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OPENING OF THE KAITANGATA BRANCH RAILWAY AND COAL PITS.

The formal opening of the above lino of railway and coal pita was celebrated yesterday by a luncheon in the goods >shed at Kaitangata township. In accordance-with previous arrangements, a special train which contained six carriages left the Dunedin Station a few minutes after nine o'clock for Kaitangata. The morning was very wet, and the prospect was not a very «heerfui one for the probably 300 Dunedinites. •who accepted the Company's invitation to be present at the opening ceremony. A brass ©and, which was provided by Mr G. R. West, discoursed some enliveniug strains of music as the train moved away from the Station, and no doubt tended materially to rai.se the drooping spirits of those who - thought that there was a wet day in store for them. The rain soon went •off, and when the Taieri Plain was reached there was every prospect of the clay turning out ■fine and of the trip being an enjoyable one. At Milton, Stirling, and the other intermediate stations, the number of excursionists was considerably increased—indeed so much so that the carriages were inoonvenieutly crowded. The trip up wao a very pleasant one, as Mr A. J. Smyth, the Managing Director of the Oompany, was most •uctiring in his efforts to make every one as- comfortable as possible. Those who wished-to indulge in a quiet weed had abundance of real Havamiahs placed at their diapusal, while those whose predilections lay in the direction of whist or euchre were supplied with packs of cards and short pieces •of plank, which, being covered with copies of the morning papers, did duty as tables. Stirling was reached-after a run cf 2 hours 35 minutes. A short delay then took place before the train proceeded to its destination, where it arrived a little after twelve o'clock. The township of Kaitangata wore a holiday; appearance as the railway station andthe principal business places in the township displayed all the flags which probablyv could be collected for the occasion. The visitors soon had ocular demonstration of the ■ fact that they were in a copJL district, for on the sidisgisat the station there were several'waggons* laJea with the black diamond and decorated vvi*h sprigs of evergreen. On the excursionists •alighting from the car riages, they were' received with strains of bagjjipo umsic, discoursed by a piper in Highland costume, and who, it appeared, was detormined to divide the musical honours with Mr West's brass band. His Worship the Mayor of Dunedin, Mr H. J. Walter, and .A. J. Smyth then:led the way from the township, up the dine to the coal mine, which is situated in v- gorge about half a mile from the • railway station. The mine wpa lighted up with lleinbrandt lanterns on each sideof the entrance. At the head of the> drive a large cavorn had been excavated ■in -the solid coal, and in the centre of it was arable on which were placed ' several bottles of champagne. WLen this point was reach ad His Worship was called upon to per- > IFonn theopeningeereuiony. He at once complied with the request, and said that he wa? asked io i undertake >. the duty of declaring the mine ■ open, as his Honour the Superintendent • was unavoidably absent upon the occa- : aion. • Him I he been present, he knew that he would have been glad to take the leading ! part in the day's proceedings. He then pro- ■ oeeded to speak in hopeful terms of the pross pects oi tne Jompany, and referred to the importance of such an industry, seeing the large • quantity of coal imported, and to the good which it would do in the way of affording em- ■ ployment 'to a large nucber of the working ■ classes i»f the 'Colony. Having declared the mine duly opened, he called upon those present -to diiuk the health of " The Kaitangata Bailway and Coal Company." Three cheers were ■then given for Mr A. j. Smyth, the Managing Director of the Company ; and a similar com- , pliment w<w paid to Mr Coyle, the engiueer 'unfter whiwo suiierrisiou the works have been arried out. A short time ago we published a tolerably full description of the Company's miue and the manner of working the coal. The following additional information regarding ■the undertaking will no doubt be interesting. The branch line from Stirling to Kaitangata is : about fo«r miles aud a-half long, and tha survey of it was made in May, 1875, and the first • sou was turned by Sir John Richardson, on the USth of June following. From that period up 'till"yesterday, when the work wan finally comipbted, the undertaking was persevered with >m the most energetic manner. It is also to be able to state that not -a single accident happened either upon the iline or in the pit. The drive was- into tho hili for a distance of about four chains and a '•half, when a face of coal 12 feet in thickness is reached. Thin, however, increases in depth to :27 feet farther on. The appliances for the delivery of the coal into the railway waggons at the mouth of the mine are of the moot complete orner, as al*o are the aidingn for making up the rains. At present the Company is in a position to t'lrn mit GO ton;* of coal a day. In two months it will on able to increase this quantity to 10 tons, and in nix months hence it cuufi'iently < xpi-i-ls to be able to deliver 1000 to'!« a week —in fact., the supply will then bo only limited by tliu dirinuml. The total cost of the unure works unik-rUkun by the Company wan LiO.ooo. It i* intended to sell the coal at LI 2.s (id a ton, <>r UH-rt.-abouts, and aa the costt to thu ('<)iii)iniiy of delivering it in Dunedin -will U" ai»..ut Ms, tliw will leave a profit ...f Ha a ton d Ui>- Iwut ; :■■", if only 50 tuns a day were sent »■) rir.trl.--i. i!ii.-: w.nilcl in itself produce a ■rev<-iiw. >■{ I>ti"Jso -.; y.tr. The Company \nmtttsHieß its own t:i/ (^in« uud rolling-utot-k, aud, as

