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The pillars are each 50ft high and 16ft square. They are a mass of reinforced concrete, but owing to the configuration of the river the pillar on the right bank is heavier than that on the left. The larger pillar weighs 715 tons; the other 513 tons. At the point where the pillars are constructed the river is 17ft in depth at its deepest point and 100ft wide. It is anticipated that when an explosive is placed under the pillars and the charges are fired by electricity the columns will topple over practically intact and meet top to top across the riverbed. Even if they do not exactly meet they will serve as a dam, and raise the water about 15ft.
Ripa Island prison
With reference to the proposal to place the recaptured German prisoners on Ripa Island, in Lyttleton Harbour, a correspondent writes to a northern exchange, pointing out that in 1888 a prisoner named Jonathan Roberts escaped from a gang that had been sent to work on Ripa Island. The island is so near the mainland — only 50 yards distant — that Roberts was able to swim across to the peninsula, and has never been retaken.
An officer in France had to adjudicate on the grievance of a deputation of peasants living in the vicinity of his camp. Rabbits in that district, it seems, are as scarce and precious as venison, and the peasants’ complaint was they had discovered the Australian soldiers had been enjoying rabbit stews. Where, then, did they get the rabbits from? The officer listened gravely to their complaint, then patiently explained to them that the rabbits eaten by the soldiers were tinned, and were a present from Australia, where, he also told them, rabbits abounded in millions. They were finally convinced by a present of a tin apiece, and went away thoroughly satisfied, exclaiming loudly at the extravagance of Australians who made presents of anything so valuable as rabbits.
This is the first occasion that there has been a shortage of tea in England, and, judging from the chorus of complaints, people find it more difficult to do without tea than without sugar or butter (wrote the London correspondent of the Age on October 20). There is said to be a large stock of coffee in the country, but English people have never taken to coffee as a beverage. — ODT, 8.1.1918.
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