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RIOT IN THE AVENUE., Wanganui Chronicle, Issue 20357, 17 May 1915
RIOT IN THE AVENUE.
WINDOW SMASHING CAMPAIGN
PORK BUTCHER'S SHOP WRECKED
UNPARALLELED SCENES OF VIOLENCE
OTHER PSE VUSE S -'DAMAGED
SERIES OF DISCREDITABLE INCIDENTS
ance of the shattered structure practically collapsed. So fierce was the rush that several people were actually pushed into the interior .of the display portion, of the shop front. One of the unfortunates was a Pressman, who, after an experience of being struck on the head by an oscilating ham suspended on a hook, decided to view further proceedings from a safer, quarter. The crowd pushed in under the verandar of the Melbourne Clothing Company, adjoining, with the result that this firm's ' large plateglass window succumbed, to > the pressure, ' and falling outwards, ' smashed into fragments on the ground. The breaking glass flew like spray, and it was fortunate that some of the people in the vicinity did not receive serious injury. The disturbance was now at its height. Stones were still being thrown at Mr Heinold's premises, but there was no longer any giass^ to break, and the dull thud of the missiles could be heard rebounding inside the building. A steady fire of crackers wa¥ kept tip. The crowd was evidently well pleased with the evening's work, sind in exuberance of spirits sang the National * Anthem and patriotic songs. Occasionally there came a combined shout of "Remember the Lusitania!" and wild nr-.; mom's were passed from lip to lip of other'premises to be wrecked in turn. A TERRITORIAL'S FEAT. \ A mid much excitement a Territorial in Uniform climbed up a verandah pole., and pinned a. small Union Jack ovei* Mr Heinold's signboard On top of ,the verandah. The Territorial had previ-; ously tried to climb a telegraph post near , by, and in disregard of warnings from below of an adjacent live electric wire. 1 WHAT ABOUT HALLENSTEIN'S P." It is a truism that a crowd of people are like a flock of sheep. "What about Hallenstein's ?" shouted somebody among a knot of unruly members. " Come along!" yelled a small boy. Immediately a wild rush commenced down the Avenue. At the old Wanganui Club premises, where building work is in progress, some of the crowd .stopped a mo-, ment to gather bricksand other missiles, '.'i "DON'T DISGRACE THE TOWN." i On-arriving; at the Post Office corner ■the crowd found that the locality, was well lighted—a fact which had rt>r a brief interval a restraining effect. Taking advantage of the lull, Mr Deighton addressed the crowd and exhorted them to be British./ The MayoK also stepped into the breach. Mr'Mnckay pointed to a bleeding wound on his face, where he had been hit by a stone, and earnestly appealed to the crowd not to further dis^grace the town. "Don't come down to the Germans' level!'' he shouted above an increasing tumult. Once again the irrepressible small boy itime 'into the limelight—the electric tight, to be precise. ■' With a swing of j both arms he. stepped forward and hurl- ! cd a seven-pound brick at the window. , This dangerous missile fell short and, did not do any damage. This was a signal for more stonethrowing, . and - in a few moments all Messrs Hallenstein Bros.' windows, with one exception, were broken. Along Ridgway St. came the sounds uf further crashes of breaking glass, and it subsequently transpired that two of the Bristol Piano Company's windows had been ibroken. It was now almost midnight. No further damage was recorded, and the crowd gradually dispersed, some stayed about the street* until the early, hours of the morning.. A DIFFICULT TASK. "Where were the police?" This i.s "a question usually asked in the case of a disturbance. As a matter of fact, the police, well reinforced, and in plain clothes and uniform, were much in evidence. During the rain of stone on Mr Heinold's shop, Senr. Sergeant Bourke, the Mayor, and several constables stood on the footpath facing the crowd, and by all means in their power used a iontraining influence. It was a position of considerable danger—a fact which the Mayor had unfortunately cause to appreciate. Excellent work was done by Sergeant Matthews, an officer of wide experience. He moved freely among the more rowdy section nf the crowd, and, by a display of cheerfulness under trying circumstances, and infinite tact and patience^ nipped several very threatening movmente in the bud. Tt is quite certain that, lurd an effort been made to effect whole--ile ai-rests during the evening, serious disorder;; vould have followed. /LOOTERS AT WORK. The transfer of the scent of demolition was a golden opportunity for looters, who speedily got