Monday, 15 February 2016

Wilkinson - Shipping, Yachting and " breaking" news of the sea

Desert Gold - a yacht loved by " Aunty Spider"

There is a storm on the East Coast, at the moment. Wet day outside.  Not many recreation boats out at sea and all looks a bit rough. Think any  yachts out there are sheltering in one of the harbours or coves of the Peninsula. Good day to sit and read the newspapers. In this instance , it is those newspapers of the past  now online on the internet - thanks to Papers Past National Library New Zealand and Trove National Library Australia. I love reading about the sea and those shipping and yachting stories of the past - the stories of ship launchings, ship wrecks, poems, shipping news , yachting race reports, shipping companies. ( including  a report on the journey out to New Zealand in 1859, for one set of grand-parents aboard the ship Joseph Fletcher. Reports of a concert held  on board , complete with curtains ( the Joseph Fletcher's private signal flag, - a lion rampant holding a scallop shell argent, on a field, gules)

Tramping Club  Camping at Pararaha, Photo sometime
 between 1930 and 1946 Photo by JM Stewart

Reading, I thought about my god mother ( Wilma Marryatt Latter - nee Wilkinson AKA Aunty Spider ). Wilma  began working life as a journalist and then turned to being a librarian. Often wondered is,  was one of  her roles  in the country library service,  National Library New Zealand, organising books about the sea for some of those Peninsula Libraries, including Tairua. The  books that I like to get out and have a good read- stories of yachts lost at sea on a voyage and found again.  Wilma, as well as loving tramping, also loved the sea - yachting with her father , writing poems, and walking the beach over the years with friends.

Wilma AKA Spider with Lorna - one of Coromandel's Eastern Seaboard beaches  1980's - Photo by HM Stewart

William Wilkinson
Reading the " shipping intelligence", bought to mind, some of those people who were the journalists, shipping reporters and newspaper owners who wrote all those things about the sea.
One such was Derbyshire born , William Wilkinson ( grandfather of Wilma ) who arrived aboard one of those boats reported about in the shipping news in April 1863 - The Nimroud - with 187 people , including crew.  Also on board, according to the Maritime record,  was the peal of bells and fittings for St Mary’s Cathedral, Parnell.  A newly arrived journalist aboard the Nimrod in 1863, Wilkinson was firstly involved with war reporting for the New Zealander. Following this, Wilkinson became a shipping reporter for Daily Southern Cross. The competition for shipping news was strong. Early newspaper reporters rowed out, under all sea conditions, to meet the newly arrived ship from “the old country” so they could “get the scoop.”  A rival of Wilkinson for  the shipping news,  was Sir  Henry  Brett. Brett wrote the well- known shipping books  " White Wings" about the early  sailing ships and trade to New Zealand.

Both Brett and Wilkinson,  in addition to having been shipping reporters , became printers, publishers and newspaper owners. Brett, newspaper owner of the Auckland Star with Thomas Wilson Leys, which morphed into New Zealand Newspapers Ltd after the purchase of the Lyttelton Times and Christchurch Star.
Wilkinson, with Corlett, launched one of the first newspapers on the Thames Goldfields, first published on 11 April 1868 -  the Thames Advertiser and Miners’ News.  Corlett ,after a couple of years went on ,and in 1872 Alfred Horton joined William Wilkinson as co- owner ( the year following the birth of William Albert Wilkinson, son of William Wilkinson - December 1871 at Thames )   Horton  sold his interest in the Thames Advertiser in 1876 and moved on to the Herald, joining forces with Wilson - Wilson & Horton. In 1875 the street address of Wilkinson & Horton - the Thames Advertiser was recorded in Albert Street Thames.
Intersection of Brown Street and Albert Street, circa 1900. Wharf Hotel is on the left and the Bank of New Zealand is on the opposite corner on the right. Albert Street runs from left to right. 
Brown Street, Thames. Price, William Archer, 1866-1948 :Collection of post card negatives. Ref: 1/2-001554-G. Courtesy  Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.  

In 1875 the address of the Thames Advertiser was given as Albert Street
.No doubt it was an ideal location for the Thames Advertiser then, as the premises were close to the Bank of New Zealand , the famous Scrip Corner where mining shares changed hands and the Hotels which would have bought people  from many walks of life to stay. The Thames Goldfields in that era, was in  "bonanza" times. William Wilkinson continued with the Thames Advertiser until the mid- 1880's, as well as  involvement with  community service groups.

