The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 1, Issue 4 (August 24, 1926)
Farmers' Excursion Train — Educational Trip to Taranaki Province
Farmers' Excursion Train
Educational Trip to Taranaki Province
The Farmers' Excursion, organised by the Department for the purpose of taking South Auckland and Waikato farmers on an educational trip to Taranaki at the end of last month, was in every respect successful. The Minister of Agriculture (Hon. O. J. Hawken) himself took a personal interest in the project by arranging to put two lecturers on the train, to supply information to the farmers who made the journey and to give them lectures en route on the subjects of stock-raising and cropping.
The Publicity Department took the opportunity, which this unique type of excursion afforded, of filming various phases of the run and the scenic portions of the journey.
The Business Agent for the Auckland District (Mr. H. Welsh) spent a considerable amount of time prior to the running of the excursion travelling round amongst the farming community pointing out the advantages which such a trip would be likely to render, and the Department arranged, in conjunction with the Empire Week Committee of Hawera, for the distribution of a quantity of literature bearing on the subject. Every arrangement was made for the comfort and entertainment of the farmers on the way. On the previous day and early on the morning of the excursion, special trains were run to Frankton as feeder services to the special farmers' excursion train, which left that station at 9.40 a.m. on the 30th June carrying a large body of those interested in land development. Amongst the passengers on the train were five newspaper representatives and the heads of large dairying, freezing and manure companies.
The Department had prepared beforehand a carefully compiled illustrated souvenir booklet, copies of which were distributed to those making the trip. This gave particulars of land values, and methods of cultivation and development adopted in the districts traversed. The Department also provided each car with photostated train diagrams showing the running of all train services between Frankton and Marton and also (in red) the farmers' excursion train, with all the services which it would cross en route, and the stations at which it would cross them. The journey was made still more interesting by competitions in regard to matters that came within the special range of farming activities, while very complete arrangements were made in regard to the supply of meals on the journey, a trip which occupied practically fourteen hours.
The farmers were unanimous in their expression of satisfaction with the splendid treatment they received on the journey and the very full arrangements that were made for their reception at Hawera. Mr. A. W. Wellsted, Business Agent for the Taranaki District, met them on the way and allocated their accommodation. The farmers of the South Taranaki District had thrown open their homes for the entertainment of the visiting farmers, and many close friendships were formed as the result of the visit.
While in Taranaki the Waikato farmers were shown around the district and had all the chief points of interest in regard to dairying, for which the district is noted and in which its methods are very progressive, fully explained to them. After seeing through the Government Experimental Farm, some miles out from Hawera, one farmer remarked that what he had seen there alone made the visit worth while; and Mr. Simson (Manager of the Auckland Freezing Company), after stating that he had been rather dubious about making the trip, remarked that he would make those farmers who had refrained from joining the train, sick with envy when he returned.
The success of the initial event should ensure for future farmers' trains a very substantial patronage. The Department has instituted a very low rate—single fares plus one third—for farmers' excursions, and it is anticipated that the reciprocal feature which has been introduced into the inter-provincial visits scheme, will make the excursions not only very popular, but also extremely useful to the producers in assisting them to gain the fullest knowledge of what is being done in their own particular line in other parts of New Zealand.
Is it not knowledge that doth alone clear the mind of all perturbations?—Bacon.page 19
Representative Travellers by Farmers' Excursion Train
Mr. F. Lye (Director, Cambridge Dairy e Co.); Mr. Patterson (Field's Division, Agricultural Dept.); Mr. Collins (Veterinary Instructor, Agricultural Dept.); Mr. D. Fulton, (Chairman of Directors, N.Z. Co-op. Dairy Co.); Mr. T. Simson; (General Mngr., Farmers' Freezing Co., Auckland); Mr. R. McKenzie (Director, N.Z. Dairy Co.); Representative of Rotorua Central Dairy Co.