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OUR AUSTRALIAN LETTER., Issue 8003, 4 September 1889
OUR AUSTRALIAN LETTER.
[From Our Melbourne Correspondent.] Wednesday, August 28. political. The attempt of the Opposition members, in the Victorian Parliament to make use of the stock-tax party to turn the Government out has proved a fiasco. In my last letter I pointed out that the disposition of parties was such that if the Government supporters who are in favor of the stock-tax joined with the members of the Opposition in voting for the motionfor an increase of thetax the Government were bound to go out of office, they having accepted the motion as one of no confidence. The Ministerial members saw that if they lent themselves as tools to turn out the Government they would have as little chance of getting all they wanted with a new Cabinet as the present, and when several announced that it was their intention to stick to the Government the members on the other side who were hungering and intriguing for office saw that the “ game was up.” The supporters of the motion have recognised that they were associated with a forlorn hope, and that there was little use in prolonging the debate. By agreement a division was come to early this morning, when the motion was negatived by 52 votes to 21, there being nine pairs. Daring the progress of the debate one or two members who are in opposition, and notably Mr Trenwith, the Trades Hall champion, waxed eloquent in their accusations that the coalition Government was really a Freetrade one in disguise, and appealed to the House to elect a thoroughgoing Protectionist Ministry; but it was in tide apparent that such a cry is not going to be of any use. The people are getting sick of the high prices which they are compelled to pay for commodities through the protective system; and the feeling of the majority of members is that if Protection has been a means of attracting population and capital to the colony in the past, it has gained pretty well all it can by the system, and that its extension will mean ruin. There is nothing of special interest to report of the doings of other colonial Legislatures beyond one of the scenes which have become characteristic of the New South Wales Assembly. The * Argus’s ’ correspondent relates that on Thursday evening, while Mr M'Court was speaking, Mr O’Connor, the Postmaster-General, made an interjection which annoyed him. The exact nature of the interjection did not transpire, but Mr M‘Court’s retort was: “I pay my way; that’s more thanjou do.” This statement he repeated, his anger apparently increasing every moment, until he was white with passion, Mr O’Connor invited him to explain, but acting on the advice of other members and the chairman he proceeded with his speech. The House had almost forgotten the subject, when attention was again directed to it by the action of Mr M'Court. The PostmasterGeneral, who had kept bis temper admirably, went over and sat by Mr M'Court, apparently with the object of entering into a friendly explanation, when the latter rose, and, raising his hand, seemed about to dash bis fist in Mr O’Connor’s face, when better thoughts caused him to desist. Members quickly interposed between the two, but Mr M'Court continued in a highly excited state, and a personal conflict was without doubt only averted by the friends of both members. A YOUTHFUL ABSCONDER. A most impudent fraud has been committed by a youth of eighteen, named Jones, on the Empire Building Society of Melbourne. On the 15th inst. Mr Costello, the manager of the company, went to Sydney on business, and left Jones, who had been in the employ of the society for two years,. in charge of the office daring his absence. The company had recently arranged for an overdraft with the Mercantile Bank for L 1,500, and Jones was evidently aware of this, for as soon as Mr Costello left for Sydney he waited upon Mr Verge and Mr Becherfield, two of the directors of the society, and asked them to sign a blank cheque for office expenses. This, it appears, has been the ordinary way of doing business, and as both these gentlemen knew that Jones was employed in the office, and had come to them before on similar errands, they signed the cheque without any demur. Jones then filled the cheque in for L 1,200, and presented it at the, bank for payment. Here again no suspicions were aroused, as Jones had previously obtained large sums of money from the bank on open cheques, and the teller passed over to him eleven LIOO notes, fifty LI notes, and L3O in gold, this being the way in which Jones wished to have the money. The fraud was not discovered until after Jones had taken his passage for London by the R.M.S. Garonne under an assumed name and with a female companion. Prior to his departure he obtained a draft on London for LI,OOO. This has been stopped, and the police at the different ports which the vessel passes en route to England have been informed that the absconder is on board the steamer, and have been requested to arrest him. A TERRIBLE MURDER. A -frightful