An escaped lunatic arrived at Coromandel in a dinghy after absconding from the Avondale Asylum in Auckland. He was seen drifting down the harbour off Northcote and later floating on the tide in the direction of Rangitoto. Captains of outgoing vessels were asked to keep a look out for him. Two days later he turned up at Motuihie quarantine island* where the caretaker gave him food and clothing and directed him to the nearest settlement of Waiheke Island. The cautious caretaker then promptly contacted police and a launch was sent to bring the floating fugitive back from Waiheke. He was long gone and after a few days was supposed drowned before re- appearing at Coromandel where he was promptly arrested.
Not quite as dramatic was the journey of the Paeroa Tennis Club downriver to Turua aboard the steamer Taniwha to the musical accompaniment of the Mandolin, Banjo and Guitar Club. The remainder of the large group went by a barge towed by the Eliza. After a “most pleasant journey” the party were welcomed to afternoon tea by the Turua Lawn Tennis members. A few friendly games later, tea was partaken on the wharf followed by a concert which finished a 9 pm to coincide with the incoming tide. Three hearty cheers were given by the Turua people for their guests followed by a rendition of “For they are jolly good fellows.” Once at Puke wharf, just after midnight, the pooped party were met by coaches and taken home.
Netherton, too, had its share of excitement with the gravelling of the Netherton to Puke Road making good progress. Three scows brought gravel from the Miranda Coast and teams of horses carted it to the roadway. Hopes were high for a good metalled road from the Netherton creamery to Paeroa. Also at Netherton the oldest son of Frank Chalton broke his arm by falling from a fruit tree and the very dry weather was affecting milk supplies. Farmers were unable to get their young grass sown and “a few genial showers would be most acceptable.”
At Tairua twenty men volunteered to carry an injured man over the ranges to Thames after he was buried under two tons of earth at the Chelmsford mine. After a long and arduous tramp they reached Puriri where a wagon was requisitioned to take him to Thames Hospital. His condition was serious but he was expected to recover.
Driving a horse and cart without reins saw Samuel Duffty of Waihi landed in court. Duffty pleaded guilty but then said “Half a jiffy...it is true that I plead guilty, but I do so under protest. I had a bar rein on the ‘orse.” “But you were not holding the reins in your hands,” the Bench retorted. But, said the accused, “that ‘orse is the most intelligent ‘orse in the district.” The Bench said they were not interested in the qualifications of the horse. Duffty kept up a running fire of protests until he was brought to a sudden standstill by a fine of 10 shillings with 7 shillings costs.
Mr Winstanley, the Government Health Inspector, was prying around Paeroa. He had not yet had the time to inspect houses leading the Gazette to issue a warning that he intended to do this very shortly. “We would advise residents to see to the sanitising of their houses and yards at once.”
*Motuihe Island was first used as a quarantine station in 1874 for scarlet fever and operated for 50 years. Later it was a World War One internment camp and during World War Two became a naval training base. It is now a DOC recreation reserve.
© Meghan Hawkes and Dead Cert, 2013