THE NEW DESTITUTE BOARD.
The Act passed during the late session of Parliament regulating the mode in which relief is to bo administered to destitute PCrSOtiS UlaClfi tlll- wlinlo Hllliif-.-.f nn a notu
footing. There lias Wen a feeling for some time p;ist that our method of caring for the destitute poor was wanting in system rad efficiency. it was difficult to know where to fix the responsibility. There was no one person connected with the Asylum occupying such a position of authority as to make liiin the recognised head of the depart ment. Like the Hospital, the Destitute Asylum was supposed to Iks under the con trol of the Chief Secretary, whose supervi sion of it, however, could at best be of x very perfunctory character. With thfi uumerous duties pressing upon the Chief Secretary of this colony, it is simply im possible, however zealous and industrious ho may be, that he should l-e able to exercise sufficient control over the relief of tho desti tute poor. Without casting any reflections on the present officers, who, it may l«, havo Uen hampered by regulations or rendered less efficient than they might otherwise havo been by the want of sufficient authority, it will V»e admitted that the arrangements for the relief of the destitute are susceptible of improvement. Thia the Government ami Hia Parliament
have seen, aud the Bill which has now become law provides for certain reforms in the administration, which we hope will lead to considerable improvement. We have in previous articles dealt with the Bill as a whole ; our business now ia with that portion ;of it which has to do with the management. A Board consisting of a paid Chairman and four members will now assume the entire
control ol the destitute poor. These gentle men are to be appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Executive Council. Their functions and duties are very extensive, and are prescribed in the '20th clause of the Act as follows :—' The said Destitute Board shall, subject to the regulations of the public service, have the administration of all funda voted by Parliament for the relief of the destitute poor, and all funds which may be given or left to them by benevolent jwrsons, and have the care and management of asylums, institutions, or places for the reception and relief of desti tute person, and the control and supervimou of schools for the education, employment, and training up of destitute children ; and have the apprenticing of children as provided for by this Act, and sliall have the ordering of the persons and property of such destitute persons and children so long as they shall be within any asylum, school, or place so under their control.' Thia provision, it will be seen, places tho whole management of the destitute under the care and supervision of the Board. The
ju.uu »m «avc analogous luuctiona towards ;he destitute that the Central Road Board lave with reference to the main roads of the :olony, or the Education Board havo owards the common schools. The Chair nan will be at the head of the department lirectly responsible to the Executive .'ouncil. That this will Iks a great improve nent on the present loose and shiftlesH lystem, we have no doubt whatever. Much, )f course, will depend on the character of. ;he Board, and more on the intelligence, mergy, and administrative power of the uliairman. The four members of the Board M liave already been appointed ; and we belie.y0B the Government in their selection have been inxious to have all the denominations fairly represented, which is a sound principle to go upon. The destitute poor are not confined to any one class, but come from the ranks t»f most religious bodies, and the selection sf representatives of these lx-diea as far aa possible will give confidence in the manage ment. The appointment of the gentlemen who constitute the first Board will, we be. lieve, be satisfactory; they are well known and highly respected. The Chairman is not yet appointed, and it is in his selection that the Government will have to exercise the greatest discrimination. Much of the success of the new scheme will depend upon tho personal character of the Chairman. An energetic intelligent man, with sufficient mind to grasp and control the whole department, and with a conciliatory temper which will enable him to work harmoniously with the Board, is what is required. It is doubtless known to the Government that considerable attention has; of late years been paid to the improvement of workhouses and schools for de^Uuto children, as the result of the benevolent; exertions of Miss Carpenter a.nd. others, whq have devoted much time and labour to tho question. As we are now about to place tho system on a new footing, we ought to udopt * the latest improvements, and thus turn to account the experience which others have acquired. The Chairman should, therefore, be a person acquainted with those improve ments, or one who has sufficient energy and intelligence to study the whole question for himself, and to bring what is good into operation here. A mere red-tapeist who can only travel in the beaten track of those who have gone before him would be of little use. A much higher order of Chairman is re quired. If such a person can be found amongst the servants of the Government who by past work has fairly won his promotion, it is only right that he should have the office. This is a rule which ought to be carried out in the public service, and which if adhered to in all possible cases would give encourage* ment to the. servant** of the Government.
