An excursion by train -Timaru to Temuka - 1874 - 1875

Timaru Herald, 6 May 1871, Page 2
Temuka Railway. — With the exception of a few minor details the plans and working drawings of the line between Timaru and the Washdyke are now complete, and we may expect that very shortly tenders for that portion of the work will be called for. The line is to start from the New Landing Service, skirting Sea View Villa and the Custom House, past the sea front of Messrs Mills and Co.'s store, then on in a steep cutting shaving the engine house at the Government Landing Shed (we are not quite certain whether this shed will not have to be removed) past, the Masonic Hall, and on along the cliffs to Whales' Creek. Here the line encroaches on the main road some few feet, but we believe it is the intention of the engineer to fence off the line from the road by a high paling fence. For public convenience it is a great drawback to curtail the road at this point, it being the entrance to the town, for besides the chance of a block, it is rather a nasty spot in case of accidents, which will be made more probable by the close proximity of the railway. If this intention on the part of the engineer is carried out, the road for one or two chains will be but 35 feet in width. From LeCren's Gully the line, keeping pretty near the cliffs, goes through the Maori reserve, after which it passes through a corner of Mr Woollcombe's property, then, on skirting the western side of the Waimataitai lagoon and crossing the creek at its junction with the lagoon, enters on Mr Belfield's property, running through which in about a straight line, it crosses the boundary creek between Waimataitai and the Messrs Rhodes' land on the further side. About the centre of Messrs Rhodes' .property is a low part of the hill, which the engineers have taken advantage of, by putting the railway through it. From then on the line emerges on to the Washdyke flat, and then on to the Washdyke. Several heavy cuttings will have to be made on the line, the principal being on Mr Rhodes' land, on the Waimataitai property, the Maori reserve, and on the line of cliffs leading into Timaru. The total distance to the Washdyke is, we believe, 3 three- quarters miles. Some of the land through which the railway passes has had to be bought, but all the claims for compensation will probably be settled at the outset between the Government and the several land-holders, without going to the expense and trouble of arbitration. Oct. 1971


A cutting - looking towards Timaru Harbour - pedestrian overbridge at the bottom of Benvenue Ave. Dashing Rocks walkway.
Flax and broom blooming. Macrocarpa trees beyond the bridge marking the boundary of Ashbury Park. Old railway irons have been used as fence posts.

Timaru Herald, 13 January 1873, Page 3
The Railway Works. — The blasting through the rock in No 5 cutting, which passes through the Waimataitai property is now finished, and with the exception of trimming down the sides of the rock and levelling off the bottom of this point, the line formation is complete between Timaru and a few chains the Timaru side of the Washdyke. The four chains of rock which cropped up in the above cutting (the greatest depth of rock being some fifteen feet), has proved a very serious hindrance to the contractors, and not only a hindrance in point of time — but unless the Government make them some allowance for rock work — must have involved them in a serious pecuniary loss. The various cuttings which are on this first section of the line between Timaru and the Washdyke were taken by the contractors on the strength of the surveying engineers' reports, as for clay work only, and as there is an enormous difference in the price of removal of the two substances, the contractors have we think a very fair claim on the Government for consideration. The private bridge over the cutting is complete with the exception of the hand rails.
    Resident Magistrate's Court, Timaru. — At this Court on Saturday, before H. Belfield, Esq. J.P, Charles Hennesspy charged with being drunk and disorderly, was discharged with a caution, being his first offence.


The overbridge south of Waimataitai St. Timaru -  5 Aug 2011

Timaru Herald, April 9 1873
With the exception of the removal of a few hundred yards of earth the section of railway line lying between the town and Whale's Creek may be said (formation only) to be completed, and also, the second section between that creek and the Waimataitai Lagoon. The cutting on Mr Belfield's property — the heaviest in the line — is being taken down as rapidly as possible.


A cabbage tree in the background - Benvenue Cliffs walkway.

