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1 correction by doug.butler - Show corrections

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It rill tz :~_i..— ..:-- ^.' ~» - stiortums ago allusion was male :- ~-&=3 columns to a report furnished by Dr. Crichton Browne to the English Education Department on

the subject of over-pressure in Elementary State schools. In the Iviadttntk Century for November Mr. Sydney Buston, M.P., goes into the question, avowedly from the point of view of the children rather than that of the teachers, and discusses the im provements to be effected by alterations in the code for 1884. He finds that the

cry of over-presanre appear* fe opme from three different quarters— from the medical profession, from a large section of .the* teachers, and a portion of the general public who are opposed to any system o£ State-aided education, or who believe that the three R's should be the Alpha' and Omega of elementary instruction. Tha verdict of the teachers might be assumed to carry more weight, but Mr. Buxton is of opinion that their animus against payment by results may lead them to exaggerate any evil that can be traced to this feature of the code. In an official letter from the National Union of Elementary Teachers to the department, November, 1883, it was affirmed that 'nearly all the over* pressure in this country may be traced to the system by which the payment of the grant depends on the individual powers of the scholars. ' The letter goes on to state that so long as high grants can be obtained by over-pressure, and in many cases in no other way, so long as human nature remains what it is managers will demand and teachers will be compelled to obtain high grants. The majority of South Australian teachers who agree with this view of the case will notice with pleasure that the system so strongly objected to lias been greatly modified by the new Regulations of the Education Department. Mr. Buxton, while admitting that the existing system of State instruc tion in England is far from perfect, is of opinion that the evils of over-pressure are greatly exaggerated, and that Dr. Browne's description of the 'knots of children of 9 and 10 standing in the play ground neglecting hop-scotohand skipping rope, and speculating like precooious gamesters on their chances of passing and the questions that are likely to' be asked them,' is overdrawn. He thinks the medical faculty are too apt to look at the worst side of school-life, and a little apt to forget that most of the conditions of child-life are beyond the control of Educa tion Acts, and to attribute to attendance at school evils which are really due to the miserable surroundings of the home. ' To hear them talk,' says Mr. Boxton, 'of over-pressure, of the bad light, and bad ventilation of schools, one would imagine that they knew little of the interiors of the homes of the poor, where there is very little light, where ventila tion is unknown, and where brain pres sure is freely supplied by a scolding mother and a screaming baby. ' There Is surely something of the illogical one sidednees of the special pleader in this line of argument. It is, no doubt, very possible that the unconscious bias of a medical man's mind may lead him to exaggerate the evils of undue mental stimulus. But who else has the same range of observation as to the surroundings and* conditions of the poor which, is forced; upon a doctor in the pursuit of his profes-1' sion? And will not the knowledge ha thus obtains as to the overcrowded Un sanitary dwellings, the insufficient food, ' and the deep misery of extreme poverty, . ? which -depress the lives of so many children, render a thoughtful and humane-, doctor more keen to nota the evils that are superinduced by the compulsory in- . ?traction of little ones that are literally - half -starved 1 Mr. Buxton maintains, with a comfort able optimism which some will find it hard to emulate, that children, even ( if under-fed, will be benefited by 'having their minds exercised with work and their ' bodies disciplined with drill, singing, and play.' That it is better for children, whether hungry or properly fed, to be in a 'well-wormed, well-lit, and well-' ventilated school,' than to be loafing about wet streets or dirty alleys, no one will ' deny. But . tho amount of work, physical or mental, which can safely be exacted from a child who has 'all the wheels of being slow,' through lack of proper nourishment, is a very delicate question, and one whioh a teacher eager to secure profit and credit to himself by the percentage he obtains i». dangerously apt to regard from his own standpoint only. The chief. suggestions made by State teachers in England, with a view to minimize the dangers of over pressure, are — L A larger proportion of ' the grant to be paid for average attendance, 2. That instead of the present system, , whereby every child whose nape has been on the books for twenty-two weeks must be presented for examina tion, the old plan should bs re adopted, whereby no child who has not made. 250 attendances need be presented. 3. That the so-called 'payment by results,7' i.e., the individual examination of the boys and girls in the compulsory subjects, should be abolished.. 4.- That Without loss of grant, the teachers -or. managers should be allowed full 'liberty of Withholding from examination, without reason assigned, 10 per cent;, of the children qualified for presentation. . The most important- of these- proposals is - undoubtedly the abolition iaf payment by results. One argument which iB- very ? widely accepted as telling against the plan is that the decisions of the Inspectors - vary so much that the results of the individual' examination furnish not only no infallible criterion, but no trust worthy teat of ? the ? teacher's work* ,1 One Board teacher in England quoted by Mr. Buxton asserted 'that there areas many codes as there are Inspectors. ' In - our own colony the grievance, rightly or : wrongly, often has been, hot only that the = Inspectors like planets differ from eaoh other, but- tbat suddenly and without warning, ^ like lightning from the blue ?? sky,' as a much reepeoted German, teacher pathetically remarked, the fltandard seems to be raised and made rigid at dif- ' ferent'vMte^ the °'ipame .