Home' Greymouth Star : April 25th 2015 Contents www.greystar.co.nz
West Coast Anzac special
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SATURDAY, APRIL 25, 2015
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
River erosion plan
The West Coast Regional Council
is looking at building a rock spur and
diversion channel to reduce erosion
by the Grey River, near Taylorville.
Planning and environment manager
Mike Meehan said contractor Fulton
Hogan had put forward a plan to
tackle the problem. “ We are trying to
find a solution to the river cutting in
where it is. We had some discussion
with the rating district out there
and lodged a consent application.
The rating district community, they
would like to get help with some
work, but we want to meet with
the contractors and some of the
stakeholders out there before we
go through with it.” The consent
proposes excavating a diversion
channel and constructing a small
rock spur to deflect the river away
from the riverbank on the Taylorville
side of the river, on the approach
to the township. “ The flow of the
river will be encouraged to take the
path it previously took before the
erosion cycle began,” according to
the consent. Mr Meehan said at this
stage it remained just a proposal.
Heavy falls, strong north-easterlies
A phone thief took a selfie before
stealing a model he preferred — only
to be caught when police identified
him from the photo. Ivan Balashov
was browsing through smartphones
in a shop in Novokuznetsk, southern
Russia when he took a picture of
himself wearing a bobble hat and a
fake Reebok top. But after deciding
the camera on the mobile was
not good enough, the 22-year-old
grabbed another handset and headed
for the exit. When police arrived they
quickly discovered Balashov ’s selfie.
A police spokesman said: “ The man
is well-known to the police so when
the shop assistant told officers he
had been taking photos with another
phone they immediately recognised
him and were able to go straight to
the man’s house.” — Daily Mail
A heritage rail expert says the Kingston
Flyer could give a boost to West Coast
tourism, though it may not return a
Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn
recently floated the idea of buying the
mothballed train and Development
West Coast is looking into it.
Federation of Rail Organisations of
NZ president Grant Craig, who is also
operations manager for the Taieri Gorge
Railway near Dunedin, said if the Flyer
was brought to the West Coast it may
need to be subsidised, but it would also
help draw visitors to the area.
“ If the community is willing to back it,
it will bring people for accommodation,
if you look at the bigger picture and not
just the train,” Mr Craig said.
He saw nothing standing in the
way of a West Coast bid, if a heritage
order was revoked allowing it to leave
the Q ueenstown Lakes district. The
Queenstown council is expected to do
that within weeks.
However, Mr Craig said there was a
question mark over whether the steam
train would be viable.
Other things to consider included
where it would be ser viced. As the
Kingston Flyer, the train had been
running on a branch line at 15mph
whereas the line to Hokitika was far
“ You can’t take a 64-tonne loco to the
local garage to be ser viced. ”
Mr Kokshoorn has suggested adding
a spur line from Paroa to Shantytown
so that the train could be housed and
maintained there as part of the steam
Mr Craig said another risk was that
people could simply drive the same route
to Hokitika, pull over and photograph
the train passing, rather than forking out
money to travel on it. That was a problem
it had faced in its current location.
The Taieri Gorge Railway was different
as it passed through an isolated area.
Another challenge would be ensuring
that tour coach drivers, already on tight
schedules, stopped long enough to allow
their passengers to take the trip.
Mr Craig said the proponents would
also have to consider whether passengers
coming off the Tranz Alpine would be
interested in another train ride.
However, putting aside those issues, he
said the train was an icon.
“ If they are willing to put money into
it, and probably subsidise it, it will bring
people to the West Coast.”
Meanwhile, Grand Pacific Tours, a
New Zealand coach holiday specialist
that buses several thousand tourists
around New Zealand each year, says it
is excited at the prospect of bringing the
train to the West Coast.
Managing director Peter Harding said
they were “delighted” at the prospect of
the Flyer coming to the Coast.
