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OUR AUSTRALIAN LETTER., Issue 8026, 1 October 1889
OUR AUSTRALIAN LETTER.
[From Our Own Correspondent.]
Melbourne, September 25, POLITICAL. The Victorian Parliament has been engaged in the development of an ultra-protec-tive tariff, which cannot fail to have an irritating effect ou the sister colonies. Powerful sections in the House have been so clamorous for the increase of all kinds of duties that the newly-appointed Commissioner of Customs (Mr Patterson) has frequently found himself on the horns of a dilemma, and in order that progress might be made he has had to concede more than the Government were at first disposed to give. Beyond opposing the increased stock tar, the Government have done nothing to show its fervor in the federation cause, end all enthusiasm on this beautiful idea seems to have waned altogether for the present. During a discussion on tho military estimates in the New South Wales Assembly some animated remarks passed between the Premier, Sir Henry Parkes, and Mr G. R. Dibbs, the leader of the Opposition. Mr Dibbs said the military affairs of the colony, which were in the charge of the Colonial Secretary, were in a state of confusion, and charged Sir Henry Parkes with having shown gross disrespect to Admiral Fairfax by allowing six of his letters to lie unanswered for fifteen months. In these letters the Admiral was alleged to have threatened to remove the naval station from Sydney to another colony on account of the disrespect shown to him. Tho Premier resented the language used by the leader of the Opposition as insulting in the extreme, and warming up said that Admiral Fairfax wished to remove the naval squadron to Melbourne because there had_ been a greater display of “jingoism” in that capital than in any other colony. THE COLLINS STREET FIRE. The mystery as to the origin of the late disastrous fire at the Federal Emporium in Collins street has, contrary to all expectation, been solved by the confession of one of the employes. The detective in charge of the case for tho insurance companies discovered that one of the clerks had been seen with a lighted match in the office just ten minutes before the flames were noticed. On being cross-examined the clerk, a young man named Arthur Watkins, made several contradictory statements, and, ou being severely pressed, at length admitted that he had gone back to the office to get a letter he had forgotten to post. The gas being out, he lit a match to see his way about. After finding the letter he threw the lighted match away, and it ignited some loose paper lying on the floor. He attempted to extinguish the flames, but they spread too rapidly, so he hurried out of the place, too frightened of the consequences to raise any alarm. THE MURDER AT WAGGA, Thomas Riley, who has been committed for trial on a charge of murdering Christian Epplo, has made a full confession of his crime. As it is of an interesting character 1 give it in full. The following is Riley’s statement: —“I, Thomas Riley, charged with the murder of one Christian Epple, wish to make a full statement and confession as to the nature and cause of his death. I will relate the particulars, which partakes as follows: I started in the employ of the said man at Bourkc to drive cattle to Wodonga. I was told that he w'as a good man to travel with, or otherwise I would not have started. Would to God I had not. I found him to bo what I was told, but a temptation seized mo that I could not resist. I was tempted to murder this man and rob him, and 1 did the deed sure enough. I came through to the end of the trip ; that was, till the cattle were sold, and wo came back to spell our horses and preparo for another start back. We arrived hero on Thursday evening, and were paid off at the camp. I said I wished to go into the town. I asked him to lend me a horse, as I had left my own ou the Lachlan River when I was coming down. But it was not through any evil spirit or any ill-will between ns that tempted me to do the deed. It was in a fit of madness through the transactions of a person—a female. Any further particulars on her behalf I shall not relate. I came into town, and, as was stated in Court, with the two persons mentioned previous, and stayed till Saturday, when I returned to Mr O’Donnell's hotel, I had been drinking all the time previous in town, trying to drive the temptation before-mentioned off my mind, but the more I tried tho more it opened out before me and urged me on till I had to give way. I intended when I had done the deed to direct myself to a certain place, and carry out mv intentions which were connected with the person previous mentioned. I will relate now how the action was committed. I left Mr O’Donnell’s on Saturday evening and went to the camp of Mr Epple, and there was nobody there. I went and looked in both the tents, and found nobody there, I had not been many