In the South
Southland's linen flax production began in 1941 when fields of linen flax were planted for processing plants at Otautau, Gore, Winton, Woodlands and Tapanui.
Linen flax produces a soft, silky fibre, more easily spun and woven than New Zealand flax fibre. Britain relied on linen imports to supplement its own production and a ban on exports by Russia in 1938 affected the supply.
With the German invasion of Eastern Europe, Britain's supply of linen flax dropped by 90 per cent and the British Ministry of Supply requested that New Zealand plant 15,000 acres (6070 hectares) of linen flax to make up the deficit.
The fibre was needed for textiles - notably the fabric covering of Wellington bombers - and for such things as fire hoses, parachute lines, webbing and canvas, packs and tarpaulins.
The seeds are crushed for linseed oil.
The government built 17 factories for this purpose, imported 500 tons of seed in October 1940 and contracted farmers to grow the crop. The photo shows workers at a flax processing factory.
Southland's first canal was proposed by Julius Vogel in his novel Anno Domine 2000. He suggested a canal draining Lake Wakatipu to the Mataura River thus exposing the bed of the Clutha for gold extraction.
In 1885 there was an investigation into cutting a canal from Fortrose to Bluff, linking the Fortrose Estuary, Waituna Lagoon and Awarua Bay. The longest canal actually built forms part of the Monowai Power Scheme.
Southland's production of coal gas ended in Invercargill on December 1, 1986, after 110 years. Ageing gas reticulation, cost effectiveness of LPG and the competitiveness of electricity for cooking and heating made it uneconomic to continue.
Southland's remotest school is Garston School which is 45km from its nearest neighbour - Lumsden School. Halfmoon Bay School is 35km from the nearest school in Bluff and Blackmount School is 30km from its closest neighbour, Hauroko Valley School. There have been 300 schools in Southland, some, such as Martins Bay School, were extremely remote.
Southland's champion hammer thrower was Frank Ford who threw an 18lb (8.1kg) hammer 117 feet and 2 inches (35.7m) at Invercargill on September 20, 1906, for a world record. The current world record using a standard 16lb hammer is 86.74m.
About The South
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