Dunedin's seamy side

The growing township of Mosgiel with the woollen factory on the extreme right. - Otago Witness, 28.5.1919
The growing township of Mosgiel with the woollen factory on the extreme right. - Otago Witness, 28.5.1919
The Rev. Vincent King, who by virtue of his ministerial and social activities is in a position to speak of the seamy side of life in Dunedin, gave an Otago Daily Times reporter yesterday some particulars of the many forms of evil which come under his notice.

Mr King said that over three years ago the Department of Justice had been appealed to by the local Society for the Protection of Women and Children to take some steps to provide legislation enabling mentally defective girls to be placed under detention and thus remove a moral menace to the youth of the city.

A long list of cases of the evils arising from the freedom allowed such girls was forwarded to the Minister and the number of illegitimate children born to these defectives was supplied. Another evil very prevalent in Dunedin to-day, in common with the other centres in the dominion, was petty thieving.

Mr King said that some months ago a book seller in Dunedin had informed him that if his losses by petty thieving during the Christmas period did not exceed a value of anything up to 100 he counted himself fortunate.

Warning about goitre

The ''pleasing swelling'' in the front of the neck which is regarded as a mark of female beauty should be regarded with suspicion, according to Dr Drenna, of Otago University.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the Royal Society for the Health of Women and Children yesterday, he said that he had been impressed, in walking about the streets of Dunedin, by the prevalence of goitre, of which this swelling, freely exposed by the present fashion in females' uppergarments, was an indication.

The women of New Zealand were widely affected by this disease, which was apt, if neglected, to have the most serious consequences both to present and future generations, and might lead to chronic invalidism. Dr Fitchett, speaking later on the same subject, gave point to his remarks by looking around his audience, which was largely composed of ladies, and announcing bluntly that several of those present were affected by goitre, as he could see by a glance at their bare necks. Both speakers stressed the necessity for taking the matter in hand promptly, and combating the further spread of the disease.

Engine driver dies

Mr Thomas Graham, who passed away at his residence, 29 George Street, Dunedin, on the 3rd inst. was one of the original engine drivers on the Dunedin-Port Chalmers railway. He was born at West Calder, Scotland, and arrived in Dunedin by the ship William Davie on August 7, 1872.

His occupation at Home was that of platelayer and engine driver, and his first work in Dunedin was as fireman to Mr Jack Thomas (who, it is understood, is still living), when they worked the first engine running to Port Chalmers. On the erection of the second engine, about a year later, Mr Graham was appointed driver.

He continued in the railway service until he retired on the superannuation about 12 years ago. Old railway men will miss him, for he was an honest, straightforward man, and held in high esteem by all who knew him. Deceased leaves a widow, four married daughters, and 17 grandchildren.

- ODT, 23.5.1919



'Mentally defective' is not a diagnosis a Religionist could make. His concerns are moralist, and his diagnosis based on kids talking back or delinquency. It is alarming that these men had the power to have children put away.