'Did you know that Thames used to have over 100 pubs?'
Often Thames is remembered by locals and visitors, not for the gold, but for the fact it once had so many hotels. Why were there so many Hotels? Where and what did they look like? Who owned them? How many still exist?
Reading about the life of a miner, one can not but feel for the harsh conditions they lived in, it is not hard to realise how they relished the trip to Town and the Hotel!
The old Thames of the 1870's was alive and vibrant with shops and hotels open all hours. Thames even had two breweries to assist in quenching the thirst of the miners, 'The Amazing Thames' (J Grainger) reports that the dust and heat of underground mining contributed to the need for an ale or two. The beer made by EHRENFRIED's (on the today's Thames Bowling Club Site) was reputed to be the best made, thanks to the natural underground water supply. Living conditions for the average miner were poor and the hotels offered a welcome reprieve from these hardships. Newspaper reports show that alcohol 'over-consumption' and the fights that followed, led to many court appearances for some miners; a phenomena not unique to Thames.
The hours the hotels were open were long, no doubt dictated from the needs of the clientele and the hours they worked. Theophilus Cooper in 1867 noted in his diary, how even the Sabbath was paid little respect. 'The stores are almost all open; hotels have their doors closed but not fastened, while a roaring trade is being carried on inside.' Half holiday was Saturday afternoon and a time when bars were crammed full, with crowds spilling outside, engaged in many forms of sports and entertainment.
Many of the Hotels were named after the Goldmines around the town, such as: Albion, Moanatairi, Imperial Crown. Others took their name from the location, The Harbour View which was on Beach Road. The Junction Hotel was named from its position; which marked the junction of Grahamstown and Shortland areas of Thames. Some took the name of the street they were on like the Willoughby or the Post Office Hotel by the Post Office in Mary Street. Then there were those named after the Stream they were adjacent to: Hape, Karaka, Kuranui, Moanatairi, Shellback, Tararu and Waiotahi.
The importance of the hotel in the life of the miner can't be overlooked, in the often hard times, 'It was the hotels, acting as gathering places, which enabled the diggers to maintain the free and easy camaraderie of which traces still remain around Thames.' (Isdale, 1967) With at times one hotel for every 200 people, choices for drinking and entertainment were aplenty! Hotels were not just for drinking but many forms of entertainment. Halls became very popular in Thames from 1868 having professional Drama, Hotels such as The Royal Hotel had part of its building fitted as the Theatre Royal to meet the demand. 'The Pacific Hotel had an adjoining Academy of Music, with a balcony where a band could play on fine evenings, or speeches be made by notabilities.' (pg 73, Isdale). Hotels often had their own dances, but this died out as other venues became available. So as the goldfields went dry and the people moved out, so did the entertainment offered. Early hotels had skittle alleys and quoit pitches, plus Billiards. Another use for the hotels was for meetings (before the growth of halls) for sporting and general clubs, and also by mining companies. An early use of Hotels was less obvious, they doubled as morgues and a venue for coroners inquests.
Another thriving business associated with some of the hotels is reportedly prostitution. A description given is that 'The goldtown offered far more music, dance and pleasure than the dowdy provincial capital of Auckland.' (pg 293, Diggers Hatters & Whores 2008). Many women (single, married and widowed) set up their own legitimate businesses on the goldfields and owned and ran licensed and boarding houses.
Adlam,Pollen Street, Shortland end. (Adlam)
Albion, Willoughby Street, Shortland end. (J McGregor, J McLeod, Capill)
Albion, Pollen Street, Grahamstown end. (F Butler, A Dunn, J Clarkson)
Alexandra, Rolleston Street.