^^pe^oxy'.^'-'''' that children who had been happily ? reckoned as quite safe to par» were failed7, hopelessly and ignominioudy.' So long as livers are troublesome and east winds; . prevail it would be unreasonable to ex pect men to maintain an untroubled aid serene good:humour. But it would be merely bare justice that where not only individual position, but broad general principles are involved, 'the judgment of the Inspectors,' to quote Mr. Buxton,. j ' should be as far as possible similar4 ' under similar conditions— that they ought * to exercise their duties with temper and discretion, never be in a hurry, and never is irritable.' * ; „ f-'-i'J \i\\\i' -J ^ '? One means by whioh *this^ can be 6b-i viously most effectually secured is the periodical conference of Inspectors, Suoh

a conference, it need-hardly be pointed 6u£; should serve1 'to' utilize to the best advantage* the special excellence of each Inspector. It should help to show how the opportunity of intercourse with teachers and children which is afforded at {each visit to a school may be made moBt'iproductive of good — may be used to';teach what hopeful conditions for suc cera'wait on every man who ha3 yoang, growing, unsoiled minds to deal with. If Bhould serve to show how the teacher who has lost heart, perchance through the Hard conditions under which he is placed, may 'be nerved to renewed exertion — to better' methods of work — not only in technical teaching, but in wielding in fluences that will aid the scholars to grow lip true men and women — courteous, iight-Ioving, and God-fearing, and in love with all that tends to noble action. Such a conference should tend to dia cfourage the hard, narrow, and domineer ing spirit which sets the glorification of self before all other and higher aims. It should, last of all, serve as a check to the over-bearing will which has the power of crushing the elasticity, variety, and freshness of distinct intellectual life. A conference of Inspectors to Jbe worth anything must ensure the free and spon taneous co-operation of. each. ' individual member, and should above all be free from direct or indirect influence, which would tend to set an arbitrary value on any set of opinions merely because they are held by one wielding official power. Every system of public instruction has its weak points, but the Inspectors, if wisely chosen, are the people of ' all others who Bhould be in a position to note defects, and to speak out fearlessly and un reservedly when they perceive4 that' rules and regulations have, been: framed which lead to hurtful irictionl ,''liMr. Buxton states that the codes of 1883 and 1884 have done much in England' to encourage freedom of working' andV to diminish centralization by throwing more responsibility on the local Managers. ' He is of opinion that the more the 'Managers are ' recognised, utilized, and: -,: made . re sponsible, the more efficient- will be the men and women attracted to the work, and the better will the duties be performed. This is a point which' ire should like' to see imitated with regard to our own Boards of Advice. To enlist the help and sympathy of those 'whose personal watchfulness would be much more effective than any amount of red-tape regulations' would be a gain in every way. No doubt the advent of free educa tion—which with ub ib merely a question of time— will throw increased responsi bility on local bodies, and will tend fo stimulate keener popular concern in the constitution and welfare of public schools. An intelligent and widespread interest on the part of parents and the public generally is after all' the best safeguard against 'over-pressure' and other abases incidental to the administration of State pyatems of instruction. ? v How the Land Laws Work. — Into the purely legal aspects of the case Schneider and : 'Wife v. Cowan, which = has occupied the attention of the Supreme Court during the last three day3, we are not disposed to enter at any length. The chief, facts were pointed out by Mr. Justice Bundey in his summing-up. Schneider was a credit selector, and, like many credit selectors, was in pecuniary difficulties. The defendant Cowan came to bis relief, and Schneider entered into an agreement to transfer his selection to Cowan as soon as he was able io do so. Subsequently the transfer was actually signed. Other, security . was also given. Now the plaintifla wish to recover the sections ~ on the ground that they were obtained from Schneider by means of fraud and false representations. The evidence failed to substantiate this, and therefore the verdict was given for Cowan. We are bound to say that the action of the plain tiffs does not seem to have been creditable, and the conduct of Cowan appears to have been bona fide. At the same time, if the argument of Mr. Downer is really sound, then our land legislation is a greater failure even than it was supposed to be. If a credit selector can make a forward agree ment for the transfer of his selection when tho purchase is completed, and this transaction, can be upheld, all the supposed safeguards - against dummyism vanish. There is an aspect of the case which does not appear to have arisen in the course of the trial as to which we are a little curious to know what the decision would be. Sup pose Schneider had simply agreed to transfer his sections, but had subsequently refused to sign the transfer, could he have been compelled to -?o so ? In this instance the plaintiff says he signed the transfer, not