Snippets in Time: Trains, white swans and cakes

Meghan Hawkes looks back on the news as it was reported in 1935.

This derailment blocked the main trunk line.

  • Nine train wagons loaded with lime came off the rails near Te Awamutu disrupting rail traffic for the next 12 hours. The train consisted of the engine, 30 wagons laden with bagged lime, a passenger car and two vans. The derailed wagons, which piled up in a small cutting to a height of 14ft, tore up over 260 feet of track and damaged a telegraph pole.  No passengers or crew were injured, although some surface men replacing sleepers narrowly escaped being hit by the wreckage. Twenty surface men were hurried to the scene to remove tons of lime from the wrecked trucks. Passengers were transferred from Te Awamutu to Te Kawa by bus and the lime placed ready for reloading by the side of the line under tarpaulins. Some passengers did not realise there had been an accident until they alighted from the carriages.
  • An outbreak of fire at Kihikihi totally destroyed one of the country’s largest honey refineries. The refinery of Messrs Otway and Williams, a large wooden building, was found to be in flames around 2am but the fire was well alight and impossible to put out. The refinery contained a modern extracting and refining plant as well as 50 tons of recently extracted honey which burned for hours.  The cause of the fire was unknown.
  • A pair of white swans at large on Lake Oneroto near Ōhaupō evaded many attempts to capture them.  The swans were from Lake Te Koo Utu, Cambridge.  Mr J Meredith eventually caught one of them but the other was very wary and repeated efforts to catch it failed.  Several days later it flew back to its mate on Lake Te Koo Utu where the pair could seen nonchalantly swimming about the lake.
  • A quantity of cake was among items stolen from the Ōhaupō store of the Farmers’ Co-operative Auctioneering Company after entry was forced through a back window. Also taken were drapery, clothing, footwear, a leather coat and tobacco.  During the previous six years thieves had entered the premises five times and stolen goods.  Detectives from Hamilton visited Ōhaupō  to investigate the burglary.
  • Members of the Pirongia-Suburbs football teams were proud that Jim Wynyard, a member of their senior team, was picked to represent New Zealand in the All Blacks tour of Britain, Ireland and Canada. There was great confidence that he would do his best at all times.
  • Pirongia’s annual Football and Hockey Club’s ball was held at the Memorial Hall where autumn flowers decorated the stage and supper room and several of the club’s silver cups were on display. Swift’s Orchestra from Te Kuiti provided excellent music.  A feast of fashion was on display including gowns of cherry windswept velvet, wine satin and silver lace, black and lemon checked taffeta and Phantom red crepe.


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