THE KAITANGATA CATASTROPHE.
The inquest was resumed yesterday morning at the Bridge Hotel, Kaitangata, before Mr E. H. Carew, district coroner, and a jury of 16.
The Coroner stated thatbefore the resumption of the inquest that was adjournedfrom Saturday last there would be an inquest on the bodies of Archibald Hodge and Andrew Jarvie, which were found on Sunday morning. Mr David Dunne having been appointed foreman, the Jury went to view the bodies. Thomas Knowles, pit headman, said: I am , -employed in the Kaitangata mine. I knew Archibald Hodge and Andrew Jarvie, and identify the bodies in the adjoining room as those of the deceased. Hodge was a miner. His duty was to attend to the roads and the furnace. Jarvie was also a miner. The bodies were found yesterday morning in the mine, jarvie was found between 1 and 2 o'clock in the main drive, at a point indicated in the map produced. It was lying about 250 or 300 yards from the mouth of the tunnel, and about 200 yards from the place where he used to work, in the direction of the pit mouth. His place wa3 to extend new workings. The body of Hodge was found at 5 o'clock in an old working, about 95 yards from the main drive of the present workings, and about 10 yards from the main drive of the old workings. The Coroner: For the present that is all the evidence required of you. Orders can now be given for the burial of tho bodies. We #ill resume the inquest that was adjourned from Saturday. Charles Edward Twining said: I am a mining surveyor, and hold a Government certificate as a qualified colliery managerin England. I served my articles as a mining j engineer in Oldham, Lancashire. I have had, the management of collieries for, I should say, six or seven years. I was employed as surveyor by the Kaitangata Coal-mining Company, with instructions to get an increase in the " get" of coal. The Company wanted 200 or 300 tons per day in the winter. I had no control whatever in the management of the mine, but whenever I saw anything that required attending to I reported it. I believe Mr Holmes is chairman of the directors of the Company. The late Mr William Hodge was working manager of the Company. It was not my practice to give him ■ instructions direct, but I used to give him instructions from Mr Holmes when asked to do bo. One time I told him by Mr Holmes' directions to start a new drive. I was first employed in December last. The first thing I did was to make a survey and see how the get of coal could be increased. I made the survey. I know the plan produced. The part coloured pink indicates my survey. The part coloured yellow is in the new workings, and the part coloured blue the old workings. I made a report of the survey to Mr Holmes. He aßked me which way I should drive to get more coal, and I laid out two places (marked on the plan) and recommended them. The Coroner: Were there any operations going on in the old workings then ? Witness: No. Hodge had talked to me about them, but I had recommended him not to touch them, as we were not getting any more coal out. What were your reasons for recommending that he should not work here any more ? Because by robbing the mouth of the mine it always weakens the main roads. It was not a question of ventilation, then ? No.
It was simply because you did not want to ■weaken the foreground? That was it.
Did you make any other recommendations ? I recommended that there should be a connection between this side of the workings and the other (pointing it out on the plan). Did you make these recommendations verbally?
And what did Mr Hodge do? Did he simply commit them to memory, or write them down in his note-book ?
I never saw him take a note of any suggestion I made.
Examination continued: I also recommended that an cpaning should be made as near the facings as possible, bo as to convey the air round. Do you know whether that was done ? Yes, it was done. How was the ventilation managed at that time ? —was it the same as at present ?
It wai going iv the same direction. Has there been any change made in the ventilation of the mine under your directions ?
A little. I recommended Hodge to make one or two improvements. What did you recommend ? I recommended him to have more openings through the facings, so m to bring more air through. Did he do that ? Yea.
Have you ever reported on the ventilation of the mine to the directors of the Company, or to Mr Holmes ? No.
Did you not think it parb of your duty to do that 'I
No, sir. What are the duties of a mining engineer at Home?
I had nothing whatever to do with the actual management of the place, except so far as to make suggestions and report on tne place.
Would it be the duty of the manager or the engineer to provide ventilation ?
Are you sure of that 1 Yes. The under-manager has to hold a certificate of competency from the Government before he can take such a positioa.
What would the qualifications of a manager at Home nwd to Ie ?
He would require to understand the different gystoms of ventilation, so as to work a mine safely. Had you any conversations with Hodge with regard to the ventilation of this mine ? No, I dtm'fc know that I ever had; but I observed to him last Saturday week thai the air waa much better since he had got the open-
lug* put in. ljid he ever complain to you about the air being bad ?
Were you ever in the old workings ? No, sir. I understood that he was going to push it on at once. And had instructions to convey to Hodge about that?
Yes, from Mr Holmes. Examination continued: I produce a letter written by me to Hodge, giving him the bearing and tracings. Where did this letter come from ?
It was found in Hodge's desk at home. [The letter was here read. It contained directions for Hodge. He was to carry that work on with three shifts, working night and day.] And he was to continue working till it was through ? Yes.
You thought it necessary, then, that some expedition should be used ? Yes. The reason was to have a second outlet, both for travelling and air. Would that have improved the ventilation ?
Examination continued: There is only one meauß of getting in and out of the pit at present. They don't call an air-pit an outlet. But there is a chimney from the mouth of the tunnel to the extreme point of the new workings, and from the mouth of the tunnel to the entrance into the old workings is a distance of 136 ft. The body found the nearest to the mouth of the tunnel was that of a boy named M'Donald.
Is it usual at Home, in a mine of this description and size, to work with a single airshaft?
No. The law at Home is that whenever there are over nine adults it is compulsory to have two outlets. Of course, the more outlets there are the better.
From your professional experience can you say that it is usual to have a single shaft ? No; I can't say. From what you know of the mines—without having any particular knowledge of the old workiugs—you believe it was safe, then, to work it in the way it was worked ? As far as I know it was perfectly safe. But I thought it was necessary to have another outlet.
Did you think that outlet was required to make the mine safe ?
