Women making mischief

In this fortnightly column Carol Bell looks at events locally, nationally and internationally as the world moved towards the Great War.

July 2, 1914

The "Wild Women" of England were creating "further mischief", having flooded the organ at the Albert Hall and causing damage estimated at £2000. Many precautions were taken by the police at Henley to prevent the burning of boats.

The bodies of the assassinated Archduke and Duchess were being returned to Austria amid mourning crowds. The British House of Commons passed a resolution of sympathy with the Royal House of Austria but Serbian newspapers, while expressing sympathy over "an act of anarchist folly" couldn't resist pointing out that the outrage was a consequence of the bad old Austrian police system and the lack of real liberty in Serbia.

July 3, 1914

It was noted that three sealing expeditions had got away from Bluff for the present season which ended on 30 September - two operating in the immediate vicinity of the Sounds and Stewart Island and the other heading for the Auckland Islands.

It was "semi-officially announced" that a large increase in the German naval personnel was imminent because problems in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Pacific necessitate a stronger representation abroad.

July 6, 1914

It was noted that there were 200 labourers out of work in Dunedin, many of them men with families. The Government was to be requested to put some railway work in hand. The following day a paragraph recorded that Dunedin's unemployed had been given work on the Waihao Downs railway extension, a camp of 20 tents being erected. It was also noted that the district had recorded its hardest frost of the winter, 8 degrees of frost having been recorded at the Domain.

July 8, 1914

The Waimate school committee recorded there were 516 children on the primary roll and 59 on the secondary, the average attendance being 454 and 55. The teachers required manure and lime for the school gardens and improved shelving in the science room. More land was being procured for a playground.

July 10, 1914

Waimataitai School was closed until July 20 after an outbreak of diphtheria. Several pupils were suffering from the disease and that fact had alarmed parents who kept their children away. Although the sanitary conditions of the school were said to be beyond question, it was decided to close the school for a thorough clean and disinfecting in the hope of appeasing the pupils' families.

July 15, 1914

Under the heading "Peasant Woman as Avenger of Wrong" it was reported from St Petersburg that a woman had shadowed a monk named Rasputin for a fortnight, and fatally stabbed him in the village of Pokrovsky, Tobolsk. Rasputin, it said, was an illiterate Siberian peasant who gained great influence with the Czar as a miracle worker and rose to power in court circles.

And from Paris a report that the Government had been told its army's equipment was inferior, ammunition insufficient and shells old and dangerous to handle. The army was also said to be short two million pairs of boots and it was stated that millions of francs voted for defence had been wasted.

The SC Museum, SC branch of NZ Society of Genealogists, Timaru Herald and volunteers are working on a database of SC participation in World War I known as SCRoll. Information or memorabilia relating to this period for inclusion in the project would be welcomed. Contact Tony Rippin at the museum or Carol Bell on carolbel@ihug.co.nz

The Timaru Herald