From notes written for the Centenary by Marguerite and Dick Cotton
1862 – 1870
Folk. This is a call for a gathering of Waipori Folk. This means descendants, relatives and friends who have been and are interested in Waipori: – those whose friends and relatives have been interested or involved in the Gold rush Days: its dredging, mining, banking, cartage and supply problems; mining licences, miners rights, water rights, surveying, and building of bridges, roadways and water ways; its churches, schools, stores and hotels; its cemetery and Honours roll and Service Roll for four wards and its more recent dam building and fishing interests.
Will you come forth with ideas of how and when such a Gathering should take place and state the names of those you know who will be interested in coming.
“Gold dribbled over the counter
Into the cracks of the floor.”
Gold 1861 – 34 ozs of coarse nuggetty gold interspersed with quartz found by O’Hara at Post Office Creek (then called Verteburn)
1863 – a 27 oz nugget (largest for Waipori) was found at Post Office Creek by Davies
1862 – a 12 ½ oz nugget was found in Nuggetty Gully by George Skeen
1863 – a 15 oz nugget was found at Bungtown (past Reedy Creek) on the road to Lawrence
(Others are not listed but the last fair sized nuggets to be found in the area were 4 approx 1 oz and 2 ¼ oz nuggets found by R.J. Cotton in the Deep Lead in the 1920s. Come and tell us of others in history for record.)
This was a Gold Rush time at Waipori. Frenzied industry by day and at night thirteen hotels held great revelry with their dance halls, billiard rooms, games of chance, orchestras (Arthur Caton could make the violin sing) and coin-in-the-slot metal disc music boxes. Food and supplies from water pipes to dredges had to be brought from Dunedin: – “Come Hell or High Water” teams and teamsters HAD to get the goods over almost impossible roads. This was the beginning of Lake Mahinerangi, Source of Electrical Power. M Parsons
Calling all Waipori People!
Waipori School was established in 1866 – 102 years ago.
What do you say to a Centennial and Two Jubilee in 1968?
All Old Identities and their descendants.
There is still one little girl on the Correspondence School Roll. Jean (McDonald) Orchiston’s Christina of Clarks, and a lady of 85 years who has written a book of childhood memories – Her name Sister Borgia (Agnes Crowley).
Will you come forth with ideas, and enthusiasm, photos, anecdotes, more names and addresses and all of which you personally are the individual key to a revival of the Gold Rush Days. Do you remember the Teachers and do you know their present names and address?
Here are some names of Waipori people from an Account Book of 1901 – 1907. Will you supply names and addresses of descendants of these and other people.
Cotton Blackmore Black
Knight Searle Sholander
Crowley McLean Arthur
Johnson Munro Dunbar
Bertinshaw Cooke Polson
Russell Brensill Airey
Gare Gunn Butler
Tippet Pricton McCall
Moore Kirkwood Montgomery
Williams Riordan Cunningham
Macdonald Elliot Flint
Beatie Rowe Bolton
Mitchell Begg Oldfield
Sandagger Blackmore Irvin
Pearson Heler Burt
Pearsall Ferguson Riley
Tohill Tobin Robbins
O’Brien McCreary Kirk
McKeich Booth Mason
Webb Cowan Eaton
Caldwell Farrell Caffell
Jeffrey McMozlett Hynes
Heathcote Harris McKinlay
Carlin Carr James
Ryan Real Cartwright
Rodgers Blackwood McCorkindale
Claffey Burrows McDonald
Beale Potts McCallum
Dennison Hill Eyes
Scott Clothier Hamilton
Reuts Hanley Haggitt
White Linklater Boyd
Otago Pioneering Quarts Co. The Deep Lead
Kelso Dredging Synd Fortification H M Co.
Canton Synd N.Z. Accident Insc.
Cotton & Co. Mathews & Son
Wilson & Co. Benjamin & Co.
Cargo & Co. Crombie & Co.
Burt & Co. N.Z. Coal & Oil Co.
Bullero & Co. Otago Farmers
Cray & Co. Transport Dept. Co.
Cossens & Black Browne Bros.
Waipori Jockey Club Tuapeka Mounted Rifles
Football Club Strath Taieri Racing Club, Jan. 1906
YOU MAY KNOW: The Teachers and the songs you sang in singing lessons
The Football teams and have photos
The Racing Club and Gentlemen Riders and Owners, and have photos
The Gold Returns
The Hotels and Owners and have photos
The Supply Firms
The Births and Marriages
Photos of different kinds of transport, bullock teams, horse, teams, coaches, gigs etc.
You may have samples of Waipori Gold.
Photos of Phonographs and first radios.
In fact what began as a Picnic Idea could grow into something really rather wonderful. Please come forth with IDEAS and I will see that they are circulated.
(Mrs) Marguerite Parson (Nee Cotton)
25 Charlotte Avenue,
HERE ARE TWO PAGES FROM THE MEMOIRS OF R.J. COTTON
The others are lost. Will you add to this and everyones information can go into a Record of Waipori Jubilee and to a Waipori section of the Otago Early Settlers Museum.
For fun add an anecdote: viz:
Wattie Eaton saying to his dancing partner who said his socks smelled after his 12 miles walk over the hills from Waitahuna to the Waipori Dance Hall – “But they couldn’t possibly smell – I’ve just changed them. Here are my dirty ones” and he pulled them out from inside the front of his short as proof.
FROM THE MEMOIRS:
The “big business” of Waipori was in the capable hands of “Cable and Drummond” and clever business men they were. They kept everything from a needle to an anchor, the smaller stores getting all their goods and supplies from them. These men sold out to Joe Cox who eventually sold to F.W. Knight and W.G.S. Knight. Cable and Drummond cleared about twenty thousand (£20,000) a man and went back to England.
Floods: The 1878 flood was the biggest ever in the Waipori River and great was the damage done to claims on the Waipori Flat. They had a very useful sort of a boat there, that would carry a dozen souls at a time and this was brought into play to save many who had climbed on to the house tops. The 1878 snow was also the biggest ever the snow averaging 6 ft deep and lasted for about 8 weeks.
Schools: The first teacher who taught school in Waipori was a man called Shirley Baker and each pupil paid 6d per day. Mrs Baker and two children were to go to England but the boat was wrecked outside Oamaru head. the two children being drowned and a stone erected in the cemetery there to their memory.
Churches: There were 2 churches the “Roman Catholic” the “Wesleyan” and they held a service once a month.
Medical Practitioner: the Dr. who used to ride from Lawrence once a month stated emphatically “Waipori is a dammed healthy place no Dr could possibly live there”.
Chinese: There was about 1000 strong and they patronised the “Kwong-Wy-kes” Stores and by way of pastime had a big to-do once a year by setting off Crackers. A big pole was erected about 20ft. in the air festooned and lighted up with about a dozen packets of crackers which you fired at with a packed of crackers (which you bought from the chinese store) and the lucky individual to set this on fire won the prize.
Some more recent Chinese people were:
Ah Hoy Ah Hoyle
Ah Ken Sue Hing
Ah Gee Ah Ping
Ah Long Ah Wye
Ah Wong Ah Jockey
Perhaps their descendants would again care to have a Chinese Festival.
If in Dunedin Dr R. J. Cotton, Broadway, would be pleased to hear your ideas.
Transcribed by Margaret Blair, March 2015