Yes, sir—to make it perfectly safe. After the adjournment Mr Twining's examination was resumed. He added :
I don't consider it safe to have a bratticework in front. That is to say, it is unsafe in a manner, although I should not say it was perfectly unsafe. What would be the means of making this forattice-work more gate ?
Having it built in brickwork instead of timber. The tunnel would have required to be about 40 or 50 yards in length. What ought to have been done to make this air pit into an outlet for the men ? Machinery would have been required to lift the men up and down. If you had been called upon to recommend a second outlet for the mine, would you have recommended this air-pit to have been made available, or would you have recommended an outlet in another part of the mine 1 I should have recommended that the outlet be mads in another part of the mine.
Was there any advantage in keeping these old workings open '! It is very necessary that they should be kept open, so that you can see that there is no accumulation going on there, and they ought to be ventilated just as much as the other workings. I cannot say what thickness of wall would bs required to effectually keep the foul air from gettiug through, but I should say a nine'inch wall would be sufficient for ordinary purposes. la it cuatomary to use barometers ? It U compulsory to have a barometer m the Old Country—one in the mine and the other on the surface. It is not necessary to have locked lamps or safety lamps, except when there is fire-damp in the mine. Were you ever informed, or did you ever suspect, that tire-damp was in your mine?
I was told, either by Hodge (the manager) or Beardsmore, that there was some in the south end of the new workings. I won't be sure which of them it was who told me, but we were all three together at the time. That was about a fortnight or three weeks ago. We went to see if there was any damp, and took the Davy lamp, but found no fire-damp there. Was that before or after you recommended the cross-drives to be put in? It was after. Did you feel surprised to hear that there was any damp there ? Yes; because that w? a the first time I had heard anything about fire-damp being in the mine.
Were you aware of any previous accident from fire-damp in the mine ? I never heard of any; in fact I never heard of any accident of any description having occurred in the mine before.
Have you heard of any inspection of the mine having been made by the G-overnment Inspector ? Yes. Say what you know about it. On the Ist of this month Mr Cox, who, I believe, is the Government geologist, and Mr Binns, the coal inspector, were to have met me at the mine by arrangement. Mr Cox came down alone, but Mr Binns, I believe, waH here the day previous, and had been through all the workings—both new and old, I suppose. I asked Mr Hodge what Mr Binns had said about the mine, and he said that Mr Binns had read over to him the notes he had made during his official inspection, but Hodge did not tell me what was the result of the inspection. Mr Cox went through the new workings, and remarked that everything seemed straight and satisfactory. . The Coroner: Up to the time of the accident did you believe the mine to be safe for men to be working in it ?
Do you mean quite safe or ordinarily safe ? Ordinarily safe. A Juror: Have you been employed as a consulting engineer? , Witness : What I was asked to do was simply to come down and try and straighten the places, and get them in something like working order —they have been so very crooked. I don't consider I was what I should call a consulting engineer, althugh I was asked for advice sometimes. The Coroner: Is it usual at Home for mines of this description to constantly employ a consulting engineer? Witness: No.
The Coroner: But as a rule ? Witness: No; I don't know that is the rule at any place I have heard of. Very often the managing director is also the mining engineer. A Juror: What do you mean in regard to places being crooked ? Witness: To get the drives straight, as the more angles the greater the friction and the less of ventilation. A Juror: Can you tell us in your opinion whether the fire-damp caused this explosion? Witness: I believe that cpal haying been taken out to a greater height in the interior of the old workings than the height of the opaning in the main drive, and gas being lighter than air, space would be afforded for the accumulation of gas. The gas, I believe, increased until it reached the top of the opening where air for the main drive passed through. The Coroner: Then you believe that high places in the old workings had become dangerous from the accumulation of gas, and that the explosion has taken place there ?
Yes, sir. A Juror: Taking the works aa a whole, has ample provision been made for ventilating the works ?
Witness : There was quite sufficient air going through the mine to ventilate the whole works, if travelling in the right direction. I ;old Hodge it would not do to dispense with the furnace at the air-pit uuless they had a fan. There was always a good fire at the furnace, so far as I knew. [By Telegraph.] 3? The witness Twining continued : The duties of surveyor ara distinct from the engineer's. The furnace was always kept burning. Robert Grigor, land surveyor, of Balclutha, said : I have been connected with this miue 10 years. I surveyed some workings in the Kaitangata Coal Company's mine. I recognise part of plan produced, coloured blue, as part of my plan. To the point marked Z, there was natural drainage up to the time of my purvey southwards to the tunnel's moutli. I never knew of fire-damp iv the old workings. My survey was completed about two years ago. William Wilson, miner, deposed: I have been in the employ of the Kaitangata Company about eleven months. I have been working underground. I went to work in the mine at 11 o'clock last Thursday night, and came off at 7 o'clock on Friday morning. Joseph Beards > more was fireman. His duties were to go into the mine at S o'clock in the morning and thoroughly examine the rooms where the men worked, to ascertain the state of the ajr before the colliers were allowed to go to their place* of work. Beatdsmore came in at a quarterpast 5 that morning. We asked him if there was any fire-damp, He said no, remarking that tlia air was very clear. TJp to the time I left the mine I found the air very good, I knsw of fire-damp in the mine for the first time last October in Chenning's level, past the third room on the right, in the new workings. It was then four feet below the roof at the face. The men there—Chennings and Michael Hennessy —were stopped from working by the fireman for three or four days. William Hodge would be sure to know of it, because he would see the men were not at work there. From that time there was generally fire damp in the new workings every morning, but sometimes there was none. It would ba detected by means of a taffcty-hunp. I have het-Ti mining for 10 years —seven in Nottingham, England, and the remainder in this Colony. The men had no fear of fire-damp in the new workings, but sometimes there was fear