Author Topic: Snow on Rimutakas causes Traffic Madness July 1939  (Read 1997 times)

Offline JennyLeez

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Snow on Rimutakas causes Traffic Madness July 1939
« on: July 13, 2015, 11:55:16 AM »
An interesting read and photo from 76 years ago:

Snow on Rimutakas causes Traffic Madness.

A dusting of snow on the Rimutakas was greeted with reckless excitement in 1939, showing how far Wellingtonians' grasp of road rules has advanced in 76 years.

Nightmarish traffic jams were caused by thousands of fun-seekers driving up the Rimutaka Hill Road on July 30.

"Mass gaiety afflicted Wellington and Wairarapa motorists," The Evening Post reported with pursed lips of disapproval.

"Snow on the Rimutakas! Great fun. Let's get to it! And they did, a thousand or so car parties yesterday afternoon. It takes all sorts of foolishness to keep mankind amused, but what happened on the hill road yesterday went beyond foolishness. It was mass motoring stupidity."

Early in the day cars crammed the flat summit, and soon cars were parked two or three deep halfway down the hill on both sides.

"There was complete confusion at the bend at the wind-break, with cars at all angles, bumpers and mudguards locked," the Post said.

"Cars slid back and into the ditch or on to the car behind, and wherever the jam was worst irrepressible idiots added their bit by pelting and dumping armfuls of snow through open windows."

The experience was deeply distressing to one motorist, as he told the paper.

"There was a complete riot of motor-cars. People were rushing about and running into each other and cars became wedged against banks. It was the most harrowing experience I have ever had."

It took some families five hours to get off the mountain, the Post said, and parents "allowed their children to run hither and thither throwing snowballs at people in the cars that were trying to find a way through the congestion".

Two Transport Department officers were dispatched to help, but could not make their way through the traffic jam. The road was still blocked as night fell.

"No one who was jammed up on the hill till dark yesterday is likely to whoop and pile into it again when a warning of dangerous conditions is given," the Post said.

That month was the coldest July in Wellington since records began in 1864, with a mean temperature of 6.3 degrees. It hailed eight times and snowed three, down to Kelburn and Thorndon.

The Dominion Post.

« Last Edit: January 17, 2017, 09:58:59 PM by JennyLeez »

Living in Wairoa, Northern Hawkes Bay

Offline Rwood

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Re: Snow on Rimutakas causes Traffic Madness July 1939
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2015, 07:24:06 PM »
July 1939 was the coldest month on record for for NZ as a whole, going back to at least 1909.

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