History of Thames Citizens’ Band


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3.a. Our Military Appointment.

In 1902, the same year the Boer War ended, the Thames Naval Band, with at least thirty-eight members, was honored for their length of service and exemplary conduct, by being appointed the No 2 “Hauraki” Battalion Band of the Auckland Defence District out of all of the competing bands from Waikato through Bay of Plenty right up to Cape Rienga. With a little push from the commander of the Auckland District Lieut-Colonel Davies the appointment was finally awarded to the band by Major Porrit. The band was duely sworn in by Adjutant Somerville in late January that year. [37, 05, 38, 03, 174] [Pic 07]

PIC 07 – No 2 “Hauraki” Battalion Band 1902
PIC 08 – Victoria Park Band Rotunda (2011)


3.b. The new Reserve and Band Rotundas.

In November 1902 on the new King’s Birthday, the Victoria Park Reserve and Band Rotunda were completed and had their official opening ceremony, with the No 2 Battalion Band (formerly Thames Naval Band) and its conductor, Mr J. Gordon, leading a combined band made up of all the Thames bands at the time. [64] The Victoria Park Band Rotunda became a focal point for the Thames bands to play in for some time and the Battalion Band played there fortnightly for many years. [65] [Pic 09] The Hauraki Brass band represented Thames alone in the 1902 New Plymouth NZ Brass band competition (the Regimental band having to pull out last minute due to members unavailability), it is believed the all white uniforms were the Thames Naval Bands old uniform. [183] [Pic 08]

PIC 09 – Thames’ Hauraki Brass Band – New Plymouth Competitions 1902 (Thames Navals White Uniform)

In October 1903 on a spring Thursday evening, the band was playing to a very appreciative crowd, and a group of “youngsters” were so rowdy around the rotunda that people listening could not hear the band playing during the quieter sections of music – but ’the band played on.’ The Thames Star recorded the band played the following: “Streetoria” (a march), “Schubert” (the grand selection), “Rippling Streams” (a waltz), “Pythian” (a grand march), “Darwin” (Fantasia), “My Josephine” (Schottische), “Mariposa” (a waltz), “Hesperus” (a march) and finally “God Save the King.” After the concert there were so many complaints about the youths from listeners that it is believed there was appropriate action taken by the authorities. [66] That same year the Battalion Band also performed for the opening of the Coromandel towns Band Rotunda. [67] [Pic 10]

PIC 10 – No 2 “Hauraki” Battalion Band marching in Coromandel


3.c. Blocking the road & first Premieres funeral.

An open air concert was performed by the No 2 Battalion Band on the spacious upper storey verandah of the newly refurbished Brian Boru Hotel, to a large crowd below on Pollen Street Thames, in 1904, which effectively blocked off the road. [89] Recorded in the Thames Star, 1 June 1906, is one performance in a series of open air concerts by the Battalion Band for that year on the corner of Brown and Williamson Streets, Thames. The band played: “Ipswich” (a march), “June Roses” (a waltz), “Baby Elephant” (a march), “In Coonland” (Fantasia), “Coons Festival” (a cake walk), “In Valley of Ferns” (a waltz), “Latrobe” (a march) and “God Save the King.” [68] At the end of that month the Battalion Band was back in the park leading the Thames’ funeral memorial ceremony for NZ’s first Premier R. Seddon. [90]

3.d. Dominion Day & Thames’ Brass Band Contest.

The Thames Star records on 3 June 1907 that the band performed at the Victoria Park Band Rotunda, and notes the programme as: (this time including the authors of the pieces as a lot of them were ’Kiwis’ and the pieces were about to be performed in the up-coming Band Competitions to be held at Thames) “Dunedin Navals” (a Contest March by T.E. Bulch), “Sacred Gems” (Sacred Fantasia by T.E. Bulch), “Carmelite” (a Selection arr. by H. Round), “Gloria in Excelsis” (a March), “Lead Kindly Light” (a Hymn by Rev. Dyer), “Peace Be Still” (a Sacred Selection), “O.H.M.S.” (a March by Ord Hume) and of course “God Save the King.” [69] New Zealand became a Dominion in September of that year and the band led the proclamation of Dominion Day along with military honors for the Battalion receiving their colours in Victoria Park. [91] The band and its committee also worked hard to organise the first “Thames Brass Band Contest” for all the North Island brass bands held at the Thames Racecourse, Parawai, in November 1907. It was a successful weekend by all accounts both for the town and as a contest. In the “A Grade” section the Thames No 2 Battalion Band scored overall a consistent close second to the Auckland-based No 1 Battalion Band. But the surprise of the event was the Thames Hauraki Brass Band as it strode in to take first prize in the A Grade Quick Step Marching Contest - much to the delight of the home crowd. The Hauraki Brass Band by this time had become the cadets band for the battalion. No doubt this created some increased competition between these last two remaining Thames bands of the time. [39]



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