OPENING OF THE RAKAIA BRIDGE.
The ceremony of formally opening the Rakaia bridge by his Honor the Superintendent took place yesterday; The Government also took advantage of the occasion to open the section of the Great Southern line forming part of the great trunk line between Christchurch and Timaru, recently completed as far as the south bank of the Rakaia. The hour for starting from the Christchurch etation was half-past ten o'clock, and shortly before that hour those invited to take part in the ceremony assembled on the platform. Amongst those present were his Honor the Superintendent, the Hon Mr Reynolds (Commissioner of Customs), Hon Mr Bathgate (Minister of Justice), Sir J. C. Wilson, Hon E. \V. Stafford, the Speaker and Members of the Provincial Council, Mr W. Montgomery(chairman Board of Education), Mr W. S. Moorhouse Mr W. Sewell, Mr G. L. Lee, Hon. Ernest Gray, Mr Thornton (Provincial Engineer). Mr C. Y. O'Connor (District Engineer), and several other gentlemen. The train consisted of an engine and three composite carriages ; the arrangements being under the supervision of the General Manager of Railways (Mr Marshman), and the Christchurch Station Master (Mr Jones). All being in readiness, the party took their seats, and a start was made at 10.41 a.m. The run was made without stoppage until Selwyn was reached, where water was taken for the engine, the time consumed on the journey— twenty-three miles — being thirty-four minutes. Another short stoppage took place at Dunsandel, and then the train entered upon the recently completed portion of the line. Here we may say that the condition of the line is such as to deserve the warmest encomiums. Though only lately out of the hands of the platelayers there was little or no oscillation noticeable yesterday, and this though the train went over it at a rapid pace. Beyond Dunsandel the line runs through a barren looking tract of country, in which tussocks form the prevailing feature of the landscape. The line is fenced for a short distance beyond Dunsandel, but from this point to the bridge no fencing has been erected ; nor, we understand, is it intended to fence this portion of the line. The distance from Selwyn to South Rakaia is twelve miles fifty chains, and for at least nine miles of this distance, the country is of the ordinary flat monotonous Canterbury plain type, but after this we come to the terraces of the old river bed, and a pretty steep incline has to be surmounted previous to arriving at the foot of the Rakaia Bridge, a slight cutting through the terrace of the river having had to be made just before emerging on to the small flat running down to the North bank of the river.
As regards the construction of the line, we we may say that the line was let in two sections, one in May and the other in July, 1872. The work was divided into the two distinct parts of formation and platelaying, or the laying down of the permanent way. Messrs Stocks and Roberts were the contractors for the formation of the line, Mr Taylor taking the contract for the permanent way from Selwyn to South Eakaia. This section of the line would under ordinary circumstances have been finished some time back, but the contractors and the Government have had very considerable difficulties to coDtend with—one of which, and the most formidable one—was that the rails necessary to be used in this section of the line were of a different class to the ordinary rails, being of the weight of SOlbs. This necessitated the alteration by the manufacturers of their moulds, which was the cause of some delay, as the order of the Government was but a smill one. Added to this, there was the unfortunat9 delay caused by the accident occurring to the Agamemnon, on board of which vessel was a consignment of rails for this section of the line. The breakdown of that vessel caused a dplay in the completion of the section of seven months ; indeed, there is at present one mile of rails ordered which have not yet been delivered. The General Government also lent to the Provincial Government for the purposes of the harbor works one mile of these rails which have only lately been returned, and which were intended to be used on the Southern line. One result of the extensive public works now going on is that the General Government is enabled to draft on materials wherever it may be urgently required, as has been the "case in the matter of this line now under notice. The Government, finding that difficulties existed in the way of pushing on this line so rapidly as was necessary, sent on material intended for other lines. We may say that with the exception of the cutting near the 1 foot of the Rakaia bridge, the work on the line is all straightforward work, the only exception being seven culverts in tbe twelve miles, which are of the ordinary kind. Before proceeding to notice fh-3 