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1. Drury Hospitality
V. L., 18 July 1865. "Last Saturday I left Parnell for my new Missionary duties.... The house I now occupy the Bishop calls 'the Parsonage', Drury: it is a small 3 roomed house, two doors opening to the outside: each room is about 12 x 12. In the two bedrooms there is an iron bedstead with two pairs of blankets to each, and a counterpain -- and mattress and bolster. In one of the bedrooms in addition to the bedstead there is a small wash hand stand, basin, jug -- and two towels: in the sitting room an inverted box serves as a table and there are two chairs, two cups and saucers -- one or two knives and forks, 3 plates, and milk jug and 3 or 4 tin canisters. This house and the accomodation therein is what the Bishop estimates as sufficient for the wants of his Clergy."
The Drury Parsonage has been converted into a Sunday-school and stands beside the Selwyn church dedicated to St John.
2, James Mackay (1831-1912)
Farmer, explorer, Assistant Native Secretary, Resident Magistrate, Civil Commissioner for the Hauraki District and first Warden of the Thames Goldfield; it is in the last two capacities that Mackay's influence is shown in these Journals, particularly as a friend of the Maori people. Thames owes its comparatively trouble-free history as a goldfield and the good relations between the two races to the capable leadership of James Mackay. He married Eliza Sophia Braithwaite of Nelson in 1863.
3, Kaueranga Mission Station
The earliest recollections of Kaueranga Mission Station, which was staffed by members of the Church Missionary Society, come from young Edwin Fairburn, born at Paihia on 27 April 1827 and in 1834 living with his parents at Puriri, the first Thames Mission Station which in that year was at the point of being abandoned as an unhealthy site. "I remember this summer [1834-5] Messrs Brown, Chapman, Morgan, Stack, Wilson, W Williams and H. Williams were at Puriri, all planning for moves on to Matamata, Tauranga and Rotorua, and for shifting Mr Preece to Kaueranga."
The place selected was on rising ground near the great Totara Pa. Mr W. T. Hammond confirms this in his description of the locality as he knew
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it approximately thirty years later. "At Parawai... is an old Maori church, not now used. Just above the church on the hill, was, I believe, the old Mission House of the Rev. George Maunsell; for many years this was the residence of the late Mr Harry Kenrick, local Magistrate. It is beside a small stream, running into what is now called the Kauaeranga stream, but should not be; this was the name of a Maori pa, near the mouth. The stream itself is the Waiwhakaurunga, but now no one uses this name." The Rev. George Maunsell's time at Kaueranga was contemporary with that of the Lush family at Thames.
4, Mr and Mrs James Macdonald
"My husband and I and our daughter Flora, then a baby... landed in Auckland on 25th May 1866 at such a primitive little wharf. There were no conveyances then, either, to take us anywhere and houses were so difficult to get that I stayed on the boat until we found some place to go. My husband and Mr Brighty, a fellow passenger, thought it would be a good idea if we shared a house, and after much searching we found one in East Street, near Karangahape Road. The house itself, a two-storied building, was indescribably dirty, but Mrs Brighty and I heroically decided to clean it... a few other fellow passengers paid us a visit during the evening and we all sat around on boxes and talked; my husband insisted on making porridge for supper. It seemed the easiest thing and I, as yet, knew nothing of domestic work."
Described by his wife as "a handy man of law", James Macdonald became an outstanding mayor of Thames and was later appointed Chief Judge of what was then called the Native Land Court. Mrs Macdonald (from whose Thames Reminiscences the above extract is taken) soon knew something of domestic work, adding typically colonial accomplishments to those she had acquired in the university town of Cambridge where she was born.
5, Alexander and Ellen Fox
Dr and Mrs Fox (nee Phillips) were married in the Friends' Meeting House. Tottenham, London, on 18 March 1869. The bride of twenty-two looked frail: her cheeks were flushed and her cough distressing. Within a few weeks it was decided that her husband should take her out to New Zealand; at times during the voyage it was not expected that she would reach her destination.
