NEWS AND NOTES.
SMOKE SOCIAL.—We have been advised by Mr. J. C. Hendry, the hon. sec., that the first of the new season's "smoke socials" will be fixed for an early date, of which due notice will be given. The weather is now cooling fast and dancing should be pleasant pastime.
LAND BUYING EXTRAORDINARY.—At a public auction yesterday, in connection with the estate of S. Brown, senr., a selection of 15 acres of agricultural land, at Southport was sold for 25s ! And, worse again, seven township lots at Southport fetched 1s each ! and yet the purchaser probably thinks he paid a shilling too much for every one of
LAND SALE.—A sale of allotments in the township of Urapunga, Roper River, will be held at the Palmerston Land Office on the 11th June. And the usual notice is given that anyone wishing to have blocks in any other township put up may be accommo- dated by making his particular fancy known.
CABLE NOTES.—Our telegrams inform us that the reduced cable rates which have just come into operation are having the effect of greatly increasing the traffic on the sub- marine line, as everyone expected it would. From Mr. J. C. Hendry, the local Super intendent, we learn that in consequence of this extra pressure the staff here will be added to by two operators who are to arrive here in a few days in the Company's steamer Sherard Osborne. The object of this vessel's coming is to make some needful alterations to the shore end of the cables. We are ad- vised that the Sherard Osborne left Banjoe- wangie yesterday.
THE BATHS.—The renewed bathing place at Fort Hill has been completed under the direction of Mr. Knight and the supervision of Mr. G. Sabine. It is now thoroughly proof against sharks, alligator, whales, por- poises or other aquatic beasts ; so that the most timid may swim within the enclosure with perfect safety. There will be a good high tide next Monday morning, and those of the community who are addicted to wash- ing themselves should not only attend the formal opening but keep up the healthful practice of rising early and having a plunge into the "almighty reservoir" before
RATHER GOOD.—The Katherine River Turf Club is nothing if not intensely dis-
loyal. When the Governor was up that way the Secretary wrote him asking for a subscription to the Queen's Birthday races. His Excellency vouched no reply, but Dr. Stirling made a contribution of 30s. before the party left, and being advised that this royal gift was intended as a joint offering from His Excellency and the doctor, the
Club resolved to put into a donkey race. Comment on this would only spoil the joke, but if anyone doubts the fact let him refer to another column, where they will find it duly authenticated. When Dr. Stirling hears of this it is probable that his language, like, that recorded by "Truthful James," will be "frequent, and painful, and free."
KATHERINE RACES.—In another column will be found the nominations for the chief events of the Katherine meeting to be held on the 25th of May. The entries are not so plentiful as we anticipated, but they are nevertheless numerous enough to guarantee good sport. Amongst the owners there are several names which have not previously appeared on N T. race lists, whilst many of the horses are also unknown to us. Of these latter Hard Times owns the biggest repu- tation, though his only actual wins were the St. Mary's Handicap at Albion Paik (Q.), in 1888, carrying 6st 2lbs ; and the Conso- lation Handicap at Borroloola in 1889. No Name and The Nun have each two wins to their credit, and if his pins only stand the preparation it will not surprise us to see him add one or more of the Katherine prizes to his present record. Anyhow, the meeting should be a great success and well worth the trip to see. It will be noted that the han- dicapping was entrusted to the local veteran, Mr. V. V. Brown, who has the confidence of all sporting men; and it is worth while stating that the Club encouraged heavy weighting by fixing the minimum at 9st—a very good policy, indeed, where light, riders are the exception.