knowing that it was a transfer. But such a case as we have supposed might' arise at any time. If in such a contingency, the selector could be compelled to fulfil his agreement then all the ponderous provi Bions of our Land Acts are useless. . If he could not be so compelled then his agree ment would give no security, and precisely the same conditions would arise : as ?. are present in what is known as ? dummyism. The root mistake of our legislation is the idea upon wich it is based that by merely placing a man on the land and fencing him round with artificial restric tions we can make him a bona-fide selector and promote' the settlement of the country. It might as well be supposed that a youthful undergraduate can be filled with the erudition of a Doctor of Laws by merely requiring him to wear an LL.D. hood with his undergraduate's gown. The momenta needy selector has a saleable interest in the land he is tempted to traffic in it rather than to devote his attention to cultivation. On the other hand the long credit and apparently easy terms offered by the Government induce many men to take up more land than they can manage, and- in .the hope of being able to make a profit out of their selections when the purchase is completed they are tempted to resort io all sorts of expedients to raise money in the meantime, -and thus get further and farther involved. The artificial conditions by which they are bound afford but little security to the Government, and render it very difficult for them to raise money, except at a high rate of interest. The present case is one of many which all point to the need there is for much, greater simplicity in our land legislation. - : Maeike Cotrais of Subvet.— Nothing seems to go right for long with our marine legislation. Failure after failure has fast followed in the procedure of- the Marine Courts ; and yet all the experience gained leadV'to' 'very Tittle'imprbvement. Parliament has been blamed, and rightly so irt some cases ; but- the complaint of the Beamen of the Heather Bell as to her seaworthiness has revealed not so great a grievance against the owner as neglect on ihe part of the Government. The

complaint against the ship, which was characterized by the Port Wallaroo Harbourmaster as frivolous, was so well grounded that the Underwriters required the vessel to be lightened and detained until repairs were made. Though, the repairs were not of a great magnitude, and the overloading was of a ' technical' kind, tha Marine Board at their meeting held on Thursday considered that enough had teen proved to prevent any colts of survey being saddled on the com plainants. But the neglect of the Go vernment- appears to be of a more serious character, for they had warning, and are without any apparent excuse. Several exceedingly grave issues are involved. If, for example, the Underwriters had not been so obliging as to practically relieve the Board of responsibility, 'and the master or owner had objected to lighten the 3idp or repair her, a most unfortunate set of complications would have resulted. The Act of 1881 provides for an appeal to the Court cf Survey to determine the dispute between the Board and the ship's representatives, which Court of Survey ought to have been made workable by certain regulations immediately after the Act came into operation. After some time was spent in finding a model code of regulations, the Board placed a set before the Government many munths ago, asking that they might be formally issued. The request was neglected, and to thi3 day the provisions of the Act as to detaining unseaworthy ship3 are virtually inoperative. With regard to the survey of the vessel in question the cost of it is not stated. Usually the expenses have to be borne by either master or men with out an alternative course. The Board decided that the men were not entitled to bear it. Will the country then have to pay the amount 1 And if so, whose fault is it that provision has not been made for rendering the Act operative as regards the survey of ships ? , CoJTPtnsoET Asphaxtkg. — A cor respondence which we print elsewhere strikingly illustrates the arbitrary manner in which the Corporation are forcing as phalt pavements upon the citizens. For some time past it has been the practice of the City Council to accept tenders for asphalting 60,000 yards per annum, reserving to itself the right to distribute the work in the various wards as it pleased. It has not been thought neces sary to consult the wishes or convenience of local residents. Dwellers in streets possessing the advantage of reasonably good pavements equally with those having execrably bad pavements have been astonished by finding labourers hard at work breaking up the foot paths in front of their property, pre paratory to the laying down of asphalt, towards the cost of which the adjoining owner has to contribute a full moiety. It is not the policy of the civic authorities to1 give the individual citizens the slightest voice, in the mode of expending the money applied to asphalting. Why such a rigidly bureaucratic course should be followed itr is difficult to understand. There would be nothing to say against itr if the Corporation were careful to exclude from the operations of the vote for the year footpaths in fairly good order, situated in remote parts of the city, .where the traffie is small and chiefly confined . to . . ; the local residents. But unfortunately, as we have said, proper discrimination i3 not always shown in the matter. It is absurd on the face of it that asphalting should be forced upon unwilling citizens, whose wishes may safely be studied without detriment to. the interests of the people generally. In the case referred to in the correspondence between the Secretary of the City Land Investment Company and the Town Clerk two alternatives are in effect put forward by. the former in objecting to the as phalting