minutes there when I saw some boys coming. They came over and told me that they wore left in charge of the camp, and said that the boss would not bo back till eight o’clock. They stopped a short time, and then went back to their own place to get tea. They said that they should return to the camp, and so they did. In the meantime I went to the camp and looked for the rifle produced in Court, and got it, and then made a search for the cartridges, and I found them also. I put one in the rifle and the rest I put iu my pocket, there being about a dozen in all. I took the rifle away from the camp, and went in the direction where Mr Epple should be coming home, I lay in wait behind a tree for him to return, but the boys coming back interrupted me in my villainous intentions. I then stood beside a tree and went back to the fire, where I met the boys, and we joined in conversation. I brought my bedding out to the lire and slept there. I heard Epple and tho other tVo ipen_ come home, but I never conversed with either fif them. I slept pretty uneasy that night on account of my troubled state of mind. I never woke till about five o’clock from the time I went to sleep, which was very little. When I did wake I got up with the temptation greater than ever still weighing on my mind, I put on my boots, and went up and got the rifle, where it had bean standing, right against a tree. I came back to Mr Epple’s tent, and never looked to see if anybody was looking or not, but went to the door of the tent, and rose the door. He looked up when ho heard me at the door, and saw mo with the rifle in my hands. I shot him in that position. I then took his purse and his watch and chain. I was sorry when I hod done it. I then caught a horse to go away to the bush to conceal myself for a time, but his figure haunted me the minute I left, and has ever since. I then turned round and said to myself I will give myself up to the police. I went into Wagga with that intention, but I changed my mind and said I will let them catch me. I kept the main road, not caring where I went or what I did. j kept drinking all along the road, and racing and trying to drive it from my mind, but I never could, and never will. When I saw the police in pursuit I started off, wishing that they would shoot me, and
I told them to do so when I was caught, I don’t care how soon death shall be my lot, and I don’t ask mercy from the hands of man, but it is the judgment after that I fear. I must say from my very heart that I regret, aud wish to repent, for the deed I have committed, and I hope that God will pardon me for tho same. Ido not know exactly how much money there was in the purse before mentioned, but I remember every place where I disposed of a portion of it. It has been traced in every place but one, and that is the hotel at Albert Town. There was about L 7 or L 8 which I had. I would not be sure which, for I never counted it. I may have lost some of it on the road, for I had money in every pocket, I hope it shall all be got for the sake of the deceased’s wife and family. God alone may pity them. I will bring this to a conclusion, as it is all recalled to my mind. If I remember anything further I will state it to-morrow in Court. It is my wish for this to be read in Court. lam done. Signed, Thomas Rilev.” BURGLARY IN SYDNEY. A well-planned burglary was perpetrated at Mr C. Twemlow’s jewellery shop in the Sydney Arcade early on Sunday morning last. The shop, which has windows facing George street and an entrance from the Arcade, was entered from the rooms above connected with the Arcade premises, and the burglars got clear off with sivcral hua died pounds’ worth of jewellery. The room immediately over Mr Twemlow’s is occupied by Quong Tart, tea merchant, as an office, and, finding themselves unable to pick the lock of this room, the burglars gained access to the barber’s shop adjoining, knocked a hole in the dividing wall, and thus were enabled to cut a hole in the floor of Quong Tart’s office and lower themselves into Twemlow’s shop. Another jeweller’s shop, that of Messrs Stevenson Bros., is immediately beneath the barber’s saloon,, but the burglars were evidently aware that an assistant slept on the premises, and made no attempt to interfere with that establishment. NEWSPAPER TRICKERY, The * Herald ’ newspaper, the established evening journal of Melbourne, was neatly caught tripping by its morning contemporary the ‘Age’ last week. There being good reason to suspect that the ‘Herald’ was making use of important cablegrams from London which appeared in the ‘ Age,’ and publishing them as from its own correspon- 1 dent, a trap was set for the plunderer. A special edition of about half a dozen copies of the ‘Age’ was got out containing two bogus cablegrams of apparent significance, and care was taken that this special edition was sent to the ‘ Herald’ office and nowhere else. The bait took, and the evening