THE BRISBANE COURIER
_PUBLISHED DAILY._ Monday, February l8, 1882.
THE farmers of the Darling Downs have of late years been engaged in stern conflict with unfavourable seasons. There was a good crop of wheat in 1880, but it would appear from the statement of an experienced farmer who made one of the deputation to the Minister for Lands at Warwick last week, that even then the rainfall was insufficient to produce a crop from new land. 1879 and 1881 were both exceptionally bad years, the former less from deficient rainfall than from the rust scourge. Yet these discouraging experiences have not destroyed the faith of the settlers in the ulti- mate value of their holdings. Even those who paid from £5 to £8 per acre for the Allora exchanged lands admit that a good season or two would fully reimburse their outlay and leave them with a comfortable estate of 120 acres
first-class land close to railway carriage. What they are led by experience to ex- pect is two or three bad seasons to five or six good ones. We fail to see that, under these circumstances, their prospects are gloomy, or that they ought to be the subjects of exceptional administration. If they find difficulty in paying the in- stalments of purchase-money due next month, it must be recollected that such payment is really not rent at all, but an investment of capital, and that their real difficulty is starting in business with insuffi- cient means. Instead of asking rent during the selection term, the State has sold them the land on credit, giving them ten years to pay the purchase-money, and made no charge for interest. The selector who buys at £5 per acre, in payments spread over ten years, really . pays less than the equivalent of £2 10s. cash with compound interest at 8 percent per annum added. The selector may not have worked out the cal- culation, or regarded his purchase in this light, but it is undoubtedly the true one. A 120-acre selection at £2 10s. an acre, if paid for in cash, would mean a capital sunk at the outset of £300. Instead of this the selector pays only £30 cash, and so far as the prosecution of his industry is con- cerned the land is to all intents and pur- poses his own from the day his application is accepted. The fact is that men intend- ing to settle upon the land usually go into a business quite beyond their capital. To fence in 120 acres and put up the neces- sary homestead, yards, and other " im- provements" involves the laying out of several hundreds of pounds. In some cases the selector commands the requisite means, but in many others he does not. In order to pay his " rent," fulfil the other conditions, and procure the bare necessaries of life for his family, he de- pends almost entirely upon his crops, sup- plemented in some cases by the produce of his labour in shearing or carrying merchandise for the squatter or store- keeper. It may be doubted whether any other industry offers equal inducements to the hard-working man of small means. Had the land to be bought for cash the ordinary selector would be entirely shut out from a freehold estate, and if desirous of entering upon farming pursuits must pay a rent annually greater than the amount of his March instalment. Surely a rent of 5s. per acre would not be dear for the Allora Exchanged Lands, yet the State accepts that amount annually, and gives a Crown grant to the holder at the end of ten years. It thus appears that the State is the last creditor to whom the selector can equitably ap- peal, and yet his first cry whenever he is faced by difficulty is for a concession of time from the Government. With quite as good grace could the man who gives cash for his land appeal to the Government in a bad season to pay his storekeeper's bills. As a colonist the freehold settler is just as valuable as the selector, and the freeholder is entitled in time of difficulty to quite as much con- sideration from the State as the selector. The impoverished freeholder's only recourse, however, is to mortgage his farm, probably
at a usurious rate of interest On the
other hand, any concession to the selector would have to be made by the Govern- ment at the expense of the general tax payer, of whom the freeholder is one
It must not be supposed from the fore going remarks that we fail to appreciate the value to the colony of an industrious and prosperous yeoman class, The pro- ducers of a country have been truthfully designated its backbone But there are other producers besides selectors of Crown land, and these may all claim favourable consideration from the State The Crown Land selector must therefore not lean upon the presumption that his claims are paramount. Every Colonist, no matter what his sphere, who earns his bread in an honest calling, may fairly claim that his interests shall not be prejudiced by concessions to any other person or class, and hence it is im- possible that any such relief should be given to selectors as would necessitate a revision of taxation in order to avert a deficit in the revenue. Mr, Perkins very
properly reminded the Allora deputation that they were not the only sufferers from the drought. Indeed, the presumption is that they, possessing the advantage of great depth of rich soil, have really suffered less than their less favourably situated neighbours. The losses of the farmers in the East and West Moreton districts, for example, have been very severe this year, and their claim to con- sideration of some kind would be irresis- tible if the Government could be induced to make the desired concession to the Allora selectors.
