FROM DUNEDIN TO LYTTELTON, On Board the City of Dunedin.
[fbom our own repobteb.] It was on Wednesday morning I bid a short adieu to Dunedin, its wild turmoil and rude bustle, to embark on board the new paddle steamship the City of Dunedin, bound for Lyttelton. After being pent up in a community for many months where the denizens talk and think of little else than new rushes, the value of corner allotments, of leasing and sub-leasing, of buying up for a rise, or selling against a fall; where every man is for himself, and himself only; where kindly fellowship and social union are almost forgotten in the greed of gain; where nobblers of P. 8., whisky, and " square," or sherry bitters, commence and terminate every transaction, from the purchase and sale of almost the smallest marketable commodity to a landed estate; where from " morn to noon, from noon till dewy eve," and far into night one is continually being asked what he will have, and bound by the custom of things feels himself compelled to have it; where men under an unwholesome excitement never appear to think of a to-morrow, unless as pertaining to some money making or money losing transaction; where for nine out of twelve months in the year the business man has to walk ankle deep in mud, and ooze and slush and puddle; where, having had for so long to endure these things, it was something inexpressibly pleasing to escape on to blue water and find myself on the deck of such a fine vessel as the City of Dunedin, an accession to your inter-provincial steam marine you may honestly be proud of. It was one o'clock, post meridian, when I embarked, and in a few minutes after Captain Boyd ascended the paddle box, which was the signal (the anchor being a-trip) for a start. There was a quiet order to let go a " bow line " and another to hold on to a " warp." Then the steersman was ordered to " hard a port," which order by the complication of holding on a ship at one end and letting it go at the other, of making her " come round " and bringing her up " was shortly changed for " head a starboard." Then the captain signalised from the deck to the engineer below by means of an admirably contrived piece of mechanism to "move a head.'' Presently was heard the sound of smothered groans issuing from the depths of the hold. It was the engines awakening from a long lethargy ready at command to put forth their leviathan powers. _ A tremor ran through the ship for a second, which ceased as she began to cleave the waters, and felt herself once more a thing of life. Onward she sped her way under the admiring gaze and hearty cheers )f many beholders from ship and brig and schooner; :rom steamer just in from sea, or with steam up •eady for a start ; from lugger and lighter and iulk ; from shore, wharf and jetty, we were, while n immediate sight, the observed of all observers, ind well did the City of Dunedin deserve the jraises bestowed on her ; for a finer sea boat of her size or tonnage never left the waters of Otago. The Hity of Dunedin has a flush deck, with a clean sweep :rom stem to taffrail of over one hundred and leventy feet for a promenade, an extent of unbroken leek room which few vessels of even much larger ;onnage admit of. I shall say nothing of her jngines, her rig or build, of her telegraph or patent ipparatus for releasing and raising her anchors, md her many other modern improvements and ippliances, as I am aware a description of this steam ship has already appeared in the columns of ;he ' Times' forwarded by your Dunedin :orrespondent; but I may speak of what only can be earned by the experience of a trip. Her saloon accommodation for the ease, comfort, and convenience >f passengers is complete—as perfect in fact |as shipwrights' skill could make them, untrammelled frith restrictions of expense. It is not that the rich larpetings, costly oak and panel work, deck ceilings, lelicately picked out in white and gold, velvet ;cuches and seats, with all the etceteras of saloon ilegance, which commanded my admiration so much is the Überal manner in which space, so valuable in i passenger ship, has been sacrificed personal The sleeping cabins are beautifully arranged, of full size, lofty, well ventilated, lighted, md fitted up with all the requisites of a well arranged private sleeping room. The ladies' sleeping and retiring cabin "is so admirably arranged for privacy md convenience, and so elegantly appointed as to jail forth all praise upon the liberality of the owners in their attentions to lady-requirements. The City of Dunedin was under engagement to take in or discharge cargo at the following intervening ports between Port Chalmers and Lyttelton:— Waikouaiti, Moeraki, Oamaru, Timaru, and Akaroa. These are small settlements lying on the coastline between the two provinces. Waikouaiti is supported in part by the traffic which the gold fields in the districts adjacent call forth, and partly by the pastoralists and small farmers. It appears most inconveniently situated, and is never, I think, likely to be come a rising or prosperous settlement. Ireightof