Times Past 19.06.09

25 Years Ago

Major expansion of Shetland fish catching and processing industries is proposed in the Goodlad Report which sets out a 10 year plan for fishing.

Commissioned by the SIC by Dr Alistair Goodlad, the report proposes a huge investment of possibly £40 million in the industry from the SIC on top of aid from EEC, HIDB and other agencies.

The basis of the report is to develop a modern industry capable of surviving and expanding into the 1990s. One of the main themes is to try and ensure as much of the industry’s income and the wealth it generates is kept within the Shetland economy.

Both the fishermen and the processors have accepted the report at the SIC’s fisheries working group and the report received an enthusiastic welcome at Monday’s special development meeting – although it was stressed the report represented only policy guidelines rather than “a bible” which had to be followed to the letter.

Once the full council gives the report the official stamp of approval next week, both sectors of the industry and SIC officials will begin preparing detailed policies based on its recommendations.

The main recommendations in the report include: expansions and modernisation of the white fish fleet, with up to five new and bigger boats; a possible doubling of demersal landings, increased mesh sizes giving bigger, more valuable and marketable fish; replacement of older purse seiners; a large new cold store mainly for pelagic species, but also for whitefish at times of oversupply; a new pelagic processing factory with prices to encourage the landing of both herring and mackerel by local and UK boats; modernisation of processing factories; joint marketing by all processors; improved management of processing industry; a training programme for the industry; an independent quality control service; construction of fishing vessels in Shetland; improved harbour facilities; more efficient handling of fish at markets and cheaper freight costs to Aberdeen and on inter-island ferries.

50 Years Ago

The Old Rock – It now seems almost certain that, in common with local newspapers throughout the country, The Shetland Times today faces a withdrawal of labour by its printing staff. The facts of the national dispute will be known to readers, but it may shock them to learn that at a local level there is very little reason for this stoppage other than that, once again, Shetland has been swept along with the big battalions.

It is a matter of regret to us and to our printers that both parties feel obliged to maintain the unity of our respective organisations on issues which we might more readily resolve at a personal level. The employee/employer relationship in this office has not been damaged by the long-drawn negotiations which have culminated in a national strike. The Shetland Times has been rewarded with a good service by printers who have for some time enjoyed wages and conditions well above the minimum.

Today, however our printers are under orders to withdraw their labour unless we are prepared to concede the national claim on hours and wages. It is not open to us to negotiate – it is all or nothing – and we cannot accept that situation either as individuals or as members of the employers’ organisations.

In these unfortunate circumstances, we ask readers and advertisers to bear with us. We hope to preserve continuity of publication to whatever limited extent our unskilled hands permit. Contributors and advertisers are asked to send in copy as early as possible in hope that it may be possible to effect publication.

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Shetland Educational Committee are to have “another look” at the 11-plus examination system and the method of promoting pupils in the islands.

A one-day teachers’ conference will be held next session and the findings will be reported back to the educational committee for their consideration.

At Monday night’s education committee meeting, Mrs R. A. Johnson said that up and down the country education committees were having a second look at what was known as the 11-plus examination. She thought it had come to the time when Shetland should look at it in the same way. Frankly she did not think that the 11-plus had been a success. Every year there were cases of young children who had done very well at school but they had gotten a slap in the face when they were told they had not made the grade.

100 Years Ago

Discovery of a Prima Donna – Intimation was made recently that Madame Melba, while on her tour in New Zealand had discovered a young lady who had developed remarkable musical gifts, but it is only this week that we learn that the young lady is a Shetlander. The following notice appeared in the Melbourne “Age”, of 3rd May: – Last New Zealand mail brought particulars of Madame Melba’s discovery of a contralto voice, showing such exceptional promise that she proposes to train it herself. The young lady who thus finds herself famous is the youngest daughter of a farmer who emigrated from Shetland about 35 years ago, and settled in Stewart Island. A Sydney lady, on intimate terms with Madame Melba, told the great singer of the voice so well-known in the district, and the ambition of the young singer, and also arranged to let Madame Melba have the opportunity of judging for herself. Madame Melba was delighted, and in letters received in Melbourne she states that “it is the most lovely contralto voice I have ever heard” – high praise from one of such world-wide experience. She has arranged for the young lady to study with her on her return to Melbourne in September, and in the meantime to enter the classes of the University Conservatorium.

It may be of interest to state that the Miss Thomason, the young lady referred to above, is a relation of Mr. James Thomason, County Councillor for Walls, and of Mr. Matthew Thomson, Watsness. By her mother (née Barbara Peterson) she is related to Mr. John S. Peterson, Melbourne (Peterson & Co., Flinders Street), to Principal Peterson, M’Gill University, Montreal, to the late Peter Peterson, Professor of Sanscrit, Elphinstone College, Bombay, to Arthur Peterson, K.C., London, and also to Dr Franklin Peterson, Professor of Music, University Conservatorium, Melbourne, who has, at the request of the Prima Donna, undertaken to superintend the musical training of his young kinswoman.


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