The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]
The Waitekauri Branch Of The Thames Miners' Union was established in 1895. The office is in Jamaica Street, and there are about thirty members, including Mr. D. Davey, president, and Mr. R. G. Farrelly, steward.
Grace Darling Gold Mining Company, Ltd. The property is situated at Waitekauri, and has an area of about seventy-four aeres. The company was formed on the 26th of January, 1894, and registered on the 30th of the same month. The nominal capital is £30,000 in shares of ten shillings each, upon which six shillings and sixpence has been paid up. The legal manager is Mr. J. B. Sheath, and the mine manager Mr. Samuel Draffin, under whose supervision considerable development has been made. The mine is worked by means of adit levels and drives. There is an abundance of backs, and a good supply of water. A mill with ten head of stampers has been erected, and some excellent stone has been obtained. The average number of men kept constantly at work is six.
Mr. Samuel Draffin, Mine Manager of the Grace Darling Gold Mine, Waitekauri, was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, in 1840. He was educated in his native county, and, when fourteen years of age, left with his parents for Australia. In 1854 he was engaged in mining with his father at Ballarat, and afterwards worked on most of the alluvial fields in Victoria. Seven years later he arrived in Otago, New Zealand, and was one of the first at Gabriels Gully and other “rushes” in that province. In the following year Mr. Draffin visited British Columbia, where he took part in the famous Cariboo “rush.” After two years, during which he visited the Western States of America, he returned to New Zealand, and again tried his fortune on various fields in Otago. When the “rush” to the West Coast took place, he was among the first to arrive there, and was engaged in prospecting along the coast, from Hokitika downwards, in country which, it is alleged, had never till then been trodden by the foot of a European. Subsequently he worked on almost every part of the West Coast of the South Island, and finally settled down at Fox's (now called Brighton), between Westport and Greymonth, where he remained for sixteen years. In 1882 he removed to the Thames, and was for many years mining in various parts of the Peninsula. On the outbreak of the Coolgardie “rush” in 1894, Mr. Draffin went to West Australia, but, owing to failing health, was compelled to return to New Zealand, and soon after his arrival he was appointed to his present position. Mr. Draffin is elsewhere referred to as a member of the Ohinemuri County Council, and as proprietor of the Hauraki Hotel, Waitekauri. He is married, and has seven sons and one daughter.
Mr. S. Draffin.
The Waitekauri Gold Mining Company, Limited. This company was registered in London on the 6th of May, 1895, and has a capital of £150,000 in £1 shares, 143,000 of which were privately subscribed. The London office is at 11 Abchurch Lane, page 498 E.C., and the secretary is Mr. Hubert Akers. The majority of the shares are held in England, from ten to fifteen thousand having been taken up in New Zealand. The property, which has an area of 1710 acres, comprises the Golden Cross section, of 1400 acres, the Komata section, 300 acres, and the old Waitekauri mine, about ten acres, containing large reefs of gold and silver. There are o tteries water-races, a cyanide department, assey offices, etc. Two shafts have been sunk in the Golden Cross section, both of which are equipped with winding and pumping engines. Atramway, five miles in length, connects the mine and the Waitekauri battery, which was started in 1896. The Golden Cross battery, which has ten heads of stampers, was started several years previously. A low level adit, which, when completed, will be 6200 feet in length, will connect with the 400 feet level at the Golden Cross mine. In May, 1900, this drive had been completed to a distance of 2300 feet. Another low level tunnel, driven from the Grace Darling creek, to connect with the Te Ao Marama mine of the Komata section, will, when completed, be 4300 feet, 1300 feet of which had been completed in May, 1900. There are from 350 to 400 men employed in connection with the Waitekauri mine and batteries, and up to May, 1900, over a quarter of a million pounds' worth of gold had been obtained.
Mr. Claude Purchas, Surveyor of the Waitekauri Gold Mining Company, is the fourth son of the Rev. Dr. Purchas, of Auckland, He was born at Onenunga in 1861, educated at the Church of England grammar school, and at the Auckland College; studied surveying in Auckland, and was for five years employed by the Colonial Sngar Company in Fiji. In 1895, he settled at Waitekauri, and was appointed to his present position. Mr. Purchas was married, in 1898, to a daughter of Mr. W. M. Eliot, of Auckland, and has one daughter.
