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That some persons, not confirmedly thriftless, may be assisted to thriftier ways is the chief hope. At a meeting in Melbourne recently Mrs Fossett, a shopkeeper of 26 years' experience, plainly intimated that her hopes lay in the rising generation and in the proper teaching of thrift.
She described her personal knowledge of a woman, who never had a higher income than 2 5s per week, who reared nine children comfortably, encouraged them all to marry, and provided for her old age herself. One of that mother's daughters, said the speaker, married a labourer who had much broken time, and her income never exceeded 30s a week.
Yet she was rearing three children, and it was her proud boast that she had never owed any person a penny. She used the maternity bonus for its proper purpose - the employment of a medical man, and the balance of the 5 she gave to her mother in return for nursing.
''Our hospitals,'' said Mrs Fossett in conclusion, ''are filled with women who were neglected at maternity because they spent the bonus on purposes for which it was not provided.'' The remark was assentingly applauded by many present.
Training for girls
The lack of training and control over girls after the age of 14 was discussed at some length at the annual meeting of the Auckland branch of the Educational Institute last week.
Miss E. M. Newton moved a resolution, which was carried, to the effect that, in the best interests of the womanhood of this country, training in home science should be continued after the age of 14, and that the meeting recommends that compulsory continuation classes be held in daylight hours.
The speaker pointed out that the ignorance and ineptitude of untrained mothers were responsible for a great deal of preventable wastage of child life. Mrs Baume stated that the womanhood of the future must be as capable as we could make it. The rebuilding of the nations would devolve very largely upon the girl of to-day.
Out of 8000 girls who attended primary schools only 800 went on to the secondary schools. What were they going to do with these girls who did not receive the benefit of a better training which would strengthen their characters and give them a better opportunity of making the most of their lives?
The State was doing much for the children in primary schools, but at the age of 14, which was a most critical age, they were absolutely thrown on their own responsibility. If girls between the ages of 14 and 17, the speaker said, could be made to realise their responsibilities, many of the social problems which now faced us would be answered.
Riverside road approved
At the Bruce County Council meeting, Cr Boyd introduced the matter of opening the riverside road from Stirling to Balclutha to motor traffic. A representative meeting of the settlers had been held recently, and a motion had been carried by 12 votes to 2 in favour of opening the road.
The Balclutha Borough Council had also agreed to open its portion of the road. He would move that the council agree to open the road on condition that the settlers concerned provide the funds to fence the dangerous portions along the river bank.
Cr Russell opposed the motion, urging that the road was very narrow on the flat near Stirling, and in several places there was a ditch on either side. Cr Scott said he had previously been opposed to the opening of the road. The ratepayers, however, now seemed to be apathetic, and as the member for the riding had represented the wishes of those who were interested enough to attend a meeting, there seemed to be nothing to do but vote for the motion. The motion was carried, Cr Russell alone dissenting.
Writing from the front, Private Thomas Frederic, who left here with a reinforcement 12 months ago (states the New Zealand Times), forwards a cutting from a New Zealand newspaper wherein he is posted as a deserter from not answering when called in the ballot.
Private Frederic is still at the front, and expresses in very strong language his opinion of the action of the Defence authorities in maligning a man who volunteered his services (he was twice turned down, but persisted), and is still fighting.
- ODT, 6.7.1917.
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