Early in 1869, the New Zealand Herald reported the formation of a society -  the  Thames Literary and Scientific Association, with a committee of management made up of  W. Rowe, J. Gwynneth, O. M. Creagh, W. Wilkinson, R. H. Bartlett, J. Breen, and Major Heaphy. One of the first lectures presented by this group was that by Major Heaphy on the geology of the Auckland and Thames District. Later years in 1874, the Thames Advertiser reported extensively on the scientific apparatus, used to observe the Transit of Venus by Mr. Severn of the Bank of New Zealand. Unfortunately it rained on the date. Nevetheless , Henry Thomson Gorrie who was also at the Bank of New Zealand Thames then, took a photograph of the event.
 Transit of Venus 1874, pouring rain Early photos taken by H. T. GORRIE, from the BUTTLE Family Collection.
Courtesy creative commons Kete Basket, West Coast
At the close of 1878 , it was reported William Wilkinson being one of the  members of a newly established  Board of Governors for an intended Highschool.
" The following gentlemen have been appointed Governors of the High School for Boys and Girls, which is shortly to be established on the Thames, and for the support of which the Government lately granted an endowment of 10,003 acres of land at the Te Aroha Messrs. L. J, Bagnall, Alexander Brodie, John Brown, William Davies, James Kilgour, William McCullough, and William Wilkinson" ( Thames Advertiser 04/01/1879)
By 1882 Wilkinson was recorded as  Chairman, Board of Governors.  Wilkinson had also served a term 1880 - 1882 as Mayor of Thames. Along with being on the House Committee of the Thames Hospital Committee and an  active member of  the Walter Scott Lodge. 
The Thames Advertiser gave wide coverage to the Turning of the First Sod celebrations and ceremonies of Thames Railway in 1878. Coverage repeated under new ownership for the Opening celebrations and ceremonies twenty years later in 1898. Also there was the shipping news with steamers coming into their own on the " Thames run."
Upon Wilkinson selling the paper , The Thames Advertiser became a  public company called the Thames Newspaper and Printing Company. In 1883 Wilkinson bought the Observer from this newspaper's founder Stewart Rathbone, In 1884 an Evening Telephone was published, intention to compete with The Star. This newspaper struggled and in 1885 passed on to John Wickham and eventually as the renamed Evening Bell along with the Observer , on to Henry Brett who sold  to his cousin Baulf and John Kelly. Wilkinson was also attributed with owning the Te Aroha and Ohinemuri News, founded in 1883. This newspaper passed into the ownership of John Ilott and on to Henry Brett. 
By the turn of the century, William Wilkinson lived in Auckland and had established a printing company.
William Albert Wilkinson
William Albert Wilkinson ( born in Thames son of William Wilkinson   - co founder of the Thames Advertiser )   William Albert followed his father's footsteps into a career of journalism also.  Accounts attribute William Albert Wilkinson with printing New Zealand's first boating magazine in 1909 - the New Zealand Yachtsman). However the magazine did not get off the ground and it was said this was because of the outbreak of war ( WW1).
This Wilkinson   became shipping correspondent for the Auckland Star in 1919 covering yachting under the byline 'Speedwell.' William Albert Wilkinson was active in yachting on the Waitemata, encouraging yacht clubs and racing. At times  this Wilkinson was known for controversy .
Pictured is Mr W.A. Wilkinson's 24-Footer, "Speedwell", winner of Open Handicap, Mahurangi Regatta, March 23. Also, winner of 24ft L.R. Races, North Shore Sailing Club, March 16; Annual Regatta, March 9; Auckland Yacht Club, March 2 Taken from the supplement to the Auckland Weekly News 05 APRIL 1901 p005]
Photo courtesy Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections AWNS-19010405-5-4
Nevertheless, Wilkinson contributed greatly to the development of yachting on the Waitemata, along with  further afield on the coasts and waters of Coromandel Peninsula and to Tauranga. Yachting was " in his heart" and  promoted the 14 footer X Class leading to Sanders Cup competition. The North Shore Yacht Club moved to city side of harbour and changed its name to Akarana. Wilkinson was also involved in setting up of Tamaki Yacht Club.
On races and regattas further afield, "Speedwell" wrote on the races promoted by the Coromandel regatta and sports committee in 1936 : -
Gorrie's paddock was named for, originally, a paddock on  Morton Gorrie's farm at Coromandel. Here there had, from the beginning of the new century, yachting picnics and sheep dog trials, amongst a number of community activities.
Two years later " Speedwell" writing on the Auckland to Tauranga yachting race gave some good navigation information on the route:-