By the time Alexander Fox had established himself as a general practitioner at Thames, in November 1869, and Ellen was settled in her three roomed cottage, her health had improved steadily. Homesickness plagued her but she fought it bravely. "Last night I dreamt I was home picking strawberries -- oh, it was so delightful, though I have not much recollection of the taste. Mr Lush, the Church of England Minister, has honoured us with two calls.... Tomorrow we are going to have the first vegetables out of our own garden in the shape of turnip tops."
They built a comfortable house and lived in Shortland until June 1876 when Dr Fox died; indirectly his death was due to the great fire of April of that year when he was injured during rescue operations. He was greatly mourned; young Anne Lush wrote in an undated letter to England: "Dr
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Fox was charming, so very kind to me. His life seemed thrown away through the carelessness or the ignorance of the Doctors here." The Lush family watched over Ellen and her two young children until a posthumous daughter was born in the spring, when the family sailed for England, Ellen's letters, often written in the "plain speech" of the Friends, give an unusually vivid picture of life in the raw environment of a goldfield. They also record an aspect of the colonial era that is seldom presented in a layman's terms -- medical practice of a century ago.
6, The Diggers' Hospital
The hospital was opened on 2 November 1868, in the presence of a large attendance of "Well-wishers from all walks of life". A report from The Thames Advertiser: "A curious circumstance occured yesterday, and that was that as soon as the Hospital was declared open two men entered bearing a stretcher, on which was a man known as William McKenzie. It appears that the unfortunate man had been ill for several days lying near his chair, and on enquiry from the doctor this evening we hear there are but slight hopes for his recovery. A case of fracture was also admitted during the afternoon."
7, Georges Trousseau
The presence of M. le Docteur Georges Trousseau who practised at the Thames from about 1869 to 1872 created quite a local sensation. His father, Armand Trousseau, was world famous; "he lifted out of a leech-infested limbo drugs such as quinine and belladonna", he was known for his research into the diseases that were so prevalent as epidemics on the goldfields, particularly diphtheria and typhoid. (It has been said that, for years after the first insanitary drainless era, every time a new road was made on a goldfield in the North Island an epidemic of typhoid fever followed it.)
Trousseau arrived with an inherited reputation. Of course Ellen Fox met him. "Jan. 16, 1870. My beloved Sister, it is a very short time since I wrote to thee, but as we had an interesting day yesterday I might as well write and tell thee about it. Alexander had a case of diphtheria that got worse and worse until it became necessary to perform a tracheotomy, so Alexander called in a Dr Trousseau, son of the great Trousseau of Paris, and they both agreed a tracheotomy must be performed so Alexander did it while Trousseau looked on and the two assistants held the child. It all went most satisfactorily, and when the child was returned to the parents restored to animation, they blessed the two Drs as though they might have brought the dead back to life." Unfortunately the child died later, "but the parents are quite convinced that everything that could be done, was done. Dr Trousseau is a great talker and, like many of the French nation, not very accurate as to truth; he says he has done tracheotomy forty times which is, of course, rather hard to believe. But he is by far the cleverest doctor here (Alexander, of course, excepted) though as New Zealand goes, unqualified."
8, The Miners' Hymn
This controversial sixteenth century hymn was introduced by Vicesimus Lush to his congregation, many of whom accepted it with enthusiasm; other rejected it firmly. It was sung to a German air.
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Here are two verses:
God who created quartz and sand,
Changed them to ore in this our land;
Thy blessing guide us where to find,
Thy Spirit give us wise, clear mind.
Who hath Thee knows Thy word and love
Better than much fine gold shall prove;
Thy meanest gift is goods and gold.
Christ is the mine of wealth untold.
9, Charles Richmond Thatcher (1831-78)
Born in Bristol and blessed with a pleasant tenor voice and a flair for parody, "The Inimitable Thatcher" graduated from digging on the Ballarat goldfields to establishing himself as the Diggers' own entertainer at the age of twenty-three. In 1862 the rush to Otago brought him and his talented wife, Annie Vitelli, to New Zealand where their first concert was held in Dunedin at the Commercial Hotel. It was Thatcher who gave the name of the Old Identities to the Scots worthies of Dunedin in particular and Otago generally, and referred to the influx of miners as "the new iniquity".
