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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 65

Palmerston North

page 49

Palmerston North.

Hotels: Club; Walkley's; Fenton's; Clifford's Princess Hotel, Terrace End.

Newspapers: 'Manawatu Times' and 'Standard' every evening.

Places of interest: Ashurst (village); Awapuni Lake and Park; Manawatu Gorge.

From the commencement of the Manchester Block to Palmerston there is little beauty on the line of rail, but there is evidence of the indomitable industry of the settlers; mile after mile of bush felled, and here and there clearings, and fencings; saw-mills, some in operation, some deserted, but all elearly indicationg an outlay of capital. The blackened stumps and dense bush impart a monotony to this part of the journey, that is intensified by the stoppage every few minutes to shunt, and when at length the train emerges into the open at Terrace End, a feeling of relief is experienced. Palmerston North is laid out in square blocks, the streets running at right angles. The principal business portion of the town is a large square with the railroad and station running through the centre, the sides being occupied with stores, shops, banks, and hotels of unusual size for an inland town. The hotels are very large, and fitted up with accommodation for travellers, with many conveniences not always to be found elsewhere. There must be an immense floating population to keep these houses going, and all seemingly doing a large trade. The population of Palmerston North is about 2000, governed by a Municipal Council, and, from the position the town occupies and the resources of the country surrounding it, must long enjoy a condition of prosperity, subject of course to brief periods of depression common to all centres. A glance at the map will at once show that Palmerston is the centre where the principal roads meet, and the traveller can go to Wellington either by the Masterton route or Foxton, to Napier and the Hawke's Bay district; while to the north the railroad is available to New Plymouth, and thence from Waitara by steamboat to Auckland.

In the matter of amusements the Palmerstonians are not behind the rest of the coast. They have a good cricket club, an excellent football team, and now that the Awapuni Lake has been thrown open to the public, they have formed a rowing club, which ought to give a give a good account of itself before long, and judging by the way this club have started they will give trouble to some of the coast clubs. The churches of all denominations are represented. The Church of England (Rev. H. E. Copinger), occupying a position at one corner of the business square, is a large edifice, page 50 and, contrary to the usual practice, is open every day from morning till night.

The chief industries in and about Palmerston are timber, immense quantities of which find its way all over New Zealand, and all parts of Australia, and to many of the islands of the South Seas; farming, dairy factories, brewing, &c., &c. The trade in cattle is not neglected; there are fine sale yards in the town. The stores are well furnished, and some of them handsomely fitted up. The bookseller and stationer's shop owned by Mr. W. Park is the most complete and spacious within a large radius, and the stook very large. Hand bags, pianos, artist's materials—novels, cheap and expensive—and presents of all descriptions lead one to wonder where purchasers can be found for half the exhibits.

A trip to Ashurst will repay the tourist, as by climbing some of the hills around a splendid view of Ruapehu and Tongariro, which is not to be seen elsewhere on the coast, can be obtained, while seaward the view is equally sublime.

Considerable excitement is, while this work is in the Press, being manifested about the alleged discovery of gold and silver in the ranges lying between the Tararua and the back country as far down as Feilding. As nothing of a very reliable character has so far been ascertained, and as the country is quite devoid of settlement and difficult of access, it would be unwise, pending the tests now going on, to do more than mention that both gold and silver have been found in the locality referred to. If the very critical trial to which the stone obtained is now being subjected should prove the existence of these metals in payable quantities, the Press will furnish every information as to the exact position of the reefs.