A history of steam and fire
Genealogist Elsie Monahan is out to prove there’s more to the South Waikato than meets the eye.
The Tokoroa retired teacher is writing a trilogy on the South Waikato’s history going as far back as the ’’vomiting volcanos’’.
Monahan has just completed the trilogy’s first book, Bedrock and Rail - South Waikato Pre 1920, which she has spent a year writing.
‘‘I grew up in Putaruru and I’ve always been interested in local history,’’ she said.
‘‘Last year I did an hour’s presentation for the local genealogy club speaking on the history of Tokoroa. You do a lot of research for something like that so I thought ‘well I have done this I might as well start writing it down’.’’
She said she felt it was important to produce a book that incorporated the whole of the South Waikato rather than just one area.
‘‘While there have been books on different areas, I thought there has never been a book on the entire South Waikato so I hope it ties the district together,’’ she said.
‘‘It starts from the formation of the rocks through [to covering] vegetation, mountains and water and then I come into human habitation.’’
‘‘It’s the first book I have ever written and I sort of feel like I have done my bit now,’’ she said.
She said she has purposely kept it light so that it’s easy for people to read and understand.
‘‘Originally I thought of doing a book but I realised once I started that it was going to be quite large which would put it outside the price of the average person,’’ she said.
‘‘I thought ‘no I have got to cut my language down so it’s readable’ and I decided I’d do three books instead.’’
‘‘I have tried to keep it simple, just enough to spur people’s interest and I hope when people drive around they will say ‘oh yes I remember that’ or ‘I didn’t know about that’,’’ she said.
Monahan said she will spend the next couple of years working on the rest of the trilogy.
‘‘I’m thinking of calling the next one Hard times and Hope which will cover from 1920 to 1950 and the final one Development and Diversity which will probably go up to when the district council was formed,’’ she said. The book is available at the New Zealand Timber Museum for $30.