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A small ceremonial shovel. The shaft of the shovel is polished wood with a small curved handle. The head of the shovel is polished silver, with engraved text " PRESENTED TO / S.G. SMITH ESQ. / By Contractors J.T. Julian and Son / On the occasions of turning the first sod / ON THE MANGAMAHOE DAM CONTRACT / 25. 3. 29 ".
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This ceremonial shovel was presented to Sydney George Smith, who was an MP for Taranaki, then New Plymouth, as well as Minister for Education. Sydney's father was Edward Metcalf Smith, also a member of Parliament in Taranaki. Sydney worked on the railways for 20 years. His first tenure as the MP for Taranaki was in 1918, and was minister for Labour and Minister for Mines under the United Government between 1920 and 1931, and Minister of Education from 1934 to 1935.

Sydney turned the first sod on the Lake Mangamahoe dam project in 1929, and this miniature shovel was presented to him in honour of the occasion. Lake Mangamahoe was created by damming an area and flooding 79 acres. The dam was created to provide more water for New Plymouth's rapidly growing population. The lake was filled with water in 1931.
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