Southland pair among first All Blacks

LLOYD ESLER
Last updated 14:04 05/09/2013
All Blacks
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Southland's first All Blacks were Harry Braddon and Jim O'Donnell.

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In the South

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Did you know. . . Southland's first All Blacks were Harry Braddon (later Sir Henry Braddon) and Jim O'Donnell.

They were part of a New Zealand representative team that was unbeaten in eight games in New South Wales in 1884.

Although the term All Blacks was still 20 years in the future, their uniform was black with a fern emblem.

Braddon and O'Donnell played for the Invercargill Football Club but had to play their provincial rugby for Otago, because it was 1887 before Southland Rugby was founded.

Where was Galbraith? Many thought he was the equal of Braddon and O'Donnell.

From the photo, the ball is clearly oval but the rules were rather different. O'Donnell is top left and Braddon is fourth from the right in the middle row. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

* The first stock underpass in Otago or Southland was built in 2001 (close to the border of both provinces) to connect two parts of the Jeff Farm. There are 208 stock underpasses in Southland District and half a one in Invercargill City.

* The Southland branch of Men of the Trees is the last remaining branch of that organisation in New Zealand.

It began in 1958. The organisation was founded in 1924 by Richard St Barbe Baker, who promoted afforestation, conservation and appropriate land use.

At one stage, Men of the Trees was represented in 100 countries and had assisted in the planting of an estimated 26 trillion trees. St Barbe Barker was a resident of Mount Cook Station from 1959 until his death in 1982.

* Southland's last day for regular passenger trains was February 10, 2002, when the Southerner made its final run after 31 years' service.

The train had six blue carriages, a buffet car and a guard's van hauled by a Dj locomotive. A strenuous effort to save the passenger link north failed and, after 137 years, scheduled passenger services in Southland ended.

* The largest paddle steamer to call at Invercargill wharf was the City of Dunedin, which visited Invercargill in May 1864.

At that time, the channel in the estuary was being dredged and vessels of this size could still reach Invercargill wharf.

The following year, the ship disappeared in Cook Strait, leaving a few fragments of wreckage. Tragic, but it was only one of 77 ships that vanished around New Zealand between 1850 and 1880.

* About The South Lloyd Esler 15 Mahuri Rd, Otatara, RD 9, Invercargill Phone-fax (03) 213 0404 email: esler@southnet.co.nz

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- The Southland Times

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