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THE ASHBURTON EXHIBITION.

Report by Mr. E. Wakefield, M-H.R. The following letter, enclosing Mr Wakefield’s report to Government on the recent Industrial Exhibition held in Ashburton, has been received by M * • S. E. Poyntz, Secretary to the Local Industries Association : Colonial Secretary's Office, Wellington, Gth May, 1881. Sir, —I have the honor, by direction of the Colonial Secretary, to forward for the information of the Managing Committee a copy of the report by Air. E. Wakelie'd, M. H. R., on the recent Industrial Exhibition held at Ashburton. —I have, &c., G. S. Cooper S. E. Foyntz, Esq., Hon. Secretary of the late Industrial Exhibition. Timaru, 30th March, 1881. Sir, — I have the honor to report that I attended the Ashburton Exhibition of Local Industries, which was opened by His Excellency the Governor, on the 24th instant, and spent some days in examining the exhibits, and ascertaining various particulars regarding them. As art effort to arouse public interest in the productions of the colony, the Exhibition was eminently successful, all the available space being fully occupied, and the attendance being such as to amply repay the promoters and exhibitors for their time, trouble, and expense. The service rendered to the colony by those who originate and conduct the laborious management of demonstrations of this kind cannot easily be too highly valued. The spirit of inquiry into the question of increasing the number and extent of the productions of the country, as a means of affording new outlets for capital, and new employments for the people, is a matter of large public importance ; and those who devote their energies to stimulating it cannot but be regarded as public benefactors. The Government will, I am sure, be pleased to learn that the Ashburton Exhibition abundantly answered the true purpose for which it was instituted, that, namely, of attracting the intelligent attention of all classes to the materials for industrial occupation that lie around them, and instructing them, as far as means would allow, in the methods of utilizing those materials. I beg now to furnish you with my notes on the principal exhibits which appeared to me, to have an economic value.

Mineral Productions.—The exhibits of coal were very remarkable. They included specimens, some of them of great size, from Mount Hntt (a recent discovery), Brockley (Whitecliff's), Rockwood (Rakaia end of Malvern Hills) Springfield, Mount Somers, and Kakahu, in Canterbury, as well as several from the Grey and th i Buller, on the West Coast. It will be seen from this group of exhibits, that coal of a serviceable character is found in large deposits throughout the whole length of the range of hills skirting the Canterbury plains, a fact which affords the best prospects for the industrial future of that part of the colony. The local coals are already largely in use, and the notice which they gained at the Exhibitioh is calculated to lead to increased enterprise in bringing them into consumption. The delay in the construction of the Mount Somers railway was represented to me as the only obstacle that has prevented the wholesale development of the deposits of that spot; and the high rate of carriage on the railways generally was mentioned as a great discouragement to the coal industry. Among the exhibits in this department were several specimens of bituminous and anthracite coal, the latter of which is said to be of great value. These were from the hills near the gorge of the Rakaia. There were also shown a very interesting group of specimens found in the course of their explorations by the engineers who have recently been engaged in seeking an available route for a railway from Canterbury lo the West Coast. These included nine or ten different samples of coal, some of them of a superior class. Several remarkably fine specimens of oke were also shown. The exhibits of building stone were numerous, and of excellent quality. Among these, the white stone from Mount Somers, where it is said to exist in vast quantities, was the most prominent. The well-known and highly valued Oamaru stone was exhibited side by side with it, in cubes prepared for the purpose of comparison by weight. Tried by this test, the Mount Somers stone was obviously superior. A carved monumental tablet of Oamaru stone, however, exhibited as having been exposed to south-west weather for six years, and displaying chiselled marks and fine edges still unimpaired, proved that stone to be of a quality scarcely to be surpassed in the world for the finer purposes of the builder’s art. An excellent white stone from Albury, and another from Kakahu, almost equally good, were also shown. This latter, I am informed, is the material used in the large and handsome Catholic Church at Temuka, which forms such a prominent landmark from the Rangitata to Timaru. Specimens of blue grit from Dunedin, valuable hard building stones for rough work, were also exhibited. In worked stone, a large plain font in solid Oamaru stone, and a substantial and sightly mantlepiece in Castle Creek stone were exhibited together, with a mantle-

