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The Kaitangata Railway.

On Friday last Sir J. L. C. Richardson turned the first, sod of the railway from Stirling to Kaitangata, to be constructed by the Kaitangata Railway, and Coal Company. The ceremony took, place within a short distance of the Kaitangata Cr.e"ek Bridge. The day way fine, and though the roads were not in particularly good order, there was a good muster of visitors from different parts of the district ; a few residents of Dunedin also putting in an appearance. At about ten o'clock in the afternoon, spade and barrow being in readiness, and the usual plank having been laid upon the ground, Mr Davidson, the chairman of the Company, requested Sir L. C. Richardson to initiate the work by turning the. first sod. Sir J. L. C. Richardson replied that he would do so with a great deal of pleasure, and taking off his coat, filled the barrow in a workmanlike. manner, wheeled it down the plank and. emptied it. Mrs A. J. Smyth th^n broke a bottle of champagne in the wheelbarrow amid tHe applause of those present. Sir .j. L. C. Richardson said that it was not his intention to make many remarks just then, but he must say that since he came along that morning he had noticed one or two very auspicious omens. In the first place he would call their attention to the fact that the day was the anniversary of the battle of Waterloo, the 18th of June, and he must say that the Committee had shown a vast amount of discretion in selecting an old military officer to turn the first sod o,f the new railway. He ! might also mention that as he came along he noticed a rainbow which embraced the area of the Kajtangata. coalfield. He thought they had every reason to say that the railway would he a great success. When he paid his first visit to that, part of the world, years ago, he arrived late in the evening on the top of a spur, andlqoking down upon the spot where they now were, ne thought it a wilderness that would never be peopled, and never be tilled, They thus saw what young blood would do--^it always made mistakes,— (Laughter) . Whe.n he thought of his first impression of the place," and of the initiation qf the present important undertaking, he felt very great pleasure jndeecL There was no' knowing what might be the resources of the district opened up by this new line of railway. Since he was down there a year ago, he ha,d noticed great, improvements in %\\s district. The real Hennessy " $hl % ee .sfcaV'.he got there was tl\e b,ess hVb^ad tasted in the. country (laughter) ; and since he first came there, the population had increased wonderfully, for then -there were only half-a-dozen settlers, while nQ\Y $U,e place was well peopled. He had been told that from 123 tq 125 bushels of oats to the a.cr^;hftd been grown in -the district, jje lQQ^ed upon this as a brilliant flight of paginations aqd. thought that if they cquld qnty make their land produce half this, for the future, theirs would be the great grain-growing district of the Colony-. They knew what i the surface qf earth there would produce,, and, they, mighs look with equal cqn.fldenc<e to, the wealth ia the inieriQr;o;f he might say that, whatever honors had .fe&in conferred upon )\iu\, he had tq thank the electors of ike .'Olutha district for,. ■To> them he owed everything. ; ' fl[§ as a s'cocl?at6o ;" he then was, elected to..the.JProvincia.l; GoimciV av^s Superinten^erit bf the. Province, a. member qf theElxe/JUtive Gcovepnment, and Hth,en a. nßember of the Legislative, Council j ,and i.c >was grateful that he . had feeea^Uowed, to _'»4«l another^and perhaps

the last — link to his connection with the district, by turning the first sod of this new line. There were two or three features about