Timaru Herald, 2 November 1874, Page 3
The Timaru and Temuka line, again, presented only the smallest natural difficulties, apart from the delay and expense necessitated by the want of a harbor here. In short, it is hard to imagine an easier task than that of making a railway from Rakaia to Ashburton, or from Timaru to Young's Creek. Yet what are the facts The Ashburton line is little else than a tramway, on which light traffic may be carried on very uncomfortably, at a maximum speed of from eighteen to twenty miles an hour. No part of New Zealand is being so rapidly settled and cultivated just now as the neighborhood on both banks of the Ashburton, and the quantity of produce to be removed from it seems likely to be doubled or trebled within a very short space of time. The railway even now, cannot do half the work of the district, and m a year or two will be entirely inadequate to its requirements. Either that, it will be so overworked that its first cost will soon be equalled by that of repairs. The wear and tear on, a light, cheaply-constructed railway, of no matter what gauge, is always severe, but with a narrow gauge such as ours, the oscillation increases it considerably. The railway from Timaru to, Young's Creek, we know, is simply a ludicrous failure. The Government announced that it would be opened for traffic on the 1st of September, but the 1st of November has come, and there is not the smallest chance of its being opened for months yet. There are no preparations made for anything of the kind. The first essential, we are justified in supposing, for opening a railway for traffic, would he a complete and secure permanent way and the second speaking unprofessionally, and therefore with diffidence we take to be a supply of locomotives. Neither of these things has yet been provided between Timaru and Young's Creek. The line is in a wretchedly unsafe condition, and was actually impassable at the Washdyke during the bad weather a few weeks since; the bridges, if we may dignify the straddling scaffoldings at Whales Creek by such a name, are admitted to be, faulty in design and far from satisfactory in construction; there are no sidings, or, at all ever it there were none on the date fixed for opening the railway, no arrangements for signals, nothing whatever to guarantee the safe transit of passengers or goods. There are simply some very poor rails fastened slenderly to indifferent sleepers, and laid along a devious, undulating toad. The Government, we are sure, would not dare to run a train full of people at the rate of twenty miles an hour from Timaru to Young's Creek, while we doubt very much whether they would venture to take a heavy engine and trucks over the bridges at all. So much for the line. As regards the motive power available at the present moment two months after the date on which the line was to have been open for traffic we find that none whatever has yet been provided. There is an engine here, it is true, but it was never intended and is quite unfit for traffic purposes. It is small, inferior, with very little power, and is scarcely equal to the needs of the engineers, for whose use it was sent. There is some rolling-stock, but only sufficient for the very first beginning of a traffic. A cricket match or a race meeting would exhaust the whole resources of the railway, without appreciably affecting the traffic on the high road. There are no stations, platforms, or any of the appliances for travelling by rail no guards, no porters, no station masters, or any of the arrangements for supervising railway traffic; and if the line and the locomotives and the rolling stock were in existence and m working order to-morrow, it would still be utterly impossible to run a single train a day from Timaru to Young's Creek with safety and convenience. The fact that nobody wishes to go to Young's Creek, or that it is a perfect farce to have ever proposed to open the line at any point between Timaru and Temuka, does not m the least affect the question. What we desire to draw attention to now is, not the culpable neglect and delay on that part of the Government in failing to connect places by rail which would immediately furnish a large and remunerative traffic, and which are m urgent need of additional means of communication, but to the miserable make-believe skeletons of railways which are being constructed at places where the Government really centre their efforts, and achieve, what we are bound to suppose, is their maximum of success. Surely if it is a wise policy to make railways at all, it is wise to make good ones. What possible wisdom can there be in building lines which will not nearly do the work which is waiting for them now and sure to be enormously increased as time goes on we cannot be told that economy is the object aimed at. There is no economy in ill constructed, narrow-gauge railways such as those we have been noticing. These break-neck bridges at Timaru had actually to be repaired and patched up and strengthened, and almost remade, before a single truck had ever been over them; the embankment at the Washdyke has been twice damaged and repaired already owing to the wash of the lagoon, and there is no knowing how often similar expensive works may be necessitated, before the first passenger train runs along the line. There is certainly no economy m this kind of railway; but even if there were, it would be folly to" study cheapness at the expense of efficiency. It is a mournful thing for Canterbury that its excellent, comfortable, economical, and m all respects satisfactory railways such a« any country might be proud of— are to be torn up m order to give place to a meretricious, inefficient, tumble-down sham, such as the General Government narrow-gauge lines unquestionably are and it will be a still more melancholy prospect for New Zealand when all its millions of borrowed money are gone, and it has nothing to show for them but unfinished bits of crumbling earthwork, with rusty nails tacked on rotten sleepers on the top of them.  

Timaru Herald, 16 August 1880, Page 2
Evidence given on oath by Mr William Conyers, Commissioner of the Middle Island Railways, before the Railway Commissioners on the 5th July last.

