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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 1 (April 1, 1937)

The Bright Lights

The Bright Lights.

The hydro-electric light and power stations, scientific triumphs of recent times in the Dominion, have transformed life for country and smalltown dwellers. The far-out farm has its electric power cooking and lighting. The light services especially have enormously enhanced the pleasure of a country life—or rather, perhaps, ameliorated the loneliness and gloom, if you like to put it that way. What a contrast, the country village of the past and the brisk little town it has become to-day. Once upon a time, we would pass through a township, as we rode home to the farm late at night, and see but one solitary light, the kerosene lantern that the law required every publichouse-keeper to keep burning over his front door from dark to daylight. No street lights, no guiding light but the stars, or haply a jolly round moon. Night entertainments which called the country dweller were usually fixed for a night of full moon.

Now, travelling swiftly and easily along remote roads, you are never far from the bright lights. The one-time one-pub, settlement flashes at you suddenly as you emerge from the hills or the bush—a constellation in the valley below, a golden glitter against the black of the country night. There are all-night signs, the smart hotel has its eyes on you, so, too, has the police station.

There are lights, too, in many a roadside homestead; there is the sound of music in the air, for the radio is a necessary of existence far back. The other evening we happened to pull up at a farmhouse on a lonely hilltop near the Waikato River, where it flows through the rugged Waotu country. We heard clock chimes—eight o'clock. “Why, it's the old Wellington Post Office clock,” said the girl friend. The farm family had tuned in on 2YA.