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The following work was originally written as a series of letters; but the
epistolary form has only been partially retained. As it has necessarily
been carried through the press without communication with the writer, who
is now in New Zealand, errors may possibly have been committed, for which
the editor rather than the writer is responsible; it is hoped, however,
that these will not be found numerous.




Although most educated people know that Melbourne, Sydney, and Adelaide
are populous towns, I should doubt whether one Englishman, who has not
been to Australia, out of a hundred _realizes_ that fact. I well remember
that, although I had taken some trouble to read up information about
Melbourne, I was never more thoroughly surprised than during the first
few hours after my arrival there. And I hear almost everyone who comes
out from England say that his experience has been the same as my own. In
one sense the visitor is disappointed with his first day in an Australian
city. The novelties and the differences from the Old Country do not
strike him nearly so much as the resemblances. It is only as he gets to
know the place better that he begins to to notice the differences. The
first prevailing impression is that a slice of Liverpool has been bodily
transplanted to the Antipodes, that you must have landed in England again
by mistake, and it is only by degrees that you begin to see that the
resemblance is more superficial than real.

Although Sydney is the older town, Melbourne is justly entitled to be
considered the metropolis of the Southern Hemisphere. The natural
beauties of Sydney are worth coming all the way to Australia to see;
while the situation of Melbourne is commonplace if not actually ugly; but
it is in the Victorian city that the trade and capital, the business and
pleasure of Australia chiefly centre. Is there a company to be got up to
stock the wilds of Western Australia, or to form a railway on the
land-grant system in Queensland, to introduce the electric light, or to
spread education amongst the black fellows, the promoters either belong
to Melbourne, or go there for their capital. The headquarters of nearly
all the large commercial institutions which extend their operation beyond
the limits of any one colony are to be found there. If you wish to
transact business well and quickly, to organize a new enterprise--in
short, to estimate and understand the trade of Australia, you must go to
Melbourne and not to Sydney, and this in spite of the fact that Victoria
is a small colony handicapped by heavy protectionist duties, whilst
Sydney is, comparatively speaking, a free port, at the base of an
enormous area. The actual production does not take place in Victoria, but
it is in Melbourne that the money resulting from the productions of other
colonies as well as of Victoria is turned over. It is Melbourne money
chiefly that opens up new tracts of land for settlement in the interior
of the continent, and Melbourne brains that find the outlets for fresh
commerce in every direction. There is a bustle and life about Melbourne
which you altogether miss in Sydney. The Melbourne man is always on the
look-out for business, the Sydney man waits for business to come to him.
The one is always in a hurry, the other takes life more easily. And as it
is with business, so it is with pleasure.

If you are a man of leisure you will find more society in Melbourne, more
balls and parties, a larger measure of intellectual life--i.e., more
books and men of education and intellect, more and better theatrical and
musical performances, more racing and cricket, football, and athletic
clubs, a larger leisured class than in Sydney. The bushman who comes to
town to 'knock down his cheque,' the squatter who wants a little
amusement, both prefer Melbourne to spend their money in. The Melbourne
races attract three or four times the number of visitors that the Sydney
races do; all public amusements are far better attended in Melbourne; the
people dress better, talk better, think better, are better, if we accept
Herbert Spencer's definition of Progress. There is far more 'go' and far
more 'life,' in every sense of these rather comprehensive words, to be
found in Melbourne, and it is there that the visitor must come who wishes
to see the fullest development of Australasian civilisation, whether in
commerce or education, in wealth or intellect, in manners and customs--in
short, in every department of life.

If you ask how this anomaly is to be explained, I can only answer that
the shutting out of Sydney from the country behind it by a barrier of
mountains hindered its early development; whilst the gold-diggings
transformed Melbourne from a village into a city almost by magic; that
the first population of Sydney was of the wrong sort, whilst that which
flooded Melbourne from 1851 to 1861 was eminently adventurous and
enterprising; that Melbourne having achieved the premier position, Sydney
has, with all its later advantages, found the truth of the proverbs: 'A
stern chase is a long chase,' and 'To him that hath shall be given.'

Passengers by ocean-going vessels to Melbourne land either at Sandridge
or Williamstown, small shipping towns situated on either side of the
river Yarra, which is only navigable by the smaller craft. A quarter of
an hour in the train brings the visitor into the heart of the city. On
getting out he can hardly fail to be impressed by the size of the
buildings around him, and by the width of the streets, which are laid out
in rectangular blocks, the footpaths being all well paved or asphalted.
In spite of the abundance of large and fine-looking buildings, there is a
rather higgledy-piggledy look about the town--the city you will by this
time own it to be. There are no building laws, and every man has built as
seemed best in his own eyes. The town is constantly outgrowing the
majority of its buildings, and although the wise plan of allowing for the
rapid growth of a young community, and building for the requirements of
the future rather than of the present, is generally observed, there are
still gaps in the line of the streets towards the outskirts, and houses
remaining which were built by unbelievers in the future before the city.
In the main thoroughfares you might fancy yourself in an improved
Edgeware Road. In a few years Collins and Bourke Streets will be very
like Westbourne Grove. The less frequented streets in the city are like
those of London suburbs. There _are_ a few lanes which it is wiser not to
go down after ten o'clock at night. These are known as the back slums.
But nowhere is there any sign of poverty or anything at all resembling
Stepney or the lower parts of an European city, The Chinese quarter is
the nearest approach thereto, but it is quite _sui generis_, and squalor
is altogether absent.

The town is well lighted with gas, and the water-supply, from reservoirs
on the Yarra a few miles above, is plentiful, but not good for drinking.
There Is no underground drainage system. All the sewage is carried away
in huge open gutters, which run all through the town, and are at their
worst and widest in the most central part, where all the principal shops
and business places are situated. These gutters are crossed by little
wooden bridges every fifty yards. When it rains, they rise to the
proportion of small torrents, and have on several occasions proved fatal
to drunken men. In one heavy storm, indeed, a sober strong man was
carried off his legs by the force of the stream, and ignominiously
drowned in a gutter. You may imagine how unpleasant these little rivers
are to carriage folk. In compensation they are as yet untroubled with
tramways, although another couple of years will probably see rails laid
all over the city.

It is a law in every Australian town that no visitor shall be allowed to
rest until he has seen all its sights, done all its lions, and, above
all, expressed his surprise and admiration at them. With regard to their
public institutions, the colonists are like children with a new
toy--delighted with it themselves, and not contented until everybody they
meet has declared it to be delightful. There are some people who vote all
sightseeing a bore, but if they come to Melbourne I would advise them at
least to do the last part of their duty--express loudly and generally
their admiration at everything that is mentioned to them. Whether they
have seen it or not is, after all, their own affair.

In this respect a Professor at the Melbourne University, on a holiday
trip to New Zealand, has just told me an amusing anecdote, for the
literal truth of which he vouches. A couple of young Englishmen fresh
from Oxford came to Melbourne in the course of a trip round the world to
open up their minds! For fear of a libel suit I may at once say I am not
alluding to the Messrs. Chamberlain. They brought letters of introduction
to Professor S----, who proposed, according to the custom of the place,
to 'show them round.' 'Have you seen the Public Library?' he began. 'No,'
answered the Oxonian. Shall I take you over it?' continued the Professor;
'it is one of the finest in the world, well worth seeing; and we can kill
two birds with one stone by seeing the Museum and National Gallery at the
same time.' 'Well, no, thanks,' was the reply; 'it's awfully good of you,
we know; but I say, the fact is books are books, all the world over, and
pictures are pictures; and as for minerals, I can't say we understand
them--not in our line, you understand.'

The Professor now thought he would try them with something out-of-doors,
and proposed a walk to the Botanical Gardens, which was met with 'Don't
you think it's rather hot for a walk? Besides, to tell the truth, one
garden is very much like another.' 'But these are very large,' persisted
the Professor; 'not scientific gardens like Kew, but capital places to
walk and sit about in. There are a number of flowers there, too, which
you cannot see at home.' Oxonian No. 2, however, came to the breach: 'We
bought a lot of flowers at a shop in Collins Street yesterday, and we are
going to send a hamper of ferns home; so that if you won't think it
uncivil of us to refuse your kindness, we won't take up your time by
going so far.'

Although somewhat abashed, the Professor thought of several other 'lions'
which they might like to see, but was invariably met with the same polite
refusal, till at last he gave it up as a bad job, and turned the
conversation to general subjects. They had taken up their hats, and were
saying good-bye. The Professor, who is a kind-hearted man, and was really
anxious to be of service to the two friends, felt quite vexed with
himself that he could do nothing more than ask them to dine. So, just as
they were parting with the usual mutual expressions of goodwill, he asked
in a despondent, almost prayerful tone: 'Are you quite sure there is;
nothing I can do for you? Pray make use of me if you can, and I shall be
only too delighted.' The reply was in a rather nervous voice from the
younger man, who blushed as he asked the favour: 'Do you know anyone who
has got a lawn-tennis court? We should so awfully like to have a game.'

The Professor introduced them to the head and to some of the
undergraduates of the affiliated colleges close by, and heard very little
more of them till they came to dinner with him a fortnight later, the day
before they were to leave Melbourne. The conversation at dinner turned of
course upon what they had seen during their visit, with which they
declared themselves immensely pleased. But when asked as to the things
which had most impressed them, it came out that Sundays were the only
days they had gone out of the town; that they had not been to see a
public institution or building, except their bank and the theatres.
'Surely you can't have spent all your time at the club,' said the
Professor, 'though there is a capital library there; and, by the way, did
you ever play tennis at Ormond College?' And then came the reply from
both at once. It turned out that they had been to Ormond College to play
tennis twice a day, except when they stopped lunch there. And then
followed a technical description of the college tennis-courts, the
Australian play, etc., etc.

But the cream of the story is not yet reached. The young men were to
leave the next day for Japan, and the Professor waxed enthusiastic over
the delights in store for them in that land of the morning. He quoted
anecdotes and passages from Miss Bird's book, and repeated more than once
that he envied them their trip. 'Well, yes, you know,' said the eldest,
'we've got several introductions; and I hear there are lots of English in
Tokio, so that we are sure to get plenty of tennis.'

There are not many people who are likely to be so frank, not to say dull,
as the Professor's friends; but how many people there are who travel
round the world and see nothing! There is a moral in the story which is
probably applicable to at least half of my readers, more or less.

Of the public buildings, which are scattered in considerable numbers
about the town, the largest are the New Law Courts, which have just been
erected at a cost of £300,000. They contain 130 rooms, and provide
accommodation for the Supreme Court, the County Court, the Insolvent
Court, the Equity Court, and for the various offices of the Crown Law
Department. The plan is that of a quadrangle, with a centre surmounted by
a dome 137 feet high. Still more elaborate and magnificent are the
Parliament Houses not yet completed, the front alone of which is to cost
£180,000. With regard to the architecture of these buildings, there is
ample room for difference of opinion, but everyone will agree to admire
the classic simplicity of the Public Library, erected some twenty years
ago, which is planned with a view to the subsequent erection of a
National Gallery and Museum, to complete a really noble pile of
buildings. And it is well worth while to go inside. The Library is
absolutely free to everybody, contains over 110,000 volumes, and has
accommodation for 600 readers. An interesting feature is the large
newspaper-room, where scores of working-men can be seen reading papers
and magazines from all parts of the world. At the back of the same
building are the painting and sculpture galleries, with which is
connected a school of art and design. Behind these again is a museum. In
the galleries there are a few good modern paintings, and a large number
of mediocre ones. The statuary consists mainly of well-executed casts and
four marble statues by the late Mr. Summers. The museum is only likely to
be of interest to entomologists and mineralogists, the collection in both
these departments being considered very good. The foundation and the
success of the whole of this institution are almost entirely due to the
late Sir Redmond Barry, who did almost as much for the University, which
has also been exceedingly useful and successful from every point of view.
As a building it is not equal to the Sydney University, although it
possesses a splendid Gothic Hall, the gift of Sir Samuel Wilson, who now
lives at Hughenden. In connection with the University is an excellent
Zoological Museum, which is interesting to more than specialists.

Other fine buildings are the Government Offices, the Town Hall with its
enormous organ, the Post Office, the International Exhibition--all built
on a truly metropolitan scale, which is even exceeded by the palatial
hugeness of the Government House, the ugliness of which is proverbial
throughout Australia. But, perhaps, the class of buildings, which must in
every Australian city most excite the surprise of the visitor, are the
hospitals and asylums. There are no less than ten splendid structures in
Melbourne devoted to charitable purposes. The Roman Catholics have built
a fine cathedral, but it is not yet finished. The Church of England is
collecting money for a similar purpose. Meanwhile the prettiest church
belongs to the Presbyterians. None of the other churches are in any way
remarkable. Anyone who has not seen the London Mint will find the
Melbourne Mint worth a visit. The Observatory contains one of the largest
telescopes in the world; and even if there are no races going on, the
Flemington Racecourse is a 'lion' of the largest dimensions. There are
four theatres, only one of which is well-fitted up. The visitor will
notice that drinking bars are invariable and very disagreeable
accompaniments of every theatre. One bar is generally just opposite the
entrance to the dress circle, an arrangement which is particularly
annoying to ladies.

Altogether, the public buildings of Melbourne do the greatest credit to
the public spirit of the colonists, and offer substantial testimony to
the largeness of their views and the thoroughness of their belief in the
future of their country. There is certainly no city in England which can
boast of nearly as many fine buildings, or as large ones, proportionately
to its size, as Melbourne. And this is the more remarkable, remembering,
that even in the existing hard times, masons are getting 10s. 6d. a day
of eight hours, and often a very dawdling eight hours too.

The Botanic Gardens, just outside the town, are well worth a visit. They
have no great scientific pretensions, as their name would imply, but are
merely pleasure-grounds, decked with all the variety of flowers which
this land of Cockaigne produces in abundance. Besides these, there are
several pretty reserves, notably the Fitzroy, Carlton, and University
Gardens, and the Regent's Park, which are all well kept and refreshing to
the eye after the dust and glare of the town.

The proportions of the commercial buildings and business premises are on
the same large and elaborate scale. Of the architecture, as a rule, the
less said the better; but everything is at least more spacious than at
home. The climate and the comparative cheapness of land give the
colonists an aversion to height in their buildings, and even in the
busiest parts of Melbourne most of the buildings have only two
stories--i.e., a ground-floor and one above--and I can hardly think of
any with more than three. The sums which banking companies pay for the
erection of business premises are enormous. Thirty to sixty thousand
pounds is the usual cost of their headquarters. The large insurance
companies have also caught the building mania, and the joint-stock
companies which are now springing up in all directions emulate them. The
Australian likes to have plenty of elbow-room. He cannot understand how
wealthy merchants can work in the dingy dens which serve for the offices
of many a London merchant prince. In this matter, contrary to his usual
practice, he is apt to consider the surface rather than what is beneath
it; and it is an accepted maxim in commercial circles that money spent on
buildings--which is of course borrowed in England at English rates of
interest--is amongst the cheapest forms of advertising a rising business
and keeping an established business going. Nobody in a young country has
a long memory, and nothing is so firmly established but that it may be
overthrown if it does not keep up with the times.

The general run of shops are little better than in English towns of the
same size, if we except those of some dozen drapers and ironmongers in
Melbourne, and two or three in Sydney, which are exceptionally good. Of
these it may be said that they would be creditable to London itself. Both
trades are much more comprehensive than in England. A large Melbourne
draper will sell you anything, from a suit of clothes to furniture, where
he comes into competition with the ironmonger, whose business includes
agricultural machinery, crockery and plate. The larger firms in both
these trades combine wholesale and retail business, and their shops are
quite amongst the sights of Australia. Nowhere out of an exhibition and
Whiteley's is it possible to meet so heterogeneous a collection. A
peculiarity of Melbourne is that the shop-windows there are much better
set out than is customary in England. It is not so in Sydney. Indeed
Melbourne has decidedly the best set of shops, not only in outward
appearance, but as to the variety and quality of the articles sold in
them. Next to the drapers and ironmongers, the booksellers' shops are the
most creditable. The style of the smaller shops in every colonial town is
as English as English can be. The only difference is in the prices, but
of that more anon when we go into the shops.

The river Yarra runs through the city, and is navigable as far as its
centre by coasting steamers and all but the larger sailing craft. Above
the harbour it is lined with trees and very pretty, and in spite of many
windings it is wide enough for boat-races. Below it is uninteresting, and
chiefly remarkable for the number and variety of the perfumes which arise
from the manufactories on its banks. Next to the monotony of the Suez
Canal, with which it presents many points of resemblance, I know few
things more tiresome than the voyage up the Yarra in an intercolonial
steamer of 600 or 700 tons, which goes aground every ten minutes, and
generally, as if on purpose, just in front of a boiling-down

If the Australian cities can claim a sad eminence, if not an actual
supremacy, in the number of their public houses, of which there are no
less than 1,120 in Melbourne, I am sorry to say that they are as much
behind London in their ideas of the comforts of an hotel as London is
behind San Francisco. Melbourne is certainly better off than Sydney or
Adelaide, but bad are its best hotels. Of these Menzies' and the Oriental
are most to be recommended; after these try the United Club Hotel, or, if
you be a bachelor, Scott's. The hotels, I think without exception, derive
their chief income from the bar traffic, with which, at all but the few I
have mentioned, you cannot help being brought more or less into contact.
Lodgers are quite a secondary consideration. This is very disagreeable
for ladies. The best hotels, moreover, have no _table d'hote_--only the
old-fashioned coffee and commercial rooms; so that if you are travelling
_en famille_ you have no choice but to have your meals in a private
sitting-room. For a bachelor, who is not particular so long as his rooms
are clean, and can put up with plain fare, there need, however, be no
difficulty in getting accommodation; but anyone who wishes to be
comfortable had better live at the clubs, which in every one of the
'capitals' are most liberal in their hospitality, and have bedrooms on
their premises. Visitors to the colony are made honorary members for a
month on the introduction of any two members, and the term is extended to
six months on the small subscription of a guinea a month. The Melbourne
Club is the best appointed in the Colonies. The rooms are comfortable,
and decently though by no means luxuriously furnished, and a very fair
table is kept. The servants wear full livery. There is a small library,
all the usual appurtenances of a London club, and a racquet-court. The
other clubs, though less pretentious, are all comfortable.

Your colonial rarely walks a step farther than he can help, and of course
laziness is well provided with cabs and omnibuses. You can take your
choice between one-horse waggonettes and hansoms, though a suspicion of
Bohemia still lingers about the latter. Happily Mrs. Grundy has never
introduced 'growlers.' The waggonettes are light boxes on wheels, covered
in with oil-cloth, which can be rolled up in a few seconds if the weather
is fine or warm. It is strange that victorias like those in Paris have
never been tried in this warm climate. A few years ago Irish
jaunting-cars and a jolting vehicle called a 'jingle' were much used, but
they have slipped out of favour of late, and are now almost obsolete. The
fares are usually moderate, ranging from a shilling for a quarter of an
hour to the same coin for the first mile, and sixpence for every
subsequent one. Cabby is fairly civil, but, as at home, always expects
more than his legal fare.

Nowhere do omnibuses drive a more thriving trade than in Melbourne, and
they deserve it, for they are fast, clean, roomy, and well managed. The
price of labour makes conductors too expensive a luxury, and passengers
have to put their fare--in most cases threepence--into a little glass box
close to the driver's seat. This unfortunate man, in addition to looking
after the horses, and opening and shutting the door by means of a strap
tied to his foot, which you pull when you want to get out, has to give
change whenever a little bell is rung, and to see that the threepences in
the glass box correspond to the number of passengers. Yet not only does
he drive fast and carefully along the crowded thoroughfares, but it is
difficult to escape without paying. Several times when a 'bus has been
crowded I have tried the effect of omitting payment. Invariably the
driver has touched his bell, and if that is not attended to, he puts his
face to the chink through which change is passed, and having re-counted
the number of people in the 'bus, civilly intimates that 'some gentleman
has forgotten to put in his fare.' Where the omnibus companies have not
penetrated, waggonettes similar to those previously described pioneer the
road, and on some well-frequented lines they run in competition with the

I don't know that it would be true to say that the number of horses and
vehicles in the streets strikes the stranger's eye as a rule. A man
accustomed to the traffic of London streets passes over the traffic of
Melbourne, great as it is for a town of its size, without notice. But I
think he cannot but notice the novel nature of the Melbourne traffic, the
prevalence of that light four-wheeled vehicle called the 'buggy,' which
we have imported via America, and the extraordinary number of horsemen he
meets. The horses at first sight strike the eye unpleasantly. They look
rough, and are rarely properly groomed. But, as experience will soon
teach the stranger, they are far less delicate than English horses. They
get through a considerably greater quantity of work, and are less
fatigued at the end of it.

A walk down Collins Street or Flinders Lane would astonish some of the
City Croesuses. But if a visitor really wishes to form an idea of the
wealth concentrated in Melbourne, he cannot do better than spend a week
walking round the suburbs, and noting the thousands of large roomy houses
and well-kept gardens which betoken incomes of over two thousand a year,
and the tens of thousands of villas whose occupants must be spending from
a thousand to fifteen hundred a year. All these suburbs are connected
with the town by railway. A quarter of an hour will bring you ten miles
to Brighton, and twelve minutes will take you to St. Kilda, the most
fashionable watering-place. Within ten minutes by rail are the inland
suburbs, Toorak, South Yarra, and Kew, all three very fashionable;
Balaclava, Elsterwick, and Windsor, outgrowths of St. Kilda, also
fashionable; Hawthorn, which is budding well; Richmond, adjacent to East
Melbourne, and middle class; and Emerald Hill and Albert Park, with a
working-class population. Adjoining the city itself are North Melbourne,
Fitzroy, Carlton, Hotham, and East Melbourne, all except the last
inhabited by the working-classes. Emerald Hill and Hotham have handsome
town halls of their own, and the larger of these suburbs form
municipalities. Nearly everybody who can lives in the suburbs, and the
excellence of the railway system enables them to extend much farther away
from the city than in Adelaide or Sydney. It is strange that the
Australian townsman should have so thoroughly inherited the English love
of living as far as possible away from the scene of his business and work
during the day.

The names of the suburbs afford food for reflection. Yarra is the only
native name. Sir Charles Hotham and Sir Charles Fitzroy were the
governors at the time of the foundation of the municipalities which bear
their names. The date of the foundation of St. Kilda is evidenced by the
name of its streets--Alma, Inkerman, Redan, Malakoff, Sebastopol, Raglan,
Cardigan, and Balaclava, the last of which gave its name later on to a
new suburb, which grew up at one end of it. In the city proper the
principal streets are named after colonial celebrities in the early
days--Flinders, Bourke, Collins, Lonsdale, Spencer, Stephen, Swanston,
while King, Queen, and William Streets each tell a tale. Elizabeth Street
was perhaps named after the virgin queen to whose reign the accession of
the Princess Victoria called attention.

As you walk round you cannot fail to notice the sunburnt faces of the
people you meet. Melbourne is said to have the prettiest girls in
Australia. I am no judge. On first arrival their sallow complexions
strike you most disagreeably, and it is some time before you will allow
that there is a pretty girl in the country. When you get accustomed to
this you will recognise that as a rule they have good figures, and that
though there are no beauties, a larger number of girls have pleasant
features than in England. What may be called nice looking girls abound
all over Australia. In dress the Melbourne ladies are too fond of bright
colours, but it can never be complained against them that they are
dowdy--a fault common to their Sydney, Adelaide, and English sisters--and
they certainly spend a great deal of money on their dress, every article
of which costs about 50 per cent. more than at home. In every town the
shop girls and factory girls--in short, all the women belonging to the
industrial classes--are well dressed, and look more refined than in
England. Men, on the other hand, are generally very careless about their
attire, and dress untidily. The business men all wear black frock-coats
and top hats. They look like city men whose clothes have been cut in the
country. The working-men are dressed much more expensively than at home,
and there are no threadbare clothes to be seen. Everybody has a
well-to-do look There is not so much bustle as in the City, but the faces
of 'all sorts and conditions of men' are more cheerful, and less careworn
and anxious. You can see that bread-and-butter never enters into the
cares of these people; it is only the cake which is sometimes endangered.
or has not sufficient plums in it.


I suppose that nearly everyone has heard of the beauties of Sydney
Harbour--'our harbour,' as the Sydneyites fondly call it. If you want a
description of them read Trollope's book. He has not exaggerated an iota
on this point. Sydney Harbour is one of those few sights which, like
Niagara, remain photographed on the memory of whoever has been so
fortunate as to see them. With this difference, however--the impression
of Niagara is instantaneous; it stamps itself upon you in a moment, and
though further observation may make the details more clear, it cannot add
to the depth of the impressions. But Sydney Harbour grows upon you. At
the first glance I think you will be a little disappointed. It is only as
you drink in each fresh beauty that its wonderful loveliness takes
possession of you. The more you explore its creeks and coves--forming
altogether 260 miles of shore--the more familiar you become with each
particular headland or reach, the greater your enchantment. You fall in
love with it, so to speak, and often I look up at the water-colour sketch
of Double Bay which hangs over my dining-room mantelpiece, and hope the
hope which partakes of expectation, that before long I shall see Sydney
Harbour again.

And it is as admirable from a practical as from an artistic point of
view. The _Austral_ and the _Orient_ can be moored alongside natural
wharves in the very heart of the city. There are coves sufficient to hold
the combined fleets of the world, mercantile and naval. The outer harbour
is the paradise of yachtsmen; the inner, of oarsmen. The gardens of
suburban villas run down to the water's edge along the headlands and
points, and there are thousands of unoccupied building sites from which
you can enjoy a view fit for the gods.

One feels quite angry with the town for being so unworthy of its site.
Certainly, one of the greatest charms of the harbour must have been
wanting when it was uninhabited, and the view of the city and suburbs as
you come up into port is as charming and picturesque, as that of
Melbourne from Port Philip is commonplace and repellent. But when you get
near the wharf the charm vanishes. Never was there a more complete case
of distance lending enchantment to the view. Not but that there are
plenty of fine buildings, public and private; but the town is still much
farther back in its chrysalis stage than Melbourne. Time alone can, and
is rapidly making away with the old tumble-down buildings which spoil the
appearance of their neighbours. But time cannot easily widen the streets
of Sydney, nor rectify their crookedness. They were originally dug out by
cart-ruts, whereas those of nearly every other town in Australia were
mapped out long before they were inhabited. But if they were not so
ill-kept, and the footpaths so wretchedly paved, I could forgive the
narrowness and crookedness of the Sydney streets, on account of their
homely appearance. They are undeniably old friends, such as you can meet
in hundreds of towns in Europe. Their very unsuitableness for the
practical wants of a large city becomes a pleasant contrast to the
practical handsomeness of Melbourne and Adelaide. The size and
handsomeness of individual buildings is lost in the Sydney streets. You
look at the street from one end, and put it down in your mind as no
better than a lane; you walk down it without noticing the merits of the
buildings it contains; whereas in Melbourne both the general effect and
each individual building are shown off to the greatest advantage; but
there is a certain picturesqueness and old-fashionedness about Sydney,
which brings back pleasant memories of Old England, after the monotonous
perfection of Melbourne and Adelaide.

The most unpleasant feature about Sydney is, that there is a thoroughly
untidy look about the place. It is in a perennial state of _déshabille_;
whereas Melbourne nearly always has its dress-clothes on. In keeping with
the wretched pavements, the muddy crossings, and the dust, are the
clothes of the people you meet in the streets. Nobody seems to care much
how they dress, and without being exactly countrified in their apparel,
the Sydneyites succeed in looking pre-eminently dowdy.

The water-supply is not always quite as plentiful as could be wished; but
on the other hand, there is an excellent system of deep drainage, and the
eye is not offended by open sewers, as in Melbourne. You will notice that
there are not so many private carriages here, and fewer horsemen. The
traffic appears greater, but this is entirely owing to the narrowness of
the streets. It is not so rapid, as you will easily perceive.

You land, as I think I mentioned, in the heart of the city, and, unless
you prefer Shanks's pony, must perforce take a hansom to your hotel, or,
if you have much luggage, two hansoms, for four-wheelers are almost
unknown. In compensation, the Sydney hansoms are the cleanest and fastest
you will ever have the good fortune to come across. Steam trams run out
to the railway station, which is at the farther end of the town, and to
all the suburbs. There is practically but one hotel to go
to--Petty's--and that very inferior. In most matters of this kind Sydney
is only a second-rate edition of Melbourne.

The beauties of Sydney are certainly rather natural than artificial, and
since one can always see a big town more or less like Melbourne, whilst
the scenery of Sydney Harbour is almost unique of its kind, if I were
obliged to see only one of the two places, I would rather see Sydney. But
although, Sydney is poorly laid out, it must not be imagined that it is
poorly built. On the contrary. Its buildings are put in the shade as
regards size by those of Melbourne but if you had not seen Melbourne
first, you would certainly have been surprised by the number and size of
the public buildings of Sydney. The rich man loses his sense of the
proportionate value of moneys. But Sydney has the great advantage of
possessing superior building material in a red and grey sandstone of
great durability, which forms the substratum of the whole district in
which it is built, while Melbourne has mainly to rely on a blue stone
found at some distance, and has to import the stone for its best
buildings from either Sydney or Tasmania. I must confess too, that I
prefer the general style of architecture in Sydney to that most common in
Melbourne. First and foremost, owing to the more limited area of the
business part of the town, the Sydney buildings are much loftier.
Melbourne and Adelaide always look to me as if some one had taken his
seat upon the top of them and squashed them down. Sydney is taller and
more irregular. It climbs up and down a whole series of hills, and
protrudes at all kinds of unexpected points. The city proper has no very
definite boundaries, and you hardly know where the city begins and the
suburbs end.

Of the public buildings of Sydney, the handsomest are the Treasury, the
Colonial Secretary's office, and the Lands Office, each four or five
stories high, and close to the water's edge. The Colonial Secretary's
office is only second to the Melbourne Law Courts amongst the completed
buildings of Australia. It is lofty, massive, and dignified outwardly,
elegant and spacious inside, although it has been fitted up in the most
incongruous fashion with odds and ends of third-rate statuary, imitation
bronzes, etc., until it looks like an old curiosity-shop. The University,
though comparatively an old building, still holds its ground amongst the
best, and may well be proud of its splendidly proportioned hall, built in
fifteenth-century Gothic. The Roman Catholic Cathedral, which has just
been opened, is also well proportioned. The length is 350 feet; width
within transept 118 feet; width of nave and aisle 74 feet; height about
ninety feet. There is to be a central tower 120 feet high, and two towers
with spires which will rise to a height of 260 feet. The Anglican
Cathedral, though not large, is a handsome building with two towers, in
fourteenth-century Gothic. The Post Office will for many years remain a
fragment of what may or may not be a handsome building. The Town Hall has
evidently been built with the idea of at all hazards making it larger
than the Melbourne Town Hall. So far it is a success. But architecturally
it is nothing more than a splendid failure--over-decorated and
ginger-bready. Curiously enough it is built upon the site of the
burial-place of the early settlement---forming a sort of Westminster
Abbey for the first settlers. There are four theatres, but none well
fitted or decorated. Palatial hospitals and asylums of course abound, but
the Parliament House is wretchedly small.

Unfortunately Sydney has very few reserves, and those few she keeps in
bad order, with the exception of the Botanical Garden, situated on an arm
of the land almost entirely surrounded by water. It is the most charming
public garden I have ever seen; inferior to that of Adelaide in detail,
but superior in the _tout ensemble_. Almost equally beautiful is the
situation of Government House, a comfortable Tudor mansion, but rather
small for purposes of entertainment.

Amongst the commercial buildings, the new head offices of the Australian
Mutual Provident Society are pre-eminent. They cost no less than £50,000.
The banks are not equal to either the Melbourne or the Adelaide banks.
But the insurance offices, warehouses, etc., though not nearly as
numerous, are quite up to the Melbourne standard in size, although for
the reasons already given they do not show to so great an advantage as
their merit deserves. Of the appearance of the shops I have already
written in my letter about Melbourne. They are not so fine as in
Melbourne nor so well stocked, and are pretty much on a level with those
in an English town of the same size.

The names of the principal streets proclaim the age of the town. George
Street and Pitt Street are the two main thoroughfares, and there are
Castlereagh, Liverpool, and William Streets, while King, Hunter, Bligh,
Macquarie, and Philip Streets, and Darlinghurst preserve the names of the
first governors. The suburbs first formed preserve the sweet-sounding
native names--Wooloomooloo, Woolahra, Coogee, Bondi. Of a later date are
Randwick, Newtown, Stanmore, Ashfield, Burwood, and Petersham--the last
four along the railway line.

The good people of Sydney do not spend their money so much upon outward
show as the Victorians. Hence the number of large houses in the suburbs
is very much smaller. But whereas the country around Melbourne for miles
is mostly flat as a pancake, the suburbs of Sydney literally revel in
beautiful building sites. For choice, there are the water frontages below
the town or up the Parramatta river, which is lined with pretty houses,
whose inhabitants come up to Sydney every morning in small river
steamers. The principal suburbs, however, are much closer to the city
than in Melbourne, being connected by steam tramways instead of railways.
New suburbs are also springing up along the railway lines, but until the
railway station is brought into the centre of the town, they can never be
nearly so populous as the Melbourne suburbs.


I began with a comparison between Melbourne and Sydney, towns of 280,000
and 220,000 inhabitants respectively. The capital of South Australia,
Adelaide, with its 70,000, stands, of course, upon an entirely different
level; but it possesses, to an even greater degree than Sydney, all the
peculiar characteristics of a capital city. If any comparison can be made
between Adelaide and its sister capitals, it is with Melbourne rather
than with Sydney. Adelaide is a thoroughly modern town, with all the
merits and all the defects attaching to novelty. It does not possess the
spirit of enterprise to so adventurous a degree as Melbourne, but neither
does it approach to the languor of Sydney. In this respect it has
discovered a very happy middle course. There is certainly something very
provincial about the attitude of the town towards the rest of the world,
but this helps to make it the more distinctive, and conduces largely to
its progress. It 'goes without saying' that there cannot be the same
number of large buildings as in the larger cities, that their proportions
cannot be so large, that there cannot be the same facilities for business
or for pleasure. But the emulation produced by the achievements of its
big neighbours has resulted in making Adelaide a far more advanced town
for its size than either of them. Proportionately to population,
everything in Adelaide ought theoretically to be on a fourth scale of its
like in Melbourne. As a matter of fact, most things are on more than
half-scale, many on a two-thirds, and a few things, such as the Botanic
Garden, the Exchange, the Banks of South Australia and Adelaide, are

For its size, I consider Adelaide the beet-built town I know, and
certainly it is the best laid out and one of the prettiest and most
conveniently situated. It nestles, so to speak, at the foot of a range of
high hills on a plain, which extends seven miles in length to the
seashore. The approach by rail from either Port Adelaide or Glenelg is
uninteresting, but directly you get out at the station the first
impression is pleasing. The streets are broad and laid out in rectangular
blocks as in Melbourne, and the white stone used for most of the
buildings makes the town look particularly bright and lively, showing off
the bustle and traffic to advantage. In the background are the hills,
while on one side is the suburb of North Adelaide, on an incline divided
from the city by a broad sheet of artificial water, running in the bed of
the river Torrens through a half-mile deep belt of 'park-lands,' which
encircle the square mile forming the city proper, and separate it from
the suburbs.

The conception of this belt of verdure, on which none but public
buildings may be erected, dividing the working part of the town from the
residential part, has always seemed to me a masterpiece of wisdom in city
planning, and hardly less admirable are the five open reserves inside the
city which serve as its lungs. Ultimately the city proper will probably
be almost entirely reserved for business purposes. Already very few
people live within the belts who can help it, although high prices are
given for sites for residences on each of the four terraces fronting the
belts. Except that Adelaide is perfectly flat, while Melbourne is built
on two sides of a valley, Adelaide may not inaptly be described in the
words of a visitor who was returning to England by the Peninsular and
Oriental route, as 'a smaller but better Melbourne.' The style of
architecture is not quite so florid, but the extreme squatness of the
buildings is far more noticeable here. It is no merely that the buildings
are actually lower, but the look lower from being built on the flat.

Of the public buildings, the finest is the Post Office, which, though it
wants an extra story to make it dignified, is, in my opinion, preferable
to either the Melbourne or Sydney Post Offices. The new Institute, the
Anglican Cathedral, which is lofty, the Town Hall, the Supreme Court, the
Banks of South Australia, of Adelaide, and the English and Scottish Bank,
and the new vice-regal residence on the hills, are all fine buildings,
which would attract favourable notice in Melbourne or Sydney. Nominally
there are three theatres, practically only one, but that is undoubtedly
the prettiest and best in Australia. But the pride of Adelaide is its
Botanic Garden, which, though unpromisingly situated on a perfectly
level spot, with no water at hand, has been transformed, by means of
artificial water and artificial hillocks, into the prettiest garden in
the world The area is only forty acres, but every inch has been turned
to the utmost advantage, and this is really a garden, while the Sydney
Gardens--mark the plural--are more park-like, and those of Melbourne can
hardly be called gardens, in the strict sense of the word.

The drainage is defective, but the water-supply good. There is still a
great deal to be done to the footpaths, and until quite recently the
municipal arrangements were in every respect almost as bad as those of
Sydney. But an able, energetic, and liberal mayor, Mr. E. T. Smith, in
the course of two years so stirred up the citizens that pavements have
been laid down, additional gas-lights provided, the Torrens artificial
lake constructed, the squares and park-lands transformed from untidy
wildernesses into handsome oases, and the general aspect of the city
entirely transformed. I do not know that I ever saw so much done entirely
at the initiative and by the energy and persistence of a single man.

Of the shops there is not much to be said. They are not at all up to the
average of most of the institutions of the town, with the one exception
of those of the jewellers and silversmiths, the work in which is original
and artistic, throwing altogether into the shade similar shops in
Melbourne and Sydney. The cabs are all waggonettes, similar to those used
in Melbourne, but drawn by two horses instead of one. Adelaide abhors
hansoms. They exist, but are never used by respectable people, who have
come to look upon them as unholy in themselves. The tramway system is the
most complete in Australia. All the trams are drawn by horses; to such of
the suburbs as are too thinly populated to have trams large waggonettes
for the most part run in lieu of omnibuses. Adelaide is the only
Australian town in which the American system of buying land, and making a
railway to bring population to it, has been carried out. The idea was
first tried with tramways, the writer having taken some part in
originating and promoting it. Of the hotels of Adelaide, the best is the
York. It is better than the best, in Sydney, but inferior to the best two
in Melbourne.

Owing to the excellent plan on which the city is laid out, it is
surrounded on every side by suburbs at the short distance of half a mile,
connected by horse-tramways. Beyond these, however, there is the
flourishing watering-place of Glenelg at a distance of only seven miles
by train; and now that the railway has been carried into the hills, it
will not be long before large suburbs grow up in them. Wealth in South
Australia is more equally divided than in the sister Colonies. Hence
there are only a few large mansions, but comfortable six to ten-roomed
cottages abound.


The inevitable 'newness' of everything cannot but strike the eye
disagreeably. This is especially noticeable in the buildings and houses,
few of which date back more than ten years. In the growth of towns, as
well as in the progress of individuals and institutions, there are three
periods to be gone through. Here the first stage is that of the log-hut.
This is succeeded by the weather-board cottage, which in turn gives place
to brick and stucco. Finally comes the stone building with its two or
three stories. The log-hut stage is of course far past. The weather-board
cottage still lingers in the poorer outskirts of Melbourne, but is
extinct in Adelaide, and fast becoming extinct in Melbourne. The choice
now is between brick and stone. In Sydney the abundance of stone on the
spot, gives it the preference; Adelaide, with less stone, builds chiefly
in brick; Melbourne, which has to get its stone from a distance, uses
hardly anything else but brick. This, of course, for private houses.
There are plenty of admirable stone buildings in Melbourne, as I have
already mentioned.

Now that the brick and stone age is firmly established the style of your
house becomes a mere matter of pounds, shillings, and pence. With wages
at from nine to twelve shillings a day, and with money so much dearer
than at home, the Australian has necessarily to pay a much higher rent
for his house. Excluding, of course, ground-rents, which make London
houses so expensive, I think one may fairly say that rents here are about
double the rate they are at home, and yet, _except for the rise in the
value of land_ in the cities and their suburbs, house-property is by no
means a remunerative investment. Nevertheless, there is always a great
demand for it. The colonist is very fond of living in his own house and
on his own bit of ground, and building societies and the extensive
mortgage system which prevails enable him easily to gratify this desire.
I believe that at least ninety out of every hundred house-properties in
Australia are mortgaged up to at least two-thirds of their value. Out in
the suburbs ground-rents are still low--very low indeed in comparison
with the selling value. The reason of this is, that it pays to buy a
house with a large piece of land attached, and to cut the land up and
sell it in building allotments a few years afterwards. If you can get a
fair rent for the house, the land will pay its own way.