Q. Who was responsible for allowing some three thousand pounds worth of rock to be carried from Lyttelton to Timaru, and to be pitched into the sea at Whales Creek?
A. The case was an urgent one, and we were glad to get rock from any place, at any price, as the traffic was entirely stopped by sea-encroachment.
Q. How long was this going on ?
A. Some months.
Q. And was it not possible to get rock at Timaru during those months ?
A. We did get rock at Timaru, and it was found to be very inferior to the rock we obtained from Lyttelton ; it would not bear the abrasion of the sea, and very soon became boulders, instead of rock. Mr Low, our Engineer, was most anxious that the Lyttelton rook should be used in preference to the Timaru rock. He watched it carefully, and reported very strongly upon it. And, further, the contractor in Timaru failed to deliver the quantity in the prescribed time. If I remember rightly, he abandoned the thing altogether.
Q. Can you say what you paid per ton for that rock in Lyttelton?
A." No ; but I shall ascertain. [Lyttelton rock, 6s; Timaru rock, 8s 6d]
Q. The rock which you attempted to procure at Timaru was not bluestone rock ?
A. It was not ; we could not got bluestone there. I never saw any.
Q. Is there not plenty of rock in the cutting a short distance this side of Whales Creek?
A. There is a thin, layer of volcanic rock through the cutting, but we required large quantities quickly, which we were in a position to obtain from Lyttelton.
Q. Do you mean to say that during three or four months the rock in that cutting could not have been blasted?
A. I mean to say that the rock within the railway-boundary was quite insufficient to supply us with the quantity required.
Q. Was any attempt made to use any of it
A. No, not from the railway-cutting. It would have been too expensive. There are several feet of stripping above it.
Q. Would not the cutting itself have been improved by the removal of that rock?
A. It would have improved the cutting, undoubtedly. The wider cuttings are, the better. ...

We have great pleasure in placing before our readers the foregoing statements by Mr Conyers. All of us, no doubt, have frequently wondered how on earth this gentleman earns his salary of £1200 a year or, at least, how he continues to persuade a gullible Government or Parliament to pay it. The cost of the management of our railways, in proportion to the traffic, is at least double that of any Australasian colony unaffected by the Berry blight. The abuse of patronage is a scandal to the country, and has been exposed twenty times over. The blunders in the time table are a laughing-stock to the public ; but, notwithstanding, Mr Conyers, of engine-fitting fame, must have a higher salary than the Minister of Public Works himself, and has hitherto prevailed upon this much-enduring colony to pay it. The man who could deny upon oath that bluestone was procurable at Timaru, just after two thousand tons of it had been pitched into the sea in front of the railway bridge at Whales Creek by his orders, really has a genius for invention : and we only wonder at his moderation in stopping short at £1200 a year. Everything he has touched has been bungled ; Our readers will remember that a short time since an enquiry was made by a Sub-Committee of the Chamber of Commerce into the relative merits and cost of Lyttelton and Timaru stone ; which resulted in the refreshing discovery that Timaru stone was infinitely harder than that of Lyttelton ; that it packed close under the action of the sea, instead of being rolled into boulders ; and that the minimum difference in cost was 3s 6d per ton in faver of Timaru. It was a constant source of unpleasant wonder to the railway passengers, and to the unemployed generally, why the resources of the district were not utilised, and hard bluestone from our quarries used in front of the bridges at Whales Creek, instead of the rotten friable rock from Lyttelton, furnished by Mr Conyers' friend, Mr Hawkins, lessee of the Lyttelton quarries, which may now be seen rolling in a long series of useless boulders towards the Waimataitai Lagoon. Mr Conyers' sworn evidence gives the needed answer. "We could not get bluestone in Timaru. " I never saw it there." And in reply to a question whether there was not - plenty of rock in the cutting on Mr Belfield's land comes the reply, " There " is a thin layer of volcanic rock through the cutting!" This "thin layer" shows ten feet of the hardest bluestone in the district, as Messrs Allan and Stumbles, who received compensation for cutting through it, are well able to testify ; while its depth has never been tested, as the contractors of course blasted the rock no deeper than the roadway required. But Mr Conyers, with subterranean acuteness, says it is "too thin ;" and the Minister for Public Works believes him. Let us see what this credulity has cost the colony. It appears to be admitted by the evidence quoted that three thousand pounds worth of rock, costing 6s per ton at Lyttelton, has been pitched into the sea at Whales Creek, making a total of ten thousand tons. The calculation by which the Chamber of Commerce ascertained the minimum cost of Lyttelton stone to be 12s 6d, took 5s as the cost per ton at Lyttelton instead of 6s ; we must therefore add is to their estimate of the difference in favor of Timaru stone, making 4s 6d in lieu of 3s 6d as calculated by them. The loss to the colony, therefore, through the veracious representations of Mr William Conyers, is 4s 6d per ton on 10,000 tons of rock, or £2250 ; to say nothing of the coming cost of supplying the place of the perishable Lyttelton rock with Timaru dolorite. Mr Conyors, however, fathers his misrepresentations on his Engineer, Mr Lowe, who was, he assures the Commissioners, most anxious that Lyttelton rock should be used. But Mr Lowe does not appear to have been examined by the Commissioners, and his evidence might not have agreed with that of Mr Conyers. We should be loth to condemn a man unheard ; but we should be grateful to any one who could tell us what the functions of a railway engineer can possibly be if not to overlook such works as the one protecting the bridge at Whales Creek. We find Mr Lowe has £700 a year; and his two assistant engineers — amiable young gentlemen without experience, who are being educated at the cost of the colony £475 and £385 respectively. What are these men paid for, if not to ascertain, plan, and superintend the construction of necessary railway works m the best and cheapest manner? If Mr Lowe, in what he believed to be the discharge of his duty, actually advised in accordance with Mr Conyers' evidence, then he has shown himself to be utterly unfit for his office, and the sooner he is out of it the better for the colony. Possibly, however, he used Mr Conyers' spectacles, and "never saw any bluestone in Timaru." It is dangerous, at times, to see more than the officer who has the power of dismissing one. No bluestone in Timaru! Why, it is the only building stone in the district; and would be far more used were it not for its extreme hardness, which renders it so difficult to work. As it is half the town is built of it ; and quarries of it are studded all along the line. If anything can open the eyes of the House of Representatives to the real claim of Mr Conyers to his £1200 a year, it will be a perusal of his quoted evidence. Possibly a glance at some of the cast-iron rubbish, stamped "Conyers and Davidson," over which one stumbles at Timaru station, might assist them to a fair inference. It may be that some Dunedin members would feel their seats m jeopardy, were the Commissioner of Railways to use his influence against them. No doubt, in the present disgraceful state of the Railway service, while the whole of the officials merely hold their posts at the pleasure of the Commissioner, and are promoted or dismissed according to his peculiar taste and fancy, a hint from him might influence sundry votes.