of a particular footpath, The first is that the work might have been left alone, as the existing pavement was. in thoroughly good repair, and probably would not need renovation for some time to come. The second is that the asphalt should be have been spread over only' one - half of the foot path,' thus providing sufficiently for the traffic for many years to come at something like half the cost of the whole work; The least that was to be ex pected of the City Council was that they would have given reasons for refusing these - requests ; but no, the Town Clerk, in : the genuine sic volo sic §ubeo spirit, announced that the proposals could not be entertained. Even the privilege of an interview with the Council which Mr. Sparks craved wa3 peremptorily declined. It does 3eem absurd that at a time when the finances of the city are in anything but a healthy state the Council should insist upon having asphalt laid down where it is not wanted, and laid down all across the footpath. No doubt there are many streets where the work should be carried out regardless of the objec tions of individuals, but there are others where a different rule should be adopted, and the City Land Investment Company gave good grounds for having Barnard street treated thus exceptionally. In view of the way in which things have been conducted J it is satisfactory that the quantity of asphalt to be laid this year has been reduced. With only 20, 000 yards distributed among the six wards of the city there will be less oppor tunity of defying the wishes of citizens, and compelling them to have asphalt where they could do without it for years to come. Viceregal.— His Excellency the Governor, accompanied by Miss Robinson and Sir Henry Wrenfordsley, left Adelaide on Thurs day morning by early train for Port Elliot. Mr. Howard, Hi? Excellency's Private Secre tary, remains in town to receive Admiral Tryon, who arrived by the Indus on Thurs day.- - 1 T^he Inward AIau,.— The R.M.S. Indu3, which passed Cape Borda on Thursday at 1p.m., was sighted off Glenelg about 8 p.m., and anchored about 8.45. She wa3 boarded by the Mermaid, but the mails were taken ashore by the Asteroid, as the Mer maid returned immediately on other service connected with the arrival of distinguished visitors, one o! whom was Admiral Tryon, who is a passenger for Sydney. Lord Elphinstona and Lord Mac donald are ako passengers en route. The Indus, whiGh. left London on December 4, had a hard gale to start with, and it lasted across the Bay of Biscay. Thencs to Suez and Colombo she had pretty favourable weather, and the run to the Sound was pleasant. She left the Sound on January 12, and had fine weather. At Glenelg it was all that could be desired. She landed her mails at Glenelg in thirty-four days from London. The steamer made the passage from Gravesend to Adelaide in 41 daj3 22 hours, including stoppages at various ports. She experienced a succession of head winds during the entire voyage, the square sails having been set for only seventy-six hours during the trip. She was announced to sail at 3 a.m. on Friday. MErrsTEKiAii Party is the South-East.— The above party reached Kingston on Thurs day evening. Mr. E. Ward, M.P., was so unwell on reaching Menmgie that he re turned to Adebide last night. He expects that a few days' rest will enable him to re join the party at Mount Ganibisr next week. Arrival o? Distinguished Visitors.— On the arrival of the P. & O. steamer Indus Mr. E. W. Howard, Private Secretary to His Excellency the Governor, went on board in the steamer Mermaid with a letter to Admiral Trycn from Hi3 Excel lency expressing his regret that, owing to his absence from town, he could not. ask him to visit; Government; House. ?The Admiial with Lord Elphinstone pro ceeded on shore, and en their arrival at the jetty were welcomed by Sir Thomas Elder and Mr. Crawford. They then paid a short visit to Sir Thomas Elder at his residence, and at half-past 11 re turned to the steamer, A special railway carriage was in readiness to convey the

Admiral to town but, owing to the Iat3ne33 of the hour and the shortness of the steamer's stay he regretted that time would not permit of his doing so. Lord Macdonald left the steamer by the mailboat and paid a flying visit to Adelaide. He and Lord Eiptinstone have no special object in visiting the colonies other than a desire to see them, They intend to proceed to New Zealand and Tas mania as well as the Australian Colonies, and will return by way of America, Passing Cape Jervis.— A steamer, sup posed to be the Adelaide, from Alelbourne, passed Cape Jervis at twenty minutes to 2 this morning. New Guinea Annexation in the Pacific. — On Thursday afternoon the iol lowing petition was presented to fli3 Worship the Mayor (Mr. W. Bundey, J.P. :— ' We the undersigned, ratepayers of the city of Adelaide, recognising that it is inimical to the best interests of Australasia that any foreign power should annes territory in New Guinea or the adjacent islands, and especially that the area of foreign convict settlements in the vicinity of Aus tralia should be extended, bearing in mind that the natives of any country are now wel come to come and settle in our midst, and acquire equal rights with ourselves, hereby request the Mayor of Adelaide to call a public meeting of the inhabitants, to be held in the Town Hall on Tuesday, January 20, 1885, for the purpose of discussing the whole question.' His Worship promised to comply with the request. The Australasian.