Go on the same old fashion and ne'er improve the town,
And still on all newcomers keep up a fearful down.
Touch not the old Post Office, let the old jetty be,
And thus you'll be preserving the Old Identity.
Brushes with the Establishment did the musical pair no harm; it is said they sang every night for four months in Dunedin to packed audiences.
By 1863 Thatcher was entertaining the troops at Drury and in camps throughout the Waikato; the next year he was off to the short-lived Wakamarina rush in Marlborough, then back to Otago in time to follow the diggers to the West Coast rush by landing on the beach at Hokitika. In 1867 he was in Melbourne, and two years later he arrived on the newly opened Thames goldfield with a Painter Panorama of "Life on the Goldfields", each picture illustrated with constantly changing songs and stories which were immensely popular with all but the most conservative section of the community.
10, A Young Man's View
George Walker came from Taranaki to the Thames in May 1869. Five surviving letters written to a contemporary give no direct -- and little indirect -- information about the writer, but they do give valuable glimpses of the conditions that faced many young men fresh from school who came to the goldfields to make their fortunes.
10 May 1869. "After a week's looking out, got a billit [sic] at the Graham's Town Post Office as a clerk (not from the government but from the Postmaster) at 10/- per week; I lived in a tent and made that keep me for a few weeks, and then went to a grocer's for 20/- per week and board and lodging; stayed there three weeks, quarrelled and left, did nothing for a week, got a half working share in a claim, worked it for 10 days, and then went to a Tobacconist for board and lodging for 20/- per week."
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29 March 1870. 'I have lent all my loose cash to keep some friends in tucker so I must put off my flitting to an indefinite period, but still I may go any steamer as the Gentleman to whom I lent my money is expecting a remittance from England every mail, and my brother may sell his land and be up at any time. As for it being all bosh, allow me to inform you that you are mistaken as go I will.... How would you like to be behind a counter from 7.30 a. m. to 10.30 p. m. every day? And not a lady friend or a house where you could visit and feel at home. And only earning a paltry pound a week for it all!"
11, Te Hira and His Friends
It was not until six years after the meeting held at Ohinemuri and described by Vicesimus Lush that the last of the objectors, Mere Kuru te Kati, head chieftainess of Ngatitamatera, and her kinsman Te Hira te Tuiri, were persuaded by James Mackay to allow their land to be opened as a goldfield. At the time of the meeting in December 1868 there appears to have been quite a solid block of willing sellers but Mere Kuru and Te Hira and the Hauhau members of Ngatitamatera stayed obstinately aloof until James Mackay, who had left the Government service temporarily, returned in 1875; Ohinemuri was proclaimed a goldfield on 3 March of that year. Mere Kuru then retired from public life, though she was long remembered as a disrupter of the first sitting of the Native Land Court at Paeroa, where she flourished her mere -- symbol of her chieftainship -- over the heads of the presiding judges. The Government built her a large house, in which she refused to live, preferring the old type of Maori whare. A faithful member of the Church of England, she had no liking for the pakeha, though recognised by them as a woman of integrity who always kept her word.
12, Reverend John Kinder (1819-1903)
16 February 1854. "Went to Auckland to attend a rather important meeting which the Archdeacon had summoned to see whether we could raise some £400 a year for three years to pay for a duly qualified clergyman from England to conduct a Church of England Grammar School in the close neighbourhood of Auckland. The meeting was tolerably well attended by Papas who had little boys at home and I think there is a prospect of success." The Auckland Journals of Vicesimus Lush, Pegasus, 1971.
The clergyman in question, chosen by Bishop Selwyn and two English associates, was John Kinder, a German by birth. He was appointed as first headmaster of the Church of England Grammar School in 1855; at that time the building was situated in Karangahape Road and later it was moved to Parnell. His mother and sister came to New Zealand with him, the latter teaching a class of younger boys and the former acting as his hostess until he married Celia, only daughter of Archdeacon Alfred Nesbit Brown of Tauranga.