The Timaru Herald Mr Edward Wakefield was the editor.

Timaru Herald, 25 September 1874, Page 1
Excursion by Train. —

A train was got in readiness on September 19, to convey the public over the Timaru and Young's Creek portion of the Great Southern Railway, which is now nearly completed. Two o'clock was the time announced for a start, and by that hour a large number of people had assembled in the vicinity of the train, which was stationed at the end of Strathallan-street. Attached to the locomotive were four passenger carriages, and behind these were some seven or eight trucks, loaded with timber and other heavy material. The shrill note of the locomotive signified " all aboard," and in a very few minutes every carriage and truck was full of people, several ladies occupying portions of the carriages. The train shortly afterwards began to move slowly into the cutting, and the prospect of a pleasant country excursion of a most novel character to the inhabitants of Timaru was indulged in by all. The locomotive continued to proceed at a walking pace, but as it made such a puffing and blowing over this, and did not seem able to increase the speed, it became evident that something was wrong somewhere. Suddenly it stopped, and one of the officials ran back from the engine, apparently to see what was the matter. Upon his return to his post the whistle announced a move again, and in a second or two the train was flying along at a merry pace, loud shouting, rending the air at the same time. Upon looking out of the carriages the shouting was at once explained. The last of the four carriages attached to the engine had been uncoupled from the trucks, containing about 150 people, and numbers of these were seen running through the cutting to endeavor to catch the train, which was fast receding from their view round the numerous curves. The train crossed the two skeleton bridges, in front of Mr Perry's, at a slow pace, without much vibration being perceptible, and after passing through the next cutting and over the embankment, on the Waimataitai Lagoon, the cutting through the Waimataitai estate was entered.  


Nov. 2009. Russell lupins, Ashbury Park in the background

After passing through this cutting the Washdyke was soon reached, where a short halt was made. From this point, the country being very level and straight, a good speed was got up, and in a short time Young's Creek was reached. Awaiting the train at this place were from 50 to 60 of the residents of Temuka, whose hearty cheers were answered as heartily by those whom they had come to meet. Upon the Timaru party alighting from the train, they were invited by Mr and Mrs Arenas to drink success to the railway, an invitation which, we need not say, was accepted. Numerous bottles of champagne having been opened, and glasses filled, Mrs Arenas said that, on behalf of the residents of Temuka, she had much pleasure in congratulation: the people of Timaru on the construction of the railway, and hoped that it would shortly be extended into the town of Temuka, asking the company at the same time to drink success to the line. The toast was drunk with three cheers, and the Mayor Mr G. Cliff on behalf of the Timaru people, responded to the toast. The toasts of the engineer (Mr Mainwaring), and the contractor (Mr Stumbles) were then drunk, and duly responded to by those gentlemen. The toast of Mr and Mrs Arenas was also drunk, accompanied with three cheers, and the party shortly afterwards resumed their seats in the train, a start being; effected at 4-35. Timaru was reached at 5.5, the journey of about ten miles thus having been completed in half-an-hour. With the exception of a jolt here and there, the train ran smoothly, are we are informed that when the line is totally finished, there will be very little jolting perceptible.


