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Title: Six Letters From the Colonies
Author: Seaton, R. C. (Robert Cooper), 1853-1915
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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     [PRINTED FOR PRIVATE CIRCULATION.]


     SIX LETTERS FROM
     THE COLONIES.


     BY R. C. SEATON.


     HULL: WILDRIDGE & CO.

     MDCCCLXXXVI.



PREFACE.


I was absent from England eleven months, from November, 1884, to
October, 1885. The first three of these Letters are reprinted, with
slight alterations, from the _Eastern Morning News_. The last three
were written after my return to England. As I have not cared to keep
up the fiction of having written them from Australia, they may
contain some references to events subsequent to my return. It is
often objected, and truly enough, that travellers, who spend only so
short a time as I have in fresh countries, are not justified in
expressing deliberate opinions about them; but this does not apply
where a writer gives his impressions as such, and not as matured
opinions, or where he expresses the opinions of other people who, by
long residence or otherwise in a particular country, have had every
opportunity of forming them. I think it will not be found that I
have offended in this particular.

LONDON,

October, 1886.



CONTENTS.

                                      PAGE

       I.--VOYAGE OF THE HAMPSHIRE      7

      II.--MELBOURNE                   19

     III.--VICTORIA                    33

      IV.--SOUTH AUSTRALIA             47

       V.--TASMANIA                    60

      VI.--AUCKLAND AND SYDNEY         75



I.

The Voyage of the Hampshire.


A Voyage to Australia has in these days become so ordinary an affair
that it may seem to require an apology to attempt to describe one,
but a voyage in a sailing ship is so different from that in a
steamer that it may interest some people. It is, as a rule, only
those who go abroad for their health who prefer a sailing ship, on
account of the great length of the voyage, in allusion to which
steam people call sailing ships "wind jammers," while the sailors
retort on steamers by dubbing them "iron tanks" and "old coffins."
There is no doubt that the picturesqueness of a sea voyage is quite
destroyed by a steamer. There are no, or very few, regular sailors
on board; so much of the work is now done by steam. There are no
"chanties" or sailors' songs, which help the work to go easily. In a
steamer there is no interest in noting the course--they go straight
on, and the distance covered does not vary, or only slightly, from
day to day. The movement of a sailing ship through the water at 12
knots per hour is quite exhilarating; the ship hurries on by "leaps
and bounds." Contrast with this the labouring plunges of a
screw-steamer at the same rate. In short, romance is perishing from
the sea with the universal invasion of steam. Could the poet have
thus written of the Pirate--

     "O'er the glad waters of the deep blue sea,
     Our thoughts as boundless, and our souls as free,"

if the Pirate was master of a steamer? I think not. However, I do
not deny that a steamer has many and great advantages over a ship.
The chief advantage, and the only one to which I need allude, is the
prosaic but not unimportant one of better food, and this with many
people would decide in favour of a steamer. Perhaps we were
exceptionally unfortunate in this respect. The Hampshire is a barque
of 1,100 tons, and belonging to Captain Hosack, of Liverpool. She is
most commodious; the cabins are much larger than is usual in a
vessel of this size. Mine was not a large one, but it measured 8ft.
by 10ft. 6in. There is, too, a poop deck 70ft. long, which is
scarcely ever touched, even by a heavy sea. When people are
constantly in each other's society for so long they gradually throw
off many of the artificial restraints of society, and exhibit
themselves as they would in their own homes. The result is curious.
A constant process of natural selection goes on, by which like seeks
like, and the estimation in which a particular person is held by
his fellow-passengers is often very different at the close of the
voyage from what it was at the beginning. Taking all things into
consideration, however, I think the saloon passengers on the
Hampshire must be considered to have borne the ordeal very well. We
were 24 in number--rather too many for comfort--all (with two
exceptions) young men, going out to the colonies for various
reasons--some for health, some for business. The two exceptions were
a Canon of the Church of England and his wife, and another gentleman
who was travelling with his nephew. The Canoness was the only lady
on board, the result of which probably was that, though the
civilising influence imparted by the presence of ladies was lost,
yet many jealousies, that might have been thereby occasioned, were
avoided.

The Hampshire left the East India Dock early on Thursday morning,
the 27th November, commanded by Captain John Mathias. She was towed
as far as Beachy Head, but laid up at Deal during the night. At St.
Alban's Head we parted with the pilot. On the Monday we left the
Lizard behind. The next ten days were the most unpleasant of the
whole voyage. We were tossed about in the Bay of Biscay, making
scarcely any progress. One day we even made 16 miles leeway. It was,
perhaps, well that this happened so early on, as all seasickness was
thus comfortably got over. Since that time the weather may be
shortly dismissed. Captain Mathias, the officers, and crew all
declare they have never had so fine a voyage to Australia. For days
and days the sea was only slightly ruffled, and hardly any motion
could be felt. Of course, one result has been that we had a long
passage. We were exactly 100 days from dock to dock, or 96 days from
the Lizard to Cape Otway. The longest run in the 24 hours was in the
Southern Ocean--254 knots. During the latter part of the voyage we
usually made over 200. During the week ending February 15th the
distance covered was 1,408 knots; that ending February 22nd only 945
knots, the wind having fallen light; the following week, however, it
was 1,503 knots. About 16th December Madeira was passed about 30
miles on our left-hand. On the 26th we passed San Antonio, the most
westerly of the Cape Verde Islands, at a distance of about 40 miles.
The line was crossed on the 7th January, about 5-30 p.m. All through
the tropics the heat was not so great as I had anticipated. It was
never more than 87 degs. in the shade and 105 degs. in the sun. The
temperature remained about the same night and day. The sea was about
6 degs. cooler than the air. The daily routine was about somewhat as
follows:--About six the hose was used for cleaning the deck, and
then such of the passengers as chose came on deck and submitted
themselves to it--others meantime pumping for them. Those who had
the hose thereby acquired a right to porridge, which was distributed
about a quarter to seven, but, when the weather was colder, even the
porridge was not sufficient attraction to keep up the number of
"hosees." Breakfast was at 8-45, lunch at 1, dinner at 6. The
captain, chief officer, and doctor occupied the chief seats at the
tables. They changed their seats from time to time to prevent
jealousy, as the captain's company was much in request. Indeed, any
inconveniences we had to put up with were so much alleviated by the
kindness and consideration of Captain Mathias, that he will ever be
gratefully remembered by the passengers on this voyage. The address
of thanks to him at the end of the voyage was no mere lip-service,
but the genuine expression of our sincerest thanks. On all occasions
he managed to combine the courtesy of a gentleman with the frankness
of a sailor. After passing the equator we had to sail very much to
the west, to catch the south-east trades, and were within 100 miles
of the coast of Brazil. On the 60th day out the meridian of
Greenwich was crossed in lat. 38 degs. south. "The meridian of the
Cape of Good Hope," says the captain's log, "was crossed on the 65th
day out, in lat. 35-1/2 degs. south, and the longitude was run down
in the parallel of 42 degs. south. Light winds stuck to the barque
persistently, and as an illustration of the tedious weather, it may
be mentioned that not a topgallant sail was taken in from Biscay to
St. Paul's, and the average running in crossing the Southern Ocean
was only 161 miles per day." The last land sighted was the Island of
Trinidad--an uninhabited rock--in lat. 20°45' south, long. 29°48'
west. This was on the 16th January and for seven "solid" weeks from
then we were out of sight of land. This time was redeemed from
monotony by tournaments of chess and whist, which filled up the
evenings. There were frequent small quarrels, with reconciliations
more or less sincere, which also afforded distraction. After one the
captain let off a rocket, also one of Holmes's patent "flare-ups."
This is a contrivance for saving life during the dark. It consists
of a box filled with potassium, which is pierced at both ends and
thrown into the sea fastened to a life-buoy. In contact with the
water the metal ignites, and for about half-an-hour sheds a radiance
for a long way. It is visible for miles off. If a man falls
overboard he knows then where to look out for the life-buoy.

The Canon was an adept at shorthand, and a class was formed on
board of 12 of the saloon passengers, who prosecuted it most
vigorously, and really made much progress. An examination was
held at the end of the course of lessons, and prizes awarded.
Several entertainments--musical and dramatic--were given, nearly
all of which proved successful, the very causes of failure on
land being often at sea the cause of success. The prompter was, I
remember, on one occasion much more audible than the actor.
Another time the stage (the main deck) was flooded with sea
water, which increased rather than diminished with every roll. A
chorus of youths and maidens endeavouring to sing and keep their
balance is amusing if not æsthetic. Everything, in fact, suffers
a "sea change," if not into something "rich and strange," often
into something expensive. The first time a passenger ventures on
the forecastle or up the rigging--the peculiar realms of the
sailor--Jack chalks him, which means that he must pay his
footing, by sending a bottle of whisky for'ard. It is seldom that
a stranger long escapes "spotting" under these circumstances. As
a curiosity I may mention that one passenger paid 8s. for a few
things being washed; this was at the moderate price of 6d. each
article, no matter whether it was a collar or a shirt. I should
strongly advise anyone going a long voyage to take a spirit lamp,
as it is often difficult to get hot water unless the thirst of
the cook is constantly allayed. Deck shoes are very convenient,
more especially in the tropics, where one leads a lotus-eating
existence. This is the most delightful part of the voyage in my
opinion, though some prefer the more bracing air of the Southern
Ocean. Without being malicious, however, it is difficult not to
fancy that the pleasure of finding midsummer weather in January
is heightened by the contrast with London fogs and frost, which
we know those at home are suffering from. The greatest resource
of all is reading, and some of us get through a good deal of it,
but it is too tempting, and often interferes with taking regular
exercise, which, though irksome, is almost essential to good
health at sea.

Christmas Day seemed strange enough. The orthodox fare--turkey and
plum-pudding--were on the table, but ice would have been an
agreeable addition. The toasts drunk were "The Queen," "The
Captain," and "Absent Friends." The next day, as we had then been a
month at sea, the sailors "buried the dead horse." As they receive a
month's wages in advance, they do not begin to earn anything until
they have been a month at sea. During this period they are said to
be "working off the dead horse." A barrel covered with matting
formed the body, and appendages for the requisite number of legs and
the tail were put on. The animal was then dragged round the deck to
the accompaniment of a melancholy song--the refrain of which is
"poor old horse." The horse is next put up for sale, and on the
present occasion was knocked down to one of the saloon passengers
for 16s. The money was not really paid, but a collection was made
which came to more than the sum bid. Next, amid the lamentations of
the sailors and the glare of blue lights, the animal was hoisted up
to the main-yard with a sailor on its back, who, dexterously
disengaging himself, let the beast fall with a dull thud into the
water. The sea was so calm that some apprehension was expressed lest
the carcass should be seen the next morning not far to leeward, but
this anti-climax was averted. We have all read of the coming on
board of Neptune at the time of crossing the line, but on our voyage
no notice was taken of it, the reason being, as was supposed, that
the sailors were dissatisfied with the result of the sale of the
dead horse. Well, though it might have been amusing, it was
doubtless more their loss than ours, because when the thing is
analysed, all sailors' doings fundamentally resolve themselves into
an appeal for subscriptions from good-natured passengers. About 15th
January we crossed the sun, which for a short time was vertical at
noon. Peter Schlemihl could then have walked about without
detection, for no one had a shadow.

On our journey we met several ships and steamers, and as the captain
never missed an opportunity of signalling, the course of our voyage
was known from various quarters. First, the number of the Hampshire,
JNBV, is displayed by the flags, each flag representing a letter. A
complete code of arbitrary signals is in use, by which almost any
intelligence can be interchanged. We then told the port we sailed
from, London, and our destination, Melbourne. From one barque, the
County of Anglesea, on her way from Cardiff to Rangoon, which we
fell in with early on the voyage, the captain came on board the
Hampshire to lunch, and afterwards several of our passengers
returned the visit. One of them brought back a small cur, which made
the fourth dog on board--rather too many, as they were always in the
way. Their number was soon reduced 50 per cent. One day what was
known as the "sailor's dog" mysteriously disappeared. Some thought
it had been thrown overboard, but it probably fell over
accidentally, as the dog was universally held to be the least
objectionable. Another, the strange dog, had to be poisoned. On the
10th January we met a German ship bound for Barbadoes from Buenos
Ayres. Here an opportunity for sending letters was gratefully
embraced. The captain promised to hand them over to the British
Consul at Barbadoes. One day, during a calm, the boats were lowered,
and several of us rowed about to look at the Hampshire from a
little distance, while some bathed in a tropical sea. There was no
danger of sharks, which keep away when several bathe together, or
even one, if he splashes about enough. The boatswain caught a
turtle, from which we had some capital soup. Turtles are very
tenacious of life. A knife was thrust into its throat, and its
jugular vein severed, but if it had not been cut up soon after it
would have lived many hours. Indeed, the heart alone kept beating
long after it was severed from the body.

