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KUMARA; THE LAND OF THE WHITE FLOWER.

Such was the commencement of a letter that appeared in four columns in what might be termed the pre-hiatoric age of Kumara. The writer of the letter may truly be called a representative man. Like many other colonials he has in: the course of his life at times played many parts, and with credit to himself and advantage to his fellow men. A nv---. newspaper correspondent, hotelk'eettr, • elected representative of the people, a determined upholder of; the rights of the miners, both by his pen and on the platform, a good musician, a staunch friend, and a sociable companian, he now fills the important position of Chairman of the Westland: County Council. I allude to Mr Peter Dungan. r Possessing in a marked degree the suaviter in modo^he seems to get on pretty well with that rather turbulent body, and therefore I wish him all the success he deserves, But what has this to do with Kumara*, the reader will say. •■■•■; Only this, that about a weelr:after the above letter appeared I was on my first visit to Kumara : the journey was riot such as in these days, when the visitor has only to take his seat in one of those luxuriously fitted up cars belonging to the Grey mouth Tramway Company, second only to a Pullman's sleeping car for comfort, and then ma few hours, after the most pleasant and easiest of journeys, find yourself at your journey's end. : Oh no, a journey in those days, seated in Donald Cameron's or Simpson's coaches, or else on horseback, or Shank's ponyfwas a different affair. If space would allow I could tell some rather amusing stories of that bye- gone period, how poor N. P. Whitworth nearly got drowned in a gin case while crossing the Teremikaut j the historic barrel at'Reeoys (now Draoato's,) corner, where all the stump orations were delivered, of the first marriages, the old lock-up a tent, with the stump of a tree, a ohain and- a pair of-handouffafor-breSkers of the law, &c. But it is with the Kumara of to-day that I propose to deal. Having received instructions to visit Kumara one wet raoruiDg, a few weeks since, I took my departure from Greymouth by tram. The travelling car was crowded with " Chinkies " not Chinese. Thare is a difference which I will explain. A true Chinese is a clean respectable being, but a "Chinky" is an who believes in nothing but dirt. The perfume on my entering the car certainly did not come from " Araby the blest-, " but it waa truly oriental nevertheless, aud I can fully understand how the white inhabitants of America do not care about travelling with their colored brethren, if they are anything like "Chinkies." I' rained, and I resolved to endure it, and bo I did till one of them began puffing away at a beastly pipe —it was not tobacco, it was not opium, but it was abominable. The " Chinky," after a few whiffs commenced humming something which I thought was "Put me in my little bed," done in Chinese, but in this I was solemnly assured by the only other white person in the car, and who evidently understood Chinese, that I was wrong. What the " Chinky" was singing was this—" The Joes he loves the Chinky well. He knows the Ghinky by his smell." I could not stand it no longer, so taking

