine inspection and tests for engineers they consider unsuitable. Rules for the examination ought to possess an elasticity which would be respectfully applicable to the goldfields as inapplicable to the Marine Engineer tests should be based on the nature of the work they have to perform.” (DSC, 04/07/1874, p 3) 
In the  Royal Commission Report to both Assemblies of the house the Commission's members concluded:-

"All the evidence points to sufficient water being in the boiler, and there is no reason for doubt on this point. The incrustation, then, we are assured, was the immediate cause of the collapse; and we have as little doubt that the incrustation was only the effect of undue saltness of the water in the boiler. This even those in immediate charge admit, although they state that they are unable to account for it. But the fact is incontestable, in our opinion ; and a careful study of the evidence, and an actual testing of the salinometer in use, together with calculations relating to the evaporation, feed, and blow-off of the boiler, lead, not to wonder that the salting took place, but to astonishment that it did not work its effect long ago." ( AJHR 1874 I, H-06)

Outlined also in the report  were recommendations for an Inspectorate system - their skills base, personal character qualities and work procedures in the field - duties.  By September 1874 the Inspection of Machinery Act was passed, providing one of the first pieces of New Zealand Occupational Health and Safety Legislation. The Star reported on the new Machinery Act.
“The Inspection of Machinery Bill passed through the Assembly during its last session is a valuable measure, supplying, as it does, a want that had for a long time/existed. The Act is in five principal parts. (Star, 04/09/1874, p 2)

The first Inspection of Machinery Act 1874 while it covered other “land based “did not cover steamers and their machinery. This was covered by the already implemented Steam Navigation Act, 1866, administered by the Marine Department and their Inspectors of Steamers. A role that both Nancarrow and Stewart had been undertaking for the Marine Department since this act’s inception. Likewise engines or machinery under Government Railway control were also exempt. There was also an innovative provision that prohibited children under the age of 10 to work with or assist with the running of machinery.

 The passing of the Machinery Act 1874 was followed shortly after by the Regulation and Inspection of Mines Act which also carried provisions for safety. By December the first Chief Inspector of Machinery for the colony was appointed. This was Joseph Nancarrow. 
Into 1875 Thames goldfields saw the Machinery Act 1874 in place – and even though there were detractors, this was a first step in health and safety in the workplace and towards prevention of likes of a recurrence of such as the “Kuranui Boiler Disaster.”
Reference Sources:

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Waltzing Matilda - A Place of History and a Song to hold

Outback Queensland - photo CRB 2010

 Alan Ramsay, rang from Australia with devastating news last night. A fire had ravaged the Waltzing Matilda Centre with its Quantilda Museum  at Winton  in Queensland, Australia. A disaster for heritage and stored family history, for  irreplaceable photos and handwritten articles may have been lost.
Longreach near Winton, Queensland - Photo CRB 2010
Numbed, I thought about Winton - the Ramsay brothers  who were two of  those early pastoral settlers on Oondooroo Station; the stories and songs that have come out of Outback Queensland;  " Banjo" Paterson who penned many of those songs and poems, portraying the lives of those early stockmen, shearers and swagmen - " Waltzing Matilda" possibly the most well - known song of all ;   A J Boyd, writer of a series of short stories " Old Colonials" . Boyd was  headmaster for a short time at Toowoomba Grammar School where  some pastoralists - and bankers - sent their boys for education. My grandfather James Halifax Stewart, was recorded as having attended   Toowoomba Grammar School  during the years Boyd was headmaster.

Toowoomba Grammar School - photo CRB 2010

James Halifax moved back to New Zealand in 1890 with family when his Banker father died.  Amongst  Boyd's stories was that of a  banker,  a Mr. S and journeys to outback banks. Reminds me of stories  passed down orally by the family about James Halifax father's  journeys to Townsville and Barcarldine - back then it would have been mainly journeys by horse   to the banks in those towns. Certainly not the easy train journey aboard " Spirit of the Outback" and bus coach tour experienced by us back in 2010 up to Longreach and Winton.

National Bank Barcarldine about 1887 - photo courtesy National Library Queensland

Even though Winton Queensland  and the Waltzing Matilda Centre seems so far away from Coromandel New Zealand there are many strong links across the miles.  This is through the song " Waltzing Matilda."
The song penned by Paterson way back in 1895  on Dagworth Station near Winton  was first recited in public by Sir Herbert Ramsay at the North Gregory Hotel in Winton on 6 April 1895 at a banquet for the Premier of Queensland.  This bush ballad  that has spread across Australia , New Zealand and around the world. Until it is said to have become the unofficial National Anthem of Australia, sung at National Australia Day in 2009.