Mr. William Henry Christie, Mine Manager of the Waitekauri Limited Mine, of the Waitekauri Gold Mining Company, was born in Napier on the 21st of July, 1861, and was educated at Auckland. From Auckland he went to the Thames when sixteen years of age, and started his apprenticeship to mining, at the Alburnia mine, then under the management of Mr. James Gribble, and continued there also during the managerships of Messrs Hooper, Higgins, Hall, S. Gribble, and T. Radford. He then worked in the Prospectors' mine at Tairua, under the management of Mr. John Hall. After that he was successively employed at the Moanataiari mine, under Mr. R. Coomer, the Kuranui or Long Drive, under Mr. Walker, and again at the Alburnia mine under the management of Mr. T. Radford. During this period he took a portion of the Alburnia mine on tribute, and very successinlly worked a reef which is still known as Christie's reef. He then had a tribute in the Radical mine, Owharoa, where he obtained good specimens and ore that was worth sixteen ounces perton. After serving five years to the coach-making trade with Mr. J. Mackay, at Auckland, he returned to the Thames, and entered the coach-building business with a partner, but did not succeed in that undertaking. He then went to work at the Fame and Fortune mine, under the management of Mr. E. K. Cooper. Mr. Christie subsequently took Dickson's mine on tribute, from Mr. James Darrow, and had tributes in the Kuranui mine, and Tookey's mine, and again worked at the Fame and Fortune. Thence he was appointed manager for the New Zealand Jubilee Gold Mining Company at Waitekauri, and held the position for three years. He was then for another year at the Fame and Fortune mine, and was appointed to his present position on the 22nd of June, 1898.
Mr. John Murray, Accountant, Cashier, and Storekeeper to the Waite-kauri Gold Mining Company, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1856, and was educated partly in that city and partly in Otago, where he arrived in the early sixties, his parents having settled there in 1857. On completing his education, he was for a few years in the service of the Bank of New Zealand on the Otago Goldfields, and has been connected with mining and milling in the Otago and Auckland provinces ever since, with the exception of some five years. On the 1st of May, 1895, he was appointed to his present position, and is the oldest servant of the company at the works.
Mr. J. Murray.
Mr. Benjamin John Maclean, Mine Manager of the Te Ao Marama portion of the Waitekauri Gold Mining Company's Mine, usually called the Komata section, was born in England, and was educated at St. John's College, Auckland. He came to New Zealand with his father, the late Mr. Benjamin Maclean, Deputy Property Tax Commissioner, in the early days, Mr. Maclean commenced his mining career at the Thames in 1875, and was afterwards for a good many years on the West Coast. He has held the position of mine manager for several mines.
Mr. Robert Clarke, Battery Superintendent at the Waitekauri Battery, was born at Lorsova, near Moscow, Russia, in 1877, and was educated partly in England and partly in New Zealand, having arrived in Auckland with his parents in 1886. After three years at bush work, he went to the Thames, and having studied two years at the School of Mines, gained a certificate in assaying, metallurgy, chemistry, and surveying, In 1897, Mr. Clarke sat for his examination as battery as battery superintedent, and gained his certificate, page 499 and also a certificate as assayer of bullion for the Customs Department.
Mr. Henry Dance, Battery Foreman at the Waitekauri Company's Battery, was born in Queensland, in 1859. He settled at Waitekauri in 1883, was afterwards for four years foreman at the Waihi battery, and was appointed to his present position in June, 1896.
Mr. Thomas Hunter, Shift Boss in the Cyanide Department of the Waitekauri Battery, was born in Lincoln, England, in 1857. He was educated at Dr. Boyer's Gos berton Hall School, and was brought up as a farmer. He came out to Australia in 1884, and six months later arrived in New Zealand. For several years he had charge of the Lincoln and Leicester flocks of the Auckland Stud Company, and was subsequently farming on his own account at Walton, Waikato. In 1896, he settled at Waitekauri, where he joined the battery staff, and was promoted in 1898 to his present position. Mr. Hunter was married, in 1884, to a daughter of the late Mr. Bulmer, of Lincoln.
Mr. T. Hunter.
Mr. Augustus Bressan Watson, Shift Boss in the Cyamde Department at the Waitekauri Battery, was born in Auckland in 1874. After seven years of mercantile life in Queen Street he removed to Waihi in February. 1895, and worked for nearly a year at the Waihi battery, and afterwards at the Silverton battery for a short time. In March, 1897, Mr. Watson settled in Waitekauri, where he had nearly two years' experience in the assay department, and became a shift boss at the end of 1898. He is a member of the Loyal Waitekauri and Golden Cross Lodge of Oddfellows, and holds a New Zealand Government battery superintendent's certificate, gained by examination, in January, 1900, at the Waihi School of Mines.