on my part, as well as-on the part of some of my m.ites, its to the bta>te of the old workings. I don't know whether the fireman was in the Labit of examining the old workings. It was said he was not. I did not thitk it safe to go with a naked light. In English mines places like that represented on the plan produced would have been closed with three-feet brick walls, and the back of the walls covered with clay. As soon as the roads are finished they ou^ht to be closed up at once. There were a good many miners in the Kaitangata, mine who had had experience at Home. Before the explosion the old workings were seldom mentioned, and no dissatisfaction at their not being bricked up was expressed. I was quite satisfied to work iv the mine myself till the accident. I remember a slight explosion taking place in the mine near the east end of the workings a few months ago. Audrew Jarvie was burnt a little I believe, and was laid up about thre§ weeks. The working was continued shortly afterwards, when precautionary measures had been taken, I have known Archibald Hodge to go into the old workings to bring out rails, but not lately. On Friday about 9 o'clock I was awoke by my wife, who said there had been an exploaion. I got up, and saw people rushing towards the mine. 1 arrived there amongst the first, and lent help in recovering the bodies. I have no doubt whatever that the explosion originated in the old workings, in the place where Archie Hodge was found. There was not sufficient foul air in the now workings to cause such a great explosion. I was working with search parties almost night and day till -1 o'cloak on Sunday morning. We were accustomed to work with naked lights. Only the foreman used a Davy lamp. At Home miners always _ use safety lamps. I never heard complaints hero regarding the use of naked lights. In mines opening from the surface by tunnel, the air is always considered safer than in those opening by shafts. Hodges' was the only body found in the old workings. We could not find Hodge's lamp or bat near the spot where he lay. If the fireman ever found fire-damp in the rooms he used to put bars across the mouth ; but if no fire-damp he put a Ehovel or pick as a sign that all was safe. To get rid of fire-damp, the fireman used to wave a sack up and down. This is called brushing it out. Others besides Hennessy and Clemmings knocked off work for a day or so on account of fire-damp. John Irving, coal miner, said: I have been employed at Kaitangata a long time, working under fci-ur.d up to September 1877, when I left for eight months. The air was pretty good. It was also very good when I returned. I was engaged in the old workings for two months. After that, when I was put into the new workings, about August last, I saw indications of fire-damp in the headings going up the rise. A month later a man named Andrew Jarvie, who was working at the end of the new workings, was burnt by an explosion of fire-damp. Since then I have observed indications of fire-damp in different parts of the new workings, but heard of no serious acci dents. On Thursday last I went to where a miner named Love was working, and saw more indications of fire-damp. This was in the new workings. I said, "You had better be cautiouß, or something serious might happen. He told me he would be as cautious aa he could. I could detect fire-damp by holding the lamp up to it when it camo down from the roof about a foot. I was a miner at Home 11 years, and about 12 years at Clyde. Fire-damp is found in very small quantities in lignite pits. In extensive mines like that of Kaitangata, I have invariably seen safety-lampi used. I always considered the old workings ought to have been bricked up to prevent persona going into them. This is the practice at Home. I think the new workings thoroughly well ventilated as far as they extended. I have not been in the old workings lately. I went about 10 yards in about three months ago. There were partitions across, consisting of bags. We had lights with v*, but found no fire-damp. We were not allowed to go into old workings, but occasionally the miners went in for certain purposes. We used to tell each other it was better not to go thore, as it was dangerous. I'or myself, I feel satisfied that the fire damp has been driven from the new workings by means of air passage, and accumulated in the old workings, where it has been set fire to. I would never have dreamt of going into the old workings with a naked light. I believe Archie Hodge was a careful man. I
think he had his full wits about him. I can't tell what|took him into these workings except that it might be to hunt for rails. I don't think he was capable of acting as fireman, but I can't say why I hdld this opinion. He was not the man I should) have trusted to go into these workings, even with a safety-lamp. At this stage the Coroner announced that inquiry would be adjourned. Superintsndent Weldon asked_ the Coroner to adjourn for several days in order to enable Mr Holmes, who is in some part of the North Island, to be communicated with. The inquiry was adjourned.till Monday next, the 3rd prox., at 11 a.m. There are still five or Bix witnesses to be examined.
The funeral of two of the miners—Thomas Frew and William Hay -who lost their lives by the recent explosion in the Kaitangata Company's coal-mine, took place yesterday afternoon. The inclemency of the weather no doubt prevented numbers from attending to manifest their sympathy, but still about 50 persons followed tne remains of Thomas Frew, and 40 the remains of William Hay. Eight carriages also joined the procession, and between 200 and 300 persons had assembled at the cemetery before the arrival of the funeral cortege. The service was read over the remains of Thomas Frew by the Rev. Dr Stuart, and the Rev. Josiah Ward conducted the funeral service of William Hay, who was a member of his congregation. [Br Telegraph.] Kaitangata, February 24th. The bodies of Hodge and Jarvie were interred to-day at the Cemetery. About 200 persons witnessed the ceremony, which was performed by the Rev. Mr M'Ara, Presbyterian minister, Balclutha. No address was delivered.
Mr H. E. Nathan, who, I may. explain, is quite a stranger to Dunedin—a visitor, I thins —writes:— To the Secretary Kaitangata Coal-minim? Company. Dear Sir,-It was with sorrow I read the mournful account in this moming'B paper of the catastrophe at the Kaitangata mine. Anticipating the starting ol a relief fund in support of the widows and orphans, l beg to enclose a £5-note as my atom towards samo.— (Applause)—l have, &c, . H. K. Nathan. Per J. H. N. Christchurch, February 22nd. And I have this letter of apology from Mr Rennie:— His Worship the Mayor, Or Chairman of Meeting at Athenseum. Dear Sir,—As I will not be pre3ent at the public meeting this evening, let me say that sympathising with the object I shall be most willing to assist In whatever action is decided on with tha view of giving relief to those familits at Kaitangita thrown into the greatest distress by the calamitous accident on Saturday.—l have, &s., _ AIES EbNHIE. Elm row, Dunedin, 24th February.