“Grand Pacific Tours places a large
focus on rail travel and we would be in
full support of this and would be keen to
place some significant tour series work
into this produce,” Mr Harding said in a
letter of support.
He told the Greymouth Star that during
the peak of the season they could have
up to 25 coaches operating throughout
New Zealand, mainly tourists from
Australia, and more recently some
from the British, Canadian and North
One of its best-selling tours is a 19-
day rail, cruise and coach holiday which
offered several different rail experiences
as a key highlight.
“ We have been excited about the fact
that the Kingston Flyer could be used
on the West Coast to create a new rail
experience,” Mr Harding said.
Tour bus company excited
An extensive database being
compiled reveals more details of the
West Coasters who fought in both
Gordon Sylvester, of Taylorville,
has been undertaking the mammoth
task in his free time. He said he got
interested in war history after spotting
an unusual medal case at Shantytown.
The database, which covers the
entire West Coast, totals 3161
names, including those of men who
enlisted from towns that no longer
exist such as Baxters Siding (one),
Brighton (one), Globe Hill (three),
Goldsborough (two), Lyell (two), and
Some towns which have since
shrunk in size sent a vast number of
men to the battlefields — Blackball
(100-plus), Brunner (37), Denniston
(30-plus), Ngahere (27) and Ross
Five Campbell brothers went from
Ngahere (all returned), and five
Comports from Rimu — only two
Five West Coast chaplains served in
the wars, all returning.
Mr Sylvester has identified 28 men
who ser ved either in the Boer War
plus World War One, or World War
One plus World War Two. Incredibly,
one man, George Mackay ser ved in all
three conflicts, most probably never
leaving the West Coast in World War
Two, possibly as a member of the
The highest ranked West Coaster to
die in World War Two was Captain
Butland, of Hokitika, and from
World War One it was Greymouth’s
Major Charles Brown, who became
Brigadier-General. He died in France
in 1917. Nine nurses also served.
A number of those who enlisted
from the West Coast were not New
Zealand born. There were eight
Welsh, four South Africans, 39 Scots,
one Italian, seven Irish, an Indian, a
Finn, two Canadians, 59 Australians,
and 44 Englishmen.
Mr Sylvester started his task with
the rolls of honour, adding in dates of
birth and death.
The database will be made available
to West Coast museums when it is
complete. Features, p 6-7
Coast war roll at 3161
A 15-month-old baby flown
from Greymouth to Auckland’s
Starship Hospital on Tuesday has
died. Police say the boy was rushed
to Greymouth Base Hospital’s
emergency clinic in the early hours
of Tuesday morning. Later in the
day he was flown to Starship for
specialist treatment, but he died on
Thursday. Police are investigating
the boy’s death.
PICTURES: Nicholas McBride
More than 300 white crosses adorn the Grey District Council front lawn, representing those from the district who died during or as a result of
World War One. They were made by the Air Training Corps.
An estimated crowd of 2500-3000 at the Greymouth cenotaph for the Anzac Day dawn ser vice this
A crowd of nearly 3000 stood silent at
the Greymouth cenotaph dawn ser vice
to mark the 100th anniversary of the
They amassed in the early morning to the
sound of Vera Lynn’s ‘ We’ll meet again’.
Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn
said it was really humbling that so many
Coasters “have come to remember our
fallen”. He told the crowd of the rain, snow
and wind the soldiers endured.
“One hundred years later, West Coasters
have not forgotten.”
Father Peter Costello said told a story
of how his uncle had briefly stepped away
from his post and returned to find his
comrades had been killed by a bomb.
“I can see why ... they never wanted to
New Zealand Army captain Steven
Jackson said it was a time to remember not
only those who died, but also those who
returned: “ They are and always will be, the
sons and daughters of New Zealand. We
will remember them.”
At the Grey District Council, more than
300 white crosses have been laid out on
the front lawn representing those from the
district who died during or as a result of
World War One.
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