Not horsing around in Central

Maidenhair ferns and gloxinias in the middle house at the Dunedin Winter Gardens. - Otago Witness, 29.1.1913. Copies of picture available from ODT front office, Lower Stuart St, or www.otagoimages.co.nz
Maidenhair ferns and gloxinias in the middle house at the Dunedin Winter Gardens. - Otago Witness, 29.1.1913. Copies of picture available from ODT front office, Lower Stuart St, or www.otagoimages.co.nz

One of the outstanding features of the recent tour of the Parliamentary party through Otago Central was the manner in which the motor car once more demonstrated its reliableness and ability to cover wide stretches of country in a short space of time.

Had the visitors had to rely on horse traction it would have taken them a very much greater time to traverse the ground got over by the cars - in fact, the time could not possibly have been spared by the northerners, and a large part of Otago Central would have had to remain a terra incognita to them. The drivers had their machines well tuned up, they traversed hill and dale with the greatest ease, and mishaps to the machinery were few and far between.

The chauffeurs, however, freely admit that so far as ''burning the wind'' - to use an Americanism - is concerned, they are quite willing to stand down in favour of a well known Hawea farmer, who has a private car. It is related of this driver that, out touring with a number of ladies, his machine stuck in a water race.

''Necessity is the mother of invention,'' so the ladies were put out on the bank and given the end of a rope, which was affixed to the front of the car. The farmer took his seat in his machine, opened the throttle, and gave the word for a long pull, a strong pull, and a pull all together. The car thereupon charged out of the race like a mad bull, and the ladies just escaped the onslaught.

The passengers having once more taken their seats in the car, it again sped off, and when another water race came into view the farmer, with an air of determination, remarked, ''We will fly this one,'' and dashed into it at full speed. The car ''flew'' the race all right, but the impact was such that the lady sitting beside the driver had a baby in her arms thrown clean over the back of the seat, where by a miraculous piece of good fortune it was caught, uninjured, by one of the ladies in the rear.

• A remarkable whirlwind passed over the Oxford district on Monday (says a correspondent of the Lyttelton Times). It commenced in a small ploughed paddock belonging to Mr Isitt, and then crossed to Mr Brown's farmyard, taking up a shed in its course. After shaking the shed about the whirlwind dropped it in a paddock of oats some distance away.

It then crossed over near the Railway Station and came to the River Eyre. Here it lifted up a good deal of sand and rubbish, and then proceeded in the direction of the Waimakariri River. Soon afterwards a huge cloud in the heavens seemed to be hastening to meet it, and in a short time the whirlwind was gathering up tons of water. The cloud, which was growing blacker and blacker, was not immediately over the spout, but a long way off.

The whirlwind drew up the water to a great height, and then took a turn to the south-west, travelling along nearly in a straight line until it met the cloud. Soon after this the other end of the cloud seemed to be dropping tons of rain on the plains around Burnt Hill, occupied by Mr Bassett.

''So terrible was the sight at one time that I caused all the doors and windows to be made fast in case it came my way. My house is on a hill, and we had a fine view. Through field glasses we could distinctly see the water ascending and revolving at a very great pace.''

Some seemed to fall down, but it was soon involved again and caught up. The whirlwind could be seen for a long time. There was no rain at the time, and very little wind. No doubt many others saw it. - ODT, 31.1.1913.