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(From Ocb Melbourne Correspondent.] May 22. A SAD TALE. Among the victims of the devastating floods which were experienced at Castlemaine on New Year’s Day were two miners, named William Dennis, a married man, with a wife and six children, and Ambrose O’Connor, a widower, with five young ones depending upon him for support. These men were at work sinking a main shaft 27ft below the 250 ft plat in the Francis Ormond Mine, and so suddenly and with such terrific force did the waves of water descend upon them that escape was impossible. Although no hope existed as to their being recovered alive, the company did all within their power to get the water from the shaft and find the bodies; but disaster followed disaster, and want of funds prevented operations being continued. An appeal was then made to Government, and after much loss of time a special grant of LCOO was voted, conditionally upon the machinery and fixtures (which were considered by the senior inspector of mines to be unsafe) being replaced by stronger appliances. This was done, and on the 23rd of Match pumping and baling operations were resumed. Again the company were met with accidents to appliances, but they persevered, and on Wednesday morning last they had the melancholy satisfaction of at least recovering the bodies of the ill-fated men. On Tuesday afternoon tho water had been forked to the 250 ft plat at the western crosscut, and several miners made a search for their deceased comrades. Owing to the vitiated air, however, they could not prosecute their search for any length of time, and operations were suspended till this morning. At half-past seven o’clock four of the employes—viz , W. Orchard, S. Pcnna, J. Pollard, and A. Fclstead—proceeded to tho crosscut specified ; and, although the atmosphere was sickening, and the wmrk was one of danger by reason of the unsafe condition ol the timbers, the men went bravely on. At the end of the crosscut they discovered the body of Dennis, which was in a kneeling posture, the head being driven close against the face of the crosscut, and the arms tightly clasped across the chest. Leaving the remains, which were in an advanced state of decomposition, tho searchers proceeded along the north level, wherein, at a distance of about 50ft, the body of O’Connor, also in a kneeling position and with face downwards, was discovered. O’Connor’s head was fractured in two places, and one of tho elbow joints was protruding. Meanwhile the news that the hodieshad been found had circulated throughout the district, and men, women, and children assembled near the mine anxiously awaiting the raising of the remains. The widow of the miner Dennis appeared on the scene with a young babe, born since the catastrophe, in her arms, and, while women trembled and wept, strong miners were shaken with emotion at the spectacle. Acting upon tho judicious advice of a friend, the widow retraced her steps to her house, and there remained until the bodies were raised to the surface. DARING BURGLARY, An attempt was made by burglars to move a safe from the Victoria Hall early on Sunday morning. At about midnight on Saturday, Mr Harold Ashton, who is business manager for Mr F. Clark, the lessee of the hall, put the night’s takings, amounting to about LlO6, in an iron safe in the office, which is situated upstairs in the building at tho rear of the gallery. He then locked the office, and saw that all the doors in the place were securely fastened before he left. When he returned to the hall on Sunday morning about eleven o’clock he was very much surprised to find the safe in a small room underneath the stage, at the other end of the hall altogether from where the office stands. He saw that the safe bore appearances of havingbeen knocked about, and when ho attempted to open it to his surprise tho wholedoor came right away. The money had, however, been undisturbed. An examination of the hall then showed that tho place had been entered by burglars, and that the robbers, in the most determined manner, had carried the safe down the steps of the gallery and to the place where it was found. They had evidently then commenced to force it open, but were either disturbed in their work, or thinking that no one would he about the hall yesterday, had determined to leave the completion of the work till last night. Entrance had been effected by one of the escape doors near the stage, which leads into a lane that communicates with Littlo Collins street. This door is held by a large iron bar. The burglars had cut a piece out of one of tho panels with a fret siw, and through tho opening thus made had reached in and removed the bar. As soon as they got inside they replaced the piece of wood which they hud sawn out, and carefully covered the damage by pasting a show-bill over tho spot. They then made their way up the gallery stops to the office door, in which they bored several holes with a brace and bit, and cut out the remaining wood with a sharp knife. The key remained in the lock on the inside, as Mr Ashton had gone out through the other door of the office, which leads into the upstairs bar of the hotel. It was easy to turn the key in the lock, and they were soon in the room. They removed several parcels of theatre tickets and some papers from the top of the safe, and, lifting it bodily off its stand, they must have carried it down the stairs and along the passage to the stage, The safe weighs about 3cwt., and there were no signs on the floor as if it had been rolled along, SUICIDE OF A DRILL-INSTRUCTOR. Charles Robinson, sergeant-major of the Victorian miljitary forces, committed suicide in a drillroom at East Melbourne on the 17 th inst. by shooting himself. Robinson was formerly a clerk in the Bank of Australasia, and is reported at one time to have held the position of manager of a branch. After he left the hank he joined the Per,-

