What they said about Sydney and Australia

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About the quotations

The selections used here have been chosen to show how people, mostly visitors, reacted to early Australia, and how they reported what they assumed, or were told, or saw. Visitors are more useful as sources, because things others might take for granted, strangers will comment on. This is a collection that I have assembled over some years, starting in 1987: I offer it as an aid to learning, but it may not be reproduced in any form. It may be copied or saved for educational and personal uses, but no, you may not steal my work and sell it, and no, you may not present it as your own work. Fair enough?

Some of the opinions, especially those about other races, would be remarkably offensive if they were put forward today. Yet if we do not recognise the attitudes of former years, how can we confront them? My aim is to present an honest account of the attitudes which existed in Australia, once upon a time, and to reflect on the things which happened.

The First Fleet arrived in Australia, believing that they were approaching a land ready for the taking, with "just a few savages living on the coast". The official doctrine was that Australia was "terra nullius", an empty land, owned by nobody. The first two quotations reveal just how surprised the early Europeans were when they found this was not so. That introductory comment aside, the quotations in this collection speak for themselves.

Buying the source books: If you want to follow up on any of these excerpts, historical books like this can most easily be found in the shop of the State Library of NSW in Macquarie Street.

Aborigines and Terra Nullius

I have already hinted, that the country is more populous than it was generally believed to be in Europe at the time of our sailing. But this remark is not meant to be extended to the interior parts of the continent, which there is every reason to conclude from our researches, as well as from the manner of living practised by the natives, to be uninhabited.

- Watkin Tench, A narrative of the expedition to Botany Bay, 1789, chapter XI.

Aborigines and Terra Nullius 2

To their great surprize, they observed indisputable tracks of the natives having lately been there, though in their whole route none of them were to be seen; nor any means to be traced, by which they could procure subsistence so far from the sea shore.

- Watkin Tench, A narrative of the expedition to Botany Bay, 1789, chapter XIII.

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Aborigines

The boat was then steered towards the island to which the natives had directed us; but as we pulled along its shore in search of a landing-place, a party of twenty or thirty Indians were observed descending the rocky hills towards the beach, with an evident intention of preventing our going ashore; and upon our pulling into a small bight, where there was some appearance of a stream of water, they threatened us with spears and stones; at the same time loudly vociferating and pointing to us to retire. Much unintelligible parley now ensued, during which we endeavoured to convince them that we only wanted fresh water, and had no intention of molesting them; but although they appeared perfectly to understand our meaning, they were determined upon resisting our attempt to land. A stone thrown at us by one of the foremost, who stood half up to his middle in the water, was an earnest of their hostile intentions if we persisted, and they were on the point of assaulting us with a shower of spears, when we pulled out and returned on board, leaving the Indians masters of the field. There was no mischievous feeling in their conduct towards us, for we were in their power, and had they been inclined, they might have speared the whole of our party before a musket could have been fired by us. Their object seemed to be merely to get rid of us, and in this they fairly and completely succeeded...

- Phillip Parker King, Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia performed between the years 1818 and 1822. 2 vols, London: 1827, and Adelaide: Libraries Board of South Australia facsimile edition, 1969, vol 1, pages 47-48.

Aborigines 2

King Boongaree and some of his retainers, are generally the first visitors to every ship on its arrival. His sable majesty, clothed in a gold laced blue coat, with massy epaulets, buttoned up close, to avoid the necessity of a shirt or waistcoat, and wearing a large varnished cocked hat, but neither shoes or stockings, welcomes the arrival of a stranger with much politeness and many bows, and contrives, if possible, to borrow a dump or so, to buy for his "gin" (wife) who always happens to be ill, some tea, or for himself, who is equally poorly, a little of Cooper's drops.

- Robert Burford, Description of a View of the Town of Sydney, New South Wales; the Harbour of Port Jackson, and Surrounding Country, now exhibiting in the Panorama, Leicester-Square. London: J. and C. Adlard, 1829, page 9.

Aborigines 3

All the first years of the colony's [WA's] existence were saddened by contests with the blacks - by so-called murders on the part of the black men, and so-called executions on the part of the invaders. Looking at these internecine combats from a distance, and by the light of reason, we can hardly regard as murder, - as that horrid crime which we at home call murder, - the armed attempts which these poor people made to retain their property; and though we can justify the retaliations of the white conquerors, - those deeds done in retaliation which they called executions, - we cannot bring ourselves to look upon the sentences of death which they carried out as calm administrations of the law.

- Anthony Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, London: 1873 and Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1967 (edited by Edwards and Joyce), page 560.

Aborigines 4

I was advised, by the master of the Admiral Gifford, not to trust the blacks who were (he said) a set of treacherous villains; as, not long ago, they had pointed their spears at him and his boat's crew, while peaceably proceeding up King's River.

But such expeditions being generally for the purpose of surprising and carrying off the native women, it cannot at all be wondered at, that the native men should endeavour to prevent the outrage. Indeed, it is quite notorious on many parts of the coast, that if a small vessel makes her appearance, the natives get out of the way as fast as possible; while if the ship be large, they come down to the beach, without mistrust or fear.

- T. B. Wilson, Narrative of a Voyage Round the World. London: Sherwood, Gilbert and Piper, 1835, London: Dawson's of Pall Mall, 1968, page 236.

Aborigines 5

We have some slight account given to us of these aboriginals by Dampier, the buccaneer, who made acquaintance with them on the western coast of Australia in 1688, and again in 1699. He tried to make friends with them; but they attacked his men with spears, wounding some of the party; and at last he shot one of them, - a circumstance which he mentions with great regret.

- Anthony Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, London: 1873 and Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1967 (edited by Edwards and Joyce), page 101.

Aborigines 6

When white men steal cattle the individual thief can be traced and brought to punishment; - but this cannot be done with a tribe of Australian aborigines. The execution must be of the Jedburgh kind, or there must be none, and if none, then the squatter must vanish. No doubt there have been dreadful instances of indiscriminate and perfectly unjustifiable slaughter; - but then it must be remembered also that the law has interfered when evidence has been attainable, and that white men have been hung for their barbarity. There seems to be an idea prevalent with many that the black man is not defended by the law. This is an erroneous idea. The black man has been treated with all possible tenderness by the law; - but his life is such that the law can hardly reach him either to defend or to punish.

- Anthony Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, London: 1873 and Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1967 (edited by Edwards and Joyce), page 104.

Aborigines 7

Note: If I leave comments like this out, I am sanitising history, if I put them in, it does not mean I agree with them.

About 20 Englishmen have already fallen miserably before these pitiless savages - Mr Lawson some time ago lost four men, cut off by the savages; and very lately, three others have also fallen victims to aboriginal barbarity. They are not unacquainted with the horrible art of scalping; for the skins of those poor men were completely torn over the face, and the bodies otherwise exhibited a most frightful sight. Two hundred and fifty sheep were also killed. Owing to these atrocities, the immense stock on the other side of the mountains is scattered over the whole country, and the shepherds and the keepers have abandoned their charge to the rapacity of the natives. Several settlers, we are credibly informed, are contemplating a removal from that part of the country, unless effective measures can be promptly adopted to stop further outrages.

- The Gentleman's Magazine, January 1825, quoting the "Sidney Gazette of last August".

Aborigines 8

I once asked a member of parliament in one of the colonies and a magistrate what he would do, - or rather what he would recommend me to do, - if stress of circumstances compelled me to shoot a black man in the bush. Should I go to some nearest police station, as any one would do who in self-defence had shot a white man; - or should I go on rejoicing as though I had shot a tiger or killed a deadly snake? His advice was clear and explicit. 'No one but a fool would say anything about it.' The aboriginal therefore whom you are called on to kill, - lest he should kill you or your wife, or because he spears your cattle, - is to be to you the same as a tiger or a snake.

- Anthony Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, London: 1873 and Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1967 (edited by Edwards and Joyce), page 111.

Aborigines 9

Note: If I leave comments like this out, I am sanitising history, if I put them in, it does not mean I agree with them.

In New South Wales there is a large number of aborigines. The Europeans have never been able to bring them to any degree of civilization. They are the most stupid and most disgusting race of men in the world. They are divided into tribes which are ever on the move; they never sleep twice in the same place, and always in the open air without any shelter. They live on kangaroos, opossums, goannas, snakes and other animals that they catch and eat raw. They do not wear any clothing. They are dirty and extremely fierce. Nevertheless, the tribes in the vicinity of Sydney and of other places inhabited by Europeans have lost a little of their savageness and of their natural bad habits. (They are all cannibals.) But, it has never been possible to persuade them to work or to improve their condition.

- Leon (Leandre) Ducharme, Journal of a Political Exile in Australia, translated by George Mackaness. Australian Historical Monographs, new series vols II, Sydney: D. S. Ford, 1944, page 46.

Aborigines 10

In 1864 an expedition was made to take cattle from Rockhampton overland to Cape York, the northern extremity of Queensland, by two brothers, Frank and Alexander Jardine. The cattle were then driven up to save the lives of the occupants of a new settlement. The enterprise was carried through with admirable success after terrible difficulties. But their progress was one continued battle with black tribes, who knew nothing of them, and who of course regarded them as enemies. Which party was to blame for this bloodshed, - the Messrs. Jardine who were risking their own lives to save the inhabitants of a distant settlement, - or the poor blacks who were struggling against unknown and encroaching enemies? In this case there was certainly no cruelty, no thoughtless arrogance, no white man's indifference to the lives of black men. The Messrs. Jardine would have been glad enough to have made their progress without fighting battles, and fought when they did fight simply in self-protection. And yet the blacks were invaded, - most unjustly and cruelly as they must have felt.

Of the Australian black man we may certainly say that he has to go. That he should perish without unnecessary suffering should be the aim of all who are concerned in the matter. But no good can be done by giving to the aboriginal a character which he does not deserve, or by speaking of the treatment which he receives in language which the facts do not warrant.

- Anthony Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, London: 1873 and Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1967 (edited by Edwards and Joyce), page 113.

Aborigines 11

Note: If I leave comments like this out, I am sanitising history, if I put them in, it does not mean I agree with them.

The connecting link between apes and men, they have generally less resemblance to the African negro than the New Zealanders, and, particularly when old, resemble the monkey more than any other human beings do. In stature, they are generally above the middle size, and their bodies bear an apish proportion to their legs, those limbs being shorter than the European's, while the arms appear longer.

- O'Connell, James F., A Residence of Eleven Years in New Holland and the Caroline Islands. Boston: B. B. Mussey, 1836, facsimile edition published by Australian National University Press, 1972, pages 90-91.

[O'Connell, known in America as "the tattooed Irishman", was almost certainly not his name: he seems deliberately to muddy the waters and confuse the issue, so as to avoid identification. He was presumably an escaped convict, but he obviously had spent some time in Sydney.]

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Agriculture in Australia

All the officers soon after our first arrival here had each two acres of ground given them with two Convicts each to clear & cultivate it. I have taken very great pains in this, & after great Labour have got it into Cultivation. Have had two crops of Wheat, Barley & oats, but in many parts I have not got my seed again, & at best I have not received above two fold, of any of the above kinds of grain. At Rose Hill where the soil is esteemed much superior than it is here, the greatest produce that has been raised is from six to eight fold; last year not so much, & according to the present appearance it will be less still in the year ensuing, & I fear unless measures shd be instituted, in the course of a Year or two hence, it wd be so run out & impoverished as to produce nothing at all.

- George Mackaness (ed.), Some Letters of Rev. Richard Johnson, B.A., First Chaplain of New South Wales, 2 parts: Australian Historical Monographs, new series vols XX and XXI, Sydney: D. S. Ford, 1954, part I, page 35 (letter dated August 21, 1790).

Agriculture in Australia 2

Upon the arrival of the Juliana, in June, 1790, his Excellency told me that 400 acres were to be measured out as Church ground. This was measured out at that time, but, to this day, he has not been able to let me have any help to cultivate it, neither has there been so much as a tree fallen upon it. I cannot suppose Government meant for me to use an axe or spade myself, but this I have done, day after day, otherwise, bad as my situation is, it would have been still worse. I mention this circumstance, being aware that the sound of 400 acres will appear great. But what, Sir, are 400 or 4000 acres, full of large green trees, unless some convicts can be allowed to cultivate it?

- George Mackaness (ed.), Some Letters of Rev. Richard Johnson, B.A., First Chaplain of New South Wales, 2 parts: Australian Historical Monographs, new series vols XX and XXI, Sydney: D. S. Ford, 1954, part I, page 46 (letter dated March 23, 1792).

Agriculture in Australia 3

The Britannia was some time since taken up by some officers, was sent to the Cape & brought 33 Horses, or rather Mares, except one. For one of these #100 is asked - too much for a poor Parson's pocket. The same ship brought near 30,000 Galls of Brandy, the consequences of which you may easily judge.

The cows lost soon after our first arrival have been lately discovered about 30 miles to the S.W. of Parramatta & have increased to upwards of sixty. The ground rich & open & well-watered, & the cows very fat but very wild that it will be difficult if not impossible to bring them in - 4 cows, 1 bull & 2 calves were lost in June, 88.

Numbers of people have become settlers. The careful & industrious do well, but by far the greatest part spend in drinking, their crops, as or even before they become ripe. Hope this abominable Traffic will be checked, if not abolished by the present change of Govt.

- George Mackaness (ed.), Some Letters of Rev. Richard Johnson, B.A., First Chaplain of New South Wales, 2 parts: Australian Historical Monographs, new series vols XX and XXI, Sydney: D. S. Ford, 1954, part II, page 11 (letter dated November 27, 1795).

Agriculture in Australia 4

Where land is not required for the plough, the trees are frequently only cut down within a yard of the ground, which remains thickly encumbered with the ugly blackened and burned stumps, giving the appearance at a little distance of a large and closely occupied graveyard; grubbing, or taking up the roots, being a far more expensive operation. Many large trees are destroyed by a ring of bark being taken off the trunk, when they die in the course of a year, and their huge leafless skeletons have an indescribably dreary and desolate aspect.

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, page 57.

Agriculture in Australia 5

[Original spelling retained]

As to the ground or soil, it is in general but very indifft - in some parts nothing but hard, solid rock, in others a black sand full of ant hills. In some spots, however, it is better, in one place especially we have found some good strong clay of wh they have already begun to make bricks wh are said to be very good.

The Governor has taken several excursions inland many miles into the Country. First a little to the Northward - here the ground and country are most wretched, nothing to be seen but impassable Rocks, thickets, & swamps. Next he went more towards the S.W. Here he met with better ground - also with blue shale, a thing likely to be of great service to the Settlement. The wood is in general very ordinary & bad for building.

- George Mackaness (ed.), Some Letters of Rev. Richard Johnson, B.A., First Chaplain of New South Wales, 2 parts: Australian Historical Monographs, new series vols XX and XXI, Sydney: D. S. Ford, 1954, part I, page 19 (letter dated May 8, 1788).

Agriculture in Australia 6

The early colonists tried to grow wheat here and failed. Those who have come since have planted oranges and have made money. Now Parramatta is known far and wide for its fruit, - so that no man or woman is supposed to have seen Sydney aright who has not visited Mr. Pye's orange groves, and shaken hands with Mrs. Pye, who in the matter of preserved oranges stands far above all competitors in any country.

- Anthony Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, London: 1873 and Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1967 (edited by Edwards and Joyce), page 266.

Agriculture in Australia 7

He is at present gone out with Jack to fell a bee-tree, dressed-up in a blue gold-digger's shirt over his clothes, a thin silk handkerchief tied over his hat, and my gardening gauntlets on his hands. I hope he will get some honey and not many stings. Jack is helping him, likewise got up in a silk handkerchief.

- David Adams (ed.), The Letters of Rachel Henning. Sydney: Sirius Books, 1963, page 25.

Agriculture in Australia 8

Biddulph has also been doing a little in the butchering line today, as we have been cutting up a little pig which a benevolent neighbour slew on Saturday for us. We roasted a piece of him (not the neighbour) for dinner, and I stuffed it with sage and onions to my own, and Biddulph's admiration.

- David Adams (ed.), The Letters of Rachel Henning. Sydney: Sirius Books, 1963, page 31.