In 2010 just before the Queensland trip outback,  a New Zealand film Premiere organised by the Waihi Vision Committee was attended at Thames on the Coromandel Peninsula - Beneath the Hill 60. The film set during WW1 tells the story of the 1st Australian Tunnelling Company South of Ypres (Belgium West Flanders)  and one which the New Zealand counterparts, including from Waihi and the Coromandel Peninsula, could relate to as part of the NZ Tunnelling Company in WW1.
This film was made in and around Townsville, Queensland  with the script based on the writings of  rural Queensland WW1 tunneller  Oliver Woodward.   Bill Leimbach was producer of  Beneath the Hill 60. It is Bill Leimbach, this leading Australian filmaker and producer , who was selected in 2014 to produce a new film about  Waltzing Matilda. Leimbach hired Morgan O'Neill to direct the film, the script of which is about the life of  Banjo Paterson on the outback station and the song Waltzing Matilda. Oondooroo Station  near Winton (home once of the Ramsay brothers) was slated to also be used in film scenes.

Sheep on Oondooroo Station, near Winton, 1915 courtesy Queensland Historical Atlas, Collection of the Centre for the Government of Queensland


It appears there was another film produced in 1933 also called Waltzing Matilda both starring and directed by Pat Hanna, originally born in  Whitianga on the Coromandel Peninsula. Hanna ( full names George,  Patrick) also was a WW1 soldier, a private in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. This  film, about two men who found work as drovers on a station, was not as  successful as Hanna had hoped for.
Buffalo Beach Whitianga - Photo CRB 2012 - Whitianga being where Pat Hanna born
More thinking evokes memories of a mother singing and teaching me growing up in New Zealand, the song Waltzing Matilda. Humming it now brings back more memories of her introducing me to stories of another family member way back, arriving as a Marine aboard HMS Sirius to Australia in 1788. Other stories such as Norah of Billabong - must read stories for any growing girl and for grandchildren the stories of the Gum Nuts. Interwoven with stories from a father and his stories passed down through the generations - the Spider Story and other songs from their country of Scotland - Auld Lang Syne - as with Waltzing Matilda- an integral part of New Year and community celebrations. The story of Hauturu, the Taniwha of Whangamata Beach Road Playground, Coromandel Peninsula shared with grandchildren by my father, fishing tales of Coromandel's Eastern Seaboard. Another variation of the song Waltzing Matilda - And the Band played Waltzing Matilda - written originally  by Eric Bogle  about  Australian soldiers who fought s and died in the Battle of Gallipoli in WW1. This song now commemorates the allied troops who fought at Gallipoli - the ANZACs.
2001.215 Photograph Album of 4/509 Sapper Philip Roderick McRae Hanna, New Zealand Engineers- Courtesy National Army Museum NZ   Gallipoli
This makes me realise that although many things were destroyed at Winton early Thursday morning, there are some of those intrinsic history things that weren't. Those are our songs and oral stories passed on through families and others. That it is important to continue passing on  these. To use other media such as doing now,  with this blog, to keep those songs and stories safe in our hearts and shared with many others - the stories of Queensland Outback and stories of Coromandel Peninsula. For they are a relevant part of the past and stories of families - Gorrie, Stewart, Morton  and Ramsay - who journeyed back and forth from Australia to New Zealand and if passed on, these stories  will be there for our future generations.
Outback Queensland - Photo CRB 2010


                                      The original Waltzing Matilda

                                             as written in the Winton District   by Banjo Paterson in 1895

Oh there once was a swagman camped in the billabong
Under the shade of a Coolibah tree
And he sang as he looked at the old billy boiling
Who'll come a waltzing Matilda with me.
Who'll come a Waltzing Matilda  my darling
Who'll come a waltzing Matilda with me
Waltzing Matilda leading  a water bag
Who'll come a waltzing Matilda with me.
Down came a jumbuck to drink at the water hole
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him in glee
And he said as he put him away in the tucker bag
You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda my darling
 You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me
Waltzing Matilda leading  a water bag
You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me
Down came the squatter a riding on his thoroughbred
Down came policemen one two three
Where is the jumbuck you've got in the tuckerbag
You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda my darling
You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me
 Waltzing Matilda leading  a tucker bag
You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me
But the swagman he up and he jumped in the waterhole
Drowning himself by the Coolibah tree
And his ghost can be heard as it sings in the billabong
 Who'll come a waltzing Matilda with me
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda my darling
You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me
 Waltzing Matilda leading  a tucker bag
You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me.
Windmill Queensland Outback - Photo CRB 2010