StiD, while contending for this role, we hold that for a responsible position like thia, in 'which personal efficiency should be the first consideration, the Government should not confine themselves in their choice to their own officers, if a more capable man is to be found outside. The best man obtainable for the post should be chosen, whether he be already in the service of the Government or not. The office will be an onorous one, which, if properly administered, will involve heavy responsibility and hard work. It trill not be a sinecure, to be given as a reward to a favourite officer, but a position which will tax the energies of an able man, and no doubt the Government will look upon it in this light. The whole efficiency of the Act might be damaged by the appointment of an incompetent person. The amount of Balaryhasnot yet transpired; nor, indeed, can it be definitely fixed until Parliament p sanction it. It has been reported, however, that the Government would recommend something like £400 per annum, which for a first-class rnnn — and none other ought to be appointed — is small enough. No doubt men could be found who would accept the office for less, just as persons could be found to take the position of Chief Secretary for half the present salary, but they would be dear at any price. The policy of the Government should be to get the very best men to serve them, and then to pay them sufficiently. We have always been the advocate of economy in the civil service, but economy is not always Bynonymous with a low salary. An ener getic smart Chairman at the head of the Destitute Board might easily save two or three times the amount of hi3 salary ; and we hope that such a man may he found amongst the present servants of the Govern ment. It would be an encouragement to others to promote him to a more responsible office for which his talents qualified him. The Ministry may. we presume, be safely trusted in this matter to select the best man that can be found for the position, whether h- be alreudv in thfi service or not.
Death of the Hon. George Hall, M.L.C — The Hon. George Hall, whose health has been for some years failing, though his illness only lately assumed a dangerous form, died at a quarter-past 6 o'clock on Monday afternoon, at his residence, Woodside House, Mitcham. The deceased was born at Bromley, Kent, on March 2, 1811. He entered the mercantile navy at an early age, and was still very young when he obtained the com. mand cf a ship. He was chiefly engaged in the East and West India trades till about 25 tears ago, when he settled in South Australia. He first tcok a cattle station near Angaston; but very soon quitted it, and established himself in business at Port Adelaide. In July, 1551. at the first general election for the single House, which then formed the Legislative Council of South Australia, and consisted partly of nominees of the Crown and partly of representatives of the people, Captain Hall was the successful candidate for Fort Adelaide, having polled 442 votes against 345 recorded for Mr. William Giles, Manager of the South Australian Company. In March, 1857, when a Parliament was substituted for the old Legislative Council, Captain Hall was elected a member of the Upper House, standing eleventh on the list of candidates. He polled 2,678 votes, the highest number being for Major O'Halloran, 3,499. When the ballot was taken for the order of retirement his name was drawn last of the six who were to serve for the longest period of twelve years; and be remained a member of the House to the time of his death. In addition to his public duties the deceased had held several important offices, having been a Director of the Burra Burra and several other Mining Companies. He was also, some few years ago. Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce. About the commencement of 1860 he retired from business ; and in January, 1865, being in ill-health, he obtained leave of absence from
Parliament, and paid a visit to England, whence he returned in February. 1866, without having received material benefit. Since that time he gradually declined, and we have already recorded the fatal termination of his illness. He has left a widow, but no children. We need hardly say that the death of the Hon. George Hall will occasion a vacancy in the Legislative Council, in addition to that which must arise from the continued absence i of the Hon. A. Scott. Accident to Mb. P. G. Harris. — An accident i of a peculiar nature occurred to Mr. P. G. Han is i on Monday afternoon. He was standing near the little office in Messrs. Carter & Draysey'a shop in : Hindley-atreet, when, apparently not noticing that the floor behind him was lower than that he was on, he made a step backwards with his wooden leg. The shock was so violent tint it broke the leg; and through the narrowness of the space he fell in a constrained position. The consequence was that further injuries were occasioned by the pressure of the wooden stump on the surrounding parts. The pain was so intense that Mr. liarri became insensible, in which state he remained for a considerable time. At first medical assistance was not considered necessary, but as he continued unconscious, the services of Dr. Phillips were pro cured, and the sufferer was afterwards conveyed to his residence at Xorth Adelaide. On subsequent enquiry we learnt that he was somewhat better. SKxiiPOX at Streaky BAT.