I lived in the small unique gold mining town of WAIHI NORTH ISLAND NEW ZEALAND nigh on nearly 30 years, this was  before the present mining craze changed the face of this small country village forever...
In those days one could walk from town to the top SEDDON ST., past STIRLING HOTEL, the ANGLICAN CHURCH on right, down  past the CORNISH PUMP HOUSE on left and old WAIHI BRIDGE CLUB, and the  PENSIONER FLATS,  on the opposite side, down the hill to the crossroads. To the left was JUNCTION Rd., this was the road that went around beautiful MINE LAKE with its myriads of ducks, and mysterious old mining ruins half hidden in the bush, to the right  was BRICKFIELD Rd & BARRY Rd, then  over to Valda Lee's  brick home.on the other side of the crossroads.  Opposite Valda Lee's brick house on the corner of .the JUNCTION .Rd  there used to be a huge old gloomy looking colonial homestead behind a high hedge, it always looked very mysterious and rather spooky to us.This old homestead had been a Mine Managers house, in the 1960's it was occupied by Mr & Mrs Betty FRYETTE, Betty was into drama & the Arts, whilst her husband was a competent PHOTOGRAPHER. Across from that house was  HENDERSONS, on the corner of BRICKFIELD and SEDDON ST., next to that was an old miners cottage where  Bruce  Osborne. (DJay )used to live.   It was then on down GREY ST.,  PIPE LANE of the left & right, Mr & Mrs  NICHOLS & family lived in PIPE LANE....on  past SLEVIN STREET and  with Councilor Dennis & wife on the corner of BOUNDARY RD., and SLEVIN ST.,then Mrs Hawthorn's  quaint  miners cottage on the right,  on along into BOUNDARY ROAD, past Rae's and McClungs, DOBSON St.,, towards KING ST., where we lived..then around the corner  and up to the Chook farm and the Borough Council yards by Mrs Macintosh's c1890's  home.. Most  of  this area down GREY ST.,  SLEVIN RD., PIPE LANE, DOBSON ST., roads are now all shut off or vanished into limbo.....look on  GOOGLE EARTH at this particular part of WAIHI and it can be seen clearly how the mine has encroached on quite a few properties and people's lives.  One can clearly see where houses have been removed, the area looks desolate..After the near fatal collapse of  an area in BARRY Rd  in 2001, where a house half  fell into a  part of an old collapsed mine tunnels, spilling its sleeping occupants  into a 50m wide hole, a report came out stating that 64 properties were directly effected and would have to be evacuated in the near future ' Well now that episode  certainly cleared a lot of land  for the Mining company  of the day  to get cracking, didn't it just! It was the begining of the end for that part of the Waihi township.
35yrs ago an old Waihi identity told us that 'they'  would never mine out GREY Street way again, as  in the previous mining era there had been some very bad tunnel collapses, ie ground was SHALE.. they called that area of bad earth,  the MILKING COW...and oddly enough 2009 I see the present mining company is having trouble with this very same area.....In early 1980's the mining company of the day was drilling in the paddocks off GreyStreet, Slevin St., etc., I took a photo of drilling rig at work at the top of King street.
Now here is another 'odd fact',   hours before the disastrous cave in  BARRY Rd, I was sitting at my computer in UNION St., quite late after midnight, when all of a sudden there was a dull whoop and hefty thump under my feet through the floor boards, like a underground percussion explosion ,actually one large and a smaller one....approx a couple  hrs later  in the wee hours on the morning  part of Barry Road road collapsed I would say 101% the two were connected.  Whether an explosion was let off in  one of the deeper  tunnels, something precipitated a huge collapse in the deeper levels of this subterranean labyrinth, what ever caused the collapse effected the surface around BARRY Road/ BRICKFIELD Road area, as there was a mighty percussion  thump!  I felt this several  hrs before the actual cave in.....hmmm makes you was estimated that the SKY TOWER could fit into the depths of the this particular tunnel system.For those interested model of the old mining tunnels and just where they go under the Waihi township and surrounding area, can be viewed at the WAIHI MUSEUM.

One of the  fascinating parts of the old WAIHI was the enchanting and mysterious 'Martha Hill,' so named after one of the daughters of one of the  company Managers. It was on the bush clad slopes of MARTHA HILL where my sons and their friends, Brian Tangley, Brian Kingham, Lee Van ,Harren, Wayne Smith, to  name a few, used to play and explore the remains of the  old mining relics  of yesteryear. .They had a marvelous time as kids will,  exploring  old ruined foundations and overgrown  shafts., looking down one huge gaping hole which was full of glutinous slow flowing mud.....a marvelous  but  perhaps in retrospect dangerous place to play....but boys will be boys/girls!. The kids used to talk of a old mine shaft way up SILVERTON RD.,  where an attempt  was made to mine SILVER long ago..hmm wonder how successful that was?

