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FINANCIAL FLUCTUATIONS

Depression of 1893. .

Launceston Rotary Address

At tho luncheon o£ tho Launceston Rotary Club at the Brisbane Hotel yes- terday^ Mr. W. Judd, M.A., reviewed the

period of financial fluctuation In Aus- tralia. He referred to the financial stringency ' of 1825-30, and of the early 1840's, but the great cataclysm, he said,

came In 1803.

A period of prosperity in the eighties led to a Wild orgy of speculation In land and buildings, and again money was poured In from England. Land com- panies, mortgage societies, municipal bodies, building societies, and a host of Other organisations of mushroom growth clamoured for a share In tho good things that were on offer, and probably £40,000,000 flowed into Victoria during a period of sis years. With so' much easy money In circulation, a fictitious prosperity of a feverish sort resulted. The banks Issued notes to the value of millions, arid trado and Industry flour- ished as never before. The reaction came quickly. Public confidence sub- sided like a pricked balloon; a l'un com- menced on the banks, and the bursting of the boom brought with lt widespread

disaster.

The Government, In an effort to save the bank, declared a holiday for five days, but without effect, and during 1893 Í4 banks failed. Twelve of these, with 905 branches throughout Australia, hud liabilities assessed at £160,000,000, and thousands of people lost thc whole of their possessions. Bank notes In I many cases were worthless, and Vic- toria reached the farthest depth of a financial depression. Unemployment became widespread, wages and prices dropped, bankruptcies followed one an- other In disturbing sequence, the most drastic retrenchments were made by tho Government and public bodies, and there were not wanting people who pass- ed from pessimism to despair, and de- clared that tho colony could not re- cover from such a blow. What tile colony of Victoria could do In the nineties, the united people of Australia could do In 1930, If they-' were only

given a chance.

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