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OUR AUSTRALIAN LETTER., Issue 8014, 17 September 1889
OUR AUSTRALIAN LETTER.
[From Our Melbourne Correspondent.] Wednesday, September 11. POLITICAL. The Legislative Assembly of Victoria made further progress with the tariff proposals last week, and notwithstanding strong opposition imposed the fruit and egg duties. No case was made out in support ol such imposts ; they are quite unnecessary in the interests of producers, and while they will cause consumers at certain seasons either to pay ridiculous prices for these or to go without them, reciprocal relations with other colonies have been sadly interfered with. It is hard to understand how the Government, professing such sympathy with the federation cause, and after opposing the increased stock tax on the ground that it would provoke ill-will between sister colonies, can justify their conduct in proposing the duties which have been passed. They have been thoroughly inconsistent, and it might well be asked whather their fine sentiments as to promoting intercolonial federation are not after all a sham. Their cardinal rule seems to be to disarm opposition all round the House, as much as possible at whatever sacrifice of principle. Having offended a section of the farmers' representatives by refusing to increase the stock tax, they hope now to conciliate them to some extent by these wholly uncalled-for duties on eggs and fruit. It seems to be a well-established fact that sufficient quantities of these commodities cannot be produced in Victoria all the year round; and it has been convenient and profitable to receive importations from the adjoining colonies, especially during certain periods. So far as fruit is concerned, the climatic variations in thedifferent coloniesare such that a provincial interchange has been exceedingly advantageous. During certain months Victoria has exported fresh fruits to the sister States, and at tho end of the season the other colonies have been able to do a return trade. Thus cheap fruit has been obtainable at all times throughout the colonies. This condition of things is now to be changed for no earthly reason except to Batisfy the demand for ail-round Protection by those who are rabid on the subject Victoria seems to be rapidly following in the footsteps of the United States. TK&re would appear to be a large proportion of prohibitionists in the Assembly of Victoria, and if they are going to get the upper hand it is hard to say where things will end. The spirit of retaliation, which is already prevalent in New South may be traced in the sentiments which Sir Henry Parkes has given utterance to in relation to the river Murray. The river is supposed to be included in the New South Wales boundary, ond Sir Henry has entered a protest against water being taken from it on" the Victorian side for irrigation purposes. Nothing of an official character has transpired between the Governments of the two colonies; but the statement made by Sir Henry Parkes in the New South Wales Assembly, as to the desirability of New South Wales asserting its right to the control of the river, is interesting, as indicating the feeling of bitterness which is being engendered between the two colonies. The death of Sir James Lorimer, Minister of Defence for Victoria, took place last week. The deceased gentleman caught a cold which induced inflammation of the lungs, and his death occurred somewhat suddenly. 'He was in his fifty-ninth year, and, being an old colonist who has rendered much service to the State in a modest manner, his demise is much regretted. Most likely the vacant portfolio in the Cabinet will be allotted to Mr J. Bell, M.L.C. SERIOUS RAILWAY ACCIDENT. A serious railway accident took place last week on the Gippsland line, resulting in serious injuries to passengers and considerable damage to rolling stock, A goods train from Melbourne had arrived at Drouin, a station on the Gippsland line, and was being shunted on to a siding, when the whistle of the passenger train that passed through the station at 5.5 p.m. on its w;--to Melbourne was heard in the distance. Before the goods train could be got out of the way the passenger train smashed into it with terrific force, a full head of steam being on, as there is a hill to be climbed by the engine before approaching Drouin station. The two engines were interlocked, damaged, and thrown off the Hue, the light Yankee loco motive of the passenger train being almost knocked to pieces. The driver and fireman of the goods train luckily jumped from their •engine before the collision took place, otherwise they must have inevitably been killed. The mail and guard's van were demolished, one of the passenger carriages thrown off the line, and a number of trucks telescoped and shattered. Twelve passengers were injured, some of them seriously. The driver and fireman of the passenger train state that on rounding the curve into Drouin station all the lights signalled " Line all clear," and this statement is confirmed by the passengers on board the train. Whois to blame for the accident does not appear very clear fromtheinformationatpresentavailable. The station officials, who have been suspended, State that the driver of the passenger train proceeded regardless of the signals being against him, but, on the other hand, the stationmaster had no right to allow the goods train to be on the main line when a train was timed to arrive. THE RINGWOOD TRAGEDY. (Dwing to the confession which was made by Robert Landells as to the death of Peter James Sherlock, whose body was found under such extraordinary circumstances at Ringwood recently, a second autopsy of the corpse was ordered. The body has therefore been ex-bumed and subjected to an examination by Professor Allen. The result of the autopsy by a medical wan thoroughly skilled in post mortem work has been to ■dispose of the theory formed by Dr ShowmaD, who made the first examination, that the deceased met his death by being struck on the head with some blunt instrument, and to lend color to the statement of Landells that he was sitting on a log with the deceased when the gun which the latter held in his hand exploded, the charge striking Sherlock behind the right ear, and killing him instantaneously. Professor Allen, after a minute examination, found that the charge entered the head of the deceased under the right jawbone, and passed in an upward and slightly forward direction. The right jawbone was not fractured, but the whole of the bones in the front part of the skull were shattered and broken into minute pieces. Death was caused by the breaking of the spine. The topmost vertebra; were fractured by theexplosion, and death must have been instantaneous. The fractures on the tables of the skull, which Dr Showman attributed to repeated blows from a blunt instrument such as a billet of wood or the butt end of a gun, were really caußed by the explosion. The aperture in the left cheek was made by a pieee of bone or a tooth being blown completely through the muscle of the cheek. Several pellets of shot were found embedded in the bones of the h«»d, and these have been carefully removed and preserved. No evidence of more than one eb-ot having been fired was discovered, and there were no external marks of violence such as would have existed if heavy blows had been delivered on the top of the skull.
