The writer, J.T.M, John Thomas Morris, South Canterbury's first published humorous writer, a passenger to Timaru in on the first direct immigrant ship, Strathallan, wrote a diary during the voyage, sketched while in the area and wrote poetry and was always "up to fun" and kept all lively during the voyage out.
The Laughing Jackass - what is it? Lyttelton Times 4 March 1863 page 5 Yankee Notions Lyttelton Times 21 March 1863 Those Horrid Volunteers Lyttelton Times 8 April 1863 Another Crinloine Case Lyttelton Times 25 April 1863 page 3 The New Chum in Timaru Timaru Herald 2 March 1867 & 11 June 1914, Page 10 The New Chum in Timaru No. 2 Timaru Herald 13 April 1867 Another Great Concert Timaru Herald 3 July 1867 page 3 Phrenology Timaru Herald 7 Aug. 1867 The Cold Water Cure Timaru Herald 22 Aug. 1868 Be Thankful Timaru Herald 20 Feb. 1869 Page 3 Timaru on Wheels Timaru Herald 9 Oct. 1869 Timaru Levels Timaru Herald 19 Oct. 1875 Advance Timaru Timaru Herald 25 Oct. 1875 & 11 June 1914, Page 7 On the Gold Discoveries Jubilee History of S.C. page 519 The Invasion of Timaru Timaru Herald 1 Oct. 1883 11 February 1885, Page 3 Fairy Days Timaru Herald 16 Apr. 1884 The Lay of the Lonely One Timaru Herald 17 May 1884 page 3 A sketch in the old country Timaru Dust Timaru Herald 12 Sep. 1884 The Great "Kaikoura" Sell Timaru Herald 12 Jan. 1886 Page 3 I Remember July 1872 Timaru Herald 11 June 1914 The Battle of Temuka The Lighthouse on the Hill Timaru Herald, 21 March 1903 Page 1 The Steam Crane Timaru Herald, 21 March 1903, Page 1 Timaru Mud Timaru Dust Timaru Amusements
"Mud, oh mud, there's nothing but mud,
Stiff as a pudding, or thin as a flood
Mud in the houses, mud in the street,
Mud on your clothing, mud on your, feet,
Mud for the million in bottomless holes,
We've good-measure in mud if short weight in our coals."
But the dust in summer in the period before water, carts was an equally bad affliction, as witness lines penned - for the "Timaru Herald" in 1884, the first of which were as follows; —
"Oh ! this dust, this terrible dust !
Choke us it will, for choke us it must;
Nor'-westers by day, sou'-westers by night,
We shall be buried clean out of sight."
Timaru Herald, 5 May 1890, Page 3 OBITUARY.
JOHN THOMAS MORRIS. The residents of South Canterbury will undoubtedly regret to hear of the death of Mr John Thomas Morris, so long and favourably known as one of the old identities in this district. The deceased gentleman, whose death occurred at Waimataitai, Timaru, on Tuesday last, 29th April was born at Bath in 1827, and was connected with some of the leading Welsh and West of England families, his father, who was born in Carnarvon Castle, latterly being Master of the Royal Hounds of George IV., who shot him dead when out on a shooting excursion, while his mother was the niece of the Into Mr Isaac Pitman, of shorthand fame. The subject of our notice in his eleventh year was left was a family at Bristol when his mother went to London. He ran away to join his mother, walked to London in three days, the only money he had in his pocket being two pence half-penny. He continued to live in the metropolis until he grew up, and then was employed m the London docks, where in one of the warehouses he fell asleep on the afternoon of the 7th September, 1855, and saw in his dreams the fall of Sebastopol and though occupation of that place by the British troops. Mr Morris and one sister who married a son of the late Mr Alderman Clinch, one of though Lord Mayors of London. In the early part of 1849 he travelled through France, and was in Paris on June 23rd of that year when the workmen of the Aleliers Nationaux revolted and barricaded the Ports St. Martin and St. Denis, and lie witnessed nearly the whole of the fighting during that insurrection — an insurrection which was not suppressed before 30,000 person had been killed and wounded. In 1858, allured by the bright prospects held out to persons emigrating to New Zealand, he took passage in the "Strathallan" and sailed for this colony, that vessel being the first to sail direct from London to Timaru. He did not, however, and at this port but went on to Lyttelton, than Port Cooper. He very soon obtained a job at roadmaking, on the Sumner road. After