The first school in the district was Hautapu School which was built in 1878 on the triangle section of the corner of Pickering's Road and the main road.
Roll of 54, 36 boys and 18 girls.
The first Head was R. McLaurin; at a salary of £65, which hardly covered the living costs with nine children.
A son of Mr McLaurin, R.C. McLaurin is reported on 13th July 1893 to have won a Mathematical Scholarship at Saint Johns College, Oxford. While at Hautapu in 1880, he won the Auckland College and Grammar School Scholarship. From there he graduated to Auckland University. The other members of the McLaurin family were equally talented - one daughter became the mother of Sir William Goodfellow of New Zealand Co-operative Dairy Company.
Mr Ormsby followed Mr McLaurin, later transferred, and ended his days at Pirongia.
It was a glebe of some 26 acres and the buildings consisted of a single classroom and the teacher's house nearby. There is nothing to show on the site today except roses growing along the main road fence and patches of bulbs flowering in the spring. The school, like all schools in those days, was used for social functions of the neighbourhood. Some of the earlier pupils attending Hautapu were Mary and Kate, Robert and John Main, H. Rhodes - Melville (Matangi), Duncan, Sam, Aifred, George and Minnie Steele (Rukuhia)as well as the McI.aurin children.
Archdeacon Calder of Hamilton took the services in the school and one of the boys of the time, told the story that the Archdeacon after Church, would say to the congregation, "Come on boys, let 'em go'" and away they would gallop towards Tamahere - needless to say there was little traffic on the road - a far cry from today.
The Archdeacon was a keen horseman, as was his son, Jasper, who named one of his sons after a well known trotter.
In 1884 when the school at Tamahere was built the Hautapu School was moved by the late Mr Jared Allwill of Hautapu, with his traction engine to a new site on the. triangular section of Racecourse Road corner opposite Banks corner, then known as Gerrans Corner.
The school was in 1910 rebuilt on a section on Hautapu Road some two miles away. The 100th Celebration took place 1982 with pupils all over New Zealand coming. David Morgan from Sydney,son of J.D.P. Morgan attended.
Tamahere School was built and opened on 12th July 1884, at a cost of £410. It consisted of the old ecclesiastical style building, one big room of heart kauri and with care it will stand for many more years. It is in excellent order, even to this day. The first committee of the school consisted of Messrs S.S. Graham, Chairman; A.T.F.Wheeler; J. Barugh; J. Camp; W.A. Graham and Armstrong. This committee had met at Camp's Hotel, Hautapu on 16th August 1883 to form this particular committee. At a later date the committee seemed to be out of function because Mr A.T.F. Wheeler was appointed a commissioner for a number of years. The first headmaster was Mr Isemonger, followed by Mr Marshall, Mr Parry, Mr Edwards, Mr Dean, Mr Smart, Mr Johnston and Mr Jaffry in 1904. Following these, there was a gap of which I have no record at the moment, there was Mr L. Totman, Mr J. McGruther, followed by Mrs Storrow Rigby up to 1919/1920. In the 1900's and some years before, children attended this school, as they had at Hautapu, from long distances. The Steeles and Ransteads from Rukuhia, now aerodrome, and adjacent area, and the Raynes from the far end of Raynes Road. From Matangi there were the Lebeau's, Melvilles and Rhodes.
The school grounds had been given by Messrs Graham and the school house was built of rimu and kahikatea for £255, at the far end of the lane. It has now been pulled down and a new building erected.
At one period in the early 20's, owing to lack of pupils a suggestion came from the Education Board that the school be closed and pupils go to Matangi - the attendance had dropped to between 25 and 30.
Later the school became affiliated with Hillcrest and with the opening of the Training College at Hillcrest had an input of trainees with the addition of new classrooms.
Today there are some 160 children attending - the standing of the school being one of the best in Waikato Education Board.
At the time of the Centennial in May 1984 there were representatives of the fourth generation. Andrew and Susanne Main, children of Richard Main, son of Alfred, son of Minnie Steele. Earlier Matthew and Belinda Seeman represented the four generations.