A public meeting, convened by his Worshipl the Mayor (H. J. Walter, Esq.), was held last evening in the Athenaeum Hall, to consider what steps shall be taken to provide for the widows and children of the men who perished by the explosion in the Kaitangata Uoal Company's mipe on Friday las t/ The condition of the weather was such as to interfere with the attendance, but many of the leading citizens were present, and from others apologies, explanations, and donations were received. , His Worship the Mayor took the chair shortly after 8 o'clock, and the platform was also occupied by the Key. Dr Stuart, the yen. Archdeacon Edwards, Eev. Mr Granger, Rev. Dr Boseby, Messrs R. Oliver, M.H.R., R. Wilson, and S. de Beer. Amongst the gentlemen in the audience were—Messrs H. Houghton, James Hazlett, J. T. Mackerras, J. P. Maitland, J. L. Butterworth, R. B. Martin, T. S. Graham, H. Bastings, R. Gillies, J. L. Gillies, R. A. Low, Geo. Turnbull, D. M. Spedding, J. A. M'Arthur, B. Bievwnght, Walter Guthrie, J. Winter, — M'Fee, C. S. Reeves, K. Ramsay, Dr Coughtrey, Dr Borrows, B. Isaac, W. M. Hodgkins, J. Ashcroft, A. D. Lubecki, — Mollison, Rev. J. U. Davis, Rev. B. Lichtenstein, and Rev. L. Moore. The Mayor : Gentlemen, in calling you together this evening, I may state that it was my intention, had the Princess Theatre been available, to have invited ladies and gentlemen to have attended the meeting. Of course it is very fortunate that this was not done, in consequence of the inclement weather. In calling the meeting thus early, I believe you will agree with me that I have adopted the proper course in taking time by the forelock. Had it been held a few days hence we might have been put in possession of more information than we have at present, but this meeting may be looked upon as a preliminary one, and I_ trust you will excuse me for calling the meeting thus early. I have received a number of telegrams and a few letters of apology. I will read the apologies first and the letters afterwards, and I may mention that some of the letters contain very handsome cheques on behalf of the proposed relief fund. The first letter I received was from Mr M. W. Hawkins, who last evening promised me to send some information, and has telegraphed— Inquest will not be closed to-day. Shall not return till morning. Since the meeting opened I have received from Mr Maitland some information whicTT may be of sarvice. It is from the clergymen of the district, and is to the following effect :— Tliiire ere 24 wMows and 83 children ta bo provided for—ll2 in all.
A telearam I have just received is from the Mayor of Wellington, and is as follows :— Wellington, February 24th. Mayor of Dunedin,— lU Kait-uigxta Relief Fund. Kindly inform me what stops are being taken. People of Wellington aaxiouj to assist. J. DiussirnsiiD, Mayor. —(Cheers.) The following letter of apalogy is from Mr Laary :— Dunedin, 21th February, 1879. Dear Mr Mayor,—l regret I shill be unable to attend th 9 mooting to-niglit, owing to a previous on»a"em»nt. I need seireely say that I shall cordially aid in any movement that uny bo determined on for the relief oi ihe distressed relatives of th 3 unfortunates I \vh > were so suddenly out off last week. Having regard to the number and circumstances of, the bereaved fWlie?, a very large sum will bo required tj afford substantial assistance. May I suggest tint the Committee administering tho Floods Relief lluud obtain the sanction of the sabscribersto a vote of a good sum to supplement the public contributions.—l am, &c, His Worship tho Mayor. K. H. Luahy. I have also received thi3 letter of apology from the Key. Mr Mtchett :— Parsonage, All S" ints', February 21th, 1579. Sir,—l regret that I shall not be ab'.e to attend the meeting called at the Athenuram Hall to-night. If I can in any way subsiquently promote the obj;ctof the meeting, I shall be Inppy to do so.— i I nave, &c., _ A. R. Fitch eit. His Wor-hip the Mayor. A telegram was received on Saturday, which I dare say you have seen in the papers. I will, however, read it. It is from Mr A. Cracroft WilsoD, managing director of the Springfield Coal Company:— Christchurch, 22nd February, 1579. The Dircctirs of the Springfield Coal Company oiler tlit-ir sympathy in the sad accident which has occurred «t the Knitanaata mine ; and if a fund is being ru-jed for relief of tho familie? of those who hive perished, big that they may be allowed to contribute £LtO to that object. —(Loud cheers.) I received this letter from Mr Hawkins :— Dunedin, 2ith February, 1870. Enc'osed herewith I btg to hand you Mesws Hogs and Hutto»'ti cheque for £10, left at my tv use by Mr Hogg on Saturday night, in aid of the relative! of the victims of the late disaster at Kaitangata. I also enclose a telegram received from Mr \. Craeroft Wilton, of Springfield Coil Company, which may be read to the meoting this evening. If anything important transpires to-day, I will telegraph you. -I have, &c., M. W. Hawkins, Secretary.
