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MARVELLOUS MELBOURNE., Issue 8037, 14 October 1889
TO THE EDITOR. Sik,— Referring to the extracts from a letter published in your last night's issue on " Marvellous Melbourne," perhaps you will allow a few remarks from one who has recently returned from that land of wonder. I do not deny that there is far more steady work for the artisan than there is here. Carpenters, bricklayers, and working men in general find it much easier to secure employment in Melbourne for themselves and families, as boys and girls aro in good demand at good wages. Bat for all that, " all that glitters is not gold." In the first place, rents are very high, and it is most difficult to secure a suitable house for a working man and his family. It is not an uncommon thing to see a ticket up in the house, land, and estate agents' premises (which are very numerous) with the following words on it: " We have no small cottages to let." I am told that they are | besieged daily with applicants for three and
four-roomed bouses. I asked an agent in Prahran, one of the chief suburbs, whether he had a four-roomed house to let, and he said "No," but he wished he had a hundred of them. He had one three-roomed cottage to let, for which he wanted 17s fed per week, but he would not let it to anyone with a family. So muoh for rents. Living is perhaps cheaper in Prahan than any part of Melbourne ; but it is not aB cheap there as it is in Dunedin. Lovers of great heat, dust, vermin, and bad smells, with a good prospect of typhus fever, are likely to get their wants liberally supplied during the summer months, as until they get in Melbourne a different drainage system to what they have fever will increase, and the " Yan Yean " water, which supplies Melbourne and suburbs, is said to abound with fever germe. During the dust storms, which mostly last three days at a' time, the houses have to be kept closed to keep the heat and dust out Instead of the windows being thrown open to get the fresh air—as wo do here—the blinds are drawn, and sandbags are placed against the doors to keep every particle of dust and air out, Those who cannot afford ice chests have very many discomforts to put up with. Meat is alive with maggots in a few hours, and the butter is like oil during the hot season, " Marvellous Melbourne!" I for one am glad lam out of it. The wealthy, of course, escape a lot of the discomforts that the working people are prone to; but they do not altogether escape the fever —aB death has been no respecter of persons—and many of them have been cut off, as well as many cf the unfortunate poor. I would strongly urge those who are those who are thinking of making a change to pause and consider well before they determine to leave this lovely climate and change it for that of " Marvellous Melbourne.
I have admitted that work is more plentiful there than here, and I say shame on our Government that it should be so, and shame on thoße who advocate a standstill policy, as we have a far superior country to what the Victorians have. Why should we not have better times here ? What right have we to stop public works because we have been foolish in the past? Where would " Marvellous Melbourne " be to-day if they had no public works ? There they go in for finding work for their people, and it pays them to do it. I notice that the writer of the letter which you have extracted the remarks from states that "The authorities are beginning to be ashamed of themselves, and folks are asking everywhere: ' Was there any need for the crisis, seeing that it has, after all, rather been a crisis in name and anticipation than in reality ?'" Sir, I for one cannot make light of the land boom. It was a serious crisis to many, who lost their all in it. To these who were merely buying and selling on paper it has not made much difference, out to those who had means and who were unfortunate enough to be drawn into the wild and reckleßS speculations, to them it was in many cases absolute ruin. Unfortunately, some ex-Dunedinites did not escape the meshes of the land and silver booms. I hope to never see such booms here. But, whilst holding these views, I think we are unduly depressed in New Zealand, and that, although we should take a lesson from the folly of our neighbors, we should learn wisdom from them in the way they find employment for their people; for that, after all, is the true source of their wealth. —I am, etc., J.E. Dunedin, October 12,
MARVELLOUS MELBOURNE., Issue 8037, 14 October 1889
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