The answer given by Mr. Perkins is, however, one to which much exception cannot be taken. The practice of the de- partment, he said, was not to enforce the law where it would obviously bear harshly upon a selector who was anxious but un- able to fulfil the conditions of his con- tract. But it must be perceived that this practice is one liable to great abuse. The men most ready to expose their private affairs and plead poverty are not always those most deserving of considera- tion; and if the least possible encou-
ragement to the former class were given the charity of the State would be too often bestowed upon unde- serving persons. It is not at all uncom- mon in hospital experience for sick per- sons to obtain admission as paupers while in possession of comparatively large sums of money. The miser will descend to any meanness for the purpose of adding a fraction to his miserable store ; and unfor- tunately meanness of this kind is conta- gious. If it once becomes known that a selector has only to go to the Minister and plead poverty in order to get his rent postponed, the effect will be most demoral- ising. The State must provide for its destitute people, and if selectors of Crown land, whether through, bad seasons or otherwise, fall into that unhappy plight they must be extended a helping hand. But a selector in possession of 120 acres of first-class land alongside the railway line, fenced in, and with one-fourth of his purchase money paid, can certainly not fairly claim to be treated as a destitute person. While sympathising deeply with the Allora selectors in their misfortunes, therefore, it is impossible for us to forget that they form but a very insignificant number of those colonists who have suffered—in some cases been almost ruined —by the late drought. Now that a change has occurred, and that two or three months of fine growing weather are before us, it is perhaps not too much to hope that the selectors of the colony will yet find means of paying their rents, if not in March, at any rate by the end of June. Those who are not embarrassed beyond recovery ought to be able to arrange by some means or other to fulfil their obliga-
tions to the State.
THE election o£ Mr. Robert Porter as mayor for the ensuing year will no doubt meet with the approval of the Brisbane ratepayers generally. Mr. Porter is a practical man of large municipal experience and progressive views, He is a colonist whose interests have been identified with Brisbane for very many years, and he will, we believe, worthily fill the position of its mayor. Yet he will doubtless find himself at some dis- advantage in being the immediate successor of such a popular and generous chairman of council as Mr. Sinclair. The objection that one or two aldermen seemed inclined to raise to Alderman Porter's election—that he is, like Mr, Sinclair, a representative of the Kangaroo Point Ward, and that it is time a member for another ward should occupy the mayoral chair cannot be regarded as a valid one. We do not remember it having been alleged against any alderman who has filled the position of mayor that he has unduly favoured the ward of which he was a representative. Any suggestion of the kind during Mr. Sinclair's term of office was cer- tainly never raised, and would have received no countenance if it had been. It should be the aim of the council to select as mayor the man who they believe will occupy that position with most credit to the city and himself, irrespective of the ward he may in his capacity of alderman represent, and also irrespective of personal feel-
ing. In the present instance the council have, we believe, done this, and they are not likely to have reason to regret their choice, The plan adopted by them of endeavouring to agree amongst themselves as to their selection, and thus to make the election of the mayor practically unanimous, is a good one, The man they choose to enter upon the duties of his office should feel that he has the confidence and support of the whole of his fellow-aldermen, and not merely of a section of them. An agreement of this kind is most likely to impress him with this conviction, and to show the public that, although there may be many differences of opinion amongst the alder- men personally, they are prepared to, as far as possible, sink these differences when called upon to elect their chairman, and to unite in taking the action they think most likely to prove to be for the general good.
TELEGRAMS from Cooktown state that there is in that town a movement to raise a monument to the memory of Mrs. Watson, late of Lizard Island. Some action of the kind was generally looked for, and can nowhere more properly be commenced than amongst the people by whom she was personally known and respected, and in the settlement nearest to the scene of her tragical sufferings and death. The story of that true and brave woman is a history of courage and devotion which must, wherever it can be under, stood, excite feelings of admiration that words can but weakly express and monuments but in- sufficiently honour. The bravery of her resist- ance to a crowd of pitiless savages, defending her child and herself for hours against them ; the wondrous strength and sublime self-possession which inspired the record left by her of that struggle ; the still unflinching courage and deter- mination displayed in her escape from the island . and the patience and uncomplaining resignation with which, while sorrowing for her babe she accepted death—even the terrible death of heat and thirst—rank her memory amongst the bravest in the history of women of any country or clime. It is a record of which Australian women should feel especially proud, though it is not the first by many in which they have displayed courage of a high order, devotion not to be excelled, and endurance which ended only with life. When generous response is made to the action taken in Cooktown, and which appeals not only to Queensland but Australia, it will be time to consider the form the testimonial should take. We hope that the women of North Queensland will make the movement their special charge—then it cannot fail—and that the monument to one of the noblest of women and most devoted of mothers will find a worthy site in our Northern country.
