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3 corrections, most recently by rexnp1 - Show corrections

SOUTHPORT.

A great change has taken place in Southport during the last eighteen

months. The one Government shed

and the bit of a jetty which used to constitute the whole of the buildings in that place have now been supplemented by stores, dwelling-houses, and tents to a degree which clearly makes South- port the important second town of North Australia. It is the mining country, of course, which has started this place into existence, and upon the mines it must stand or fall. At present there is a great bustle going on. Parties are starting for the reefs, and others are coming down for supplies, and, amongst other business, there is an amount of drinking going on which is far from beneficial. Most of the men knocking about have been receiving good wages, and in addition to this, some of them are said to have made lucky finds of alluvial gold ; but on that point it is

impossible to obtain positive evidence.   Some of the Southport stores are no paltry buildings : the store belonging to Mr. Skelton is a substantial edifice, and

Mr. Reynold's landing stores are better than any of our Palmerston establish- ments. In fact, if architecture keeps on progressing Mr. W. Faulks original

store which was erst the only conveni-  

ence to the public will soon be left completely in the shade as to exterior, although the business goes on as before. Alongside of Messrs. Miller & Rickards

Messrs. Somner and Frith have already

commenced to build, so that Mr. Marker, the present publican, will soon have assistance in dispensing the exhili rating draught. Mr. W. O'Conner's saddlery establishment is an imposing edifice, and several blacksmiths are preparing for business. The town in fact is busy, and horse and bullock drays moving to and fro show that the work of development is proceeding rapidly. But the people of Adelaide do not un- derstand the requirements of the place. It wants a jetty and other harbor improve- ments, and as the people there at one

time largely subscribed towards an hos-   pital fund, especially the fund raised by

a concert by the Coorong barque pas-  

sengers, perhaps it will be mildly asked how these funds have been applied. The portion of the jetty now constructed by the Government is one of the greatest

follies in the world. It is full 12 feet

too high for even the highest tide which can occur, whilst as to medium and low tides, it will be perfectly useless. But at present nothing is being done on the

work. It has been commenced in a solid and substantial manner, but there it sticks. Like everything else in the Northern Territory it is in a state of suspense, hanging midway between heaven and earth, and nobody can say say when it will be completed.

Any person in search of the horrible might do worse then spend a night or two on board of Gore's boat in some

of her eventful voyages between Port Darwin and Southport. Having the mast blown away by a squall is one of the trifles which occur occasionally, but this is nothing compared with some of the more startling events. You leave Southport at 8 o'clock in the evening ; there is not a breath of wind, but you want to be off, so the boat is rowed, down the river in the darkness ; alliga- tors loudly disporting themselves in the

mangroves on each side as you go   slowly by. Then before you have time to think of rolling up in a blanket and going to sleep (a thing which the sand-

flies make very doubtful) you hear one of your fellow-passengers breathing very hurriedly, and on enquiry you find it is

a sick man who has been sent down

from the reefs in the last stage of ex- haustion. But soon you cease to notice the hurried breathing, and you hear two or three low groans. This is not thought much of at the time ; but present a fel- low voyager of the sick man is heard to exclaim, " Why, d––d if this poor fel- low isn't dead ; I never thought he'd be such a fool." This rough way of

putting it is not favorably received. But, sure enough it is quite true that

the poor man is dead, and there we have him all night in the boat, some- times being anchored, and sometimes rowing slowly along, waiting for the

breeze which is to take us to Port Dar-

win. Then, the voyage to Southport, too, is sometimes a stirring one. Men going up to the reefs in various stages of in- toxication make things lively until a sudden downpour of rain saturates all on board, and in five minutes makes them all look like so many drowned rats ; some with their shirts off in vain attempts to keep them dry, and others trying to cover themselves with coats and wrappers. Altogether, truly, Gore's boat is a remarkable institution, and deserves to be patronized.

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