Rakaia bridge, we may briefly review the present state of the railway works as regards Ihe Great Southern Trunk Line between Chrigtehnrch and Timarn. The extension yesterday opened from Selwyn to the South Rakaia completes twelve out of the seventyseven miles required to connectChristchurch with Timnru by means of the Great Southern Railway, forming the trunk line from north to south of the province. Between this extension and the next stage—the Ashburton —is eighteen miles in length, and for the formation of this contracts were taken in February last. The whole of the formation of this line has been completed, and ten miles of permanent way material was shipped in January last, and "may therefore he expected to arrive at any moment. The contract for the railway bridge over the River Ashbnrton has been let since February last, and has to be completed by November next. This bridge is 2000 ft long, and the contract has been let to Mr E. G. Wright. The cuttings on tbe Rangitata terrace were prepared immediately on the result of the pile driving at the Rangitata bridge becoming known, and it was expected to be ready for contract within six weeks from this date. At present only eighteen miles of the line between tbe Ashburton and Rangitatahavebeen let including a bridge over tbe river Hinds. From the Timaru end of the line about nine miles have been contracted for since March last and the contractor will have to complete his work by November, 1873, and the work is at present in fall operation and the permanent way in coarse of being laid down. A farther length of nineteen ailei, including bridges
over the Opihi, Temuka, and Rangitata rivers remains to be prepared to complete the trunk line between Selwynand Timaru. We now come to the Rnkaiaßridge—one of the most important, if not the most important, public work yet inaugurated iv Canterbury, if we except the Moorhouse tunnel, hut it is, as pointed out by the llou E. W. Stafford, a necessary item in the great work of which the tunnel was the first Btcp. The bridge is 4480 ft in length from end to end and 17ft 6in wide and has been erected by the Provincial Government, the cost being recouped to it by the General Government. It was commenced in August, 186U, Mr W. White being the contractor. On the 30th June, 1569, the first teader was sent in by Mr W. White for the erection of a cart bridge at a cost of £21,500, and on the 17th September, 1872, a further tender wae sent in for an extra length of 480 feet at a further cost of £2400, making a total of £23,900. In order to convert this to a railway bridge a further tender for £8564 was sent in making a total cost of the bridge £32,464, to which was added the cost of tarring £458, and £1428 for asphalting, making a total of £34,350. The principle portion of the piles of the bridge are iron bark, and at the top of the capping is a hand rail of substantial character. The rails across the floor of the bridge have been laid by Mr Wm. White, the bridge being divided into three—the middle, or what is known technically as " the six foot," being oft 3in, which is roughly asphalted, while on each side is a six-foot path asphalted and floated. After crossing the bridge the line rune through the low chain of sandhills bounding the south bank of the river, and after running about a mile, or mile and a half from the bridge end, the train arrived at the station at South Rakaia, & somewhat chaotic structure at present, as the carpenters are hard at work at it. The party having descended from the carriages proceeded a short distance up the line to inspect the progress of the line southwards. After a short time spent in this, a body of adventurous spirits, headed by a prominent member of the Government, proceeded on a voyage of discovery for luncheon, but went in the wrong direction, and had to hark back after a little gentle exercise amongst the sandhills. His Honor the Superintendent, accompanied by the Hon Mr Reynolds, Hon Mr Bathgate, and several gentlemen proceeded in the train to the foot of the bridge, afterwards crossing it on foot. The two members of the Ministry minutely inspected the work of the bridge, and expressed themselves veiy much pleased with the manner in which the work had been executed.
A general move was now made for the luncheon, which, under the able superintendence of Mr J. \V. Morton, was laid in Mr Middleton's wool store on the south bank of the Rakaia. The most had been done with the room in the way of decoration that could be under the circumetance, and a very creditable show was made. Of the luncheon itself it is sufficient to say that Mr Morton fully sustained his well-won reputation, everything being as well served as if the gueete had been sitting in a Christchurch hotel instead of in a wool store on the banks of the Eakaia, both in the matter of the viands and wines.
