Southland Frozen Meat Company.
A VISIT TO THE MATAURA WORKS. 7' (B_'Oub Special Re-Ohteii.) Tho Management Committee of the South.land Frozen Meat and Produce Export Co., i. '-- accompanied by several directors aud the *' manager (Mr Thos. Thompson), paid a visit V of inspection to the Mataura works on Thursday afternoon. ";' The weir, which has lately been undergoing repairs, and the water-race, carried a\Vay by the last flood and rebuilt by the Company's Mataura staff, wore first examined, ' and the opinion expressed on all hands tbat the work of restoring the race had been performed in a manner which combined two most desirable attributes — efficiency and , economy.- The driving machinery was next inspected, the improvements and additions - thereto finding favor in the Committee's eye 3 ; after which the engine department, with everything as innocent of dirt and gleaming like unto the proverbial new pin, was visited, and preparations made for a - levee in " cellar cool " — decidedly cool. A detour of store and freezing room?, as well as the additional rooms recently prepared, was made at a rate of progress which varied as the temperature of the different apartments fell away to tho lower notches of the thermometer, or rose to a point which, while not pronouncedly frigid, brought back to memory that period of the year when red noses are more fashionable than comforting to look j upon ; until at last the sounds and scenes of .. the" busy outside world were once again contemplated by the visitors, and all apprecia ted, for a time at least, the genial rays reflected from Old Sol's glowing countenance. Having succeeded in getting the " chill off," - thb party, convoyed by the zealous chairman of the Management Committee mounted 1 - on a cycle, set out for tho slaughtering department, about a mile and a-half distant. Here were found, under the superintendence .of Messrs. N. Kingdon and Carswell, a bevy i> vf. bloodthirsty toilers, who despatched and - '"dressed (undressed is a better word) their , victims 'in a manner which for dexterity would put to tbe blush the most accomplished Armenian-killing Turk owning allegiance to the " sick man of Europe." In fairness to the Southland Freezing Company's slaughtering staff it might be as well to add, by way of avoiding misapprehension, -'y. that they were not — on Thursday afternoon, "at least— engaged in killing their fellow "beings, but were busy shortening the existence of a draft of prime Knapdale lambs, the ' members of which, being good, were destined ' 'to die young. With the slaughteryards, - .-appropriately enough, came the end of the ? Committee's visit of inspection, and after being conveyed' baok to Mataura, they talked " shop " for half-an-hour, and. left for their, respective hemes by the south- ' going train, having spent the afternoon in a ' most profitable and instructive manner. J - IMPROVEMENTS COMPLETED. Since November last the- Mataura works have been added to considerably, and improved extensively. In the first placo, to meet the growing demands upon the freezing -capacity of the works, a new refrigerator has . been placed iv the engine-room. This one, . like the other two already in use, is of the '■Veil-known Haslam pattern ; 60,000 cubic feet eapaeitv, capable of treating 3so carcases per day. Tho whole of the work in connection with the ' erection of tbe new machine — placing it in position, A,j£tc. — has been performed iv a faults/less manner by the Company's efficient '" engineering staff, which comprises Messrs •_ ,J. Hamilton (chief), E. Collins, M. Thompson, ' "and Charleston. Some idea of the m .chani- ■ cal difficulties encountered and overcome during the erection of the new plant'may be gleaned wheu it is stated that two parts of , the machine, each weighing five tons, had to be lifted 14ft. from the ground to tho floor of the engine-room, and from thence over the top of one of tho other engiues to the space between tho two machines, prepared for the v new-oomer's reception. The new machine is now ready for its work, and Mr Hamilton and his merry men are to be heartily congratulated upou the splendid job they have , made. The old sJ_i_t. shafting which in times past has more than once " stuck up " . the works through breaking, has been , replaced by 80ft. of 7in. steel shafting, so that a' repetition of the old trouble would appear to be very unlikely of occurrence. The engine - room, with the flashing ', steel and glittering brass work of its ma- *■* chinery, set off by the judioious application of green paint, and illuminated with eight '7,'16-candle power and one 500-candle power electrio lights, affords an illustration of applied mechanics and the triumph of mind •- over matter, of which the district generally, and the Southland Frozen Meat Company ■ more particularly, may well feel prcud. What was once an unused space between the foundation and floor of the building has b sen ■ fitted up into three new fret eng compartments, each 6ft. high, having a daily capacity of 500 carcases of mutton, aDd 6000 rabbits per room. What was originally intended for a boiler-room has been pressed into service for storage