Building Thames by Althea Baker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’ll bet some of you think that I have nothing better to do all day than hang around Goodreads!
And for the most part you would be right, but one afternoon a month I volunteer at my little town’s local museum. I sit there hoping we will have visitors. It is beyond boring, although it amusing to watch people get as far the doorstep, find there is an admission, & then back off. This is a real shame, as the kauri models of buildings crafted by Ted Egan are really worth the price of admission.
Most Kiwis love and treasure New Zealand kauri and Ted’s models are a homage to long gone buildings.
Most of the miniature buildings are in their own little gallery. There is a map of the old town on the floor.
Thames was originally three settlements – Grahamstown (& from ready this trusty little book I found out this settlement was named after a hotelier of the time) Shortland & the usually ignored Irishtown. It boomed because of goldmining (hard to believe now, but at one stage it was the second largest town in NZ) and had around 130 pubs. (pubs was probably a grand name for some of them, some of them were probably just tents where an enterprising soul sold beer from a flagon!)
Leafing through this little booklet had a tinge of sadness for me. So many of the old buildings were lost to fire – not that surprising, given that so many of them were pubs! But some were also pulled down – only the old clothing factory & one of the pubs since I’ve been here.
This book made me think about my town’s heritage – & in the week before Heritage Week, that is no bad thing.