A SPECIAL meeting of the Municipal Council will be held this day, at 3 p.m., for the appoint- ment of committees, Using of salaries, and the initiation of proceedings for levying rates for the
THE university of Sydney having, by an in- crease in the State endowment, been put in possession of an increased annual income, has determined to extend its sphere of usefulness. The Senate advertise for applications from gentlemen qualified to fill the positions of lecturers in Natural Philosophy, Natural History, Medicine, Law, and Modern History.
PROFESSOR PEPPER will repeat his great lecture, entitled " A Box of Electricity, or Con- densed Lightning," to-night, at the Albert Hall This is in accordance with a show of hands taken on the occasion of its first delivery on Friday last, when, owing to the inclemency of the weather, several subscribers were unable to be present. The second lecture of the series, " Polarised Light," will be given on Friday nest.
THE last performance of " Girofle-Girofla" was given on Saturday night. To-night the management announce a very full programme, " Trial by Jury " and " Nemesis," and the audience will be very exacting if they cannot find sufficient amusement in such a bill of fare. This is announced as the last week of the South Company.
THE two dwarfs, Dominic Sonsee and W. Robinson, in company with the Magnetic Lady, made their appearance in the Town Hall for the first time on Saturday last. The first-named is said to be but 2ft. high, and to weigh only 441b. The magnetic lady has the power, by a touch of her hand or arm, of sending a galvanic shock through the body, of which we had ample testi- mony on Saturday night. Those who are curious to see such phenomena of nature will have plenty of opportunity during the three or four weeks which they propose to remain in
THERE was a pleasant break in the weather yesterday, the day being comparatively fine after four days' continuous rain. Yesterday morning's reports, as published in another column, show that at many stations besides Brisbane there was a cessation of rain yesterday morning, the weather being merely cloudy. There were indications last night that there would be more rain before long, and indeed one or two showers fell late in the evening, The total rainfall in Brisbane from Tuesday night to Sunday evening amounted to 4.87in
IF latterly any fears were being entertained of the supply of water at Enoggera running short, the late rains will now remove all doubt or alarm on this account. The water since Wednesday last has risen over 2 ft, and is within 6ft. 7in. of the top of the by-wash. Since the great extention of the pipes lately there has been naturally enough a very great drain upon the main, and this has partly accounted for the turn- ing off of some of the city supply pipes. No scarcity need now be feared ; indeed, the lake at Enoggera has more than once been lower than it was previous to the rain.
THE regular biennial meeting of the sub- committee of management of the Grand United Order of Oddfellows in Queensland was held on Thursday, the 9th of February, in the Odd- fellows' Hall, Fortitude Valley. Representatives from all the lodges were present. The Grand Master, Bro. Francis Beattie, M.L.A., took the chair at 10.30 am., and declared the meeting opened. After the routine business of the meet- ing was over, the election of officers for the nest term took place, with the following results : Francis Beattie, M.L.A., Grand Master ; George Wyman, Deputy Grand Master ; William M'Conachie, Grand Treasurer ; Joseph Dorset and John Newman, Grand Trustees ; John Mackenzie, Richard Fox, Edwin Major, and Thomas Brown, Grand Directors ; Joseph Banks,
THE Sunday evening religious services at the Theatre Royal have now grown so popular that it is needless to allude to them except for the purpose of bringing them under the notice of those who may happen to be unaware of their existence. The service last night was largely and respectably attended, and the demeanour and apparent earnestness of the audience all that could be desired. The addresses and petitions were delivered in well chosen and in some cases in eloquent terms, but the chief feature of the service was the singing, led by Mr. Adams and a well-trained and really efficient choir. The hymns were rendered with feeling and sweetness, and it only requires that a larger number of the audience should take courage, and, so to speak, sing " up" to the choir to render the vocal part of the proceedings still more effective. The leading characteristic of the service throughout was that of thanks- giving for late rains and other mercies. These services are apparently attracting and impressing many who at present are not regular atten. dants at any form of public worship.
