Great tales on dis­play for Thames 150th


‘‘We were at pains to bring the early his­tory, high­light some of the juicy bits.’’

Gritty and of­ten ‘‘juicy’’ sto­ries of Thames are now be­ing told at Thames Mu­seum.

The Mu­seum is mark­ing the town’s 150th cel­e­bra­tions with sev­eral ex­hi­bi­tions.

The his­tory of both A&G Price and Judd Foundry are on dis­play, along with a large ex­hi­bi­tion doc­u­ment­ing the his­tory of Thames from be­fore the gold­fields were dis­cov­ered 150 years ago.

Mu­seum pres­i­dent Morgan Lewis, ar­chae­ol­o­gist Tom Barker and Ros­alie Stew­ard put the Thames his­tory ex­hi­bi­tion to­gether over the past year.

Stew­ard said the ex­hi­bi­tion ex­plored the unique bi­cul­tural re­la­tion­ships in Thames, dat­ing back be­fore the dis­cov­ery of the gold­fields. Many un­known sto­ries of lo­cal Maori and early Thames set­tlers are told in the ex­hi­bi­tion, which in­cludes an eight-minute video that sum­marises what’s on dis­play.

‘‘We all agreed that it was re­ally im­por­tant to high­light that his­tory didn’t just start on the first of Au­gust 1867,’’ she said.

‘‘We were at pains to both bring the early his­tory, high­light some of the juicy bits about how it all hap­pened and get the specifics of the procla­ma­tion.’’

There’s a sum­mary of how the gold­field was opened, the ne­go­ti­a­tions and the first bo­nanza. The mu­seum was also plan­ning a re-en­act­ment of the lynch mob at Ku­ranui Bay, she said.

‘‘That was never printed in the pa­per, the lynch mob, but it came through be­cause it was so shock­ing.’’

Also at the mu­seum, Allan Judd has put to­gether an ex­hi­bi­tion about Judd Foundry, es­tab­lished in Thames in 1869 by his great, great grand­fa­ther, Charles Judd.

An ac­com­plished iron founder, he saw an op­por­tu­nity in Thames to make stam­per bat­ter­ies for the gold­fields and log haul­ing ma­chin­ery for the Kauri log­ging in­dus­try. He also de­signed, man­u­fac­tured and con­structed light houses at East Cape, Kahu­rangi Point, Cape Camp­bell and Cape Brett.

‘‘There was noth­ing Charles liked more than mak­ing a big cast­ing than go­ing and mak­ing a big­ger one,’’ Allan said.

The busi­ness closed in 1982 af­ter 129 years.

The Pollen St mu­seum is open from 10am to 4pm daily.

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