advantage of a stoppage, I go out and ~ rinsed my mouth with a little Henneasy, preferred an outside passsage— and it did rain. A young lady waa a passenger with the driver, and she preferred to get thoroughly wet through than venture inside. As all things must have an end, so cUd^Ahiß^^ufDe^ aßd—wth^^^OßSTthMtr three hours I found myself in Kumara. On leaving the tramway station I could not help remarking the evident improve* nient4n thefl^eets^f^he^^roroogii^hwr^ in that the Council had done its work well, and I cannot understand why the cry is got up to merge, or as one honor* able councillor called it "submerge" the borough into the county, but of this more anon. Old landmarks had disappeared — Q' Sara's lake was a thing of the past, and lamps were;in the streets; i>rbcee&£ug]up the Main ' road', I reached 'the' corner' of Seddon afreet, when a well-kown voice greeted! ifte^ r *i.thj ' * ttailpa % where have you sprung from, ' audio. ! and behold-it was the Gentle Samuel, looking ; friesii and as blooming as a young two-year old. Samuel is married now. "Obnie along and we'll, go and see; Gilbert." Shake* speare say*^- ";Oh if Autolyohus, thou prince of tbieves." :If he had known Gilbert, he would have said "Oh! Gilbert, thou prince of^putyicaus/.'.rfor a bapter .iearted. fellow Gilbert doe» not exist, as many a ' hard -up miner ana othetsknows. • I and Sam interviewed .him, and as of yore, when in Greymouthv along with poor old Jimmy Middlaton, Gilbert had a perfect aviary birds from all? part* of the worlds parrotsj cockatoos, ; ln'»g. pies, panaries, &ci, - t When a ! man is fond of pets',' I dotft care what |hey; are, :i li shows he posseß a kindly ffi riatare. rr; Wl Imbibed, and : having chatted" about mutual friends, and wished one another gooeL wishes, I proceeded to Bugg*s, where L-deposited ..my belongings, -and- -made arrangements for my stay.- Jimmy was not in, but I and the -Mrs were acquaintances in days of yore. Having admired the twins, and as specimens of juvenile humanity, they are worth admiring, congratulated the other members of the family on their growth, &c, I proceeded to the establish, ment over i which 1 was deputed to take charge during, his tempo* rary absence ff doing, , the Exhibition," (Happy man, to^.be able in do the Exhibition !) Having "shojk "hands' with him— we are old friends of many years standing in other lands than Ne»- Zealand— a few words aufficsd to tell me the nature of my duties,— the first thing-being that I ought to' visit Dillmah's Town,- as there a meatlng that evening, to receive the report of the deputation on the water question. Hearing that the Westland Chairman was in Kumara, I Bought that gentleman 'out; and- we discussed -various matters, including- Old' times — not exactly " when we were boys, merry, merry boys; when we were boys together ;" but still they were pleasant recollections. ** May God keep my memory green," was the prayer of l that good old man George l Her^ bert, if I remember aright, aad I hope I shall never; forget pleasant reoolleotiohal However, he agreed' to accompany me to Dillman's Town, and* proceeding down Seddbn^ street, 1 whicliißLcartainlyas &e a street .as vi New ■Zealand4-fa)p different when it was a base of inp^to'vonr .boot tpps in mud (not so very' lonir 1 ago). jr-we /called in at the "Irrepressibie .Dick's**' and found him big, burly^ audaa ful)) of business as ever^-'f, for,^ be it understood, he is a patriot *ho sacrifices himself for hia icountry?s good.?r > Dick must have a finger \in i every pie*Whis irrepressablenesß is of such a nature that he must be into the thick of every fight, and the harder -blows, and the stronger the opposition, -jthe more Dick seems to like it. iTeti, withal, I doubt if there is a better representative for his district to be found in New Zealand/ [ By Hobk or _ by l crook, Richard John .gets what hi 4 wantsj never mind what Government happens to-be in power. Admit ov-rvfcMno — even that he is a bore, if yu ilk ,--y. t Wis per«i-j-e'tcy : will admH of no denial, and lie ueve»- :lua.v C o a., uf> - tunate Minister till he gets somethiug out of him! Even OH ver,- the "decided, is not proof against his blandishments. So much for Diokon, who was busy preparing for the evening's meeting. The County Chairman and I then proceeded to'Dillman's Town, which is now. reached by a nicely-made road — far different from the tedious climb over the hills, which, to ; my .surprise,, is !f now. ..partially washed away, showing how much work the ground sluicers have done. It is almost incredible, and in order to judge a person should know- Kumara in the early days. I will describe' a visit to one of these sluicing claims ] a ter on. The sludge channel was painted out to me and its works described. Dillman's Town a populous and well-built township, far different fromhthe .day when I, Walter Bishop, and poor old Dillman, peace to his manes, sat together in Dillman's little store and discussed what -the name of the township Bhould be—^should it be Duffer Town) or Dunedin Flat. "Let's call it Dillman's Town," was suggested, and Dillman's Town it was from that day to this. In the evening the final meeting in connection with the dispute as to payment for the use of water supplied by Government to the miners for sluicing purposes was held at Dillman's Town. The question was an important one— the , resident manager of the Government race demanding payment in advance for water, the miners refusing to take- it, and con* tending that payment should only be made after the water was supplied, as it was urged that some parties had .not, the meins to' pay Wl after .washing-up; 'Thi dispute waxed warm between both parties, the manager was inexorable, and influenced the Government. 'The; . minera^r were equally determined and resolved , to .bus* pend operations. This simply? meant ruination not only to the miners; them* selves, but to the district, and loss to the Government. The system had worked well in the 1 past; why change it; It leaked out in the course of the agitation that, the manager was backed up by "the 1 Warden, and the \V ardeu by the manager. Some people said that one or the other, was only acatspaw. I have my own opinion which was the catspaw. The result of the agitation was that the County .Chair ban of Westlandtook an active part on • the side of the jainers. Mr Seddon, M.H.R. for the district was . despatched to • interview the Minister of Mines, and Mr FiizGerald, M.H.R. for Hokitikai was requested to co-operate with him. Two batter men could riot have been selected. They knew what miners' and mining interests really were,, whioh^the other aide, witb"-\dl : '''Sdn'el;/ideferaß<9e, did not. A man ■ may' be ; a Warden on a gotifield And yet not fcaow

what a Warden'B dutieß really are. Th result was that the deputation chaaed th Minister from Wellington io Aucklan and back again to Wellington, an ultimately the obnoxious decree wj repealed. The meeting at Dillman Town was for the purpose of receiving th report of Mr Seddon on the subject, th Connty Chairman being in the chair. Tfa meeting was unanimous in the action tbs bad been taken, but the end is not yel as I have been informed that certaii letters and J telegrams, I will not sa' reflecting on the character of certai persons in Kumara, will yet be asked fo in Parliament; and if they are of th descripton I have heard, we have no yet heard the last of the water question The local option farce was played ou during my stay, and, as more than on returning officer told me, it was th rottenest thing they ever knew. Why i should rest with two or three people t< determine the future of a licensing dia trict for three years is one of those thing thai beats Bannagher. The polling as to the necessity of etrik ing a rate for the introduction of a watei supply for fire purposes resulted in the defeat of the proposed measure. This, ] think, is a mistake, although it is bare to make the great mass of people believe i is to their benefit to tax themselves. Thai a water-supply is needed there can be nc doubt, as at present it is most defective and in the event of a fire taking place ii any of the blocks in Kumara, I cannot see so far as water is concerned, what is t< prevent the block being swept away. However, aa the ratepayers in theii wisdom have decided that a water eapplj shall not be introduced, let us hope thai the fire demon may not Invade this fail township. [to be contdtued.]

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Bibliographic details

KUMARA; THE LAND OF THE WHITE FLOWER., Grey River Argus, Volume XXVI, Issue 4284, 26 May 1882

Word Count
2,054

KUMARA; THE LAND OF THE WHITE FLOWER. Grey River Argus, Volume XXVI, Issue 4284, 26 May 1882

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