Railway critical to flood protection

Map of Taieri Plain, showing (shaded) areas that were inundated in the 1870 flood. — Otago...
Map of Taieri Plain, showing (shaded) areas that were inundated in the 1870 flood. — Otago Witness, 11.3.1924
A deputation consisting of Messrs R.T. Sadd, A.P. Fleming, B.B. Couston and L.B. Campbell waited on the Hon J.G. Coates (Minister of Railways) yesterday with reference to the question of preventive measures against flooding on the Taieri Plain.

Mr Sadd stated that they wanted to get permission to raise the bank immediately above the Otokia bridge at least up to the formation level. This weak spot in the embankment had on two previous occasions  burst, causing a lot of expense for its reinstatement and flooding the whole of the Taieri Plain. The Railway Department insisted that it should be 2ft lower than the old bank, and eventually it was reduced to 1ft lower. Mr A.P. Fleming said this was really a question for engineers. In 1908 there was a fairly big flood on the Taieri Plain, and the river burst its banks at the railway bridge amongst other places, making a very serious gap there. In 1912 the bank very nearly broke in the same place near the corner of the railway bridge. In 1917 the bank broke in Mr Bryant’s property. He understood that the Railway Department insisted on the bank being kept 2ft lower. In 1919, although the Railway Department insisted on the bank being kept at its old level, the people built it at least 2ft higher. Mr Coates: "We do not want to do anything unreasonable. It is a matter of doing the right thing in the public interest, and we shall, have a look at it tomorrow with Mr Jones." Mr Jones said the department was willing to do anything to help to stop floods on the Taieri, and if it could assist there was no reason why it should not do so.

Busy day for minister

The Hon J.G. Coates (Minister of Railways and Public Works) spent a busy day in Dunedin on various matters relating to railways and public works. The deputations represented the Otago Expansion League, the Ravensbourne and Port Chalmers Railway Leagues, the Chamber of Commerce, the Otago Power Board, the South Island Dairy Association, the Dunedin Jockey Club and the Taieri River Trust.

Japanese took the high road

A curious claim has been made by one of the visiting Japanese naval men that "Auld Lang Syne" is as much Japanese as it is Scotch. The imitative Japanese have borrowed melodies from the English, Scotch, Irish, French and Germans, and have put their own words to the tunes. In the case of "Auld Lang Syne", however, the translation shows that some of the spirit of Scotch song has been preserved.

The Japanese affirmed that the Scotch and Japanese originally were the same race, and that the Scotch had preserved the melody from their old Japanese traditions. Long ago an examination of ancient Japanese pictures proved that many fairy tales supposed to be of English, Irish and Scotch origin were known and told and illustrated in Japan at least 1000 years before they were known in the United Kingdom.

ODT 12.2.1924  (Compiled by Peter Dowden)