journal came out with full details as to another murder by “Jack the Ripper” and an unfortunate accident to Slavin, the Australian boxer. Next day the ‘Age’ exposed the trick, much to the chagrin of the ‘ Herald,’ which has been judiciously silent on the matter since. A MEAN IMPOSTOR. A man named James Stewart, aged twenty-seven, has been arrested in Melbourne on a charge that would bo difficult to beat for contemptible meanness. Since the death of the firemen at tho conflagration at Messrs George and George’s, subscription lists have been started in aid of the families of the firemen, Stewart took advantage of this and canvassed the suburbs, representing that he was authorised to collect subscriptions for the distressed families. Before he was arrested, Stewart had succeeded in collecting Lls. A NARROW ESCAPE, The scaffolding at a new building in course of erection in Bourkc street, Melbourne, collapsed suddenly last week, three men narrowly escaping instantaneous death. The scaffolding was erected in the well reserved for the staircase. A laborer named M'Culloch had just emptied a barrow load of plaster on platform, some 50ft from the pavement, when tho staging suddenly collapsed, and before ho could gain a place of safety the heavy mass of beams and woodwork crashed down into the well, carrying M‘Cullocll with it in. its fa.ll. Tho -whole mass collapsed on tho top of an engine situated in the basement, aud used for hauling material to the summit of the building. The engine-driver (a man named Featondy) and the clerk of works (Mr Burchell) were standing by the engine at the time of the collapse, aud were buried beneath a vast heap of broken plauks and bricks and mortar. M'Culioch, who lay on the top of the ruins, sustained a fracture of the right thigh ; the two other men having their legs badly fractured. Featondy and Burchell were so deeply buried that it was an hour before they were extricated. Had the engine not to some extinct stopped the fall of the cldbria, Featondy and Burchell must have inevitably been killed outright. THEATRICAL AND MUSICAL. ‘ A Doll’s House ’ a play by Ibsen of an entirely new character, is being given at tho Princess’s, Melbourne, with a great deal of success. Mr Charles Charringcon and Miss Janet Achurch appear in the leading parts. Mr G. Miln has commenced another Shakespearian season at the Opera - house in ‘Othello.’ Mr J. Solomon’s English and Comic Opera Company made their first appearance in Melbourne on Saturday evening iu ‘The Beggar Student.’ There was a crowded house, and tho company met with an enthusiastic reception. They bid fair to have a highly successful season. The leading members are Miss Lilian Tree, Miss Flora Graupner, Miss Clara Thompson, Mr Henry Braeey, Mr Knight Aston, and Mr John Ford. The Melbourne Philharmonic Society have given a performance of Dr Mackenzie’s ‘ Rose of Sharon.’ The work was, however, produced under somewhat adverse circumstances, and its beauties were therefore not fully demonstrated. The disconcerting elements were the want of a complete orchestra and the indisposition of three of the soloists. GENERAL. At a convention held in Melbourne in connection with the Irish National League, Mr Dillon, one of the League’s envoys to Australia, cited figures purporting to show the expenditure of funds for the first half of the present year. The total amount accounted for was L 13,540, of which LIO.OOO actually went to evicted families, and the expenses of administration were L6OO. Mr J. M. Moyatt Lynch, an old and wellknown Australian journalist, died last week at Sydney. Mr Lynch was well known in Victoria, where for many years he was connected with the Sandhurst Press. He subsequently became editor of the Melbourne ‘ Daily Telegraph.’ He went to Sydney ten years ago as editor of the Sydney ‘ Daily Telegraph, and, after one or two changes, settled down as principal loader-writer to one of the evening papers. In 1876 he opposed Sir James M'Culloch, then Premier of Victoria, for tho representation of Warrnambool, and was defeated by a narrow majority.
A shareholder, while dealing in shares at the Adelaide Stock Exchange, detected that the number of shares, the number of certificates, and the brokers’ numbers stamped on the scrip had been altered. Other brokers ou examining their scrip also discovered alterations. The detectives are on the track of the forger, and expect to arrest him shortly. 4 movement has been started by tho Australian Natives’ Association for the erection of a statue of Adam Lindsay Gordon, the Australian poet. Subscription lists are to be distributed throughout Melbourne and the adjoining colonies. A Ballarat miner, named James Kinnear, was killed through being struck by a crank shaft. The unfortunate man was working near tho bed of a shaft, when he lost his balance and fell into the bed. Tne shaft struck him on the head and body, causing instantaneous death.