piece and-tables executed at Christchurch, from Italian marbles. Limestones of various kinds from Malvern and Kakahu, together with fine specimens of lime burnt from them, were shown. The pure white chalk from Oxford appeared to great advantage. There was also a most interesting exhibit of cement made from this chalk, with which was shown a specimen of real Portland cement, which it is hoped the Oxford cement will ultimately rival. In this group appear some valuable samples of mortar and cement made from the well-known Mahurangi limestones. I regard these experiments in the production of hydraulic cement as of great importance, and consider the progress demonstrated by these exhibits as highly encouraging. One of the finest exhibits in this department was that of fire-bricks from Springfield. These beautiful productions were highly finished and of superlative quality ; and I was assured by professional men, of whom I made enquiries, that they were not only better, but 25 per cent, cheaper, than imported articles of the same description. Fire-bricks from the Brunner clays were also shown ; but, though probably possessing valuable serviceable qualities, they did not compare at all favorably with those from Springfield in point of finish. Common bricks and flooring-tiles, made at Ashburton, were shown, displaying excellent handiwork, but not free from the prevailing defects of all New Zealand bricks, the result, probably, partly of inferior clay, and partly of short burning Drain pipes of magnificent quality, from huge cylinders down to slender tubes, for household purposes, were shown by several Canterbury exhibitors, accompanied by fine specimens of brown glazed and white (terracotta) work from fire-clay ; chimney-tops, garden-tiles, coarse pottery, and a most useful and ingenious description of sinktraps, with moveable grates, from the same material. The exhibits of terracotta from Malvern were also excellent, and the ryhole of this group demonstrated unmistakably that this important branch of industry has been completely mastered in the colony. A good exhibit of gas-t\r, pitch, and asphalt, with specimens of their application to pavement, street channel-: ing, and the lining of cisterns —all Ashburton work —deserves mention here. A small sample of hematite from Nelson

V was most valuable painting uiaterial, that is not nearly so widely used as it ought to be. Pottery of various kinds formed a most gratifying feature of the Exhibition. From Christchurch came brown-ware, glazed-ware, jars of all sorts and sizes, demijohns, stone-ware, Rock-ingham-ware (a homely kind of crockery of rustic appearance), figured and colored goods, garden-vases, fountains, and filters. All those classes are now produced at prices that enable the manufacturer to undersell the importer. From Otago (Milton works) came excellent specimens of table and toilet services, quite equal To' the ordinary sorts of imported goods, ornamental flower-pots of great elegance and finish, sets of table crockery a particular design to order, and other articles of common use, not to be distinguished from those imported, ; Erom Dunedin came clay-pipes of I various patterns, including all the more familiar forms of “cutty,” and dhudeenf’ Porcelain-work of the most beautmiT description was displayed by the manu-j facturer from Christchurch, who , made the various articles before the eyes of the visitors. The materials for this work are imported at present, but it is to be con*, fidently hoped that suitable ones will , be obtained from Malvern, which, seems to be a laboratory of Nature. Kaolin and feldspar have both been found there,: but! not yet in sufficient purity for the purposes of this trade. Specimens were exhibited. r The plumbago from Rockwood (Rakaia) ■- makes good crucibles and muffles-for high temperatures. Specimens of this singular substance were shewn, and their qualities ■ explained.