Agriculture in Australia 9

The soil is wretchedly poor, and this is said to be the very driest part of Australia. Frequently, when there have been torrents of rain at Wollongong and Sydney, on each side of us, we have not had a drop here. There are no springs on the farm, only a waterhole, and that was dry for nearly six weeks in the summer, and then we had to fetch water from the river three miles off.

- David Adams (ed.), The Letters of Rachel Henning. Sydney: Sirius Books, 1963, page 24.

Agriculture in Australia 10

After the sheep-shearing is over, for more than two months great loads of wool can be seen coming in, done up in bales and ready to be placed aboard ship; for it is the principle article of export, together with salt beef, skins, tallow and several other articles. The export of these articles has been greatly increased as a result of the great depression in all colonial affairs since 1842, a period during which the prices of cattle and of all colonial products have suffered a very great depreciation. . .

This great change in the commercial affairs of the colony is due in part to the large number of emigrants who have been arriving in droves since 1841, all poor people, bringing not a penny into the country, and, as can be imagined, having to share with others whatever they possessed, a condition of affairs which brought about a reduction in the wages of every class of workman, a scarcity of money, and in the end the decline of the colony. Hitherto, the farmers and others had the advantage of having in their service as many convicts as they desired....

But in 1841 the deportation of convicts from Great Britain and her colonies to Sydney ceased, so that they could not, as previously, have the workmen without paying for them. They were compelled to pay for the carrying out of their work, and, the produce of the land falling to a low price, they were not able to support the condition of luxury in which they lived.

- Leon (Leandre) Ducharme, Journal of a Political Exile in Australia, translated by George Mackaness. Australian Historical Monographs, new series vols II, Sydney: D. S. Ford, 1944, page 44.

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Alcohol

Happy would I be to live upon Bread and Water ... did I but see some of those poor souls begin to think about their latter end. Am sorry to see so little good yet done amongst them. They seem to be destitute both of eyes & ears. They neither see nor will be persuaded to seek the Lord of Mercy and Compassion of God. They prefer their Lust before their Souls, yea, most of them will sell their souls for a Glass of Grogg, so blind, so foolish, so hardened are they.

- George Mackaness (ed.), Some Letters of Rev. Richard Johnson, B.A., First Chaplain of New South Wales, 2 parts: Australian Historical Monographs, new series vols XX and XXI, Sydney: D. S. Ford, 1954, part I, page 24 (letter dated November 15, 1788).

Alcohol 2

Vines I think will do well in time, better if the climate were hotter, but as these do not require the most rich soil, we are in hopes of seeing these turn to some account, & I promise you, if ever wine be made here, & not prohibited from being exported, I will send you a specimen, & perhaps may drink your health in a Bumper of New Holland wine. Add to this, I have raised some Tobacco, & am persuaded this wd grow here tolerably well, provided any should be found that know how to order and cure it.

- George Mackaness (ed.), Some Letters of Rev. Richard Johnson, B.A., First Chaplain of New South Wales, 2 parts: Australian Historical Monographs, new series vols XX and XXI, Sydney: D. S. Ford, 1954, part I, page 36 (letter dated August 21, 1790).

Alcohol 3

The best interests of the colony would be greatly forwarded, if the government were to select some clergymen, of unequivocal piety and zeal, to inculcate religious and moral principles. For this purpose, they should be chosen of unblemished character, whose respectability and exemplary conduct would assist to give weight to the doctrines which flow from their lips. Much good cannot be derived from the efforts of men, who are chiefly engaged in farming and traffic, and who will sell a bottle of spirits, or oblige some of those very persons with it, to whom they have just before been preaching the duty of temperance, and whose learning and appearance are better adapted to those lesser avocations, than fulfilling the sacred functions it is intended they should perform.

- David Dickinson Mann, The Present Picture of New South Wales 1811. London: John Booth, 1811, and Sydney: John Ferguson Pty Ltd, 1979, page 97.

Alcohol 4

The soil is also suitable for the vine, which produces plenty of excellent grapes. Unfortunately, however, it is only of late that attention has been given to its cultivation which should have been and in future will be one of the greatest resources of the country. In this connexion the English settlers are much indebted for the introduction of so useful a commodity to certain Frenchmen, who some years ago came and settled in this country, and having promoted in the inhabitants a taste for the culture of the vine, have taught them the method of cultivating it, and then extracting from it a wine which to-day is preferred to the wines which come from abroad. There can now be seen in New South Wales young vineyards of thirty, forty, fifty and sixty acres in area. The culture and the care of these are always entrusted to Frenchmen, who are highly expert in this branch. As for the English, they know nothing at all about it.

[Jules Joubert brought vines from the Medoc district in 1838: in a note to Johnson (part I, page 59), Mackaness noted later that wine was made in 1803-4, but was poor, and that Gregory Blaxland won the Ceres Medal for his 1823 wines, awarded by the Royal Society of Arts, England.]

- Leon (Leandre) Ducharme, Journal of a Political Exile in Australia, translated by George Mackaness. Australian Historical Monographs, new series vols II, Sydney: D. S. Ford, 1944, page 42.

Alcohol 5

I remember the wife of a turnpike-keeper near our house, who was scarcely ever seen sober, and as rarely without a broken head or a black eye. One day Mr. Meredith was driving a friend to the races at Parramatta, and on reaching the turnpike, this engaging female was discovered seated at a table by the door, with a cup and a half-gallon bottle of rum beside her, the effect of which was already evident; she offered Mr. Meredith a ticket, which he told her was not required, as she knew him so well from his passing constantly - "Oh, sir, you'd better take it, for I shan't know anybody by the time you come back!"

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973.

Alcohol 6

April 15th. Yesterday a party of armed police raided the tent of my neighbours, and carried off a cartload of barrels, bottles, and jugs, as well as the two women. The men were all away at the time. Today the whole lot have disappeared. Only in certain parts of the township public-houses are allowed, and for these the licence is very heavy. Spirits, however, are sold illegally at most of the little stores, and this is often known and winked at by the police.

- Marie Tipping (ed.), An Artist on the Goldfields: The Diary of Eugene von Guerard. Melbourne: Currey O'Neil, 1982, page 44.

Alcohol 7

Melbourne is supplied from a distance of about twenty miles with millions of gallons of water, - with so many millions that every one says that the supply cannot be exhausted. It is laid on to every house in the town and suburbs, and is supposed to be the most perfect water supply ever produced for the use of man. Ancient Rome and modern New York have been less blessed in this respect than is Melbourne with its Yan Yean. I do believe that the supply is almost as inexhaustible as it is described to be. But the method of bringing it into the city is not as yet by any means perfect....I will also add that the Yan Yean water is not pleasant to drink; - a matter of comparatively small consideration in a town in which brandy is so plentiful.

- Anthony Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, London: 1873 and Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1967 (edited by Edwards and Joyce), page 386.

Alcohol 8

(Duffy tells here of his election campaign in Victoria, for the seat of Villiers and Heytesbury in 1856.)

. . . there was a village called Killarney inhabited, I was told, by Irish evicted tenants who had thriven prodigiously in their new home. This was a sight I longed to see, and my committee fixed a time for a visit. The first house we entered had all the evidence of rude careless plenty. A bottle of Martell's brandy was immediately placed on the table, flanked by a huge decanter full as it seemed of sparkling transparent water. I had slight experience of drinking raw spirits, but it was impossible to avoid pledging the prosperity of the Irish village. I poured a spoonful of brandy into a tumbler, and after drowning it in water, put it to my lips. The brandy, I concluded, must be of abnormal strength, for the water had not made it palatable, and I had recourse to the decanter a second time, and filled my tumbler to the brim.

"Is this water bewitched?" I cried, "the brandy does not grow weaker but stronger, the more I pour upon it." The farmer and his good woman burst into a merry laugh; the transparent fluid was not water but gin. There was similar plenty in all the houses, and a similar hospitality.

- Sir Charles Gavan Duffy, My Life in Two Hemispheres. 2 vols: London: 1898, reprinted Shannon: Irish University Press, 1969, page 151.

Alcohol 9

On sheep-stations, at shearing time, to drink is not only to sin, - but to commit the one sin that cannot be forgiven....I spent a very pleasant time on the Darling Downs, - perhaps the more so because the rigid rule which prevailed in the wool-shed and at the washpool in regard to alcohol was not held to be imperative at the squatters' houses. I could hardly understand how a hospitable gentleman could press me to fill my glass again, - as hospitable gentlemen did very often, - while he dilated on the wickedness of a shearer who should venture to think of a glass of rum.

- Anthony Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, London: 1873 and Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1967 (edited by Edwards and Joyce), page 160.

Alcohol 10

These men at their work [Queensland shearers] are almost invariably sober. The sheds or establishments at which they are employed are often far from any place at which drink can be bought, and from their employers they can get none. During their work they are not allowed to drink. In this respect they are under a restraint quite unintelligible to the ordinary English labourer. For weeks and weeks they go on, drinking nothing but tea. The pint of beer which is the Englishman's heaven is an unknown institution in the colonies. This sobriety, whether enforced or voluntary, during the period of employment has become so much a thing of course, that it is expected and is a matter of no complaint. They smoke much tobacco, drink much tea, eat much mutton, - and work very hard. Then comes the short holiday, in which they knock down their cheques and live like brutes.

- Anthony Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, London: 1873 and Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1967 (edited by Edwards and Joyce), pages 197-198.

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Animals

I saw some white, crested parrots, some green ones without crests, some multi-coloured ones - in fact I saw all sorts of parrots. I admired and stroked without fear, since they are quite harmless, the yellow-crested cockatoos, and also the rose-crested cockatoos that coo in baritone voices and are naturally called the cockatoo sanguinea. They are free to move within their cage, and do not appear to miss their native habitat, the 'bush', as the forest is called.

- Oscar Comettant, In the Land of Kangaroos and Gold Mines, translated by Judith Armstrong. Adelaide: Rigby, 1980, originally published as Au Pays des Kangourous et des Mines d'or. Paris: Librairie Fischbacher, 1890, page 72.

Animals - Conservation

A few years since this country abounded with wild animals; but now the emu is banished to a long distance, and the kangaroo is become scarce; to both the English greyhound has been highly destructive.

- Charles Darwin, Voyage of the Beagle, 1836.

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Animals - Dingo

In spite of their natural ferocity, the wild dogs of Australia are capable of being tamed. Once their education is complete, they make excellent watch-dogs, all the more dangerous for never barking. A Frenchman who was an animal trainer in Queensland for thirty years told me that he had one who was worth thirty men. This Frenchman lived in a little wooden house that he had built in the forest, and which contained his money and all his most precious possessions. When he was away for a day or two, he left the dog in charge of the house. One day, after an absence of twenty-four hours, my compatriot returned to find a dead Aboriginal by his door. On his neck were the teeth-marks of the dog, who had silently thrown himself on the native and strangled him. Whether it was a thief or a poor devil wandering in the forest and come to ask for hospitality, we shall never know.

- Oscar Comettant, In the Land of Kangaroos and Gold Mines, translated by Judith Armstrong. Adelaide: Rigby, 1980, originally published as Au Pays des Kangourous et des Mines d'or. Paris: Librairie Fischbacher, 1890, page 73.

Animals - Dingo 2

Note: If I leave comments like this out, I am sanitising history, if I put them in, it does not mean I agree with them.

Although they appear to treat their children kindly when they can in some measure help themselves, yet infanticide is frequent among the women, who often dislike the trouble of taking care of their babies, and destroy them immediately after birth, saying that "Yahoo" or "Devil-devil" took them. One woman, whom Mr. Meredith saw a day after the birth of her baby, on being asked where it was, replied with perfect nonchalance, "I believe Dingo patta!" - She believed the dog had eaten it! Numbers of hapless little beings are no doubt disposed of by their unnatural mothers in a similar manner.

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, page 95.

Animals - Dingo 3

Another unpleasant class of neighbours were the native dogs or dingoes, evidently a species of wolf, or perhaps the connecting link between the wolf and the dog. These creatures were very numerous around us, and their howling or yelling at night in the neighbouring forests had a most dismal, unearthly kind of tone. They are more the figure of a Scotch colly, or sheep-dog, than any other I can think of as a comparison, but considerably larger, taller, and more gaunt-looking, with shaggy, wiry hair, and most often of a sandy colour. Their appearance is altogether wolfish, and the expression of the head especially so, nor do their ferocious habits by any means weaken the likeness.

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, pages 132-133.

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Animals - Insects

Finally, there are cicadas in Australia, like the ones in Provence. Without wishing to over-enthuse about this noisy insect which was for that very reason consecrated to Apollo, nor loving it to the point of eating it, as did the ancient Greeks, I nevertheless have for the cicada, with its monotonous, strident, even deafening song, a lifelong affection. Like the poet, I can never 'see the cicada, and hear it on its leafy branch, sucking up the fragrant dew and heralding in the ardent sun the wheat-harvest to come . . . ' without feeling moved by memories of the years of my childhood, spent in that dear south of France where I was born. So, when on a journey between Melbourne and Sydney, one hot day, I heard the cicadas sing with such vigour that we were obliged to raise our own voices, I did not doubt that their song was in my honour.

- Oscar Comettant, In the Land of Kangaroos and Gold Mines, translated by Judith Armstrong. Adelaide: Rigby, 1980, originally published as Au Pays des Kangourous et des Mines d'or. Paris: Librairie Fischbacher, 1890, page 79.

Animals - Insects 2

In Australia, as everywhere, the mosquitoes sing their irritating 'perpetual melody', an imitation of Wagner. Grasshoppers are numerous, but less to be feared than in Egypt and Algeria. The flies are exceptionally obstinate, always wanting to take up residence on your face and hands. By their bright and pleasing colours the butterflies make any non-land-owner forget what damage their grubs do to agriculture.

- Oscar Comettant, In the Land of Kangaroos and Gold Mines, translated by Judith Armstrong. Adelaide: Rigby, 1980, originally published as Au Pays des Kangourous et des Mines d'or. Paris: Librairie Fischbacher, 1890, page 78.

Animals - Insects 3

Flies are another nuisance; they swarm in every room in tens of thousands, and blacken the breakfast or dinner table as soon as the viands appear, tumbling into the cream, tea, wine, and gravy with the most disgusting familiarity. But worse than these are the mosquitoes, nearly as numerous, and infinitely more detestable to those for whose luckless bodies they form an attachment, as they do to most new comers; a kind of initiatory compliment which I would gladly dispense with, for most intolerable is the torment they cause in the violent irritation of their mountainous bites. All houses are furnished with due attention to these indefatigable gentry, and the beds have consequently a curious aspect to an English eye accustomed to solid four-posters, with voluminous hangings of chintz or damask, and a pile of feather-beds which would annihilate a sleeper in this climate. Here you have usually a neat thin skeleton-looking frame of brass or iron, over which is thrown a gauze garment, consisting of curtains, head, and tester, all sewn together; the former full, and resting on the floor when let down, but during the day tied up in festoons. At night, after the curtains are lowered, a grand hunt takes place, to kill or drive out the mosquitoes from within; having effected which somewhat wearisome task, you tuck the net in all round, leaving one small bit which you carefully raise, and nimbly pop through the aperture into bed, closing the curtain after you. This certainly postpones the ingress of the enemy, but no precaution that my often-tasked ingenuity could invent will prevent it effectually.

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, pages 45-46.

Animals - Insects 4

We had wandered too far from the camp to admit of our returning to it to sleep; we therefore commenced a search for water, and having found some, we tethered our horses near it for the night, and should have been tolerably comfortable, had not the mosquitoes been so extremely troublesome. They defied the power of smoke, and annoyed me so much, that, hot as it was, I rolled myself in my boat cloak, and perspired in consequence to such a degree, that my clothes were wet through, and I had to stand at the fire in the morning to dry them. Mr. Hume, who could not bear such confinement, suffered the penalty, and was most unmercifully bitten.

- Charles Sturt, Two expeditions into the interior of Southern Australia during the years 1828, 1829, 1830 and 1831. 2 vols: London: Smith Elder and Co., 1833. Facsimile edition published by the Public Library of South Australia, Adelaide, 1963, vol I, pages 67-68.

Animals - Insects 5

And you should never own to a mosquito. I once unfortunately stated to a Queensland gentleman that my coat had been bitten by cockroaches at his brother's house, which I had just left. 'You must have brought them with you then,' was the fraternal defence immediately set up. I was compelled at once to antedate the cockroaches to my previous resting-place, owned by a friend, not by a brother. 'It is possible,' said the squatter, 'but I think you must have had them with you longer than that.' I acquiesced in silence, and said no more about my coat till I could get it mended elsewhere.

