KARAMEA (WEST COAST) NOTES.
___ -» . By Mkykick Jones,
IT. A portion of the roule from Seddonville to Westport there is a fine view of the sea — the over restless Tasman Sea. Passing through Lower Islokihuuii Harbour, Ngakawha, Granity Crock, with it.-> splendid mine of excellent coal equal to tho worldfamed Coalbrookdaie coal, and to describe the works, improvements, and potciLtialities of which would take columns by themselves, along tho railway line from Mokihinui to Granity, a distance of nine miles, i-3 dotted with cottages and well-kept gardens that give the aspect of the route a cheerful appearance. A well-built and well-attended school is situated at Granity, while another one is in course of erection at Miilerton, the plateau where coal is being worked, and which ore long will be a largely populated mining centre, as coal exists in all the back country for mile. The next fetation i.s Griffiths.'* sawmills, where the milling industry has caused quite a village to spring up. Tins will soon grow larger, as Mr George Griffiths has just returned from Aiutralia witii a foundry plant, which will bo in working order by the end of the year. A foundry in the district i& an industry that was much wanted, a-s every casting and heavy ironwork job ha,-3 to be sent to some other place to be done. This foundry, with cheap coal and p!oafy of lime, sliouki im*n *~rit a "uc-rat and a payable venture. At Grifnths's mills is 0 State school, well mended, 'liie i.e\t station you come to is Waimaugarj.i, although you may have to stop at the several timber skids on the way, this being, if you are in a hurry, very tiresome. At Wairaangtiroa is a branch lino to Conn's Crock at tho foot of tlie Wcstpovfc Coal Company's incline to Denniston, 2000 ft high, where the far fametl Coalbrookdalc coal is mined, pronovnca'.l the best coal in the • world. This jnino is tLo largest coal workings in the colony, and supports a, large population. Both Donniston and Waimangaroa have schools large enough to maintain head teachers, assistants, r..ml pro] ationers ; while to portray or gi\c a description cf "Deivniston and its vicinity is something similar in that respect to Granity Creek, as ii would take an article by il'olf to do justice to its yreat a.vl Imr"> v tart colliery works.
The Waimangaroa is a goJd-bearing river, and has bee.i workod since the year 1662. One of the prospectors of this river, who was, with a party of Maoris, working in the Waimrui«arou ii: that yea' 1 , is still alive in Nelson, living upon a well-earned independoncy. Their i? one- claim worJ ><if now tl.at is quite a bonanaa. You proceul on further to Fairclown flag station, inhere a few are settled, but lately tae chief attraction and industry being the General Exploration Company's alluvial gold mining claim. This company ha^ r great many men emplo3'e'l bringing in water, building darrs, tail races, and otherwise putliiig the claim into worJciiig order. In olo.se proximity are the old workings, which were considered good in then day, such as Giles's Oalodoiiian, German, and othei terraces, 01 which no doubt the company's ground is a continuation, bvt at a lower level. Sergeant's Hill is then passed through, its nomenclature being derived from a very ma-culine female species hi the genus homo who i\ui a shanty during the time the railway construction works were in progress, but who lias now gone the way of all flesh. Then you go down a very steep grade, passing over the Orawaiti Rivor by a wonder. brklgf\ which should have been replaced by an iron one Ions; ago, considering the heavy mineral and timber traffic over it, and being the best paying line in the colony. You now begin to feel that you are on a railway, for the rate you have, been travelling from Seddonvillo as a rule would impress yoa with the idea that a Japanese expert ran the line, for the Japs don't encourage fast trains. But there are " specials " that take from ono hour and three-quarters to five and six hours from Seddonville to Westport, a distance of 30 miles. You arrive about the time the business t laces clobe, which is inconvenient, for covntry people, Westport being our market town, and the sole source of our supplies hy a system of quid pro quo. Ready money is a scarce article with the majority of Karameans, so that the development of our gold resources will be the ego of our future.