Architecturally speaking, there is little to admire. If the public
buildings fail in this respect, the private houses have at least the
advantage over them, that for the most part they do not pretend to any
architecture at all. Many of the architects are self-taught, and have
served little or no apprenticeship to the profession. Indeed, it should
rather be called a trade, since they often are merely successful
builders, who have taken to planning and superintending the erection of
buildings, instead of erecting them themselves. This is one reason why
private houses incline rather to the practical than to the beautiful.
Another cause is the practical spirit of the colonists, which looks upon
expenditure for mere ornamental purposes as wasteful and extravagant.
Unless a man is really rich, he cannot afford the imputation of
extravagance which any architectural expenditure will bring upon him.
With his business premises it is different. Everyone understands that a
merchant spends money in ornamenting his business premises, just as a
tradesman dresses his shop-window. But the tradesman does not dress the
drawing-room window of his private house. Neither, therefore, the
merchant. Besides this, it cannot be too thoroughly understood that
Australia is before everything a money-making place, and that anything
like unremunerative expenditure with no possible chance of profit is
considered foolish in all but a man who has made his fortune. With money
so dear, and the chances of turning it over rapidly so frequent and so
remunerative, such expenditure becomes little less than a sin. Everything
ornamental not only costs twice as dear in actual money, but the money
itself is worth at least twice as much as in England.

Really large houses of the size of the manor-houses and halls which are
scattered over England in tens of thousands, can be counted in Australia
in scores. Of these but few have any architectural pretensions. Houses of
this class cannot be built under £10,000 here, whereas in England they
would cost from £4,000 to £5,000 and can be bought still cheaper. If
there is any style which colonists particularly affect, it is the
castellar. Both in the large houses I have just been speaking of, and in
the ordinary wealthy man's house which has cost him from £3,000 to
£5,000, turrets and flagstaffs abound. The passion for flagstaffs must, I
think, be derived from the fact that most of the people who build these
houses have had a long sea-journey from England, and retain a little
ozone in their composition. There is also something assertive about a
flag. A man who has a flag floating on his house is almost sure to have
some character about him. Not unfrequently, when the builder of a house
intends to live in it himself, he wishes to imitate his old home in
England, or if he has risen in the world, some particular house of the
village or town he was brought up in, which he admired in his boyhood.
The man who builds for himself at least takes care to build soundly, and
to have his rooms large and lofty.

By far the majority of houses are built by speculators; which means that
they are very badly built, run up in a tremendous hurry, constructed of
the cheapest and nastiest materials, with thin walls--in short, built for
show, and not for use. Everything looks very nice in them when you walk
round just after they are built, and it is only after you have lived in
them eighteen months that you begin to understand why the owner was in
such a hurry to sell, and would not hear of letting the house to you,
even at a good rent. You know something of this in London, but not nearly
to the same extent as here. In these speculative houses there is often
some little attempt at ornamentation--a bow-window thrown out, or the
veranda lifted to form a Gothic porch, or the drawing-room brought out
beyond the rest of the house, so as to form what is known as a T cottage,
though it should rather be a P, with a protrusion of the drawing-room
representing the straight line, and the body of the house the loop of the

But the favourite type of Australian house is laid, out in an oblong
block bisected by a three to eight foot passage. The first door on one
side as you go in is the drawing-room, on the other the dining-room. Then
follow the bedrooms, etc., with the kitchen and scullery at the end of
the passage, or sometimes in a lean-to at right angles to the hinder part
of the house proper. This kind of cottage is almost universal in Adelaide
amongst the middle and upper middle classes, and invariable in the
working-class throughout Australia. In the other colonies the upper
middle classes often live in two-storied houses; i.e., ground-floor and
one floor above. Their construction is almost as simple as the cottage,
the only difference being that the bedrooms are on the upper story, and
that a pair of narrow stairs face the front-door and take up half the
passage-way, directly you get past the drawing and dining-room doom
doors. The cottage is not high enough to strike the eye, but the
squareness, or more properly the cubeness, of these two-storied houses is
appalling. They look for all the world like houses built of cards, except
that the cards are uncommonly solid. For my own part, I should never care
to live in a two-storied house again, after experiencing the comfort of
never having to go upstairs, and having all the rooms on the same floor.
At first one is prejudiced against it. I was so, until during my second
year in Australia I had to live on the third floor in Sydney. It was only
then that I realized the advantages of the simpler plan.

The strong light and heat of the sun has the effect of a window-tax in
limiting the size and number of the windows. A few French windows are to
be found in Adelaide, but the old sashes are almost universal. Of, late a
fashion has sprung up for bow-windows, which, however pretty, have here
the great disadvantage of attracting the sun unpleasantly. Shutters are
not much used. Venetian blinds are more common. On a hot summer day it is
absolutely necessary to shut all windows and draw down the blinds if you
wish to keep at all cool. About five o'clock, if there is no hot wind,
the house may be opened out.

Nearly every house that can afford the space has a veranda, which
sometimes stretches the whole way round. The rooms are usually lofty for
their size, in winter horribly cold and draughty, in summer unbearably
stuffy in small houses, the science of ventilation being of recent
introduction. Even in large establishments all the living-rooms are
almost always on the ground-floor, both on account of the fatigue of
going up and down stairs, and owing to the paucity of servants. As a
rule, the kitchens are terribly small, and in summer filled with flies.
How the poor servants manage to exist in them is more than I can
understand. It is no wonder they ask such high wages. In a few larger
houses a merciful fashion has been adopted of making the kitchen a mere
cooking galley, the cook preparing the dishes and doing all that does not
require the presence of fire in a large back-kitchen. Happily every house
has a bath-room, though it is often only a mere shed of wood or
galvanized iron put up in the back-yard. In many of the poorer households
this shed does double duty as bath-house and wash-house, or the
wash-house consists of a couple of boards, with a post to keep them up,
and a piece of netting overhead to keep the sun off. In larger houses,
both bath-rooms and wash-houses are much the same as in England. Nearly
all families do their washing, and often their ironing also, at home. Of
the sanitary arrangements, it is almost impossible to speak too strongly;
they are almost invariably objectionable and disgusting.

There are very few establishments large enough to indulge in the luxury
of a servants'-hall, and sculleries and pantries are much smaller than in
England. Even the ordinary entrance-hall of an English house has to
shrink into a mere enlargement of the passage. All over the house, in
fact, the accommodation is on a much more limited scale, unless it be
with regard to stables, which, owing to the low price of horses, are more
numerous, if less luxuriously appointed.

If the upper and middle classes suffer from want of room in their houses,
and are wont to huddle much more than people in the same position would
at home, the working-man is not much better off, although his four or
five-roomed cottage at twelve shillings to fifteen shillings a week is
more easily within his means than the five shillings a week that he paid
in England. I do not of course mean that the working-man here knows
anything of model cottages, such as are seen on large estates in England.
I should even say that during the first year or two after his arrival
there is little improvement in his habitation; but before long he
acquires a small freehold, and with the aid of a building society becomes
his own landlord. Directly he has reached this stage, an improvement is
visible in his condition. It is difficult to over-estimate the social
value of the work that has been done by building societies. In the
suburbs of the large towns you see whole townships built entirely by
these societies; every inhabitant of these townships in the course of a
few years becomes a proprietor, and the society further aids him by
making loans to him on mortgage of his property. It is the defect of
these townships that the houses are all as like one another as peas in a
pod--four-roomed squares or six-roomed oblongs built of red brick, and
with every detail exactly the same; but their plainness and similarity
does not detract from their manifest virtues.

Terraces and attached houses are universally disliked, and almost every
class of suburban house is detached and stands in its own garden. These
gardens are laid out much in the English fashion; but there is little
need of greenhouses, and unless you have water laid on to your lawn, it
is difficult to keep it green in summer. In Adelaide but few people try
to keep lawns; the summer sun is too scorching, and towards February and
March the gardens look dreadfully dried up. But on the other hand,
flowers of all kinds grow in abundance, and to a size which they rarely
attain in colder climates. The garden needs little attention beyond the
summer watering and you can get flowers all the year round. Fruit-trees
grow with wonderful rapidity and bear most abundantly.

With the aid of the hills you get several climates within a small area,
and in Adelaide especially the abundance of flowers and fruit is all that
can be desired. There is naturally some tendency to coarseness,
especially in the fruit. The price of labour makes it difficult to keep
large gardens in good order. For this reason few people keep large
gardens. Another thing that accounts for the smallness of the gardens
attached to middle and working-class houses, which are often no more than
patches, is the speculation in land. The smaller the portions into which
the speculator cuts up his building sections, the more he gets for them.
I myself on one occasion bought an eight-acre section of land in one
block for £1,100, cut it up into blocks of an eighth of an acre each, and
resold it within six weeks for a little over £2,000. This
land-speculation is quite a feature of Australian life, and at certain
periods it is difficult to lose money by it. Large gardens are generally
long leaseholds or freeholds belonging to rich people, who will not sell
during their lifetime. At their death their gardens are cut up into small
blocks and yield large profits. Nor do I think that the love of gardening
is at all common here; it is not a sufficiently exciting occupation.


I closed my last letter with an account of the way in which houses are
built here. I am now going to try to describe their contents. And perhaps
the best way to do this will be to describe a type of each class of
house, omitting all exceptions, which are necessarily numerous where so
large a field has to be covered.

We will begin at the top of the tree. Whilst the ambition of the wealthy
colonist not unfrequently finds vent in building a large house, he has
generally been brought up in too rough a school to care to furnish it
even decently. His notion of furniture begins and ends with upholstery,
and I doubt whether he ever comes to look upon this as more than things
to sit on, stand on, lie on, eat off and drink off The idea of deriving
any pleasure from the beauty of his surroundings rarely enters into his
head, and it is not uncommon to find a man who is making £5,000 a year
amply satisfied with what an Englishman with one-tenth of his income
would deem the barest necessaries. The Australian Croesus is generally
very little of a snob, though often his 'lady' has a taste for display.
When this desire for grandeur has led them to furnish expensively, they
are unable to furnish prettily, and usually feel much less comfortable in
their drawing-room, in which they never set foot except when there is
company--than when their chairs and tables were made by a working
carpenter or with their own hands out of a few deal boards.

One or two millionaires have had upholsterers out from Gillow's and
Jackson and Graham's to furnish their houses in the latest and most
correct fashion, and many colonists who go on a trip to England bring
back with them drawing and dining room suites; but even then there is an
entire want of individuality about the Australian's house--which is the
more remarkable seeing how much his individuality has been brought out by
his career, and shows itself in his general actions and opinions. He may
know how to dogmatize on theology and politics, but when he gets down to
furniture he confesses that his eye is out of focus. The furniture
imported or (in Melbourne) made by the large upholsterers is, with few
exceptions, more gorgeous than pretty; whence one may reasonably infer
that the taste of their customers--when they have any--is better suited
by the grandiose than the artistic. But most of the expensively furnished
houses show plainly that the upholsterer has been given _carte blanche_
to do what he will. Look at his shop-window, and you may make a shrewd
guess at his customer's drawing-room.

Nor is the furniture universal in Australia, as one would naturally
suppose, after the style of that in Italy and the South of France. The
frowsy carpets and heavy solid chairs of England's cold and foggy climate
reign supreme beneath the Austral sun. The Exhibitions have done
something towards reforming our domestic interiors, but it will be a long
time before the renaissance of art as applied to households, which
appears to be taking place in England, makes its way here in any
considerable force.

But instead of generalizing, it is time we should go through Muttonwool's
house room by room. On entering the drawing-room the first thing that
strikes the eye is the carpet, with a stiff set pattern large enough to
knock you down, and of a rich gaudy colour. You raise your eyes--find
opposite them the regulation white marble mantelpiece, more or less
carved, and a gilt mirror, which we will hope is not protected from the
flies by green netting. Having made a grimace, you sit down upon one of
the chairs. There are nine in the room besides the sofa--perhaps an
ottoman--and you can take your choice between the 'gent's' armchair, the
lady's low-chair, and the six high ones. If they are not in their
night-shirts you can examine the covering--usually satin or perhaps
cretonne. The pattern is unique, being, I should think, specially
manufactured for the colonial market. Bright hues prevail. Occasional
chairs have only lately been introduced, and the whole suite is in
unison, though harmony with the carpet has been overlooked, or rather
never thought of, the two things having been chosen separately, and
without any idea that it would be an improvement if they were to match.

As for the make of the chairs, they are to be found in plenty of English
middle-class drawing-rooms even now. The shape may be named the
'deformed.' The back is carved out into various contortions of a
horse-shoe, with a bar across the middle which just catches you in the
small of the back, and is a continual reproach if you venture to lean
against it. The wood of which the chairs are made is mahogany, walnut, or
cedar. The large round or oval table which stands in the middle of the
room is of the same wood, and so are the card-table, the Davenport, the
chiffonier, and that Jacob's-ladder-like what-not in the corner. In some
houses the upholsterer has stuffed the room with useless tables. Of
course there is a fender and fire-irons, and probably a black
doleful-looking grate, which during two-thirds of the year is stuffed
with paper shavings of all the colours of the rainbow and several others
which good Mother Nature forgot to put into it. On the chimney-piece is a
Louis XVI. clock and a pair of ornaments to match. A piano, tune
immaterial, is a _sine quâ non_ even in a middle-class house, but when
Muttonwool has got all these things--in short, paid his upholsterer's
bill--he thinks a ten-pound note should cover the rest of his
drawing-room furniture. Household gods are terribly deficient, and it
would not be difficult to fancy yourself in a lodging-house. There may be
a few odds and ends picked up on the overland route, and a set of
stereotyped ornaments bought at an auction sale or sent out as 'sundries'
in a general cargo; but of _bric-à-brac_, in the usual acceptation of
the term, there is little or none.

As for the pictures, they are altogether abominable. Can you imagine a
man with £5,000 a year (or £500, for that matter) covering his walls with
chromos? The inferior kinds of these 'popularizers of art,' as the papers
call them, have an immense sale here. Even when a wealthy man has been
told that it is his duty to buy pictures, the chances are that he will
attend an auction and pick up rubbish at low prices, rubbing his hands
over what he considers a good bargain; or if he wants to tell his
visitors how much he gave for his pictures he gets mediocre work with a
name on it. A recent number of the _Adelaide Punch_ has a caricature
entitled ''Igh Art in Adelaide,' which though of course a caricature, is
worth quoting as showing how the wind blows: 'Tallowfat, pointing to a
picture in a dealer's shop, _loq._: "What's the price of that there
thing with the trees and the 'ut in the distance?" Dealer: "That, sir!
that's a gem by Johnstone" (a local artist of some merit)--"twenty
guineas, sir." Tallowfat: "Twenty tomfools!" "What d'ye take me for? Why,
I bought a picture twice that size, with much more colour in it, and a
frame half as thick again, and I only paid ten for it! Show us something
with more style."' A few men have good pictures, but I hardly know anyone
who has any good engravings. Muttonwool can see no difference between a
proof before letters and the illustrations from the newspapers, which may
be seen pasted on the walls of every small shop and working-man's
cottage. That there is a taste for pictures here is undeniable. But that
is common to every child till it knows how to read, and will want a deal
of educating before it can be called 'art.'

We will now go into the dining-room, which is probably the best furnished
room in the house. It is not easy to make a dining-room look out of joint
provided you are not particular about the cost, though there is a very
wide margin between the decent and the handsome. The upholstery is much
the same as in an ordinary upper middle-class house in England--sofa,
sideboard, chiffonier, two easy and eight or ten upright chairs in cedar
frames and covered with leather, marble mantelpiece and clock, Louis XVI.
glass, and a carpet which is at any rate better than the drawing-room
one. If there is a breakfast-room it is a smaller edition of the
dining-room. The study is chiefly remarkable for the absence of books, or
for an inappropriateness to the owner's tastes which smacks of a job-lot.
The bedrooms are disappointing. Pictures and knick-knacks rarely extend
beyond the 'company' precincts. Muttonwool would think it a waste of good
bawbees to put pretty things in the bedrooms, where no one but the family
will see them. In these rooms he is _au naturel_, and with all his
good-nature and genuineness he is rather a rough fellow. The brute is
expelled from the drawing-room, but he jumps in again at the bedroom
window. As for the servants' rooms, anything is good enough for them.
Probably the master himself was contented with still less in his younger
days. The kitchen is ordinarily very poorly provided with utensils.
Ranges and stoves are only found in the wealthier houses, the usual
cooking apparatus being a colonial oven--a sort of box with fire above
and below, which is very convenient for burning wood, the usual fuel
throughout Australia.

I think this is about as much as need be said about an average wealthy
Australian's house; but before going on to describe middle-class homes, I
must ask you to remember that all large colonial houses are not furnished
on this wise. There are a large number of people in Australia, and
especially in Victoria, who have as good an idea of how to furnish as
other middle-class Englishmen--though perhaps that is not saying much.
But in articles of this kind I am obliged to strike an average. The type
of house I have described is the most common. You must leave a marain on
either side of it according to the education and tastes of the owner. And
here let me note that in Melbourne houses are certainly more expensively,
and perhaps better furnished than in any of the other towns. The
Victorians have a much greater love of show than any of their
fellow-Australians. Where a Sydney man spends £400 on his furniture you
may safely predict that a Melbourner will spend £600. Consequently the
furniture establishments in the latter city are much superior to those in
the former, and that although, owing to the enormous duty-25 per
cent.--but little English furniture is imported into Victoria.

Let us now hie us to humbler abodes, and visit an eight-roomed cottage,
inhabited by a young solicitor whose income is from £500 to £1000 a year.
Here the whole drawing-room suite is in cretonne or rep, and comprises
the couch, six chairs, and lady's and gent's easy-chairs, which we saw
before at Muttonwool's. The carpet is also ditto. The glass, ornaments,
etc., are similar, but on a smaller scale; and if there are any pictures
on the wall they are almost bound to be chromos, for whilst Croesus
sometimes invests in expensive paintings, the middle-class, who cannot
afford to give from £100 upwards for a picture, will make no effort to
obtain something moderately good, such as can be easily obtained in
England for a very small outlay. The gasalier is bronze instead of glass.
The real living-room of the house is the dining-room, which is therefore
the best furnished, and on a tapestry carpet are a leather couch, six
balloon-back carved chairs, two easy-chairs, a chiffonier, a side-table,
and a cheap chimney-glass. In the best bedroom the bedstead is a tubular
half-tester, the toilet-ware gold and white, the carpet again tapestry.
Throughout the house the furniture is made of cedar. The kitchen is
summarily disposed of; Biddy has to content herself with d table,
dresser, safe, pasteboard and rolling-pin, and a couple of chairs. Her
bedroom furniture is even more scanty--a paillasse on trestles, a chair,
a half-crown looking-glass, an old jug and a basin on a wooden table.
Even in the houses of the wealthy poor Biddy is very badly treated in
this respect. In Muttonwool's house, if he keeps two servants, they both
sleep in one room, and not improbably share the same basin. Servants are
undoubtedly troublesome to a degree in Australia, but it is not
altogether a satisfactory feature in colonial life that the provision
made for their comfort is literally nil.

Having seen the £600 a year cottage it is almost needless to visit the
£300 and £400, belonging to clerks and the smaller shopkeepers. The style
is the same, but the quantity and quality inferior. For instance, the
drawing-room carpet is tapestry instead of Brussels; the dining-room
furniture is covered with horse-hair instead of leather, and so on. We
will go into the next cottage--less pretentious-looking and a little
smaller. The rent is twelve shillings a week, and it belongs to a
carpenter in good employ. Here there is no drawing-room, but the parlour
aspires to comfort quite undreamt of by an English tradesman. Our old
friends the horse-hair cedar couch, the gent's and lady's chairs together
with four balloon high chairs, turn up again. There is a four-foot
chiffonier, a tapestry carpet, a gilt chimney-glass, a hearthrug, a
bronze fender and fire-irons, and a round table with turned pillar and
carved claws. In the parents' bedroom are a half-tester bedstead with
coir-fibre or woollen flock mattress, two cane chairs, washstand,
toilet-table, glass and ware, towel-horse, chest of drawers, and a couple
of yards of bedside carpet. The two youngest children sleep in this room,
and three or four others in the second bedroom, where the bedsteads are
less showy and the ware very inferior. The carpet is replaced by china
matting. The chest of drawers does duty as a toilet-table, and there are
of course no such luxuries as towel-horses. Yet, take it all in all,
Chips has much to be thankful for.

With labour so dear as it is here, it is wonderful to think that a
working-man can furnish, and furnish comfortably, a four-roomed cottage
for £27; and yet this is what has recently been done in Melbourne by my
friend Hornyhand, who is a common labourer, earning only eight to nine
shillings a day, and paying about as much a week for rent. He is really
uncommonly well off, everything in his house being brand-new; and yet, as
he tells me, he is absolutely at the root of the honest social tree--the
worst paid of the working-classes. I think it worth while to subjoin his
bill. He certainly has not gone in for luxuries, but then he is of a
frugal mind. If he wanted it, his house could be as well furnished as
Chips'; but he doesn't see any object in wasting money on that kind of
thing, and is content with little:

Parlour.                                         £ s. d.

Cedar polished couch, covered with horse-hair    2 10 0
Four cane-seat chairs, each 7s. 6d.              1 10 0
Cedar polished table, 3 ft. 6 in., on claws      1 10 0
Maple rocking-chair, with elbows                 0 17 6
Carpet                                           1  5 0
Hearthrug, 8s. 6d. fender, 9s. irons, 6s. 6d.    1  4 0


French bedstead, 4 ft. 6 in. by 6 ft. 6 in.      1 15 0
Pair paillasses                                    12 6
Woollen flock mattrass                           1  0 0
Woollen flock bolster and 2 pillows                 8 0
Washstand, and rail attached                       10 6
Toilet table, to match                             10 6
Toilet glass, 14 in. by 10 in.                      8 6
2 cane-scat chairs (Albert), 6s. each              12 0
4 yards matting at 9d.                              3 0
Toilet-ware, six pieces                            12 6

Second Bedroom.

2 French bedsteads, 3 ft. by 6 ft. 6 in. at 30s. 3  0 0
4 paillasses, at 10s. per pair 1 0 0
2 woollen flock mattrasses, at 16. 3d. each      1 12 6
2 bolsters, flock, at 4s. 6d. each                  9 0
2 pillows, flock, at 3s. each                       6 0
Toilet chest of drawers
(to serve for toilet table), cedar               2  5 0
Toilet glass, 14 in. by 10 in.                      7 0
Washstand, 2 ft. 6 in.                             12 0
Wash, etc., 6 pieces                               12 6


Deal table, turned legs, varnished                10 6
2 wood chairs, each 4s. 6d.                        9 0
Safe in Kauri pine                                10 6
Pasteboard and rolling-pin                         4 0

                                              £27  7 0

Note.--That if he had not had two children to provide for in a second
bedroom, nor indulged in the luxury of a chest of drawers, the whole of
his furnishing would only have cost him £17 3s.

Before closing this letter, a word as to what may be called the
accessories of the household. But few families have any large quantity of
plate, and electro has almost entirely superseded silver; metal is not
common for dishes, and is quite unknown for plates. Nor is the crockery
at all a strong point even in the wealthiest houses. In the shops it is
almost impossible to get anything satisfactory in this line; and until
the exhibitions, nine Australians out of ten had no idea what was meant
by hand-painted china. The difference between china and earthenware is,
it goes almost without saying, little if at all appreciated, much less
that between hand-painted and stamped ware. The display of cut-glass at
the exhibitions was almost as great a revelation to colonists as that of
porcelain; hitherto all middle-class and most wealthy households have
been contented with the commonest stuff. Table-cloths and napkins are
also very second-rate, and sheets are almost invariably of calico.


That servants are the plague of life seems to be an accepted axiom
amongst English ladies of the upper middle class. When I hear them
discussing their grievances over their afternoon tea, I wish them no
worse fate than to have the management of an Australian household for a
week. It is not every Englishwoman whose peace of mind would survive the
trial. Many a young English wife have I seen unhappy in her married life
in the colonies, mainly on account of her domestics. And yet I doubt
whether the colonial mistress makes as much fuss about her real wrongs as
the English one about her imaginary grievances. Of course she can, if
drawn out, tell you enough ridiculous stories about her servants to fill
a number of _Punch_; but if they are only fools she is well content, and
it is only when she is left servantless for two or three days that she
waxes wroth.

Where mistresses are many and servants are few, it goes almost without
saying that large establishments are out of the question. Given equal
incomes, and the English mistress has twice as many servants as the
Australian, and what is more, twice as competent ones. Even our friend
Muttonwool only has six coachman, boy, cook, housemaid, nurse, and
parlourmaid. I don't suppose there are a hundred households in all
Australia which keep a butler pure and simple, though there must be
several thousand with what is generically known as a man-servant, who
gets twenty-five shillings a week, all found. A coachman's wages are on
the average about the same. The 'boy' gets ten shillings. Man-cooks are
rare. A decent female cook, who ranks out here as first-class, earns from
fifteen shillings to a pound a week. For this sum she is supposed to know
something about cooking; yet I have known one in receipt of a weekly
guinea look with astonishment at a hare which had been sent to her master
as a present, and declare that it was 'impossible to make soup out of
that thing.' After a little persuasion she was induced to try to make
hare-soup after Mrs. Beeton's recipe, but the result was such as to try
the politeness of her master's visitors. This lack of decent cooks is
principally due to the lack of establishments large enough to keep
kitchenmaids. Would-be cooks have no opportunity of acquiring their art
by training from their superiors; they gain their knowledge by
experiments on their employers' digestions; never staying long in one
place, they learn to make some new dishes at each house they go to, and
gradually rise in the wages-scale.

Directly you come to incomes below a thousand a year, the number of
servants is often reduced to a maid-of-all-work, more or less competent
according to her wages, which run from seven to fifteen shillings a week.
At the former price she knows absolutely nothing; at the latter something
of everything. She cooks, washes, sweeps, dusts, makes the beds, clears
the baths, and answers the, door. All is grist that comes to her mill;
and if she is Jill-of-all-trades and mistress of none, one must admit
that an English-bred servant would not be one quarter so suitable to
colonial requirements. Of course she is independent, often even cheeky,
but a mistress learns to put up with occasional tantrums, provided the
general behaviour and character are good. When we were first out here we
used to run a-muck with our servants about once a week; but now we find
it better to bear the ills we have than fly to others which we know not
of. Our present Lizzie is impertinent to a degree when reproved; but then
she can cook decently, and she is the first decent cook we have had since
we have been out here. When you have lived on colonial fare for a few
months, a good plain dinner covers a multitude of sins.

Unfortunately, four-fifths of our servants are Irish--liars and dirty.
These Irish are less impertinent than the colonials; but if you do get
hold of a well trained colonial, she is worth her weight in gold on
account of her heterogeneity. Your Irish immigrant at eight and ten
shillings a week has as often as not never been inside any other
household than her native hovel, and stares in astonishment to find that
you don't keep a pig on your drawing-room sofa. On entering your house,
she gapes in awe of what she considers the grandeur around her, and the
whole of her first day's work consists of ejaculating 'Lor' and
'Goodness!' We once had a hopeful of this kind who, after she had been
given full instructions as to how a rice-pudding was to be made, sat down
and wept bitterly for half an hour, till--her mistress having told her to
'bake'--the happy thought struck her to put a dish full of rice in the
oven, _sans_ milk _sans_ eggs, _sans_ everything. Another Biddy, engaged
by a friend of ours, having to make a yeast-cake, put it under her
bed-clothes 'just to plump it a bit.' A third, having been given a
bill-of-fare for the day, put soup, meat, and pudding all into one pot,
and served them up _au pot-pourri_.

But if Biddy is trying to the patience, her stupidity is to a mistress
accustomed to English ways almost more bearable than the
'go-as-you-please'--if I may borrow a phrase from the new American
athletic contests--of the colonial young lady, who comes to be engaged in
the most elegant of dresses, bows as she enters the room, seats herself,
and smilingly remarks, that she has heard that Mrs. So-and-So is wanting
a 'girl.' After a little discussion about the work, privileges, etc., and
upon the production of some written certificates--it is almost impossible
to obtain personal references, and if it were possible you could not rely
upon them--the engagement is made. The mistress requires a solemn promise
that the servant will come on a certain day, and as often as not the day
arrives without her. Our young lady has been round to a number of
mistresses and 'priced' their places; she will not wilfully put you in a
quandary, but if, after having engaged herself to you, she hears of
another situation where there is less work or more wages, she takes it in
preference, and leaves you to manage as best you can. Even when you have
got her and found her suitable, you can never tell at what moment she
will be pleased to be off 'Tuppence more and up goes the donkey!'--an
inconvenience which is felt much more here, where there is probably only
one servant in the house, than it would be in England.

But if it were only higher wages which tempted servants away the remedy
would be easy; a few pounds more a year would be cheerfully paid for the
convenience of a continuity of one's household arrangements. In one year
we have had ten servants. As there were no children, the place was an
easy one; but that seemed to make little difference. At first we kept
two, but they did nothing but quarrel; the cook left us on this account.
We took our new cook simply because she happened to be a friend of the
housemaid; but before long we found that it was out of the frying-pan
into the fire: the first two had quarrelled 'because there wasn't
sufficient work for two to do;' the second pair played together so much
that they never did any work. We banished them both, and tried keeping
only one servant, which many people had assured us would prove more
comfortable. So far they were right. Hitherto my wife's time had chiefly
been taken up with looking after the servants, to see that they did their
work; now peace reigned in the house. We gave our maid-of-all-work
fifteen shillings a week; we thought we had found a real treasure, and
for a month everything went on wheels. But at the end of that time, just
when she was getting accustomed to our ways and we to hers, Sarah gives a
week's notice; she had no fault to find with her mistress, but the place
was too dull. We offered two shillings a week extra but in vain. Our next
stayed six weeks; her reason for leaving was that she did not approve of
the back-yard. Number six stayed for three months; she was very nearly
leaving at the end of the first fortnight, but we won her heart by giving
her young man free access to the kitchen from 9 o'clock to 10.30 every
evening. Even then, however, she found the place too dull. Number eight
stayed two months; she left avowedly because she did not care to stop too
long in one place. The ninth remained only a fortnight. She left because
we objected to her staying out after eleven o'clock at night, although we
gave her three nights out a week after half-past eight.

When there are children in a middle-class family, a nurse-girl is
generally, but by, no means always, kept. Hers is the lowest of all the
branches of service, and is only taken by a young girl just going out
into the world. Trained nurses, such as are common at home, are in great
demand, and almost unobtainable. They can earn a pound a week easily, and
at such wages a man whose income only runs into three figures is forced
to put up with a nurse-girl. She undertakes no responsibility, her duties
being confined to carrying the baby and screaming at the other children
if they attempt to do themselves any bodily harm. If you wish to
understand what the average nurse-girl is like, you have but to walk
through any of the public gardens; you will see babies without number
left in the blazing sun, some hanging half-way out of their
perambulators, others sucking large, painted 'lollies' or green apples.
The elder children, if they are unruly, are slapped and sent off to play
by themselves, while the nurse-girls hold a confab on a neighbouring
bench. Not that these girls are necessarily bad, but they lack the
supervision and training of a head-nurse; they have been taught to look
upon nursing as derogatory, and never stay long enough as nurses to get
an experience in handling children. A few months of this, the lowest
stage of servant-galdom, and then they pass up into the maid-of-all-work
class. Thus it is that many mothers prefer undertaking the duties of
nurse themselves, and devote themselves to their children often at the
expense of their husbands, and certainly of all social relations.

Colonial servants are much too fond of change for change's sake ever to
stay long in one situation. A month's character is a sure guarantee for
another place, and only a week's notice is required on either side before
leaving. Hence servants are engaged and paid by the week; they do not
expect any presents or perquisites, and it is not the custom to make them
any allowance for beer. On the other hand, they will not stand being
allowanced for tea, sugar, butter, or anything of the kind, and as a rule
they fare in exactly the same style as their masters. Every other Sunday
afternoon and evening, one evening every week, and occasional public
holidays, are the customary outings, though we found it expedient to
allow a good many more.

The great redeeming-point about the servant-girl is the power she
acquires, of getting through a large and multifarious quantity of work.
She has frequently to do the whole house-work, cooking, washing, and
ironing for a family of six or seven, and unless the mistress or her
daughters are particularly helpful, it is out of all reason to expect
that any of these things can be well done. Of course there are some good
servants, but, unfortunately for their employers, the butchers and bakers
generally have a keen eye for such, arguing with great justice that a
good servant is likely to make a good wife.

The greater part of the high wages which servants get is spent on dress.
If ever they condescend to wear their mistress's left-off clothes, it is
only for work in the house; but the trouble they take to copy the exact
fashion and cut of their mistress's clothes is very amusing. One girl we
had frankly asked my wife to allow her to take a dress she admired to her
dressmaker, in order that she might have one made up like it. Whilst
girls in the upper and middle classes are very handy with their fingers,
and often make up their own hats and dresses, the servant-class despise
to do this, and almost invariably employ milliners, who often cheat them
dreadfully, knowing that they appreciate a hat or a dress much according
to the price they have paid for it, and the amount of show it makes. In
hats and bonnets this is specially noticeable; I have often seen our
servants with hats or bonnets on, which cannot have cost them less than
three or four pounds.

The shortest and upon the whole the best way to get a servant is by going
to one of the numerous registry offices. Some of these exist merely to
palm off bad servants upon you; but there are always offices of good
reputation, which will not recommend a girl they know absolutely nothing

The needlewoman is little in vogue here; but as nearly everyone washes at
home, washerwomen are plentiful; their wages run from four to five
shillings a day, according to their capabilities, food being of course

In spite of constant shipments from England, servants are always at a
premium, and I need scarcely point out what an excellent opening these
colonies afford for women-servants. Unfortunately, but a very small
proportion of the daughters of the poorer colonial working-class will go
into service. For some inexplicable reason, they turn up their noses at
the high wages and comparatively light work offered, and prefer to
undertake the veriest drudgery in factories for a miserable pittance. At
a recent strike in a large shirt-making factory in Melbourne, it came out
that a competent needlewoman could not make more than eighteen shillings
a week even by working overtime, and that the general average earnings of
a factory girl were only eleven to thirteen shillings a week. But so
great is the love of independence in the colonial girl, that she prefers
hard work and low wages in order to be able to enjoy freedom of an
evening. It is in vain that the press points out that girls whose parents
do not keep servants are accustomed to perform the same household duties
in their own homes that are required of them in service; that work which
is not degrading at home cannot be degrading in service; and that they
will be the better wives for the knowledge of household work which they
acquire in service. They might as well preach to the winds; and there are
more applications for employment in shops and factories than there is
work for, whilst mistresses go begging for lady-helps. There is a sad
side to this picture as regards the social condition of the colonies, in
addition to the inconvenience to people who keep servants. The girls who
go into shops and factories, and have their evenings to themselves,
necessarily undergo a great deal of temptation, and it is undeniable that
they are not at all delivered from evil. The subject is out of keeping
with these letters, but unless some means can be found to reconcile
colonial girls to service, I fear an evil is growing up in our midst
which is likely to be even more baneful in its effects upon the community
than the corresponding tendency to 'larrikinism' amongst colonial youths.

Since writing the above, an article on the subject has appeared in the
Melbourne _Argus_ which is worth quoting in _extenso_:

'We have undertaken to consider whether anything can be done to overcome
the unwillingness which nearly all Australian girls exhibit to enter
domestic service. There is an abundant supply of female labour in the
colony, but unfortunately it is not distributed in the way that would be
most advantageous to the community and beneficial to the women
themselves. While household servants can scarcely be had for love or
money, the clothing factories are crowded with seamstresses, who are
content to work long hours at what are very much like starvation wages.
How is this? We have shown that there is nothing in domestic work which
any true woman need consider degrading; that the most refined and highly
educated ladies have in all ages considered themselves properly employed
when busy about household affairs; that servants have quite as many
opportunities of forming matrimonial connections as factory girls, and
that their training fits them to become much better, and therefore far
happier wives. We have no doubt that all this, or at least the greater
part, would be admitted by the seamstresses themselves: but nevertheless
the fact remains that to domestic service they will not go. There is a
feeling in existence amongst them that in some way or other household
labour is menial occupation, and that to undertake it is to lose caste in
the class to which they belong. We may call this fantastic idea "vanity"
or "false pride," or what we will; but that does not do anything to
banish it, or to render it less potent for mischief. Seeing that so much
is at stake--that employers are clamouring for servants, and that women
are sadly in want of some occupation which would lessen competition and
raise wages in the sewing business--it is evident that society is deeply
interested in getting rid of the ridiculous notion. As a first step
towards that desirable consummation, let us endeavour to analyse the
impression which exists in the minds of those who turn their backs upon
household duties, and with their eyes open devote themselves to a
laborious and underpaid occupation.

'A correspondent ( _The Argus_, December 16) informs us that observation
and the remarks he has heard made by factory girls have led him to think
that there are three serious objections which the seamstresses have to
domestic service. One of these is--"The idea of degradation, attached to
the position of a 'slavey' in the minds of the lower classes themselves."
As we have seen that there is nothing degrading in the work itself which
servants are called upon to do, how comes it that its performance is
considered less honourable than sewing or serving in a shop? The notion
must take its rise in the conditions under which domestic service is
rendered. The sewing girl or the shop-woman has certain business hours,
outside of which she is as independent as her employer, and as little
amenable to control. The household servant, on the other hand, is under
discipline, and liable to be called on to do this, that, or the other
during every hour of the twenty-four. From the time she gets up in the
morning to the moment she goes to bed at night, she has no hour which of
right she can reckon on as her own. If she wishes to go out she must ask
permission; if she wants to receive a friend, she cannot rely on being
left undisturbed. As a matter of fact, servants in this colony enjoy a
very large measure of liberty, and those who are worth their salt very
seldom have to complain of want of consideration or indulgence. If they
do not meet with proper treatment, they can easily find situations where
more regard is had to their feelings and comfort. But the thought that
the leisure and freedom they enjoy is due in a great measure to favour,
and not to right, is the fly in the ointment of the domestic's lot which
renders it distasteful to many women, and which causes it to be looked
down on by those who exist under far less favourable conditions. It seems
to us that it is the want of some definite respite from liability to work
which constitutes the "slavery" of which our correspondent speaks. If we
are right in our supposition, then it is evident that employers have it
in their power to take away the reproach from domestic servitude, by
assimilating the conditions of household employment to those which attach
to industrial occupations. Why should not servants have regular hours of
work, outside which they would be absolutely free to go where, or to do
as they please, without asking permission or fearing interruption? If
such arrangements were to become customary, we can hardly doubt that the
prejudice against domestic service would die out. The attractions of
higher wages, equal freedom, better board, and more comfortable lodging
would soon do their work.

'It may be said that such a change as we propose would entirely alter the
relations between mistresses and their "helps." No doubt it would. But we
may ask why the relations between mistresses and servants should continue
as they were in semi-feudal times, when the relations of other classes of
society to each other have been resettled on an entirely different basis?
Nearly all sorts of service now are matters of simple contract, and we
know of no reason why domestic engagements should not be regulated in the
same way. It would be better for employers to have a plentiful supply of
efficient servants liable to work eight or ten hours per diem, than a
scanty stock of discontented women whose services they can command day
and night. With altered relations, we should soon have a change of
demeanour on both sides. The correspondent we have quoted says that
another of the things which prevents seamstresses from "going into
service," is "the over-anxiety of mistresses that servants should know
their position." In a democratic country like this, where young people
are brought up with the idea that one man or woman is as good as another,
we can easily understand that any assertion of superiority on the part of
employers, or attempt to exact an outward show of deference, is very
galling to undisciplined minds. Those who have been accustomed to be
waited on from childhood upwards, are never very careful to insist on
those forms and modes of address which at one time servants invariably
adopted. As long as they are well served, they are content to sacrifice
something to the modern spirit of equality. It is those who have risen in
the social scale late in life who are always standing on their dignity
and exacting homage. If the latter class would moderate its pretensions,
a stumbling-block would be removed from the entrance to domestic service.
We already have several agencies for training servants; could they not
add to their duties the work of training mistresses in the ideas we have
set forth, and in any others which are likely to diminish the distaste of
Australian girls for household work? If they would take the matter in
hand in a practical way, and familiarise the public mind with the notion
of limited domestic labour, they would, we believe, do much to promote
the comfort of home life in Victoria, and to improve the position of
female labour.'


