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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 5 (August 1, 1935)

Lyttelton 75 Years Ago

Lyttelton 75 Years Ago.

Butler's first impressions of the new land are racily given in his diary entry describing Lyttelton:—“January 27, 1860.—Oh, the heat! the clear transparent atmosphere, and the dust! How shall I describe everything—the little townlet, for I cannot call it town, nestling beneath the bare hills that we had been looking at so longingly all the morning—the scattered wooden boxes of houses, with rugged roads of scrubby ground between them—the huge wide-leaved flax with its now seedy stem, sometimes 15 or 16 feet high, luxuriant and tropical-looking—the healthy clear-complexioned men, shaggy bearded, rowdy-hatted, and independent, pictures of rude health and strength—the stores, supplying all heterogeneous commodities—the mountains, rising right behind the harbour to a height of over a thousand feet—the varied outline of the harbour now smooth and sleeping. Ah me! pleasant sight and fresh to sea-stricken eyes. The hot air, too, was very welcome after our long chill. We dined at the table d'hote at the Mitre—so foreign and yet so English—its windows open to the ground, looking upon the lovely harbour. Hither came more of the shaggy clear-complexioned men with the rowdy hats; looked at them with awe and befitting respect. Much grieved to find beer sixpence a glass. This was indeed serious, and was one of the first intimations which we received that we were in a land where money flies like wild-fire.”