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OUR SYDNEY LETTER

(from our own correspondent.) Sydney, April IG. The Easter holidays commenced yesterday. Our city and its environs assumed their usual holiday appearance for the commemoration of Good Friday. It was the brightest of days, and numerous were the yachting parties, also excursionists on the steamers, who enjoyed the day on our lovely harbor. Only one public picnic of any moment w T as held, and that in connection with the Seamen’s Union at Chowder Bay. Of private picnics, there were no end, and every nook and trysting spot along the undulated shores of Port Jackson seemed to be utilised for the occasion, and every fishing ground was occupied by bait and line enthusiasts. Most of the churches were opened for morning service, and there was an entire cessation of business, and an unusual absence of drunkenness. In the evening, a grand sacred concert was held at the Theatre Royal, given by the members of the Williamson Opera Company, and a performance, also of a sacred nature, took place at the Queen’s Theatre. _ Each was numerously attended. No accidents occurred on the harbor to mar the proceedings. So Good Friday of 1881 has passed peacefully away. A monster naval sham fight took place in the harbor on last Tuesday afternoon, and, contrary to expectation, was a great success. The weather was very propitious. H.M.S. Wolverine, Emerald, Miranda, and Cormorant, formed the attacking, and the gunboats, Alert, Beagle, Conflict, Reward, and Sandfly, together with the divisions from the men-of-war, and the whole of our Naval Brigade, the defending force. The ships-of-war, after steaming to the Heads, returned in line under half steam, were supposed to have survived the fire of the 18-ton-guns, at the outer batteries, and engaged to force the position of the defenders at the Macquarie Battery. The display was grand. The Commodore of the fleet, I am sure, retired to his couch on Tuesday evening with the comfortable reflection that he had been the means of affording to 70,000 persons an afternoon’s diversion of a novel kind. What they saw was a nearer approach to the reality of war than any volunteer review that has been held in Australia, or that will be for many years to come. No less than ten of Her Majesty’s warships are anchored under the Government House, with 50 guns and 1230 men. The provision already made for the defence of the colony is fairly respectable. About L 500,000 sterling has been spent on fortifications which are based on modern ideas, and, if well manned, should be strong enough to beat off any vessels likely to be sent to these waters in the event of hostilities. A permanent force has been created, numbering 331 officers and men, at an annual cost of L 35,000. The volunteers muster 1,788 men, at a cost of L 38,000, and the naval brigade number 328, at a cost of LG,OOO. Here is a total of 2,447 officers and men, available for the defence of the colony, and when all are efficient, they will be quite numerous enough in the event of actual ■war.

Mrs Wilkie, charged with the murder of Mr Norton, police magistrate, at Dubbo, was found guilty of manslaughter, and sentenced to imprisonment for three years and a half. Mr Norton, who is a brother of Mr Norton of the firm of Norton and Smith, solieitors, here, leaves a widow and large family unprovided for. It appears for some time past, there has been an intimacy between Mrs Wilkie (who is highly connected) and the late Mr Norton. Being jealous of him, she followed him into one of the hotels in Dubbo, and on asking him a question, he answering in the affiiirnitive, she drew a revolver, and shot him through the head. The Marquis de Ray’s colonists were brought up the harbor this week. The Premier has appointed Mr Wise, Immigration officer, and Mr Marsh as a Board to ascertain the present condition of the colonists, also their future plans. The inquiry is to be conducted through an interpreter, and the whole case will be submitted to the Governor. The Board are at present making arrangements for the boarding and feeding of the people. There are about 195 persons altogether, almost all Italians, and without the knowledge of a word of English. Cole's circus has been doing an immense business since their arrival here about fourteen days ago; the trained horses being the principal feature in the performance. Taking the show on a whole, it is not generally thought to be, by sightseers here, equal to Charini’s. Next week, Cole takes his show on to San Francisco by the s.s. City of Sydney, which has been detained in Sydney Harbor, by the agents, for that purpose. Day by day the necessity of widening our streets is seen. On Thursday morning another collision took place on the tramway line at Oxford street, the motor catching an omnibus wheel. The conductor of the vehicle was thrown on to the curb-stones with considerable violence, and picked up insensible. A lady passenger was so severely hurt that she had to be taken to the infirmary. This accident is attributable to the carelessness of the omnibus drivers—so the tramway people say. Kindness generally begets kindness, but occasionally, as in the case I now mention, there is an exception to the general rule. On Wednesday last the nephew of a nursery gardener named Rembolt attempted to murder him near Sydney, The would-be murderer fired at his uncle from inside the house and then rushed out with a tomahawk and inflicted several wounds upon his head and shoulders. The uncle has always been most indulgent to the lad, and the cause of the attack is unaccountable, as no disputes had ever taken place. The sufferer was taken to the infirmary, and upon examination it