Generally speaking, food in Australia is cheaper and more plentiful than
in England, but poorer in quality. Adulteration is, of course, as yet
unknown, or but very little known, for the simple reason that it costs
more to adulterate than to provide the genuine article. The working-man's
food here is also immeasurably better and cheaper. Mutton he gets almost
for the asking, and up-country almost without it. Bread is only 1¼d. to
2d. a pound, and all the necessaries of life are good, healthy, and
fairly cheap. But the richer man, who asks for more than soundness in the
quality of his food, finds himself worse off than in London. Meat of the
same quality as he gets at his club in Pall Mall is not to be got in
Collins Street for love or money. The flour is the best in the world, and
the bread wholesome and sweet; but the toothsomeness of German and French
bakers is not to be had, and the finest qualities of flour are all
shipped to England instead of being used here. The dearness of labour
makes it impossible to give the same care to the cultivation of fruit and
vegetables; and though these are cheap enough, the delicate flavour of
Convent Garden is hardly compensated by their superior freshness. In
short, our food is somewhat coarse, albeit wholesome enough.

Up-country the meat is excellent; but in the towns it is not, as a rule,
so good as in England, as the sheep and cattle have often to be driven
long distances before they are slaughtered. Prices vary according to the
different towns, seasons, and qualities from 6d. to 2½d. a lb. for beef,
and from 4d. to l½d. for mutton. Pork is from 9d. to 7d.; veal from 8d.
to 4d. All kinds of fruit and vegetables, except Brussels sprouts, are
cheap and plentiful. I will quote one or two prices at random from a
market-book: artichokes, l½d. a lb.; tomatoes, 2d. a lb.; beetroot and
cabbages, 1s. 6d. a dozen; potatoes, 6s. a cwt. During the season fruit
is very cheap. Splendid Muscatel grapes can be bought in Adelaide from
ld. to 2d. a lb.; peaches, 3d. a dozen; apricots, 2d. a dozen;
raspberries, 5d. a lb.; cherries, 2d. a lb.; strawberries, 4d.; plums
almost for nothing; but by far the best is the passion-fruit. Neither
vegetables nor fruit, as sold in the markets and shops, are as good as
those you buy in England. The inferior quality is due to the
grow-as-you-please manner in which the fruit is cultivated, pruning and
even the most ordinary care being neglected; but you can get as
fine-flavoured fruit here as anywhere, and to taste grapes in perfection
you must certainly go to Adelaide.

Of course meat is the staple of Australian life. A working-man whose
whole family did not eat meat three times a day would indeed be a
phenomenon. High and low rich and poor, all eat meat to an incredible
extent, even in the hottest weather. Not that they know how to prepare it
in any delicate way, for to the working and middle, as well as to most of
the wealthy classes, cooking is an unknown art. The meat is roast or
boiled, hot or cold, sometimes fried or hashed. It is not helped in mere
slices, but in good substantial hunks. In everything the colonist likes
quantity. You can hardly realize the delight of 'tucking in' to a dish of
fruit at a dinner-party. I once heard a colonist say, 'I don't like your
nasty little English slices of meat: _we_ want something that we can put
our teeth into.' Imagine the man's misery when dessert came on the table,
and he was asked whether he would take a _slice_ of pear! Vegetables are
for the most part despised, though the thoroughly old English dish of
greens remains in favour, and potatoes are largely eaten.

Tea may fairly claim to be the national beverage. A large majority of the
population drink it with every meal, and you find cases of this even in
the metropolitan middle classes. With them, however, it is more usual to
drink beer with their mid-day meal, and to have meat-tea in the evening.
This practice extends through the upper and middle classes, and into many
wealthy houses. Next to tea may be ranked beer, English or colonial,
which I have come to think is a necessity to the English-speaking races.
But no colonist drinks much at meals. He prefers to quench his thirst at
every opportunity that may occur between. In all country towns, if you go
to see a man on business, out comes the whisky-bottle. If you meet an old
friend, his first greeting is, 'Come and have a nobbler!' No bargain can
be concluded without it. If it is a warm day, you must have a nobbler to
quench your thirst; if it is freezing, to keep the cold out. There is no
trade at which more fortunes have been made here than the publican's. The
most exclusive and the most out-at-elbows find a common meeting-place in
the public-house; although it is only fair to say that the custom of
'shouting,' as it is called, is going--if it has not gone--out of fashion
amongst the better classes in the capital cities. Beer, or more
frequently spirits, form the favourite 'nobbler,' the price of which
varies from fourpence to eightpence in Sydney and Adelaide according to
the drink. In Melbourne all drinks are sixpence. There is a current
story--which I know to be true--of two well-known colonials, who, on
landing from the P. and 0. steamer at Southampton, immediately entered
the first public-house, and asked for 'two nobblers of English ale.'
Having drunk the ale, which was highly approved of, one of them put down
a shilling, and was walking off, when the barmaid recalled him, and
offered eightpence change. 'By G----!' was their simultaneous
exclamation, 'this is a land to live in, where you can get two nobblers
of English ale for fourpence! let us drink our shilling's-worth.'

Like their American cousins, the Australians are of opinion that there is
no liquid worthy to be mentioned by the side of 'champagne.' It requires
some education to acquire a taste for claret. To the uninitiated sherry
and port are chiefly palatable for their spirituousness; but everyone is
born with a taste for champagne. It does not follow that everyone knows
what constitutes good champagne. No merchant or lawyer, or anyone whose
income is over £500 a year, dare give a party without champagne. It is
champagne which gives _ton_. For this purpose it need not be very good.

The _sine quibus non_ are a well-known brand and a 'gold-top.' Moët's or
Roëderer's _carte d'or_ is the party-goer's criterion of the success of
the entertainment. As soon as he sees the label, he swallows the wine,
good or bad--more probably bad, for most champagnes, like all other
wines, are 'specially prepared for the Australian market,' and you know
what that means. 'Body,' or what captious folk would call 'heaviness,' is
the first condition of good wine to the colonial taste. The lower middle
and lower classes also like it sweet; but of course a man who drinks any
quantity of wine prefers it dry. Besides the champagne drunk for show,
there is--in spite of a 20s. a dozen duty--a large quantity consumed in
the way of nobblers, and at dinner by wealthy men. When a man has made a
lucky speculation, or has just got a large order, he treats his friends
to a bottle of champagne.

I have not seen burgundy half a dozen times since I have been here. The
old colonist finds claret thin and sour; but the younger generation are
beginning to take to it, although there is no wine harder to obtain here
than claret. Nine-tenths of what one buys is adulterated. His knowledge
of _crûs_ being naturally limited, the colonist likes to see on his wine
a fine label, one which makes the quality of the wine easily
comprehensible to him. Thus the most successful claret sold here is
divided according to degrees of nastiness into five ranks, and you ask
for So-and-So's No. 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, irrespective of vintage or year. 'Bon
ordinaire' is of course unobtainable, but you can get 'Chateau Margaux,'
duty paid, at from 40s. to 50s. a dozen. I was once asked to buy some
wine bearing that label for 2s. 6d. a bottle. The names of one or two
well-known wines having reached your host's ears, he likes to show you by
the name on the label that he is giving them to you; and, unfortunately,
Margaux and Lafitte _labels_ cost no more than any other.

A good deal of sherry and port--even more brandied than for the English
market--is drunk. A wealthy man will never give you colonial wine, not
because it is necessarily worse than the imported stuff on his table, but
because it is colonial. Amongst the middle classes it is beginning to
find favour. A great deal of extravagant praise has been lavished in the
press on these wines since the Bordeaux Exhibition, and I fear that many
who taste them for the first time will be disappointed. They are too
heady, and for the most part wanting in bouquet, whilst their distinctive
character repels the palate, which is accustomed to European growths. But
for all that, I cannot understand how men with only moderate means living
out here can pay large prices for very inferior imported wines, when a
good sound, palatable wine is obtainable at from 15s. to 25s. a dozen. At
the latter price a Sauvignon approaching to claret, grown close to
Melbourne, is obtainable, which is really excellent; and the white
hermitage from the same district, as well as from the Hunter River
district in New South Wales, at 15s. a dozen, is also as good as one can
wish, short of a _grand vin_, although in none of these wines do you
entirely lose the _goût du terroir_, a peculiar earthy taste resulting
from the strength of the soil. The cheapest wholesome wine I have ever
drunk off the Continent is a thin _vin ordinaire_, smelling like
_piquette_, which is sold at a certain rather low-looking shop in
Melbourne. It is quite palatable, and when heavily watered I can vouch
for its wholesomeness.

The lightest of these wines contain about 18 degrees of spirit, whereas,
as you know, an 'ordinaire' has only about 8, and a burgundy not more
than 11 or 12. But the native wines which are generally preferred by the
colonists themselves are the South Australian. In spite of a duty of 10s.
a dozen, large quantities of Adelaide wine are drunk in Melbourne. Its
chief characteristics are sweetness and heaviness. It may seem to you
incredible, but I have drunk a wine made from the Verdeilho grape, and,
grown near Adelaide by a Mr. C. Bonney, which contained no less than 36
degrees of natural spirit, without a drop added: 32 and 33 degrees are
quite common, and the average percentage in South Australian wine is
about 28.

In most cases the wines are named after the grape from which they are
made, though sometimes the less sensible course of calling the wine
'claret,' 'sherry,' or 'port,' is adopted. I say less sensible, because
all colonial wines have a peculiar flavour, which makes it difficult to
mistake them for the wines they profess to imitate. The
Carbinet-Sauvignon grape, which I believe is the principal one used in
the Bordeaux district, produces here a wine something like what you get
on the Rhone. The Riesling, a Rhineland grape, resembles a brandied hock;
it makes one of the best wines, and is often very palatable. The red and
white Hermitage grapes do best of all. The Muscatel makes a delicious
sweet wine in Adelaide, but it is very heady. I have no doubt that in the
course of time, and when more scientific methods are pursued, South
Australia will produce excellent ports and sherries, as well as
Constantias, Malagas, and madeira, but I fear it will not be within the
present generation. Claret, I understand from experts, will never be
produced, but hermitages and wines of that type will be made in the
course of ten or twenty years which will be able to compete in the
European markets; long before this they should become useful for blending
with French and Spanish wines. As a rule the wine is already sound and
wholesome; and if one comes to think of it, taste is a purely arbitrary
matter. One forms one's taste according to a certain standard to which
one is accustomed. To a man accustomed to colonial wines, clarets and
hocks seem thin and sour. One great difficulty which militates against
the reputation of Australian wine, is that of the untrustworthiness of
all but a few brands. Of course all vintages from the same grapes differ,
but there is a margin of difference beyond which a wine may not go, and
with many an Australian _vigneron_ this margin is frequently passed,
owing to carelessness or inexperience in manufacture. Another drawback is
the difficulty of procuring all but the most immature wine. Nearly the
whole of each vintage is drunk within twelve months after it is made.
That Australian wines will ever compete with the famous French _crûs_ I
should very much doubt, but that they will in the course of the next
twenty years gradually supersede with advantage a great deal of the
manufactured stuff now drunk in England is more than probable. At present
the prices are too high for Australian wines to find any large market at
home. Although it is of course an exceptional case, there is an Adelaide
madeira which fetches as much as 63s. per dozen within two miles of the
vineyard. Nothing now obtainable in Australia under 15s. a dozen would be
worth sending home, and by the time freight and duty is added to that,
the London price would be considerable.

I have already made allusion to that peculiar phase of Australian
life--nobblerising; but, if I am not mistaken, the impression left on
your mind will be that the nobbler is either of aristocratic champagne or
plebeian beer. But there are two other liquids--whisky and brandy--which
play an important part in nobblerising. The quantity of spirits drunk in
Australia is appalling. Whisky is the favourite spirit, then brandy, and
rarely Schiedam, schnapps, or gin. And what about drunkenness?
Statistically it is not very much worse than in England, but the
difference lies in the class who get drunk. Here it is not merely the
lower classes, but everybody that drinks. Not a few of the wealthiest and
most leading citizens are well-known to be frequently drunk, though their
names do not, of course, appear in the papers or in the police reports.
The state of public feeling on the subject, though improving, is much as
it was in England twenty or thirty years ago. Society says, 'Capital
fellow, Jones; pity he drinks!' but no social reprobation attaches to
Jones. He may be known to be carried to bed every night, for all it
affects his reputation as a respectable and respected citizen. But with
the advance of civilization better times are coming in these matters. It
is no more so absolute a necessity to take a nobbler as it was ten years
ago. Drunkenness, if not reprobated, is no longer considered a
'gentlemanly vice.' A man who drinks is pitied. This is the first step.
Before long blame will tread in the steps of pity.

But enough of drinking. It is not a pleasant subject. Besides, I have not
yet described the food of any but the working-class. And if they live ten
times better than their fellows at home, it is equally true that the
middle, and especially the upper, class live ten times worse. It requires
the tongue and the pen of a Brillat-Savarin to give flavour to a
Barmecide's feast; but as victualling is as necessary a condition of
existence here as anywhere else, I must do my best to enlighten you as to
our situation in this respect. May you never have practical experience
thereof! If it be true that, while the French eat, the English only feed,
we may fairly add that the Australians 'grub'. Nor could it well be
otherwise under the circumstances. It is not merely because it is
difficult to entice a good cook to come out here. If he really wants a
thing, the wealthy colonist will not spare money to get it; but how can
you expect a man who--for the greater part of his life--has been eating
mutton and damper, and drinking parboiled tea three times a day, to
understand the art of good living? Even if he does, he finds it
unappreciated by those around him; and there are few men fond enough of
the luxuries of life to be singular in their enjoyment. It takes a lot of
trouble to get and keep a good cook, and there is nothing the Australian
abhors like trouble. Consequently--I am now speaking only of the
wealthy--he adopts one of two courses.

Either he gives occasional grand dinners, in which case he imagines he
has got a good cook because he is paying £60 or £70 a year for him--no
very large salary even in England for a _chef_; or he is contented to
live anyhow. In the latter case he dines at his club (where, by the way,
he gets a very fair meal) in the middle of the day, and has meat-tea in
the evening. In both cases the family dinner is much the same. No. 1
cannot see the use of having what he would call a 'spread' for his own
selfish benefit, and leaves his grand cook unemployed the greater part of
the week. The dinner consists of beef or mutton, roast or boiled,
potatoes and greens, bread-and-butter pudding, and cheese. The details
change, but the type is always the same--what his wife calls 'a good
plain English dinner, none of your unwholesome French kickshaws,' which
are reserved for company. Fortunately his cook, if not very expert in the
'foreign' dishes required to be concocted for company, has generally
pretty correct notions within the limits of the family dinner.

But it is not so with No. 2, and with the large middle class who all live
in the same way. The usual female cook at 12s. a week is not even capable
of sending up a plain meal properly. Her meat is tough, and her potatoes
are watery. Her pudding-range extends from rice to sago, and from sago to
rice, and in many middle-class households pudding is reserved for Sundays
and visitors. A favourite summer dish is stewed fruit, and, as it is not
easy to make it badly, there is a great deal to commend in it. At the
worst, it is infinitely preferable to fruit tart with an indigestible

Ye gentlemen of England, who sit at home at ease, how astonished you
would be to see your daughter Maud, whose husband is a well-to-do lawyer
in considerable practice, setting the table herself because she cannot
rely upon her servant doing it properly! And then she goes into the
kitchen, and teaches cook how to make pie-crust. If children are
numerous, or her husband is not getting on quite so well as could be
wished, she will not be able to have a servant to wait at table. What
wonder, then, if she gives up late dinner and has a meat-tea, at which
everything can be put on the table at once. A colonial-bred lady has
generally learnt something of good plain cooking, but the English
mistress often breaks down before the serious and multifarious nature of
her duties. It is by no means uncommon for her to be suddenly left
servantless for two or three days; and if she does not possess great
adaptability of disposition, the whole house is bound to be at
sixes-and-sevens, and all its occupants, including herself, in anything
but a pleasant state of mind. If a woman is worth her salt, she will not
mind these things, or rather she will make the best of them; but it is
not every English young lady whose love for her husband, present or
future, will carry her through these domestic hurricanes; and, if not,
she had better not come out here, although husbands are plentiful. Except
amongst a very small class who can afford luxuries, the
girl-of-the-period is out of place in Australia.


I doubt whether in my preceding letters I have made the distinction
between Melbourne and its sister capitals sufficiently plain. I shall
perhaps best convey it by saying that Melbourne is quasi-metropolitan,
while both Sydney and Adelaide are alike provincial in their mode of
life. In the matters of which I have been writing, the difference has
hardly been sufficient to warrant a separate treatment; but with regard
to dress, it becomes so noticeable, that not to treat of Melbourne
separately would convey a false idea. For in dress it is not too much to
say that the ladies of Melbourne are luxurious-a charge which could
scarcely be brought against Australians in any other particular that I
can think of. And take them all-in-all, they do not dress badly; indeed,
if one considers the distance from Paris, and the total want of a
competent leader of fashion, they may be said to dress well, especially
of late years. The highly fantastic and gorgeous costumes for which
Melbourne used to be notorious are fast disappearing. Successful diggers
no longer take their wives into a shop, and ask how much colour and stuff
can be put into a dress for fifty pounds. Already outrageousness is
confined to a few, and when I say that it is generally agreed to be 'bad
form,' you will understand that its death-blow has been struck and the
hearse ordered. Bright colours are still in vogue, but they are not
necessarily loud or unpleasant beneath the austral sun, and the act of
combining them is beginning to be understood. When one remembers how
their houses are furnished, and what their general style of living is it
is astonishing to find Melbourne ladies dressing so brilliantly and yet
with so little vulgarity.

But it is not among the _grand monde_--if the term be not ridiculous as
applied to Victoria--that you must go to discover taste. I am not sure
that, class for class, the rich do not show the least taste in their
apparel. Many of them send to Paris for their dresses, and pay sums,
which make one's mouth water, to be dressed in the latest fashion; but I
fancy that the French _modistes_ manufacture a certain style of attire
for the Australian taste, just as the French merchants manufacture
clarets for the Australian market. It is a compound of the _cocotte_
and the American. Nor when she has got a handsome dress does the
Melbourne _grande dame_ know how to wear it; she merely succeeds in
looking what a Brighton lodging-house keeper once defined to me as a
'carriage-lady.' A lady of the English upper middle-class dressed by a
London milliner looks infinitely better.

There are some costumes worn by Victorian ladies which you will never see
worn by any other ladies; but for all that, the middle and even the lower
class am by no means destitute of ideas about dress. Compare the
Melbourne with the Birmingham or Manchester factory girl, or the young
lady in a Collins Street retail establishment with the shop-girl in any
but the most aristocratic part of London; the old country will come out
second-best. And why is it? It is no easy question to answer; at the
bottom is undoubtedly that general love of display, which is almost as
characteristic of Melbourne as it is of Paris. But then what is the cause
of that? And a love of display, though it may be and is amongst the
wealthy productive of grand dresses, as it is of grand dinners and grand
furniture, does not make taste--e.g., the Second Empire; and though it
would be going too far to say that the ladies of Melbourne dress
tastefully, it is within the truth to give them credit for a tendency
towards taste. Throughout England the middle and lower classes dress
hideously. Why should the first generation of Victorians show a
disposition to abandon the ugly? I leave it to some aesthetic philosopher
to find out the reason, and content myself with noting the fact. If I
wanted to moralize, I have little doubt that the drapers' and milliners'
accounts of these 'young ladies' would furnish a redundant text, and
that, although a large number of them make up their dresses themselves
from paper patterns or illustrations in _Myra's Journal_. How they can
afford to dress as well as they do, they and their mothers best know; but
the bow here and the flower there are not costly things, and the mere
fact of being able to cut out a dress so as not to look dowdy shows
natural taste. It is the rarest of sights to see a real Melbourne girl
look dowdy. Her taste sometimes runs riot: it is exuberant, and becomes
vulgar and flash; but even then the vulgarity and flashness are of a
superior type to those of her equals across the ocean.

Sydney and Adelaide are distinctly superior to English towns of the same
size in the matter of apparel; but they will not bear comparison with
Melbourne. On the other hand, gorgeous and flash dresses are very rare in
the smaller cities. If they have not the talent of Melbourne, neither do
they share its blots. They go along at a steady jog-trot, and are content
to take their fashions second-hand from Melbourne, but with
modifications. Their more correct and sober taste will not tolerate even
many of the extravagances of which London is guilty--such extravagances,
for instance, as the Tam O'Shanter cap, which was warmly taken up in
Melbourne. But with all this good sense, they remain dowdy.

I have said nothing hitherto of married ladies' dress. When a colonial
girl marries, she considers herself, except in rare instances, on the
shelf, and troubles herself very little about what she wears. As a rule,
she has probably too many other things to take up her time. She has got a
husband, and what more can she want? He rarely cares what she has on, as
soon as the honeymoon is over. There is no one else to please, and I fear
that colonial girls are not of those who dress merely for themselves;
they like to be admired, and they appreciate the value of dress from a
flirtation point of view. Their taste is rather the outcome of a desire
to please others than of a sense of aesthetics. It is relative, and not
absolute. When once the finery has served its purpose, they are ready to
renounce all the pomps and vanities of this wicked world. And if the
moralist says that this argues some laxness of ideas before marriage, let
him remember that it is equally indicative of connubial bliss. Once
married, her flirtations are at an end--'played out,' if I may use the

In another respect the Victorian is the direct opposite of the
_Parisienne_. If you leave general effects, and come to pull her dress
to pieces, you find that the metal is only electro, to whatever rank of
life she may belong. The general appearance may be pleasing, but in
detail she is execrable. Not but that the materials of her dress are rich
enough, so that my electro simile will hardly hold water; but money does
not make the artist. Let us begin with the bonnet. Walk down Collins
Street at the time of the block on Saturday, and I doubt whether you can
count half a dozen bonnets which are both pretty and suitable to the face
and head of the wearer. _Bien chaussée et bien gantée_ might be Greek
as far as Australia is concerned, and if by chance you see a stocking or
any portion of the under-clothing, you will have your eyes opened.
Whatever does not meet the eye is generally of the commonest. It would be
thought a sinful waste of money to have anything particularly good or
expensive which other people could not see. The light of Melbourne is
never likely to hide itself under a bushel; external adornment is the
_mot d'ordre_. Ribbons and laces, or anything that helps to improve the
look of a dress, the colonial lady will indulge in freely and even
extravagantly; but you must not penetrate her tinsel armour.

Owing to the climate, hats are much more frequently in use than bonnets,
and if the merit of subdued tints is unappreciated, it is not often that
the eye is shocked by the glaring discords to which Englishwomen are so
prone. Fringes are much worn, and the hair is often parted on the side.
In spite of the heat, _gants de suède_ find very little favour; they
look dirty, and with a 25 per cent. duty cannot be renewed every day. The
usual English fashions find their way to Melbourne in about eight months,
and this is the more convenient, because your summer is our winter, and
_vice versa_. Spring and autumn we agree to forget; this is rather a
pity, because practically nine-twelfths of our year are spring and
autumn, and on a bright July or August day the dress which is appropriate
to a London fog in December looks singularly out of place. Sealskins and
furs are worn till you almost imagine it must be cold, which during
daylight it hardly ever is in this country. In summer, suitable
concessions become obligatory, and dresses are made of the thinnest and
lightest materials. Pompadour prints and white calicoes reign supreme,
and look better than anything else. It is then that the poorer classes
are able to dress best, the material being cheap. Winter stuffs are
expensive, and to a great degree their effectiveness is in direct ratio
to their cost; but during quite half of the Australian year the poor meet
the rich, if not on an equality, at any rate on much fairer terms than at
home with regard to dress.

Servants, of course, ape their mistresses' dresses as in England, and
generally manage to produce a delightful sense of incongruity in their
attire; but for all that, they are much less dowdy than English servants.

So much for ladies' dress. Change the sexes, and the picture is by no
means so pleasing; for thorough untidiness of person, there can surely be
no one to beat the Australian. Above all must one beware of judging a
man's position by his coat. It is impossible to tell whether the dirty
old man who slouches along the street is a millionaire or a beggar. The
older his coat, and the dirtier his shirt, the more the probabilities are
in favour of the millionaire. Perhaps he thinks he can afford to dress as
he pleases. The city men are more careful of their personal appearance,
and have kept up the shadow and image of London. They wear shiny
frock-coats and the worst-brushed and most odd-shaped of top-hats, and
imagine they are well-dressed; at least I suppose they do, for they seem
to have a sort of contempt for the spruce tweed suits and round hats of
'new chums,' and such of the rising generation as have followed their
example and adopted that fashion. Can you imagine yourself wearing a
black coat and high hat with the thermometer jogging about from 70º to
110º in the shade? If the coat were decently cut, and of good cloth and
well-brushed, and the silk hat well-shapen and neat, I might put you down
a fool, but would admit your claims to be a dandy. But as it is, most of
our city men are both uncomfortable and untidy. Their clothes look as if
they had been bought ready-made at a slop-shop. The tie they prefer is a
black bootlace; if not, it is bound to be of the most tasteless colour
and pattern you can think of. A heavy gold watch-chain and diamond ring
is _de rigueur_, but otherwise they do not wear much jewellery. Their
hair, like their clothes, generally wants brushing, and hands and nails
are not always so clean as they might be; but one knows that for the most
part they tub every morning: this is a consolation.

The bushman, at least, dresses sensibly. Wen he comes into town, he puts
on a slop-coat, but retains, if not a cabbage-tree, at any rate a
wide-brimmed, soft felt hat. Sacrificing comfort to ceremony, he
generally puts on a collar, but he often kicks at a tie: he finds he must
draw a line somewhere. But there is something so redolent of the bush
about him, that one would not have him otherwise; the slop clothes even
become picturesque from the cavalier fashion in which he wears them. Note
that his pipe never leaves his mouth, while the city man does not venture
to smoke in any of the main streets. He is a regular Jack ashore, this
bushman. A bull would not be more out of place in a china-shop, though
probably less amusing and more destructive. The poor fellow meets so many
friends in town, that by the end of the day he has probably had more
nobblers than are altogether good for him. It is a very hard life that he
leads, and he takes his pleasure, like his work, hardly.

If the Adelaidians are perhaps the least got-up, they are certainly the
most suitably dressed of the inhabitants of Australian towns. With them
the top hat is comparatively of recent introduction. Silk coats and
helmets are numerous still, though becoming more rare every day.
Melbourne and Sydney think it _infra dig._ to allow themselves these
little comforts, and Adelaide is gradually becoming corrupted. It must,
however, be added that the Adelaide folk are the most untidy, as the
Melbourne are the least untidy of Australians. Comfort and elegance do
not always go hand in hand. Tweeds are beginning to come into use amongst
the upper middle, as they long have in the lower middle and lower
classes. Capital stuffs are made at Sydney, Melbourne, Ballarat, and
Geelong; but the patterns are very common. In a dusty place like this it
is impossible to keep black clothes clean, and tweeds give far the best
wear and appearance of any stuff. For my own part, I wear them winter and

The working-classes can, of course, afford to be, and are, better dressed
than at home; for though clothes are in reality much dearer, they are
much cheaper in proportion to wages. They do not often wear black coats
in the week, but keep them for Sundays and grand occasions. Directly an
immigrant has landed, he feels that his first earnings must be devoted to
a Sunday go-to-meeting suit. His fellow-men all have one, and he does not
like to feel himself their inferior, even with regard to a coat.


Hitherto I have been writing of the properties and adjuncts of Australian
life. It is high time to say something of the colonists themselves. And,
here I shall describe the types which the colony has produced and is
producing, rather than such modifications as colonists born and bred in
England have undergone during their subsequent residence in
Australia--colonials as distinct from colonists.

Perhaps of their first stage of existence the less said the better. I
have a holy horror of babies, to whatever nationality they may belong;
but for general objectionableness I believe there are none to compare
with the Australian baby. It is not only that the summer heat and sudden
changes of climate make him worse-behaved than his _confrères_ over
the ocean, but the little brute is omnipresent, and I might almost add
omnipotent. Nurses are more expensive and mothers less fastidious than in
England. Consequently, baby lives in the family circle almost from the
time of its birth. Nurseries are few and far between. He is lashed into a
chair by his mother's side at meals; he accompanies her when she is
attending to her household duties, and often even when she is receiving
her visitors. But if this were all I would say nothing. French children
are brought up in a similar way; and in their case it certainly has its
advantages as far as the child is concerned, whatever may be the
inconvenience to the adults amongst whom it is brought. It is easy to
avoid families whose children make themselves nuisances to visitors. But
the middle and lower classes of Australians are not content with the
baby's supremacy in the household. Wherever his mother goes, baby is also
taken. He fills railway carriages and omnibuses, obstructs the pavement
in perambulators, and is suckled _coram populo_ in the Exhibition.
There is no getting away from him, unless you shut yourself up
altogether. He squalls at concerts; you have to hold him while his mother
gets out of the omnibus, and to kiss him if you are visiting her house.

It is little better when he gets old enough to walk and talk. Having once
made the household bow down before him, he is slow to relinquish the
reins of office. Possession is nine points of the law. It requires a
stern parent to make good the tenth. If the child no longer cries or has
to be kissed, he makes up for it in other ways. He has breathed the free
air of Australian independence too early to have much regard for the
fifth commandment. To make himself a nuisance till he gets what he wants
is the art he first learns and to this end he considers all means
legitimate. Strict and _a fortiori_ severe measures towards children
are at a discount in Australia, and, considering the surrounding
circumstances, by no other means can they be rendered tractable. The
child has no restrictions put on his superabundant animal spirits, and he
runs wild in the most extraordinary, and often to elders, unpleasant
freaks. Certes the second stage is but little less unpleasant than the

When it gets into petticoats or breeches, the child must be treated of
according to sex. And here _place aux demoiselles_, for from this time
upwards they are a decided improvement upon their brothers. The
Australian schoolgirl, with all her free-and-easy manner, and what the
Misses Prunes and Prisms would call want of maidenly reserve, could teach
your bread-and-butter miss a good many things which would be to her
advantage. It is true that neither schoolmistresses nor governesses could
often pass a Cambridge examination, nor have they any very great desire
for intellectual improvement. But the colonial girl is sharper at picking
up what her mistress does know than the English one, and she has more of
the boy's emulation. Whatever her station in life, she is bound to strum
the piano; but in no country is a good pianoforte player more rare, or do
you hear greater trash strummed in a drawing-room. Languages and the
other accomplishments are either neglected or slurred over; but, on the
other hand, nearly every colonial girl learns something of household
work, and can cook some sort of a dinner, yea, and often cut out and make
herself a dress. She is handy with her fingers, frank, but by no means
necessarily fast in manner, good-natured and fond of every species of
fun. If her accomplishments are not many, she sets little value on those
she possesses, and never feels the want of, or wastes a regret, on any

Almost all girls go to school, but the home-training leads to little
obedience or respect for their teachers, and the parental authority is
constantly interposed to prevent well-deserved punishments. Accustomed to
form judgments early and fearlessly, each girl measures her mistress by
her own standard; and if she comes up to that standard, an _entente
cordiale_ is established, the basis whereof is the equality which each
feels to subsist independent of their temporary relations.

At seventeen my lady comes out, though for the last two, if not three or
four, years she has been attending grown-up dances at the houses of
friends, so that the edge of her pleasure has long been dulled. School
once left behind, she looks upon marriage as the end and object of life;
but it must not be supposed from this that she makes any attempt to catch
a husband. Young men are plentiful enough, and she does not care when her
turn comes. That it is bound to come she takes for granted, and
accordingly is always on the look-out for it. The camaraderie which
exists between her and some half-a-dozen men may lead to something with
one of them; and meanwhile she has time to ascertain their dispositions
and turn their qualities over and over in her mind till some one's
attentions become marked, and she makes up her mind that she is suited or
the reverse. She has danced too much before she came out to care much for
it now; but in a warm climate, where verandas and gardens lend themselves
so readily to flirtation, she retains a due appreciation of balls and
parties, and gets a far larger number of them than an English girl of the
middle class.

On the average, colonial girls possess more than their share of good
looks; but 'beauties' are rare, and the sun plays the deuce with
complexions. The commonest type is the jolly girl who, though she has
large hands and feet, no features and no figure, yet has a taking little
face, which makes you say: 'By Jove, she is not half bad-looking!'
Brunettes are, of course, in the majority; and every third or fourth girl
has beautiful brown eyes and an abundance of coarsish hair--which, by the
way, she probably dresses in an untidy knob, all corners and no

Her manners have lost the boisterousness of school days, but still often
want toning down according to English ideas. Her frankness and
good-fellowship are captivating, and you feel that all her faults spring
from the head, and not from the heart. She is rarely affected, and is
singularly free from 'notions,' though by no means wanting in ideas and
in conversation of a not particularly cultured description. With a keen
idea of the value of money and the benefits to be derived from its
possession, she never takes it into consideration in choosing her
husband: her ideal of whom is above all things 'manly'--the type that
used to be known under the description of 'muscular Christians.'

In religion her views are not pronounced. She attends church pretty
regularly, but is entirely free from superstition, though not always from
intolerance. Adoration of the priesthood is not at all in her line. For
politics she cares nothing, except in Victoria where naturally she
espouses her father's side warmly, but in an irrational, almost stupid,
way. Art is a dead letter to her, and so is literature, unless an
unceasing and untiring devotion to three-volume novels be counted under
that head. To music, according to her lights, she professes, and often
feels, a strong leaning.

There is one thing about her that strikes you disagreeably in society. It
is her want of conversation with ladies and married people. To a
bachelor, to whom she has just been introduced, she will chatter away
nineteen to the dozen; but, even in her own, house, she has no idea of
the social duties. Marriage, in her opinion, is a Rubicon, which, once
crossed, if it does not altogether debar from the pleasures of maiden and
bachelorhood, at least makes it necessary for married folk to shift for
themselves. To talk or dance with a married man would be a terrible waste
of time; and as for married women, she expects to join that holy army of
martyrs in the course of time, and will then be quite contented with the
same treatment as she has meted out to others. The politeness which
springs from a sense of duty to others is little known to the Australian
girl. If she likes you, she will make herself very pleasant; but if you
are not worth wasting powder and shot on, you must expect to realize that
disagreeable truth in all its nakedness.

In many things a child, she often looks forward to her wedding for the
mere festivity of the occasion, and thinks how jolly it will be to have
six bridesmaids, how nice she will look in her bridal dress, and how the
other fellows will envy her chosen one. Generally marrying two or three
years younger than the English girl, she would consider herself an 'old
maid' at twenty-three; and for old maids she entertains the very minimum
of respect, in spite of their rarity in the colonies. Once married, she
gives up to a large extent, if not entirely, the pomps and vanities of
which she has had her full during spinsterhood, and devotes herself to
her household, children, and husband. She usually has a large family, and
in them pays for all the sins of her youth. She has had her fling, and
for the rest of her life she lives but to serve her children and make
them happy, recognising that in the antipodes 'juniores priores' is the
adopted motto.

The Australian schoolboy is indeed a 'caution.' With all the worst
qualities of the English boy, he has but few of his redeeming points. His
impudence verges on impertinence, and his total want of respect for
everybody and everything passes all European understanding. His father
and mother he considers good sort of folk, whom he will not go out of his
way to displease; his schoolmaster often becomes, _ipso facto_, his
worst enemy, in the never-ceasing, war with whom all is fair, and
obedience but the last resource. Able to ride almost as soon as he can
walk, he is fond of all athletic sports; but it is not till leaving
school that his athleticism becomes fully pronounced: thus reversing the
order observed in England, where the great majority of the boys, who are
cricket and football mad at school, more or less drop those pursuits as
young men. He is too well fed and supplied with pocket-money ever to feel
the need for theft, but it is difficult to get him to understand Dr.
Arnold's views about lying and honour. Though not wanting in pluck, he
lacks the wholesome experience of a few good lickings, and can easily
pass his school-days without having a single fight. He is quarrelsome
enough, but his quarrels rarely go farther than hard words and spiteful
remarks. At learning he is apt, having the spirit of rivalry pretty
strong in him.

In all but one or two schools classes are too much mixed to make a
gentlemanly tone possible, and such little refinements as tidiness of
dress are out of the question. When he is at home for the holidays, his
mother tries to dig some manners into him (if she has any herself); but
he has far too great a sense of the superiority of the rising generation
to pay more attention to her than is exacted by the fear of punishment.
Unfortunately, that punishment is very sparingly made use of; and when it
is used, it takes a very lenient shape, public opinion being strongly
against corporal punishment, however mild, and according to children a
number of liberties undreamed of in the old country.

Indoors the Australian boy is more objectionable than the English one,
because he is under less restraint, and knows no precincts forbidden to
him. Generally intelligent and observant, he is here, there, and
everywhere; nothing escapes him, nothing is sacred to him. Of course his
further development draws its form and shape from his previous
caterpillar condition, and when he comes to take his place in mercantile
or professional life, he is equally disagreeable and irrepressible.

But such a young 'gum-sucker' must not be confounded with the ordinary
middle-class Englishmen who form the majority of the professional and
business men one comes in contact with in the present day. The native
Australian element is still altogether in the minority in everyday life,
and the majority of adults are English-born colonists. What modification
then, you will ask, does the middle-class Englishman undergo in
Australia? In some ways, a deterioration; in others, an amelioration. The
deteriorating tendency shows itself in an increased love of dram--and
especially spirit--drinking; in apparel and general carelessness; in a
roughening of manner and an increase of selfishness. The improvement lies
chiefly in greater independence of manner and thought, in a greater
amount of thought, in enlarged and more tolerant views, in less reserve
and _morgue_, in additional kindness of heart, and in a more complete
realization of the great fact of human brotherhood.

In Australia a man feels himself an unit in the community, a somebody; in
England he is one amongst twenty-seven millions, a nobody. This feeling
brings with it a greater sense of self-respect and responsibility.
Altogether, then, it may be said that the balance of the modification is
generally on the side of improvement rather than of deterioration. The
Englishman in Australia improves more than he deteriorates. And this is
the more true the lower you descend in the social scale. It may be
doubted whether the really well-educated man--the 'gentleman' in short,
to use the word in its technical sense of a man well born, well bred, and
well educated--generally improves in the colonies. As a rule, I should
say he deteriorates. He cannot often find a sufficiently large number of
his equals within a sufficiently small area, nor keep sufficiently
amongst them not to lose somewhat in manner and culture. He develops the
breadth, as distinct from the depth, of his intellect. He learns a great
deal which he did not know before from the life around him, but he also
forgets a great deal which he has learnt.

The great tendency of Australian life is democratic, i.e. levelling. The
lower middle-class and the upper middle-class are much less distinct than
at home, and come more freely and frequently, indeed continually, into
contact with each other. This is excellent for the former, but not so
good for the latter. In the generation that is growing up, the levelling
process is going much further. The small tradesmen's sons are going into
professions, and the professional men's sons into trades. You have the
same tendency in England, but not nearly to the same extent.

Slight as is the division between the middle-class and the wealthy class,
I ought perhaps to say a few words on the latter. Practically, as well as
theoretically, there is no aristocracy in Australia, and the number of
leisured men is yet too small for them to form a class by themselves.
Still every day their number is increasing; and although they almost all
do a certain amount of work, it is rather because, if they did not, they
would find time lie heavy on their hands, than because there is any
particular need for it. The wealthy squatter--which low-sounding word has
in Australia become synonymous with aristocrat--spends the greater part
of the year in supervising his station, although generally employing a
manager, whose work bears much the same relation to his own, as that of
the permanent head of a department does to that of his political chief.
Whenever there is a race meeting or any other attraction, the squatter
comes down ( _not_ up as in England) to town and spends a few days or a
few weeks there, as the case may be. If he is a married man he probably
keeps a town house, where his wife lives the greater part of the winter,
which is the 'season;' if a bachelor, he lives at his club, which
supplies him with lodging as well as board.

