100 years ago - from our archives Gannets nesting at Cape
Kidnappers, Hawke's Bay. - Otago Witness, 25.12.1912
A syndicate of Dunedin speculators a few months ago
became aware that there was a profitable field for enterprise
in Siamese tin fields; not that the mineral wealth of that
locality is a new discovery, for all the world knows that the
Chinese have, in a primitive fashion, been working in these
fields for hundreds of years.
It was, however, shrewdly suspected that with modern
appliances, and in view of the ever-growing demand for tin,
the stanniferous deposits in that part of the world offered a
tempting opportunity for the investment of capital.
Accordingly a Dunedin syndicate acquired pre-emptive rights
to an area on the island of Puket on the west coast of Siam,
and subsequently sold their interest to a Melbourne
proprietary, whose venture is known as the Tongkah West Tin
Mining Company, in which Dunedin shareholders are largely
The intention is to put down additional bores on the property
before starting active operations, and then to send out to
Puket a powerful dredge to work the alluvial flat secured by
the syndicate. This method of tin mining has been in
operation in Siamese territory for the past few years by two
Australian and one British company. The latter get their
dredges made in England and shipped in sections that are put
together locally. Dunedin shareholders, however, with their
large dredging experience, are of opinion that New
Zealand-built machinery would accomplish better work.
In all these matters the promoters of the new enterprise are
receiving expert advice from Mr Gilbert P. Blue, who is in
Dunedin at the present time, and has had many years'
experience in dredging in New Zealand. He comes back to the
Dominion full of interesting information concerning the
mineral wealth of that part of the world, and of the novel
and picturesque surroundings under which it is being
The island of Puket, said Mr Blue to our representative, is
of considerable magnitude, and is inhabited by about 30,000
people, mostly Chinese from the Hockin district of China.
There are only 27 Europeans, including three ladies on the
island altogether, for the Chinese run the entire show. Life
in Puket has some characteristics that are novel to
Europeans. The land produces all the tropical fruits -
bananas, coconuts, pawpaw, jack fruit, mangoes, and citrus
fruits in great abundance. Rice, green vegetables, and
potatoes grow freely, and the sea swarms with fine fish.
Poultry and eggs are ridiculously cheap, judged by New
Zealand prices, but fresh meat is scarce.
Notwithstanding these tropical unpleasantnesses there is
every prospect, Mr Blue thinks, of the tin dredging industry
being largely developed in a very short time by Europeans and
• A peculiar instance of cargo-broaching is reported from
Wanganui. A hotelkeeper exhibits a bottle which had a hole
skilfully made in it, and the contents extracted. This bottle
was one of 13 in a case similarly dealt with. Another local
publican found, on opening a case recently, that a number of
bottles had been emptied in the same manner while in transit.
- ODT, 18.12.1912
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