— Messrs. Stilling and Co. have received information that this vessel arrived at the Cape of Good Hope on December 30. She may therefore be ex pected to reach Adelaide on January 18. Supreme Court. — After a hearing extend ing over three days the case of Schneider and Wife v. Cowan was colluded before Mr. Justice Bundey on Thursday, January 15. His Honor decided in favour of the defen dant, and commented in strong terms on the plaintiffs' allegations against Mr. James Cowan and the Attorney-General, who had shown bj the clearest evidence that they had befriended the man when in prison for debt. He held that according to his own statements Schneider was a dishonest man. All cost3 were entered against the male plaintiff, and the property at Mallala will be retransferred to Mrs. Schneider on her paying the defen dant what he advanced to the Building Society upon ifc and on the plaintiff perform ing his agreement with him. His Honor allowed Mr, Wigley a case for the Full Court on the legal merits of the counter-claim, and ordered that proceedings be stayed for two months pending further action by the plain tiffs. Carrying Wheat to Sydney. — The steamer Karaweera has been chartered to take a full load of wheat from Port Pirie to Sydney at. a cheap freight. A Distillers' Grievance.— Great dissatis faction is felt by the wine and spirit mer chants in town with the working of a regulation under the Distillation Act passed last session. Previously to the passing of the Act merchants employed lockers to attend to the regauging and reweighing of wines and spirits, one locker being attached to each bonded store. This aystem is said to have worked admirably. Eor the last six months, however, since the passing of the new Act, the work of regauging and reweigh ing has been transferred from the five men employed by the merchants themselves to one man employed by the Government. The five lockers paid by the merchants still act as watchmen, but beyond keeping an eye on the spirits they have nothing to dd The other man— the Government locker— on the other hand has his hands full, and is kept constantly running from one bend to another. He is so busy, in fact, that we are informed he cannot do the work in any thing like the time, and the consequence is stated to be an immense amount of inconve nience to merchants, who are unable to for ward their goods in time to catch the steamers. The merchants strongly protest against not being allowed to employ compe tent lookers to attend to the work of regaug ing and reweighing, and think that as they pay their watchmen good wages they have a right to exact good service for their money. They have interviewed the Collector of Customs on the matter, who has promised to give them a definite answer on Saturday. We hear that the merchants also wish to call attention to the fact that spirits are reduced by the publicans after they leave their hands, and they think this ought to be put a stop to at once. Visit to the Agricultural Farm.— On Wednesday the members for the District of Yatala, Messrs. Gilbert, and Bagster, accom panied by Messrs. Catt, M.P., Atkinson, M.P., and Copley, M.P. (President of the S.A. Farmers' Association), visited the Go vernment Experimental Farm at Roaeworthy. The party proceeded per first train to Gawler, being joined at Salisbury by Mr. J. Harvey, one of the pioneers of the district. From Gawler the party proceeded by conveyance to the Farm and College. The season being so far advanced of course the appearance of the various crops was not very promising, bat there was evidence of the energy displayed by Professor Custance in experimenting with various crops. The College building occupied a large share of attention, and it was noted that a large number of students were already entered. The party afterwards visited the ostrich farm near Kangaroo Flat. This visit was merely a passing call, and Mr. Malcolm had not been notified, but Mr. Eankine, the Manager, showed tb.6 visitors every attention. There are a large number of very fine birds of all ages on the farm at present. Council Meeting ot Ki?le Volunteer Force. — The usual monthly meeting of the Council of the Kifle Volunteer Force wa3 held at the Military Club on Thursday after noon. There were present— The President (Lieutenant-Colonel Lovely), Major Roberts, Captains Chennell and Bleechmore, Lieii tenant Toliey, and Mr. Bews. There was little more than ordinary routine business transacted. An apology was received from Captain Castine for his absence. It was re solved, in order to encourage the adoption of tho moving and vanishing targets, to erect one on the Smithfield range, which will be open to members of the force for practice ; and it was further decided to write to captains of companies, expressing a hope that they would make every endeavour to adopt the targets in time for the class firing of present year. A letter was received from a gentleman at Walioway intimating that steps were being taken there to form a rifle company, and asking instructions in the matter. Before the conclusion of the meeting Major Roberts referred in eulogistic terms to the able services rendered to the Council during the past two years by their Secretary and Treasurer (Lieutenant Toliey and Cap tain Chennell). The other members present endorsed the remarks, and it was decided, being the last meeting cf present Council, to vcte an honorarium to each of these officers. Both returned thanks for the expression of approval of their past services. Invention tor Preventing Contanima tiox of Water rsr Tastes.— The President of the Central Beard of Health at ita meeting held on January 14 called attention to an invention by the Hon. R. C. Baker, by which all collections of foul matters from roofs, such as dead birds, nests, leaves, and any other substances larger than ordinary shots would be prevented from passing into tanks used for holding water. Mr. Baker had left the apparatus for inspection, and it. wa3 ex amined by the Board with much interest. It is self-acting, and is so constructed that all foreign substances are thrown on to the top of the tank instead of into the interior. Its advantages appeared to be simplicity, cheapness, and efficiency. Some practical tests with a force-pump which had been applied under Mr. Baker'3 instructions, had been quite satisfactory, and the apparatus shown to the Board is to be fixed at Mr. Baker's private resi dence for the purpose of testing it under ordinary conditions, The Board thought the invention would prove to be of great utility, and expressed its thanks tc Mr Baker for affording them an opportunity of examining it. Licensed Victuallers' Association,— The monthly committee meeting of the Licensed Victuallers' Association was held at the Committee-room on Tuesday, January 14. Nine members of the committee were