this railway which. he admired. They were, :he knew from experience, too much in the habit of leaning upon the Government for .their public works. This railway was the . only public work, he knew — there, might _be one or two others — -which had originated with the people aud not with the Government, and he looked upon this as one of the most healthy sigus. It was one of the greatest elements of success. It ;was; also pleasing to see the wise and generous, discrimination displayed by the owners of land in that part of the world^ who h'ad ; -faciUtHe'd-the ; cbnstruction!of 'their railway by giving all. the land required | without asking for compensation. He "was quite sure that in a few years when the benefits to be derived from the line were felt, the people would remember <the generous action on the part of . the landholders and would feel grateful. Before he left off speaking he wished to give an invitation. He invited them all to take a few shares in the Company^more ,..,or .less— and,_ he. had . this reason for doing so. If the line Svas a great success they could look upon it with pride, and he was quite sure that, if the dividends were not so great, when the coal reached the fire-places of those living in the interior, they would have the gratification of having supplied the wants, and added to the comforts^ of those who did not live so near the coalfields as they themselves did. — (Applause.) Three cheers were then given for Sir J. L. C. Richardson. j ■ _.; . . ' ,' .;■ , THE ; DINNER. I Shortly after the turning of the first sod a dinner took place in Murphy's Hotel, where an; excellent repast had been provided. There were about 50 gentlemen present. Mr Davidson, the Chairman of the Company -was in the chair, supported on his right by Sir J. L; C. Richardson and his Lordship the Bishop of Dunedin, and on 1 his left by Mr J. P. Maitland, R.M., and Mr Roberts of Popotunoa. The vice-chair was occupied by Mr A. J. Smyth. The usuar loyal toasts having been disposed of right loyally, the ' Chairman proposed the health of "His Honor the Superintendent." Sir J, L. C. Richardson; said that he felt that someone should return' thanks for this toast, and he thought that no one could return thanks better than himself, seeing that he had been a Superintedent, and an unsuccessful candidate for the Superintendency. We never had a Superintendent and JGxecutive who more thoroughly and earnestly desired to promote the interests of this Province than those who held office at the present time.— (Applause. Mr J. P. Maitland, R.M., said that in drinking the toast he had to propose, he hoped they would fill an extra Dumper. A pleasant task had devolved upon him somewhat unexpectedly; that of asking those present to drink the health of one he had only to name, in order to receive from them the best reception it was possible to accord to any toast. Pie would ask them to drink to the health of Sir j. L. C. Richardson. (Loud applause.) — In saying the few words he had to say in proposing the toast, there was a probability of his making some confusion between Sir J. L. C. Richardson, and someone called " the Major."— (Laughter arid applause.) He wished them to. understand if he did make any such confusibnj that/these two were one and the same.— (Applause.) It might be possible that old memories would be stirred within him, and "the old Major" would rise to his mind,' in such a way that he would not be able to keep. him from coming to bis lips, while he kuew that he should call him by the honorable; title -which Her Majesty had given him. Everyone, he was sure, would call their old friend: kindly and affectionately, Sir John. He had that day, in accordance with his usual custom of showing his earnest sympathy with every enterprise connected with the interests of the Province, attended and 'given the promoters of this Company the benefit of his services in the ceremony they had just witnessed. He knew they were all pleased at this. He had to thank Sir J. L. C. Richardson on behalf of the promoters of this Company, for haying so kindly lent his cc untenance . to their enterprise, and he had to thank him upon the part of the public. He hoped that all his; kind, expressions with regafd to the probable success of enterprise would be realised. He well recollected the circumstance alluded toby Sir XL. C. Richardson in the few remarks he made, after he so ably wheeled the barrow to the end of the plank. What was then alluded to happened {tFenty-three years ago, when the Major and himself came froiu the regions above the Molyneux district, and first gazed upon the proitnised [.land, which then did not look a very ■ promising land. When they- looked upon it in the dark of the evening, it really did appear a wilderness, for there was .notY-a habitation or a human being in the place. After some time they found shelterunder Mr Pillans' friendly roof. Since tlia£ day .they had witnessed the wonderful rise and^progress of that district, which had culminated in the introduction of the failway-^a rdilway that would owe its existence to the -private enterprise of the residents of the .district. This was one of the first line's /that had be^n. undertaken in this manner.^-(Applause.} He hoped all the good wishes that had "been expressed would be realised, and that the construction of this arid other lines would be fraught with benefit to Vne' country at .large. He would now ask them to join him in drinking with all honors, the health of Sir J. L. C... Richardson.— (Applause.; ' ■■ V: The toast was drunk with musical honors.

Mr Maitland said that he had a still- more plesant duty to perform. He had, on behalf of the promoters of this enterprise, to ask Sir J. L. 0. KiGhairdsoii to accept a smalt silver spade fts a memento of what had taken place. tha.t day. Tneir old friend had mentioned to them, and they all recollected, that that day was the anniversary of a great and glorious victory over the enemies of. car country. He hooped Sir J. L, G. llichar.£ison and those present would also remebifoer the day, as one/upon which another ..victory liad been gained— the initiation of an undertaking that was to help in the colonisation of a new country.— (Applause.) 3? he spade was of Solid silver, seven inches long, 2£ by 1£ inches. "It bore the following inscription ;— 'M'resented to Sir J; L. ; C. Rich«Tdsan by the Kaitangata-Railway and Coa.l .Company in .commemoration of his turning the ftrst sod of the Kaitangata railway,; June 18th, 1875." - ■:"' '" '"? ; . Sir J. It. C. Eichardson, in reply, said that as the rays- of the declinitig sun warned him that it was getting late; ; and as many of those present were desirous of . getting home as soon as possible, he would -make as fe\v.remarks as he could. under all the circumstances. There was one 3bmg he would ask of them. Pie knew' their kindly feeling tovrarfs hin*, and he they would not interriipt lum by aiiy expression of kindness; -£ (liaugjiter.)/ He said ' this. Realise : "hef ■ was so ■ si^scept^e td t^

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Bibliographic details

The Kaitangata Railway., Bruce Herald, Volume VIII, Issue 711, 22 June 1875

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1,882

The Kaitangata Railway. Bruce Herald, Volume VIII, Issue 711, 22 June 1875

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