Dr Kinder (as he was sometimes called) was an accomplished artist and New Zealand historians have cause to be grateful for his meticulous accuracy; it is even possible to pinpoint the sites of buildings long vanished from his charming watercolour paintings. In 1868 he became master of St John's College where he improved the buildings at his own expense and laid
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out and maintained a fine garden. His wife was also a benefactor of the College.
13, The First Royal Visit
Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, was welcomed enthusiastically by Auckland when the Galatea sailed up Waitemata Harbour on 8 May 1869. The respect and affection the Maori people of a century ago felt for his mother, Queen Victoria, was shown by the presence of numerous Maori leaders and their followers; the European population turned out in its gayest clothes and a surge of loyalty to the Crown produced festivities such as the Colony had not known in the twenty-nine years since its foundation.
The Lush family shared in the festivities and the children were particularly pleased to hear that the Prince had been given a young elephant which was travelling with him in the Galatea -- surely one of the most embarrassing of Royal gifts. The New Zealand. Herald reported: "His Royal Highness' elephant goes for a daily airing, accompanied by his faithful attendant, a Marine. He seems to have a very strong affection for this gentleman, but not so strong, however, as he shows for intoxicating liquors. Yesterday the animal paid his devoirs to certain public houses to gratify his insatiable love of beer. While visiting one of the local breweries this young gentleman, who is only three years old, imbibed no less than four gallons of beer. It certainly shocked the teetotallers by the way it 'sucks it up' with the air of a confirmed toper."
14, William Garden Cowie, Bishop of Auckland (1831-1902)
One of the most difficult situations that could have faced a clergyman of the nineteenth century was that of succeeding as Bishop of Auckland, George Augustus Selwyn, the lately appointed Bishop of Lichfield. Eventually the choice of a successor was left to Bishop Selwyn himself, who found in William Garden Cowie, former army chaplain and veteran of the Indian Mutiny, a man of action and character he believed would serve New Zealand well. In 1870 old Bishop Williams of Waiapu wrote to Archdeacon Brown of Tauranga and perhaps expressed a general opinion of the new Bishop. "There are many good points about him, but he is nothing out of the common way. Perhaps all the better on that account as we have not to stand on tiptoe to reach him."
To some extent this view seems to have been shared by the Vicar of Thames and his family. Anne Lush in a letter of 26 April 1878 to her English cousin Selina, wrote: "We have always some little pleasure and audacity in declaring that our church is called 'St George' not after the Saint of England, but the saint of that name just dead, George Augustus Selwyn, and so outdoing the Romanists who wait for a man's death to cannonize him, while we have cannonized our saint in his lifetime." This conveys very well the climate faced by Bishop Cowie and his pleasant, friendly wife.
He became Primate of New Zealand in 1895, by which time the Selwyn image had faded a little and the country settlers in particular had learnt to appreciate their frank, approachable Bishop, whose military bearing and kindly manner won him many friends, as did the fact that whenever possible his wife, a good horsewoman, rode with him on his bush journeys.
When he died the obituary notice from The New Zealand Herald of 27
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June 1902, said in a few words what might have been expanded into many: "It was not in the pulpit but in the careful, conscientous, practical administration of his large and scattered Diocese that he was seen to best advantage."
15, The Gift Auction
According to an unidentified Thames newspaper this function was even more successful than the Vicar had anticipated: "Most of our readers are already aware that a Gift Auction is in preparation in aid of St George's Church building fund and is to be held on Tuesday afternoon and evening in the Naval Drill Shed.... We are also informed that the Highway Board have granted a special permission for the erection of a marquee for the accommodation of one or both of the Volunteer Bands.... Should the weather prove as favourable as it has done hitherto, tomorrow's brilliant moonlight will afford a treat to promenaders." And the day after: "This very successful novelty was not closed until midnight owing to the quantity of goods to be disposed of; and even then all stocks were not cleared off, so great has been the liberality of the people in their efforts to aid a good cause. To attempt to describe the assortment of goods brought to the hammer would be impossible."
Anne Lush's journal records some of the gifts and prices realised:
Green rocking chair
Barrel of beer
Microscope and Book
2 gallons of sherry
Photographs of the New Church
16, Auckland Choral Society's Visit
There were two features about this occasion. One was that Handel's Messiah was to be performed amid the draughts of the unfinished Church of St George, and the other was even stranger by today's standards -- the Committee had great difficulty in persuading the workmen to stop work on the church in time to seat an enthusiastic audience of five hundred people by eight o'clock in the evening.
