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Hearty as the welcomes accorded those returning from the war have been, none has been of a warmer character than that extended to Colonel E. J. O'Neill, C.M.G., D.S.O., on his reaching the Dunedin Railway Station by Friday night's express. The colonel was ever popular, dating from his football days, and, after a prolonged course of duty in the field in a medical and surgical capacity, it was only to be expected that the liveliest satisfaction would be envied at his safe return to the city in which he has practically spent his life. The Railway Station and its precincts were crowded by those anxious to make some demonstrations of welcome, and among those present were the Mayor (Mr W. Begg), Colonel J. Cowie Nicholls (O.C. Otago district), many of the leading medical men, the Rev. Father Coffey, medical students and medical men in large numbers (who, by the way, introduced the inevitable haka, which would be reminiscent to the colonel of his student days), and a contingent of the B Battery (of which Colonel O'Neill was for a long period hon. medical officer). It is gathered from a conversation he had with a representative of this paper on Sunday that he has the greatest admiration for the stretcher-bearers and the nursing sisters. He regards the work done by the stretcher-bearers at a very high value, and points out that an altogether erroneous opinion prevails as to the class of men engaged in this humane and perilous duty. It is quite a mistake to think that men of inferior calibre would be at all suitable. For stretcher-bearer work the very best men were wanted, and these were obtained. Colonel O'Neill emphasises the great risks and extreme dangers these men took and had to face. They were constantly exposed to shellfire and gas, and in the case of long ``carries'' had to take even graver risks than the actual combatants. They would go on and on till they dropped. They were men of a splendid type - both regimental and field ambulance - and did their work nobly and very well.
Much interest has been taken by Australians and New Zealanders in the disposal of the islands of Nauru, in the South Pacific, which has been finally dealt with by the Council of the Allied Powers in a manner different from other former German colonies, a mandate having been given to the British Empire. Mr Massey contended from the outset of the conference on the subject that as a producing country requiring phosphates, New Zealand was vitally interested in the fate of the island, and suggested that it should be held under a form of mandate which would conserve the interests of both Australia and New Zealand. The official notice that Nauru is to be placed under a mandate to the British Empire may be interpreted to mean that Britain, Australia, and New Zealand will administer it under a commissioner.
Inquiries made from agents show that the house famine is still acute in Invercargill. Demands for residential properties either to purchase or lease have increased, if anything, during the past month or two, but the inquiries are always for the better class of house. There are a few of the older fashioned kind still procurable. - ODT, 12.5.1919