Evidence was given at the resumed inquest veßterday as to the various ways in which the accused Ud disposed of the property of the deceased which had been left it his house, and also as to h.u appropriation of the returned contract deposits sent by the Railway Department to the deceased. On the 20th ult., on the day preceding the finding of the body, the accused took deposit receipts for L 216 lodged by the deceased in the Land Credit Bank to the Fitzroy branch of the English, Scottish, aud Australian Chartered Bank, aud endeavored to obtain An advance on them, representing that the deceased had gone to New Zealand and had riven him tho receipts in payment of a debt. Iho accused throughout the inquiry preserved a cool, confident demeanor, although the evidence given was of a damaging character.
SWINDLING EXTUAGRDINAHY. A man named Frank Leslie, who was arrested by the Melbourne police last night •on a eh&rge of fraud, is the author of a moat ingenious cvstem of swindling. Ho obtained *ome writing paper and envelopes, on which was neatly embossed " Billeura Station. Darcy Brothers, proprietors," and on the Jth of August a letter, written on this
paper, and signed " G. R. Darcy," was received by the proprietor of tho Esplanade Hotel, St. Kilda. The letter was dated from Numurkah, and stated that Mr Darcy and his wife would be in Melbourne in a few days and would require apartments at the hotel; in the meantime Mr Darcy would be glad if the manager of the hotel would take charge of any letters, papers, or parcels that might come addressed to him. At the same time he wrote to many of the leading drapery establishments asking them to forward parcels of clothing to the Esplanade Hotel, aud to enclose their invoices in the parcels, so that he might send a cheque at once. The orders seemed so genuine that they were executed at once. Two or three days afterwards a respectable-looking individual came to the Esplanado Hotel and asked tosee the manager, to whom he handed a note. The note was headed "City, August 10, 1859," and was to the effect that Mr G. R. Darcy regretted very much that owing to the sudden indisposition of Mrs Darcy they had been unable to to town, but that he expected her down in a few days, when they would come to the hotel. In the meantime would the manager kindly give the bearer, whose name was E. Kirby, any letters, papers, or parcels that: might have arrived. No letters or papers ! had come, but the numerous parcels were I handed over and duly signed for by E. Kirby, and nothing more was heard of them. Collectors from the different shops visited the hotel only to find that Mr G. R. Darcy had not put in an appearance, but that their goods had gone. Leslie was arrested by attempting the trick once too often, and , when he called at another hotel to receive ! goods which he had got sent in a similar manner the detectives were waiting for him. DREDGE NO. 222. The Otago Harbor Board's dredge, which has been rented by the Melbourne Harbor Trust to assist in dredging operations in the port of Melbourne, arrived in Hobson Bay on Monday. The dredge had a rough passage, but Bhe behaved well, and has arrived in thoroughly good condition. Captain Stewart, who had charge of her, reports having left Dunedin at noon on tho 21st ult., and passed Cape Saunders the same day at 2.30 p.m. On the following day, off Waipapa, the dredge was overtaken by a heavy gale from tho westward. With the wind there was a heavy sea, and it was j considered a matter of ordinary prudence to bear up for Port William, where the dredge sheltered until the 25th ult. at 2.30 p.m. The voyage was then resumed, and the wind, which was still westerly, increased to a heavy gale. At 4 p.m. on the 26th ult. the wind had increased to hurricane pitch, and there was a tremendous sea, which broke on board with great violence and washed away the temporary break water. A coursewasthen shaped for Halfmoon Bay, Stewart Island, and the dredge reached there that evening. After getting a new breakwater fixed, the dredge left at 3 a.m. on the 29th ult., with light variable winds. After passing Puysegur Point on the 30th ult, at 8.13 p.m., the wind came away in a heavy northerly gale, which raised a high sea. This coarse weather continued until the morningof the Ist inst, when southerly winds set in, and the dredge had a spell of tolerably fine weather. On the night of the 3rd inst. the wind shifted into N. W., and continued from that quarter, but of varying force, until arrival. Babel Island was passed at 10.45 a.m., on the 7th inst., and Port Phillip Heads were entered at 6.30 a.m. on Monday. The dredge will be set to work with as little delay as possible. FRAUD ON AN INSURANCE COMPANY. There is reason to believe that an impudent fraud has been perpetrated on the Australian Mutual Provident Society. In November, 18S7, a surveyor named W. G. Geddes was reported to have been drowned at Caboolture (Queensland), having a short time previously insured his life with the society for L 2,000, which he left by will to his mother. A claim was made on the society for the amount of the policy, and the evidence of death being apparently satisfactory, the amount was paid. Suspicion, however, was aroused by tho fact that the iiody