The Thames Advertiser was also enthusiastic: "The oratorio was undoubtedly an unqualified success from beginning to end. Beside the local amateurs who took part there were about 60 visitors from the Auckland Choral Society to whom we were indebted for a really first-rate orchestra. As regards the solos the sopranos and basses were unexceptionally the best we have heard in the province, the alto solos were all sung by Miss Tyler whose voice is one of the best of that class we have heard. The tenor solos we cannot speak of in terms of any great praise, therefore we will be silent on the matter."
Naturally Mrs Macdonald was present: "The number of visitors made the Thames quite gay. The members of the Choral Society were billeted on the householders and all their expenses were paid. We took in Judge and Mrs Fenton, Miss Sheppard and Miss Humphries. The whole of the Auckland Society as well as some of our members went down the Caledonian mine and sang glees, one of which was 'Dorothy, Dorothy, Come, Come, Come'.
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There was much of interest to be seen at the Thames then, the mines principally and when the visitors left they said they had had a most enjoyable time."
17, The United Sunday-schools Annual Festival
From The Thames Advertiser: "This was held at Parawai on the flat ground formerly used as a race-course. The children assembled at their respective schoolrooms prior to marching to the place of rendez-vous between Willoughby and Grey Street, Shortland. All the children wore rosettes to show what school they belonged to. The Episcopalians wore blue and white, the Wesleyans pink and white, while the Presbyterians wore, of course, the 'true blue' of their Covenanter forefathers. These marks were useful throughout the day, for when any of the younger lambs strayed and were found speechless from distress, it was easy to lead them back to the fold they had come from. The 'busses plied a busy trade all day, conveying to the ground the parents and friends of the children, and the number present could not be estimated at less than 3000."
18, Bush Walkabout
Account from an unidentified Thames paper: "Messrs Lush, Spencer (three brothers, the youngest only 13) and Wi Turipona, who started on 23rd December for a trip to Te Aroha, returned on Sunday evening. They have had a very pleasant trip -- spent one night at Ohinemuri; next day went up the river and on Christmas Day ascended Te Aroha, doing the walk up in four hours. Arrived at the top, the young tourists enjoyed their Christmas fare which consisted of about an ounce of biscuit each and tea, the water for which was procured by squeezing moss. At 11 p. m. a magnesium light was exhibited towards Grahams Town, which was the purpose for which they ascended the mountain; but it is feared no one saw it as it was generally understood that they would not reach the mountain till the Sunday or Monday following.
"Next morning the party started for Tauranga, thence to Rotorua and Rotomahana amongst the hot springs, lakes and beautiful terraces. They returned to Tauranga, took steamer for Mercury Bay and returned overland by way of Tapu on Sunday at midnight. Their trip lasted over ten days during which they did some tall walking, climbing and swimming rivers."
19, On 27 February 1874, Nikorima te Poutotara to Catherine Hobson te Karari
From a newspaper cutting pasted into the journal: "On dit that a marriage in Maori high life is shortly to take place between Nikorima Poutotara, a well known resident Chief at Parawai who is heir to a large portion of this goldfield, and Miss Kitty, an adopted child of Lady Martin. The young lady is highly accomplished and has been educated under the best masters and speaks several languages fluently. Miss Kitty is the daughter of a chief of considerable distinction who during his lifetime expressed a wish that his daughter should be well educated so as to be able to teach her relatives and friends when she grew up. The wish of the aged
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chief has been faithfully carried out by Lady Martin. She made her debut in fashionable life at the time the Duke of Edinburgh visited Auckland, at one of the private theatrical parties in Government House and was honoured by being asked to take the first dance with the Prince. Nikorima is the owner of a considerable property on which he resides in a handsome house at Parawai, and he is one of the churchwardens and a trustee of the native church."