- Anthony Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, London: 1873 and Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1967 (edited by Edwards and Joyce), page 67.

Animals - Insects 6

Many various kinds of ants inhabit New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land; I know about a dozen species myself. One is a very formidable-looking personage, full an inch long, with a shiny coat of mail gleaming purple and blue, and a threatening sting, which I am told inflicts a most painful wound, as severe as that of the hornet.

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, page 69.

Animals - Insects 7

In the course of this and the following day's journey we passed many of the gigantic ant-hills common in some parts of New South Wales. They are great conical heaps of finely worked earth cemented into a hard mass, and from six to ten feet high, with no visible orifice outside, nor did I see a single ant about them, though I closely examined several. I have been told they are the work of a white ant, and, from their magnitude, should suppose them the habitation of a species of termite. When cut open, they display numerous small cells, but on our journey I had neither the time nor inclination to destroy and investigate their domestic arrangements myself. The earth of which these ant-hills are formed, is so finely prepared by the little architects that it is used by the settlers in the neighbourhood as plaster, and frequently as cement for floors.

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, pages 68-69.

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Animals - Kangaroo

In spite of his well-formed head and intelligent eyes, the kangaroo is in general a hideous beast. His back legs are out of proportion to his front paws, which he folds when upright so that they look like two stumps. He sits upon his enormous, strong tail, and when pursued runs upright, making huge bounds. When they are asleep, or walking slowly, the kangaroos lean on the whole last section of their tail and on their tibia, only using their feet to spring with. They look as if they have been mutilated.

- Oscar Comettant, In the Land of Kangaroos and Gold Mines, translated by Judith Armstrong. Adelaide: Rigby, 1980, originally published as Au Pays des Kangourous et des Mines d'or. Paris: Librairie Fischbacher, 1890, page 77.

Animals - Possum

I also saw in the Zoological Gardens a large number of opossums. The opossum is a diminutive species of kangaroo, and like it, has a pouch for its young, a prehensile tail, and very short front paws, which he uses only accidentally in running. He is a little smaller than a hare, but fatter. He is also very gentle, and easily tamed.

I have also seen a kind of wild pig native to Australia, which lives in burrows, and feeds on roots. It is called a wombat.

- Oscar Comettant, In the Land of Kangaroos and Gold Mines, translated by Judith Armstrong. Adelaide: Rigby, 1980, originally published as Au Pays des Kangourous et des Mines d'or. Paris: Librairie Fischbacher, 1890, page 76.

Animals - Rabbits

(Here we read of Duffy's wish to introduce new ideas and new talents into Australia. The date is about 1870.)

One of my Parliamentary supporters suggested that we had no need of these foreign dainties. For his part he was content with the native products of his own country, and if he were a Minister he would not pester himself ransacking Asia, Africa and America for exotics. My friend's hair was disposed to stand on end when I told him that wheat, potatoes, and tobacco, which he found necessary to his daily comfort, were once foreign exotics, and that we had to ransack Asia, Africa, and America for such familiar friends of today as tea, coffee, and rice, and that the fig and even the grape were as foreign to our forebears as the mango was to us. But ignorance is not easily abashed. Another member whispered, "Let us alone with your new industries. You see what has come of them already. A Scot introduced their charming thistle, and we will have to put a sum on the estimates to extirpate it. Edward Wilson introduced the sparrow, and the sparrow is playing havoc with our vineyards. Some busybody introduced the rabbit, and the income of Ballarat would not save us from the consequences.

- Sir Charles Gavan Duffy, My Life in Two Hemispheres. 2 vols: London: 1898, reprinted Shannon: Irish University Press, 1969, pages 322-323.

Animals - Rabbits 2

[The disease referred to in this passage is fowl cholera: while it may not have harmed livestock, it would have killed poultry, and presumably other native birds as well.]

I was asked what Australia might expect to gain if our brilliant compatriot Monsieur Pasteur were paid the five hundred thousand francs offered to whomever could discover a way of killing the rabbits swiftly and surely, without risk to the cattle or anything else. The two young men sent to Sydney by Monsieur Pasteur to set up a laboratory (one of whom is the nephew of the famous scientist) conducted an experiment that seemed to leave no doubt in the minds of the most incredulous. Sheep, cattle, horses and rabbits were all taken to an island where the first three groups, plus twenty of the rabbits, were injected with a virus known to have caused death in two other rabbits. The infected rabbits spread the disease among all the others, and they all died. The other animals were not affected by the virus, and seemed to be better than ever.

The proof was very clear, and it would have needed a very ill will not to be persuaded by it. Yet the prize of five hundred thousand francs has not yet been handed over to Monsieur Pasteur, and the rabbits, masters of all they surveyed, continue to multiply. Much was said to delay the end to the affair; for example that the experiment might fail if conducted on a large scale, in spite of its unqualified success in a small way. It was also suggested that although the virus had no effect on sheep, cattle, and horses, it might have some on the birds of prey that eat the dead rabbits, and which are needed to clear the fields of dead animals. But what is to stop someone from getting a number of these birds and injecting them with the virus? If this last part of the experiment is put off, it is surely because it is suspected that these useful birds will be no more susceptible to the virus than the cattle. The truth of the matter is that they are trying to discover Monsieur Pasteur's secret, more perhaps in order to save their national pride than the five hundred thousand francs. The Australians would like to find their own cure for the plague.

- Oscar Comettant, In the Land of Kangaroos and Gold Mines, translated by Judith Armstrong. Adelaide: Rigby, 1980, originally published as Au Pays des Kangourous et des Mines d'or. Paris: Librairie Fischbacher, 1890, pages 86-87.

Architecture in Australia

I must again ask you to send out to me some works on architecture or some elevations of houses or palaces which may assist us in the erection of our new Government House. It appears that there is not a single book, on architecture in all the Island except my own London's Farm and Cottage Architecture. I do not want finished and costly engravings, but if you were to go to Meales Architectural Library in Holborn, I am sure you would find a dozen things which at least would be better than nothing. I shall copy on the other side the names of some books whose titles have struck my eye, though of course without seeing them, I cannot judge of their being to the purpose. Two or three of them, Hope, Repton and Rickman, I will order at a venture, but besides these, if either at Meales or elsewhere you could find any small engravings of gentlemen's houses, in the Grecian or Italian style in good taste, I shall be glad to have them, but this will not be necessary if the books sent contain anything to the purpose . . . [Lady Franklin to her sister, September 1840].

- Sir John and Lady Franklin, Some Private Correspondence of Sir John and Lady Jane Franklin. Dubbo: Review Publications Pty Ltd., 1977 (reprint of Australian Historical Monographs, Volume XV), Part I, page 102.

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Arts in Australia - Literacy

At the beginning of the great immigration to Australia, when gold was first discovered, there was a considerable number of emigrants who could neither read nor write. Every year the number of illiterates diminished, however, and it is easy to foresee the time when no one in Australia will be without elementary education. In 1854, 8772 out of every 10 000 people in Victoria could read and write. In 1857 the number of illiterate people had dwindled to 866. In 1861, 9070 could read, 7789 could read and write, and 930 were illiterate. In 1871, 9168 could read, 8043 could read and write, and 832 could do neither. Finally in 1881 the results were better again: 9643 could read and write, and only 537 had received no instruction at all.

- Oscar Comettant, In the Land of Kangaroos and Gold Mines, translated by Judith Armstrong. Adelaide: Rigby, 1980, originally published as Au Pays des Kangourous et des Mines d'or. Paris: Librairie Fischbacher, 1890, page 157.

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Arts in Australia - Music

I do not believe there is a country in the world where music is more widespread than in Australia. Certainly there is none that has more grand pianos per head of population. 700 000 instruments have been sent from Europe to Australia since the vast territory became a centre of white settlement. Everywhere here the piano is considered to be a necessary piece of furniture. Rather than not have one of these sonorous instruments in the drawing-room, as a sign of respectability, they would go without a bed; they would sleep on the piano while waiting to complete their furnishings, and appearances would be kept up, which is the main thing in Australia.

- Oscar Comettant, In the Land of Kangaroos and Gold Mines, translated by Judith Armstrong. Adelaide: Rigby, 1980, originally published as Au Pays des Kangourous et des Mines d'or. Paris: Librairie Fischbacher, 1890, pages 136-137.

Arts in Australia - Music 2

Born in Warsaw in 1838 and died there in 1861, aged twenty-three. In this brief lifetime she accomplished, perhaps, more than any composer who ever lived, for she provided the piano of absolutely every tasteless sentimental person in the so-called civilized world with a piece of music which that person, however unaccomplished in a dull technical sense, could play. It is probable that if the market stalls and back-street music shops of Britain were to be searched The Maiden's Prayer would be found to be still selling, and as for the Empire at large, Messrs. Allan of Melbourne reported in 1924, sixty years after the death of the composer, that their house alone was still disposing of 10,000 copies a year.

- Percy A. Scholes, "Thekla Badarzewska", The Oxford Companion to Music, 9th edition, 1955, page 64.

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Australian History

It will be noticed that the teaching of history is conspicuous by its absence. But for Australians, who so far have no history of their own, this important area of knowledge comes last. History is only taught in the State schools of Australia by means of unconnected accounts strewn throughout the six graded books (called royal readers), which are used to teach the children to read. It is not enough.

- Oscar Comettant, In the Land of Kangaroos and Gold Mines, translated by Judith Armstrong. Adelaide: Rigby, 1980, originally published as Au Pays des Kangourous et des Mines d'or. Paris: Librairie Fischbacher, 1890, page 154.

Australian Geography

In 1859, Miss Johnson (that is all I have on her) published in Sydney, her 'Geography with useful facts for the junior classes in schools' and there is a copy in Mitchell Library. I took a few notes last time I was looking at it, so here they are:

Q How many English colonies are there in Australasia?
A Six at present: four on the island of New Holland, also Tasmania and New Zealand. (There should have been five on the mainland - a later answer shows that she has left out Brisbane/Queensland, which actually became independent in 1859!!)

Q Where was the settlement made?
A At the head of Sydney Cove on the Tank Stream, where the
semi-Circular Quay now stands. (Note that the 'semi' was already being phased out) -- follow the link if this means nothing.)

Q What is the climate of New South Wales?
A One of the finest in the world; it is seldom either extremely hot or cold.

Q How is Sydney lighted?
A By coal gas, which is made at the works of a private company. (I assume this was the still-existing AGL, or Australian Gas Light Company.

According to Miss Johnson, telegraphs linked Sydney to Melbourne, and from there, on to Adelaide. The railway had reached Campbelltown and was being extended to Goulburn.

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Australian Language

I may here add another link to the chain of antipodean absurdities enumerated by Mr. Baron Field, by asserting that all rivers are creeks, and all the creeks rivers; thus you hear people continually talking of the Parramatta river, which is neither more nor less than the higher portion of the estuary of Port Jackson, and perfectly salt: whilst if by chance you meet with a precious little stream of fresh water far inland, rest assured it is nothing but a "creek". I was most amusingly puzzled by hearing of "creeks" far away from the coast, and began to suspect my geography to be in fault, when I soon found them to be what in England we call a brook or rivulet.

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, pages 59-60.

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Australian Science

Captain Ross has erected his observatories in the Government domain, a sort of Park, where the New Government House is to be built. They have been set up in a very short space of time and I believe he is much satisfied with the facility and readiness with which all his wants are supplied.

I believe he did not expect to find Van Diemen's Land anything like so good a country as it is. He is charmed with the climate (though this is our February and March weather) and with the picturesque beauty of the scenery and says we cannot conceive what a difference it is from the last desolate island, Hesgallin Land (an uninhabited place sometimes called and known here as Desolation Island) which was their last place of sojourn. [Lady Franklin, letter to her father, September 1840.]

- Sir John and Lady Franklin, Some Private Correspondence of Sir John and Lady Jane Franklin. Dubbo: Review Publications Pty Ltd., 1977 (reprint of Australian Historical Monographs, Volume XV), Part I, pages 99-101.

Australian Science 2

During the last week we have had another very interesting visitor staying with us in the person of Count Strezelecki [sic], a Polish nobleman of fortune whom I met last year at Sydney where he is much esteemed by Sir George Gipps and who is now engaged in a scientific survey of this colony. He is one of the most accomplished and agreeable men I ever met with. He has been 9 years on his travels and will have a big book at last. [Lady Franklin, letter to her father, September 1840.]

- Sir John and Lady Franklin, Some Private Correspondence of Sir John and Lady Jane Franklin. Dubbo: Review Publications Pty Ltd., 1977 (reprint of Australian Historical Monographs, Volume XV), Part I, page 101.

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Australian Society

When the stranger asks whence came these country gentlemen, whom he sees occasionally at the clubs and dinner tables in Melbourne, exactly as he finds those of England up in London during the winter frosts or in the month of May, he is invariably told that they or their fathers made their own fortunes. This man and that and the other came over perhaps from Tasmania, in the early days, joint owners of a small flock of sheep. They generally claim to have suffered every adversity with which Providence and unjust legislators could inflict a wretched victim; and, as a result, each owns so many thousand horned cattle, so many tens of thousand sheep, so many square miles of country, and so many thousands a year. Most of them have, I think, originally come out of Scotland. When you hear an absent acquaintance spoken of as 'Mac', you will not at all know who is meant, but you may safely conclude that it is some prosperous individual. Some were butchers, drovers, or shepherds themselves but a few years since. But they now form an established aristocracy, with very conservative feelings, and are quickly becoming as firm a country party as that which is formed by our squirearchy at home.

- Anthony Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, London: 1873 and Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1967 (edited by Edwards and Joyce), page 442.

Australian Society 2

The Town of Melbourne is blessed with Municipal privileges, - its Mayor and Corporation. The Mayor is a Brewer of some respectability and has this year been re-elected. Many good things are told of poor Mr. Condell and his wife. On one occasion, Mr. Tyers a surveyor of Colonial repute was describing to a party of gentlemen the geological formation of some particular district and alluded to that of Melbourne - when Mr. Condell with generous warmth protested against such a representation and in the climax of his indignation, protested that Melbourne had "no geological formation at all."...We paid Mrs. Condell a visit in return for one from her and after some delay during which her son entertained us she appeared dressed as though for evening altho' it was then but 1 o'clock. She is extraordinarily plain and has a black beard an inch long and to her great regret we did not see the Mayor. My uncle paid them a visit also and gave a most amusing acct. of it. Her great boy their son whom I have mentioned was present but it was hot weather and he could not keep awake. His father warmly kicked him and at last sent him from the room.

- Sophy Cracroft, diary quoted in: Sir John and Lady Franklin, Some Private Correspondence of Sir John and Lady Jane Franklin. Dubbo: Review Publications Pty Ltd., 1977 (reprint of Australian Historical Monographs, Volume XV), Part II, page 83.

Australian Society 3

Fortunes already made are not common among legislators in a new country, - so that it may often happen that the brothers, sons, and kinsmen of a minister may themselves be in need of places. A ministry that was beaten in the Parliament of Victoria in June, 1872, was turned out solely on the ground that it had misused its patronage. There may, perhaps, be room to hope that such an example may be of service, and that it may tend to teach the people generally that parliamentary government does not mean the partial advancement of a certain class who may support this or that set of politicians.

- Anthony Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, London: 1873 and Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1967 (edited by Edwards and Joyce), page 482.

Australian Society 4

If I am able to believe a most interesting statistic, there would be in Victoria about 5000 unmarried ladies, widows and divorcees living as concubines. They hide their situation most carefully, for illegal unions are less accepted in Australia than in other parts, though they are no less numerous. What is not allowed is practised anyway, in secret. The devil loses nothing; perhaps he even gains. In any case, illegitimate births in Victoria and New South Wales number a little less than 4 per cent. The ratio is lower in Queensland and lower again in New Zealand, where it is only 2.8 per cent. [Comettant goes on to cite Austria: 13%, Denmark 12% ("where the people go to bed at nine o'clock"), 8% in virtuous Germany, and 7 in debauched France.]

