The 1918 year

A general view of Waitati, the settlement on Blueskin Bay, which in its early days, was a noted whaling station. - Otago Witness, 25.12.1918.
A general view of Waitati, the settlement on Blueskin Bay, which in its early days, was a noted whaling station. - Otago Witness, 25.12.1918.
In the long procession that marks the march of recorded time there are years that stand out conspicuously - ever to be remembered because of the events to which they give date, and which set upon them the seal of great historic landmarks.

Emphatically such a year is 1918. What other is so well entitled to be considered par excellence the Annus Mirabilis? Within the past twelve months the greatest war in history has reached its climax and its dramatic close.

The transition from unprecedented strife to a calm such as the world has not known for four and a-half years - the change from what was to what is - has been so sudden that, even after two months, it is not always easy to realise that the storm has definitely passed, and that, like one of those cyclonic hurricanes which give tantalising respite, it will not burst again in renewed fury from a fresh quarter.

But such reflections are but the natural after-effects of a long period of stress and trial, to be dismissed as soon as born. For the glorious realities of today are none the less substantial because at the last they came quickly.

That August, 1914, and which, even so late as a few weeks ago, was still our hope, is to-day our realisation.

Goitre a concern

''No doubt,'' says the Journal of Public Health, ''many persons feel concerned as to the prevalence of goitre, or enlargement of the thyroid gland, amongst New Zealand inhabitants.

The frequency with which goitre, manifested by an enlargement of the neck, is observable - more particularly in girls and women - at the present day cannot be altogether ascribable to the present fashion of open neckwear.

Many medical men believe that there is, at least in some districts in New Zealand, an unusual prevalence of this trouble - a disfigurement which may lead to the need for surgical attention. The causation of goitre is still a matter of doubt. So far as New Zealand is concerned, the Minister is satisfied that the disease is sufficiently prevalent to demand thorough investigation as to its causation and prevention.

Steps are being taken by the acting Chief Health Officer and the District Health Office, Auckland, working in conjunction with Dr Drennan, Professor of Pathology at the Otago Medical School, which will, it is hoped, help to elucidate some of the mysteries of this disease.''

Ethnology lecturer

At a special meeting of the Otago University Council, held on Monday, Mr H. D. Skinner, M.A, D.C.M., was appointed lecturer in ethnology. This has been rendered possible by the generosity of a citizen of Dunedin, who is contributing half the salary of the lecturer for five years, but who wishes to remain anonymous.

This chair is quite a new departure, and once more the Otago University takes the lead by initiating a course of instruction in a subject which hitherto has received no academic recognition in New Zealand. Mr Skinner, who graduated in 1913, saw military service on Gallipoli, where he was decorated for gallant action.

On his discharge from the army he made excellent use of his opportunities by taking the course training in anthropology at Cambridge University. He has always been an ardent student of Maori and Moriori culture, and has an almost unrivalled knowledge of the arts and crafts of these peoples.

He was elected a member of the council of the Royal Anthropological Institute, London. He, therefore, is excellently suited for the position.

- ODT, 31.12.1918.


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