This account is not entirely reliable. Another version mentions that she opened the Government House Ball with the Prince, and certainly her father was not particularly old when he was drowned crossing a flooded river. Lady Martin describes the wedding in her book, Our Maoris (the title, she explains, was adopted because the Maori people took the place in the life of herself and her husband, the first Chief Justice, Sir William Martin, of the sons and daughters they did not have):
"A week or so before we sailed [to England for the last time] we had a gay wedding at the Cathedral Library when the daughter of the Rev. Philemon te Karari and Harriet Hobson... was married to a Maori layman of good position. The bride wore white poplin and had a white veil and orange flowers and a bouquet in approved New Zealand style and had her half dozen bridesmaids, English and Maoris, all dressed in white. We had seen three generations of the bride's family: her old tattooed grandfather who, receiving the light in middle age had walked in it faithfully to the end; his pretty, gentle daughter who was trained at St Stephen's and married to one of our first native clergy -- a good wife and mother -- and now our young orphan Catherine, her daughter, brought up from childhood in an English home under Christian influences -- a well educated girl."
Lady Martin wrote to Mrs Lush from Taurarua (Parnell) on 13 May 1874: "I should like to have a peep at you all and to see my dear little Cathy's future home.... It is a great comfort to feel that you will be near to befriend the child when she needs a little motherly advice. " Three years years later, from England on 8 February 1877, she begs Mrs Lush to realise that Cathy has never been strong and remarks that Nikorima disapproves of her over-exerting herself for the charitable causes of Thames. "I feel sure you will stand her friend and explain that Cathy must not have pressure put upon her. She is so fond of music that she would not shrink from this exertion if she felt equal to it."
20, The Spelling Bee
This American innovation became popular with adults as well as children in both Australia and New Zealand during the nineteenth century. With usual acknowledgments to unknown Thames newspapers: "Admission money will be for the benefit of St George's Sunday School. As these Bees have not yet hived at the Thames we take the opportunity to state how this one will be conducted. We do not know the exact way in which the process of extracting its sting in the shape of hard or uncommon words will be accomplished but we believe it will be carried on by having a pronouncer of words to test the candidates, and a judge with dictionaries before him to decide. In addition to this, prizes are offered for the best piece of English verse. Few know what they can do until they try and there may be some poet or poetess among us whose muse, at present lying
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dormant, may rise by this small beginning at St George's Spelling Bee to fame and renown."
21, A Goldfields Wedding
"The first European marriage which has yet been solemnized in the Upper Thames district was performed by the Rev. V. Lush on Saturday, when the daughter of Mr Chalton of Te Kapara was united to Mr Osborne of the firm of Osborn Brothers, Thames. The tide of civilization is advancing; and I hope that any local Coelebs who intends to change his state may be able to satisfy himself without going afield as others have done hitherto." From an unidentified Thames paper dated by V. L. 23 August 1876.
22, Mr Lipsey of Ohinemuri
Francis Lipsey arrived on the new goldfield before it was opened on 3 March 1875. By 22 February of that year he had achieved two "calico houses", wooden framed with walls and ceiling of tightly stretched (and probably reinforced) calico or canvas; one served as a general store, the other as a "grog shop". Five days later a reporter appeared at "Mackay Town and Gorge Town" where this business was established. He noted that Gorge Town was a mining camp on the other side of the river from Mackay Town; on 3 March another reporter arrived and wrote of "the embryo township which has sprung up under the wing of Mr Lipsey". Popularly the settlement became Lipseyville, soon adapted to Tipsyville -- and later changed to Williamstown after the Warden, William Fraser. But it still continued to be known as Gorge Town.
By 6 March officials were still trying to investigate claims for business sites at Mackay Town and its camp across the river -- which had now become Fraserville, still commemorating the Warden. This problem was at least partly solved on 8 March 1875 by the departure of most of the diggers. After a gallant attempt by Mr Lipsey in mid-May of the same year to "erect a substantial hotel" at Fraserville it was reported that the main Ohinemuri activity was now in the Waitekauri area where claims had been staked; few diggers were left in Mackay Town. In the old miners' phrase: "Where it is, there it is" -- and the population migrated accordingly.
