The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas, et Prevalebit. SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31, 1881. The Past Year.
TOWN EDITION. [lssued at 430 p.m.j
The year 1881, which is on the eve of passing away, has not been an uneventful one for Ashburton. If very much lias not been actually accomplished in the way of progress during the past twelve months, a good deal has at least been initiated that promises to bear good fruit at no very distant period. When iBBr dawned the cloud of depression which had settled over the colony more than two years before, was still lowering ; the prospect was a black one indeed, and there was nothing whatever to indicate that the sun was shining behind those black clouds. Of course, persons were not wanting who were ready to declare that as every dog had its day, New Zealand had had hers ; that she had been living too fast and was now utterly “ played out.” But the depression was not confined to New Zealand alone ; it was felt all over the world, and its effects have ,not yet wholly disappeared, and during the past three months there have been re-assuring signs of better times coming; the black clouds have not blown over, but there are rifts distinctly perceptible in them, little bits of blue sky visible, which lead one to imagine that it is not taking too sanguine a view of the future to predict that before New Year’s Day, 1883, shall have arrived the reaction which has seemingly set in in Victoria, Tasmania, and New South Wales will have extended to these shores, and that there will be a general revival of trade and business generally throughout the colony. Leaving the future, with this hopeful feeling, to take care of itself, let us take a retrospective glance at the past, and briefly review what has taken place in Ashburton during that time. Very early in the year a most important public work was undertaken in the construction of the outfall drain, which, completed at a cost of Li.,700, has revolutionised the drainage system of the place. The refuse water no longer finds its way into the street gutters to flow anywhere, or, worse still, to stagnate, and, by sinking into the ground, poison the water of our wells and breed sickness and disease. Now the liquid sewage flows into good concrete side-channels flushed with ever-running water and is carried away to the out-fall drain, from whence it is emptied into the river below the town. The importance of this work from a sanitary point of view cannot be over-estimated. The extension of the Mount Somers Railway has been recently proceeded with, and the samples of coal and stone lately exhibited from this district give abundant proof of its mineral resources, and lead to the hope that they may soon be developed to the uttermost. And now for some small items : A new Road district the Rangitata has been formed out of the Upper Ashburton Road District ; a hunt club has been most successfully established; a war has been waged against the small birds, sparrow clubs having been established in nearly every part of the district. The small-birds # nuisance, as it is called, J
is not yet abated but remains as much of a nuisance as ever. Whether we shall devise some more effectual method of dealing with it during the present year remains to be seen. The 24th of March last was an important day for Ashburton, for on thrt day the Industrial Exhibition was opened by his Excellency the Governor at the Town Hall. The Exhibition was an unqualified success, and it undoubtedly gave a stimulus to trade hereabouts at a time when things were not so lively even as they are at present. Such exhibitions are extremely useful for the healthy spirit of emulation they excite amongst trades and manufactures. The project of getting up an exhibition originated with the Industrial Association, to the members of which the community is under a considerable obligation. More recently the Association has initiated the Cheese and Butter Factory scheme, and there can be little doubt of the concern proving a remunerative one. The benefits derivable from it, should it indeed be successfully established, will not be limited to the Shareholders of the Company, but must indirectly benefit the entire community by adding to the resources of the place and increasing its importance. A suggestion was recently made that the Association should be wound up, and we are glad that that suggestion fell to the ground, for we are satisfied that the Association has a most useful career before it. It was recently proposed by this Society that a Woollen Factory should be established in Ashburton —a working plant, etc., having been offered - to it on very favorable terms, but although the proposal was negatived so far as the Association was concerned we are glad to hear that it is not to be altogether abandoned until it has been re considered by a committee of gentlemen interested in the project. We trust the decision arrived at by those gentlemen may be a favorable one, for we are thorough believers in these local industries and can see no reason why the Ashburton tweeds should not become as well known in the market as those of Mosgiel or Kaiapoi. It has been urged as an objection 10 the Woollen Factory scheme that such an undertaking would require an enormous capital to set it afloat, but if the experience of some of the Home manufactures is to be taken as any criterion this view is surely a mistaken one. Let us instance Mr Bliss’ case. But a comparatively few years ago Mr Bliss commenced business in a very humble way indeed at his native town of Chipping Norton, in Oxfordshire. The proprietor and his son, in fact, did most of the work, for they had but very little money in hand, and yet Bliss’ Tweeds have earned a world-wide reputation. A number of new buildings have been added to Ashburton during the past year and several important ones are in course of erection. In Havelock street have been erected a fine, new coachfactory, which is in every respect a credit to the place, adjoining - it are a row of .substantially built brick shops ; in Tancred street are new and commodious brick premises; a new bank, the Bank of Australasia, has been erected on an excellent site, and a great many private houses have gone up outside the town. The elections have of course been amongst the most exciting events of the year here as elsewhere. For Ashburton Mr E. G. Wright was returned unopposed ; for the neighboring and “ virgin constituency ” of Wakanui there were at one time no fewer than four candidates in the field. But to advert any great length to this struggle would be unnecessary, as it is so fresh in the recollection of the public. Mr J. C. Wason was returned by a majority of 10. Mr Purnell took his defeat with great good humor, and has not been liked the less for it. The other unsuccessful candidate could not meet the result of the election quite so philosophically. He had made up his mind to win, and was bitterly disappointed when he lost. He talks about appealing against the return' of Mr Wason, on the ground that that gentleman was unfairly elected—whether he will take his case into the Election Court remains to be seen.