- Oscar Comettant, In the Land of Kangaroos and Gold Mines, translated by Judith Armstrong. Adelaide: Rigby, 1980, originally published as Au Pays des Kangourous et des Mines d'or. Paris: Librairie Fischbacher, 1890, page 167.

Australian Society 5

The number of sheep at these stations will generally indicate with fair accuracy the mode of life at the head station. A hundred thousand sheep and upwards require a professed man-cook and a butler to look after them; forty thousand sheep cannot be shorn without a piano; twenty thousand is the lowest number that renders napkins at dinner imperative. Ten thousand require absolute plenty, meat in plenty, tea in plenty, brandy and water and colonial wine in plenty, but do not expect champagne, sherry, or made dishes, and are supposed to be content with continued mutton or continued beef, - as the squatter may at the time be in the way of killing sheep or oxen. During this month we killed mutton. After six months I returned to the same station, and beef was the provision of the day. Wool had gone up and sheep had become valuable, and the squatter could not be persuaded to kill a sheep for love or money.

- Anthony Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, London: 1873 and Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1967 (edited by Edwards and Joyce), pages 304-305.

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Australian Society - Crime

The morals of the colony are by no means as debauched as the tongue of prejudice has too frequently asserted; on the contrary, virtuous characters are not rare, and honourable principles are not less rare than in other communities of equal extent and limited growth. The instances of drunkenness, dishonesty, and their concomitant offences, are not more common than in the mother country; and those amongst the convicts who are disposed to return to their old habits, and re-commence their depredations upon society are deterred by the severe punishment which awaits their detection: There are many also amongst the prisoners themselves, who are now striking examples of probity, industry, temperance and virtue; and some have obtained a remission of the punishment which occasioned their residence in the settlement, in consequence of the signal and radical change which had taken place in their inclinations and behaviour. [Mann was himself an ex-convict!!]

- David Dickinson Mann, The Present Picture of New South Wales 1811. London: John Booth, 1811, and Sydney: John Ferguson Pty Ltd, 1979, pages 53-54.

Australian Society - Crime 2

Soon afterwards, another murder was committed on the body of a man belonging to one of the colonial craft, named Boylan. It appeared that he had been in a part of the town called "The Rocks," and had been struck with some heavy weapon on the head, of which he immediately died. Upon this occasion, I sat as foreman of the jury, which was summoned soon after daylight, and continued to sit until nearly one o'clock the next morning, when two men and a woman were committed for trial; and a third man, in the process of the investigation, was sent to gaol for prevarication. When the prisoners were arraigned at the bar, they all pleaded "Not Guilty;" and, after an impartial trial, were acquitted.

- David Dickinson Mann, The Present Picture of New South Wales 1811. London: John Booth, 1811, and Sydney: John Ferguson Pty Ltd, 1979, page 11.

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Bushfire

Not far at the rear of G's tent the bush fire is raging. Many tents are being rapidly taken down, while some have already been caught by the flames. It is a grand but terrifying spectacle, hundreds of trees with the flames rushing up their trunks, the foliage being consumed like fireworks, and the huge giants crashing to the ground on all sides, with a thundering noise, the sky red, with clouds of smoke flying upwards.

- Marie Tipping (ed.), An Artist on the Goldfields: The Diary of Eugene von Guerard. Melbourne: Currey O'Neil, 1982, page 63.

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Climate

. . for three whole days and nights the rain came down in sheets. Umbrellas and mackintoshes were useless. The best plan was to go out and get saturated. Before ten yards could be walked your garments were wringing wet. The tram-lines were flooded. Small creeks became rivers; the Brisbane River turned into a noisy turbulent sea, with a perpetual rush downwards.

Higher and higher rose the water, and faster and faster came the rain. Boats were washed away from the wharves; steamers could not face the current and get up the river, so had to remain in Moreton Bay. Debris of all kinds floated on the water. Houses were washed away and homes ruined. There is nothing so pitiless as water. I think it beats fire. There is a chance of getting a fire under, water never.

- Nat Gould, Town and Bush. London 1896, Ringwood: Penguin, 1974, page 37.

Climate 2

The subject of heat is one of extreme delicacy in Queensland, as indeed it is also in the other colonies. One does not allude to the heat in a host's house any more than to a bad bottle of wine or an ill-cooked joint of meat. You may remark that it is very cool in your friend's verandah, your friend of the moment being present, and may hint that the whole of your absent friend's establishment is as hot as a furnace; but though you be constrained to keep your handkerchief to your brow, and hardly dare walk to the garden gate, you must never complain of the heat then and there. You may call an inn hot, or a court-house, but not a gentleman's paddock or a lady's drawing-room.

- Anthony Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, London: 1873 and Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1967 (edited by Edwards and Joyce), page 67.

Climate 3

Early in January, I certainly did find it very hot in Victoria, but the heat was intermittent, lasting only for a few days; and though I am told that the mercury rose occasionally to 90 in the shade, I was not seriously oppressed by it. And I may add to this that Australian mosquitoes, of which I had heard much and which I feared greatly, were never so venomous to me as mosquitoes have been in other countries, nor are they in force for so large a proportion of the year. The mosquito of Australia is a poor, impotent and contemptible creature as compared, for instance, with the mosquito of the United States.

- Anthony Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, London: 1873 and Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1967 (edited by Edwards and Joyce), pages 207-208.

Climate 4

Hot winds and dust-storms in Melbourne are something to be remembered. The heat becomes unbearable, and, combined with the dense clouds of dust, makes any outdoor work most uncomfortable. Ladies have some difficulty in keeping their feet, and the wind whirls them around corners in unceremonious fashion. As a place of residence, I much prefer Sydney to Melbourne, but of course there are thousands of people who would not exchange Melbourne for any other city in the world.

- Nat Gould, Town and Bush. London 1896, Ringwood: Penguin, 1974, pages 128-129.

Climate 5

We are glad to get the Illustrated News every month. The pictures of the frozen Thames and snowy streets seem so strange out here, where we all run out in the morning if a thin cake of ice is reported on the puddle outside the kitchen door, and gaze upon the rarity with admiring eyes.

- David Adams (ed.), The Letters of Rachel Henning. Sydney: Sirius Books, 1963, page 29,

Climate 6

I have heard persons who have lived for years in India say that they found the climate in Sydney by far the most oppressive; and I partly account for this by the better adaptation of Indian habitations to the heat, and their various contrivances for relief, which English people, choosing to build English houses in an un-English climate, never dream of providing. The only cool arrangement generally adopted is the substitution of an oiled cloth or matting for a carpet on sitting-room floors; some of the mattings are fine and rather pretty-looking, but the oiled cloth has always a kind of hair-dresser's-shop look about it, which not the most elegant furniture of every other description could reconcile to my old-world prejudices; and the noise which the softest step makes upon it is always unpleasant.

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, page 128.

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Climate - Drought

Two years of desolating drought had preceded our arrival in Sydney, and the melancholy proofs of its ravages among the brute creation met us here at every turn, in the remains of unfortunate oxen, that had perished for want in their toilsome journeys over the mountains, where neither food nor water remained for them; and as the dray-journeys from the distant stations to Sydney occupy from three to six weeks, the lingering, protracted misery endured, even by the wretched animals who survived, is horrible to contemplate. In some places by the road side white skeletons alone remained; farther on we saw other carcasses still covered with hide; then bones again; and so on, continually meeting these terrible proofs of the poor brutes' suffering and death. It recalled to my mind descriptions I have read of the caravan tracks in the sandy deserts of Africa, where the bleached bones of animals that have perished in the journey serve as guides to future travellers.

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, page 71.

Climate - Drought 2

We have been visited with the most severe drought for nine or ten months. Our gardens and fields looked very unpromising & have turned out very indifferent. Water began to grow very scarce & very bad. Many people have been ill on this account, & what has tended to increase their illness has been the very great heat of the weather. The Hottest day in England is quite moderate to what we have repeatedly felt it here. Birds, unable to bear the heat, have great numbers dropped from the trees and expired.

- George Mackaness (ed.), Some Letters of Rev. Richard Johnson, B.A., First Chaplain of New South Wales, 2 parts: Australian Historical Monographs, new series vols XX and XXI, Sydney: D. S. Ford, 1954, part I, pages 37-38 (letter dated March 18, 1791).

Climate - Drought 3

I am glad to tell you that the unpleasant drought is now at an end. For some months the hot weather was so oppressive that I had to sleep outside my hut sometimes at night but I did not feel inclined for a bit of sleep for fear of a snake visiting me. The people made such complaints about the bugs, mosquitoes, fleas in such numbers whilst in bed at night, we had to use the Carbonic acid for their destruction. We have got plenty of bread at last. Before it came the good drinking water was very scarce. (Sampson Lawrence to his cousins in Ireland, February 1878.)

- Patrick O'Farrell, Letters from Irish Australia 1825-1929. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 1984, page 47.

Climate - Drought 4

The year 1826 was remarkable for the commencement of one of those fearful droughts to which we have reason to believe the climate of New South Wales is periodically subject. It continued during the two following years with unabated severity. The surface of the earth became so parched up that minor vegetation ceased to grow upon it. Culinary herbs were raised with difficulty, and crops failed even in the most favourable situations. Settlers drove their flocks and herds to distant tracts for pasture and water, neither remaining for them in the located districts. The interior suffered equally with the coast, and men, at length, began to despond under so alarming a visitation. It almost appeared as if the Australian sky were never again to be traversed by a cloud.

But, however severe for the colony the seasons had proved, or were likely to prove, it was borne in mind at this critical moment, that the wet and swampy state of the interior had alone prevented Mr. Oxley from penetrating further into it, in 1818. Each successive report from Wellington Valley, the most distant settlement to the N. W., confirmed the news of the unusually dry state of the lowlands, and of the exhausted appearance of the streams falling into them. It was, consequently, hoped that an expedition, pursuing the line of the Macquarie, would have a greater chance of success than the late Surveyor General had; and that the difficulties he had to contend against would be found to be greatly diminished, if not altogether removed.

- Charles Sturt, Two expeditions into the interior of Southern Australia during the years 1828, 1829, 1830 and 1831. 2 vols: London: Smith Elder and Co., 1833. Facsimile edition published by the Public Library of South Australia, Adelaide, 1963, vol I, pages 1-2.

Climate - Drought 5

For three successive years (1827, 1828, and 1829) the usual supply of rain was in great measure withheld from the colony. An entire failure of the crop in some districts, and a partial failure in others, were the necessary consequences; while the pasture grounds presented the aspect of a beaten highway, and the cattle were reduced to extremities from the scarcity of water.

- Maclehose, J, Picture of Sydney; and Strangers' Guide in New South Wales for 1839. Sydney: Maclehose, 1839 and St Ives: John Ferguson Pty Ltd, 1977, page 55.

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Early Explorers

It is through this wild country made barely practicable for us on foot that we have been wandering for the last 3 weeks. We set off in beautiful weather, and in a season of unusually prolonged drought, but had scarcely commenced it, when the rains came on which made the bogs in a shocking state, and flooded all the torrents and rivers. We were confined a week in our tents in a nook under a snowy mountain, and again were impeded by a wide impetuous river which the surveyor had called the Franklin. It was 70 or 80 yards wide, too wide for any fallen trees to cross it, as we had crossed all the others, and where in consequence the pioneering party had constructed a rude kind of raft which they had fastened by a rope across the River. On our arrival the flood had carried away the warp, but the raft remained; on this after the river had subsided a little, two men, (prisoners) volunteered to cross . . . . [Lady Franklin on the Gordon River, to her sister, April 1842]

- Sir John and Lady Franklin, Some Private Correspondence of Sir John and Lady Jane Franklin. Dubbo: Review Publications Pty Ltd., 1977 (reprint of Australian Historical Monographs, Volume XV), Part II, page 48.

Early Explorers 2

My statement of the arrangements that were requisite for our accommodation was approved of by the Governor, who gave the necessary orders to the Engineer, a captain of the forty-sixth regiment; and the Deputy Commissary General was instructed to attend to all my demands, and to supply the requisite quantities of provisions and stores; but, notwithstanding every wish on the part of His Excellency to forward our outfit and complete the vessel for sea without delay, it was not until 21st of December that the alterations were finished. Had we met with as much opposition and inattention from the commissariat department as from the engineer, the vessel would not have been ready for sea for six months; it is, however, a duty I owe to Deputy Commissary General Allan, to acknowledge the readiness with which that officer's department attended to my wants.

- Phillip Parker King, Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia performed between the years 1818 and 1822. 2 vols, London: 1827, and Adelaide: Libraries Board of South Australia facsimile edition, 1969, vol. I, page xxxviii.

Early Explorers 3

New Holland is a very large tract of land. It is not yet determined whether it is an island or a main continent; but I am certain that it joyns neither to Asia, Africa, nor America. This part of it that we saw is all low even land, with sandy banks against the sea, only the points are rocky, and so are some of the islands in this bay.

The land is of a dry sandy soil, destitute of water, except you make wells: yet producing divers sorts of trees: but the woods are not thick, nor the trees very big. Most of the trees that we saw are dragon-trees as we supposed; and these, too, are the largest trees of any where. They are about the bigness of our large apple trees, and about the same height: and the rind is blackish, and somewhat rough. The leaves are of a dark colour; the gum distils out of the knots or cracks that are in the body of the trees. We compared it with some gum dragon, or dragon's blood [Sanguis draconis was common in the pharmacopoeia of the time], that was aboard; and it was the same colour and taste. The other sorts of trees were not known by any of us. There was pretty long grass growing under the trees, but it was very thin. We saw no trees that bore fruit or berries.

- Dampier, William, A New Voyage Round the World. London: 1697, and London: Adam and Charles Black, 1937. Quoted in Major, R. H. (ed.), Early Voyages to Terra Australis, now called Australia. London: Hakluyt Society, 1859, and New York: Burt Franklin, (n.d.), page 101.

Early Explorers 4

I may here describe the usual method of encampment on such expeditions. A convenient spot being selected, if possible, to windward of a large fallen half-burned tree, a few branches and bushes are placed in a semicircular form, as a defence against the night wind; the log is kindled, and soon forms a blazing fire, which, being too fierce for cooking, a smaller one is used for that purpose. After supper, each rolls himself in his blanket, and, with his feet towards the fire, soon falls asleep.

- T. B. Wilson, Narrative of a Voyage Round the World. London: Sherwood, Gilbert and Piper, 1835, London: Dawson's of Pall Mall, 1968, page 246.

Early Explorers 5

At daylight on the 28th, we found ourselves near the land to the south-west of Vernon's Islands, which also were in sight. To the south was a deep opening, trending to the south-east of a river-like appearance; but, as it did not seem to be of sufficient importance to detain us, we passed on the westward.

[This was the entrance to Darwin Harbour!]

- Phillip Parker King, Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia performed between the years 1818 and 1822. 2 vols, London: 1827, and Adelaide: Libraries Board of South Australia facsimile edition, 1969, vol 1, page 269.

Food in Australia

In many places you find some particular dish more generally in vogue than others, but in New South Wales one universal reply follows the query of "What can you give us to eat?" and this is, "'Am and Eggs, Sir;" "mutton-chops" forming the usual accompaniment, if required. So ham and eggs we had, and mutton chops too; but from their being fried all together, in the same dark-complexioned fat, the taste of these viands was curiously similar, and both of impenetrable hardness. Unless great care is taken, meat spoils so soon in this climate, that the custom among most persons is to cook it as soon as killed, which of course precludes the possibility of its being tender. Tea, with black sugar, but no milk, and bread without butter, completed the repast, with the addition of "damper", a composition respecting which there are divers opinions, some persons preferring it to bread, whilst I think it the worst way of spoiling flour.

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, pages 66-67.

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Fort Phillip

Fort Phillip, on the highest point of the neck of land to the west of the town, nearly in the centre of what is called "The Rocks". It is a regular hexagon, never quite finished, and is now so surrounded by houses as to be useless, excepting as a signal station. It was erected by Governor King in 1803, after an insurrection, caused by those persons transported for the share they took in the Irish rebellion.

- Robert Burford, Description of a View of the Town of Sydney, New South Wales; the Harbour of Port Jackson, and Surrounding Country, now exhibiting in the Panorama, Leicester-Square. London: J. and C. Adlard, 1829, page 10.

