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AT the invitation of tho British-India and Queensland Agoncy Company, who aro the managing agents for the Queensland Steam Shipping Company, between 350 and 400 ladies and gentlemen assembled on board the newly-arrived steamer Barcoo yestorday after- noon. Since hor arrival from London last

week, whon sho was fully described in our shipping columns, tho Barcoo has boen docked aud cleaned inside and out, from stem to stern. The efforts of the officers and crew to make thoir vessel as presentable as possiblo wero highly successful. The crowd which thronged tho social hall and saloon deck of tho steamer included numerous ladies, but the sterner sex predominated. Among them tho following wero noticed : The Hon. Sir Arthur Palmor, President of the Legislative Council; Sir Charles Lilley, Chief Justice j Hon. E. B. Forrest, M.L.O.; Hon. A. Raff, ML.O.J Mr. W. Brookes, M.L.A.; Colonel French, Captain Wright, Captain Heath, Lieutenant Richards, Paluma: Lieutenant Pike, H.M.S. Har- rier ; Lieutenants Drake and Heakcth, Major Mellish, Captain J. S. Lyster, Drs. Thomson, Purcell, Cannan, Hill, S. Browne, and E. M. Owens, Revs. C. G, Robinson and W. Kildahl, Captains T. F. Dye, Burns, W. B. Brown, and B. B. Williams, the Mayor of Brisbane, Aldermen Heal, Porter, Hip wood, Hocker, Brydon, Southall, Galloway, Duncan, Warry, and Forrester, Messrs. B, K. Drury, J. Macdonnell, Undor Secretary to tho Post and Tolograph Department ; W. Hume, Under Secretary for Lands ; W. H. Ryder, Acting Undor Colonial Secretary; W. D. Nisbet, Chief Enginoer for Horbours and Rivers; D. T. Seymour, Commissioner of Police ; J. H. DanielU, Engineer for Bridges ; W. T. Blakcncy, Registrar-General ; W. H. Day, P.M.; J. O. Beal, Government Printer; W. Williams (A.S.N. Com- pany), Walter S. Smith (W. Howard Smith and Sons, (Limited) ; T. Finney, E. Mac Donnoll, J. W. Sutton, J. Hardgrave, R. D. Neilson, Th, Unmack, O. H, Buzacott, E. W. Walkor, 0. Warde, John Sinclair, W. H. Snelling, E.H.Webb, J. Balbirnio-Vans; B. L. Barnett, W. H. G. Marshall, G. Sha*, J. Fenwick, J. Stodart, W. D. Grimes, J. H. Adams, M, B. Gannon, J. Wilson, and many others. Tho guests wero received by Mr. T. B. Robinson and Mr. Elliott Bland, of the B.I. and Q.A. Company; Cap- tain A. A. Hansard, marino superintendent of tho B.I.S.N. and Q.S.S. Companies : and Captain Ingram, who brought out the Barcoo from LondoD These wero assisted by Mr. Lorcsche, jun., Mr. Morris, and Mr. Wilson Lo Coutour, of the B.L and Q.A. Company, and the officers of the ship. Tho hour ap- pointed for tho start was 2.30 p.m., but it was not until nearly 3 o'clock that Captain F. W. Morris, of the s.s. Archer, who will temporarily command the Barcoo, gave orders to cast off from the wharf. The very warm weather was tempered by a pleasant brcczo which shook out the bunting that gaily decorated the steamer. While the Barcoo was steaming down the rivor, her accommodation and decora- tions were inspected minutely, and in some instances very critically, by both ladies and gentlemen. The adornment of the saloon, the luxuriant case of the social hall, the rather limited space for promenade on the saloon deck forward, the comforts of tho sleeping apart- ments, and especially the superior and well ventilated 8Ccond-cla-,s cabins, all came in for notice. The spacious and elegant saloon was yesterday rendered even more attractive by the sumptnous déjeûner set forth on the tables. The chief steward (Mr. H. W. Berry) ' bad laid before the guests a "feast fit for a king." From half-past three until five, there was a constant stream of persons passing into and out of tbo saloon, partaking of tbo dainties, and drinking suc- cess to the Barcoo in choicest champagne. lees and light refresh menta were served all the afternoon to ladies on deck, while gentle- men were supplied in the second-class cabin with liquors of all kind. The trip was un- doubtedly one of pleasure, and none seomed dis- posed to make it otherwise. On the way down the river, the Kate was passed as she returned to town with Dr. O'Doherty on board, His brother medicos on the Barcoo led some very hearty cheering as the tall figure of tho " genial doctor" appeared on tho deck of tho old Kate. The Barcoo steamed out into the Bay, and re- turned after having passed about a mile or so beyond the Pile Lighthouse. Bo particular time trial was made, but tho Pile Lighthouse was reached in an hour and three-quarters from the Boundary-street wharf, and the fine steaming powers of the vessel and the noticcablo absence of vibration were the con- stant theme of remark. About 5, the home turn was taken, and shortly beforo 6 o'clock the gentlemen were summoned into the saloon to take part in ceremonials presided over by his Honour the Chief Justice, From the gallery round the well-hole of the social hall a crowd of ladies looked and listened with evident interest

