The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]
Coromandel, known formerly as Kapanga, has a population of between 400 and 500, and is a quartz-mining township on the Firth of Thames, forty-two miles eastward from Auckland, with which it has daily communication by steamer It is the county town, and has a post, telegraph, money order, and other Government offices. The Bank of New Zealand and the National Bank of New Zealand have branches in the town, which possesses several hotels and boarding-houses, and has a tri-weekly newspaper. There are opportunities for shooting and fishing in the neighbourhood, and the roads are sutable for cycling. The prosperity of the place varies with the activity in the mines, in which large amounts of English capital are from time to time invested. Gold was first discovered in the hills near Coromandel in 1852 by Mr. Charles Ring, but the land belonged to the natives, who objected to the presence of miners. Only one chief freely allowed the Europeans to dig, but very little gold could be found on his land, and it was not until 1867 that goldfields were formally opened on the peninsula. The county of Coromandel has a population of between six and seven hundred Maoris, and, at the census of March, 1901, its European population was returned as 4168.
The Coromandel County Council has jurisdiction over an area of 424 square miles, and on the western coast of the Hauraki Peninsula, extends from Cape Colville to the Waikawau River, and to Tairua on the eastern coast. There are 1138 rate-payers, and 2022 ratable properties in the county, an don the 31st of March, 1900, the ratable value of proper was assessed at £261,289, on which a rate of 1£1/2d in the £ was levied. The county's assets then amounted to £1571, and its liabilities to £2675. At the census of April, 1901, theere were 4168 persons in the county. In 1900–1901 the County Council consisted of Mr. Robert McEwen (chairman), and Messrs S. James, R. H. Harrison, A. R. H. Swindley, N. Cow, G. W. Horn, and C. O'Brien; R. Simmons (clerk, collector, and treasurer), and F. H. Turner (engineer).
Mr. Richard Simmonds, the popular County Clerk and Treasurer, holds a variety of offices. He is secretary and treasurer of the Coromandel Harbour Board, the Coromandel Hospital Board, the Buffalo Domain Board, and the Buffalo Cemetery Trustees, secretary to the Licensing Bench, registrar of births, deaths, and marriages, and receiver of auctioneers' license fees. Born in Kent, England, in 1863, Mr. Simmonds came to the colonies in 1883, and, aftr spending three years in New South Wales in mining and other occupations, crossed over to New Zealand. Removing subsequently to Coromandel, he was appointed county clerk in October, 1894. Mr. Simmonds has been successful in mining speculations. He is an honorary member of many of the local clubs, but his time is too much occupied to admit of his taking any active part in social functions. In 1891 he was married to Miss Preece, daughter of Mr. Alfred Preece, of Coromandel, and has three daughters and a son.
Mr. Charles M. McFarlane, formerly Chairman of the Coromandel County Council and Hospital Board, was born in 1848 on the Clyde, Scotland, where he was also educated. Landing at Auckland in 1865, he followed his trade of carpenter for some time, subsequently prospecting with considerable success on the Thames and Coromandel goldfields. He is now a mine owner, and holds a registered mining manager's certificate. At the request of the ratepayers, Mr. McFarlane consented to be nominated for a seat on the County Council; he was duly elected, and was subsequently chosen to fill the office of chairman of that body. In 1896 he assumed the chair of the Hospital Board, and filled both offices for several years. Mr. McFarlane has been a resident of Coromandel for the past twenty-six years.
