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The prize of twenty guineas offered by the Agricultural and Pastoral Association for tho best essay on “ Ergot in Bye and Other Grasses” has boon awarded to Mr Thomas Mann, of St Albans, A petition, praying for the release of 7f. P. Townend, sentenced to six months' imprisonment at the lost sessions of the Supremo Court, has been largely si-ued, and forwarded to the General Assembly. Tho names attached number some uCOO, and tho petition is over 250 feet in length. The fourth contract of the Cathedral buildjjio is now finished, and the erection of the columns inside the walls will probably bo commenced shortly. The sculptured figure of our Saviour in tho act of blessing arrived from England in tho Maggie Douglas, and has been placed in position over the doorway. Tho chief entrance is now complete as regords the ornamental stonework, and presents a very handsome appearance. The value of the gold exported from the respective Provinces of Now Zealand for the half years ending June 30,1875, and June 30, 1876, was as follows : —Auckland—lß7s, £ll-1,769; 1876, £99,963. Marlborough--1875, £2766; 1876, £1796. Nelson—lß7s, £lB5 880; 1876, £142,633, Westland—lß7s, £144201 ; 1876, £108,269. Otago-1875, £256 777 ; 1876, £256,103. The total values W ere—lß7s, £704,393 ; 1876, £608,793. The total amount of gold entered for exportation from New Zealand from April 1, 1857, to June 30, 1876, was 8,108,5290z5, valued at £31,593,579.

The last of the Chinese Mandarin ducks, which have been bo much admired in the Acclimatisation Gardens, died a few days ago, and has been presented to the Museum. Four of these ducks were originally sent out from England by the Zoological Society, and being exceedingly difficult to obtain were regarded as a great curiosity. The death of the last one was evidently due to a piece of reprehensible conduct on the part of a visitor, ns it was found with one of its legs broken, presumably the result of stone-throwing. As an instance of the difficulty experienced in obtaining these ducks, it may be mentioned that a Christchurch gentleman wrote to a friend in China for a pair, and received a reply to the effect that if a pair of live Mandarins wore wanted there might be some chance of fulfilling the commission, but to obtain Mandarin ducks was next to impossible. The new Theatre has so far progressed as to give a good idea of what the accommodation will be like when it is finished. The contractors have been greatly delayed by the time lost in raising the unwieldy beams which are to support the roof, and a great deal of unnecessary fuss has been made by some meddlesome people on this very account. These beams are each sixty-three feet in length, and weigh close on two tons, and a cry was raised that they were too heavy for the walls. An official inspection was made,and the result was entirely satisfactory, as the report declares that the building is strong enough to support ten times the weight that will be placed upon the walls. All the minor contracts in oonnectiou with the theatre have now been let, and the proprietors have good hopes of being able to open it by the great carnival time in the beginning of November, when the Canterbury Jockey Club hold their race meeting It is not likely, however, that the inside will and the Agricultural Association their Show, be completely finished by that time. The forthcoming Poultry Show, which is to be hold in the Oddfellows' Hall on Friday and Saturday, August 25 and 26, promises to be a remarkably good one, as the entries show the large increase of 103 over those of last year, and from all accounts, the quality of the exhibits will be much superior. The principal increase is in the game, Brahma, and pigeon classes, and in these classes, as well as in some others, a large number of imported birds will be shown. The pigeon race from the Ashburton closed with thirteen entries, so that it may be assumed the competition will be keen, especially when one bird, noted as a good homer, will be flown to Lyttelton. The following is a comparative statement of the relative entries between last show and the coming one :—Game —1875, 33 ; 1876, 65. Dorkings—lß7s, 18; 1876.18 Spanish—lß7s,B; 1876,6. Cochins —1875,9; 1876,15 Brahmas—lß7s,3o; 1876/ 60. Hamburghs—lß7s,6; 1876,11. Polish—--1875,0; 1876, 3. Houdana—lß7s, 5; 1876, 5. Barndoor—lß7s,l; 1876,1. Bantams—--1875, 12; 1876, 17. Turkovs—lß7s,l; 1876. 2. Geese—lß7s, 1; 1876,'1. Ducks—lß7s; 16; D 76, 10. F.xtra—lß76. 3. Pigeons—--1875,36; 1876,61, Pigeon Race—lß7s, 5; 1876,13. Canaries, &0.—1875, 86 ; 1876, 87. The Industrial School at Burnham, some twenty mileo from Christchurch, is now doing very good work. There are eighty children on the books, and the improvement in their appearance and conduct is very marked to anv one who know tnem previous to their being under the charge of Mr and Mrs Colco. Besides the children now on the books there are several who have been apprenticed to tradesmen, and as an instance of the satisfaction given to employers, it may be stated that a tradesman in Timaru was so pleased wi!h a trial he made of one of the boys, that he sent for a second with equally good results. There is still room for about a dozen or fourteen hoys in the school, but Ihe girls’ wing is ratherorowded, and the Provincial Government are now taken steps for the purpose of having it enlarged. All the children of a suitable ago for work spend one-half the day in educational matters, and the other in such employment as they are best adapted for. A carpenter and blacksmith is constantly employed on the premises, and some of the boys are placed under him, while others work in the garden or on the farm. At present there are two ploughs worked by Jftxys on the farm, for breaking; np land, with a view to cultivation. About fifty acres have been sown with wheat this season, and the area will be considerably increased before the time for such work expires, When the farm is all broken up, wheat and oats will be grown each year, and a certain number of sheep will be kept, so that in time the institution will, to a great extent, be selfsupporting.

