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OUR AUSTRALIAN LETTER.

[From Our Melbourne Correspondent.] Tuesday, September 17. POLITICAL. The Legislative Assembly of Victoria gave further consideration to the Tariff last week, and accepted the proposal of the Government to put a duty of 3s per cental on oats and barley from the Ist of December next. Some startling increases were made on hats, the duties being made even higher than the Government proposed. Felt hats are to boar a duty of “20s per dozen, and dress hats L 3 per dozen, or 5a each. On private members’ night the most brilliant speech of the session was heard from the Attorney-General (Mr VVrixon), in opposition to the Uniformity of Punishment and Contempt of Court Bill. This measure lias been brought forward by Captain Taylor, the member for Hawthorn, whose arguments for following in the wake of the United States in regard to judicial proceedings were completely broken down by the trenchant criticism and earnest eloquence of the Attorney-General. There is little doubt that the Bill will be unequivocally rejected. On a motion to go into Committee of Supply Mr Munro, the Leader of the Opposition, took the opportunity of moving that the House should disapprove of the wine bonuses, and the money set apart for the purpose should be applied to the reduction of railway freights on farming produce. After some little discussion, which showed that Mr Munro is not alone in his opposite the bonus system, the motion was withdrawn, the Premier pointing out that the Government must bring in a Bill to legalise bonuses, and it would be more opportune to discuss the principle on that Bill. The Legislative Council has almost disposed of Mr Service’s Law of Evidence Amendment Bill, which promises to be the most popular piece of legislation of the session. Sir Thomas M‘llwraith has resigned office as Vice-President of the Executive Council and member of tho Government of Queensland, It appears that his resignation is due to a difference which arose between him and the other members of the Ministry regarding a sum of L 40.000 being placed on the Loan Estimates for the construction of a central railway station at Brisbane, A majority *f tho Ministers were against the expenditure, although quite willing that the sum should bo included in the Estimates, to be spent not immediately, but at a later date to be determined on. Sir Thomas M'llwraith

held a different opinion—namely, that the money should be spent forthwith. A DISASTKODS FIRE. One of the most disastrous conflagrations which has ever occurred in Melbourne took place on Friday last, when the magnificent drapery establishment of George and George, the Federal Emporium, or the Whitely of Melbourne, as it is called, was completely destroyed, nothing being left but the bare walla. The fire broke out at half J past six in the evening, just after the hands had left the warehouse, and in an incredibly short space of time the whole building was one mass of fierce flames. The firemen had great difficulty in getting near the place, as the heat was so intense that the heavy revolving iron shutters on the ground floor changed suddenly from black to vivid red, then peeled and curled into fantastic shapes like burnt shavings. The warehouse, which is one of the largest and handsomest on the Collins street block, is a building with about COft frontage to Collins street, by a depth of 130 ft or 140 ft, consisting of five stories, and valued at L 72.000. Stock was taken on the Slat July last, and the value of that in the building at that time was estimated at L 40.000. The insurances amount to L 15.500, but the dead loss on the stock alone will be some L 12,000, and the loss to others, beside the firm, is very great, as from 100 to 150 hands will be suddenly thrown out of employment. The music warehouses of Allan and Co. and W. H. Glen, next to George and George’s, have also been terribly damaged by fire and water, and the total damage is estimated at L 200.000. There was the usual want of organisation and discipline in connection with the fire brigades at the conflagration, and the consequence was that three men lost their lives. Alter some of the firemen had been ordered from the vicinity of a tottering wall in Little Collins street they persisted in carrying on operations in the locality, and the wall fell on them. Nine injured men were taken to the Melbourne Hospital, and one of them (John M'Leod) succumbed the same night. The following day the bodies of two men named Johnson and Laite were found amongst the debris.

