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THE CROPS.-Never, we believe, wai tb» prospect of
an abundant harvest more cheering than in this district up to the beginning of last week. Since then, however, the prospect has been sudly changed, the caterpillars having suddenly msda
their appearance in large numbers, und committed ravages, ina / extent of which will scarcely bo believed by those who do not ' know the manner in which these animals attack the grain. They do not, like the locust, destroy every green thing in their progress, but merely gnaw the stalk immediately under the ear ol' grain ; and this tbey do with so much celerity, that in the course of a few days the field of grain becomes a field of earless straw. The only means the agriculturist can take to prevent the total destruction of his crop is, to mow down the whole, ripe or unripe ; but, let him do his best, the loss must be very great The barley crops have been the first to suffer, the cater- pillars appearing to prefer that grain; and it is to be hoped that before, they make much progress with the wheat the dry weather may set in, in which case the stalk may become so hardened as to resist their attacks, after which tbey can do no damage, their destructive powers being then only capable or acting upon the,.green blade* of the straw. Although the caterpillar can only be considered a local evil-as they au)>««r, from observation, to breed in particular Spot*,, and to travel (which they do very rapidly) in the direction of the aun-y«* they lia\e oppéired in so many localities, .tljai few fields are likely to escape At Mr Hussell'a station, on the "Lei^hi the crops hate suftVed 'dreadlully ¡ «nd at -Air- Griffin's, Fyans« ford, «bout 76 per cent, of the burley will-be- lost. These localities ure thirty miles distant from each other!_ so that u>* plague probably extends over a large tract of c tin »try In u>* Collie and Upper Barwon districts, we are glad to leam that the crops are recoveiing from the effects of the heavy storms «Ililli occurred u few weeks a^o; even where the#b»H a»4 whirlwinds had swept the fields bare, a second crop ¡¿shooting up, with a fair prospect of being productive- Getto ng 4"iw>
fúrrr. . .
THE WEATHEB.-During the greater part of last weei the heat in Sidney WHS excessive, and lhere were continue» indications of the atmosphere being highly charged with el»«
trlcity. Between five and six o'clock on Saturday evening there wai o pretty smart thunderstorm, accompanied with heavy ?bowers : the storm passed away about six o'clock, and about seven the rain set in, and there was a series of delightful showers until After midnight. During the whole of Sunday the atmosphere was clouded, but no rain fell. Shortly after midnight, however, a tremendous thunderstorm passed over Sydney, and the rain poured down in torrents. The lightning was fearfully brilliant, the flashes during the height of the atorm being almost continuous, and the thunder was awfully grand. When the storm was over Sydney, the dome of the Police-office was struck and a large quantity of glass broken ; in Elizabeth-street, the lightning entered a house, and knocked down a parlition and a lorgo quantity of plastering; o house in Phillip-street was also much damaged ; at South Head the fluid struck the chimney of a house, forced out a window, .mashed a window-frame, and scattered splinters in all direc- tions. In several other houses trifling damage was done, but although there were people in bed in all of them, there was providentially no personal injury received. ' The rain ceased toon after the storm had passed over. About four o'clock Îesterclay afternoon we were again visited with thunder and
Ightning, but it was comparatively trifling, and the rain again descended for several hours, and we are in great hopes that a large tract of country has been visited by ruin as copiously as the neighbourhood of Sydney has been-Herald, Dec. 13.
GOLD MINES IN THE MIDDLE DISTRICT.-We were yesterday favoured by Mr. K I). Cohen, goldsmith, of George street, with specimens of Virgin Gold, embedded in quartz, which had teen brought to him for sale, by a shepherd from the interior. The discoverer, who, from his accent, was a Scotchman, displayed the characteristic caution of his country* men, as to the locale of the treasure. The best use we can therefore mako of the information tit present, is to say, "out of Sydney all you idlers, make engagements With the squatters, and who-knows, but in addition to your wages, you mny be rewarded by the discovery of n gold mine 1 at all events, you will do helier watching the golden fleece, than hanging about town." The qunntity tliown us of the gold was about four ounces, and the shepherd stated that he lind been robbed of double as much on his way dov-ti.-australian, Dec. 13.
THE , GARRISON.-Considerable excitement prevailed In the city yesterday morning, by a report that the soldiers of the garrison had refused to obey orders, '«nu'- had knocked off duty. The rumour turned out to be partially true. Some time ago, a general order was received here, altering the regu- lations tinder which the troops are rationed, and discontinuing the allowance of grog. These regulations it was attempted to put in force yesterday morning, hut the men turned out of their quarters cn masse about half-past eight o'clock, heaving away their bread inlo the barrack-yard, and refusing to do duty. The gates of tho barracks were closed throughout the day, and His Excellency the Commander of the Forces, with his Staff, went down at an early hour, to endeavour to recal the men to obedience. During the day, however, an arrangement was made under which the grog allowance was to be continued, and the troops then returned to their former discipline - Australian, Dec. 2.
APPOINTMENTS.-His Excellency the Governor has appointed John Harker, Esq., of Cape Schanck, and Thomas Learmonth, Esq , of I3aninyong, both of the district of Port Phillip, to be magistrates of the territory and its dependencies.
CLUB DINNER.-On Saturday evening a dinner was
given to Captain Illackwood and officers of Her Majesty's ship Fly, by the members of the Australian Club; the lion. Alex- ander McLeay, Speaker of the Legislative Council, presiding. His Excellency the Governor, Commodore Kerran!, and several officers of the French ship-of-war Le Rhin, together with about eighty other gentlemen, sat down to dinner. In his speech, after dinner, His Excellency alluded in distinct terms to bis early departure from this colony.-Australian, Dec 2,