to work Avhen the police were temporarily called aAVtty from Mv Heinold's promises. The contents' of the window qi lickly disappeared. Several men were seen marching off Avith hams, but the adolescent element concentratd largely on brawn,, succulent pork pies, bottles of pickles, and "Allies" sausages. One person in a fit of I generosity showered saveloys in the. air J. for the benefit of those unable to get close to the window. It appears that the premises wore thoroughly ransacked; but the thieves appeared to content themselvs with edibles. A CHANCE SHOT. During the riot shopkeepers in. the vicinity of Mr Heinold's .place had reason for alarm, as the stone .throwing in many cases was mot characterised by. accuracy of aim. The window in Mrs. Roberts' shop was broken, the damage evidently being done with a stone of the stray variety. ' SURVEYING THERUINS. 1 Throughout yesterday curious crowds gathered in the vicinity of ivhere damage iaa been done.- Mr .Heinold's shop front was a. complet<eywreck. The ground/ was .strewn with;.firagteea^'"©^''^^^^!*!!--glass',;-^nctCa strojigi aroma;of:,pickled onions- was : evident. The. scene was a
There were persistent rumours current in town during last week that Wanganui's customary calm would be disturbed on Saturday night by demonstrations and scenes of more or less violence of a reprisal nature. It was an open secret that the storm centre would be the pork butchery, premises of Mr. C. Heinold in the Avenue;, and, as events turned out, rumour was jnly too true. CALM BEFORE THE STORM. Shortly after 7 o'clock a certain livelines^ was evident in the vicinity of His Majesty's Theatre, and as a curious crowd gradually gathered in the roadway, the feeling that some Vim"* of an unusual nature was to follow gradually iiv leased. It was noticed that Mr C Ilehiold's premises, which ac.v • u^iai.> t'i\' h-ene of a brisk trade ny. Saturday evenings, were closed, tho. li^fct oxtinff 11 cd and ;the window c sir lain's luiin up. HUe and thei'e were memben of the police force, with au .; 111 look, and like the crowd, awaiting-i-end-ing events. There was no mistaking Abe fact that an unruly element, liiostly young men, were present, and open threats were occasionally made as to* what was to follow. '■'• Wait till ten o'clock and some of the lights go out!" one youth, whose coat pockets had an ominous btllge, declared defiantly. By eight o'clock the dimensions of the crowd had increased considerably, and general attention was diverted by the Garrison Band playing selections in aid of the National Defence movement. THE FIRST SIGN. Up to this stage the crowd had ot>- ( served a Micawber-like attitude —waiting for something to turn up. At the Drill Shed Colonel Watt was addressing a large audience and exhorting Ids hearers to enroll in the National Reserve. Th-en came the sound of breaking glass in the Avenue —it was the first spark of the conflagration which was to come. Excitedly the crowd who had been gathered at the Drill Shed raced pell-mell back to the Avenue, and joined another great crowd which was surging in the roadway in front of Mr. Heinold's shop. It appeared that the police had endeavoured to apprehend one of the stone throwers, but without• < success. SPIRIT OF THE CROWD. Excitement was simmering. Attention was again diverted to the roadway in front of Chavannes' Hotel," "where Col. Watt and a Territorial officer appeared on the balcony, the former again giving an address on behalf of the National Reserve movement. There was considerable dissent, and uproar. During a lull the latter got in a few words. He said: "I have been amongst the crowd to-night, and I know you are after Germans. :Well, come along up to the Drill Shed and join the Reserve, and you will have a chance to get at them." . . . This announcement was received with mingled cheers and groans. - Mr. W. A. Veitch, M.P., followed with a short address on behalf of the Reserve movement, and received quite a good hearing. "Come along to the Drill Shed," was Colonel Watt's final appeal. But the majority of the crowd had business elsewhere. . INCIDENTS BY THE WAY. "There goes the fire bell!" called somebody, and the clang of the bell at the Central Station proved the means of drawing the bigger portion of the crowd along Maria Place as far as St. Hill Street. With a snort of the syren the big motor reel purred up the street, but as no reflection in the sky was visible, the crowd became suspicious. "It's a have!" cried a youth, in strident tones, and in unanimous agreement a general movement was made back towards the storm centre. The pugnacious element was- by no means absent, and in several instances arguments nearly ended in blows. The crowd, on the whole, was good humoured and mostly out for fun. Hustling tactics were employed at times, and occasionally a man's nationality received a challenge. One tall man was hustled up the Avenue by a section of the crowd until in pained language he convinced his immediate hearers with the statement: "I ain't a German. I'm a cooje." He further demanded to know v what they wanted to mobilise him for?" TWO PERIODS. The discreditable events of the evening could be safely divided into two pe-riods-—before ten o'clock and sifter that hour.'