Looking towards the Port of Timaru from the pedestrian bridge, Nov. 2009

Timaru Herald, 13 October 1881, Page 3
Opening of the Timaru and Temuka Railway.

The long looked-for opening of the Timaru and Temuka Railway took place on Oct. 26. The weather was all that could be desired for a public occasion, and other circumstances favored the event. The s.s. Albion, arriving in the early morning, brought as passengers en route for Dunedin, Sir George Grey, Sir John Richardson, Mr Fitzberbert, Mr Rolleston, and several other members of the Assembly ; and the Temuka Committee took the earliest opportunity of extending their liberal hospitality to all the distinguished visitors, by inviting them to the luncheon which had been arranged in celebration of the opening of the Railway. At twenty minutes past twelve a train left Timaru convoying all the big wigs, the minor stars, the Mayor and Borough Council, the Engineering Staff, and a miscellaneous assortment of the " dear delightful public," as Dickens used to say. After an exceedingly pleasant trip of about thirty-five minutes, during which the scenery the farming, the homesteads, and the general appearance of the country challenged the continuous admiration of the visitors, the train arrived at Temuka. Here an exceedingly pleasant sight awaited the arrivals. The station was most tastefully decorated with evergreens, flowers and flags, arranged in a manner indicating the hand of a master. We understand that Mr Mainwaring, the assistant engineer, and Mr McFarlane were the artists on the occasion ; and we are bound to say their work did them much credit. The most agreeable spectacle, however, at this point, was the number of school children gathered on the platform, whose bright chubby faces and pretty dresses made a charming display. As the passengers were alighting by the train, a surly-looking young man was heard to remark —" There's one queer thing about these New Zealand Towns ; — there are always six children to every two grown up people." Sir George Grey turned round and said, "My dear fellow, the time will come when you will be only too glad to realise that there are ten children for, at all events, one couple of grown-up people. Why, then, should you complain of six ?" Sir George's remark, which was uttered by no means sotto race, caused much laughter. After the children had sung the National Anthem, the guests walked about the town for a while, and at about two o'clock assembled in the Drill Shed, which had been very courteously placed at the disposal of the Committee by Captain Young and the local regiment of Volunteers. The arrangements here appeared to be perfect. A high table, raised on a dais, and gracefully decked with flowers and glass, accommodated the Chairman and the more prominent guests, while too long tables, placed lengthwise in the building, gave ample space for all the hosts and their friends. The luncheon, which, we understand, was arranged by Mr and Mrs Arenas, was excellent. Unlike most public " feeds " of the kind, it consisted of plain, well-cooked and well-served dishes, such as hungry men on a hot day do most delight in. The lamb called for the highest encomiums the ham was praised on all sides ; the salads met with general approval ; and he must have been hard to please who could not find something to suit him. A word here to the wise. Beer is good ; sherry is good ; port is good ; champagne is remarkably good. If you do you keep order. Don't drink beer, then sherry, then port, then champagne. If you do you will have a head, as sure as fate. However, the hospitality displayed at the table was worthy of all praise, and we should not say a word too much were we to say that the banquet — for it was a banquet — was as good as anything we have seen in the district. Mr Rolleston occupied the chair and Messrs Hayhurst and Rayner the vice chairs.
    His Honor the Superintendent was supported on his right by Sir George Grey, the Hon. Fitzherbert, Mr Cliff, Mayor of Timaru, and Captain Cain. On his left by Sir J. L. Richardson, Messrs Macandrew, Bunny, and Sheehan.
    After luncheon Mr Rolleston, who remarked that he had unexpectedly found himself in the position of chairman, proposed the health of her Majesty the Queen and that of his Excellency the Governor. In proposing the latter, his Honor said there were many Governors of New Zealand whom its people looked upon as friends. They had one such with them today. He alluded to Sir George Grey. The toast was drunk with enthusiasm. The toast of " The Army and Navy " was responded to by Sir J. Richardson, who, in an amusing speech, said he should possibly have to attend the funeral of Mr Rolleston, as Superintendent of Canterbury. His Worship the Mayor of Timaru proposed " The Health of the Members of the General Assembly, coupled with the name of Sir George Grey." (Hearty applause.) Sir George Grey, who was received with cheers, said he had to return thanks for the first time as a member of the General Assembly, of which he was but a young member. He was greatly indebted to them for coupling his name with the toast of the General Assembly, for in that Assembly had sat some men as great as any who had sat in any Assembly in the world ; men who added to their bright natural qualities that bright one — love for the people of New Zealand. He would go further on their behalf, and say that there was not one member of the Assembly who would have witnessed what he had seen that day — the opening of a railway through their district — with feelings other than those of most lively satisfaction. And what would they think like himself they remembered the time when m the country there was