We understand that a team of the Stanley Cricket Club intend visiting Roma at Easter time to try the mettle of the warriors of that town, and should they do so we have no doubt they will receive a very cordial reception. We believe a muster is to be made from the surrounding stations for the best cricketing talent obtainable, and the visitors will have to take up a strong team if they wish to obtain a victory. This match has been long under the consideration of the Stanley cricketers, but we believe it is now almost finally settled. No programme has as yet been definitely arranged, but it is proposed that the team leave on Thursday morning, the 6th April, spend Good Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday in Roma, leave on Monday night, and arrive at Brisbane on Tuesday morn- ing. There are to be some excellent athletic sports on Easter Monday, and the visitors will have an opportunity of competing with the ancient Romans in any of the events they enter for at the meeting. This should be a pleasant addition to the usual game of cricket, and should tend to make the trip a much more enjoyable
one to all concerned.
" ANKLE-DEEP" writes as follows :—" With
your kind permission I should like to draw attention to the filthy, impassable state of that portion of Roma-street opposite the corporation property known as the market reserve. It is far from creditable to that body that one of the main thoroughfares should be so neglected ; and though the present aldermen for that ward have repeatedly promised to get something done, I have never seen any mention made of it in the council's proceedings. It seems to be the case with aldermen as with M.L.A.'s, who promise everything whilst posing for election, and then forget all about their promises as soon as elected. I hope and trust that some of the aldermen may have been fortunate enough to wade ankle-deep through it, like the writer ; there may be some hope then that things will be altered at an early date. I cannot see the justice of the corpora- tion prosecuting or persecuting ratepayers to pave their footpaths, when they— the council-set such a bad example."
THE sculling match arranged between S. Martin and F. Hardgrave a few weeks back came off on Saturday afternoon last, notwithstanding the inclement weather. They rowed in wager boats-the boats which formerly belonged to Laycock and Solomon-and the course was from the dry dock to the Regatta Hotel. A fair start was obtained, and the competitors kept together until they nearly reached the bridge, when Martin took the lead and was never afterwards asked to pull. Several times he allowed his opponent to come alongside and then pulled away from him as he liked. This result was quite expected, as the former may he considered a practised oarsman, whereas the latter has had buta few weeks' training during the last two
THE New Zealand Government have issued a pamphlet setting forth in full detail all the attractions and advantages of the Hot Springs district, in the province of Auckland, These springs, which are well known in Australia, and were very graphically described in the Queens- lander by "Red Spinner," are situated in country which for a long time was jealously retained by the Maoris, It has recently passed into the hands of the Government, a new township has been laid out, a hospital is being erected, a rail- way projected, and ample accommodation for the comfort and convenience of visitors is being pro- vided. The pamphlet before us sets forth all these things in full detail, and is intended to bring the springs under the notice of the Aus- tralian public. It affords one more instance of the energy with which the New Zealandera advertise the many natural advantages of their colony.
CRICKET is a fine game undoubtedly, and the admiration elicited by the display of exceptional skill by a cricketing " champion " is a quite legitimate sentiment. But some people in Sydney seem to have lost their heads over the intercolonial match and the fine score Murdoch made in it. The subscription for a testimonial to the successful batter was an outbreak of ex- aggerated feeling, and those who took an active part in it ought to look very foolish when they come in cold blood to look back on their ludicrous excitement. Besides making the natural enthu- siasm evoked by a well-fought cricket match absurd by exaggerating it to the bounds of cari- cature, the form which the demonstration took was thoroughly vulgar. Cricket is a fine, whole- some, and manly game, just because it is, or used to be, to a great extent free from the disgraceful money-making spirit which has de- graded the turf. There has been an ugly tendency in the opposite direction of late years, an anxiety for " gate-money," and a wide inter- pretation of the term " expenses." But on the whole cricket has remained a chivalric sport, in which players bave pitted their skill and endur- ance against each other for the honour of their club or of their colony, and its associations have been pure and wholesome. This, however, will not last if the enthusiasm excited by good play is to take the form of a money testimonial and players are to wield their bats with an anxious hope that the generosity of moneyed patrons of the sport may be excited in their favour, and that on the cricket field itself. Murdoch's score may impress English lovers of open-air games with a feeling of admiration for his skill, but the manner in which it was acknowledged will not cause the cricket-loving community of Sydney to rise in their estimation.