soon as it can obtain another engine and carriages, three trains a day will be run each way, of which due notice will be given. Three miles of tho lino pass through a swamp, in which rods were put down a distance of 50ft. without finding .a bottom. But this diflioulty was successfully overcome by tin? engineer, Mr Coylij, ;md the lino to all appearance is as substantial and in as satisfactory a condition as could bo desired. Indeed, when the train camo on to the .Kaitangata branch yesterday, it run vory Muootldy, thereby proving that tho line was faithfully made. The Government Schoolhouse is tii United between tho townnhip

ami tho coal mine, and the children who seemed to have a holiday fur tl'e time be'ng were seated on tho forms which were apparently brought out for the purpose, find cheered heartily as the crowd of visitors passed up the line to the pit. Mr Smyth, wm not forgetful of their wants, as he leaped across the fence, and disbursed a quantity of sweets among them, which they seemed to enjoy as a rare treat. When the formal ceremony of declaring the pit opened was concluded, and the immediate locality of the miiie fully inspected, the visitors returned to tho township to partake of the Company's hospitality in the shape of an excellent j U'NCHKOX, which was provided in the Railway shells, the caterer being Mrs Murphy, of the Bridge Hotel, who deserves evorv credit for the rti'htrche manner in which she entered for tho large crowd of peonlo who visited Kaitangata yesterday. Tho sheds anil tttntion were tastefully decorated with evergreens, and had a most pleasing appearance. His Worship the Mayor of Dunodin was in the chair. He was supported on his right by Mr E. Farra, of the IW.k of New South Wales, and Mr Conyers, General Manager of liailways ; and on bin left by Messrs Wilson, and J. T. llitchie, of the Colonial Bank. Messrs Hawkins and Smyth occupied the vice-chairs. Amongst those present wo noticed—Messrs Stavely, W. J. Dyer (Mayor of Milton), James Marshall, 15. Prosser, E. Isaac, Burt, G. W. Eliott, W. P. Street, D. Baxter, H. Tewsley, Hr.wkins, C. S. Eeeves, Blair (C.E.), T. M. Wilkinson, John Dunn, A. Clark (M.P.C.), Cramond (Mayor of Balclutha). M'KonzH (Rational Bank), John M'Neil iM.RCA Stanbrook, I. N. Watt, E. M'Owen (Bank of New Zealand), G. Fenwick, F. Nicholls, Fraer (Mayor of Lawrence), W. Hayes, and F. S. Canning. Tho Chairman having called upon the company to charge their glasses said: Mr ViceChairman and gentlemen,—Wherever the English language is spoken it is the custom on the occasion of an -jnd»rtakiug like this to recognise the head of the nation we represent. I therefore ask you to drink the health of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, and of the Eoyal Family. The toast was duly honoured in the usual manner.