Passing Old Man Rock (to port) the next course is south-east by south, to the eastern point of the Slipper Island, distance 21 miles. This course- takes you half a mile east of Castle Bock, a steep to rock 192 ft high, 10 miles on the coarse from Old Man Bock. The Aldermen Islands lie to seaward, and three miles before reaching the Slipper Is the Shoe, a small island well Inshore, off the entrance to Tairua River. "Speedwell" has been In the river, but does not recommend it as there is a nasty break over the bar at the narrow entrance with the wind in. Close-to the Slipper, on the southern side, and, almost joined to it, are Penguin and Rabbit Islands, bat they are all in line on the south-eastern end of Rabbit island that the Manaia was wrecked on June-10, 1926, when bound from Tauranga to Auckland. She was relieving the Ngapuhi at the time. Slipper to The Mount. ( Auckland Star 27/08/1938)

Wilma Wilkinson AKA Aunty Spider enjoyed yachting with her father who was known as " Wilkie"
 Wilma  Marryatt Latter nee Wilkinson
Wilma was better known as Aunty Spider. A librarian, Aunty Spider loved to travel. The writer of this blog grew up enjoying  the travel letters that were passed around kith and kin. Far - away places, different modes of travel, people met,  the jerseys and cardigans knitted on her journeys for this God Child ( knitting learned from her maternal grandmother ) Growing up being encouraged to read  all sorts of books and write. Through the years, even though we saw an Internet age begin, Aunty Spider continued with regular, large hand written letters. Something remembered well today.
Wilma ( AKA Aunty Spider), Anne and Micky the cat
In July of 1993  Wilma AKA  Aunty Spider was pleased to attend the Opening of a new  library and  Archives in a new Council Building at Whangamata. Wilma came to share this event, the archives named the HM Stewart Archives - a place where records of the history of this town were intended to be stored safely and worked towards by Helen Stewart and others for future generations. For Wilma as well as writing, was passionate about retaining history records for she too had, as with Helen Stewart and others, been involved with records of Tramping and Climbing groups  along with lifelong friendships.  The opening of the Library was a significant milestone to these two - a progression of country library service days to Whangamata and Tairua. 

Jocelyn Fish, Ina Ellis and Helen Stewart at Library and Archives opening Whangamata  1993
The  HM Stewart Archives as such,  is no longer.
Wilma Marryatt Latter nee Wilkinson passed on in 2010. Thus ended three generations of a family who had much to do with the Coromandel Peninsula - a  relevant part of  past NZ History in journalism, printing, newspaper publishing,  country library service, nursing training at Waihi ( completed 1911 ) and of course - the sea.

Reference Source:
  • Hastings, David, Extra, Extra, Auckland University Press, 2013
  • The Cyclopaedia of New Zealand, Vol 2, Auckland Province. Christchurch: Cyclopaedia Company Limited, 1902.
  • Weston, Fred (compiler). Jubilee Souvenir –Thames Goldfields A History From Proclamation Times To 1927. Thames: “ Thames Star”, July ,1927
  • Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1882 Session I, E-08 EDUCATION. REPORTS OF SECONDARY SCHOOLS. [In Continuation of E.-5, 1881.]
  • Thames Genealogy Resources  New Zealand - Thames Directory 1875 page 65
  • New Zealand Maritime Index  - William Wilkinson, William Albert Wilkinson, Wilma Marryatt
THIS THAMES GOLDFIELD. New Zealand Herald, 6 February 1869, Page 5
Untitled New Zealand Herald, 31 December 1878, Page 2
GENERAL NEWS. Thames Advertiser,  4 January 1879, Page 3
YACHTING. Auckland Star, 8 April 1936, Page 25
SIMPLE NAVIGATION Auckland Star, 27 August 1938, Page 21

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Margaret Matilda White ( AKA surname Reed ) Photographer and Photography of that era