14th August 1882. A meeting was held at Camps to discuss the building of a new church at Tamahere. Prior to that, all the services were held at the old school at Pickering's corner. The meeting decided to go ahead with the project and on 13th September 1882 a contract was let to Mr Tom Evans, a builder of Hamilton, to build a church at a cost of £415, Mahony and Sons of Auckland being the Architects. The foundation stone was laid on 18th September 1882 by the Bishop of Auckland, Bishop Cowie who was driven out from Hamilton by Mr James Hume. They were met by the first vicar, Archdeacon Willis, the Reverend Davis and the Reverend R.O.C. Briggs of Saint Peters. Mr Evans was also amongst those who met the clergy. The clergy robed at the Tamahere Hotel and the ceremony began at 5.00 p.m. Some 100 people were present plus the choir from Cambridge. The foundation block was dedicated to the name of Saint Stephen the Martyr, the site being the gift of John Martyn the younger.
After the ceremony, a service was held at the Hautapu School, with a social in the evening. First committee (Vestry) chaired by the venerable William Newcombe D.L. Willis, Archdeacon of Waikato; Messrs Joseph Johnston Barugh, James Thomas Camp, Charles Ewen, Samuel Sergeant Graham, William Australia Graham, Ambrose Main, John Martyn the younger, Harry Robertshaw, George Way and Aston Thomas F. Wheeler.
The Wesleyans used the church for some years under the Reverend Evans, and the Presbyterians, with the Reverend Wild as minister also used the building in the thirties.
Bishop Cowie consecrated the building on 21st September 1891.
John Martyn Junior had given the one acre site and was the first to be buried in the grounds 11th September 1888.
Later Mr Cornelius Day who had acquired Pencarrow from John Martyn, donated another acre as a burial ground.
Unfortunately the church was built with a big proportion of kahikatia, which became worm eaten. The kauri beams remained in excellent order, but the upkeep on the weather boards, painting and replacement was an ever recurring cost.
The Steeple, a feature of the building, housed a bell donated by Messrs Morrin of Morrinsville, in later years became unsafe and had to be taken do\vn, leaving only the belfry on the apex of the roof.
William Australia Graham, who laid out Hamilton East, surveyed the cemetery and set out the grounds with trees and shrubs, those remaining today are two lawsons, two camellias and a huge rhododendram, mentioned in the book of Guiness.
In this church yard are the graves of nearly all the local pioneers. Martyn, Main, Day, Pickering, Barugh, Oliver, Windsor, Whewell, Trubshaw, Smith, Ewen, Hunter, Raynes, Steele, Morgan, Paton, Care, Rogers, Russell, Way, Wheeler, Pennell, Dodd, Hunt, Wallace, Ranstead.
There were several memorials placed in the church over the years. A memorial font to Archdeacon W.D.L. Willis. A plaque in memory of Joseph Barugh, founder and first chairman of directors of Farmers Co-operative Auctioneering Company - a similar tablet was erected in Saint Peters, Hamilton; R.F. Bollard M.P., warden and layreader; a new altar given by the Drummond family in memory of their son Frank, killed overseas - first world war; new communion rails a memorial to Minnie Main and Louie Raynes; a memorial to Percy Ewen, son of Charles Ewen, who acted as verger and groundsman over many years.
Being in the Parish of Cambridge the clergy concerned, were the local vicars - Archdeacon W.D.L. Willis, Mortimer Jones, Lionel Harvey, Gordon Bell, C.W. Chandler, Claude Hyde, F. Cook, D. King.
Some of the layreaders were A.T.F. Wheeler, R.F. Bollard, E.H. Hammond, J. McGruther, A. Willis Cambridge, A. Gasgoine Cambridge, E. Butt Hamilton.
On June 1970 the Church was burnt down, being set on fire be a deranged man, who started a fire also in Catholic Church Frankton and the Methodist Church Cambridge.
The building was replaced by a pleasing building of concrete blocks, with a bell tower, the whole edifice being built on the conventional church lines.
The consecration taking place 100 years after the dedication of the original church in May 1983.
The stock produced on the various farms were all taken to the saleyards at one time or other. In the very early days the chief saleyard was at Ohaupo. Which had the reputation of selling the largest number of sheep ever sold in one day in the Waikato, sold by McNicol and Company; there were other saleyards, one at cambridge, and Hamilton. Ohaupo gradually faded out, the township itself was one of the leading areas too, but it gradually declined, being replaced by Cambridge and Hamilton. The Cambridge saleyards were originally in that area adjacent to the courthouse, later they were moved to Taylor Street and within the last few years to Carters Flat . Whilst at Taylor Street some of the biggest horse sales in the Waikato were held in September every year. All the outstanding draft horses were brought to those yards. The draft horses were snapped up by some of the bigger firms of Auckland, J.J Craig and Winstones and some of them even found their way to Wellington. They were used as draft horses in the wagons of Auckland and Wellington. These firms made a feature of the wonderful horses they had in the wagons, such as were found in the brewery wagons of Britain. Hamilton's sale was held on the hillside where the Technical Institute now is. The first saleyards were on the corner of Ward and Victoria Streets, but the hillside site was used for very many years until it was moved to Frankton. There were saleyards set up by F.A.C. under pressure from Mr Newell at Hamilton East, one the corner of Knighton Road and the Eastern end of Clyde Street. These yards (Now site of Hillcrest Tavern.) did not last very long and all stock found its way to Frankton.