Wrought Metals. Cooking - ranges and washing-boilers, in great variety, were exhibited by Christchurch and Ashburton makers. In the common lines the imported - articles are driven out of the market by., the manufactured, which are excellently finished, very durable, and very cheap.-.: A most ingenious automatic washingmachine, which ought to be used in every household, was shown in full workingIt consists of an ordinary washing-copper with a second copper boiler fitted inside, leaving half an inch between the two. The upper boiler is perforated at the bottom and at short distances round the edge, and the water between the two boiling over through the holes into 1 the ■■ upper boiler with great force, - effectually dispenses with all rubbing or adru|Aipg/i. or handling the clothes. I witnessed the machine in full work, and came uhhesitatingly to the conclusion that if anything would wash a blackamoor : white, that would. The invention'and manufacture are both due to a working boiler-maker ■» at Christchurch. In agricultural ma-i chinery flexible-tined harrows from Gore, Southland, a recent patent, attracted particular attention. This appears to. be ,a , most valuable implement, from its effec- - , tiveness, adaptability, cheapness, - and ‘ remarkable simplicity. A noble doublefurrow plough, from Christchurch, was _ also shown, and a large assortment, $f dairy and domestic: machinery, j> u mPßj fire-engines, and other articles in iron. Some excellent garden seats in iron And | kauri timber, with ornaoieiitel bronzed* <, iron backs, made at Ashburton, were L well “ worthy of notice. ‘The exhibits’of tinware were numereus and very good. This industry seems to be firmly established and rapidly expanding; Excellent^fpOCfmens were shown of plain, , crystallised, japanned, and painted ware, applied to all . kinds of domestic purposes. Among the articles specially- noticeable; were preserve tins with lids made to be sealed with wax or fat, stamped goods, moulds, < teapot hinges, and buttons in tin and ■ brass, plain and japanned. This button manufacture deserves a word of particular remark. The buttons, which are exactly, similar to the common imported .'metal ’. trouser buttons, are made from the waste pieces of metal forming the refuse of the tin trade, which would othefwisb M I simply an incumbrance to be got rid of. The manufacturer stated that, though' he had only recently begun this work, he already had large orders, and that a hundred men could be employed in .the button trade alone. Good tidging arfd spouting, made in Ashburton, churns, _ meat-safes, of excellent design and work-, . manship, washers for-fixing (irpn; a new and useful local’industry, wire-work chairs and stands from Timaru, and an excellent combination bath and lavatory, made in Ashburton, also deserve - in this department. Carriages' f shown in great variety by Ashburton and Christchurch manufacturers, ' displaying unexceptionable workmanship, and a number of novel and ingenious ; con- i trivances. The lack of .native hard woods, . suitable for this trade, and the desirability ■' of establishing plantations of, hickojy,..,, ash,-oak, and elm, were again brought to g my notice. My importunities to. the Go- J vernment on this subject,; however, been so persistent, and Have hitherto met with such a kindly and conrteons neglect, ' that I will not venture to renew them here. The exhibits of loctdly-madd i. saddlery and harness were admirable.:-! In this trade, as in so many others, the > local manufacturer easily competes srith the imoorter in the finest class of work,; but is beaten by machinery and cheap labor in the wholesale production of the; . common sorts.

Woo ware. — The exhibits of furniture , in mottled totara, honeysuckle, riinu J'J blackwood, oak, walnut, and kauri, were* displayed in a drawing-room compartment atone end of the main building; of the Exhibition, and excited general admiration. The beauty of the native woods for the cabinetmakers’ purposes is hardly •; to be surpassed, but an exhibit equally* 1 interesting with those of native.woods in ; .? the grain was that of superb furniture made in a variety of designs in japanned, gilt, and glazed kauri, a wood; which is so easily worked and so true of surface aa to afford singular facilities for decorative., and artistic furniture, the main cost of which is in the labor. Thus, a handsome' black-and-gold sideboard, of large size, , in exact imitation of Japanese work, arid lit to adorn any room in the country, was exhibited as the result of fourteen days’,' work at Christchurch. A magnificent, sideboard, of antique pattern, in ritnu, was also shown as a specimen of the • economical application of cheap _ native wood. It was polished so as to bring opt the rich grain of the wood, and the interior was highly finished in white pine. It was , called a “clerical” sideboard, and contained deep bins for the port and claret,' , which are popularly supposed to form the staple beverages of the dignitaries of the Church. It did not appear to me to be suited to the clergy of , , this country, but it was certainly an instructive illustration of the use to which the native woods may be put; ■ in a country where profuse household expenditure is the exception. Black-and-gold tripod flower-stands, mirror brackets, / 1 handsome bedroom furniture in kauri and V T white pine, canopied bedstead with spring mattress, and other articles of equal merit; ' all of Ashburton manufacture, were ex- ’ hibited in this department; while from Dunedin came a large and useful cabinet desk of cedar. Two large blocks of mottled totara, from Peel Forest, showing in what ■ part of the tree this peculiar grain isfound, and displaying its beauties upon their polished surface, formed a most attractive exhibit. With these were ■• ’ sections of ribbon-wood, shewing the separation of the layers, and accompanied ■' . by stripped lengths, capable of being used as bast by gardeners, or for the manufac- e [ ture of baskets and other articles require f • ing a tough, light, arid pliable noatdrml. An Exceedingly beautiful'collection, of ip- ■ laid native woodwork from a number of fine specimens pf fretwork iq ’’ white wood, executed at Ashburton - ,- wood vcarvings for the internal'dpppratiqn of houses, Venetian,bb.ads, caned chairs, and ( ] ] a number of smaller articles of use or