Sir CHARLES LILLEY, having ascertained that bumpers of champagne wero filled, rose1 to propose "SUCCCBB to the Q.S.S. Company and to the noble ship Barcoo." Ho said that two years ago, at the other end of the world, he met a largo body of colonists on board the Maranoa, which had since voyaged to the colony under the command of their friend Captain Hampton. On that occasion he much enjoyed the pleasure of drinking BUCCCBS to the company and the ship, and ho was willing that that success might bo continued until they bad a larger and nobler fleet than even their present steamers. Those who remembered the discomforts which they suffered under the old companies would appreciate the fine vessels of the Queens- land steam Shipping Company. He did not wish harm to any company, but he claimed that it was a great advantage to this colony to have a strong company like the Q.S.S. Com- pany established among them and competing wit ti other strong companies. The recent com- petition which they had witnessed was cer- tainly not much to the profit of the companies, although it was undoubtedly to the public advantage. If the company brought trade to them they would all, he was Bure, heartily

wish them success. It was their business at that time to drink success to the Q.S.S. Company and the steamer Barcoo. At the same time, he was quite a free-trader in these as in other matters, for competition would, he believed, result not only in advantage to the companies themselves, but to the colony generally. (Cheers.)

Mr. T. B. ROBINSON, who rose to respond, after the toast had been drunk most heartily, said ho was very glad to bo afforded the plea- sure of bidding welcome to so many on board the Barcoo, not only bocauso thoy folt a plcasuro in displaying thoir treasures to an appreciative audience, but to bo thoroughly honest, because they had an ulterior motive they wished to advertiso tho ship. They in- tended to have the best boats on tho coast, and thoy intended that people should know it In somo respects the Barcoo was not unliko their other vessels. Like them she was built

