Times Past

25 Years Ago

The Arun for Aith campaign was given a boost on Wednesday when planning permission was granted for a new pier.

The original planning application from the RNLI had been refused by the Shetland Islands Council in June because of several problems in the plans, but since then the institute had made what the SIC planning director described as considerable efforts to overcome these problems.

Now the RNLI intended to trans­port less than a fifth of the building materials for Aith by road and would bring most of it in by sea in a barge, officials reported.

Mr Mann said the RNLI was willing to sign a Section 50 agree­ment which would give the council extra controls over the development. The agreement would be used to limit the amount of building materials brought in by road and stop construction work during the night and on Sundays except by prior written consent.

Mr A. I. Tulloch was unhappy about the amount of traffic which would be generated by the work, but he moved that planning consent be granted. He was seconded by Mr Davy Johnson who said: “If we don’t allow this to go in by road then how do we do it? By helicopter?”

50 Years Ago

Mr W. L. Hastings, county sanitary inspector, lavished praise on Shetland dairymen in his annual report.

He notes the desirability of ensuring that only designated milk is sold to the public. At the end of last year only two registered premises did not carry a designated license and dally gallonage from these premises represented approx­imate­ly only two per cent of the total amount of milk produced. It was hoped this year that it might be possible to grant designated licenses in respect of the two remaining properties, one in Yell and one in Unst.

Another notable feature was that 55 per cent of the milk offered for sale to the public was bottled, com­pared to 30 per cent in 1958, and that eight per cent was delivered to hotels and rural schools in sealed cans, leaving only 37 per cent of milk to be sold loose.

Estimated numbers of milch cows in dairy byres at the end of the year was 458, an increase on 29 since the previous year.

Mr Hastings recalls that one of his duties, when he was appointed in 1942, was to inspect dairy premises and to report any contraventions of the bye-laws, and to keep a register of premises. Since there was no register kept at that time, detailed inspections had to be made, as a result of which it became clear that none of the premises conformed in all respects to the bye-laws: in fact some were unsuitable for the business.

The transformation was due to two factors – the eventual willing­ness of the producers to improve their premises and co-operate with the sanitary inspector and the support given to the inspector by members of the Health Committee.

Members of the local authority agreed that the dairymen deserve to be complimented on their outstanding achievements.

100 Years Ago

We have had the pleasure of a visit from Mr J. W. Irvine, son of the late Mr John Irvine, farmer, Houlland, Tingwall parish, who is home on a visit after nearly 22 years of absence from Shetland.

Mr Irvine started life as a beach-boy and was then a Faroe fisherman, and after leaving Shetland sailed on the Australian coast for a short time. In September 1889, he left the sea and proceeded to the Peak Hill diggings, subsequently visiting many other gold fields, and finally settling down in Sofala, N.S.W., about 170 miles inland from Sydney, where he wrought for some time at gold digging. He is now engaged in apiculture, or bee keeping.

Mr Irvine is very anxious to make known to his fellow islanders the almost boundless capacities of New South Wales in every direction, awaiting, as it does, only men with brain and muscle to turn all into permanent sources of income.

There is no difficulty about the land question, says Mr Irvine. The New South Wales Government are prepared to grant on easy conditions what are called “living areas,” that is, the quantity of land upon which a man can live comfortably and bring up a family respectably. The N.S.W. Government are also prepared to grant assisted passages to both men and women, and this is not confined to any particular class. But at the same time people who wish to settle on the land are preferred. Good character is looked for, and our islanders can come up to that test very well. Some means to start with will be a decided advantage.

The climate, as we all know, is healthy. December and January are of course, hot, but the rest of the season is glorious, even to a new chum. Workmen’s wages in New South Wales look well compared to home rates. Carpenters and brick­layers earn about twelve shillings per day; labourers, with the exception of farm hands, about 8s 6d; gold, silver and copper miners, a similar figure. Coal and shale miners are paid according to the output, the average being about 15s to 16s per shift of eight hours and good practical miners can easily make £1 or more in the same time. Domestic servants are always in demand, their wages rising from ten shillings to thirty shillings per week, and even higher according to their capabilities. To this class and also to single or married men who desire to emigrate, the trouble is the great distance – though that is a matter of less moment than formerly – and the passage money. It is advantageous to have a friend in the Colony to nominate you, but to those who are not in that position the Agent-General in London will afford all needful information. Mr Irvine will also be pleased to communicate all he knows about the Colony of New South Wales to any intending immigrant. He knows many Shet­landers who are doing very well in the country.

Mr Irvine arrived in Shetland on the 1st June, and has spent a most enjoyable time visiting his friends and relations. He intends leaving London on 22nd July for his adopted home in sunny New South Wales.


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