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William Falconer 1836-1891

Oamaru in 1860 - 1863

The following account of Oamaru covering the years 1860 - 1863 was written by Mr. William Falconer for The History of Oamaru, and was printed in the North Otago Times during August, September and October of 1889.

To the Editor, North Otago Times.

Sir, I have received from Mr. W. Falconer, of Waiareka, the following account of his first visit to Oamaru. It is very interesting and exceedingly well written, and will, I am sure, be read with great pleasure by all who are subscribers to your paper. Mr. Falconer wrote it at my request as an addition to my History of Oamaru.

W.H.S. Roberts.

The History of Oamaru by William Falconer

1860

On the evening of Monday, June 13, 1860, I went aboard the paddle-steamer boat Geelong, then lying alongside the Dunedin jetty, for the purpose of proceeding to Oamaru. The boat threw off and steamed down to Port Chalmers, where we lay alongside a hulk until morning. After taking on coal a start was made for Waikouaiti, which we reached sometime in the forenoon. Some cargo was discharged there, and the steamer left about 3pm., arriving at Moeraki Bay as evening was closing, and lay there all night at anchor.

I had been much interested in the picturesque surroundings of Waikouaiti, but I was fairly enchanted with the romantic beauty of Moeraki; the night was calm, with a bright moon.

Several of the crew amused themselves fishing with hooks and line, and caught a number of cod. I got into conversation with Captain Boyd, the commander of the Geelong, and finding that I was, what he had once been himself, a mechanic, he became very chatty.

He had formed a very high opinion of the capabilities of the Oamaru district, and expressed his belief that it had a great future before it, but he regretted that the port was much inferior to Moeraki. In the morning, after a good deal of time had been lost in whistling for a boat, one put off from shore and came alongside. It was manned by Maoris and under the command of a Maori. Captain Boyd, having given this person some instructions, we steamed out of the bay and proceeded to Oamaru, where we arrived at about 11 o'clock in the forenoon.

A large whaleboat at once came alongside, manned by a crew partly Maori and partly European, under the command of an Englishman named Tom Hardy. Some trouble and amusement were caused getting a horse ashore. It belonged to Mr. Luxmore, a runholder on the Waitaki.

A long rope was fixed round the horses neck, the end of which was passed to Mr. Luxmore, who was in the boat. After a good deal of pushing, shouting, whipping and laughing, the horse took to the water in gallant style, plunging in head foremost and disappearing in a moment from sight, but rose again immediately to the surface and began to swim with great vigour, but in a direction contrary to the boat and the shore; his owner, who stuck to the rope, running a great risk of following.

The skipper ordered his men to back the boat, which caused the rope to slacken, when it was made fast and the horse towed safely ashore. On reaching the shore the boat was driven as far as possible on the beach, when the passengers, watching the chance of a receding wave, sprang ashore.

I was met on the beach by a friend who expected my arrival, and accompanied him to his house. The means of exit from the landing place was by a rope dangling over the face of a steep bank, while a derrick had been erected for the purpose of hoisting the heavy goods to the top. On the left stood the Government shed for storage of wool and other goods - a frame building, bearded and roofed with Hobart Town palings.

To the right were two sod Whares, the quarters of Tom Hardy and his Maoris. Travelling northward, on the left of the track leading from the landing place and fronting Tyne St., stood a small pisť hut, the residence of Mr. Charles Traill, of Traill and Roxby, and a short distance away a nice verandah cottage, the abode of the other partner, Mr E.W. Roxby. On the extreme left, also fronting Tyne St. was a small weatherboard cottage owned by a Mr. Miller. Material was being laid down to build the store for Dalgety, Rattray and Co. Further north along Tyne St., at its junction with Wansbeck St., stood the store of Messrs. Traill and Roxby, a long, low building, well stocked with general merchandise. In the same street a large wool store was in the course of erection for Mr. James Hassell. A little further on was Mr. John Hambleton's butcher's shop, and standing rather further back a small cottage inhabited by Mr. John Haggie.

What is now (1889) Bee's corner, was a sort of wilderness garden, surrounded by a low sod wall. Fronting Itchen St., and occupying the present site of The Star and Garter Hotel, stood the old accommodation house, the property of H.C. Hertslet, and at that time under the management of Fred and Edwin Collis.

