TORRENS TRADE PROTECTION.
A meeting of tbe Hindmarsh residents was held in the District Hall on Wednesday evening, November 17, for the purpose of considering what steps should be taken for the protection of the trader, this step
being necessary on account of the action taken by Mr. White, at the Reedbeds, against Messrs. Peacock &Son, who have a wool washing establish- ment on the River Torrens. There was a crowded attendance, many persons being unable to gain admittance to the hall. Mr. H. Hunwick (Chairman of the Hindmarsh District Council), who had convened the meeting at the request of a large number of ratepayers, presided. Mr. P. Reid moved the first resolution as follows:— 'That this meeting views with indignation the steps now being taken by Mr. White, of the Reed- beds, against Messrs. W. Peacock & Son, to pre vent them from carrying on their legitimate business on the River Torrens, and which is the means of great employment and circulation of money amongst the inhabitants generally of this neighbourhood.' If the various factories were closed the loss to the residents who were employed in them would be about £300 per week. This kind of crusade against the fellmongers was tried on in Melbourne, where the citizens and suburban residents to the number of upwards of 60,000 had at the time to drink out of the Yarra. All kinds of diseases were attributed to the fell- mongers, who were thought to have poisoned the water. The opinion of the Judges was taken, and it was to the effect that whatever might be done in future, they could not do away with existing rights. They could buy out the manufactuters, but could not stop them. In 1855 he had a factory on the banks of the Yarra, and accordingly should know something of the matter. He knew this - that the Prevention Act could not stop him. He did not think there was the least danger of their failing in the action that had been comment on. They must back Mr. Peacock, and put their hands in their pockets. United they mignt stand; sepa- rated they might fall. (Applause.) Mr. H. Smith seconded, and said they must all be united. The person who had taken proceedings in the matter was standing in his own light. It seemed the greatest absurdity to try to stop their factories and take away the means of subsistence of bs many families in the district. Mr. G. T. Bean, M.P., one of the representatives of the district, rose amid loud cheering, and men- tioned that his colleague, the Hon. H. B. T. Strangways, who, like himself, had been invited, had sent a letter of apology for non-attendance. He was exceedingly pleased to see so large an attendance, which evinced the Iarge amount of interest felt in the matter by the residents. A few days ago he brought the question of the factories before the House of Assembly in the shape of a resolution that some parts of the colony should be set apart for carrying on offensive trades unmolested. If White's aciion succeeded, a great injury would be done, not only to Messrs. Peacock and Son, but other yards would thereby be stopped. Many persons would thus lie thrown out of employment. He did not know of any place in the colony being so well adapted for wool-washing and cleansing and other trades as the Torrens below the city. Greasy wool would in that case have to be sent to England, and money that other- wise would be spent in the colony would have to be laid out at home. Regarding these factories from a sanitary point of view, he informed them, as he did the House, that wool-washing, tanning. &c, were not injurious to health. On the contrary, they seemed from the experience of many to promote health. He was born in a tannery, and thought he had as good health as most people. It was undoubted that where a nui- sance existed the persons annoyed could bring an action, which might prove ruinous to the manu- facturers, as the case of the Champions and others proved. These trades should be allowed to carry on without obstruction. He intended to place Hindmarsh on the list of places he was goiivr to submit to the House. If it had beeu adopted, the capital and number of inhabitants would have greatly increased, and the township tendered wire prosperous. The House, he believed, thought his was a selfish object, aud they negatived his motion. His object throughout was solely to benefit his district. (Hear, hear.) The motion was carried unanimously. Mr. J. E. Mitton then moved the next proposi- tion as follows:-
'That this meeting pledges itself to use all its influence, both by its knowledge of the importance of the trade now being carried on on the rivur mid by subscription, towards the expense of defending the present action taken against Messrs. Peacock and Son.' The matter about which they had met concerned tbe whole colony. Tbe meeting was one of the latest and most important ever held in the district They should foster native industries. (Hear ) That was one of the most important districts in t he colony. The factories should not bs molested, especially as they had been established between 20 and 30 years. The action instituted against the Messrs. Peacock and Co. evoked their bsympathy, but he thought Mr. White, on seeing the way the matter was taken up, would 'cave in.' (Laughter.) Mr. J. Pickering seconded, and remarked that the first speaker had laid the facts before them in a most clear and concise light. (Laughter.) Mr. Bean's father had used the river in years gone by. (Hear, hear.) That no doubt was before Mr. Bean saw tbe tanyard. (Laughter.) General sympathy should be expressed towaids the manu- facturers, and all should feel the resolution binding upon them. They had might and right on their side. As the Cornishmen said, they should take a long pull, a strong pull, aud a pull altogether. The Torrens between the city and Hindmarsh was in a horrible state. All the impurities of Ade- laide flowed into the drain. Some of the em ployers, he knew, recently had had heavy losses, but they would be very generally supported. (Cheers.) Mr. iSEAN expressed his concurrence in tbe motion. The last speaker was right in saying that woolwashers anJ manufacturer were not the only persons who polluted the Torreus. All the impurities of Adelaide flowed into it. At the Railway Bridge he had several times noticed a large black cesspool running into the river. (Hear, hear, and 'I saw it to-day.') He felt pretty sure that if Mr. White could prove special damage he would recover a verdict. If a Jury, however, took a right view of the case, they would see the impropriety