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

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

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.

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