‘Reef Fever’ in­fects Thames

Meghan Hawkes pro­vides a con­densed ver­sion of her blog mark­ing Thames 150 years an­niver­sary.

Hauraki Herald - - OUT & ABOUT -

not see gold flashed about in large quan­ti­ties they de­clare with much in­dig­na­tion that they have been de­ceived. This is essen­tially a dig­gings on which a hard work­ing man out of em­ploy­ment can ob­tain a liveli­hood.

Shortland Town is go­ing ahead with great ra­pid­ity and wooden build­ings are now the or­der of the day. Blast­ing pow­der, driv­ing tools and li­cence fees are in de­mand.

But there is frus­tra­tion and dis­con­tent brew­ing on the dig­gings. A meet­ing is held to de­clare the field a duf­fer and not a payable gold­field. There is great pes­simism be­cause al­lu­vial dig­gings have not been dis­cov­ered and the mood is not helped by the weather which has been unusu­ally wet, even for the win­ter months.

Au­gust 21 to 27, 1867

It is be­com­ing clear that the Thames gold­field may not be al­lu­vial and the ma­jor­ity of min­ers now on the field are prospect­ing on the ranges for au­rif­er­ous quartz reefs.

Ev­ery piece of stone crop­ping out of the sur­face is chipped and in more than one in­stance gold is seen. Shortland Town is ad­vanc­ing; nearly ev­ery trade is rep­re­sented, stores are plen­ti­ful and there is a res­tau­rant close to the land­ing place.

The Shortland Ho­tel, kept by Cap­tain Butt, opens. It is a very ex­cel­lent weath­er­board build­ing si­t­u­ated upon the cor­ner of the main street, and was orig­i­nally in­tended as a house for Chief Taipari (Wil­loughby Shortland), hence the name of the ho­tel. Out­side the ho­tel is a ’lamp post’ - a colos­sal Maori im­age taken from an old fight­ing pa.

The Maori vil­lage at Kauaeranga is fast dis­ap­pear­ing and as the town ad­vances whares are set on fire. Al­lot­ments have been in great de­mand since the dis­cov­ery of Mur­phy’s reef.

Build­ings are go­ing up ev­ery day and the sound of ham­mer­ing is heard un­til a late hour in the night. The sounds of black­smiths tools and anvils ring out across the set­tle­ment.

To read the full ver­sion go to http:/ /www.firstyearthames­gold­field.co.nz

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