that he was variously employed, but chiefly as chainman in the Canterbury Provincial Council's survey parties, in which occupation he traversed nearly every inch of the main roads in Canterbury. During the time he was with the surveyor's parties he had to rough it as only the old hands know what roughing it means. There were times that for weeks he did not know what it was to have on a dry stitch of clothing. After five years of this work he obtained the situation of storeman to Mr H. J. LeCren, settled down permanently in Timaru, and was shortly afterwards joined by his wife, just arrived from England. Timaru was composed of but three houses when Mr Morris first saw it, and even at the time of his settling down here it had very little to boast of. It was not till some years later that the idea became fixed that a busy seaport town would spring up here in the not distant future. Mr Morris continued in the employ of Mr LeCren and afterwards in that of Messrs Miles and Co., who bought out Mr LeCren's interest, till about eight yours ago, when he was invalided with rheumatic gout. We might I thus say that the deceased gentleman had witnessed the rise of the town almost from its infancy, a rise that was quite beyond anticipation in the olden days. Mr Morris will perhaps be most widely known among old chums by his humorous poetical effusions with the signature " J.T.M.," his verses, published in the local press from time to time, being looked forward to with delight, their keen wit being thoroughly enjoyed. Before leaving England he had frequently contributed to the press, one of his best pieces being an Ode to Lord Nelson's monument in Trafalgar Square. Passing local events were usually the theme of his pen, and several of his pieces went the rounds of the Press, notably "The New Chum in Timaru," while "The Lament of Canterbury" on the non-discovery of gold in this province, was awarded a place in Canterbury Rhymes. Mr Morris had suffered very severely with rheumatism during the last few years, but to the end enjoyed the full use of his faculties, and we are happy to cay departed from this life free from pain. His death was a very peaceful one, the immediate cause of it being influenza. The deceased gentleman leaves a widow and five grown up children to mourn their loss.
Timaru Herald 11 June 1914, pg6. First immigration barracks at Timaru, afterwards used as a drillshed, and later as the caretaker's residence for some years after the present drill shed was built. From the sketch by the late J.T. Morris.
The author was also an accomplished sketcher.
The Lament of Canterbury
Dear Mr. Editor, I pray give ear
To my sad tale, my pitiful lament;
I've not been so annoy'd this many a year,
My inside's really quite in a ferment.
Those other provinces—oh dear !—oh dear!—
Are filling me with shame and discontent;
I, who was once so vigorous and bold,
Am in the dumps—and why ?—I've got no gold!
There's that Otago—oatmeal eating place—
Is turning gold up by the hundred weight.
That fag-end of the world—now in the race,
Is going a-head it a confounded rate.
See what a grin lights up each Scotchman's face,
When they compare their own with my sad fate.
Otago may be bleak, and wet, and cold,
But what of that, when they've got lots of gold ?
Then up at Nelson, too, they've still got patches,
Where men may earn about a crown a day ;
And every month you hear of folks in batches,
To some new gully being led away.
Though their best fields are only chickens' scratches,
And their best claims were never known to pay.
But I don't dare to speak lest I get told,—
" We have got some ; but you—you've got no gold! "
There's the North Island, too, if people knew it,
Has got gold from the one end to the other ;
See Coromandel, how the stuff runs through it,
If Mr. Maori would but act the brother,
And let his white companion get up to it,—
If it was here, I'd soon stop all that bother.
We know not what the future may unfold.
But I'm afraid it will bring me no gold.
I've got a great geologist to look
About for gold and try can he discern it;
And he's been fossicking in every nook,
But nothing found, or I should quickly learn it—
Except some coal, as black as any rook,
And famous fuel,—if one could only burn it.
