The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas, et Prevalebit. FRIDAY, DECEMBER 23, 1881. Local Industries.
TOWN EDITION. [lssued at 4.30 p. m. j
We think themembeis of the Local Industries Association have acted wisely in not allowing their Society to fall to the ground. If it has not accomplished very much in the past, there is no reason why it should not do so in the future. But truth to tell, the members have been somewhat apathetic; they have hardly (as a body) evinced that interest in the thing of which it is deserving, as the generally sparse attendance at the monthly meetings has shown. There are, happily, signs of better times coming, and it is impossible
to say what new industries may not be projected when money is more plenti- ] ful, and the cloud of depression which has so long been lowering has passed altogether away. And in the event of any new industry:'Being proposed, it is highly desirable in the interests of the public that such an Association as the one under discussion should be in existence to investigate the affair thoroughly, and pass its judgment upon it. If the Association has done nothing else, it has at least given us an Industrial Exhibition, and introduced the Cheese and Butter Factory to the public. This scheme is at length beginning to assume shape. The shares are going off well; the day has actually been fixed for the appointment of permanent directors; an eligible site has been offered on fair terms, and, thanks to Mr Bowron, the Association knows how and when to secure a competent manager. In fact there is every reason to believe that the project will turn out most successfully. Two other important industries were discussed at the last meeting of the Association, viz., a woollen factory and a paper mill. A plant for the first named was offered to the Association on what appeared to be exceptionally favorable terms, and there is no doubt that Mr Bullock was right when he said that he had always regarded a woollen factory as one of the most remunerative undertakings which the Association could engage in. Clothing we must have, and considering the quality of„the goods turned out at Kaiapoi and Mosgiel, there is no reason why we should depend any longer upon the Home market for our tweeds at any rate. The Mosgiel factory is, we believe, paying well, and the Kaiapoi factory now that it has business men at the helm, is also doing well, and promises to develop into a great concern. The people of Oamaru, too, are about to start a factory of their own for the manufacture of tweeds, blankets, and other goods, and they evidently mean business. There has been nO shilly-shallying with them. They took up the project about the same time as the people of Timaru, but while the latter were blowing about what they were going to do Oamaru went to work, appointed directors, issued shares, secured a site, and having put their hand to the plough, did not look back. The shares have been rapidly taken up, in fact so encouraging are the prospects of the concern that a telegram published in yesterday’s papers, announces that it is proposed to increase its capital to and to place a number of shares on the Victorian market, from which place promises of support have been received. We congratulate the Oamaruites on their push and energy. Even from little Kaikoura comes the prospectus of a projected woollen factory, and several persons in Ashburton have been written to asking them ,to become shareholders. But why should we not go in for a woollen factory of our own ? Here we are, most centrally situated, with water power , available, and a fair prospect of making the scheme answer. But it is evident that Barkis is not willing. At the meeting the other night, it was urged as an objection against the woollen factory scheme that the members of the association must not have too many irons in the fire. But after all the irons would be very small ones. The capital of the cheese and butter factory is only and that sum surely does not represent the entire available capital in the district. The time has arrived when the establishment of local industries requires to be more carefully considered than heretofore. Properlyconducted these industries mean wealth and prosperity, and directly or indirectly benefit to the entire community. This is an agricultural district, but it is not wise to place too much reliance upon our agricultural resources. We have all experienced the ill effects of a bad harvest, and the climate of this colony is so variable that the farmer cannot reckon with anything like certainty upon his crops turning out as he could desire them to turn out. Then all the more reason for having two or three strings to our bow. And this brings us to the consideration of Mr Braddell’s suggestion respecting the establishment of a paper-mill for the manufacture of paper from straw. From information furnished to the Association by Mr Braddell at its last meeting, it appears that the requisite plant for a paper-mill capable of turning out five tons of paper per week, ready for the market, and worth in England L 25 per ton, is Li,Sso. They pay L 3 5s a ton in England at present for straw. Here an unlimited supply of the article can be had for 20s a ton at any time, while frequently the straw is obtainable for the trouble of carting it away. In fact last season many farmers burned great quantities of straw as utterly useless. The Cheese and Butter Factory promises well, but it should not absorb all the money and energy in the district. If Ashburton is to make headway she must adopt the motto of the New Zealand Clothing Factory, and “ Encourage Local Industry.”