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CITY SKETCHES.—No. 3. (BY A NEW CHUM. ), Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXVI, Issue 3857, 1 January 1870
CITY SKETCHES.— No. 3. (BY A NEW CHUM. )
I should like to be the Emperor Napoleon III. for six months, barring his impaired digestion, his four doctors, and his ill-health. T should like to exercise a sort of dictatorship in Auckland, something the same as he did in Paris Some years ago, before the Opposition gained head and the Parliament began to assert itself. If this wish of mine Aveie gratified, I would work a salutary revolution in the state of the streets, pavements, sewers, and cesspools of your noble city. I would care nothing for Superintendent'!, or Executives, or Councils, or City "Boards. I would suspend the action of the whole lot of them — commissioners, chairman, secretaries, extra clerks, valuators, collectors, auditors, health officers, and inspectors of nuisances. I would make a clean sweep, and commence afresh, I would get hold of some decent man's son who knew something about road-making and streets, and pavements, and sewers and drains, and I would give him carte blanche, telling him what I wanted done. With the keys of the Provincial Treasury chest in my possession, and vested with despotic power, I ■» t>uld, in six months, change the rough road of Queen-street into a pleasant path, the sidewalks of which should be covered with broad flagstones from, end to end ; its open spaces beautified by granite fountains ; while here and there, at suitable positions, would be planted trees with spreading foliage to relieve and charm the eye, by their contrast with the surrounding scene. But, alas, I am not a despot, and so I suppose those improvements and changes must await being made, till the ratepayers arouse from their apathy and indignantly demand that the City Board shall take action. Sydney Smith wittily said that railway accidents would never cease till some company "had burned a bishop." I wonder if the chairman of the Town Board wove to tumble into the city cesspool some dark night, and be either poisoned or drowned, whether that evil-smelling, typhus-breeding pond would be filled up ! I am out again on the streets. This time on leaving the wharf I turn towards the left, and proceed in the direction of the baths. I am told this is Custom-house-street, There is a desolate look about the locality. It is a street of good intentions never fulfilled. On the right it presents the appearance of a sort of backyard of civilisation. There is a large unenclosed space of partly-reclaimed land, and there is a big pond in the centre, whicii is not reclaimed, and which must sooner or later infect the atmosphere with those subtle poiaone which bring fever and disease into the "busy haunts of men. Oh 1 ye citizens of Auokland, who apend tens of ! thousands in the search for gold — who remove hills and dig into the very bowels of the earth on the mere chance of finding it — will you not open your purse-strings a little for a work, the accomplishment of which would secure the inestimable blessing of health, and mayhap save your wivea and little ones from the attacks of disease ? I don't know, i and I don't much care, who is directly re. sponsible for the existence of this abominable slough of despond, but, standing by its brink, I thought it was a disgraoe to Auckland—" The queen city of the North." What a horrible place ij; is ! A place where "rubbish may be shot j" a place where dead cats and dogs are left to decay ; a place where heaps of decomposing animal and vegetable matter give forth their noxious gases to poison the sweet refreshing sea-breeze, which otherwise would carry health and refreshment to up-city dwellers, I turn disgusted from this scene and hurry back to the Thames Hotel, to remove the nausea of my stomach by a spirituous remedy. I imbibe moderately, and I sally forth again, but have scarcely crossed the street, when my breath is almost taken away by the most unutterably abominable stench that I ever felt. ' It was worse than either assaf catida or sulphuretted hydrogen, or;an American skunk, or' all three combined. I faintly inquire of a friend from whence it- proceeds. "Oh," rejoins he, "We are used tdi that. That's f thecity sewer." I, feel sick, 'both atrstoinach ' and heart, but as. ','youf NewChum Contributor" I also feel'thai duty must be done, so I get onto the wharf and, peering over, see a great culvert protruding near highwater mark, ' rom which daily and nightly the abomina-
turns of this great city are discharged, to swelter upon the shore, within twenty yards;! of its chief street, "They order these things better m France," as Lawrence Sterne would say, and I heartily wish once more that Auckland were placed under a Napoleonic regime for sbt months. "Why I exclaim, "should this .abominable sewer be •allowed to discharge its filthy contents where it does, instead of being extended a sufficient distance into the harbour to render the deposits of sewage innocuous !" "Ah," replied my friend, " Why indeed ! " and being a nautical man, he furthermore addedfthat I had better "ask the cook." Of course, nobody is responsible for this ! glaring nuisance. I asked the late Superin- ' tendent about it, and he referred me to an official, who cqurtepusly showed me a mass of figures, proving, beyond a doubt, %it the ! Provincial Government had given full powers to the City Board and a large slice of a loan ; and that the latter body had clone nothing but get into debt, and fail to pay either interest or sinking fond until compelled. I believed this gentleman, and my wrath against the City