Recreation in the early days, all sports tended to be horse sports, racing, polo and hunt. The hunt in the early days, I think I may have said before, had come up from Auckland on specified months with Tom Brown in charge. Following that of course the Hunt Club was set up by the Hunt Club at Douglas', Bruntwood, and they travelled all around Waikato. Racing was a very favourite sport and some of the early race meetings were held on "Gwynnlands" which was opposite Forrest Road, bounding on the river. An ideal site, but from there the Racing Club moved to the present area east of Taylor Street. The other racecourse was on the west side of the river at Rukuhia directly westward of the present Rukuhia Factory. It is on record that to get that particular race meeting patrons came up the river by paddle steamer and were disembarked on a landing beyond the Narrows at the Lochiel Golf Links. There the Steele boys had wagons waiting for them and escorted the punters across country to the racecourse. This may have only been for some five or six years and then the racecourse was transferred to the showgrounds at Hamilton.
In the 1800's the Auckland Hunt Club, under Thomas Brown, paid a yearly visit to Waikato when locals turned out - male and female, as all were used to horseback, that being the usual method of quick transport. The hunt usually hunted over Broadmeadows.
In 1893 on formation of the Cambridge Hunt Club, the hounds were at Bruntwood, but for many years, Wynn Brown, the master, had the kennels at Fencourt.
The local club hunted, over most of the district, W. Newell, A.N. Dingle, A. Main, H. Windsor, M. Pickering, Broadmeadows (E.Martyn), being some of the farms locally.
Pickerings Corner, on the main road was a very popular place for the Hunt to meet.
On 29th August 1889, Chas James Paton died as a result of broken back, due to a fall in hunting at Bardowie and a brother of James Taylor was killed the same day as Paton's mishap - a very cold day.
Mrs Wynn Brown as killed at Tamahere on Harold Windsor's farm - the Club never hunted there again.
Later years with dairying, the hunt has become very restricted.
Polo was a very favourite game and many of the well known early settlers were all players and they had their tournaments much the same as of recent years, and is just as much a favourite sport today as it was in the early days.
Shows, we have the Hamilton Show and the Cambridge Show. The Cambridge Show was the first Show, following quite a lot of skulduggery at one Ohaupo sale when voting took place, people.doubled up, through the voting booth window, it was agreed that Cambridge should have the Show. The. Show remained at Cambridge for quite a number of years and then Hamilton came in and set up its own Show. Both of these Shows have shown some of the most outstanding stock of the Waikato. The fresians, Whewell Brothers, from Tamahere and latterly Chynoweths, both well known breeders.
The Days, Frank Day and Cornelius Day, with their jerseys. Fishers from Pukerimu with their short horns. Then we had the various other people with their horses. Douglas, Newell, and W.G. Park with their draft horse, and the various sheep breeders, all found their way to the shows with their stock.
Waikato had the reputation of some of the best stock in New Zealand, and the Cambridge Show and laterly the Hamilton Show was the place to make an inspection of stock.
Picnics were the order of the day, tennis parties, croquet parties and various garden parties. People visited one another, they rode or drove, visiting was the usual thing, there was no such thing as a telephone and it meant that if you wished to contact your neighbours you had to visit, if you wanted to do any business it meant you had to ride and see your neighbour.
You knew people much more than of later years. The outside recreation would be parties. Parties would be made up to go to Raglan for the weekend, two or three families amalgamate and set out in their buggies or wagonette; stay the weekend and enjoy the fishing and the bathing.
WAITOMO - TRAINS:
One party I know hired a railway carriage, went by train and the carriage was taken off the train at Hangatiki, they used it as sleeping quarters and everyone visited the caves from there. Excursions were made to Auckland in fact the Railway Department put themselves out in those days to put on excursions trains which usually were filled. Even Cambridge would have an excursion train come in occasionally. The early trains from Cambridge all ran as passenger and goods trains. There were passenger trains only1for a long time, but of late passengers have gone out and it is only a goods line.
