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Paddlewheels on the Wanganui
by Alec and David Reid
Publisher: Blackwood & Janet Paul Limited, Auckland, 1967, first edition.

Very good hardback with dustjacket. Gift inscription to end paper. Slight bumping to spine ends. jacket has some chipping and creasing to edges with a tiny tear.

118pp, maps on eps, b&w photo illus.

"In Victorian times the Wanganui River was one of NZ's most notable tourism attractions, with paddle-wheel steamers taking passengers on three-day trips with over-night accommodation provided cruise in either a river side guest house or on a specially designed floating houseboat. That was one side of the story of the river boats. The other was to provide a regular and reliable service to the settlers and settlements along the river, which passed through rugged country were no roads existed. The river boats were able to navigate 144 miles up-river to Taumarunui, in which distance it was necessary to negotiate about 240 rapids as the river rose 500 feet from sea-level at the upper reach of the river trip. The story is based on the recollections David Reid, who tells the story of the river and its paddle boats to his nephew, Alec Reid. He describes how they "bumped and churned" over the rapids taking supplies to the riverside residents, carrying livestock, farming equipment, mails and news from the outside world. The river was the lifeline of the river's residents and a "must see" for visitors to NZ. David recalls the excitement, the hazards, the characters and humorous incidents from his 12 years on the river, remembering also the serene beauty of the river, as well as its rushing white water on the rapids. This is a well-told personal account that records an early, but now little remembered, river boat venture that was relied on by pioneer settlers, the Maori villages and adventurous travellers. (Two Reid brothers Peter and David both sailed the river as paddle boat engineers.)"
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