present, ana the President (Mr. E. Markey) occupied the chair. The following licensed victuallers ?were admitted members : — Messra. J. Marshall, J. Sanders, S. Reid, A. McKenzie, P. Herbert, C. Prior, J. Railly, J. Darwent, C. Savage, C. Smith, E, Krull, D. McKenzie, and Mrs. N. Spelletr. Four new members were proposed. The Secretary reported that a local option poll had been taken in Bowden and Brompton Wards at Hindmarsh. Resolved, that the expenses incurred by members of the Association in conducting such poll be defrayed by the Association, Messrs. J. Wamcken and W. H. Woodcock tendered their resignations, which were accepted. The President reported that the distribution of 'ornamental certificates' and cards 'offering rewards for the protection of members' was being croceeded with, and that in about a fortnight it would be com pleted. The Late Wine Show.— The prize stated to have been awarded to Mr. James B. Webb at the late Show for cordials, bittera, and aerated drinks was really granted to Messrs. Ferrers & Co. for their exhibit. The Marete Board.— At the Marine Board on Thursday morning a communication was read from the Royal Humane Society of Australasia, seeking an amendment of the law for the preservation of life at sea by rendering it compulsory on shipowners to provide their vessels with sufficient life-saving apparatus. It was suggested by the President of the Society that sufficient boats should be carried to take in all passengers, and that lifebelts or cork jackets should be provided for all hands on board. The first proposition was considered out of the question where the passenger-list was large, but the other was worthy of consideration. It was, how ever, hinted that jackets or buoys miles away from shore would only serve in Borne cases to lengthen out the torture of doomed lives. The Secretary is to bring up a report on the requirements of ths present law compared with the amended law sought by the Society. An interesting history, which had been written in con nection with some slight departmental friction, was read respecting the improve ment of the River Murray during the last ten years. The Board in two or three different ways showed their anxiety to afford shipping facilities at the outports during the present pressure. Trie Port Augusta ferry men asked for protection, but the Board re fused to promise not to issue more licences if applicants complied with the conditions. Departmental Workings.— Ths members of the Marine Board have been quickened to the importance of having their duties as well as their privileges clearly defined. This was shown recently in regard to the improvement of the River Murray, as to which the Com missioner of Public Works had issued notices to mariners without reference to the Board. This act appeared, however, to have been inadvertently done; and the Engineer of Harbours and Jetties, in conceding the Board their privilege, furnished them with an in teresting history of the improvement of this important Australian highway. Not so for tunate was Mr. Mais's predecessor in that office, when the Harbours and Jetties Depart ment came into conflict with the Marine Board a f e w years ago. Some lengthy correspondence resulted, and it was found that an Act of Parliament was necessary to legalize that de partment, the days of whose separate exist ence were shortly afterwards numbered. Of course skill and tact are required to work de partments upon the border lines of each other without collision, and sometimes a slight en croachment is good for both, as well as for the public. Take the Marine Board and Public Works Departments for example. All works, whether of repair or con struction for the Board, fall to the latter, except as to deepening operations. A hole is discovered in a jetty planking, and the Harbourmaster reports it to the Board. The report is docketed and tabulated, brought before the Board, and the repairs re commended to be done. It is passed on to the Treasurer, turned over to the Commis sioner of Public Works, referred to the Engineer-in-Chief , and sent on to the District Engineer. He finds that it would cost more to visit the jetty than to make the repairs, and he writes to the Board to get the Harbourmaster to employ a local carpenter to mend the hole. Meanwhile half a dozen legs may be broken and the Government be involved in as many lawsuits for compensa tion, while the cost of repairs has trebled. The Board have now recommended that they should be at liberty in certain cases to spend a3 much as £10 in repaira to averb such possibilities. Australian Diamonds.