of steel, but she was the first vessol in which thoy had tried what could bo done in the way of berthing saloon passengers forward. Then tho Barcoo had triple expansion engines, and in many minor dotails sho differed from tho other vessels of the Q.S.S. Company. Thoy intended to keep on, and hoped that aftor a fow yeara they would bo as far advanced beyond the present as they wero now beyond tho past He would, howevor, remind them that tho path of tho Q.S.S. Company was not all roses. It was beset with many difficulties. Difficulties in shallow rivers and navigation which made tho construction of steamers a serious consideration. Among other difficulties were medical inspectors-(laughter, and hear, hear)-and inspectors of all kinds. Ho would like to seo as a curiosity the medical inspector at Newcastle, who refused to (pass tho Duko of Argyll because of two cases of diarrhoea on board. Even the Spanish in their worst days would havo been ashamed of such a business. Then thoro were the health officers in Brisbano sending steamers up and down tho river in a most extraordinary fashion. (Hear.) Again thoy had to contend with trades unions. Ho was afraid thoro would bo troublo with thom yot, judging by what thoy wero then witnessing in Melbourne. It was extra- ordinary to what lengths men would go in order to attain their objects. He need only refer to the lato strike at Newcastle when tho wharf labourers were followed by tho coal trimmers, and the mon who hoisted the coal from tho waggons to the ships' hold. Indeed, tho whole shipping interest was threatened, and it is doubtful what would really havo como about if somo of tho heads of the unions had not disagreed among themselves. Ho was satisfied that a great deal of sympathy existed in tho public mind for those men to which thoy were not entitled. He had no objection to the mon combining for objects in themselves justifiable, but ho did think there was a danger of too much power falling into the hands of their officials, who would not bo ablo to UBO itwi8ely or woll. (Hoar.) Thoy might be surprised to hear that whon a ship like the Barcoo carne out they had to go almost "hat in hand" and ask the union what kind of crow they should put on board her.' When the public saw these difficulties more clearly thoy would probably not be so ready to cavil at the steam shipping companies. He for one sincerely wished success to the Q.S.S. Company, because they would thon havo the power to be merciful to their opponents. (Laughter.) He next referred to tho roccnt ruinous competition-now happily suspended, if not terminated, and stated that tho 1 loss to the companies concerned was

not far short of £200,000. He did not boliovo the public were the bettor for it by that amount. (Hear, hear.) Thoy hoped for an incrcasoof traille, because it would enable them to pay for better boats. Speaking of the im- provement in rates and freights of late yoars, he said the rates were 25 per cent less than they wero two years ago. (Mr. Finney : "And quito right too.") He was sorry the freight for some time past had not been so profitable as thoy would have liked. In consequence of the want of rain they had brought large quantities of chaff and hay te tho colony at low rates. Ho hoped, however, that the improved season meant good, not only to tho Q.S.S. Company, but to all Queensland. In the meantime, if any persons thought tho steamship companies wero doing well let them become shareholders-a suggestion which ho begged to olforto the writorof an articlo in ono of tno Brisbano papers recently. (Hear, and cries of " CourUr again,"] Ho thanked thom for their heartiness in drinking the toast, and asked thura to give practical effect to thcirgood wishes. (Cheers.)

Tho Hon. E. B. FoitUKSr, M.L.O., briefly proposed thohcalth of tho " Managing Agents,

and rofcrrcd in terras of oulogy to both Mr. T, B. Robinson and Mr. Elliott Bland.

The toast having boon honoured enthusiasti- cally,

Mr. BLAND responded, and in doing so humorously referred to the trials of managing agonts. When ho was in the B.I.S.N. Com- pany's service ho thought managers had a fino time of it At home people did not want to seo

tho manager. Thoy preferred to deal with tho

assistant. In Brisbano it was very difforont People entered the office and insisted on scoing tho managor. Then tho managing agonts had to deal with the directors of a

company. They would bo very glad to givo freo trips to everybody up and down tho coast, but that would not satisfy the company. People liked free trips. Ono man would como along and say, " Give mo a froo passage and I will write you up." (Groat laughter.) Another man says, " I will got you lota of passengers." (Laughter.) So that between tho public and the company which demanded remittances thoy had enough to do, Ho did not intend to weary thom with statistics to shew how greata concern was the Q. S.S. Company, orheniighttcll howmanythousandsof people passed thciroffico door daily, how many tons of steel wore needed to manufacture the pens for their clerks, or how many 400-gallon tanks were needed to contain the ink they used. (Laughter.) They did not desire their guests Bhould go away and wish they had never boon on board tho Barcoo, and as it was not one of tho duties of managing agents to quote statistics ho would thank thom and so shut up. (Prolonged cheering.)

Mr. ROBINSON having briefly responded, the proceedings terminated.

The remaining half-hour was spent in various ways, including a good deal of toast drinking in the second saloon, where civic and munici- pal dignitaries did honour to the occasion and

their "noble selves."

The trial trip of the Barcoo-the ploasantest

of all tho Q.S.S. Company's trial trips-came

te an end about 7.15 when the steamer oncomoro berthed alongside the Boundary-street wharf.