Irrigation and fencing can help Central Otago

A French sausage balloon observation service installation on the Western Front. - Otago Witness, 18.4.1917.
A French sausage balloon observation service installation on the Western Front. - Otago Witness, 18.4.1917.
With an irrigation system and rabbit-proof fencing a great proportion of the vast track of country in Otago Central can be made to flourish as the green bay tree.

Ocular demonstration will prove this assertion. At the present time there are large plots of land in the Ida Valley, rabbit netted and irrigated, which in the greenness of their grass stand out as an oasis.

The cattle, horses, and sheep look sleek and fat. In fact, the solution of the rabbit pest would seem to rest in the proof netting, as where there is netting, even without any irrigation at all, the land bears a heavy sole of grass.

If any farmer desires to know what can be done by irrigation and netting let him visit the Ida Valley or Gibbston district. This latter place provides quite an object lesson.

The farmers here have evidently had enterprise and initiative, and the netted, irrigated paddocks have responded in magnificent style.

It is interesting to compare one unnetted paddock with a netted paddock anywhere in Otago Central. The ground is apparently of the same quality; but the growth on the two is vastly different. With the addition of a supply of water to the netted paddock the difference in growth is even more pronounced.

With rabbit-proof netting the Otago Central district could produce many times the quantity of stock, wheat, etc., it now grows.

•The men employed on the public works in Otago Central apparently set out to have a ``good'' time when there are holidays. On one of the works the men went off on the Wednesday before Good Friday, and many could not be prevailed upon to turn to till yesterday.

The holidays mean good business for the hotel-keepers, but it would appear that the licensing laws are not very closely observed. On one road last Thursday one ``good timer'' was noticed sitting on the bank side with a far-away look in his eyes, while his mate danced the fandango as a motor car went by.

A third man who came staggering down the road apparently could not see the car at all. A fourth man rolled along with vacancy in his eyes and a full bottle of beer in each pocket, and a fifth lay half slumbering on the roadside. These were a few only of the men who were out for a good time - some of them single, some married.

How these men were allowed to get into the condition they were in might be a matter for police investigation. On a rough estimate it would appear there are more hotels in the goldfields than in the City of Dunedin itself.

•All the elements of a tragic accident were present in a ``runaway'' which took place in the Clyde-Cromwell gorge. Five little girls, dismissed for the day from the Waenga School, which is situated close to the Halfway Hotel, were being given a ride home towards Cromwell in a two-horse empty wagon.

The wagon had gone but a little distance when one of the traces came loose, and the driver, with the reins in his hand, got down from his seat, and foolishly stretched himself along one of the swingletrees to reach the pole, with his legs resting horizontally on an outside trace. In a moment the horses bolted, and the driver was carried some 30 or 40 yards before he was finally ejected, unhurt, on to the roadway from the peculiar position in which he had placed himself.

The horses galloped on, while the five little girls, paralysed with fear, clung to each other in a pitiful manner and screamed in terror.  The horses had just reached the top of an incline, and were gathering greater speed, when a man ploughing on the river side of the road heard the screams, grasped the position in a flash, scrambled through a close barbed wire fence, and pluckily stopped the startled animals. 

- ODT, 17.4.1917.

COPIES OF PICTURE AVAILABLE FROM ODT FRONT OFFICE, LOWER STUART ST, OR WWW.OTAGOIMAGES.CO.NZ 

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