— Further advices have been received regarding the parcel of diamonds forwarded to London by the Aus tralian Diamond-mining Company of Bingera, New South Wales, and regarding which the London correspondent of the Register tele graphed on December 11, 1884, to the effect that a parcel of diamonds recently sent to England by the Australian Diamond-mining Company had been submitted to experts for valuation, which it was believed would realize 22s. per carat.' The exceptional quality of the diamonds has excited the utmost surprise in English mining circles, and the London Mining Journal of November 29, 1884, in a leader on the subject, says : — 'The first commercial consignment of Australian diamonds has reached thi3 country by the last mail, and gives good promise of Australia Bpeedily surpassing South Africa as a diamond-producing country. Mr. Philip Falk, of Great Winchester-street, City, has the honour of being the first con signee of these stones, which come through the Melbourne branch of the firm from the owners, the Australian Diamond-mining Company, for sale in London. The consign ment consists of two parcels— the larger, con sisting of yellow and dark-coloured stones, weighing 126'047 carats ; the smaller being fine white stones, weighing rather over lOi'ofjS carats. The c6ns!gnee3 haYS sub mitted the stones to us for inspection, and we have no hesitation in stating that for colour and form the white stones are de cidedly superior to any we have seen from South Africa, though as yet nothing very large appears to have been met with. The Australian stones have unquestionably the Brazilian character, which is alto gether wanting even in the finest Cape stones. The Jagers fontein stones, for ex ample, are certainly white, but they are so steely and wanting in the absolute limpidity which distinguishes the Brazilian diamond, that no ordinary judge would for an instant be deceived in selecting them. Now, many of the Bingera (Australian) stones are of beautiful octahedron crystallization, and in distinguishable from the Brazilian. As the 227 '610 carat3 were obtained from 250 loads of washdirt, it follows that the average yield was over 0'910 carats per load. With a suffi ciency of water 150 loads a day could easily be washed, and even at the present price of diamonds the profit would bs over cent, per cent, on the cost of raising and washing.' In considering the above gratifying announce ment in the London Mining Journal, it may be stated that instead of 150 loads, the Aus tralian Diamond-mining Company anticipate being able to wash from 900 to 1,000 loads per diem, and that their return has averaged more than stated in the paper, being fully equal to a carat per load. Hetdmarsh School Board qj Advice.— The monthly meeting of the above took place in the school building, Hindmarsh, on Thurs day evening, January 15. Messrs. Joseph Vardon, J.P. (Chairman), Hon. John Picker ing, M.L.C., J. Weeks, Henry Hunwiok, and Joseph Ashtcn were present. Thirty-six cases of non-compliance with the regulations requiring the attendance of children at school for thirty-five days in the quarter were dealt with. In some cases the parents expressed the hope that night-school tuition would be again, resumed, as the services of the chil dren were required during the day. The Chairman said he thought it very likely that arrangements would be made for a night school. Applications had been' received for the free education of 160 children, which in many case3 the Board were of opinion arose through the improvi dence of the parents. The Chairman ^ex pressed himself in favour of free education, but the majority of the Board dissented. The report alluded to the urgent want; of a school building being erected at the northern portion of Brompton Park, an eligible sits having been recommended some time since.

Tha school return for the quarter ending September SO showed 1,029 scholars on the roll ; average attendance, 733 ; free schclarsj 265. The Government Tender, for Iron Pipes.— After an absence from the colony for six- months, Mr. G. A. Fulton, of the firm of Messrs. Fulton & Co., iron founders, returned from England by the mail steamer Indus, which arrived at Glenelg on Thursday. Mr. Fulton has made a general in- spection of the largest foundries in England and Scotland, and purchased a considerable quantity of machinery specially adapted for the work of the contract, as well as machinery for wrought-iron work, punching and boring, and boiler work generally. He has obtained the services of fifteen workmen, who will shortly arrive in the colony, and who may be regarded as indispensable, but the remaining fifty or sixty men who will be engaged by the firm will represent colonial labour only. A mistake arose on this ques- tion when it was suggested a short time ago that about fifty men had been engaged in Eng- land, owing probably to the fact that the emigration of the workmen actually engaged will involve the introduction, to the colony of about fifty persons. The firm have purchased land at Kilkenny, where they intend to start the new enterprise without delay, and, indeed, cherish a strong hope of being able to commence the delivery of pipes before the contract time, January 3, 1886. Norwood Literary Society. —A largely attended concert was given in the Norwood Town Hall on Thursday evening by member of the above Society, assisted by friends. The Mayor of the town (Mr. J. Bennetts) was present, also Dr. Hayward, President of the Society, who during the interval thanked the audience for attending, and advised the young to join the Society for mutual improve ment. A very good programme was carried out, the most noticeable items being 'The Gallants of England,' by Mr. W. S. Wel bourn; 'Golden Love,'' by Miss Chaffer; the popular duet, 'Sound now the trumpet fearlessly,' by Messrs. W. S. Welbourn. and J. Goodale; and 'The Kings of the Main,' by the last-named gentleman. Miss Alice Schroder, for her brilliant and pleasing overtures and accompaniments, deserved the high compliment which her listeners paid her. Miss Chaffer's song wa3 the other principal number of the evening, but all the contributors were pleasing in their efforts. Miss Stephens sang 'Kerry Dance,' Mrs. W. H. Gobbett ' The Children's Home,' Miss Venn 'For Ever and for Ever,' Mr, Garrood a comic song 'Peter Piper' (for which he was recalled), Mr. W. H. Gobbett 'The Powder Monkey,' Mrs. Gobbett and Mis3 Chaffer the duet ' Come Again, Sweet Dream,' Mr. J. H. Good recited 'The Owl Critio,' Mr. F. Davis 'Ticket of Leave,' and Mr. W. T. Lee Gunnell 'Told in Flanders.' The enter tainment concluded with a farce, 'Keep Your Eye on Her,' in which the characters were taken by Messrs. W. E. Robinson, W. T. Gunnell, A. S. Devenish, and two lady amateurs. Salmon Ova for Tasmania.