The annual meeting of tbo member of the Chamber of Commerce was held on Thursday afternoon, when the report, which was on tho whole of a very cheering character, was adopted, and, together with the balance-sheet and a mass of interest* ing statistics, was ordered to be printed for circulation among the members. Mr Nathan brought forward a motion with a view to the admission of honorary members to the Chamber, but more particularly with the view of allowing Dr Foster, who it appears has on several occasions gratuitously advised the Chamber on various subjects, to become a member of this kind. A good deal of discussion took place upon the subject, and ultimately the motion was lost. On the motion of Mr Turner, the Chamber expressed its appreciation of the services of Dr Foster, and the Committee was empowered to present that gentleman with a honorarium, the amount being left to the Committee. The balance-sheet showed that the balance at the Bank vms 14s 9d, but it was stated by the Chairman that, since that sheet was made out, the Secretary had collected a sum of £2OO, of Which it was proposed to set apart£lso to the reserve fund, which would bring that fund up to £SOO. Mr Cunningham remarked that if things progressed as they were doing at present, the Chamber would soon be in a position to have pren ises of its own. That gentleman wan again elected Chairman of the Chamber, and received a very high tribute of praise from the meeting, on the energy and ability I p tn- -rlvpaya d i » played as Chairman. Mr Anderson Was elected Deputy-Chairman, and Mr Craig was re-elected Auditor.

A now terminal station is about to bo built at Christchurch. The site will bo close to the old one, and tho improvement is very much needed.

Air Fuller, lately taxidermist at the Canterbury Museum, died on Friday, July 28, at his house in Stanmore road, from the effects of swallowing some of tho chemicals used in tho preparation of skins. We regret to state that Mr Fuller loaves a wife and five young children, very poorly provided for. Tho number of telegrams forwarded t hroughout tho Colony in tho quarter ended Juno 30 last was 291,086, showing an increase of 48,428 over tho same quarter last year. Tho cash received amounted to £16,899 3s 2d, ns against £14,716 15s 2d last year. Tho value of tho General Government telegrams transmitted during tho same period was £4463 10s sd. Tho number of the vessels entered inwards at tho ports of New Zealand during quarter ended June 30 was 241, same quarter lost year, 206; cleared outwrds 229, last year 220. fho tonnage of those entered inward this year was 87,894, last year 83,365; of thoso cleared outwards 104,982 and 95,573 respectively. The crews numbered—in the inward bound vessels, 3532 and 3480; in the outward bound, 3970 and 3728 respectively. A fire occurred on Monday night, August 14, at 11 o’clock, on the farm of Mr Wright, whioh lies at the back of the Lunatic Asylum. Tho house, which contained six rooms, was burned to the ground, and scarcely anything saved. The servant first heard the noise of the flames, and aroused the family who made their escape just in time. The origin of tho fire is unknown. The building was insured in tho Victoria for £SOO, and the South British for £4OO.

The trial of the dredge Erskine, whioh has been brought at a large expense from Glasgow in order to deepen the harbour, took place at Lyttelton on Thursday, August 10, in the presence of a number of officials. It was highly satisfactory, but the rapidity with which the Erskine filled up the two hoppers showed at once that it would be necessary to add to the number of the latter. Designs will accordingly be drawn up for two more barges to carry away the mud excavated. They will be built in the Colony, The residents of the thickly populated suburbs on the south side of the oity purpose taking steps with a view to the establishment of a municipality. They consider thot the Road Boards have not done justice to them for many years past, and that the Eoad districts are too large. It is proposed that the municipality shall include Newtown, from the Colombo road westward, and a portion of Addington. A meeting was held a few days ago to discuss the matter, and preparatory steps were taken in tho direction indicated.