When Hnry Paton was married in 1886, he and his wife were reported as deing driven to Matangi to catch the train for their honeymoon.
The School Picnics were always held yearly, and over very many years they were held on New Years Day, in Mr Bollard's paddock some quarter mile off the main road towards the gully and everyone really enjoyed themselves. There would be horse sports, as well as the childrens sports and this event was looked upon and awaited with genuine interest year by year.
The School was made use of for Dances as it was the only building about and being the size it was, very useful for any plays that were put on and served its purpose right up till the hall was built. Card evenings were usually held there, being a very favourite pastime. The evenings were used for raising funds for various purposes, usually progressive 500, if you did not win you endeavoured to get the booby prize.
In 1935, a committee was set up consisting of Messrs H.C.Wallace, J. Steele, R.Ingram, J. Raynes, P. Hodgson and A. Main; to acquire a lease of Mr H.S. Day of his riverside paddock adjacent to the Narrows Bridge, to enable the setting up of a Golf Course.
This was achieved, nine holes set out by Mr Gillies of Hamilton, and working bees became the order of the day.
Later as the Club progressed,more land was acquired of H.C. Wallace Estate and a greenkeeper after some 15 years put in charge of the links.
Trees were planted, greens improved, the result making the Narrows Golf Club one of the outstanding links in Waikato.
On the Sundays the usual Church Services were held, mostly in the afternoon and of later years in the evening. The afternoon services were taken from the time the Church was opened. by Archdeacon Willis, who had charge of the Cambridge Parish and would take a service at Saint Andrews in the morning, then harness up his horse and drive to Ohaupo, usually accompanied by one or two members of his family. He would take a service at Ohaupo at 11.00 a.m. after which he would set sail for Tamahere, usually called in at Sam Steeles at Rukuhia for a mid-day meal and then proceed across the Narrows to Tamahere, for evensong at 2.00 p.m. and then back to Cambridge for evensong at 7.00 p.m.
Quite a marathon, but in those days everyone took it in their stride and he seemed to thrive on it. The attendances were usually quite good, anything from fifty to one hundred, Presbyterian services would be held in the school and they were quite well attended too.
Mails were usually delivered by horse; Tamahere to Hamilton, Tamahere to Cambridge and Ohaupo to Tamahere and as I have said the local Doctors made use of the horse too. We had drays, heavy drays for big loads, usually a cart horse or draft horse in the shafts. The later drays, spring carts, would have a lighter horse which could trot, in and out, usually to Hamilton or Cambridge.
One well known lady, Mrs Rogers from Rukuhia, used to drive her horse and dray into Hamilton, never rode in the dray but sat on one of the shafts and rode ther.e, how she managed it I don't quite know, but that was her method of progression.
Buggies and Gigs followed. A buggy would consist of one horse in the shaft, sometimes if you liked to be pretentious you had two horses - smart trotting nags. The Gigs would usually consist of one horse and was really a quicker method of progression that the buggy.
Speaking of buggies and gigs it was a well known practise for some of the youths of the neighbourhood at a dance to go outside during the evening, take the horse out of the shafts, put the shafts through a neighbouring fence, walk the horse around to the other side of the fence and harness it up to the gig or buggy again. You can imagine the consernation of the owner when he arrived out afterwards to find horse on one side of the fence and gig on the other. There were also a few people who had carriages, who would have a coachman to take them to town, but were a rarity in the neighbourhood.
The local Coach Service between Hamilton and Cambridge was run by Crowther and Bell of Cambridge, who maintained a good timetable, meeting the 4 a.m. express from Wellington at Frankton returning to Cambridge that morning. At 11.00 a.m. the Coach collected the local mail continuing to Hamilton to meet the Rotorua Express and on returning delivered the mail at 3.00 p.m.
Quite a number of children who lived on the Cambridge side of Tamahere, in the smaller age group, would be given a ride by Mr Bell to their respective gates. A child would be watching at the window, and once the coach appeared there would be a call of "Coach'' and all these children would dive out and race down the garden path to get a lift home with Mr Bell.