nothing but a few whaling stations, and they now saw what he saw through the window that day? As e looked at the country he felt that Providence had never bestowed greater benefits on any people — even on the Jews. Palestine could not have been a fairer country. And all the colonists of New Zealand had to do, was not to conquer an enemy, for there were none to conquer; but to produce. They had fulfilled that duty well. That day they had witnessed as a result of the enterprise of the colonists, the completion of a railway, which would ultimately connect them with Christchurch on one side and with Otago on the other. He trusted that the future of the district would be equal to the progress it had already made. And he felt that he could safely say that whoever was in the General Assembly, in behalf of which he was responding, that body would do all in its power to help the district  in a progress corresponding, to the great progress it had already made. (Loud applause). Mr John Hayhurst proposed, " His Honor the Superintendent and the Provincial Council of Canterbury," and, in doing so, said that whatever the result of the abolition of the provinces movement now agitating the General Assembly, none could say but that the province of Canterbury had done its work as well as any. (Hear, hear.) He held that the Assembly should not sweep the provinces away, unless they were prepared to give the people something better. (Hear, hoar.) He considered it a great advantage to be able to go to Timaru in forty minutes, and should be still more pleased when he was able to travel through by rail to Christchurch. Although he should have preferred to have been present at the opening of the railway three years ago, he thought they should be satisfied with what they had now got. (Applause.) Mr Rolleston rose and said it had been a great pleasure to him to be present to mark another step in the progress of this great district of the province of Canterbury, and particularly so as it was known to many of them he had a direct interest in this part of the province, it was indeed the part of the province in which he meant to make his home. (Applause. A voice, " Bunkum.") That circumstance, he believed, accounted for the desire to put him, although he came only as a visitor, into the chair. Although he could only look upon this as an instalment of the trunk line, its opening was a great event in the history of the district. In but a few months the railway would be opened right through to Christchurch. He was happy to be able to say that, during his term of office, great advances had been made by the country. These trunk lines did great things. Independently of Provincialism or Centralism, they tended to make the colonists of New Zealand a great nation of Englishmen. (Hear, hear, and applause.) He was not going into the present all-absorbing political question. In regard to that all he would say was that he stood to his colors. (Applause.) He believed the Provincial form of Government to be the best. (Hear, hear.) It had its failings and it had its mistakes. He believed that some changes were necessary, but the people would, sooner or later, find they had made a mistake if they believed that this great country was to be governed by telegraph and Under Secretaries. He was satisfied that the thinking men of the province of Canterbury were not imbued with this idea. No, they would insist upon being governed by men whom they could meet day by day, and by men whom they could respect. As he had already said, he was not going to detain them by a long speech. He would however say, that, whatever change came, they must hold on to real local Government in some form or other (hear, hear), and insist that the people and their rulers shall continue to come into contact in some form or other. His friend on his left had hinted at the possibility of his having to attend his (Mr Rolleston's) funeral as Superintendent. He (Mr Rolleston's) did not anticipate that the decision of the Assembly would lead to his funeral. Be that as it might, the people of the province who had dealt so kindly with him for years, might rely that his time would be always at their disposal. And here he would remark that the time was coming when men would have to give more time to politics than they hitherto had. Ho was not going to say that they had been too busy, or too prosperous, or that their industry and their prosperity had prevented their taking interest in polities. He did not fear the result of the coming struggle, for he felt that the people of the colony would be true to their best interests. But he felt sure that they would awake to the necessity of, and would take more interest in politics than they had in time past. (Hoar, hear) 
    Sir J. C Richardson rose and said he wished it to be distinctly understood that if he did have to attend the funeral of his friend the Superintendent of Canterbury, it would be in the capacity of chief mourner.        
    The Chairman called on Dr Rayner to respond on behalf of the Provincial Council. Dr Rayner did so in a few words, remarking that he and his colleague, Mr Hay, had always done their best in the interests of their district and the province at large. He referred to the pleasure felt by the inhabitants of their "little village " by having so many distinguished visitors among them that day, and thanked Sir George Grey and his friends for their attendance. (Applause.) Although he had spoken of Temuka as their little village, he might state that its surrounding district was very extensive, as evidenced by the fact that last year it produced 850,000 bushels of grain, and this year would probably produce not less than 600,000 (Hear, hear, from Mr Macandrew.) Therefore Temuka was not the insignificant village some might imagine it to be. Dr Rayner concluded his remarks by a defence of his Honor the Superintendent and the lion, the Minister for Public Works (Mr Peacock. " You mistake me for my big brother), from an attack made, an he alleged, on those gentlemen by the Timaru Herald, in reference to length of time during which the opening of the railway had been delayed.