Mr. John Drew Colebrook, sometime a member of the Coromandel County Council, died on the 25th of March, 1897, was one of Coromandel's earliest settlers, and was born in Cheam, Surrey, England, in 1840. His father, also the late Mr. John Drew page 897 Colebrook, was a land steward of Surrey, and died when his son was a youth. Consequently the subject of this notice lived with his uncle on the Tangley Estate (belonging to the Onslow family) till 1859, when he set sail for New Zealand, landing in the same year. Mr. Colebrook resided in Auckland and Wanganui for short periods, but afterwards went to the Thames, and thence to Coromandel, where he was one of the earliest prospector, and found what is claimed to have been the first piece of gold in the driving creek at Coromandel. He then gravitated to the Dunstan diggings, Otago, and thence to Australia; returning to New Zealand soon afterwards, he and others took up a shaft on Tiki Road, but, owing to an over-abundance of water, had to abandon it. At the time of the Thames “rush” Mr. Colebrook was on a farm at Pukekohe, but he, with Mr. S. C. Macky and others, thereupon returned to the Thames, and worked there for some time. His next engagement was at Coromandel, where he was mining manager for three claims on the Tokatea. He went into business at Coromandel, eventully sold out, and started again in one of the lower townships in 1879. In 1873 Mr. Colebrook married Miss Elizabeth Harvey Hender, a stepdaughter of the late Mr. Joseph West—an early settler in the Colony. In the early part of 1897, he, together with one of his sons, succumbed to an attack of typhoid fever, leaving a widow and six children. Mr. Colebrook was one of the first to pass the mining manager's examination, and held a mining manager's certificate. He was a member and for some time chairman of the Coromandel County Council, and was also a past master in the Coromandel Masonic Lodge.
Mr. J. D. Colebrook.
Mr. Harold Gilbero Gatland is a native of Coromandel, and had the distinction of being the first native county councillor. His father, the late Mr. James Brown Gatland, who formerly held the position of Receiver of Goldfields' Revenue for the Coromandel district, came to the Colony in the fifties, and was engaged in active service throughout the Maori war. The subject of this notice was born in 1872, received his education in his native town, and was apprenticed to the printing business. He was engaged for three years in the “Coromandel County News” office, and for two years in the “Evening News” office, Napier. In 1895 Mr. Gatland returned from Napier to Coromandel, and took the position of manager of the “Coromandel County News.” He was elected a member of the Coromandel County Council in October, 1896. Mr. Gatland is a Freemason and a Forester, and a member of the local school committee and racing club.
Mr. Frederick Audley, Harbour-master at Coromandel, was born at Clonmel, in the south of Ireland, in 1854, and was educated at Tramore College. On the completion of his education he took to the sea as a profession, serving in the Peninsular and Oriental Company for some years. He arrived in New Zealand in 1882, and, proceeding shortly afterwards to Coromandel, followed mining pursuits, experiencing the vicissitudes usually attending that occupation. Mr. Audley had the good fortune to be a member of Mr. Legge's tribute party which discovered “Legge's Reef,” whereby he received a substantial send-off towards prosperity. When the Coromandel Harbour Board came into existence, he received his present appointment, having previously held the position of harbour traffic manager. Being a practical seaman, and holding a mate's certificate, Mr. Audley is well qualified for the duties of his present position. He is married and has six children.
The Coromandel Post Office has been in existence since the earliest days of settlement on the Peninsula, but the present building was not erected until 1873. It is one of the finest buildings in the town, and the staff includes the postmaster and seven assistants.
Mr. Simeon Inder, Postmaster at Coromandel, was born at Bothwell, Tasmania, in 1858, and is the son of the late Mr. Walter Inder, auctioneer, of Naseby, Otago. Educated at the Naseby Public School, Mr. Inder joined the Telegraph Department in that township in 1873. A year later he was promoted to a clerkship in the Dunedin office, and in 1878 was removed to Mongonui as postmaster, being transferred to Coromandel about two years subsequently. Mr. Inder is a past master of the Coromandel Masonic Lodge, and has held the position of grand steward. He is chairman of a number of local societies, including the Coromandel Mutual Improvement Society. In 1880 Mr. Inder was married to Miss Jessie Bruce Wyles, daughter of Mr. Robert Wyles, of Mongonui, and his family consists of a daughter and three sons.
The Coromandel District School was established in the seventies, shortly after the introduction of the free education system. The building has been enlarged from time to time, and now comprises four large class rooms. The present headmaster, Mr. T. B. Tanner, was appointed in 1901 upon the death of Mr. A. J. Litten, who had been in charge for thirteen years. There are now (July, 1901), 280 names on the roll, and the average attendance is 240.
Mr. T. B. Tanner.