Fort Phillip 2

Fort Phillip. --This fort is in an unfinished state, although commenced in 1804, by Governor King; the faces of the salient angle only being carried up in stone cut work, to the level of the platform, eleven feet eight inches in height. It is in the form of a pentagon, the length of the sides being 100 feet, and appears to have been intended to mount four guns in each face. The thickness of the platform is eighteen feet six inches, and the parapet (which is not raised) thirteen feet six inches; in all thirty-two feet. The situation commands the whole of the town of Sydney, its Cove, and Darling Harbour. The north face looks onto Dawes' Battery, at about 400 yards distance; the east on Fort Macquarie about 800 yards, and is now only used as a telegraphic station.

- J. Maclehose, Picture of Sydney; and Strangers' Guide in New South Wales for 1839. Sydney: Maclehose, 1839 and St Ives: John Ferguson Pty Ltd, 1977, page 122.

Geelong

There was a time in the history of the colony in which Geelong was competing with Melbourne for the honours of the capital. Geelong had Ballarat at its back, and beyond Ballarat all the richest corn-growing ground of Australia Felix. But in its efforts at grandeur, in an evil hour, it made the Geelong and Melbourne railway. Consequently Geelong is now no more than a great town on the line from Melbourne to Ballarat. It is, however, a pleasant, well-built, smiling town, with institutions of its own, with public gardens and a harbour. But the Geelongese no longer aspire to be metropolitans.

- Anthony Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, London: 1873 and Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1967 (edited by Edwards and Joyce), pages 400-401.

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Gold Diggers

We are subject to periodical unexpected requests to produce our diggers' licences. As in every gully there are a number of men who have evaded taking out a licence, one is quite accustomed on these occasions to hear the signal passed along, giving warning of the approaching police. The latter usually arrive to the number of twelve to sixteen men, armed with bayonets, and headed by a mounted officer. They pass from one shaft to another to examine these licences. On hearing of their approach many miners disappear rapidly into either mine, or into the bush, and so succeed in evading the law. Those who are not so nimble, and are caught, are roped together in pairs and taken prisoner. I have seen as many as thirty or forty at a time, taken off like this.

- Marie Tipping (ed.), An Artist on the Goldfields: The Diary of Eugene von Guerard. Melbourne: Currey O'Neil, 1982, page 44.

Gold Diggers 2

[von Guerard became a storekeeper for a while.] Before departing, Armand initiated me into all the working of the business. The store and my habitat are some twenty paces in length, and about half that in width. In front are displayed a vast variety of goods, such as butter, cheese, flour, candles, boots and other wearing apparel, shovels, picks, rope etc. In the back part - hidden - there is a small barrel of beer, spirits, and an assortment of French wines in bottles, and the necessary glasses with which to regale old friends and customers. These leave corresponding cadeaux on departing! On first hearing of this I demurred about following this illegal custom, but was assured that a number of members of the Commissioner's camp were among the 'friends'.

- Marie Tipping (ed.), An Artist on the Goldfields: The Diary of Eugene von Guerard. Melbourne: Currey O'Neil, 1982, page 54.

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Land Booms

Not contented with reaping a modest fortune, every man who had made money fancied he would in a few weeks become a millionaire. Some few men reaped enormous profits, and had the sense to stick to the money they made. The majority, however, went on the principle of much would have more.

Land was bought at prices ridiculously high. Even the land companies and some of the building societies were tempted into these absurd speculations. Men purchased shares in companies, on the off chance of being able to sell before the money was required to pay up their calls.

The gentleman I have alluded to stated he had incurred liabilities to the extent of many times his capital. Unfortunately, he had bought heavily when the boom was about to end. The consequence was, the syndicates he was in bought land at a high price, and found themselves saddled with it. The purchase-money not being forthcoming, the vendors came down upon the members and secured all their available capital. This made rich men poor in a few days.

- Nat Gould, Town and Bush. London 1896, Ringwood: Penguin, 1974, pages 124-125.

Land Booms 2

In 1889 Melbourne was a far different place to what it was in 1894. Year after year it seemed to get worse, and the tightness of money became more marked. The crisis in the money-market affected Melbourne more than any other city. That she will recover is certain. No Australian city can long be doomed to universal depression; and Melbourne will make a rapid and surprising recovery before long.

- Nat Gould, Town and Bush. London 1896, Ringwood: Penguin, 1974, pages 120-121.

Land Booms 3

It was not hard to foresee - as I did as soon as I arrived in Melbourne - that land would soon lose its unreal value and simply reduce to what it was worth in real returns. The collapse came in January 1889. The bankers had for some time been refusing credit to companies formed for speculative purposes, and some illegal actions on the part of certain high officials had been discovered, thus compromising them considerably. They were forming companies that bought land and then sold it to themselves again at fantastic prices.

- Oscar Comettant, In the Land of Kangaroos and Gold Mines, translated by Judith Armstrong. Adelaide: Rigby, 1980, originally published as Au Pays des Kangourous et des Mines d'or. Paris: Librairie Fischbacher, 1890, page 47.

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Larrikins

On New Year's Eve the rougher element is let loose. Bands of youths, with more impudence than brains, parade the streets and make night hideous with unearthly sounds. Occasionally one of these 'pushes' take possession of an arcade, and then law-abiding and peaceful citizens give them a wide berth in that particular quarter. The streets of Sydney on New Year's Eve are not pleasant places; half-drunken mobs of larrikins rush from place to place, clearing all before them, and smashing windows and lamps. This sort of thing is continued in the suburbs until an early hour on New Year's Day.

- Nat Gould, Town and Bush. London 1896, Ringwood: Penguin, 1974, page 141.

Larrikins 2

The prevailing vice of drunkenness among the lower orders is perhaps more resolutely practised at this season than any other. I have heard of a Christmas-day party being assembled, and awaiting the announcement of dinner as long as patience would endure; then ringing the bell, but without reply; and on the hostess proceeding to the kitchen, finding every servant either gone out or rendered incapable of moving, the intended feast being meanwhile burned to ashes. Nor is this by any means a rare occurrence; as the crowded police-office can bear ample testimony.

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, page 128.

Larrikins 3

A larrikin alone is harmless, for the simple reason that he is too cowardly to attack anyone unless supported by members of his push. It takes at least half a dozen larrikins to tackle one fair-sized man, and he has a good chance of defeating them, provided he can use his fists before he is stunned by a brick or a stone. Peaceable men have been done to death in the streets of Sydney and Melbourne by these brutes. I recollect one unfortunate man being killed in Lower George Street, Sydney, and left lying in the road until he was discovered by a passer-by. Sailors have been murderously assaulted by those pushes when under the influence of liquor. Men have been robbed by them and brutally ill treated, and policemen have been severely mauled by them. The larrikin is no respecter of sex. He takes a fiendish delight in frightening girls and women until they are half dead with terror, and occasionally they suffer disgusting indignities at the hands of these fiends. Even children of tender years are attacked by them, and often rendered nervous for the remainder of their lives.

- Nat Gould, Town and Bush. London 1896, Ringwood: Penguin, 1974, pages 100-101.

Larrikins 4

The larrikin residuum is not peculiar to Australia. Old countries have it as well as new. But in these colonies, where the struggle for existence is a condition scarcely known, except perhaps to the clerical class, the idle and thriftless come more prominently into view than elsewhere. Our larrikins are as much the outcome of the prosperity of the labouring classes as anything else. True, there exist larrikin youths of both sexes in all conditions of life among us. Wealth is achievable with more rapidity than decency of conduct and ideas can be arrived at, but to a certain extent the restraining influence of social obligations makes itself felt proportionately to the position occupied. The larrikins who display their evil propensities and outrageous proclivities in full public view do not as a rule belong to the well-to-do classes. They are the idle, the uncared-for, the wilful and the depraved. The peculiar prominence which they attain is clearly attributable to the comparative ease with which they, as compared with the same class in the old world, can acquire the means for indulgence and for idleness.

- (Bulletin, 8 January, 1881, quoted in Manning Clark, Select documents pages 686-687.)

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Macquarie Lighthouse

An elegant building of white freestone, called Macquarie Tower, on the southern side of the entrance to Port Jackson, the entrance to which it points out by day and night, the revolving light being visible at ten or twelve leagues distance: by its side, is a telegraph and signal post, to communicate to Sydney every thing relating to vessels entering or leaving the harbour. The height of the point from the sea is 277 feet, and the tower 76, being together, 353 feet; it stands lat. 33 51' 40" south long. 151 16' 50", east from Greenwich. The tower, from the softness of the materials, is supposed to be unsafe, and has been bound with iron.

- Robert Burford, Description of a View of the Town of Sydney, New South Wales; the Harbour of Port Jackson, and Surrounding Country, now exhibiting in the Panorama, Leicester-Square. London: J. and C. Adlard, 1829, page 12.

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Medicine in Australia

Note: If I leave comments like this out, I am sanitising history, if I put them in, it does not mean I agree with them.

In May, the blessings of vaccination were introduced into the settlement, and all the young children were inoculated with success; but unfortunately, by some means as yet unaccounted for, the virtue has been lost, and the colony has been left once more without a protection from that most awful of disorders, the small-pox; of the fatal consequences of which the natives have more than once been afforded the most dreadful of all disorders, their loathsome carcases having been found, while this disorder was prevalent amongst them, lying on the beach, and on the rocks. In fact, such is the terror of this disorder amongst these untutored sons of nature, that, on its appearance, they forsake those who are infected with it, leaving them to die, without a friend at hand, or assistance to smooth the aspect of death, and fly into the thickest of the woods.

- David Dickinson Mann, The Present Picture of New South Wales 1811. London: John Booth, 1811, and Sydney: John Ferguson Pty Ltd, 1979, page 14.

Medicine in Australia 2

Convict ships now generally make the voyage direct; but, formerly, they used to touch at some port - i.e., Madeira, Teneriffe, Porto Praya, Rio de Janeiro, or the Cape of Good Hope. I consider it of importance, as regards the health of those entrusted to my charge, to touch somewhere during the voyage; and, whenever I have done so there has been no sickness in the ship - whereas, when I have not done so, a strong tendency to scurvy manifests itself among the prisoners, usually after passing the Cape of Good Hope; which, occasionally towards the end of the voyage, assumes a very insidious and intractable form, when, consequently, the surgeon has no sinecure. This circumstance I have remarked, as occurring more frequently of late years. The cases, however, that terminate fatally, are but few; and the emaciated soon recover their wonted vigour on the healthy Australian shores.

The average number of deaths, on the passage, is under two per cent.; no great mortality, when it is considered, that the constitutions of many of the prisoners have been greatly impaired by continued courses of irregularity and dissipation.

- T. B. Wilson, Narrative of a Voyage Round the World. London: Sherwood, Gilbert and Piper, 1835, London: Dawson's of Pall Mall, 1968, pages 333-334.

Medicine in Australia 3

[Wilson sailed as surgeon on several convict ships]

I have just observed, in the newspapers, the melancholy account of the wreck of the convict ship George III (the first instance of a male convict ship having been lost). Great sickness, principally scurvy, appears to have prevailed on board, which the surgeon attributes to the scanty distribution of rations, and the substitution of cocoa for oatmeal. I am inclined to think, however, that if sickness now prevails in an increased ratio, it may be ascribed to the circumstance of the prisoners being embarked soon after their conviction, instead of being, as formerly, employed, for a long time, in the dock-yards, where, their habits being regular, their constitutions became improved.

- T. B. Wilson, Narrative of a Voyage Round the World. London: Sherwood, Gilbert and Piper, 1835, London: Dawson's of Pall Mall, 1968, page 334 (n.)

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Melbourne 1

Melbourne is situated on the banks of a river - a very narrow river called the Yarra Yarra. To the north, and even more to the east and the west, the town presents a distinctly hilly terrain. This topography was a serious obstacle to public transport in the form of horse - or steam-trams; hence the excellent decision to adopt cable-trams like those of San Francisco.

It is curious to see these long, two-compartmented vehicles, with the passengers sitting inside on the platform, or outside on benches running down the length of the main carriage, moving through the town at a smart but regular pace, whether up or down hill, and without any apparent means of locomotion.

- Oscar Comettant, In the Land of Kangaroos and Gold Mines, translated by Judith Armstrong. Adelaide: Rigby, 1980, originally published as Au Pays des Kangourous et des Mines d'or. Paris: Librairie Fischbacher, 1890, page 42.

Melbourne 2

The one thing wrong with these streets is that they are traversed by streams of water, crossed by little wooden bridges. If you are preoccupied, and not looking where you are going, you can easily fall off the bridge and into the gutter, possibly breaking your leg or even your neck. Moreover, during showers, the streams reach a depth of 60 cm or even 1 metre, and in the downhill streets the water flows with the violence of a torrent. Not long ago a child was carried away by such a stream and disappeared before help could be obtained.

- Oscar Comettant, In the Land of Kangaroos and Gold Mines, translated by Judith Armstrong. Adelaide: Rigby, 1980, originally published as Au Pays des Kangourous et des Mines d'or. Paris: Librairie Fischbacher, 1890, page 42.

Melbourne 3

To give a pen-sketch of the size of Melbourne, there are eighteen suburbs around the town, composed of thousands of houses, big and small. In the business quarters, where land is very dear, office-buildings have been built eight, nine, or ten storeys high - with lifts, of course. Among the most beautiful buildings in Melbourne are the many banks, which by lending themselves to all sorts of enterprises give excellent service to trade and commerce.

- Oscar Comettant, In the Land of Kangaroos and Gold Mines, translated by Judith Armstrong. Adelaide: Rigby, 1980, originally published as Au Pays des Kangourous et des Mines d'or. Paris: Librairie Fischbacher, 1890, page 43.

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Migration

About noon we cast anchor opposite Fort Macquarie, a neat stone building, with a few cannon planted around it. Close alongside of us lay a Scotch emigrant ship, her deck thronged with crowds of both sexes and all ages, enlivened by the fearful din of some half-dozen bagpipers, who were all puffing, squeezing, and elbowing away with incomparable energy and perseverance, though, as they all seemed to be playing different airs, the melody produced was of a rather complex character.

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, pages 36-37.

Migration 2

Colonel Gawler wishes the colony in general and that of New South Wales would behave with equal delicacy and honor, but on the contrary he says an abominable system exists of enticing migrants away upon the pretended belief that they in South Australia have more than they want, whereas they have not enough. The poor Colonel is very angry indeed about this, but is angry I fancy to little purpose, for the people of this Colony whose paid for emigrants have all made away with themselves to Port Phillip or elsewhere, will never be persuaded of it, because like Paul they are paid by what was borrowed from Peter, instead of what was owing from John. Besides a most paltry, unfair and contemptible system of puffing up South Australia and New Zealand at the expense of the other Colonies has been unblushingly carried on, and the ire of the people here has been aroused, and the sturdiest moralist amongst them, except Sir John, would not scruple to do what he could to benefit himself, and this Colony at the expense of those who have so outraged their feelings. [Lady Franklin to her sister, December 1840.]

- Sir John and Lady Franklin, Some Private Correspondence of Sir John and Lady Jane Franklin. Dubbo: Review Publications Pty Ltd., 1977 (reprint of Australian Historical Monographs, Volume XV), Part I, page 110.

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Multicultural Australia

In George street, the grand thoroughfare, the visiter is amused with the motley group of divers nations, kindreds, and tongues that he encounters. New Holland is less exclusively the residence of convicts than the reader may have imagined. Settlers and visiters from all portions of the globe - Spaniards, Frenchmen, Englishmen, Americans, Chinese, Malays, Kanakas or South Sea Islanders, the latter arriving in whale ships, add variety to a scene which, without them, would be varied enough.

- James F. O'Connell, A Residence of Eleven Years in New Holland and the Caroline Islands. Boston: B. B. Mussey, 1836, facsimile edition published by Australian National University Press, 1972, page 98.

Multicultural Australia 2

Note: If I leave comments like this out, I am sanitising history, if I put them in, it does not mean I agree with them.

The New Zealanders are much the noblest specimens of "savages" that I have ever met with. During our residence in Sydney I saw a chief walking along one of the principal streets, with his wife following him. I had often heard of and seen what is called majestic demeanour, but this untutored being, with his tattooed face and arms, and long shaggy mantle, fairly outdid even my imaginings of the majestic, as he paced deliberately along, planting his foot at every step as if he had an emperor's neck beneath it, and gazing with the most royal indifference around him.

