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11 corrections, most recently by shutcheon - Show corrections


MOST of our readers saw last week, for three nights, commencing after sunset, and light- ing up the heavens with a gorgeous hue of red, the Southern Aurora. At Sydney they only appear to have had a tithe of the beauty, as the Aurora did not shine so long or so brightly as in Queensland. Friday night was the grandest in appearance here, the Aurora being visible from seven o'clock in the evening until after midnight. At times there was an appearance of rays down the whole range of light, which seemed many   miles in extent, and a number of stars were   distinctly visible, contrasting their pale efful-

gence with the red hue of the Aurora. The     sight was the general object of remark on Friday night by reason of its brilliancy and the length of time it appeared. As all our readers most probably saw the Aurora as well as ourselves, and as some of those who did see it testified to a similar appearance in   the Southern Islands, we shall take the evi- dence of Mr. Scott, of the Sydney Observa- tory, who, writing on the 29th ult, last Mon- day week, to the Herald, says:-    

" I have just been watching, with considerable interest, the first specimen that I have ever wit- nessed of the Southern Aurora. I was in the act   of observing a transit of our Pole Star when I was struck with the redness of the southern sky. Attributing it to some distant fire, I continued the observation, and on looking out immediately   afterwards I was surprised to find a considerable portion of the southern sky in a glow of red light, similar to that which sometimes precedes the rising of the sun. This red light formed a   tolerably regular arch from E.S.E. to W.S.W., ex-       tending in depth from the South Pole to within a few degrees of the horizon. There was a partial break to the S.S.W., and in some places there were radiating streams of light brighter and of a   lighter red than the rest. I was immediately re- minded that Mr. Cracknell had, this morning, called my attention to some singular irregularities in the workings of the Electric Telegraph. I   had been unable to point out any peculiarity in the state of the atmosphere which could account for such effects, but there can be little doubt that they were connected with the same magnetic dis-   turbances as produced the Aurora. During the     last two days, we have had strong winds varying         from N. to W., accompanied by a somewhat     greater amount of evaporation than usual, and     followed to-day by moderate S. wind. The   amount of ozone indicated by the test papers has   been small, as is generally the case with a land wind. Hoping to detect some sensible electrical     disturbance, I carried a gold-leaf electroscope to         the top of the tower, but could perceive no signs of activity; this, however, cannot be considered a     fair test, as there is so great an extent of metallic surface on the tower, connected by a lightning-

conductor with the ground. The Aurora was first noticed by me at twenty minutes after seven o'clock, and continued visible for about half an hour, when it gradually faded away, and the sky,   which had been clear to a great extent, became

rapidly covered with clouds. On directing the   transit telescope to the most brilliant portion of the Aurora, I noticed that stars of the eighth magnitude were as distinctly visible as if there had been no such phenomenon occurring,"

The difference in the appearance of the Au-   rora in Queensland to that spoken of by Mr. Scott is, we had three nights of beauty, brought to a finale early on Saturday morn-   ing, after the greater space of red light and rays and visible stars through the Aurora, lasting with slight variations for eight hours. In Brisbane, on Friday, the air was hot, and there was an unpleasant feeling from the closeness of the atmosphere. On Saturday, about noon, the clouds gathered in black- ness, the rain fell, and for about two hours   afterwards a thunder storm raged, in which the lightning was very vivid. For two days after the storm it was noticed that the air had become colder than ordinarily for the time of year.

The Herald has the following :-  

" It is only of late years that the laws of elec- tricity and magnetism have been studied, that anything like a rational exposition of the phe- nomena of the Aurora has been afforded. That it was connected with the magnetic peculiarities of the earth was indicated by the fact that its first appearance in the sky was generally in the     form of an arch, and that the crown of the arch     was in the line of the magnetic meridian of the observe. This, however, is not always the case, and Captain Sabine mentions instances where he has observed it to be otherwise. Among the most patient observers of the phe- nomena of the Aurora was the late prince of French astronomers, M. Arago. He set himself particularly to mark the occurrence of Auroras, and the contemporaneous agitation of   the magnetic needle. The needle is not always disturbed in the presence of Aurora, but it sympa- thises with it at spots far removed from the scene     of its visibility. The Aurora, though only visible at certain places, is not a merely local   phenomenon like a shower of rain, but is con-   nected with a movement of the entire magnetic     condition of the earth. It would be premature     in the present state of science, to assert that   every Aurora would make its existence known in every part of the world by its effect on the magnetic needle, but there can be no doubt that it does in this way telegraph itself far and wide. The manifestation of Aurora in Australia has been observed to synchronise with movements of the needle in Paris, and it has been supposed that   the connection is not accidental. For ten years M Arago patiently watched with a microscope the movements of the magnetic needle in its ob- servatory at Paris, till the accumulated result   convinced him that in respect of declination, in- clination, and force, the needle moved contem-   poraneously with Aurora. When he noticed the ac- customed agitation of the needle, he would venture   to predict that there was an Aurora somewhere. " Long experience," he says, " taught me that great oscillations at hours when the needle is almost always stationary are a nearly certain in- dication of the existence of an aurora." He often   had to wait a long while before he heard of any verification of his predictions, and sometimes he never got any at all. He could not prove that   there had been aurora when nobody could be found

that had seen it. Still it was permitted to sup-    

nose that it had existed, though without being    

noticed, inasmuch as the great majority of obser- vations showed that the light in the heavens and the tell-tale needle on the earth spoke toge- ther. The coincidence of aurora and magnetic disturbances does not reveal which of the two is the cause of the other. The facts as ob- served being admitted, we are still in the   dark as to whether the aurora gives rise to     the magnetic disturbance or the magnetic     disturbance to the aurora. The Aurora is not   the generally seen in low latitudes. It has been

witnessed in Italy, however, and has not infre-     quently been noticed by mariners off the Southern   part of the coast of Australia. It has been occa-  

sionally distinctly observed in daylight, though of  

course not with the same brilliancy as at night. But it is most frequently remarked shortly after   sunset. Some persons have averred that they   have heard it accompanied by a crackling sound,   like the rustling of silk, but others who have  

watched purposely to detect the faintest trace of such a noise, declare that it must be an illusion of the senses. It is impossible of course to prove a negative, but it has been supposed that it would be so natural to imagine a sound as connected with the aurora, that observers have fancied they heard it, and reported accordingly. What the Aurora is, remains as much a puzzle as ever. Faraday ventures the conjecture that it may be electricity returning from the poles to the equator to restore the electrical equilibrium of the earth. But he proposes this only as a guess, and puts it forward rather as a guide to future inquiry than as at all proved by what is known. We know that under certain conditions electricity becomes luminous. We can produce the phenomenon on a small scale with our apparatus ; we see it in nature on a large scale in lightning. It is easy to imagine, therefore, that under other conditions, the precise nature of which we are unacquainted with, and which we cannot, therefore, attempt to reproduce, it may become luminous in the form of Aurora. The effect of the Aurora on the working of electric telegraphs has been observed in Eng- land and in Italy. We are not aware whether this effect has been observed in localities beyond the range of the visibility of the Aurora. Had the cause of the stoppage of the electric communica- tion been suspected on Monday, it is possible that some signs of the Aurora might have been detect- ed, or at any rate magnetic observations would have verified the fact of its existence.









LAMENTABLE ACCIDENT. - On Monday evening an accident occurred to a widow, lately residing in Brisbane, whose name is Mrs. Ross. A party was proceeding to the residenco of Mrs. Genery, Kedron Brook, with a bullock-dray, and between this and the Three-Mile Scrub the dray, by some means, was overthrown. There were three women on the dray, Mrs. Genery, her sister, and Mrs. Ross, and some children. The arm of Mrs. Ross was crushed, but the others escaped without injury. The poor woman reached the hospital, and on examination of the crushed limb by Drs. Cannan, Barton, and Bell, amputation was deemed necessary, which operation was skillfully performed. We made inquiries yesterday, and were in- formed that the woman was progressing fa- vorably.