On 3 January 1876 Francis Lipsey advertised that he had taken over Paeroa Hotel from P. Austin, a house built some time before 1875 to accommodate travellers by steamer, hopeful of acquiring Maori land, and such itinerant clergy as the Vicar of Thames. It was here that Vicesimus Lush enjoyed Mr and Mrs Lipsey's generous hospitality.
23, Major and Mrs Cooper
Major Isaac Rhodes Cooper appears to have been the Army's official representative at Thames by March 1870. Vicesimus Lush makes no more than a passing mention of him as breakfasting at the Parsonage on the occasion of Bishop Cowie's first visit to the goldfield. It is not until Mr Lush meets a handsome, well-dressed, Maori woman on her way to church, and shares a carriage with her, that we meet Mrs Cooper and hear of her husband again.
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About 1857 Major Cooper was superintending some forty or so volunteers from the 58th Regiment while they built the original Orewa House, a colonial cottage that was to be the home of Laura Cooper and her two children. The single-gabled cottage was set in an attractive garden and comfortably furnished. Apparently the Coopers had fewer food problems than many country households of the day -- it is said that the Maoris had but to gallop their horses through the shallow water of the nearby beach, dismount -- and scoop up armfuls of fish!
The Victorian equivalent of a barbecue was held to celebrate the baptism of one of the children. Laura Cooper is described as wearing a full-skirted lace dress and a cloak trimmed with huia feathers.
24, St. Peter's Parsonage, Hamilton
Letter from Anne Lush to her cousin Selina in England, not dated but circa January 1882: "I am sure you know all our goings-on from Papa's journals. We miss our Thames comforts very much; our own lovely St George's Church, Papa's own church. Then our comfortable house and our friends and other things.
"I have no doubt Papa has told you about this wonderful collection of rooms called St Peter's Parsonage, from the sitting room of which I am writing to you. But we are used to it now, only it is uncomfortable. It is built so close to the edge of the very steep bank of the Waikato that one cannot help a feeling of insecurity when on the verandah, and of thankfulness that we have no small and/or adventurous boys to go and get drowned at the foot of the garden."
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THE LUSH FAMILY IN NEW ZEALAND
MOST of this information about Vicesimus and Blanche Lush and their nine children was compiled by Canon William Edward Lush (1862-1951), their youngest child.
Vicesimus Lush was born at Charles Square, London, on 27 August 1817, the son of Charles Lush and his wife Charlotte; his name marked the fact that he was his father's twentieth child. He took his B. A. degree at Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, in 1842 and his M. A. in 1847. He was ordained deacon in 1842 and priest in 1843. His first curacy was at Over Darwen Lancashire, where he received a stipend of £100 a year. His second was at Farringdon where he was long remembered with affection by his parishioners; and his third, before leaving for New Zealand, was at St John's, Hoxton, London, from 1849 to May 1850.
Vicesimus and his family left England on 14 May 1850 in the ship Barbara Gordon, arriving at Auckland on 11 October. They lived in a raupo cottage at St John's College, Tamaki (then called Bishop's Auckland) until he was appointed vicar to the parish of Howick on 14 December 1850. He was incumbent of All Saints' Church until 3 July 1865, and from that time until November 1868 he was known as "Minister to the Inner Waikato" which then ran from Papakura to Raglan. On 24 November 1868 he was appointed first vicar to the Thames Goldfield; this was the last appointment made by Bishop Selwyn. On 22 November 1881 he was transferred to Hamilton and some weeks later became Archdeacon of Waikato.
This journal was kept for the benefit of his family in England. It was sent back to New Zealand and is an exceptionally valuable -- and reliable -- record of colonial life. Unfortunately it is not continuous, because of a shipwreck and unknown circumstances.
On 5 May 1842 at Ewelme Church, Oxfordshire, Vicesimus was married to --
Blanche Hawkins, born 25 May 1819, who spent her girlhood with her father's sister, Lady Taunton, at Ewelme. She was a woman of many talents who became a notable pioneer, always with a touch of elegance for even the most mundane tasks. When her husband died on 11 July 1882, at Parnell,
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THE LUSH FAMILY
the house called Ewelme Cottage that he had built in Ayr Street happened to be vacant after having been let for some ten years during the family's absence in Thames and the Waikato. It was there that she lived for the next thirty years until her death on 4 September 1912.