was never found, and every effort was made by the society to trace the missing man, but without result. Within the last few days information has been received from Adelaide stating that a man under the name of Louis Breunan, an inmate of a lunatic asylum there, was supposed to be Mr Geddes, and photographs sent confirm the suspicion. The Australian Mutual Provident Society will piobably take some action in the matter. THE OLEBE COLLIERY DISASTER. The rescuing party at the Glebe B Pit, the scene of the recent colliery disaster in New South Wales, have recovered the five remaining bodies, the circumstances in connection with the discovery being especially sad. The entombed miners were found, quite naked, in a kind of cavern that they had tunnelled in the hope of making their way out. The bodies were quite free from any debris, and were simply dried masses of skin and bone ; so it is very evident the unfortunate men were either slowly starved to death or had died from vitiated air. Beaten paths were found in their awful prison, along which they must have walked up and down for days until hunger overcame them. There were marks around the open spac3 where they were confined showing they had tried every means of escape. A tin was found in the heading where the bodies were recovered, on which were scratched the words: " John Meadows, 30 years, died seven days' starvation." THE VAKENUAM MUBDRIi. Robert M'Namara has been committed for trial on the charge of murdering Robert George Fry, at Pakenham, on the 21st ult. The evidence showed that the accused had shown conflicting moods on the day of the murder. At times he appealed to be rational, but at other periods he acted as if under the influence of delirium tremens. He had been drinking with the deceased and was seen leaving the hut in which the body of the murdered man, hacked about in a dreadful manner with a cleaver, was found. After his arrest M'Namara was rational, and when examined two days after the murder by a medical witness, no traces could be found of his having suffered from delirium tremens. THEATRICAL, ETC. Signor and Signora Majeroni were tendered a complimentary benefit performance at the I Theatre Royal on Saturday afternoon previous to their departure for South Africa, and met with a most gratifying reception from a full house. The programme was of the usual varied order, but contained a novelty in the shape of a one-act drama_ of everyday life, illustrated by mimetic action by Messrs E. Sass and G. Walton. Mr Walton was a patient consulting an apothecary, represented by Mr Sass. Scenery, properties, and dialogue were unnecessary. The apothecary madeupfromimaginarymaterials, and administered a dose, whioh caused the patient to writhe and tie his limbs into knots. Seeing the mistake he had made, the dispenser hastily concocted an antidote, which acted as an emetic, and the scene ended by the patient refusing to compensate the apothecary and giving him a black eye instead. The drama only occupied a few minutes in its performance, but was extremely diverting. _ Mr Robert M'Wade and Miss Louise Halbee, from America, made their debut before a M elbourne audience at the Alexandra on Saturday night in ' Rip Van Winkle.' Mr M-VVade acts his own version of Washington's story, and carries out a cou-si.-iti;nt conception of the character of Rip, bringing especially into prominence its sentimeutal side. Professor Dickinson, who is entrusted by the New Zealand Government with the task of lecturing on the picturesqueness of your colony, has given two very interesting discourses at the Melbourne Town Hall, and has attracted large audiences. GENERAL. The funeral of the late Mr Francis Ormond, M.L.C., of Victoria, took place on Saturday, and was of a very impressive character. The memory of deceased is much respected on account of the princely donations he made to benevolent and educational institutions during his and the funeral was one in which the public at large was represented. A funeral service having been held in Scots' Church, Melbourne, a procession took place along Collins street to the Spencer street railway station, and tho remains of the deceased were then conveyed to .Geelpng, where they were interred. . Dr Drink water, the principal witness m the Kaarirnba infanticide !'orror ; for which
a father and daughter are awaiting trial, died recently from the effects of au amesthetic which he took for stimulating his nervous energy after a strain of work. A curious cage has been heard in the Sandhurst Assize Court. The plaintiff, Mr Edward Hayes, a storekeeper at Goornoug, sued Mr Thomas Robertson, a landowner residing in the same neighborhood, for LSO, the amount of a cheque which bore Mr Robertson's signature, and which had been cashed by the plaintiff, but which, when presentedfor payment, was dishonored. The defendant said that the cheque was one of several which he had signed in blank, but it had been stolen from him and the blank filled up. The plaintiff said that he got the cheque from a Mrs Goldie, who had been a mistress of the defendant; that he had given cash for pait of it, and the balance of it was a debt due to him for goods supplied. Mr Justice A'Beckett was of opinion that the cheque had not been