H. J. Walter, Esq., Mayor. I have received from Mr G. Cowie, as attorney for Bishop Nevill, a cheque for L2s—(applause) —enclosed in this letter: —
Dunedin, 21th February. To his Worship the Mayor of Dunedin. Sir _By the December miil I received a letter from Bishop Nevill, elated London, in which he s-iys he had 'been much disirensid to learn by the nowspauers that there has been a disastrous flood at Balclutha, by which it is almost certain tha f, much damage his been done. If there be sufferers among the poorer people, and a public subscription be sent on foot for their relief, please to give from my funds wha-, you think desirable, according to the nature of the case. Should the damage not be so general or S3 great as to render public assistance needful, you may yet subscribe to any case of individual hardship which may come under your notice." The subscriptions for the disasters referred to By the Bishop having, I understand, been found ample, I did not acton his Lordship's authority, but I think I shall only bo anticipating his wishes in handing you his cheque for £25 towards the fund you propose to raise on belnlf of the widows and orphans left destitute by the appalling dif inter which happened last week at the KaitaDgata coal-mine.—l am, &c., Geo. Cowib,
Mr Cowie has also sent me his own cheque for L 5 ss. Another letter I have received reads as follows:—
Dunedin, February 24th, 1879. To Hia Worship the Mayor of Dunedin. Sir,—l beg to inform you that I have collected up to date from the members of the Ring, the sum of oighty pounds nine shillings (£BO 93) on behalf of the widows and orphans bereaved and left destitute by the Kaitangata coal-mine explosion, and will forward you a cheque for the amount to whoever you may appoint to receive it. I have also to inform you that I have every confidence In saying that I shall be able to collect a still larger sum before the forthcoming Dunediu race meeting is over. -Yours, ba., Hksrt H. Prikcb.
High street, Dunedin. —(Cheers.) Mr William Watson writes to me:—
To hie Worship the Mayor. Dear Sir,—l regret being unable to attsnd the meeting co promptly called by you for the relief of the widows and children left destitute through the sad accident at Kaitangata. Enc osed please find cheque fjr the sum of £10, also the sum of £5 subscribed by our employC.-Yours, &c, (of Martin and Watson ) Stuart street, Feb. 24th. I have also received this letter:— Toihiß Worship the Mayor. _ Dear Sir.—Deeply do I sympathise m the heavy calami y which haß come upon the miners in Kaitangata. It is a melancholy pleasure to forward £100 as an impromptu but heartfelt expression of those who yes terday were present at the services. Ido not doubt Otago will nobly respond, saying, "These widows and orphans are our care." The amount is represented thus :— Collection! in tho Baptist Chapel, Caversham .. •• •■ . •• £13 10 ° Theatre service, including a subscription ortwo -• ... t•• 8610 0 On beha'f of the givers, believe me to remain, &c, HENhY VARIjBY. Dunedin, Feb. 24th. Mr George Darrell writes thus: H. J. Walter, Mayor of Dunedin. Sir,— Regretting my inability to be present at the meeting advertised, I desire to state that should a benefit performance for the relief of the sufferers by the Kiitangata explosion be initiated, I shall bo happy to place thi) services of Mrs Darrell and myself at the disposal of the Committee, and to the utmost of my power I will assist with tho company now under engagement to me. I am, however, thoroughly in accord with tho suggestions contained in a letter published in this morning's Times, to the effect that the heads of prufeiwtona, trades, bo., shou'd soliflit and collect subscriptions from the employers and employes of their several callings. I bet; to enclose my cheque for five gm"eas.-(Chee!S )-I have. Ac , GEORQE DAIUSEIiL. Princess Theatre, February 24th.
£13 10 0
Gentlemen, resolutions will be proposed to you by gentlemen here present, and it is unneces. sary on the present occasion to aay very much. It is, I think, a strange coincidence—indeed a moat lamentable coincidence —that in June, 1876, it fell to my lot to be in office at the time of the opening of the Company's railway to this mine. On that occasion many of the gentlemen I see around me to-night were present, and by them it will be remembered how kindly we were received by the men who have now gone to that "bourne from whence no traveller returns " ; how they paid us every attention ; how they vied with each other to see who could pay us the greatest attention. Well, gentlemen, just picture to yourselves the scene in the mine on that occaeion—the mine lighted up in the most brilliant manner with variegated lights —and then picture to yourselves the scene which was presented on the occasion when these unfortunate men lost their lives. On reading over the report in the JJajJy Times I was very much struck with wEat I conceived to be a very graphic description of the ruin there. It says:—" There were few hearts that were not assailed with feelings of the strongest emotion, few eyes from which the sympathetic or sorrowing tear was absent. The stoutest hearts had to give way, and the quivering lip, the trickling tear, or half-sup-pressed sob, told the sympathy that was entertained for the fatherless and the widow." Gentlemen, I am quite satisfied that it is unnecessary for me to call on a Dunedin audience to put their hands into their pockets. It is well known —in fact we have been liberal to an almost excessive degree; we have gone beyond our limits; we have assisted in the relief of the victims of the Bulgarian atrocities, and have assisted other unfortunate events that have occurred in different parts. I shall now call on Mr Richard Oliver to move the first resolution,—(Applause.) Mr R. Oliver, M.H.R. : Mr Mayor and gentlemen, I feel that what his Worship has just stated as to the absence of any necessity for attempting to picture the horror of the circumstance which we are met here this evening te consider, as it is felt by you all. There is no necessity for moving eloquence or for endeavouring after the pathetic. The incident itself appeals to all your hearts and feelings, and your presence here is a proof that you feel deep sympathy with the families of those who have been so suddenly deprived of their breadwinners. If any need had existed for attempting to move your liberality by decription or by eloquent appeal, I should not have undertaken the task of proposing the first resolution, as I feel myself utterly unprepared for, and the words at my command are utterly inadequate to, that task ; besides which there are other gentlemen present who are more in the habit of addressing themselves to the consideration of such subjects, and of endeavouring to touch the hearts of those who may be supposed to be unprepared to respond to them. But I feel, as I said just now, that your presence here is a proof that you come prepared to show your sympathy in the only way in which sympathy is of any practical value, viz., by feeling in your pocketl?.