Blanche Hawkins Lush, born 1 June 1843 at Over Darwen, England, was referred to affectionately by her father as his curate; at quite an early age she appears to have had a flair for music, teaching and parish work generally. As a young girl she "came out" at Government House and shared in the social and cultural life of Auckland in the 1850s; a good horsewoman, she coped well with the primitive roads between Howick and the young capital city. As the eldest of nine children she found there was plenty of scope for her talents within the walls of the Parsonage and the extent of her influence is acknowledged by a simple inscription on the tombstone she shares with other members of her family, in All Saints' churchyard, Howick: "The Elder Sister". In her later years she nursed her invalid mother devotedly, and died at Ewelme Cottage on 9 December 1922.
Throughout V. L.'s journals she is usually called Blanney (the spelling in time becomes Blannie) to distinguish her from her mother.
Charlotte Sarah Lush, born 17 September 1844 at Farringdon, England, died on 25 September 1854 at Howick, New Zealand. This was a time of anxiety and great sorrow for Blanche and Vicesimus Lush. While Mrs Lush was still weak after the birth of her third son, Martin, an epidemic of scarlet fever raged in Howick and three of her six children died within ten days; her eldest son, Charles, recovered but the effects of the illness remained for the rest of his life.
Mary Eliza Lush, born 7 February 1847, at Farringdon, died of scarlet fever 23 September 1854 at Howick.
Charles Hawkins Lush, born at Farringdon, 17 April 1849. He was an intellectual and capable boy, at one time a pupil at the Church of England Grammar School, but his health deteriorated as he grew older. He died on 16 September 1883 and is buried with three of his sisters and a brother in All Saints' churchyard, Howick.
Henry Alfred Lush, born at Howick, 23 February 1852, died of scarlet fever on 15 September 1854.
John Martin Hawkins Lush, born 9 September 1854, at Howick, was educated at the Church of England Grammar School and later held a scholarship there; he was an ensign in the first generation of New Zealand school cadets. After four years with the Bank of New Zealand he qualified as a lawyer and practised for a time at Thames. He married Caroline Ellen White, daughter of an early magistrate, W. B. White, and died on 4 June 1893.
Anne Lush, born 15 September 1857 at Howick. She was not quite eight when the family moved to Parnell. Her education was partly by governesses, partly from Blanney, and from her father; her love of reading was another factor. As soon as she was old enough she taught in the parish schools and
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appears to have been a very popular parish visitor. Later she passed the First Grade Examination of the Board of Theological Studies when it was first founded. In 1880 she went to Norfolk Island with her father for the opening of the Patteson Memorial Chapel, where she met her future husband, the Rev. David Ruddock (later Archdeacon). They were married in the chapel at Bishopscourt by Bishop Cowie on 8 April 1885.
Margaret Edith Lush,
born 5 July 1859 at Howick. A happy thoughtful girl, she was good at composing stories of adventure for the entertainment of her brothers and sisters. Eager to learn and to extend her knowledge, she had the same education as her sister Anne and was beginning to devote herself to the same interests in her father's parish. She died of scarlet fever at Thames and was buried in Totara cemetery on 24 April 1876.
William Edward Lush,
born 3 February 1862 at Howick. He shared his early education with his sisters, but began school with Miss Kinder of Parnell at the age of seven. At Thames he attended the parish school for a time, reading Greek and Latin with his father and another clergyman who was there for a time. At the age of fifteen he returned to the Grammar School, where he had been in 1873 after leaving Miss Kinder's school, and in 1879 he attended St John's College, Tamaki, then in the charge of the Rev. John Kinder. From there he sailed for England in the ship Waikato,
entering Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, in 1880 and taking his B. A. in 1883.
After some time in Australia he returned to New Zealand where he held various clerical appointments. In 1930 he became Vicar of St Augustine's Church, Stanley Bay, and retired in 1948. He was appointed an honorary canon of St Mary's Cathedral in 1939 and died on 7 February 1951, aged 89.