— The failure which attended the shipment of over 100,000 salmon ova to Tasmania in the s.s. Abington, in February last, has not (wrote the Argus London correspondent on December 5) de terred those interested in the acclimatization of salmonidcB at the antipodes fiom repeating the experiment. Mr. T. F. Brady, the Chief Commissioner of Salmon Fisheries in Ireland, has undertaken to procure 200,000 ova by the close of this year, and it is hoped that they will be packed on board a steamer and dispatched to Hobart early in Janu ary. At the request of the Salmon Com missioners of Tasmania, Mr, J. A. Youl, C.M.G., has once more consented to gene rally superintend the packing of the eggs. One of the obstacles to the satisfactory dispatch of the ova arises from the difficulty of fixing the date of the steamer's departure so certainly thai the eggs may be obtained from the parent fish immediately before the time of sailing. As at present arranged, Mr. Brady is to bring the ova to London as he is able to obtain it, though none is to arrive until after Christmas. It will be at once placed in a chamber belonging to the Wenham LaVe Ice Company, and will.be kept at a temperature below freezing point. Mr. Youl does not altogether agree with this plan of procedure, as he would prefer that the ova should be placed under ice on board ship within forty hours of being taken from the parent fish. The eggs will be packed as heretofore in moss and charcoal. The be vaults of the Ice Company cannot be used, as sawdust is destructive of ova. On being re moved from' the Company's premises the boxes of ova will be carefully placed at the bottom of the icehouse of the steamer. It is proposed to send out a small shipment to Hobart in one of the New Zealand steamers calling at that port. This consignment will be treated somewhat differently to the larger shipment. The ova will be placed in a box with ice made from the refrigerator placed over it, fresh ice being renewed every day throughout the voyage. Mr. Youl thinks that the dry cold a;r process is likely to destroy the vitality of the ova. The Weather in India.— The Madras Times of December 19 says :— ' Very heavy showers of rain have fallen at Madras since December 15, and the quantity gauged each day up to 12 noon yesterday is as follows :— Monday, 0'55 inches ; Tuesday, 2*30 inches ; Wednesday, 2'55 inches ; Thursday, 5 inches ; total, 10'40 inches. On Wednesday evening the weather was very suspicious, and the marine authorities lost no time in placing themselves in communication with the mili tary authorities to have the rocket and life saving apparatus in readiness. The vessels in the roads also were advised to leave, but they did not. As will be seen from the weather telegrams #e publish below, there was a storm at Negapatam on Wednesday, and we have been informed that a cyclone had passed to the south of that port on that day, At Painban a.!so it blew a hard I north-westerly gale on the same day. At Calcutta on December 16 it was reported : — The barometer has risen everywhere, but the change in the south of the peninsula is slight, and much less than that in the north, so that the barometric difference has in creased, and there is no improvement in the somewhat unsettled conditions existing in the south-west corner of the bay. A difference of over three-tenths of an inch exists between Mooltan and Negapatam. The wind directions are practically unchanged, but owing to the barometric gradient over the Carnatic there has been a rise in the force of the wind in that neighbourhood. Very cloudy skies are reported from the Carnatic and from Madras southward. Nearly three inches of rain is reported from Madras and Negapatam; elsewhere the weather is generally clear and fine, without rain. The temperature changes are irregular.' Rainor's Diorama.— Mr. J. C. Rainor's Diorama of the American War has arrived, and will be exhibited at Garner's Rooms on Monday evening next for a short season. Boat-building ok the Toere^s. — Mr. H. Sutherland has just completed, to the order of Mr. W. E. Cooke, B. A. (University Rowing dub), a boat that will be able to compare favourably -with any o! ifca class on the Lake, The boat is for doable scalls3 thirty feet long and twenty inches wide at the broadest part. It is provided with ths latest form of roller slides, and the outriggers are each surmounted with one of Hanlans latest improved swivel rowlocks. The sculls are of f-pnjee, very light, and at the same time not too flexible, and a pair of oars has also been made for the Eurpose of pair-oar rowing. The body of the oat is of varnished cedar, as light as can be made consistent with strength sufficient for working purposes. The boat sits very nicely in the water, and is a credit to the maker. Entertainment. — An entertainment will be given in the College Park Congregational Church Lecture Hall this evening by mein bera of the local Band of Hope. Eiyes Levels,— The following was the Btate of the rivers at the undermentioned stations at 9 a.m. on Thursday, January 15 : — Gundagai, 1 ft., stationary; Wagga Wagga, 11 in.; \Hay, 1 ft. ; Bakshald, 8 in.; Naomi, Barwon, WaJgett, Breiyarrina, Bourke,Lonth, Yilpa, Wilcannia, Menindie, and Pooncarrie, low: Wentwortn, 4 ft. 7 in,; Wahgnnyah, 9 in. ; Eehnca, 3 ft. 3 in. ; Swan Hill, 4 ft, 8 in. ; Euston, 5 ft. 2 in.; Overland Corner, 2 ft. 11 in. Church Almanac.— We have received a copy of the South Australian Churchman's Almanac, It includes a list of the Aus tralian and other colonial Bishops, as well as» several items of local and South Australian Church news. The almanac, which was printed in England, also contains a repre sentation of Lichfield Cathedral,

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