Owing to the number of guests being in excess of those expected, seats were at a premium, and several hon members were to be seen foraging most industriously for provisions with unlimited success.
His Honor the Superintendent occupied the chair, having on hie right the Hone Messrs Batbgate and Reynolds, and the Hon E. W. Stafford, and on his left the Hon Speaker of the Provincial Council (H. J. Tancred, Esq.) H. P. Murray-Aynaley, Esq., W. S. Moorhouse, Esq., &c. The duties of croupiers were most genially discharged by the Hon Colonel Brett and Mr Kennaway respectively. The keen air of the morning added to the walk over the sandhills in vain search of the luncheon room had given the party a capital appetite, and Mr Morton's spread soon disappeared. After a short interval, j
His Honor the Superintendent rose and said that on this occasion they were honored by the presence amongst them of two of the Ministers of the colony, in the persons of his hon friends Meesrs Bathgate and Reynolds. [Hear, hear.] He need not say how glad they were all to see them present that day, to assist in the inauguration of the great work they had seen accomplished Lhear,liear], but unfortunately the steamer by which they were proceeding left Lyttelton that afternoon, and it was necessary that they should at once leave them in order to catch her. Before those gentlemen left, however, he would ask them to drink the health of " The Colonial Ministry, coupled with the names of the Hons. Mr Reynolds and Mr Bathgate," [Cheers.] The toast was drank amid loud plaudits.
The Hon Mr Reynolds said that in common with his colleague, Mr Bathgate, he felt highly pleased to be present on the occasion, and regretted that they had to leave so soon. The work they had that day gone over was not only a credit to the province, but it was a credit to the colony—[cheers]— and it was also a most important work, its completion exercising as it did no inconsiderable influence on the future welfare of the colony by extending the scheme of the Government to bring the various parts of the island into closer communication with each other. [Cheers.] He thanked them most heartily for the manner in which the toast of his colleagues and himself had been proposed, and begged to propose the health of " The Provincial Council of Canterbury." [Cheers.]
The toast was duly honored, aftpr which the two gentlemen left by special train for Lyttelton. On the return of his Honor the Superintendent the usual loyal toasts were given and heartily responded to.
His Honor then proposed "The health of Governor of New Zealand." He said in doing this he was proposing to them a sort of triple toast, viz., the health of the Governor that had been, the officer administering the Government who was at present the Governor, and the Governor Sir J. Ferguses, who was expected to arrive. I Hear, hear.] He felt sure the toast would be honored as the toast of the health of the Governor always was in Canterbury. [Cheers.] The toast was drunk amid loud applause. The Hon the Speaker aaid he had had a .toast put into his hands to propose, which need not take a lengthy address to introduce. It was " The health of his Honor the Superintendent." [Cheera.] He was sure it would be drank with enthusiasm. Outside of politics, which he thought should not be introduced on the occasion of such social gatherings as these—[hear, hear] —he felt sure all would agree that his Honor adorned the position he co worthily filled as a gentleman—[hear, hear] —as a man of honor— [hear, near] —as a scholar. His Honor the Superintendent was a credit to the province over which he so worthily presided. [Loud cheers.] The toast was drunk amid loud and continued cheering. His Honor who, on rising to respond, was warmly greeted, eaid that he thanked those present for the very hearty and warm manner in which his health had been received, and he was also highly flattered by the manner in which the Hon. the Speaker had introduced the toast. He might say that it was to him somewhat of a norelty to meet the members of the Provincial Council in the manner iv which he did that day, in that it was different to the way in which in the discharge of his official duty he met them. On those occasions no one spoke until after he had left the Chamber—[laughter]—but on this occasion he hoped to hear from the gentlemen he saw around him a good deal of excellent speaking. [Hear, hear.] He need not assure them how rejoiced he felt at the reason of their gathering together that day. This, he was sure, they would all appreciate. The great work over which they had that day gpne was undertaken when things did not look so bright for the province as they did now ; when the prospects of trade and commerce were not at all cheering. The scheme, of which this work formed a part was first brought forward in 1868 byja gentleman whom he was glad to ccc amongst them on that occasion. [Cheere.] It was necessary, however, for the permanent Mttlemeat of toe land, tea