honestly obtained from the defendant, but at the same time he did not think that the plaintiff had been guilty of any negligence in cashing it, and he therefore gave judgment for the plaintiff for the amount claimed (LSO) and costs. A determined attempt at suicide was made on board tho R.M.S. Victoria just after she got out of Port Phillip Heads on Friday. When Pilot Stewart, who had taken the Victoria down the bay, was leaving her to be put on board the pilot schooner Mavis, a disturbance was heard on tho Victoria. The schooner's boat had hardly got alongside when it was noticed that there was a man in the water. The second officer of the Mavis and Pilot Stewart jumped into the boat again and pulled towards him. The man, seeing they were coming to his rescue, swam away from them as vigorously as he could, and tried to give them the slip. He was dragged into the boat by main force, and the boat then headed for the Victoria, which had stopped and was backing astern to meet it. The Victoria had cleared away her own boat, and had thrown life-buoys towards the spot where the would-be suicide had jumped in. As the boat was being pulled along the man went over again, and was again dragged in. He appeared to be in a high state of excitement from drink or some other cause. On getting near the Victoria he made another attempt to break away from his rescuers, but the second mate of tho Mavis, a man of powerful physique, held him in his grasp until a rope was passed round him, and he was hoisted upon deck. The Victoria then steamed away on her course, and the pilot boat returned to the Mavis.
A sad accident occurred at East Brunswick early on Saturday morning. Thomas Maher, a carter, while returning from a ball with his wife found a small revolver. On getting home he proceeded to examine it, and without looking in what direction the muzzle was pointing, and not knowing that it was loaded, he pulled the trigger twice without any result. The third chamber happened to be loaded, and as the cartridge exploded his wife cried out that she was shot. Medical examination proved that she had been shot in the intestines. The bullet, which was only about the size of a pea-rifle one, was abstracted, but the woman died some time after the surgical operation. A serious encounter occurred in the Gascoigne district, Western Australia, between two policemen and some bush Natives. While bringing in a party of twenty prisoneis the patrol were attacked by a horde of bush Natives, and the prisoners joined them in the attack. One policeman was greatly maltreated, while his comrade in dispersing the bush Natives was also injured. The man had to fire upon the prisoners in self-defence before the assault could be repelled. The 3,745 sovereigns found some five or six weeks back beneath the platform of the pier railway station, Williamstown, and identified by the remnants of bags found near them as those stolen from the R.M.S. Iberia, have been handed over to the Orient Coinpauy, who had made good the loss to the shippers, the Union Bank. The sovereigns formed a portion of a quantity forwarded in May last by the R.M.S. Iberia, and it was while the steamer was lying alongside the pier that some person managed to übatruet two or three bags of the sovereigns and hid them, underneath the pier, where they were subsequently found by some boys. William Irvine, son of ths head-teacher of the Emu State School, Kallarat, was fatally shot by a comrade while on a shooting expedition. Irvine and a young man named Niven ran a rabbit into a log, and afterwards caught it, during which time the gun was laid on the ground. The rabbit, however, again escaped, and Niven, picking up the gun, accidentally discharged it, the full contents of the charge entering one of Irvine's legs. Niven rode to Dunolly, a distance of fifteen miles, for medical attendance, but Irvine expired from lo?s of blood about five minutes before the doctor arrived. Elizabeth Tier has been awarded L 375 damages by a Sydney jury against J. P. Clinch, agent for the lllawarra Steam Navigation Company at Merrimbula, for slander. The plaintilf was unmarried, and the defendant had slandered her by saying that she had gone to San Francisco to become the mother of an illegitimate child, and by making other allegations against her chastity. The experiment of lighting the electric clock at the Melbourne General Post Office was made last week for the first time. There is no proper dial to the clock, but there is a skeleton dial containing the figures. The numerals are all formed of iron, and the skeleton dial, the numerals, and the hands in the daytime will be clearly discernible, owing to the fact that they will be gilded. At night no lettering can be observed, but an electric light is placed in the position of each numeral, and the hands arestudded withother electric lights to the number of 23. The length of the long hand is 7ft Sin, and of the short hand 4ft 6in, and the diameter of the dial 13ft Gin. The electric power is about 52 volts, each light being equal to 16-candlo power. The clock is a decided success, the time being seen clearly from a great distance.
OUR AUSTRALIAN LETTER., Issue 8014, 17 September 1889
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