Alison Wright Houliston

Alison Wright Houliston

Female 1857 - 1934  (76 years)  Submit Photo / DocumentSubmit Photo / Document


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Article from the "Otago Witness" of Saturday 25 August 1860

The article talks about the arrival of the "Pladda" with John Bringans, Janet Mitchell and Bethia Breingans as passengers, the conditions in Otago at the time and concerns about the rapidly growing immigration to Otago.

The Otago Witness — Dunedin, Saturday, August 25, 1860

The Pladda

Our annual stream of immigration has again set in with the Pladda, which arrived here on the 16th inst. with 371 passengers. The advantages possessed by immigrants now over those of the early days of the Settlement, in the arrangements for the landing of the passengers and the discharge of the ships was very clearly exemplified in the case of the Pladda which anchored off the Heads on the 16th instant, and from the unprecedented continuance of late of strong south-west winds, would have been there almost till now but for the advance which Otago has made in having steamers on the coast, by one of which - the Geelong - the Pladda was on Saturday towed up to Port Chalmers, and her passengers landed on the Dunedin Jetty on Monday morning. The voyage presented no features of peculiar interest. Measles had broken out, and there has been a rather considerable number of deaths, principally infants. The vessel was temporarily put in quarantine, but after the visit of the Health Office it was not considered necessary to delay the landing of the passengers. As usual on all occasions of the arrival of immigrant ships there is a number of reports afloat, and it had been circulated that small-pox had shown itself. From enquiry we understand that there was no foundation for the rumour. The state of the weather since the arrival of the immigrants, has been very unpleasant, such as to produce anything but a favourable estimate of the climate of Otago; but perhaps. our new friends having left the home country after one of the severest winters known for many years, may not be so struck with the unusual state of the weather as, we older colonists are, especially by contrast with the delightful nature of the last corresponding season. The demand for the services of the new arrivals is good; all the female servants, amounting to 47, having found places, - most of them not being under the necessity of going to arracks at all, but proceeding at once to their respective homes. Single men and youths have mostly had eligible offers, and many have taken employment, but, as usual, the question of the rate of wages as prevented many, mostly married men with families, from entering into the engagements at once. Carpenters and mechanics always find it more difficult to find occupations than mere labourers, but the former have the opportunity of work at the barracks now in the course of erection, which the government have deemed it advisable to put up, in consequences of the advices from home of a larger number of immigrants, in a shorter time, than was expected.

It has fortunately happened that the instructions given to the Home Agents not to forward immigrants in the winter time have been attended to, or there would have been much inconvenience from the unusual severity of the winter. As it is, the "Pladda" has arrived quite soon enough: the passengers by her, although suffering the inconvenience of coming in for the tail end of the bad season, will have the advantage of having the first offer to fill the vacancies in the labour market; and although the bad weather has somewhat checked agricultural operations and lessened the demand for hands, the moment spring operations begin in earnest the demand will materially increase. It is very generally stated - although we don't know upon what data - that 3000 persons will arrive before January. If such should be the case, the demand for house accommodation will be much greater than there is at present the means of supplying; and the sending a number of mechanics in the first ship will prove a wise precaution on the part of the Home Agents; and it will be well for those having land in Dunedin to take advantage of the number of mechanics to build cottages, for which they will have an ample demand, with a sure and large interest upon the funds expended. The "Robert Henderson" may be looked for immediately; the "Henrietta" probably will arrive at the same time; the "William Miles," from Bristol, will not be long after, unless she be detained at Canterbury, where she will probably go first; and the "Bruce," although a private ship, will contain a considerable number of hands, which will be thrown upon the labour market. No doubt our contemporary will find fault with us, but we confess that we have some doubts of the prudence of this very rapid immigration. It is possible that we may be unwisely timid on this subject, and be wanting in that go-ahead spirit so much in vogue in modern days. However that may be, it is too late to stop the supply, and our former experience shows us that any over supply of the labour market can be but temporary. We have considerable funds voted for public works, and a very large number of hands will be required to make roads and carry out these public works; - we may therefore look for something extensive being done before the next winter. We are, in fact, to go ahead extensively both in immigration and public works; but whilst the public of Otago have been forcing on the Government a go-ahead policy, we must remind them that they too must join in the movement, or it will break down. They must supply themselves somewhat more extensively with sawn timber, otherwise then by importation; there must be more houses, and of a better style, built. Land must be extensively cultivated. We must not have the Mills stopped, as at present, for want of wheat to be ground: in fact, every individual in the community must do his utmost to advance the prosperity of the Province. The old peaceful jog-trot of our earlier days must be given up, or we shall find that we have set a machine in motion which we cannot keep pace with. To return to the more immediate subject of our reflection, the arrival of the Pladda; in conclusion we can only repeat the old advice to New arrivals, not to refuse an offer of a good situation in hopes of getting a better; not to waste time and money by staying about the town, but to get to work at once; a few pounds saved at the commencement of a colonial career, may be worth a hundred at a subsequent period; and each and all to go to work with a hearty determination to succeed in his or her new home.

Linked toAlexander Bringans; Bethia Bringans; Robert Allen Fairbairn; Adam Houliston; Agnes Houliston; Alison Wright Houliston; George Houliston; Jane Houliston; Margaret Houliston; Robert Houliston; Robert Houliston; Samuel Houliston; Janet Mitchell; Alice Wright

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