TROUBLESOME NIGGERS. — The Police Court has recently been much demanded for the settlement of aboriginal delinquencies. First we have Mr. Squire answering to the charge of being unlawfully on the premises of the Club. Squire fails to satisfy the Court that he is not the right party, and he is sent to do penance at the "retreat" for the term of one month. Two other savages, for stealing potatoes from a Chinaman's Garden, were sentenced to imprisonment for 14 days. Later on two well-known natives, Solomon and Paddy were arraigned for bur- glariously entering the premises occupied by M. Parkhouse in Mitchell-street, and stealing therefrom a quantity of intoxicating liquor. It appeared from the evidence given that the house had been entered on the 30th April and also on the 1st May. On one occasion some bottles were emptied of their exciting contents and filled with water. Solomon got clear of the charge, but Paddy will air the prison livery for the next six
RAILWAY HUMOUR.—We were led last week to make the announcement that an all-round reduction in railway fares and freights was in contemplation. Soon after we had issued we received a poster purport- ing, we presume, to be the new table of fares and parcel rates. In our spare time we examined, this very carefully, finally coming to the conclusion that the Railway Department was perpetrating a joke on us. We could only discover one alteration, and that a most ridiculous one. The fare to McMinn's Lagoon has been altered so as to represent a reduction of a whole threepence ! What splendid humour ! Only fancy the depth of intelligence, the amount of obser- vation, and the measure of generosity, that must have been unearthed from the official brain to conceive such a magnificent result. It is in very fact the acme of thoughtful genius, and if our people don't realise the sublimity of the condescension we are sorry indeed for their intellectual poverty. We all know that McMinn's Lagoon is a most important station on the route to Pine Creek. If we could have access to the books of the station master here we feel positive that we would find that during the last two years quite half a dozen tickets were issued to persons wishing to spend a day at the 20-mile. Now, with the fare reduced by threepence, the crush of passengers to the Lagoon will most probably call for the service of a daily train. We would earnestly advise the Commissioners to be very careful when making such sweeping reductions. Our line makes little enough as fares are now, and anything like rash liberality is bound to terminate ruinously, and create a scare amongst the money-lenders at home. We were not prepared for such a display of noble generosity, and the desire to crawl away somewhere and weep copiously is hard to control ; but before we do that we must
thank the Railway Commissioners for having put us to the expense of several pounds for printing in order to inform us that there is a reduction of threepence in the fare to a place where nobody lives and where nobody ever thinks of going.
RAILWAY REVENU.—For week ended
THE INSPECTOR OF MINES.—Mr. Parkes, the Government Inspector of Mines, may be expected here about the end of the present month. We have been requested by the Resident to notify to those who are desirous of having their mining properties reported on that before any inspection of underground workings can be made all water must be got out of the shafts or drives proposed to be examined ; otherwise the Inspector can report on nothing beyond what he sees on the surface. We hope, therefore, that all persons interested will take the hint and give Mr. Parkes all the assistance in their power to make his inspection as thorough as possible.
UNION SPORTS.—We are enabled to give this week the preliminary programme of the sports to be held at the Union on the 23rd instant. It will be seen that as far as the money goes the Committee have only as yet pledged themselves in one instance, but if the other events are dealt with in a similarly liberal spirit the competition is bound to be keen, and no doubt more than one of the Palmerston runners will stretch a point and make the journey to take part in the pro- ceedings. We may be pardoned for sug- gesting the advisability of our Union friends arranging at once for the delay of the train until the evening of the 23rd, in order that visitors from this end may not be unness arily detained upcountry after the sports.
AGROUND AT THURSDAY ISLAND. —Capt. Craig, of the s.s. Menmuir, reports having run aground in the fairway at Thursday Island while attempting to get his vessel out of that magnificent harbour on Friday last. He had cleared to leave there on Friday evening, but in consequence of the grounding could not depart until the next morning. This is rough on the "future Singapore of
Australia." The Menmuir is but a small vessel, and if there is insufficient water at the Island to give such a boat safe exit at all stages of the tide the sooner they give up calling it a harbour the better. We, hope the Major Generals will make a note of this most opportune (for us) little occurrence, and to Captain Craig we thank him heartily for demonstrating what a simple matter it is to accomplish at Thursday Island a disaster
which it would be impossible to bring about at Port Darwin unless the master was mad enough to deliberately run his ship aground. Let us repeat that the grounding of the E. and A. Company's steamer is a most timely satire on the claims of the "future Singa- pore of Australia."
