The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 22
of the Southland district will aid its development in a marked degree. Its present chief port, Bluff Harbour, is universally known as one of the finest ports of the colony, and freights are insured to that harbour at the same rates as to the other first-class ports of New Zealand. Invorcargill has, however, another harbour—the port of Invercargill. In the early records of Southland it is shown that many vessels used to enter and discharge their cargoes in this port, but on the opening of the railway between Invercargill and the Bluff, the trade was diverted into that channel and the New River Harbour was allowed to fall into disuse. Its harbour staff was depleted and every effort made to concentrate trade at the Bluff. How the Invercargill merchants permitted this policy to be adopted is unaccountable. During the past few years a feeling has almost universally forced itself upon the inhabitants of the district that the waterway connecting Invercargill with the ocean ought to be utilised, that a great loss is annually borne by the community in the cost of freights from the Buff to Invercargill and Invorcargill to the Bluff, which need not, and ought not, to be submitted to. Those opinions fortunately exist in the governing body of the New River Harbour, and the first steps are now being taken for improving the channel so that vessels prosecuting the intercolonial trade should load and discharge at Invercargill, and save at least seventeen miles of railway carriage. This is an important matter to the whole district, and especially to the farmers, as a groat portion of the grain exported is shipped to the neighbouring colonies, and the cost of carriage between In- page 9 vercargill and the Bluff is a direct loss to them. In imports the loss is distributed over the whole community. It is not too much to expect, therefore, that united action by the whole community will eventually cause the port of Invercargill to be so improved that ocean going vessels will be lying alongside our wharves within sight of the principal streets of Invercargill.