All Nations Hotel, Moanatairi Creek (M. Delaney, J. Uncles)
All Nations, Pollen Street, Grahamstown. (M Gless)
Alpine, Tararu. (J Milne)
Anchor Hotel, Owen Street (J. Cohen, J. Pollock, W. Twohey)
Ancient Briton, Brown Street (R H Thomas, S Bagnall, F. Martin, A. Orr)
Atkinson's (Stafford) Hotel, Brown Street, Grahamstown. Mr Atkinson)
Ballarat, Pollen Street, Shortland end. (J. M. Coote, J & C McDermott, M Hogan)
Bay View Hotel, Beach Road. (H. C. Richmond)
Belvidere Hotel, Pollen Street, Shortland. (C Burton)
Bendigo Hotel, Pollen Street, Shortland end. (H.J. Drabble, H. McIlhone, C. Lipsey, G. & F. Lipsey, J. M. Costello, A. Swete)
Black Forest Hotel, Pollen Street, Shortland end. (D. McMasters)
Blue Post, Golden Crown Street, Tookey's Town. (H. Sellars)
Brian Boiroihme, Pollen Street, Grahamstown end. (M Mulligan)
Brian Boru (Reefer's Arms), Pollen Street, Shortland end. Still Operating as a cafe, Hotel established 1868, closed 2009. (E. Twohill , K. Twohill, F. & V. Twohill, E. & S. Twohill)
Bridge Inn, Parawai. (C Hill, J Tonkin, C. Winder)
Britannia Hotel Pollen Street, Grahamstown. (T. Summerton)
British Hotel, Pollen Street, Shortland. (J Boulter, J Gibbons)
British Empire Hotel, Owen Street. (M. Cairns, J. Boulter, J. Gibbons, A. Munro)
Browne's Family Hotel, Pollen Street, Grahamstown. (J Brown, J Huckstep)
Camden Hotel, Pollen Street, Shortland end. (W. J. Constant)
City Arms, Brown Street,, Grahamstown. (J. Dooley)
City of Glasgow, Tararu Road.
Claremont, Karaka Road/Creek. (J. Costello, J Grannaty, J Nicks)
Clarendon, Tararu Road, Shellback. (F Peersman, J Ferguson)
Coach and Horses Hotel, Pollen Street, Shortland end. (D. Smith, T Godkin, J G Powell)
Columbia, Shortland. (A. Burke).
Commercial, Mary Street & Owen Street. (H. Bowen, ?T. Corbett)
Cornwall Arms Pollen Street, Grahamstown end. Currently 'Thames Workingmens Club' (J. S. Tilok, M. Mulligan, J. M. Agnew.)
Courthouse Hotel, Queen Street. (E. Leyland, S. Percy)
Criterion Hotel, Owen Street, Grahamstown. (W. Findlay, J. Ryan, T. E. Smith)
Crown Hotel, Queen Street, Grahamstown. (D. Barty, J. Harris, J. Cook)
Crown Hotel, Karaka Creek. (B. Coyle,P Coyle, T Atkin)
Diggers' Rest, Karaka Road/Creek. (J. Harris, T. Murray)
Diggers' Rest, Tararu Road. (D. Simson)
Diggers' Rest, Hape Creek. (T Dare, F Tetley)
Donegal Arms, Abraham Street. (J. Clark, J. Dooley, J. Senior)
Duke of Edinburgh Hotel, Grey Street. (D. Sheehan, P. Sheehan, Sheehan & Dodd, C. E. Dodd)
Empire Hotel, Owen Street. (J. Devin, W. W. Wallis)
European Hotel, Brown Street. (C. L. Manuel, J. Runge)
Excelsior, Pollen Street, By Karaka Bridge. (A. Orr)
Exchange Hotel, Pollen Street, Shortland end. (H. N. Abbott, ?R. Guthrie, T. Garrett)