I must say we were badly treated by the "monsters of the deep." They
never came out when wanted. We all expected to catch a shark some
day, but only once was one even seen, and then it was some distance
off, with its knife-like fin just showing above the water. It was
Sunday, too, when no fishing was allowed--a fact of which he was
evidently aware. These fellows are proverbially stupid, and will go
at a bait again and again, even though they must know it to be a
lure. Only once, too, did we catch an albatross, _the_ bird of the
Southern Ocean. That was by a line baited with a small piece of
pork. This was fastened to a round ring of iron, in which the hooked
beak of the bird caught, and so it was dragged on board. The captain
knocked it on the head, and it was then cut up. It measured 13 feet
across the wings, but many are larger than this. The beak was about
6 inches long, curved, and of great power. Sailors have no "ancient
mariner" sentiment as to killing the albatross--in fact, it would be
misplaced. The captain told us of a case he knew of where a man had
fallen overboard, when the albatrosses swooped down upon him, and
pecked out his eyes and brains. The sailors begged the captain to
shoot him and so end his sufferings. The quills of the albatross
make excellent pipe stems, and the skin of the webbed feet is used
for tobacco pouches. But the chief thing about the bird is, of
course, the snowy down on the breast, of which ladies' muffs are
made. The Zoological Society in Regent's Park offer a reward of £100
for a live albatross or black cockatoo, but it has never been
earned, though the attempt to carry them to England has often been
made, for the albatross cannot live through the tropics.

During the last fortnight of the voyage the weather became very
cold for the latitude we were in. The point reached furthest
south was 42°42' which is about the same as the north of Spain,
but the thermometer was 49 degrees all day. It is, however, well
known that for various reasons the same latitude is much colder
south of the equator. On the night of Monday, the 2nd of March, a
beautiful lunar rainbow, extending right across the sky, was
seen. This is not a common sight. By this time the benefits of
the voyage were visible in the faces of all the passengers. If it
had not been for some shortcomings in the provisions there would
have been no drawback. Cape Otway was sighted on the morning of
Saturday, the 7th March. At 4-30 p.m. we were off Port Philip
Roads, and here the pilot came on board. He brought papers, and
the first news we read was that of subscriptions for a statue to
General Gordon, of whose death we were thus informed; the second
news was the despatch of troops from Sydney to the Soudan, of
which everybody was then talking. At 10-30 p.m. the Hampshire was
anchored off Williamstown, but could not come alongside Sandridge
Pier, till Monday morning. It was rather hard getting up on a
Saturday night, as all were anxious to see their letters. Many of
us went to Melbourne on the Sunday, but in most cases returned to
the ship to sleep, as the luggage could not be landed till
Monday. On that day a general dispersion took place, and many who
will probably never see each other again will have their voyage
on the Hampshire to look back upon with pleasure.



II.

Melbourne.


When I arrived in Melbourne early in March, everybody was
enthusiastic in praise of the New South Wales Government, who had
just despatched their contingent to the Soudan. Gradually this
feeling subsided, and it was afterwards said to be doubtful whether
the Victorian Government would renew their offer later on. The truth
is the Victorians are _plus royalistes que le roi_. Indeed I cannot
help thinking they would feel much less respect for the "British
Constitution" if they had a nearer view of some of the proceedings
at Westminster. But they are human and can scarcely submit with
patience to the repeated snubs they have had from the Home
Government. The inconceivable bungling about New Guinea especially
rankles in their breasts. No one is now so unpopular here as Mr.
Gladstone and Lord Derby. Moreover, as a late Minister in South
Australia said to me--Why should we send out our tradesmen, our
artisans, our clerks, as volunteers, while you send out regular
soldiers? We deplete the colony for what is in reality only a
handful of men, while it means much to us. If we wish to assist the
mother country we can do it better by taking care of our own
defences, and by subscribing money, if necessary, to send to
England. But this view, of course, leaves out of sight the immense
moral effect which has, in fact, been produced by this display of
attachment to the mother country. Such things will do more to bring
about Imperial federation than any number of articles in newspapers
and reviews discussing the merits of various schemes. If the true
spirit is there--the desire for federation--it will put itself into
practice in some form or other. The preliminary step is federation
among the colonies. This is at present much hindered by their mutual
jealousies. "The proper way," said to me a prominent statesman here
who has been twice a Minister of the Crown, "is for England to take
the initiative. Let her send out some leading man who would not be
regarded as the representative of a party--such as Lord
Dufferin--and let him make proposals to the various colonies in
which they might acquiesce, without one seeming to lead the others."
Anyhow here, "as at home" (as England is always called), there is a
widespread notion that federation in some form is a necessity for
the future, if England is to continue to hold her own by the side of
such immense states as Russia and the United States. Providence
seems now to be on the side of the "big nations." I am confident
that even now, people in England fail to realise the importance of
these homes beyond the sea. They enjoy a lovely climate, have
boundless capacities for expansion, and are inhabited by Englishmen
who differ from ourselves only in the fact that they live at a
distance. With the present means of communication, Melbourne is now
as near to London as the North of Scotland was to the South of
England less than a century ago. People look, perhaps, at the
present population of Victoria, which is rather under a million; and
then, observing that it is about the same as that of Liverpool and
Manchester together, they infer that it is of no greater importance.
There could not be a greater mistake. It is a commonplace to say
that their importance is in the future, yet even commonplaces
sometimes need repeating. There is no reason why, within the memory
of men now living, this colony should not be as populous as England
is now. At lunch, some few weeks ago--I remember it was at Dr.
Bromby's, the much-respected late head master of the Church of
England Grammar School--a clergyman narrated some of his experiences
while travelling in England a few years back:--"I was at the house
of a Yorkshire squire, who was speaking of Australia, and said 'Ah!
we used to have a few Australian sovereigns here, but now we see
very few.' I requested those present to examine the sovereigns they
had about them. If you find an 'M' under the Queen's head, it was
coined at Melbourne; if an 'S,' at Sydney. Singularly enough nearly
all the sovereigns they produced had the 'M' or the 'S.' I was
satisfied. It was a dangerous _coup_, but perfectly successful, and
gave the company a much greater idea of the importance of Australia
than anything I could say." In rapidity and at the same time
solidity, of growth there is no city of modern days, I believe, to
be placed beside Melbourne. Fifty years ago it did not exist. Now
with the suburbs the population is 300,000, and in such a liberal
manner have the streets and roads been laid out, that on the present
area there is at least room for a million. Since 1842 Melbourne has
had municipal institutions. In 1851, Victoria was separated from New
South Wales, with Melbourne for the seat of government. Such rapid
increase has been equalled only in America, but there is nothing
American about Melbourne. Many years ago there did come here a few
Americans of "advanced ideas," among others the notorious George
Francis Train, who bequeathed his "damages" against the British
Government--5,000,000 dols. for his arrest in Cork harbour--to the
Irish Republic. The legacy and the legatee have proved equally
unsubstantial. But these men have now died out, or become
respectable citizens. The colonials may be said to resemble the
Americans only in one point, in their aptitude for business. Some
people have come out here in the expectation of "taking in" the
guileless colonist, but the biter has been bit. I have heard of one
manufacturer of pills who soon found out his mistake.

In fact, in face of the nonsense that is sometimes talked to
encourage those who fail in England to come here to make their
fortunes, it seems to me they are far more likely to lose what money
they have. As a rule the same qualities of mind and character that
bring a man success in England will make him successful here, and
for certain people it is better to stay in England. The class that
really suffer in Melbourne is that comprising the man of good
education, who has perhaps taken his degree at one of our
Universities, but who has not any fitness for any particular
calling. Numbers of this class are, I am told, in poverty, if not
actual want. There is here not the same demand for "culture." There
is no outlet for purely literary capacities. The life that is led
here, and which will be led for some time yet, is a somewhat hard
and fast life, and it is most difficult even for one who desires
ease to find it in this feverish atmosphere. The country has
scarcely yet settled down. Among the population there is little
beauty of face or grace of movement. The first settlers were, as a
rule, rough people who had to make their living, and little time to
think of anything beyond, but we are indebted to them, for they are
everywhere the necessary pioneers of civilisation--the mass whose
dead bodies form a bridge for their more fortunate successors. Then
the gold discoveries brought out a lower class. However, the second
generation is a great improvement on the first, and, no doubt, the
usual rule of amelioration of type will make itself felt in due
course. In what I have just been saying I speak in the most general
manner. There are many exceptions, of course, and brilliant ones.
Now to return to Melbourne itself. The streets are very broad,
usually 99 ft., and long and straight. One I know of is 100 yards
broad. Some are planted with trees, while in the streets where there
are shops, verandahs are almost universal along the pavement. The
gutters are very wide--sometimes 5 feet or 6 feet, which is
necessary to carry off the large amount of water coming down when it
rains. At such times the mud is almost impassable. Melbourne proper
is situated in the centre, and stands to the rest of the city
somewhat as the City of London does to the various vestries. In
Melbourne, however, each of the suburbs--15 in number--has a Mayor,
Corporation, and Town Clerk of its own. Any municipality with a
revenue of £25,000 or above, is styled a "city." There is, however,
no body here like the Metropolitan Board of Works, consequently no
united system of drainage and other works in which the whole
community is interested. This is a great defect, and the want of
some central authority is much felt. Each municipality manages its
own district only. I remember, on landing the first time at
Sandridge Pier, some of us drove from there into Melbourne. Someone
complaining of the badness of the road to the driver, "Yes," he said
pathetically, "they spend all the money in drainage."

In public buildings Melbourne can compare well with any other city
of its size. The Public Library, the Law Courts, the Town Hall, the
Post Office, the Exhibition building, are all architectural
ornaments. In the streets there is a want of regularity in the size
of the houses, which will be corrected in the course of time, and
which is incidental to all new cities where people cannot at first
afford to erect lofty structures. Most of the city is on the north
side of the Yarra, which winds very much and empties itself into
Hobson's Bay, about six miles from Melbourne. The intercolonial and
local steamers start from wharves on the river, and passengers by
them have, therefore, to endure the bad smells which always prevail.
The Thames is bad enough sometimes, but the Yarra can only be
compared to the Clyde at Glasgow. A large piece of the river will be
cut off by a canal now in course of construction. Hobson's Bay is
the north-eastern part of Port Philip Harbour, a noble expanse of
water of 800 square miles, with a narrow entrance at the "Heads."
There are sharks in it, so that bathing is carried on in parts that
are fenced off. There used to be a reward offered by the Government
for every shark-skin above 2ft. long. There is a tale of an old
loafer round the Harbour called "Paddy Lynch," who having caught a
shark of 1 ft. 11 in., stretched its skin the required inch. He is
now commonly accosted by the question "Who stretched the shark?" The
Public Library is probably one of the largest and completest of its
kind to be found anywhere. It now contains about 120,000 volumes,
and is rapidly increasing. A new wing is being built to make more
room. The trustees have acted with a view to acquiring books of real
worth, and no book is selected unless it has made its reputation.
Consequently the amount of fiction is small. George Eliot's novels
have only just been admitted. The library is not supported by a
local rate, but by the Government. The same is the case with all the
public libraries throughout the country. However small a township
is, you will probably find a public library and a mechanics'
institution. In the same building with the library are the Picture
Gallery and the Museum. In the former are Miss Thompson's "Quatre
Bras," Long's "Esther," and "A Question of Propriety," the latter
bought off the easel, besides other good paintings. In the vestibule
are plaster casts of some of the aboringines, labelled, "Martha,
aged 14;" "Thames, aged 50;" and so on. They are all remarkably
ugly, but vary in degree, some being actually repulsive. There are
now only a few hundred natives in the whole of Victoria, and they
are miserable creatures, not to be compared, for instance, with
those in the north-west, where in some places the average height of
the natives is 6ft. The library is open daily (except Sunday) from
10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Some time ago the trustees did open the Library
and Picture Gallery on the Sunday, but after five Sundays Parliament
sat, and the Sabbatarians then immediately passed a vote prohibiting
it, although the measure had been very popular. In fact, nothing is
open on Sundays. Public-houses are shut, except to that remarkable
animal--the _bonâ fide_ traveller. A few weeks ago there was a
deputation to the Premier, urging him to stop all Sunday trains.
This was supported by some ministers who are themselves in the habit
of using trains on Sunday, but they did not find the time ripe for
such a change.