the railway forward as speedily as possible, then it would be useless to attem,,.. f to *> forward the work of scUlcmeut « P f» te ,W be done. The mnciing o f tho s,,i! ° v,( l dent and ProTincial Council ol on an occasion euch a B tW° VlDce one which should afford cratifW **» the province as a whole fnd on °? to should be a cause of rejoicing to thoTu h community. He looked upon the present Ol ° casion—the completion of the piWt which had been carried out by the *° rl: itself—as hhoving most conclusive!* o^ 0 could be done with local supwj-L hat local energy. It seemed to him would be an ill day for the cokmLr h New Zealand when local inetitutioi? nO, to be consulted in matters of this ki when their supervision over the wort V D( * executed ceased. [Hear, hearl clear from the success of their effort * Zi could be done by persons on the ennt W^ al from their local knowledge knew what ought to be done, and how ♦ ft eX i ßctl J and that their works could not be •'" out by those at a distance co eatigfa t It had been said by the ,founderf 1?, settlement, Mr John Robert GodW J^ o early career in the IproTiaJ, ,° se been one long struggle f~r "Sα Government, that he would ' be governed by a Nero on tho spot th * &^iJ board of angela in Downing street» / * quite agreed with this principle, m,! 8 would say was that he thought it w O aij r a great mistake to give ud th«« n » i such works as this which had Si Dtro! . of factorily carried oat by them mVi?*!'' He thanked them most cordially f , warm and enthusiastic manner in wWiAhealth had been drank. [Cheers i y Mr Montgomery said ho had to nm™. toast which all would drink wußn!?' siasm. It was that of « The General a! bly," coupled with the most distinguished members, tho Hon R w? Stafford [Hear, hear.] Ho felt that'tb Assembly had a great work before them fi! he felt sure that it would discharge thatduS well. All he hoped was that they woS temper their deliberations with discretion [Hear, hear, and cheers.] ' The toast was drank amid loud applanae. * - Tb S son5 on « B \ w - Stafford Baid that hi, friend Mr Montgomery had put rather J£ much on his shoulders to ask him to for the whole legislature. He would tmeent that the Legislative Council should reaS to the toast in its proper person. ("Cheers 1 He thanked them for the warm manner in which his health had been drank, the more so as he was only a young resident in the Canterbury province, if indeed he michtcall himself a resident. He had, however had the honor —and he could assure them ha cherished it as one of the proudest parts of hie career—to represent for some years a very distinguished part of the provinc* [Cries of " Oh, oh," " No, no," and laugh teM It struck him very forcibly that those gen. tlemeu who cried " No, no," had not a very clear idea of the importance o£ that portion of the province he had re« ferred to, or they would not have said that. [Laughter.] The work tVvty had that day been inaugurating— he believed that was the correct thing to saj on occasions of this kind—would at any rate go some way towards making that very dig. tinguished portion of the province to which he had alluded better known, and he hoped appreciated, than at present appeared to be the case. [Hear, hear, and laughter.] To the people of Canterbury—for really the Provincial Council were the people of Can. terbury—belonged the credit of carrying oat this work to its present state, and they deserve all honor for their efforts in the matter ; while saying this, however, he must not omit to notice the services—the very diettinguished services—of a gentleman to whom Canterbury, and indeed the whole colony, owed a deep debt of gratitude. He said this because if the province pushed forward these works the whole colony reaped the benefit equally with those living within its borders. The far seeing ideas of that gentleman, wild as they appeared nt the time, he first brought them forward had done much in thie respect, and the effects of his endeavors would bo felt throughout Canterbury for many years yet