every description is landed at a place called the "spit," and has to be carted a distance of some three or four miles to the opposite edge of the bay or inlet. I told that vessels cannot anchor at the side of the bay on which the township proper is situated. The want of a sufficient depth of water and of good holding ground being the very sufficient reasons. The bulk of the land in this district belongs to John Jones, Esq., a wealthy merchant, sheep farmer, and ship owner. He also holds the one-half share of the city of Dunedin. Landing m ] Otago many years ago from New South Wales, that j gentleman in a short time, by business tact and great ability, combined with untiring perseverance, became one of our wealthiest citizens. I am not aware that he has taken an active part in Provincial politics, but he is believed to possess very great influence with the leading members and executive of our Council. We made Wakouaiti from the heads in fifty-five minutes, being.at the rate of ten and a-half knots per hour. Here we discharged some cargo, the chief of which consisted as I observed of Kirleston whiskey, and other strong waters of well-knovvn brands. The Waikouitians are a thirsty people. The water is imagined to be brackish, and requires qualifying as a preventive to many evils it would otherwise entail upon drinkers. On leaving Wakouaiti the steward made the welcome announcement that dinner was on the table. Most of our appetites had been previously much aggravated by sherry bitters and wafers, to which the steward in the superfluity of his powers of nomenclature gn en the name of biscuits, and still further intensified by partaking sparingly of a light appetising vermicelli soup, when the covers were removed from a very elegantly laid table, and displayed to our admiring gaze boiled turkey and garnishings, roast chickens inlaid with delicate seasoning, smoked ham, the aroma of which pervaded from table to skylight, and went through the portholes out fur away to sea, distributing a delicious fragrance to fish which followed in our wake. . . *. In company with these was a huge sirloin lording it over the other edibles, with its bulk of browned sides and undercut sweltering in rich gravy. I here was more roast and more boiled, the whole, set off with cauliflowers and potatoes, new and old, in the forjn of boiled, mashed, and baked. If, bringing our appetites to bear as we did, we failed to astonish our captain and cause him to reflect whether the owners could possibly make anything out of us, it must have been that he had become indifferent to everything sublunary. Then followed on those good things, the result of the pastrycook's art-pie, ding, and sweets. These disappeared in thei turn, and, still not subdued, we made a levy »P°n the market gardener for his lettuces radishes and salads; upon the dairymen for his cheese> and^butt er, and complimented the vigneron and the'brewer y testing the products of their art at inte T trust were not too frequent, lne weatnei l»pS KM smooth, the ■■ ■unyundn.ga ■ .» that could have been asked fH r '«let SJST™. b tke ESESS& coast which supports itself by the tn . igts distinctly visible by the naicea paya ble will be requisite to extract it in pv » E Itb pStly situated a little above the beach line, anil extends b.ckwariitohaK-wiiyup tKp hills bordering the coast. 1 here are several stores, four hotels, a schoolhouse, courthouse, govern-
raenti sheds, and a large number of very substantially built dwellings. The aspect of the place, and the bearing of the people, denote a substantial prosperity. There is one drawback which must militate greatly against its speedy advancement —the want of timber for building and fencing purposes, and for fuel. lam told that the inhabitants are distant sixteen miles from any bush land belonging to the Crown. At Oamaru we were detained from daybreak until ten o'clock p. m., takiug in wool. Two hundred and ninety three bales were brought on board in open boats, and I regretted to observe that the tumbling about it received at the beach, and in the boats before it was handed into the hold, had greatly damaged some of the bales, many of which had received a good wetting. If wool is to shipped from Oamaru, in such quantities, a different class of boats will have to be employed, without the wool .growers are content to stand by a heavy loss. A district of such growing importance ought surely to be able to afford a breakwater, with a jetty running far enough out to allow a ship of moderate tonnage to lie alongside and take in or discharge cargo. There is a Wesleyan minister stationed here and an Episcopalian clergyman, a Government schoolmaster, two medical practitioners, and several Government employees. There are no members representing the legal profession, and the residents are consequently quiet and well disposed towards each other. Messrs. Dalgety, Rattray and Co. notify their intention of sending a vessel here to receive wool for direct shipment home. The firm has already a large warehouse here for the reception