I had an interesting conversation with the learned and accomplished
Town Clerk of Melbourne (Mr. Fitzgibbon) upon the condition of the
legal profession here. The two branches, barristers and solicitors,
are not amalgamated, but the tendency, as in England, is in that
direction. Indeed, in the last session of Parliament a bill to
amalgamate them, after passing the Legislative Assembly, was only
lost by one vote in the Upper House. Still, even in places where a
fusion has taken place, as in Tasmania, I found that, in fact, they
are kept distinct, that is to say one man will devote himself to
speaking in court, another to office-work. Barristers here have a
distinct grievance against the Inns of Court at home. Here an
English barrister can be at once called to the Victorian Bar merely
by being introduced, whereas in England a Victorian barrister has
to keep terms and pass an examination. Formerly he was in no better
position than any other student, but by the exertions of Mr. Webb,
Q.C., of Melbourne, the time of probation has been reduced from
three years to one year for colonial barristers, and the
examination has, I believe, been diminished also. There is a Chief
Justice (at present absent on leave) and four puisne judges. Lately
a paper controversy has been raging between one of the judges and
the Bishop. The judge wrote a pamphlet, entitled "Religion without
Superstition"--a crude _réchauffé_ of the usual sceptical arguments
which have been propounded a thousand times before and infinitely
better expressed. The Bishop has not found it difficult to reply,
but at best this contest between two dignitaries is an unseemly
spectacle. Meanwhile the newspapers sarcastically ask how it is
that the judges, who are said to be so overworked, have time for
such amusements. Religious feeling runs high in Melbourne. The
Presbyterian assembly has recently deposed Mr. Strong, the minister
of the Scotch church, on account of the breadth of his doctrines.
Mr. Strong has been publicly invited by the Unitarian minister to
join their communion. In the State schools there is no religious
instruction except at extra times, and by express desire. This is
due to the action of the Catholics, who naturally object to their
children being taught the Bible by Protestants. About Melbourne
there is nothing provincial, and, although in point of size far
inferior to London or Paris it is almost as cosmopolitan. At night,
Bourke-street is as crowded as the Strand or Regent-street. The
chief hotels are Menzies's, Scott's, the Oriental, and the Grand.
The two first are at the business end of the town, the west end,
and they charge about 12s. per day. The Oriental is at the east end
of Collins-street, exactly opposite the Melbourne club. The charge
there is 10s. per day, and at present it is extremely well managed
by the proprietor in person. The only objection is that it is much
frequented by betting-men, whose shop talk is, I think, more
wearisome and less instructive than that of any other persons. The
Adelaide Jockey Club have just been holding their annual meeting at
Melbourne on account of an attempt by the South Australian
Legislature to abolish betting! On the whole the prices of things
in Melbourne may be said to be about the same as in London. Some
things are much dearer, and not so good, as for instance, cloth
clothes, boots and shoes. Again, house-rent is excessive. I can
give two examples--one, a cottage of one story and four rooms,
which lets for 22s. 6d. per week; another, what is called a
seven-roomed house, but it really has only four rooms, the other
three being merely of the size of dressing-rooms; this is in not at
all a fashionable part, and the rent was lately £98. It has now
been raised to £108. Every house, however, has a bath-room, and the
old houses in which there is no bath have to be fitted with that
convenience before they can be let. On the other hand, food,
especially meat, is much cheaper, but the meat is not so good as at
home, at least in my opinion, but I can scarcely expect this
opinion to be accepted without objection. A fish called "garfish"
is about the best fish here. It is something like a whiting, but
has more taste. Another fish called "trevalli" is not particularly
good. There is no sole or turbot or salmon. The colonial wine is,
upon the whole, very good and wholesome, and is much drunk. At
Geelong lately the heroic measure of destroying the vines has
been taken to prevent the spread of phylloxera. There are several
good clubs in Melbourne--the principal are the Australian at the
west end of the town, and the Melbourne at the east end of
Collins-street. On the introduction of a member (approved by the
committee), strangers are admitted as honorary members for a
month: then for the second month they pay £1, or £6 for six
months; but strangers cannot be taken in casually by a member as
is the case in many London clubs. Most of the clubs have bedrooms
attached, which are much used by travellers in the colonies. They
are, therefore, not merely more comfortable, but usually cheaper
than hotels, because meals are paid for as taken, while at nearly
all hotels the American system of so much a day prevails.

One day I accompanied a friend to the University to be present at
the "annual commencement," when the degrees are conferred. The
"commencement" here occurs about the middle of the term. With us at
Cambridge it is at the end. The ceremony took place in the "Wilson
Hall," which is used as a Senate House, and for other public
functions in connection with the University. The ceremony itself was
almost identical with that at one of our Universities, and it was
similarly interrupted by noisy Undergraduates, whose humour
consisted in rendering the proceedings inaudible without
contributing anything amusing of their own. One lady who took a
degree was much cheered. The Bishop of Melbourne (Dr. Moorhouse) is
the Chancellor, and delivered an address to the "fractious
children," and he then called on the Governor of the colony, who
with Lady Loch was present, for a speech on the subject then
foremost in every one's mind--"Our Defences." This seemed rather
strange at a peaceful academical performance, but the Governor
acquitted himself in a truly diplomatic style, by telling us nothing
we did not know before. On another day I was shown over part of the
University by a young gentleman who had taken his degree in law on
the previous occasion. There are at present two colleges--Trinity
and Ormond--at each of which about 35 Undergraduates are in
residence, while there are about the same number at each
non-resident. The bulk of the students, however, are unattached.
There are 350 altogether, and their number is annually increasing.
There is no University discipline outside of the Colleges, and in
them the students take their meals together. The sitting-rooms are
separate from the bedrooms, and more resemble studies at a public
school than rooms at a University, being usually shared between two
and furnished by the College. There are no fellowships at the
University. At Sydney University on the other hand four fellowships
of £400 a year each have been recently given to the University for
the encouragement of scientific research--a munificent gift which
should lead to much.

To strangers, the climate of Melbourne is trying at first. Suddenly,
in the summer the wind will turn to the north, and in a short time
the thermometer registers 100 degs. in the shade. The heat and dust
are then almost insupportable. The dust rises like a cloud obscuring
even the opposite side of the street. Then the wind will as suddenly
veer to the south. In an hour the temperature falls 40 or 50 degs.,
and the air is cleared by a "southerly buster." In the winter the
north wind is a cold wind. In spite of the climate, the Botanical
Gardens are an admirable specimen of what may be effected by the
skill of man. These gardens are on the south side of the river
Yarra. On a hill in the centre of them is built the Government
House. There are seen many varieties of trees and plants all
carefully labelled. The fern tree bower is very ingenious. You see
here the elk or staghorn fern, which grows as a parasite on the palm
or the petosperum of New Zealand. The grass is kept beautifully
fresh and green, and is a favourite resort. I have no further room
to continue this letter, but, in my next, hope to say something of
the government and the aspect of politics in Victoria.



III.

Victoria.


The Government of Victoria is nearly a pure democracy. Both Houses
are elected by the people, the Legislative Council as well as the
Legislative Assembly. To vote for the former a slight property
qualification is necessary, viz., £10 freehold, or £25 leasehold.
The Assembly is practically elected by universal manhood suffrage,
the only restriction being that a voter must have resided twelve
months in the colony prior to the 1st January or 1st July in any
year. Of course, there is a smouldering agitation for female
suffrage, but it has not yet attained the dimensions of the similar
agitation in England.

It is to me unintelligible how it is that so many people can be
enthusiastic about the prospects of Democracy. As Sir James Stephen
says, "We may be drifting down the stream, but that is no reason we
should sing Hallelujah." There is no magic in the word. It is
simply a form of government, just as monarchy or aristocracy are
forms of government. Nor is it a new form of government. It has been
tried over and over again, more than 2000 years ago, nor has it ever
been a particularly successful or a long-continued form. People
often talk as if liberty were more attainable under a Democracy than
under any other government. Now, putting aside the question whether
liberty is good or bad--for it is entirely a question of time,
place, and circumstance--the opinion is unfounded, because the
tyranny of a majority is just as galling, and usually less
intelligent, than other tyrannies. It has rather cynically been said
that governments are of two kinds--bamboo and bamboozle. A Democracy
combines these two kinds. When political power is so minutely
divided as it is among the voters of England, say, it is not worth
having; and power, as a rule, resides in the hands of demagogues,
instead of the hands of statesmen.

In Victoria, there is government by party, but there are no real
lines of demarcation between them, and it is now merely a struggle
for office between the ins and outs. Each party must be prepared
with a programme to interest the masses, and to be able to go to the
electors with a list of measures to be passed. If a measure is bad,
the Government may be turned out. But the ministers are saddled with
no responsibility in consequence. They simply wait their turn till
the other side makes a mistake. This course has led to legislation
which unduly interferes with liberty. There is now before
Parliament a new Licensing Bill, the principle of which is Local
Option. It is also intended to put down barmaids. Those who at
present exist are to be allowed to remain, 346 in number, but no
fresh ones are to come forward. The publicans are ranged on one
side, some religious bodies on the other. Each side interpret facts
in their own way. But every one knows that the fate of the bill will
depend on the strength of the parties in the House, and not on
argument. Again, the eight hours movement many years ago became law
in Victoria. On the 21st of April in each year its anniversary is
celebrated with a procession and flags and banners. This year the
Governor took part in it, which was thought to be rather undignified
on his part. It is a Socialistic measure, which reduces the good
workman to the level of the ordinary one. All members of the
Assembly receive £300 a year. Hence there are many professed
politicians whose chief object appears to be to keep their seat.
Lately there was an attempt in the House to vote a pension to a
member whose circumstances had been reduced, but the proposal was
defeated. Perhaps the time is not quite ripe for that yet. The
present Ministry is the result of a coalition between Mr. Service
and Mr. Berry. The former was at one time a schoolmaster up the
country, but by his talents and energy has raised himself to the
position of Premier. Mr. Berry is a well-known Radical politician.
It is about six years ago since, in one day, he dismissed the
greater number of the Civil servants in consequence of a
disagreement between the two Houses. Most of them had to be quickly
restored to their places, but public confidence was so much shaken
by this arbitrary act that a large amount of capital was transferred
to New South Wales--five or six millions, I believe--and even yet
the country has not recovered from the shock. This period is known
as the Berry-blight. The present Ministry seems likely to continue
in power so long as they can provide sufficient sensational
legislation.

In Victoria the railways all now belong to the State, and are well
managed, but to stations beyond the suburban lines return tickets
are not issued except on Saturdays, and except to such places as
have a competing steam service, such as Warrnambool or Belfast. The
speed is not high, and to our notions there are very few trains, but
probably enough for the present traffic. Whenever the inhabitants of
any particular district think they would like a railway, they get
their representative to vote for it, and if he can persuade a
sufficient number of other representatives to vote for it, the
railway is made. For some time past the people of the small town of
Buninyong thought they would like a line from Ballarat, from which
it is distant seven miles. As it is not really required, in
consequence of a good service of public conveyances between the two
places, they did not succeed for some time. At length, during the
last session, their representative managed to get 35 others to vote
for it, and the line is now to be made. Each of these 35 may in
their turn require the vote of the member for Buninyong on some
similar occasion. But the actual management of the railways and of
the Civil Service has been put beyond the reach of political
influence by the appointment of Railway and Civil Service
Commissioners, who are permanent officials. When a line is to be
made the Railway Commissioners go over the ground and fix the spots
for stations &c. Every porter has to pass on examination before he
can be appointed. There are only first and second classes. On the
suburban lines the first class are about as good as our second. As a
fact, a number of second class carriages sent out from England are
here used as first, the words "second class" being ingeniously
concealed by a narrow strip of wood. Members of Parliament have a
free pass over all lines. In Victoria the gauge is 5ft. 3in. In New
South Wales it is the same as ours, viz., 4ft. 8-1/2in. Consequently
travellers between Melbourne and Sydney have to change trains at the
border.

In Victoria there is intense opposition to Free Trade. The people
would rather make bad boots and shoes for themselves than import
cheap and good ones from England. Of course I use Free Trade in the
sense of the opposite of protection of native industries. Advocates
of Protection appear to me to confound the end with the means, as if
manufacturers existed for their own sake and not in order to
produce. I have seen the commercial competition between various
countries compared with a horse race. Just as some horses are
handicapped, so customs duties must be levied on the productions of
certain countries to give the others a fair chance! The comparison
would be relevant if the object of a handicap were that the best
horse should win, but the race itself is the object. Bastiat has
reduced this view of commerce to an absurdity in his famous
petition. It is a petition supposed to be presented by the dealers
in oil, tallow, lamps, &c., in Paris, who request that all shutters,
windows, and other apertures for light may be closed against the
sun, which spoils their business by shining so brightly during the
day. If wheat rained from heaven some people would tax it to protect
the farmers. But Free Trade may be made an object of worship in
itself, and can then do nothing but harm. It may be made a rule of
life, not merely a rule of trade. The satisfaction of material needs
is most necessary, and lies at the bottom of civilization, but it is
not therefore the most important, and it is quite conceivable that
the moral advantages to be derived by a community through reliance
on their own energies, may more than compensate for the higher price
of particular articles. It has been found not to be good for the
human race to have things made too pleasant. The West Indian
negroes, "who toil not, neither do they spin," but pick the fruits
of the earth ready to their hands, are not the most exalted
specimens of mankind. It may be a good thing for a man _not_ to have
things too cheaply, if owing to this he is stirred up to work, and
can get money enough to live. Free Traders argue that free trade
will prevent war, by making evident the inconveniences thereby
occasioned to commerce, yet history has never shown that such
considerations have been of much weight when strong national
feelings are aroused. Nor is it, in my opinion, a desirable thing
that they should have a decisive effect. With this class of
arguments Free Traders are powerless to deal.

The absence of caste is a noticeable feature in Australian life. Any
man, whatever his original position, can rise to the highest
offices, and, as a matter of fact, the ministers are frequently
tradesmen. None the worse for that, of course; but it was amusingly
illustrated in the Assembly the other day, when one of the
members--a "chartered libertine," in regard to speech, and they do
speak very plainly--boasted that he was a member of a club to which
none of the ministers could belong. "They are decent people," he
said, "but not professional men, and the membership is limited to
them." Domestic servants are particularly independent as a class,
and many people do without them altogether rather than submit to pay
very high wages for little work. An ordinary cook will receive about
£1 a week. They rarely say "sir," but usually plain "mister," which
is to most people not a pleasant way of being addressed. They seem
to take a pride in addressing their employer (I must not say master
or mistress) by their surname, as Mr. or Mrs. So-and-So, as often as
possible. What Emerson calls the "fury of expectoration" is very
rife throughout the colonies. If a floor or carpet is particularly
clean the temptation to spit upon it is too great to be resisted.
In the Court-house at Adelaide is a special notice requesting people
not to spit on the floor. I suppose this habit is connected with
smoking, and smoking with drinking. All day long the hotel bars are
besieged by crowds of men demanding "nobblers," like flies round a
pot of honey, and I have heard that a hotel proprietor does not care
to see his customers go beyond the bar, as so large a proportion of
his profit is derived from it. In a debate in the Assembly, on the
new Licensing Bill, one orator referred contemptuously to "miserable
tea drinkers." "We do not want," he said, "to be Chinafied; the more
men drink the better they are." He would find many outside the House
of the same opinion. _Per contra_ it was urged that total abstinence
produced strength because "Samson was a teetotaller!"

