[1867] - Cooper, T. A Digger's Diary at the Thames, 1867 [Hocken 1978] - [Front matter] p 1-6

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  [1867] - Cooper, T. A Digger's Diary at the Thames, 1867 [Hocken 1978] - [Front matter] p 1-6
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A Digger's Diary at the Thames, 1867

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Victorian New Zealand--A Reprint Series No. 5


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Victorian New Zealand -- A Reprint Series
No. 5

First published in book form by the Hocken Library University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

This issue © Hocken Library

ISBN 0 902041 23 1

Printed in New Zealand
John Mclndoe Limited, Dunedin

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The aim of the series is to republish articles from journals and newspapers, together with short pamphlets, which are still of value and interest today, but which would not normally be republished as facsimiles. In general, articles reprinted are those dealing with a New Zealand topic which were published during the 19th century. Issues will appear occasionally and each will deal with a particular theme. Standing Orders for future titles are welcome and will be recorded.

Earlier Titles

No. 1 The New Zealand Goldfields 1861 O. P.
No. 2 The Canterbury Colony
No. 3 The Maori Population
No. 4 Letters from Otago 1848-49
No. 5 A Digger's Diary at the Thames 1867

Forthcoming Titles

No. 6 New Zealand in the 1830s
No. 7 Women and the Vote

Victorian New Zealand -- A Reprint Series is published by the Hocken Library and edited by Dr R. P. Hargreaves and T. J. Hearn, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand.

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Theophilus Cooper ......7

TRIP TO THE THAMES GOLD-FIELDS (1867) 'A Traveller'.......26

SHORTLAND TOWN BY NIGHT (1868) Evening News ........30

Index ..........32



After a long period of negotiations with the Maori landowners, the Thames goldfield was proclaimed on 30 July 1867. Although there were hopes that alluvial gold would be found in sufficient quantity to make it a 'poor man's field', this did not eventuate. Only companies could raise the capital necessary for the machinery which was required to work the quartz.

Nothing is known of Theophilus Cooper who provided the Auckland newspaper Daily Southern Cross with his 'Diary'. The diary covers a period of seven weeks from 1 November to 20 December 1867. Perhaps its abrupt cessation reflected Cooper's retirement from the Thames, finally convinced that he at least would not make his fortune on the Thames goldfield. A Digger's Diary at the Thames was originally published in the Daily Southern Cross on the following dates: 9, 16, 22 and 29 November, 6, 14 and 30 December 1867.

The second extract, 'A Traveller's' Trip to the Thames Gold-fields was originally published in the Wellington Independent of 26 October 1867. Initial reports of the Thames goldfield were contradictory, some stating that it was rich, others that it was of limited value. 'A Traveller' is optimistic, but concerned about the slowness of Auckland businessmen in promoting the field's development.

By March 1868 the town of Shortland (which, joined with Grahamstown, was later renamed Thames) was beginning to enjoy a period of prosperity. The flavour of life in this goldfield town is captured in the final extract Shortland Town by Night, originally printed in the Auckland Evening News of 12 March 1868.

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