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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts]



Ahaura is an old mining township situated on the southeast bank of the Grey river, and on the northern bank of the Ahaura river, two miles above its junction with the Grey river. It is twenty-two miles north-east by rail from Greymouth, and twentyfive miles south-west from Reefton. Ahaura is in the Waipuna riding of the county of Grey, in the electorate of Grey, and in the provincial district of Nelson. There is not much mining now in the district, and dredging has been a failure. Sawmilling, however, is carried on in the neighbourhood. At the census of 1901, the population of the township was 219, with fifty-eight additional in the vicinity — thirty four at Ahaura river, and twentyfour on Ahaura Plains. The business places in the township include six hotels, two butcheries, a bakery, a blacksmith's shop, and a printing office. There is a handsome Roman Catholic Church and presbytery, with a resident Roman Catholic clergyman, and the district is also visited by ministers of other denominations. The settlement has a public school, which is in charge of a master and mistress. A sitting of the Magistrate's Court is held, once a month, in the courthouse, and there is a resident clerk of the court, who acts as mining registrar and receiver of gold revenue. The settlement has also a police station, and a resident constable. The Ahaura railway station is about one mile from the township, and stands 174 feet above the level of the sea. The stationmaster in charge attends also to the postal and telegraphic work, and to the business of the Government Life Insurance. Department. At the south end of the township, there is a fine bridge over the Ahaura river. Good shooting and fishing can be obtained in the neighbourhood.

The Ahaura Public School was erected in 1870, and contains two large classrooms, capable of accommodating 100 scholars. The present attendance is about seventy. The school has been remarkably successful in the annual examinations, the percentage of passes being over ninety.

Mr. W. Rundle , formerly headmaster at Ahaura public school, was born at No Town, a small mining community in the county of Grey. In 1887, he became a pupil teacher, was appointed assistant master at the Taylorville school in 1892, and retained that position until he was promoted to Ahaura, in 1893.

The Church Of England , Ahaura, is situated on the main road to Orwell Creek, immediately below the public school, and is attached to the Brunner circuit. Services are conducted at regular intervals. The building is of wood, and is capable of seating about 100 persons.

The Roman Catholic Parish Of Ahaura embraces the districts of Ahaura, Totara Flat, Blackball, Nelson Creek, No Town, Marsden, Maori Creek, Maori Gully, and the district along the Christchurch line to Jackson's. There is a handsome church at Ahaura (St. Mary's), which was built in 1897, and has accommo- page 269 dation for over 200 persons. St. Mary's has a good organ, and there is a presbytery for the parish priest. St. Michin's, at Totara Flat, is also a handsome new church, with a new organ, and accommodation for over 300 persons. There are churches also at Blackball, No Town, and Nelson Creek.

The Rev. Denis Leen, Parish Priest at Ahaura, is a native of County Kerry, Ireland, where he was born in 1875. He was educated at Carlow College, and ordained in June, 1900. Then he came out to New Zealand, and was a curate in Christchurch in 1901. On leaving Christchurch, he removed to the West Coast as curate at Kumara, where he remained until July, 1902; when he was appointed parish priest at Ahaura.

Ring, photo. The Rev. D. Leen.

Ring, photo.
The Rev. D. Leen.

The Courthouse , Ahaura, situated at the south end of the township, consists of a wooden building erected about 1870, and contains a courtroom, magistrate's room, public and clerk's offices. Mr. W. G. K. Kenrick, the Stipendiary Magistrate and Warden, holds regular sittings, and the local Justices of the Peace take minor cases as occasion requires. A considerable amount of mining business is transacted.

Gough's Hotel (Benjamin Gough, proprietor), Clifton Street, Ahaura. This hotel was established in the year 1866. The building is of wood and iron, and contains fourteen rooms, including a fine billiard-room. The accommodation is good, and the tariff moderate.

