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THROUGH WAIKATO.

IT3 CONDITION AND PROSPECTS. No. XIII. [BY OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT.] Ik this week's issue I continue my.my notes on the Hot Springs District. THE HOT SPRINGS SANATORIUM. The Messrs. Wilson Brothers may bo regarded as the pioneer settlers of the Hot Springs district and that part of the country. They endeavoured, in IS7O, to net into the Awaroa Block, being settled in Raglan at that time, and having been through all the troubles of the Waikato campaign of 1303, but the Government refused to sell, befog then desirous of returning this confiscated block, as already stated, to Tawhiao and the Kingitos. In consequence the Wilson Brothers went to the Korikori landing, on the northern arm of Raglan harbour, and purchased a piece of native land, and leased another piece from the aatives, making a joint area of about 1400 acres. This they have held ever since, using it as a cattle run, but now also carrying sheep on itr The second pioneer settler was Mr. C. S. Vernon, who entered the Awaroa block from the bluntly side, and took his land at the head of the Kuhuhuru valley, owing to there being there a nice flat of "200 acre* of ploughable land on the banks of the river. Mr. L. S. Wilson came up to the Hot Springs from the Kerikeri landing live years ago. Ac that time there was only a pack-track, almost overgrown, from Ngaruawahia. The Messrs. Wil son were aware of the existence of the Hot Springs, having 'JO years previously visited them under the guidance of natives, who availed themselves of their curative properties for rheumatism, sciatica, and kindred complaints. Tho springs and surrounding forest (360 acres) constitute a domain reserve, vested in the Raglan County Council, and was put up for lease for '.'1 years. Mr. S. L. Wilson was the purchaser, one of tho conditions being tho erection of an accommodation house of 13 rooms within twelve months. One of the reasons for Mr. Wilson taking up the Hot Springs reserve was that in 187S ha had brought his father to tho Spring?,suffering from rheumatism, where he was permanently cured of that complaint. Everything had to bo packed, oven to the bricks for the chimneys. The timber was hand-sawn on the ground. Mr. Wilson found that he had got on a pretty tough job, but he made the accommodation house of 15 instead of the 13 rooms as provided by his lease, and also built the necessary stabling. He then made a clearing of 110 acres to get grass for horses, dairy produce for the use of the Sanatorium, and also the beef and mutton required. Tho premises are comfortably furnished, and an excellent table is kept. In addition to the Sanatorium, Mr. Wilson commenced the erection of a bathing place for ladies, and another for gentlemen. Mr. Wilson is a typical settler, energetic and industrious, and ever ready to give a helping hand to his co-workers in " tho heroic work of colonisation." Through his good offices I was enabled to see more of the district than I could otherwise h..vo done, and ho also gave me all the information at his disposal. The Springs had been known from time immemorial to the Maoris, and the grandfather of To Whooro diod in one of the baths, which caused tho Springs to be tapiud for many years. Tawhiao has been in the habit for years past of visiting the Springs bo avail himself of their benefits for rheumatism, and lias built a house a short distance in the forest, where he resides during his visits. During the cutting-out of tho site for the baths, which is on tho proper left bank of the > Waingaro, Mr. Wilson dug out Maori stone axes, wooden mallets for pounding fern root, and pungas which had been lashed together many years previously to the --ides of the baths. The hot springs are to be found not only on the sides of the ba-.k, but in the bed of the river at intervals, and on the opposite bank their temperature ranges from 90 to 100 degrees. The Sanatorium is situate on a little spur about an acre in extent, 50 feet above tho level of the river. There is a short distance above the springs