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Queen of the Red Cross Carnival at Thames, Miss Kathleen O’Carroll. Photo: SUPPLIED

Queen carnival held for Red Cross

As part of a Valley Profile series, MEGHAN HAWKES searches through old newspapers to bring you the stories Thames Valley locals once read about themselves.


A Queen Carnival, a fundraising event, was held across the Thames Valley in aid of the Red Cross.
The carnival included district-wide Basket Socials – where baskets of food were auctioned to male bidders who won the privilege of eating and dancing with the woman who had prepared the basket.
Football matches and an Art Union, a type of lottery, were also held. The carnival lasted a few weeks and was topped off by the election of the carnival Queen.
In this campaign there were four candidates, Mrs Hague-Smith: Navy Queen; Miss Clendon: Soldiers’ Queen; Mrs Bax: Valley Queen; and Mrs O’Carroll: Queen of the Plains.
Mrs O’Carroll, of Kopuarahi, won and was crowned Queen of Thames. More than seven thousand pounds were raised.
Tales of an alleged ghost were persistently circulating at Waihī where it was the talk of the town.
A youth heading home one night after a dance was surprised by a spectral figure which walked out behind him and, with both hands, caught him by the hips and held him tight for a second or two.
“A ghost! A ghost!” shrieked the lad as he sped along the pavement in the south end of the town.
“It seems almost incredible that anybody could be reduced to a condition of abject terror by the tom-fool pranks of an individual mimicking in a material form something which did not exist,” scolded the Waihī Daily Telegraph.
“This act is beyond a joke, and as there are many boys and girls frightened out of their wits, it is hoped the man in blue will soon lay the ghost by the heels.”
There were also disturbances at Waihī Beach where, at half hour intervals, the sea surged up with great force, 200 yards above high water mark. Great rollers, shooting up a tremendous height, made a magnificent spectacle but ten cottages facing the sea were wrecked.
The Minister for Lands and party, on their way to meet with deputations of settlers at Ngātea, left their cars at Kopuarahi to continue the rest of the journey by launch. The cars returned via the back road where two of them got bogged and had to be dug out.
Finally, after hard work and all hands assisting, they arrived at Ngātea. Ironically the Minister was in Ngātea to discuss roads, bridges and drains. In the course of a speech, he congratulated the settlers on the appearance of their district. He had travelled nearly all over New Zealand, and he was satisfied that very few districts would beat theirs when it was fully developed.
Settlers in Miranda decided to co-operate to provide themselves with lime for agricultural purposes at cheap rates. There were 800 acres of sea shell deposited to a depth of ten feet, and a crushing plant and an engine for haulage were to be purchased. It was expected that an ample supply of lime will be secured.