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BITTER WINTER

CAMP AT WAIOURU WORKERS' HARDSHIPS CONDITIONS IMPROVING [by TELEGRArn —OWN CORRESPONDENT] WAXGAXUI, Sunday The severity of winter conditions at Waiouru, where the Dominion's largest and most up-to-date military camp is being established, has come as an unpleasant surprise to many of the SOO workmen employed there, particularly those employed by private contractors and billeted in tents. Particularly after rains, snow or frost these quarters have not been very comfortable for men drawn from the more sheltered conditions of city life. Some workmen who have not appreciated the difference in climate between Waiouru and Auckland have arrived at the camp with only two blankets. They have found conditions anything but happy, and have not stayed long. Many Blankets Needed The camp is situated on a bleak and elevated pleaeau only a few miles from snow-clad Mount Ruapohu. and at least five blankets, and preferably seven or eight, are needed. In the hard Waiouru frosts the blankets themselves are almost frozen. Conditions will improve, however, as the days become longer and warmer. Men who are used to a hard, openair life, however, make light of the hardships and find the bracing conditions to their liking. The main complaints have been concerning the accommodation in tents, but as huts are being completed the men are being shifted into these more comfortable quarters. Some men. however, prefer the tents because of the comparative privacy and quietness. One worker said he preferred his tent to the community atmosphere of the huts, particularly on nights after pay-day. Firewood Problem Firewood has been one of the most serious problems, but coal and coke are obtainable at about 4s a bag. There are big fireplaces in the public works hutments, but the tents are not so congenial. Tho accommodation being provided for the troops includes large central coke stoves similar to those used in camps in England during the last war. The Director-General of Health, Dr. M. H. Watt, will inspect the camp to-morrow. He will be accompanied by the district medical officer of health. Dr. Duncan Cook, of Palmerston North, and the medical superintendent of .the Wanganui Hospital. Dr. H. L. Widdowson. The medical officer at the camp is Dr. J. M. Watt, son of the director-general, and au All Black threequarter. When reconstructed the Waiouru camp will be capable of housing <OOO or 8000 men. It was hoped to have the work finished by October, but it may be later than that before it is ready for occupation. Wages and Hours

At present the men are working nine hours a day. six days a week, the day being from 7 a.m. to o p.m. The transport and ground levelling machines continue throughout the night, the men working in the glow of motor headlights. The wages earned are considerable, lorry drivers receiving 2s 6d an hour, with an extra Id an hour foj- time in excess of 44 hours a week. Carpenters get 2s 9d to 2s lOd. subject to award provisions as to overtime. Those other than public works employees are kept and housed by the contractors.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NZH19400722.2.75

Bibliographic details

BITTER WINTER, New Zealand Herald, Volume LXXVII, Issue 23714, 22 July 1940

Word Count
513

BITTER WINTER New Zealand Herald, Volume LXXVII, Issue 23714, 22 July 1940

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