a waterfall, the sound of the rushing waters being heard from tho verandah of 'ho hotel. In the stillness of tho evening the music of the waterfall reverberating in the gorge--which is clothed from baso to summit with New Zealand bush—is especially grateful to the ear, and to tho spirit of the lover of nature. Tho Sanatorium has a northerly aspect, and is semicircle-! by a belt of mixed bush, the frontage commanding a view of the valley leading to Ngaruawahia, and of the forest-clothed ranges on either side of it. On tho left front across the Waingaro, and rising from its banks at a gentle slope, is the mountain known as Wahine Tuturu (a true woman). This good lady must have been the white crane of Maori fable, said to be seen only once in a century, as, according to tho same excellent authority, tho troublos of the native race in the olden time wore generally women anil land. By the way, a pair of white crane* —kotuk us—have been seen in tho Raglan district during the past year. No doubt when tho tourist traffic justifies the expenditure, Mr. Wilson will cut a winding path round this mountain, which is 500 feet in height, and place a summer-house, with rustic seats, on the top, as it commands a beautiful vi \v of the surrounding country. At present there is a track to tho top, where there is a small clearing, in which he has planted at intervals some Pinus insignus. The mountain, as it faces the Sanatorium, clothed in forest growth exhibiting all tho lovely characteristics of New Zealand bush, treo ferns, etc., forms a pleasing feature in the landscape to visitors. Mr. Wilson has had no occasion to regret his enterprise in settling at tho Hot Springs, as tho tourist traffic is steadily increasing, and will do so in a greater ratic as the Hot Springs become better known. At the Hot Springs I met Messrs. Hewitt, Picking, Ormiaton, Rastrick, Vining, and Bull (2), settlors who had como in frou, their farms after the week's toil to visit the Springs and enjoy tho baths. It is anticipated that next season t number of the Waikato settlers who take their Bummer excursion to Raglan, will gc to that watering place via the Hot Spring: route, returning back home again by tfi< Raglan-Waipa mountain road, or vice versa, A second tourist route to Raglan will n( doubt bo an accomplished fact in the neai future, by a coach lino from Mgaruawahii via the Hot Springs to the Kerikeri landing and thence by steam launch down th< reaches of Raglan Harbour to Raglai township, bringing that port within i day's travel of Auckland, and the Raglan ites getting their Auckland mails the aami day. Tourists would then have tho optioi of taking tho Waipa-Raglan Mountan Road, Ngaruawahia-Kerikorißoad, or Wai totuna-Raglan Road to Raglan, goin; thence to Auckland by the Northern Com pany'a steamer, or southwards by thai boats to Taranaki or Wanganui. If so dia posed they can come from Auckland t Raglan by sea first, and return by any c the'land routes above-named. Messrs. S. L. Wilson and J. K. Mc Donald, who take an interest in piscicul ture, have liberated a couple of hundr& rainbow trout in the Waingaro and it tributaries, in order to afford good fishin in the neighbourhood. ROADS AND SETTLEMENT. At the Hot Springs I met Mr. Cogswel Government Overseer of Works, from whoi I made inquiries as to the state of the road: and tho steps taken to open up blocks f< settlement and connect the various district by trunk routes. In reply to my inquirie Mr. Cogswell said that tho road systei would be complete for traffic from Wha ngaro (or Raglan) to Ngaruawahia on tl completion of two links—the one fro Ohautira to the junction of the beach roa< and the other from the junction of t! Wainguro-Kahuhuru roads to tho H< Springs Sanatorium ; hence by the Hunt junction to the present contracts, exten ing over five and a-half miles. Some su stantial bridges and culverts have bc( erected on Firewood Creek and the ti butary streams which discharge into tl Waipa. From thence thero is a good dn I road to the Ngaruawahia ferry. Aco aiderable amount of work has be I done; from the. KuUuUuru junction

