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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 78

Chapter X

page 19

Chapter X.

Railways.—The main line of Railway from Wellington enters the district at its extreme south point, and traverses a fine undulating cultivated district, dotted over with numerous cosy homesteads. From Hawera (18 miles from Patea) the line strikes off northerly and goes inland of Mount Egmont, passing through the townships of Normanby, Eltham, Stratford, Midhirst, Tariki, and Inglewood, to Sentry Hill Junction (38 miles from Hawera), where a branch-line goes off northwards to Waitara, while the main line strikes west to New Plymouth (8 miles from Sentry Hill), and continues three miles further to the Breakwater—where the express train from Wellington tranships its passenger's to the steamer sailing daily for Manukau and Auckland—a 12 hours' voyage. A short branch line from Stratford runs north-eastwards for eleven miles to Oruru, which line is part of the future railway that will run through the heart of the district, opening up a very large area of good land, with coal here and there, and eventually junction with the North Island Main Trunk Line at Ohura, which point the express service from Auckland southwards already passes daily.

Roads.—The country is well supplied with roads, their number being a necessity of the small holdings into which the country is divided. Roughly speaking, the one-third of the district alluded to as comprised in Mount Egmont and its two wings, is already well supplied with formed roads, some, but not all, metalled. In the rest of the Province, formed cart and bridle roads are the rule, which through want of funds for metalling, are undeniably bad in the winter. A main metalled road extends from Patea, following very much the line of the railway, to New Plymouth; another main road branches from the above at Hawera and thence follows round the coast at a few miles from it, all the way to New Plymouth. From New Plymouth a main road is formed page 20 northwards to Mokau and thence inland to Te Kuiti, on the North Island Main Trunk Railway, but it is only metalled as yet some thirty miles or so. Again, an important main road has been formed most of the way from Stratford north-wards through Whangamomona and other settlements, which also joins the North Island Main Trunk Railway at Ongarue, but as yet only some twenty miles at the southern end have been metalled. The importance of this road is very great, for, like the proposed Railway, it runs through the heart of a good country, and on which (and the Railway) must depend the future development of this large part of the district.

Coach Services.—There is a daily Coach between New Plymouth and Opunake, and Hawera and Opunake. Another runs between Opunake and Eltham; also one from Stratford to Whangamomona. Urenui is served by a daily coach from Waitara. The numerous livery stables in the various towns provide excellent conveyances and horses, at moderate rates, while everywhere accommodation from decent to first-class is obtainable.

The Whanganui River, on which Taranaki has a frontage of about eighty miles, will, in the future, afford an easy and ready means of access to a large area of country. Already the steamers pass up and down three times a week. Water roads require no repairs.

As for outside communication, there is a regular daily steam service from the breakwater at New Plymouth to Manukau and Auckland, connecting with the express trains from and to Wellington; and, moreover, one of the U.S.S. Co's boats runs from the breakwater to Wellington about twice a week; beyond this, the large English steamers periodically visit Waitara, anchoring in the roadstead, and load frozen meat, wool, etc., for the Home market. There is also steam communication from Waitara to Manukau via Kawhia and Raglan; and from Patea to Wanganui and Wellington.