was found that Rembolt had two gunshot wounds in his shoulder, also three scalp wounds, besides other injuries ; none are expected to prove fatal. New Zealand is not blessed with any kangaroos, and perhaps a very desirable thing, too, judging from the following incident, which I consider worth mentioning :—Last week, at Gundagai, Miss E. Webster, daughter of Mr Webster, of Wontabadgery, met with a very serious accident. While out kangaroo hunting with her brother she came in contact with an old man kangaroo, which attacked her and fought desperately. Her brother, quite a lad, becoming frightened, rode off for assistance, instead of helping his sister from her perilous position. Fortunately, her father came on the scene and shot the animal, but not before his daughter had received serious injuries. One of her ears was pulled clean off, and her leg fractured. Civil servants, at the best of times, are generally unhappy subjects. They are placed in positions which require a great deal of keeping up, and are not proportionately paid. Therefore it is pleasing to note that Mr R. B. Mitchell, many years Clerk of Petty Sessions at Forbes, and for the past fourteen years Police Magistrate at Balranald, has become the happy possessor of a handsome fortune—representing some L 160,000. He has sent in his resignation (not asking for any compensation), and will leave in a short time for Scotland, where he will enter into possession of the magnificent estate of Polmood, in Peebleshire. Mr Mitchell has been twenty-one years in the Government service of New South Wales.

Mr William Mason, whose resignation as Engineer for existing railways and tramways, I mentioned in one of my previous letters, owing to a disagrement with the Minister for Railways, was the recipient last night, at the Masonic Hall, of a very handsome tea and coffee service, presented him by the employees of the railway department. The Commissioner for Railways (Mr Goodchap), made the presentation, which was accompanied by an address, and followed by a presentation of a set of jewels, for Mrs^Mason. Mr Mason’s connection with the Government has extended over a period of twenty-five years—during which time he had seen the railway lines extended from 25 to nearly 1,000 miles. The much talked of prosecution of Mr William Archer, Mayor of Burwood, for some alleged illegality in the matter of the recent municipal election, ended, as expected, in smoke. The trial came on before Judge Wilkinson, and after the evidence was taken, the jury intimated that no case had been made out, and forthwith the proceedings terminated. General satisfaction was expressed at Burwood, at the result, and Mr Archer has since met with numerous congratulations from influential friends. On Wednesday evening last, an enthusiastic meeting assembled in that suburb to sypmathise with the Mayor. The question of preventing the influx of Chinese into New South Wales is beginning to be the frequent topic of conversation ; wherever you go—into hotels or cafd—you hear various opinions expressed on the subject, pro and con ; and no wonder the subject is so debated, as ere this letter reaches you, the Kenmuir Castle will have arrived from Hong Kong, bringing 700 more Celestials for this port.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18810429.2.9

Bibliographic details

OUR SYDNEY LETTER, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 331, 29 April 1881

Word Count
1,507

OUR SYDNEY LETTER Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 331, 29 April 1881

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