At the corner of Tess and Itchen Sts. stood the stockyards of the accommodation house, and near the south end of it was an old whare built of cabbage trees and mud, which at one time had been the residence of Mr. Traill. Descending the steep bank of the Oamaru creek, the crossing for foot passengers was opposite where Frank Robertson's blacksmith's shop now is, and was two planks joined together, and chained to stakes driven into the bank on each side of the creek.

On the south side of the creek, close to where the Crown Flour Mill now stands [1889] was the private residence of Mr. Hertslet. On the north side of the creek, further to the east and looking seaward, stood a pretty cottage surrounded by a well fenced garden, the residence of Mr. John Lemon.

The cottage of Mr. James Wate (pronounced Wait with the a soft), blacksmith, fronted Thames St., and adjoining it was his blacksmith's shop, in the rear of which a stone building was in the course of erection.

To the left, a little north of the junction of the Glen and Oamaru creeks, on a knoll which had received the name of Ram's Head, on account of some fancied resemblance in the configuration of the ground to the head of that animal, the bend in the creek in rear of the building forming the horns; or perhaps as others remarked, because there was a ram's head with very large horns nailed up over the door of the hut; and near the site of the present old Courthouse stood what had been the residence of the owner of the Oamaru run.

It was a sod erection, plastered with clay and thatched with raupo, a long reed that grew in great abundance in the lagoon at the mouth of the Oamaru creek. An addition to it had been built with posts and weatherboards, and that was also thatched with the same material, raupo, but a lean-to at the other end, and used as a bedroom, was of clay and roofed with iron.

What might be called the principal part of the building was occupied by Mr. Oscar Davis (now of Island Stream Farm)., who there carried on his trade of shoemaker. The weather boarded part of the structure was the residence of Mr. Thomas Fraser, carpenter, who was my entertainer.

Having partaken of some refreshment, accompanied by Mr. Fraser, I started to call on Mr. Henry France, whose store was further north about half a mile; we passed the old Oamaru station woolshed which stood in the rear of the shops now occupied by Messrs. Edwards, Brownlie and Cagney. Mr. France had been fortunate in securing ten acres of land at the upset price of £1 per acre, in a position that may be termed the centre of town, on which he had erected a substantial dwelling house, with a general store attached.

There was also a good sized garden fenced in and well planted with vegetables, in which I noticed a man busy working. A stockyard and milking bail had also been erected around which a few quiet milking cows were lying down and chewing their cud, the whole surroundings having the appearance of comfort and prosperity. Mr. France, a bluff, portly old gentleman, I found on further acquaintance to be possessed of many sterling qualities.

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As it required some time to arrange my business I was unable to return to Dunedin with the steamer as I had intended, so that I had nearly a week at my disposal in which to ramble round the town and district.

On Thursday 16th June, I walked a considerable distance along the beach and thence struck across the flat to the hills north of the town from which I enjoyed the magnificent view of the surrounding country and the ocean. Skirting the base of the hills I stumbled across the surveyors' camp. There was a party of six or seven men busy driving in section pegs and cutting street lines through the flax and tomataguru, the survey of that part of the town of Oamaru north of the creek not being completed.

Further up the glen a number of men were quarrying limestone and erecting a lime kiln under the superintendence of Mr. D. Hutchinson, the postman, who carried the mails fortnightly between Dunedin and Oamaru. Crossing this gully I ascended the hill on which the Oamaru Hospital now stands [1889] and noticed, what I had not observed before, a square wattle and daub house with a thatched roof, and surrounded by a plot of land in which were planted a number of native shrubs, and nestling close under the hill.

This was the residence of Dr. Thomas John Tudor Williams, the medico of the district, who had moved here from Tokomairiro, where he was practising as early as 1856. I was informed that the house had been built by Mr. Joseph Borton. At a short distance from Dr. Williams' residence and close to the creek a tent was pitched, and was the residence of a couple known as German John and German Mary.

On Friday morning I determined to stroll as far as Crusoe Cliffs, a short distance beyond Papakaio, where an acquaintance and townsman, Mr. G.R. Taylor, was located. The Oamaru Plain was at this time pretty thickly covered with clumps of tall, strong flax, Tomataguru, and a sprinkling of Cabbage trees here and there, interspersed with numerous lagoons which were mostly dry but showed a plentiful crop of Maori-heads, on the top of which grew a strong rank grass; there were also silver tussocks in abundance, but not the thick, close sole of grass which I noticed a few years afterwards, the result of burning and grazing.