manent Force, and was corporal in the 2nd Battalion for some years. When the new force of Victorian Rangers was established he was promoted to the rank of sergeantmajor and placed in charge of the Ararat Company. E ro; - . ere discovered in some of his parade returns, and on Thursday he was summoned to Melbourne. Ho attended parade at the Victoria Barracks yesterday morning, and at the conclusion of the drill was called into headquarters and informed that his services would not be further required. He appeared to feel his dismissal very keenly, but made no remarks at the time. In the afternoon he .vent to the East Melbourne drillroom and entered the non-commissioned officers’ room. He appears to have then sat down at the table and written three letters—one to his wife, one to his company ot Ararat, and one to Professor Irving, who is his uncle. The letter to his wife was of considerable length, and explained that he had been dismissed for nothing, and that he had not the heart to face want of employment again. He accused some of the superior officers of treating him in an unfair manner, and claimed that the irregularities with which he was charged were of common practice amongst sergeant-majors. After writing these letters he took one of the rifles in the room and loaded it. He affixed one end of a piece of string to the trigger, and passed the other end round bis foot. Then, placing the muzzle of tho rifle to his right temple, he pulled the trigger. The sound of the report attracted the attention of Sergeant-majors Brenchley and Sherbon, who were in the drillroom. They rushed into the room and found Robinson on the floor, with tho rifle by his side. The right side of his skull and face were blown away, hut he was still breathing. Dr A. Morrison was summoned, and pronounced life extinct. Robinson was thirty-eight years of age, and leaves a wife and two children. THE FIRE AT THE RLJOU THEATRE. The inquiry as to the origin of the fire at the Bijou Theatre has elicited evidence as to the disorganisation which exists amongst the various fire brigades, and the rivalry between the associations in Melbourne. Very little of the vote of L 4.000 made by Parliament for the assistance of volunteer fire brigades seems to have been expended in the purchase of new apparatus, and there was practically no supervision over its distribution. Mr Wilson, the proprietor of the Palace Hotel and theatre, was emphatic in his condemnation of the brigades. He computed that more damage was done by water than by fire. The firemen became intoxicated, and some of them amused themselves by playing with the hose on the furniture of bedrooms remote from the fire, whilst others endeavored with an axe to break open a bar door. He was obliged to pay an increase of 50 per cent, premium on his policy on account of firemen being employed in the theatre in whom the insurance companies had no confidence, Mr Wilson agreed that there was ample justification for this want of confidence. The men, he said, never tested the hoses placed about the theatre, and when he did so he found that ouc of them was so rotten that it burst from end to end. The necessity for a complete reorganisation of the present fire brigade system was generally acknowledged. The verdict found by the jury was that there was no evidence to show how the fire originated. The following rider was added :—“ The jury recommend the appointment of a responsible officer to inspect and approve of all electric lighting apparatus. The jury find that the Bijou Theatre was insufficiently provided with means of escape in case of panic or fire; and, further, that the Central Board of Health have not exercised proper inspection and control of places of amusement to ensure public safety. The jury find that the present organisation of the fire brigades is prejudicial to the welfare and safety of the community, and recommend the immediate formation of a metropolitan system under one head, and under the control of a pro- , perly appointed board.” MUSICAL AND THEATRICAL. Mias Nellie Stewart is so seriously ill that she is confined to her bed and not allowed to see anyone. Consumption of the stomach is the cause of her illness, and from Wednesday to Saturday last week she was unable to take food of any description. Her condition has improved slightly during the last few days, but it will be several weeks liefore she will be strong enough to reappear, Mr William Elton has secured the Australian rights of Mr Walter Everard’s famous eomody ‘ Uncles and Aunts,’ which followed ‘ The Private Secretary ’ in London. Mr Elton, whose engagement with tho triumvirate terminates in eight weeks, is prepared either to reserve the comedy for his own use or arrange with other companies for its production. A benefit was tendered to Messrs Brough and Boucicault at tho Opera-house on Monday evening, when a large audience testified to the sympathy which is felt for the firm on account of the severe loss which they experienced through the burning of the Bijou Theatre. Messrs Brough and Boucicault’s Company have been appearing at the Hibernian Hall since the fire.