But he finds it hard work to spend any lengthened period in town. The
clubs are deserted for the greater part of the day; everyone else has his
or her work to do, and a lounger becomes equally a nuisance to himself
and to his friends. With no tastes for literature or art, and little
opportunity for their gratification if he should chance to possess them,
he is thrown utterly on his own resources, and these rarely extend beyond
drinking and gambling. Both these pursuits are more fitted for gaslight
than daylight, and if indulged in too freely during the day, pall in the
evening, so that he has literally nothing to do from breakfast till
dinner. He cannot race or play cricket quotidianally, so that he soon
returns to his station, where he stops till the next race meeting.

The wealth of Australia has not yet passed beyond the first generation.
The majority of the wealthy have themselves made their fortunes, and are
not inclined to let them be squandered by their sons, at least during,
their lifetime. The number of young men with no regular employment is at
present very small. And it is well it should be so. Else we should feel
all the evils of a plutocracy, purified neither by education nor public
opinion--evils which have already made themselves apparent in the
political system of Victoria.

The Australian aristocrat has the greatest contempt for politics, and
thereby has forged a collar for his own neck. The 'Berry blight,' as it
is called, which has fallen over Victoria, is, to a great extent, a
reaction against the selfish and inconsiderate policy of the squatters
when they were in power. In such a crisis the mob has no time to be just,
remembering only that the aristocracy were never generous. Politically, I
fancy that the squatters will never again obtain power, except under
conditions which will make a return to the old _régime_ impossible.
Socially, there are yet evil days before Australia.

There is a great deal of truth in the old saying--that it takes three
generations to make a gentleman and there is no doubt but that the second
is infinitely the worst of the three. Shortly the country will pass
through a period when an unearned increment will fall into the hands of a
half-educated class, whose life has nurtured in them strong animal
passions; but I see no reason why we should not pass through the social
as we are passing through the political crisis, and obtain a modified
aristocracy in the third generation, which in the fourth should become as
profitable to the country as an aristocracy well can be.

At present the old squatter drinks and gambles; his son will drink less,
gamble more--though it was not a young man who recently lost £40,000 in a
night's sitting at a club in Melbourne--and lead a wanton life; but he
will probably have the sense to educate his children thoroughly, instead
of taking them away from school at seventeen, as was done with himself;
and the grandson will obtain some cultivated tastes which will make a
fight for it with those he has inherited. In the fourth generation there
should be an aristocracy, with as much similarity of character and
disposition to the existing English aristocracy as the different
circumstances of the two countries will permit.

The life of a wealthy woman in Australia is _ennuyeux_ to a degree. If
she is a lady by birth and education, she must necessarily feel that the
advantages which wealth bestows are squandered upon such provincialism as
she is perforce subjected to. To reign in hell is, after all, a very low
ideal, and one which can only be entertained by an inferior nature, so
long as heaven remains within reach. There are, of course, advantages in
being rich even in Australia; but the wealthy lady will naturally draw
comparisons between these and those which the same amount of money would
procure for her in London or Paris. She can import dresses from Worth's,
and carriages from Peters', but she cannot choose them for herself; and
if they should be really admirable, who is there to appreciate their
superiority to the surrounding fashions?

'How on earth am I to get on in Adelaide,' said a musician of
considerable merit to me, 'when, as you know, there is no one with whom I
can provoke comparisons?' The very superiority of the man was fatal to
his success. And so it is with the Australian lady of taste. Nor does the
misfortune stop there. Unless she makes frequent visits to centres of
taste, I will defy any woman to retain her appreciation of good taste.
Her own taste gets dulled by the want of means of comparison. You will
perhaps say that taste in her surroundings is not everything which wealth
can bring to a woman. But if you come to reflect for a moment, you will
see that in the more comprehensive meaning of the phrase it is. Dress is
but one example of the surroundings which a woman covets. I have chosen
it because it is perhaps the commonest, though of course not by a long
way the highest,

But wealthy ladies 'to the manner born' are not so numerous in Australia
that I need dwell long on the drawbacks of their position. It is at any
rate happier than that of the _parvenue_, unless the mere fact of being
 _arrivée_ confers any special enjoyment. At what has she arrived? At
carriages, at dresses, at houses and furniture, and at servants of a
style she is totally unaccustomed to and unfitted for. When you tremble
before your butler, and have to learn how to behave at table from your
housekeeper, wealth cannot be unalloyed pleasure. Without education and
taste, the _parvenue_ has small means of enjoying herself except by
making a display which costs her even more anxiety and trouble than it
does money. Wiser is the rich woman who contents herself with the same
style of life as she was accustomed to in her youth, adding to it only
the things that she really wants--a more roomy house, a couple of
women-servants, and a buggy. Thus she can feel really comfortable and at
home; but unfortunately for their own and their husbands 'peace of mind'
these poor women are too often ambitious to become what they are not.
Even leaving aside the discomforts which are always allied to
pretentiousness, the poor rich woman has a hard time of it. What can she
do with herself all day long? She has not gone through that long
education up to doing nothing which enables English ladies of means to
pass their time without positive boredom. She has no tastes except those
which she does not dare to gratify, and becomes a slave to the very
wealth whose badge she loves to flaunt.

The Australian working-man is perhaps too well paid to suit us poor folks
who are dependent upon him; but, for all that, comfortable means bring an
improvement in the man as well as in his condition. It is very trying to
have--as I recently had--to go to four plumbers before I could get one to
do a small job for me, and still more trying to find the fourth man fail
me after he had promised to come. Such accidents are of everyday
occurrence in colonial life, and they make one doubt the advantages of a
wealthy working-class. But, independent and difficult to please as the
colonial working-man is, his carelessness is only a natural consequence
of the value set on his labour. Provided he does not drink, you can get
as good a day's work out of him as at home. He will pick his time as to
when he will do your job, and hesitate whether he will do it at all;
but having once started on it, he generally does his best for you.
Too often the sudden increase of wages is too much for his mental
equilibrium, and a man who was sober enough as a poor man at home,
finds no better use for his loose cash than to put it into the
public-house till. But as a class I do not think Australian working men
are less sober than those at home. Those who are industrious and careful
in a very few years rise to be masters and employers of labour, and are
at all times so sure of constant employment that it is no wonder they do
not care about undertaking odd jobs. If their manner is as independent as
their character, I am far from blaming them for it, though occasionally
one could wish they did not confound civility and servility as being
equally degrading to the free and independent elector. But when you meet
the man on equal terms in an omnibus or on other neutral ground, this
cause of complaint is removed. Where he is sure of his equality he makes
no attempt to assert it, and the treatment he receives from many
_parvenu_ employers is no doubt largely the cause of intrusive assertion
of equality towards employers in general. Politically he is led by the
nose, but this is hardly astonishing, since, in nine cases out of ten,
his electoral qualifications are a novelty to him. He carries his
politics in his pocket, or what the penny papers tell him are his
pockets; or, if he rises above selfish considerations he is taken in by
the bunkum of his self-styled friends. But in what country are the free
and independent electors wiser? Happily for Australia, his Radicalism
rarely lasts long, if he is worth his salt. He becomes in a few years one
of the propertied class, has leisure to learn something of the conditions
under which property is best preserved and added to, and thus--according
to the admission of the leading Radical paper--Conservatism is constantly
encroaching on the ranks of Liberalism. Except under very rare
circumstances poverty in Australia may fairly be considered a reproach.
Every man has it in his power to earn a comfortable living; and if after
he has been some time in the colonies the working-man does not become one
of the capitalists his organs inveigh against, he has only himself to

Of the three sections into which the working-class may be divided--old
chums, new chums, and colonials--the first-named are, on the whole, the
best. For the most part they began life with a superabundance of animal
spirits, and a love of adventure, which have been toned down by a
practical experience of the hardships they dreamed of. They certainly
drink most and swear most of the three sections, but with all their
failings there are few men who can do a harder day's work than they.
Barring pure misfortune, there is always some good reason for their still
remaining in the class they sprang from. Though this is not always
strictly true, since a good many of them began life higher up in the
world than they are now. Still I prefer them to the pepper-and-salt
mixture which has been sent out under that happy-go-lucky process--free
immigration. When the colonies were so badly in want of population, they
could not stop to pick and choose. Hence a large influx of loafers, men
who, without any positive vice, will do anything rather than a hard day's
work, and who come out under the impression that gold is to be picked up
in the streets of Melbourne. Under the name of 'the unemployed' they are
a constant source of worry to the Government, whom they consider bound to
give them something light and easy, with 7s. 6d. or 8s. a day, and give
rise abroad to the utterly false impression that there am times when it
is hard for an industrious man to get work in Australia. Of course many
of our immigrants have become first-rate workmen, but such men soon rise
in the social scale.

The best workman when he chooses, and the most difficult to get hold of,
is the thoroughbred colonial. Being able to read and write does not,
however, keep him from being as brutal as Coupeau, and, except from a
muscular point of view, he is often by no means a promising specimen of
colonization. It is from this section of the community that the
'larrikins,' as they are called, are recruited, roughs of the worst
description, insulting and often robbing people in Melbourne itself, and
moving about in gangs with whose united force the police is powerless to
cope. Sometimes they break into hotels and have 'free drinks' all round,
maltreating the landlord if he protests. In a younger stage they content
themselves with frightening helpless women, and kicking every Chinaman
they meet. On all sides it is acknowledged that the larrikin element is
daily increasing, and has already reached, especially in Melbourne,
proportions which make it threaten to amount to a social clanger within a
few years. Of late their outbreaks have not been confined to night-work,
but take place in open daylight, _coram populo et_ police. No one
exactly knows how to meet the difficulty, and What shall we do with our
larrikins?' is likely to replace the former popular cry of 'What shall
we do with our boys?' to which some ingenious person furnished the
obvious answer, 'Marry them to our girls.' Corporal punishment for
corporal offences is in my opinion and that of most of the serious
portion of the community, the only remedy which is likely also to act as
a preventive; but however desirable it may be acknowledged to be, there
is a difficulty in bringing it into use in communities whose sympathies
are so essentially democratic as those of Victoria and New South
Wales--for in Adelaide the police has still the upper hand. The votes of
these very larrikins turn the scale at elections. Their kith and kin form
a majority of the population, and therefore of the electorate. However
much a member of Parliament or a Minister may recognise the necessity of
meeting a social danger, he can hardly afford to do it at the expense of
his seat.

At the time of the Kelly trial practical demonstration of the latent
sympathy with crime in Melbourne was afforded. Thousands of persons,
headed by the Chairman of Committees of the House of Assembly, actually
agitated for the reprieve of the most notorious, if not the greatest,
criminal in the annals of Australia, a man whose murders were not to be
counted on the fingers; and all this because for over two years he had
set the police at defiance, and after a life of murder and rapine had,
shown the courage of despair when his only choice was between being shot
by a policeman or hung on the gallows. In many respects, as, I have
elsewhere intimated, our free political system makes the social outlook
here far more promising than in Europe; but larrikinism is a peculiar
danger already well above the horizon, against which we seem powerless to
deal. Some set it down to the absence of religious teaching in the State
schools, but its real point and origin seems rather to lie in the absence
of parental authority at home and the unpopularity of the old proverb:
'Spare the rod and spoil the child.'


My last letter was necessarily, from the nature of its subject, a little
flaky--a charge to which all these notes must more or less plead guilty.
Though the heading of this one differs slightly, it must practically be a
continuation of the same subject.

The first social relation, like charity, begins in the family circle, and
was incidentally touched upon in my last. Between husband and wife the
relations in Australia are, on the whole, probably as satisfactory as in
any other part of the world. Both generally marry from love, and whatever
may be the general effect of love-matches, it cannot be denied that more
than any others they tend to promote pleasant relations between the 'two
contracting parties,' as the French would call them. Amongst the wealthy,
as everywhere else, there cannot of course be the close marital intimacy
of the middle classes; but not only is infidelity less common than in
London, but moreover, the proportion of the wealthy who keep up the style
which produces the quasi-separation of domestic life is far smaller.
Husband and wife have grown rich together; they have taken counsel
together, and lived an open life, as far as each other are concerned,
ever since they were married. Against this the usages of society,
dressing-rooms and lady's-maids are of little avail. You may chase the
second nature out by the door, but it jumps in again at the window.

In the middle and lower class the comparatively cribbed, cabined, and
confined existence is also of the greatest service to that community of
thought and action upon which conjugal happiness to so large an extent
depends. Domestic occupations also occupy the thoughts of the wives, and
business those of the husbands, so continually, as to leave few moments
of mental vacuity for Satan to introduce mischief into. Of an evening the
clubs are almost deserted, and their few occupants are nearly all
bachelors, or married men who have left their wives in the country,
having come down to town themselves on business. Drink must be recognised
as a factor on the opposite side, and a by no means unimportant one; but
there are many women who have no objection to their husbands drinking, so
long as they either drink at home or come straight thither from the

I wish I could give as favourable a view of the parental relations. They
are undeniably the weak point of family life in the colonies. During
childhood a certain obedience is of course enforced; but public feeling
is strong in favour of the naughty boy and wilful girl, looking as it
does upon these qualities as prophetic of future enterprise. So many of
our best colonists, it must be remembered, were eminently wild in their
younger days, that it is no wonder they think 'there is something' in the
self-willed child. Their own life has been too much of a struggle for
them to be able to appreciate at their true value the gentler qualities
which in themselves would have been of little worth, the victory in their
earlier days having been to the physical rather than to the intellectual.
The child is naturally--for surely disobedience is an 'original sin' with
nine children out of ten--only too disposed to take advantage of the
views held by its parents, and gradually as it grows older, disobedience
passes into disrespect and want of respect into want of affection. Such a
thing as perfect confidence, in the French sense of the word, between a
parent and his or her grown-up child is most rare. 'Everyone for himself,
and devil take the hindmost, is the motto of the young Australian. He
cares for nobody, and nobody need care for him, so far as his thoughts on
the subject are concerned. Maternal affection cannot, however, be easily
quenched, and consequently the child gets all the best of the bargain.

Social relations are wider, therefore less easy to speak about decidedly,
than family relations. In the early days there were but few social
distinctions. Everyone was hail-fellow-well-met with everyone else, and
the common struggle merged all differences of birth, wealth, and
education. In a charming little work called 'Some Social Aspects of South
Australian Life,' which was published in Adelaide about two years ago', a
most realistic description is given of the sympathetic mode of living of
the first settlers; and as it has never been reprinted in England, I
extract a few sentences here and there, which may give some idea of the
primitive existence there described:

'The necessaries of life were produced in abundance, the comforts were
slowly reached, and the luxuries had to be done without. There was very
little difference in the actual circumstances of different classes--some
had property and some had none' (this was before the gold-fever); 'but
property was unsaleable for money, and barter only exchanged one
unsaleable article for another' (and yet these are the people who
nowadays groan about _money_ going out of the colony, and would measure
its prosperity by the excess of exports over imports).* [* The
parentheses are my own.] 'Nobody employed hired labour who could possibly
do the work himself, and everyone had to turn his or her hand to a great
deal of miscellaneous work, most of which would be called menial and
degrading in an old community. . . Thus gradually the financial position
of the colony improved by means of the well-directed industry of the
settlers, and they owed much to the helpfulness and good management of
the wives, sisters, and daughters of each household. . . Perhaps, never
in any human society did circumstances realize the ideas of the community
of labour and the equality of the sexes, so fully as in South Australia
in its early days.' Youth and love, hope and trust, were the only stock
in marriage of young couples, so that a new-comer is said to have
remarked, 'Why, it is nothing to get married here! A few mats, and
cane-bottomed chairs, and the house is furnished.'  A wife was not looked
on as a hindrance or an expense, but as a help and a comfort,' says Miss
Spence. 'Girls did not look for establishments; parents did not press for
settlements . . . There was only one carriage in the colony for many
years, which though belonging to a private person, was hired for such as
wanted to do the thing genteelly . . . .' Social position depended on
character, and not on income.

The same writer lays herself fairly open to the charge of being
_laudator temporis acti_ in her description of the present as compared
with the past social life of the colonies, though I am quite prepared to
agree with her remark, that 'in proportion as the conditions of life
become more complex, they should be met by more ingenuity, more culture,
and a deeper sense of duty;' and that 'the suddenness of our accumulation
of wealth has scarcely prepared our little community for some necessary
modifications of our social arrangements.' Therein lies the whole source
of both what is best and what is worst in the present social life of
Australia. Marriage, though still almost entirely an affair of love, has
yet learnt to take £. s. d. into consideration, and none but the lowest
class would be satisfied with the kind of furniture described above.
Education has improved and is improving still more, far as it yet is from
being up even to the English standard. More leisure has also produced
novel reading with its consequent affectation of aristocratic ideas and
prejudices and disproportionate estimate of essentials and superficials.

Already each Australian capital has its 'society,' distinguished from the
[Greek characters] almost as clearly as in London or Paris. In its own
way, indeed, these societies are more exclusive than those of the older
metropolises, which from their very size obtain a certain breadth of
view. For obvious reasons the component parts are not altogether similar,
but their governing idea is as much the same as the difference of
circumstances will permit. It would be difficult to define exactly what
opens the doors of Australian society, but is the shibboleth any more
definite in London? Distinction of some kind or other must be
presupposed. If that of birth, it must either be allied to rank or have
strong local connections. Is it not the same in London, though, of
course, on an infinitely larger and grander scale? If that of wealth, it
must storm the entrance by social expenditure and pachydermatousness to
rebuff. Wealth is, of course, the predominating factor here, as rank in
London; because while in the latter case birth calls in wealth to furnish
it with the sinews of war, in the former wealth calls in birth to teach
it how to behave itself. Position is of small account, though the line is
always drawn at shopkeepers _in esse_. Provided the candidate has cut
the shop and opened an office, he can be admitted on payment of the
social fees, but only gradually and laboriously unless his wealth is
beyond criticism. The man who sells you a dozen of wine in the morning
sits by your side at Government House or Bishop's Court in the evening,
and the highest officials are not unfrequently the least esteemed
socially. A happy consequence of this social jumble is, that with certain
exceptions, which are, of course, getting more numerous as we advance in
civilization, a gentleman can do anything here and still be considered a
gentleman, provided he behaves himself as such; and the semi-menial
employments of distressed gentlewomen do not bring with them one half the
loss of social position that they generally entail in England. The
smaller community is more narrow-minded than the large, but its sight is
keener and more accurate in details. It is true that art, science, and
literature are entirely without status in Australia, but then personal
distinction of whatever kind is far more get-at-able than at home.

If it strikes a visitor as utterly ridiculous that a society, the greater
part of whose members are essentially _parvenus_, should assume the
tone and mode of thought of an old-world aristocracy, we must yet
acknowledge that that society keeps up a great many traditions of
refinement which are in great danger of being lost sight of in colonial
life. The outward and visible sign may be absurd, but the inward and
spiritual grace is none the less concealed within it. That Australian
society keeps up a number of social superstitions which might with
advantage have died out during the journey across the ocean is
undeniable, but it is also true that it preserves at least an affectation
of higher civilization. It contains the majority of the gentlemen and
ladies by birth and education in each city, and they go far to leaven the
whole lump. The _parvenu_ has the merit of seeking after better things,
and his imitation of aristocracy, if it necessarily falls far short of
the mark, at least removes him a step or two above the way of thinking
common to the class he sprang from. His daughters, with that superior
adaptability inherent in women, are quick to catch the manners of the
gentlewomen who move in their circle, and become infinitely superior to
their brothers, even when the latter have been sent to finish their
education at Oxford, or Cambridge. It is wonderful how much more easily a
lady can be manufactured than a gentleman.

Of the hospitality of 'society' in all the towns it is impossible to
speak in too high terms. The stranger has but to bring a couple of good
introductions to people who are in society, and provided he be at all
presentable, the doors of the most exclusive houses will be opened to
him. Young men of education and manners are everywhere at a premium, and
the colonies are still small enough for it to be a distinction to have
just come out from England. Unless you know your company it is always
wise to avoid asking questions about or making reference to the earlier
days of the people you meet. For all that, you will hear everybody's
history, often, I suspect, with additions and exaggerations. In such
small communities everybody knows everything about everybody else, and
the man who has gone down in the world naturally delights in telling you
of the time when he bought half a pound of sugar at Jones's shop, or when
Brown worked in his garden while Mrs. Brown was his scullery-maid,
Jones and Brown being now two social leaders.

Amongst men social distinctions are very slight. It is lawful to be
friendly with everybody and anybody in town, so long as you do not visit
at his private house. And yet for very obvious reasons gentlemen
are--except amongst the rising generation--much more common than ladies.
A number of wild young men of good family and education have been poured
out of England into Australia ever since 1852, and many of them have
become amongst the most useful and respected colonists. But until
recently there was a paucity of ladies, and the majority of gentlemen had
but the choice between marrying beneath them or not at all. Hence
frequent _mésalliances_. You meet a man at the club, and are delighted
with him in every way. He asks you to his house, and you find that his
wife drops her h's, eats peas with her knife, and errs in various little
ways. I am purposely thinking of no one in particular, but fear at least
a dozen of my acquaintances will think I am writing of them in making
this remark. And it is a sad sight to see a man dragged down in this way,
for very few men who marry beneath them can keep up the manner and mode
of living to which they were born and educated, while those who do
generally retain them at the expense of their own married happiness.
Nowadays there are certainly plenty of young ladies in the towns, but for
all that one constantly hears of the sons of clergymen and army officers
marrying the daughters of grocers and farmers who were quite recently
day-labourers. With every freedom from caste prejudice, I am yet unable
to see anything but harm to the persons directly concerned in these
ill-assorted matches, whatever the good result to the community may be.

The centre round which society revolves is naturally Government House,
but a great many people go to Government House who cannot be considered
to be in society. To have been to a Government House ball is no more,
_mutandis mutatis_, than to go to a Court ball at home. Neither will
give you admission into the inner circle; and though that circle may not
offer any but specious advantages and have but little to recommend it in
preference to three or four other societies in the town, admission into
it is coveted, and inclusion within its boundaries is as much a reality
as if its walls were of stone. In Melbourne the scattered position of the
suburbs and the extent of the population splits up the _élite_ into
several local societies, but there is yet one _crême de la crême_. In
Sydney the same thing takes place, though the local societies are less
numerous; but in Adelaide there is practically only one 'society', the
local aggregations of individuals not being deserving of any more
dignified name than 'cliques.' Of the three societies, that of Sydney is
on the whole, I think, the best. At Melbourne there are probably a larger
number of cultivated persons, but the distance between the suburbs and
the more extravavagant mode of living limits their sphere. The
Adelaidians are perhaps the most English of all in their way of thinking,
but they are also by far the most narrow-minded. For pure Philistinism I
don't think I know any town that equals it. Shut up in their own little
corner, they imagine themselves more select than Sydney and Melbourne
circles, because they are necessarily smaller. And yet for
kind-heartedness these gossip-loving Philistines are not easily to be
surpassed. As long as things go well with you they will talk against you;
but no set of people are less open to the charge of neglecting friends in

Class relations are, on the whole, excellent; and this is the more to the
credit of the lower classes, because the plutocracy is utterly selfish in
character, and does not interest itself in those social duties, which are
proving so effectual a prop to the nobility and landed gentry of England.
A certain animosity subsists between the squatters or pastoral lessees
and the selectors who purchase on credit from Government blocks of land,
which were formerly let to squatters. At times this breaks out in Parliament
or at elections, but in spite of a determined attempt by a section of the
Victorian press to pit the 'wealthy lower orders' against the
horny-handed sons of the soil, class feeling rarely runs high for any
length of time. The reason is, that the working-class are too well off
for the occasional high-handed proceedings of the rich to affect them
sensibly. For an agitation to be maintained there must be a real
grievance at the bottom of it; and the only grievance that the Australian
democrat can bring forward is, that having obtained the necessaries, he
cannot without extra labour obtain also the luxuries of life.

From figures I have already given as to rents, wages, and prices in
general, you will have gathered that the cost of living is, broadly
speaking, cheaper than in England as regards the necessities of
existence, but dearer in proportion to the complexity of the article.
Anything that requires much labour, or that cannot readily be produced in
the colony, is, dearer; but, on the other hand, it should be remembered
that money is more easily obtainable. Protectionist duties and heavy
freights form an effectual sumptuary tax; and as most of the duties are
_ad valorem_, first-class articles are heavily handicapped, and a
premium put upon the importation of shoddy. The wine-drinker finds that
he has to pay ten shillings a gallon on all he drinks, which should
certainly entice him to drink good wine; but the only practical result
discoverable is the small quantity of wine drunk as compared with beer
and spirits. If few people keep carriages, there are buggies innumerable
in every town; and for every man who keeps a horse in England, there are,
proportionately to the population, ten in Australia.

But perhaps the greatest element in the cheapness of colonial life is its
comparative want of 'gentility.' The necessity to keep up appearances is
not one-sixth as strong as in England. The earthen pot cannot altogether
flow down stream in company with the tin kettle, but it can more safely
get within a shorter distance of its metallic rival. Rich men live in
miserable houses and wear coats which their valets would have nothing to
do with at home; struggling men are less ashamed of struggling, and are
not made to feel the defects of their condition so keenly. In a society,
the position of whose members is constantly changing, the style of life
is of less importance. The millionaire of to-day hadn't a sixpence
yesterday, and may not have one again to-morrow. His brothers, sifters
and cousins are impecunious, and in small communities poor relations are
not easily got rid of. Constant intercommunication is thus kept up
between class and class, rich and poor; they learn better to understand
each other's position, and a clearer understanding generally leads to
mutual respect.

Again, the distribution of wealth is far more equal. To begin with, there
is no poor class in the colonies. Comfortable incomes are in the
majority, millionaires few and far between. This is especially the case
in Adelaide, where the condition of the poorer class is better, and that
of the richer worse than in any of the other colonies. In Melbourne the
masses seem worst off, and the display of riches, if not the actuality
thereof, is most noticeable. In Sydney the signs of wealth are not
wanting to an examiner, but a superficial observer would say that there
were not half as many wealthy men as in Melbourne. Few South Australians
get beyond the comfortable stage, and, on the other hand, a greater
number reach it. 'Squatting,' of course, supplies the largest section of
the wealthy class; but, especially in Melbourne, gold-mining and commerce
have contributed a large quota.


In no country in the world is the legal freedom of conscience more firmly
established than in Australia. All Churches and sects are absolutely
equal in the eyes of the State; and any attempt to upset this equality
would be resented, not only by the united forces of all the other
denominations, but even by a majority of the only two Churches--the Roman
and Anglican--who would ever dream of aiming at supremacy. But thorough
as is the repudiation by the great majority of the community of the
principles of State aid or control of religion, the two Churches which I
have just mentioned occasionally raise their voices against secular
education by the State, and make spasmodic appeals for State
contributions to their denominational schools, which, however little
likely to succeed, are not altogether without a rational foundation. But
this is the utmost limit which State recognition, or rather the cry for
it, is ever likely to reach.

In times past the Church of England has struggled to regain the position
she formerly held in the older colonies; but now whatever efforts she
makes in that direction are confined to the ambition of being _prima
inter pares_--a position which is vigorously and even bitterly attacked
by the other Protestant sects whenever she either tries to assert it or
has it thrust upon her. These ex-Dissenters have a lively remembrance of
the yoke they endured in the old country, and even now that the spirit of
supremacy has so completely died out, they spring up to do battle against
any formality that recalls it to them. Thus, a few years ago the whole
colony of South Australia was convulsed on the question of the Bishop's
right to follow the Governor and precede the Chief Justice at official
ceremonies, and peace amongst the devout was only restored by the
Bishop's graceful relinquishment of a position to which his legal right
was undeniable. Even now the title 'My Lord' as applied to Bishops acts
as a red rag on many ex-Dissenting bulls, and they are as jealous of the
slightest official preference of the Church of England as if their
dearest religious liberties were therein involved.

Legal and even official equality do not, however, always mean social
equality; and the Church still retains a superior social position, a
shadow of her departed State authority, which to some of her old
competitors--especially the Congregationalists, Baptists, and
Wesleyans--is the more galling because they are totally destitute of the
means of assailing it. Happily, through the wise conduct of the Bishops
of Adelaide and Melbourne in meeting ministers of other denominations on
a common platform, whenever the cause of Christianity or of good and
right in any way can be served thereby, and in showing sympathy with them
in a multitude of ways, this unreasonable jealousy is losing ground and a
better feeling springing up; but there are yet too many colonists that
have felt the disabilities of Dissent in the old country who are unable
to put on the armour of forgiveness, or rather of forgetfulness in the
new. The enemy has lost his sting, but they will not allow him to live on
the remembrance of his past greatness without a reminder of his present

This impotence is in all ways, except socially, a certain reality; for
while the ex-Dissenting bodies have thriven and waxed numerous and
powerful upon the bread of independence, the Church has languished for
want of her accustomed prop. Accustomed, not only to support their own
ministers, but also to pay tithes and Church-rates for the benefit of
their rival, the ex-Dissenters have simultaneously had their burden
lightened and, for the most part, their incomes increased by the change
of country. Besides this, they have to a certain extent felt themselves
put upon their mettle to show their superiority to their old master, and
thus they have put their best foot foremost, with the good result which
always attends such efforts. Their ministers, better paid, and holding a
higher social position than in England, have naturally become a superior
class of men as a whole to those in the old country. Every day they are
advancing, towards a higher standard of education and manners. Nor has
the gain in education and position been accompanied by, as far as I can
see, any loss in earnestness or deterioration in work. No one sect is
sufficiently preponderant to admit of that.

The friendly competition between them has been beneficial to them all;
and, in spite of rivalry, the spirit of toleration between Protestant
sects is thoroughly observed. Unfortunately, this toleration is not
extended to the Roman Catholics. Their doctrines are so directly in
opposition to the prevailing democratic and Protestant spirit of the
community, that they have come to be regarded as Ishmaelites, if not as
Amalekites, occupying ground which ought to belong to the faithful. An
Anti-Popery cry would at any time command success; and numerous and
influential as the Catholics are, directly they begin to assert their
influence all the other religious bodies unite to counteract, and end by
suppressing it. For a spice of intolerance in this respect, and for a
general Philistinism in its views on all subjects, Australia is indebted
to the middle-class Protestant sects, who form the most important element
in the community; but to them also, in a large measure, it owes its
political and social stability, and all those standard moral qualities
which are the only safe foundation for a superstructure of intellect.

Because I have spoken so warmly of the good influence which the
ex-Dissenting or Protestant sects have exercised in Australia, it must
not be supposed that the Church has been altogether a laggard. Probably
no section of the English clergy has worked harder and more manfully than
that which has been stationed in Australia. It is no fault of theirs if
their sphere has been limited and their good influence less effective
than that of their rivals. But they have been labouring under the
misfortune of being unsuited to the people and circumstances amongst whom
and which they live and work. Their sphere has lain almost entirely
amongst the upper and lower classes, and it is neither of these that
governs Australia. Where they came into contact with the middle class,
the power in the land, they have been placed in the position of the round
man in the square hole. The men of the middle class have asserted their
social equality to, if not their superiority over, their clergy; and this
an English gentleman finds difficulty in admitting, still more one who
considers himself the minister of God to the people, rather than of the
people to God. The Thirty-nine Articles do not admit of his recognising
the orders of his nonconformist brethren as equal to his own, and this
has been set down to pride. Altogether, the Anglican clergyman has been
put in a false position, to extricate him from which is taxing all the
tact of so politic a prelate as Bishop Moorhouse.

The habit of paying no direct stipend to their clergymen in England has
led to a reluctance to contribute good salaries for their support out
here, where they must rely solely upon such support; and the lowness of
salaries, if not the hardness of the work, has made the Anglican clergy
in Australia as a class inferior to their English brethren. Of course the
clergy still contains a large proportion of gentlemen within its ranks,
but on the score of ability I fancy the ex-Dissenters have the advantage.
Recognising this, Bishop Moorhouse is endeavouring both to shame
Churchmen into raising the stipend of their clergy, and to procure for
the congregations not only English gentlemen, but as far as possible
hard-working, practical, broad-minded men. He has a difficult task before
him, for already there are plenty of colonial clergymen who are either
inferior to nonconformist ministers in cultivation, or stubborn adherents
to a _régime_ which is impossible in Australia. These weeds must be
pulled out before you can sow fresh seed; and yet it is hard to call men
weeds who are serving the Church according to the best of their lights,
faithful, hard-working men, or conservative old gentlemen, who are doing
or have done a great deal of good work, and whose failings cannot be
attributed to any fault for which you can morally reproach them.

The Church is slow to adapt itself to colonial life. Amongst a
preponderating lower middle-class element Nonconformity, or rather what
is better known as Protestantism, is very popular. Low Churchmen find
they can get a better sermon at the chapel, and can be hail-fellow-well-met
with their pastor in these extraneous denominations. Thus the Church
loses many of its former adherents, and while Anglicanism still remains
the religion of the upper class, it can in no way pretend to be that of
even a majority of the community.

The Roman Catholics are on a different footing. For them no compromise is
possible, and they cannot as Roman Catholics but be a state within a
state. From time to time the priesthood incites them to aspire to
political power, but hitherto none of these aspirations have borne
practical effect, except in strengthening the hands of their adversaries.
At present they are agitating more or less vehemently in each colony for
State support to be given to their schools, declaring that it is
monstrous that they should be made to pay for a secular education of
which their religion prevents them from taking advantage.

At first a section of the Anglican party, comprising nearly all the
clergy, joined in this cry, but it became so evident that the bulk of the
population was determined not to return to the old system, that they are
beginning to desert the Catholics, and are now more wisely and with
better chance of success attempting to amalgamate with the other
Protestant bodies to obtain the admission into the State schools of
religious teaching on a broad Protestant basis; i.e., of all the
doctrines which are held in common by all Protestant denominations
(except the Unitarians), to the exclusion of all doctrines on which the
different sects differ. The bulk of the Dissenters are, I fancy,
indifferent to any junction with the Church of England, and would just as
soon have no religious teaching as what they call a 'pithless jelly-fish'
religious teaching. But on this point I think public opinion is
undergoing a change, and the formation of a Protestant party probable.
The Catholics would consider such a concession as infinitely worse than
the existing purely secular system. The omission of true doctrine would,
as regards them, amount to an assertion of false; and on their side in
opposing the Protestant party will be the Jews, the Freethinkers, and a
large number who would rather have no religious teaching than any quarrel
over it, and who are fairly satisfied with the existing state of things.
If the Protestants ever become strong enough to win the day, it can only
be at the expense of establishing a Catholic grievance so strong as to be
exceedingly dangerous. The fact that all parties are now out in the cold,
satisfies a rough-and-ready conception of justice with which the
politician has always to reckon, but that all the Protestants should get
a concession, of which it is impossible for the Catholics to avail
themselves, would be manifestly unfair. Political expediency and justice
seem to be alike against the claims of the Protestant party, unless it be
resolved to grant aid to Roman Catholics and Jews only, which is a
possible, though not very consistent, solution of the question.

Ritualism is unknown, though the word is often applied to the one or two
High-Church services in the capitals where the choirs wear surplices, or,
worse still, where there are candles on the altar--a word which is almost
as much objected to as priest. Broad and Low are decidedly the prevailing
phases of Churchmanship, and every year the Broad is gaining upon the
Low; the Low element consisting of those who were brought up in England,
the Broad of the generation which has been born in the country. As this
begins to predominate, the barriers between the Anglican Church and the
other Protestant denominations will be lowered, and in course of time the
differences between them will be reduced to preference in the mode of
conducting service. The first step towards this was taken by the Bishop
of Melbourne some two years ago in forming the Pastoral Aid Society, the
object of which is to provide religious services in outlying districts in
the bush, where there are not sufficient settlers of either the
Episcopalian or Presbyterian Churches to make it possible to supply a
minister of either. The Society arranges that services should be held in
these districts alternately, according to the rites of each Church, and
that they should be visited alternately by ministers of each.

This system has proved of enormous value in keeping religion alive in the
bush, and paved the way for an experiment not long ago in Melbourne
itself, which has met with such general approval, that it may be said to
mark the commencement of a new era in the Church of England, and even in
ecclesiastical history. With the consent of the Bishop and of his
church-wardens, Canon Bromby invited a Presbyterian minister--Rev. Chaos.
Strong-to read the service and preach in St. Paul's Church, he himself
taking Mr. Strong's pulpit. This precedent is certain to be largely
followed; and it is easy to see that the courtesy which is extended to
Presbyterian ministers will before long be extended to those of the other
Protestant denominations, and that exchanges of pulpits between them all
will become frequent.

Churches abound in every Australian city, especially in Adelaide, where
they are so numerous as to excite the ridicule of the less devout
Victorians. I forget how many there are; but, at any rate, they bear a
very small proportion to the public-houses, against which I think they
may fairly be pitted. Still, there are plenty of them; and no sinner will
easily be able to find an excuse for not going to church in the
non-representation of his particular sect. When I say 'churches,' I am
using the term in the official and colonial sense, for the word 'chapel'
stinks in the nostrils of a Dissenting community, and many of these
churches are not much bigger than an ordinary dining-room, and, having
been built for profane purposes, have no external odour of sanctity
beyond a black board, whereon you are informed, in gilt letters, that the
building belongs to whatever sect it does belong, and that Divine Service
is held there by the Rev. So-and-So at certain hours on the Sabbath. But
from this you must not suppose that the two older churches have a
monopoly of the religious buildings which can properly aspire to that

For the most part, ecclesiastical architecture is rather a weak point
with these newly-confirmed religions; but in Melbourne, with the
exception of the Roman Catholic Cathedral, they possess far the finest
churches, and in Adelaide and Sydney their edifices are at least
imposing. The Roman Catholics., however, carry off the palm. In both
Melbourne and Sydney their cathedrals are of grand proportions. In all
three cities their other churches are large and lofty. The Anglicans have
small cathedrals at Sydney and Adelaide; but, in spite of their including
a majority of the wealthiest individuals in the colonies, they find a
great difficulty in raising money for building purposes.

As far as my experience goes--and I have 'sat under' the principal
ministers of each denomination in each town at least once--the preaching
is, for the most part, very poor. There are certainly two or three
exceptions; but 'what are they,' one is irreverently apt to exclaim,
'among so many?' The shallowness and often halting pace of these
discourses is doubtless due, in large measure, to the colonial love of
_extempore_ preaching. For sermons read out of a book public opinion of
all denominations in Australia has the greatest contempt. Like English
lower middle-class communities, again, they like a good pronounced type
of doctrine from the pulpit. The lower regions are popular; but most
successful is the denunciation of the people over the way who bow down to
wood and stone, and commit sundry other iniquities for which Protestants
are in no fear of being indicted.

As you notice a man's general appearance and manner before you can form
any idea of his character, so I have described churches and denominations
before entering seriously into the question of religion. If
Churchmen--who will probably form the majority of my readers--cannot but
be grieved at the picture I have drawn, of the condition of the
Australian Church, they may at least take comfort when I state that the
preponderating feeling of Australian cities is essentially Christian,
according to the received meaning of the word. The citizens are, for the
most part, of a distinctly religious turn of mind. They may not be,
and--except in Adelaide--are not, such good church-goers as at home; but
they have not drunk of the poison of infidelity, nor eaten of the sweets
of indifference. Amidst the distractions of colonial life this could
hardly have been the case, but for the Puritan origin of so many of the
more influential among them, and the healthy competition between the
various sects, as well as the freedom from State control and interference
already alluded to.

As in social matters Melbourne may be regarded as the extreme type of
Australia, so in religious matters Adelaide affords the easiest text to
preach upon. Essentially lower middle-class, Nonconformist and Radical in
its origin, South Australia might well claim the title of the New England
of the Antipodes. Even to the present day, it preserves signs and tokens
of the Principles on which it was founded: its progress having been the
gradual and healthy growth of a Pastoral and agricultural colony,
undisturbed by the forced marches of gold-mining. In Adelaide
middle-class respectability is too strong for larrikinism, and imparts a
far healthier social and moral tone than obtains in either Melbourne or
Sydney; but for these advantages the little town pays the small but
disagreeable price of Philistinism. Want of culture, Pharisees, and
narrow-mindedness find a more congenial home there than anywhere else in
Australia; but, to my mind, these are a cheap price to pay for the piety
and real goodness which they cloak.

The Adelaidian may be unpleasantly conceited and self-satisfied in
religious matters, but then he is kind and hospitable, religious and
moral, and not so sophisticated as the Victorian, who is probably a more
agreeable person superficially. Yet in neither Melbourne nor Sydney can
religion be said to be wanting. It is kept more in the background than in
Adelaide, and there is not so much of it as in the smaller town; but the
religious character of all three, taken either singly or together, will,
I think, compare favourably with that of any other modern city or cities.