Mr. Ernest Browne, who is an Assistant in the Cyanide Department at the Waitekauri Battery, was born at Hokitika, in 1872, and educated at the High School, Napier, and at Auckland grammar school. He served six years in the soft goods department with Messrs MeArthur and Co., in Auckland, and afterwards spent two years in sheep farming at Wanganui. In 1896, Mr. Browne removed to the Thames, and found employment as a miner, in the Darwin mine, for a year. For a short while subsequently, he was employed at the Kaponga mine, Coromandel, and afterwards at the Golden Falls mine, Whangamata, whence he returned to the Thames to take the position of manager of the Darwin gold mine. While at the Thames, he attended the Thames School of Mines for two years, and has been employed at the Waitekauri battery since May, 1899.
Mr. E. Browne.
Mr. Robert Boyd Kidd, Battery Foreman of the Golden Cross Battery, is the youngest son of the Rev. Dr. Kidd, of Auckland, where he was born in 1871. He entered commercial life and was for some time engaged in travelling. In 1895 Mr. Kidd commenced to study at the Thames School of Mines, where he gained a certificate for assaying by the wet and dry processes, and gained a partial pass in battery superintendence. He was appointed battery foreman at Golden Cross in 1899, and had worked previously for six months at the Ethel Reefs battery at the Thames.
Mr. R. Hedge.
Mr. Lawrence Brown Tough, Foreman Carpenter of the Golden Cross Mine, was born in 1864 in Aberdeen, Scotland. He served his apprenticeship in his native place as a building carpenter, and came out to Melbourne in 1888. Five years later Mr. Tough removes to Dunedin, where he remained about two years. He subsequently settled at Waihi, where he worked a short time in connection with the Waithi battery, and was appointed to his present position in July, 1895. Mr. Tough is connected with the Kaitangata Lodge of Oddfellows, Otago, and was chairman of the Golden Cross branch of the Thames Miners' Union in 1900. He was married in November, 1897, to a daughter of the late Mr. T. Sibley, of Geelong, Victoria, and has one daughter.
Mr. L. B. Tough.
Mr. Ralph Heron, Pitman in charge of the pumps at the Golden Cross Mine, was born in the north of England in 1856. He was brought up to mining, and went, in 1874, to Germany, where he followed that occupation. Mr. Heron came to Auckland in 1876, and was employed for two years at the Union Beach mine, Coromandel. He then entered the employment of the Bay of Islands Coal Company, and five years later settled in the Thames, district. Shortly afterwards Mr. Heron went to Kamo, where he remained for two years, and then he returned to the Thames, where he worked for three years, and was then for a year at Huntly. He settled in the Ohinemuri district in 1895, since which he has lived at Waihi and Waitekauri respectively, and was appointed to his present position at the Golden Cross mine in 1897. Mr. Heron owns a small farm of eighty-six aeres at Pukekohe, where he intends to make his permanent home. He was married, in 1877, to a daughter of the late Mr. Patterson, of Otahuhu, and has four sons and four daughters.
Mr. David Simpson, one of the Cyanide Staff at the Golden Cross Battery, was born in Auckland in 1860. and was appointed to his present position in 1897.
Mr. Frank Rooney, formerly Mine Manager of the Waitekauri Gold Mine, is a native of Castleblayney, County Monaghan, in the north of Ireland, where he was born in 1842. After receiving his education, and spending some time in Cumberland, he sailed in 1863 for Vietoria, where he was engaged in gold mining pursuits, occupying the position of mine manger of the “New Chum United” Gold Mining Company at Bendigo. He, however, did not stay long in that colony. Crossing over to New Zealand, he first visited the Dunstan and other mining centres of Otago. He was then for three or four years mine manager of the All England Eleven Gold Mining and Sluieing Company. From Otago he proceeded to the West Coast, and was manager of the Steam Drainage Company at Kanierl. He afterwards went to the Grey Valley, and in 1873 was manager of the Band of Hope Mine at Reefton. Mr. Rooney was next appointed mine manager of the famous “Welcome” Gold Mine, retaining the position for fourteen years, and during that period the mine paid over £200,000 in dividends. Thence he entered the service of the Big River Gold Mining Company, and was afterwards for some time mine manager at the Waitekauri mine. Mr. Rooney may be said to have been engaged in mining all his life. He is married and has two sons and one daughter.
Mr. F. Rooney.
Mr. W. McLellan.
Mr. Alexander Spiers Thorburn, formerly Manager of the British Empire Gold Mine, Waitekauri (now closed down), was born at Auckland in 1858, and is a son of Mr. William Lang Thorburn, one of Auckland's earliest settlers, who came to the Colony in the ship “Grand Duchess” in 1842. After the goldfields were opened at the Thames, Mr. W. L. Thorburn engaged in mining pursuits, and was for a time manager of a mine at Tararu Creek. The subject of this notice gained his mining experience with his father, and was afterwards engaged in various mines, a period of three years being spent at the Waitekauri Battery, under the late Mr. E. M. Corbett. In 1893 he received the appointment of mine manager of the British Empire Mine. A member of the Masonic fraternity and of the order of Oddfellows, Mr. Thorburn takes also a great interest in athletics. He is married and resides at Waitekauri, where he is a member of the School Committee.
