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AUCKLAND, 1920.

» {By "Aotearoa."). Arriving at the wharf in one of the direct ocean going greyhounds of the deep, from Liverpool to Auckland, through the Panama canal in a fortnight's passage, I hailed a cab, or something like a handsome cab in appearance, but it turned out to be an electric taxi-cab, with an enclosed space where the horse used to be to carry bigga.ge. An engine and two postal carriages were receiving the southern mail from the steamer and in a few minutes, without a whistle or a puff of steam, started along the wharf for their journey direct to Wellington. The train was an electrical one, its speed 100 miles an hour, and it reached Wellington in less than five hours from the time the mail left the vessel's side. The Auckland city and district mails were dropped into an aperture in the wharf, which I was informed connected with a pneumatic tube, and the mails were swiftly carried in vacuum to the General Post Office, facing the Auckland railway station entrance as I remembered it in 1909. The driver of my motor-cab informed mc that every sub-post office and every pillar box in the city and suburbs was connected in like manner by subway automatic pneumatic tubes, and all letters, papers and parcels were swiftly conveyed to the General Post Office. In these sub-ways were all the water mains, electric lighting, telephone and * telegraph lines, which were, however, now getting out of date, owing to the prevalence o{ wireless telegraphy and telephony, but all the unsightly poles had been removed from the streets and the constant breaking up of the main street was done away with for ever. The first building to attract my attention was the Waverley Hotel. It seemed to be the same building, but changed in outward appearance. The fire escape balconies were filled with pot plants, and creepers were trailing in festoons from one balcony to another. It gave a pretty appearance, but it seemed to mc to be a terrible danger in the event of fire and a panic occurring, causing these obstructions on the balconies to be a source of danger. I mentioned my fears to my driver, who seemed an intelligent young fellow, and J he informed mc that ever since the closing of the hotels in the city and suburbs in November, 1911. there had been a great advance all along the line in matters pertaining to the convenience, safety, and general welfare of the Inhabitants of the city. All steam, fire, gas and oil engines, stoves, etc., had been forbidden. Everything was run by electricity: cooking, heating, ironing and every mechanical work of the past that utilised steam or pas or oil. had been done away with. A fire was hardly ever known, and if there was a fire it was put down to an incendiary, for no fire places were allowed in the houses, and the owner of the pre--1 mises was looked upon with suspicion until he had cleared himself upon an investigation. The rats and matches business did not now obtain credence, simply because no matches were carried dr used by any of the inhabitants. Fire insurance premium- had dwindled to such an extent that they were hardly worth collecting, and the Fire Brigades were so vpry seldom called out that they were classed with the old age pensioners, having little or nothing to do but to draw their pay. The news of the great reform made mc look at the two buildings that had. at one time, monopolised the opposite | corners of Queen-street, where the hard- ' est citizens of the district were constantly seen blocking pedestrian traffic. | a cause of complaint by ladies trying to reach the ferry tees, the railway station and the Heme Bay and Remuera cars. | These buildings -were electrically lighted and beautifully illuminated shops, which gave a brilliant and animated appearance to the street, and the congestion of traffic caused by the loafing public was conspicuously absent, they had moved on and moved off. The thought of the trams made mc look for some, but none were in sight. and I thought that there was a breakdown somewhere, but on mentioning it to my guide as well as driver. I was informed that there had been a "breakup," not a "break-down." The refusal by the City Council to allow gas, steam, or oil motor power, and the fact that all the city streets had been asphalted, thus giving electric motor 'buses and cabs a clear, clean, noiseless, smooth running traffic, had caused the Auckland Electric Tramway Company to go into liquidation, and the tram rails, power station, iron standards in the streets and all the paraphernalia of the old tram service had been relegated to the scrap heap. The motor "buses and cabs were as quick as the old cars and stopped wherever required by passengers. The whole service belonged to the municipality—who, in their wisdom, refused to allow horse traffic in the city streets; and I was further informed that all the adjoining districts had joined together to provide concrete lines of trams like paving stones laid flush with the metalling, thus enabling motors to run noiselessly and without vibration all over the outlying districts; and regular motor 'buses ran to Rotorua in quick time, and afforded a much more enjoyable trip than the train service. Naturally I was interested with regard to the '"No-license" vote of 1911. and how it worked —whether the place had become unbearable and uninhabitable because of sly-grog selling and immorality iv all its phases. I was informed that things were pretty bad for a year or two, but drastic legislation was passed that not only heavily fined for the first offence, but made imprisonment compulsory, while a second offence gave prolonged imprisonment without fine. It was too drastic to make the game worth the candle, and liquor even for home consumption was gradually banished altogether. If a person were seen to walk unsteady he was taken immediately before the S.M., no time being given to sober up. and received his sentence straight away. Sometimes doctors could be found to give evidence under oath that the man was suffering from locomotor ataxia, or sudden rush of biood to the head, producing giddiness, etc.: but this was "too thin," because the evidence was laid on "'too thick," and this state of affairs did not last long. If a man wished to have a keg of beer or a case of whisky imported from outside the Dominion it had to be in a scarlet-coloured keg or ease, on which was branded in large white Ittters the contents and where it was going. Not many cared to have these scarlet packages left at their door 3, and the chaffing they received about having the scarlet fever in their houses generally caused a speedy subsidence of the

ferer In question. To try «nd obtain liquor in packages labelled kerosene and varnish, as in the old King Country day., was never attempted, as that trick and others of like nature were too wellknown, apd the trickster "went up" for too long a period to make the risk worth trying. No liquor was procurable in Greater _i_c_ia_d &n_ suburbs, which included from Manukau Heads to Papakura and Wairoa, Mahurangi, to the sea. Suddenly I felt a great concussion. I thought that my motor cab had burst up, but found to my sorrow that it was .a kick in the ribs from the bar-tender who had wakened mc up from my dream, and whose angry feelings were expressed in a large amount of language as he cussed mc and everyone else, as he informed mc that the "No-license" vote had swept away the whole of the Auckland, City and suburban hotels, and I awoke to the fact that it was closing time in November, 1911.

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AUCKLAND, 1920. Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 68, 20 March 1909

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