ornament, added greatly to the inures* < this class of exhibits. A great variety u specimens of artificial graining, displayin a high degree of shill, were also shown I> Christchurch tradesmen. Baskets of al shapes and sizes made from osiers, am marked at very low prices, showed tha this useful industry is fairly established A set of strong, rough, but very shape! and serviceable baskets made at Moun Somers, entirely of ribbon-wood, and als marked at strikingly low prices, attractei special attention by the novelty am ingenuity of their man u faf ;t ure. Agricultural Produce.—The exhibit of grain were not very numerous, bu their quality was particularly fine, somi of the samples grown on the driest part o • the plains, bearing testimony to what cai be done by careful selection and gone farming. Wheats were shown varyinj from flS&lbs. to 671hs. to the bushel, oat: up to Sllbs., and barley up to 551bs. I sample of mummy wheat, the beardec grain of ancient Egypt, grown at Ashbur ton, from seed taken out of a mummy case and probably 3,000 years old, was ex hibited as a curiosity. In appearance it is a very strong milling wheat, but I was in formed that it has defects which make i: unsaleable, except at a nominal price. 1 have induced some of the best farmers ir this district to sow some of it for experimental purposes, however, for I cannot . help thiuking that the children of Israel knew what they were about when they speculated so largely in this cereal. » “There is com in Egypt” is one of the oldest proverbs on record. I was pleased to see a very good collection of farm and garden seeds, grown near Ashburton, with a view to supplying the market on a large scale. This ought to be a much more ex- . tensive branch of agriculture than it is at present ; and it is sure to become so as '■ r , soon as the export trade in meat necessitates high farming. Fine samples of flour, oatmeal, and pearl barley from Christchurch and Timaru were shown. A , very interesting diagram was displayed in this department, exhibiting in colored * l lines running across tabulated columns the - fluctuations in the price of wheat, oats, '' and barley for the last ten years. I was *-, informed that this valuable compilation * had been lithographed, and I have reason ' 1 to think it will be found useful by farmers * and all who are concerned in the grain t trade. ’ There were four exhibits of potato I products, namely, two of starch, and one each of potato flour and perfumed toiletpowder. The starch was of fine quality, and showed that this useful material can be successfully produced. These samples were made by hand, one at Christchurch, ' and the other at Ashburton, merely as exEsrinients. There seems to be no doubt, owever, that by the aid of machinery ■, this industry might be profitablj established on an extensive scale. I gave ’ particular attention to an interesting exhibit of five samples of sugar-beet, grown at Ashburton, with the saccharine matter .in two stages of preparation, and the pressed pulp. Some of the roots shown - were stated by the exhibitor to be of inferior quality for the production of sugar, • but one sample was said to be of the ' right sort. 1 could not form any opinion sas- to /the .possibility of the manufacture of - beet-sugar being profitably pursued, but -ill gathered from my inquiries that the •yield of roots at Ashburton would be very • great, '.something like forty tons to the • sere; and - the exhibitor, who is ex..perienced in the beet-sugar industry in •Germany, assured me that the percentage iof saccharine matter in the expressed Itqnbeiis 15 per cent, from Ashburton grown roots, whilst in Germany 12 per -Cent.-< hr 1 considered satisfactory. The •samples included one of the juice merely -pressed from the roots, and one of the same juice reduced to the condition of molasses. The next stage towards the production of sugar would have required j'the aid of machinery and chemicals that are not at present available. A specimen of German beet-sugar was shown with the other.articles ; and the whole exhibit was a highly, instructive one. Chicory grown, roasted, and prepared for sale, at Ashburton, was: exhibited in all its stages, from the roots to the ’ marketable article in canisters.; Tobacco was shown growing {vigorously in pots, and also in various stages of;preparation, up to finished cakes andioigars madeat Ashburton. Several fine Samples of linseed were exhibited from Ashburton and other parts of Canterbury, aud its application to several useful purposes was well displayed. A good assort- 1 ftfent'-Cf cordage was shown in native flax and Italian and Russian hemp, and also a large variety of twines of native flax, locally grown linseed and other materials. A manufacturer of twine for binding corn and of cordage seated that he preferred Row Zealand grown linseed to imported hemp, and that he would be glad to take large quantities of it, bat that at present it was not to be got. I may say that I have communicated with several farmers on this subject,, and that I believe next gsr a considerable quantity of linseed will grown, and will be found a very profitable Crop. ? The exhibits of leather goods were few in number, but good in quality. They included well tanned basils and blacksmiths’aprons, from Tinwald,near Ashburton j splendid dyed wool mats for carriages and hearthrugs, from Christchurch; harvesters’ and gardeners’ gloves, driving gloves and gaiters, very well made and Very cheap, from Christchurch; and parchment, from Nelson. Woollens and Wobllerfgoods, from Kaiapoi, Roslyn, aqd Mosgiel, including flannels, tweeds, broadcloths, hosiery, blankets, shawls, plaids, rum, etc., were shown in endless variety, aha of Oh unexceptionable quality. Hats of all kinds, including a largo assortment made from New Zealand rabbit fur, were shown 'by a Dunedin maker. Boots and shoes, machine and hand-made, from Christchurch and Ashburton, were shown ifeagniifc* variety.- Confectionery and bread and biscuits, from Christchurch and Ashburton, formed a varied and pleasing exhibit, notably bread made at Ashburton in , French and German .forms. Brushware, by an Auckland maker, was displayed in great variety and of excellent quality. Soap and candles from several places wc?e shown, the wax and paraffine candles from Rakaia appearing to great advantage. ... Hops, from Nelson, were shown side by side with samples from Tasmania and California, and malt, beers, from Wanganui; vinegar, from Ashburton ; honey and beeswax, sauces and inks, from Nelson ; and a host oPminor' productions all helped to make up an interesting and useful display. Rlectrotypy was exhibited and explained by‘a number of specimens of work done in Christchurch, including medallions, medals; plate, etc., from casts in gold, silver, copper, and nickel, spoons and forks plated, a galvanic battery wit! plated ’fittings, and' silvered carriage fit tings. Silversmiths’ work of fine quality from Christchurch, Ashburton anc TitnSru, including a case of ornaments o pawa shell set in silver forme( an attractive exhibit, and a still men interesting one was a number o handsome clocks made in Ashburton. A useful J> Industry was represented in the manufacture ofa great number of small artimei-frota hope and wood, the workshop of the exhibitor being a constant centre of attraction to ' visiters, especially the younger ones, to whom he duly expatiated on the advantages of turning their hand iopprdfitable peculations. - He informed m»thsi,'‘with a small outlay for topis, boya could easily earn a living at si|S trade in thoir leisure time. Priniifc branches was exemplified MSMOilllopti'~oprf~in]rnff of workmanship fro» . Ashburton, and yjmyfl A- multitude of beautiful amt useful articles of needlework, woolwork, leatherwork, '.. embroidery, and other female handiwork assisted to vary and •dorr the Exhibition.

