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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 6 (October 1, 1927)

Otago Letter. — Wingatui Wins Station Gardens Competition

page 39

Otago Letter.
Wingatui Wins Station Gardens Competition.

Indeed, indeed, Repentence oft before
I swore-but was I sober when I Swore?
And then and then came Spring,
And Rose-in-hand
My thread-bare Penitence apieces tore.

It is not long since we were feeling the chill blasts of winter, when our contemplation of the garden revealed a picture of sombre aspect in which a few late autumn flowers struggled fitfully to maintain the lingering memory of the past summer season, serving but to accentuate the approach of the season which spelt their doom. A few short weeks earlier these gardens had thrown forth their effusions of flowers and clothed the landscape in vivid colour-bright tokens of prosperity and joy.

When the gardens were at their best the annual competition among the station gardens of the district was held under the sponsorship of the Otago Women's Club. The interest was keen, and many fine displays were judged. The first prize and cup were awarded to Wingatui, Burnside and Fairlie being equal second, while Green Island and Allanton were equal third. The winning garden was certainly the result of tasteful planning and much hard work, reflecting the greatest credit upon those responsible for it. The other gardens, Balclutha, Port Chalmers, Waihola and Warepa were of a high order, and the margins between the respective prize-takers were sufficiently small to stimulate interest for next season, when it is hoped a still higher standard will be attained.

A most pleasing feature of the competition is the presentation of the gardening cup, and on a recent afternoon about thirty members of the Women's Club visited Wingatui to attend the function. There was a fair gathering of Wingatui residents, signifying the general interest in the competition. Mr. Benzoni, District Engineer (whose assistance has largely contributed to the success of the scheme), and the station staff, were also in attendance. The cup was formally presented by Mrs. Edmonds, President of the club, and received by Mr. Couch, Stationmaster, on behalf of the station staff. Many congratulatory remarks were passed regarding the success achieved by the various stations, and it was emphasised that the pleasing results showed the wisdom of the Department in fostering the initial movement of laying out the garden plots. After the little ceremony an enjoyable afternoon tea was provided by the Wingatui ladies. The gardening club members then visited the gardens at the adjacent stations.

Apart from the competitive aspect from which the participants derive such satisfaction, neatly kept gardens wonderfully improve the station surroundings and are the source of much favourable comment from passing travellers. The scheme is yet in its infancy and in the near future the garden will become a natural adjunct of the station premises.

Flower Show Honours.

Mr. H. I. Hungerford, signalman of the Dunedin Passenger staff, won the amateur championship of twelve blooms with flowers of exquisite shape and colouring, while Mr. W. A. Bartlett, Dunedin Passenger yard shunter gained first prize with three white Japanese blooms which received high commendation. Mr. Sexton, staff clerk of the District Traffic Manager's office, entered for the first time and although he showed only one bloom, an Edith Cavell, it secured first prize and compared favourably with the best in the show. It seems that unfortunately it was the modesty of the competitor which robbed the Railways of further honours in this direction as the gardens contained some magnificent specimens of many varieties. It is hoped that more of our expert gardeners, if there are many in the service, will strive for similar honours next year.

R. O. I. Re-union.

It was a happy thought which prompted the local Committee of the Railway Officers' Institute to arrange a social re-union, and the function held recently was an unqualified success. The promoters of the evening certainly achieved their aim in re-uniting the members in the bonds of fellowship. Besides providing a cheery night's entertainment, they resuscitated the interest in the society which had been unaccountably lessened during the last few months. Mr. Lefevre, the branch president, presided and extended a welcome to several visitors including Sir Charles Statham, page 40 Speaker of the House, and Mr. H. C. Campbell, Chairman of the local Railway Advisory Board. Mr. West (District Traffic Manager), several other senior officers, and representatives of the sister societies were also present. The usual toasts were honoured and the remainder of the evening was spent in song and story. The efforts of the Committee met with the entire satisfaction of the members and visitors alike, and the next re-union will be keenly awaited.

Dunedin W. E. A. Economics Class.

Much interest is being manifested in the Workers' Educational Association in and about Dunedin, and a striving class devoted to the study of Economics is now held weekly in the main office of the District Traffic Manager. Some months ago it was arranged that six lectures should be given dealing with matters of topical interest to railwaymen, and three lectures were delivered in the Railway Social Hall, Dunedin, the initial lecture, “The Function of Transport in Production,” being delivered by Dr. Allan G. Fisher, Professor of Economics at Otago University; the two following lectures, “The Transport Revolution of the Nineteenth Century” and “Will there be a Transport Revolution in the Twentieth Century?” being given by Mr. R. W. Souter, M. A. These lectures were well attended and were of great interest, but it was realised by both the lecturer and the class that from the point of view of class tuition they left something to be desired; it was then suggested, and unanimously accepted, that the lectures should take the form of instruction in economic theory, it being held that no appreciable progress was possible unless the class as a whole could approach the subjects scientifically. The change was attended with highly satisfactory results which disposed of any doubts which may have been held regarding the wisdom of the step: the membership increased to forty members, greater interest was displayed in the movement, and it was generally felt that the tuition was of the highest value to railwaymen, fulfilling a very necessary want in connection with a member's training, apart from the broader aspect of citizenship. Mr. Souter has gained considerable distinction in the Economic field and has imparted valuable knowledge in delivering his many lectures which have covered: “The Economic Problem (industry); the theories of “Normal Price,” “Monopoly Price,” “Distribution of Wealth- ‘Capital and Interest,’ ‘Labour and Wages”’; “Money-the mechanism of exchange”; “International Trade”; and “Banking and the Foreign Exchanges.” The members thought the subjects strangely inapplicable to their generally professed impecunious state, but thought the store of knowledge necessary against a sudden accession of wealth, which, however, does not often fall to the lot of the railwayman.

The value of the lectures is indicated by the interest of the many senior officers who attend them. These experienced members realise that the knowledge to be gained is now part of the essential equipment of the successful officer and they prevail upon the younger members to persevere in the study. As one remarked, “I wish I were twenty years younger to take full advantage of it.” The management has encouraged the class and it is clear that the service will benefit by the increased efficiency of the students.

Spring-Time-New Zealand
(A Vision.)

Land of my heart's desire, I think of thee
And of thy wondrous beauty.
Land of my heart's desire, I stand
Upon the threshold of another spring
And sing-
Another spring!
And the delight
Of virgin green spread o'er the land;
Of sun-kiss'd flowers, birds on the wing
From dewy dawn to twilight.
Soon the delight
To see once more the butterfly
Tasting the fragrance of the new-born rose,
Or on the bosom of a leaf repose
Filling with sunned warmth his rainbow-wings.
Oh the delight
Of all the myriad little insect things
So soon to creep, to crawl, to fly;
To watch the bee at morning-hour,
Industrious, haste from flower to flower!
Soon the delight for me
To rake the rankling garden-weeds,
To sow again the tiny seeds.
From whence shall grow bright poppy-blooms,
With which my Sweet adorns her rooms.
Soon the delight to see
A youthfulness in everything.
Of another Spring
In my land-
New Zealand-
I sing…I sing.