Invercargill tram back on the rails

Did you know . . . continuing the tram theme from last week . . . two Invercargill trams are preserved at Ferrymead in Christchurch.

They are Tram 5, which entered service in 1912, and Tram 15, dating from 1921. The 10 original trams travelled an average of one million miles each.

After the war, new buses arrived and the end for the trams was approaching. Invercargill’s last trams ran on September 10, 1952, with New Zealand’s last trams, the Wellington ones, ending their service on May 2, 1964.

Regrettably, none of the Invercargill trams were preserved as a museum piece, but Number 15 is now ready to hit the rails, thanks to the dedicated team of restorers at the Tramway Historical Society at Ferrymead.

Southland’s longest sentence could be the legal description of Invercargill’s boundaries, which appeared in the Gazette on October 8, 1981.

It begins: “All that area in the Southland Land District containing 5616 hectares, more or less, bounded by a line commencing at Bushy Point on the western shore of . . .” and concludes after 39 breaths, no full- stops and 1773 words . . . “thence north-westerly along a right line across the New River Estuary to the point of commencement.”

That’s more words than the Gettysburg address (271 words), “I have a dream” (1651 words), Kennedy’s 1961 inauguration address (1392 words), King George VI’s announcement of the start of the war (404 words) and the Reagan speech on the Challenger disaster (649 words), but without the literary merits of any of these.

Television reached Invercargill in 1956, when Maurice Wills picked up an Australian broadcast on an imported TV set – the first overseas telecast seen in New Zealand. TV became widely available in Southland in 1964, with the completion of the repeater station on Kuriwao Hill.

Southland’s first scenes on postage stamps were Mount Pembroke – a tuppenny stamp in the 1898 pictorial series – and Milford Sound, a two shilling stamp in the same series. Both Pembroke (also the old name for Wanaka) and Milford are Welsh names bestowed respectively by Welsh captains Lort Stokes and John Grono, both natives of Milford Haven.

Southland’s first female sparky was Jane Officer, who in 1984, became the third woman in New Zealand to qualify as an electrician.
Source: stuff

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