Considering the comparatively small size of Victoria, it is much
more thickly populated than any other colony. Its population is very
nearly a million, on an area about as large as Great Britain, giving
about 10 persons to the square mile. The chief towns after Melbourne
are Ballarat, East and West, with a population of 37,000, and
Sandhurst, with 28,000. Next comes Geelong, which, with its suburbs,
has 21,000. For purposes of representation, the country is divided
into 14 provinces, from each of which three members are returned to
the Legislative Council. It is divided into 55 electoral districts,
which return 86 members to the Legislative Assembly. The country is
also divided into 37 counties, but what purpose this division
serves I have not been able to ascertain. I have made two visits
into the country, one to the neighbourhood of Ballarat to the
north-west of Melbourne, the other into Gipp's Land, which is to the
east. I went to Gipp's Land to pay a visit to a gentleman well known
to the racing world, who has a large estate in the neighbourhood of
Sale. Victorians are nothing if not fond of sport. We have a good
many races at home, but I think they are exceeded in number by those
in Victoria. My host had been engaged in horse-racing more than
forty years, and in these circles he is much respected; because he
always, as they say, runs his horses to win, and the high character
he has thus deservedly acquired has done much to raise the morality
of the turf in Australia. He told me that he was the second squatter
in Gipp's Land. When he first went there in 1841, it took him
eighteen days to return to Melbourne through the bush. For six days
they had provisions, but for the rest of the time they subsisted on
native bears--_i.e._, sloths. Now he owns about 20,000 acres of the
best part of Gipp's Land. Gipp's Land is a large district about
twice the size of Wales, which begins at a place called Bunyip,
about fifty miles to the east of Melbourne. The train to Sale, the
capital--there are two a day--takes about six hours, and the
distance is 127 miles. As there are no engineering difficulties, the
line did not cost more than £6000 a mile. In many places the
gradients are very steep to avoid cuttings. By leaving Melbourne at
6-50 a.m. Sale is reached about 1, and a very tedious and dusty
journey it is. Near Bunyip we pass the borders of an enormous swamp
of 90,000 acres, called Koo-Wee-Rup, which is about to be drained,
and will then form rich agricultural land. The ride soon becomes
monotonous, by reason of the interminable gum trees. They look very
peculiar, being all dead, and stripped of their leaves and bark, and
in the moonlight show perfectly white. Most of them have been
"ringed" near the bottom to kill them, but others have been killed
by caterpillars. They stand so for a long time. At length they
either fall or are burnt in a bush fire. The flames get inside the
tree, run through it, and come out at the top, as if from a tall
chimney. There are none of great height along the line, but some
trees near Lilydale, about 30 miles north-east of Melbourne, are
supposed to be the highest in the world, and are above 440 feet in
height. In several places are seen groups of tree ferns some 20 feet
high, which form a pleasant oasis. Gipp's Land did not look its best
at the time of my visit. There had been a drought, more or less, for
three years, and everything was dried up. The cattle appeared
parched, with hard dry skins. Since then, however, there has been a
good deal of rain. Sale itself is an uninteresting town of 3,000
inhabitants, with streets at right angles, and the usual Public
Library and Mechanics' Institute. It also has an artesian well,
which is not usual. Although it was late in the autumn the heat in
the middle of the day was great. In the afternoon it is tempered by
a steady sea breeze. The nights are cool. Along the roads are posts
of about four feet high, painted red and white. These are to mark
the road in case of a flood, which is not uncommon. From the
verandah of my friend's house could be seen a vast extent of rolling
upland, dotted pretty thickly with dead gum trees. Fifty years ago
it was a dense forest. What may it be fifty years hence, with the
increase of population? On the morning after my arrival I was taken
a drive over part of the "cattle run." It is only a small run
compared to some. The cattle, nearly all bullocks, have about 16,000
acres to wander over. Everywhere the want of water was apparent. I
also saw the stables, where were several racehorses, but the best
were in the stables at Flemington, near Melbourne. At the end of the
week were the Sale races, but I was unable to stay for them, having
already made arrangements for a trip to Tasmania.

About six weeks later I went to stay with some friends in the
neighbourhood of Ballarat, between that town and Buninyong. I
have previously referred to Ballarat as the next largest town to
Melbourne. By rail it is 100 miles from Melbourne, though not
more than 60 in a direct line. At present the rail goes round by
Geelong. Between Geelong and Ballarat the line is double, and
admirably constructed, at a cost of £32,000 per mile. It is as
well made as any line in England, and the carriages run as
smoothly. My friend's house is called "Moramana," a native name,
signifying, I am told, "picking up sticks." Buninyong and
Ballarat are both native names. It is a matter for discussion
whether Ararat, a town some distance to the N.W. of Ballarat, is
a native name, too, or whether it has any connection with the
ark. I paid a visit to Buninyong, and two visits to Ballarat.
Buninyong is properly the name of the mountain there, an extinct
volcano, which forms a prominent object in the landscape. The
small town takes the same name. It is remarkable chiefly for the
fertility of the land in the immediate neighbourhood. It is older
than Ballarat, which previous to the discovery of the gold there
in 1851 did not exist. There are gold mines, too, at Buninyong,
both alluvial and quartz, but chiefly the latter. The Salvation
Army flourishes at Buninyong as well as at most places in the
Colonies. I have since read in a paper that General Booth has
given out that the Salvation Army is likely to become the State
church of Victoria, and that Parliament will make it an annual
grant of £1,000; or, if not, that Mr. Service will probably do so
himself!

Ballarat is a busy town, and here Victorian energy is seen to its
best advantage. It is, too, the centre of a large and fertile
agricultural district. Gold mining is not now what it once was
there. On all sides are the ruins of abandoned "claims," which give
a most desolate appearance to the immediate neighbourhood. There is
now more gold found at Sandhurst, further north. During the gold
fever of 1851, and before there was a line from Geelong, as much as
£70 per ton was paid for carriage from that town. The distance is
about 60 miles, and the transit occupied ten days for heavy goods.
"Until last year," said my friend, "there was a man walking the
streets of Ballarat who was known by no other name than Jimmy. He
would never beg and never lie down twice in the same spot to sleep
if others got to know of it. People gave him food at the door, or,
if not, he went to the Asylum for it. I used to see him taking a
zig-zag path about the same time each day. When spoken to he would
never reply. He had been in this condition since thirty years ago.
Then he was a prosperous digger, but some others drugged him, and
took away all his money. The drug spared his life, but took away his
brains; and so he wandered about, always looking for something, he
did not know what." There must be many similar tales of violence
perpetrated during that wild time. Ballarat contains the widest
street in the Colonies--one of the widest in the world--viz.,
Sturt-street, which is three chains wide, but its width is rather
concealed by a line of trees in the middle. There are some fair
buildings in it too. Lake Wendouree, formerly a swamp, now forms a
pleasant resort for the people of Ballarat for boating, and being
only four feet in depth, there is no danger of drowning. The drive
round it too, of about five miles, is pretty. Of course Ballarat
cannot do without an art gallery, but to that much praise cannot be
given. Some of the pictures by local artists may be interesting as
specimens, but the prices attached to them are purely imaginative.
To commemorate the Duke of Edinburgh's visit a public hall was to be
built, to which honour both East and West Ballarat--which are
separate municipalities--laid claim. The difficulty was solved by
building the hall over a small creek which separates the two towns,
so that each has one end. As Ballarat is 1,400 feet above Melbourne,
the temperature is much lower--10 degrees on an average. When I was
there in May the weather was decidedly cold. In winter snow is
frequent, while in Melbourne it is the rarest thing. From Ballarat I
went to Adelaide, but that must be the subject of another letter.



IV.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA.


It is some months since I last wrote about Australia, but it is a
question whether something is not gained by a delay in putting
together notes of travel. If much is lost in vividness and
particularity, yet the whole and its parts are thrown into better
proportion, slight incidents that at first seemed of much interest,
are relegated to a more humble position, and really salient points
have a better chance of receiving their due share of attention.

On the 20th May, I went to Adelaide from Melbourne by the steamer
Adelaide, and, among the fine steamers of the Southern Hemisphere,
there is none better appointed than this, in respect of food,
ventilation, and general comfort. Like many others, it is fitted
with the electric light. The captain is a well-known character. Some
time before, he had been to blame in a collision with another
steamer on the river Yarra. The Marine Board at Melbourne suspended
his certificate for six months, but his employers, I was told, held
him in such esteem that during that time he went on his own ship as
purser, until he could resume command. I was confined in the cabin
with a gentleman, who kindly informed me, beforehand, that he
undertook this voyage in order to be seasick, on account of his
health, and so he kept me in a continual state of expectation, like
one who, in the night, every moment expects a cock to crow. At the
end of the voyage he expressed his regret that he had not been ill,
which I could scarcely share. The journey, by sea, takes about 48
hours; that is, from Port Philip Heads (the entrance to Melbourne
Harbour) to Port Adelaide, and the steamers run twice a-week from
each end. Soon there will be direct railway communication between
Melbourne and Adelaide, but at present the land journey takes three
days, and is much more expensive, as a good deal of it has to be
done by coaching. The large mail steamers from Europe of the P. & O.
and Orient lines stop for a few hours off Glenelg (about seven miles
from Adelaide), to land the mails and cargo; but the intercolonial
and other steamers come up, by a long detour, to Port Adelaide,
which is also about seven miles from the city; but here they come
alongside the wharf. Some of the other colonies have been utilized
as penal settlements, or rather begun as such. South Australia was
founded consciously and deliberately in 1836. No convict is allowed
to land, and a tax of £10 is imposed on every Chinese. The site of
Adelaide was chosen for that of the capital. From Port Adelaide to
Adelaide the rail runs through a level tract, and the city itself is
placed in the centre of a plain, bounded by hills on the north and
east at about six miles distance. South Australia appears to be
named on the _lucus a non lucendo_ principle, because, as a fact,
almost the whole of South Australia is to the north of Victoria;
and, since 1863, it stretches right across the continent to the
north coast of Australia, which is far away into the tropics.
Indeed, this northern territory seems to be tacked on to South
Australia, because it is not yet of sufficient importance to have a
government of its own, and it is difficult to know what to do with
it. It is separated by an enormous tract of country, and has nothing
in common with South Australia proper. The Bishop told me he
supposed he should have to make a visitation through it. If in time
this district of the north becomes more populous, it is probable it
will set up for itself, just as there have long been agitations for
separating Northern Queensland from the Southern portion, and the
Riverina from New South Wales, on the ground that their particular
interests are not sufficiently represented at Brisbane and Sydney
respectively.

The population of the whole of South Australia is now about 318,000,
that of Adelaide and its suburbs being about 70,000. Adelaide is not
only by far the largest town, but almost the only town of any size.
The city is laid out with a regularity that is almost painful. It
stands on a square mile of ground. At each side is a terrace,
called respectively North, South, East, and West Terrace. There are
squares laid out at regular intervals. As is usual in Australian
towns, the streets are all at right angles, and generally of the
same length and width. The Adelaide people claim to have the finest
street in the Colonies, the finest post office, and the best hotel.
King William Street is two chains wide--the widest streets in
Melbourne are 1-1/2 chains--is a mile long, and contains the
principal public buildings, the Town Hall, Post Office, Courts of
Justice, &c. The Post Office is a handsome building, with a lofty
tower, from which various signs are displayed notifying the arrival
and departure of mails. At night the electric light from the top can
be seen from a great distance. From King William Street start the
various lines of tramway in every direction from the city. They run
out to the various suburbs--Magill, Burnside, Kensington, Norwood,
Stepney, &c., some of which names sound very familiar. The tramcars
are as universally used as in Glasgow, and nowhere have I seen a
better service than in Adelaide. It is a pleasant way to spend an
afternoon, to ride outside a tramcar in the bright atmosphere, to
some suburb, and return after a ramble in the country. From beyond
the North Terrace is a capital view over the city. Perhaps the best
is from the house of Mr. Way, the Chief Justice. His villa, at which
I had the pleasure of visiting him, is one of the most complete I
have seen. Nothing is omitted that the arts of civilization can
supply. His library contains the choicest modern works. His garden
is delicious with cool grottos and fountains. In his aviaries is a
collection of the rare birds of the country, all of which he knows.
In a separate cage are two fine eagles. Among the flowers I noticed
the "Sturt Desert Pea," just then in blossom, the loveliest wild
flower of Australia. I have seen houses larger and finer, no doubt,
and better collections of particular objects, but never any place so
perfect of its kind. Some lines from the "Palace of Art"
involuntarily occurred to me, but to no man does the moral of
Tennyson's poem less apply than to the Chief Justice, for he is one
of the most sympathetic and kind-hearted of men. I had intended
staying at the Adelaide Club, and was provided with an introduction,
but found on arrival that all the bedrooms were occupied. Besides,
visitors are liable to give up their bedrooms to members, and as at
this time some races were going on, and the rooms consequently
likely to continue occupied, it was better at once to put up at a
hotel. This was the "York," which was a comfortable house, and not
particularly dear. It is a favourite with visitors by the mail
steamers, who often run up from Glenelg for the few hours the
steamer calls there.