    Mr Mendelson rose with some feelings of pride to propose what he felt to be the toast of the day — " Prosperity to the Timaru and Temuka Railway." In the course of his remarks Mr Mendelson  took occasion to complain of the present tariff of charges, which he regarded as almost prohibitive. He regarded Lyttelton as the only port in the province, and considered it not only the duty of those in power to open the roads to it without delay, but also to see their way to make the charges such that merchants, farmers, and others could afford to make use of the line when it was open. He begged to couple with the toast the names of Messrs Lawson and Warner. Mr Lawson briefly replied.
    Mr Williams, on behalf of the Public Works' Department, thanked the meeting for the toast and said that his duties in connection with the construction of the line had been light m consequence of the assistance he had received from Mr Mainwaring. He had heard many people complain of the opening of the line being delayed, but he must remind them that there had been great difficulty in procuring timber, which had to be obtained from New South Wales. Mr Warner, Provincial Railway Engineer, briefly replied. Dr Rayner proposed " Our Guests," coupled with the names of the Hon. W. Fitzherbert and his Honor Mr Macandrew. The toast was enthusiastically drunk. Mr Fitzherbert said he was deeply sensible of the compliment that had been paid him by inviting him as a guest, to witness the opening of the Timaru-Temuka Railway. However undeserved the compliment might be, he felt it to be kindly meant. He did not know what he had done that he should be called upon to make a speech. Why he should be " spotted " he did not know. Still, the occasion was one that would make a dumb man speak, and he would therefore try and express his thoughts. He, with others who had already made some remarks, remembered the district when it only bore fern and a few sheep, and those not looking over well. To-day it contained a thriving and, he was happy to say, partially discontented people (hear, hear, and laughter), and if he might trespass upon their indulgence, he would say a people very unenlightened on some questions. (Laughter and applause). He wished it could be his privilege to reside a month amongst them. He thought if he did so he might induce some among them to reconsider opinions which in his opinion had been too hastily formed. A gentleman opposite to him had that day uttered sentiments m which he (Mr Fitzherbert) coincided. He said he did not admire any man who had not the courage of his own opinions. He was proud to say he believed he was such an one. (Hear, hear.) In conclusion he would remark that he know of no greater honor than for any man, after he had labored, for wife and children, to be stow labor, body, and money for his country. They would be much mistaken if among the blessings of wife, children, and wealth, they thought those blessings could be perpetual unless they were ready and willing, when occasion arose, to withdraw from thorn and bestow a portion of their energies for the public weal. Before parting with them he would enjoin them in the name of their love for their adopted country, to judge for themselves, and to judge impartially, in that contest which was before them, and the result of which depended upon their conduct in the discharge of the duties which every elector owed to the colony. Mr Fitzherbert, whose speech was listened to with marked attention, resumed his seat amid great applause.
    Mr Macandrew thanked the meeting for the kind way in which the toast of his health had been drunk. He had had no idea on leaving Wellington that he should have had an opportunity of complimenting their district on the prospect of its connection with — Christchurch or Otago (Cries of  "Otago.") He would compliment them on being connected with both. Whichever they might prefer he felt bound to say that he should not be surprised, if judging by the institutions of Canterbury, Otago should wish to be joined on to Canterbury. (Loud applause.) Although he was Superintendent of Otago, he must confess that the institutions of Canterbury " take the shine out of us." He could only account for this by thinking it to be due to the wisdom of the rulers of this province. Be that as it might, the schools, hospitals, public gardens, and other institutions of Canterbury shamed those of Otago, and he should do his best to get the people of Otago to take a leaf out of Canterbury's book.
    Dr. Rayner proposed the "health of the Contractors, coupled with the name of Mr Stumbles and Mr E. G. Wright." (Applause).     Mr Stumbles replied, stating that he believed the work had been carried out in a workman-like manner. At this stage of the proceedings his Honor the Superintendent begged leave to vacate the chair, in order to show Sir George Grey over some of the public institutions of the township. Leave was granted by acclamation, and as the afternoon was far advanced the meeting did not appoint another chairman, but broke up, leaving the toast list unconcluded. The party returned to town at 5 o'clock, and Sir George Grey and the other visitors from abroad left in the Albion in the evening.  