the Karaka Road, and thence to Mr. Vernon's, ub Lily Vale. The pack track is completed about two miles towards tho Mangapiko. A number of tho settlers there are awaiting a road for their produce and stock. The preliminary steps have been taken to connect this road with tho road system loading out of Churchill, and when this is completed it will form a very important route to Auckland. With reference to road formation, Mr. Cogswell stated that thero would be no difficulty as regards road metal— the great drawback of some districts—as the road lines disclosed the outcrop of a loose rubble, well adapted for road metal, and which has been already tested on tho worst sections of the road from Ngaruawahia to Whaingaroa. HOT SPRINGS TO NGARUAWAHIA. In coming out from the Hot Springs to Ngaruawahia Mr. S. L. Wilson's son kindly guided mo as far as Akatea Creek, when Mr. T. Seccombo joined me, and we rodo out to Ngaruawahia in company. On the right of the road en route to Ngaruawahia we passed the largo holding of Colonel Dawson, 4000 acres. lie is carrying on largo improvements, and employing a good deal of labour. The selection is ring-fenced, and is stocked at present with cattle only. His block extends for four miles, and it is understood that ho intends putting his sons on it. On the same side is tho farm of Mr. C P. Vining (500 acres), who cut a track in at his own expense, instead of waiting for Jupiter, or the Government, to do it "for him. Ho is a good type of settler, and is devoting his attention to sheep. Next to Mining's building is the homestead of Mr. Trow, who is in in chargo of Mr. J. P. McArthur's farm of •-'OO acres, and on which improvements are going on. On the opposite side of the road the back boundary of Mr. T. Seccombo's land comes in, and occupies the frontage for some distance. Farther on we came to the Huutly Junction, where a branch road ■joes over the raog'js to the Huutly coal mines and the lakes district. Tho road to lluntly, if made and bridged, would prove a great convenience to tho settlers in the upper part of the confiscated block, as well as aid in opening up and settling the Waikato Coal Company's 10,000 acre block, it would save the detour to Ngaruawahia, as they would simply go along the base of the triangle instead of its two sides. A punt would bo requited at lluntly, and its establishment is only a question of time, as the Awaroa block gets settled upon. Hore commences the Waikato Coal Company's block of 10,000 acres, which is open for ! settlement, and is partly of limestone formation. It is stated that a goodly portion of the block is nice ploughable land, but at the prices which tho company are asking, it is not likely to be settled for some time, in the face of the advantages offered by tho Government to men to settle on the Crown lands. VILLAGE SETTLEMENT AT FIREWOOD CHEEK. Next to this property, on both sides of tho road, i* tho village settlement of Firewood Creek, and To Akatca. The first ■settler is Mr. John Foster, and among others are Messrs. Champtaloup, and the Bnitt Brothers (2). The Bui tt Brothers are thrifty, industrious, energetic settlers, but are crippled through not being able to extend their holdings. All the settlers are doing fairly well. The great defect of this settlement, like that of m>st of the special settlements, was the limited area of the holdingsso acres. I was informed that, to make a decent living, and provide for 1 the settlement of growing sous (unless the latter were to be exiled from the district), SOD to 500 acres were necessary. When men go to the country and rough it, and find they are unable to better their social condition, they soon lose heart. The settlers to whom I spoke in the Hot Springs district were unanimous in their opinion that it was a great mistake on the part of tho Government to pur small settlers on too limited areas in out-of-the-way district". They hell it would pay the Government in the long run to promote colonisation even by giving a bonus in land to the men who would pioneer an untouched block, and make the start. The man who adventures into a new district under such conditions, should have a reasonable pro spect of making a comfortable home through his industry, otherwise he will sink in tho social scale. If he is only going to encounter poverty there, ho can do that nearer homo. A prosperous yeomanry, and not groups of poverty-stricken crofters, is the need of the contented, nob discontented, men on the soil. MILITARY LAND SCRIP. Passing along we came to tho block recently thrown open to holders of military land scrip. It would have been far bettor for the Government to have given tho holders of tho scrip tho face value in money, is the issuo of the scrip will block tho bona tide settlement! of the land. Many of the scrip-holders have no intention of settling, and are hawking the laud about, endeavouring to got double the Government upset price. Homo of them will neither settle on the land or sell it, but are holding it till the industry of the surrounding settlers has given their section increased value, and they can secure the unearned increment. Those military scrip lands abut on the firewood Creek and (Jorge Roads. A dray road is being formed, though under considerable difficulties, costing £500 a mile. The scenery hero is very good, there being some fino native bush, and Firewood Crock forming a scries of cascades and rapids. A very easy grade lias been got for tliO road, which passing through trap-rock country, is in n good state of repair. There is a three-spun bridge over Firewood Creek, and a number of culverts have just been completed under Mr. Cogswell's supervision. MILE BUSH GORGE. Going along tho margin of Firewood Creek, we came to the Mile Bush Gorge, and tho homesteads of Messrs. Goodwin and Lawson, who havo done fairly well it; reclaiming their land. Shortly afterwards, sixteen miles or so from tho Hot Springs, wo sighted the Waipa river, and passer the 500-acre farm (freehold) of Mr. Rath bone, who has done a lot of work and has t good selection. Getting down to the river's bank, we paddocked our horses for returi to the Hot Springs, crossed the Waipi in the punt to Ngaruawahia, and gob or '. the lino of the railway once more. THE " ROYAL RASPERS." ' During my journcyings up and down thi 1 Waikato district, etc., I came across met who had been through the Waikato cam 1 paign, and still later troublous times. Om such veteran accosted me at lluntly—win 1 is nothing if nob Coal—as having belonget ' to "The Royal Raspers." I thought ' knew something of tho Waikato cam ' raigns and the corps engaged therein :- 1 "The Water-mokes" (the Naval Trans " port Corps); "Tho Bullock Punchers ' (Land Transport Corps); bub "Tin 1 Royal Raspers'—there he had me ! " Why 1 sir," said he, in a confidential sorb o " way, "my sergeanb used to belong b '■ tho ' press gang,'but he has dropped th sword and taken to the pen again. Don' v you remembor, sir, when wo ' run in Mahuki?" I did remember that livel; I morning, bub I was obliged to gontl remind " Tho Royal Rasper" that life wa too short to indulge in tho recital of yarn of the Carboniferous Period, and tho oral ," while pursuer of To Kooti and myself wen our several ways, possibly to meeb agair *, HOMEWARD BOUND. In Huntly I spent a couple of days plef santly in visiting the coal mines of thedis , tricb, and then burned my face Auckland * wards, reaching tho city after a month' II absence, having dining that) period tri '» veiled by rail and road on my tri r " Through Waikato," and adjoining di '* tricts, from seven to eight hundred miles.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NZH18930617.2.66.4

Bibliographic details

THROUGH WAIKATO., New Zealand Herald, Volume XXX, Issue 9229, 17 June 1893, Supplement

Word Count
2,800

THROUGH WAIKATO. New Zealand Herald, Volume XXX, Issue 9229, 17 June 1893, Supplement

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