Around about 1914 the cars were starting to make an appearance. A car owned by one of the Ward boys of "Tor View" I recall riding in when I was a very small child. I do not recal the name of it; the inevitable Tin Lizzie began to make its appearance. And the Ford certainly served its purpose in the neighbourhood. It got people from A to B expiditiously, even though the old brass fronted car required a fair amount of patience to wind up, and get going. The Ford inspiration was a wonderful Godsend to New Zealand. It certainly got people about, even if there were roads dug up and pools of mud along the way, they still got through. The children all went to the local school, Tamahere, and in their early ages were taken and picked up by their parents in the buggy or as I have earlier stated came home by Mr Bell in the Coach. Once they could control a pony, usually a quiet, old pony, they went to school per horse and at one time there were twenty to thirty ponies in the Tamahere horse paddock. Usually the children double backed to school and the first stage was, they rode without a saddle usually a chaffsack across the horses back with two holes in each corner for their feet to go in, sometimes a saddle, but not always. It meant that if the pony shied or the child lost its balance, sack and child slid off without any ill effects. The pony may clear out but there was no harm to the children.
The houses in practically every case were wooden with a galvanised iron roof. The Church had been built with shingles and W.M. Martyn's old house at Goulbourne, had been shingled too. Ewens house was shingled as well. Most were constructed of kaikatea which had been milled from the Kaipaki trees. Kauri and totara would be used for rafters and studs. The Church had been built along those lines, kauri and totara inside lined with kaikatea and boarded on the outside with kaikatea. This seemed to be the usual method of building. There were no brick houses. Usually the house consisted of two to three bedrooms, the kitchen, sometimes a scullery with a table in the centre and possibly a dining room. There would be a sitting room and most of the old houses were built to a certain style which meant that there were two wings on each side with a gutter going right down the middle, not showing from the front but showing from the back.
which unfortunately during very heavy rain or leaves blocking gutters, flooded and the water ended up by coming inside. The kitchen and the sitting room would have their own fireplaces with brick chimneys. The bricks would come from the brick kiln at Cambridge or the brick kiln at Te Awamutu. There were several local brick kilns about which have all been swallowed up today and are all out of existance. The verandah surrounding the house which was very common to these old guttered houses would surround the house on three sides which meant that both verandahs would act as outlets to the rooms through French windows, an added tonvenience on the summer days.
Sometimes one verandah end was closed in, and used for the washhouse or a bathroom. A bathroom would consist of an old galvanised tin bath with possibly a washbasin and with the advent of running water and the cylinder beside the stove, the pipes were extended to the bathroom and a porcelain bath would be installed plus a porcelain handbasin which all added to the amenity and the enjoyment of bathing. Possibly the other end of the verandah if it was adjacent to the kitchen would ultimately be closed in and the portion would be used as a scullery or a pantry for the kitchen.
The orchards were usually the prerogative of the males of the place. The gardener would be in charge and the trees would be pruned, sprayed, looked after, and when the season ended and the fruit had to be gathered, he or the maid or the housewife and the husband would gather the fruit, which in a good many cases were plums, to be turned into jam and preserved, peaches would find their way into the preserving jars, apples would be stored either on racks in the cellars or on racks outside for use in the winter. Apples had to be of a good keeping type otherwise they would not go right through the winter.
The garden would be the chore of the housewife. The bigger gardens like Broadmeadows, Wartle and Bruntwood and Martyns at Pencarrow would usually have a gardener who would attend to the layout of the garden, the mowing of lawns, planting trees, shrubs and generally keeping the whole place nice and tidy. He would come under the jurisdiction of the housefwife to a large extent who would have the last say in the layout of the flower gardens and where the flowers were to be planted. In other cases where gardeners were not employed the housewife herself would have to take over and look after the kitchen garden with the help of her husband at various times and if the men were not overworked or if work was slow for a period they could be called in to dig the garden over and get it ready for the spring planting. The gardens themselves would be laid out with exotic trees with considerable areas of lawn which would give the houses a typical English setting and the whole layout as the trees grew and the shrubs grew Would be beautiful. I have in mind Broadmeadows as one of those places, but unfortunately the homestead disappeared as did quite a lot of the other old homesteads. Bruntwood homestead was burnt down, "Wartle" homestead was taken down and a new place was built in its place, a two storey building on the lines of the Georgian mansions in England. Pencarrow homestead was replaced, William Martyn's; Broadmeadows -John Martyn, was replaced by a new building erected outside the grounds and Bruntwood was replaced by a concrete building across the road.
Grahams old two storey house on the hill was replaced. Fernando (Pickerings) replaced, Claremont (Ewens) replaced.
Aberdeen (McKenzie), Te Whanake (A. Main), Goulborne (D. Savil), Pencarrow 1894 (C.Day),- now (McKenzie), Briarly (Bourkes) and (Tinne); remaining as built with some additions.