The land about Karamea is of a superior quality, and all along the beaches fronting tho Tasman Sea the whole of the land is taken up, from the Little Wanganui to tho Oparara River on to the Nine-mile Bluff, a frontage of something like 16 miles inland. Upon the Oparara the land is good and mostly taken up, and a survey party is now laying off severs.' applications which, will shortly be resided upon. The Karamea is settled upon what is locally known as the Island, North Terrace road, Land of Promise, and Promised Land. Upon the Promised Land is located an old patriarch who goes by the name of " The Prophet Daniel," and anothei one "Elijah." The River Jordan falls into the Karamea. They do not exactly baptise in the Jordan, but they occasionally do in the Karamea. When the Karamea was first located as a suitable place for 0 special settlement the settlers were to got a town section, abo a suburban one. That was all forgotten by the authorities who were deputed to direct the settlement and manage for the General Government. The first land the immigrants were put on was found to be barren and worthless for settlement, which grew yellow pine and moss to perfection, but not even a respectable rush. After wasting time and material, they in despair thought they would havo a look round for some bcllor land, and went to the extreme end of what is known' as tho South Terrace, where they discovered lying below them to the eastward a fine river flat, at the same time exclaiming, "Why! here is the Promised Land." And then tho whole of the land of the river beach was taken up, surveyed, houses built, and .so they have prospered ever f>inco. Thii is bow tins locality was called by such Biblical namos. The settlors upon the opposite bide of the river when they took up their lands, not to be outdone, called theirs "The Land of Promise." The Karamea settlement was the outcome of the great Public Works scheme of Sir Julius Vogel, and continued under the Atkinson regime, by which people were brought out from their native villages in Britain and settled upon the waste lands of the colony ftuite seimilessi Thesa were §s;«
pectcd to hew a home out of the New Zealand wilderness, and that very few succeeded was no more than could be anticipated by those who know what it is to make a home in the West Coast bush. These people, without any experience, were planked clown at Karamea, and that the majority cleared out and gave place to others with more grit in them proved the Darwinian theory of "the survival of the fittest." If the same facilities had been given to oleb miners with families from the Coast and Otago, it would have been much better for Karamea as a settlement. Your correspondent was one of a few who settled independent of Government aid, and could have brought a score of families from Charleston with nothing leps than £200 a man to start with; but access to the Karamea settlement was only t.o be obloi:ied by new arrival in the colony, who thought they were very hardly done by, but tl ore was no foundation in fact in any of their charges so far as provisions and work wore concerned. They were nursed, pampered, fed, and given work and other privileges that havo been denied to those whose p wen 131 3 with their families paid their passage.! out to tlie colony, who carved out their fortunes without any Government nid or assistance (and expected none), but armed with bclf-rcliancc and indomitable courage like the Otago identity ; and if tho Karamea had been thrown open to the whole of the colony, old chum and new put upon an equality of privileges, there woidd be a larger population here to-day instead of our only increase by natural production. Tlw young people of Karamea so intermarry that they will bo all related, and will in time hardly know where they are. Perhaps, however, our mining boom will alter this state of affairs. In the old dayj tho signalman wad postmaster, registrar of marriages, births, and deaths and he was very accommodating to parties wishing to enter the bonds of matrimony by taking fees out in underbrushing, bushfalling, or any job that suited the party concerned. He also ran the only hotel and a farm ; so what with his muliifarious duties he was kept busy, and was quite tluPooh Bah of the place. The Karamea is very well supplied with schools — the Karamea, Promised Land, Land of Promise, Kingston, and a household school at the Li^le Yvanganui, and all arc well attended. The Otomabana Lagoon at high water is a fine sheet of water abounding in fish of all sorts, which are shipped to Westport by the Nautilus steamer, which runs every fortnight, carrying tho mail, and as the sleeper industry is developed will run oftener.
This last year great changes have taken place, showing that the Karamea is advancing to tho front, and that we aro getting rid of some of our primitive manners. A new po&tmi'stress has been appointed, who is aljo teacher of the State school; also a new signalman, but unfortunately not a nautical man, for the port is of sufficient importance to have an experienced man, of whom there are plenty to be found at any of the Now Zealand ports. Up to last year every little business had to bo done at Westport in regard to taking up land, parties having to swear before a justice of the peace, according to the land Jaws; also, any affidavits. In fact, great expense and loss of time have been experienced by settlers, a htate of affairs which should have been remedied long a-go. 'iiieso inconveniences are now cot over by tho appointment of Messrs Meyrick Jones and Robert Hay as justices of the peace. Still, there are many more modern 'convenionces which we would like to t?lif>.re with the rest of Now Zealand, suck a.s the telephone, and whicli we are promised when the lighthouse is creeled at Pv,ocks Point, also a goods shed at the wharf, and a road to the bridge, for although Karamea has been settled about 23 years it? access is by boat three miles from JonesvilleKingdton to the wharf, excepting at low water, when you skirt the Otomahaua mud fiat, ami on sufferance you are allowed to go through private laud up the river to the bridge. The bridge i<s two miles up the i-iver cost from the wharf and port, and is on the -main road to the Promised Land on to the Gorge. The principal products of Karamea are fruit, cairy produce, bacon, potatoes, hops, and fat stock. A few settlers are feeling their way with sheep, and in time they will take the place of cattle where the land is suitable. So. taking the Karamea as a whole, it is not one of the worst places in New Zealand, while its description is summed up in one of my rhymes. 1 hope you will not consider me too egotistical in the following reflections, even though the Imes not scan and there are other defects of which I am by no means unconscious: — KARAMEA. By the banks of the shining river, By the side of the 1 mining stream, Flowing swiftly 011 for ever, 'Heath the sunshine's passing gleam. From itg source in mountain fastness, From its slopes of snowy peaks, Water seen in all its vastness Ever flowing from its creeks. Karpmea for ever flowing, Passing o'er a wealth of gold, All its treasures on him bestowing Who labovtis hard and ever bold. There along its mrny beaches. Minerals of the precious kind — There it lays where fges bleaches, G old along its banks is lined. Along its banks the grass is growing, Providing food for man and beast, Producing tenfold for man's sowing, And with labour of the least. There the weka has ceased roaming, Where the kiwi has gone before, Where the Karamean has made his home in, Migrated from some other shore. Sterility he has prevented Producing plenty from the earth, Where the kai-aiuean rests contented, And turns tho solitude to miith. Karamea , June 18.
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KARAMEA (WEST COAST) NOTES., Otago Witness, Issue 2320, 18 August 1898
KARAMEA (WEST COAST) NOTES. Otago Witness, Issue 2320, 18 August 1898
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