A youth named James Newport, aged 19, was accidentally killed while out shooting at Oakleigh, near Melbourne, He was crossing a fence" when his gun accidentally exploded, the charge entering his neck, killing him instantly. Richard Rothwell, a well-known Hobart solicitor, has been found drowned in the Derwent.
The deepest shaft in Australia has been sunk at one of the Sandhurst mines. The shaft is 2,640 feet deep, or exactly half a mile.
The Victorian Relief Fund, in connection with the London dock laborers’ strike, amounts to over L 19,000. The total dona: tions received in London amount to L40,000j
more than half of whicli was sent from Aua tralia.
John Vaun, aged twenty-one years, committed suicide at Marrickville, near Sydney, under unusually distressing circumstances. He placed a loaded revolver to his head in his sister’s presence, and before she could stop him blew his brains out. A stockman, while mustering cattle at Narrabri (New South Wales), discovered human bones in a burur down hut. A charge of shot had been lodged in the skull, and from other indications it is evident that a murder had been committed. The victim had evidently been placed on the fire on the hearth, and afterwards the hut was set on fire.
A swagsman met with a fearful death on the Echuca railway line. The man had evidently made his bed on the railway line, as his terribly mangled body was found with only a shirt on, the other articles of clothing forming a couch for the body. Mr T. Crisp, a well-known solicitor, partner in the firm of Crisp, Lewis, and Hcdderwick, has committed suicide on account of financial difficulties iuduced by over speculation in the late land “boom.” Mr Crisp had a monomania that he would have to go through the Insolvent Court, and this idea affected his mind to such a degree that rather than face such complicatious the unfortunate man shot himself.
The discovery of a fire by a dream at Warrnambool is recorded. Mr Russell, storekeeper, was suddenly awakened from sleep on Wednesday morning last, having dreamed that a large fire was occurring. Being vividly impressed with this idea he went to his bedroom window, and then perceived volumes of smoke issuing from a blacksmith’s shop opposite. Mr Russell gave the alarm, and the flames were quickly extinguished. The proposal to establish a Sunday newspaper in this city is to be strenuously opposed by the Government. Au opinion has been given by the Attorney-General to the effect that, under the Police Offences Statute, the selling of a newspaper on Sundays is punishable; but, in order that there may be no doubt upon the matter, it has been determined to introduce a short Bill to declare the law to provide that any person offering a newspaper for sale on Sundays shall be guilty of an offence within the meaning of the Act. Mr Gillies, the Premier of Victoria, has received a communication from the AgentGeneral, Sir Graham Berry, stating that an American company are trying to obtain an exclusive concession from the Government of Hawaii, granting them the privilege for ten years of landing cables on the islands at Honolulu or elsewhere. As the granting of a monopoly of this kind to an American company would be most prejudicial to tho interests of the colonies, a meeting of Agents-General was held, at which tho opinion was expressed that the Imperial Government should instruct its representative at Hawaii to endeavor to prevent action which would prejudice British and colonial interests. A joint letter was sent to the Colonial Office to this effect. No information is as yet to hand indicating what action the Colonial Office has taken in response to the protest lodged by tho AgentsGeneral.
In connection with tho presentation to Lady Loch on the occasion of her leaving the colony, some discussion has taken place on the question of sending to England for the diamond jewellery to bo presented to her ladyship. Tho subscription list amounts to L 1,700, and if the jewellery is purchased at Home some L4OO must be deducted from the amount for duty. Besides tho money subscribed going out of the colony, it is equivalent to saying that our colonial workmen are not competent to turn out a piece of work worthy of Lady Loch’s acceptance. A special meeting was convened by the Mayor of Melbourne, in consequence of expressions of adverse opinion having been published in the papers, to consider the matter ; but, after a stormy discussion, tho motion to send to London for the jewellery was ultimately agreed to, and the Committee have telegraphed to London for the selection of the jewellery.
OUR AUSTRALIAN LETTER., Issue 8026, 1 October 1889
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