Reference Source:



Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Seering Hall Matthews - Pioneer Settler and Legal Manager Mines

Coromandel Peninsula beach and hills of  Northern tip Peninsula   -  Photo 2012 Chris Ball
The late 1890's with new methods of gold extraction a contributing factor, saw a revived interest in goldmining across the Coromandel Peninsula, including isolated settlements such as Kennedys Bay and Whangapoua. The photo below from papers past shows stage coaches waiting for the steamer from Auckland bringing would be gold miners to Coromandel.
Courtesy Papers Past, National Library NZ

In those days of the “Mining Rush” the Legal Managers were “considered then to be men of consequence”. (Weston, 1928, p213) Seering Hall Matthews was considered to be one of those - the Legal Managers who took care of the legal details of a gold mining company, including the Shareholder Register, calling Company meetings, acting as accountant and auditor. Having completed 25 years with the company of Joseph Clifton Firth (Messrs Thornton. Smith and Firth, millers) Matthews took on legal management of gold mining companies placement of advertisements in newspapers in 1895:
  Page 1 Advertisements Column 5 New Zealand Herald, Volume XXXII, Issue 9938, 30 September 1895, Page 1
Courtesy Papers Past National Library NZ

 Before the year was up Matthews was legal manager or secretary of a number of Gold Mining companies amongst them, an enterprise at Kennedys Bay on the Coromandel Peninsula Eastern Seaboard.
KENNEDY'S BAY TOWNSHIP AND MINING COMPANY. A company has been formed, the shares being privately subscribed, to layouts township and work freehold mining property at Kennedy's Bay, .the area acquired being 233 'acres, with water frontage, and forming the site of the Kauri Timber Company's old mills. The direotors appointed are Messrs. S. T. George, J. J. Craig, and A. Kidd; secretary. Mr. S. H. Matthews; bankers, the Bank of New Zealand solicitors, Messrs, Gillies and Colbeck. The newly-discovered 40ft. reef at Kennedy's Bay is said to be on this property.  ( New Zealand Herald, 31/07/1896, P 6)
Mathews also moved offices to the Hobson Buildings in Shortland Street, Auckland.
From the road to Kennedy's Bay, Coromandel Peninsula - photo JM Stewart 1970's


Chart Researched and Compiled by Anne Stewart Ball 2015

The photo below from Papers Past shows what Coromandel would have looked like to many of those miners heading for the mines in Coromandel County in 1898. This photo was part of the promotional supplement for Auckland's first  Industrial and Mining Exhibition. 

In addition to legal management of mining companies, Matthews also acted as auditor to the Goldfields Co-Operative Stores, Ltd. at Golden Cross. This establishment which consisted of a large double-fronted shop with a verandah and a bulk store at the back. Typical of a rural mining community this store (managed by T.W. Simpson )  provided all manner of necessities - boots, groceries, ironmongery, explosives, mining requisites, crockery, and drapery.

The Cyclopaedia of New Zealand, Vol 2, Auckland Province. Christchurch: Cyclopaedia Company Limited, 1902
Dover Born, Seering Hall Matthews arrived in Auckland New Zealand with his parents -  Edmund  Israel  Matthews  and Elizabeth Austin Matthews ( nee Pike )  aboard the brigantine Deborah in 1848. Edmund Matthews, a Royal Engineer, had been bought to Auckland from Hong Kong  to oversee the building of the Albert Barracks as Clerk of Works.

Grandfather (William Gorrie Snr.) and  mother of Mathew’s Wife Amelia Matthews ( nee Wall) arrived at Kororareka also aboard the Brigantine Deborah in 1840. The years both arrived, were unsettled times and the early period of the NZ Wars ( previously called Maori Wars ) in the North Island.)
Seering Hall Matthews joined the volunteers in 1859 , as did many of the young men of early Auckland. One of the original members of the No 1 Company ( Royals ) Auckland Rifle Volunteers, Matthews saw service at Otahuhu, Drury and Papakura. Along with service in the old Rutland Company. 