Board is therefore very great. Why, I ask, should it not be abolished forthwith, and a Municipal Corporation established in its stead ? I hope, however, for the sake of Auckland, that it will never be incorporated under that fearful and wonderful measure of the Stafford Ministry, "The Municipal Corporations Bill." Auckland shbuld have a bill for itself, suited to its special requirements, and containing clauses relating to its peculiar circumstances. I turn down Custom-house-street again, and this time take a look to my left, where there is located a small colony of timber merchants. Why timber merchants should i ensconce themselves in such "wee" offices, I I have never, till lately, been able to understand ; but I know now. It is because they have thus more room for putting the timber clown. Any way, the offices are as small as the supply of timber is great. I apply for information as to the extent of the trade, and am courteously supplied with it. Taking as an example " The Whangapoua Timber Yard, " I find that its supplies are obtained from the mills, which are situated 67 miles from Auckland, on the East Coast. This locality is south of the new Coromandel diggings, which latter are in the range below Kennedy's Bay. The little sawyer settlement of Whangapoua is situated on the banks of the river after which it is named. It contains about 150 inhabitants — men, women, and children, the whole of the adults — say 100 in number — being engaged in felling, sawing, and sending the timber to I market. The timber is fust cut m the bush, and then floated down the river to the settlement. It is then taken to the saw-mills, where it undergoes the seveial processes of ' breaking-down" and "ripping," after which, it is placed upon a tramway, conveyed down to the Whangapoua Wharf, and there shipped for Auckland. The mills are worked by an engine of 80-horse power. The trade I believe payb excellently as a rule, and especially so at present when timber fetches 25s. per 100 feet, and something like 6d. per foot is demanded for material used in fine carpenters' work. The chief kinds, of which 1 &aw abundant specimens in the yards, were puriri and totara ; kauri, which come3 from Mercury Bay ; and severalothervarieties. The stock of timber collected on the different yai d& of Custom-house-street is large. I, who once upon a time was a jovial lawyer, m "the good old days, " went do-\\ n the different little wharves, and examined ]t. There woie shingles of kauri, piles of firewood (consisting of tea-tree), and posts of puriri. Besides these, there was any quantity of kauri timber and red pine, &aw n in planks for building purposes. This timber trade is of immense importance to the Auckland province. It keeps a large body of men in employment, at fairly remunerative wages, in preparing the timber for market ; it employs a whole ' ' mosquito fleet" of vessels, and their hands ; while it circulates a large amount of money annually in the city, in the purchase of sup- ! plies from the merchants and storekeepers, I for those industrious producers and carriers. The timber trade of Auckland is however, as yet, only in its infancy, and I, ' ' the New Uluxm," hope to live to see its full development. There are tens of thousands of acres of splendid forest land in this province which have yet to be utilised, and there will always be an abundant demand for the timber which can be obtained therefrom. In tiath, the timber trade must always flourish m this province. The ever-increasing populations of Auckland, Gaahamstown, and Shoitland will give a powerful impetus to the building trade, and by consequence afford abundant employment to those hardy workers who provide the raw material.
Mr. Hallett, of Brighton, has recently read a paper on the law of development of cereals. His experience, extending over many years, showed him that the cereals, and especially wheat, was injured by being planted too closely. He found a wheat plant would increase above the ground in proportion as the roots had room to develop, and that the roots might be hindered by being in contact with the roots of another plant. Mr. Hallett continued a series of experiments, planting one grain of wheat only, and succeeded so well in improving the method of cultivation as to i % aise wheat whose ears contained 128 grains, or more than 60 on each side. In the coiirse of his investigations, Mr. Hallett made other discoveries with regard to the growth of cereals, which he sums up as follows : — " 1. Every fully-developed plant, whether of wheat, oats, or barley, presents an ear superior in productive powers to any of the rest on that plant. 2. Every such plant contains one grain which, upon trial, proves more productive than any other. 3. The best | grain m a given plant is found in its best ear. i 4. The superior vigour of this grain is trans- ! missible in different degrees to its progeny, ! 5. JB3' repeated caref al ' selection, ' the superiority is accumulated. 6. The improvement, which is first raised gradually, after a long series of years is diminished in amount, and eventually so far arrested that, practically speaking, a limit to improvement in the desired quality is reached. 7. By still continning to select, the improvement is maintained, and practically a fixed type is the result," In the discussion which ensued, Mr. Hallett was warmly complimented upon the results he had attained, and the gigantic ears of wheat which he exhibited were examined ' with great interest.
CITY SKETCHES.—No. 3. (BY A NEW CHUM. ), Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXVI, Issue 3857, 1 January 1870
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