Disease from ditches

The celebration of Anzac Day in Gore: a procession of heroes of Gallipoli passing through the town. - Otago Witness, 9.5.1917
The celebration of Anzac Day in Gore: a procession of heroes of Gallipoli passing through the town. - Otago Witness, 9.5.1917
A meeting of residents of South Dunedin was held in the Wesley Schoolroom last evening to consider the best steps to be taken to abolish certain open ditches in the locality.

Cr Taverner was voted to the chair, and there was a fairly numerous attendance of persons interested. Mr R. R. Douglas said that the open ditches had been causing some anxiety for a considerable time, and were a positive menace to public health, and especially to the health of children.

In connection with frogs taking up their abode in these ditches the speaker said boys would be boys and frogs would be frogs, and where there were frogs the boys would go to catch them. The two special dangers arising from these open ditches were diphtheria and scarlet fever, and the latter in a milder form was known as scarlatina.

Five houses had been isolated within a radius of 500 yards of where they were meeting in recent times owing to scarlet fever, and one house on account of diphtheria. He had no desire to create a panic, but he did desire to prevent the disease from spreading.

He cast the responsibility on the City Council, because it was the local authority. If the Drainage Board was responsible the City Council should have forced the hands of the board and compelled it to do its duty, but the council had been inclined to sit tight and had failed in its duty.

Anyone complaining was sent from the City Council to the Drainage Board, and from the Drainage Board to the Railway Department.

He thought the best course to pursue was for the deputation to wait on the City Council, and moved, ''That this meeting of residents in the South appoint a deputation to wait upon the City Council, and impress upon it the necessity for abolishing the open ditches in that area at the earliest possible moment.''

Mr W. Fleming seconded the motion. Mr Douglas suggested that the question of the vents from the sewer in Cargill road should be added to the motion. Cr Shacklock pointed out that this trouble was caused through the freezing works at Burnside putting stuff into the drain that should not be put in. It had been decided that if it was continued the agreement would be cancelled. The motion was carried, the deputation to consist of Messrs R. R. Douglas, G. F. Bewley, J. H. Hinton, A. T. Smith, W. Fleming, J. Newton, A. Develin, R. Mercer, E. Dowland, and F. Brooks.

It was further agreed that it be left to the deputation to wait on the council at the most suitable date.


That the Young Women's Christian Association justifies its existence is shown by the numbers of girls who use the building regularly each week. On one night alone there meet a dressmaking class, reading club, three hearthfire groups, physical culture class, besides odd gatherings such as a meeting of the Basket Ball Union.

Trinity Leaders' Class, and two committees - ten different groups meeting in five rooms. On an average 370 girls are engaged each week in the various activities connected with the association, besides the numerous casual inquiries and the scores who just ''drop in''.

At the fifth monthly council of the Hearth Fires an interesting ceremony was that of initiating one girl into the second degree of ''Firemaker''. In order to attain this degree she had to pass in a number of requirements, including the preparing of first-aid. The pink badge of the Firemaker was presented to her, amid a storm of applause from the girls.

- ODT, 8.5.1917


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