-Dr. Oithing, who was dispatched by the Vaccine Board to ascertain whether it wa3 true, as reported, that smallpox had broken out among the natives in the Streaky Bay District, returned on Friday. His report has not yet been tent in ; but he states that, although he found it very difficult to obtain any reliable information from the blacks as to the nature of diseases from which they had been iuffering, he did discover evidences of small pox on one young native, who was recovering, and on a German young man, on whom it had lef. marks. It would seem remarkable-if it be really ?mallpox whichlhas appeared —th.it we should nut have heard of more deaths from it, and t at so little apprehension should have been caused in the minds of the white population, whose children seem to have been entirely free from attack. We understand that a larjje number of the natives in the neighbourhood of Streaky Bay have lately died of consumption. Dr. Gething tuuk the precaution of vaccinating all the children near the place, and left a supply of vaccine matter to Us made use of in the surrounding districts. The Next Cbihikal Sessions.— We are iu a position to say that a Special Commission has not yet been issued to the Chief Justice, though we I believe it likely that it will be issued in time to enable His Honei to preside at the next Criminal Sessions. Public Works.— The Government are actively pushing forward the various public works for which authority was given by Parliament last session. The necessary funds will be raised in London as fast as the money is required and can be spent in carrying out the various undertakings. New Insolvencies.— The following adjudica tions were declared at the Insolvency Court on Monday:— Peter Keeley, of Riverton Plains, farmer; Chas. Preiss, of Port Gawler, farmer; Michael Moylan, of Saddleworth, farmer ; John Oehlrich, of Lvndoch, saddler; and James John Swala, of Adelaide, storekeeper. - Coubt of Insolvexct.- In the case of Patrick O'Brien, which came before the Court of Insolvency on Monday, the insolvent did not appear. That of George Isaacs was further adjourned for three weeks. In that of George Donaldson nothing was done. The Capsize k Hixdlet-stbeet.— In the ac rawmt of a canaize. which appeared in yesterday's
issue, it should have been staled that it was tile buggy which Mr. Bawden was driving that was capsized, instead of the other conveyance. The Fibe ox North-terrace.— The Coroner did not consider it necessary to hold an inquest on the fire at Mr. Hance's. Lthdoch Vallet Mrmso Cojipaxt.— We were informed yesterday that a telegram had been re ~ ceired by the Directors of this Company, stating that important discoveries had been made in the 16-fathom level, and that the stamps would com mence working immediately. Socibtt or Abts.— The annual general meeting of the Society of Arts takes place this evening at half-past 7, when the report of the Board of ^Management will be presented. JHK LKICHaBDT SEARCH EXPEDITION.— A Yic tOfian paper says :— 'The Treasurer of the Ladies' Lejphardt Search Committee desires to acknow ledge, with thanks, the following subscriptions:— Hw Majesty the Queen, £100; Royal Geographical Society £2UO; Sir Kodericfc and Lady Murchison, J29- Bight Hon. Mr. Cardwell £25; Messrs. Coutts & Co., £20; Lady Franklin, £5.' CoBPORATIoy Meetinc-A special meeting of the City Council was held on Monday afternoon. The reporters were not admitted, but the Town Cierk has kindly rapplied us with the subjoined minute of the proceedings :— Present-Has Worship the Mayor, Councillors PulsfcrT Battels, Bundey. Wright, Murphy. Hill, MTheaMayor reported that a Committee of .the whole Council had gone over the works required for the year, and had recommended expenditure to tbTwards as follows :-Gawler Ward, J»,97o 10b. Kobe Ward, £L,76'- 10s. Sundries, including Gardener's work, fencing and repairs, troughs and waterworks painting, &c, £1,500. TottL XUX319 10a. The report was adopted. . ,.»_»? Tenders to be calledfor scavenging the streets in the several wards; to include removal of i rubbish from back-yards and premises at per cartload, the latter parable by the citizens requiring the work. Th«(5ty Sane jot was instructed to report cost of openiaa a road across Park Lands from Hutt rtrat southwards.