School Of Mines, Coromandel This institution was established in 1887, in a small way, with very limited accommodation and appliances, and without a regular instructor. But in 1896 a general effort led to the present fine school being built, with its lofty lecture hall, chemical laboratory and assaying plant. The main building is sixty feet by twenty feet, the chemical laboratory and lecture hall forty feet by twenty feet, and there is a good assay room with furnaces and muffles complete, and an instructor's room, etc. The cost of the building, furniture, and chemicals, together with the theodolite and balances, was approximately, £500, and the yearly expenditure is estimated at about £300. Towards this the Mines Department provides so much per annum, and the balance is raised by class fees, assay charges and subscriptions. The syllabus embraces geology, mineralogy, mathematics, surveying, mechanics, assaying, chemistry, machine drawing, etc. The number of students for the year 1898 was sixty, with an average attendance of sixteen for each subject. The school is managed by a committee of eleven members, who are elected annually. Mr. James McLaren, formerly director of the school, is now (July, 1901) in England, pursuing his studies under an Exhibition Science Scholarship of £150 a year, tenable for three years. Mr. D. V. Allen, B.Sc., a student of the Otago School of Mines, is the present director at Coromandel; the Rev. C. F. Harrison is drawing master, and Mr. T. B. Tanner, instructor in mathematics.
Mr. William A. Thomas is Secretary and Treasurer to the School of Mines at Coromandel, and Accountant to a section of the Hauraki Group of Mines. He is a member of an old West of England mining family, was born at Camborne, Cornwall, educated at a private academy in his native town, and is the eldest son of Captain William Thos, late manager of North Wheal Crofty and New Cook's Kitchen Tin and Copper Mines, in the Camborne district. Before leaving Home, about thirteen years since, Mr. Thomas received a course of general practical mining instruction, and was one of the first members of the Camborne School of Mines to pass examinations in chemistry, mineralogy, machine construction and drawing, and the principles of mining. On his arrival in the Colonies he first visited the Gilgarn goldfields in West Australia and was practically connected there with the South Fraser's Gold Mines for about eighteen months. Subsequently he removed to Broken Hill, and worked for about twelve months in the underground department at the Proprietary Mine, where exceptional facilities are given in the study of all mining developments. He also visited various other mining fields in the Australian Colonies, and on coming to New Zealand about nine years ago he became connected with the Hauraki Gold Mines, with which, in conjunction with other mines of the Hauraki Group, he has been practically associated to the present period.
Mr. W. A. Thomas.
Rev. Arthur Mitchell, Wesleyan Minister of the Coromandel Circuit, Auckland, was born at Truro, Cornwall, England, in 1866, and is the son of Mr Michael Mitchell, of that city. He was educated at Truro Central School and also received private tuition. He left England in December 1886 and arrived in Melbourne in 1887. He entered the Bible Christian ministry the same year and remained in Victoria until 1893, when he was appointed to the Bible Christian church, Ferry Road, Christchurch, N.Z. After the union of the Methodist Churches he was appointed colleague with the Rev. H. R. Dewsbury of the Grafton Road circuit. Mr. Mitchell is an enthusiastic musician and possesses a magnificent bass voice; he is an ex-member of Cowen's Melbourne Exhibition choir. He won the gold medal for singing at the musical competition, Foundation Day, Horsham, Wimmera, Victoria. During his residence in Auckland he took prominent parts in connection with the Auckland Choral Society and other kindred associations. He was the initiator of the scheme for the amalgamation of the Wesleyan Methodist Church choirs throughout the Auckland province. Mr. Mitchell is a member of Lodge Ara, No. 1., N.Z.C. and of Lodge Victoria I.O.G.T. and takes a keen interest in temperance and other social reforms.
Rev. A. Mitchell.
The Coromandel Stipendiary Magistrate's and Warden's Court occupies a position in the centre of the town, adjacent to the post office. The Stipendiary Magistrate and Warden is Mr. R. S. Bush, and Mr. David Banks is Clerk of the Court, Mining Registrar, and Receiver of Goldfields Revenue. Police and special business is transacted by local justices of the peace as occasion requires. Sittings of the Stipendiary Magistrate's and Warden's Courts are held monthly.
