Thomas Gabriel Read (known as
Gabriel) was the eldest of ten children born to Captain George Frederick Read
(1788-1860) and his second wife Margaret Terry (1800-1889) who, with his family,
in 1816 after receiving a grant of land we believe in the New Norfolk or Sorell
areas as he owned property in both places. His father was also a director of the
Bank of Van Diemen’s Land.
Gabriel was well educated,
particularly in the Classics and English Literature, and had strong religious
convictions and when, at a comparatively early age, he began traveling, it was
to take him halfway round the world. At the age of 26 he sailed for the
Californian goldfields in his own schooner. He made little money but learnt a
lot about gold fossicking, that, when he returned to
, he became caught up in the Victorian gold rush, but
dismayed by the violence of the goldfields and the clash between miners and
in 1854 he returned to
He wasn’t to stay long, news of gold strikes
in Southland around Mataura in
trickled through to
, and in1861 he was off on his travels again. He arrived in Otago in January
1861 on the Don Pedro II and
at once disappeared into the nearby hills and gullies, and on 23 May 1861 struck
colour in a gully that has borne his name for a hundred years. (Gabriel’s
In an unselfish act he wrote a letter to the Otago
Witness declaring that the “Waitahuna and Tuapeka goldfields will before
long astound the province”. He now went one better and announced his
discovery, giving the location and prospects, holding back nothing.
Prior to the goldrush in New Zealand Dunedin was
a little scraggly port struggling to survive and known to the locals as Mud edin!
Fifteen tons of gold poured into the town from here....the wonderful old
buildings from the university to railway station a testament to this sudden
spectacular wealth. For many years
was the pre-eminent NZ city.
Read returned to
evidently disillusioned by prospecting and married his cousin Amelia Mitchell
in 1864. Unfortunately, due to a hunting accident in his youth he suffered
lifelong bouts of depression and was finally admitted to the New Norfolk Mental
He died 31st. October 1894 at New
Norfolk Tasmania and the cause of death stated was “apoplexy”.
His funeral service was held at St. Mathew’s Church New Norfolk on the
2nd. November 1894 the officiating clergyman being J.O.Harris and he
was later buried in the
NATIONAL ANTHEM –
The son of a soldier, John
Joseph Woods was born in Tasmania but was working as a school teacher in New
Zealand when the ‘New Zealand Saturday Advertiser’ announced a competition
to compose an orchestral score for the poem for a prize of 10 guineas.
At the time the
competition was announced John Woods was teaching at the Roman Catholic
school in the gold-mining town of
in Otago and the announcement of the competition reached him at 9.00 p.m.at
"I immediately felt like one
inspired," he recalled later. He started straight away and stayed up late
until he had finished the score.
He was very gifted musically: he could play
twelve instruments, but mostly he played the piano and violin. It is this spark
of inspiration by a man of middle-class talents that gave the score of God
Defend New Zealand its enduring character.
was a man of his community and its institutions. In his own district he was an
all-round sportsman of note, a member and office-bearer in clubs and societies,
long serving choir master of the Roman Catholic Church — and County Clerk for
the Tuapeka County Council for an astounding 55 years. This final achievement
alone probably makes him unique in
's history and when, on his retirement in 1932 at the age of 83, his services
were recognised by creating him a 'freeman of the county', this was the first
time that anyone in the British Dominion had been given such an honour.
1938 The National Centennial Council recommended that the government adopt 'God
' as the national hymn, and in 1940 the government purchased the rights to
Bracken's words and Woods's music
Joseph Woods is buried in Lawrence New
where he spent most of his life.