Pressing need for more firemen

Dunedin from Montecillo, showing the waterfront, wharves and shipping. - Otago Witness, 25.12...
Dunedin from Montecillo, showing the waterfront, wharves and shipping. - Otago Witness, 25.12.1912. Copies of picture available from ODT front office, Lower Stuart St, or

The holiday season seems to have had an unsettling effect upon a number of the firemen belonging to several of the steamers trading about the New Zealand coasts. The latest manifestation is in Dunedin. The Corinna, which was to have left for northern ports on Saturday evening, being held up.

Several of the men left on the vessel's arrival, and every effort to fill the vacancies proved useless. Five men were needed on Sunday afternoon, and it was hoped that they would be got, and that the steamer would be able to leave in the evening. These hopes proved vain, three being still wanted at a late hour last night, and the vessel's departure was postponed till this morning.

It is stated that there are plenty of men in port, no fewer than five ships being at present laid up, thus adding greatly to the number normally open to engagement. It is said that the men have given no reason either for leaving or for refusing to undertake the work, and it would seem that the trouble is due solely to the men wishing to remain in port and enjoy the atmosphere of the general holiday. It is quite a common occurrence for firemen to leave their boats; indeed, they are at all times subject to the desire for change, but it is seldom that such difficulty as is being experienced at present is felt in filling the vacancies that occur.

• Boatmen at Riverton have for some time been generating enthusiasm over a small type of motor engine which may be attached to any rowing boat and thus convert it into a motor launch, and so large has the device loomed in the eyes of owners of boats that a race for boats of the type to which the engines are fitted was included in the regatta programme. This was watched with considerable interest, and the engines were freely discussed. During one of the discussions a story was told of the owner of a boat who fitted an engine to his craft and sailed gaily down the estuary and beneath the bridge. Before he emerged into open water, however, he had cause to regret having failed to fix his engine more firmly. Coming into contact with a beam, the engine, propeller, and rudder, which are all attached in the one fitting, were knocked off the stern of the dinghy. Since that time the boatman has been diligently dragging in the vicinity, but is reported to have met with no success. - ODT 30.12.1912.

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