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SIR T. E. DONNE'S CAREER.

INTERESTING RECOLLECTIONS. (From Our Own Correspondent?!) WELLINGTON, March 18. Mr T. E. Donne, who will be leavifff New Zealand in a few weeks to take up a position in the High Commissioner'a office in London, has -been 33 j-ears in th« public service. He was. originally intha Telegraph Department and was a,fellowoperator "at the Bluff with Sir Joseph Ward, »Vbo was in those days one of the smartest telegraph operators. Subsequently Mr Donne was transferred to the Railway Department. To a Dominion 1 reporter he gave some reminiscences of his early experiences in the south. He waa in charge of the Waitati station when he met the notorious criminal Bxitler just after the murder of the Dewars in Dunedin. "Many will remember," said ! Mr Donne, " that on March 14, 1880, a ■ butcher named Dewar and his wife were j murdered in Dunediin. After the doubla ! murder tlie house was fired, and the infant I daughter was smothered in the smoke. j That same night a man came to the Saratoga Hotel at Blueskin. when I was having supper. He was served, and Xeft a little later. I don't know what roused my suspicions, except that he seemed to start when mention was made of the murder, but I was s« suspicious that I communicated with the police, and the , man Butler was arrested seven miles I farther on. He resisted capture and at- , tempted to shoot the policeman. He was I acquitted on the charge of murder, but j was given 18 years for arson and 10 years | for burglary, the sentences to run con-, currently. ' That was on' April 5, 1880.r I know the date, because he threatened .to ' slit my weasand ' as soon as he goti I a chance. He was liberated from the Wellington Gaol on August 4, 1893, and wentf to Rio and London, whefe he dad 10 years for burglary. He subsequently turned up i in Melbourne as Wilson, and was again. j sentenced for burglary, and under thd j name of James Wharton was hanged fot , mnrder in Queensland in July 17, 1905. Butler was a pretty desperats chap, and I feel easier now he is out of the way. I next went to Edendale and afterwards to Gore, where I got smashed by a train. I bad attempted to put the brake on soma carriages and trucks that were moving smartly down the main line, but instead of the brake acting as it should, the lever merely dropped. I was so anxious when I saw tlie trucks would collide with the waiting express that I fell across the rails, and one of the wheels crunched into my side just below my ribs, and I waa pushed along the line until my body, acting as a sprag, stopped the trucks. After that I lay in tlie Dunedin Hospital for six months without, moving. Th< wound in. my side 'is not a pleasant sighl to-day."

A new system of long-distance teiephoh* ing over iron wires — the joint invention of a Russian engineer and a student — has been, successfully tested along the Warsaw railway line between St. Petersburg and Vilna. With the aid of an Apparatus for increasing the volume of sound, the speakers could be hoard quite distinctly between St. Petersburg and Vilna, a distance of 712 verste. The invention is the more valuable inasmuch as the Russian t-elephonic servicesare frequently interrupted owing to theft*' of the copper wire now -employed.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/OW19090324.2.96

Bibliographic details

SIR T. E. DONNE'S CAREER., Otago Witness, Issue 2872, 24 March 1909

Word Count
581

SIR T. E. DONNE'S CAREER. Otago Witness, Issue 2872, 24 March 1909

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