Sabbatarianism is fast on the decline. The Sabbatarians are still noisy
and determined enough to keep the majority of our public libraries,
picture galleries, etc., closed on Sunday, but this is more from public
indifference on the subject than from any general feeling that they ought
to be shut. This becomes evident from a visit to the suburbs on a fine
Sunday. All the world and his wife in private carriages and buggies,
carts and omnibuses, even on Shanks's pony, come away for an airing; and
if the weather only allows of it, there are many of these holiday-makers
who make a day of it, leaving their homes early in the morning, with but
a few who return to evening service.

On the other hand, the Sunday is soberly kept. In the less strict
families music is allowed, but never cards or games of any kind. The man
who proposed such a thing in Adelaide would be _anathema maranatha_.
The general feeling, is, that the Sunday was made too wearisome in
England to be supportable in a common-sense community; and Sabbatarianism
is gradually losing ground day by day, as fast as the keeping up of
appearances will allow. There was a great outcry on one occasion because
the Governor of Victoria travelled on a Sunday; but this was rather
because there is a general feeling that unnecessary labour should as far
as possible be avoided on a Sunday, than from Sabbatarianism in the
ordinary sense of the word.

Morality has so long been connected with religion that it is difficult to
treat of the one without more or less trenching upon the province of the
other. But there still remains something to be said on this score. The
commandments which are most freely broken in Australia, are _par
excellence_ the third, and then the sixth, in its minor sense of crimes
of violence in general. Young Australia makes a specialty of swearing.
High and low, rich and poor, indulge themselves in bad language
luxuriantly; but it is amongst the rising generation that it reaches its
acme. The lower-class colonial swears as naturally as he talks. He
doesn't mean anything by it in particular; nor is it really an evil
outward and visible sign of the spiritual grace within him. On the
prevalence of larrikinism I wrote at length in a former epistle.

Drunkenness comes next on our list of vices. That Australians as a nation
are more drunken than Englishmen, I do not believe to be the fact; but
what is undeniable is, that there is a great deal of drunkenness amongst
those who may claim to be considered the upper classes here. An English
gentleman of the present day, whatever his other sins may be, does not
get drunk, because it is 'bad form,' if for no better reason. If in
Australia we were to exclude as 'outsiders' all the leading colonists who
are in the habit of intoxicating themselves--to say nothing of the chance
customers--'society' would dwindle down to nearly two-thirds its present
size. But there has been a very appreciable improvement in this respect
during the last half-dozen years, and the tone of public feeling on the
subject is gradually approximating to that of English society. The old
colonists are not of course expected to change their habits in their old
age, but with the young generation there is less tippling, and port,
sherry, and spirits are being replaced by claret.

Of drinking as apart from drunkenness I have already said enough. The
seventh commandment is one of those unpleasant subjects which one must
deal with, and which one would yet prefer to leave alone. Generally
speaking, one may say, that while our upper and lower classes are, if
anything, rather worse in their morals than in England, we make up for
the deficiency by a decided superiority amongst the middle--both
upper-middle and lower-middle--class. Conversation is perhaps coarser
here; but whatever may be the reality, the moral standard generally
accepted is superior to that of London. Such immorality as exists is
necessarily of a coarser and more brutal type. In Melbourne, especially,
the social sin is very obtrusive. Sydney has of late been acquiring an
unenviable notoriety for capital offences, and it is not advisable for
ladies to walk alone in the streets there at any time of the day. On the
other hand, in Adelaide no woman who does not give occasion for it need
ever fear that she will be accosted.

Larrikinism is certainly a troublesome phase to deal with; but burglaries
are exceedingly rare, and it may fairly be said, that life and property
are more secure in the Australian capitals than in any European towns of
the same size. As in all large cities, the scum or dregs of the
population gradually localizes itself, and thus becomes easier of
control, even though it may increase in amount. And here, Adelaide has an
advantage in being seven miles distant from its seaport, which naturally
retains a large portion of the noxious element. Melbourne has two
disadvantages, which tend to make it the sink of Australia--firstly in
its metropolitan character and central position, and secondly in the
admission of a large number of bad characters at the time of the
gold-diggings. Sydney, of course, retains traces of the old convict
element--an element, however, which must be acknowledged to have
contributed to the good as well as to the bad qualities which are
peculiar to New South Wales.


That very profound saying about the victory of the German schoolmaster
has not been without effect even in this distant land. During the last
decade education has been the question _du jour_ here; not that we have
studied it physiologically and psychologically and culture-logically, as
you have been doing in England. Theologies are a little beyond our ken,
and we leave it to the old country to discover, by a harmonious
combination of deductive and inductive teachings, what education really
is. Our educational crisis has been merely legislative and
administrative; but it is no small transformation for us to have emerged
from the chrysalis state of clerical and private-venture instruction into
the full butterflydom of a free, compulsory and secular national system.
And that not before it was time. Whatever may be the demerits of
uniformity, State-interference, secularity, etc., etc., it does not leave
room for the same incompetence in teaching and ignorance on the part of
the learner, as frequently occurred in the old happy-go-lucky fashion of
schooling. Australian children have all now the chance of learning the
three R's according to the latest and most approved fashion, and if their
parents choose they can also get a smattering of history, geography, and
one or two other things into the bargain.

The history of our educational evolution is perhaps worth summarizing. In
the early days of colonization the Church of England spun an educational
cobweb, which it has been very difficult to sweep away, and which still
remains in a fragmentary state as an evidence of past good service. When
the education of the first settlers was in danger of being altogether
neglected, the Church put forth the greatest energy to meet their wants,
raising funds both here and at home to provide schools and teachers. The
Catholics, and later on other denominations, followed her example; and
thus, at a time when the State was fully occupied with attending to more
primary wants, an education was provided which, considering the
circumstances and viewed according to the lights of those days, was
highly creditable. The State subsidized these schools, as well as others
which were established by private venture in townships where no
denomination was sufficiently powerful to establish a school at its own
cost. Boards were appointed to control the subsidies and roughly estimate
the teaching of each school, and in New South Wales these boards had also
power to establish national as opposed to denominational schools wherever
opportunity offered. You can easily imagine how inefficient and
extravagant this subsidizing arrangement proved. In small townships where
a single State school could have given a good education to all the
children in the district, there arose two or three denominational
schools, all drawing money from the public purse, and yet each too poor
and too small to teach well. At last in 1873 Victoria led the way in
discarding the denominational schools, and starting at enormous expense
an official system of free, compulsory, and secular primary instruction
throughout the colony.

In 1876 South Australia followed suit, though in that colony the
schooling is only free to those who cannot afford to pay a fee of
fourpence per week for children under seven, and sixpence for older
children. Finally in 1880 New South Wales also threw off the yoke, which
she had only borne longer than her neighbours because her old system was
far superior to theirs. Here, too, a weekly fee of threepence per child
is demanded, but no family may pay more than a shilling per week, however
large in number, and in cases of inability the fees are remitted.

All three Education Acts agree in their main bearings, though differing
considerably on points of detail. The system of district and local boards
of advice is largely made use of in all of them, but the compulsory
clauses have never been properly enforced, principally on account of the
great difficulty of doing so in thinly populated districts. The word
'secular' admits of different variations in each province. In Victoria
moral truths form the limit. In New South Wales an hour a day is set
apart for religious instruction from the mouth of a clergyman or other
religious teacher, if the parents do not object. In South Australia Bible
reading is permissible, but comment on the text forbidden. It is yet too
early to pass a definite judgment on the new systems, but it is already
evident that the teaching in the State schools is much better than in
those denominational schools which survive. Vigorous efforts are still
being made by the Roman Catholic Church, with some aid from the
Anglicans, if not to upset the new schools, which has become impossible,
at least to regain a subsidy for their own, but, I fancy, with less and
less chance of success every year, in spite of the fact that in Victoria
the agitation is at present especially strong. The fact is, that while a
large number of people agree that purely secular education is to be
deplored, no feasible scheme can be propounded for introducing religious
instruction into the State schools which will satisfy the demands of the
Catholics. The Protestant denominations might without difficulty agree
upon a common platform, and it is on the cards that they may, in spite of
the Catholic opposition, succeed in introducing a modicum of religious
instruction into the State schools. The Catholics maintain that false
religious teaching is worse than no religious teaching, and will be
satisfied with nothing less than a subsidy to their own schools.

In spite of the yearly immigration of a number of children too old to
learn to read and write in Australia, statistics show that in 1878, out
of 100 boys and girls between the ages of 15 and 21, no less than 93
could read and write--a result which must be considered creditable to the
old 'arrangements.' But what the statistics cannot show is the meaning of
that phrase 'read and write.' It is in quality far more than in quantity
that the teaching of the State schools is superior. To my thinking, one
of the best superficial proofs of their success is the number of
middle-class children who are sent to them even in the towns. Previously
these children had often grown to be nine or ten years old without
schooling or teaching of any kind, and even now much of the time of the
secondary schools is wasted in teaching simple primary subjects, which
ought to have been at the boy's fingers-ends before he came to them.

With the exception of an experimental higher school for girls, recently
established at Adelaide, the State in Victoria and South Australia takes
no part in providing secondary education. In New South Wales it has begun
to do so, but as yet only on a very limited scale. To meet the wants of
the colonists in this respect, two classes of schools have been
established: denominational and private venture. The first class have
often got good foundations, and taken as a whole they may be compared to
the middle-class schools, which have recently been established in several
parts of England, the two or three best rising decidedly above the level
of the best of these, but not being able to reach that of English public
schools even of the second class. Nor in spite of the vigorous efforts
that are being made in some quarters will a public school tone ever be
possible in Australia, so long as the majority of the boys attending are
day-boarders. In all day-schools the authority of the head-master is
necessarily impaired by that of the father, and the discipline of the
school by that of the home; but here this is more than usually the case.
The parents even go so far as to trench upon the schoolmaster's domain,
reserving to themselves the right of deliberately breaking the school
rules, whenever it is convenient to them to do so. 'Some parents,' writes
the head-master of what is probably the nearest approach to a public
school in Australia, 'keep their boys from school for insufficient
reasons, and without leave previously obtained, to carry a parcel, or to
drive a horse, to have hair cut, or to cash a cheque, or simply for a
holiday.' Being an old English public-school boy and master, and fresh to
colonial ways, he writes thus in his report for 1875; but in the report
for 1880 he has to acknowledge that he cannot maintain the rule he had
introduced, that no boy should be absent from school except on account of
ill-health or stress of weather or after obtaining the leave of the
head-master,'because I have not received adequate support.' 'The school
cannot, single-handed,' he continues, 'press the point, if parents do not
like it. The strain upon me, individually, is too great, if I have to
remonstrate with a parent, or to punish a boy, on an average about twice
a week.' The boys cannot be got to come back to the school on a certain
day, or prevented from leaving before the term is over, many parents
being of opinion that little is done the first week, and that therefore
they may as well keep their sons at home.

How hard this is for the schoolmaster who has his heart in his work, it
is easy to see; and I was quoting an instance where a man of great
resolution and perseverance had made an attempt under circumstances
perhaps more favourable than could be obtained in any other school in
Australia; for the school was certainly the best in the colonies from a
social standpoint, and very nearly so intellectually at the time he took
it. He himself, too, was summoned from England with the avowed purpose of
introducing the public-school system. In no other Australian school would
a five-years struggle of this kind be possible. Nor would this be a
solitary instance, for though naturally one cannot gather it from
published reports, the whole existence of a schoolmaster in Australia,
who wishes to do his duty, and understands what that duty is, must be, on
many important points of discipline and sometimes even of teaching, one
continual struggle with the parents. In too many schools the parent not
only uphold their boys in direct disobedience to their masters, but even
encourage them in it out of personal dislike to them. In a small
community, the master who dares kick against the parental goads soon
finds the town too hot to hold him. He has but one choice, either to sail
with the parental wind, or to lower his canvas altogether; and though a
man of tact may make some progress by trawling and tacking, at the best
he must feel disappointed at heart and his interest in his work half

Turning to the schools themselves. The divergence is so considerable,
that any remarks I make can have but a very general application. At the
best, the social tone is better than at your middle-class schools; at the
worst--I am still only speaking of grammar schools and denominational
colleges, the highest class of secondary schools--it is no worse; while
the moral tone never falls to so low a level, and in some cases almost
rises to that of second-rate public schools at home. The Church of
England grammar schools are naturally the best in social tone, the boys
being drawn from a better class of parents; and I am by no means sure
that the morals and manners of boys do not, to a certain extent, go
together. In the special sense of the word 'morality,' the best colonial
schools can, I think, challenge comparison with your, public ones; but
the regard for truth needs strengthening. On the other hand, theft is
almost unknown. The same master from whose reports I quoted above, tells
me that he finds colonial boys quite as tractable and amenable to
discipline as English, when the authority over them is paramount; but in
most schools this is far from being the case, the fault often, no doubt,
lying with the master's want of tact. I still have a lively remembrance
of the difficulty I had in keeping discipline on an occasion when I
helped to examine a well-known college; but then, even at the best
English public schools, the upper forms have a disposition to 'try it on'
when a new hand is set over them, as my own reminiscences tell me.

In the Victorian Schools, and in secondary, as in higher education,
Victoria offers infinitely superior advantages to those of the other
colonies combined. A feeling of _esprit de corps_ exists; not so
strong, perhaps, as in English public schools, but very strong
considering the number of day-boys. In the other colonies it does not
take root at all firmly, or else degenerates into party spirit--a
tendency which it also shows in Victoria, where it is moulded into better
form by the masters. In most schools the prefect system has been
established, of course with large modifications. It has difficulties to
struggle against in the democratic spirit of the country, and in the
early age at which the majority of boys leave school; but in its working
shape it seems to do good. This is especially the case at one or two
Victorian colleges, where the masters have established a mutual feeling
of trust between themselves and the boys; but at too many the natural
opposition remains. The masters get too easily disgusted at what they
consider the rough manners and ways of the boys, and are contented to
leave them to their own devices, so long as they get through their work
and obey the rules. Consequently the boys become rougher and less
amenable. Another difficulty in the path of good discipline and tone
throughout the schools is the too advanced age at which boys come there.

One of the greatest difficulties a head-master has to contend with is,
that there are practically no preparatory schools, even in Victoria, to
feed the large ones; and often, through a sudden rise of his parents'
circumstances, or from some other reason, a boy is sent to school for the
first time, at fifteen or sixteen, knowing nothing beyond the three R's.
Others are taken away in the midst of school-work, either to go to Europe
with their parents, or because times are bad, and then brought back after
a couple of years with formed habits of idleness and independence which
it is difficult to subdue. Looking at the last report of the Melbourne
Grammar School, I find the average age of the upper sixth to be 17 1/2 of
the first form 13 1/3; but I fancy that at the majority of schools the
averages would be quite a year younger in both forms.

At schools, as at home, more liberty has to be conceded to Australian
than to English boys, and the circumstances of their life make them more
fitted for it. But masters complain that parents of day-boarders do not
take enough trouble to see that their boys work, and leave them too much
choice of studies. This latter defect results from the strong feeling in
favour of individuality amongst colonists, which leads them to favour the
idea of each boy from the first striking out a line for himself, without
considering how far he is a competent authority as to his own
capabilities. Where parents do not interfere, obedience to rules is
generally well enforced and that, although punishments are much lighter
than in England, and the cane is only brought into use for extreme
offences. The staff of masters is usually fairly strong as regards
ability and attainments, but, as is too often the case in England, the
majority of them are neither trained teachers, nor even with an aptitude
for teaching; they have simply taken to this particular profession
because they could get more immediate return from it than from any other.
The head-masters, or rather those of recent appointment, are, as a rule,
well chosen. Their salaries run from £800 to £1,200 a year; and you can
get either a first-class man, whose health prevents him from remaining in
England, or a good second-rater for that sum. In some schools the council
or permanent board of governors work excellently with the headmasters;
but too often the Australian dislike to absolute authority in whatever
shape or form is so great as to induce the council to become meddlesome;
and unduly interfere with the master.

So much for the constitution of the school. The work though also modelled
after the English system, diverges from it considerably to suit local
requirements. English public-school training is directed to lead up to
University teaching; thereby losing in amplitude and finish, but gaining
in density and stability of groundwork. But here, although the majority
of boys matriculate, they do not go to the University; and, to suit them,
the University has itself been forced to widen its basis. It has become,
to a large extent, an examining body for a kind of _Abenturienten_
certificate, and of necessity the matriculation examination which serves
this purpose has had to extend over a wider area. These two
circumstances, reacting the one upon the other, have kept the
school-teaching wide, whereby, of course, it loses something in depth.
Thus the master of a leading school complains of the little time that is
given to classics--only less than a quarter of the total school-hours to
Latin, and no more to Greek, which is, moreover, an optional subject.

But before you begin to blame our system--which, I may prophesy, will
soon have to be adopted in England--you must remember the central fact
that nine Australian boys out of ten finish their education when they
leave school, i.e. at sixteen or seventeen. Four of the nine go into
business, three into the bush, and the other two directly into
professions. Obviously the interests of the nine are of far more
importance than those of the one, and it is for their benefit that the
system of education must be arranged. As the country advances in
civilization, we may reduce the proportion of those who have to face the
world directly they leave school to 80 or even to 75 per cent.; but even
then it is only possible to consider the interests of the minority to a
certain extent. I will grant that that extent should be greater than the
numerical proportion, because the aim of a school must keep a certain
elevation if it intends to keep above the average of schools; but it is
impossible to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, and the _main_
bearings of the school must reflect the purpose for which the majority of
boys come there, if it is to be of any service, or to achieve any
legitimate success.

For my own part, I am not altogether inclined to regret the little
attention that is paid to Latin and Greek. Mr. Matthew Arnold's complaint
of half-culture has always seemed to me to savour of the pedagogue, and
his school of the prig--though I use these words in the better shade of
their meaning. It would, I believe, be a gain if the splitting of the
educational system into denominational schools had not taken place. A
school with 200 boys--the usual size of our largest--cannot give the
twofold training, classical and modern, side by side, as most of your
public schools are doing now; but I am not sure that what the classical
side gains by such a division, is not lost by the modern side as compared
with the homogeneous system.

School-work nowadays cannot be mere training and foundation-laying. It
would be absurd to expect it to cover every department of the higher
education, but there is a happy mean discoverable between the two. A
compromise can be established by which, while a preference is given to
such studies as science and mathematics, which may be held to represent
the inductive and deductive training, boys may yet carry away from school
a reasonable amount of practical knowledge, which, if they do not allow
it to get altogether rusty, can be of use to them in its direct
application to their after-life, as well as in its indirect influence. To
meet some such views as these, the heads of our best schools are allowing
considerable latitude of subjects in their upper classes; but in most
cases it would probably be better for the man if the boy's future career,
being once settled, and his own and his parents' tastes consulted, the
decision as to what optional subjects he should pursue were left with the
head-master, the parent, of course, retaining a right of veto.

But I am lapsing into an educational dissertation, and must hasten back
to colonial school-work. Leaving out of consideration exceptionally
clever boys, the average of learning at our better grammar schools is
higher than in middle-class ones, which form the fairest standard of
comparison obtainable, but lower than at public schools. The four or five
top boys in the upper sixth would invariably be in the sixth at Harrow or
Rugby: at times eight or ten would. The rest of the upper sixth would
probably be well up in the upper fifth, or in what at Rugby is called the
'Twenty,' while the lower sixth would compare with the lower half of the
upper fifth, and higher half of the middle fifth. Here I am taking as our
standard our three or four best schools, all of which, except the Sydney
Grammar School, are Victorian. The two South Australian colleges and
other leading New South Wales establishments fall far below this

I think I alluded before to the want of preparation for secondary
education, and the interruption of the age-equality of the schools by the
advent of boys of fifteen and sixteen, who have to be put in the first or
second form Between them, these two causes lower the age-standard so much
that one must, on the average, estimate that a colonial boy is two years
behind an English one in point of education. This is most visible at the
beginning of school-life, where, as you will have noted, the first form
averages over thirteen years old, but is partially made up by the
superior rate of progress if the boy remains long enough. At seventeen he
should not be more than a year behind his English contemporary.

The setting up of the matriculation examination as a standard up to which
the average boy strives to make his way, has undoubtedly had a beneficial
effect. Being a reachable proximate ideal, it works strongly upon every
boy's _amour propre_, egging on the average and lazy to work, and by a
system of honours holding out hopes of distinction to the able. The
practice of giving text-books for it encourages cram, and its width
allows of shallowness; but, to counteract this, distinction in any
particular subject is very highly marked.

That there should be a disposition here to look coldly upon the
old-fashioned classical education is not wonderful. You are beginning to
have your doubts about its superiority even in England. Here the majority
of parents would just as soon bury the past, and everyone who becomes a
_bonâ fide_ Australian must feel that the history of his country is yet
only in embryo. Besides this, the tendency of a new country is towards
practical knowledge--small profits, and quick returns; and in classics
the outlay of time is considerable, the returns slow, and the profit not
always very perceptible. Science receives daily increasing attention, as
at home. Geography is better realized by colonial children, and, I should
fancy, better taught. In fact, all English subjects, as they are called,
get their fair share. Mathematics, even in those lower branches which
come within the scope of a school, are not a favourite subject, although
about the same number of school-hours are devoted to them as at home.

The school-hours generally begin about nine a.m.; but school lasts till
twelve. Second school begins at two, and lasts till four, when the
day-boys go home. Half-holidays, ordinary or extraordinary, are rare; but
Saturday is always a whole holiday. The main bulk of holidays are at
Christmas, when some seven weeks are usually given. The midwinter
vacation rarely lasts a month, and short breaks are allowed at Easter and
Michaelmas, after the fashion of all schools comprising any large number
of day-boys. As in England, the Easter term is the laziest; but here it
is so for a good and sufficient reason--the heat during that period being
often intolerable.

Nearly every Australian school has a stable attached, in which boys who
ride to school put up their horses during school-hours. It is most
amusing to watch half a dozen 'fellows' galloping their ponies up the
avenue, not to be late for first school, just as we used to scurry across
quad to chapel of a morning! The ordinary sleeping and living
arrangements for boarders are much the same as at home. At the Sydney
State Grammar School, which is in reality purely and simply a day-school,
several of the masters take boarders, in imitation of public-school
boarding-houses. At the Melbourne Grammar School the second-master has a
house, the property of the school; but, so far, there are not more
boarders than will fill the school-house.

The bill of fare of public schools has, I believe--thanks to scarlet
fever and doctors--improved considerably since my day; but I do not
suppose it has yet reached the luxury of unlimited meat and jam three
times a day, with frequent bountiful supplies of fresh fruit. It is as
necessary to the credit of an Australian school to keep a liberal table,
as it is for an Atlantic steamship company. Where several schools are
pretty well on an equality, the table often turns the scale.

In Victoria, especially, the boys are inordinately fond of games and
outdoor sports of every kind; but too many of the day-boys prefer playing
cricket and football with local clubs to joining in the school games, and
this makes _esprit de corps_ only possible between school and school.
There are no divisions sufficiently strongly marked in the school to
become parties. Sixth and school are perhaps the nearest approaches; but
the day is far distant when intellectual differences will be appreciated
by grown-up colonists, much more by schoolboys; and it is only in a few
schools where a 'sixth' and 'school' match is possible. Untidiness in
dress, and indeed in all of their belongings, is another of the colonial
schoolboys' weaknesses. At the Melbourne Grammar School the boys have
studies which they in a certain way appreciate; but they are quite
content with the bare floor and walls, and would despise the little
attempts at comfort and prettiness which an English boy makes. The
latter's pride in his study would be quite incomprehensible to the
colonial, who not unnaturally imbibes his ideas from the rough-and-ready
mode of living in his home. As for uniformity in dress, he would be a
bold master who would even attempt to carry it out.

What I have written of the grammar-schools and denominational colleges of
course applies more or less to all secondary schools. There is at this
moment near Melbourne a private-venture college, which, owing to the
great ability and reputation of its head, ranks with the best Victorian
grammar schools. I should doubt whether the tone that is possible in a
non-proprietary school can easily be brought about in a private one, but
in teaching power it is certainly not inferior. With this one exception,
the private-venture colleges established in each suburb of the different
capitals are little better than the commercial academies of England.
There is the same bad tone, want of sufficient numbers of boys of equal
standing in the school-work, and other disadvantages, which make the very
name of a private school malodorous. The boys are rough and unmannerly,
the discipline slack, the teaching staff inferior in ability and social
position. The public schools of Australia may not be all that could be
wished, but [Greek characters] that a boy of mine should ever go to a
colonial private school, unless it were a preparatory school--a class of
institution greatly needed and not yet provided, because parents do not
appreciate the need.

The existence of three universities in a country with less than two
million inhabitants speaks well for the colonists' appreciation of the
higher instruction, which they themselves have rarely had the opportunity
of enjoying. The Sydney University, founded in 1851, was the first in the
field, but in spite of fine buildings, affiliated colleges, able
professors, and a very fair supply of funds, it has never succeeded in
attracting any considerable number of students, and can hardly be said to
have won even a _succès d'estime_. No little of its failure is
attributable to the success which has attended its Melbourne rival,
founded in 1855, at the height of the gold-fever, and which may be said
to have been floated on gold directly, and kept in deep water by it
indirectly. Before Sydney could recover the effects of the emigration of
those years, Melbourne was well under way, and the size and central
situation of the latter city contributed no little to the success of its
young university, which, under unusually politic as well as able
management, increased annually in size and usefulness, until now no less
than 1,500 students have graduated in its halls, and the number of
undergraduates attending its lectures exceeds 280. It confers degrees in
arts, laws, science, medicine, surgery, and engineering--the standard for
which is above that of Oxford and Cambridge, and in medicine is higher
than that of London itself. All the professors are men of first-rate
ability. Amongst them are an F.R.S. (M. McCoy, Professor of
Palaeontology), and Dr. Hearn, the well-known authority on jurisprudence
and constitutional law. By acting as an examining body for the secondary
schools, the university has not only widened its sphere of usefulness and
materially raised the general educational standard of the colony, but has
gained influence in circles, into which not even its name would probably
otherwise have entered. Already a certain healthy tone and _esprit de
corps_ obtains amongst the students, and _ceteris paribus_ a Melbourne
graduate is professionally to be preferred to an Oxonian or Cantab., at
any rate for colonial work. Thanks in no small degree to its educating
and civilizing influence on the community, an anti-materialistic voice is
beginning to make itself heard in Victoria, and if it does not occupy
itself too much with politics, it promises to become an intellectual
centre. It would not be difficult to find faults in either its
constitution or its teaching, but it has the great merit of taking the
trouble to understand and keep abreast of the times. All things
considered, the Melbourne University may claim to have deserved the
success it has commanded, and to be one of the greatest achievements of

The present prosperity and bright prospects of New South Wales, together
with the educational influence of the late exhibition, and an opportune
bequest of £180,000 by a wealthy colonist, have lately stirred up the
authorities of the Sydney University to make a grand effort to justify
its existence. A medical school--_the_ most successful side of the
Melbourne 'varsity is to be established, and other improvements
introduced. But although the principal, Dr. Badham, is a better classic
than any that the Melbourne University possesses, there is an indolence
and _laissez-faire_ about the Sydney University which must long keep it
in the background. Not until there is a thorough reformation in the whole
style, tone, and management of the university will there be any real
progress, and the centripetal influence of successful Melbourne is so
strong, that I do not believe Sydney will ever be able to catch up lost
ground, or even to considerably decrease the interval between itself and
its rival, advance though it may, and undoubtedly will, when the present
governing body has died out, and the public insists upon an entirely new
regime. As for the Adelaide University, it is bound either to federate
with Melbourne on the best terms it can obtain, or to drag on in
extravagant grandeur. In five years of existence it has conferred five
degrees at a cost of £50,000, and the professors threaten to outnumber
the students. The vaulting ambition of the little colony has somewhat
o'erleaped itself; but by a federation with Melbourne there would
undoubtedly be practical benefit gained, and little but sham glory lost.
If Sydney would also forego its jealousy, and acknowledge the success of
its rival by federating on a basis which should allow the Melbourne
University the position of _prima inter pares_, all colonies would
profit; but even if Sydney would federate--which I do not think in the
least probable--it could hardly expect its successful _confrère_ to
meet it on terms of perfect equality, especially as, comparatively
speaking, Melbourne has little to gain by federation.

As regards the cost of secondary and higher education, it must be
considered exceedingly small, remembering that the value of money is less
here than at home; and that the salaries paid to masters are from £50 to
£200 a year higher than the same men would obtain in England. The highest
terms for boarders at any secondary school are £80 per annum, and from
£50 to £60 is the usual charge. Day-boys pay from £12 to £24, according
to the school. The University fees are very light, amounting to not more
than £20 to £30 a year, including all charges.

As the Universities are purely teaching and examining bodies, with but
little control outside their walls, the religious denominations are
beginning to supply the want of a college system such as obtains at
Oxford and Cambridge, by founding affiliated colleges in which the regime
approximates as closely to that of the English Universities as the
circumstances of the case allow. At Melbourne there are two of these
colleges--Trinity College, belonging to the Church of England, and Ormond
College, erected at the cost of some £70,000, and richly endowed by a
wealthy colonist, Mr. Ormond, belonging to the Presbyterians. At Sydney,
the Roman Catholics, the Church of England, and the Presbyterians, have
all three erected affiliated colleges, but they are smaller and less
successful than those at Melbourne, and in a large measure serve merely
as theological colleges for training young men for the ministry. The
Church of England in Adelaide has also founded St. Barnabas College,
where, however, the relative importance of the two duties is
reversed--the college being more especially a theological college. The
Sydney colleges have not at all fulfilled the expectations which had been
formed about them, largely owing to the want of success of the
university; but the Melbourne colleges, and especially Trinity College,
which is the least richly endowed, and has the smallest buildings, are
doing excellent work. The atmosphere which the students breathe in them
is conducive to greater steadiness of work and exertion to achieve
university honours than is generally found in the unattached student;
besides, they offer some social advantages, and are also morally tonic.
In founding Trinity College, which was the first of these institutions in
Victoria, four years ago, the Bishop of Melbourne may be said to have
conferred an educational boon upon the colony only second to that which
it owes to Sir Redmond Barry. Every year it is increasing in usefulness,
and I can well understand that many parents who before preferred the
expense of sending their sons to Oxford or Cambridge, will now see their
way to allowing them to complete their education at the Melbourne

The provision for the secondary education of girls in Australia is
miserably poor. The only school that really combines the social and
intellectual qualifications requisite is to be found at Perth, in Western
Australia. At that school the teaching is admirable and the social tone
excellent. The only other school where girls are well taught is the High
School at Adelaide, but being a day-school and a State-school, it cannot
be expected to pay much attention to the social side of education. The
private schools for girls attain but a poor standard in instruction, and
a worse one still, when socially considered. There is one in Melbourne
considerably superior to the rest; but if I had daughters of my own, I
should certainly not send them to any as boarders, and would think twice
before I sent them as 'day-girls', if the expression be allowable. But it
is only fair to these schools to say that my standard of what a girls'
school should be is very high. It is, however, satisfied by the Bishop's
Ladies College at Perth.


The chief interest of Australian politics lies in their relation to those
of the Mother Country. Having imported their whole constitution and law
books holus-bolus from England, each colony has been engaged ever since
its foundation in fitting them to its circumstances. The legislative
equipment of the young Australias corresponded pretty nearly to the tall
hats and patent-leather boots which fond mothers provided for the
aspiring colonists. An exogenous growth has prevented originality of
ideas, which for the most part have been supplied by English thinkers,
but the adaptability and less complicated social machinery of a young
colony have permitted the carrying into execution of many valuable
measures long before they emerged from the region of theory in their
native land. It would not be hard to multiply instances where important
reforms have been hastened and made practicable in England by their
adoption and favourable operation out here, or avoided on account of
their failure here. Australia is the _corpus vile_ on which England
makes her legislative experiments. In this direction there is a great
deal of useful information in the study of our politics to an outsider;
but to go into the question at large would take up a three-volume
publication instead of a short letter, and my present purpose is merely
to give an outline of the existing situation in each colony, only
touching upon so much of their past history as is necessary for the
understanding of their present position.

The most interesting, history is that of Victoria, the youngest colony of
the three, which up to the time of the gold discoveries formed a district
of New South Wales, not inaptly named by its first explorer 'Australia
Felix.' Practically, its history may be said to date from these gold
discoveries in 1851. For the next five years adventurers of all nations
and classes flocked to the diggings, and quiet settlers from other
colonies left their sheep to look after themselves while they hastened to
reap a share of the golden harvest. Fortunately the diggings only gave
place to mines which are still a staple of wealth. But during the period
of the American war the gold tide ebbed too swiftly, leaving high and dry
not only diggers, but the thousand-and-one classes who were indirectly
dependent upon the gold supply. The better portion of these found
occupation on the land--the richest in Australia, though neglected during
the gold mania. But there remained a large number without any visible
means of support, and not particularly inclined to go out of their way to
find any. What to do with this large class of 'electors' became the
question of the day, until in 1865 Sir James M'Culloch introduced a
scheme for making work for them. By turning the tariff into an industrial
incubator he forced manufactures into existence, and gave employment to
those who had nothing better to do. It was in this manner, to meet a
temporary crisis, and with no deliberate economical purpose, that the
thin edge of the protectionist wedge was introduced. When once the
purpose for which the duties had been imposed was served, the originators
of protection in Victoria thought they could be quietly dropped. Needless
to say, it was easier to call in the spirit of Protection than to lay it
again. The gold produce continued to decrease, and the cry was for more
duties and heavier duties, until a please-the-people Ministry extended
the list to every possible article of manufacture, and raised the duty to
a prohibitive amount-for many articles as high as 27½ _ad valorem_. The
colony has now committed itself to an almost irrevocable extent. Even the
relative idea of imposing duties temporarily for the sake of giving new
industries a start, which marked the second stage of public opinion, is
giving way to the absolute one that Protection means more work and higher
wages whenever and wherever introduced. It may in course of time be
possible gradually to take 5 per cent off the duties at a time. But any
reduction of the tariff would instantly put hundreds of electors--and
very noisy hundreds too--out of employment, and reduce the earnings of
thousands, while the general effect upon prices would take a long time to
become perceptible. At the present time, come Conservative, come Liberal
into office, neither's tenure would be worth twenty-four hours' purchase
if he made any attempt in that direction. The whole subject of Free Trade
and Protection has for the present completely passed out of the region of
practical politics.

A distinguishing feature of Victorian public life is the existence of an
approach to definite political parties bearing the same names and
starting originally from the same bases as in England, though their
principles by no means correspond to those of English Liberals and
Conservatives. The main factor which led up to these divisions was class
dislike, embittered by the remembrance that both plutocracy and democracy
started in life on an equal footing. The diggings caused a general
shaking up of the social bag, and the people who came out uppermost were
mostly those who had been lowest before. In matters political they
grabbed the public lands wholesale; socially they flaunted their wealth
more openly than was wise. _Du haut en bas_ came badly from those who
had only a few years ago been hail-fellows-well-met. On the other side
was jealousy, embittered often by a feeling that it was a man's own fault
that he had not got on better in the world. The change had been brought
about too suddenly to allow of people shaking down into their new
positions. In this state of public feeling demagogues were not slow to
see their advantage. They fanned the flames of discontent and jealousy
till they broke out in Mr. Berry's 'platform,' the bursting-up of the
landed estates, reform amounting to revolution, protection _ad absurdum_,
and so forth.

For a short time feeling ran so high over the Reform Bill, as almost to
threaten civil war. One minister talked of settling the question with
'broken heads and flaming houses.' Another boasted at a public meeting
that he had 'got his hand upon the throat of capital'--all bombast, of
course, but dangerous bombast at a time of great public excitement.
Happily a vent was found for these angry passions in the ridiculous
incident of Mr. Berry's 'embassy' to the Colonial Office, which set both
parties laughing, and after three years of turmoil which had led to
considerable commercial distress, everybody got tired of agitation.

The Berry Ministry died of ridicule. A Conservative Government then
enjoyed a short tenure of office, but committed suicide by bringing in an
impracticable Reform Bill. A second Berry Ministry came into office, but
not into power. It also lived a few months, but with its dying kick it
passed a measure which, though it placed the Upper Chamber on a more
liberal basis than any other in Australia, and effected most important
changes in its constitution, was conservative in comparison with Mr.
Berry's first proposals. Hitherto members of the Upper House had been
elected for ten years, the qualification for the electorate being the
possession of property of the rateable value of £50 a year. Now the
electoral qualification has been reduced to £10 house and £20
leaseholders, and the tenure is for six years. The Lower House, or
Assembly, has for years been elected by manhood suffrage throughout
Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia.

Land reform has not yet advanced equally far, and will probably be
reserved for the next burst of democratic energy. The view of 'the party'
is that land should be made to pay a tax proportionate to the increase
which the State has, directly and indirectly, effected in its value by
railways and otherwise. The more advanced section point out that the
greater part of the land was sold at ridiculously and dishonestly low
prices to friends of the powers that were. For this reason, and because
the wealth of the colony would, they contend, be increased in the gross,
as well as more equally distributed by the partition of the large
freeholds, the tax should be progressive, i.e. increasing in percentage
according to the value of the property, so as to compel the large owners
to sell, and establish something answering to a peasant proprietary, or,
more strictly speaking, a yeomanry tilling its own soil. The
Conservatives look upon such a tax as nothing better than legalized
robbery, and hold the most pronounced views on the sacred rights of
property. A _juste milieu_ will probably be found between the two
courses, and the existing land-tax be increased; but unless recent
legislation for Ireland inspire new views of property, I do not think a
progressive tax is to be feared. As regards the existing land laws, I
shall say something further on upon this point in connection with those
of New South Wales.

After a bout of rabid Radicalism, Victoria now owns, or is owned by, a
half-and-half Ministry made up of the weakest members of both parties.
Its views are Liberal-Conservative, and wishy-washy; its principal
concern to remain in office. It serves as a sort of Aunt Sally for both
parties to shy at. But there is no coalition strong enough to replace it.
For nearly two years now it has pursued the even tenour of its way,
harmless and unharmed, confessing where it has blundered, and dancing a
sword-dance among small matters of administration. So long as it occupies
itself with nothing of importance, it seems likely to remain in office
till the next General Election. In view of this event, Sir Bryan
O'Loghlen has introduced a four-million loan to provide fifty-nine
railways, which should conciliate the hardest hearts of his opponents in
every district; for these railways are to be distributed most
impartially, and if any districts have more than a fair share, it is
those where opposition is most likely to be met. Unfortunately for the
Government, a series of accidents on the suburban railway lines have
recently called public attention to the fact that political influence is
more useful than competence in the obtaining of employment in the railway
department. The O'Loghlen Government have not been greater sinners than
their neighbours in this respect; but unless they take the bull by the
horns, and speedily bring in a measure to hand over the management of the
railways to a non-political board, they are likely to be sacrificed to
public indignation. The failure of the loan will also be laid to their
door and if either Liberals or Conservatives can only organize themselves
sufficiently, the General Election will probably prove fatal to them.

Of all the Australian provinces, there is none with the immediate
resources and future prospects of the Mother Colony. On her varied soils
and amidst her different climates, wool, wheat, wine, and sugar all find
a roomy and congenial home. Gold, copper, and tin are not wanting; and
close to the seaboard she has an unbounded supply of coal, which must
eventually be of more service in raising up manufacturing industries than
all the protective tariffs of Victoria. The early circumstances of New
South Wales were against its rapid growth. Founded as a receptacle for
convicts, a system akin to slavery soon took root. Such of the early
settlers as were neither gentlemen nor convicts belonged to the lowest
class, or joined it soon after they landed. The colony was more than half
a century old before it got any backbone; and although the descendants of
convicts have in most cases proved excellent colonists, it took some time
before 'trust in the people' could get the upper hand of fear. Even now,
when but few of the last convicts remain above ground, and the masses of
the population consist of immigrants in every way equal to the other
colonies, the spirit of Conservatism is still ingrained in New South
Wales. The shadow of the past still lingers behind in its comparative
social and political stagnation, in an indolence and want of enterprise
which is past all understanding to the Victorian, and a cherishing of
prejudices long after they have been rooted out in the Sister Colonies.
Even that arch-Democrat Sir Henry Parkes can only govern the colony by
setting himself up as the reverse of Mr. Berry.