Fountain Hotel, Pollen Street, Grahamstown end. (M. Hogan)
George, Pollen Street, Grahamstown end. (W. H. Brown, R. Richards)
Glasgow Arms, Pollen Street, Grahamstown end. (J. B. Glasson)
Glasgow Arms, Tararu Road. (J Clarke)
Globe, Rolleston Street. (W. Shaw, R. Vincent)
Golden Age, Brown Street. (A. Butler, R. Harris, H. Phillips)
Golden Calf, Brown Street, Grahamstown. ( J Ralph)
Golden Fleece, Williamson Street. (B. C. Hayles, R. Ralph)
Governor Bowen Hotel, Owen Street. (A. Anthony, J. Mulligan, W. Wooley)
Governor Ferguson, Tararu Road. (J. Rae, Mrs James, ?E.B. Percy, ?F. Cowling)
Graham Hotel, Tararu & Road. (R. Graham)
Grahamstown Hotel, Owen Street. (J. Uncles, C Davidson)
Grand Junction, Golden Crown Street. (M Vaughan, G. Burdett)
Half Way House, Tararu Road. (J. Ferguson)
Hape, Hape Road, Shortland. (J Buckley, J Spry)
Harbour View, Beach Road. (J. H. Ziegler)
Harbour View, Tararu & Road. (E. Rogers)
Harp and Shamrock, Grahamstown. (John Williams)
Harp of Erin, Grahamstown. (R. Ralph)
Hazelbank Hotel, Brown Street.
Hibernia, Shortland, (J. B. Buckley, J. Kelly).
Hope, Brown Street. (A. Gillan)
Imperial Hotel Pollen Street, Shortland end. (W. Clements, E. Morrow, O'Hagan, Rayson, A. P. Douslin)
Imperial Crown, Tararu & Road. (B. B. Harper, G. M. Lucker, G. W. Tucker)
Jetty, Brown Street. (J. Regan).
Junction Hotel, Pollen Street, Grahamstown end. Still Operating. (W. Burton, ?A. Rogers)
Junction, Tararu & Road. (J. Dove)
Karaka Hotel, Karaka Road/Creek. (H. Bush, H. Gillott/Gillett)
Kauaeranga Hotel, Kauaeranga Valley. (John Lea Stevens, F. C. Stevens, J. A. Miller, D. Conrick, E. McPike, H. Guillett, R. Barker, M. Barker, L. Ward)
Kuranui Hotel, Tararu Road (Kuranui Stream). (H. Caroll, S. Straw, R. Thomas)
Lady Bowen, Brown Street. (W Mahoney, C. P. Mulligan, F. Robinson, ?J. Fogarty)
Lisburn (City of Lisbon), Tararu & Road. (T. Clarke)
Liverpool & Belfast, Golden Crown Street, Grahamstown. (J. Baker, J. Dooley)
London, Tararu. (G. McDonald)
Long Drive, Owen Street. (W. Richards, F. Towers).
Marine Hotel, Beach Road. On the site of Commodore Hotel.
Masonic Hotel, Waiotahi Flat. (W Knoops)
Melbourne Hotel, Pollen Street, Shortland end. (H. Harrison, I. A. Harrison, T. Smith)
Metropolitan, Owen Street. (J. O'Halloran, J. Browne)
Miners Rest, Cook Street, Shortland. (T. Dare, G Carson)
Moanatairi Hotel, corner of Haven & Golden Crown Street. (F. O'Dowd, G. Spray)
Munster Hotel, Pollen Street, Shortland end. (C. Nash)
New Caledonia Hotel, Grey Street. (G. H. Hagin/Hogan)
Newton, Pollen Street, Shortland. (S. Newton).
Northumberland, Mackay Street. (E. Love, J. Love)
Nil Desperandum, Albert Street. (C. F. Quint, J. C. Young.)
Occidental, Brown Street, Grahamstown.
