Thursday, 20 February 2014

Hawkeye, 1896

'Dilly' people were reported as being quite plentiful at Waihi.  "Their peculiarities would fill a book," noted the correspondent under the heading 'Lunactics at Large'.  One was described as having a "gay old time to himself in Walmsley's bush." He amused himself by frequent yelling and on still evenings his cries sounded very weird and alarming.  Food was left for the 'poor creature' at an appointed place by those that knew him.  "It seems a pity something could not be done towards securing him and having him looked after...he may become a terror to nervous women if allowed to roam about much longer."
Waihi was not quite so muddy as its near neighbours the same correspondent noted with satisfaction.   At Paeroa, one waded ankle deep in the 'delightful ingredient' on the main path.  At least Waihi had a good footpath on one side of the street.  As for Waitekauri - after a dog drowned in the mud in front of Ryan's Hotel, nothing needed to be said.   "After all give me Waihi."

Turua folk were introduced to the wonders of the phonograph which was displayed before a large audience. Every item was good and evoked the enthusiasm of the listeners.  In the interval one of the audience sang 'Mollie Reilly' into the machine, which it reproduced in a very realistic and amusing manner.  "All went away highly satisfied with their two hours recreation."
Great quantities of smoke hanging about the river and ranges made navigation quite difficult for Auckland steamers.  One lost about 12 hours on a mud bank, while others were able to get through only by the most careful handling.  

Quite an abundance of mushrooms were being gathered at Turua - never had they been so plentiful.  Almost the whole population had them as a "daily relish."

Travelling from Hikutaia to Paeroa in a buggy, Mr W Wilson, a blacksmith, and Mr M Power, Ohinemuri Hotel licensee, were capsized.  Coming onto a bad part of the road they drove the buggy on to the side where there was a bit of a rise.  Getting onto the road again the buggy overturned, and the men were thrown out.  They were greatly shaken, but not hurt although the buggy was a good deal knocked about.

A carter at Coromandel, named Butler, was sleeping in a loft above Mr Verran's stable, and about 2 a.m. got up to come down.  Having no candle, he missed his footing and struck one of the harness pegs on his descent.  Mr Verran picked him up unconscious, but Butler soon recovered his senses and was taken to hospital, where the shock to his system was considered the worst of his injuries.

Somewhat of a disturbance in Brown Street, Thames, was caused by a man named Austin who had just come in from the country.  He was under the impression he had lost a watch, and he accused one Felix Skelton, who he had been drinking with, of stealing it.  Skelton retaliated by striking Austin and, after a sloshed scuffle, Constable Clifford appeared on the scene, at once arresting Austin.  On being taken to the station, it was discovered Austen still had the watch in his possession and he was ordered to appear in court the next morning  for imbibing too freely.

"A lad named Somerville who attended the Paeroa public school picnic a few days ago drank some of the Ohinemuri river water during the day, and has since been so ill that he has had to be sent to Auckland for medical treatment.  Cyanide again!"

(Source: Papers Past)

© Meghan Hawkes and Dead Cert 2014

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