—(Applause.) The task before us resolves itself into beginning an organisation by which the liberality of the community may be tested, and the results brought together. The resolution which I intend proposing to you is a very simple one. There are, I think, only two resolutions prepared—one in general terms ex-, pressive of the sympathy which we feel. It is in these terms:—" That this meeting desires to ' express its great sorrow for the dire calamity which has happened at the Kaitangata coalmine, and its deep sympathy with the bereaved families." Now that requires no advocacy. We all feel that, and I may aay that I believe, a generous response will be mads to that appeal. Ttie Mayor has just said, and said truly, that this community has never been backward in responding to such appeals. In the Old Country during the last 12 raonths I am soriy to say that several occasions hava arisen for appealing to the public for the survivors from and sufferers by colliery accidents. It has not been necessary to appeal to the public in New Zealand, and I hope that this very deep calamity will not only be the first but the last, or at anyrate the only one for many years. The be3t attention which can be given to ventilation, and the best precautions tiia1} can be used, are sometimes without avail. Therefore we must always be prepared, I think, to respond to the cry of the distressed, and seek to give confidence to those who are engaged in necessary labour on our behalf, and show_ them that in the event of any calamity happening to them their widows and orphans will not bo left entirely unprotected.—(Applause.) At Homa responses to such appeals have been made from the' highest to the lowest. Her Majesty is always ready and willing to open her purse to the cry of the distressed, and, as has been seen by the papers, has assisted on several occasions with very liberal donattone, while the wealthy classes at Home have always followed her example. Here there is not supposed to bj such a great number of wealthy people. But here you may see what you cannot see in England, namely, that the working classes themselves can respond to an appe:4 made on behalf of their number. (Cheere.) At Home the working classes have it not in their power to do so. At this present juncture the working classes in this Colony are as prosperous proportionately—possibly more* _ so—as any class in the community; and I think the appeal will not be made in vain to the working classes.—(Applause.) When the accident happened, when there ai-cse the need for energetic, immediate, and strenuous labour to, if possible, save life, and at any rate to ascertain the extent of the disaster, the Green Mand colliers responded manfully—(loud cheers)—and very generously placed their services at the dis. posal of the mine owners, workiDg vigoruusly, even in danger of their own lives —some of them exhausting their physical energiesthrough inhaling the deadly after-damp. I feel the utmost confidence in saying that the appeal to the working classes for some proof of their sympathy by way of contributions from tneir pockets will be readily met —as readily as was the appeal to the Green Island colliers.—(Applause.) I think it would be a very poor compliment to the gentlemen present if I endeavoured to harrow up your feelings by any attempt at description of the horrors of the scene which was witnessed at the pit's mouth two or three days ago. I will, therefore, not occupy any more of your valuable time, since, possibly, many valuable suggestions will be made as to the organisation of the Committee, and the mode of procedure that should be adopted, but will simply move the resolution I have just read to you.—(Applause.) The itev. Dr SruAKT, who on rising wa3 received with oheers, spoke as follows: Mr Mayor and gentlemen, I rise to second the resolution which Mr Oliver has placed before you. I agree with him that there is no room, no need for any strong appeal to your sympathy. I believe the newspapers, by their reports and by their telegrams, have placed the case so powerfully before us that there is not a man of us with a bit of a heart in him but had made up his mind before coming here to respond to any appeal which would be proposed to him. So great is my confidence in this community that I believe there is not a servant-girl in Dunedin but will readily contribute to the fund if she gets the opportunity of doing so. —(Applause.) Sir, I cannot help recalling some of the' leading responses—and liberal responses they were — that have been made here to similar appeals. I remember, sir, when the news came down of the disappearance of the steamer City of Duuedin. Prom her captain to her stoker they were all Dunedin men, and most of them were men with families. Dunedin was not then so great a place as it is now, but there was an immediate and very liberal response on the part of almost every citizen to that appeal. And so right downwards ; and so it will be here. I only trust that this meeting will devise aome wise way of helping these widows and fatherless childrensome wise way of dealing with the funds that will be got. lam satisfied, when I look around and see the number of our best men who are here, that they will be able to lay their heads together and devise the best way of helping them, for, as one goes occasionally in and out amongst the poor, I know that liberality does not always relieve.—(Applause.) It sometimes creates misery. But I am sure of this: that this meeting, which I see is attended by the best men in Dunedin, will devise such a measure as will effectually relieve and enable these widows, with the blessing of God on their industry and the blessing of God on the gifts of the community to them, to train up their children in the fear and love of God and in industry. — (Cheers.) On account of our humanity I strongly support this resolution, and I also support it because the calamity has occurred in connection with the development of an extremely important industry. It would tend probably to keep back and interfere with tho development of this industry if these widows and orphan children were uncared for by the community.—(Applause.) Whilst wishing to Bee all contributing according to our judgment as to what should be done, I trust above all things that Mr Oliver, the Mayor, and others will put such names on the Com mittee as will be able to devise a method of relieving and helping that will be a spurt to industry, and in that way tend to educate them to proper spheres of usefulness and happiness in after years.—(Loud cheers.)
The motion was then put and carried, nan. con.