purposes, and will accommodate 6000 carcases mutton. Not reckoning freezing space, the works now » provide storage accommodation for 21,000 - , »' carcases mutton and an unlimited number of rabbits. As has been said, the new machine is ready for duty, aud will be runniug in about threo or four days. The new rooni3 will receive their baptism of frost about the . same time. So much for what bas been already dono. lhe " IMPROVEMENTS CONTEMPLATED OH IN PBOQUESS mark a decided advance in the Company's affairs, and should open up a vista of prosperity which has up to the present existed only among the " Chateaux d'Espanne " contemplated from afar off by wistful shareholders and directors alike. Before another twelve months have gone by, it is expected that the present compressed air principle of freezing will have been superseded ot the Mataura works by the ammonia process. This innovation will of course mean that a greater number of carcases will be dealt with than at present. Whereas now the machinery " is capable of freezing 1000 carcases per day, cmversion under the ammonia principle will permit of 3000 being dealt with, and less than half tho motive power required than is at present used to freeze the lesser number. A .' manure plant, with digesters, blood-dryers, .-Acme mills, etc., etc., will be erected before " : The beginning of next season, and for this purpose the Company are miking eff >rts to obtain from tho Government a piece of the quarry reserve, two chains by a chain aud a half, lying to the southern side .of the present works, to receive tho necessary buildings. A couple of boilers, at present unused, will be placed in position as part of the mannre plant. All noxious gases and fumes given off by the offal, etc., treated, will be .drawn into the smoke stack and thoroughly carbonised, consequently there is no danger of muoh unpleasant smell a-istng from the manure manufacturing operation. At present only portion of the Company's offal — the bones — is turned to good use, most of the remainder being fed to the pigs. As manure making is said to be the most profitable work undertaken by the large freezing concerns, it will be readily seen that the step the Southland Company, propose taking is one ;most -wisely advised. The slaughter yards j are to be shifted down to a site recently j secured, at the northern cud ot the freezing ' works, and the meat van., presently utilised , in the work of conveying carcases frora the yards to the works, will be cut down and ■ converted into trucks for carrying coal from '..the Company's private pit (where a capital seam of lignite has been brought to light) to the manure manufacturing department. The change in location of the slaughter house has many and valuable advantages. In the first place the new killing department will be erected on most modern principles, and will be lighted . throughout by electricity. At present when there is a " rush" on, the men slaughtering at night time use " slush " lamps, the smoke from which is calculated not to enhance the appearance of tbe carcases operated upon. Further, the killing and freezing departments being close to one another, the sheep will be oarried by an endless chain direot from the cooling room to. the " freezer " without the necessity for their being handled once on . the journey. This also will mean that tho r carcases will look better, and be frozen in "• better condition-than under present arrangements — excellent though they be. All tho new maohinery will be driven by the existing turbine, and should additional power ever be required — a remote contingency — the use of '- 100 iadditional h.'p. can bo obtaiued by merely - lowering the turbine another sft. It might .be mentionpd, by the way, that the South- ._ land Implement Company, has been entrusted :V "with the order for the new manure plant, and
under contraot to have it completed in six months.
It is hardly necessary to point out that when all the improvements iv progress and contemplation are carried out, the Company will employ a considerably larger Btaff than is engaged to-day, and iv consideration of that one fact alone, deserves the best of pood fortune iv its future undertakings. That the Company is backed up by the best wishes and liveliest interest of Southland farmers, for whose welfare it has struggled so nobly and well in tho immediate past, is undoubted, and if only the Government through the Minister for Railways could bo induced to smile in a practical manner upon the efforts bf an institution to increase the prosperity of Southland and tho colony at large, all would be well ; the worried look, and lines of care would disappear from the genial countenance of the geuoral manager as dyspepsia goesdown before a dose of patent tonic ; peace, good-fellowship, and mutual admiration would exist between the Chairman of the Management Committee and the Minister for Railways, while every self-re-specting fat sheep, prime lamb, and selected rabbit in the province would deem it a distinguishing honor to be introduced to the British consumer through the medium of the Mataura Freezing Works.
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