Edwin Henry Hardy: a Waiorongomai mine owner
Hart, P. (2016). Edwin Henry Hardy: a Waiorongomai mine owner. (Te Aroha Mining District Working papers, No. 97). Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato, Historical Research Unit.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/10429
Edwin Henry Hardy worked as a surveyor before going to England to study mining. Upon his return in 1896 he was a representative in Hauraki of English mining companies and supervised several Coromandel mines in addition to acquiring mines in several districts for overseas interests. In late 1898 he purchased the former Aroha Gold Mines’ property at Waiorongomai, which he developed using his own financial resources but probably backed by his wider family. Using his surveying skills, he traced a reef missed by previous owners, and commenced to develop the mines systematically. He also spent several years improving the battery, experimenting with new treatment processes and seeking a patent for a gold saving method. Like all mine owners, Hardy tried to work his property as cheaply as possible, resulting in conflicts with the Thames High School and the county council as he tried to reduce costs. He proved to be very determined in his rows with those he considered his enemies. In addition to developing the Premier mine, profitably, he tested other ground, notable the Big Blow. He supervised both battery and mines, but as he did not have a mine manager’s certificate had to employ a series of managers for the latter. After obtaining a good return for several years, in 1904 he formed Hardy’s Mines Ltd, retaining a financial interest and for a time supervising its work before becoming involved with other mines and clashing with the company he had formed. Hardy also held interests in mining companies in other districts. After leaving Waiorongomai, he settled in Te Kuiti and worked as a surveyor, a purchaser of Maori land, and a farmer. As at Coromandel and Waiorongomai, he was prominent in the local community, notably as a member of the borough council and Te Kuiti’s second mayor. Over time, his financial state deteriorated, partly through being involved with some very dubious businessmen and their schemes. In 1931 he returned to Waiorongomai to show his son Malcolm where he knew of some good ore, but died in dramatic circumstances before he could show him the location. For some time Hardy profited from mining, partly because he took over existing workings and partly because he was able to find ore that others had missed, but as with all mining, profits faded and he had to find other ways to earn a living. But compared with other mine owners at Waiorongomai, he was, for a time, very successful.
Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato
© 2016 Philip Hart