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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69

Athletic Sports

Athletic Sports.

The Jubilee festivities were concluded today, when the athletic sports for the officers and men of the squadron, the members of Friendly Societies, and local amateurs, were held in the Domain Cricket Ground. Beautifully fine weather prevailed. The demonstration was in every respect a success beyond the highest expectations of its promoters. There was present the greatest concourse of people ever seen in the Auckland Domain, and it is estimated that the attendance exceeded in numbers that at any fete previously held in New Zealand. Looked at from a point on the low ground opposite the pavilion, the spectacle was a very impressive one. The centre of the picture was the beautiful green carpet of well-kept grass, at the outside of which was the racing track completely bounded by thousands of the populace. On the slope at the southern end of the ground there overlooked the field an immense throng, so deep that those in the rear were lost to view against the high trees growing in a long line on the side of the hill, and forming a most appropriate background to the animated scene; and in the immediate centre of this serried mass was the pavilion, its front almost hidden by the numbers of people crowded onthe verandah and stairway. The cool and pleasant shade given by the belt of pines was gratefully claimed by many other thousands, whilst the high hill at the north-eastern corner of the field had also fringes of humanity, as well as knots of people dotted here and there, and onthe flat there were great numbers, many of them standing under a canopy formed by innumerabl a umbrellas used as sunshades. The scene was one which in itself fitly celebrated the Jubilee. It is estimated that about 20,000 people were present, and the good order which they observed was a striking feature.

At about 3.15 p.m. His Excellency the Governor of New Zealand and party arrived at the Domain gates. There were with Lord Onslow, Rear-Admiral Lord Charles Scott, Lord Carrington, Sir John and Lady Thurston, Miss Thurston, Captain Savile, Captain Trench, Hon. D'Arcy and Mrs. Lambton, Captain Barlow (H.M.s. Orlando). Messrs. Meysey-Thompson, Fitzgerald, and Pullen. The party were received at the entrance to the ground by His Worship the Mayor (Mr. J. Ii. Upton), Mr. Devore (President of the Jubilee Committee), and the members of the Entertainment Committee, and were escorted to the pavilion. Here they were met by Mrs. Upton (the Mayoress), Mrs. A. Devore, and Mr. J Coates (president of the Auckland Amateur Athletic Club). Seats had been reserved on the pavilion for the visitors, who were presented with programmes of the sports, beautifully printed on satin. A choice luncheon was provided for the party by Mr. M. Gallagher, Imperial Hotel. Lord Onslow expressed himself charmed with the beauty of the Domain and the surroundings, and agreeably surprised at witnessing the many thousands of well dressed and orderly people. His Excellency and party, with the exception of Lord Carrington, left the ground about five o'clock, not waiting for the Maori war dance, as they had seen it that day at Orakei. Lord Carrington, however, remained until the close of the sports, and watched the dance with much interest; and at its close he asked Mr. Porter to convey to the Maoris a message from him to the effect that he was much impressed with their noble bearing and good behaviour, and that he thanked them for their performance.

The meeting was under the managements the Auckland Amateur Athletic Club, and the arrangements were of the most complete character. The racing ground was marked off with a post and wire fence, in order to prevent encroachment by the public, and all the races were started punctually to time. Special praise must be given to Messrs. J. Halyday, A H. Cotter, T. F. Upfill, H. H. Davy, and P. Edwards, and the judges, Messrs. R.Garrett J. F. Logan, and Coupland. The starting by Mr. Edwards was excellent, and Mr. J. E. Cooke, who was time-keeper, was indefatigable in the duties of his office. The committee, in conducting the sports in which the men of the squadron took part, were assisted by a committee comprising Captain Barlow, Lieutenants Lambton, Tyrwhitt, and Risk, and Paymaster Campion, The gentlemen named, and all the other authorities of the meeting, worked well, and deserve every credit. The Friendly Societies sports were conducted by the following Committee:—Messrs. J. Jamieson, Pigott, Cole, Hughes, Garratt, Carr, Massey, Beehan, Le-Rov, Duthie, and Niblock.

The amount of money taken at the gates was £509, but this does not represent the total number of people present, as many entered the ground without paying. This sum, with the £42 realised by the tender for the progaammes, makes £551, or £350 more than the estimate given by the Amateur Athletic Club to the Jubilee Committee.

There were two bands on the ground—that of H.M.s. Orlando, twenty members, under Bandmaster G. Bird; and the Artillery under Bandmaster A. R. Hunter. The performances of both were exceedingly good. The Orlando band contributed the following programme:—"Bohemian Girl," Balfe; waltz, "Daddy," Bucallosi; fantasia, "Folk Songs of Italy," E. Rampezzoti; quadrille. "Merrie England," Williams; grand selection, "Attila," Verdi; galop, "Tourism" A fine programme was also submitted by Mr. Hunter's band, a notable item being the "Maritana" fantasia.

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A staff of police, under Inspector Broham and Sergeant-Major Pratt, rendered good service during the day.

The sports throughout were well contested, and some of the races for the members of the Amateur Athletic Club, especially the 150 yards handicap, were very exciting. The officers and men of the squadron entered heartily into the spirit of the gathering, and showed the greatest interest in the events which they decided. Besides Captain Barlow, Captain Felly and a large number of other officers of the squadron were present.

One of the most novel features of the proceedings was the Mongolian Race, the competitors being 25 Chinamen. They appeared in new running costume, purchased for the occasion at a total cost of £7 4s. When they trooped on to the ground they were received with great applause. The details of the race were arranged by Messrs. Ah Kew and Ah Chee, who presented a large consignment of Chinese crackers (costing £7 10s), and these were placed in the centre of the field and fired at the moment of starting the race. The sound of the exploding crackers was almost deafening, and as packet after packet was thrown onto the heap, a great volume of smoke arose, accompanied with a noise like the discharge of artillery, which continued whilst the Chmamen were running, and for some time afterwards.

The day's proceedings began at half-past ten o'clock with the sports for men of the Friendly Societies; and after the adjournment, at half-past twelve, the squadron sports began. The details are as follow:—