Like all the other Australian Colonies (except Western Australia)
South Australia has a Constitutional Government, established in
1856, consisting of two Houses of Parliament and the Governor. For
the Lower House, which has 46 members, there is manhood suffrage.
They are not paid as in Victoria, but a Bill for paying them
narrowly escaped passing last session, and will probably be carried
soon. While I was there there happened to be an election to the
Legislative Council, the Upper House, the members of which retire in
rotation. The election address of one candidate is the shortest I
have ever seen. It was this: "Gentlemen,--My services are at your
disposal as a candidate for re-election to the Legislative Council."
Evidently his constituents were not troubled with burning questions.
The position of a Governor in the Colonies is not altogether an
enviable one. He has a high official and social position, but little
real power, because, practically, he has to consent to any Bill
passed by the two Houses. Any one can go to a Governor's reception,
and their entertainments are necessarily extremely catholic in their
nature. It is matter of common remark that people are seen there who
are not seen anywhere else. A Governor's salary is not at all large
for his position, and besides general entertaining, he is expected
to entertain anyone of the least distinction who may happen to
arrive. Adelaide is usually the first calling place for visitors to
Australia, and so the Governor of South Australia is peculiarly
liable to these calls upon his purse. Every law passed by the Colony
has to be ratified at home, so we have a free people at home
governing a free people abroad, which is an anomaly, and is daily
seen more and more to be so.

South Australia exports wool, wheat, and copper, but the price of
copper has fallen more than 50 per cent.; wheat is also very cheap,
and has to compete with wheat from India; and in South Australia
farming operations are too often conducted by mere "earth
scratchers," who have no knowledge of agriculture. In 1851,
considerable emigration to Victoria took place in consequence of the
discovery of gold in that Colony. There was and is great depression
of trade in South Australia, and we have recently heard of the
failure of the "Commercial Bank of South Australia," but for all
that the amount of the deposits in the South Australian Savings Bank
is greater than in any other in proportion to the population. It is
nearly £5 per head. It is true some of this is the result of
compulsory savings under the provisions of the "Destitute Act."

After a few days at the hotel, I went to stay with a young relative
of mine in the northern suburb, where, with one exception, I
remained the rest of my time. His wife kept no servant, not so much
on account of the expense as because, as she said, "They are more
bother than they're worth," and indeed this is a universal complaint
in the Colonies. I slept in a small room, and the last night but one
observed in a corner of the ceiling, above the bed, what seemed to
be a large spider. On mentioning this the next morning, I learnt
that it was a tarantula, and was of use in catching insects. "Oh,
but," I said, "doesn't it come down at night?" "Oh, no," said my
friend, "it never comes below _this_," marking a spot about a yard
above my head. This was not very reassuring, as there appeared
nothing to prevent the animal from transgressing the prescribed
limit, should it feel so disposed. It never troubled me however, but
I was afterwards told that it had once come down too far and been
killed. Such animals are unpleasant, and at times dangerous, but
they may be expected in countries where the heat is as great as it
is in Adelaide, which is considered to be one of the hottest places
in the globe inhabited by man. One evening we went to hear the
Bishop preach in the Cathedral. It is a very unpretending edifice,
and in fact is only half built. It is all choir and no nave. In
consequence of the great number of women who attend the services, or
of the politeness of the men, or both, the Bishop has been obliged
to set apart seats for men to protect them against the encroachment
of what Mr. Swinburne calls the "stronger sex." Another evening we
went to see a native dance or "corrobboree" as it is called. There
are not many natives now left in South Australia, and what there are
have become very degraded. The law forbids the sale to them of
intoxicating liquors. Spirits not merely make them drunk, but drive
them mad. As a sort of compensation they come down to Adelaide at
stated times for blankets, which are distributed to them by the
Government. On these occasions they are accustomed to exhibit
themselves in their native antics and dances for a little gain. At
this time was expected a large muster, and in order to accommodate
as many visitors as possible, the Adelaide Cricket Club had induced
the natives to hold their corrobboree on the cricket ground, of
course themselves looking for a large money return. Certainly their
anticipations must have been more than fulfilled, for there was a
crowd at the entrance resembling that outside a London theatre on
boxing night. Instead of 3,000 people, the number expected, there
were nearer 15,000. Seats in the grand stand were 1s., outside the
ring was 6d., but soon all distinction of place was lost. Presently
about 50 natives, hideously decorated, and stained with red to
represent gashes on the head and breast, filed into the enclosure in
a long line. Small bonfires were lighted at intervals, and on these
the performers leapt, one exactly following the steps of another.
Then they imitated the bounds of the Kangaroo when pursued, but of
dancing, or even posturing, in our sense of the word, there was
none. Meantime the "lubras" (native women) seated on the ground in
one mass, kept up a monotonous chant, varying their cadences with
the beat of tom-toms. The night was dark, and the figures were
indistinctly seen. Soon the vast crowd becoming impatient, burst
through the barriers, and scattered the burning brands. A great
scene of confusion ensued, and the performance came abruptly to an
end. One of the blacks remarked, not without reason, "Me tink dis
white fellows' corrobboree." It is a painful thing to see a race so
degenerate as to be willing to show themselves for money before
their supplanters, and to see the former "lords of the soil" begging
a copper from the passer-by. One cannot but desire that their
extinction in these parts, which is certain, may be also speedy. I
cannot easily imagine two more pitiable objects than those I
afterwards saw at Albany in Western Australia: a native man and
woman begging, standing with their shrunken limbs in rags that
barely covered them. The cricket ground is in the "reserve," a part
between the north terrace and the northern suburb, which belongs to
the community and cannot be built on. It is separated from the north
terrace by the river Torrens. Like many Australian rivers, the
Torrens starts up in various places and does not seem to have either
a beginning or an ending. It might be compared to the "sullen mole
that runneth underneath," between Letherhead and Dorking; but these
Australian rivers, when they do appear, are inclined to stagnate.
The municipality of Adelaide, however, have wisely dammed up the
river, and converted it into a lake of about one and a half miles
long, thus improving an eyesore into an ornament. It is spanned by a
handsome bridge. Near the north terrace, too, are the Botanical
Gardens, one of the best in Australia. The Zoological Gardens are
close by, where there is a black cockatoo and a white peacock.

As I said before, Adelaide is the only town of any size. There are
others, however. One day I went with my friend by train to the small
town of Gawler, which is about 25 miles to the north. The train
takes about one and a half hours. There we were met by a gentleman
with a trap, who took us to see an ostrich farm about four miles
from Gawler. It belongs to a company at Adelaide and we had an order
from head quarters to be shown over it. Ostriches have been imported
into South Australia from the Cape of Good Hope, and thrive here
well enough. At length, seeing the risk of a sharp competition in
ostrich feathers, the Cape authorities have laid an embargo of £100
on every ostrich exported, but this is locking the stable door when
the horse has escaped, for there are now in South Australia quite
sufficient birds to keep up the breed. The farm manager was a dry
old Scotchman of much humour, and had made himself accustomed to
their ways. The farm was about 170 acres in extent, and at this time
there were about 100 ostriches upon it, a number having recently
been sent away north to Port Augusta, where is another farm
belonging to the same Company. Some of the birds had committed
suicide on their way to the sea. They will run up against palings or
wire, get their long necks entangled, and sometimes cut their
throats in trying to extricate themselves. I noticed one that had
his throat bandaged up on this account. The birds are kept in
paddocks, three or four together, or more, if young and tame, but
some are very savage. We drove through all the paddocks, but the
manager kept a sharp look-out, lest any should "bounce" at us. An
ostrich, in attacking, kicks forward with his legs, which give
tremendous blows, and then, when he has kicked down his enemy, he
will probably sit upon him, and his weight is about two
hundredweight. An ostrich, therefore, cannot be considered a
generous foe. The old manager had been a good deal knocked about by
them himself. On one occasion a bird had kicked him twice, broken a
rib or two, and got him up fast against the palings. However, he
managed to seize hold of the bird's neck, and calling to some men on
the other side, he handed the neck to them over the palings, to hold
while he made his escape--which his ingenuity certainly deserved. I
asked him what he did when they ran away. "Well," he said, "I sit
down and wait till they stop; you can't catch them." The male takes
turn with the female in sitting on the eggs, and when an ostrich has
young ones she is very dangerous to approach. A good breeding couple
are worth £300. The feathers are not taken off at any particular
time of the year, but as they are ready, nor is cruelty exercised in
taking them. I saw several ovens which had been used for hatching
the eggs, but now they have enough birds to let them be hatched
naturally, which is the safer way. An ostrich at close quarters is
certainly an unpleasant looking beast; his neck, moving rapidly in
all directions, surmounted by a small head, with bright
wicked-looking eyes, reminds one of a snake. He has a fancy for
anything bright, and will make for a button on your coat if it
happens to gleam. I asked the age of ostriches, but could obtain no
information. They look wiry enough to live for ever.

On our return to Gawler we called on the way to see an orange farm.
The oranges were being picked. The trees, laden with fruit, seemed
to have repaid the labour of the cultivator. Oranges require a great
deal of water. This grove was in a sheltered valley, and water was
supplied by a pump worked by wind. The man with us said you could
not tell exactly what sort of oranges would come, because the same
tree sometimes bears different kinds. Whether this is the case I do
not know. Paramatta, near Sydney, is the chief place for oranges in
Australia, but these of Gawler seemed to be as good as any we could
desire, to judge from the taste. At Gawler we had tea at a friend's
house. He said amongst other things--all interesting, but which I
have forgotten--that he always gave tramps a meal (which seems to be
the custom) and usually offered them work, but that none would work
for less than 4_s._ 6_d._ a day. They preferred to do nothing. The
Gawler Museum was close by. It contains native clubs, tom-toms,
skins of fishes, and a valuable book of engravings from Hogarth. The
last two or three days of my visit to South Australia I spent with
an old friend, who has been about six years a Professor at the
University. He lived about 20 miles to the east of Adelaide, beyond
the Mount Lofty range, and the scenery by rail thither, across the
mountains, is very striking. His comfortable house is about a mile
from the station, and here he spends his leisure time with his
family, in sensible pursuits. The University of Adelaide is yet in
its early youth, and only quite lately have any buildings been
erected for it, but the professorships are well endowed, and the
number of students annually increases. From Adelaide I returned by
steamer to Melbourne, and from there in a few days I went to
Tasmania. On my subsequent return to England I spent a day at
Adelaide, but then was in the company of friends the whole time.



V.

Tasmania.


The island of Tasmania is about 200 miles direct South of Victoria.
Up to 1856 its name was Van Diemen's land. Then it was officially
changed to Tasmania, a name which is more euphonious and at the same
time more correct, for the island was discovered by the Dutch
navigator, Tasman, who called it after his father-in-law, Van
Diemen. The change of name does not seem at once to have been
appreciated in England, for it is related of the first Bishop of
Tasmania, Bishop Nixon that, having occasion to call at the Foreign
Office, he left his card "F. R. Tasmania," and received a reply
addressed to F. R. Tasmania, Esq.! This reminds one of the Duke of
Newcastle, who, when Prime Minister, expressed his astonishment that
Cape Breton was an island, and hurried off to tell the King.
Tasmania may be reached direct from England by the Steamers of the
Shaw Savill and Albion Line, which call at Hobart on their way to
New Zealand once a month. The Steamers of the New Zealand Shipping
Co. also call occasionally at Hobart for coal, but they are not to
be relied on for stopping. Tasmania is however usually reached from
Melbourne. Bass's Straits, the sea between Victoria and Tasmania is
usually stormy, and many passengers who have never been seasick all
the way from England have succumbed to Bass's Straits. What is more
remarkable however, is that some for whom Bass's Straits have had no
terrors, have been seasick on the narrow-gauge line from Launceston
to Hobart! There are two ways of going from Melbourne to Hobart, one
by Steamer to Launceston at the north of the Island, and 40 miles up
the river Tamar, which takes about 24 hours, and thence by express
train to Hobart which takes 5-3/4 hours, the other by Steamer all
the way. There are two lines of Steamers, the Tasmanian S.S. Co.,
and the Union S.S. Co., of New Zealand, which calls at Hobart on the
way to New Zealand. The Steamers of the latter Company are built by
Messrs. Denny, of Dumbarton, and are fine, comfortable, and swift.
To travel by one of them is in my opinion far the pleasantest way of
reaching Hobart from Melbourne. Others to whom the shortest sea
passage is preferable, will naturally go by Launceston, and will
have a beautiful ride through the country, though they may be shaken
to pieces.

Tasmania is about half the size of England, but its population is
only 120,000. There are only two towns of any size--Hobart in the
south and Launceston in the north. A great deal of the interior is
marshy, and there are lakes of some considerable size, which in the
winter are sometimes frozen. The north-west coast is very barren and
sparsely inhabited. The doctors and clergy in these parts have often
long journeys to make through the bush. In climate, Tasmania is
preferable to Australia. The temperature is much more equable, and
therefore not so trying to weak constitutions. Formerly, many
Anglo-Indians visited the north-west coast; but this has not been so
much the case latterly. Numbers of tourists come from Australia
during the summer months. Compared to the larger island, Tasmania is
well watered, and the rainfall is very much greater. The climate has
often been compared to that of England, without its damps and fogs,
but the lightness and clearness of the atmosphere rather resemble
that of the South of France or Italy, and supply that gentle
exhilaration to the spirits which can be so seldom known in England.
Mount Wellington, which rises 4,000 feet above Hobart, is often
covered with a wreath of mist, and in the winter with snow. Many
English fruits and trees have been introduced, and flourish well.
The sweet briar was brought in some years ago, and now in many parts
the hedges are of nothing else. The native foliage is, however, the
same as that of Australia. Everywhere the eucalyptus predominates,
and in Tasmania grows to a great height. Some of the finest trees
may be seen in driving from Hobart along the Huon Road.