NEW FRUIT.-The papaw apple (carica papaga). Mr. A. J. Hockings has succeeded in fruiting this beautiful tree, which is the first of his Indian fruit trees in bearing; and if he is as successful with the mango, star apple, Bengal quince, &c, our dessert will have some dainty and attractive acces- sions. The papaw apple is exhibited at Mr. Hockings' establishment in Queen-street, or may be seen on the tree at his orchard, South Brisbane. The flavour somewhat resembles the rock-melon, and the following description by Stocqueller, in his " Fruits of India," may be interesting. Speaking of the papaw apple he says, " As a fruit eaten both raw and boiled, pickled or preserved, it ranks high; the choice ones being of a very rich and melon-like flavour when eaten with sugar    

and wine. As a tree, it is highly ornamental,   few garden or orchard trees surpass it in   gracefulness of appearance, in which indeed     ¡t approaches to the palm. The size and    

beauty of the leaf, and even of the leaf stalks, are always much admired when close- ly examined by those to whom the wonders of tropical vegetation are new. One of the curious properties of the papaw tree is, that it renders tough or newly-killed meat tender, when hung up amongst its leaves for a few


PROSECUTIONS FOR LIBEL.-The particu- lars of the Shoalhaven libel case will be re- membered ; how Dr. Lang fared, and also how the proprietor of a country newspaper was mulcted for the insertion of articles in connection with that remarkable outburst of feeling. A sympathetic movement has been commenced in Sydney, and circulars, re- questing the aid of those who have any re- gard for those concerned, have been issued, calling them to aid by subscriptions. A pre- liminary meeting, to organise a relief fund from Brisbane, is announced for Friday even- ing next, time, half-past seven in the even- ing, to which all those who take any interest

in the matter are invited.

THE A S. N. Co.'s NEW WHARF.-By reference to an advertisement it will be seen that the Yarra Yarra wiil discharge cargo at the new wharf, North Brisbane.

On MY Pnoi'iiETic SOUL 1 THE DOCTOR ! The Berala will certainly make something of Dr. Lang before it has dono with him. Ono week he is pictured as a "heathen," another he is denounced as a " firebrand," but our contemporary on Saturday last " caps the climax" by introducing him as "the prophet Jeremiah !" Wo would suggest to our friend, the " ingenious youth," the possi- bility of taking the Doctor's parliamentary seat from under him, on the ground that, being " Jeremiah," he cannot be John Dun- more Lang, and consequently his election for West Sydney must be void.-Bell's Life in Sydney.


FAT BULLOCK AND SHEEP.-The immense fat bullock and two sheep purchased by Mr. Sparke of Mr. Reynolds, of Tocal, have been slaughtered and woroon Wednesdayaftornoon hanging outside Mr. Sparko's shop, where a number of people were inspecting the meat, which was very fine, and admiring the gigan- tic proportions of the bullock. The bullock weighed 1440 lbs. when dressed, and the sheep each 80 lbs.-Maitland Mercury.

FAT STOCK.-On Thursday, Dodds and Co. sold, at Campbell's Hill Sale Yards, two fat Devon bullocks, and seven fat sheep, bred and fed by Charles Reynolds, Esq., of Tocal, Paterson. The bullocks wore magni- ficent animals, and wore pronounced by competent judges to bo equal to any prize cattlo exhibited in England, There was a largo attendance of purchasers, and after a brisk competition, one bullock was knocked down to G. and E. Lee, and the othor to A, Sparke, for £40. The sheep were disposed of for SA odd each. The prices must con- vince farmers that Mr. Reynolds is right in breeding and fattening first-class cattlo. Some people have thought Mr. Reynolds too lavish in the prices he has paid'for imported bulls and heifers, but the sale of his fat stock is a proof that high breeding is profitable. Northern Times, August 20.

MAGNIFICENT BULLOCKS.-We wcro yes- terday invited by Messrs. Pritchard and Williams, to view a splendid beast, sold by them on account of Messrs. G. and E. Lee of Maitland, to Mr. Honry Bell of Pitt-street. The animal is a splendid specimen of Aus- tralian Beef, weighing (alive) 20401bs. He was bred by Charles Reynolds, Esq,' of Tocal, and is stall fed. Mr. Boll, wo under- stand, had a photographic likeness taken of his purchaso this afternoon, and both it and the original aro well worthy of inspection, ßeli'ß £»/« in ßyiwy* -