The drought is intense in Auckland ; water is being sold, and tube wells are being sunk in the endeavour to supply the necessities of the town. The potato crop generally in Canterbury is looked upon as likely to turn out an almost complete failure in many districts of that province. Mr. Ormoi'd, acting for the Colonial Govern ment, has officially taken over the Kaipara railway from the province. The men employed on the Waikato railway struck, in eonsvemence of an attempt to introduce the nine-hours' system. Mr. Brogden refused to give way. Some unknown ruffian fired several shots through the windows of Mr. Thomas ltussell's house in Aucklund. No one was hurt. The Auckland Gas Company has declared a dividend of 10 per cent, for the half year. Miijor Jackson is a candidate for the seat for the Waikato. Major Heaphy, V.C., has been appointed a Trust Commissioner under the " Native Lands Frauds Prevention Act, 1870," for the Wellington district. The resignation of Mr. C. E. Ilaughton of his seat iv the House of Representatives is notified in the Qazette. We understand (says the Independent) that the Hon. the Premier proceeds to Westport in a few days, and will make a tour of the gold-Golds of Nelson and Westland. Mr. Fox Avill probably devote two or three weeks to an examination of this interesting part of the colony, and will thence proceed overland to Cliristchurch. The Independent pays :—: — " Tlie Government have succeeded in effecting an amalgamation of offices and a reduction of expenditure in Westland. Mr. Harvey, Crown Prosecutor and County Solicitor of Westland, has been appointed District Judge of the Westland judicial district, and also Examiner of Titles under the Land Transfer Act. We believe that for the offices of Judge and Examiner combined, Mr. Harvey's salary does not exceed £600 per annum. Captain Morrow is the only Auckland volunteer who has quulilied to compete in the colonial prize firing. Auckland was entitled to send eight representatives. Great dissatisfaction is expressed at the wretched firing made. The Thames has four qualified. Mr. Locke has attended a native meeting held nt Taupo to consider the desirability of constructing a bridge across the Waikato river at To Niho ote Kiore. The result was favourable and the bridge will probably be commenced soon. When finished, it will complete the coach road from Auckland to Napier. M'Donald, a clerk in the Thames Gold-mining Company's office, Auckland, has "levanted" in the Nebraska with a Mies Alley, a barmaid at Campion's. M'Donald, prior to his departure, let several friends in, one to the extent of £500. A telegram from Napier of the 261h January, suys : — The cut timber ou each side of the road through the 70 mile bush, is on fire; 300 acres of bush at Tahiaraiti nre nlso on fire and likely to be entirely destroyed. There are fires at Waipawa, Waipukurau, and Wollingford ; all doing damage. The Timarw Herald of January 26, reports :—: — On Wednesday evening, about seven minutes after Bix o'clock, a shock of earthquake passed under Timaru. The shock apparently travelled from east to west, and was of sufficient strength to cause windows to rattle, mid in some houses, furniture to more. The motion seemed to be more upwards than lateral. A great fire occurred at Blueskin Bush Track, Olago, on the 23rd- ultimo. Hitchcock's house, premises and crops, valued at £400 and uninsured were destroyed. His wife and daughter had a narrow escape being carried though the flumes by two men, who made a rush at the risk of their lives. A heavy bush fire has been raging <it Coromandel. Part of the Tokatea tramway, a number of diggers' huts, Halligan's store, butchers' shops, and other property were destroyed. There have been bush fires also in various other parts of the province.
Mr. Warden Broad left Charleston on Monday last, and will proceed from Westport to take temporary charge of the Inangahua district until after the 12th February. It is expected that a permanent appointment will bo made after the visit of the Superintendent. Dr. Griles will act in Mr. Broad's place during his absence. The Excelsior Company's lease at the Lyell, has been jumped by a party of miners, on the plea that the ground had become forfeited by reason of the rent not having been paid, and an insufficient number of men employed to hold the ground. One of the leases held by Trenery, at the Inangahua, as also a lease on Grerman Jack's line of reef, are said to have been jumped. Charleston seems to be in a state of ferment in consequence of the many departures for the reefs and elsewhere. Properties of all descriptions are for sale, and, judging from the way things are going on at present, Charleston will shortly be reduced, for a time at leabt, to a thiuly populated district. Only Ensign Close, of the Napier Hide Volunteers, has qualified to represent the Province of Hawke'B Bay. He scored 78. , The foundation stone of the new Provincial Government Buildings, iv Wellington, was laid on the 29th of January. Recruiting for the Armed Constabulary is going on on a small scale in Wanganui. The Wanganui Herald informs us that arrange* ments have been concluded for locating a body of Napier military settlers on land at the Whenuakura river. A fire on Banks' Peninsula last week destroyed a quantity of valuable timber. Three large whales have been driven ashore opposite Mr. Joseph Herbert's residence, Tautari, Cape Turnagain. The Volunteers in Auckland are to bo utilized as firemen in case of need. Two companies will be told off for this duty each month, and as a return for these services the Insurance Companies will offer several prizes to be shot for. Telegraph communication between Auckland dud Tuuranga is expected to be opened iv about nine or ten weeks. Meanwhile a bi-weekly mail has been established. A man named Johnston, a labourer in the Sawyer Bay Tunnel, Otago, has been killed by being struck on the head by a stone in a blast. A lire was discovered in a shed adjoining Jacob Joseph's store, Wellington, on the night of the 23rd ultimo. The store caught fire, and was extinguished with some difficulty. A firemau fell from a ladder and was seriously injured. It is reported that gold has been discovered at Wanganui. Harvesting is proceeding satisfactorily in Auckland; the wheat crop is reported to be good. It is estimated that 2,000 trout have been hatched in the ponds of the Acclimatization Society, at Cliristchurch, this past season. The " Bugged Ridges " Station, situated in the Waitaki district, Otago, 60,0(J0 acres, with 26,438 sheep, has been sold for the sum of £16,500, to Charles Nichols, Esq. ; aloo, the "Stotfold" Station, situated in the Oamaru district, 26,000 acres leasehold and 2,740 acres freehold, with 18,00) sheep, has been sold for £12,100, to Philip Oakden, Esq. Mortality is very rife at tlio present time in Christchurch and the suburbs among infants and children, the affection generally Jbeingiu the form of aggravated diarrhcea. A five occurred at Carterton, Waira»-apa, on the 22nd ultimo. Four houses, two stores, a blacksmith's shop, and a number of outbuildings have been burned. A scouting party which had been out in Hawke's Bay looking out for Te Kooti returned on the 23rd ultimo. They saw tracks but no natives. The drought iv Hawke's Bay is seriously affecting stock.
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