Roxburgh telephones

The British Western Front: a corner of the battlefield near Arras. - Otago Witness, 18.7.1917.
The British Western Front: a corner of the battlefield near Arras. - Otago Witness, 18.7.1917.
Several attempts have been made to establish a telephone exchange in Roxburgh, but owing to the apathy of the business people nothing eventuated. A week or so ago another canvass for subscribers was made, this time with success.

A hurried canvass of the town secured the requisite number to entitle us to an exchange. The matter was brought before the Fruitgrowers' Association at its meeting on June 30, and growers were given a clear exposition of the advantages of the telephone and its approximate cost. Its inestimable value in the fruit season was pointed out to them, and they were not slow to see it, with the result that practically every grower in the district has joined the exchange.

This fact had a further influence on business places in the town who, on the first canvass, declined to join, and it became very apparent to them that unless they also linked up they would not be in touch with their customers. This was responsible for a mild rush at the end of last week for telephones.

So far 75 applications have been received, and there is every prospect of that number reaching a hundred before the installation is completed. Subscribers are certainly assured of an 8 to 8 service. Most of the subscribers outside the town have made up small parties of three and four, the largest party being six. Subscribers on the latter are from five to six and a half miles from the exchange.

A big bid will now be made for a through wire to Dunedin. There is a large number of stations on the present wire, and, generally, a person wanting Dunedin has to wait from 15 to 30 minutes before he can get on. With a separate wire, this would be obviated, and it is a well known fact that the Dunedin wire would be more largely used if these vexatious delays could be avoided.

A sea of mud

City dwellers with a penchant for grumbling at a taint of mire in the streets have very little conception of what settlers in the backblocks are accustomed to dub plainly ''bad roads'' (says the Auckland Star).

A country grocer from the Maungaturoto district the other day stated that it required a strong man to manage the proper conveyance by vehicles of commodities along the roads, and, in fact, their state prejudiced his disposal of the business.

One of the most dangerous highways in this connection is the Kaikohe-Taheke, made somewhat more famous by the trek comedy of the parliamentarians on the northern tour. At present it is literally a sea of mud of all varieties and qualities.

The driver of vehicles over such a road, with horses, continually wallowing through the slush, is a regular hero. When the Military Service Board sat at Rawene the other day it awaited the appearance of a woman who was to appeal for her husband.

The constable pointed out that she had to drive about 10 miles over a frightful road. It would take her four hours to accomplish the journey. An elderly man - a veteran of the United States navy, by the way - stood up in the court and said that as far as his knowledge of the road in question was concerned he hardly thought the woman could do the trip in the time stated.

''If,'' he added, ''it took a strong man with five horses yesterday 10 hours to do the journey, how long will it take a delicate woman driving one horse?'' The board did not attempt to solve such a problem.

Replenishing forests

The New Zealand Forestry League, of which Sir James G. Wilson is president and Mr F. W. Furkert is hon secretary, has issued a report. It contains the following statement:-

''New Zealand, like most other places, in the early days of settlement, set small store by the valuable asset contained in its forests. The exigencies of settlement induced the destruction of millions of timber trees within a comparatively few years, which, under natural conditions, took centuries to come to maturity. There always has been a few who strenuously opposed this policy of destruction, and who, so far as lay in their power, did all they could to prevent it; or to counteract it by planting exotics and by advocating a policy of conservation. The greatly-increased demand for timber for commercial purposes has aroused a deep concern in regard to need for conserving the remaining areas of forest to avoid an actual scarcity of timber for our requirements. It was felt that the only way to accomplish this was to create a strong public opinion on the point, hence the establishment of the league.''

Opossum pest

The presence of opossums in considerable numbers in several of the fruit-growing districts adjoining the city was referred to at the monthly meeting of the Canterbury Fruitgrowers' Association on Saturday evening (says the Christchurch Sun).

Mr J. Longton stated that the committee which had considered the matter had evidence of the presence of opossums in Riccarton, Papanui, and other districts. In the interests of orchardists, who suffered considerably from the depredations of the animals, he was of opinion that the restrictions regarding the protection of opossums should be removed. It was eventually decided to make strong representations to the Minister on the subject.

- ODT, 13.7.1917.


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