The Yen. Archdeacon Edwakds moved the following resolution:—"That subscriptions be invited from the public of New Zealand to a fund to be raised for the purpose of relieving the distressed widows and orphans, and that the following gentlemen be a committee for that purpose :—His Worship the Mayor, Messrs It. Oliver (M.H.R.), George M'Lean (M.H.R.), Horace Bastings (M.H.R.), George Turnbull, E. Wilson, G. R. West, J. L. Gillies, J! Doughty, R. H. Leary, William Wilson, M. W. Hawkins, A. Rennie, G. W. Geddea, J. P. Maitland, Davidson, Allan Holmes, E. B. Oargill, Archdeacon Edwards, Dr Stuart, A. 0. Strode, Hon. W. H. Reynolds, G. G. Russell, W. D. Stewart, B. 0. Haggitt, R, B. Martin, J. L. Butterworth, W. M. Hodgkins, J. T. Mackerras, T. S. Graham, H. S. Fish, Mobs Moss, R. Gillies, B. Sievwright, Maitland : Dr Roseby, Eev. J. U. Davis, Rev. L. Moore, Rev. J. Ohis holm, Rev. J. M.Allan, Rev. Father Larkin, Rev. W. Ronaldson; Messrs T. T. Ritchie, W. Guthrie, K. Ramsay, B. Isaac, Reeves, G. P. Farquhar, Prosser, A. R. Livingston, Austin, Kenyon, Charles Samson, A. M'Farlane, H. Houghton, De Beer, Hazlett; Dr Smith, Dr Batchelor; Messrs R. A. Low, R. Glendining; Professor Salmond; Messrs Winter, D. M. Spedding, R. Patereon; Bishop Moran, and the Mayors and Chairmen of County Councils within the Colony. The Committee to have power to add to their number." In speaking in support of the resolution, the mover said: It will be noticed in regard to this resolution that it is proposed not to confine the contributions to Otago, but that the whole of New Zealand should be asked to subscribe. I quite agree with that. lam quite sure, considering the telegrams that have deen read out by the Mayor, that the response from the whole of New Zealand will be most liberal. I think the gentlemen who spoke before me have not referred to one matter, which I gladly avail myself of the opportunity of alluding to. The fact is, I think, more gratifying that hardly had this dire calamity been known in this Colony before the heads of a colliery in the adjoining province of Canter- | hury sent a telegram expressing their symj ]4athy, and they not only did that, but also sent a promise of a subscription of LIOO. This sympathy is not confined to New Zealand, but I think I am correct in saying that even the colliers in New South Wales have been telegraphing here saying how deeply they felt for, and how gladly they would contribute to, the relief of the widows and orphans. Such a fact as that, I think, speaks volumes for human nature. I think such a committee as this, with power to add to their number, will meet with a most liberal response. I may say I agree with Dr Stuart that there is not a servant-girl but will gladly contribute her mite for the sufferers ; and I can go further and say, with regard to my own school, that the wish was yesterday expressed that next Sunday they should be allowed to add their contributions to the Relief Fund.—(Applause.) MrR. VVilson Baid: I have great pleasure in seconding the resolution, and I think it would be as well to ask any of the gentlemen present who may be willing to assist, to volunteer to act on the Committee. I need not say anything with regard to the catastrophe. The sight of the women and children was enough for me. I had to make haste away. It was a very sad sight indeed, and I think we should assist in every way we can to get a large amount, for it will take a very large amount —a few hundred or a few thousand pounds will not suffice. When you come to think there are 24 widows^ and 80 odd children to provide for for a certain number of yeara, the only way to meet the difficulty would be to get sufficient to put into some trust fund, and so get a revenue from it to keep the families for a number of years. I dare say some gentlemen may have suggestions to make on the subject, but I do not know whether it would be wise to make them here or to the Committee. When once you get the money there are many ways of meeting the difficulty. It has been suggested to me, and I had thought of it myself, that it would be a wise course to arrange with the Government to get annuities for the sufferers ; but that may be considered afterwards. I now second the resolution proIposed.
R. Oliver concurred in the suggestion that volunteers from the audience should be received on the Committee, as he considered their presence proved their full sympathy with the object in view.
Mr ii. Isaac supported the proposal that anyone present should be received on the Committee, and expressed his conviction that a most cordial and liberal response would be made by the entire public to any appeal on behalf of the sufferers from the recent mine explosion.
The Rev. Dr Roseby said: The actual work of the Committee will be done by comparatively few, but it will be no hindrance to the work that the Committee should nominally be a large one. I would like, if possible, to ascertain what amount of money probably will be required. The amount of the contributions will depend vciy much upon the estimate iformed of the sum that will be required. ' It Kjccurred to me that inasmuch as there are 'some 30 householders deprived of their breadwinners—of those upon whom they have hitherto depended for support, you can scarcely estimate the aggregate loss of wages to these households at less than about L3OOO per year. I apprehend that that is a moderate estimate of the amount of money in wages that has been sunk by the loss of these 34 lives. Well, if the amount of money that is lost to these households represents L3OOO a year, I think that we ought to set it before us to make the aggregate contributions of New Zealand not less than LGOCO.
Mr J. T. Mackeuras thought that the Committee should be composed not only of people who would be prepared to gather subscriptions, but also of those competent to advise as to the proper investing and dispensing of the money collected for the widows and orphans. Ho suggested the addition of the names of Messis K. Ramsay, JA.. R. Livingston, E. P. Kenyou, and H. Houghton. Mr H. S. Fish said he considered the remarks by Dr Roseby were worthy of careful consideration, aud that the principal suggestion he had made was that they should ascertain the amount of money that would be required. The present case was one which did not require to be dealt with in an emotional manner, but with practical common sense. He thought an opinion should be expressed by the meeting that the surplus funds arising from the Clutba Flood Fund should ha hanied over to the Committee.
Mr K. Ramsay sail he hopsd the meeting would not attempt to interfere with the surplus flood funds, and expressed the opinion that after all there would be no surplus from that fund. In the present case the requirements were more specific — they bad so many widows and children to provide for, aud he did not think that the sum of LIO.OOO would be too large. (Mr Fish : Not lar^re enough.) He hoped there would be no necessity for entrenching upon funds collected for different purposes, but that an adequate sum would be raised for the relief of the sufferers by the recent cata*trophe. He felt sure that in the present case people would subscribe liberally and in the kindest manner.