Several members of tho Metropolitan Liedertufcl attended Government House on Tuesday evening last for the purpose of serenading Lady Robinson on the occasion of her arrival in the colony. The part songs sung were ‘ Holy night’ (Beethoven), ‘ The hunter’s joy ’ (Ast. Holtz), ‘ Serenade ’ (Abt), and ‘ On the march ’ (Beeken). Ilia Excellency the Acting Governor, in returning thanks for the entertainment, expressed the opinion that, in proportion to its size and population, there was no city in the world, with the exception of London, which offered so many and so varied artistic attractions as Melbourne.

The third of the series of Melbourne popular concerts was given at the Athemeum Hall on Wednesday afternoon. Madame Tasca was the solo pianist, playing Schumann’s sonata op. 11, and also in conjunction with Mr Liebe Rubinstein's sonata in D, op. 18, for piano and violoncello. The stringed quartet (Messrs Weston, Klein, Zerbini, and Liebe) gave Beethoven's celebrated quartet in F, op. 59. Mias Fanny Bristow and Herr Hartung sang a duet from Spohr's ‘Faust’ and Henschel’s ‘Gondoliera.’ The Committee of the Victorian Orchestra, acting on the advice of the London subcommittee, have appointed Mr James Hamilton Clarke as conductor of the new orchestral organisation, Mr Clarke is a native of Birmingham, having been born there in June, 1840. His musical aptitude was exhibited in his early youth, as he was organist to one of the churches of his native town at the age of twelve. At nineteen he appeared as a theatrical composer with an overture, which was speedily followed by others, as well as by dramatic music. Leaving England for a visit to the sister isle, he became conductor for the Belfast Anacreontic Society. After spending some time in travel, he returned to London in 1871, and two years later produced a symphony in F, which was given (under his own conducting) in the Albert Hall. After its performance ho received the congratulations of Gounod on his work. In 1878 Mr Clarke was appointed conductor and musical director to the Royal Lyceum Theatre, in which position he wrote a good deal of dramatic music,

The Melbourne Liedertafel celebrated the twentieth anniversary of its formation and its 200 th performance by a dinner on Monday evening at the Masonic Hall, The toast of “ Success to the Melbourne Liedertafel ” was proposed by the Speaker and responded to by Mr Hassell (lion, sec.) Baron Von Mueller, in proposing “The Fine Arts,” mentioned that the Australian Association for the Advancement of Science had a musical section, and desired the co-operation of all the musical societies of the colonies in the carrying out of its work. Mr T. R. Andrews, in submitting “Kindred Societies, ” referred to Mr Cowen’a reported statement that no symphonies had been completely performed in Melbourne before his arrival, and remarked that that was entirely incorrect, It was a fact within the memory of all that both Liederkafels had separately rendered the ninth symphony. Mr Herz, in replying to the toast, also mentioned that twenty-three years ago the Scotch symphony was given in Melbourne under the direction of Mr Horsley, and in his (Mr Herz’s) opinion the orchestra, chorus, and soloists were better then than they have been since. An organ recital in aid of the family of Mr Philip Plaisted was given at the Melbourne Town Hall last week by Mr Frank Bradley, the use of the organ and hall

having been granted by the mayor for the occasion. The entertainment was under the patronage of His Excellency the Governor and Lady Robinson, and the hall was unable to accommodate the large concourse of people who attended, hundreds being turned away from the doors, There was no charge made /or admission, tickets being obtainable on application at the music warehouses of the city, but a collection was made during tho recital, and yielded the sum of L 127 10s. The programme which was performed by Mr Bradley was a specially interesting one, including the * Storm,’ a composition of which Mr Plaisted had made a particular study, and his playing was such as could not fail to be appreciated, A cyolorama illustrating the Battle of Waterloo has been opened in Melbourne. It is to be seen in a spacious and substantial building in brick which has been specially constructed on the Victoria Parade in Fitzroy. It owes its establishment to an American firm, and the artists who have been engaged in the work are M. L. P. Sargent, whose battle pieces figure yearly in the Paris Salon; M. Paul Wilhelmi, of Munich ; and Mr Bertrand.