On reaching the Boundary Creek I partook of the lunch I had brought with me, and observed that a dam had been thrown across the stream to form a pool for sheep washing, I crossed the creek on a frail structure constructed of Cabbage trees and meant for a bridge, which was evidently the only means of crossing for all descriptions of traffic.

Arriving at the top of the saddle at Pukauri, the Papakaio Plain was spread out to view, and I was not at all favourably impressed by the long monotonous, dull, grey plain, that stretched away into the distance unrelieved by either wood or water; the clumps of flax appeared stunted in growth and the bunches of yellow tussocks were few and far between.

As I proceeded along the track which wound along the foot of the hills, I noticed that there the grass was thick and soft, the soil apparently rich and strong. I passed the dwelling house of the owner of the Papakaio station, on my left a rather elegant building in the cottage ornie style, and situated near the mouth of a gully in which was a patch of native bush.

The house was surrounded by enclosed grounds of considerable extent, in which had been planted a number of English fruit and forest trees, and was altogether a snug and rather pretty place. The men's quarters, stables, yards etc. were on the right of the track. Arriving at my destination I was welcomed by my friend Mr. G.R.Taylor and rested for the night with four others in a sod whare about 12ft. square with a thatched roof of course. It was a tight fit, but we were all as merry as crickets; songs were sung and stories told until the 'wee short 'oors ayont the twal.'

Returning to Oamaru next day I overtook on the way a bullock team and cart driven by a young man who I afterwards ascertained was Mr. John Every, and he very kindly offered me a lift. The appearance of the team was, to say the least of it, unique. A large strong bullock named Brandy, in harness, was between the shafts of the cart, and two smaller bullocks, named respectively Dick and Turpin, in yoke, were the leaders. The driver sat in the cart and with a long whip which he used with great dexterity, guided his team. As they travelled at a spanking pace (for bullocks) we reached Oamaru early in the afternoon, when thanking Mr. Every I bade him good-bye.

The Oamaru creek in those days ran a very different course to what it does now (1889) since the straight cut was made for it. From the bank below Itchen St. south of the Crown Flour Mill. It ran nearly up to Mr. Frank Robertson's 'smiddy', where the glen creek joined it. Returning in a south easterly direction it formed a bend more than half way across Thames St. opposite to Mr. Menzies' shop, Section 7, Block IV; thence with another sweep it meandered round in rear of the present post-office, crossing Thames St. where it now does. The dray track in 1860 crossed the creek near its junction with the glen creek (near the north-west corner of Mr Kempshed's music shop) and along the tongue of land past Mr. Humphrey's stable to where Mr. P. Orr's coal-yard now is, and ascended a steep pitch just about where the firebell now stands [1889].

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On Sunday morning I was told that Mr. C. Traill held Church of England service. I did not attend it, but went for a walk round Cape Wanbrow. On reaching the landing-place, the tide being out, I walked round the rocks until I came to what is known as Bushy Beach. I rambled through the bush and spotted some Veronicas, for which I afterwards returned and transplanted when I was settled in Oamaru. I then wandered on to the sandy beach returning by the gully which is now the main road through South Oamaru.

In Tees St. I passed a small cottage belonging to the two brothers P. and J. Every, also the workshop of Messrs. J and C Lemon. Having pretty well seen and noted all that was to be seen in and close around Oamaru, on Monday morning I decided to go as far as Clifton Falls where Mr Thomas Glass, an aquaintance and shipmate was building a cottage.

The track was almost the same as what is now the country road. It having been sedulously represented to the Provincial Government in the early days, that this was a purely pastoral district, and would perhaps never be brought under cultivation, the surveyors were instructed to keep to the bullock dray tracks, which instructions they adhered to with a fidelity worthy of a better cause.

Instead of being dotted all along the route with handsome residences and snug farms as it is now (1889); there was not the slightest sign of the presence of human beings until Cave Valley was reached. There Mr. James Hassell had lately settled on the property afterwards called Whitstone. A commodious dwelling had been built, and some fencing put up, at a short distance from Mr. Hassell's homestead. The track divided here, one diverging to the right, which led to Tapui.

Fortunately I took that one, passing close to where the village of Enfield now stands [1889] and following a high leading ridge, a panoramic view of the valley of lower Waiareka gradually opened out before me, with the snow capped Kakanui Mountains to the west and north, the lower lying bleak looking range of hills near Otepopo to the south, and the low but rather cold looking ridge that separated it from Awamoko in the north; the Waiareka lay warm and smiling, one of Nature's favoured spots waiting for man to come and possess the land even at that early date, before the hand of any human being had attempted to improve Nature, or had added a single beauty to the scene which was forever changing, every turn of the way, presenting to the view some fresh variety, some new charm.