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, page 36.

Multicultural Australia 3

Note: If I leave comments like this out, I am sanitising history, if I put them in, it does not mean I agree with them.

[Gould, typically for his time, holds Asiatics in low regard, so he writes "A low Chinaman I always thought the vilest creature on earth until I became aware of the ways of the larrikin." (page 104). But he writes soon after]:

One of the most respected and popular citizens of Sydney is Mr. Quong Tart. He has the manners of an educated European and the habits of a gentleman. He is a good employer, and a man of unbounded generosity. His wife is an Englishwoman, and Mr. Quong Tart sometimes poses as a Scotchman. It is an unaccustomed sight to see a Chinaman in kilts, and to hear him sing a Scotch song.

Mr. Quong Tart is partial to the Scotch - the men, not the whisky - and puts on the kilt, sings a Scotch song, and dances the Highland fling with great gusto. He is a liberal patron of all the manly sports, and his name may generally be found on a subscription-list. When stump orators rant in the Sydney Domain, and say 'the Chinese must go,' they forget there are Quong Tarts and other members of that race like him.

- Nat Gould, Town and Bush. London 1896, Ringwood: Penguin, 1974, pages 106-107.

Multicultural Australia 4

Note: If I leave comments like this out, I am sanitising history, if I put them in, it does not mean I agree with them.

One of the great curiosities of Melbourne is the Chinese quarter, the refuge of the dregs, and worse, of society. Every Chinese in Australia is treated with the same disdain and revulsion that the pariahs receive in Brahmin India. There, if a pariah comes too close to an Indian, or if he brushes him with his hand or clothes, the latter must purify himself by washing from head to toe nine times in the urine of a cow. In Australia you are certainly tempted to bathe in clean water to purify yourself from contact with a Chinese, if you have the privilege of being born an Englishman. There is no justice at all for the sons of the Celestial Empire in this free and liberal country of Australia. If a Chinese is killed by an Englishman, the Englishman is not brought to book; another Chinese is sought, and made responsible for the murder of his fellow. He is then condemned without a trial, since someone must be sentenced after a crime.

- Oscar Comettant, In the Land of Kangaroos and Gold Mines, translated by Judith Armstrong. Adelaide: Rigby, 1980, originally published as Au Pays des Kangourous et des Mines d'or. Paris: Librairie Fischbacher, 1890, page 66.

Nationalism

Australia is a country any man ought to be proud to call the land of his birth. Although born an Englishman, my children are Australians. It will be my duty to endeavour to teach them to love the land of their birth as I love mine. [The preface was written in London in 1896.]

- Nat Gould, Town and Bush. London 1896, Ringwood: Penguin, 1974, page vi.

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News

The importance of the telegraph to the colonies cannot be over-rated, and the anxiety it created can only be understood by those who have watched the avidity with which news from England is received in all her dependencies. Australia had hitherto been dependent on one arrival monthly from England, - and on a very little credited monthly dispatch reaching her shores via New York, San Francisco and New Zealand. The English mail touches first at King George's Sound, in Western Australia, but thence there are no wires into the other colonies. The mail steamer then passes on to Melbourne, while a branch boat takes the mails to Adelaide. As the distance to Adelaide is considerably shorter than to Melbourne, the English news generally reaches that port first, and is thence disseminated to the other colonies.

- Anthony Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, London: 1873 and Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1967 (edited by Edwards and Joyce), page 690.

News 2

In times gone by, when there was no communication by cable, news from other countries only reached Australia at long intervals. Old pressmen have often told me of the adventures they had in endeavouring to be first in the field when a ship arrived from England.

It was no uncommon thing at that time for representatives of leading papers to take boats and row to Sydney Heads to meet the long-expected vessel. There was a desperate struggle to be first on board the vessel to secure the latest files of English papers, correspondence etc., and to interview the skipper and other officers on board.

Now all that is changed. The cable flashes the latest intelligence from one side of the world to the other, and anything of importance that has taken place in the old world is soon learned in the new.

- Nat Gould, Town and Bush. London 1896, Ringwood: Penguin, 1974, pages 257-258.

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Parks and Gardens - Botanic Gardens

The public gardens, not half a mile from the top of Hunter Street, beat all the public gardens I ever saw, - because they possess one little nook of the sea their own. I do not love public gardens generally, because I am called on to listen to the names of shrubs conveyed in three Latin words, and am supposed to interest myself in the locality from which they have been brought. I envy those who have the knowledge which I want; but I put my back up against attempts made to convey it to me, knowing that it is too late. But it was impossible not to love the public gardens at Sydney, - because one could sit under the trees and look out upon the sea.

- Anthony Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, London: 1873 and Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1967 (edited by Edwards and Joyce), pages 229-230.

Parks and Gardens - Botanic Gardens 2

We now made a few weeks' sojourn in Sydney, which, could we have laid the dust, moderated the heat, and dismissed the mosquitoes and their assistants, would have been very pleasant; but as it was, my colonial enjoyments were limited to our usual drives, and when able to walk at all, an idle, languid stroll in the beautiful Government gardens.

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, page 126.

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Parks and Gardens - Centennial Park

Centennial Park . . . will in time be the grandest public park in the colonies. It covers a large area of ground, extending from Randwick road to Waverley, and there is a well-formed carriage-drive about four miles round. In years to come, this drive should be the Rotten Row of Sydney. The park is well laid out, and trees have been planted liberally. There are numerous lakes, the old reservoir, from which the city water supply was formerly drawn, having come in handy for the purpose. Hundreds of cyclists may be seen here every Sunday morning, either 'scorching' round the drive, or taking their pleasure in a more peaceful way. Cycling has taken a firm hold in the colonies, and very few young men are without a machine of some kind.

- Nat Gould, Town and Bush. London 1896, Ringwood: Penguin, 1974, pages 85-86.

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Parks and Gardens - Domain

This beautiful domain is nearly four miles in circumference; it extends round the hither side of Woolloommoolloo Bay, and round the peninsula formed by that Bay, the Harbour, and Farm Cove, passes Macquarie Fort, and the eastern side of Sydney Cove, to the office of the Australian Company, comprising in its extent the governor's private grounds, the Botanic Garden, Paddocks, &c. It was greatly improved and beautified under the tasteful direction of Mrs. Macquarie; it is thickly interspersed with walks, winding amongst native and exotic trees, and plants of the finest and most varied foliage, and is much enlivened by many tame kangaroos and emues. Between the domain and the Cove is an agreeable walk, level with the top of the enclosure, which is the principal promenade of the Sydney beaux and belles. The grand equestrian display is made on the south head road, where, as in England, on Sunday, every description of carriage, gig, &c. may be met with. A little to the right of the road lies Bellevue, a pleasant eminence from which a fine view of the town, port, and ocean, is enjoyed.

- Robert Burford, Description of a View of the Town of Sydney, New South Wales; the Harbour of Port Jackson, and Surrounding Country, now exhibiting in the Panorama, Leicester-Square. London: J. and C. Adlard, 1829, page 7.

Parks and Gardens - Domain 2

It was our favourite spot; even after driving elsewhere out of town (for alas the splendour of George Street had no charms for me) we generally made one circuit round the Domain, and as generally found ourselves the only visitors. It was unfashionable, in fact, not the proper thing at all, either to walk or drive in the Domain. It was a notorious fact, that maid-servants and their sweethearts resorted thither on Sundays, and of course that shocking circumstance ruined its character as a place for their mistresses to visit; the public streets being so much more select.

Lady Macquarie had this Domain laid out after her own plans; walks and drives were cut through the rocks and shrubs, but no other trees destroyed; seats placed at intervals, and lodges built at the entrances. On the high point of the promontory some large horizontal rocks have been assisted by art into the form of a great seat or throne, called Lady Macquarie's Chair, above which an inscription informs the visitor to whose excellent taste and benevolent feeling he is indebted for the improvement of this lovely spot.

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, page 39.

Parks and Gardens - Domain 3

Across the head of the cove, at its rise, stretches the governor's house and grounds, called "The Government Domain". Much taste appears in the arrangement of this territory; the trees are planted with as much attention to nature as art is capable of producing, and amid beautiful and useful exotics many native trees, which date an earlier growth than the first arrival of the English, stand sentinels deputed by the solitude which once reigned here, to watch the movements of innovation upon her former precincts.

- James F. O'Connell, A Residence of Eleven Years in New Holland and the Caroline Islands. Boston: B. B. Mussey, 1836, facsimile edition published by Australian National University Press, 1972, page 98.

Parks and Gardens - Domain 4

But it is on Sunday afternoon that the Domain is crowded with a variety of men whose object is to talk their particular hobby to death. I have seen men who indulge freely in intoxicating drink during the week face an audience in the Domain on Sunday afternoon and deliver stirring lectures on the evils of intemperance. These men probably act on the principle that experience teaches them the true nature of the evils of over-indulgence in strong drink. The same feeling causes the clergyman to read all the debatable novels he can secure, in order to be able properly to dissect their contents.

It is a praiseworthy object, no doubt, but an officer wishing to test the value of ammunition and the power of a rifle would hardly go so far as to have a bullet put into him to prove its efficacy.

- Nat Gould, Town and Bush. London 1896, Ringwood: Penguin, 1974, pages 145-146.

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Parks and Gardens - Hyde Park

Sydney boasts her "Hyde Park;" but a park utterly destitute of trees seems rather an anomaly. It is merely a large piece of brown ground fenced in, where is a well of good water, from which most of the houses are supplied by means of water-carts.

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, page 48.

Peter Possum in Wollongong

Strolling on a bright August morning in 1857, along one of the two streets of Wollongong - that beautiful, bustling "Australian Brighton" (the bottom of a well, methinks, would be almost as handsome and lively a watering-place) - I came upon a little edifice of the Florid Haystack order of architecture, evidently fresh from the hands of the bricklayers.

- Peter Possum (pseud), Peter Possum's Portfolio. Sydney: J. R. Clarke, 1858, page 143. Illawarra

Population

There are nine thousand three hundred and fifty-six inhabitants in the settlement, out of which number upwards of six thousand support themselves, and the rest are victualled and clothed at the expense of the crown. Most men of a trade or profession pursue their calling; and labourers are either employed by settlers to cultivate their lands, and in various occupations, or work in different gangs, where they can be serviceable.

- David Dickinson Mann, The Present Picture of New South Wales 1811. London: John Booth, 1811, and Sydney: John Ferguson Pty Ltd, 1979, page 45.

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St James Church

[Archdeacon Scott had deprived a parishioner of his normal pew, consigning him and his family to a lesser one, far from the pulpit and in a cold and comfortless part of the church".]

The pew renter, who held his pew from year to year at a rent of four pounds, and who had been thirteen months in possession of it, refused to acquiesce in this arbitrary deprivation of his property. He signified this refusal, and his resolution to resume his sitting with his family in his own pew, on the next and all ensuing Sundays.

In reply he was peremptorily told that any attempt on his part to enter the pew would be resisted, and that police constables would be in attendance to keep the peace, - that is, to carry a peaceable parishioner off to the watchhouse, in the event of any noise occurring through his endeavours to exercise his civil right of entering his own pew . . .

The church, on every day of public worship, was successively filled with indignant crowds, to witness the disgraceful conflict waged by the Archdeacon against an unoffending member of his church. The latter cautiously abstained from doing any thing that could be made a pretext for charging him with a breach of the peace; and the archdeacon, finding that the adversary he had created for himself would stand out the contest for an indefinite length of time in the aisle, at length caused the disputed pew to be covered in, or decked over, with boards, secured in their places by strong iron bars and screws!

- Mudie, James, The Felonry of New South Wales. 1837 and Melbourne: Lansdowne Press, 1964 (edited by Walter Stone), pages 20-21.

St James Church 2

The pulpit stands nearly in the centre of the building, and is regarded as an excellent specimen of workmanship; but is position is objectionable, as a considerable portion of the auditory can only be accommodated with seats in the rear of the pulpit, which not only destroys the sound, but is also considered as an annoyance by those who take pleasure in contemplating the attitude of delivery made use of by the minister, at the same time that he delivers to them his solemn message.

- J. Maclehose, Picture of Sydney; and Strangers' Guide in New South Wales for 1839. Sydney: Maclehose, 1839 and St Ives: John Ferguson Pty Ltd, 1977, page 94.

St James Church 3

St James's Church is pewed around with high dark panels, and is as much like an English comfortless church of the last century, as though it stood in a second-rate town in an Eastern county. I went there once and found it impossible to hear a word, either from the gentleman who read the lessons, or from him who preached. But it is a fashionable church, and is supposed to be that at which the governor and his family should say their prayers. The cathedral, on the other hand, is new, and very well arranged. I heard an excellent sermon there, in which I was told that it was the practice of St. Paul to teach his own religion rather than to abuse that of others, - a lesson which is needed at home, and by no means unnecessary in the Australian colonies.

- Anthony Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, London: 1873 and Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1967 (edited by Edwards and Joyce), pages 235-236.

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Sporting Australia

Handicappers do peculiar things at times. It is related of one handicapper at Toowoomba some years ago, that he arranged to give a certain horse a light weight, so that he could win comfortably. The owner wanted 7 st. 6 lb, or some such weight up, so his jockey could get down to the weight to ride. In order, as he thought, to make victory doubly sure, the handicapper gave the horse 6 st. 6 lb. When the owner saw his weight he was mad. The horse was a difficult one to ride, and no boy could manage him. He made use of strong language, but the handicapper dare not alter the weight. Result: A lad rode the horse and it bolted and lost the race, and thus did the handicapper and others come to grief because the horse had a stone too little on his back.

- Nat Gould, Town and Bush. London 1896, Ringwood: Penguin, 1974, pages 65-66.

Sydney

Sydney is a pretty English town surrounded for several kilometres by attractive, comfortably furnished maisonettes, where live the families of the men who run business houses in the city. Having travelled in Great Britain I could have thought myself to be in England. Although the streets are not on a grid as in Melbourne, and although there are fewer monuments in the capital of New South Wales, the two great Australian cities are full of life. There are excellent shops, and even in America, the home of sumptuous hotels, I do not think there can be a finer establishment than the main hotel in Sydney. The stranger is surprised by the gigantic steam trams which serve the city and its environs; they are not elegant, these huge monsters, but they are certainly one of the curiosities of the city.

- Oscar Comettant, In the Land of Kangaroos and Gold Mines, translated by Judith Armstrong. Adelaide: Rigby, 1980, originally published as Au Pays des Kangourous et des Mines d'or. Paris: Librairie Fischbacher, 1890, page 264.

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Sydney Harbour 1

I do not know the Bay of Constantinople, but I have seen the bays of Naples and Rio de Janeiro, and the comparison between these famous harbours, and that of Sydney, was not unfavourable to the latter. . . .

I have already remarked, that I was not prepared for the scene that met my view when I first saw Sydney. The fact was, I had not pictured to myself, nor conceived from any thing I had ever read or heard in England, that so extensive a town could have been reared in that remote region, in so brief a period as that which had elapsed since its foundation. It is not, however, a distant or cursory glance that will give the observer a just idea of the mercantile importance of this busy capital. In order to form an accurate estimate of it, he should proceed from Sydney Cove to Darling Harbour. He would then be satisfied, that it is not upon the first alone that Australian commerce has raised its storehouses and wharfs, but that the whole extent of the eastern shore of the last more capacious basin, is equally crowded with warehouses, stores, dockyards, mills and wharfs, the appearance and solidity of which would do credit even to Liverpool. Where, thirty years ago, the people flocked to the beach to hail an arrival, it is not now unusual to see from thirty to forty vessels riding at anchor at one time, collected there from every quarter of the globe.

- Charles Sturt, Two expeditions into the interior of Southern Australia during the years 1828, 1829, 1830 and 1831. 2 vols: London: Smith Elder and Co., 1833. Facsimile edition published by the Public Library of South Australia, Adelaide, 1963, vol I, pages xviii-xix.

Sydney Harbour 2

The entrance to Port Jackson is grand in the extreme. The high, dark cliffs we had been coasting along all morning, suddenly terminate in an abrupt precipice, called the South Head, on which stand the lighthouse and the signal-station. The North Head is a similar cliff, a bare bluff promontory of dark horizontal rocks; and between these grand stupendous pillars, as through a colossal gate, we entered Port Jackson.