A cablegram to the ‘ Argus ’ states that Miss Janet Achurch and Mr Charles Charingtou are to sail for Melbourne on June 21, under engagement to Messrs Williamson, Garner, and Musgrove. It is probable, also, that Mr Garner, who is now in London, will succeed in making an engagement with Mrs Langtry for a three months’ tour in Australia, for which she will be offered L 3,000. Miss Achurch belongs to the new dramatic school of emotional acting, of which Mrs Bernard Beere is the leader, and which is described as an English stage copy of Sarah Bernhardt’s acting. Miss Achurch is credited as a very capable representative of this school, and, though exceedingly youthful, is said to be endowed with a dramatic and forcible stylo. MrCharington is a new acquisition to the stage. He was formerly a barrister, but three or four years ago he abandoned the law and adopted acting as his profession. He made rapid strides in his new profession, and soon established a reputation as a leading character actor. His principal success has been in ‘ Devil Caresfoot,’ an adaptation of Mr Rider Haggard’s novel ‘ Dawn,’ in which he assumed the character that gives the piece its title, The partners of the triumvirate in Melbourne have heard nothing of the probable engagement of Mrs Langtry. Four years ago she entered into an agreement with Messrs Williamson, Garner, and Musgrove to make a tour of the colonies, but she afterwards declined to carry out her part, and the firm had no remedy unless they had gone to America to prosecute her—a step that was not considered advisable. She attempted to reopen negotiations with Mr Musgrove in 1887, and her business manager (Mr Keogh) came to London to arrange details. Mr Musgrove was quite prepared to do business, but Mrs Langtry declined to come to any definite understanding unless Mr Musgrove consented to cancel tne original agreement. He declined to take such a step on his own responsibility, and nothing came of the matter. GENERAL. The irrepressible Captain W. J. Barry is giving a series of lectures on the early history of the colonies in the concert hall attached to the Palace Hotel. Whatever hu success in the country districts, the gallaut captain fails to draw large audiences ia Melbourne. Mr J. Bosisto, C.M.G., who after fourteen years’ representation of Richmond in the Legislative Assembly sustained a defeat at the last general election, has been presented by his friends and political supporters with a purse of 365 sovereigns. Mr Bosisto’s defeat is attributed to tho extraordinary “plumping” that went on at the poll, the constituency being a double-seated one. It is much to be regretted, as Mr Bosisto is a tnau of considerable scientific attainments, and he would have been of great service during the coming session, when the question of sanitation was brought on for consideration.

Steps are being taken by an ultra-Protes-tant society in Sydney towards obtaining a successor to Bishop Barry. By the rule of the Synod, three names of priests of the English Church will have to be selected, and will then be s<mt to the bishops of the province, who will strike out one name. The two remaining names will be sent to the other Australian bishops, who will select one name out of the two. The name selected will be that of the future Primate. It is proposed by the society in question to have the name of the Rev. U. W. WebbPeploe, and that of two Australian clergymen who hold no university degree. As may be expected, the bishops of Australia would not elect any man as Primate who has not been through a university. It is, therefore, to be looked for that Mr WebbPeploe will stand a good chance of being the next Bishop of Sydney. Mr WebbPeploe is vicar of St. Paul’s, Onslow square, London, and may be described as holding extreme Low Church views. The new Bishop of Tasmania is thus described by the Archbishop of Canterbury “ The clergyman, whom wo shall agree to nominate, is the Rev. H. H. Montgomery, Vicar of Kennington, one of the beat and most effective of our great London vicars. He is a Harrow man, a favorite pupil of Dr Vaughan (who expresses in him ‘ unqualified confidence,’) a son-in-law of Archdeacon Farrar, an athlete, a wise, temperate, wide-minded, tolerant man, a good sound churchman of widest sympathies and no party stamp. He has held together a large congregation of men in a great church, increased all their zeal and activity, made the influence of the church felt powerfully among the most difficult section of the middle class, and most diligently shepherded the poor. In the matter of schools and all that promotes the intellectual and social wellbeing of the people, excellently effective; in touch with modern thought, and a devout Christian man. Moreover, he would devote his life to his new work, not looking back to England, and his wife is like minded. We consider ourselves most blest in having such a man brought to us when we were looking for the exact man you describe as your ideal and the people’s ideal.” At the last meeting of the Senate of the Melbourne University Professor Laurie, president of the Professorial Board, was called upon for an explanation for allowing vocal selections by the students to be included in the programme for last commencement day. Professor Laurie defended his action on the ground that in the past it had been found impossible to keep the students in order, and that the only way to obtain a better stale of things was to conciliate them by allowing them to take some part in the proceedings. Sir Henry Parkes considers the question of forest conservation a great one. The administration of this branch has been transferred from the Lands to the Colonial Secretary’s Office, and fresh life has been infused into the undertaking. It is understood that the establishment of a model farm is being considered, and that at no distant date an Agricultural Department will be formed in New South Wales with a new Minister at its head.