Old Commodore, Williamson Street. (Stephenson, T. Clarke)
Old House at Home, Tararu Road, Grahamstown. (W J Alexander, J Tiller, A Zeigler)
Pacific Hotel, Brown Street, adjacent to Academy of Music (C. Curtis, W. Woodward, G. Wallace)
Park Hotel, Albert Street, Grahamstown (Wharf Hotel) (H Clinker, S Willers)
Pembroke Hotel, Pollen Street, Shortland end. (F. Cock, T. Barnett, R. Vincent)
Post Office Hotel, Rolleston Street. (J. T. Edwards)
Prince Alfred Hotel, Coromandel Street. (S. Neale, T. Muir & J. Sullivan)
Prince Arthur, Mackay Street. (A. Kerr, C. North)
Prince Imperial Hotel, Williamson Street. (D. Barty, Mrs Vercoe)
Provincial Hotel, Queen Street. (A. Byers, P. Burke, J. Williams)
Punga Flat Hotel, Punga Flat. (J. Roulston).
Queens Hotel, Formerly "Queen's Head", Queen Street. (C. Burton)
Railway Terminus Hotel, Mackay Street. (J Rowe, J Whelan). Built in the hope that the Railway would end there.
Rainbow Hotel, Moanatairi Creek.
Rayson's Hotel, Waiotahi Creek. (O A Rayson)
Reef, Karaka Flat, Shortland. (J. T. Edwards).
Reefers Arms Hotel, Punga Flat. (G. Burdett)
Rising Sun Hotel, Golden Crown Street. (W. Keys, G. Burdett & P. O'Connor)
Rob Roy, Parawai. 1/4 mile to present racecourse. (J. Flett, J. McGregor)
Rising Sun Hotel, Murphy's Lane, Shortland. (J F Good)
Rose and Crown Hotel, Pollen Street, Grahamstown. (R. Blencowe & J. Gordon).
Royal Hotel, Pollen Street, Shortland end. (W. Ford, Howard, S. Stephenson.)
Royal Hotel & Theatre, Williamson Street. (H. Gillett, J. Bennett). More photos of the Royal Hotel
Royal Hotel, Tararu Road. (M. Vaughan, R. J. Davidson)
Royal Oak, (District Homes), Tararu & Road.
Salutation Hotel Mary Street. Still Operating. (R. G. Bellers, A. Dunn, A. Mill)
Saracen's Head, Pollen Street, Shortland end. (P. Bonfield, W. Shaw)
Scotia, Brown Street. (A. Jacobs, A. Gillan)
Shakespear, Owen Street, Grahamstown. (E. Hogan)
Shamrock, Grahamstown. (P. Griffin)
Shamrock, Richmond Street, Shortland.
Shellback Hotel, Tararu Road. (M. A. Sayer, T. Nixon)
Shortland or Butts American Hotel & Theatre, Grey Street. Hub of Shortland in early days. (Capt. J. Butt, ?P. Sullivan)
Shotover Hotel, Tararu Road nr Shotover Stream (T. Nixon)
Sir George Bowen, Waiotahi Flat, Grahamstown. (J Mulligan)
St George's, Pollen Street, Grahamstown. (J Williams)
Stafford, Brown Street. (W. McCloughin, J. M. Atkinson)
Star, Karaka. (J. T. Edwards)
Steam Packet Hotel, Grey Street. (J. F. Fitzpatrick)
Stephenson's Marine Hotel, Beach Road. On the site of Commodore Hotel.
Tararu,Tararu & Road. (McDonald, M Nolan, J. Jung)
Temperance Hotel, Brown Street. (J. Alloway)
Thames Hotel, Grey Street. (W. Rose)
Theatre Royal & Cafe (later Royal Hotel, Owen street, Grahamstown. (J Bennett, R Moeller)
Una Company (or Grahams), Karaka Road/Creek and Rolleston Street. (J. McMueller, H M'Ilhone).
