The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 5 (September 1, 1929)
After Forty Years — “An Upright Boss.”
After Forty Years
“An Upright Boss.”
At a function held on 14th August, officers representing all branches of the service gathered to do honour to Mr. John Cameron, District Traffic Manager, Wellington, on the occasion of his retirement on superannuation after completing forty years in the service of the Department. In the course of a fine speech, the General Manager of Railways, Mr. H. H. Sterling, paid the following tribute to Mr. Cameron's work and worth.
Mr. Sterling stated that as on previous occasions when members of the staff had gathered together for the purpose of farewelling a superannuated member, he approached the matter with mixed feelings of pleasure and regret. They all felt the pleasure that one who had honourably served the Department for forty years had at last attained the right to enjoy untrammelled the pleasures of private life. He was pleased to see so large a representative gathering of Mr. Cameron's fellow officers. It showed to how great an extent he had gained the esteem and confidence of those with whom he had worked. It indicated that Mr. Cameron had held the scales of justice evenly and with honour to himself and those associated with him.
“In your view,” said Mr. Sterling, “as railwaymen of the Wellington branch of the service. Mr. Cameron has been a just and upright ‘boss.’ This is a big thing to say of any man—that he is so able to hold the scales of justice that he is universally regarded as unswervingly upright. But I can say it from the point of view also of-one who has to look at Mr. Cameron's work and judge its effect on the Department and the public. On this account also I desire to express how deeply sensible we are of the loss which the Department has sustained in his departure.”
Mr. Sterling went on to say that the efficacy with which a traffic district was controlled could be judged somewhat from the complaints which arose in it. On this point he could say that so far as the Wellington district was concerned, during Mr. Cameron's six years’ regime the complaints had been nil. (Applause.) As General Manager he had never had cause to lose a night's sleep through anything arising out of events occurring in Mr. Cameron's district.
Mr. Sterling said that Mr. Cameron's record of experience and the ability he had applied to his work had produced an officer of the highest quality. While at Invercargill he believed Mr. Cameron had worked through every job in the office below that of District Manager. Mr. Cameron had done his duty by the country and so placed the country under a debt of gratitude for which superannuation was but a poor return. (Applause.) The staff felt that they could not let Mr. Cameron go without some tangible evidence of their esteem and recognition of his long period of service in the Department.page 13
Mr. Sterling then presented Mr. Cameron with a handsome grandfather clock suitably inscribed, a splendidly upholstered easy chair, as gifts from the Wellington district staff generally, and a handsomely bound book as the particular gift of Mr. Cameron's own office staff.
Mr. Sterling said that he hoped that the gifts would serve to remind Mr. Cameron of the best wishes they all extended to him for a long and pleasurable retirement. At the same time, he hoped that Mr. Cameron would keep in touch with his fellow-members of the service and afford them opportunities of drawing on that store of knowledge that he had accumulated during his long service.
Other speakers who paid a tribute to Mr. Cameron, both as a railway official and as a man, included Messrs. H. Valentine (Chief Accountant), G. H. Mackley (Chief Clerk), P. G. Roussell (Superintendent of Transportation), J. W. Reay (Assistant District Traffic Manager), G. G. Stewart (Officer in Charge of the Publicity Branch), C. Harrington (in charge of the Locomotive Branch, Thorndon), R. Hampton (Secretary Railway Officers' Institute), W. Shierning (Transport Officer), W. H. Gill (Secretary Wellington Branch Railway Officers’ Institute), W. Marshall (representing the Commercial Branch), G. H. Fanzlow (representing the Refreshment Branch), F. G. Molesworth (representing the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants), and others.
Replying, Mr. Cameron, who was greeted with loud applause, said that public speaking was to him an ordeal at any time, and it was more so on this occasion on account of the special circumstances. He could not claim to have earned all the encomiums which had been so generously given him, but he did appreciate the splendid send-off. In all his dealings, said Mr. Cameron, he had always endeavoured to merit the goodwill of his staff, and any success which the Wellington district might have achieved, and he must say that they had at least held their end up, was due to the co-operation of the staff. He keenly appreciated the gifts and the goodwill which they carried with them.
Very enjoyable musical items were given by the Melody Four—Messrs. R. S. Alwright, S. Duncan, F. A. Bryant, and W. Marshall—while Mr. W. H. Rennie was an able accompanist.