The first major gold discovery in the Thames area took place in 1867. In the same year William Shaw arrived in Thames and started up the Times and Thames Miners’ Advocate along with Jeremiah Harnett.
Amongst other newspapers, Shaw also started the Thames Evening Star in 1869 (it first appeared as the Evening Mail). By this stage, there were 18,000 inhabitants in the town. After his bankruptcy it was taken over by James Hopcraft (editor until his death in 1879) and William McCullough, amongst others.
One innovation of the time was the use of messages sent by pigeon to deliver news reports, known as ‘pigeongrams’.
In 1893 the daily paper became known as the Thames Star.
Rival paper the Thames Advertiser was purchased by McCullough and incorporated into the Star in 1912. Further changes of ownership followed.
The Thames Star merged with the Paeroa Gazette in 1998 to become the Thames Valley Gazette, but the new publication lasted less than a year.