of wool, and a store erected in the best part of the township, where settlers can be supplied with station necessaries. Leaving Oamaru at about eleven o'clock at night, we reached Timaru at early dawn, where we .were detained until 1 o'clock, taking in wool and a little general cargo. Timaru appeared to me to be more exposed than any other of the settlements we had called in at. A heavy swell rolls in from the southeast, rendering it extremely difficult and, I imagine, occasionally dangerous for boats to come off and discharge their freight. In the act of putting some bales on board, one of the men, by a sudden lurch of the boat, lost his hold and fell iuto the sea, narrowly escaping being killed by the boat jamming him against the ship's side. It was with no small difficulty he was seized and hauled on board. Timaru is situated upon two townships—one of which is Government land and the other the property of Mr. Rhodes. Most of the sites bought up or leased are on this gentleman's estate. He has either offered superior inducements for people to settle on his land, or the situation is more suitable for occupation. lam informed the latter is the case. We had left Timaru little more than an hour when the wind suddenly chopped round, and in a few minutes was blowing a strong gale from the north-west. As our course lay the wind was a-beam; but strong as the gale blew our good boat scarcely felt it, and I do not think We made half a mile of lee-way altogether. It was midnight when we anchored at Akaroa, a very pretty township romantically situated in the nooks and valleys of green hills, running—many of them —steep down to the water's edge. It lies deeply embayed, being placed on the right bank of the harbor seven miles distant from the entrance. Akaroa is the only settlement along the whole of the coast which boasts of bush land. It is decidedly the prettiest and most interesting of all the coast settlements, and boasts of a jetty which, with a little extension and strengthening, will enable a vessel like the City of Dunedin to lie alongside and discharge freight. The Akaroaians I am told form a very jolly, lively and pleasant community. It matters not at what hour of the night a steamer enters the port, but so soon as the steam whistle is heard all turn out to a man, partially dressed, and run on to the jetty to hear the latest news from Dunedin or Lyttelton as the case may be, seldom retiring to rest again for that night. This is the last settlement at which the steamer stopped, until it brought up at Lyttelton, where it arrived this (Saturday) morning at 12 o'clock. I cannot say that any of the townships we called at between Port Calmers and Lyttelton, if I except Akaroa, left any very pleasing impression on my mind. I saw no " smiling homesteads," no fields of waving corn; no solid substantial improvements proceeding with ; little, in fine, to indicate that people had located themselves with the intention of permanent settlement. The buildings are for the most part frail, slight and temporary. There are few fences or enclosures, and not a tree to relieve the monotony of the scene or conceal the barrenness of the hills. There is a cheerless, cold, inhospitable look about these settlements which certainly does not invite special admiration. At present they must be looked upon as mere depots for the receiving once m the year the wool brought down from the stations inland and along the coast and the produce of the agriculturists. But it is to be understood that I speak only from a very superficial observation and the few enquiries I have been able to make in the course of the trip. The high prices which people pay for small allotments of land indicate a strong faith in the present and prospective prosperity of the coast settlements. Reverting once more to the City of Dunedin, I am bound to say that she promises to become a valuable acquisition to the trade she has been placed in. Her steaming powers are equal to an average of knots. She extremely easy under steam, with very little internal vibration so generally experienced on screw boats. lam informed that in ahe worst of weather she always keeps a dry deck. During the strong nor'-wester which blew all through the afternoon of Friday she scarcely shipped a sea. Captain Boyd is a most able and cautious seaman; thoroughly acquainted with every inch of the Coast, the bearing of every headland and inlet, the set of the currents and depth of water at any spot-; he is thus able with the utmost safety to enter or leave any of the ports at all hours of the day or night. Ably commanded she is equally well officered, the cabin and table arrangements, under very civil and attentive stewards, are all that can be desired.
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FROM DUNEDIN TO LYTTELTON, On Board the City of Dunedin., Lyttelton Times, Volume XX, Issue 1170, 15 December 1863
FROM DUNEDIN TO LYTTELTON, On Board the City of Dunedin. Lyttelton Times, Volume XX, Issue 1170, 15 December 1863
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