Union, Owen Street. (J. Hall, R. Grinter, M. O'Connor)
Victoria(n) Hotel, Karaka Road/Creek (J. Kelly, J. Mulligan)
Waiotahi Hotel, Golden Crown Street. (P. Burke, H. Mann)
Warwick Arms Hotel, Pollen Street, Shortland end. Est. 1868 (A. Barnett, J. B. Mason, Stacey)
Waterman's Arms, Shortland. (H. Bush)
Wharf or Park Hotel, later The Lady Bowen Hotel Brown Street. (J. Holmes, W. Pearce)
Willoughby, Willoughby Street. (R. D. or S. Brown, W. Smith & F. Lyster)
The 1902 CYCLOPEDIA of New Zealand has a description for several Hotels. The GOVERNOR BOWEN HOTEL, Owen Street, the licensee was Samuel Thomas SPEER. It was part two storied containing 60 bedrooms, 6 sitting rooms and a dining room that could seat 200 guests. The JUNCTION HOTEL, corner of Pollen and Pahau Streets, proprietor Alfred ROGERS. Described as the principal house for commercial men and tourists, the building renovated and refurnished. The PACIFIC HOTEL, corner of Brown and Albert Streets, William WOODWARD proprietor. Catering was described as first class, the rooms handsomely furnished, with a night porter for the convenience of travellers arriving late. The WARWICK ARMS HOTEL, Pollen Street, Shortland, Proprietor John Brooks MASON.
The book “History of the River Thames” has pictures of many of the old hotels.
Looking at the Street Directories for Thames the Surnames recorded as Publicans in Thames (1873-1906) include: AMY, ANGOVE, ANTHONY, AUGOVE, BARTY, BELLARS, BROWN, BURKE, BURTON, BUTLER, BUTT, BUTTERWORTH, CASSIN, CLARKE, COCK, COHEN, COMER, CONSTANT, COOTE, CORSTANT, COSTELLO, CURTIS, DELANEY, DEVIN, DOD(D), DONNELLY, DOWNES, DUNN, ENDEAN, ENDRES, ENSOR, FLETT, FOGARTY, GARRETT, GILLAN, GODKIN, GRAHAM, GRANATY, HENDRY, HOGAN, HUNK, JOHNS, JUNG, KANE, KELLY, LOVESTER, MAHONEY, MCCARTHY, MCDOWELL, MCILHONE, MCMAHON, MORROW, MULLIGAN, NICKS, O'DOWD, PEARCE, RAFFERTY, REGAN, RENNECK, RENNOCK, RICHARDS, SAWYER, SENIOR SHAW, SINCOCK, SMITH, STEPHENSON, SYMINGTON, TETLY, TOWNSEND, TURNBULL, TWOHILL, VAUGHAN, WILLIAMS, WILSON AND YOUNG. Other names are recorded in the street directories under the name of the hotel, it is not clear how they are connected to the hotel.
Of the people entering their occupation as Publican, a small number are woman: Ellen KANE (1875), Esther LOVESTER (1875), Kate MCARTHY (1875), Mary Ann SAWYER (1875- 1885), and Mary Jane SHAW (1875).
On the whole most of the women who owned and ran hotels appear to have been wives or widows as noted by S Eldred-Grigg (2008). Other women owning hotels in Thames are mentioned in the above book: Mrs Jacobs (The Thistle) and Ellen SCOTT. A licence was required from the Licensing Authority to operate a Hotel, single woman applying for a licence were generally refused as it was seen as a front for a brothel.
Further information can be found at:
The Hotels of early Thames played a major role social, economic and political role. Many a deal was completed and sharemarket information given over a glass of beer. Many serious national and political matters discussed. While many miners found a wife amongst the numerous barmaids. It is necessary to mention the strong Temperance movement that existed in those early years and that not all diggers were drinkers. Thoughts of moderation were fuelled by the families of Baptist, Presbyterian and Methodist denomination. (S. Eldrid-Grigg 2008). John Grainger sums it up best in 'The Amazing Thames': The hotels were an essential part of the social fabric of the time, and to their credit be it said, they played their part well.