Our Hamilton has plenty of namesakes

Tim Brooker, Rotarian and author
Tim Brooker, Rotarian and author

Hamiltons of the world . . . unite.

Yes, there is more than one and Tim Brooker, of Hamilton East Rotary Club, has found 128 others and written about them in a coffee table book.

And he hasn't been to any of the others.

The nearest, Hamilton Diggings, is about 20 minutes from Ranfurly in Central Otago's goldfields and there's only a cemetery there now . . . and a curling club.

The furthest, 492 Hamiltonia, is a deep space asteroid and there's nothing there but rock and ice.

Mr Brooker, a retired St Paul's Collegiate teacher who moved from Britain eight years ago and retired five years ago, came up with the idea of writing the book to be sold by Rotary clubs in Hamiltons around the world as a fundraiser.

He began researching in October, turning to Google to find them, and then collected information through the Rotary clubs.

"I did not realise how many Hamiltons there were," he said. "Originally, I thought there might be 20 but there's 129 and there's real variety."

He did not find the other New Zealand one until he was proof-reading his finished work and stumbled upon it while checking something online.

"The original Hamilton is in Scotland, named after the Duke of Hamilton in 1606. The biggest one is Hamilton, Ontario, in Canada, one people have heard of, which has 519,949 people. The capital of Bermuda is Hamilton. There's one in the Czech Republic - what the heck is one doing in the Czech Republic? - Africa, Sri Lanka, South Korea," he said.

"In America there are quite a few Hamiltons, too. Cincinnati is the county city of Hamilton County, Ohio, Chattanooga is the county city of Hamilton county, Tennessee."

Mr Brooker said there were so many places called Hamilton because many people carried the name and had had places named after them.

The book has been designed by Wintec student Lisa Ryan who has used Mr Brooker's text alongside professionally shot photographs from around the world supplied free.

Mr Brooker was amazed at the co-operation he got in the process, which enabled a speedy completion of the project.

"I don't know how far I would have got if I had done it just for me."

It is being printed by Print House in Hamilton with an initial print run of 8000.

"If we sell all 8000 our Rotary club stands to make $200,000 and other clubs will make $80,000. A third of that will be used on a project in Hamilton East, a third on a Rotary International project, which would not be in a Hamilton . . . in the islands or Africa, and a third would be to service the funding of subsequent books."

Mr Booker has similar books in mind for Cambridges and Wellingtons around the world, all named after the original Cambridge and the Duke of Wellington.

The 236 page full colour hardback, called Hamiltons of the World, will go on sale next month for $45. It will be officially launched at SkyCity Hamilton on October 4.

Correction - An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the population of Hamilton, Ontario as 5,550,000. It's been updated to the correct number which is 519,949 - according to Statistics Canada.

Waikato Times