The Masonic Lodge at Clyde in the early days. Among those in the back row are (from left): W. Smitham, G.T. George (lithographer), M. Marshall (chemist), James Hazlett (merchant), Vincent Pyke (magistrate and warden), Sgt T. Neill, J. D. Feraud, - Christopher, B. P. Bailey (sheep inspector), W. R. George. The front rows [sic] include: P.C. Beck, - Johnson, George Clark, - Grindley and R. C. Moore. - Otago Witness, 20.11.1912.
Yesterday representatives of the Alexandra Progressive League
took advantage of the presence of the Hon. W. Fraser,
Minister of Public Works, at Alexandra, to place before him
one of the pressing needs of the district.
The deputation that waited on him consisted of Messrs E.
Marslin (chairman of the league), C. Weaver (chairman Vincent
County Council), C. Murphy, G. Rivers, and W. A. Bodkin
(members of the league). The deputation was introduced by Mr
R. Scott, M.P. Mr Marslin said that they desired to impress
on him the necessity of placing a certain sum of money on the
Estimates or by other means starting the Manuherikia
irrigation scheme as soon as possible. The position was that
the dredges at the present time in Alexandra were on the
wane, and they wanted to see the irrigation started.
The land that commanded the Manuherikia scheme belonged to
the Crown, and at present it was not bringing in a penny per
acre. The Minister could see for himself the possibilities of
the district for fruit growing. The whole of the flat between
Alexandra and Clyde was Crown land, and some of it was an
endowment of the Alexandra Borough Council. If that could be
cut up into small areas it would settle a vast population.
They heard that the Otago Central railway was not paying. If
the line was to pay they must have a population to grow
sufficient produce. There were people who had made homes and
reared families in the district, and they were faced with the
possibility of having to leave. All they wanted was water and
if the Government could see its way to start the Manuherikia
scheme as soon as possible it would be a great boon to the
district. They knew the surveyors were at work, but they
would like to see something done.
Mr Weaver, who was introduced as the originator of the
Manuherikia scheme, said that he felt sure that irrigation
was possibly the only thing that was going to save the
district. Mr Murphy said that there were at present 780
people in the district, and the mining industry was on the
The land commanded by the Manuherikia scheme was able to
produce no less than 20,000 tons of fruit per annum.
The onions they could produce were second to none in
Australasia - (Mr Fraser: "That is so.") - and, continued the
speaker, they could produce 12,000 tons of them. People said
that the Otago Central railway was not paying.
They did not want a white elephant running to their doors,
but they wanted the railway to be productive so that the
Government could extend it to other needy districts. The
Manuherikia scheme would bring 3000 of a population with
smiling homesteads and happy families instead of people
growling from morn to night.
The Minister, in replying, said he knew the country. He was
confident it would repay amply the expense of bringing the
water in. This was country that could be settled in small
areas very profitably, and irrigation was the only way to
bring prosperity to the district. He quite realised all those
facts, and was thoroughly in sympathy with the views of the
speakers and of the people of the district.
• All hope of the missing German-Australian Liner Augsberg
ever being rescued has now been abandoned, and it appears as
if her end must be added to the long list of mysteries of the
Hope has gradually dwindled down until now even the most
optimistic persons have realised that the good old steamer
has gone to the "port of missing ships".
- ODT, 22.11.1912.
COPIES OF PICTURE AVAILABLE FROM ODT FRONT OFFICE, LOWER STUART
ST, OR WWW.OTAGOIMAGES.CO.NZ