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AUCKLAND NOTES., Issue 7910, 18 May 1889
April 29. Your readers will have heard by now all about the fire which occurred on board the Mariposa last Tuesday when about 200 miles from Auckland Harbor. Whatever may be the outcome of the inquiry as to the cause of the fire, everyone will be of the opinion that a catastrophe of a most serious character has been averted—not through the individual efforts of any one person, but mainly to the fact that the surrounding circumstances were favorable for the return of the steamer to Auckland in sufficient time to avert a calamity. There are many reasons assigned for the cause of the fire, and the primary one advanced is that the accident was caused through spontaneous combustion. This is always a safe theory to fall back on, and is on a par with the cause assigned for_ many of the fires which occur annually in the colony—viz , “rats and matches,” “ Spontaneous combustion ” is a safe theory to roly on, because then there isno ono to blame ; and in the many opinions which have been advanced there is not a word mentioned that it might be possible for a spark from the funnel to have dropped unseen among the bales while being stowed away in the hold. I think this theory as accounting for the accident is quite as good as any. The wonder is that tnere are not more accidents on board our traders. It cannot fail to be observed by those who travel that on nearly every occasion the vessels’ decks are crowded with cargo which cannot find room in the holds. Not very long ago I came from Wellington, and the vessel never left her ports of call till four, and at one place nine, hours after her advertised time of sailing. What was the cause of this? Simply the amount of cargo taken in, which was enormous. First tho holds were filled, and then the passengers thought the steamer was going to move. No such thing, however. The crew then commenced to pile the cargo all over the fore part of the vessel—on top of the hatchways and in every conceivable corner. Among this deck cargo were potatoes, flax, and fungus. It will be seen at a glance the danger of allowing cargo of this description to lie unprotected on deck and in close proximity to the funnel of the steamer. It is to be hoped that the matter will receive attention in Parliament this session. The gum fields have proved a boon to tho settlers around Auckland, and it may prove interesting to know that about New Plymouth fungus has proved a_ similar boon to tho settlers there. The price of fungus varies from 2id to per lb, and there being a demand always in excess of the supply tho price occasionally exceeds the former figures. As it is an easy task fungus gathering, and as boys and girls can gather it without much exertion, it will be seen what a boon it is to many poor settlers who have children they can send to gather this article.
The kiwi, I am sorry to say, is becoming very scarce up here, and if the destruction of this bird goes on as at present it will soon become a rarct avia. I have been told that last summer over 500 of these birds were killed around Auckland, the taxidermists and museums being the principal purchasers of them. If the Legislative Council does not step in and put a stop to the destruction of these birds, they will soon become extinct. Your readers will remember a brutal case of assault on a young woman some time ago, when a blackguard advertised ip one of the Auckland papers for a companion. I happened to visit a house at Orewa the other day, and was introduced to a Mrs and Miss S . When leaving at night tho proprietor of the house brought my horse to one of the windows of the room in which wo were all seated, and tapping on tho glass beckoned me out, Tho young lady became greatly agitated, and looking at the window with a terrified expression on her face went off into a swoon, from which it took a quarter of an hour to bring her to. I was then surprised to learn that this was the young lady who was assaulted, and was visiting this watering place for the benefit of her health, and that that eventful night has preyed so much upon her mind that her whole system has received a severe shock, She is not allowed out at dark, and her nerves are at such a tension that when started in the least degree she invariably goes off into hysterics, A little excitement was occasioned on Thursday last by an incident which occurred in the vicinity of the Queen’s Wharf. While a coaster was discharging some pigs one of them got adrift. Boats were immediately sent in pursuit, but the efforts of those in them proved fruitless to capture tho animal, who dodged in and out among the piles of the wharf, and ultimately headed for the waterman’s steps, where he would have succeeded in making his way up to the wharf, but his pursuers were upon him. The animal charged all and sundry who came near him, but was ultimately leg-roped and secured to an anchor till he could be taken to his destination.
I have often heard of mean drinkingpnen, but I think the fellow who visited Waiwera the other day carries off the palm. He came along with a party of bank clerks from Auckland, and previous to their return insisted on “shouting” for them. Going into the bar he called for Is worth of whisky and an empty quart bottle. He then emptied the spirits into the bottle and filled it up with water, and stood treat to his companions out of this vessel, keeping the remainder for the return journey, which was accomplished without mishap ! It is seldom that a poor tramp, after being on the wallabi for over twenty years, comes in for a windfall of LBOO through the death of a relative. One of the above class had been working in Waiwera forseveral months His name was Jeff C. Hart, and for the last eighteen or twenty years he was suffering from some chronic disease, and it was with difficulty that he could do anything like laborious work. Of course being in this state of health his funds were invariably at very low ebb, the consequence being that he was never in a position to pay for medical advice and comforts. However, as indicated above, Hart one morning not long since received intelligence of his good fortune, went to Auckland, received the money, and then being in funds placed himself under medical care. An operation was suggested for poor Hart’s complaint, and in about three weeks’ time he journeyed to the bourne from which no traveller returneth, having been in possession of his money only a month.
AUCKLAND NOTES., Issue 7910, 18 May 1889
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