Mr. Gough , the Proprietor of Gough's Hotel, was born in Waterford, Ireland, and, as a youth, followed a seafaring life. He was attracted to America by the Californian diggings, and subsequently went to Australia. In the year 1861, Mr. Gough came to New Zealand, and attended the Gabriel's Gully rush. He afterwards went to the Lakes district, where he formed one of the party which found gold at the Arrow, at the famous Fox's rush. The members of this party were William Fox, William Maloney, Benjamin Gough, and J. Callaghan. For some time Mr. Gough was engaged in mining in the Lakes district, and removed to the West Coast in 1866, when he established his present business. He is interested in mining, and holds a farm of about seventy acres. Mr. Gough is married, and has three sons and two daughters.

Union Hotel (Henry James, proprietor), Ahaura. This hotel has been established for nearly thirty years. It has good accommodation and a moderate tariff. There is a hall fifty feet by twenty-five feet, with a good stage and three dressing-rooms, at the back of the hotel.

Mr. Henry James , the proprietor of the Union Hotel, was born in the year 1851, in Essex, England, where he was educated, and learned the printing trade. He afterwards went to Australia, and worked for some time on the “Launceston Examiner” in Tasmania. Mr. James subsequently came to New Zealand, to Invercargill, where he was employed on the “Southland News”; and, later on, he was appointed foreman on the “Southland Times,” where he remained for ten years. Mr. James was afterwards, for about ten years, foreman on the “Inangahua Times,” and for some time worked as foreman on the “Evening Star,” in Nelson, where he started as a jobbing printer. In 1898, he removed to Ahaura, where he has a fine jobbing printing plant, and became the proprietor of the Union Hotel. As a Freemason, Mr. James is a member of Lodge Victory, No. 40, New Zealand Constitution, and has been Past Chief Ranger in the Ancient Order of Foresters. He is married, and has one daughter.

Garth, Thomas H. Storekeeper and Wine and Spirit Merchant, Ahaura. Bankers, Bank of New Zealand. Telegraphic address, “Garth, Ahaura.” Mr. Garth, who is one of the earliest West Coast settlers, was born in Durham, England. He landed in New Zealand in the year 1860, and decided to try his luck on the diggings at the Dunstan, and at Gabriel's Gully. Previous to coming to the colony, he had led a seafaring life for six years. Mr. Garth left Otago for the West Coast, and finally settled at Ahaura in 1865. The present business was first established by Messrs White and Garth in 1866, but the former partner retired six years later. At one time the firm used from fifty to sixty pack horses to convey stores to the miners at Moonlight, Napoleon's, Granville, Reefton, and other localities in the district. Mr. Garth holds very large stocks, including wines and spirits in bulk, from well known vintages and distilleries. He also owns several farms amounting to 1,000 acres, all under excellent cultivation. Mr. Garth is a member of the Masonic order, is fond of reading, unassuming in manner, and a man of liberal views.

Mr. T. H. Garth.

Mr. T. H. Garth.

McLaughlin, Mrs Mary, General Storekeeper, Clifton Road, Ahaura. Mrs. McLaughlin keeps a full stock of groceries, fancy goods, drapery, and ironmongery in her freehold premises, to which is attached a comfortable dwelling-house. A small farm of about fifty acres is also carried on in connection with the business.

Mrs Mary Mclaughlin was born in Clonmel, County Tipperary, Ireland, and in 1853 went to Victoria, Australia, with her parents. In 1867 she came to New Zealand. Mrs McLaughlin has been twice married, and since the death of Mr. McLaughlin she has carried on the business at Ahaura. Mr. McLaughlin was a well-known resident on the West Coast, where he followed the diggings for a number of years, and was one of the earliest storekeepers at the Napoleon's Hill, page 270 Orwell Creek, and Ahaura rushes. He was a member of the Grey County Council, chairman of the local school committee, and for three or four years
Ring, Photo.Mas McLaughlin, Son, and the Late Mr. J. McLaughlin.

Ring, Photo.
Mas McLaughlin, Son, and the Late Mr. J. McLaughlin.

chairman of the Licensing Committee. Mr. McLaughlin left one son, who is now in the railway service.