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Inst as the chimes in the Bluff post office wore striking the hour of noon the members of the Southland -Pioneer Settlers’ Association, headed bv Pipers J. McCrostie, W. Young and Grant, marched from the railway station to Sutherland s halh o scene of the banquet, which forms part of the yearly gathering. It was thoroughly ■ representative of the town and district, citizens of Invercargill standing side by side with settlers from Mataura, Woodlands, Myross, Otcramika, Otautau, Waianiwa, Waimatuku, Fairfax, Winton, and other "old identity" centres. In spite of the proverb as to the danger o delays (the fixture had been twice put off) all went wed. The heavy og of the morning was gradually dispersed by the rays of the sun, and from mid-day onwards the weather ( was delightful, and it was' a happy and good-humoured crowd that sat down to the well-filled supplied by Hostess Sutherland of the Railway Hotel. The were of course numerous, but there were also plenty of youthful faces, and the blend harmonised wonderfully well. We won’t attempt a strictly official report of the proceedings—for most of the veterans the greatest pleasure of the occasion is the chance it gives of recalling the days of "Auld Lang Syne,” and the greetings heard on every side, as hands veie shaken, proved that the opportunity was being made the most of. Mr J. W. Mitchell made the most genial of chairmen, and after grace had been said, a substantial repast was enjoyed, with all the zest begotten of a railway journey, preceded in some cases by an early drive to country stations. After the toast of "The King and Royal Family” had been heartily honoured, Mr A Kinross was called upon for his annual ode, which he delivered with due emphasis and effect. It was as follows ; To-day we cast all care aside, 'And view the past with honest pride; For we have helped to build a State That shall be prosperous a nd great. Full oft we waded through the mud, We were not stopped by bog, nor flood, Ere bridges had the rivers spanned We found our way throughout the land. For summer’s dust and winter’s mire, Wo wanted only plain attire ; No shams, no luxuries we knew, But wo were honest, brave, and trueGone a re the tussocks, fern, and flax. The bush has yielded to the axe ; We’ve flocks and herds on hill and plain, And fields with heavy crops of grain. Now families will share our tod, And help to cultivate the soil. And they will cheer our pleasant home, Till they may think it wise to roam. May we enjoy ourselves this day. May old and young be bright and gay ; 'And may our pioneers still find That Nature has been very kind. The chairman next gave "The Association,” and in doing so paid a graceful tribute to the memory of its chief promoter, the late Mr George Lumsden. Ho was delighted with the large attendance. 'As his friend on the left had said —"You have a fine large family,” and he replied—" Yes, and not a bad-looking one amongst them.” (Laughter). After explaining the causes which had led to the postponement of the gathering on two previous occasions, Mr Mitchell hinted that the railway department might be more up-to-date when they next conveyed members of the Association on a holiday trip —an hour and a half was just rather slow for a journey of 17 miles. (It seems that )ho ordinary train was converted into a mixed one, with, of course, all the shunting that usually falls to the lot of a goods train —hence the delay). Since their last meeting nine of their members had passed to the land of silence —Mr W. Lyon (East Invercargill), Mrs Wm. Scott (South Invercargill), Mr W. Grieve (Bi'anxholme), Mr Ar Steel (Wallacetown), Mr Thos. Crack (Myross), Mr James Young (Waianiwa), Mr Andrew White (Grasmere), Mrs C. Gardiner (Invercargill), and Mr L. Fraser (Waianiwa). He had performed a melancholy duty, but they must not mourn

the loss of their friends unduly', for they had passed to their rest after bravely 7 doing their part in the battle" of life. The toast was received with musical honours, and w a s acknowledged by Mr J. A. Mitchell, who said that he got a terrible fright when he came down on Monday with Mr T. Fleming to see what arrangements were being made for the pioneers. Mrs Sutherland said she would take thoiii to the hall to see what was being done, and when they got there they found it packed with Irish linens. However, in the interval, a great change had been effected, and he thought they must all be satisfied with the preparations made for their reception and with the eatables and drinkables provided. (Applause). He was pleased, indeed, to see such a turn-out, and was satisfied that if an earlier date were chosen the members and their friends could have a real good time. The Association was now on a good footing, and required no bolstering up. Mr A. Kinross gave " The Ladies,” declaring that he had liked them all his life, and he hoped every 7 gentleman present shared that feeling. Mr G. Meek replied, paying due recognition to the good work done by 7 the fair sex, and at his request the company gave three cheers for the "old ladies,” wffiose energy and hospitality in the old day’s were proverbial. "The Press” (Mr Fleming), “The Chairman” (Mr D. McFarlanc), and "The Host and Hostess” (Mr Fleming), wore the other toasts honoured.

At 1.25 p.m. the company 7 left the hall, and after being photographed by Mr C. S. Ross, dispersed to enjoy the sights of the port, the doings of the afternoon including a run over the briny 7 in the Harbour Board’s launches, which were ■ kindly placed at tihe disposal of the visitors. These numbered over 150, and one and all voted .the outing of 1907 a most pleasurable one.

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Bibliographic details

SOUTHLAND PIONEERS, Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 5, 4 May 1907

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SOUTHLAND PIONEERS Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 5, 4 May 1907

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