! T" ;hcae rotes I have mainly given attcntii>ll to those exhibits which were of exclusively local production, or connected in some nay with local industries. My report would, however, be incomplete were I to say nothing about the large collection of interesting and instructive objects which, in my opinion, rendered the Exhibition a most valuable educating agent, by converting a great part of it into a museum. These included paintings and drawings by various artists, some of them being fine works of art, photographs, old books, comprising some specimens of black letter and old English; natural curiosities in great variety, a good collection of coins, antiquities of remarkable interest, a rare collection of Japanese weapons, costumes, and works of art ; models of celebrated buildings, ceramic productions of various countries and periods, and numberless other objects. When we consider how few opportunities the people of this colony have of seeing such things, or learning the humanizing and enlightening lessons they teach, it must be admitted, I think, that exhibitions such as that I have described serve a most useful public purpose, apart from that of advancing the commercial industry of the inhabitants. Before concluding my report, 1 desire to acknowledge in the warmest terms the ready assistance and untiring attention which I met with from the members of the Exhibition Committee, and particularly from the Secretary (Mr Poyntz.)—l have, &c., Edward Wakefield. The Hon. the Colonial Secretary, Wellington.

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THE ASHBURTON EXHIBITION., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 341, 11 May 1881

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3,965

THE ASHBURTON EXHIBITION. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 341, 11 May 1881

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