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LAST SPIKE DRIVEN

WESTPORT LINKED UP

BULLER GORGE LINE

(P.A.) WESTPORT, December 2. Today was a red-letter day for Westport as it provided the ceremony of driving the last spike in the Buller Gorge railway linking Westport by rail with Reefton, thence with the rest of the South Island.

The ceremony was performed by the Minister of Labour and M.P. for Buller (Mr. Webb) and the Ministec of Railways (Mr. Semple). Speeches were also made by the Mayor of Westport, Mr J. M, Robertson, who presided, the chairman of the Buller County Council, Mr. J. Ward, the chairman of the Inangahua County Council, Mr. W. Clayton, the chairman of the Murchison County Council, Mr. F. W. Newman, the president of the Buller Progress League, Mr. J. C. Brown, Mr. O'Brien. M.P., the General Manager of Railways, Mr. E. Casey, the Public Works Engineer-in-Chief,. Mr. Newham, Messrs. A. F. Evans and R. Dawber, Public Works engineers, and Mr. A- Wilkinson, officer in charge of railway construction. Mr. J. Kelly, the oldest driver in the Buller district, drove the first engine through the tapes. The Prime Minister (Mr. Fraser), who was to have driven the last spike, and the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Armstrong) were unable to make the trip to Westport by plane from Wellington because of adverse weather.

Presentations were made to Messrs. Webb and Semple (gold hammers and spike), Messrs. Evans, Dauber, and Wilkinson (silvei ashtrays). Mr. Webb was also given a miniature set of rails in the form of an inkstand suitably engraved to hand on to the Prime Minister, and a,miniature hammer and spike for Mr. Armstrong. The weather was fine and there was a large attendance of the public from Westport and also from Tiroroa, Inangahua, Reefton, Greymouth, and other parts of the West Coast. Special trains ran from Reefton and r Westport to Slatey Creek, the scene of the linking-up. An engine from Westport bore a placard inscribed "Travel by train, Seddonville tc B.uff, 606 miles." Incidentally, the site where the ceremony took place was where gold was first discovered in Buller by the explorer, Rochford, after whom a mountain at the back of Westport is named.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/EP19411203.2.110

Bibliographic details

LAST SPIKE DRIVEN, Evening Post, Volume CXXXII, Issue 134, 3 December 1941

Word Count
363

LAST SPIKE DRIVEN Evening Post, Volume CXXXII, Issue 134, 3 December 1941

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