Morrinsville Heritage Trail
A sub-branch of the Society was first formed in Morrinsville in1919 when a Plunket Nurse from Hamilton, later from Cambridge and Matamata, visited Morrinsville once a week. Various rooms were used, including a shop and another under the Nottingham Castle Hotel.
In November 1932 permanent rooms were built on this section of land donated by Mrs Margaret Thomas in memory of her husband, Mr J.B. Thomas who served for many years on the Thames Valley Electric Power Board and the Morrinsville Borough Council. The park in now known as Thomas Park. By 1946 the district had grown sufficiently to warrant a full-time Plunket Nurse and Morrinsville became a Branch of the Plunket Society.
This building is considered to be the only existing original building that remains purpose built, of its era in Morrinsville. Throughout the period of its existence, it has remained owned by the original organisation. Built for Lodge Piako No.160 in 1908, the year the Town Board came into being, when there were just 55 houses inhabited houses in the locality. Henry Clifford and William Pickett were responsible for its founding. It was Constituted and dedicated by M.W. Bro. Oliver Nicholson on the 9th December 1908. Lodge meetings were conducted on the first Wednesday of the months nearest to a full moon so that the catching harnessing and riding of horses would be aided by moonlight. Lodge membership grew noticeably and in 1922 the building’s size was doubled.
Built in 1921 to house the Morrinsville operations of the Thames Valley Electric Power Board. On Friday 20th March 1922 a ceremony was held at the corner of Thames and Studholme Street to turn on the lights in Thames Street and the shops on its northern side, as daylight gave way to darkness. At a signal from the Power Board Engineer, the Anderson Street depot switched on the power and the first artificial light provided by the local power board came to Thames Street.
This building is the longest surviving commercial building in Morrinsville. It was built for Mr James Rowe as a general store some time after August 1879. On 5th April 1883, he sold it to Mr Henry Clifford, who in partnership with his brother John ran the store until selling it to Charles and Arthur Gummer in 1908. The Gummer family sold it to Farmers Trading Company, who in turn sold it to Deka. Selectrix (at 2004) occupy the premises.
The Morrice Bakery was established by William Morrice in 1911, having sold an established bakery in Invercargill due to ill health. William had to come to NZ from Cruden Bay, Scotland in 1896. It is recorded that a gully ran in close proximity to this bakery site and that flooding came through the bakery including the bed of the oven.
In Morrinsville, Mr Morrice became very much involved with the local community and was a Morrinsville Borough Councillor from 1927 until 1944 including Deputy-Mayor from 1931 until 1944. He was also a member of the Waikato Hospital Board and became a Justice of the Peace in 1929. Mr Morrice retired in the early 1950s leaving his son-in-law, Eric Hobbs, who worked for him as a baker, to manage the business through to his death in 1968. Mr Morrice died in Auckland 9th of May 1956.
The bakery premises, consisting of two retail shops and the Opportunity Shop, were then rented by Hobbs Estate through until they were sold in December 2003.
Morrinsville’s first newspaper was the Morrinsville Herald. Its first issue was distributed on Saturday 9th May 1908.
The Proprietor was Charles Frederick Spooner and the newspaper was published at an office in Canada Street but subsequently moved to this site. The paper was printed in association with the Te Aroha News and ceased publication in 1911. The Morrinsville star started publication in May 1911, also in Thames Street.