Up to within the last five and thirty years, the history of Tasmania
was that of a penal settlement. Much has been written of the convict
life, which it is not necessary to repeat here. I have often heard
that Marcus Clarke's powerful but repulsive tale, "His Natural Life"
is strictly true, even in its most horrible details. To the evils
inherent in the system, others seem to have been deliberately added by
the authorities. The convicts were employed as servants, and it was
even permitted to a free woman to marry a convict, and then if he
displeased her, she might have him punished. The buildings of the
settlement at Port Arthur are still standing, but are fast falling
into ruin. On the ceiling of the chapel there are yet to be seen marks
of blood from the floggings there inflicted. The old doors and bolts
of cells are used by the people in their own houses. It was of
frequent occurrence that convicts effected an escape, but they were
usually compelled, through hunger, to give themselves up. In cases
where several escaped, they became bushrangers, and rendered
travelling in the interior unsafe, for, their lives being already
forfeited, they had no motive to abstain from pillage and murder. It
appears that one at least of the Governors of the convict
establishments, took a malicious pleasure in taunting those under his
care. At length he fell a victim to his own conduct. It may be a
question whether it would not have been better to hang a man at once
than to transport him to Van Dieman's Land; but there can be no
question whatever that to class one who had been guilty of some petty
theft, with the abandoned wretches that convicts speedily become, is a
deed of which the wickedness can hardly be exaggerated. The system,
too, had a bad effect upon the free inhabitants. While the convicts
were no better than slaves, in the masters were engendered some of the
autocratic habits of slave-owners. If a convict gave the slightest
offence to his master or mistress, nothing was easier than to send him
with a note to the nearest magistrate, requesting that the bearer
might receive fifty lashes. The spirit of caste would soon be
manifested. The free white population would despise the convicts, or
children of convicts--perhaps also the poor free whites. These
distinctions have long ceased, but the feelings associated with them
are not so easily eradicated. Even now the descendants of convicts are
sometimes secretly looked down upon, and a great many have, on that
account, left the island. Much public work has been done by convict
labour. If a road is particularly well made, it is a sure remark that
it was made by the "Government stroke," but as a monument of human
industry, slave labour does not impress the mind like free labour. One
does not contemplate the pyramids of Egypt with the same satisfaction
as St. Peter's or St. Paul's. An account of the present aborigines of
Tasmania may be given with the same brevity as that of the snakes in
Ireland--there are none. The last was an old woman who died about ten
years ago. They were gradually reduced in numbers, partly by the
invaders, partly by natural causes, and at last the remnant was
deported to one of the neighbouring islands. In 1854 there were only
16 left. In the museum at Hobart are portraits of a good many, with
unpronounceable names. By the Australians, Tasmania is sometimes
called "sleepy hollow," and certainly, compared with their neighbours
across the water, the Tasmanians do appear to be deficient in energy.
The revenue of the country is, indeed, increasing, though slowly.
There are now only about 400,000 acres under cultivation. A great many
sheep are imported from Victoria. The principal manufacture is jam,
but the customs duties of Victoria put difficulties in the way of a
large export. Lately, the tin mines of Mount Bischoff, in the N.W.,
have been exceedingly productive, but there is an immense amount of
mineral wealth in Tasmania not yet tapped. With the exception of
Newfoundland, it is, I believe, the only Colony not represented at the
present Colonial and Indian Exhibition, and this must be matter of
regret to all wellwishers of the island, because it is certainly not
due to want of materials for exhibition. There might be shown the
varieties of the gum tree, the beautiful tree-ferns, the pretty shells
which are made into necklaces, the skin of the black opossum, of which
the finest opossum rugs are made (the black opossum has, however,
become very rare, and brown skins are sometimes dyed black). There is,
too, the Tasmanian devil, a small but formidable animal, something
like a badger, and the ornithorhynchus, or duck-billed platypus, which
figures on some of the postage stamps. This want of energy is a fact,
however it may be accounted for. Probably the emigration to Australia
of some of the convict families, as above mentioned, has withdrawn
some useful members of society. Again, in 1851, the discovery of gold
in Victoria attracted the most adventurous spirits from the other
Colonies, and from Tasmania among the rest. It is true that much of
the dangerous and criminal element in the population may thus have
been removed, but, at the same time, the young blood went with it,
and, as Pericles said, to take the young away from a city is like
taking the spring out of the year, and now many of the young men go to
Australia or elsewhere to seek their fortunes, a fact which may be
considered as much an effect of the present stagnation as a cause of
it. Throughout the island generally the usual proportion of the sexes
is maintained, but in Hobart the female sex appears to have a decided
preponderance. Tasmania, and especially Hobart, has had a reputation
for the beauty of the women; Anthony Trollope and other writers
mention it. Many men from Melbourne have brought their wives from
across the straits. I am bound to say that my own observation scarcely
bore out this tradition, but one must be very insensible not to admire
the fresh and clear complexions both of women and men; they have the
same complexions as we see in England, than which there cannot be
higher commendation. Although the total population of Tasmania is so
small, the machinery of government is large. There is a Governor, a
Legislative Council of 16 members, and a Legislative Assembly of 32
members. Both houses are elective, though not with the same suffrage;
but as even the lower house is not elected by manhood suffrage, the
constitution is not so democratic as that of Victoria. During my visit
the chief political question was the defence of the island against
possible Russian attack. The artillery were daily practising at
Kangaroo Point, which commands the entrance to Hobart. The present
acting Chief Justice had been Premier and Attorney General for five
years previously, and had brought the finances into a satisfactory
state. Each minister has a salary of £700. The High Court of Justice
consists of a Chief Justice and a Puisne Judge. The result of this is
that there is virtually no appeal from the decision of a single judge;
because, if even on appeal the Court should be divided, the previous
judgment must necessarily be confirmed. The only appeal, therefore, is
to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, a proceeding which
would probably be attended with too much expense to be ever resorted
to. The two branches of the legal profession--Barristers and
Solicitors--are amalgamated, but in practice they are usually kept
distinct. A jury consists of seven, of whom a majority of five can
give a verdict.

Education is well endowed in Tasmania. There is as yet no
University, though attempts have been made to found one, but the
Council of Education confers the degree of Associate of Arts, and
every year two scholarships, called the "Tasmanian Scholarships,"
of the value of £200 per annum, each for four years, to be held at
any British university, are awarded if the candidates pass
satisfactorily the required examination. This is indeed a splendid
scholarship. There are various other scholarships for boys and
girls under the age of 12, and others for those under 15, so that
it is possible for a boy to rise "from the gutter to the
University." The recent success of girls has brought forward the
question whether they too should not be allowed to compete for the
Tasmanian Scholarship. Newspapers may be sent post free to Great
Britain or the other colonies, to promote, I presume, knowledge of
the country. The telephone is much more in use than in England, and
is frequently used in place of the telegraph. The cost of it is
only £6 per annum. Nor in railway communication is Tasmania behind.
I mean that there are enough railways to keep up with the
requirements of the country, but new lines are being made, and they
of course will create fresh requirements. The principal line is
that connecting Launceston with Hobart. It belongs to a private
company, but the Government guaranteed 5 per cent. on the cost of
construction up to £650,000. That sum was not sufficient, and
subsequently £100,000 and £50,000 had to be borrowed to complete
the line. The present income is about £70,000--a large amount for
the small population at each end and on the way. Therefore when the
chairman at the recent meeting of shareholders in London
anticipated an income of £150,000, he was rather in the clouds. The
line is 133 miles in length, and has a gauge of 3ft. 6in. It
passes through some beautiful scenery, especially towards the
Hobart end, and the numerous bends of the line give travellers an
excellent opportunity for seeing the country. To one not used to
it, however, the jolting is most unpleasant, and the pace kept up
round the curves is too great for safety. Indeed, there have lately
been some fatal accidents on that very account. Among the stations
are Jerusalem and Jericho, before which the line skirts the Lake of
Tiberias. Not far off is Bagdad--which also has its Caliph. There
is one express train a day each way, which keeps up an average
speed of 23 miles per hour. Launceston has about 15,000
inhabitants, and is a more business-like town than Hobart.
Otherwise it is not particularly interesting. Hobart, which up to
1881 was called Hobart Town, has a most enchanting situation. The
scenery is of that ideal nature which, especially when the
afternoon sun gleams on the water and the hills, reminds the
spectator (if it is not contradictory to say so) of the "Light that
never was on sea or land."

Hobart lies about seven miles from the sea, which here runs up into
the land like a Norwegian fiord, and at the mouth of the river
Derwent. It is built upon sloping ground, between the river and
Mount Wellington, a huge mass that dwarfs every other object. Each
side of this fiord are green hills, from any one of which are
charming views of sea and land. The town much resembles an English
country town. The streets are narrower than those of Australian
towns, and though mostly at right angles are not so painfully
regular. They are mostly named after past Governors, as Macquarie
Street, Davey Street, Collins Street, Franklin Square, etc. Over the
Town Hall a flag flies, with the proud motto "_Sic fortis Hobartia
crevit_," and the arms of the city, supported by a kangaroo and an
emu. Under this same roof is the Public Library, containing about
10,000 volumes. The chief English periodicals are taken here. I
remember reading here Froude's "Carlyle in London," which is a
biography worthy to stand beside Boswell. It is a real biography,
not a mere jumble of undigested letters and diary thrown before the
public, which is too much the modern notion of writing Somebody's
Life. Hobart has none of the cosmopolitanism of Melbourne. Its
habits are essentially provincial--what the Germans call
_Kleinstädtisch_. There is a small theatre at Hobart, to which
companies sometimes come from Melbourne. I saw the "Ticket-of-Leave
Man" here. The audience, which almost entirely consisted of the pit,
were still in that primitive stage of criticism in which the villain
(who was a good actor) was hooted, and the honest man (an
indifferent actor) vehemently applauded. I remember asking the way
to the theatre of a bearded individual, who turned out to be an
officer of the Salvation Army. "Ah, sir!" he said, "We don't believe
in theatres, we're booked for Heaven"--a most comfortable conviction
to carry through this life, whatever may be the ultimate issue.
Lying as it does in the midst of such beautiful scenery, Hobart is
a good centre from which to make excursions. A favourite place for
picnics is Brown's River, about 10 miles away, the road following
the water edge along "Sandy Bay." An Antipodean picnic is nothing
without tea. In fact the tea-pot is the centre round which
everything revolves. The first thing to be done is to collect wood
for a fire. The "billy" is then filled with water and set to boil.
Meantime those not connected with these preliminaries wander through
the woods or along the shore. At a picnic to Brown's River I saw the
famous cherries with the stones growing outside. It certainly is a
kind of fruit with the stone outside, but bears no resemblance
whatever to the cherry. Near Brown's River is the Blow Hole. This is
an opening at the bottom of a rock, through which at certain states
of the tide the water rushes, I presume, with much noise and
violence, but when I saw it all was quiet. For a two days excursion
from Hobart, none can be better than to take the coach along the
Huon Road to Victoria, at the head of the Huon River, sleep there,
and the next morning take the steamer from Victoria down the small
river, along the D'Entrecasteaux channel between the island of Bruni
and the mainland, and so back to Hobart. I had arranged for this
trip with a friend, and had gone so far as to consult the "Captain
of the Pinafore," (the tiny craft above alluded to), as to the time
of starting from Victoria, for she does not start every day, but an
accident at the last moment prevented us. Subsequently, however, I
had in a drive a good opportunity of seeing the best of the scenery
along the Huon Road. Along the Huon River I am told there are
hermits. At any rate there is one man who has not been seen for nine
years. He brings any fruit he has to sell to a certain spot and
lights a fire. This is seen, and in exchange for his commodities
food is left for him.

Another beautiful trip from Hobart is a journey of 20 miles up the
river Derwent to New Norfolk. The steamer takes about three hours.
About halfway the river is crossed by the main line railway at
Bridgewater, and up to this point is of a considerable width. On the
North the river skirts the wooded sides of Mount Direction, on the
South Mount Wellington almost fills up the landscape. After passing
Bridgewater the river much narrows, and further on the woods descend
to the water's edge in some places, reminding the traveller of the
Dart between Dartmouth and Totnes. Just before reaching New Norfolk
a huge rock, called from its shape the Pulpit Rock, quite overhangs
the river. A branch line from Bridgewater to New Norfolk was being
made along the North side, close to the water's edge, and now the
Pulpit Rock has been removed, for though a picturesque object it
looked dangerous, and everything must, of course, give way to
railways. On landing at the wharf at New Norfolk, a boy came forward
and offered to drive me to the well-known salmon ponds, where, for a
good many years, attempts have been made to rear salmon from ova
brought from England, but it is doubtful whether they have met with
success. Small fish have certainly been raised, but the question is
whether they are salmon, and it is said none have attained a size
sufficiently large to solve the enigma. The distance is only a few
miles, and the drive is pretty, but ten shillings was too much for
the pleasure of a solitary journey, for there was no one else likely
to be a passenger in the winter time. New Norfolk lies pleasantly
situated in a valley on the South side of the Derwent. The soil is
favourable for hops, which have been introduced from England, and
grow well here. I have been told that the freight of hops from
Tasmania to England is less than the carriage from some parts of
Kent to London; but as the carriage, say from Maidstone to London,
is about one and sixpence per pocket, they could be carried at such
a rate from Tasmania only as a back freight, and when the owner
wants anything to fill up. For the night I put up at the "Bush," the
favourite and principal inn, but now I was the only guest. After
dark I started out to see the little township, but as the moon was
only in its first quarter, and there was no artificial light, not
much could be made out then. Launceston and Hobart are the only
towns that have gas, and while the moon is shining, or is due to
shine, even that is not lighted--a piece of economy that may be
excused where gas is about ten shillings per thousand. The next day
I returned by land to Hobart, travelling to Bridgewater by a
top-heavy coach, which at every turn sent my heart into my mouth,
but it was skilfully driven.