The Chairman : Gentlemen, as our time is precious, I must ask you again to charge your glasses, for the toast I now have to propose is the most important one of the whole day, and it affords me great pleasure fo be called upon to propose it. lam sure that you will drink it with acclamation. It is the toast of the Kaitangata Railway and Coal Company, coupled with the name of its energetic and praiseworthy manager, Mr A. J. Smyth.—(Loud applause". ) Until I was told so outside, I was not aware that this responsibility would devolve upon me. Had I been I would have obtained some statistics and used them upon this occasion. That is the way in which most public speeches are made. I may say that tbe City of Dunedin is as much interested in the success of the Kaitangata Coal Company as is the Company itself.—(Hear, hear.) By way of parenthesis I may remind you that the Dunedin Corporation owns mines alongside of those we entered into to-day, About five years ago I was deputed by the Corporation of Dunedin to visit tbe Kaitangata district for the purpose of trying to let six fifty-acre sections which belonged to it in this locality. My worthy friend Mr M'Donald, who is an old stager in the district, showed me over the place. We trisd to get some responsible pei son to lease them, but were unsuccessful. Nor would Mr M'Donald himself do so. But if he had tho opportunity now I have no doubt but he would jump at it; but this he is not likely to get. It is said that the Kaitangftta doal is useless for the manufacture of gas, but I hope that in the course of a few years means will be discovered whereby the city of Dunedin may make gas from it The energy and enterprise of this Company may well be emulated by other Companies. Operations were only commenced twelve months ago, and we now see the result toddy. The works will further increase, and no doubt Dunedin during the winter months will ba supplied with coal from the Company's gits. This speaks volumes for the enterprise and energy of the management. It would be inopportune for me to say more, as I am not in the position which I would like to be, and should therefore faiL I ask you now to drink the health of the Kaitangata Coal Company, coupled with the name of its enterprising and indefatigable manager, Mi" A. J. Smyth.—(LoudaDpla^e.).,*!"- .; Song: For he's a jolly good^eilow. Mr Smyth responded iti™aiiumorous speech, in the course of which he referred to the time when the railway was started. The 'shareholders of the Company numbered only about 39, and they were largely indebted to the Bank for having been able to overcome the difficulties which they had to encounter. They had, however, done so, and saw the result that day. Four or five others had heartily co-operated with him in the work. On behalf of the Company and on behalf of the Directors, he thanked them for the manner in which the tcast had been proposed and received. Mr R. Wilson, in proposing the next toast, said : Mr Chairman and gentlemen—After what we have seen of the railway to-day, I think that you will all join heartily with m» in drinking the health of the engineer. You can see how well he has performed the work, and that ha deserves greai. credit for the manner iv which he has carried it out, I would like to say a few words upon this matter, though I have no doubt but the information will come out when Mr Coyle addresses the meeting. I know a little more about this Company than the Chainran, as I have been one of the Directors. I have been associated with many companies, and I must say that I never met a class of men who stuck to their colours better than the Kaitangata Railway Company—shareholders and directors—have done. None of them tried to evade their responsibility, but, on the contrary, they all paid their calls in advance, which is saying a good deal. We were at one time rather in difficulties, in consequence of the want of funds to go on with. One of the shareholders actually came forward, and said: " Gentlemen, I have a property in Kaitangata ; you are welcome to mortgage it, and use the money for the purpose of carrying on the works." We, of course, did not accept that proposal, as it would not have been fair to do so, but it shows the spirit of the people of Kaitangata I think the manner in which the work of constructing this line has been carried out ought tp- be a pattern to others who may be trying to epen up_ branch lines. They should depend upon their own exertions ar-d use their owe money, and not lean so much upan the Government —(hear, hear) —I have been a shareholder in a branch h'ne which was to be constructed by private enterprise, and which we were prepared to carry through. But we were put on one side, and that line is now beingmade at the expense of the country, and in another direction, and for the benefit of persons who bought the land through which it passes, for LI an acre, but which is now worth L2O. Ido not think that it is necessary to go into this matter more fully, I am merely giving you my opinion, and showing you what the Kaitangata people have clone. They never shirkod their responsibilities, and every man stood to his post, and the consequence is, we have the railway line completed this day. I now ask you to join witb me in drinking the health of Mr Coyle, who was engineer for the work.—(Applause.)

Mr J. E. F. Coyle, in responding, said :Mr Chairman and gentlemen, I have to thank you for the w^rm manner in which the toast of my health has been received, I almost wish that it had fallen to my lot to respond to it in the recesses of the coal mine, for surrounded by those sable walls, and under the influence of I that dim llembrandtisb. light which we have j lately quitted, I feel that I could have risen to the occasion, and delivered to you a speech worthy of this celebration, but under the prosaic timbers of this goods-shed, to which one may look in vain for inspiration, I find my eloquence like Pistol's courage, oozing out at the tips_ of my fingers. It seems to be the impression amongst a number, indeed during the past month, perhaps, a dozen people have said _to me, _in effect, you Kaitingata coal is too heavily handicapped by carriage to take a leading position in the Dunedin market. Now, gentlemen, I will try not only to dispel that impression, but to show that the Kaitangata Company's coal will take its plane in the Dunedin market very lightly weighted indeed. The cost of delivering the coal in the railway waggons is 4s per ton. And now we come to the great item, carriage to Dunedin by raiL which, in the opinion of many, places this Company's coal at a disadvantage. The opening up and placing within reach of consumers, at a cheap rate, coal of good quality, is, I consider, a great public benefit, ancfour Government, in.their wisdom, look upon it in a similar light. I regret that there is no member of the Executive here to-day, and praising that far-seeing and beneficent policy which fixed the cost of carriage for such distance? at 2d per ton per mile, which amounts in the present cast) to Bs. But to companion such as the Kaitangata Company. possessing ita own engine and rolling stock, a rebate of one hrdfjieuny per waggon per mile is allowed for the use of the empty trucks in returning, which will reduce the cost of car riage to 7h (id, to which I will add 2s (id for contingencies—a handsome allowance—makes in all Ms the absolute coat to the Company of delivering a ton of cml in Dnnedin. I think that it ir> uni;ec< ;;«iry for im< to add another word upon this to-night. It now re maims for me to thajik ht.-;iru!y the Cnairmuis auu

Directors of tho Company for tho courtesy and friendly consideration that I have, upon nil occasions, received at their hands. I shall always look back with pleasure to tin! time wheti I was connected with the Kaitangata Kail way and Coal Company. I have again to thank yon, gentlemen, for the manner in which the torist of my health Iws been received. > Mr A. J. Smyth proposed the twist of the " .National Bank of New Zealand," and wished that it might live long and bo prosperous. He coupled with tho toast tho name of Mr M'Kenzie.

