Waihi Daily Telegraph masthead

1904-1935


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Background

Region Waikato
Available online 1904-1935
Alternative title(s) Daily Telegraph; Waihi Telegraph

Gold was first discovered at Waihi, to the south of the Coromandel Peninsula, in 1878. In 1882 the first battery was breaking gold-bearing rock at the Martha Mine which was later one of the world’s most significant gold and silver mines.

By the mid-1890s, Waihi had a sufficiently settled population to encourage Messrs Galbraith and Vercker-Bindon to start a bi-weekly, the Waihi Miner and Hauraki Goldfields Gazette. The Waihi Chronicle, part-owned by William Wallnutt, later long-time Waihi mayor, sharebroker and contributor to other papers, became a daily competitor in 1900, forcing the Waihi Miner to follow suit. The unprofitable impasse was soon to be resolved.

It is likely that William Geddis, co-owner of Auckland’s New Zealand Observer, with William Blomfield, was interested in Waihi because he was chairman of directors of the Rising Sun Gold Mining Company which operated a mine at Owharoa between Paeroa and Waihi. In the event, with some financial assistance from the Auckland Star’s Henry Brett, Geddis purchased the Waihi Miner. In 1901, the Geddis-Blomfield partnership renamed the paper the Waihi Daily Telegraph. The last issue of the Waihi Chronicle was on 1 March 1901; the first issue of the Waihi Daily Telegraph, billed as an up-to-date, one penny evening daily, appeared three days later. It printed a wide range of overseas cables as well as local news and was a steadfast supporter of the mining industry.

One typical editorial, in March 1905, was highly critical of the Hon James McGowan, Minister of Mines, who had made his portfolio ‘.... a comfortable means to a comfortable end’ and ‘has displayed parsimony towards the industry that he ought to have fostered, but it is reassuring to learn on such high authority [Prime Minister Seddon] that the era of parsimony is at an end, and that the goldfields industry is to receive the encouragement that its importance warrants ....’

Despite his Auckland newspaper interests, Geddis settled in Waihi for a number of years. As well as securing the newspaper’s future, Geddis was elected to the first Waihi Borough Council in 1902. He left Waihi in 1908 to edit and manage the Napier Daily Telegraph, bought in partnership with Henry Brett and T W Leys.

The Waihi Daily Telegraph was subsequently run by Nisbet McRobie, formerly manager of the New Zealand Times in Wellington and later president of the Auckland Master Printers Association. At this time Waihi had three times the population of Hamilton and was the Auckland province’s fastest-growing town. There was competition from the Waihi Times for a period from 1906, but more serious economically to both the town and newspaper was the 1912 miners’ strike.

When McRobie left in 1915, the Waihi Daily Telegraph reverted to Geddis and Blomfield for a period. From 1919, W H Toy, previously on the literary staff of the New Zealand Herald, became owner and editor. Like William Geddis, he served on the Waihi Borough Council. From the 1920s the newspaper was published two or three times a week. After Toy’s death in 1936, his son, W A Toy, ran the paper until 1951. Then a weekly, it stopped publication shortly after the Waihi Gazette set up in opposition.

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