New South Wales is constantly claiming credit for its adoption of a Free
Trade policy, but even this was brought about more by good luck than good
management. The circumstances which gave birth to Protection in Victoria
never occurred in Sydney. No one ever thought of such a thing. A light
tariff, founded on no particular principle, had been levied for many
years for revenue purposes; when, on the eve of a General Election, Sir
Henry Parkes, on the look-out for a good safe, cry, brought forward,
under the seductive form of 'remission of taxation,' the existing tariff,
which, though it manages to bring in as large a revenue as the Victorian
Protectionist one, limits considerably the number of articles taxed. This
was the first strike-out in the direction of Free Trade. The subsequent
buoyancy of the circumstances of the colony, and the applause with which
nearly the whole Australian press greeted the plunge, have confirmed the
policy, and made it a safe political watchword. But a great deal remains
to be done before New South Wales adopts Free Trade as it is understood
in England. From the outward and visible sign to the inward and spiritual
grace, is often a far cry.

In New South Wales, as in Victoria, large tracts of land have been bought
up at very low prices to form single estates. But the province is much
larger than Victoria, and thus feels the loss less. It was here that the
squattocracy was first successfully attacked. In 1861 Sir John Robertson
passed an Act by which any person can select as much as 320 acres of
Crown land in any part of the colony at the rate of £1 per acre, only 25
per cent. of which is payable on the spot, provided he subscribes to
certain conditions of cultivation and of residence on his 'selection.'
This Act was subsequently copied in Victoria, and is now being altered
there so as to enlarge the area selectable to 640 acres. Although often
leading to great injustice, this has certainly afforded a healthy outlet
for democratic passion. The plutocracy of New South Wales have risen to
wealth less rapidly than in Victoria, and have lived much more quietly
and with little display. And thus it comes about that there is very
little class feeling in the colony, and politics are carried on without
any more dangerous outbursts than the personal conflicts of excitable
members of Parliament.

Not only does party government not exist in New South Wales, but burning
questions are few and far between. Since 1878 the lion has been lying
down with the lamb, and the Parkes-Robertson Coalition Government has had
to raise a powerless opposition to keep itself from death by inanition.
Personal politics are always more or less the order of the day, and
Ministers are well content that as much superfluous energy as possible
should be spent on petty squabbles between private members, and on such
local questions as the taking of railways through certain districts, or
the building of police-courts in certain townships. Of course, when the
General Election comes, they are bound to have something to swear by, and
as they are not particularly troubled with either memory or conscience,
they generally have no difficulty in sailing before the wind, even if
they have to 'bout ship.

The late Premier, Sir Henry Parkes, has a special aptitude for
discovering which way the wind is going to blow, which places him first
on the list of living Australian politicians. Whilst colonists have
appreciated the compliment paid to them in the flattering reception which
he has recently met with in London, no one who has lived in Sydney can
forbear a smile at the idea of Sir ''Enery' passing as a representative
of the respectable portion of the Australian community, to whom, for the
most part, he is only less obnoxious than Mr. Berry.

The ink with which I wrote the last paragraph had not been dry a
fortnight, when the unexpected news came of the defeat of the
Parkes-Robertson Government on their Land Consolidation Bill. Although
the Parliament was still young, and there was no reason to believe that
it did not fairly represent the views of the country upon the question at
issue, Sir Henry obtained a dissolution from Lord Augustus Loftus, who is
credited with having had no opinion independent of his Premier since his
arrival at Government House.

The General Elections have resulted in an enormous majority for the
Opposition, and Sir Henry has resigned with the worst possible grace,
having forfeited any regret that might have been felt for his overthrow
by the abuse which he lavished on his opponents when he saw that the
elections were going against him, and the ridiculous pomposity with which
he has told the electors that they were not educated up to appreciating
him. As to the cause of his fall, it may partly be attributed to the
opposition of the Roman Catholics or denominational-education party, and
of the publicans; but it is chiefly due to a strong feeling throughout
the colony, that the land policy inaugurated by Sir John Robertson, just
twenty-one years ago, has proved a failure, and that it has raised up a
warfare between the pastoral tenants and the agriculturists, without any
adequate advantage to the latter.

It is passing strange that the colony, which was the first to introduce
the democratic land system of 'free selection before survey' into
Australia, should be the first to abandon it; and that the same Minister,
Sir John Robertson, who came into note through its introduction, should
practically end his political career with its downfall. The faults of
selection before survey were obvious from the first. The 'selector,'
being allowed to purchase in any part of the colony, used often to pick
out the heart of the squatter's leasehold run. It became, of course, the
squatter's interest to starve him out, and the selections, being isolated
instead of contiguous, were ill able to battle against this opposition.

The Bill on which the Coalition Ministry was defeated was merely a digest
of preceding Acts on the subject; and what contributed no little to the
fate of the Ministry, both in the House and in the country, was the
circumstance that not one of them, except Sir John Robertson, took any
interest in the Land Reform question, and that, until his recent
coalition with Sir John, Sir Henry Parkes had been one of the most bitter
opponents of the measures, on the consolidation of which he staked the
life of his Government. Sir John had undoubtedly taken a back seat in the
Coalition Government, and it was partly to revive his failing prestige
that Sir Henry Parkes brought in a measure which was notoriously
indifferent to himself. His brilliant reception in Europe and on his
return to Australia had turned his head, and he believed he could make
the House and country swallow whatever he chose. But his vaulting
ambition o'erleaped itself, and in his chagrin and mortification he has
unveiled the mask of respectability which he has worn for the last few
years, and given vent to language and sentiments which have seriously
injured the position he was achieving and the prospects of a return to
office. These should have been excellent, since the new Ministry is weak
in _personnel_, and has before it the duty of framing a new land
policy, which is much more difficult than that of picking holes in the
existing system. For the present they have shelved the question by
appointing a Royal Commission to inquire into the working of the land
laws. The programme for the session, revealed in the Speech from the
Throne, contains nothing more startling than amendments of the Licensing
Act and Criminal Laws, and measures for the establishment of secondary
schools throughout the colony, and to abate the rabbit pest.

The leading measures introduced by the Coalition Ministry during their
four years' tenure of office were, if we except a Licensed Victuallers'
Amendment Act, an Educational Act on the basis of that existing in the
other colonies, which served as a trump-card at the 1881 general
elections, and a measure for constitutional reform, in which they were
checked by the Upper House in 1879. Sir Henry's object, like Mr. Berry's,
was to strengthen the hands of the Assembly, but unfortunately for his
scheme he had a very different class of electors at his back. As happened
over the Land Act, his weathercock failed to point in the right
direction. When the Council rejected his Bill, he indulged in threats and
fulminations which would have done credit to a Berryite of the Berryites.
But the country utterly refused to back him up. It would not be roused
into indignation on one side or the other, and was utterly indifferent as
to whether the Council was reformed or continued as of old.. So after a
few days fuming and fretting, Sir Henry thought it wiser to let the
matter drop. The Legislative Council still remains nominated by the
Crown, the tenure of office being for life. On the Education Act, Sir
Henry's platform was the consolidation of a system of secular education
and the withdrawal of all grants in aid of denominational schools. Here,
as on the Land Act, he had held other views in other times; but in this
instance he caught the direction of the wind correctly and sailed before
it triumphantly.

In the new Ministry there is plenty of promise but little of past
performance, and withal a good many discordant elements. The Premier, Mr.
Stuart, is a good business man, of education and manners, but that is all
that can possibly be said for him. The Minister for Education, Mr. Reid,
is decidedly able, but very young. The Attorney-General, Mr. Dalley, is a
man of great literary ability and a leader of the bar, but he has
wretched health. The rest of the Ministry are nonentities, and by
omitting one or two men whose respectability is hardly equal to their
ability, Mr. Stuart has raised himself up an Opposition out of his old
following. These will probably combine with Sir Henry Parkes, and _qui
vivra verra_.

The colony, of South Australia has, to my thinking, been peculiarly
favoured. Conceived by political economy and born of religious
nonconformity, it has ever been the most sober and respectable province
of Australia. Thanks to Mr. Gibbon Wakefield's principles, on which the
colony was founded, but little of the land fund has been squandered to
fill the coffers of influential squatters, and by a system of credit to
small freeholders in districts proclaimed suitable for agriculture--i.e.,
free selection _after_ and not before survey-a large class of yeomanry
have been established on their own farms. The stamp of the lower middle
class (chiefly Dissenters) who formed the bulk of the early settlers has
not yet been erased from social and political life. Never making giant
strides, nor stumbling into pits of gold, like her nearest neighbour,
South Australia has yet progressed year by year at an even jog-trot along
the road of material prosperity. Although copper-mining has contributed
no insignificant quota to the national wealth, the foundations have been
laid in pasture, and the main structure is built up in wheat-growing.
Owing to a combination of these circumstances, the division of wealth
approaches much nearer to equality than in any of the other provinces.
There are fewer rich and fewer poor. The standard of wealth is lower. The
condition of the working-class is better and healthier; their chances of
becoming proprietors and employers are greater. The middle class
preponderates, but its very size, the diversity of interests it
represents, and the stake it has in the general welfare of the country,
prevent it from abusing its political power to any serious extent. Except
with its aid, neither the squatters nor the working-class can gain undue
advantages; and as this aid has rarely been lent without good reason
there is an almost total absence of class antagonism and an excellent
public spirit throughout the community, all classes working well together
for the common weal.

Definite political parties there are none, except on the few occasions
when a stirring question has temporarily divided the community. The
spirit of the colony is thoroughly liberal, without being democratic in
the narrow sense. In most important reforms--such as the withdrawal of
State aid to religion; the registration of landed property; the acquiring
of Constitutional Government, and the placing of the Constitution on a
liberal basis; the introduction of the credit system for the purchase of
small farms, and refusal to sell large tracts of country; and the
adoption of State Education--South Australia has either led the way or
been amongst the first. Thanks to the more advanced views of the earliest
settlers, the abuses to be done away with have never been so flagrant as
in the other provinces. Hence the work of reform has in every case been
carried out in a more just and moderate spirit. The chief fault to be
found in the political temper of the people lies in their apathy. When
they do go to the poll, not a few of the electors prefer to vote for the
candidate whom they believe to have the most honesty and public spirit,
even if they do not happen to agree altogether with his political views.
But the preference of men to measures is by no means an unmixed evil
under the circumstances. A new country not only offers great facilities
for political adventure, but rarely sins by going too slow, and when any
policy of real import comes to the front, the evil corrects itself in
proportion to the importance of the occasion. To this preference, also,
it is due that, although South Australian politics are for the most part
personal, yet the evils of personality are less prominent than in the
sister colonies. Political consistency is rated higher, and the tone of
the debates is infinitely better, than in New South Wales, where there is
the same absence of important questions. Indeed, the Legislature is famed
throughout Australia as being the most hard-working and best behaved.

With regard to Free Trade, a compromise has been adopted, and there are
not wanting signs of a disposition to follow the example of New South
Wales; but I fear this is rather out of dislike to Victoria than from any
abstract recognition of the advantages of a Free Trade policy.

Warned by the troubles to which the question of Upper House reform gave
rise in Victoria, the South Australians tackled it last session, when
both Chambers were on the best of terms with each other, and an Act was
passed by which the franchise was reduced from £50 freeholders and £20
leaseholders, to £20 leaseholders and £10 freeholders; the tenure of a
seat shortened from twelve to nine years; the colony divided into
electoral districts instead of voting in block; and a scheme introduced
for finally dissolving the Council in the event of the occurrence of
certain circumstances tending to produce a deadlock. All parties were
agreed as to the general principles of the Act, and beyond a little
skirmishing over matters of detail, it passed through both Houses with as
little excitement as any petty measure. Public opinion has also declared
itself in favour of imposing a tax either on income or on property, which
is felt not to be paying its fair share towards the Government of the
country. A land-tax was talked of, but in view of the re-action on the
land question, which has extended in a modified shape from New South
Wales, and of the present distress of the landed interest, such a tax is
not likely to be imposed. Certain it is that additional revenue to meet
the interest on the money borrowed for public works must be raised from
some source. The land revenue, which had been used for ordinary revenue
purposes, is now beginning to drop; and since the colony is but slightly
taxed, in comparison with its neighbours, it has no reason to grumble at
an increase of taxation. Amongst the more important measures passed last
session, was one for providing compensation for improvements to selectors
surrendering their agreements, and for remission of interest to those who
have reaped under a specified average during the last three seasons.
Another sets apart a million of money for making a railway to the
Victorian border to place Adelaide in communication with Melbourne. The
distressed condition of the selectors, who have taken up land in country
which all experts pronounced unfit for agricultural purposes, except in
exceptional seasons, will necessitate a measure next session to give
special advantages for improved cultivation. Here also, as in New South
Wales, the antagonism between the squatter and the selector, though less
pronounced, is beginning to be found artificial. Owing to the clause in
nearly all pastoral leases which provides for the resumption of all lands
leased for pastoral purposes at three years' notice, and the want of
inducements to capitalists to open up the interior, local capital is
travelling over to Queensland. The probability is that the impossibility
of selection beyond a certain area will be recognised, and special
inducements will be offered to persons wishing to depasture unused land
in the centre of the continent. There is some talk of a trans-continental
railway between Adelaide and Port Darwin, which a syndicate has offered
to construct on the land-grant system. But it looks as if the Government,
which will never for years be able to construct the line itself, were
unwilling to allow anybody else to do it.

The present Ministry, like its predecessor, which lasted four years, is
eminently respectable. The Premier, Mr. Bray, has shown himself to be one
of the best leaders of the House ever known in Adelaide. The Minister of
Education, Mr. Parsons, is distinctly able. The Treasurer, Mr. Glyde,
represents caution, and the Minister of Public works, Mr. Ramsay,
shrewdness and enterprise. Altogether it is a strong combination of
administrative ability, and in Messrs. Bray and Parsons it has two good
speakers. It cannot be said that the Ministry has any particular policy,
though it represents the farmers and working-classes rather than the
propertied section of the community. It will probably make use of the
recess to find out what proposals are likely to meet with least
opposition, and the Opposition will pronounce no definite opinions till
the Ministry have made up their minds. And this is the chronic state of
affairs. On minor differences Governments go in and out, but the broad
lines of policy are laid down by the country, and remain the same whoever
may be at the head of affairs. Nowhere is the theory of government by the
people more fully and fairly illustrated.

To write with any comprehension on the politics of a country, one should
have lived in it and be acquainted with the principal actors on its
political stage. A mere visitor's impressions must necessarily be
superficial, however much they may be backed up by reading. Hence, I
shall only say as much about Queensland as is absolutely necessary to the
rest of my subject. Originally Moreton Bay was a branch penal settlement
of New South Wales, and as only the worst and most troublesome characters
were sent there, the history of the district up to the cessation of
convict immigration in 1839, was none of the brightest. The discovery of
the Darling Downs led to a certain amount of pastoral settlement, but it
was not till its separation from New South Wales, in 1859, that,
Queensland really began to flourish. Ever since, with the exception of
two short periods of depression in 1866 and 1877-78, the youngest of the
Australian provinces has been catching up its elder sisters with
rapidity. The northern half of the colony offers unlimited opportunities
for growing sugar, cotton and other semi-tropical products; and the area
is so vast that there are not wanting prophets who say that Queensland
will, twenty years hence, be the leading colony of the group. It is more
than probable that, long before that period, she will have split up into
two provinces--the older and southern settlement resembling New South
Wales in character, and the more recently occupied northern district,
with its semi-tropical industries, forming a half-way house between
Australia and India. A country of squatters and planters is naturally
Conservative in its politics. This is the only colony where manhood
suffrage does not obtain, the qualification for the franchise being £100
freehold or £1 leasehold. The members of the Upper House are nominated by
the Crown for life.

The political parties of the day may be said to represent the interest of
Northern and Southern Queensland respectively. The Ministry, at the head
of which is Sir Thomas McIlwraith, represents the Northern portion. Hence
they have recently signed a contract with an English syndicate for the
construction, on the land-grant system, of a trans-continental railway to
join Townsville and other north-east coast settlements with the Gulf of
Carpentaria. Reproductive works and free immigration form a principal
item in their policy; but that which has attracted much opposition is a
proposal for the introduction of regular supplies of Cingalese. The
Opposition, led by Mr. Griffiths, represents the cooler climes, where
coolie labour is little wanted, and which cannot be benefited by the
railway. These contend that it would be impossible to confine the coolies
to the sugar plantations, and that they will interfere with the
legitimate labour of Europeans. They look for the support of the
working-classes. The Northern interests are those of planters and

Although Western Australia occupies a third of the total area of the
continent, it has so little connection with the sister colonies that it
can hardly claim to be considered as a factor in Australian politics. The
colony was founded in 1829, under the name of the Swan River Settlement,
by a number of gentlemen, many of them retired officers, to whom the
Imperial Government gave far larger land grants than they had capital to
manage. For twenty years both settlement and settlers had to struggle for
bare existence, until in 1851 they persuaded the Home authorities to
establish a convict station there. This supplied much-needed labour for
public works and a market for the stock and produce of the settlers,
while the maintenance of the convicts necessitated the expenditure of
£80,000 to £90,000 a year of Imperial money in the colony. With these
aids, the settlers kept their heads above water, till, owing to the
Victorian outcry against what was termed 'a blot' on the already rather
shady 'escutcheon 'of Australia, the immigration was stopped in 1868.
Since then the convicts have dwindled down from 5,000 to 500. Happily the
discovery of new pastoral lands occurred almost simultaneously with the
cessation of convict immigration, and the colony has slowly but gradually
progressed, until now it has a population of 30,000 inhabitants. During
the past year exploration has been vigorously prosecuted. Large tracts of
country have been taken up for pastoral purposes by capitalists in the
other colonies, and several projects for the construction of railways, to
be paid for by grants of land, are now under consideration by the
Government. At the present moment nothing but capital and population of a
more energetic kind than the old settlers seems to be wanting for Western
Australia to become a prosperous colony; and provided he is not afraid to
rough it, there is no part of Australia in which a capitalist--whether
large or small--can more remuneratively settle than in this out of the
way part of the world; and this I say after having myself temporarily
lost heavily there. Capital is the great need of Western Australia. At
present, you feel yourself more out of the world in Perth than in
Siberia. The people are poor, old-fashioned, warm-hearted, and
slow-going, with no belief in the resources of their own country.
Whatever wealth is made there, is made by outsiders--mostly
Victorians--who are gradually galvanizing the place into life. But that
Western Australia is destined to become a great country, no one who has
lived there long enough to know something of it, and not long enough to
become impregnated with the prevailing indifferentism, can doubt.

The province is still under Crown Government, although there is a
Legislative Council, two-thirds of the members of which are elected by
£10 householders, which is yearly gaining power. The advent of
Constitutional Government will depend entirely upon the progress of the
colony; but at present it is far from being desirable, the elected
members of the Council being distinctly the obstructive party, while the
Governor and the Imperially appointed officials are the only persons who
look beyond the squatting interest to that of the colony as a whole.

The politics of the country consist of discussions as to whether settlers
should be bound to pay half the value of the fences a neighbour has
erected or wishes to erect between them; whether the railway should be
allowed to go through a certain square in the township of Guildford;
whether police protection, at the expense of the whole colony, should be
afforded to settlers in the outlying districts, who are exposed to
attacks of natives. People living within hearing of St. Stephen's can
hardly imagine the virulence with which these petty questions are gone
into, still less that for months they have formed the only topics of
conversation. Liliput must, I feel sure, have been a far noisier place
than Brobdingnag, and with the kindest feeling towards the most
hospitable people in the world, I cannot forbear a smile at the
recollections of the boredom I underwent on the subject of the Fencing

Reviewing Australian politics as a whole, one notices that whilst all the
colonies are distinctly 'Liberal' in their ideas, the shades of colour
vary from Whiggism in New South Wales and Queensland, to extreme
Radicalism in Victoria, with South Australia as the exponent of the more
sober Radicals. The two more important provinces have diverged
considerably from each other, partly from sheer opposition, but chiefly
from diversity of circumstances and constituents. Until recently, South
Australia was content quietly to beat out its own little track; but the
_rapprochement_ between all the colonies, which increased facilities of
communication have brought about, is yearly tending to lessen its
individuality and to make it a mere copy of one or the other of its big

In discussing constitutional questions it is well to remember that,
although all the Australian constitutions are founded on analogy with the
British, that analogy can easily be carried too far. To begin, the main
functions of the Colonial Legislature, and the relations of the two
Chambers towards each other, are for the most part written down in black
and white, their constitutions allowing no room for the 'broadening down
from precedent to precedent,' which has enabled the British constitution
to work comparatively so smoothly. The latter grew up naturally, the
former were made to order. All parties in Australia are agreed to follow
British precedent where none is provided in the Constitution Act; but
there is a considerable party who actually hold that the colonial
constitutions being modelled on the British, the spirit of the British
constitution should be followed, even when it does not altogether agree
with the letter of their own; and this, although it is obvious that an
Upper House on such a broad electoral basis as that of Victoria or South
Australia, affords almost as many points of comparison with the House of
Commons as with the Lords. A peculiar instance of this feeling was shown
in 1861 in New South Wales, where, the Upper Chamber being nominated by
the Government, Sir John Robertson took advantage of the precedent
established by Earl Grey's threat, to swamp the Legislative Council with
nominees in order to pass a Land Act. Another difference besides the mode
of appointment lies in the different education and social status of the
members, about which I shall have something to say further on.

Happily there has so far rarely been any strain in the relations with the
mother country. It may be true that the colonists are gradually getting
less patient when the Queen's assent is refused to an Act, but the
Colonial Office is also becoming more wary in refusing such assent. This
leads on to the general question of the probabilities of a separation.
Certainly there is no sign of any intention deliberately to cut the
painter; but by a rash act on the part of the mother country, or if
Australia were to suffer severely in a war in which she had no concern,
it might suddenly and unexpectedly snap. Such I believe to be the true
state of the case, unalterable either by Imperialistic demonstrations at
home, or ultra-Royalistic effusions out here; although in the ordinary
run of affairs neither of these are without their use in keeping up a
cordial feeling. Even in semi-communistic Victoria there is at present an
unlimited fund of British patriotism, and, superficially, the colonists
are more loyal than Englishmen living in the land. But present it has to
be remembered that a majority of the inhabitants are still English born
and bred, and that the circumstances of colonial life do not encourage
the indulgence of sentiment at the expense of material advantages. Where
the treasure is, there will the heart be also. When the purely Australian
element gets the upper hand, the keeping of the British connection will
become merely a question of advantage and opportunity. In time of peace
the advantage is decidedly on the side of the present state of things.
The events of war might reverse the position.

No unimportant tie is the disunion between the colonies themselves. So
far all attempts at Federation, whether proceeding from England or from
public feeling in Australia itself, have completely failed. The subject
was actually discussed at a recent Intercolonial Conference, and again
last session in the Victorian House of Assembly. But I very much doubt
whether all the talk that is going on upon the subject will overcome the
practical difficulties within the present generation, unless there come
some period of common danger. Certain it is that if Federation is to be
brought about, the movement must be endogenous. At present the way is
blocked by the opposite commercial policies of Victoria and Now South
Wales. That practical experience will point out the true solution of the
Free Trade and Protection controversy in Australia is hardly likely, when
one notices the present Protectionist movements in England; but in the
course of years, one may reasonably expect that a purely Australian
feeling will overcome this stumbling-block, and give us one tariff for
the whole of Australia. Such a feeling can hardly become sufficiently
strong to effect this object without encroaching considerably on the
ground now occupied by Imperial patriotism. How true this is, is
exemplified by the fact that the first, and so far the only subject upon
which there has been any Australian, as opposed to provincial feeling, is
Australian cricket, or more properly the Australian Eleven. And in
connection with this I note that the matches against England are
invariably called International, which is not strictly correct. The two
questions of Federation and Separation are almost inseparably bound
together, though in time of war a federation would be possible which
would only bind Australia more closely to England. Then will be the
opportunity, not only for Federation, but for Consolidation, or for
Separation. Which it will be, must depend largely on the course events
take. As I pointed out above, if Australia were to suffer severely, it
might cause Separation; but if, on the other hand, she felt that her
liberties and well-being were preserved by direct force of British arms,
it is quite probable that an irresistible feeling in favour of
Consolidation might arise, and Lord Carnarvon's dreams might be realized,
provided the British Government struck the iron while it was hot.

When Federation takes place, I think there can be little doubt that it
will take a shape similar to that of the United States; and that in due
course of years Federation, in this shape, will become a fact, seems to
me more than likely. Sir Henry Parkes's idea of fusion seems applicable
enough to Victoria and New South Wales, if they could overcome their
economical enmities; but that South Australia or any part of Queensland
should join is impracticable. A year in New Zealand has been sufficient
to convince me that the abolition of the Provincial system there has been
far from an unmixed benefit. For most purposes, the colony of New Zealand
is merely a geographical expression. If the distances between Dunedin,
Christchurch, Auckland, and Wellington are sufficient to mar the fusion
of the New Zealand Provinces, how infinitely more impracticable would a
central Government at Albury be so far as Adelaide and Brisbane are

The character and behaviour of the members of Australian legislatures
have to be considered in forming any just estimate of colonial politics.
Unfortunately, the little that is known on the subject at home has
revealed neither in a favourable light. The rowdy members and rowdy
scenes have _ipso facto_ attained prominence; but after carefully
watching for myself, and taking the opinions of those best qualified to
form them, I cannot but think that the generally-received opinion even in
Australia is incorrect, and that, taking all the circumstances into
consideration, both character and behaviour are far better than one has
reason to expect. Here, as in many other respects, Victoria is the most
pronounced example of what may be called Australianism as opposed to
Englishism. Up to the present moment, she is the only Australian colony
(I do not count New Zealand) which pays her legislators, and consequently
she has at once the cleverest and the worst-behaved set. There are very
few members of her parliament who can claim to possess any real political
talent. But the general average of native as apart from trained ability,
and of clearness in expressing what they wish to say, will--if we except
the dozen leading men on each side of the House of Commons--compare with
that of the more august assemblage. Nine-tenths of the Victorian members
possess at least the gift of the gab. In the excitement of the moment,
grammar goes to the winds, and _h_ 's fall thick as leaves in
Vallombrosa, but they neither hesitate nor falter in their speech, and
are nearly all possessed of a good deal of useful practical information.
Their behaviour is certainly open to exception, but so is that of the
House of Commons. The only difference is, that in Melbourne bad behaviour
is almost the rule, while at St. Stephen's it may be considered the
exception. Ministers and leaders of the Opposition give each other the
lie direct and think nothing of it, and unparliamentary epithets are
freely bandied about. At times there have been scenes unsurpassed only in
the French Assembly, and one or two members have kept up a continued fire
of uncomplimentary interjections. But it is only fair to remember that
the great majority of the House belong to the lower middle class, and are
found wanting, even if judged by the not very elevated social and
educational standard of the colonies. Many of them have risen to their
present not very high estate from the lowest class. Amongst people of
that kind you cannot expect to find the tone of the House of Commons. The
unfortunate members cannot leave the manners and customs of their class
in the cloakroom of the House. Besides this, the questions under
discussion in Melbourne of late years have been particularly
inflammatory. When the appeal has been made from reason to passions on
the one side, and to pockets on the other, the debates can hardly be
anything but stormy; and if one recollects that most of these encounters
take place between the present and the past lower orders, is it
astonishing if irony and sarcasm give place to Billingsgate?

The recent exposure of grave political scandals in Sydney has attracted
attention to the seamy side of the political life of the colonies. But
such scandals, I would fain believe, are exceptional. The tone of the
Sydney House is little, if at all, better than that of the Melbourne one,
in spite of the members being unpaid. Political adventurers--the curse of
communities like these--are perhaps not so numerous, for the £300 a year
paid to every Victorian M.P. offers special facilities for the
professional politician, but some light has recently been thrown on their
misdeeds. The questions under discussion in Sydney are also less
important. But the very unimportance of New South Wales politics leaves
open a wide door for strong language. I have a vivid recollection of
hearing one member talk about the 'effluvium which rises from that dung
heap opposite,' alluding to another member, who fortunately was well able
to return the compliment in kind. Both, however, are amongst the most
useful men in the House. Such amenities are mere matters of everyday
occurrence, ripples without which the debates would stagnate. The pity of
them is that they discourage men of education and position from
descending into the political arena, and even corrupt the manners of
those who do. Still, one must bear in mind that, however much a low tone
is in itself regrettable, it is no criterion of the work of which the
House is capable and which it actually gets through.

In South Australia the tone of the House is much higher than in any of
the other colonies. The general standard of ability is not so high as in
Victoria, but the social status and general respectability of the members
are considerably higher. The House seems to be impressed with the idea
that it is considered the most respectable in Australia, and to strive to
maintain its reputation in that respect. So mild is the general tenour of
the debates, that an old House of Commons reporter assures me that the
South Australian Assembly is a more orderly body and far more obedient to
the Chair than St. Stephen's. Personalities of the warmer kind are
considered bad form, and one of the ablest men in the House has
completely lost all political influence from the shadiness of sundry
transactions which, in the sister colonies, would most assuredly have
been forgiven long before they were forgotten. Of course the House is hot
free from adventurers, but they are of the better type, and have to
conform to a fairly high standard of political morality, if they wish to
obtain office and influence. As I stated before, the absence of burning
political questions, and the peculiar temperament of the colonists, has
led to a reputation for respectability being the chief recommendation for
a seat in the House. There is occasionally a little 'log-rolling' to
obtain the construction of public works in particular districts, but like
everything else in South Australian politics, this is very 'mild,' and
the struggle between the districts is never sufficiently strong to
interfere seriously with the common weal.

In Queensland, in spite of a Conservative constitution, the debates, if
we may believe the fortnightly letters published in the leading papers of
Sydney and Melbourne, rival those of Victoria in rowdyism. Personal
animosity between members runs to an unpardonable height, and the leaders
of the two parties are constantly making accusations against each other's
integrity. Political scandals are more numerous, if less important, than
in Sydney. Altogether, the impression that I have gathered is
unfavourable to the Brisbane Legislature.

The most prominent politicians in Australia are Sir Henry Parkes and Mr.
Berry. Of these, Sir Henry Parkes is unquestionably the abler. He is a
fair administrator, a good debater and leader of the House, has
statesmanlike ideas, and but for his overweening conceit might have risen
to the rank of a statesman. Mr. Berry's talent lies in a fluency of
specious but forcible speech appealing to the mob, rather than in
debating power. His vision is limited, and he is a poor administrator.
After these two I would place Mr. J. G. Francis, now the leader of the
Victorian Conservatives, who is decidedly able, and Sir John O'Shannassy,
whose adherence to the Catholic claims alone keeps him out of a
commanding position. Sir John Robertson may perhaps claim to be placed
before either of these two, but it must be upon the ground of past
performances rather than of present action; he is emphatically a light of
other days. Sir Bryan O'Loghlen will never do anything remarkable; and
the same may be said of Mr. Stuart. South Australia has two good
administrators in Messrs. Morgan and Bray. The latter has developed
during his Premiership abilities for which no one had given him credit.
As a leader of the House, he has raised tact to the dignity of a fine
art. Mr. Patterson seems to me the ablest of the Victorian Radicals. Mr.
Parsons, of Adelaide, should also make his mark. In Mr. Ward, South
Australia possesses the most brilliant speaker in the colonies but he has
not sufficient application or steadiness to become powerful. Mr. D.
Buchanan, of Sydney, is also clever, but his tongue runs away with his
discretion. Sir T. McIlwraith, Sir T. Palmer, and Mr. Griffith, in
Queensland, should of course be included in any list of prominent
politicians of the day, but unfortunately I do not know enough about them
to pronounce any opinion upon their abilities which would be worth
having. Amongst living politicians who are not now taking part in
politics, but whose names deserve to be mentioned, are Mr. Service, Mr.
Murray Smith, and Sir Charles Sladen, who throughout the Reform agitation
were the pillars of the Conservative party in Victoria, and Mr. Douglas
in Queensland.

Amongst the younger band of politicians, it is not difficult to discern
three Premiers _in petto_. Mr. Reid, of Sydney, only wants more
parliamentary and administrative experience, and the more thorough
understanding of the proportions of affairs which a couple of years'
residence in England would give, to become the nearest approach to a
statesman which Australia has ever seen. In South Australia, Mr. Dixon
shows a great deal of promise. In Melbourne, Mr. Deakin's fluency of
speech impressed me considerably. Upon him will probably fall Mr. Berry's
mantle. All three of these rising politicians are young and enthusiastic,
but while Mr. Reid and Mr. Dixon are Australians in the widest sense, Mr.
Deakin's ideas seem to be unable to reach beyond the colony in which he
was born.

The Land question, the Constitutional question, the
Transcontinental-Railway question, the Coastal-Trunk Railway question,
the Education question, the Immigration question, will be seen to be
common to all the Australian colonies.

In Victoria and South Australia the constitutional question is at rest
for another decade; but though it is not at present on the _tapis_,
there is every probability that within the next five years New South
Wales will abandon the nominated Upper House for one elected by a
propertied constituency, such as that of the South Australian and
Victorian Legislative Councils. Within the same period Queensland, or at
any rate the southern part of it, if it splits into two over the
question, will adopt universal suffrage. Very possibly the opportunity
will also be taken to make the Legislative Council elective, but probably
on a much less liberal basis than in the other colonies. Five years more
of progress such as she has made last year, and Western Australia will
become fitted for and obtain constitutional government. The liberalizing
of the Australian constitutions is entirely a matter of time, but the
direction is pretty well indicated. The length of each step depends
mainly upon whether it is made with the goodwill of both Houses at a time
when there is no urgent demand for reform; or whether it is affected by
obstruction on the part of the Upper House; or whether, as seems likely
to be the case in New Zealand, it is brought about by the apathy of the
Second Chamber. I doubt, however, whether even Victoria has reached
finality in its Constitution, and it is difficult to prophesy what form
the Colonial Legislative Council of the future is to take. Probably
before Reform can take a new direction, there will be Federation, with an
Australian Senate.

Many people think that the solution of the Education question remains to
be found. A Royal Commission was appointed last session in South
Australia to consider the bearings of the existing system, and in
Victoria there is already a strong political party opposed to it. After
such a complete reversal of a policy which was supposed to be so firmly
established as Sir John Robertson's land system, no system in Australia
can be said to be finally established if there is any considerable number
of sufferers by it. Most sensible people--though they are certainly not
numerous--admit that the Catholics are really aggrieved by being obliged
to contribute towards a system of education of which they cannot avail
themselves, and many others regret the omission from our educational
system of so important an element as religion. But the advantage of an
uniform system of State education is widely and generally appreciated.
The present system may be modified so as to give ministers of religion
greater opportunities for doctrinal teaching out of hours, and to allow
of broad Christian morality being taught as part of the educational
course. But I cannot think that a return to State aid to denominational
schools is at all probable; and if the next half-dozen years pass over
without such a change, the number of electors educated under the existing
system will make it impossible. The Church of England was the only
Protestant body which originally objected to the secular system, because
none of the other Protestant denominations had schools of their own. Now
these are beginning to awake to the fact that the secular schools are
thinning their flocks, and producing a large number of freethinkers in
fact, if not in profession. They are therefore openly becoming more
inclined to joint action with the Anglicans, not for the establishment of
denominational schools, but for the introduction of broad Christian
teaching into the existing schools. The Catholics, of course, hold that
just as the existing schools negatively produce Free-thinkers by the
absence of any Christian teaching, so broad Christianity would be mere
Protestantism; i.e., the negation of Roman Catholic doctrine.

On the Land question we seem as far as ever from finality. The reaction
against the selection system will probably not extend to Victoria because
the quantity of land there is limited, and its character for the most
part superior. In South Australia the solution will probably be in
superior facilities for opening up the interior or unoccupied lands,
greater fixity of tenure to the leaseholders, restriction of the land
open to the operation of the system of selection, easier terms to the
selector, and greater encouragement to both selector and leaseholder to
improve their holdings. In New South Wales the change must be more
radical, because, in the absence of the South Australian clause which
made survey precede selection, the evil which has arisen is much greater.
But the direction of the change will probably be similar, though the
selector will be less considered, and there is not much totally unused
land needing pastoral occupation. In Victoria the selections are now
being increased in size to one square mile, and I think changes will
gradually be made which will make the large freeholders find it to their
advantage to sell. In Victoria and New South Wales there is a quantity of
freehold property used for pasture which is well fitted for agriculture.
South Australia, on the contrary, has pretty well reached the margin of
cultivation, and must seek to improve her wheat-yield, not so much by
enlargement of the area cultivated, as by improvement in the cultivation
of the area already under crop.

Victoria has completely abandoned Government immigration, but New South
Wales, South Australia, and Queensland each grant free or assisted
passages to immigrants of a certain class. For the last three or four
years the immigration policy has been slackened, but there is every sign
that another push is going o be made in this direction by South
Australia, which had almost entirely stopped free passages, and by
Queensland. Beyond question, one of the chief needs of Australia at the
present moment is a steady stream of immigration, and this can only be
obtained by more strenuous efforts on the part of the Colonial
Governments to make the position and prospects of the country better
known at home. Immigration raises the revenue and helps to pay off the
interest on our debt. It reduces the expenditure proportionately to the
population. It gives more employment, since the new-comers must be housed
and clothed and live; and it supplies more labour, enabling fresh country
and new industries to be opened up. Population is the chief element of
wealth and progress in a young country like this.

The contract which the Queensland Government has just signed for the
construction of a railway from Charleville and Point Parker marks the
beginning of an era of transcontinental railways constructed by English
companies upon the land-grant system. The next will probably join Albany
(King George's Sound) to Perth, and the third will traverse the continent
from north to south, i.e. from Port Darwin to Port Augusta, and
practically to Adelaide. The advantages of the land-grant system are yet
insufficiently appreciated in Australia, but in this system I believe
there lies an enormous source of wealth. The Colonial Governments cannot
possibly afford to construct these lines themselves; but if the contracts
are made with discretion, the advantages which the companies will reap,
though sufficient, will be as nothing compared with the enormous increase
in the value of the remaining land, and the addition to the productive
power of the colony. The railways from capital to capital will, of
course, be constructed by the Governments of each colony. Sydney is
already united to Melbourne, and in four years' time Adelaide will also
be connected. Brisbane, Maryborough, Rockhampton, Mackay, and Townsville
will all be joined in due course of time, and by the land-grant system
Point Parker, on the northern coast, will be included. The next step must
undoubtedly be the connection of Albany with Port Augusta on the
land-grant system, and of Perth--or rather Geraldton--with the new
settlements in the Kimberley district. All this, I think, we may
reasonably expect to be done in the next quarter of a century. After that
a line will probably be constructed across the centre of the continent
from east to west, and the coastal trunk line completed along the
north-west from the Kimberley district to Port Darwin, and thence to
Point Parker.

