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[From Our Meluourne Correspondent.]


C. T. Jones, who has carried on business for some time at Abbotsford as an asphalter, was placed on his trial last week at the sittings of the Melbourne General Sessions on a charge of stealing .‘IO,OOO cubic feet of gas from the Metropolitan Gas Company. The erse presented for the Crown was that for some years past the prisoner had been living in a house at the corner of Patterson and Varian streets, Abbotsford. The house was built in 1882, and a connection by a service pipe was then laid on to it in the usual way from the gas company’s main. Recently, however, it was found that another pipe was laid on to the house, the connection with the company’s main being made with the service pipe at a point between the meter and the main. Examination showed that a gas stove in the house and five gas burners could be served from the unraithoriscd pipe, and as it was believed that there had been a systematic and continuous stealing of gas from the main, the prisoner was brought up at the Police Court, and committed for trial at the sessions. The Crown Prosecutor informed the jury that in similar cases in Eugland it had been ruled that such an abstraction of gas was a continuous stealing, and though ' it was not known how much gas had been taken, the prisoner had been charged with stealing 30,000 ft on the 11th June last, the day on which the unauthorised pipe was discovered. The jury disagreeing, the prisoner was remanded to the next sittings of the Court.

IMPORTANT TO BANKERS. An interesting case was decided in the Supreme Court of Victoria last week. The plaintiff was Mr J. B. Dean and the defendants the Melbourne Stock Exchange Banking and Agency Company. The plaintiff was a stock and share broker, and also speculated in shares. He sued the defendants to recover damages for their having dishonored cheques given by him in February last to the amount of L 1,420. He had an account at the defendant bank which was overdrawn to the amount of L 2,300. He alleged that on the 16th February he arranged with the manager to pay into tho bank L 1,430 to meet cheques which he had given for certain scrip. Ho paid in the money, but the defendants applied it to reducing his overdraft, and dishonored his cheques. He alleged that in consequence of the defendants dishonoring his cheques his credit was greatly injured. The defendants denied that there had been any special contract to honor these cheques. It was slso submitted that the plaintiff was not a “ trader,” and was therefore not entitled to more than nominal damages, even assuming that the cheques had been wrongfully dishonored. It was contended for the plaintiff that both as a sharebroker and a speculator ho was a “ trader,” and was entitled to substantial damages for the wrong that had been done to him. The Court left it to the jury to say whether the agreement alleged by the plaintiff had been made with the defendants, and, if it was made, to assess the damages to him, first as a speculator, secondly as a sharebroker. The jury returned a verdict for tho plaintiff, damages L 1,450 to him as a speculator, L 1,450 as a sharebroker. Tho question was reserved for the Full Court whether the plaintiff was entitled to both or either of these amounts of damages, or whether he was only entitled to nominal damages, as not being a trader. BOROLARTES IN MELBOO'RNE, Prom the daring and successful burglaries which are daily taking place in Melbourne it is very apparent that a gang of skilled criminals have instituted a campaign of honsebreiking, A jeweller’s shop at Collingwood was entered between six and seven o’clock in the evening, while the owners were away for tea, and jewellery robbed to the amount of L3OO. Tho night following the offices of the Metropolitan Gas ComJ

