THE CEREMONY OF LAYING THE STONE.
At half-pasb two the procession was again formed near the Harbour View Hotel, and was marched to the works. Owing, however, to the temporarily-erected shears which had been fixed to hoist the stone into its place giving way, the ceremony was delayed nearly an hour, but, everything being reinstated, the Committee escorted Mr. Carrington and the ladies to the end of the breakwater, where the stone was to be laid. Mr. B. Wells, the Treasurer of the Harbour Board (in the absence o£ the Chairman, Mr. T. King, who was prevented from attending owing to a sudden indisposition), then presented Mr. Cai'rington with a trowel of polished cast steel, made from a chisel bar manufactured by Moseley and Son, Covent Garden, London, from ironsand taken home by the late Captain Morshcad. The handle is o£ honey- I suckle, inlaid with Pawa shell, and bears the | following inscription :—: — [Crest.] Presented to F. A. CARRINGTOX, Esq., on laying THE FIRST STOKE OP THE IUP.BOIt, Xe.io Plymouth, Kew Zealand. February 7, ISSI. Mr. Wells then addressed Mr. Carrinjrton as follows : — I have much pleasure iv presenting you with this trowel, composed of Taranaki steel, for the purpose of laying the first stone of the New Plymouth harbour. I congratulate you. sir, on your being about to initiate a work of vast importance to this district, arid in so doing crowning your labours as the founder of this settlement. Mr. F. A. CARRINGTON read the following reply :— Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends and Fellow-settleks,— We are assembled here this day to mark the era of an event which to a far distant future will be looked upon by all who are interested in the well-being and prosperity of Taranaki as a day worthy of record ; it is for the purpose of laying the foundation stone for the commencement of a harbour, to give protection to life and property, and to facilitate and enable us to interchange and trade with many aud various parts of the world through the medium of our own port. As the honor of laying this foundation stone has devolved upon me, perhaps it is right, and it may not be uninteresting to many off you if I now give a short history of the events which have led to the doings of this auspicious day. I may therefore say that early in the year 1840, when I was in the Ordnance Survey Department, in England, I was asked by the Plymouth Company ef New Zealand if I would accept the appointment of chief surveyor to a settlement which they purposed founding in New Zealand, and after certain negotiations and preliminaries I accepted their offer. I arrived in Port Nicholson in December of that year, and having conferred with Colonel Wakelield, the chief agent of tne New Zealand Company, I fouud that it was left to me to determine on the site for the proposed settlement, and that it must be within or between tho 38Hh and 43rd degrees of latitude, that is," roughly speaking, between Mokau and the south part of the Nelson Province, and in no way to interfere with the future requirements for the extension of the Wellington and Wanganui districts of country. Colonel Wakefield kindly placed at my disposal the barque Brougham, for the purpose of enabling me to visit and inspect the country within the limits I have named, and notwithstanding the great desideratum, the want of a harbour, I made up my mind to select the Taranaki District for our settlement, and, from the first, I placed the Town of New Plymouth where ifc now stands. The rare and remarkable facilities which existed at the Sugar Loaf Islands for making a harbour, combined with the immense tract of fertile land environing the same, confirmed me in this determination. We can make a harbour, comparatively speaking, at little cost, but to make a country like that which we possess, would be afc a cost beyond calculation. Early in the year 1841, I made a survey of the Sugar Loaf Islands and coast adjoining, which 1 sent to the Managing Director of the New Plymouth Company of New Zealand, for the purpose of showing what could be done in the way of making a first-class harbour, safe and accessible at all times and seasons, and I afterwards made a more minute survey which I took with me to England. Having finished my surveys of the town oE New Plymouth and a portion of the country adjoining, I left New Zealand, and returned to England in 1844. I took home with ihr a large collection of indigenous productions and curiosities, which, at the request of Sir Roderick Murchison, I exhibited at a soiree in his house, in Belgravc Square. Together with these natural productions, were samples of the stone from the various Sugar Loaf Islands and rocks, and after getting the survey which I had made of the Sugar Loaf Islands and coast engraved, which I did at a cost to myself of more than £200 I submitted the same to Sir John Ronni. and other Engineers for their opinion. Sir John Rennie was so much pleased with that which I showed and imparted to him, that shortly before my return to New Zealand he entered into an arrangement with me to construct the entire harbour works upon terms which I considered most favorable for us. From circumstances which I could not control, this offer was frustrated. I returned to New Plymouth in July, 1557. and on the 2!>th of October, 18."S8, I did myself the honor of writing to His Excellency Governor Gore Browne, and under the same cover was en closed a letter from myself, whijh I was desirous should be submitted to the Right Honorable the Secretary of State for the Colonies, which desire was courteously complied with. On referring to this said enclosed letter, which embraced vital and important matters, there was reference made to our harbour question, a brief portion of which was as follows — " does not philanthropy remind us of the noble works which have been executed at Portland, Holy head, and other parts of the Kingdom, chiefly by means of convict labour ; and docs not charity tell us that these works were performed by men who toiled against hope, who when they had made expiation for their offences, went forth from their prisons with a heavy heart, knowing
