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A Trip to the Goldfields of Otago— No. VII.

,(By Wanderer.) From Waiiaka down to Gore the valley presents nothing specially worthy of note, and as the township of Gore is on the railway line and seen by all who pass, any information I could give would be second hand. I will simply say that the " Chicago of the South," as it is fondly called by residents, is growing fast and at the present rate of progress will probably some day rival its parent city Invercargill. While talking to an old farmer on my travels the other day he related some of his early experiences on the Donstan, that would read almost like a romance. He said he was the second carter •n the Dunstan. The first was a man named "Yorkey." My informant said, "I took up a load of swags for which I received Is 6d per lb. The next load I took tip was a consignment of general groceries on my own account. A storekeeper bought the lot at invoice prises, and allowed |me 2s per lb for eveiy Id carted, including bags,boxes, &c., &c. I not only sold every lb of goods, .bat the diggers bought even the bottom out of- my dray, taking the boards out themselves and giving me 2s 6d per running foot for them, so I had to return with only the framework to keep my feed in, and when near Deep Stream I met another carter who had ran out of horse feed, and he offered me L2o' each: for the only two bags of oats I possessed. - 1 had to refuse, very reluctantly. My next load consisted of flour, for which I received L2O per 2001 b bag. I then heard of a new rush at Queenstown, so I left and came, down to Southland and commenced carting to Kingston. After a short spell on the' roads, and finding there was not much in it, I took up land in Southland and have been farming ever since." In my wanderings I have tried to show that we possess a large inland population, which appears to be in a highly prosperous condition, and also gives promise of remaining in that pleasant state for many years to come; ;' My own impression is that there ib a brilliant future for the goldfields of Otago. Not, perhaps, for the individual digger, but for companies and diggers as a whole. The amount of money earned by dredges, and circulated in the districts in which they are working, will materially assist many of the smaller^tbwnships. That the dredges and sluicing companies will pay I have not the least doubt, as they will be able to work profitably in many places that would not pay with primitive appliances. I was very much struck with a remark made by an Ameri- ] can traveller some years ago, who said, "You have a large extent of back ] country, and your town, from its position, should be the most prosperous in this J colony'; but you want some go-ahead business men." He, I need hardly state, had been all over the world, and had visited all the important towns in New Zealand, and he knew what he was talking about. During my trip I -conversed with the principal men in the goldfields, and was more than ever impressed with the fact that we have lost whatever hold we possessed of their trade. In fact, the remark was frequently made, "We have tried to deal with Invercargill, but had to give it up as it was too dear." Hearing this so often I carefully kept the locality of my place of business in the background until such time as I had received their orders, as they ; Would as soon think of sending an order to Timbuctoo as to Invercargill. Another point greatly against us as a town is the want of unanimity amongst our leading business men ; as when any meeting is called to improve the general prosEerity of the place they are conspicuous y their absence. If they do not happen to be asked to take the chair or to propose some important resolution, they stay at home and many meetings got up with the best intentions are simply smothered, and the men who have spent both time and money in getting them up, are soured and will be very chary in promoting anything of the kind in future. A very different spirit animated the citizens of Dunedin lately when they organised and carried out to a successful issue their Exhibition. Ido not for one moment envy them their good fortune ; they honestly worked for it and they {' 'ot their reward. "To the victor beonj?B the spoil." What I lament is the absence of the same enterprise and combination here. In my humble opinion there are three things that would go a long way 'towards restoring prosperity. First, pushfva£ <&: the Seaward Bush railway to Foitrose ; second, extending the Orepuki railway some 20 miles further along the coast, and last,§ bnt by no means least, the improvement of our harbour, to allow the Union Shipping Company's steamers to come to bur wharf. There are many worthy citizens who might agree with the first two, but would bitterly oppose the last, and for their special benefit I will mention an incident thaScanie under my notice when in Auckland a few years ago. A man-of-war was in the harbour, and after remaining ten days it was stated that she had paid over L3OOO for provisions, irrespective of what the officers and 'then 'spent when ashore. Another fact I could not help noticing on my trip was the num?ier of hawkers met with on the road, cHiefly representing wholesale and retail ' • Dttnedih houses. These men travel with their goods from the foot of ( Mount Cook to the Bluff, and sell to the farmers and diggers at the same prices as they sell to our merchants here. Can we wonder ' that they do the trade. They have little I expense, and many of them do more business ! in an evening after our shops are closed than I is done here all day with our large expense. Yet we wonder why trade is so dull. The fact is we are letting our birthright, the trade that rightly belongs to us, gradually ' bu'Murely drift to Dunedin, and we have not the energy to import our goods direct. "If the mountain will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet must go to the mountain. " There is no friendship in business,' and the sooner we come to see this and act up to it the better. We will then take our rightful position as the fifth largest town in the colony. In the words of the poet I would say, '•Up then, ye, who world be heroes and before your strife U past ; for the sake of those around you, nail your colours to the mast.

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A Trip to the Goldfields of Otago—No. VII. Southland Times, Issue 11468, 29 May 1890

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