Mr. Theodore Minet Lawlor, formerly Clerk of the Court, Mining Registrar, and Receiver of Goldfields' Revenue for the Coromandel district, was born in Gippsland, Victoria, in 1854. He is the third son of the late Mr. Henry Charles Lawlor, one of New Zealand's earliest colonists, who arrived at Manukau as far back as 1841, and was Warden and Resident Magistrate at Coromandel in 1863; he retired from the service on a pension in 1868, and, after living to a good old age, died on the 4th of December, 1894. page 900 The subject of this notice was sent to the Old Country in 1865, and was educated at the Edinburgh Institution, returning to New Zealand in 1871. He then engaged in mining pursuits at the Thames, Tairua, and Owharoa, and entered the Government service in 1880 as assistant clerk at Marton. Thence he was transferred to various stations in the Colony till 1888, when he received the appointment of Clerk of the Court, etc., at Te Aroha. In October, 1892, he was appointed to Coromandel, whence he was subsequently transferred to Kumara, in Westland. Mr. Lawlor is married and has three sons.
Mr. T. M. Lawlor.
The “Coromandel County News” (Thomas William Rhodes, J.P., proprietor) was established in 1887. This journal, which is published tri-weekly, is well known in and out of the district, and has a proportionately wide circulation.
Mr. Thomas William Rhodes, J.P., Proprietor of the “Coromandel County News,” is the eldest son of the late Mr. Richard Rhodes—one of Auckland's early colonists, and one of those who assisted to get the Thames opened as a goldfield. Born at Auckland in 1860, the subject of this notice received his education at the Hauraki Grammar School, Thames, and took to journalism as a profession. Mr. Rhodes has been identified with the press of New Zealand for a number of years, and has been a newspaper proprietor since 1883. Settling at Coromandel in 1887, he established the “Coromandel County News,” which he has succeeded in working up to its present prosperous position. In addition to his journalistic duties, Mr. Rhodes practises in the Warden's Court as a registered mining agent. He has been identified with most local bodies, and has never lost an election. Mr. Rhodes is a director of several companies, and belongs to the local lodge of Freemasons. He is married, and has five children.
The Bank Of New Zealand has had a branch at Coromandel for about thirty years. During that time a great quantity of the precious metal has been bought up and milled. From the “Hauraki” Mine alone over two tons of gold has passed through the furnaces of the Bank of New Zealand. The premises of the bank are well adapted to the business, fairly imposing, and most centrally situated. The manager, Mr. A. T. Kenrick, takes more than a passing interest in all movements for the welfare of the district, but more especially in matters connected with technical and mining education.
Mr. Arthur Tom Kenrick, the Coromandel Manager of the Bank of New Zealand, was born in Greymouth in 1867, and is a son of the late Mr. Harry Kenrick, well known for many years as Warden on the Thames Goldfields. Educated at the Thames High School, the subject of this notice studied chemistry and metallurgy under Mr. Alex. Montgomery, who was then in charge of the Thames School of Mines, but is now the superintending engineer of the Kauri Freehold Gold Estates Company. Joining the Bank of New Zealand as a junior in 1885, at Auckland, Mr. Kenrick was soon promoted to the “ledgers” at the Thames, and shortly afterwards to the position of accountant at the Ohinemuri, Paeroa. His next move was to Reefton, on the West Coast of the South Island, where he had a large experience in buying and assaying the gold of the whole coast. In March, 1895, Mr. Kenrick was transferred to Coromandel, where his knowledge of the special business of a goldfields' banker has been of much service. As an outdoor sportsman. Mr. Kenrick has been prominent in rowing, gymnastics, tennis, football, and cricket, on several occasions representing the Thames in football in the position of “full-back.” Mr. Kenrick is President of the Coromandel School of Mines, and takes a great interest in the welfare of that institution, for which a new building has been lately erected at a cost of some £300. It is but fair to say, that Coromandel is mainly indebted to Mr. Kenrick for the benefits resulting from the establishment of its school of mines. A public battery, worked by a nine-horse-power oil engine, has been erected in connection with the School of Mines at a cost of £1200. Mr. Kenrick has been captain of the Coromandel Rifles since the formation of the corps.
Mr. A. T. Kenrick.