Mr R. Gillies said that he agreed with Dr Stnart that there would be no difficulty in raising funds, but that the real difficulty would be their proper disbursement. He had considered this question, and was of opinion that it would not be a wise thing to purchase annuities, but that the money might be to much greater advantage invested, so as to yield a revenue. It was a sad thing to think of, but he was afraid we could not think that this would be the only colliery accident. As Mr Oliver had said, with Che beat skill and greatest care accidents would happen, and he suggested that it would be worth while to consider whether a colliery relief fund for the whole Colony should not be established. They had received offers of assistance from Canterbury, and no doubt they would alsocome from other parts of the Colony, and if there was a surplus he did not think they could do anything better with it than institute a colonial fund for the relief of such cases. He thought no gentlemen would be better fitted to dispense relief to the Rufferers than the Committee of the Otago Benevolent Institution. This association had the organisation and experience necessary to deal with the matter, and he thought that that might be the best means of distributing the funds. The Mayor said that it was estimated approximately that the sum of LIO.OOO would be required, and he thought that it would be a pity if anyone was lad to believe that a sum in excess of that would be raised, and they were thereby led to diminish the amount of their subscriptions. He also mentioned that Bishop Moran had expressed his sympathy with the movement, and had promised his assistance. Mr Phosser recommended that the appeal for subscriptions should be confined within the Colony. Mr Geo. Tdrnbulll advised that the Kaitangata Relief Fund should be kept distinct from all other funds.
Mr C. S. Reeves expressed a similar opinion. The Rev. Dr Stuart said he considered it right to mention the names of some of the local clergymen. The Rev. Mr Allan had for three days — day and night — ministered to the widows and orphans, and he thought that, as a compliment to him and his brethren, their names should be placed on the Committee. He would mention the names of the Revs. James Cbisholm, J. M. Allan, Carr, Ronaldson, and Father Larkin.
The Mayor said that it had been suggested that a subscription list should be handed round the room, and a salver placed at the door. Mr D. M. Shedding and several other gentlemen objected to the proposal indicated, aud in order to have unanimity both suggestions were abandoned, the subscription-list being simply laid on the table.
The resolution proposed by the Yen. Archdeacon Edwards, and seconded by Mr B. Wilson, was then put, and carried without opposition.
Mr Fish said he did not desire to raise a dfbateable question, but he should elsewhere takemeasuies to obtain the surplus from the Floods Relief Fund for the relief of the sufferers by the explosion at the mine.
The Rev. Dr Stuakt said he considered nothing bo successful as a "house-to-house" canvaw, and advised that that course should be adopted in cue present case. Mr Cakuolli expressed strong sympathy with fc'ne object in view, and confirmed the opinian given by Dr Stuart with respect to the \mt method for collecting subscriptions. Mr J. L. Gillies considered that certainly LIO,OOO would be required, and also expressed himself in favour of a house-to-house canvass beins made.
The Rev. Mr Ronaldson said that the suffering consequent upon the accident at the mine was most distressing, but he had ventured to assure the sufferers that there was no danger of their being left in want, but that such a reßporiße would be made as would relieve them, and that they would be ministered to as far as the necessities of the case required. He was glad to be able to tell them of the munificent gift from the coal company in Canterbury. The best thanks of the community he thought were due to the men who so generously, after a day's toil at Green Island, left for Kaitangata and there worked hard all night, and some all the next day as well, in order to recover the bodies of their poor fellow-miners. Thanks, he thought, were due to all who had ministered to the unfortunate sufferers, but especially to those who had worked so hard and so nobly to recover the bodies of the miners. The thanks of the meeting were carried by acclamation. The Mayor was appointed chairman and convener of the Committee, and a vote of thanks to him for presiding brought the public meeting to a close. COMMITTEE MEETING. At a Committee meeting held directly after the close of the public meeting, Mr R. Oliver, M.H.R,., was elected treasurer, and Messrs J. L. Gillies and M, W. Hawkins hon. secretaries. The meeting was then adjourned until this evening, when it will be held in the City Council Chambers. The following admirable lines'from the pen of Mr Thomas Bracken are a fitting memorial of the sad event which has Btirred every heart in New Zealand to sympathy, and we have to thank Mr Bracken for permitting us to publish it:— IN" MEMORIAM. AM .UTEAO. The touch of God ia on the chord which runs Through all humanity, from heart to heart; The Hand Divine, that holds the stirs and suns, Strikeß on love's string1, and inner voices stare, Proclaiming we are eacb of each a part. The Priest <>i Nature may expound thin truth: Afflictions a>e but solemn lessons read To mortals ; Science still i* in her y«uth— The living jioin iheir knowledge through the dead; All human suff'ring p >itits the road ahtci'J. It may be co; a> on we'll learn that text, 1 uf. now the widows' and the orphans' eyes Are following', from this life to the next, L,vid spiriis tor>, away fiora dearest ties, And God to us is speaking through their cries. He calls on us to succour those in need: We're hound together in a common bond ; Faith's purest notion is a cable deed, Hope's truest anchor is a helping hand, Love is the key that opes the doors beyond. A few short days ago, and those who rest Held this poor leisa of earth which now we hold; The puleo of life beat strongly in each breast— Ah ! 'c.lB the same old story oft*n tolJ, We know not when the Bpark may leave the mould. Oh! brotheis, there are weary hearts to-day, And cheerless homes, where sorrow siis in gloom ; And lonely weeping one;, who can but pray *' Thy will hi done," whilst bowing to their doom, Ami longing for the meeting 'yond the tomb. Not ours to change the mystic second-birth, Not ours to bring the loved ones back again, But ours to do our duty upon earth, By sue ourinar ihe mourners wno remain ; To them we're linked in sympathetic chain. To-day Hunianity'ti resistless breath Sweeps tarou^h tne ored«l barriers, and brings Us all toother to ihe Church of Death— The common fold of t ilera aud of kings; And <Jha<it} broods o'er with outstretched wings. To-d^y Ihe pure Christ-Spirit from above, Witn mini vibration thrills through every soul; To-day we owe » sicred debt to Love, Tv-nay our F ..thf.r el lims a special toll At gatta winch uai to Hope's eternal goal. Thomas Brackkn.
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THE KAITANGATA CATASTROPHE., Otago Daily Times, Issue 5311, 26 February 1879, Supplement
THE KAITANGATA CATASTROPHE. Otago Daily Times, Issue 5311, 26 February 1879, Supplement
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