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, page 34.

Sydney Harbour 3

I saw the harbour from a boat, but this is not enough to know it properly. Monsieur Paling, with kind alacrity, arrived next morning in his carriage to show me this wonder from above, looking down over ground dotted with flowers or the bare rocks that overhang and surround it. It was an unforgettable drive, the fairy-tale like decor like a wonderful waking dream transporting the imagination into a new world, exalting it and ravishing it with ecstasy.

- Oscar Comettant, In the Land of Kangaroos and Gold Mines, translated by Judith Armstrong. Adelaide: Rigby, 1980, originally published as Au Pays des Kangourous et des Mines d'or. Paris: Librairie Fischbacher, 1890, page 266.

Sydney Harbour 4

Note: If I leave comments like this out, I am sanitising history, if I put them in, it does not mean I agree with them.

It was with feelings peculiar to the occasion, that I gazed for the first time on the bold cliffs at the entrance of Port Jackson, as our vessel neared them, and speculated on the probable character of the landscape they hid; and I am free to confess, that I did not anticipate any thing equal to the scene which presented itself both to my sight and to my judgement, as we sailed up the noble and extensive basin we had entered, towards the seat of government. A single glance was sufficient to tell me that the hills upon the southern shore of the port, the outlines of which were broken by houses and spires, must once have been covered with the same dense and gloomy wood which abounded every where else. The contrast was indeed very great - the improvement singularly striking. The labour and patience required, and the difficulties which the first settlers encountered in effecting these improvements must have been incalculable. But their success has been complete: it is the very triumph of human skill and industry over Nature herself. The cornfield and the orchard have supplanted the wild grass and the brush; a flourishing town stands over the ruins of the forest; the lowing of the herds has succeeded the wild whoop of the savage; and the stillness of that once desert shore is now broken by the sound of the bugle and the busy hum of commerce.

- Charles Sturt, Two expeditions into the interior of Southern Australia during the years 1828, 1829, 1830 and 1831. 2 vols: London: Smith Elder and Co., 1833. Facsimile edition published by the Public Library of South Australia, Adelaide, 1963, vol I, pages xix-xv.

And who said imperialism and long paragraphs only started in Victorian times?

Sydney Harbour 5

I was much surprised at the fortifications of Sydney Harbour. Fortifications, unless specially inspected, escape even a vigilant seer of sights, but I, luckily for myself, was enabled specially to inspect them. I had previously no idea that the people of New South Wales were either so suspicious of enemies, or so pugnacious in their nature. I found five separate fortresses, armed, or to be armed, to the teeth with numerous guns, - four, five, or six at each point; - Armstrong guns, rifled guns, guns of eighteen tons weight, with loopholed walls, and pits for riflemen as though Sydney were to become another Sebastopol. I was shown how the whole harbour and city were commanded by these guns. There were open batteries and casemated batteries, shell rooms and gunpowder magazines, barracks rising here and trenches dug there. There was a boom to be placed across the harbour, and a whole world of torpedoes ready to be sunk beneath the water, all of which were prepared and ready for use in an hour or two. It was explained to me that 'they' could not possibly get across the trenches, or break the boom, or escape the torpedoes, or live for an hour beneath the blaze of the guns....For a time I could not gather who 'they' were to be. But 'indirect damages' were on men's tongues, and so I knew who were the 'they' at that moment uppermost in the thoughts of my companions.

- Anthony Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, London: 1873 and Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1967 (edited by Edwards and Joyce), pages 232-233.

['Indirect damages' is a reference to the Alabama case, which Trollope has, at page 226, woven into the Trent affair, one involving Charles Wilkes, who had sailed a United States warship into Sydney Harbour at night in 1839. This last point is not made by Trollope, and was presumably unknown to him. It would, however, have been well-known to his Sydney companions.]

Sydney Harbour 6

Here and there, on some fine lawny promontory or rocky mount, white villas and handsome cottages appeared, encircled with gardens and shrubberies, looking like the pretty "cottages ornees" near some fashionable English watering-place; and perched amid as picturesque, but less cultivated scenery, were the cottages of pilots, fishermen, &c., making, to my ocean-wearied eyes, an Arcadia of beauty. Near the North Head is the quarantine-ground, off which one unlucky vessel was moored when we passed; and on the brow of the cliff a few tombstones indicate the burial-place of those unhappy exiles who die during the time of ordeal, and those whose golden dreams of the far-sought land of promise lead but to a lone and desolate grave on its storm-beaten shore.

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, page 34.

Sydney Harbour 7

There is good anchorage in all parts of the harbour, when within Middle and the south Heads. There is also anchorage in North Harbour, but not to be recommended, for the swell sometimes rolls into the mouth of the harbour; no swell can, however, affect the anchorage between Middle Head and the Sow and Pigs.

SYDNEY COVE is nearly half a mile deep, and four hundred yards wide, and it will contain more than twenty ships swinging at their moorings. The shores are bold to, and, excepting the rocky shoals that extend off Point Bennilong and Point Dawes, ships may approach very near.

On the eastern side of the cove is a convenient place for heaving down: it belongs to the government, but merchant ships may use it, by paying a small sum according to the length of time it is engaged. Wood and water are easily obtained from the north shore of the port; the former may be cut close to the beach; the latter is collected in tanks, and, excepting during a very dry season, is always abundant.

- Phillip Parker King, Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia performed between the years 1818 and 1822. 2 vols, London: 1827, and Adelaide: Libraries Board of South Australia facsimile edition, 1969, vol 2, page 252.

Sydney Harbour 8

Viewed from any point, Sydney cannot fail to strike a thinking mind with wonder and admiration, as being the creation of so comparatively brief a space. A large and well-built town, abounding with all the expensive luxuries of civilized life - streams of gay equipages and equestrians traversing the wide and handsome streets - throngs of busy merchants, whose costly and innumerable goods are being landed from whole fleets of noble ships that bring hither treasures from all climes - all this, and more - where, but a few years ago, the lonely native caught and eat his opossum, or paddled his tiny canoe across the almost matchless harbour!

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, page 126.

Sydney Harbour - Clark Island

Thurs 18 Feb, 1790 ..after I was relieved from Guard I went down to my Island to look at my Garden and found that Some Boat had landed since I had been there last and taken away the Greatest part of a fine Bed of Onions - it is impossible for any body to attemp to raise any Gardin Stuff for before it comes to perfection the[y] will Steal it - I thought that having a Garden on an island it would be more Secure but I find that they even get at it - my corn comes on as well as corn can doe...

Sunday 21 Feb ..Soon after Breackfast I went out in my Boat down to my Island to See my Garden and found that Some persons had been ther again and have taken away all my potatoes - however [whoever] the[y] are I wish that the[y] were in hell for ther kindness..

Sunday 28th ..they have stole about 1500 Cobbs of corn...

- Ralph Clark, The Journal and Letters of Lt. Ralph Clark 1787-1792. Sydney: Australian Documents Library, 1981.

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Sydney Harbour - Pinchgut

As we neared Sydney, several rocky islets appeared, some rising like ruined forts and castles, and richly adorned with verdant shrubs down to the edge of the bright, clear, deep blue water, that reflected them so perfectly, one could scarcely tell where substance and shadow joined. One of them is named Shark Island; another larger one Garden Island; and a little one, bearing the unmeaning and not very refined name of "Pinchgut", is now the site of a small fort or battery.

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, page 35.

Sydney Harbour - Pinchgut 2

Pinchgut is free from the "sad-coloured" raiment; but Pinchgut decorated with a tower like a gigantic hat - a monstrously magnified drab Mountcastle - doth not add greatly to the harbour's picturesque.

- Peter Possum (pseud), Peter Possum's Portfolio. Sydney: J. R. Clarke, 1858.

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Travels in Early Australia

Another universal convenience is, that you never see a gate, or so rarely as only to be the exception to the rule. "Slip-rails" are the substitute; five or six heavy long poles loosely inserted into sockets made in two upright posts. They may be stepped over by a horse if only lowered at one end, but to allow any vehicle to enter, each one has to be lifted out and put aside; and it often happens that four or five of these troublesome and slovenly contrivances occur in the approach to one house, with the invariable additional charm (in winter) of a deep squashy pool of mud around each one; yet most probably, when you do gain your destination, if a dinner-party be the occasion, you find a table spread with abundance of plate, glass, damask, and costly viands, and a profusion of expensive wines.

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, pages 130-131.

Travels in Early Australia 2

Close to the highest part of the range . . . there is a ravine called Govett's Leap. Mr. Govett was, I believe, simply a government surveyor, who never made a leap into the place at all. Had he done so, it would certainly have been effectual for putting an end to his earthly sorrows. I had hoped, when I heard the name, to find that some interesting but murderous bushranger had on that spot baffled his pursuers and braved eternity; - but I was informed that a government surveyor had visited the spot, had named it, and had gone home again. No one seeing it could fail to expect better things from such a spot and such a name.

- Anthony Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, London: 1873 and Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1967 (edited by Edwards and Joyce), page 319.

Travels in Early Australia 3

The view down Mount Victoria was very fine, certainly, but not equal to Snowdon by any means.

It has rocks and woods and is more extensive perhaps, but it wants water. I should have enjoyed it more, also, though I am no great coward, if we had not been going at a hard trot down that steep hill with an unguarded precipice on the left down which a coach was upset some time ago, and eleven passengers either killed or maimed.

- David Adams (ed.), The Letters of Rachel Henning. Sydney: Sirius Books, 1963.

Travels in Early Australia 4

The coach was a mail-coach, with four horses, running regularly on the road every day; - but on our return journey we were absolutely lost in the bush, - coach, coachman, horses, mails, passengers and all. The man was trying a new track, and took us so far away from the old track that no one knew where we were. At last we found ourselves on the seashore. Of course it will be understood that there was no vestige of a road or pathway. Travellers are often 'bushed' in Australia. They wander off their paths and are lost amidst the forests. In this instance the whole mail-coach was 'bushed'. When we came upon the sea, and no one could say what sea it was, I felt that the adventure was almost more than interesting.

- Anthony Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, London: 1873 and Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1967 (edited by Edwards and Joyce), page 685.

Travels in Early Australia 5

The main portion of the road is bad beyond an English comprehension; sometimes it consists of natural step-like rocks protruding from the dust or sand one, two, or three feet above each other, in huge slabs the width of the track, and over these "jumpers, as they are pleasantly termed, we had to jolt and bump along as best we might. How our springs stood such unwonted exercise is an enigma still; but as a vehicle of the barouche species, crammed in every imaginable corner with live freight and luggage, had passed the inn while we were at breakfast, I am inclined to think that springs in colonial use must be made of sterner stuff than I had hitherto given them credit for.

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, pages 70-71.

Travels in Early Australia 6

We then embarked in a steamboat named the Rapid, or the Velocity, or some like promising title, on the Parramatta river (alias Port Jackson), and moved away from the wharf at a most funereal pace, which I for some time accounted for by supposing that other passengers were expected alongside, but at length found, to my dismay, that it was the best speed with which this renowned vessel could travel without fear of an explosion. One advantage it gave us was a good and deliberate view of the scenery on either side; a moderately quick draughtsman might have drawn a panorama of it as we slowly puffed along. - Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, page 125.

Travels in Early Australia 7

A continuance of loud knocking brought a stupid, dirty, half-dressed, slipshod woman from an inner room, in which, as she left the door open, I could see several messy, unmade beds, soiled clothes all about the floor, and three or four more women of different ages, and of as unpleasing aspect as the one who had obeyed my summons, and who, after some delay, brought me a jug of nice sweet milk, and a dirty glass to pour it into; seeming to me as if she had ably assisted in the bottle-emptying of the preceding evening. This universal addiction to drink, and the consequent neglect of all industry and decency, are truly shocking. Here was a substantial farmhouse sometimes performing in another character, it is true), with female inmates half-drunk and scarcely out of bed at ten o'clock on a summer's morning, rooms unswept, beds unmade, and the whole establishment telling of plenty, sloth, and drunkenness.

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, page 125.

Travels in Early Australia 8

I do not know the distance between Sydney and Bathurst, but Biddulph has just been reading me an advertisement from the Herald stating that a spring-wagon has been opportunely established between the two places, which starts from Sydney on Monday morning and arrives at Bathurst at twelve on Saturday night. It takes twelve passengers, and the wagon is fitted up with every accommodation (I suppose not fourpost beds) for those sleeping in it - if they can.

- David Adams (ed.), The Letters of Rachel Henning. Sydney: Sirius Books, 1963.

Travels in Early Australia 9

Cobb's coaches have the name of being very rough, - and more than once I have been warned against travelling by them. They were not fit, I was told, for an effeminate Englishman of my time of life. The idea that Englishmen, - that is, new-chums, or Englishmen just come from home, - are made of paste, whereas the Australian, native or thoroughly acclimatized, is steel all through, I found to be universal. On hearing such an opinion as to his own person, a man is bound to sacrifice himself, and to act contrary to the advice given, even though he perish doing so. This journey I made and did not perish at all; - and on arriving at Rosedale had made up my mind that twenty hours on a Cobb's coach through the bush in Australia does not inflict so severe a martyrdom as did in the old days a journey of equal duration on one of the time-famous, much-regretted old English mails.

- Anthony Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, London: 1873 and Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1967 (edited by Edwards and Joyce), pages 413-414.

Travels in Early Australia 10

Our first day's journey was merely an afternoon drive to Parramatta, fifteen miles from Sydney, through alternate cleared land and "bush", but all enclosed. The chief of the way-side houses were those of publicans, round which drays and carts were usually assembled, whilst their drivers refreshed themselves within, and swarms of flies added to the torment and weariness of the miserable horses and oxen, who often wait for hours for the return of the brutal and drunken guide.

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, page 56.

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Trees

The system of "clearing" here, by the total destruction of every native tree and shrub, gives a most bare, raw, and ugly appearance to a new place. In England we plant groves and woods, and think our country residences unfinished and incomplete without them; but here the exact contrary is the case, and unless a settler can see an expanse of bare, naked, unvaried, shadeless, dry, dusty land spread all around him, he fancies his dwelling "wild and uncivilized".

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, page 56.

Trees 2

On the way down we passed through a country now well known for its enormous trees, - all gum-trees of various sorts, or Eucalypti as they are called by the learned. At the land office in Melbourne, I heard tidings of one enormous tree which had lately been discovered in this region, prostrate over a river-bed, and of which the remaining portion, - for the head had been broken off in the fall, - measured 435 ft. in length.

- Anthony Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, London: 1873 and Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1967 (edited by Edwards and Joyce), page 422.

Trees 3

At last we caught sight of the immense tree, which is nevertheless not the tallest nor the thickest of its species. It is 137 metres high, and 11 metres in circumference. It reminded us of the highest eucalypt so far discovered - 145 metres tall, it would make a shade for the Strasbourg Cathedral!

- Oscar Comettant, In the Land of Kangaroos and Gold Mines, translated by Judith Armstrong. Adelaide: Rigby, 1980, originally published as Au Pays des Kangourous et des Mines d'or. Paris: Librairie Fischbacher, 1890, pages 89-90.

Trees 4

The whole face of this mountain [Regent Mountain] is clothed with the largest and finest forest trees I have ever seen in the colony. They consist chiefly of the black-butted gum, stringy bark, turpentine, mountain ash, fig, pepperment, box-wood, sassafrass, and red cedar; but the latter is now very scarce, most of it having been already cut down and carried away to Sydney. There are also vast quantities of cabbage, palm, and fern trees growing in the face of the mountain, the former being very beautiful and of great height.

- Lachlan Macquarie, Journal of his Tours in New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land 1810-1822. Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1979, page 240.

Trees 5

She-oak is especially liked as fuel. It is said that this name has been borrowed from the sheac, or cheoak, of America, in consequence of some resemblance in the wood. - Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, page 142.

Trees 6

The trees called by the Colonists "he-oak" and "she-oak" (Casuarina stricta and C. torulosa) form a remarkable feature in Australia: scenery. They are usually of rather handsome forms, with dark, rough, permanent bark, and brownish-olive foliage, resembling in structure the "horse-tails of English brooks, consisting of long tufts of jointed grassy branchlets, hanging down like coarse hair, or a horse's tail. The he-oak has much shorter tresses than the she-oak, which may perhaps have given rise to the absurd Colonial distinction of the species (as they belong to the order Monoecia). The blossoms in spring appear like a small crimson fringe on portions of the branches, and the succeeding cones are the size of a pigeon's egg, very roughly tubercled.

