Timaru's Breakwater

Timaru's Breakwater

Timaru Herald 4 December 1879 pg8

The Breakwater Celebration Nov. 7th in honor of the completion of the first section of the Timaru Breakwater. The Mayor, Captain J.H. Sutter, declared a half holiday. By half - past one 2000 persons had assembled on the works. The Mayor mounted one of the large concrete blocks and on his right an left hands wee Mr Allan and Mr Stumbles, the contractors for the Breakwater. The Timaru Caledonian Band had discoursed sweet music ad libilum. Mr Goodall, the Harbor Board's Engineer said that the Timaru Breakwater was the beginning of the prosperity of Timaru. (Cheers). He reckoned that in less than five years they would have Home ships discharging and loading under the shelter of the Breakwater. (Hear, hear, and applause.) Dunedin and Christchurch people were jealous. People had told him ten months ago in Dunedin and Christchurch "Oh, you will never do the work. You are throwing the money into the sea." (Laughter.) "I will have a vessel alongside in less than twelve months." They said 'Bosh, you will never get a vessel in," but the vessel had been got in already. Timaru is the garden of the South Island, and in five years from now Timaru town would be equal to what Dunedin city is now. (Hear, hear.)

An adjournment was then made to the Railway Goods Shed, where a banquet in Mr J.B. Witt's best and well known style was provided. The Timaru Volunteers Rocket Brigade, who had already aroused the slumbering echoes of the town, and broken a few windows by firing salutes from the Lighthouse and whose worthy chief (Captain Mills) had made a grand display of bunting from the Signal Station, formed a guard of honor at the entrance door, which was on the seaward side of the building, and was set off with ferns and other evergreens. On entering the banquet hall, a most delightful sight was presented, two tables extended along its whole length, while a short cross one, was fixed at the top. The walls were hung and trailing plants, and a number of flags were suspended from the ceiling. It was one of the first - if not the first - occasion on which ladies had graced a public banquet in Timaru with their presence, and their presence lent extra zest, and added greatly to the éclat of the whole proceedings. Mr Filbert Archer (Chairman of the Timaru Harbor Board. Mr Moss Jones. Apologies from His Honor Judge Ward, Mr Wakefield, M.H.R., and Mr Conyers, Commissioner of Railways. Mr Woollcombe responded and said that when he as connected with the navy they used to fight with wooden hulls; now they fight under cover of iron ones.
Captain Hemaersly and Mr R.A. Chisholm responded. Mr Woollcombe had the greatest pleasure in coupling the toast with the name of the  father of Timaru - Captain Cain. (Cheers)

The father of Timaru - Captain Cain

Mr Belfield toast to "The Harbor Board."
Mr B.J. Lane proposed a toast to "The Engineer to the Timaru Harbor Board" (Mr Goodall). For 15 or 16 years that had endeavoured to get a Breakwater at Timaru, but there efforts proved unsuccessful even with a large grant of Government money until Mt Goodall appeared. He had heard one Christchurch friend say that the concrete of the Timaru Breakwater would be eventually dredged out of Lyttelton Harbor in the form of mud. (Laughter)
Mr Goodall said it appeared strange to him to look back two years - to a time when he first came to Timaru - and mark what changes had taken place in that time. The Harbor Works were a success, but they had dragged along too slowly to please him. Coming to the shingle as it affected our works, he would say be believed he could chuck it over from one side of the Breakwater to the other at a cost of 1000 a year, and there let it go on its quiet journey as it liked. But even if it cost 10000 a year to do so, it would be to the interest of Timaru to spend the money, for it was intended by nature to be one of the first twons in the colony. (Applause)
Mr Lough, Town Clerk - services rendered - Mr Jackson and Mr Gibson responded as members of the Borough Council.
Mr Wikldie - a speech of considerable length proposed "The Agricultural and Pastoral Interests of South Canterbury" coupled with the names Messrs H.J. Sealy and Stericker.
Mr P.W. Hutton, "Health of the Press" in the most eulogistic terms. The Timaru Herald supported not only the Breakwater but all works of public utility. (Applause.) An outspoken and fearless Press was the mainstay of a country, and he believed the Timaru people possessed that mainstay. For years the Lyttelton Times had opposed our Harbor Works, but since Mr Kerr had come down here as its representative, we had seen justice done us. He coupled the toast with the names of
Mr Hall of the Timaru Herald
Mr Kerr of the Lyttelton Times
Mr Williamson of the Evening Telegraph
Mr Stringer of the South Canterbury Times
Mr Hall responded. It was true the Timaru Herald had adversely criticised schemes which had been brought forward, but it had done so in a kindly spirit. It considered it was its duty to guard, as far as lay in its power, against any possible failure of the Harbor Woks, and if in performing that duty it had created any ill-feeling, he trusted all differences would be buried now, when the Harbor Works, as designed by Mr Goodall, had proved a perfect success. On the harbor Works depended the future greatness of Timaru. If they were a failure, then must we be content not only to lay second fiddle to Christchurch and Lyttelton on the one hand, and Dunedin and Port Chalmers on the other, but we must continue to be the mainstay of their prosperity. If the works were a success, Timaru was bound to rival them in importance.

Mr Robert Stansell, the proprietor of the South Canterbury Times responded.

We live in times when the newspaper was a great social, political, and moral power, one so great that it could not be overlooked by those who would comprehend the character of their country or its nature of those processes by which the action of a mighty nation was directed. The Press, which was formerly the privilege of the educated class, had become the patrimony of the people. ...... exclaim, "For in spite of all temptations to migrate to other regions, we remained in Timaru." (Applause.)

Mr LeCren proposed a toast "The ladies". Mr Tosswill responded. He could only say that the many pretty faces he saw there that day spoke a great deal more than he could say.
Mr Moss Jonas said he was only doing his duty to his adopted country. Ever since Mr Jones had been in Timaru, he had come to the fore in all public matters and was always ready to had a subscription list for any good object. The success of the banquet was mainly due to him, for he was the initiator of it.

After the room was cleared, the tables were respread, and the members of the Rocket Brigade, the railway employees, and a large number of the men lately engaged on Messrs Allan and Stumbles' contract, sat down. During the second banquet the health's of the Harbor Master and Mr Stumbles were drunk in proper style. At its conclusion Mr Stumbles was hoisted on the shoulders of his men, and carried round the street, proceeded by the band.

About nine o'clock in the evening a party of the Rocket Bridge assembled at the Station, and proceeded to the Breakwater, where they exhibited illumination and other lights and let off several sky- rockets with good effect. On returning to the Station, a social hour was spent and several capital songs being given by the members. The proceeding were brought to a close about eleven p.m. with "Auld Lang Syne," and "God Save the Queen."  The day will always be a red letter one in the history of Timaru.


The breakwater, Timaru - Photograph taken by William Ferrier, Between 1910-1913

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