Just before the last mail left with this letter, the Parkes Government in
New South Wales exploded like a bomb-shell. A fortnight after it was
posted, Sir Bryan O'Loghlen wrought a _coup d'état_. On the last day of
January, Victoria was amazed by the altogether unexpected news that the
Ministry had advised, and the Governor granted, a dissolution. The
morning papers had not contained even a hint of such a catastrophe, and
the publication of the Government _Gazette_ containing the proclamation
was the first intimation of it which anybody outside the Cabinet
received. The grounds upon which the request of the Ministry was granted
were, that the House was so divided into sections of parties that it was
impossible to carry on the public business; that the Parliament was
moribund, having only six months to live; and that the Government, which
asked for the dissolution, was undefeated. Both the Conservatives and
Liberals, and their leaders the _Argus_ and _Age_, alike blame the
Governor for granting the dissolution, on the grounds that the House was
just as incompetent to transact business six months ago as now, and that
the Government would never have applied for a dissolution but for the
certain defeat which awaited them directly the House met, on account of
the failure of the loan. To me, however, it seems that the Governor was
perfectly right. Admitting the undeniable truth of the objections I have
just quoted, it remains to be said that if the Government had waited to
be defeated in the House, no Government capable of carrying on business
could have been formed in such a House. As it is the Government are
absolutely certain to be defeated in the country, and in a new House
there is every chance of a strong Government being formed. Mr. Service,
the ablest of Australian politicians, who led the Conservative Opposition
to Mr. Berry's Government throughout the constitutional struggle, and who
has been on a holiday in England during the present Minister's tenure of
office, has resolved to re-enter into politics. Although a resolute
opponent of the excesses of Berryism, Mr. Service is more of a Liberal
than of a Conservative, and I confidently expect that the general
elections will result in a Coalition Government formed of the ablest men
of either side, under Mr. Service's leadership. Even Mr. Berry, in his
election speech, has announced 'moderation' as his watchword, and a
longing for the loaves and fishes of office will probably induce him to
serve under Mr. Service. Mr. Patterson, the ablest of the Radicals, may
be pronounced a certainty for the Ministry of Public Works. Mr. Francis,
the leader of the Conservatives whilst Mr. Service was away, will be a
fourth. For the remaining offices, Messrs. Pearson and Deakin of the
Radicals, and Gillies of the Conservatives, are the most likely men. Such
a Government of all the talents, with Civil Service Reform as the first
plank in its platform, should rival the length and strength of the
Parkes-Robertson Coalition, which lasted four years, and would be
infinitely superior to it in ability. As for poor Sir Bryan O'Loghlen,
the services he has rendered to the country are little likely to be
appreciated at the poll, and all he will be able to do is to rally into
opposition the men who think Mr. Service ought to have offered them


The _Australian Insurance Banking Record_ informs me that there are no
less than 24 joint-stock banking companies, with 750 branches doing
business in Australia. They all pay dividends of from 6 to 18 per cent.
to their shareholders, besides putting handsome sums every year to their
reserve funds, so that banking business is fairly profitable here. The
existence and prosperity of so many banks in a community which, all told,
is considerably smaller than the population of London, is chiefly due to
the wealth of the small number of people who form it, and also to the
wider range of business which the banks undertake. Nearly everybody who
is worth £100 has a banking account, and most people who have an account
have overdrafts, which are given for the most part on purely personal
security. The banks also advance freely on growing crops, wool on the
sheep's back, and all kinds of intangible security. Many of the largest
merchants are to all intents and purposes mere bank-agents. It is quite a
common thing for ordinary working-men to keep bank accounts; and all
farmers, even the smallest, are obliged to keep them; for in the country
specie payments are almost unknown, and the smallest sums are paid by
cheque. Even in the towns, residents usually pay any sum over a pound by
cheque. Although this practice has opened the door to a good deal of
fraud, its convenience is obvious. You need never keep more than a few
shillings in your pocket, and your bank keeps all your accounts for you.

In a community in which every class is largely dependent upon his
goodwill, the banker occupies the highest social position, almost
irrespective of his merits. It is this excessive dependence upon the
banks which largely accounts for the excessive ups and downs of colonial
life. In times when money is easy the banks almost force it upon their
customers. When it is tight, many people who are really solvent are
forced into the _Gazette_, and a panic ensues, from which it takes the
country some time to recover.

The tendency to merge large firms into limited liability companies, which
has extended lately from America to England, has also been felt in
Australia, though not to the same extent as in New Zealand. In certain
classes of business these come into competition with the smaller banks,
but each, as a rule, runs hand in glove with a large bank, undertaking
certain classes of loans and supplementing the bank's business. They buy
wool and wheat freely in Melbourne, hold auction sales there, sell on
commission in England, advance upon wool on the sheep's back and standing
crops onwards; in short, merit their usual description of loan,
mercantile, and agency houses. Mortgage and land investment companies are
another class which has been springing up of late. One company has been
started professedly to deal solely with wheat: several already exist
which make wool their only concern. Besides these, there are the usual
run of mining companies, which spring up epidemically and mostly have
their headquarters in Victoria. It is needless to say, that in these
companies it is a case of neck or nothing.

Land is naturally the safest investment of any that offer themselves in
the colonies. Although every ten years or so there comes to each colony a
period of intense speculation in land, with a consequent reaction, it is
a generally accepted maxim, that 'you cannot go far wrong in buying
land.' There is always the chance of making 50 to 100 per cent. in the
year by a land purchase, and at the worst you will get 10 to 20 per cent.
per annum, if you can only afford to tide over one, or at most two bad

On first-class mortgages the rate of interest varies from 6 1/2 to 8 per
cent. for large amounts. For small amounts 8 per cent. is always
obtainable by a man who keeps his eyes open. But, beyond this absolutely
secure class of investments, one thousand-and-one small chances of making
large profits with little risk occur to every man who has got a few
hundreds; and if he fails to turn them to account he will have nothing
but himself to blame.

In the early days there was of course no distinction between wholesale
and retail business, and in country towns the largest firms still keep
stores where you can buy sixpennyworth of anything you want. Even in the
towns the distinction is not firmly established, and many of the
wealthiest importers still keep shops. Nor are the trades specialized to
anything like the same extent as at home; though, in wholesale trade,
they are becoming more so every day. Nearly the whole of the
extra-Australian trade is still with England--chiefly London--though
there is a small import trade with America and China, and export to India
and the Cape. The French and Germans are both making strenuous efforts to
establish a market here, and the Germans especially are succeeding. A
great deal of business has been done of late by agents working on
commission for English manufacturers; but most of the larger importers
have their buyers in England. The tendency, however, is towards buying in
Australia, although it is opposed by the large wholesale importers who
are injured by closer connection between manufacturers and small buyers.

If, on the one hand, there are fewer of those old-established firms in
which strict traditions of honour descend from generation to generation,
so, on the other hand, the smaller size of the towns gives less scope for
barefaced swindlers. And thus, if the standard of commercial morality is
lower here than at home, people are not taken in so easily, or to so
great an extent. Everyone is expected to be more or less of a business
man, and is looked upon as a blockhead and deserving to be cheated, if he
does not understand and allow for the tricks of the trade. In Melbourne
the heavy protectionist tariff has brought about an almost universal
practice of presenting the customs with false invoices so skilfully
concocted as to make detection impossible. Within my knowledge this
practice has been resorted to by firms of the highest standing. Sharp
practice amongst respectable firms is also very common, and verbal
agreements are less trustworthy than in England. You are expected to be
on your guard against being 'taken in;' and if you are taken in, no one
has any compassion for you, the general opinion being that a man who
trusts to anything less than the plainest black-and-white is a fool.

Liberality to _employés_ and in the details of business is little known
or appreciated. Exactly contrary to the prevalent idea in America, the
Australian merchant is most averse to casting bread on the waters with a
view to its return after many days. He distrusts courtesy and liberality
as cloaks for the knave, or as the appurtenances of the fool. Loyalty is
a phrase little understood, and the merchant leaves as little to his
clerks' honesty or honour as he can possibly help. In business he holds
that 'Every man's hand is against his neighbour, and his neighbour's
against him;' and he pushes the aphorism to its fullest logical
conclusion, i.e., not merely to 'Believe every man to be a knave until
you find he is honest,' but 'Believe that when a man is honest it is
merely the more successfully to carry out some rascality.'

The old-fashioned English prejudice against bankruptcy has been improved
out of existence by the speculative nature of all business, and the
consequent frequency of insolvencies. Some of the largest merchants have
'been through the Court,' as it is termed, more than once; and provided
there has been no open swindle in the case, no opprobium attaches. Even
when there has been swindling, it is soon forgiven and forgotten. A man
who has been caught swindling is denounced at the time with an
exaggerated ardour which would make a stranger think that swindles were
almost as rare as the cases in which they are discovered; but it is only
just to recognise that the exposed swindler has a fair chance given him
of retrieving his reputation, and perhaps of setting himself up again.
The fact is, that so much sharp practice goes on, that the discovered
swindler is rarely a sinner above his neighbours: he has simply had the
bad luck to be found out. If half the stories one hears are true, half
the business people in the colonies must be more or less swindlers in
small matters. I don't mean that they commit legal swindles, but merely
what may be called dirty tricks. On the other hand, I know many business
men in whose probity I could put full confidence. But you require to live
in a place some time, and must probably buy your experience pretty
dearly, before you find these out. And even they in many trades cannot
help contamination. It is very difficult to mix thoroughly in business
without dirtying your hands; it requires no ordinary moral courage to
keep them clean when there is so much filthy lucre about. A man who is
determined never to diverge from the strict path of honour finds himself
of necessity at a disadvantage in the commercial maze, and the best thing
he can do is never to go into it. His sense of what is right cannot but
be dulled by the continual grating of petty trickery. He is led almost
before he knows it into things from which he recoils with disgust,
perhaps too late to prevent them, and he has continually to be on the
watch for and to combat the trickery of others. I cannot say that,
generally speaking, I have much sympathy with the somewhat smug
self-righteousness of Young Men's Christian Associations, but I must say
that they have done a great deal of good in putting a leaven of honesty
into the commercial lump.

The way in which a man changes his trade and occupation is remarkable.
One year he is a wine-merchant; the next he deals in soft goods; and the
year after he becomes an auctioneer. The consequence of this is, that,
although colonists acquire a peculiar aptitude for turning their hand to
anything, and a great deal of general commercial knowledge, that
knowledge is for the most part very superficial. This accounts for the
phenomenal success which a newcomer who is a specialist occasionally
meets with in a line of business in which he is an expert, and also for
the failure which often attends the efforts of competent specialists, who
become discredited because they are not able to do something properly,
which in England would not be considered to come within their province.
To a man coming here to establish himself in any business I would always
give the advice to take a subordinate position for a year in a similar
business already established. This will give him what is called 'colonial
experience,' for want of which many an able man fails at the threshold.

Amongst the peculiarities of colonial trade is a strong preference for
local manufactures, with the exception of wine. A large manufacturer of
agricultural machinery, who has just been making a tour of the colonies,
tells me that he finds merchants actually prefer an inferior and dearer
article locally made, if it appears at all equal to the English one in
appearance. In a certain measure I believe this to be true. It is not
merely a patriotic or protective feeling of sentiment, but is to a great
extent due to the untrustworthiness of European manufacturers, who
constantly send out articles inferior to those ordered. The French in
particular sin in this respect. The Americans seem to be most to be
relied upon. Owing partly to the duty on wool, and to the small number of
articles which can be exported to America, there is not nearly so much
trade with the United States as might be expected. If freights were
lower, or our social relations with America closer, there would certainly
be many more American manufactures in use than there are now.

Generally speaking, it may be said that trade is far more speculative and
profits far larger than in Europe. Capital requires and obtains at least
half as much again in interest. The openings for profitable speculation
are greater. In squatting, the losses are occasionally very large; but
during a good season the gains are beyond all English conception, if the
rate of increase of the flock, which is sometimes from 100 to 120 per
cent., be taken into consideration. You hear people say that the day of
the squatter is coming to an end in Australia, and that money can no
longer be profitably invested in sheep-runs. If this be so, how is it
that nearly every Melbourne merchant is also an owner of stations? That
sheep-farming can no longer be carried on with so small a capital as in
the early days may be true; but if a man has the experience, and can
endure the hardships of taking up new country, he has still every
prospect of success. It is in the towns only that the acquisition of
wealth is becoming more difficult; but it may be laid down as a general
rule, that in town or country any man with over £5,000 will, if he goes
the right way to work and has ordinary luck, multiply his capital by
twelve in less than a score of years; and that the impecunious man can at
least find more elbow-room than at home. Clerks are said to be a drug in
the market; but that is a mere _farçon de parler_, expressing the fact
that they are the worst-paid class in Australia. It does not prevent them
from getting better pay for less work than they do in England.

In the professions, as may be imagined, first-class men are rare. When we
get them, it is either on account of their health or their habits. A
first-rate man can do better in England than here, not only because the
field is wider, but because the standard of comparison is higher. Even a
second-class man should do better at home in the long-run, though for
immediate results there is no place like Australia. But the man who will
do well to emigrate is he who is just above the ordinary rank and
file--the _junior optimè_ of his profession. The rank and file will
probably do better out here, but not so much better as to compensate them
for the change of scene and life; and the Australian public will take
little account of a man who cannot show ability in some direction. For
specialists there is not yet much scope. Our social organism has not yet
become sufficiently heterogeneous, as the evolutionists would say, though
it is gradually progressing every day.

Of all the professions, medicine certainly is the best remunerated. It is
not merely that a certain Melbourne surgeon--a man, however, who would
have made his mark in London--is making from £8,000 to £10,000 a Year,
and several other leading doctors from £4,000 to £6,000; but that the
general average income is about £2,000 a year, and an unknown M.R.C.S.
can within a month of his landing walk into a practice of £600 for the
asking. Exceptions of course there are to the prevailing high rate of
income; but they proceed mostly, not from incapacity--for there is plenty
of that at £2,000 a year and of drunkenness also--but from an
unwillingness to begin with the hardships of a bush life. To start well
from the first in town is possible, as has been proved, but only under
exceptional conditions; whereas the most mediocre medico, with a mere
license from Apothecaries' Hall, can land himself in a good country
practice. Provided he can stand that life for three or four years without
becoming a drunkard or breaking down in health, his fortune is made. At
the end of that time he either takes an opportunity to buy a town
practice for a small sum, which, if he has either friends or ability, is
his best course, or if he has neither, he stays up in the country, and
equally obtains a fortune, though with much harder work. Bush fees are
large, but bush work is hard. The bush doctor may at any moment be called
upon to ride fifty miles to see a patient. In town he would only get a
half-guinea fee, or in Adelaide only five shillings; but the circle is
circumscribed, and it is astonishing how many five shillings can be
obtained in a day.

In Melbourne and Sydney the bar still exists as a distinct institution.
In Adelaide, solicitors, attorneys, conveyancers, proctors, barristers,
are all united, and this reform, which works admirably, will probably
soon be extended to the other colonies. What generally happens is, that
one man with a penchant for the forum goes into partnership with another
whose forte lies in the office; and thus, though all lawyers meet on an
equality, the two branches of the profession practically remain apart.
But the new régime offers great advantages to juniors, who are thus no
longer dependent upon attorneys, but are brought face to face with their
clients. The latter, in whose interest the reform was chiefly made, have
thus, also, far more freedom of choice as regards their advocates.
Comparatively easy as it is for a junior to get a fair practice, the bar
has too few prizes to make it worth the while of the best men to stay out
in Melbourne and Sydney. There are a few exceptions, but very few, who make
over £4,000 a year, and in New South Wales the Chief Justice only gets
£3,000 a year. Hence a marked weakness in the colonial bench of every
colony, except Victoria, where the salaries are higher. Here and there
you see a first-rate judge, but for the most part judges are
ex-attorney-generals of the administration which happened to be in office
when the judgeships fell vacant. Political distinction has become a
_sine quâ non_ for a candidate for the bench. The leading counsel often
would not accept the office if it were offered them, and thus the
just-above-the-averages form the majority of judges.

The worst paid of all professions are the clergy, and not only are they
the worst paid, but the hardest worked. The bishops get from £800 to
£2,000 a year, but there are very few clergy whose stipends exceed £600,
and the majority live and die without getting any higher than the £350 to
£400 stage. Nor have they here the social compensation which they enjoy
in England. There is no Established Church, and their position is not
many degrees superior to that of the ministers of other denominations.
The latter, whose wants are naturally less, are quite as well, and on the
whole probably better, paid. If they have any ability, £500 to £700 is
easily within their reach, and one or two distinguished preachers get as
much as £1,500 to £2,000.


The principal shops are noticeable for their size and the heterogeneity
of their contents. At first I used to think that this want of
specializing was a relic of the days of 'general stores,' which still
reign supreme in the country towns. But, on the contrary, the tendency is
decidedly to increase the range of retail business rather than to
specialize it. For instance, it is within the last five years that
furniture, china and fancy goods have become attributes of all the large
drapery 'establishments, and that the ironmongers have gone seriously
into the agricultural machinery, clock, china and fancy goods business.
Amongst these ironmongers there are two shops--Lassetter's at Sydney, and
McEwan's in Melbourne--which would attract attention in London; and in
Adelaide, Messrs. Steiner and Wendt's silver-ware and jewellery shops
have a style of their own which does them immense credit. But, on the
whole, Melbourne is _facile princeps_ in shops as in everything that
may be said to enter into the ladies' department. The windows' in the
fashionable part of the town are dressed anew every week, and with a
taste which reminds one of Paris. But in spite of this, the best class of
articles are difficult to get, and the few shops that keep them charge
almost ridiculous prices. One would suppose that a better class of things
would be obtainable in free-trade Sydney than in protected Melbourne, for
while freights and commissions fall equally upon the just and upon the
unjust, an _ad valorem_ tariff such as that of Victoria presses very
hard upon high-priced goods. But, as a matter of fact, the metropolitan
and fashionable character of Melbourne more than counterbalances the
tariff; and, so far as I can judge, you have as good if not a better
chance of getting an article _de luxe_ in the protectionist as in the
free-trade city. Of course the latter is the cheapest, but by no means so
much cheaper as the difference in tariff would imply, competition being
much keener in Melbourne.

In Sydney, however, there is less adulteration and palming off of
inferior for good articles. A curious instance of this came under my
notice. Shortly after a recent imposition of an extra five per cent upon
boots, I bought a pair exactly similar to some I had previously got at
the same shop. The charge was exactly the same as before; and on my
asking the shopman how it was possible for him to avoid raising his
price, he candidly told me that people were accustomed to pay a certain
price for a certain article, and that therefore he had been obliged to
order an inferior boot, made to look exactly the same. 'My customers
won't pay more, sir,' he added; 'and if I were to stick to the same
quality as before, they would go to other shops, where they could get an
inferior boot, looking just as good, for the old price.

Although there are some dozen places in Melbourne and half-a-dozen in
Sydney which are equal, if not superior, to any in Birmingham or
Manchester, the general run of colonial shops are little better than in
English towns of equal size, and their style is as English as English can
be, especially the smaller shops.

But in one respect there is a great difference. The English shopman
generally knows his business thoroughly, the colonial rarely. Supposing,
for instance, you want some article of ironmongery in an English shop,
the attendant shows you an assortment to choose from, pointing out the
special merits of each variety of the article as made by different
manufacturers, and guiding, but not presuming to dictate, your choice.
The colonial, on the contrary, begins by asking an exact description of
what you want; and then, feeling sure that he knows much more about your
requirements than you do yourself, brings you very likely something that
will 'do,' but is not exactly what you want. He does not enjoy the
trouble of laying before you a variety of things to choose from, and
except in first-class shops he does not seem to care much whether you buy
or not. The result often is, that you either are strong-minded enough not
to buy at all, or so weak-minded as to take _das erste beste_ that is
put before you. Either is unsatisfactory. So far has this custom of
knowing everything proceeded, that at a leading dressmaking establishment
in Melbourne when a friend of mine was ordering a dress, the fitter after
the lady had chosen the stuff, and pattern, said, 'Of course you'll leave
the details to me, ma'am,' the details including the length of the skirt
and all the gatherings and miscellaneous ornamentations, which make all
the difference between a pretty and a tasteless dress, and in which
individuality has a chance of showing itself. As regards civility in the
first-class establishments, there is little difference from the
obsequiousness of the old country; but what difference there is, is in
favour of the colony. In the second-rate shops there is often an
unnecessary assertion of the shopman's equality with his customer, and a
great indifference as to whether he buys or not. In the small shops where
the proprietor or his family serve you themselves, the thermometer of
civility registers a rise again, though sometimes after a rough fashion.

No mention of Australian shops is complete without an allusion to the
fruit and vegetable shops and markets, where every kind of fruit and
vegetable can be obtained at a very low price; the varying climates
obtainable within a small area enabling each fruit to remain much longer
in season than in England.


The change to a more genial climate and clearer skies has not been
altogether without effect upon the temperament of the colonists. Like the
stock from which they spring their ideas of pleasure are still limited.
They are still, above all, a serious people; no disposition to abate this
seriousness has shown itself, even in the rising generation. On the
contrary, brought up in a country where idleness is a reproach, they have
the serious side of life always before them. To 'get on' is the watchword
of young Australia, and getting-on means hard work. But the more ample
reward attaching to labour out here leaves the colonist more leisure. And
this leisure he devotes to working at play.

That 'all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy' is already an accepted
maxim, is exemplified by the numerous holidays and the way in which they
are spent. There must be pretty nearly a dozen public holidays in the
year. Saturday is always a half-holiday. Nine till five are the accepted
hours for the clerk; half-past nine till six for the shop-assistant. The
eight-hour system is generally accepted in all classes of manual labour.
Some shops are open on Saturday evenings; but there is a strong movement
to abolish this system. The clerk is rarely called back to work after
hours. In all trades and professions the hours and work of the
subordinates are much less than in England. When a public holiday falls
on a Monday, Saturday for most purposes becomes a whole holiday also.
Christmas Day falling on Monday in 1882, business did not begin again
till Wednesday. So on Friday everybody had to lay in their stock of bread
and meat to last till Wednesday morning. In wholesale business, in the
professions and amongst the working-classes, the whole week from
Christmas Eve to the 2nd of January is practically a holiday. It is quite
useless to attempt to do any business during that period. In most places
it is about Twelfth Day before things get into trim again. During the
first few days of the year the work is done by half the ordinary staff
The colonist certainly endeavours to get as much pleasure as he can out
of existence. He has a full appreciation of the value of amusement. He is
not himself amusing, but he thoroughly enjoys amusing himself.

The abundance of fine and temperate weather makes outdoor life preferable
to indoor during eight months of the year. Perhaps this is a reason why
the colonists live in such poor houses and care so little how they are
furnished. Town-life is a recent invention in Australia; and town-life as
it is known at home, in the sense that numbers of people live in a town
all their lives and only go into the country for an airing, is quite
unknown. The majority of the population still lives, more or less, in the
bush. Our ideals are country ideals and not town ideals. For all these
reasons the principal amusements of the Australians are outdoor sports of
one kind or another; and if the interest taken in them proportionate to
the population be the criterion, this may fairly claim to be the most
sporting country in the world. In Australia alone, of all countries, can
any sport be called national in the sense that the whole nation, from the
oldest greybeard to the youngest child, takes an interest in it.

Cricket must, I suppose, take the first place amongst Australian sports,
because all ages and all classes are interested in it; and not to be
interested in it amounts almost to a social crime. The quality of
Australian cricket has already spoken for itself in England. Of its
quantity it is difficult to give any idea. Cricket clubs are perhaps
numerable, though yearly increasing; but of the game itself there is no
end. There is no class too poor to play, as at home. Every little
Australian that is 'born alive' is a little cricketer, a bat, or bowler,
or field. Cricket is the colonial _carrière ouverte aux talents_. As
Napoleon's soldiers remembered that they carried a marshal's _bâton_ in
their knapsacks, so the young Australians all remember that they have a
chance of becoming successors of that illustrious band of heroes who have
recently conquered the mother-country and looted her into the bargain,
though the idea of gain certainly never enters into their heads in
connection with cricket. It may be, and it is most probable, that English
cricket will soon recover the laurels which the Australians carried away
in 1882; but I venture to prophesy that from 1890 onwards, the cricket
championship will, except through occasional bad-luck, become permanently
resident in Australia. The success of the first Australian Eleven bred
cricketers by the thousand. If that eleven was picked out of, say, 10,000
men and boys playing cricket, the present has been chosen from 20,000,
and by 1890 the eleven will be chosen from 100,000. Certainly, very few
of these can afford to devote themselves solely to cricket; but most of
them will play from five to seven o'clock through six months of the year,
and on holidays, half-holidays, and odd moments through nine months. Some
measure of the interest which attaches to cricket can be gathered from
the space devoted to it in every paper, and the fact that during the tour
of the Australian Elevens the full scores of every match they played,
together with details of the more important matches, were cabled from
London every day, and this at 10s. 6d. a word. At the intercolonial and
international cricket matches in Melbourne, as many as 23,000 persons
have, on one day, paid their shilling to gain admittance into the cricket
ground, and 10,000 is about an average attendance.

The other day Parliament was most suddenly and unexpectedly dissolved in
Melbourne. In a place where political feeling runs so high, the greatest
excitement might have been expected over such an occurrence. But
'Reuter,' who may be considered an impartial authority, merely cabled to
New Zealand, 'The dissolution.'

Chiefly owing to the impossibility of bringing about an international
football match, the popularity of football is more local than that of
cricket; but in Melbourne I think it is more intense. Patriotism cannot,
of course, be roused when no national interests are at stake, but club
rivalry is decidedly stronger. Some measure of the popularity of the game
may be gathered from the fact, that the member who has sat in the last
three parliaments for the most important working-man's constituency, owes
his seat entirely to his prowess on behalf of the local football club. In
no other way has he, or does he pretend to have the slightest
qualifications. Of course there are numbers of people amongst the upper
and middle classes who still have a holy horror of football as a
dangerous game, and the want of unanimity in rules prevents the two
principal colonies from meeting on equal terms. In the older colony the
Rugby Union rules are played. Victoria has invented a set of rules for
herself--a kind of compound between the Rugby Union and Association.
South Australia plays the Victorian game. I suppose it is a heresy for an
old Marlburian to own it, but after having played all three games, Rugby,
Association and Victorian--the first several hundred times, the second a
few dozen times, and the third a couple of score of times--I feel bound
to say that the Victorian game is by far the most scientific, the most
amusing both to players and onlookers, and altogether the best; and I
believe I may say that on this point my opinion is worth having. Of
course, men who are accustomed to the English games, and have not played
the Victorian, will hold it ridiculous that the solution of the best game
of football problem should be found, as I believe it has been found, in
Melbourne. But I would ask them to remember that the Victorian game was
founded by rival public school men, who, finding that neither party was
strong enough to form a club of its own, devised it--of course not in its
present elaborate state--as a compromise between the two. In
corroboration of my opinion I would point to the facts that, while Sydney
is at least as good at cricket as Melbourne, there are not a dozen
football clubs in Sydney (where they play Rugby Union), as against about
a hundred in Melbourne; that the attendance at the best matches in Sydney
is not one-third of what it is in Melbourne; that the average number of
people who go to see football matches on a Saturday afternoon in Sydney
is not one-tenth of that in Melbourne; and that in Sydney people will not
pay to see the game, while in Melbourne the receipts from football
matches are larger than they are from cricket matches. The quality of the
attendance, also, in Melbourne is something remarkable; but of some
10,000 people, perhaps, who pay their sixpences to see the Melbourne and
Carlton Clubs play of an afternoon, there are not a thousand who are not
intensely interested in the match, and who do not watch its every turn
with the same intentness which characterizes the boys at Lord's during
the Eton and Harrow match. A good football match in Melbourne is one of
the sights of the world. Old men and young get equally excited. The
quality of the play, too, is much superior to anything the best English
clubs can produce. Of course it is not easy to judge of this when the
games played are different, but on such points as drop-kicking, dodging,
and catching, comparison can be made with the Rugby game; and every
'footballer' (the word, if not coined, has become commonly current here)
knows what I mean when I say, that there is much more 'style' about the
play of at least half a dozen clubs in Victoria, than about the 'Old
Etonians' or the 'Blackheath', which are the two best clubs I have seen
play in England.

Of athletic meetings there are plenty, but they do not attract much
interest as compared with cricket and football. Nor can rowing be called
a thoroughly national pastime, though both in Sydney and Melbourne there
are good rivers. The two colonies row each other annually; and in Sydney,
more especially, there is a good deal of excitement over this event. But
the interest felt in rowing is not much greater than in England. It is a
popular sport, and that is all.

Yachting is very popular in Sydney, the harbour being almost made on
purpose for it; but yachting is only a rich man's pleasure. Lawn-tennis
is as much in fashion here as at home, but it is not cultivated with the
same ardour. The best players in Sydney and Melbourne would not be
considered as more than third-rate at home. Bicycling is gaining in
favour in Melbourne and Adelaide; Sydney is rather hilly for it. There
are polo and gun clubs in all three towns, but they are, of course, small
and aristocratic rather than popular.

Fox-hunting there is none; but there are hunt clubs in the principal
towns who run after a drag--in Melbourne after a kangaroo, and
occasionally even after a deer. The country is of course monotonous, and
wants very good riding. There are no sensational water-jumps even at
steeplechase meetings, the colonial horse not being accustomed to water.
But it wants a good horse to get over the unvarying succession of post
and rail fences. People who talk about the jumps in steeplechases at home
being hard should try a run over a colonial course of 4-feet-6-inch post
and rails. The horses are accustomed to it, but not so always the riders.
Up in the bush there is plenty of kangaroo-hunting to be got at almost
any station. The squatters often pay a shilling a head for kangaroos, and
very fair sport they afford when not too numerous. The wallaby is a
smaller kind of kangaroo which is also hunted.

There are snipe to be shot in Australia; but wild duck is really the best
kind of shooting we get, and far more easily obtainable. They are much
more varied in kind than at home. Rabbits are generally too plentiful to
afford much fun. I have pelted them by the score from the veranda of a
station-house in South Australia. At best they are poor sport. The
kangaroos and wallaby are generally too tame. Amongst other animals
shootable are the native bear--a sluggish creature looking like a small
bear; the bandicoot, a small animal with a pig's head and snout; the
native cat; cockatoos, parrots, eagles, hawks, owls, parroquets, wild
turkey, quail, native pheasants, teal, native companions, water-hens, and
the black swan and the opossum. Of these the wild turkey affords the best
fun. You have to stalk them in a buggy, and drive in a gradually
narrowing circle round them till you get within shot. The opossum you
shoot by moonlight, getting them between your gun and the moon as they
jump from tree to tree. Teal are fairly numerous. Pheasants, partridges,
and quail, like the deer, were imported, and have bred rapidly; but they
are not sufficiently preserved.

On fishing I am no authority; but I have always understood that the
fishing in Australia was very poor. Trout are being acclimatized in
Victoria, but the day of the angler has yet to come.

The population of Victoria is 880,000; of Melbourne and suburbs, within a
ten-mile radius, 280,000. During the Exhibition year over 100,000 people
paid a shilling, or more for admission to the Flemington Race Course on
the Melbourne Cup day. The usual number on that occasion is 60,000 to
80,000. I don't know any better way of asserting Australian, and
especially Victorian, supremacy as _the_ racing country _par
excellence_, in comparison with which England, proportionately to her
population and her wealth, must indeed take a back-seat. There is not an
inhabited nook or corner of Australia where an annual meeting is not got
up, and well attended too. This meeting is the _rendezvous_ of the
whole country-side, and generally ends up with a dance, and what is
colonially known as a 'drunk.'

The large number of imported horses, the care taken in their selection
and the prices which have been paid in England for the best sires, are
sufficient proof that for strain of blood Australia is not to be beaten
in the world, whilst the progeny of this imported stock has for distance
beaten the best records of the English turf. Thus while Kettledrum's 2.43
is the best time--if my memory serve me right--on record for the Epsom
Derby, there have been several 2.43's in Australia, and three years ago
Darebin won in 2.41 1/2. And if it be objected that the imperfections of
the Epsom course account for the difference, I would point to Commotion's
victory in the Champion Stakes last New Year's Day--three miles in 5.26.
The times here are most carefully taken, and whilst admitting that time
can only furnish a rough test of merit, the times I have mentioned are
sufficient to show that colonial horses can at least claim comparison
with those at home. Doubtless before long we shall see an Australian colt
running at Epsom; but the difficulties of age and transit must always
severely handicap any Australian horse performing on the English turf.

The Victoria Racing Club of Melbourne may fairly claim to be the premier
club in Australia, and in the perfection of its arrangements and of the
course at Flemington, it stands a head and shoulders above any European
club. Already it has an excellent stand, and yet £30,000 have just been
voted for its improvement. The lawn is perfection. The hill behind the
stand would appear to have been made by nature in order to allow the
half-crown public to see the finish, as well as the half-guinea folk in
the stand. The course is flat as a pancake, well turfed and drained. The
surroundings remind one of Longchamps. On race-days trains run out from
Melbourne every ten minutes; and, as you can buy your train and race
ticket beforehand in the town, you need never be jostled or hurried.
Everything works as if by machinery. It would really pay the South
Western officials to take a lesson at the Spencer Street Station next
Cup-day, to prevent the annual scramble at Waterloo every Ascot meeting.

The V.R.C. hold three race-meetings in the year at Flemington, together
with a steeplechase meeting in July. The principal meeting is the autumn
meeting of four days on the second of which the blue ribbon of the
Australian turf--the Melbourne Cup--is run. One hundred and twenty-eight
horses entered for this race last year, and twenty-four ran. The latter
number is considerably below the average. The Cup is a handicap
sweepstakes of twenty sovs., the distance being two miles, and the added
money only £500. Altogether the V.R.C. gave £13,000 of added money last
year, the greatest amount given to a single race being £1,000 for the
Champion Stakes. Next to the V.R.C., the Australian Jockey Club of Sydney
ranks; but there are four other racing clubs in Melbourne, two more in
Sydney, and two in Adelaide--all holding good meetings, which are well
attended and well arranged. The minor meetings in Sydney and Melbourne
are, however, getting to be mere gate-money and betting affairs, and do
not--with one exception--attract horses from the other colonies.

Undoubtedly the chief fault of Australian racing is the prevalence of
handicaps. We do not get so many short-distance races as at home, but,
unless there is a prospect of a keen struggle between two special
favourites, the public will not attend weight-for-age races in numbers at
all adequate to defray their expenses, while a good handicap is always
remunerative. The V.R.C. does its best to hold out against popular
feeling by giving liberally to weight-for-age races, but without plenty
of handicaps they could not find money for the weight-for-age races, far
less for the luxurious arrangements of their courses.

The colonial jockeys cannot be said to be at all equal to the English,
and for really good riding one must still go to the old country; but
every year an improvement is visible, and before long we may reasonably
expect that Australia will have its Archer, or at least its Cannon.

On all Australian courses the ring is kept well away from the enclosure.
Last year the V.R.C. obliged the bookmakers to take out licenses to ply
their craft at all on the course. And this brings me to the subject of
betting and gambling generally. If the Australians are a racing
community, so also are they a gambling community. The popularity of the
Melbourne Cup is largely due to its being the great gambling event of the
year. Every township in the remote bush has its guinea sweepstake over
the Cup, every town hovel its half-crown one. The bookmaking fraternity
muster strong on all racecourses, and apparently make an uncommonly good
living out of their avocation. All kinds of laws have been made against
gambling, but they have proved utterly useless. It is estimated that over
a million of money changes hands annually over the Cup. Everybody backs
his fancy, if only because, unless he is a strict Methodist, it would be
peculiar not to do so. One of the peculiar features of this gambling
mania are the numerous guinea sweepstakes got up every year by a man
named Miller and his imitators. Miller last year had £120,000 entrusted
to him for thousand and two thousand guinea sweeps in the Cup alone. He
takes ten per cent. for management, and the rest is divided into so much
for the winner, a fair sum for second and third, and the balance amongst
runners and acceptances. Even those who draw a horse at all get
something. Miller has many imitators, two of whom have bolted with the
money entrusted to them; but deriving so liberal an income from
them--something like £5,000 a year he is hardly likely to be dishonest.

Passing from racing to horses generally. The riding capacities of the
Australians are well known. Nearly every one born in the colonies learns
to ride as a boy, and not to be able to ride is to write yourself down a
duffer. Horseflesh is so marvelously cheap, that it is not taken so much
care of as at home. In outward appearance, the Australian horse has not
so much to recommend him as a rule, but his powers of endurance rival
those fabled of the Arabian. A grass-fed horse has been known to go as
much as 100 miles in a day.

In 1796, i.e., only eight years after the establishment of a convict
settlement at Botany Bay, the Victoria Theatre, Sydney, was opened with
the famous prologue--

'True patriots all, for be it understood
We left our country for our country's good:
No private views disgraced our generous zeal,
What urged our travels was our country's weal;
And none will doubt but that our emigration
Was proved most useful to the British nation.'

The author was an ex-pickpocket; the actors were all convicts, and the
price of admission was the same all over the house--one shilling, payable
in flour, wheat, or liquor! Such a first night must have been unique in
the history of the drama.

The modern Australian stage, however, only dates back as far as 1853. How
popular it had become may be judged from the fact that Melbourne has four
theatres, Sydney two, and Adelaide two, besides concert halls. As in
England, these theatres have nothing to recommend them outside, nor can
the interior arrangements be commended. A large part of their beer
revenue is derived from drinking bars which are kept in connection with
them. One of these, though respectable enough, is generally unpleasantly
in close proximity to the entrance to the best seats in the house, and
the other forming a rendezvous for all the bad characters in the town.
The auditoria are nearly all badly ventilated, and ill fitted up, the
only exceptions being the Theatre Royal at Adelaide, and the Bijou in
Melbourne. The approaches and exits, are for the most part poor. Boxes
are unknown, and the stalls are only second-rate seats. The dress-circle,
which is considered the best part of the house, consists of a kind of
open gallery fitted up like the stalls of a London theatre. Above are the
'gods,' and below the pit. Prices of admission are very moderate; I have
been told that during Ristori's and De Murska's visits, as much as ten
shillings was charged for a dress-circle seat, but six shillings is the
highest charge that has been made since 1876. In any theatre six
shillings is the usual amount for the better performances, the worst only
asking four, and at some theatres coming down as low as 3 shillings.
Except when an Italian Opera Company is playing, full dress is
unnecessary, and even unusual, at the theatre.

The colonial taste in theatrical matters follows the English pretty
closely. Opera-bouffe and Gilbert and Sullivan are preferred to
everything else. Next in popularity is the 'New Babylon' type of play.
Low comedy also draws well; and I have often wondered that Mr. Toole has
not paid us a visit. Opera pure and simple used to be more appreciated
than it is; but as the companies which produced it were always very
second-rate, its temporary disappearance is not altogether to be
regretted. The class of opera company that usually comes out here may be
imagined when I tell you that Rose Hersée was a favourite _prima donna_!
There are now sufficient resident operatic singers of the third class
to perform opera without assistance from European stars; but by
themselves these purely colonial companies do not draw well, except in
pieces of the 'Patience,' or 'Tambour-Major' type. The Byron comedies are
popular throughout Australia. Thanks to a company which came out from
Enaland in 1880, and most of the members of which have taken up their
abode here, they have been much better acted than any other class of
plays. The modern society drama is not much appreciated, partly because
the life in which its action takes place is little understood, and partly
on account of the lack of the class of actors required to make the pieces
successful. Dion Boucicault is still a favourite. Shakespeare is
frequently played but, although the stage-mounting has been exceptionally
good, and we have had such very fair actors as Creswick, and Hoskins, and
Scott-Siddons, a high, authority has recently declared that Rignold's
'Henry V.' is the only Shakespearean performance, that has paid for many

The average quality of the acting on the Australian boards is by no means
good. The difference between first and second rate art is not understood
by a sufficiently large number of people to make it profitable for such
companies as the Bancrofts, and Messrs. Hare and Kendall's, or stars of
the first magnitude, to come out here. Since Ristori was here in 1874,
Scott-Siddons, Creswick and Rignold, have been the best known actors we
have seen; although Marshall's Quilp, Vernon's Bunthorne, and Hoskins's
Touchstone, were impersonations of a high-class. Soldene, curious to say,
did not hit the popular taste. The cardinal fault of colonial acting
seems to me to be exaggeration. Most of our actors are artificial and
stagey; even those who clear themselves of these faults seem to play down
to the understanding of their audience. The 'star' system is as prevalent
as in England. The stock companies are for the most part very poor.
Pieces which require a large number of persons on the stage of course
suffer. Colonial supernumeraries can only be compared with those at
country theatres at home. Considering the circumstances, however, the
scenery and mounting are as a rule most creditable. The last two years,
especially, there has been a great improvement in this department.
Melbourne is decidedly the theatrical centre of Australia. It has twice
as many theatres as Sydney; most pieces are brought out there for the
first time in the colonies; its audiences are more appreciative and
critical; its stock companies are better. If a piece succeeds in
Melbourne, its success everywhere else is assured.

Whether it is on account of the warmer climate I do not know, but
certainly the colonists are a more musical people than the English. Of
course I do not mean that there are any considerable number of people
here who really understand classical music, or who play any instrument or
sing really well. On the contrary, as I think I have said in some other
connection, there is no part of the world where you hear so much bad
music, professional and amateur. But it is also true, that there are few
parts where you hear so much music. Almost every working-man has his
girls taught to strum the piano. Amateur concerts are exceedingly
popular. Most young people think they can sing, and Nature has certainly
endowed the young colonials with, on the average, far better and more
numerous voices than she has bestowed on English boys and girls.
Sometimes when you are bored in a drawing-room by bad music and poor
singing, you are inclined to think that the colonial love of music is an
intolerable nuisance. Especially is this the case with me, who have been
constantly interrupted in writing by my neighbour's daughters strumming
the only two tunes they know--and those tunes 'Pinafore,' and 'Madame
Angot.' But if you are out for a walk on a summer's evening, and look
into the windows of working men's cottages, you will see the old folk
after their day's labour gathered round the piano in the sitting-room to
hear their daughters play. I cannot hold with those who think a
working-man's daughter should not learn music. Their reasoning is
illogical--for being able to play the piano is in itself harmless, and
may keep the girl out of mischief. Further, it gives a great deal of
pleasure to her parents and friends, and often to herself as well.