Bridge across Ohinemuri Karangahake Mining Settlement where Margaret Matilda White lived after marriage to Alfred Reed Photo from The Cyclopaedia of New Zealand, Vol 2, Auckland Province. Christchurch: Cyclopaedia Company Limited, 1902.
Going to the  Women of Empire Exhibition at Thames during November 2015 , led me to thinking about other women before the war who stepped into what then, in the tail end of the 1800's, was an occupation in a man's world. One such was Margaret Matilda White who, aside from an occupation of nursing, was another early New Zealand photographer.
Often when looking back on a part of the past New Zealand History, it is the work left by those early New Zealand photographers that provide a visual history of  a place, a person or an event.  Especially in those goldfield and timber towns of the Coromandel Peninsula. Photographs of Daniel Beere, John Robert Hanna, Henry Thomson Gorrie, George Valentine, H B Morton, James Napier,  Una Garlick ( AKA Harriet Eunice) and Margaret Matilda White. It is known that White had contact with John Robert Hanna. There may have been exposure to the photography of the others via occupation, people and place. Although White may not have met Daniel Beere, she visited Thames taking photographs - a town in which Daniel Beere's family had lived, worked and been part of the gold mining community.

Gerald Butler Beere and family on veranda of house in Shortland. Beere, Daniel Manders, 1833-1909 :Negatives of New Zealand and Australia. Ref: 1/2-096138-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.   Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.”

View over township from hill, wooden fence in foreground  PH-NEG-B3594 Photograph by Margaret Matilda White  photo courtesy Auckland War Memorial Museum –Tāmaki Paenga Hira”.
By mid-1885, with a partnership with Hemus  dissolved, John Robert Hanna concentrated  on establishment and renovation of his own studio. In 1890 Hanna became President of the Auckland Photograhic Club. It is not known whether Margaret Matilda White  was a member of this Club.

John Robert Hanna 1850 - 1915
It is known that with Hanna President and a photographic exhibition in 1890, photos of George Valentine ( the South Crater was said to be "great triumph over no ordinary difficulties" ) , H B Morton and that of Hanna's were exhibited.  The members of the photographic club were interested in shots of scenery, and portraiture. H B Morton,  gum and general merchant  and shipping agent, was  joint vice-president of the Auckland Photographic Club 1891-1895 and patron in 1910.

South Crater – the termination of Rotomahana Rent  From photo 142 by George Valentine 1886
From JM Stewart family collection
H.B. Morton - photo in H. B Morton , Recollections Of Early New Zealand Auckland Whitcombe & Tombs (1925)

 There was much scope for these amateur photographers in this new raw country - New Zealand. John Robert Hanna also specialised in portraiture and all photographers then, with photos of the Maori way of life and culture. All of this was an excellent training ground for Margaret Matilda White.
The information on Waihi Cemetery records for Margaret Matilda Reed  ( nee White ) are almost  non-existent,  apart from  recording a Margaret Matilda Reed, date of death and burial unknown but listed in  Ang Section, Block F, Lot 14. It is known that Margaret Matilda Reed ( nee White ) died from tetanus which was the outcome of stepping on a  nail. That for Margaret Matilda , was back 105 years ago on 6 July 1910. The Northern Advocate reported the following:-
" Mrs A. Reed, jun., of Karangahake, and well known in Whangarei, died in the Waihi hospital last week. Her death was occasioned by blood poisoning, caused by a nail piercing her foot."   ( Northern Advocate 15/07/1910)
Albert Reed, Margaret Matilda's husband, born in Whangarei ,was the eldest son of Albert Reed who had arrived in 1859, a builder who in 1876 counted his work in connection with Walton's mine at Whau Whau Valley, Whangarei.
The Affidavit under oath  of Albert Reed, her husband, filed on 30 July 1910 in probate documents : -
  • gives her name as Margaret Matilda Reed
  • records her as wife of Albert Reed miner
  • records her as mother of two children Albert Sherlock Reed and Cyril Midford Ferguson Reed
  • gives the date of her death as the sixth day of July one thousand nine hundred ten.
A search of Find a Grave website produced a photo of Margaret Matilda's headstone.
Created by: Griffin  Record added: Dec 10, 2013  Find A Grave Memorial# 121546115 under the Creative Commons license
Behind the sparse information in Waihi Cemetery records, is a person whose collection of interesting photographs have  survived.  Thanks to the guardianship of her son Albert Sherlock Reed who donated these to  the Auckland War Memorial Museum in 1965. In  the Whangarei Museum photograph collection ,there is also more of White's photographs. Both sources  show  early Maori and settler life in Northland, Whangarei District, Auckland Thames, Karangahake, Owharoa and Waihi along with other places.
Margaret Matilda White was born on 9 January 1868, the daughter of  Irish born John White and  Mary Jane White ( nee Davison).  Little is known about White's childhood. It is known that her father was a merchant and died soon after her birth in 1969, leaving  two children - Margaret and Nathaniel, who was born in 1866.  Mary Jane, John's widow, remarried an  Alexander Orr Polley in Ireland in 1876. They were recorded as being parents of two children - Alexander Junior and James  Polley.
Little is known of Margaret Matilda White's growing up years. The threads of her life were picked up again, when White, aged eighteen years, was recorded as an immigrant passenger aboard the s.s. Ionic which arrived  at Auckland 18 March 1886. With White, other passengers recorded were  brother Nathaniel White ,Hugh White , mother Mary Ann Polley, husband Alexander Polley and their sons Alexander Junior and James.
Until White's marriage to Albert Reed in 1900, a varied and full life was lived in Auckland. A volunteer in various  hospitals,  amongst these the Auckland Mental Hospital (or Whau as it became known as ). Energies were put into the  Amateur Theatrics and Amateur Operatics groups in Auckland . White took up photography and gained some good skills in the mechanics and chemistry of photography from John Robert Hanna. White has in 2016, become known for her photos of nurses and nursing in what was then a " shut-away" environment - the Mental Hospitals of that era.