of gratifying private spleen at the expense of a whole township, because otherwise one individual could injure the whole colony. If an adverse decision were given against Messrs. Peacock & Son it would be tantamount to saying that all the other yards would have to be closed, as actions would otherwise be laid against them. The only course for the residents to pursue that he could suggest was to sign a petition which he had prepared for presentation to the House of Assembly applying for their rights being protected. If necessary the petition might be modified, but he hoped that after it had been presented the House of Assembly would take action upon it, and pass a measure setting apart certain portions of tbe colony, including Hindmarsh, for wool-washing and other trades, as otherwise material injury might bo inflicted on the whole colony. (Cheers.) With the express permission from the meeting Mr. Bean diverged from the topic in hand, and replied to a letter which had beeu published, signed ' Lock leys,' reflecting on the vote he gave in the matter of the free list proposed by the Hon. T. Reynolds, and defending his political policy on other subjects, including retrenchment. Mr. Beaumont, who was received with up- roarious merriment mingled with cries of ' To horse, to horse,' 'Shakspeare,' 'Montgomery,' &c, essayed to gain a hearing to explain a chart he flourished in his hand, but was unsuccessful. Mr. M. Pelhah said they could not alter the law, and as it stood at present the action must succeed. They should endeavour to get the law altered in the way they wished, otherwise then* meeting- strong and unanimous as it might be— would result in nothing. The law was oppressive as it stood, aa it interfered with a Eection of the community carrying en their legitimate business. Mr. Bean thought the law of England applied here in the absence of any local law on the subject. Carrying a Bill regarding the law of nuisances would not, therefore, effect anything. What he sought to obtain in the House was to make an exception in favour of Hindmarsh. The motion was carried with one dissentient. Mr. W. Johns said he was near the place of those thin-skinned Whites lately, and there was not a sign of water on the property. The Torreim, in fact did not reach their place. The whole of the inhabitants of a district should not be put down by one family. He proposed sending them to the Northern Territory. (Laughter.) The Rev. S. L. Harris proposed - 'That this meeting sees the necessity of ap- pointing a Committee for the purpose of obtaining subscriptions towards the expense of defending the cause and otherwise rendering what assistance they may be able." He deeply sympathized with the object of the meeting There was an individual rejoicing in the name of' White, whom, in the Turkish fashion, he would say. 'May his face ever be clean.' (Laughter.) Using another honest old saying, he would not like to ' stand in his shoes.' (Renewed laughter.) What real injury had been done to him might be obviated by expending a few pounds in sinking a well or collecting his rain water. Supposing his family and dependents numbered 20, were these 20 to take away tbe bread from '2,000? He thought not when White heard of the meeting that night he no doubt would see the necessity ot drawing in his horns. (Hear, hear.) It was desirable that a Committee should be appointed to carry out his resolution. Captain Reid seconded, and said he bad no doubt but that Messrs. Peacock & Son would pay all their own expenses ; but the residents should never theless express their sympathy with them. He aud some fellow-workmen went down the stream and found no signs of the devastation that had been so much talked about. The Committee would be able to assist the solicitor for the Messrs. Peacock in getting up the evidence for the defence. The cool manner in which their- legal representa tive had turned his back on his constituents they would remember the next time he showed his nose there. (Hear, hear, ' We'll tar and feather him,' and laughter.) Mr. Bean thought the resolution took the right view of the matter. The Committee that misht be formed should not only collect subscriptions, but get names to his petition. With regard to what had been said regarding his colleague, he remarked that if Mr. Strangways had lent his countenance to the motion he introduced into the Assembly a short time ago, it would have been carried, and the necessity for the present agitatation averted.
Mr. H. REID thought that Mr. Strangways, whatever his position might be, had pledged him self to attend to the local wants of his district His conduct reminded him of a picture he once saw of two farmers quarrelling abou a cow. One was pulling it by the horns aud the other by the tail, while two lawyers were milking away at the teats. (Immense laughter.) The action would end in smoke; and he should not care if it were the smoke of Mr. White's haystack. (Laughter.) If the water was impure it was curious it did not affect the fish. (Hear, hear.) Mr. Bean was sorry that business would compel him to leave tho next day for England. This he much regretted, but he had taken such precautions as would permit of the wants of the district being attended to. He thanked bis constituents for the consideration with which they had invariably treated him. On the motion of Mr. P. Reid, seconded by Capt. Reid, a resolution was carried, wishing Mr. Bean a safe and speedy voyuge to England and a quick return. Mr. BEAN thanked the meeting fcr the compli- ment and hoped the district would uot forget the question of encouraging native industries, which would prove the mainstay of the colony. Free tmde had worked prejudicially in England, many of the population being paupers through other countries being able to send iu ready-uiude article! iulo thu country. (Cheers.) The motion was cairied. The following Committee was then appointed Messrs. Mitton, P. Reid, J. Pickering, K. Fischer, W. Taylor, Thos. Lees, J.C. Verco, jun., W. Johns. H. Hunwick, and S. Coombs, and Dr. Forster— to carry out the foregoing resolutions. On the motion of Mr. Cornish. seconded by Mr. P. Reid the following motion was carried: -
'That the members of the district be requested to use their best endeavours to protect the factories now being carried on here.' The proceedings, which were enlivened by a few lively but good humoured ebullitions of feeling on the part of the Hindmarsh bricks, closed at about 10 o'clock with a vote of thanks to the Chairman and the Press.