murder was committed at Pakenham, a township about thirty miles from Melbourne, last week. Two station hands, named Robert Fry and John Macnamara, met casually at an hotel in Pakenham, and began drinking together. Macnamara, who was in the incipient stage of delirium tremens, had been staying at the hotel some time before he met Fry. There is a hut at the back of bush hotels for extra accommodation, and during his “burst” Macnamara had been the sole occupant of it, but when Fry arrived and asked for accommodation a vacant stretcher was assigned to him. Both men retired In the evening, and although strange sounds proceeded from the hut during the night, no notice was taken of them by the hotel people, as they thought it was only Macnamara in delirium tremens. Early the next morning Macnamara presented himself at the store of the township and bought a pair of boots. The man was simply saturated with blood from head to foot, and coat, trousers, and shirt were smeared and stained all over. The storekeeper looked at him in astonishment; but, coming to the conclusion that Macnamara had fallen down in one of hie drunken rambles and cut himself badly, thought no more about it. Late in the afternoon two men called at the hut, and getting no response opened the door. To their horror they discovered Fry’s body horribly battered and bruised, and bathed in blood, lying just on the threshold. Information was at once given to the police, and Macnamara was secured after a long chase. The murder was committed with a billhook, and must have taken place while Fry was asleep. The corpse presented & horrible sight, the skull being so hacked and hewed as to have lest all trace of identity. The left side of the head had been cloven from temple to chin with one fearful gash, and this blow, which moat have been instantaneously fatal, had been followed by eighteen or twenty others, so that the head on that side was reduced to a crimson pulp of flesh and shattered bone. When arrestea Macnamara, who had recovered from his attack of delirium tremens, was quite cool x and collected, and denied that he was in any way connected with the crime. DISAPPEARANCE OF A TRADE SOCIETY’S SECRETARY. A man named Charles C. Woods, the secretary of the Australasian Railways and Public Works Employes’ Association and a mutual provident society, founded by similar persons, has been absent from bis aeons-
turned haunts, and it is now alleged that he has levanted, taking with hj im upwards of LI,OOO of the societies’ funds. Woods, who is about forty years of age, and a married man, came to the colony a’oout two years ago, from New Zealand, and travelled amongst the various nawies’ camps vending patent medicines. While engaged in this way he became very familiar with the men, and being of a plausible nature, he induced them to establish a society for their own protection, similar to the other trade unions in the colony. The Trades Hall Council were consulted, and the proposed society successfully launched. The practice adopted by the members in the payment of their fees afforded ample opportunity for dishonesty. Stewards in each district collected the money from the members at work there and forwarded it to headquarters, receiving the secretary’s receipt as an acknowledgment of the amount. The secretary, it is alleged, did not hand these amounts over to the treasurer of the society, nor did he pay out all the money that was placed in his hands for disbursement. The second society with which ho was connected was established by him in opposition to the Australasian Railways and Public Works Employe*’ soon after that society was founded, because ho had been unsuccessful in obtaining the secretaryship. When, however, that coveted honor was conferred upon him, he suggested that the two organisations should be amalgamated as far as possible, and this was done. Efforts will immediately be made to hold a meeting of the societies to decide what action shall be taken against Woods. DISCOVERY OF MURDERED REMAINS. A young man, while out shooting at Ringwood (a township a few miles out of Melbourne) the other day, made a strange discovery. Following up the bank of a creek in search of game, through a secluded part of the district, he caught sight of a boot protruding from what was apparently a bed of fern and old leaves. A closer examination disclosed the fact that it was a man’s body, ingeniously covered up with dead leaves. The body must have been lying where it was found for monthr, as it was in a very advanced state of decomposition. It is undoubtedly a case of murder, as the post mortem examination showed that the deceased had been struck on the head as well as shot, and the absence of any weapon near the deceased destroys the theory of suicide. Besides this, the careful manner in which the body had been concealed points strongly to the opinion that a foul murder had been committed. The deceased has been identified as Peter James Sherlock, a civil engineer, who had been in reduced circumstances for some time, and the object of his murder is hard to suggest.