Evans St. looking south
A southerly approaching from the south, 13 Nov. 2009 about 0800 hours.

   We are enabled to furnish the following particulars concerning the construction of the railway, stations, buildings, &c. : — The length of the line from Timaru to Temuka is eleven and a-quarter miles. The construction of the line from Timaru to the Washdyke Lagoon, a distance of about three miles, has been very heavy owing to the hilly nature of the country. From the lagoon to Temuka the formation of the line was simple, the country being level. To give an idea of the work in the railway at Timaru, we have only to state that before the site of the railway station was brought to the required level, a very large quantity of the cliff had to be excavated, the depth in some places being thirty feet ; and where excavation was not necessary the site was reclaimed from the sea. For the purpose of reclamation a protective wall was built along the edge of the sea. This is 378 feet long, 24 feet in height on the slope, and constructed of 15 inch stone pitching in cement. In the hilly part of the country through which the line runs north of of Timaru, the greatest depth of excavation has been performed, the cutting m some places being 37 feet, and in one place (the point where the line passes through the Waimataitai estate) the height from the surface of the ground to the level of the line is 47 feet. At this part there was some particularly heavy work, owing to the presence of rock. The contractors for the formation of the line were Messrs Allan and Stumbles. Not the least heavy portions of the railway line were the bridges over the Opihi and Temuka rivers. Those are massively built of wood, and are on the truss principle. The bridge over the Opihi consists of seventy one 40 ft spans, two 11 ft spans, and twelve 13 ft spans, making the total length of the bridge 3018 feet. The Temuka bridge, which, as is well known by residents here is situated only a few chains from that over the Opihi, comprises thirty-six 40 ft spans, two 11 ft spans, and twelve 13 ft spans, bringing the total length of the bridge up to 1618 ft. Mr E.G. Wright was the contractor for both bridges: In the total length of the line there are several small viaducts, the principal being the two at the Northern boundary of Timaru, one at the Washdyke and one at Young's Creek. Of stations there are four. The buildings at the Timaru station are four in number, the passenger station, locomotive shed and coal store, which are situated near George-street, and the goods shed which stands near Strathallan-street. All these buildings and the other station buildings are of wood. The passenger station is 51 feet by 21 foot in size, and contain — general waiting room 20 feet by 18 feet, booking office 7 feet 6 inches by 6 feet, refreshment room 12 feet by 9 feet 6 inches, private room 7 feet 6 inches by 9 feet 6 inches, station master's office 7 feet 6 inches by 11 feet 9 inches, ladies' waiting room 11 foot 9 inches by 11 feet 9 inches, store room 9 feet G inches by 5 feet 6 inches, and an entrance porch 18 feet by 8 foot. The locomotive shed is 60 feet in length by 33 feet in width. Stretching past the front of the locomotive shed and passenger station is a platform 150 feet by 12 feet. The coal store is 40 foot by 12 feet. The goods shed is 150 feet by 42 feet in size, and the solid goods platform is 60 feet by 15 feet. At the Washdyke station there is no building, but merely a platform. At Arowhenua the passenger station, which is 23 feet by 12 feet, comprises an office 11 feet 8 inches by 9 feet 6 inches, and a general waiting room 10 feet 6 inches by 13 feet 8 inches. The platform here is 100 foot long by 12 foot, and the goods shed is 40 feet by 30 feet. At Temuka there is a station master's house, which contains five rooms. The passenger station is the same size and similar to the one at Arowhenua. The goods Shed at Temuka is 100 feet by 42, and the platform 100 feet by 12 feet. The contractors for the station buildings at Timaru and Temuka were Messrs Ogilvie and Jones, and for those at Arowhenua Messrs Derby and Philps.


A freight train heading towards Lyttelton. Dashing Rocks in the background. Nov. 2009.

Auckland Star, 4 April 1873, Page 2
Wellington This day, The tender of Allan and Stumbles for Young's Creek portion of the Timaru and Temuka railway has been accepted. The amount was £7,131

Evening Post, 11 March 1881, Page 2
Timaru, 10 March. The express train from the South, when close to the Timaru station, to-day, ran into a team of bullocks, killing one and injuring two others.

Timaru Herald, 7 June 1882, Page 2
The heavy seas which have been experienced for some time past have made considerable encroachments on the land reclaimed by the Railway Department, in the neighborhood of the Canterbury Farmers' Association's new store and the new engine shed. Not much sympathy is felt with the Department, for the beach by right belonged to the Harbor Board. The worst of it is, however, that the clay, washed away will probably be carried further north and mixed with the shingle required for making concrete blocks for the Breakwater.  

South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project