Desert experiences

Bringing the season’s wool clip to the railhead: A waggon-load en-route to Cromwell from Mt Pisa...
Bringing the season’s wool clip to the railhead: A waggon-load en-route to Cromwell from Mt Pisa Station. — Otago Witness, 13.2.1918.
A visit to a troopship bringing back men from the fighting lines is always interesting.

In a recent case (says the Wellington Post) it was somewhat out of the ordinary. They were all mounted infantry, wounded or invalided, straight from Egypt and Palestine.

"What’s the desert like?" a trooper was asked.

"Don’t talk about it," was the reply.

"Nothing but sand, sand, sand. I’ve brought back enough desert in my inside to start a new colony."

"Thirst" said another.

"You don’t know what thirst is till you experience the desert. Then, when your tongue is getting black, and you can scarcely talk, you come to a well. The water stinks, but you’re mighty glad of it. I thought I knew what it was to be dry in New Zealand country, but the desert——! Then you come to a well of pure water. A bucketful goes down before you know anything about it. Then you start having a drink."

Struggling trains

The train leaving Dunedin at 8.16 a.m. on Saturday for Oamaru was longer than usual in the sense that it included several extra carriages for the accommodation of the drapers’ picnic, bound for Waitati. It was longer than usual in another and less satisfactory sense. The one panting engine showed early signs of exhaustion. The incline leading to Upper Port Chalmers station was only negotiated after several stoppages. Thereafter the train’s progress was as funereal as it was persevering. Full opportunity was given the passengers of inspecting the charming bush scenery bordering the line, and high-spirited youths beguiled the time by stepping from the perceptibly moving platforms and gathering the spoils offered by nature. After effecting at last an entrance to the long tunnel the train came to a hopeless stop in the bowels of the earth. Great was the relief of all when it was backed out of the tunnel, after which it was divided into two sections which were taken through separately. Thereafter all went swimmingly. Purakaunui, 12 miles from Dunedin, was reached in the remarkable time of two hours.

Large funeral

The high esteem in which the late Mr John Carson, late manager of the Hillside Workshops, was held was evidenced by the large number which attended his funeral, which took plase yesterday afternoon. The cortege was one of the largest witnessed in Dunedin. The members of the Independent Order of Oddfellows, of which deceased was a member, headed the procession. The Grange Cricket Club also attended in a body, to pay their last respects to one who had been a vice-president of the club for a number of years.  The mourners included between 400 and 500 employees of the Hillside Workshops, who appeared to have turned out to a man. The principal mourners were Mr William Carson (Whangarei) and Mrs W. Mathieson, brother and sister of the deceased.

Aviation’s future

London: At a dinner of the United Empire Circle, Brigadier-general Charlton compared the former possibilities of flying 50 miles an hour at a height of 1000ft with those developed during the war at 21,000ft at 110 miles per hour. Even if armaments were limited after the war, he said, there could be no curtailment of the commercial future of aviation. All the energy of military preparation would be diverted into commercial channels. — ODT, 11.2.1918.



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