Mr M'Kknzik, in an appropriate speech, returned thanks on behalf ot tho Bank which lie represented, an; 1, s.iid that he hoped that it would be Uie means,of benefiting the district. Mr J. T. Hitchir, in proposing the " Health of the Dunedin Visitors," said: I havo no doubt but many of you are hero for the first time to (lay, and perhaps many of you previously did not know there was such a place as Kaitangata in existence. You will, therefore, havo your geographical knowledge extended. I hope "that they will let it be known in town that there is such a thing as KaitangaU coal.— (A VoK'K : They havo been burning it for four >ears.) I have been told that tho railway has been made in the wrong place, and that there was no coal where the mine is situated.. This is just a species of tho insinuations against which tho Company has had to contend. What has been seen today will prove that tho coal is there, and that it can bo sent to Dunedin at a moderate cost. You must not ho disappointed if you have to pay more than 14s a ton for it. When wages will be reduced, and other items also, then you itay bo ablo to be supplied at that price. We can soil tho coal at LI 2s (id a ton in Duuedin, and wo intend to commence to do so to-morrow. —(Auplouso.) I cmple with tho toast tho name cf the Mayor cf Dunedin.

Tho Ouaikman: Mr Vico-Chairman and Gontlemen—The Dm.odin visitors on tho present occasion seem to outnumber tho local visitors. lam sure that there is not a man amongst us but would sooner nay LI 2s (id for his coal than 54s or 50s. Speaking on behalf of the Dunedin visitors, I have to thank you most sincerely for your kindness. It is to be hopivl jthat the opening of branch litieSt>f Trailway will tend to sfill further increase good feeling between Dunedin and the* oountry districts. We in Dunedin look upon suoh undertakings as being an adjunct to our prosperity, for. without them Dunedin would not be able to -prosper. There being loud cries for Mr T. Blucit, he said: I can assure you, gentlemen, nothing, in my experience as a settler of New Zealand, has tgiven me lhpre pleasure than in, being present here to day. • It is now 24 years since I settled in this neighbourhood, and when;!,contrast its | appearance then with that which it presents today, I fancy myself in another country. The same may be said in rogard to Dunedin, whiah contained only a few houses 24 years; ago, but now it might betaken for one of the cities of !Britain. I believe the opening of this Kaitangata Hail way Company will do a great deal of good to the settlers here; also to tnoae in Dunedin. I believe the coal produced here is quite equal, if not superior, to the Newcastle coal. —(Applause.) It is a fact, I assure you. I am glad to know that this coalfield belongs to a private friend of my own. One of thpoe who came into the country and worked Mi Way up as a working man. lam proud to find him the proprietor of one of the best coal ininesi in New Zealand.

[ Mr A J. Smyth proposed tbe toast of the worthy chairman —Mr 11. J. Writer. ■ The Chairman: I thank you, gentlemen, for your kindness in having drunk my health in the hearty manner in which yon have done. You bava conducted yourselves to-da,y in an orderly manner, and in such a way as to reflect credit upon the locality in which you live. Mr Faera proposed the health of Mr Coayers, who had given them every facility for being present that day. He-also referred to I Mr Conyers's general courtesy. . i Mr CoNWiiis said: Mr Chairman and gentlemen, I thank you for the handsome manner in which yqu< have drunk my health. I cannot jmake a speech —it is not my forte. If I could make' a speech iike my friend Mr Smyth, it i would be another matter. T hope that the Kaitangata pit will be a thorough success. I pwill do all in my ;ower to assist them in their undertaking. I again thank you heartily for j.the manner in which the toast has been received.

THE RETURN.

I Luncheon being over, some of the visitors strolled about the town and others attended a sale of sections which was being held by Mr Milner. At 4.15 p.m. the whistle was sounded for the return trip, and shortly after the train left for Dnnedin, where it arrived at 8.35. Tho arrangements throughout were all that could be desired, and the whole of the visitors appeared to have enjoyed^ themselves thoroughly, and no doubt the opening of the Kaitangata line and coal pit will long find a place among the most pleasant recollections- of those who visited them yesterday. .

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Bibliographic details

OPENING OF THE KAITANGATA BRANCH RAILWAY AND COAL PITS., Otago Daily Times, Issue 4471, 17 June 1876

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OPENING OF THE KAITANGATA BRANCH RAILWAY AND COAL PITS. Otago Daily Times, Issue 4471, 17 June 1876

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