MURDER AT WAGGA. The catalogue of serious crimes in Victoria is on the increase. News of another murder has been received from Wagga, where Cristian Eppell, a drover, was killed on Sunday morning. The deceased was camping with several other drovers at the Wagga Common, and on Sunday morning Eppell was found lying dead in his tent with a bullet wound in his head. A man named Thomas Riley belonging to the party was missing, and he was discovered by the police riding along the Taroutta road, with money and a watch supposed to belong to Eppell,

THE RINGWOOD MURDER. The inquest on the body of Peter James

Sherlock, civil engineer, has been concluded, and resulted in Robert Landolls (also a civil engineer) being committed for trial on the charge of murder. Detective-sergeant Considine, who apprehended the accused, gave a

lengthy account of the various conversations he had had with Landells, and pointed out where discrepancies had arisen in them, which caused him to doubt the truthfulness of the statements made by the accused, and eventually to suspect him of having murdered the deceased. Detective-sergeant Considine also related how Landells “ had woven a web of strong circumstantial evidence about him which bo would find very hard to break,” and how it was that the accused came to make the statement that he accidentally shot Sherlock, The accused maintained an air of indifference whilst tho evidence was beinggiven by various witnesses as to the way in which hesold orattempted to realise on the effects of the deceased, but when Considine was giving his evidence Landells paid close attention to his statements. When the sergeant was relating how the accused had described the deceased to him to be in destitute circumstances, when he must have known very well that Sherlock was far from being poor, the accused angrily interjected “ Draw it mild now, sergeant and seemed inclined to interrupt the witness further had not Mr Forlonge," barrister, who appeared for him, promptly remonstrated with him. The accused was somewhat alarmed when he heard tho verdict of the jury, but quickly

Regained his former self-possession. SAVAGE ATTACK ON A CONSTABLE. A desperate struggle took place yesterday between Mounted Constable D. O’Callaghan and a negro named Louis Brexton, near Mulgrave, not far from Melbourne. The constable was about to arrest Brexton on a pharge of larceny, when the latter attacked liim with a large pruning knife. After a prolonged struggle, in which both men underwent considerable punishment, the constable secured tho knife, and the negro acknowledged himself beaten, and consented to go quietly to Oakleigh. All went well until Mulgrave was reached, when Brexton requested to be allowed a drink at a hotel, and, on O’Callaghan objecting, darted round thohouse and across a paddock. O’Callaghan, who had dismounted, followed him on foot, expecting torecoverhisprisoner immediately, but, being hampered in running by his riding attire, only came up with the negro after a long chase, and was then too much out of breath for the severe trial which was iu store for him. Brexton coolly took off his coat, drew a long sheath knife which he had kept concealed in his belt, and savagely attacked the constable with the avowed intention of killing him, at the same time swearing that he would not be taken alive, and calling upon O’Callaghan to draw his revolver and shoot him rather than arrest him. The struggle, which lasted for about three-quarters of an hour, was begun at the end of a large paddock bounded by a hedge of dense prickly furze, about Bft high and 4ft thick. There was no one within sight or sound to interfere. O’Callaghan, who could have put an end to the affray at once by using his revolver, felt unwilling to incur so great a responsibility, and relied solely on himself. He rained ineffectual blows with the handcuffs upon the negro’s head, parrying the thrusts of the knife as best he could, and both men rolled upon the ground again and again, and still renewed the attack. The constable grew faint from loss of blood, for his left arm was gashed from wrist to elbow, and the negro had fought himself almost to a standstill, when, taking advantage of a momentary lull, ho ran back a few steps and hurled himself headlong at tho hedge of fur/e. Being about 14st weight, with a head of the ordinary negro type, he bored a passage completely through, and, though tho exhausted constable grasped a portion of his clothing, it came away in his hand, and the prisoner disappeared. ©’Callaghan afterwards fainted from loss of blood, but on recovering he got assistance and succeeded in recapturing his prisoner.