SINGULAR CHARGE OF FRAUD. William Thompson, of Sandhurst (Victoria), has been committed for trial at Gundagai (N.S.W.) on a charge of obtaining money from Mr J. M. Dodd under false pretences. The prosecutor, a storekeeper and gold-buyer, stated that the accused and Edward Battye, the manager of the Bangongolong Crushing Battery, sold him a cake of smelted gold weighing 13oz 7dwt, which was represented to be pure gold, worth L 4 peroz. He paid them L 3 10s Cd per oz, but afterwards found from the Mint that the cake contained only about 50 per cent, of gold, a small percentage of silver, and nearly 43 per cent, of base metal. For the defence, Mr J. O. Liddell said that he was an assayer and metallurgist, of Sandhurst, and had been sent by & mining syndicate, with the accused Thompson, to test Bungongolong Dyke, near Gun<dagai. The cake of gold the accused sold was the result of a crushing of sixty tons. Witness cleared the tables and retorted the gold, and believed it to be nearly pure. His opinion was that the Mint had made a mistake. Battye, who was the manager of fcke battery and had been hired by Liddell and the accused, was charged with being an accessory with Thompson, and was also committed for trial.
EXECUTION AT SYDNEY. James Morrison, condemned to death for shooting Constable Sutherland, who attempted to arrest him at Potts Point, Sydney, was hanged last week, Morrison had appealed for a reprieve, and previous to the refusal of it had been nervous and excited, but since it was definitely decided that no reprieve could be granted, he was much more composed. Having expressed a wish to become a Roman Catholic in the last hour, he was instructed in the faith by a Catholic priest. The execution took place in the presence of the usual officials and about twenty spectators. Morrison walked firmly to the drop, the rope was adjusted, and the bolt withdrawn without a moment’s delay. The body fell heavily and death was instantaneous.
MUSICAL AND THEATRICAL. The Ajuy Sherwin Concert Company have disbanded after their tour through India and other Eastern countries. Mias Sherwin and Mr Clutaam have gone to England, and Mi» Minna Fischer to Germany (the latter to finish her musical studies), while Mr Arthur Sherwin has settled down at Singapore as a teacher of music. The rest of the company have returned to Australia, and Mr fl. Stock well has joined the Solomon Opera Company at Sydney. Mr Stockwell «ives some details of the tour, which commenced last November. The company had & five weeks’ season at Calcutta, where they unfortunately arrived during the official festivities in honor of the new Viceroy, the Marquis of Lansdowne. Business was accordingly indifferent in the Bengal capital, but this was the only check the party received throughout their long tour. At Rangoon Mr Stockwell was ill for a week with low fever, and Miss Fischer also suffered from the climate for a few days; but the sea voyage to Singapore set all ri«ht, and a stay of one month was made in the capital of the Straits Settlements. They visited Hongkong In M&fch, and staved both therejand in Shanghai, a whole month. At both places, Mr Stockwell says, the amount and high quality of the amateur talent was surprising. They played selections from twelve operas, including ‘ Jaust and ‘II Trovatore,’ at Shanghai, with a strong chorus of enthusiastic amateurs, who required very little rehea rßa l and who hoisted a large and splendid wardrobe. The profit of the month’s stay was LI, 100, and recouped the party for the heavy travelling expenses of the trip. At each place they encountered amateur Valentines, with big baritone voices, who gave phenomenal renderings of Gounod’s music and acted tolerably well. After a month to crowded houses at Yokohama the company disVictorian Orchestra have given several svwohony concerts with a degree of success which is satisfactory to the promoters of the movement, bnt there is a feeling among a large section of the people that the music played should include more popular items. The orchestra this week, commence a series of concerts in the large suburbs of Melk°Mr Christie Murray h?a appeared before large audiences at the Town Safi °n three occasions, giving lectures of a chatty and agreeable character. Several theatrical novel ties are to be seen in Melbourne at the present time, O w * n _g to the illness of Miss Jennie Lee, Mr Charles Warner was suddenly called upon to tike her place at the Princess’s Theatre, and lie has been appearing with much success in * Captain Swift,’ having the support of Miss Ada Ward, Miss Gracie Warner, M»ss G. Deorwvn, Mr H. Flemming, Mr R. Stewart, Mr A, Phillips, and others. This piece, which has lor its plot the attempt and failure of a young man to get in good English society, after an adventurous and saoeessfnl career as a bushranger m Queensland, is favorably criticised, and it is one in which Mr Warner certainly appears to advantage. In order that the mtereat which is centred in the play may be understood it should be explained that Captain Swift is the natural won of a lac& whoso niece ho afterwards desires to marry. Although his experience in the colonies has been of such a nature, his buahrangiug acts have not been tainted with any acts of violence, and he has. in fact, pursued the calling in as gentlemanly a manner as possible. When he is found in England playing the part of the accomplished guest at the residence of a *ood old family, and making love to one of *he young ladies, ho seems not m the Slightest degree out of place, and were it not for the fact that his identity with the notorious Queensland bushranger twepmes
known through a foster-brother, whom he refuses to bribe, all would terminate ( happily. It is when he is a fugitive | from justice that he comes to learn of his parentage, and there are some affecting scenes between mother and son. To save the family escutcheon, and recognising that his life has been a failure, he shoots himself at the moment he is going to bo arrested. Miss Jennie Lee makes her reappearance next Saturday in ‘ Jack in the Box.’ Mr Alfred Dampier has tried a week of * Hamlet ’ at the Alexandra Theatre, but the legitimate does not pay so well as the sensational drama, and last night Shakespeare’s masterpiece had to be set aside for ‘The Wages of Sin.’ ‘The Silver King’ is still being play with much success at the Royal by the new company which Messrs Williamson, Garner, and Musgrove have recently brought out from London, but it gives place co ‘The Harbor Lights ’ on Saturday. Mr Grattan Eiggs has again fallen back on ‘ Fun on the Bristol’ as a draw, and the piece is attracting fairly numerous audiences at the Opera-house. St. George’s Hall is occupied by u London Pavilion Company, a good varijfiy combination, and the Victoria Hall by * company of illusionists, Mr G. H. Snazelle, who has Mr Mom , Browne for his agent, is giving his moo > logue entertainment at the Athenmum Ha I Mr Snazelle, who is a former member of th« Carl Rosa Opera Company, is a remarkably fine elocutionist as well as a singer, and gives evidence of his accomplishments in both the serious and comical veins. He has the assistance of Mr Henry Hawkins, an excellent pianist and organist, and most of the items of the programme are illustrated by lime-light pictures. Then some series of views have cleverly-arranged musical accompaniments. The singing of ‘ The Village Blacksmith ’ and ‘ Nazareth ’ by Mr Snazelle, with beautifully appropriate pictures and the happy effect which is obtainable from an invisible chorus, as well as his own inimitable story, ‘ How Bill Adams Won the Battle of Waterloo,’ may be singled out as the features of the entertainment.
A varied dramatic entertainment was given by the members of the theatrical profession as a complimentary benefit to Captain De Burgh on Saturday afternoon, and proved very successful. In Sydney ‘Julius Ctesar’ is being produced by the Rignold Company at Her Majesty’s Theatre, ‘ Pepita ’ at the Royal, and ‘She Stoops to Conquer’ at the Criterion, GENERAL. An amusing incident has occurred in connection with the Melbourne Hospital. Owing to the secretary having made a statement to the effect that the nursing system was “ atrociously and scandalously bad ” some time ago, twenty three nurses have sent in their resignations. An important discovery of coal has been made about eighty-five miles from Melbourne, close to the Gippsland railway line. Coal was struck at 55ft from the surface, and the auger passed through 100 ft of coal, and is still going down into the seam. It is of excellent quality, and grows darker and denser as the bore goes deeper. This discovery goes to prove the existence of a huge bed of coal, extending for some five miles in area, with a thickness of at least 100 ft, A syndicate has taken up two square miles of the country, and arrangements have been made to further test the ground. Discoveries of coal have been rather numerous of late, and, if they continue, Victoria will be to some extent independent of New South Wales for her coal supply.
