Train crash took brothers
Every week the South Waikato News delves into its archives to see what was making the news 10, 25 and 50 years ago. This week we found stories on Tangiwai disaster remembered, Tokoroa SPCA attempts to find pooch’s owners and Tokoroa experiences an outbrea
10 years ago 50th anniversary stirs Tangiwai memories
December 23, 2003 Christmas is a time for family, but for Reverend Bruce Cockburn of Mangakino and others of his generation it is almost a time to remember the 151 people who were killed in New Zealand’s worst rail disaster at Tangiwai.
This Christmas Eve is the 50th anniversary of the tragedy, in which a lahar (silt laden flood) travelled down the side of Mt Ruapehu’s crater lake, down the Whangaehu river, wasting away a railway bridge minutes before the night express from Wellington to Auckland was due.
Out of 285 people travelling on the train 151 died – 123 bodies were recovered and identified and 20 people were never accounted for.
For Bruce, this time of year is a very poignant reminder of his two younger brothers, John, aged 17, and Douglas, aged 12, who were travelling to Takapuna for the holidays to stay with their grandparents.
Bruce says normally they would have gone on a limited express but it was full so his mother got them tickets on the special.
They left Wellington at 6.30pm.
His brothers were the third and fourth of seven children.
25 years ago Pampered pet is at a loss
January 12, 2003 The Tokoroa SPCA is hop- ing to find the owner of a female chihuahua-cross dog it has held in its care for the past week. SPCA officer, Doreen Harvey said the SPCA normally would be looking for a new home for the animal after this time.
‘‘ But she is so obviously someone’s dearly loved pet, so we hope someone will recognise her and claim her,’’ she said.
The dog was very pampered, ate from people’s fingers and was used to being carried a lot and sitting on people’s laps, Mrs Harvey said.
She was originally picked up by a dog ranger, who turned her over to the SPCA because she was too small and fragile to be left in the pound.
50 years ago Mild outbreak bacillary dysentery
June 27, 1963 Tokoroa is at present experiencing a minor outbreak of bacillary dysentery, according to the Matamata County’s health inspector, Mr WJ McNicholas. He reported to the monthly meeting of the County Town Committee that at least eight families, 20 cases in all, were affected. A medical practitioner and a member of the town committee, Dr FP Rawley, informed other members that he considered the problem had passed its peak.