RIFLE COMPETITION.—The shooting on Saturday for the Club's presentation rifle brought together a very fair number of the Port Darwin Club's active members, and a good deal of keen interest was attached to the proceedings. More than one contestant shot with commendable accuracy, as the
scores testify, but Mr. Pye outdistanced the lot, and, although having a start of 9 points, he won easily independent altogether of that handicap. His total for the two ranges off the rifle was 47, which with the handicap
allowed him raised his score to 56. It was singular that the winner should have made the victorious total with the weapon that was the subject of the competition. It is an ordinary looking firearm, but its new owner will no doubt prize it exceedingly as a shooting piece. There were fourteen other competitors, and the handicapped have no doubt made a careful note of Mr. Pyes per-
formance for future reference. To-morrow the 28th competition for the Handicap Cup takes place at the 200 and 300 yards ranges.
THE DEFENCE COMMISSION.—Prior to
leaving Port Darwin to take their departure by the Changsha on Friday last, Mr. Knight invited a few friends to the Residence at 11 o'clock to wish the Defence Commissioners bon voyage and to drink their healths in champagne. Those present included Messrs Foelsche, Captain Marsh, J. C. Hendry, H. H. Adcock, F. C. Ward, W. T. Jones, G. Sabine, M. Holtze, and J. J. Symes, besides the members of the Commission. The Government Resident briefly proposed the health of his guests, remarking that what- ever they might report on Port Darwin he was quite sure it would be their professional and unbiassed opinions as experts, and with that he was satisfied to rest contented. The guests, in responding, expressed both sur- prise and pleasure at seeing such a splendid harbour and such possibilities of success in tropical cultivation as were shown at the Experimental Garden. They also bore tes- timony to the generous hospitality they had received from Mr. Knight during their stay and thanked him most heartily for his courtesy and attention to all their require-
CONGRATULATORY TO MR. HOLTZE. — It was officially announced on Wednesday last that Mr. Maurice Holtze had received the appointment of Curator of the Adelaide Botanical Garden's, rendered vacant by the death of Dr. Schomburgk. This piece of news has afforded infinite pleasure both to Mr. Holtze himself and to that very numer- ous section of Palmerston people who are pleased to claim friendship with him. As far back as we can remember the family has been one of the most popular amongst townsmen, and it will be a source of keen regret to many of us that we shall not for long be left to enjoy the pleasures of a visit to their hospitable home at the Gardens. It may, perhaps, be doubted whether Mr Holtze was a botanical genius when he first took the position which he has occupied for the last eleven years or more, but that he has in that time most assiduously and with flattering success cultivated a knowledge of the subject of botany and agriculture in all its branches cannot be questioned. The scientific world is indebted to his labours for a considerable addition to its knowledge concerning the indigenous plants of Arn- heim's Land, and he has also carried on with unfailing enthusiasm the more practical work of ascertaining the suitability of our natural conditions for the growth of various imported plants of commercial value. His recommendation for the Adelaide position by such an undoubted genius as Baron von Mueller must be taken into account as a fitting tribute of praise to a man who has ever earnestly endeavoured to be what his office represented him. Mrs. Holtze, too, has long been spoken of as one of the most agreeable ladies that we have amongst us — one of those good souls who, without deem- ing it a sacrifice of dignity, made each and everyone who called upon her as welcome as it was possible to do, irrespective of those
little clique distinctions which have been so baneful to local socialities. That their new home will be vastly more enjoyable goes without saying ; and as to Mr. Holtze's official duties, we have not the slightest doubt that he will fulfil his new functions with credit to himself and to the Board of Guardians who have been good enough to recognise the value of his claims for the