The gale from the South-west, commencing about 12 a.m. on Friday, August 4, and lasting until next morning, was the strongest experienced in Christchurch for some years, excepting the great storm of June last year. The wind gauge recorded for the twenty-four hours ending 9 a.m. on Saturday, 691 miles. Occasionally the wind travelled a mile a minute, which would give a force of 181bs per square foot. The ozonometer during the gale was remarkably low, standing at 2, though for some days previously it had recorded 7,8, and 9. The scale ranges from 0 to 10. A return is published in the Gazette, showing the number of money order and savings’ banks transactions throughout the Colony during the quarter ended June 30, 1876. From this it appears that the number of offices open amount to 122, as against 111 in tho same period of the previous year. The money orders issued, were 20,582, representing a value of £81.043 10s ; paid, 14645, equivalent to £57,950 7s 3d. Tho number of accounts opened at Savings’ Banks was 2960 ; of accounts closed, 2343. The value of tho deposits reached £170,4988s lid, while the withdrawals amounted to £178,636 17s lOd. The Chief Gaoler reports on the state of the Canterbury gaols during the month ended July 31, as follows:—Males: For trial at Supremo Court—Lyttelton, 16 (not including 3 on bail). Hard labour—Lyttelton, 110 ; Addington, 69; Timaru, 28. Imprisonment—Lyttelton, 15 ; Addington, 5 ; Timaru, 2. Medical treatment—Lyttelton, 3. Lunatics—Timaru, 1. Debtors—Lyttelton, 3. Females : For trial at Supreme Court—Addington, 1 (admitted to bail). Timaru, 1. Hard labour— Addington, 36 ; Timaru, 2, Imprisonment— Addington, 1; Timaru, 1. Medical treatment—Addington, 6, Lunatics—Timaru, 1. Total in gaol—Lyttelton, 147 ; Addington, 118; Timaru, 36 The discharges during tho month were—Males—Lyttelton, 40 ; Addington, 46; Timaru, 3. Females—Addington, 30; Timaru, 3. Of the 16 prisoners returned for trial at the Supreme Court, 5 were acquitted, and 11 received sentences on conviction at the late Session.

Mr Joseph Hudson,leasee of the Pier Hotel, Kaiapoi, died suddenly at his residence on Monday, August 14. He was seired with epileptic fits on the Friday, but on Saturday and Sunday appeared to be getting better. He gradually sank during Sunday night, and expired at 730 a.m. It appeared that for the past week he had been taking herb medicine which had been prepared by a country herbalist, and the medical men who attended him thought the symptoms shown had the appearance of having been produced by vegetable poison. They refused to give a certificate of death until the medicine which the deceased had been taking prior to Friday was submitted to chemical analysis. The deceased was, up to very lately, Manager of the Canterbury Spinning, and Weaving Company’s works at Kaiapoi, and had only entered into the hotel business a fortnight when death occurred. He was greatly respected in the town. The verdict returned at the inquest stated that he died from congestion of the brain, and attached no suspicion to any of his attendants. The report of the Minister on Education in Canterbury during the year ended October 15, 1875, has just been published. It contains much information that has already been published in one form or another, such as lists of pupil teachers, scholarship examinations, &0,, but there are some interesting statements of payments in detailed appended. From them we find that the maintenance of the schools of the Province cost £29,349 lla ss, and the expenses of the department amounted to £3219 10a 4d. The sum expended on scholarships was £90410s lid, and on the purchase of books £863 15s 7d. The expenditure on school buildings reached £31,619 5s 2d, besides £9973 3s lOd for the Normal school. Of the first-mentioned sum Christchurch East absorbed £8415 4s 3d, Christchurch West, £1307 9j 2d; Colombo road, £2382 3s 8d; Kaiapoi, £2085 7s 2d; Lyttelton, £2642 10s 9d j Timaru, £1829 16a lid; and the rest much smaller amounts. Planting school sites cost £225 9s lid. Voluntary contribution-: for building purposes brought in £699 19a 2d, and the special rates for the same purposes amounted to £5212 18a sd. The total expenditure in all was £76,155 7s 2d.

