(Fbom Ottb Own Coeeespondent). The anniversary of the foundation of the colony was celebrated in the Waira rapa by horse racing and other rural sports, which came off in Captain Donald's paddock at Featherston on Monday last. The weather was excessively hot, and the numerous fires that were raging about on hill and dale tended to make the air still more sultry and oppressive. Probably it was owing to this that there were fewer persons from a distance present than on former occasions. But Featherston is seldom long without a breeze, and even the zephyrs there are very little less mild or gentle than the fond hug of a Russian bear. This was the case on Monday, and more especially in the afternoon, when the marquee, which did duty as stewards' room, had to succumb to the breeze, and when the roof of the grand stand itself threatened to adopt a course more dangerous aud not less inconvenient. A very large number of ladies were present, and the whole arrangements reflected great credit on the stewards, and more especially i upon Mr Cox, the secretary, and Capt. Donald, whose attention and courtesy I feel great pleasure in having to publicly acknowledge. It has been suggested that a little sawdust for jumpers and raulters would proye an acquisition, the absence of which here and on the Wellington cricket ground made itself painfully apparent. I have been much struck, with the absence of all intemperance**at the recent festivities, tea and lemonade being the chief beverages in demand ; and it affords indications either that the temperance cause is making great progress, or that the young colonists of New Zealand are less distinguished for the love of strong drink than their fathers were before them. TII3 various events were well contested, one or two of them having to be run over again, They came off in the following order: — Foot race, 100 yards, won by H. Jackson, J. Cundy second. Heavy hammer, won by J. Oates, who hurled the pondrous weapon a distance of 77ft 6in. G. Jackson gained the second prize, being only two feet behind bis athletic antagonist. Lucas and Greathead proved themselves the best jumpers in sucks ; and W. Wardell the best lunner amongst the boys, a Maori lad taking second place. J. Nichol made a clever capture of the jingler ; and two Maories beat all competitors in the three-legged race, they having evidently trained for the occasion. For the one mile foot race, there were six entries, but only two arrived at the goal,
namely Wilkinson and Cotter, who well earned their respective prizes. W* vVakelin won the prize for the running high leap, find his younger brother proved himseff a formidable competitor, and took second place, J. Cotter was the winner in the vaulting match, a Maori taking the second prize. The , boy's vaulting match, after a severe con- I test, was won by a Maori boy ; and, should he live, will be heard of at the Caledonian games at Well ; ngton in succeeding years. The hack hurdle race was a poor affair, Murphy having it all his own way. J. Desmond's horse, ridden by Murphy, carried off the maiden plate ; and the ladies' purse deservedly into the hands of J. Cotter, his grey horse, after a beautiful rnco, passing by all his competitors, and winning easily. The Fealherston Stakes, which preceded the last named race, and which was exceedingly well contested, caused much dispute, and was settled at last in an amicable manner. Kiss-in-the-ring concluded the amusements of the day; the young men and maidens entering into the sport with a will, and not in the laclcadasical style fashionable at Lowry Bay. Two cases were heard at the recent sittings of the Wharehnma Petty Ses sions, in one of which the Rev. J. C. Andrews, M.G.A., the chairman of the court, was defendant, and in the other plaintiff, and which were heard and decided by Messrs Vallnnce and ] Mnnsell, who. it should be understood, | are neighboring (lock-owners. D. Ivirby, a weekly servant, who had been engaged first as a bullock driver and subsequently in mustering sheep, summoned the plaintiff for £ % 2 15s, balance of wages, which the plaintiff refused to pay him on account of his having left his service without any just cause. After hearing the evidence the bench deferred judgment until after the cross action had been disposed of. This was a charge made against Kirby by the Rev. J. C. Andrews that he absented himself during the first three days in Chrislmas week without just cause. After hearing the evidence the bench decided that he had forfeited his wages due, as he had left his employer's service without just cause or reasonable excuse. This is evidently an illegal decision, as the amount of wages alleged to be due was £2 los, and the utmost a weekly servant can forfeit, in the absence of notice, either by law or custom, would be one weeks' wages. The attention of Attorney-Genera! should be called to this case ; and at the same time the question suggests itself whether cases of this kind should not be heard before the Resident Magistrate of the district rather than before Justices of the Peace. The holding of the recent agricultural show in the Masterton Blockade was referred to by his Honor the Superintendent as a significant sign of the times. I have now to chronicle another of a similar kind, in another part of this district. On Thursday last the Lower Valley militia were disbanded, when a cricket club was organised, under the name of the " Union Club," and they have resohed, as soon as they have made themselves as well acquainted with the bat as they were with the rifle, to piny v match against Feathcrston or any other club in the valley. Such an item of news would not constitute a sensational telegram, but it is none ihe less interesting for all that.. • A bush fire close to Grey town has been raging for some time. It was deliberately lighted, but has not at present done much damage, owing in a great measure to the care which has been taken to prevent it doing so ; but still it cannot be too widely known at this season that persons who set fire to their own bush are personally responsible for any damage it may occasion. At the present moment the Rimuiaka is invisible, though the sun is shining, red, and scorching, owing to the dense volumes of smoke in the atmosphere. A fire was raging all day yesterday (Monday) at Carterton, and the place is now enveloped in smoke. Four new houses have been already destroyed, besides several smaller and older ones, also Greathead's blacksmith's shop and small stores. A number of families have left their dwellings and have taken their furniture on the main road for safety. The damage done is very great, but the extent is not yet known. Assistance has been sent for from Grey town, as the fire is raging as fearfully as ever. In the majority of cases the property is uninsured.
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