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The night was beginning to close when I reached Clifton Falls, but meeting my friend Glass returning from the labours of the day, I was soon seated at a plentiful supper of tea, mutton and damper with potatoes galore. As I only carried a light rug with me, I shared my friend Glass's blankets and straw on the floor of the woolshed.

We were comfortable enough, but I was greatly annoyed by the rats, and rather frightened when they began a steeplechase across me. As they became particularly demonstrative, Mr. Glass suddenly struck a light, when three huge grey-whiskered fellows, with tails on them like small walking sticks that were disporting themselves at our feet, after blinking for a second or two at the glare, scuttled off, followed by a pair of heavy boots; we were then left to our slumbers.

The next morning after breakfast I started the return to Oamaru and as I had ample time to reach there before night, I left the track and walked for some distance along the bank of the Kakanue River, but without seeing anything of interest. The river, clear and limpid, flowed over its shingly bed; a few melancholy Pukakis wandered about, a wild duck rose occasionally, and flew off with a whirr.

The only sign of human habitation was a small hut on the opposite side of the river, occupied at the time, as I afterwards learned, by Mr Isdale, now of Weston. Regaining the track which passed through the lower Waiareka Valley, I wended my way to Oamaru which I reached without meeting a single specimen of the genus homo. The following day, on the arrival of the steamer, I went on board, and returned by her to Dunedin.

I was detained some weeks in Dunedin awaiting the return of the old Pirate, at that time the only steamer trading between Dunedin and Melbourne, by which I expected my Blacksmith's bellows, anvil and other necessary plant for starting my trade in Oamaru, and which I was unable to procure in Dunedin.

I returned to Oamaru on the 5th August 1860 and found that the town had made considerable progress even during the six weeks I was absent. A fair sized dwelling house had been built by Mr. Robert Allan (now of White Rocks) near the south end of Tyne St., and disposed of by him to Mr. Henry Campbell, who was in partner-ship with Mr. Matthew Holmes. They had recently purchased the Totara run, and had imported Merino sheep to stock it with in a vessel which was then at anchor in the bay. They were trying to land the sheep by swimming them through the surf, and the beach and flat were covered with the carcasses of those that had died from exhaustion and drowning.

The store, on Section 3, Block 2, Tyne St., for Dalgety, Rattray& Co., was finished, and a house for their manager, the late Mr. Henry Wurm, was building. The first Northern Hotel, at the corner of Tyne and Wansbeck Sts., was in course of erection for the proprietor, Mr. Andrew Baker; and Mr. E.M. Weeden was building a stable on the west side of Tyne St., which was afterwards turned into offices for the Bank of New Zealand.

A number of houses had been built off the line of Tees St. Mr. Edward Hudson had come overland from Dunedin with a dray and horse team, which was, properly speaking, the first horse team in Oamaru. The driver was a very decent young man named Mark Newman, who, I notice, still follows the occupation in Oamaru.

I at once commenced to erect a forge and build a dwelling house, the sixth in Oamaru, north of the creek. The cottage still stands fronting Ribble St. to the south on Section 28, France's block.

In the month of August or September, Oamaru was visited by Bishop Harper, who had travelled overland from Christchurch; and I listened for the first time (having been brought up a Presbyterian) to the beautiful service of the Church of England, and to a most impressive discourse from the worthy Bishop.

About the beginning of September a party of road makers arrived from Dunedin and commenced to cut a road to the landing place along the face of the steep cliff. This was a work of great necessity, as all the heavy goods had either to be hoisted to the top of the bank with the derrick, or carted along the shingle beach, going north beyond the lagoon, until opposite where McCallum's sawmill now is, where there was a natural fissure in the high bank by which the flat was reached, and a track through the flax led round by where Queen's Hotel now stands [1889], and then back to the ford I mentioned behind the present [1889] Post Office. A plank for foot passengers was placed across the creek near the ford, and one of the tricks of the time was to place this plank on the extreme edge of the bank, so that the unwary pedestrian might have the benefit of a slide and a bathe up to the hips.