Mr George Darrell, the well-known Colonial actor and author, has been sojourning in Christchurch sines the closing of the Theatre Boyal, and during that time he has been busily engaged in writing a new fouract drama, which is now completed. Mr and Mrs Darrell have now gone to Dunedin, where the new play will first see the light of day. We have been informed by a gentleman who has read Mr Darrell’s latest production, and who is generally considered a good authority on such matters, that the new piece is one of a very high order—that while there is considerable scope for scenic and dramatic effect, there is at - he same time itn excellent tone running throughout it; and that the language is both sparkling—so far os tho comedy is concerned—and most effective in the more serious portions of the play. We trust that it will be a success if it be all that is repotted of it—for we hold that a good Colonial production, of which there are so very few, should be better patronised than many of the meretricious pieces often put upon the stage—imported from England and America, and produced by so-called “stars.” We under stand that in all probabilty after playing a short season in Dunedin, tho Darrells will Lave for Melbourne, where that gentleman intends to produce " Transported for Life.” ,

Another attempt is being made to start a skating rink, but the support met with so far is not very ardent. The Suez moil has arrived at Adelaide. The mail is not due here until August 31, but will probably arrive before that date. Akaroa has been proclaimed a borough under tho “ Municipal Corporations Act, 1867.” Tho boundaries aro published in tho New Zealand Gazette of July 27. The election of Councillors takes place on Sept. 1. Tho list of winners of Junior Scholarships this year appears elsewhere. Only four have been successful out of twenty-four, and of those wo aro glad to see that three —J. Hoy, Herbert Williams, mid J. Innes belong to Christ’s College. Tho other, T. W. 8011, is a pupil of Wellington College, The first block of the new Lunatic Asylum is now complete. It is nearly 300 feet in length, is built of concrete, and tho woodwork is entirely composed of stained and varnished kauri. This portion is devoted to females, and the erection of the wards for the men, at a cost of £15,000, will be proceeded with as rapidly as possible. An elderly man named Leoompt was found by Mr Baker, near Barry’s Bay jetty, Akaroo Harbour, on Tuesday, August 15, attempting suicide in the following peculiar manner : —He had gone down to low water mark, and secured his legs and arms with a cord and bandaged his eyes, and was thus waiting tho flow of the tide to put an end to his existence. A letter has been found at his house stating his determination to make away with himself. A movement is on foot amongst Masons in New Zealand, holding under the Grand Lodge of Scotland, to declare their independence and form a Grand Lodge of New Zealand, after the example of their Canadian brethren, Steps are, we learn, being taken to test the opinion of the various Scottish Lodges in New Zealand on the subject, and the proposal appears generally popular. A conference of Lodge delegates will probably be held at Wellington at an early date to consider tho matter.

There aro now somewhat under 22,000 trout ova in tho hatching boxes, and tho per centage of loss up to the present time has been remarkably small. It is estimated that fully 20,000 young fish will be hatched out, and this will be an immense increase on previous years. Great credit is due to tho Garden Committee of the Acclimatisation Society for the attention they have devoted to the matter, and the new Curator also deserves commendation for the able manner in which ho has seconded their efforts. There are only one or two old fish to strip, and tho work of collecting ova may be considered all but concluded.

The Lydia Howarde Burlesque Companyare still here. They are now playing “Ivsnhoe" to crowded houses, and it has turned out one of the most popular they have yet produced. “Nemesis” was also a great hit, but “La Ohatte Blanche ” was not successful. Beside the “ Daughter of the Regiment,” these pieces have filled up the month. The “ Beggars’ Opera ” will be produced on Thursday for the first time in the Colony. Everett’s Hibernicon was succeeded by Hegarty’s Variety Troupe, which drew good houses. The Lingards, now playing in Dunedin with Mr Hoskins, open in about thtee weeks, but owing to the want of a suitable Hall, will only bo able to appear in drawing-room pieces and sketches of character. The works at the Heathcoto Valley, for providing a supply of water for Lyttelton, are now in active progress, and will be completed in about four months’ time. They consist of a brick building with concrete dressings for the engine, a cottage for the engineer on the flat, and a huge tank on the hill-side for storing water. The engine-house is 15ft by 22ft, and the boiler-house 23ft 6in by 23ft. Two very powerful compound engines, which can be worked together or separately, have been imported from England, but the boiler will bo made in the Province. The engines will pump water from a five-inch artesian well, through eight inch pipes, to the reservoir, which is 200 ft above the level of the railway. It is to be built of concrete, ten feet deep, and will hold close upon a million gallons of water. From this reservoir five-inch pipes will be laid through the tunnel to Lyttelton, where the water will rise a eufficient height to supply the greater portion of the town. The contract for the pipes will be let in about two months’ time, and it is expected that the water will bs available for use in Lyttelton in four months. The time-ball tower at Lyttelton is now finished, with the exception of the joinery work of the interior, together with the erection of the shaft upon the summit of the tower upon which the ball itself will work. The building itself is in the early pointed style of architecture as applied to castellated buildings. The walls, which for the most part are two feet in thickness, are built of brownish coloured wailing stone, obtained from the Sumner road quarries, laid in Portland cement, and bound together with frequent bands of hoop iron. The quoins and dressings to the doors and windows, cornices, and battlemented copings are of the well known Oarnaru stone, and give a very pleasing and elegant finish to the building. The building has been erected from the designs of Mr Thomas Cane, Provincial Architect, It consists of three stories, from the roof of the last of which a magnificent view of the harbour is obtained, and which is intended for a look-out station in fine weather. Access to the different floors and to the flat is obtained from a spiral stone staircase, having a stone newel, 2ft in diameter, of Butterfields Cass’ Peak stone, upon which the iron columns and shafting for the ball rest, forming a very solid foundation. The height of the tower is 42ft, above which the ball will work to about the height of 10ft. The builrliag will be finished during the present month, after which the astronomical and other apparatus will require to be erected and adjusted, for which purpose it is intended to send a gentleman down from Wellington. The entire structure, which appears to be most substantially built in every particular, is a decided feature in the Port, and will prove of very great service, not only to those who may depend upon it for purposes incidental to navigation, but also to residents in the town, who will then have a uniform time to rely upon.