In the years I lived in WAIHI I have taken many  many photos, of the changing face of the town and surrounding area......
.My friend Shirley and I went on many a 'mission'  exploring  with me taking  photographs    of things perhaps we shouldn't ie Mining rigs in odd places?? One favorite area was UNION HILL  with its fascinating remains  the  gold kilns  and old bush entwined brickwork etc.,
I found these photos below recently,on one of my old computers......they are  of an old miner's cottage that once was on MARTHA HILL, there were also a  couple of other houses too which have long disappeared. This one particularly  intrigued us as it was a  quaint solid old kauri cottage sitting in a sea of long waving silvered grasses, wrapt in a cloak of  timelessness. It had  some nice vintage details in the inside, the  woodwork  looked a  bit neglected but reasonably sound. We had a wander through it as it was empty , here in the small  sitting room, or should I say 'parlour"  we found it  had very  unusual  beams, ie curved pieces going up to the ceiling, , solid Kauri beams  a very striking and unusual feature to us, We had never seen that feature before on any  old Miners  cottages, it was like the upturned hull of a dinghy and painted ..just white ..or light colour anyway. would have been one of a very few left I suspect...The builders of the boat shaped ceilings were usually from boat builder families, Celtic people .....they also helped to build  chapels with ceilings like that... and that would fit because  a lot of Cornish miners came to work in the Martha Mine..the original owner probably built it like that as a reminder of his homeland.

It appeared someone had been living there, maybe a squatter, as there were remains of cooking implements on the ancient enameled coalrange in the kitchen, and oddments of clothing lying around. Out in the backyard was  cobweb infested rundown caravan,. It was all very quaint and interesting. with long grasses & old fashioned red dahlias growing in  wild abandon around the property..To one side was the remains of a small orchard, with gnarled apple trees and lichen covered peach trees.  That day I didn't have my camera with me, so we decided to come back and I would take some photos of this old cottage, with its quaint air of  mining days nostalgia ...
Unfortunately when we went back  a second time to take  photos, a sorry  and dismal sight greeted us, the little historic mining cottage  had been used for fire brigade practice!  , scorched, with the windows broken and blown out with the heat it was indeed a forlorn  sad sight to see, re pics below.
memories of yore  turned to dust,........ it would have made a great tourist attraction.....
Absolutely no foresight whatsoever, which is glaringly evident in many old buildings that have gradually disappeared off the face of the earth  in WAIHI  township in the name of progress? ....... or collateral damage  of the mine ?
Tourists just love the old original ambience. of old towns and historic buildings........but in WAIHI its  going   going  gone........
If one recollects correctly I think a Mrs Spalding used  to live in this cottage at one time in the past.

copyright to H.G.Blomfield 2009
Martha Hill Cottage with Cornish features 2001/2Martha Hill cottage used  for fire practise Waihi 2001/2A sad and sorry Martha Hill cottage Waihi 2001/2 copyrightWaihi Xmas parade copyright H.G.BlomfieldMe photographing Mining gold  kilns Union Hill Waihi copyright H.G.BlomfieldUnion Batttery WaihiWaihi main street, with the Seddon Memorial, paid for by the miners in middle of xroads.I found the remains of this in the local Council yards, see photos, where it had been rescued from the rubbish dump!Karangahake Gorge in the gold mining days..Old Time carriageWaihi No 1 Shaft.The Waihi East End Dairy 2001/2 gone now along with much of the old ambiance of the colonial mining days of the area
copyright H.G.Blomfield, Main Street WaihiWaihi's Miners Cafe, now the Waihi Arts and Crafts, this used to be a church, then a  antique shop,then  a jolly good cafe, now Arts abd Crafts
copyright HGBtAKEN FROM THE RIM AMNY YEARS AGOThe old Waihi National bank and  miners Dick Seddon MemorialThe old Historical  Art Deco Waihi Theatre building demolished by the owners, most odd as I would have thought it was an Historic building, gone the way of a lot of genuine Waihi History..sad
copyright photo H.G.BStirling Hotel, top of Seddon Street WaihiTaken from the rim many years ago, not Tonka toys but a working mine pit 
copyright H.GBRosemont Road, once a pleasure to walk down with its old fashioned shops, a busy bustling street,but the  destroying hand was felt here too, several shops were demolished and their history and ambience lost forever, here I was lucky enough to catch Craig taking his sign down for the last time c. HGBThis part of the old Martha Mine was called the 'milking cow' dangerous to get to the gold the Cornish pump house was moved for  3 1/2 million .phew!!! must be worth their while to move a pile of old stones...?The old Aarad radio sign in Seddon Street, is it still there I wonder?
copyright H.G.BA mining rig Grey street/King street 1980's
The scorched remains of a quaint old Cornish Gold miner's cottage on Martha Hill Waihi Nth Is New Zealand.
copyright H.G.Blomfield 2009