Reilly, John, Civil Engineer and Authorised Surveyor, Kapanga Road, Coromandel. The youngest son of the late Mr. John Reilly, of Tamnagharrie, County Down, Ireland, Mr. Reilly was born in that county in 1846, and received his early education at the Royal School, Enniskillen. He afterwards entered Trinity College, Dublin, where he took the degrees of B.A. and C.E. Mr. Reilly arrived in New Zealand in 1867, and followed his profession for three years, after which he went to the Friendly Islands and engaged in planting. There he remained till 1886, when he returned to the Colony, making Coromandel his headquarters in 1888. Mr. Reilly's prompt attention to the professional duties entrusted to him at Coromandel has resulted in his securing a large share of the business done in the district. He is a member of the N.Z. Institute of Surveyors.
Mr. J. Reilly.
Middleton, Thomas, Photographer, Elite Studio, Coromandel. Mr. Middleton, who is the principal photographer in the Coromandel district, was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, England, in 1870, and educated at Bradford. On completing his education in 1884, he left England for Australia, and on arrival in that country, joined Mr. W. D. Solomons, of Armidale, New South Wales, one of the first artists of the day. After remaining with him four years, he started business for himself at Hillgrove, a well-known mining town ten miles from Armidale. Thence he went to Tamworth, where he remained twelve months. After that he went travelling, and visited many stations, towns, etc., in the course of his rambles, thus gaining an exceptional insight into outdoor photography. Mr. Middleton arrived at Auckland in 1895, and went thence to Coromandel, where he opened his present business. His studio is in the centre of the town, and has all the latest appliances for the successful carrying out of his profession.
Royal Mail Hotel (Thomas Carroll, proprietor), Kapanga Road, Coromandel. This hotel, which is the property of Mr. Carroll, is a very pleasant and commodious hostelry of some twenty-two rooms—including the bar and sitting-room,—and is situated in the centre of the town, opposite the Warden's Court and Post Office.
Mr. Thomas Carroll, the Proprietor, hails from the south of Ireland, where he was born in 1840. He came to New Zealand via Melbourne in 1865, by the ship “Royal Dane,” after being in the Victorian capital for two years. On reaching this colony he joined in the “rushes” to the West Coast of the South Island, but in 1868 determined to seek “fresh woods and pastures new” at the Thames. In the following year he was attracted to Coromandel in the “rush” to Tokatea, where he remained for three years, and was afterwards engaged in prospecting in the Ohinemuri district, prior to the “rush” of 1875. Mr. Carroll returned to Coromandel in 1877, and soon afterwards determined to enter the hotel business, his first house being the “Star and Garter.” After conducting this for ten years he purchased the freehold of the “Royal Mail,” which he still successfully carries on. Mr. Carroll has been a member of the Coromandel school committee for the past seventeen years, and a member of the Convent School Committee for twenty-eight years. He was also a member of the Coromandel County Council for three years. Mr. Carroll is married and has six children.
Mr. and Mrs T. Carroll and Family.
Mr. Walter N. Stehr, the Proprietor, is a man of the world, versatile in matters of mining, and in general information, as those who come in contact with him find to their entertainment and satisfaction. Mr. and Mrs. Stehr are indefatigable in their attention to the requirements of all—to say nothing of personal sacrifice, when necessity or charity demands—and they are universally popular and esteemed throughout the district.
Coromandel Plumbing And Sheet Metal Works (Charles Frederick Battson, proprietor), Rings Road, Coromandel. This business is said to be the most important of its kind in the township. The work carried on is most comprehensive, embracing plumbing, electric and pull-bell fitting, and tin plate and iron-working. A large assortment of galvanised chimneys, tanks, plunge, hip and sponge baths, and tin ware of all descriptions is constantly kept in stock. Estimates are given and workmanship guaranteed, while orders are promptly attended to by competent workmen. Mr. Charles F. Battson, the proprietor, was born in Dunedin in 1870, and is the third son of Mr. Francis Battson, one of Otago's earliest settlers, who was for many years stationmaster at the Dunedin Railway Station. He was educated in Dunedin, and was afterwards apprenticed to Messrs Anderson and Morrison, the well-known firm of that city, with whom he was engaged for eight years. He then worked for his brother, Mr Francis Battson, who was then and is still in business at the Thames, and in 1895 opened the present business in Coromandel. He keeps six hands in constant employment throughout the year. Mr Battson was one of the originators of the Coromandel Choral Society, and now holds the position of secretary.
Mr. S. James.