The vacancy in the Victorian ‘ Hansard ’ staff, caused by the promotion of Mr W. V, Robinson to the position of clerk assistant in the Legislative Assembly, has been filled by the temporary appointment of Mr J. Tipping, of the ‘ Argus.’ As soon as Parliament meets the Library Committee, under whose jurisdiction the publication of ‘ Hansard ’ now rests, will be asked to take into serious consideration the complaints made hitherto about the delay in the publication of the ‘Hansard’ reports, with the view of applying a remedy. A proposal has been submitted to the Government that the reporting for ‘ Hansard ’ should be done by tender in future instead of by a staff of Government shorthand writers. This suggestion will be referrcd to the Library Committee for consideration, and Parliament will in all probability be asked to decide whether the proposed new system be introduced, or the ‘Hansard’ staff continued ns at present, only considerably strengthened in order to ensure the earlier publication of the reports. The projected marriage of Sergeant M‘Hugh has been the cause of much commotion in official circles in Melbourne lately. According to the police regulations, no member of the constabulary force is permitted to marry without first obtaining the permission of his superior officer, and also submitting the name of his intended bride, , Sergeant M'Hugh regarded the latter part of the demand as inquisitorial and an insult,

and refused to give to the Chief Commissioner of Police the name of the lady to whom he had offered his hand. Mr Chomley contended that the demand was in accord with the police regulations, and that no reasonable objection could be offered to disclosing the name, he having himself complied with a similar demand when a subordinate officer, before he obtained the sanction of his chief to enter the holy bonds of matrimony. It is held that for the credit of the foree a constable’s wife should be a reputable person, and that the Chief Commissioner should be afforded the opportunity of making inquiries on that point. But Sergeant M‘Hugh took higher ground, and contended that an officer who like himself had been in the force for many years and had borne a good record should not be subjected to such an indignity. The diplomacy of the Chief Secretary had finally to be invoked, and with his aid the difficulty has been overcome by a mutual friend of the parties giving in a confidential way the name of Sergeant M'Hugh’s intended bride to the Chief Commissioner of Police, who, thereupon, immediately sanctioned the marriage. Mr M. S. Magee, an official in the engi-neer-in-chiet’s office, met his death at the Newport railway workshops last week in a peculiar manner. Ho was engaged in an inspection of a water tower which is being constructed in connection with the shops, when he fell from the scaffolding to the ground inside the tower, a distance of 60ft. He sustained three fractures of one arm and concussion of the brain, and did not recover consciousness.

The grand organ which is in course of construction at the organ works of Messrs Hill and Son, of London, for the Town Hall of Sydney, will be one of the largest in the world. An idea of its size may be gathered from the fact that, whereas the Town Hall in Melbourne has sixty-six speaking stops, this instrument will have 126, and the makers promise that it will be superior to any other organ in existence, both as regards tone and mechanical refinements. It will have five manuals, and an important feature will be a 64ft reed on the pedal organ, which is expected to have a wonderful effect as a bass for the lull organ. The organ is being constructed entirely on the pneumatic principle, which renders the touch of an organ as light as a piano, no matter what its size, and the bellows will be blown by a gas engine. There will be combination studs instead of pedals, and these will be conveniently situated below the manuals The design of the organ is the Northern Renaissance, and in the centre there will be a row of 32ft metal pipes. The internal width of the instrument will be 80ft and the depth 26ft.

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OUR AUSTRALIAN LETTER., Issue 7920, 30 May 1889

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OUR AUSTRALIAN LETTER. Issue 7920, 30 May 1889

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