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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 2 (May 1, 1937)

Variety In Brief — The Perfect Present

page 106

Variety In Brief
The Perfect Present.

I have solved the problem. I have the perfect solution to the much vexed question of Christmas presents. It happened this way. I order my copy of the “New Zealand Railways Magazine” annually, but on three occasions about eighteen months ago, I was away from home when the magazine came out. Seeing it on a bookstand, I bought a second copy.

Later, it occurred to me that I should send them to a relation in England. Three copies only were no use, so I continued buying a second copy until the year was up, and finally had them bound. I then retained them until the Christmas mail for England was ready and posted them—or should I say, “It?”

I have just received an acknowledgment—and what an acknowledgment! “What a marvellous idea, and what a wonderful magazine,” writes the recipient. “Nothing equal to the ‘New Zealand Railways Magazine’ as a nationally informative publication exists in England. When we have read it—and we will all read it at least ten times—we will feel that we really know New Zealand. Already the whole family are talking about saving for a trip to your wonderful country. We will feel at home right from the start, particularly on your railways.”

I might mention that this was the cheapest present I have ever sent them, but the other gifts brought merely a perfunctory acknowledgment.

Now people, what about duplicating that order of yours? It is not often you can buy your overseas Christmas presents at sixpence a month and give such genuine pleasure. At the same time, it helps to advertise New Zealand, and is one present your friends will never have duplicated.—C. McB.

It is not generally known that the first steel vessel constructed in the Southern Hemisphere was launched in Wellington Harbour over fifty years ago from the site of Luke's Foundry in Wakefield Street. A commercial house now occupies the site on which the foundry was built. The steel vessel, whose keel was laid in what is now one of the busiest commercial thoroughfares in the Capital City, was the Matai, a single screw steamer of 340 tons register. From keel to bridge the vessel was built by New Zealand workmen, and in 1886, with a full head of steam up, she was launched at Te Aro. The ship was built for the Blackball line, and had accommodation for saloon and second-class passengers. For many years the Matai was on the coastal runs. It was eventually sold to the Union Steam Ship Company, but four years after passing into this company's hands it struck a submerged rock off Gisborne and became a total loss. One life was lost.

Two or three other vessels were built and launched on the same site. One of these boats, the Weka, was launched in 1883, and is still doing service in Napier. Another vessel, the Tuna, was built for a Gisborne firm.

On this site some of the most important engineering work in Wellington was carried out, and on many occasions there were as many as 250 men employed at once.—“D.W.”

* * *

At a meeting of the Oamaru Borough Council, the Mayor (Mr. M. F. E. Cooney) paid a very high public tribute to the manner in which the railway men had carried out the urgent work of protecting the gasworks under very trying, and at times dangerous, conditions. Mr. Cooney said the Railways Department had done splendid work in prosecuting so expe-ditiously and so vigorously the protection of a borough asset. Practically the whole of the stone quarried had been deposited on the foreshore, but further supplies would be made available and the work continued. The Railways Department had given its fullest assistance and co-operation, and the position at the gasworks was now quite satisfactory.

Owing to the serious nature of the encroachment, the Oamaru Borough Council is of the opinion that the permanent protection of the foreshore has become a national question.