ASHBURTON FIRE BRIGADE.
On Tuesday the annual meeting and banquet of the Fire Brigade was held. During the day a full code of bunting signals and evergreen devices decorated the bell tower and engine house, and at five o’clock a demonstration took place—the engine being drawn through several streets of the township by four fine looking black horses, and manned by the members of the Brigade, who for the first time wore their new caps with red bands, the earnest of the uniforms yet to be presented to them by the Borough Council, v At six p.m. the sixth annual meeting of the Brigade was held in the Borough Council chambers, a good muster of the members being present. After the usual routine business had been gone through, the election of officers was proceeded with, resulting as follows : —Captain, Mr. James Wilkie ; Lieutenant, Ml’. J. C. Dolman ; Foreman, Bradley ; Treasurer, Mr. G. Parkin ; Secretary, Mr. W. Adams. The auditors’ report was x-ead and adopted, showing a balance to the good of L 24 17s. Gd., and a vote of thanks was passed to the auditors, Messrs. Wilkie and Adams. Mr. Wilkie read the annual report as follows : Ashburton, Trd February, IBSo. To the Members of the Ashburton Volunteer Fire Brigade. Gentlemen, —It > s m 7 pleasant duty on this ihcjBTOX anniversary of the Brigade to congratulate you upon tlxe great progress that has been made during the past year, and the great improvement made in the means of controlling and extinguishing fires in this town. During the above periods, as you are aware, several wells have been sunk, all, with one exception, being successful in the highest degree. We have been granted the use of a section in a central position, to which the engine-house has been removed, and upon which a new bell, obtained at considerable expense, has been erected. The old bell has been re-erected upon its former site, so that we have a fire alarm at each end of the town. We have had two alarms of fire since our last annual meeting—one being on the occasion of a serious fire in Tancred stxoet; and I have to congratulate you upon the successful efforts made to avert the furthet spreading of the fire. The auditors’ report will be laid before you, when it will be found that we have a fanmargin to show on the right side of the account. . , , , . . The depressing time through which wc have been passing has prevented the Borough Council from doing as much as they would wish towards improving the position of the Brigade; but I hope that before another year elapses we shall be in possession of a proper uniform, a matter of very great importance. I would call the attention of members to the great necessity ofregular attendance at practice, as it much enhances our usefulness. G. Compton. A letter was read from Mr. J. M. Cambridge, resigning with regret the office of Secretary on account of pressure of business. , .. , In consideration of Mr. Cambridge s services he was elected an honorary member for life. The tender of W. Adams was accepted for the office of Enginekeeper, and the meeting then adjourned to the Somerset x Hotel, where the banquet in celebration of the anniversaxy was held. It is scarcely necessary to add that the spread was managed in host Shearman’s usual admirable style. . . The Mayor presided, and Mi’. Wilkie occupied the vice chair. After the cloth had been removed the usual loyal and patriotic toasts were proposed. Mr. Tvess responded for the “ General Assembly,” with which his name had been coupled, and in doing so spoke highly of Mr. E. G. Wright, and paid a compliment to the present Government. Mr. Wilkie proposed the Mayor, sayin a that he had came forward at a time when they were hard up for a man to take the chief place in the Borough. The Mayor, in responding, spoke hopefully of the future of Ashburton, and expressed a belief that the depression would pass away with the ingathering of the harvest. .’ _ , Mr. Cambridge proposed the Borouglx Council. They had taken the inhabitants from the days of darkness and dust into licrht, and they had always done what they could to help the Borough along. _ Councillors Roberts, St. Hill, R. Friedlander, aps Rpbinson, briefly responded. The Mayor Woposed the toast of the evenipg. The'usefulness of the Brigade ■was shown at the l(ist fire, and if it had not been for the Brigade, Ashburton would have sxxffered to a much greater extent. He had to propose the health of the newly-elected Captain of the Brigade, Mr. James Wilkie. The toast was drunk with musical honors and three times three. Mr. Wilkie, in responding, said he felt himself in a state of fog. One reason why he was elected Captain was, he supposed, that because during the last fire, while the Brigade was working hard, he was in bed Another reason was that Mr. Compton, the late Captain, probably the duties too laborious, and so the was shuffled on to him. He hoped r if he was not up to his work they would f kick him out. Mr. J. C. Dolman, the re-elected Lieutenant. Mr. Dolman returned thanks for the manner in which his health had been drunk. He hoped the members would “roll up,” and he thought if they did, by this time next year they would have a very superior Brigade. He urged the necessity of' a properly "organised fire
police to assist the Brigade and to keep order at fires.
Councillor Robertson proposed, “ The Foreman of the Works.” The foreman they had chosen was a good one, for he was a bricklayer, and therefore did not believe in wooden buildings. Being a builder he was well suited for the office. Ho ■would propose the health of Mr. James Bradley, foreman of the works. Mr. Bradley responded, and in doing so referred to the necessity of a capitation grant. It was more important that Fire Brigades should receive this than Volunteers. If Insux-ance Companies were to be depended upon the Brigade would be without funds, while the Borough had not always funds at hand. He thought the matter should be urged upon the Government. He also thought a Bill ought to be introduced into Parliament to compel Insurance Companies to aid the Brigades. Other toasts followed, and the meeting was enlivened throughout by songs from various members.
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