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The Spike: or, Victoria University College Review October 1905

The First Sod

The First Sod.

The prime Minister had kindly consented to turn the first sod, and shortly after half past two the deed was done. Mr. Seddon made a short, simple speech. It was, he said, appropriate that an old digger should find gold that day, he thought our efforts to help ourselves would not go unrewarded. He page 41 spoke of the value of physical exercise, and the University spirit which would rise in the hearts of those who joined in this loving service to our alma mater. Then Dr. Knight thanked the combined Ministers of Labour and Education on behalf of the students and of the College . Mr. Seddon, in replying, said that he had been delighted to hear of the way in which the students of Victoria College had subscribed towards the Building. They were there helping themselves that day, and he would anticipate the Public Works Statement so far as to say that parliament would be asked to vote the £6000 asked for by the College Council.

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So the first sod was turned, and so we found gold at the first strike. The Premier wheeled the first barrow load, and then rode away amidst cheers. Now the picks rose and fell in fierce earnest. Professor Von Zedlitz, and with him Dr. Knight, led a frontal attack with such vigour that they were soon able to leave their men in possession of the trenches of the enemy. In the meantime Professor Kirk, Mr. T. A. Hunter (he ought to be a professor) and Mr. Von Haast made a furious onslaught on the right wing, which was maintained throughout the afternoon. A reinforcement under H. P. Richmond did good service at the afternoon tea adjournments.

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This was but the first of a series. The ground is slowly being made, though Victoria College is gradually comprehending the wisdom of Mahomet when he decided to go to the mountain. The thanks of the Tennis Club are due to the ladies who have provided our horny-handed sons of toil with the cup that cheers; to Dr. Kinght, who has taken a great and active interest in our plans; to H. Sladden, whose surveying skill has been very valuable; and to all those who have helped and are helping in the business of the hour.

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Just a word about our plans. When the levels have been pegged it is proposed to form two courts on the space which is at present available. As the ground is all "made," and will no doubt settle considerably, permanent courts will not be laid for some time. It is hoped, however, that a coating of tar and sand will give a good top-dressing to the clay, and enable tennis to be played this season. This is experimental, but some competent judges consider that the surface will be a good one. It page 42 is probable that the third court will be ready before the other two, if not sooner. But the fourth—well, that will depend upon upon excavations and carriage-derives, and will be a next season's dream; the dream is, however, funded upon a rock, a big rock, but not an impregnable rock; the interpretation of the bream lies in the word "work."