pany, Collingwood, were entered, and a Skidmore safe ransacked, money in notes and gold to the extent of L3u being abstracted, In the former case the thisuccessfully burgled the shop in daylight, during half an hour the owners were absent, and in the latter they did tfic:r work while the employes were engaged^in the gasworks all round the offices. The burglaries must have been skilfully planned and daringly executed for them to have been successful under such circumstances. THEATRICAL. The Central Hoard of Health of V ictoria base approved of the plana of the “New Comedy Theatre,” which is to be erected in Melbourne at the corner of Russell aud Hoiirkc streets. It has been designed by Mr W. Pitt, who planned the new Princess’s. A great feature in connection with tills building is that it will be entirely isolated, having a right-of-way round the building and numerous escape doors loading into it. The theatre will be built in the Moorish style of architecture, both externally and internally, and decoration. It will contain three tiers of seating and stall floor, capable of accommodating 3,000 persons. The tiers are to be in the usual horseshoe shape, and special attention has been given to the design to ensure that the stage will be seen by every seat occupier in the theatre. The proscenium is to be entirely different from anything attempted before in theatrical construction, and will bo of very handsome appearance. The sliding roof principle, which Mr Pitt introduced into the Princess’s Theatre, will be used in this new theatre for ventilation, and numerous air flues will be built in the walls, The entrance to the dress circle will be from Russell street, and approached by a handsome flight of marble stairs through a commodious and richly-decorated Moorish-tiled crush room. From the crush room, entrance is obtained to the ladies’ and gentlemen’s retiring rooms and cafe. The side boxes are to be different in design from those usually seen in our theatres, and the decorations of the interior will give ample scope to the art decorators to display their talent. The theatre will be illuminated by electric light, besides being provided with gas, and the whole arrangement for light, air, and comfort, etc., has been well studied throughout. All the latest improvements are to be utilised for fire-extinguishing, so as to have the new theatre as complete as possible, Mr J. S. Smith arrived in Melbourne last week by the R.M.S. Cuzco, from London, bringing with him the London Pavilion Company of variety performers, which will open in St. George’s Hall on Saturday, August 17. The company was engaged in London for Mr F. E. Hiscocks, aud Mr Smith also engaged for the same gentleman Mr Snazelle, who gives an entertainment well known in England as “Music, Song, and Story,” and the troupe of Royai Midgets, Mr Snazelle came to the colonies by the R.M.S, Garonne a fortnight ago, and opens in Adelaide, as also do the Royal Midgets, both making their first appearance on the same night as the London Pavilion Company in Melbourne. GENERAL. Dr Ruhland, a representative of the German Government, has arrived in this colony for the purpose of inquiring into various matters relating to the commercial, industrial, agricultural, and mineral resources of the colony. Dr Ruhland will make a special study of the land laws of this and the other colonics, ascertain the nature of the local products and extent of the manufactures, what are the possibilities of development in the future, and whether the maximum of production (especially in regard to agriculture) has been reached. He has also been instructed to make careful inquiries into the canae of the falling off that has taken place in the production of gold, and to ascertain the prospects of further developments being made in the mineral resources of the colonies. Dr Ruthland has pursued similar studies in Russia, India, China, and Japan, and after finishing his inquiries in the colonies he will embody all the information in a report for submis.-ion to the German Government.

The representation of New' South Wales at the forthcoming Dunedin Exhibition will only be on a very small scale, Mineral, wool, wine, aud oilier exhibits, productions of the colony, will be sent, but no attempt will be made to get tradesmen to exhibit. Anyone, however, who has an invention or special manufacture of the colony will be allowed to show’ the same in the space allotted to the colony. A small sum of money will ho placed on the Estimates to meet the necessary expenses. The whole affair, so far as New South Wales is concerned, will (the Premier states) be on a very limited scale. Beach, the ex-champion sculler, had a narrow escape from drowning while out for a row with his son on the lake at Wollongong. The boat capsized, and Beach barely managed to reach the shore in a very exhausted state, having to carry his son, who was unable to swim. The champion lost a valuable presentation watch which was on him at the time.

At the last meeting of the Central Hoard of Health of Victoria it was reported that diphtheria had been very prevalent of late ; 208 cases having occurred daring the last four weeks, ami 72 having proved fatal. The number of typhoid cases had, on the other hand, decreased ; there being only 144 during the period named, with 24 deaths. Iho returns for the year, up to the 21st June, showed an alarming increase of deaths from both diseases. The number of fatalities from typhoid was nearly equal to that of the two past years put together; but there had been a greater proportion of deaths from diphtheria. While there were 24 fatal cases of diphtheria in 1887 and 52 in 1888, the number up to the 21st of June of this year was no fewer than 107. A shocking accident occurred on the northern railway, near Newcastle, last week. The gatekeeper at Wickham, an elderly man named Thomas Richards, was opening the gates over the crossing to allow 7 a train to pass, when he was knocked down by the locomotive. He w?s decapitated, and otherwise frightfully mutilated,

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OUR AUSTRALIAN LETTER., Issue 7986, 15 August 1889

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OUR AUSTRALIAN LETTER. Issue 7986, 15 August 1889

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