FRAUD ON AN INSURANCE COMPANY. Regarding the cnee of VV. G. Geddes, whose life was insured in the Australian Mutual Provident Society, and who was reported to have been drowned at Cabool ture, it baa transpired that a man entered the North Terrace Lunatic Asylum, Adelaide, a couple of months ago, who answered to the name of Geddes. The inquiries which have been made confirm the suspicion that he is the person connected with tho Csboolture fraud years ago. Last July a mau named Louis Brennan was admitted to the asylum on a certificate of Dr Mayo, to whom he was referred by the police magistrate. The certificate set out that Brennan was aged thirty-three, a surveyor, and lived at Parkside, and that this was his first attack, but no cause of tho complaint was given. About the time of his admission his wife explained to the asylum authorities that she was left with two children—one two years old and the other an infant at the breast—to look after, and that as she had no means to prosecute the search herself she desired to be assisted in finding her husband’s relatives in Brisbane, who were reputed to be well to do. Mrs Brennan was directed to tho detectives, who communicated with the Brisbane police, and as a result of these inquiries it gradually came about that Brennan was supposed to be the lost Geddes. The photographs strongly confirmed this supposition, Brennan has been insane since his admission to tho asylum, but on one occasion, in a lucid mood, he admitted that he lived at Caboolture years ago. This, it is understood, enables the authorities to identify the man. Six years ago he was in Western Australia, where he married, and he was recently in the employment of Mr J. D. Green in this city. In 1887 he took out a policy in the Adelaide branch of tho society in the name of Louis Sydney Brennan, and in tho proposal denied ever having effected a previous insurance. The policy, however, lapsed after only the first quarter’s premium had been paid. Brennan, who was a good husband, became insane suddenly. The authorities who are taking action in the matter are satisfied that Mrs Brennan was in no way associated with

the alleged swindle. GENERAL. Energetic canvassing has been going on during the past week for subscriptions in aid of the distressed dock laborers in London now out on strike. With private donations and sums received from benefit performances held in Melbourne the Victorian relief fund has now reached the handsome total of over LI 3,000, a large proportion of which has already been cabled Home. A cable message received from London states that Mr John Burns, the Socialist, and one of the leaders of tho strike, has spoken in the most eulogistic terms of the practical and generous sympathy exhibited by the Australian colonies with the hardships endured by the dock laborers. Ho expressed regret that the same generosity had not been shown in America, and said he was ashamed of the manner in which the American public had acted in the matter. There is a possibility of Australia being involved in the strike, as the London Seamen’s Union have prepared a manifesto, to ho forwarded to the Federated Seamen’s Union of Australasia, in which they urge the members of the latter body to refuse to unload either the Orient Company’s R.M.S. Ormuz or the Shaw, Savill and Albion Company’s steamer Tainui, as they declare that both vessels are manned by “ blacklegs.” The firm of G. W. Tate, of Sydney, have concluded a contract with the Government of New South Wales, by which the firm secure tho sole right of advertising on all postage stamps over one shilling, issued by the Government. The scheme is an experimenntal one, and is to be tried for two years. The payment for the right of the first year is L 3,000, and for the second L 3.500. The initial coat of the machinery will be some L 250, while the printing, which is to be done by the Governmdnt, will cost about L2OO a year. The Government expect to reap a handsome profit out of the contract.

The inquest on the body of Sargent, the cook of the steamer Centennial, who was drowned through the collision between the steamer Centennial, a New Zealand boat, and the Kanahooka in Sydney harbor, has resulted in the jury finding a verdict of manslaughter against Captain Lessing, of the Centennial, who was to blame for the collision.

HGeorge Anderson, a wealthy civil engineer residing near Ballarat, is suing for a divorce from his wife on the grounds of her frequent adultery with Frederick Clindening, a lieutenant in the Militia Artillery. Clindening was a suitor for Mrs Anderson’s hand before her marriage with Anderson, which it is stated she was much averse to. Her husband stated that owing to his wife’s conduct the marriage had never been con-

summated, They went to England, and Mrs Anderson behaved in a very friendly way to other men, but not to him. Mrs Anderson ascribed her repulsion to her husband to constitutional infirmity, but this has been proved to be false. She also says that her husband beat her, with a view to getting her to retransfer to himself certain property that he settled on her when they were married. Evidence was given as to surreptitious interviews between Mrs Anderson and Clindeniug in her bedroom and elsewhere. The case has not yet been concluded.

Serious alarm is being caused in Western Australia by an unexpected influx of large numbers of Chinese into the northern portions of the colony, ostensibly,engaged for pearling boats. The Eastern Extension Telegraph Company alone imported fifty Chinese last week. It is feared that this is the introduction to another Chinese invasion.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890924.2.35

Bibliographic details

OUR AUSTRALIAN LETTER., Evening Star, Issue 8020, 24 September 1889

Word Count
2,536

OUR AUSTRALIAN LETTER. Evening Star, Issue 8020, 24 September 1889

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