..-It was when the hotels closed, and a leaven of more or less inebriated men joined the throng, that a marked change jn temper was manifested. At this stage of the proceedings the shops ■ adjacent to the storm centre put out their lights,: as is customary, and the partial darkness was quickly appreciated by the unruly i element. The stone- ■ throwing increased, and; the tinkling sound of breaking glass was proof tint in many cases the; aim was true. L MAYOR HOWLED DOWN. A burst of cheering greeted the Mayor j (Mr E. C. Mackay), who appeared .on j 'the balcony of His Majesty's Theatre block, with the intention of appealing to the crowd. For fully five ■- minutes the Mayor endeavoured to make himself heard but-his remarks were drowned m a tempest of hooting and yelling. ■ A bursting cracker exploded in his face.|Mr Mackay then proceeded across the street, and again,: but without Kuccess, I tried to address the crowd from the footpath in front of Mr Heinold's shop. MOB TAKES CHARGE. Up to this time- the police had been able to keep the crowd back from the footpath, but a series of ugly rushes set in. Chanting YKaierau! Kaierau! ; a number of men drove in a wedge matioh, and overpowering the pphce, surged-tip against, the shop window. One man was seen'to'wrench a brass-bar : : of the window frame clean, out of ate : position, with the result that the bal-
remarkable illustration of the devasfcating effects of .mob rule. JShe fine plateglass windows of Messrs Hallenstein Bros.' building presented:, a melancholy appearance with one exception, every glass pane having been broken by stones The windows had been cleared of the contents with the exception of a few miniature Union Jacks; which seemed strangely out of place, considering the conduct of an allegedly British crowd the night be- ' fore. BEFORE THE DAWN. One story going the rounds yesterday was that Mr Heinold took the train to.. Palmereston North on Saturday afternoon and was away in Manawatu when the exhibition took place, the inference being that Mr Heinold took fright and cleared out. This is noi so. Mr Heinold did not leave Wanganui; in fact, he went over the wrecked premises about four o clock yesterday morning. He was appalled at the amount of destruction caused. He had, he said, just opened" up a case of 37 hams, and every oneof them^was stolen, in addition to" piekjkxl products at the back of the shop.. The scales and balances were also wrecked, and viewing the debris several hours before dawn, there did not seem* to have been left anything of value. All the ■ foodstuffs in the snaps of small goods, together with the stuff in preparation, and the stock of hams, bacon, etc., irr hand, had been completely looted. A SUNDAY MORNING SURPRISE. A well-known resident went home early on Saturday evening, and knew no- . tiling concerning the proposed smashing up of "Heinold's show," as some of the" : hoodlums put it. At about eleven o'clock the strains of the National Anj them were wafted in the direction of bis .- home, and both he and his wife concluded that either peace had suddenly and unexpectedly been proclaimed, or that the British arms had gained a notable and important victory. " The good, news can keep until morning," he observed to his better half, and he retired to rest in anticipation of going-. uP,th© town early in the morning and learning something of the circumstances . that would cause several thousand people sto remain out of doors on a cold night and sing the National Anthem so heartily. Upon biking to the town at about 7.30 a.m. he got a Sunday morning surprise. He was met on passings Mr Heinold's with the very strong odour of pickled onions in the morning aiiv He stopped to investigate, as there wereseveral men standing round, and when, informed of what had occurred his remark was brief and to the point: "My~ God, and is this the victory that caused such a mob to sing 'God Save theKing,' and these be Britishers!" He jumped on his machine and rode a way. .
RIOT IN THE AVENUE., Wanganui Chronicle, Issue 20357, 17 May 1915
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