that they were the marked men of a superabundant population, with little chance of future employment, who, though they had resolved to leal a new life, found themselves foiled in every effort, by the sh'gma they bore ? These are the men to whom I would call the special consideration of all good men, and all who are in heart the humble followers of Him who was the frieni of sinners." In my opinion it would have been wi>,e to have acted on this suggestion which I made now more than twenty-two years ago ; by so doing we should now have had a grand harbour and shipping portage. From the year 1858 to 1873 but little progress was made in the advancement of oar harbour beyond the best efforts given by some of our settlers, of whom the roost zesiand energetic was the late Mr. Chilman, vho, for many years, was our Collector of Customs. I cannot speak in too high praise of his unceasing zeal in the cause, which, no doubt, engendered a growing desire on the part of the public that the work should be commenced. In December, 1873. however. I received a letter from the then Premier of the Colonysuch as he at that time addressed to other Superintendents of Provinces, on matters of immigration— which revealed to me our pressing want of harbour accommodation. la the. letter the following words appear :: — ♦' In present circumstances Taranaki is unable to take advantage of the immigration scheme to the extent designed."' On the 29th December, 1873, 1 replied to this letter, when I pointed out that it was now clear to me that nothing less than a harbour at the Sugar Loaves would enable us to have a fair share of the advantages as administered to other Provinces, and I followed up this letter with an interview with the Premier in Wellington, when I pointed out the way and the means by which our harbour could be constructed without the cost being felt ; in fact, I showed that it would put money into the Treasury. I said that we were now acquiring, and were about to acquire, large tracts of land, and if it were sold without the prospect of harbour accommodation at a reasonable distance, the land would realize little more than half its value ; if, on the other hand, an endowment were given for the purpose of making a harbour at the Sugar Loaves, two-thirds of the land would, in ray opinion, realize more than would the whole, without the prospect of such harbour.* The distance from Taranaki to either Wellington or Auckland is too great to meet railway expenses over so long a transit : the increasing cost of freight, at per ton per mile, over so long a journey would consume all profits. My interview with Mr., now Sir, Julius Yogel, on this matter was very satisfactory ; and when, in the Honse of Representatives in August, 1874, 1 moved the second reading of the New Plymouth Harbour Board Bill, which was strongly and ably supported by Mr. Kelly and the Hon. Major Atkinson, the Premier stated that "the Government had no objection to all»vv the bill to pass." The bill provided that one-fourth of the land fund of Taranaki might be appropriated for the purpose of making a harbour, when ratified by a Bill to be passed by the Provincial Council of Taranaki, which was done. The course which has been pursued since the passing of the above-named Bills in 18745 in regard to the carrying ont of our harbor Works is well known to all who are interested in the work. Consequently, I may now conclude by observing that the geographical position of the Harbour we are now about to inaugurate by laying the foundation stone, is second to no other in New Zealand. In trading with Sydney, Melbourne, and many other ports in Australia, we shall have a rery decided advantage over all ports on the East Coast, our distance being much less, and no Cook Strait, or North or South Cape to round and clear. We have, moreover, for some nine months in the year soldiers' wind for trading to and from the Islands. We may, therefore, look forward with perfect confidence, nnder divine blessing, that with the beautiful country and salubrious climate we possess, *c shall ere long have an influx of people, and a large and increasing trade with Australia and the Pacific Islands. Fred. A. Carbiktqtok, Late Superintendent of Ihc Province of Taranaki. New Plymouth, February 7, 1 881. * Note.— The truth of the above opinion is now verified by the increiwcd price paid for und in Tarmnuki since the Harbour Endowment w*s gton. Owing to our limited space, and not wishing in any way to curtail onr report of an event which will become a matter of history, we have to hold over the remainder of oar account of yesterday's proceedings nntil tomorrow. Everything went off well ; and the fireworks, on Poverty Flat, were a grand termination to the proceedings. The sports were al«o very successful. We have a full report of them, but must withhold its publication till to-morrow.
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THE CEREMONY OF LAYING THE STONE., Taranaki Herald, Volume XXVIX, Issue 3651, 8 February 1881
THE CEREMONY OF LAYING THE STONE. Taranaki Herald, Volume XXVIX, Issue 3651, 8 February 1881
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