THE MAYORAL BANQUET.
Last night Mr. Thomas Bullock, who has so acceptably discharged the duties of Mayor of Ashburton for the past fifteen months, entertained the members of Council, and the Council staff to a banquet in the Somerset Hotel, and the occasion of his retiring from the office into which Mr. Hugo Friedlander hajl that day been installed. The Somerset’s table was furnished temptingly as usual, and after it had been duly honored, the usual loyal and patriotic toasts were given and received. After the “ County Council” had been proposed by Mr. Williamson, and the “ County Road Boards” by the chairman (Mr. Bullock) Mr. Williamson asked a bumper for the toast of the evening “ the Retiring Mayor.” He had known Mr. Bullock for many years, and had had many opportunities of observing his conduct and noting his character. Mr. Bullock had occupied the chair of the Council for 15 months —two terms, one a short one to be sure—but during his two terms he had connected feelings of deep friendship amongst the Councillors, and won the esteem of the people. They all knew how much the Mayor had done for the township during its early history, and he thought they could not say anything that would enhance him in their eyes. The toast was enthusiastically drunk. Mr. Bullock, in replying, thought Mr. Williamson was giving him a higher character than he deserved, but it would be quite fair for him to say that he had always taken a keen interest in the town’s progress. If they went back over the past few years, say to 1867, they would learn that the only places in the Ashburton were the hotel they were now in, Turton’s place, Friedlanders’ store, Williamson’s, and his own. Now,. though the borough was only a year or so old, it presented an appearance that was creditable, and and a history that was remarkable. The speaker, after making reference to the question of asphalting the streets, drainage, the water supply, and other questions, took the opportunity of again thanking the Council for the continued courtesy they had shown to him. The borough's funds had been low, and there had been difficulty in getting both ends to meet, but ho was quite sure there was a good time coming, and that a bright future was in store for Ashburton. He felt that the time would come again, and was not far off when property would be so enhanced in value as to bring double what it was worth now. Mr. Bullock concluded with proposing the toast of “the Mayor elect.” He felt fatherly towards Mr. Friedlander, who was like a child entering upon a career. He hoped the new Mayor would get from them the same flattering expression of good will that had been given to him that night. Mr. Friedlander, in acknowleding the toast, recounted some of the “ dangers of the way ” that were experienced in the early days of the township, and drew a flattering comparison between the Ashburton of then and the Ashburton of now. Much of the progress and good appearance of the township were due to Mr. Bullock, who was a man of steady and perservering energy, and whose public spirit had been profitable in a high degree to the township. Mr. St. Hill proposed the “ Commercial Interests,” which was replied to by Messrs. R. Friedlander and W. H. Gundry. Mr. Gundry proposed the “ Agricultural Interests,” which were so closely allied to the “ Commercial Interests ” that it was difficult to say where they divided. Both were dependent to a very great extent upon the harvest, and both were now looking anxiously to the heavens. If the weather should be fine and dry until Christmas he had every belief a good harvest would be reaped. Mr. Robinson replied to the toast. He denied that there was any rust as yet amongst the wheat in this district, and he put down the average of the new wheat crop of the county at 27 bushels, the barley at 37, and the oats at 40. Mr. Williamson also replied. Mr. Saunders proposed the healths of “ The Council Staff. ” It was a very disagreeable duty always, to have to discharge men with whom there was no fault to find, and he hoped the time would soon come round when the Council would be able to renew engagements that had been terminated, and to renew them at salaries far higher than they have been paid before. He coupled the names of Mr. C. 0. Focks, Engineer, and Mr. C. Braddell, Town Clerk, who both replied. The other toasts proposed were “ The Ladies,” “The Press,” the “Borough Solicitor,” &c.
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