Tasmania cannot be said to have progressed much of late years, yet
it does make progress, and is not now receding as it was when Sir C.
Dilke visited it about 20 years ago. I do not know that any land is
now allowed to go out of cultivation as was then the case. It has
not been entirely its own fault either. The protective duties of
Victoria have much checked the exportation of fruit and jam. The
question of Protection _versus_ Free Trade is a permanent subject of
controversy in the Colonies. At the present moment the Premier of
Victoria is a Free Trader, while the Chief Secretary is an ardent
Protectionist. If this difference of opinion exists in the most
advanced and populous colony, what certainty of policy can be looked
for in the others? The best solution would probably be an
intercolonial Zollverein, towards which events seem to be tending.
Whether eventually it will include Great Britain is a part of the
wider question of Federation. That Tasmania is a country with many
resources--especially mineral wealth--as yet undeveloped, is a
conclusion at which most people will arrive, even after a short
visit to the colony; but, how soon and in what way this development
will take place depends, of course, upon the character of the
inhabitants, and this character will, no doubt, improve as the
remembrances of the convict life, which has so blighted this
beautiful island, gradually recede into the dim distance of the
past.



VI.

Auckland and Sydney.


I do not know that I have any right to say anything about New
Zealand, seeing that I was only three days upon the North
Island. I had indeed intended to have paid a proper visit. I had
intended seeing the famous pink and white terraces (now alas!
destroyed), and the rest of the lake district; and at various
places I had a good many introductions from friends. But the
force of circumstances--sometimes said to be another name for
weakness of will--intervened, and my fine schemes ended
ingloriously in a flying visit to Auckland, on a business
matter.

I have before alluded to the excellent steamers of the Union S.S.
Co., of New Zealand. This Company appears to have a monopoly of the
trade between Australia and New Zealand, and if their steamers
continue as they now are there is not much reason to fear
competition. They start from Melbourne, call at Hobart, run across
to the South of the island of New Zealand, then, calling at the
principal ports along the whole length of the east coast of the two
islands till they reach Auckland, they steam straight across to
Sydney. The same journey is made back again from Sydney to
Melbourne. The route is sometimes varied, but this is the usual
course. The names of their steamers are from lakes in New Zealand,
Tarawera, Wairarapa, Te Anau, &c., while the steamers of the New
Zealand Shipping Co. are named from mountains, as Tongariro,
Aorangi, Rimutaka, &c. On the day that I had arranged to leave
Hobart by the Union line for New Zealand, it happened that one of
the New Zealand Co.'s steamers called in for coal, and as this
steamer--a fine vessel of 4,000 tons--was going direct to Auckland
it suited me much better. She had come round the Cape, thus avoiding
the heat of the Suez Canal. This is a monthly service direct to New
Zealand. The Shaw Savill and Albion Line also has a monthly service,
so that every fortnight there is a steamer direct from England
arriving in New Zealand. The sea was smooth, and consequently the
passage was quick. On the morning of the third day we passed the
Snares Rocks, to the south of Stewart's Island. On the fifth, the
snowy sides of the Kaikoura mountains were glittering in the morning
sun as we passed a few miles from shore, and about 4 o'clock on the
morning of the eighth day, we were alongside the wharf in the
spacious harbour of Auckland. Close by, my eye was caught by the
"Ohau," a small steamer, which, as it happened, I had seen launched
about nine months previously at Dumbarton--little expecting to see
it again.

It is doubtful whether New Zealand belongs geographically to
Australia or to the Pacific Islands. It is said that some shocks of
earthquake in New Zealand have been felt in Tasmania. On the other
hand there is above a thousand miles of rough sea between Australia
and New Zealand, with no connecting islands between, and nature
presents quite a different aspect in the two countries. The gum tree
is the principal tree on the Australian continent, the Kauri pine in
New Zealand. In the latter country there are no kangaroos, no emus,
no snakes, in fact very few indigenous animals. The bones of a
gigantic bird, the moa, are to be found, but the bird itself has
long been extinct. Every variety of climate and scenery may be found
in New Zealand. The winter of the South Island is as rigorous as
that of England, while the North Island nearly reaches the tropics.
In the North Island are the famous hot lakes; in the South the very
lofty range of mountains known as the Southern Alps, which attains a
height of 13,000 feet in Mount Cook. The scenery on the South-west
coast, from Milford Sound downwards, where the sea runs up many
miles into the land, and the steamer passes through narrow straits
between perpendicular walls of rock, has often been compared to that
of the wilder fiords of Norway. It is little more than forty years
since New Zealand was colonized by Europeans, but already shoals of
books have been written about it. The Maoris, as is well known, are
not the original inhabitants. Their traditions relate--and they are
confirmed by independent investigations--that they came about 400
years ago from the South Sea Islands, and drove out or exterminated
the natives. As a fact the Maoris are immeasurably superior to the
Australian natives. Captain Cook, in describing his landing in 1769,
says, "one of the natives raised his spear, as if to dart it at the
boat; the coxswain fired, and shot him dead,"--a melancholy omen of
the future relations between the natives and the strangers. The
Maori wars have cost us many lives, but, of course, have always had
the same ending. The natives have gradually been straitened in room,
and their numbers have steadily declined. It is true that the census
of 1881 shows a rather larger number of natives (44,000 odd) than in
1858, but in the latter year it was probably not so accurately made,
and there is little doubt that they are now rapidly diminishing.
They are nearly all in the North Island, in the neighbourhood of the
Hot Lake district. The portion specially alloted to them is called
the King Country, and no European may enter this without permission.
Thus they have prevented the ascent of Mount Tongariro, which is
_tapu_, or sacred. They are now much better treated than formerly,
and send four members to Parliament. In their language there is no
_s_ or _f_, vowels are very numerous, and every word ends with a
vowel. The sound of the words, therefore, is easy and flowing, and
the native names are far more euphonious than those of Australia.

There is already a good deal of literature about the Maoris, their
habits and customs and religious ideas. No doubt they are of the
widely-spread Malay race, which has over-run the South Pacific. The
religious notions of the most different races in a certain stage of
civilization much resemble one another. We know, for instance, that
the Greeks of Homer's time (whatever that was) besides worshipping
the gods of Olympus, identified every ruin, mountain, or cape with
some superhuman person--whether demon, or hero, or nymph. So we read
(in Wakefield's adventures in New Zealand) that the chief Heu-Heu
appeals to his ancestor the great mountain Tongariro, "I am the
Heu-Heu, and rule over you all just as my ancestor, Tongariro, the
mountain of Snow, stands above all this land." Heu-Heu refused
permission to anyone to ascend the mountain, on the ground that it
was his _tipuna_ or ancestor,--"he constantly identified himself
with the mountain, and called it his sacred ancestor." The mountains
in New Zealand are accounted by the natives male and female.
Tarawera and Taranaki, two male mountains, once quarrelled about the
affections of a small volcanic female mountain in the neighbourhood.
A great deal about the transactions between the New Zealand
Government and the natives may be learnt from the recent interesting
libel action of _Bryce_ v. _Rusden_, in which the former, who has
been native minister in the Government, recovered £5000 damages
against the defendant, the author of a History of New Zealand. Up to
1876 the islands were divided into nine provinces, each of which had
a separate Council, subject to the central Government at Wellington,
but in that year the provincial Councils were abolished, and the
Government is now like that of the Australian Colonies, with a
governor and two houses of Parliament. The members of the Lower
House are paid. In "Greater Britain," Sir Charles Dilke, making a
contrast between New Zealand and Australia, suggests that New
Zealand is aristocratic and Australia democratic. To me they
appeared equally democratic. The payment of members is an advanced
step even in a democracy.

Auckland is by far the largest town in the North Island, with its
suburbs, now containing nearly 50,000 inhabitants. Up to 1864 it was
also the seat of Government, but that was then moved to Wellington
as being a more central town. There is much rivalry between Auckland
and Dunedin, the largest town in the South Island. Dunedin is the
capital of the pro-provincial district of Otago, which is chiefly
inhabited by Scotch, or people of Scotch descent. The Scotch have
the great merit of sticking to their friends. If there is anything
to be done or gained, a Scotchman naturally gets the preference. I
heard an amusing illustration of this on the way to New Zealand. At
one of the ports in Otago a steamer required new boilers, and
tenders were asked for. One was much lower than the others, and was
accepted. The name of the contractor appeared to be Macpherson, but
when sent for he turned out to be a Chinaman. He had been shrewd
enough to see that he had no chance of getting the work in his own
name. The total population of New Zealand is a little over 500,000,
and the public debt is about £37,000,000. This seems to show that
taxation must be high. A good deal of this large amount has, it is
true, been expended on railways, which all belong to the State, and
therefore the burden, though heavy, is not quite so heavy as it
appears at first sight. A friend at Auckland told me that New
Zealand is a paradise for working-men and for men with capital, who
can safely lend it at a high rate of interest. It is probably, too,
a capital place for domestic servants, who everywhere in the
Colonies seem to have pretty much their own way. I have also heard
that dentists are much in request. A lady, living near Auckland, had
to drive twelve miles, and then put her name down in a book three
weeks beforehand, to see the dentist! But for people who want to
find something to do, and have no money and no manual skill, the
prospect is not so smiling. For instance, I should not imagine that
teaching is a lucrative pursuit--private teaching that is to say,
for in public teaching the supply is in excess of the demand, and,
no doubt, rightly so, in a young community. New Zealand annually
spends on education £500,000, or £1 per head of the population, a
higher proportion than is spent by any other country. Formerly there
was the University of Otago and the University of New Zealand, but
the former has now ceased to have the power of conferring degrees,
and has been virtually amalgamated with the University of New
Zealand. This University has affiliated colleges at Auckland,
Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin, though the latter is still
styled the University of Otago. Each of these colleges has a staff
of highly-paid professors, with not much to do as yet in the strict
line of business, to judge by the number of students. But of course
the taste for advanced education has to be created before it can be
much in request. The salaries are large enough to tempt over some of
the best men from England, but a professor is expected to come out
as a public man much more here than at home. He is expected to
deliver a course of lectures in public, to entertain socially, and
to interest himself in local affairs. At Auckland they boasted that
on their School Board they had a Senior Classic and a Senior
Wrangler.

Auckland is, as I said, the only town I actually visited in New
Zealand. Of the town itself there is not much to be said. It is not
particularly interesting, and the climate is rather relaxing; when
it rains the roads are almost impassable with mud. But its situation
is most charming from its beauty, and most advantageous for trade.
The harbour of Auckland is thought by some to rival that of Sydney
for beauty and commodiousness. From the summit of Mount Eden, an
extinct volcano, with a perfectly formed crater (its extinction,
however, does not appear so certain, after the recent experience of
Mount Tarawera, which was thought to be equally extinct), an
extensive view of Auckland and the two seas is to be obtained. For
at this point the North Island is so narrow, that Manukau harbour on
the west side comes close up to Auckland, and at one point the
distance across is only a mile and a half. There has been a project
mooted to cut through the narrow isthmus, and thus lessen the
journey to Sydney by about 300 miles, but all the harbours of New
Zealand lie towards the Pacific, not towards Australia, and there is
a formidable bar at the entrance to Manukau harbour, so that after
all the expense would probably be too great. Auckland is on the
direct track for steamers from San Francisco to Sydney, and up to
last year there was a regular service of three steamers, once a
month--I forget the name of the line. Many went by this route, as
the fare from Sydney to London this way is only £66, including the
rail across America, but there were many complaints of the
inferiority of the steamers. That line has now ceased, but the Union
Line of New Zealand now run their steamers along the same route,
and, I believe, have a subsidy from New Zealand and New South Wales
for the mail service to America. It was by one of the steamers of
the former line, the "Zealandia," that I left Auckland for Sydney on
the 28th June. The voyage took five days over a calm sea, and was
quite without incident. We were, however, enlivened by the presence
of Mr. Dion Boucicault, the well-known playwright and actor, with
his company, who were on their way to fulfil engagements in
Melbourne and Sydney, after some years stay in America; we had many
amusing, but highly-coloured anecdotes. Among them one alone, told
by an actor who died sadly and suddenly at Melbourne a few weeks
later, now remains in my memory. Some time previously he had been
acting at Ottawa, and the play was Richard III. He was Richmond, and
in reply to his speech the Duke of Norfolk says, "Your words are
fire, my lord, and warm our men." On this occasion the army
consisted of one man, one woman (dressed as a soldier) and a boy,
and the very conscientious duke replied, "Your words are fire, my
lord, and warm our _man_." I tell it as it was told me, but my
friend must have made some mistake. These words do not occur in
Shakespeare's Richard III. (though they may in the acting version)
and at any rate there is no conversation between Richmond and the
Duke of Norfolk.