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, page 142.

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Visions of the Bush

In New South Wales, many of the towns have been absolutely created by the gold-fields, and are still being created. Some of the gold-field towns are already in a state of decay, and are almost passing away. Still something of life remains, but of all the sad places I ever saw they are the most melancholy. They are 'bush' towns. Readers who desire to understand anything of Australian life should become acquainted with the technical meaning of the word 'bush'. The bush is the gum-tree forest, with which so great a part of Australia is covered, that folk who follow a country life are invariably said to live in the bush.

- Anthony Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, London: 1873 and Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1967 (edited by Edwards and Joyce), page 263.

Visions of the Bush 2

We continued our journey through a wild and barren country, utterly destitute of herbage; the inhospitable Blue Mountains were before, behind, and on either side of us, rising in grand and dreary monotony of form and colour. Forests of tall gum-trees covered them from base to peak, but instead of a beauty in the landscape, these were a deformity. All bore the marks of a fire far up their branchless, blackened stems, and in many places the burning had been so recent, that for miles the very earth seemed charred, and not even a stunted shrub had sprung up again. The trees, huge masses of charcoal to all appearance, had no branches till very near the summit, and these bore only a few scattered tufts of rusty leaves, scarcely casting a visible shadow, and affording no shade. The steepest ravines had not the semblance of water in their dry, dreary depths, and but for the fearful quagmires and deep holes in the road (which made the utmost care in driving a requisite to avoid an upset over the precipice), one would not have thought that rain or dew ever visited this desert region.

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, page 70.

Visions of the Bush 3

Consequently we, at home in England, are inclined to believe that Australia, as a country, is displeasing to the eye. The eternal gum-tree has become to us an Australian crest, giving evidence of Australian ugliness. The gum-tree is ubiquitous, and is not the loveliest, though neither is it by any means the ugliest, of trees.

- Anthony Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, London: 1873 and Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1967 (edited by Edwards and Joyce), page 227.

Visions of the Bush 4

The plain was as poor in shrubs and plants as in living instances. The soil was wet, poor, and boggy. The plants were of stunted growth and there was no scrub. Mr. Gunn, however, found in some more favoured spots 2 plants which were new to him. Both were of the Proteacea family - the one, a beautiful shrub about 5 feet high growing very erect with clusters of white flowers, the other of the genus Lomacia [correctly Lomatia], which comes next to the waratah in that family - all the Proteacea, Mr. G. told me, have no properties whatever and make even bad fire-wood. [Lady Franklin, diary.]

- Sir John and Lady Franklin, Some Private Correspondence of Sir John and Lady Jane Franklin. Dubbo: Review Publications Pty Ltd., 1977 (reprint of Australian Historical Monographs, Volume XV), Part I, pages 42-43.

Visions of the Bush 5

For some days before Christmas, in our drives near the town, we used to meet numbers of persons carrying bundles of a beautiful native shrub, to decorate the houses, in the same manner that we use holly and evergreens at home. Men, women, and children, white, brown, and black, were in the trade; and sometimes a horse approached, so covered with the bowery load he bore, that only his legs were visible, and led by a man nearly as much hidden; carts heaped up with green and blossomed boughs came noddingly along, with children running beside them, decked out with sprays and garlands, laughing and shouting in proper Christmas jollity.

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, pages 126-127.

Visions of the Bush 6

The flowers, which are irregularly star-shaped, come out in light terminal sprays, their chief peculiarity being, that they open completely whilst quite small, and of a greenish white colour; they then continue increasing in size, and gradually ripening in tint, becoming first a pearl white, then palest blush, then pink, rose-colour, and crimson: the constant change taking place in them, and the presence of all these hues at one time on a spray of half a dozen flowers, has a singularly pretty appearance. Their scent when freshly gathered is like that of new-mown hay. Great quantities of the shrubs grow in the neighbourhood of Sydney, or I should fear that such wholesale demolition as I witnessed would soon render them rare.

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973.

Visions of the Bush 7

I often wonder what can be the difference. I suppose it is the want of any pleasant associations connected with them. I often see very pretty flowers in the bush and just gather them to take a look at them, and then throw them away without any further interest, while at Home every wildflower seemed like a friend to me.

- David Adams (ed.), The Letters of Rachel Henning. Sydney: Sirius Books, 1963, page 26.

Visions of the bush 8

The leaves are mostly of a dull green, with a dry sapless look about them, more like old specimens in a herbarium than fresh living and growing things, and, being thinly scattered on the branches, have a meagre appearance. They are, however, "evergreens", and in their peculiarity of habit strongly remind the observer that he is at the antipodes of England, or very near it, where everything seems topsy-turvy, for instead of the "fall of the leaf", here we have the stripping of the bark, which peels off at certain seasons in long pendent ragged ribands, leaving the disrobed tree almost as white and smooth as the paper I am now writing on. At first I did not like this at all, but now the clean stems of a young handsome gum-tree seem a pleasing variety amidst the sombre hues of an Australian forest.

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, page 40.

Visions of the Bush 9

It is taken for granted that Australia is ugly, and that touring in quest of the picturesque, which forms so great a part of the delight of an Englishman's holiday, would be altogether time wasted and money misapplied if attempted at the Antipodes. Nevertheless, there is grand scenery in, I believe, all the Australian colonies. It is certainly to be found in Queensland and Victoria. Tasmania is one of the prettiest countries I ever visited. And in New South Wales I came across wonders almost as magnificent and charms as lovely as any that I have seen in Europe. As yet the localities are unknown, as yet the means of communication are unfrequent and uncertain, as yet popular taste has not settled herself in the direction of scenery, directing people to go here or to go there, and by her potency providing the means of encouraging them, feeding them, and amusing them. But the time will come in which Australian men and women will find that they need not go to Europe to delight themselves with mountains and rivers.

- Anthony Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, London: 1873 and Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1967 (edited by Edwards and Joyce), page 317.

Visions of the Bush 10

Of all countries or climates, I think that of Australia must be the most barren of useful natural products of the vegetable kingdom; for this miserable "cherry" [Exocarpus cupressiformis] is the best specimen of its indigenous fruits, if not the only one; nor am I aware of any one edible grain or root fit for human food. Some florid descriptive writers have, I know, luxuriated in depicting imagined gardens of "parsley and wild carrots," amidst which the cattle are said to revel in abundance; but whilst in the colony I never heard of such things. Perhaps the wretched root which, as I have before mentioned, the aborigines dig for when all other sustenance fails them, may be the carrot in question; but it is too hot, stringy, bitter, and small to be of the slightest use to Europeans.

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, page 143.

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Water

The want of water is a drawback of which no dweller in England can imagine the curse. I well remember my husband's admiration of our English rivers, brooks, and the little narrow, trickling lines of bright water that traverse our meadows and gardens; and when I used to laugh at so much good enthusiasm being thrown away on a ditch, he would say, ha! only wait until you have lived a few years in a dry country, and then you will better understand the inestimable value of such ditches!"

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, page 158.

Water 2

Our whole and sole dependence whilst at Homebush for a supply of water on the estate consisted of two or three holes, like old clay-pits, which were about half-filled during heavy rains, and as no shade was near them, very rapidly evaporated in warm weather. At these the cattle and horses drank, and we had a water-cart to convey the daily supply to the house; but in the heats of summer, these water-holes were completely dry, and then our unfortunate cattle and horses were driven three or four miles to another clay-pit, where we also sent the cart, with, of course, the constant fear lest, with so many claimants on its bounty (for all our neighbours were in as ill a plight as ourselves), even that source should fail us too. Some of our friends were at the same time sending five and eight miles for water, and such water! I did indeed then bethink me of the English meadow ditches, and how luxurious a draught their fair bright streamlets would afford.

- Louise Ann Meredith (Mrs Charles Meredith), Notes and Sketches of New South Wales. London: John Murray, 1844, and Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1973, page 159.

Note: Mrs. Meredith lived at Homebush, very close to the site of Sydney's site for the 2000 Olympics!

Water 3

. . . threepence per bucket is now asked - a heavy tax upon poor people.

- Sydney Morning Herald, 5th November, 1838, quoted in F. J. J. Henry, The Water Supply and Sewerage of Sydney, 1939.

Water - Tank Stream

The Tank Stream, as it came to be known, determined the site of Sydney, but within 38 years the little settlement had outgrown and despoiled it beyond use as a water supply, having gradually changed its character until it was more in the nature of a sewer. The next source was Busby's Bore, a tunnel driven by convicts from what is now Centennial Park to Hyde Park and delivering 300 to 400 thousand gallons a day - as much as the city now uses in two minutes. By 1849 the city had again outgrown its water supply and turned to the Botany Swamps, drawing its first water from them in 1858. These, too, were soon to prove inadequate and, eventually, in 1888, one hundred years after the first settlement, water was brought to Sydney from the Upper Nepean Rivers.

- W. V. Aird, The Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage of Sydney, 1961.

Water - Tank Stream 2

Today the Tank Stream is a dark stormwater drain beneath the city; Busby's Bore is a sealed, scarcely remembered tunnel; and the Botany swamps serve only a local demand for purely industrial purposes. Except for Woronora Dam, water for Sydney and adjacent areas is drawn from one point or another of the great river system which rises mainly west and south of the city and, eventually as the Hawkesbury River, finds its way into the Pacific Ocean thirty miles to the north.

- W. V. Aird, The Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage of Sydney, 1961.

Water - Tank Stream 3

If any person whatever is detected in throwing any filth into the stream of fresh water, cleaning fish, erecting pigsties near it or taking water out of the Tanks, on conviction before a magistrate their house will be taken down and forfeit 5 for each offence to the Orphan Fund.

- Sydney Gazette, 18th December 1803, quoted in F. J. J. Henry, The Water Supply and Sewerage of Sydney, 1939.

Water - Tank Stream 4

With much pain we have lately observed individuals washing themselves in this stream of water, particularly in that spot which runs centrally from King Street because that spot is almost secluded from every eye, that of curiosity excepted.

- Sydney Gazette, 1820, quoted in F. J. J. Henry, The Water Supply and Sewerage of Sydney, 1939.

Water - Salination

Its banks were too precipitous to allow of our watering the cattle, but the men eagerly descended to quench their thirst, which a powerful sun had contributed to increase; nor shall I ever forget the cry of amazement that followed their doing so, or the looks of terror and disappointment with which they called out to inform me that the water was so salt as to be unfit to drink! This was, indeed, too true: on tasting it, I found it to be extremely nauseous, and strongly impregnated with salt, being apparently a mixture of sea and fresh water. Whence this arose, whether from local causes, or from a communication with some inland sea, I knew not, but the discovery was certainly a blow for which I was not prepared.

- Charles Sturt, Two expeditions into the interior of Southern Australia during the years 1828, 1829, 1830 and 1831. 2 vols: London: Smith Elder and Co., 1833. Facsimile edition published by the Public Library of South Australia, Adelaide, 1963, vol I, page 86.

Water - Salination 2

On a closer examination, we discovered some springs in the very bed of the river, from which a considerable stream was gushing, and from the incrustation around them, we had no difficulty in guessing at their nature: they were brine springs, and I collected a quantity of salt from the brink of them.

- Charles Sturt, Two expeditions into the interior of Southern Australia during the years 1828, 1829, 1830 and 1831. 2 vols: London: Smith Elder and Co., 1833. Facsimile edition published by the Public Library of South Australia, Adelaide, 1963, vol I, pages 95-96.

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Western Australia

An ingenious but sarcastic Yankee, when asked what he thought of Western Australia, declared that it was the best country he had ever seen to run through an hour-glass. He meant to insinuate that the parts of the colony which he had visited were somewhat sandy.

- Anthony Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, London: 1873 and Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1967 (edited by Edwards and Joyce), page 557.

Western Australia 2

In 1851 the rushes for gold commenced in Victoria and in New South Wales, and before long there came upon Western Australia the conviction that gold was the one thing necessary for its salvation. If gold could only be found, Western Australia would hold up its head with the best of them. Exploring parties were made, and gullies were ransacked, - I will not say altogether in vain, for I have seen small grains of gold which were undoubtedly washed out of Western Australian earth; - but no gold was found to repay the searchers.

- Anthony Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, London: 1873 and Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1967 (edited by Edwards and Joyce), page 572.

Western Australia 3

I cannot finish this chapter without giving a copy of a certificate which was handed to me by a policeman at Albany, just as I was about to leave the colony: -

'I hereby certify that the bearer, A. Trollope, about to proceed to Adelaide per A.S.S. Co.'s steamer, is not and never has been a prisoner of the Crown in Western Australia. (Signed) - - - - - - Resident Magistrate'

It is perhaps something of a disgrace to Western Australia that the other colonies will not receive a stranger from her shores without a certificate that the visitor has not been a 'lag'. Such a resolution on their part must remind the poor Western Australian grievously of their disgrace. So many have been convicts, that the certificate is demanded from all! But I think they should not charge a shilling for it, and thus raise a revenue out of all their own ill fame. It was not my fault that South Australia demanded the certificate. Considering all the circumstances, I think they should give the passport, and say nothing about it.

- Anthony Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, London: 1873 and Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1967 (edited by Edwards and Joyce), pages 586-587.

Western Australia - Perth

At daylight I arose and took a walk through the town; - the intended principal street of which, named St George's Terrace, - where the future beaux and belles of Western Australia may, in after times, show off their reciprocal attractive charms - was, at present, only adorned with lofty trees, and a variety of lovely flowers.

In my perambulations, I fell in with the written newspaper of the place, appended to a stately eucalyptus tree, where, among other public notices, I observed the Governor's permission for one individual to practise as a notary, another as a surgeon, and a third as an auctioneer.

There did not appear to be an opposition tree, and so much the better; as, although a free press may do good to a community arrived at a certain state of perfection, yet I think it may be doubted how far it can be serviceable in an incipient colony, where private affairs are narrowly noticed, and animadverted on: hence spring jealousies, ill feeling, and their numerous train of disagreeable attendants.

- T. B. Wilson, Narrative of a Voyage Round the World. London: Sherwood, Gilbert and Piper, 1835, London: Dawson's of Pall Mall, 1968, pages 188-189.

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Zoos

The next day I went to the animal paradise in the Zoological Gardens, where I spent some charming and instructive hours. The Zoo is one of the attractions of metropolitan Melbourne. As so as I had entered the gates I saw a crowd of multi-coloured parrots, parrakeets and cockatoos; I stopped for a moment to contemplate these hook-beaked birds, who talk as so many humans think - without knowing what they say.

Miss Anna Gurney wrote to forward me two letters of introduction from Sir William Hooker to two botanical friends of his in Sydney. I got Mrs Burton to ask him if there was any "Flora of Australia" yet published, and he says not, but sends these letters instead to two gentlemen who have studied the plants of the country. It is extremely kind of him to take the trouble, but I do not think they shall ever be delivered, as I hope I shall not be here long enough to make any collection, and I do not care enough about the Australian flowers to take much trouble with them.

- Nat Gould, Town and Bush. London 1896, Ringwood: Penguin, 1974, page 37.

Zoos 2

But to move on. A short walk, and the Zoo is reached. Not a bad Zoo, either. It is small, but compact, and contains a choice collection of animals. The grounds are well laid out, but the place does not pay expenses, or did not in my time. There is one animal in this zoo deserves notice. He is not a lion - a king of beasts - not an elephant of enormous size, or even a camel with a prodigious hump. He is not a tiger or a leopard, or even a monkey. He is an ass. This animal was, so the legend goes, captured after severe fighting by the New South Wales contingent in the Soudan. [Sydney's old zoo was on the site of the present Sydney Girls High School.]

- Nat Gould, Town and Bush. London 1896, Ringwood: Penguin, 1974, page 84.

Zoos 3

Melbourne cannot boast of so many picturesque parts as Sydney, but the Botanical Gardens are very fine. The Zoological Gardens are much larger than in Sydney and contain a fine collection of animals. These gardens are neatly laid out, and well repay a visit.

- Nat Gould, Town and Bush. London 1896, Ringwood: Penguin, 1974, page 128.


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