As for musical performances apart from opera, there are plenty of them.
Twice a week there is an organ recital in the Melbourne Town Hall. Hardly
a night passes without a concert of some kind is going on. As in
theatrical matters, Melbourne takes the lead in all things musical. Last
Christmas-week it was actually so ambitious as to get up a Musical
Festival. The Town Hall organ is excellent. A good concert will always
draw well. Ketten--who was not a marvel--had crowded houses night after
night, with no other attraction but his pianoforte. Wilheling, who really
deserved all the praise he got, found ample success in Melbourne, and a
fair measure of it in Sydney and Adelaide. Arabella Goddard was, I
believe, well satisfied with her Australian tour, though it was made when
the population was not two-thirds of what it is now, and much less
cultured. The colonists are genuinely fond of music, bushmen and townsmen
alike. They may not know very much about it, but they are anxious to
learn all they can. They will even pay to hear something above their
appreciation, if the _Australasian_ tells them that it will improve
their musical taste. The orchestra in the Melbourne Town Hall will
accommodate 500 performers, and the hall itself can seat 4,000 people.
The Sydney and Adelaide Town Halls are little smaller, and yet it is no
uncommon sight to see them filled whenever a good concert is provided.
Besides their town halls, each city has a smaller hall, devoted to
musical entertainments.

The most remunerative spectacular representation is what the most
celebrated colonial impresario, Mr. R S. Smythe, calls a 'one-man show.'
Mr. Archibald Forbes and Mr. R. A. Proctor both made fabulous sums out of
their trip to the colonies; and if Arthur Sketchley failed, it was purely
for want of a good agent. In Adelaide, which, as a Puritan community,
looks somewhat askance at opera and drama, the popularity of good
lectures is beyond belief.

In a horse-loving country circuses are of course popular. Perhaps in no
other part of the world can a circus obtain so critical and appreciative
an attendance. Christy Minstrels and conjurors apparently do well,
considering how very poor some of the miscellaneous entertainments which
visit Australia are, it is most remarkable that they should contrive to
get so good audiences.

Household amusements are much the same as at home, although more
frequently indulged in. The more frank relations between the sexes make
dancing a favourite pastime. In this less pretentious social atmosphere a
dance can be given without all the costly paraphernalia customary in
England, and a far larger class of people are able to afford to give
parties and balls. 'Assemblies' are held every season in all the towns,
the season being, of course, in the winter months. Even the servants are
accustomed to go to balls, and a mistress would only make herself
ridiculous who looked upon their going to one as anything but proper. And
here I agree with the colonists. So long as her work is done for the day,
and provided that she does not go to so many balls as to interfere with
her capacity for doing her work, I cannot see what impropriety there is
in Biddy going to her ball. No doubt she enjoys dancing, and how can it
do her any more harm than her young mistress? With all the universal love
of dancing, which permeates even the strictest Puritans amongst the young
colonials, there is very little good dancing to be met with. People out
here do not attach much importance to what are called 'accomplishments.'
To dance is pleasant, but it would be a waste of time to take trouble to
learn to dance well.

A mining population is always a gambling one and a card-playing one. In
Adelaide the old Puritan element still sets its face as steadily as it
can against cards as the devil's playthings; but young Australia will not
put up with any such prejudices. Of course the mining townships are the
centre of gambling with cards; but the passion extends sufficiently
widely to do a good deal of harm. 'Euchre' is the favourite game, then
'Nap' and 'Loo;' but it would not be fair to call the Australians a
card-gambling people in comparison with the Californians.


This is essentially the land of newspapers. The colonist is by nature an
inquisitive animal, who likes to know what is going on around him. The
young colonial has inherited this proclivity. Excepting the Bible,
Shakespeare, and Macaulay's 'Essays,' the only literature within the
bushman's reach are newspapers. The townsman deems them equally essential
to his well-being. Nearly everybody can read, and nearly everybody has
leisure to do so. Again, the proportion of the population who can afford
to purchase and subscribe to newspapers is ten times as large as in
England; hence the number of sheets issued is comparatively much greater.
Every country township has its weekly or bi-weekly organ. In Victoria
alone there are over 200 different sheets published. Nor is the quality
inferior to the quantity. On the contrary, if there is one institution of
which Australians have reason to be proud, it is their newspaper press.

Almost without exception it is thoroughly respectable and well-conducted.
From the leading metropolitan journals to the smallest provincial sheets,
the tone is healthy, the news trustworthy. The style is purely English,
without a touch of Americanism. Reports are fairly given; telegrams are
rarely invented; sensation is not sought after; criticisms, if not very
deep, are at least impartial, and written according to the critic's
lights. Neither directly nor indirectly does anybody even think of
attempting to bribe either conductors of journals or their reporters; the
whole press is before everything, honest. Although virulence in politics
is frequent, scurrility is confined to a very few sheets. The enterprise
displayed in obtaining telegraphic intelligence and special reports on
the questions of the day, whether Australian or European, is wonderful,
considering the small population. In literary ability the public have
nothing to complain of.

Melbourne attracts to itself most of the able and clever men in
literature and journalism There is a pleasant press club there called the
'Yorick,' which forms a sort of literary focus; and for one clever,
writer whom you find in the other colonies put together, there are two in
Melbourne. It is the only Australian city which can claim to have
anything approaching to a literary centre. It is no wonder, then, that
the _Argus_ is the best daily paper published, out of England. There
are people who assert that it is only second to the _Times_; but
without going so far as this, there is ample room for surprise on the
part of the stranger, and pride on that of the Australian, that so
excellent a paper can be produced amidst so small a population, and under
so great difficulties of distance from the centres of news and
civilization. The _Argus_ will compare favourably with the _Manchester
Guardian_, _Leeds Mercury_, or any other of the best provincial
journals. In many respects it will be found superior to them; but
although the amount of reading matter it contains is often larger than in
the _Standard_ or _Daily News_, it cannot reasonably claim comparison
with them. The leading articles are able, though often virulent; the news
of the day well arranged and given in a concise, business-like manner;
the telegrams--European, intercolonial, and provincial--are full, the
expenditure in this department being very large. Literary articles are
more numerous than in the London dailies, and are generally well
executed. The theatrical critiques, though the best in Australia, are
somewhat poor. The reports of parliamentary proceedings, public meetings,
etc., are exceedingly full and very intelligently given, and their
relative importance is well estimated. Throughout, the paper is admirably
proportioned and well edited, the paragraphs being much more carefully
written than in any London paper except the _Times_. There is rarely a
slipshod sentence to be found in any part of the paper, which is the more
remarkable as slipshod writing is a noticeable characteristic of almost
every other colonial paper. The leading articles are for the most part
supplied by contributors not on the permanent staff, two university
professors being amongst the best known. They also write reviews and
literary articles, though the doyen in that department is Mr. James
Smith, to whom the _Argus_ pays a retaining fee of £500 a year. Art
criticism is also in Mr. Smith's hands; and although all his work is
essentially bookish and wanting in originality, he thoroughly understands
his subjects, and his style and language are excellent.

The paper and type used by the _Argus_ are similar to those of the
_Times_, and in the arrangement, contents, and general style of the
paper the same model has been followed. The standard issue is an
eight-page sheet about three-quarters the size of the _Daily News_; but
when Parliament is sitting, a two or four-page supplement is nearly
always issued; and on Saturdays the number of advertisements compels a
double issue, which includes 'London Town Talk,' by Mr. James Payne, and
about half a dozen columns of reviews, essays, etc. On ordinary days four
to five out of the eight pages are always covered with advertisements in
small type, charged for at the highest rate obtainable in the colonies.
The published price is threepence, and the circulation must be from ten
to fifteen thousand.

As the _Argus_ may be considered as the type of the Australian press at
the highest point it has yet attained, it is worth while to make a short
examination of a casual copy. The reading matter begins at the left-hand
corner of page 6, with the heading 'Shipping Intelligence,' under which
we learn that six steamers and one sailing-ship have arrived in Hobson's
Bay on December 21st, and that four steamers and one sailing-ship have
cleared out. Next comes a Weather Chart of Australia and New Zealand,
after the model of the one in the _Times_; and then follow the
observations taken at the Melbourne Observatory, a synopsis of the
weather, and the state of the tide, wind and weather at twenty-two
stations on the Murray, Murrumbidgee, Ovens, and Goulburn rivers. About
halfway down the third column, we reach the heading 'Commercial
Intelligence,' with a report upon the state of the market, and the sales
reported during the day, auctioneers' reports, list of specie shipments,
amount of revenue collected during the previous day at the Custom House
(£7,498), stock sales, calls and dividends, and commercial telegrams from
London, Sydney, and Adelaide.

The next heading is 'Mails Outward,' which are separated from the leading
columns only by the special advertisements, of which there are over a
column. It happens that this day there are only two leading articles,
whereas generally there are also two small or sub-leaders. The first
leader is on the finding of the Coroner's jury anent a disastrous railway
accident which has recently taken place. The second on the preference of
colonial girls and women for low-paid factory-work, when comparative
independence, easier work, and much higher wages are obtainable in
domestic service. These two leaders occupy altogether nearly three
columns, and are followed by five columns of 'News of the Day,' split up
into fifty paragraphs.

It is worth while to run the eye briefly through these paragraphs, which
might be headed thus--_Résumé_ of telegraphic intelligence; short
account of Dr. Benson, whose appointment to the Primacy is announced by
telegram; short account of the distribution of prizes at the Bordeaux
Exhibition; announcement of the arrival of the P. and 0. mail at Albany,
and of its departure from Melbourne the previous day; short account of
the trip of H.M.S. _Miranda_, just arrived in the bay; ditto of the
movements of H.M.S. _Nelson_, and of the Orient liner _Chimborazo_,
with mention of some notable colonists arrived by the last ship; summary
in eleven paragraphs of the last night's parliamentary proceedings;
notice of a meeting to have a testimonial picture of Sir Charles Sladen
placed in the Public Library; a puff of the coming issue of the
_Australasian_; account of an inquest; three notices of Civil Service
appointments; one of the intentions of the railway department about
excursion tickets, and another announcing the introduction of reply
post-cards; another that the Government intends circulating amongst
vignerons a report and pictures of the Phylloxera vastatrix; a summary of
the doings of the Tariff Commission; a notice of the intentions of the
Steam Navigation Board; a list of subscriptions to the children's
charities; a summary of two judgments in the Supreme Court; of a will
(value £75,200); of a mining law case; of applications for probate of a
will, and for the custody of children; an account of a fire, another of a
distribution of prizes; a summary of the programme of a Music Festival;
announcements of the different theatre performances, and seven
subscription lists.

The last column of the seventh page is headed 'Special Telegrams.' Of
these there are only five today: one about the construction of Prussian
railways on the Russian frontier, the second about the French expedition
to Tonquin, the third on the relations between France and Madagascar, the
fourth noting an explosion at Fort Valerian, the fifth on the execution
of Oberdank. Then follow eleven messages from Reuter on M. Tisza's speech
on the relations between Russia and Austria; on the Egyptian Financial
control; the new Archbishop of Canterbury; the Lough Mask murders; the
health of Mr. Fawcett and M. Gambetta; the trial of MM. Bontoux and
Feder; the mails; monetary intelligence; commercial intelligence, and
foreign shipping intelligence. This list gives not at all a bad idea of
what European news is considered of sufficient importance to be
telegraphed 15,000 miles.

Turning over the page, a column and a quarter is occupied with a general
summary of European news by the P. and 0. mail, telegraphed from Albany.
Then follows country news by telegraph. Between Sydney and Melbourne the
 _Argus_ has a special wire, which accounts for three quarters of a
column of Sydney intelligence on twenty different subjects. There is also
nearly half a column from Adelaide on nine subjects, and a "stick" from
Perth on three subjects. The list of overland passengers from and to
Sydney is also telegraphed from Albany. 'Mining and Monetary
Intelligence' takes up over a column, without counting another column in
very small type of 'Mining Reports.'

Turning to the back page, we find that the first column forms the
conclusion of the Parliamentary Debates. A column and a half has a large
heading--'The Creswick Calamity,'--and is chiefly composed of
subscription lists for the sufferers and accounts of meetings held in
various parts of the country on their behalf. A column and a quarter is
headed 'Sporting Intelligence '(results of small provincial race-meetings
being telegraphed); a column is devoted to 'Cricket,' and a third of a
column to' Rowing.'

We now take up the outside sheet, and find the whole of page 4, taken up
by a report of last night's Parliamentary debates. On the opposite page
(9) the first three columns contain a full report of the inquest in
connection with a fatal railway accident on a suburban line. Then comes a
list of eighty-seven school-buildings to be erected or completed at a
cost of £25,000. Three deputations take up nearly half, and the Russell
Street fire two-thirds, of a column.

Opening the sheet, pages 10 and 11 are the only two with reading matter.
On 10 is a report of the Police Commission Meeting, occupying two columns
and a half; and reports of School Speech Days--over three columns for
eight schools. On page 11 the first four columns are Law Reports; a
column and a half is devoted to a wool and station-produce report, and
two half columns to reports of meetings of the Melbourne Presbytery and
the Melbourne Hospital Committee.

The remaining space is taken up by paragraphs under a third of a column
in length, with cross-headings as follows: 'Casualties and Offences;'
'Police Intelligence;' 'The Death of Mr. Chabot;' 'New Insolvents;'
'University of Melbourne;' 'Friendly Societies;' 'The Belfast Savings
Bank Case (by telegraph);' 'The Workmen's Strike;' 'Collingwood City
Council;' 'A Recent Meeting;' 'The Wellesley Divorce Case;' 'The Victoria
Agricultural Society.' 'Australian Electric Light Co.;' 'Public Tenders;'
'Ballarat News;' 'Victoria Masonic Lodge;' 'Early Closing Association;'
'The Tariff Commission;' '_Iron_ on Continuous Brakes;' and letters to
the Editor on 'Holiday Excursion Tickets,' 'Window Blinds for Omnibuses,'
'Swimming at the State Schools,' 'The Musical Festival (3),' and
'Immigration to Victoria.'

An analysis of the advertisements of the _Argus_ is almost equally
interesting as showing the heterogeneity of the wants of the community.
There are Births, 3; Marriages, 5; Deaths, 6; Funeral Notices, 5; Missing
Friends, Messages etc., 8; Lost and Found, 13; Railways and Conveyances,
6; Shipping, no less than four columns, including eight different lines
of steamers to Europe, of which six are English, and seven of
intercolonial steamers, of which three are owned in Melbourne, one each
in Sydney, Adelaide, New Zealand and Tasmania. The next lines are Stocks
and Shares, of which there are 18 advertisements; Lectures, Sermons,
Soirées, etc, 5; Tutors, Governesses, Clerks etc., 45; which may be
summed up thus: Wanted, a traveller in the hardware line, cash-boys, a
copper-plate engraver, canvassers, junior chemists, five drapers'
salesmen, law costs clerk, an engineer and valuer for a shire council, a
female competent to manage the machine-room of a clothing factory, a
retoucher capable of working in mezzo crayons, junior hands for
Manchester and dress departments, two first-class cutters for order
trade, a good shop salesman, a junior clerk, two clerks for wine and
spirit store, a clerk proficient in Customs work, two clerks, (simply), a
general manager for a carrying company, a grammar-school master with a
degree, and one to teach the lower classes; an organist and two medical
men, £400 and £500 a year guaranteed; an accountant, private lessons in
dancing, a shorthand reporter. The persons advertising for situations
under this heading are only 4 out of 45; they are a matriculated
governess, a dancing-master, a doctor, a singing-master.

The next lines are 'Situations Wanted,' 40; and 'Situations Vacant,' 118.
The relative numbers are here again suggestive. Under the first heading I
find a barmaid, three cooks, carpenters' apprentices, three gardeners,
two nursery governesses, two housekeepers, three men desiring any
employment, seven nurses, a tailor, and the rest miscellaneous. The
vacancies are chiefly composed of 13 advertisements, from
registry-offices for servants of all capacities, married couples,
gardeners, housekeepers, butlers, plain cooks, parlourmaids, housemaids,
laundresses, waitresses, barmaids, cooks, laundresses, general servants,
nurses, needlewomen, lady-helps (3). Similar persons are advertised for
by private individuals; but besides these, I find: Wanted a
bullock-driver, a carter, a coachman, a shoeing smith, three butchers, a
bottler, two bakers, innumerable boys, barmen, a compositor, several
dressmakers in all departments, half a dozen drapers' assistants, four
grooms, sixty navvies in one advertisement, millers, haymakers,
woodcutters, spademen, needlewomen, quarrymen, etc., two wheelwrights, a
verger at £120 a year, pick and shovel men.

Turning over to the twelfth or back page, I find Wanted to Buy, 12;
Wanted to Sell, 35; Board and Lodging, 44; Houses to Let, 67; Houses for
Sale, 34; Partnerships, Businesses, etc., 44, of which 12 are hotels;
Wines, Spirits, etc., 16; Dress and Fashion, 3; Auction Sales, 128,
taking up 12 columns; Amusements, 24, taking up 2 columns; Stock and
Station Sales, 11; Horses and Carriages, 18; Produce and Provisions, 2
(Epps and Fry); Publications and Literature, 6; Bank Notices, 2; Public
Notices, half a column; Business Notices, 53; Money, 41; Machinery, 23;
Medical, 30; Judicial Law Notices, 6; Tenders, 26, and Meetings, 9. There
is also a column and a half of special advertisements charged for at
extra rates in the inside sheet just before the leading column.

Although the _Argus_ has a very influential and advertisement-bringing
class of readers, and penetrates beyond the limits of Victoria, by far
the largest circulation in Australia is that of the _Melbourne Age_, a
penny four-page sheet, published in Melbourne, which boasts of an issue
of 50,000 copies daily, almost all absorbed within Australia. Its leading
articles are as able and even more virulent than those of the _Argus_.
Its telegraphic intelligence is good, and in dramatic and literary
criticisms it is second only to the _Argus_ in Australia. But its news
is comparatively poor, owing to its being only a single-sheet paper, and
it caters for a far inferior class than the _Argus_. Its inventive
ability, in which it altogether surpasses the London _Daily Telegraph_,
has brought it the nickname of 'Ananias,' and it is essentially the
people's journal. Just as in politics the _Argus_ is not only the organ
but the leader of the ultra-Conservative party, even so the _Age_
coaches the Democracy. To its influence is mainly due the ascendency
which Mr. Berry's party held for so long, and the violence of the
measures which poor Mr. Berry took in hand. It was the _Age_ which
originated the idea of the Plebiscite, and of the progressive land-tax.
It is protectionist to the backbone, having commenced the cry of
'Victoria for the Victorians,' and fosters a policy of isolation from the
sister colonies. Prominent amongst its leader-writers is Mr. C. H.
Pearson, whose Democracy is at once the most ultra and the most cultured,
the most philosophical and the most dogmatic. Another leader of the
Radical party who frequently writes for the _Age_ is Mr. Dakin, the
rising young man of Victorian politics, who represents talent and
education apart from culture.

The third morning paper in Melbourne is the _Daily Telegraph_, a penny
Conservative sheet which has never attained any large influence or
circulation, although edited by a man of considerable literary ability.
The evening papers are the _Herald_, which is supposed to represent the
Catholic party; and the _World_, which is rather American in tone, but
very readable. Both are penny papers exerting very little influence.

In all the Victorian papers, of whatever party, it is noticeable that
Victorian topics, and especially Victorian politics, occupy an almost
exclusive share both of leading and news columns; while the New South
Wales and South Australian papers devote far more attention to
intercolonial and European affairs. The fact is that Victoria is much
more self-contained and independent of the mother country than its
neighbours. Somehow or other there is more local news obtainable, more
going-on, in fact, in Melbourne than in Sydney and Adelaide put together.
Everything and everybody in Victoria moves faster. Hence there is more to
chronicle; and greater interest is taken in what is going on in the
colony. The political excitement of the country is, after all, but an
outcome of this national vivacity of disposition. Half a dozen Berrys put
together could not raise one quarter of the feeling in Adelaide, far less
in Sydney.

After the _Argus_ I should place the _South Australian Register_,
published in Adelaide, as the best daily paper in Australia. In style and
get-up it is almost an exact copy of its Melbourne contemporary, and its
published price is twopence. In reports and correspondence it is quite as
enterprising, but its leading columns and critiques being almost all
written in the office, are necessarily weaker. The whole paper is less
carefully edited, but its opinions are more liberal, and it is in no
sense a party paper. It May, indeed, be said that not even the _Times_
exercises so much influence in its sphere as does the _Register_. It
not merely reflects public opinion, but, to a great extent, leads it, and
it must be admitted that, on the whole, it leads it very sensibly. It may
be urged against the _Register_, that its leading articles are wanting
in literary brilliancy as compared with those of the _Argus_; but they
are far more moderate and judicial in political matters. The
extraordinary merits of this paper, in so small a community, are due
partly to its having been, at a critical period in its existence, edited,
managed and partly owned by the late Mr. Howard Clark, a man of great
culture and ability, and partly to the close competition of the South
Australian _Advertiser_, a twopenny paper which is well sustained in
every department, and noted for occasional leading articles of great

The _Sydney Morning Herald_ is the richest newspaper property in
Australia. It has correspondents in almost every capital in Europe,
including St. Petersburg--where the _Argus_ and _Register_ are not
represented--publishes an immense quantity of news, and is edited by an
able and liberal-minded man. But the absence of competition makes it
inferior in enterprise to either the _Argus_, _Register_, or
_Advertiser_. Its leading columns are sound but commonplace, and there
is a fatal odour of respectable dulness about the paper. A second paper
called the _Daily Telegraph_ was established in Sydney in 1879, which
seems to be meeting the wants of the penny public, but it is very
inferior to the _Herald_, or to the second-rate papers in the other
colonies. In Adelaide, the evening papers are merely penny reprints of
half of the morning papers. In Sydney, the _Herald_ proprietors publish
the _Echo_, a sprightly little sheet; but the best evening paper is the
_Evening News_, which caters for the popular taste and is somewhat

The wants of the bushman, who relies on one weekly paper for his sole
intellectual food, and who, though often well educated, is far away from
libraries or books of any kind, have given rise to a class of weekly
papers which are quite _sui generis_. The model on which they are all
formed is the _Australasian_, published by the _Argus_ proprietors,
which is still the best known and the best. Some idea of the enormous
mass of reading-matter it contains may be gathered from the fact that its
ordinary issue is fifty-two pages, a little larger than the _Pall Mall_,
but containing five columns to the page and printed in the ordinary
small type used in most daily papers, and known to printers as 'brevier.'
To give an idea of the character of its contents is difficult. It is
partly a newspaper, partly a magazine. The telegrams for the week are
culled from the _Argus_. If it were not for the addition of a
fortnightly intercolonial letter, the way in which the week's news is
given would remind me of the _St. James's Budget_. It is divided into
Parliament, town news, country news, intercolonial, home (i.e. English),
and foreign news, and may be described as a classified reproduction of
the more important news in the _Argus_.

There are generally three or four leading articles somewhat of the
character--but of course not the quality--of the _Spectator_; and the
notes on the first page of the Liberal weekly are evidently imitated in a
page of short editorial comments called 'Topics of the Week.'
'Literature,' by which is meant a two-column review of a single book and
three or four short reviews, is another heading. The 'Ladies' Column'
contains a leader after the manner of the _Queen_, fashion items, notes
and queries, and every other week an excellent English letter by Mrs.
Cashel Hoey, dealing with new plays, books and social events in London.
'The Wanderer,' 'The Traveller,' 'The Sketcher,' 'The Tourist,' head
single or short serial articles of one and a half or two columns in
length, signed or not signed, but always either well written or
describing something new and interesting. 'Talk on 'Change' heads a
column and a half of satirical or humorous notes, which are very much
appreciated, and form a more leading feature of the paper than their
merit warrants. The anecdotes are often new and always admirably told,
but the comments are weak. 'The Theatres' contains one general critique
of the newest play in Melbourne--sometimes two--followed by short
detailed criticisms, hashed up from the _Argus_, of whatever is on the
boards at the different theatres. 'The Essayist' is one of the best
features in the paper, though it appeals to a very limited audience.
Those written by a gentleman signing himself 'An Eclectic,' are
exceptionally good--better, as a rule, than most similar essays in the
_Saturday_. Dr. J. E. Taylor's 'Popular Science Notes' are by no means
equal to those Mr. Proctor used to contribute. 'Original Poetry
'speaks for itself. 'Miscellany' heads a column of humorous extract
paragraphs, chiefly from American papers. 'The Novelist' contains a
serial. 'The Story-Teller' a single story--original. This department is
always well sustained, and no expense is spared in getting good work.
'All Sorts and Conditions of Men' has just been running through the
paper, Besant and Rice being favourite authors here. James Payne, B. L.
Farjeon and R. E. Francillon are other contributors whose names come into
my mind. Occasionally a colonial work is chosen, and the proprietors do a
great deal of service in bringing out really promising authors.

Besides all these standing dishes, there are, of course, a few stray
articles on all kinds of subjects. In a copy before me is one of a series
entitled, 'The Goldfields,' of special interest to miners, and treating
the subject technically.

But the two departments which may be said to have made the
_Australasian_ are the _Sportsman_ and the _Yeoman_, which, to all
intents and purposes, are separate papers incorporated with the
_Australasian_. Of the _Sportsman_, I don't think it is too much to
say, that it is the best sporting paper in the world, not excepting the
_Field_, and it fully deserves the supreme authority which it exercises
over all sporting matters south of the line. The page begins with
'Answers to Correspondents.' Then come one or two leading articles on
sporting matters, which form the stronghold of the department; then Turf
Gossips, the Betting Market, full descriptions of all Australian and the
principal New Zealand race-meetings, special training notes from
Flemington, Randwick and Adelaide, intercolonial sporting notes and
letters from special correspondents, winding up with 'Sporting Notes from
Home.' Cricket next has a leading article and notes, followed by
descriptions of the more important matches. Yachting, rowing, coursing,
pigeon-shooting, hunting, shooting, football, and lawn-tennis all come in
for a small share.

The _Yeoman_ is not much in my line, though it is looked up to as a
great authority upon all agricultural and pastoral topics. Taking a
current number, I find it begins with 'Answers to Correspondents;' then
comes the 'Weekly Review of the Corn Trade;' 'Rural Topics and Events;'
a series of short editorial comments; a leader on' Wheat-growing;' 'The
Crops and the Harvest, by our Agricultural Reporter, No. IV.;' 'In the
Queensland Down County, No. VI.;' 'The Water Conservation Act, No. III.;'
'The Melbourne Wool-buyers and the Wool-brokers;' 'Separating Cream by
Machinery;' 'Selling Live Cattle by Weight;' 'Fancy Price of Breeders;'
'Competition between Draught Horses;' 'Butter Cows;' 'The Black Walnut at
Home.' 'Public Trial of Hornsby's Spring Binder;' 'Correspondence;'
'Horticultural Notes;' 'Gardening Operations for the Week;' 'Plant
Notes;' 'Notes and Gleanings;' 'Impoundings;' etc., etc., etc.

So much for the _Australasian_, of which it must not be forgotten that
the _Sportsman_ and _Yeoman_ are only component parts. As its name
implies, it has a wide circulation beyond Victoria. In the Riverine
district and a considerable part of New South Wales, it is the principal
paper taken; and even in New Zealand and Western Australia all hotels and
many private persons subscribe to it. To the wide area over which, and
the good class of people amongst whom it circulates, is largely due the
leading position which Victoria occupies in the minds of all the other
colonies, and the views they take of her politics. The _Australasian_
is of course Conservative, but not quite so rabidly so as the _Argus_.
It surveys politics from the Conservative gallery. The _Argus_ takes
part in the scrimmage and leads the Conservative forces. In commenting on
intercolonial politics, by which I mean those of the other colonies, it
always takes a mildly Conservative view, advocating federation, caution
in borrowing, and assistance to the exploration and settlement of the
interior. Not its least use is, that it gives the people of one colony
the opportunity of knowing what is going on in the other colonies. Many
of the articles are signed with a _nom de plume_, under the cover of
which atheistical and even revolutionary views are allowed to express
themselves. In religious matters the _Argus_ and _Australasian_
maintain an eclectic attitude. Outwardly they are Christian in the widest
sense of the term, but it is not difficult to see that most of their
writers are agnostics. On social subjects, directly they get clear of
contemporary local politics, their views are progressive and enlightened,
often indeed original. It is curious to note that all the leading organs
of public opinion in Australia are strongly Conservative and
Imperialistic in their views of the foreign policy of England. There is
only one exception, to my knowledge, the _Melbourne Age_, which
advocates a non-interference policy, and would not be sorry to see 'the
painter cut.' On home affairs the colonial press is naturally in sympathy
with the Liberals, but the _Argus_ draws the line at the Clôture and
the Liberal policy in Ireland, which it opposes.

Of the imitators of the _Australasian_, the _Queenslander_, published
by the proprietors of the _Brisbane Courier_; the _Leader_, published
by the _Age_ proprietors; and the _Town and Country_, by the
proprietors of the _Sydney Evening News_, are the best, in the order
named. The _Sydney Mail_, published by the _Sydney Morning Herald_,
is also a good compendium of information on current topics. The
_Adelaide Observer_ is little better than an abstract of the S. A.
_Register_, and the S. A. _Chronicle_ is literally a reproduction of
the S. A. _Advertiser_. But all these papers are much more provincial
in tone than the _Australasian_, and have hardly any circulation
outside the colony in which they are published. About two years ago a new
independent paper was started in Melbourne, with the programme indicated
by its name--the _Federal Australian_. It is very American in tone, and
a large portion of its space is devoted to rather second-rate funniness.
But the leading articles are good, and it has struck out a most useful
line for itself in a supplement called the _Scientific Australian_,
modelled on the _Scientific American_. This portion of the paper is of
great value, and if only on that account it deserves to live.

Monthly illustrated papers are published in connection with the _Argus_,
the _Age_, and the _Sydney Herald_, and also independently by
printing firms in Sydney and Adelaide. The two Melbourne ones are by far
the best, but they are very dear at a shilling. The same may be said of
the comic papers at sixpence. The political cartoons in the _Melbourne
Punch_ are often excellently imagined, but the execution is not
remarkable, and the reading matter is wretched. The conceptions of the
cartoons are also frequently coarse. The _Society_ paper has found its
way here, via San Francisco. The most vulgar is the _Sydney Bulletin_,
which is, as a rule, coarse to a degree; but it must be owned that it is
also very clever and exceedingly readable--qualities which its imitators
altogether lack. One knows quite enough about other people's business
here without having papers specially to spread it, and in such small
communities the _Bulletin_ tribe are a public nuisance. But yet they
sell freely at sixpence a copy!

The provincial press is, as a rule, feeble. Ballarat, Sandhurst, and
Geelong are the only three towns large enough to support papers of the
slightest value outside the place where they are published. But these
small fry are very useful in their humble sphere, and are almost without
exception respectably conducted. How they 'pay' is 'one of those things
which no fellah can understand.'

There are a number of newspapers devoted to the promotion of the
interests of the various religious bodies, the licensed victuallers, and
other trades. The best of these is the _Australian Insurance and Banking
Record_, which is most ably conducted. The licensed victuallers support
a weekly _Gazette_ in each of the principal towns. The Church of
England has two organs, one in Sydney, and the other in Melbourne. The
Temperance party, like their opponents, have three papers devoted to the
maintenance of their views, besides which, they get a good deal of side
support from the dozen or so of religious sheets. The licensed
victuallers seem to combine sporting and dramatic items with the advocacy
of what they call the TRADE, and abuse of the Good Templars. The latter,
however, are still more vehement in abuse, and even less sensible in

Besides the newspaper press, Australia possesses four magazines, two
published in Sydney and two in Melbourne. Of the former, one known first
as the _Australian_, and then as the _Imperial Review_, is not worth
mentioning, if, indeed, it is not ere now defunct. The other, called the
 _Sydney University Review_, a quarterly, has only just come into
existence with an exceptionally brilliant number, three articles in which
are fully worthy of a place in any of the leading London monthlies. That
it will continue as it has begun I should fancy to be more than doubtful.
The oldest established magazine is the _Melbourne Review_, started
about five years ago. For the last three years it has been languishing.
The most flourishing magazine is the _Victorian Review_, which is only
three years old. The contents are very variable in quality. Occasionally
there is a really first-class article, and generally there are one or two
very readable. The quality has much fallen off during the last eighteen
months, but it affords a convenient outlet for the young colonists to air
political and social crotchets, and to descant on philosophical theories.
Now and then the editor used to hook a big fish, such as the Duke of
Manchester, Professor Amos, and Senor Castelar, who have all contributed
to its columns. The philosophical articles are naturally very feeble, but
not unfrequently university professors and others among the ablest
residents in Australia make the _Review_ a vehicle for setting forth
schemes and ideas, which would not find admission into the newspapers.


Strictly speaking, there is not, and cannot yet be, any such thing as an
Australian literature. Such writers as live in Australia are nearly all
English-born or bred, and draw their inspiration from English sources. A
new country offers few subjects for poetry and romance, and prophecy is
by no means so inspiring as the relation of the great deeds of the past.
But yet there has been at least one amongst us who may claim to have had
the real poetic afflatus, and whose subjects were invariably taken from
the events of the life around him. This was Thomas Gordon, the author of
'How we Beat the Favourite,' and several other short pieces of verse of
rare merit, and redolent of the Australian air. George Brunton Stephens
is another versifier, who at times showed signs of genius; and it is not
long since a Mr. Horace Kendall died, who ran off sheets of graceful
verses with considerable talent and no little poetic fancy.

In philosophy, history, and science, many of the Professors at Australian
Universities have written treatises worth reading; but Australia has had
so little influence either upon their subjects or their mode of treating
them, that their merit cannot be claimed for this country. Perhaps the
best-known writers of this class, resident in the colonies, are Professor
Hearn, author of 'The Aryan Household.' and Mr. Charles A. Pearson, the
historian of the Middle Ages.

Australia may boast of having furnished no uninteresting theme to Henry
Kingsley, and several minor English novelists. She has sent to England no
less rising a light than Mr. B. L. Farjeon; but the few novels that are
written and published here have never attracted notice across the ocean,
and rarely even in Australia itself, if we except Mr. Marcus Clarke's
'His Natural Life.' After Mr. Clarke come Mr. Garnet Walsh, Mr. Grosvenor
Bunster, and one or two prophets in their own neighbourhood, pleasant
writers of Christmas stories, clever dramatizers of novels and
pantomime-writers, but none of them with the least claim to a wider

The circumstances of a new colony naturally cause additions to the
word-stock of the mother country. New occupations and modes of living
need new words to describe them, or, as often as not, the settler not
being of an inventive disposition, old words are used in a new sense.

The 'bush'--itself an old word used in a new sense--has been most
prolific in new phrases. Everyone who lives in the country, whether on a
station or in a farm, but not in a township, is called a 'bushman,'
although properly speaking this designation only applies to a person who
lives in the 'bush' or unsettled country. 'Bushranger' is another word of
the same derivation, which it is needless to explain. Of course you know
what a 'squatter' is. It is strange that the same word which in America
is used to denote the lowest class of settlers--the man who settles upon
somebody else's land and pays no rent--is here a synonym for aristocrat.
The term 'farmer' is applied exclusively to the agriculturist, and a
squatter would be very much offended if you called him a sheep-farmer.
The squatting class in Australia correspond to the landed gentry of
England. The farmer is usually legally known as a 'selector,' because
under the Land Act he selects a piece of ground perhaps in the middle of
the squatter's leasehold and purchases it on credit for agriculture. A
'cockatoo' is a selector who works his piece of land out in two or three
years, and having done nothing to improve it, decamps to select in a new
district. A 'run' is the least improved kind of land used for sheep, but
the word is used almost alternatively with 'station,' which denotes an
improved run. The run may be a mere sheep-walk, but a station is bound to
have a house attached to it, and fenced 'paddocks' or fields. The
storekeeper is the lowest official on a station. Next above him is the
'boundary-rider,' whose duty it is to ride round the boundaries of fenced
runs, to see that the fence is kept in good order, and that the sheep do
not get through it. A 'stockman' is naturally the man who drives the
stock, and the 'stockwhip' a peculiar short-handled long whip with which
he drives them. A 'cabbage-tree' is an immense sun-protecting hat, rather
like the top of a cabbage-tree in shape. It is much affected by bushmen.
A 'billy' is the tin pot in which the bushman boils his tea; a
'pannikin,' the tin bowl out of which he drinks it. A 'waler' is a
bushman who is 'on the loaf.' He 'humps his drum,' or 'swag,' and starts
on the wallaby track;' i.e., shoulders the bundle containing his worldly
belongings, and goes out pleasuring. A 'shanty,' originally a low
public-house, now denotes any tumble-down hut.

Apart from bush terms, there are town appellations, such as 'larrikin,'
which means a 'rough.' The word is said to have originated with an Irish
policeman, who spoke of some boys who had been brought before the
Melbourne Police Court as 'larriking around,' instead of 'larking.' To
'have a nip' is to take a 'nobbler.' A white man born in Australia is a
'colonial,' vulgarly a 'gum-sucker;' if he was born in New South Wales,
he is also a 'cornstalk.' An aboriginal is always a 'black fellow.' A
native of Australia would mean a white man born in the colony. The
diggings have furnished the expressive phrase 'to make your pile.' A
'nugget'--_pace_ Archbishop Trench--was a Californian importation. When
speaking of a goldfield a colonist says 'on.' Thus you live 'on Bendigo,'
but 'in' or 'at' Sandhurst--the latter being the new name for the old
goldfield town. To 'shout' drinks has no connection with the neuter verb
of dictionary English. A 'shicer' is first a mining claim which turns
out to be useless, and then anything that does so. There is room for a
very interesting dictionary of Australianisms. But I have no time to
collect such a list. The few words which I have given will serve as an
indication of the bent of colonial genius in the manufacture of a new
dialect; and as they are given without any effort, just as they have come
to my mind in the course of one evening's thinking as I write, they may
fairly be taken as being amongst the commonest.

I have headed this letter 'Literature and Art,'so that I am morally bound
to say something about the latter, although there is next to nothing to
say. Australia has not yet produced any artist of note. Perhaps the best
is Mr. E. C. Dowling, and he is a Tasmanian. Resident in Victoria is a M.
Louis Buyelot, a landscape artist of considerable merit. Excepting him,
we have no artists here whose works rise beyond mere mediocrity. Mr.
Summers was a Victorian, but his fame is almost unknown in his own
country. Thanks to Sir Redmond Barry, Victoria possesses a very fair
National Gallery attached to the Melbourne Public Library. Some of the
paintings in it are excellent, notably Mr. Long's 'Esther;' the majority
very mediocre. For my own part I prefer the little gallery at Sydney,
which, though it has not nearly so many paintings, has also not nearly so
many bad ones, and owns several that are really good, mostly purchased
from the exhibitions. Adelaide has also recently bought a few pictures to
form the nucleus of a gallery.

By means of Schools of Design and Art, the colonial Governments have,
during the last few years, been doing all in their power to encourage the
growth of artistic taste, but the whole bent of colonial life is against
it. Art means thought and care, and the whole teaching of colonial life
is to 'manage' with anything that can be pressed into service in the
shortest time and at the smallest expense. It is only fair to mention as
a tribute to the laudable desire of the people to see good works of art,
that no parts of the International Exhibitions were so well attended as
the Art Galleries, and that although the pictures shown there were for
the most part quite third not to say fourth-rate. The press is very
energetic in fostering taste, but I don't think it is natural to the
people. They like pictures somewhat as the savage does, because they
appeal readily to the imagination, and tell a story which can be read
with very little trouble. It is significant of this, that there is hardly
a hut in the bush where you will not see woodcuts from the _Illustrated
and Graphic_ pasted up, and that the pictures most admired at the
exhibitions were those which were most dramatic--such as a horse in a
stable on fire, and a showman's van broken down in the snow through the
death of the donkey which drew it. Next to dramatic pictures, those in
which horses, cows, or sheep appeared were most admired, for here the
colonist felt himself a competent critic, and was delighted to discover
any error on the part of the artist. Scenery came next in the order of
appreciation, especially pieces with water in them, or verdure. Genre and
figure-painting were quite out of their line.

Of Music I have written in my letter on 'Amusements'. As a creative art
it cannot yet be said to have an existence, although Mr. Wallace composed
'Maritana' in Australia, and plenty of dance-music is manufactured every


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