Coal is a mine of wealth, as I've been told ;
But blow black diamonds ! What I want is gold!
I've boundless plains (half swamp, half stony land) ;
I've mighty streams that through those plains come roaring;
I've lots of bush (though it's not close at hand);
I've lofty hills—through one of them I'm boring ;
I've foaming cataracts, and glaciers grand,
Though I don't think such places worth exploring;
I've stores of mineral wealth, as yet untold,
But none of what I want—I've got no gold!
I've circulated rumours, not a few,
Of people finding nuggets by the score,
To cause a rush, but that game wouldn't do,
It only got me laughed at more and more.
They found some lately down at Timaru—
Though they that found it planted it before.
The people don't seem willing to be sold—
They can't be made believe there's any gold!
What shall I do? My case is very hard.
I've one more grief to state before I leave it.
I'm offering now One Thousand Pounds Reward
For finding gold—but people don't believe it.
They think—the beggars are so on their guard—
It's all a hoax, and that they'll not receive it.
Dear Mr. Editor, may I be so bold,
One question—Do you know of any gold ?
J. T. M. October, 1862.
[Our reporter, not being supplied with a ticket of mission, was compelled to get one of the audience to supply a criticism. — Ed.]
a treat, we've had a concert, by the great Temuka band ;
Goodness gracious, how splendacious, sure 'twas wonderful, 'twas grand.
Tom the drummer, best of fellows, beat till he was almost white,
While the others — bless their bellows — blew themselves near out of sight.
All the town was bent on singing, 'twas enough to make you roar ;
Each meant going in and winning, though he'd never sung before.
Such a crowd came volunteering, just to show what they could do,
That the stamping and the cheering, might be heard in Oamaru.
First the band struck up, and though they each one played a different air,
'Twas the more, sure, for the money, which was all they wanted there.
But friend Young got so excited, you'd have thought his cheeks would crack —
Got so far before the others, that they had to hold him back.
Up rose K____t and told them all how, "England 'spected every man
Then would do his putty," but he broke down ere he'd well began ;
F____e then killed "Lord Ullin's daughter," like some savage Highland chief,
But the people wouldn't have it, so he quickly came to grief.
Then an auctioneer so pleasant, said he'd show them how to sing,
In a voice that charm'd all present, gave them, " I'm the Gipsy King."
H____n, the learned baker, "Master of the Rolls," 'tis said,
Spouted forth — like yeast a-working, — "Tell me where is fancy bread."
S_____ f and W____n sang together, lines of "Hearts and heads," in praise,
With "Flow on thou shining liver," and "The lights of other days ;"
Others, young and thoughtless butchers, mock'd, and thought to have a spree,
Till the gentle Sergeant Buckley, warbled, " Love, come dwell with me."
Then a young and gallant fellow sang — a regular knowing elf —
"Let me kiss her for her mother, let me kiss her for myself."
G___n "the cabbage green," kept trying, but it proved most awful work,
Young Watch J___bs managed better when he gave "the cask of pork."
Hoo____r said he was no singer — wasn't such a jolly muff —
But he'd dance upon the tight rope, if they'd find one strong enough.
One___a tradesman — then recited lines he'd wrote to Glasgow town,
But they didn't seem to like it, for they rose and hiss'd him down.
Sal____n essayed a hornpipe, but he made a quick retreat,
For the stage would not allow him proper room to more his feet.
Another forward came and sang — but what you could not hear,
For they put him in the cupboard, thinking he'd had too much beer.
Mor___n then gave "The Pilot," S____t "The Friar of orders grey,"
Wea___r gave them " Billy Tailor," Hutton gave the " Poor dog Tray."
"Down among the dead men," T____r tried, but soon away was led,
For his wife came in and took him home, and past him into bed.
An____n, the jolly brewer, started forward out of breath,
First he gave them "Drops of brandy," and then, " Ale, all ale, Macbeth."
R____t R_____d then tried a ditty, praising water from the creek,
But the subject didn't suit him — wanted spirit — 'twas too weak.
