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SOME RAMULING NOTES FROM MELBOURNE., Issue 8018, 21 September 1889, Supplement
SOME RAMULING NOTES FROM MELBOURNE.
[By J. C. MacCartje.]
Something, I do not know what, prompts me to write a few lines for the benefit or otherwise of the public of Lunedin. Perhaps, it i 8 a desire to correct the statement made by a Dunodin friend in a recent letter that "Melbourne is busted," whicli ia, he tells me, geuerally believed on your side. What he means by the elegant word " busted " is no doubt that the great prosperity of Melbourne has passed away, and that a reaction has set in which will end in depression. If so, ho is wrong, as are those who believe this with him. Melbourne, though not now in the excitement of "booms" and mining manias, is as prosperous as ever, and almost all her genuine commercial institutions are progressing tamously,whilethepublicrovcnueof Victoria, as of course you know, has shown an enormous surplus this year. So far from a feeling of anxiety about the future prevailing here, everyone is most sanguine concerning the prospects of the coming summer, which will be one of the most prosperous (they hold) that this colony has seen for many years. Victoria's greatest want is water, and this winter she has received a superabundance of that element, owing to the heavy rains that have fallen, and so her farmers anticipate a season of universal plenty; bo your readers may safely disabuse themselves of the idea that a depression exists here, or that one is impending in the near future. Still there is no reason why any of them should come over here if the rumor that affairs are taking a marked turn for the better in your colony is correct, as I hope it is. To turn now to lighter topics. Talking of rain, I may tell you that for the last two months it has on and oft' been as wet as it was in Dunedin in that memorable August some three years ago, when the lower portions of the town were flooded and the goods were all afloat in the warehouses in Bond street. The rivers all over the colony were in high flood, and the Yarra—our own odorous Yarra—rose 10ft or 12ft, and made things very pleasant for residents on its banks for a day or two. The current was so strong that the river bed was actually cleared of dirt, and the sewage was swept out to sea, and is now on its way to Tasmania, or possibly Dunedin. You can look out for pleasant times if it goes your way, for, odorous as your own bay is, it would be nowhere in the " perfumery line " if the Yarra water were to arrive. The bed of the river has been cleared of sewage by the floods, I remark. By that I mean partially cleared. You can't smell the river now till you get within half a mile of it; whereas its odor reached your nose at a distance of a mile before the floods.
We are going to have a deep drainage system one day, and then the Yarra Yarra, •' the ever flowing," will be a pellucid stream in which the finny trout aud grimy larrikin will disport themselves with rapture. At present Yarra Yaira is freely translated " the ever HmeHin;/." Somebody had tho water of the Yarra analysed the other day, as it was found that the Bait it contained was killing tho flowers in the Botanical Gardens, and the result showed that the quantity of salt in solution was enormous—some thousands of grains to the gallon, if Ido not err. My own private opinion is that the essences of boiling-down factories, sulphates of soapworks, oxides of sewage, chlorides of drowned eat, eto,, are what killed the flowers, not the salt. I forwarded this opinion, together with an ideal analysis of my own composition, to the Government, and they asked me to meet them at Kew Lunatic Asylum to talk the matter over; but I thought it wiser to decline. The wet weather seems to have passed away now, and signs are not wanting that spring is at hand: The trees are sending out tender shoots; the air is redolent with the perfume of the violet and the wattle; and the songs of birds are heard in the hedgerows, and the hum of the early mosquito in the bedroom. Oi, yes ; spring is approaching, and in a very few months from now we will be sweltering and broiling, and wondering why civilised man is not allowed to dress in a silk umbrella!
Our Post Office clock is approaching completion, and will be in full working order in three or four months. It is a remarkable sort of clock—plays tunes, carries round electric lampß on its hands, and doea other extraordinary things in addition to its primary duty of keeping time. It plays (or will play) a different tune every hour, and is provided with two sets of airs —one sectarian and profane for week days, and one hymnal and elevating for Sundays. Suppose they forget to change the sets and the irreverent clock "lets off" • Killaloe,' ' Two lovely black eyes,' or some such unholy air at the hour when all the preachers in the city are exhorting their congregations to go right. You heard, no doubt, that the Melbourne Tramways Company paid a large dividend, which is gratifying to the shareholders and the public, to whom the trams are a great —a very great—convenience. Several new lines are now being constructed, and within a very short period every important suburb will be connected with the city by tramway. It really is a singular sight, even to those who are used to it, to see dozens of tramcara gliding noiselessly and rapidly along the streets without visible means of propulsion; and we can easily understand the wonder of the Chinaman, who, when he first saw a cable tramcar, remarked in stupefication " No pushee, no pullee, go likee hellee."
Another large dividend-paying concern here is the Metropolitan Gas Company, and it ought to be, for it knows how to charge for its gas, lam obliged to burn this company's gas, for the all-sufficient reason that it holds the monopoly and I can get no other; and though Ido not use very much gas my bills come to about LI per month. The less gas I burn the more the company charges me, or it seems to me to be that way. One month I turned the main tap off religiously every night, and used as little gas as possible, and thought in my innocence that I had got " the bulge " on the meter ; but alas! I found that the meter had got the bulge on me, for it went on registering inches, feet, yards, and miles as serenely as ever, and landed me la 11 Jd ahead of last monvh'a bill. I leave it alone now, and sometimes I think itgets careless and lets me off a shilling or two, but that's only once in while ; and the company goes on passing 30 per cent, dividends all the same. So you are going to have an Exhibition in Dunedin?—"The Dunedin, South Seas, and Mullocky Gully Exhibition," as someone calls it. Well, I hope it will be a great success, and lam Bure it will. You want a "lift "badly. I have received several very pressing invitations to visit your "show,'' but I don't think I will. Those sending the invitations are so much in earnest, and promise so faithfully to send me back safely (in pieces), that I am loth to disappoint them ; but having a due regard for the maintenance in its entirety of my epidermis and my cranium, I am obliged to refuse.
SOME RAMULING NOTES FROM MELBOURNE., Issue 8018, 21 September 1889, Supplement
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