2 months ago

Fitzgerald's Town

52. Boating on the L1.

52. Boating on the L1. Dinners A dinner was often held after a sports meeting, such as a cricket match or a ploughing competition, sometimes to honour a worthy member of the community, or to celebrate some special event. A dinner to celebrate an especially abundant harvest was held at the Prebbleton Hotel in March 1870. The Provincial Superintendent, William Rolleston, J. Hall MHR, A.C. Knight MPC, and most of the leading farmers of the district were present. As was customary on such occasions there were numerous toasts to which those honoured made suitable reply and often alluded to important matters of the day. In reply to one toast Mr. Shand spoke of the need to support the introduction of insectivorous birds in order to control the pests damaging wheat and other grain crops, and Samuel Glyde commented that he would like to see a Farmers’ Club, similar to the Leeston Club, established in the Lincoln district 9 . Besides the toasts it was not uncommon 148

for some to entertain their fellow diners with song. Whether the singing was of a high standard is a matter for conjecture, although reports were frequently complimentary, but there is no doubt that people were used to entertaining, and as they must have had plenty of practice, their efforts were probably of a high standard. Dinners were usually held in either the hotel at Lincoln or at Prebbleton. The quality of the fare was said to be good, or even excellent, and a tribute to the skills of the hotel cooks. The participants were invariably male, whatever the occasion, and the only role for the womenfolk was to be the subject of the toast, “The Ladies”, to which there was no one to respond. Women were present at tea meetings, school picnics and concerts and for these their participation was an absolute necessity as the main providers of refreshments, and often as entertainers. Concerts Concerts were another form of entertainment, mostly staged to raise funds for the school, for a club, or to celebrate the opening of some facility. Items were usually contributed by local talent although occasionally entertainers were brought in from as far afield as Christchurch. The published accounts of the concerts were often generous in their praise of the performance although it seems that some were less than remarkable. Thus, The Press 10 states of a concert held to raise funds for the Lincoln school that “the talent of the performances and appreciativeness of the audience, can certainly vie with any of the season”. At another concert held in that year a choir performed with credit, but would have been heard better had they faced the audience. Sometimes a musical item was spoiled because the audience would beat time with their feet which must have annoyed the performers and those who wanted to listen quietly to the music. One irritated individual suggested that if the ceiling was lowered the audience could bump their heads against it instead of stamping their feet upon the floor, and that “one could ascribe it to a desire to discover whether they possessed any brains”. 11 The items presented at these concerts were mainly musical, although readings from the classics, a poem, or a comic speech were often presented, usually by a well known personality. Mr. Glyde apparently was a capable entertainer as were Mrs Galletly, one of the first female European settlers in the district, and Howard Charles Jacobson, Lincoln schoolmaster, and later founder of the Akaroa Times. Mr. Arklie, the first proprietor of the Perthshire Arms read a story at one concert 149

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