COLLINGWOOD IN THE FIFTIES.
A meeting of the Historical Society of Victoria, which was recently formed with the object of promoting study of the his- tory of this State, was held at 57 Swan- ston-street yesterday evening. The chair was occupied by Professor Harrison Moore, and there was a large attendance.
The report of the council, touching upon the efforts of the society during the past three months, showed that permanent com- mittees had been appointed to deal with various branches of the work. Special in- quiries had been, sent to editors of coun- try papers, asking co-operation in the estab- lishment of sub-centres for the collection of historical material throughout the State, and encouraging responses had been re- ceived. It was intended to revive the work of compiling local chronicles, which was undertaken by the State schools three years ago. The nucleus of a library and histori- cal collection had also been formed in con- nection with the society, and several mat- ters of historical research had been taken in hand by the council.
An interesting paper on "Early Colling- wood" was contributed by Mr. E. A. Pethe- rick, F.R.S. The speaker gave a host of reminiscences of life in the district, from his arrival there in 1853, when, as one of a family of eight, he camped on the site of the present St. Mark's Church. Col- lingwood, named after Nelson's favourite admiral, and originally "Newtown," em- braced in the fifties Fitzroy, then a ward of the city of Melbourne. At that time the difficulties of peregrination around Mel- bourne were at their worst at Collingwood. In winter one was obliged to pick his path along the main road, or run the risk of leaving his boots knee-deep in the soft-clay. Half Wellington boots were much worn by women folk, as well as by men. Colling-
wood Flat received the storm waters, as well as the rainfall, from the slopes of what was now North Fitzroy, and he had wit- nessed heavy falls of rain which had, in an hour, flooded all the flat between Reilly and Gipp streets. The population of the district in 1855 was 8,000. In the sixties it was customary to give a reward of 1/ each for the capture of snakes, which were put into a barrel of lime. It was more than the authorities could stand or afford, though, when one day a man brought in six snakes which had been caught in Studley- park. (Laughter.) Collingwood, although to the fore in political and municipal mat- ters, had never been noted for its literary talent. A criticism from "The Argus" of March 28, 1864, concerning a "romance of Melbourne" by a writer of the district, stated:—"The worst and best that can be said of the book is that it is a thoroughly genial emanation from the sources of its inspiration. Everything about it is Col- lingwood all over. ... It is a depress- ing recollection to have ventured to finger it. (Laughter.)
The speaker submitted further interesting incidents dealing with his subject, and at the conclusion of his remarks was accorded
a vote of thanks.