A painful accident happened at an iron foundry in Melbourne last week, resulting in the serious injury of two youths, both under seventeen years of age. Preparations had been made to take a somewhat large casting, and eight workmen were detailed to perform the operation of running the molten metal into the mould. The great cauldron, brimful of melted iron, was being swung slowly towards the workmen when one of them, named Burns, who had little experience of the dangers attendant on the process, plunged a wet shovel into the cauldmr. With a loud report, the cauldron split to pieces, and the contents were poured out among the workmen before they had time to escape. Burns, who was nearest the cauldron, received the stream of molten metal full in the cheat, being scalded from chest to abdomen. Another workman named Ringdon was badly scalded about the arms, the others escaping with slight burns. The report of the Melbourne Tramway and Omnibus Company shows that the running of tramways in Melbourne is a very profitable business. The traffic receipts amount to the enormous sum of L 520.528, an increase of L 163.948 on last year’s operations. The profit is L 197.389. But of this four quarterly dividends of j per cent, each have been paid, amounting to L 30,000, leaving L 167,389 103 9d, of which it it is proposed to transfer to reserve fund the profit op properties sold, L 7,296 9s 3d ; to pay a dividend of fis per share, LI 50,000; and leave a balance to carry forward of L 10,093 7s Od. It is intended to make a further issue of 300,000 shares without premium to the members of the company in proportion to their present interest!—say, three new shares to every five shares now held—to be allotted on application and payment of 10s per share, placing them on an equal footing with existing shares, carrying dividends from July 1 last. The year’s return on the original shares is at the rate of about 72 per cent,, and on the present market value of the shares about BJper cent. The remarkable increase in the number of deaths from diphtheria in Victoria during the last two years is now occupying the attention of the Central Board of Health, and a committee has been appointed to inquire into the probable causes of the increase, The average number of deaths each year during the five years previous to 1888 in Melbourne and suburbs was forty-three. In the year 188S the number increased to 138, and during the first six months of this year there have already been 137 deaths. Judging by the experience of previous years, the number of deaths will be largely increased before the end of the year. The steam tug Eagle, belonging to the Melbourne Harbor Trust, has had a perilous voyage from Adelaide to Melbourne while towing a dredge which was bought by the Trust, A heavy gale was encountered, and the hawser by which the dredge was towed bioke in the middle of it. It was two hours before another tow-line could be got on board the dredge, and had Captain Thrussell, the assistant harbor-master, who was in charge, not taken the precaution of going well out to sea in the first instance, the vessel would have drifted on to a leeshore and lives would have been lost.
A shocking railway accident occurred between Hexham and Tarro (New South Wales) last Friday night. Two brothers named Henry and Martin Carroll, and another man named Arthur Buxton, were walking dong the line, and noticed a passenger train coming along the rails between which they were walking. They stepped on to the other line for safety, but, owing tp the darkness and the noise caused by the train they were avoiding, they did not notice that a cattle train was coming behind them along the other line, and before they could get out of danger they were knocked down and frightfully mutilated. The two Carrolls were killed on the spot, and Buxton was so badly injured that ho is not expected to recover. , . A Melbourne police constable had a most disagreeable experience at Carlton early on Sunday morning. He ventured to remonstrate with two larrikins who were misbehaving themselves, when the pair impi® - diately attok e(i him, one in the front and the other a* the rp.ar. A belt with a buckle was used against the constable, who received a nasty blow on the hea,d with it. Up was found lying on the footpath jn $ fajptipg condition, and on his admission iQ wm hospital it was found that bis skull had been fractured and that he was in a critical condition.
OUR AUSTRALIAN LETTER., Issue 8003, 4 September 1889
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