On arrival at Sydney I made no stay, but returned to Melbourne the
next day by steamer. However, I paid my visit of five weeks to
Sydney a short time afterwards. This time I left Melbourne by the
very fine steamer Buninyong, of 3000 tons, belonging to Howard,
Smith & Co., I believe the largest of the Inter-Colonial Steamers.
After passing Wilson's Promontory, the extreme South point of
Victoria, and indeed of Australia, the coast is in sight the whole
way. After about 54 hours we entered Sydney Heads. It was then
twilight, and quite dark before we came alongside the wharf. The
entrance to the Heads at Sydney is about a mile wide, but is
scarcely seen before it is entered. The Cliffs on each side are
several hundred feet high. The projecting points of the Cliff on the
North side, when seen at a certain angle, made a good imitation of
the Duke of Wellington's profile. A fast steamer from Melbourne
takes about 48 hours, but then fast steamers are sometimes
dangerous; most people have read of the terrible wrecks of the
Cahors and the Lyeemoon, within a few months of each other, the two
fastest steamers of the Australian Steam Navigation Co.; the latter
wreck caused the loss of 70 lives. Both were the result of steering
too close inland, to save an hour or two. To suspend or cancel a
captain's certificate, or even to prosecute him, is a small
consolation for such things as these. Moreover, when there is time
to use the boats, they are too often found to be unseaworthy. The
steamers themselves are inspected by the Marine Board, and
certificates granted for 6 months, but the boats, though included in
the certificate, are not separately examined. Being exposed to the
hot sun day after day, they become very dry, and consequently leak
when wanted for use. If the captain was bound to keep the boats
seaworthy as distinct from the ship, he would be more careful to
have them tested now and then. Mr. Wm. Smith, of Sydney, has
recently invented a life-boat, which, it has been proved, cannot be
upset. He has offered it freely to the Government, but owing to
differences with some officials of the Marine Board, it has never
received a fair trial at their hands. The recent loss of life at
sea will not have been entirely useless, if it directs public
attention to his most valuable invention. The harbour of Sydney has
been often described, and I will not attempt to do so, especially as
all descriptions of scenery are unsatisfactory. They seldom convey
any definite impression, and a good photograph is better than any
number of them. However, it disputes with that of Rio Janeiro, the
name of the "finest harbour in the world"--whatever that may mean
exactly. In shape it somewhat resembles a huge octopus, the
innumerable creeks and inlets branching out like so many feelers,
yet there can scarcely be said to be a centre from which they
radiate. Numberless steamers ply all day to various points, mostly
starting from the "Circular Quay," the principal wharf of the city.
Small steamers rush in everywhere up the smallest rivers, and have
to be of the lightest draught. In the summer many of the rivers are
dry. The captain of one, not to be outbid by his rival, advertised
to start "the next heavy dew."

I spent many of my days in Sydney in exploring the harbour, by the
aid of steamers, but to see it adequately would require many weeks.
Watson's Bay is near the South Head. Close by is the "Gap," where
the City of Dunbar was wrecked on the 20th August, 1857. The
anniversary of the day is kept. The Captain, steering straight for
the entrance as he thought, ran upon the rocks. There was only one
survivor, who was thrown upon a ledge of rock, and was not found for
two days. The ship was full of colonists returning home, and the
calamity threw nearly all Sydney into mourning. There is now a
lighthouse near at hand, with a magnificent electric light, which
can be seen thirty miles away. At Manly Beach, near the North Head,
is a fine sandy tract; it is a favourite bathing-place, and round
about are many pretty villas. A young clergyman, recently come from
England as _locum tenens_ to an absent vicar, was then at Manly
Beach with his wife. I had known him in England, so we made up a
picnic to drive northward from Manly about 15 miles, to a place
called Pitwater. A charming drive it was. Now and then glimpses of
the sea on the right hand were seen. For several miles the road was
bordered with the lovely wild flowers which grow in profusion near
Sydney, so much so that in September the ladies of Manly get up a
wild-flower show. The varieties of the wattle are especially
beautiful. Pitwater consisted of one house, to which the road had
been made but a few months previously. It was at the edge of an
inlet from the sea, which here comes in some distance, but it looked
like an inland lake, so still and solemn were the surroundings. My
friend had the reputation of being one of the best, if not the best,
preachers in Sydney. He occupied one of the largest churches and
kept it full. His matter was excellent, but his reputation he owed
chiefly to his admirable elocution, in which art he had taken
lessons in London. If only more clergymen would have the sense to do
the same! It is very well to say that, as religion is so
all-important a subject, any sermon should compel attention. Perhaps
that should be so, but men are mortal, and sermons are not listened
to any more than any other utterances if they are tedious and badly
delivered.

The area of New South Wales is over 300,000 square miles, or half as
large again as that of France. Its population is a little under a
million. Sydney, with 220,000, is the only large town; there is not
another above 15,000. There is little agriculture and no
manufactures to speak of. At Newcastle, about 60 miles north of
Sydney, coal is found in abundance, and from there most of Australia
is supplied, but much of it is of a dirty and smoky kind, more fit
for steamers than for domestic use. Coal has now been found in
Gippsland, in Victoria, and it is a question of carriage to bring it
into use at Melbourne. The New South Wales coal is about 21s. a ton
in Melbourne. The pastoral interest (sheep farming) is the
principal, almost the only interest in New South Wales, therefore
when one drought follows another the whole colony is of course
depressed. At these times the public offices in Sydney are besieged
by crowds of men out of work, and the Government will employ as many
as possible, sometimes uselessly. This is a dangerous thing, for men
speedily acquire the notion that if they do nothing for themselves
the Government is bound to provide for them. But a man out of work
in Sydney or Melbourne is a different animal from the same man in
England. If offered 4s. 6d. a day for stone breaking he will object
that it blisters his hands. He wants not merely work, but work that
he happens to like, and any politician who will provide him with
work of this kind will be sure of his vote at the next election.

It is difficult to get at the truth about the state of the labour
market in New South Wales. The newspaper accounts are most
conflicting. One writer asserts that any man with honesty and
determination can make his living at any time; another speaks of the
numbers of skilled artisans who cannot get employment. But if some
of these latter have the fastidious tastes above mentioned, it will
be seen that the destitution is to a certain extent artificial. But
reasoning on these subjects speedily merges in the ocean of Free
Trade _v._ Protection, upon which I will not further touch. Sydney
is the oldest town in the Colonies, having been founded in 1788. It
has quite the air of an old established place--the abode of men for
generations. The principal streets run East and West the whole
length of the town down to the harbour, a distance of nearly four
miles. In the centre is Hyde Park, a prettily laid-out piece of 40
acres, but the most beautiful spot is the Botanical Gardens, which
slope down to the water's edge. Especial pains have been taken to
render them an admirable specimen of horticulture. Nearly every tree
and shrub that will grow in this climate is here to be found. Near
them is the "National Gallery," where may be seen many paintings
that a few years ago graced the walls of Burlington House. The chief
attraction during my visit was a copy of Miss Thompson's, "Roll
Call," said to be by the artist herself. £4000 was to be given for
it on proof of its authenticity, but it did not require the eye of a
connoisseur to judge that such proof was not likely to be
forthcoming, and so it proved. It is evidently an inferior copy by
another hand. The principal residential street is Macquarie Street,
which faces the public gardens. Six years ago an Exhibition was held
in these gardens. The building was mysteriously burned down, no
doubt by incendiarism, but it was never found out, though it was
jokingly said it was the act of some inhabitant of Macquarie Street,
for the building quite obstructed their view.

I have before said that rents in Melbourne are very high. In Sydney
they are much higher. The small house in which I boarded in
Macquarie Street was rented at £5 10s. a week, and the landlord
refused to make any repairs whatever, because, as he said, and truly
enough, he could any day get £6 a week. In a London suburb the rent
would be about £60 a year. Of course it was in the best situation in
Sydney. In the outskirts of the town there was much land
speculation. Land is sold at so much a foot, _i.e._ a strip of a
foot in breadth, and about 360 feet in length. There is in Sydney a
complete system of steam tramways, which run to the distance of six
or seven miles out of the town. Accidents to pedestrians are not
uncommon. Vehicles are hardly seen in the streets where the trams
run. One line goes out as far as Botany. I walked from there along
the famous bay which was so nearly having Sydney built upon its
shore. It lies about seven miles North of Sydney, and is almost as
quiet as when Captain Phillip landed a hundred years ago.

In New South Wales there are two Houses of Parliament and a
Governor, as usual. The Lower House is elected by universal
suffrage, but the Legislative Council is nominated by the Governor.
The late Governor was certainly not popular, in spite of what the
guide books say. Whether rightly or wrongly, there was a widespread
impression that, being a comparatively poor man he had been sent
out, like a Roman proconsul, to increase his private means. It is
certain that a Governor of New South Wales cannot adequately
discharge his numerous functions on less than his official salary of
£7000 per annum, and any appearance of parsimony is naturally
resented. It is not exactly the most suitable post for an elderly
diplomatist accustomed to the pomps and inanities of European
courts. The Attorney General of New South Wales, Mr. (now, I think,
Sir William) Dalley, is by many people considered the foremost
statesman in Australia. It was he, who, during the illness of the
then Premier, despatched the contingent to the Soudan. He is,
undoubtedly, a remarkable speaker, and has recently been created a
Privy Councillor--the only colonial statesman hitherto raised to
that dignity.

The Church of England flourishes in Sydney. There is the Cathedral
of St. Andrew, and many other churches. The Bishop (who is the
Metropolitan of Australia), Dr. Barry, the late well-known principal
of King's College, has done much by his broadness of view and
liberality of sentiment to lessen local religious differences. The
Roman Catholics have been building an enormous Cathedral, not yet
finished. They, too, are a numerous body. The memory of the late
Archbishop Vaughan, who died here in harness, is perfectly idolized
by them. The University of Sydney has an imposing building, on a
site overlooking the City, with a large hall and spacious lecture
rooms. The late Professor of Classics was Dr. Badham, the renowned
Greek scholar. The affiliated colleges are denominational, St.
Paul's, Church of England; St. John's, Roman Catholic; and St.
Andrew's, Presbyterian. There is, of course, a public library in
Sydney, but it cannot for a moment compete with that of Melbourne,
and, from a casual inspection, it did not appear to me that the
books were well selected. There is also a public lending library. In
Sydney there are a good many Chinese. Some of them are doctors. One
Chinese doctor professes to make a diagnosis of any disease by mere
inspection, and will then prescribe medicine to effect a cure in a
week, a month, or a year, according to the patient's wish, the less
the time the higher the price of the specific. I have heard that in
China people pay their doctors as long as they are in good health,
but when ill require their services for nothing. This appears a plan
worth trying elsewhere. Unfortunately I did not have an opportunity
of seeing more of New South Wales than Sydney and its immediate
neighbourhood. One of the favourite excursions from Sydney, is to go
by rail to Mount Victoria, about 80 miles, to pass over the
celebrated "Zig-zag," a specimen of engineering skill, where the
train climbs the mountain side, and at one point is so many hundred
feet exactly above a point it passed some time before. To judge by a
photograph it must resemble the line over the Brenner Pass in the
Tyrol, where, near the station of Gossensass, there is a similar
zig-zag.

Some large stalactite caverns, called the "Fish River Caves," are
well worth a visit. Hitherto they have been nearly inaccessible to
the ordinary tourist, but lately the Government has appointed a man
to reside there, and the road has been made more practicable. From
Sydney I returned by rail to Melbourne. The distance is nearly 600
miles, and the train takes 18 hours including stoppages, so that a
very good speed is maintained all the way. At the frontier, which is
reached about 6 a.m., the traveller must change trains, as the gauge
is wider in Victoria than on the New South Wales lines. After
entering Victoria, the line passes through what is called the "Kelly
Country," where the famous bushrangers, Kelly and his associates,
committed their outrages some years ago. In a very short time Sydney
will be connected by rail with Brisbane, and there will then be a
continuous line from Adelaide through Melbourne and Sydney to
Brisbane, a distance of not less than 1,600 miles. This will no
doubt much increase the importance of Adelaide, because many people
will be glad to land from a steamer as soon as possible. A few days
after arrival at Melbourne, I returned by P. and O. steamer to
England, and as I am not prepared to inflict on any one an account
of so hackneyed a voyage, I finish at this point.

In ancient times colonists were sent out by Phoenicians or Greeks
(the Roman colonies were for military and political purposes) among
people who to them were barbarians (which, after all, only means
people speaking a foreign tongue) but who might be only a little
inferior to themselves in civilization. A Greek colony, for
instance, settled among the Egyptians, by whom the Greeks themselves
were accounted barbarians. The colonists to America from England two
and a half centuries ago, had to contend with somewhat similar
difficulties as the first colonists of Australia, but they had not
so many modern appliances. The Australian Colonies are particularly
interesting, because they exhibit people of an ancient civilization
and fixed customs thrown into contact with the elemental conditions
of life. They had to start at the very beginning, and that, too,
with an overplus of criminal population. Their success hitherto is a
testimony to the inherent vitality and tenacity of the English race,
and to sneer at them as if they were children, or to patronize them,
is not merely bad taste, but shows an utter ignorance of the facts.
In many things they have begun where we left off. They have had the
advantage of our experience, and in many things we may profitably
learn from them. For instance, when we hear much airy talk of the
nationalization of the land in England and other equally fundamental
questions for a country to have to consider, it would be well to
study the problem in Australia, where the greatest landlord is the
State. Amid the conflict of forces which make up the struggle of
life, it is not much use talking about rights and duties until the
actual forces at work are taken into calculation. Not at all that
might makes right, as Carlyle is often misrepresented to have said
(of which he pathetically complains), but right that in the long run
makes might; and the best social results are obtained by looking
from this point of view at the many difficulties of our present
existence.



M. HARLAND & SON, Printers, Phoenix Works, Manor Street, Hull.





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