On 13th October Captain William Sewell arrived from Port Chalmers with two well equipped surf boats and eight men, to undertake the landing of goods and passengers. This was a great improvement on the former state of affairs. The crew of Tom Hardy's boat having, to say the least of it, very indistinct ideas of meum and tuun (mine and thine). He did not take kindly to the new arrivals, however he brought three seal boats and thirty Maoris from Moerake to oppose Captain Sewell.

The late Rev. W. Johnston, Presbyterian Minister at port Chalmers, and whose charge extended to the Waitake, visited Oamaru in the month of September and preached in the stone house behind Mr. Wate's blacksmith's shop. The service was largely attended by Christians of all denominations. A feeble effort was made by the Presbyterians of the town and country to have a Minister settled in Oamaru and the Rev. Mr. Mcgilivray visited and preached in the town and throughout the district. He afterwards accepted a call to Riverton, and the movement died away.

Mr. Robert Hewat, Carpenter, Reed St., arrived in the beginning of November. The old accommodation House changed hands in October, the purchaser being a gentleman from Christchurch, Mr. Richard Jones; and after undergoing a few alterations it was designated The Star and Garter Hotel. It was not much of a building, the walls were of Hobart Town paling, nailed perpendicularly to framing which on the inside was covered with scrim and papered.

The dwelling house of Mr. James Wate, on Section 8. Block 4, in Thames St., was enlarged and opened by Ned Hudson as the Oamaru Hotel. The Northern Hotel had been opened a short time previously, so that it was the first licensed hotel in Oamaru, and before the end of 1860 there were three hotels carrying on business in the embryo town.

About September, Michael Grenfell, carpenter, arrived in Oamaru, and Samuel Gibbs commenced business in Tyne St., arriving with his family material to build his store and dwelling house, from Akaroa in a sailing craft. Both these gentlemen took an active part from the first in all matters relating to the welfare and progress of the town, and were elected members of the first Town Board in 1863.

On the 1st of November a sale of town sections was held, and attracted a large attendance of purchasers from Dunedin and elsewhere One section at the corner of Tees and Wansbeck Sts., - Section 5, Block 26 - was keenly competed for by Mr. John Lemon and Mr. Allen from Dunedin (the father of the present [1889] member for Dunedin East in the General Assembly). The bidding was spirited, Mr. Allen remarking that "he would squeeze the Lemon", but the case was rather the reverse, as Mr. Allen had the satisfaction of paying £95 for it, which was considered a very high price at the time. A large number of sections north of the creek had not been opened for application.

After this sale, which was the third of town allotments Oamaru went ahead amazingly, houses springing up in all directions, every tradesman in the place being employed at good wages, carpenters receiving 14s, masons 12s and labourers 9s and 10s per day.

I paid my assistant journeyman £2 10s per week and found him in food and lodging, which was equal to £4 per week. Oscar Davis, the Shoemaker, charged 3 guineas for a pair of long boots, other goods were as dear in proportion.

On the 12th October a clipper built barque brought a quantity of stores for Dalgety, Rattray & Co. While she was lying in the roadstead a strong gale came on and she was compelled to run to sea to save being driven ashore; she had great difficulty in beating out, and at one time came so close in shore that the crowd which had gathered on the beach to see her working out, thought that nothing could save her.

The orders of the officers and the shouts of the crew were plainly heard above the howling wind and the roaring of the waves. As they tacked and shifted an old sailor in the crowd remarked, "They are all right, they mean to do it", and they did do it, working out of the bay in long tacks, everyone watching in admiration the splendid way in which she was handled, till she disappeared from view.

Captain William Smith, the master of a small schooner named the Hawkhead that also succeeded in beating out was washed overboard and drowned. His body came ashore and was found one Sunday a few weeks afterwards, about two miles north of the town; it was at first conveyed to the old woolshed, and buried. He left a wife and three children who lived in Dunedin.

The hulk Thomas and Henry which had been brought from Port Chalmers and moored in the bay under the charge of Mr. William Hay (who died at his residence, Tees St. Oamaru on 16th September, 1889, at the advanced age of 83 years), managed to ride out the storm swinging at her anchors, rising and falling on the waves like a cork. As Mr. Hay was the only person on board, he could not have had a very pleasant time of it, but then he was one of those men with iron nerves that nothing could upset, and stuck to his post without flinching.