Group of female assistants, Auckland Mental Hospital Group of eleven women in uniform - white aprons and caps, black shirts with white cuffs, outside brick building - Photograph by Margaret Matilda White 
 PH-NEG-B3486 photo courtesy  Auckland War Memorial Museum – Tāmaki Paenga Hira.
However White's  photo collection is also  a comprehensive coverage of people and places of that era in the Auckland Province.
Hanna specialised in portraiture including Maori ,  experimenting also with artistic shots of subjects. By 1902 Hanna was said to have a staff of seven assistants in his studio. It is not known if White was one of these. It is known that White  did set up a studio of her own, however it did not come to anything.
Photo from The Cyclopaedia of New Zealand, Vol 2, Auckland Province. Christchurch: Cyclopaedia Company Limited, 1902.
The  Observer reported the marriage of Margaret Matilda White to Albert Reed in 1900: - 
" The following was crowded out of our social page last week : — On Wednesday week last Miss Maggie White, of Auckland (late of Belfast, Ireland) and Mr Albert Reed, of Karangahake and Whangarei, were joined in the holy bonds of matrimony, at the residence of the bride's mother, Pitt-street. The Rev. Mr Jellie, of the Auckland Unitarian Church, officiated."...... ( The Observer 15/12/1900)
Following the wedding, the couple went to Mackaytown, in the  Karangahake Gorge , where Albert Reed was a miner. With three large mines then - Talisman, Woodstock and Crown - the townships of Mackaytown and Karangahake ,  then, were busy mining settlements boasting shops, hotels and churches.
Karangahake photo from  Photo from The Cyclopaedia of New Zealand, Vol 2, Auckland Province. Christchurch: Cyclopaedia Company Limited, 1902
The area had its share of amateur photographers. Amongst them , it is known that Henry Thomson Gorrie  , one of the directors  of Talisman Mine and James Napier, Metallurgist for NZ Crown Mines were involved with photography as a hobby. Margaret Matilda White ( Reed) also found an area rich in opportunity for photo shots - the mines including Woodstock where Henry Thomson Gorrie's brother William, was a director. Then, there were the people and communities of Ohinemuri and Waihi. 
School Children Owharoa School Group of school children posed for photo outside corner of wooden building, one male teacher - Photograph by Margaret Matilda White  PH-NEG-B3420photo courtesy   Auckland War Memorial Museum – Tāmaki Paenga Hira.
Karangahake Fire Brigade - photograph  by Margaret Matilda White
This photo is in a number of collections including Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira and
Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 5 May 1966
After the death of Margaret Matilda White (Reed), Albert returned to Whangarei. There were many cousins in both places amongst the families of Reed, White, Davison and Organ, also Hanna.  Along with a very relevant part of the past  New Zealand history - the photo collection of Margaret Matilda White showing the people, events, and places of that era.
Reference Source: