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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 2 (June 1, 1928)


April 19th, 1928, the date of the official opening of the railway to Roxburgh, Central Otago, was a red-letter day in the history of the town. The weather conditions were ideal for the occasion, and the various functions in connection with the opening were an unqualified success. The railway buildings and approaches were tastefully decorated with bunting, greenery and banners of welcome, and presented a festive appearance to the crowds that commenced to arrive as early as 9 a.m.

A fancy dress procession, organised by the local residents (and headed by the Roxburgh Band) was loudly applauded by the large gathering assembled in the vicinity of the station.

Top: General view of station and yards at Roxburgh. Bottom: Assembling to hear the speeches.

Top: General view of station and yards at Roxburgh. Bottom: Assembling to hear the speeches.

Another interesting feature was a large poster (bearing the words “Support Your Railway”) displayed on a decorated lorry. This display was well received and served as a useful reminder to those who are wont to patronise competitive services. Prolonged cheering greeted the arrival of the special train (drawn by two engines) from Dunedin, conveying the Hon. Mr. Rolleston and a party of 500 happy excursionists. Mr. Rolleston having been officially welcomed by Mr. John Bennetts (President of the Roxburgh Railway League), the train was ordered to proceed slowly into the station—the leading engine, on its way cutting the ribbon held by the Mayoress (Mrs. Laloli) and Mrs. John Bennetts. The cutting of the ribbon was the sign that the line was open for traffic.

The official party then adjourned to the gaily decorated platform, where speeches were delivered by the Hon. Mr. Rolleston, M.P., Hon. Sir Jas. Allan, M.L.C., R. L. Scott, M.L.C., Sir Geo. Fenwick, Mr. Jas. Horn, M.P., Mr. Douglas (Deputy-Mayor of Dunedin), Mr. Laloli (Mayor of Roxburgh), Mr. John Bennetts, and several others. An official luncheon was afterwards held at the Commercial Hotel, where many toasts were honoured. The picturesque station surroundings were taken full advantage of by young and old, who enjoyed themselves in picnic and games until the departure of the train.

Before the train pulled out of the station a fitting farewell was given to those who had travelled far to make the day a memorable one.

In the evening a social gathering was held in Roxburgh, at which Mr. John Bennetts was presented with a beautiful gold watch and chain in recognition of his great services to the district in connection with the extension of the railway from Lawrence to Roxburgh.

The Railway Department was represented at the opening by Messrs. R. S. Kent, Divisional Superintendent, B. R. Sword, District Traffic Manager, and Messrs. D. Rodie, G. Wilson and G. Greig, of the Commercial Branch.