Friday, March 23, 2012

The Old Totara Tree - by T.F Gallagher 1906


I strolled along the other evening,
As the sun set in the west,
Amongst the grass and bushes,
Where the wild bird builds her nest,

I kept along the rocky path,
Where all things seemed so still,
Till I stood beside the rugged trunk
Of yonder tree upon the hill.

In boyhood's years I'd known it well,
For on each summer day,
Beneath its shady boughs,
We'd gather there to play.

Up the rocky hillside,
And down by the rippling creek,
 Amongst the grass and flakes
We'd play at hide-and-seek.

Along the stony ledges
And through the leafy bowers
We'd find the wild birds' nests,
High up, 'mid the clematis flowers.

But those glories, all are o'er.
My comrades now lie still;
We'll play no more at hide-and-seek
'Neath that old tree upon the- hill.

For Time, with its sudden changes,
Has altered all since then,
And beneath that shady tree
We'll never meet again.

Now often in my dreams I see those comrades still,
 But when daylight comes
That tree alone remains upon the hill.

And may it flourish there for ever,
While the sun sets in the west,
Till the sorrowing cease from sorrowing
And the weary sink to rest.

T. F. Gallagher. Kakanui, March, 1906.

- Sourced Otago Daily Witness 21 March 1906

Friday, February 17, 2012

Riding the Bull to School in 1911

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19110223-6-5 
Taken from the supplement to the Auckland Weekly News 23 FEBRUARY 1911 p006
W. G. Gordeon-Jones Auckland Weekly News

I found this image a fascinating reminder of how farm animals can be utilised in all kinds of ways. So far I've been unable to establish the identity of the boy on the young animal he is using as transport for school. The bull is most likely of the Shorthorn breed. If anyone knows anything about this image please let me know. I'd be very interested to know more about this.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Antarctic Blue Whale at Matakana

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19071205-2-1
Taken from the supplement to the Auckland Weekly News 05 DECEMBER 1907 p002

In December of 1907 a large Antarctic Blue whale was seen stranded near Matakana in the Rodney District. Residents were quick to take the opportunity to capture the unfortunate cetacean, by roping its tail and tying it to a kedge anchor. The whale was also shot several times. It died later on after restranding and ended up being stripped for its blubber.

A large whale was observed a few days ago, lying some distance out at sea from Matakana (says the "Auckland Star") and a party of residents succeeded in securing its tail with a noose attached to a kedge anchor. Several bullets were also discharged into the huge mass of flesh without any apparent result, but the cetacean afterwards obligingly beached itself at a convenient spot. its captors stripped the carcase of about two tons of blubber. The dimensions of the carcase were found to be 69 feet in length, 36ft. in girth, 12 feet across the tail, and 12 feet across the jaws.

Colonist 9 December 1907

A search into various biology websites reveals that the whale in the image is most likely an Antarctic Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus ssp. intermedia ). Blue whales are now classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List. Allegedly they are now fully protected, however Blue whale meat has been found in Japanese fish markets in the recent past proven by DNA testing.