On Saturday afternoon a child, about three years of age, named Alfred Williams, son of A. Williams, contractor, was accidentally drowned in his father's yard at Woolloongabba. The little fellow had been playing in the yard with other children, and after a while was missed. A waterhole in the yard was dragged, and his dead body recovered. Dr. Prentice afterwards examined the body, and certified that death had resulted from drowning.
THE "Postal and Telegraph Guide" for Feb- ruary announces a number of changes. New post offices have been established at Boolboonda and the Upper Camp, Mulgrave River ; a re- ceiving office has been established at the Pioneer Estate, Lower Burdekin. New postal services have been established between Cairns and Her- berton, and Rockhampton and Yamba ; altera- tions have been made on the Caboolture and Baramba line, and on the Mulgrave and Seaforth line. A number of postal time-tables also have been altered. Telegraph stations have been opened at Boolboonda and Lilliesmere, and one
abolished at Airdmillan.
A SPECIAL meeting of the Shire Council of Toowong was held at the Institute, Toowong, on Saturday last, at noon, when there were present-Councillors Gregory, White, Shaw, Todd, and Jones. The clerk, baving explained that the meeting had been called in accordance with the 131at clause of the Local Govern- ment Act of 1873, for the election of a presi- dent for the ensuing year, it was moved by Councillor White, seconded by Councillor Shaw, that Councillor Gregory be re-elected president, which was carried unanimously. Councillor Todd then proposed a vote of thanks to the president for the very efficient and able manner in which he had discharged his duties during the past year. The president then took the chair and thanked them for the honour they had again conferred on him, and also for their cordial vote of thanks for past services.
AT the City Police Court on Saturday, before he police-magistrate, Mary Farrell, alias Kin- sella, was fined £1, with the alternative of twenty-four hours in the cells, for being drunk and disorderly in a public street. George Gart- side, an elderly man, who had been brought up for druukeuuess on Friday, was again charged with being drunk. He pleaded guilty, and stated that this was only a continuation of the last drunk. He was remanded till this (Monday) morning, in order that he might be examined by Dr. Hobbs, to ascertain whether he is in his right mind. The five foreigners-Leon Duboc, Louis Cesaire, Pierro Louis Tandy, Paul Alfons Pereau, and August F. Maury, charged under the provisions of the Extradition Treaty with having escaped from the legal custody of the French authorities at New Caledonia, and called upon to show cause why they should not be sent back to that place, were again brought up. They were further remanded for seven days, on the application of Sub-inspector Douglas, as the French warder who had been sent for for the purpose of further identifying the prisoners had not yet arrived from New Caledonia.
The arrangement concluded by the Turkish bondholders with the Sultan is thus described by the Spectator:—" The Sultan has signed a decree 'settling' the repudiated Turkish debt. The principle of the settlement is that the nominal debt shall be reduced to the amount actually received-that is, in the case of the general debt, shall be halved, and that 1 per cent, increasing to 4 per cent if the revenue flourishes, shall be paid upon the reduced capital. This interest is guaranteed by an assignment to the commissioners of part of the revenues arising from the monopolies of tobacco and salt in cer- tain provinces, from ths surplus Customs duties to be produced by a higher tariff, from the tribute to be received from Bulgaria, Eastern Roumelin, and Cyprus, and from some small taxes. This arrangement halves the debt, sweeps away the special guarantees of many bondholders, yields only a half per cent on existing bonds, and may be repudiated to-morrow, when it has served its object, which is to pay off the Galata bankers, who will then begin lending money to the Palace again. It ia believed that it will be strenuously resisted by the bondholders, whoso assent, how- ever, is of no importance. If they do not take what the Sultan offers, they will get nothing, which is tho exact amount they deserve, for louding at 10 per cent to such a Power, for such objects, and on such security. The scheme shows of - itself the precise value of special securities pledged by an independent State. It ¡s absolutely nothing."