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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 7 (November 1, 1927)

“Arthur's Pass.” — The Playground Of Canterbury

page 22

“Arthur's Pass.”
The Playground Of Canterbury

Tourists travel the world in search of that kind of fascinating scenery to be found associated with lofty snow capped peaks, glaciers, and rugged mountain valleys. Here, within 87 miles of Christchurch, is Arthur's Pass, in the heart of the Southern Alps, offering all of the above attractions, and other joys besides, for we have a wealth of bush scenery in direct contrast to the above attractions. Waterfalls abound on all sides, and in the beautiful Otira Gorge the majestic tree ferns stand high above the underscrub and spread their gorgeous fronds in a manner most enticing. Add to these scenic wonders the flowering ribbonwood, and one has a veritable fairyland.

“Red Cap.” porter assisting passengers.

“Red Cap.” porter assisting passengers.

Having in imagination viewed the scene in panorama, let me now escort the reader to a point of special interest -the “Punch Bowl” waterfall. Here we observe the perennial rainbow, and here we quench our thirst by drinking of the clear sparkling waters of the noted fall. Proceeding through the Gorge we pass en route the waters of McGraths' Creek, at the head of which are to be found ice caves of exceptional beauty; at the roadman's hut, we turn off to the left, and take the track in the direction of the mighty “Rolleston.” Our path thence runs through picturesque virgin bush, but though the track may not be of the best, be assured our journey will be well worth while. We pause in our stride to secure a footing on the ladder which serves as a bridge across the Bealey River, and then on again through the bush until we reach the “Tarn.” Here we pause to enjoy the wondrous beauty of the scene which reveals itself for many miles around; on one hand the beautiful Bealey River, and on the other the “Blimit,” one of the many lofty peaks in a long mountain range disappearing in passing clouds. Our goal, the Bealey Glacier, lies ahead, and we must move on. Through another short stretch of bush and once again we meet the waters of the Bealey on the bank of which kindly hands have placed a camp billy. There being an abundance of dry kindling wood, we are soon able to partake of an excellent cup of billy tea. Having thus refreshed ourselves, we proceed up the valley. Large blocks of ice severed from the main glacier soon hold our attention; on ahead is the main glacier, under which for a considerable distance runs a cave. Stepping on to the ice we make our way carefully, skirting deep crevasses which reveal a depth, varying up to sixty feet underfoot. The atmosphere has now become much warmer: in place of the cool breeze we feel a wind that reminds us of a Christchurch Nor' Wester. Further ahead we spy the toboggan and, allowing our curiosity to overcome other feelings, we find ourselves sliding through space over the ice until we come to rest in the soft snow below. This exhilarating pastime has set us aglow and we revel in the mountain murmurings, beholding on all sides the various waterfalls dashing to streams below, and flowing on to form the source of the swiftly rushing Bealey River. On all sides enormous ice and snow fields hold our attention; with the setting sun, they turn from white to a pale blue, eventually changing before our eyes to a pale crimson. Having explored the magnificent ice caves we retrace our steps, arriving back in Arthur's Pass after a brief absence of six hours.

The above are but a few of the many attractions that are to be found around what will some day be known as “The Playground of Canterbury.”

page 23

Value of Sport.

In a recent speech to railwaymen, Mr. A. W. Hutchings (formerly Chief Assistant Accountant) spoke strongly in favour of sport.

“In New Zealand,” he said, “and particularly in the Railways, the social side was too much neglected. People were not friendly enough with one another. They were too cold and kept their natural feelings down, ignoring the reality of their human brotherhood. There was usually not much difference in the mental calibre of the men with whom they associated. He thought more attention should be paid to play. So long as they played hard while they played and worked hard while they worked they were qualifying themselves for the higher positions. Conditions had greatly improved. Some of the younger men already had Mr. Simmons ‘£5 a week’ and more, and chances for further progress were open until they could arrive at a point where they could hold the Chief Accountant's position. He greatly appreciated superannuation. Not many of those present would realise how much work had to be done to get it. He remembered when a feeling of depression was upon every railway officer-they had little to look forward to and the chances of ease and comfort in their old age seemed remote. They should thank God for the men who had worked so hard and spent so many hours to bring about the Superannuation Fund.

While abroad he had opportunity to talk to railway executives, and was astonished at the attitude they adopted towards sport. They arranged for their men to go in for it-to throw off the trammels of work. “A day off at the races” he said, amidst laughter, “is the best thing in the world.”

Good Service Recognised.
Railway Business Agent Honoured.

In recognition of his services to the farmers of Mid-Canterbury, a presentation was made last month to Mr. F. Pawson (Railway Business Agent) by members of the Mid-Canterbury Provincial Executive of the Farmers' Union. The President (Mr. H. C. B. Withell) referred to the wonderful sucess that had attended the recent farmers' Excursion to the West Coast, which was organised and personally conducted by Mr. Pawson. The recipient, states the “Ashburton Guardian,” was greeted with applause, and said it was difficult to express his feelings, but he would like to voice his appreciation of the gift. It was really a compliment to the Railway Department. There was no doubt that the advent of the Commercial Branch had had a wonderful effect upon the relations between the Department and the public, whom it was established to assist. He was there to do all he could for the farming community. Since the scheme of farmers' excursions had commenced, just under 2,000 farmers had been taken to Otago, Canterbury and the West Coast, and to places of interest in these centres. All who had made the trips had spoken very highly of them. In future they would have to get over the difficulty of taking a large party to a small district, and expense to the people visited would be considerably reduced.

The Wilson Station, Prague, Czecho-Slovakia.

The Wilson Station, Prague, Czecho-Slovakia.