‘Reef Fever’ infects Thames
Meghan Hawkes provides a condensed version of her blog marking Thames 150 years anniversary.
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