Mr. Edward Man Corbett, sometime of Waitckauri, was one of the oldest and best known mining engineers on the Hauraki Goldfields. He was born at Appleton, Berkshire, in March, 1842, and was educated primarily at the Parish School, and afterwards at the Blue Coat School, Oxford. On leaving school he was apprenticed for seven years to Mr. Alfred White, agricultural implement maker, of Besselsleigh, Berks. After the expiration of his term he was for twelve months at Fifield, Berks, with Mr. William White, the wellknown engineer and agricultural implement maker, who offered to take Mr. Corbett into partnership. Mr. Corbett having decided, however, to try this colony, he, on the 2nd of August, 1864, left London by the ship “British Trident,” and arrived in Auckland on the 5th of November of the same year. Shortly after landing he accepted an engagement with Messrs. Vickery and Masenerd, the then well-known Auckland engineering nrm, and remained with them until the opening of the Thames Goldfields in 1867, when he resigned to follow the “rush” to that district. After working as a miner for about six months Mr. Corbett started in business as a mechanical and mining engineer. For some time he had charge of the “Homeward Bound” Battery at the Kuranui Creek, where he met with a serious accident. On recovering, he took charge of the pumping and winding machinery at the imperial Crown Company's shaft (now known as the “Big Pump” shaft). This position he held for about twelve months, when he was appointed by the Moanataiari Gold Mining Company to take charge of their battery (the “Victoria”) and pumping and winding machinery in the Moanataiari Creek. After about eighteen months his directors decided to build a larger and more complete battery on the beach, and Mr. Corbett was instructed to draw up a plan and prepare specmcations of a mill he thought best suited for their class of ore. The plans were duty completed and approved by the directors, and Mr. Corbett proceeded with the work of erection at once. The mill embodied all the then latest appliances for gold saving and the economy of labour, and is claimed to have been the first on the Thames with a complete assay plant. Mr. Corbett supervised and carried out this work to the entire satisfaction of his directors, at a time when materials were at their highest price, the cost of the whole plant being £13,500. He resigned the charge of the mill after twelve months. On the opening of the Oninemuri Goldfield, Mr. Corbett, in conjunction with some of his late directors, entered into an agreement with the shareholders of some of the Waitekauri claims to erect a forty-one stamp mill, and connect it with the mines by a tramway. After preparing plans and specifications, he carried out the erection and construction of this work to the entire satisfaction of all parties. In the meantime the whole concern had been floated into a company, and Mr. Corbett was placed in charge of the mill. After a year and a half he took charge of the mine as well, and held this position for over three years. During the whole of that period (five years) he took down to the Thames £100,000 worth of gold. Shortly afterwards it was decided to let the whole of the mine in sections on tribute. On the expiration of the term for which they were let, some of the sections were re-applied for and granted, others were abandoned. One of these latter was proved to contain a considerable quantity of low grade ore, and Mr. Corbett (at this time lessee of the mill) entered into an arrangement with two others to take charge of this section, he to crush the ore won on percentage. After about three months of ordinary work a rich reef was cut, from which, during the succeeding nine months, £24,000 worth of gold was won. For some time previously mining in the Waitekauri district had been at a very low ebb, but this revived the industry; prospecting operations were extended to the surrounding districts, and gold was discovered at Waihi, in the now famous “Martha” Lode. About six years after this discovery the present Waihi Company was formed, and Mr. Corbett, although suffering very much from rheumatism at that time, was appointed superintending engineer to the company, with instructions to prepare plans, etc., and to supervise the erection of a crushing and pan plant; he afterwards, on two occasions, undertook and carried out the erection of other important portions of their present mill at Waihi. Mr. Corbett was afterwards in business as a consulting and mining engineer. As he possessed a thorough knowledge of the goldfields of the Hauraki Peninsula, his services were constantly in demand. Mr. Corbett represented the Waitekauri Riding in the Ohinemuri County Council for many years. He was elected a member of the Goldfields' Committee in the first council of the Auckland Chamber of Mines, and was a member of the New Zealand Institute of Mining Engineers. Mr. Corbett had been twice married, and had ten surviving children—six sons and four daughters. He met his death on the 21st of January, 1898, through a buggy accident.
Hanna, photoThe Late Mr. E. M. Corbett.