to come. He might tell them that when he was at the head of the Government some years ago, that gentleman had come to him with a project which he at that time could not see his way to carry out. Hβ had somewhat etartled the General Government in the year 1859, by submitting a scheme of railway from tho north to tho south of Canterbury, but it was then Uα young for the project, its finances were too small, and the immigration was too limitel However, this did not detract from the credit due to this gentleman, whose name wh William Sefton Moorhouse. [Load chess] It had been thought that the formation oS railways and bridging of such rivers as they had that day crossed, was a matter of Impossibility, but the efforts of one man had shown different, and that man wai William Sefton Moorhouse. [Cheers.] He had been asked to propose a toast, and it w« that of the " Provincial Council." His old friend tho Superintendent had demurred somewhat to ask him to propose this toast because he appeared to hold some dim iden of that now almost exploded notion that ho (Mr Stafford) wished to sweep away provincial institutions. Now, ho was not the enemy of provincial institutions at all, nor indeed of any one or any party. Hβ waited until he was attacked and then defended himself. In the first place this body had the expenditure of nearly a quartet oi million of money, which would at onCe prevent its being ignored or put on one side. So long as the Provincial Councils did their duty honestly and well—and who should nay that the Provincial Council ot Canterbury did nofc-they were entitled to respect nay to honor. [Cheere.] He felt sure that the Provincial Council of Canter. ■ bury would in the future, ac it had mWβ past, do its duty thoroughly and well, ac would, however, wish to call the atteuWß* those present to the fact that to tfio services of Mr William Sefton Moorb(i«JJJ been mainly due the success of t&*f£*l worke they possessed in Canterbury. i"» gentleman had worked out the «WMg and time had proved most incontestable his figures were correct, and that «">■** could be carried out. fChcers.] Hβ no* gave them the health of the Vtavt*» Council of Canterbury. [Cheers] The toast was drank with loud apptaw* The Hon. Col. Bbett, in» e P^ h jffi2 evoked roars of laughter, returned tflanssiw the Legislative Council. The Hon the Speaker then rose to return thanks for the Provincial Council. Mr Moorhouse, who was received loud cheers on rising, said that m , place he wished to thank thenr for tneki manner in which they had that day receive him, and Mr Stafford for the very hl ff *gj plitnent paid to him in hie speech, ni. . not tell them that he felt deeply that he was enabled to be P occasion of the completion of anotner , $ ment of the works for the °P eD^ s *w s sa country which it had been Ins good <* to initiate years ngo in the discharge duty to the people of the province. *» fallen to his lot to forecast the means by the resources of the province n"B developed ; resources, which, » " had not taken steps to open the country would have r em *'"<*t wa3 developed until this day. v : n . w jth wanted was to connect the P ro " D^. ha pj other parts of the world, and * t he had been somewhat too early "» tße , to o f he had been enabled to sec the what he had so long endeavored to> can i [Cheers.] He believed his hon . f " dnu ' ?e Kolleston, was as earnest in bis wian w the public as ever he could be, 8I !°'. .\j, c Moorhouae) gave him every credit i manner in which he had adminiflW k. affaire of the province. He w ! sD !r. nd ered he sat down to allude to the servicesrena in connection with the work which in J -j mettoopenthatdaybyMrW.Vh^Cb^^ That gentleman had always been him in politics, but he wished to dot , mony to his industry a^ 1 * &M* in the work of tho building^of! the JJ bridge, rcheere.l Hβ would propose health of Mr W. White, LCheera.J
J**** health of Mr White was drank with briefly replied. Hβ remarked .-■:» V " oa id far rather build a bridge than *v a speech. The former was easy to Mm 10 the latter came very hard. He thanked the kind way in which they had KThis health. tn adjournment to the carriages wan made fJiste!* , after the last toast, and after J *Jtat run'of fifty-five minutes town was isscbed.
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OPENING OF THE RAKAIA BRIDGE., Press, Volume XXI, Issue 2439, 30 May 1873
OPENING OF THE RAKAIA BRIDGE. Press, Volume XXI, Issue 2439, 30 May 1873
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