Mathews applied for the NZ Long and Efficient Service Medal in May 1916. To his application letter, he added another giving the dates when he was made an Ensign and then two years later a Lieutenant. 

Archives NZ Archway AABK 22526 W5573 42/171 Seering Hall  Matthews

His application was also accompanied by letters from Henry Parker, Lieut.Col. N.Z.F., John Edson, Chemist and former member of the Auckland Rifle Battalion, Arthur Morrow, Lieut. Colonel, Staff Retired, Thos J Sansom, Colour Sergeant of the Royal Co. and Geo. Black, J.P. Despite the letters, his application for a medal was turned down. A letter dated 12th June 1916 from the Colonel, Officer Commanding District pointed out that the Medal Award was not instituted until 1st January 1987 and that service prior to then was not counted.

The photo below shows the garrison - typical during the wars for that time.

Fort Britomart during Wars. There was also accommodation at the Albert Barracks  in  The New Zealand Insurance Company Limited. Bold Century. Auckland: The New Zealand Insurance Company Limited, 1959. (Shareholders Copy)

Following the wars, Mathews worked firstly with his father Edmund Israel in the building trade. His father following the building of Albert Barracks was, for some years, in business as an architect along with that of contractor and builder. Edmund was attributed with the design of Wynyard Pier. On the death of Seering Hall Mathew’s brother Frederick the Auckland Star wrote regarding Edmund’s building of this pier:

“His father superintended the building of the wall round the Albert Barracks, and erected a small pier on the water front, just below the Victoria Arcade, to land the material. When piles were being driven in Queen Street for the foundation of the lines for the Auckland tramways, this stone pier upset the calculations of the engineer, who could not understand why he had suddenly encountered stone in the mud. A son of Mr. E. Matthews, sen., who was standing by, said that the pile had struck the pier his father put up on the banks of Ligar Canal in the early days.” ( Auckland Star, 22 July 1927, Page 8 )

Seering Hall Mathews and Edward Bartley advertised a partnership as builders and contractors in 1865 (P1 Advertisements Column 6 New Zealand Herald,3 Jan 1865,P 1) 

Bartley had also worked in partnership with Seering’s father. John Barr in 1922 was to attribute Mathews and Bartley with completing the Supreme Court building which was begun by Messrs Amos & Taylor in 1863 ( Barr, 1922.p.72) This is confirmed in the photo below. The photo also shows the building construction complete with scaffolding.

Showing the Supreme Court in Waterloo Quadrant under construction with Parnell Road and Gittos Street (right background) Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-1085'

Mathews & Bartley had the contract for plastering and woodwork - £2800. (DSC 22/11/1867 P3Following completion in 1867, the Supreme Court was well used by many. Amongst them our family members who practised law, including Barrister John William Stewart who also acted as Auditor to the Law Society.

The "winds of depression" were upon  Auckland during the late 1860's and early 1870's. Matthews turned to other occupations to make a living. By 1872 Mathews  was advertising again, this time  as Superintendent of the Fire Brigade. ( Auckland Star 13/05/1872,p3
In those days the Insurance Companies organised their own Brigades. The insured building concerned carried a distinguishing metal plaque to indicate to the firemen which company held the risks. Each brigade to the insurance company's own, the others on standby for buildings that might be theirs, large fires attended by all. The photo below, although Nelson Fire Brigade and not that of Auckland where Seering Hall Mathews was Superintendent, was typical of the firemen and equipment of that time.
The Nelson Fire Brigade 1870 - photo  in  The New Zealand Insurance Company Limited. Bold Century. Auckland: The New Zealand Insurance Company Limited, 1959. (Shareholders Copy)

A career change wherein Matthews  was, secretary to Mr. Josiah Clifton Firth and the flour-mill of Messrs. Thornton. Smith, and Firth. Several years before his death in 1924, Matthews was secretary of an ostrich farm -  Helvetia Ostrich Company Ltd – along with also the Dominion Brace Company Ltd. and The Lake Taupo Shipping Company Ltd. – interesting enterprises.
Matthews had a long record as a worker in the Baptist Church during his life, one which extended for more than 50 years as a member and officer of the Baptist Tabernacle, the chapel in Wellesley Street, one of the founders of the New Zealand Baptist Union of which body he was appointed treasurer, an honorary deacon, member of the Auckland Bible Society Committee, member of the Young Men's Christian Association – someone who was active in the church worshipped in.

So ends a story of a man of many parts and a part of the past of our New Zealand History.

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