Tenders had been invited by the Provincial Government for a stone dray bridge over the Oamaru creek in Thames St., and the contract was let on the 4th December to Messrs. John Currie, William Dick, John G. Dick, James Crawford and George Findlay, of Dunedin, for £1252 16s 9d, although Thomas Glass, John Currie and other local masons had tendered. It was to have been built of a bastard whinstone found on the hillside near Redcastle, but after a few courses had been laid the quarry ran out and the contractors were allowed by the Government to finish it with Oamaru limestone, a very fortunate thing for them. The difference of the two stones can still be seen by anyone going under the arch.

In October a wooden lockup had been built with the intention of stationing a Constable in Oamaru, but he did not arrive for some months afterwards. It was erected on the rise just where the firebell now stands [1889], and consisted of two cells and an apartment for the constable. Messrs. C & J. Lemon were the constructors at the low price of £158 10s., when carpenters were receiving 10s a day and food, and timber was from 30s to 35s per 100ft.

About the month of November, Mr. James Gordon Stuart Grant, the Dunedin celebrity, honoured Oamaru with a visit, and delivered an address on things in general, in a long room of the Oamaru Hotel. The town of Oamaru, though small, was at this time a very lively place; the runholders of the Waitake, a jovial lot of fellows and thorough gentlemen - such as the brothers Julius, Harry Robison, W.H. Dansey, Edmund Givson and others - were frequently in town.

Bullock teams were arriving from and departing to the different sheep stations. Stock riders and shepherds often visited the town. Bullock teams were employed carting stone for the bridge and other purposes, drawing goods from the beach and firewood from Otepopo.

In connection with drawing goods from the beach; a rather amusing incident occurred which showed the astuteness of the local teamsters. Mr. Wurm, manager for Dalgety, Rattray & Co., who was reckoned a bit of a grinder, had received by steamer a consignment of 40 wheel-barrows, which were duly landed on the beach by the surf boats. Mr. Wurm looked upon them as light freight and demurred to paying the usual charge of 10s per load for goods delivered at the store from the beach. After some haggling he agreed to give £1 for bringing the lot to the store. The bullock driver was quite equal to the occasion, and with the assistance of the boatmen rigged up his dray with long scantlings, piling up the lot on one load until the dray looked like a moving tower; and to the surprise and chagrin of Mr. Wurm, delivered the entire cargo at one trip.

Then during the wool season, long strings of them Bight be seen, generally towards the evening, wending their way slowly into town. It was always a point of emulation with the drivers who should enter the town with the greatest éclat, so that the cracking of whips, the woe, gee-off, and come-hither, the shouting to Billy and Damper, to Punch, and Strawberry was immense.

There was also about Oamaru a class peculiar to almost all small colonial towns in the early days, a class who obtained for themselves a certain amount of notoriety of a very dubious kind, such as Paddy Roche, Jim Benfield, Scotty, Oamaru Watson, etc. Jimmy The Needle also honoured the town occasionally with his presence. There was nothing radically wrong with these worthies, their distinguishing characteristics being an unlimited capacity for beer, or as the Maoris called it, Waipero.

The year 1860 drew to a close without anything remarkable occurring. Christmas Day was held by the English part of the population in the orthodox fashion - roast beef and plum pudding being the order of the day, washed down with no mean supply of British Ale; The Scotch settlers of those days keeping the New Years Day with as much interest as when in the land of cakes. The desire to see the old year out and the new year in is characteristic of most Scotchmen, whether sailing on the briny deep or clearing the primeval forest on the borders of some blue Canadian lake, beneath the burning sun or on the arid plains of Hindustan, or fanned by genial breezes of this island of the South Pacific Ocean. The desire is the same as when, it may be, he was one of the crowd gathered round the Auld Toon Kirk in the High St., of Auld Reekie [Glasgow], and watched until the hand of the illuminated dial touched the witching hour of midnight, and the deep-toned bell heralded the glad New Year.

The advent of the year 1861 was waited for on the last night of the departing year -Hogmanay night - by a number of the residents of Oamaru, with as much interest as if they had still been in their native Scotland. The New Year was ushered in, and welcomed with all the usual demonstrations of joy, the wishing each other "A Happy New Year", the hearty shake of the hand, and the toasting of one another's health in the pure mountain dew, the early hours of the New Year were passed in mirth and song. Yet how strange it all seemed. New Year's Day in midsummer, a calm beautiful morning followed by bright warm summer day; while friends in the Old Country, from whom we had so lately parted, were tramping through deep snow, and crossing rivers on the thick ice, skating and curling being the order of the day.

Remainder of Article  1861 | 1862 | 1863


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