On Monday, August 14, at the Timaru Police Court, a case of a very sickening and brutal character was heard. Wm, Todd was charged with cruelly ill-treating his daughter, a child aged nine years. From the evidence it appears that Mr Young, hotelkeeper at Winchester,saw the child on Thursday last, when she was partly naked and covered with bruises. He brought her into Timaru to the Police station on Friday. She had to be carried to the railway station at Winchester, being in a very emaciated state. The girl, in giving evidence, deposed that her father, on Wednesday last, beat her with a willow stick while she was naked, haying stripped her before boating her. He broke this stick over her back, and then got another, which fetched blood. Next morning ho brutally kicked her, and told her that if she ran away again he would put salt in the wounds on her back. The prisoner stated that the girl was well cared for, and ho had great affection for her. She was wont ts stray out at night, and he thought that she might be taken away by passers-by. On the child being examined, Mr Hamersley, counsel for the accused, threw up the case, stating that ho was only asked shortly before it came on to appear for Todd, but seeing by the evidence the nature of the charge, he would go no further in the matter. Great approbation was shown in Court at this action, inspector Penderremarkedthat ho had seen many men after they had been flogged in the army, but had never seen such bruises as those with which the child was covered. Dr MTntyre’s evidence was taken, and showed that the child was bruised in every part of her body, some parts being cut and blistered. It would be some time ere she recovered. Mr Woolcombe, before passing sentence, said that he had seen the child at the Hospital, and might state that he had never seen men in the Navy who had been flogged, in suoh a state. He would send the prisoner to gaol for the longest term allowed, six months with hard labour, and on his coming out he would have to enter into a bond for good behaviour to the child. There was great applause at this, and the prisoner appeared greatly surprised at the turn of affairs. On being removed the crowd raised loud cries of “ Lynch him,” but Todd wm quickly taken away by the police.

A painful accident occurred on August 2 t a man working at Parson and Henderson foundry, Timaru. His shirt sleeve was caught by tho cogs of tho drilling machine, and the fleshy part of his loft arm was badly torn and A man named Moreny threw himself, a few days ago, into tho river Hoathooto with tho intention of drowning himself. Ho was pulled out just in tho nick of time, and brought before tho Magistrate, who remanded him for medical examination, A fatal accident happened oi Friday to a man named Henderson, who was thrown oh his horse while carrying a hammer-headed tomahawk in his hand. The sharp edge penetrated his nook, and from those injuries ho died on Saturday, . A Press Club has just been started in Christchurch, and seems likely to meet with success. It will bo a great convenience to many, and when once tho advantages of such an institution have boon fairly soon, it is not probable that it will be allowed to go to the wall. , ,

The Minister of Justice has informed the Timaru Borough Council that the petition recently forwarded, for extended jurisdiction in the Magistrates’ Courts and the Quarterly Sessions of tho Supremo Court, will be taken into consideration when the present session has come to an end.

A football team will be sent from Christchurch in a day or two to play the Northern towns. This is in response to the gallantry of Auckland, who sent a team round tho Islands, list year, and were beaten everywhere. The Ohristohuroh team is strong, and we do not fear a similar fate for it, though it is hard to tell what effects that terrible foe to bodily activity—sea-sickness—may have upon the individual members of the team.

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SOCIAL SUMMARY., Lyttelton Times, Volume XLVI, Issue 4840, 23 August 1876, Supplement

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SOCIAL SUMMARY. Lyttelton Times, Volume XLVI, Issue 4840, 23 August 1876, Supplement

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