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Thomas Lawless: a publican at Waiorongomai and elsewhere

An Irishman whose father and mother were publicans, Thomas Lawless was one also for most of his life. After settling at Thames in 1867, he mined there for some years before moving to Coromandel, where he ran several hotels. Returning to Thames, he was a tobacconist for several years before settling at Waiorongomai and running a large new hotel there. With the fading of the goldfield, his financial struggles resulted in bankruptcy and having to sell his hotel. To survive, he had to take on other jobs before returning to Thames in 1887 to run an aerated water factory as well as some hotels. When living in Paeroa from 1891 until 1899 he was an ironmonger, but after settling in Waihi became a publican again, actively assisted by his wife. Subsequently he ran hotels in Taranaki and Whanganui. During most of these years he invested in mines and mining companies on many Hauraki goldfields. Lawless was prominent everywhere he settled, being actively involved in social, musical, sporting, and church activities along with varioys efforts to assist these communities. He was a notable cricketer, and in Thames was a Volunteer. His wives were also involved in social activities and the Catholic Church. His family life seems to have been a happy one, apart from the death of his first wife in a tragic accident. Lawless was a man for whom almost nobody had a harsh word, apart from his defense of the Catholic Church in an argument over religious education in public schools.
Working Paper
Type of thesis
Te Aroha Mining District Working Papers
Hart, P. (2016). Thomas Lawless: a publican at Waiorongomai and elsewhere. (Te Aroha Mining District Working papers, No. 143). Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato, Historical Research Unit.
Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato
© 2016 Philip Hart