Twenty then all rose together, — for the time was flying now,
So each struck up independent, making such a horrid row,
That "The Force," who, in the kitchen, had been feasting on the sly,
Flew to arms and drop'd their mutton, thinking Hau-haus must be nigh.
What they sang or when they finished, few can tell, though lots have tried,
For the band, with wise discretion, went and finished off outside.
If they raise another concert, let them advertise the day,
Giving good and timely notice, that we all may — stay away.
Timaru Herald, 20 February 1869, Page 3
When all your friends have turned to foes,
And even tried to pull your nose,
When cats upon your roof at night
Awake you in an awful fright,
When toothache sets you on the rack,
And perhaps a flea gets down your back,
When you've all night to walk the twins,
And spousey lays in bed and grins,
When neighbours' cattle gather round,
And trample all your garden ground,
When chimneys smoke, and children roar,
And duns keep knocking at your door,
When — seeking to relieve the blues —
You find the paper's got "no news," Be thankful.
When you for breakfast feel inclined,
And fishes in the milk-jug find,
When for the mail you're just too late —
When L____h comes asking for "the rate" —
When some one— hang their stupid heads —
Upon your favorite bunnion treads —
When taking just an evening stroll,
You tumble in a water-hole,
And when you out yourself can pull,
You're chased by some young lively bull ;
When — far from home — it starts to pour —
For all these things, and many more,
Timaru Herald, 9 October 1869, Page 3
TIMARU ON WHEELS
In Timaru there's something new has caused a vast sensation, —
Go where you will, you'll find it still the theme of conversation ;
Both high and low, where'er you go — no
matter what their creed's now —
Can think and talk of nothing else but "those velocipedes" now.
There's Mr G____n — beach G____n I mean — a man of proper kidney, —
He took some lessons on the sly when lie was last in Sydney, —
Expects a score or more on shore, for those who choose to stride 'em.
The Super's been, he came to town to show folks how to ride 'em.
They've formed a corps, about a score, and mean — the point to settle —
To cross the plain, and back again, to try their chargers' mettle -,
His Honor's going to lead the way, — it's sure to cause some laughter, —
He like a fox, and they the pack, all helterskelter after.
The noble S____h is off forthwith, a cable couldn't bind him.
While past the hills bold Captain M_____s will scud along behind him.
The boatmen talk of hoisting sail on theirs to go out spanking,
But being short of steeds, they'll have to take to double banking.
Bold B____y's going out as well, he means to hover round 'em,
To seize velocipedes what bolts, and get old Joe to pound 'em.
And W____ be's going too, I hear, he means to race the peeler
Upon a wheelbarrow, — no, that's wrong, — I mean a single-wheeler.
There's Mr W____ e intends, it's said, to order down a plenty
For gents — and ladies, too, I hear — from one wheel up to twenty ;
While, just to show our local skill, there's W____n so clever,
Is making one, what's bound to run with not I no wheels whatever.
Our tradesmen taking out their goods will make a tidy show, boys, —
Butchers on tricycles with meat, and bakers with their doughboys.
And, when he wants the town to know what things h's got to sell, men,
S____s means to get a bicycle to bear his "king of bellmen."
They won't cost much for stable keep ; but still, there's no denying,
They're awful warmints at the first for jibbing and for shying.
M____i's going to break one in, and when he knows its paces,
He'll challenge all at what they call velocipode " hurdle races."
The brewer, B____n, means leaving town, the river he means stemming,
And Captain C____d says he'll give a lift behind to F____ing.
The great M____o has vowed to go, and and T____ll with him really ;
While Robert T____r's going again to look for gold with H____ley.
The Borough Council — though it shows a want of proper breeding —
Intends to put up turnpike gates to check velocipeding.
The lawyers can't agree (of course) the question they seem vex'd in,
I guess they'll call friend P____n, the scab in inspector next in.
They've got some thousands laying by, which they're afraid of using, —
I know a way to lay it out, both useful and amusing :
Just spend it in velocipedes, the people here are clever,
And Timaru, if once set on wheels, would go ahead, or never.