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3 corrections, most recently by InstituteOfAustralianCulture - Show corrections

"God's Own Country."  

A Word Picture of Australia.

IN a lecture on Australia, delivered recently in London, Mr. Frederick Villiers said :— Twenty years ago, Australia was a much pleasanter place than it is at present. Then the Australian accepted British standards and British ideals, and spoke of Britain as "Home." Now he is so   well satisfied with himself and his country that, not content with living there, he desires to pass his future

existence nowhere else. The good   American may wish to go to Paris when he dies, but the average Aus- tralian limits his ambition to remain-

ing in "God's own country," as he

chooses to call Australia, and forth-

with Mr. Villiers painted for his hearers a word picture of "God's own   country " — a huge continent, sparsely

populated and but one-third explored,   "where every prospect pleases, and only man is vile."

Owing to Socialistic legislation,   new enterprises are few and far between, the capitalist has been driven out of the country, and the working man reigns supreme. In

one State the Government insists on

every man being idle for 16 hours out of the 24, and the only sane being who would transfer his fortunes to Australia is the improvident, worn- out ancient, who can claim an old- age pension and live in luxurious ease in the "old man's depot." The   working man keeps wages up and the country down ; the beauitful parks of the large cities swarm with unem- ployed, who strew the turf with bits of fragments of their filthy food, and bask in the sun, devouring the con- tents of the halfpenny Australian Socialistic rags. Such places are unsafe for the pedestrian even in the daytime, by night they are positively   perilous.

Imagining that he sees in the speech of the ordinary Briton an un-Australian affectation, the Anti- podean has invented a language of

is own. Even the kookaburra, the genial laughing-jackass, without     whom no story of the Australian bush is complete, has developed an "irrit-   ating sniggering chuckle."

Mr. Villiers' estimate of Australian   manners may be summed up in the words of the old sailor concerning

the inhabitants of the Cannibal Isles : "Manners they have none, and their   habits is beastly." Australians have not yet freed themselves from the primitive vice of hospitality, which they are accustomed to exercise and accept most shamelessly. Vice-regal functions are their peculiar delight

they go early and stay late ; "be- cause," said the lecturer, "in Com- monwealth parlance, the tucker is ad lib." Their frequent ablutions are due, not to cleanliness, but to their inherent desire to obtain something for nothing ; for in Australian hotels no charge is made for the use of a bath-room. The apparatus, however, invariably consists of nothing but a tin shower, and is usually in a very dirty condition. As a final illustra- tion of Australian manners, the lecturer related his harrowing experience on board a Queensland coasting steamer, after enduring which he and his cabin-mate agree   that "the other saloon passengers should have been in the steerage, and all the steerage passengers should have been in gaol."

The one bright spot in Australian existence is the presence of the

tinted alien, and especially of the   Chinaman. Without him, salad in Australia would be an impossibility ; and, indeed, he is useful in a variety

of ways. For instance, Mr. Villiers   attended a vice-regal entertainment  

in Australia, where 1500 guests were   present (and the "tucker" was ad

lib). The proceedings were marked by a constant fussilade of popping corks ; everywhere a sparkling, fizzing liquor admirably iced, leered and winked at the numerous guests,

who partook of it freely. Mr. Villiers-   was lost in wonder as to how his host, whose salary was but £4000 per annum, could entertain so lavishly. Finally, his inquisitive soul impelled him to turn back the serviette from one bottle. It was not Heidsieck, nor was it Mumm ; the label proclaimed it some Mongol decoction branded "Wun Lung." As Mr. Villiers rightly   says, it is for gentle virtues such as these, rather than for his vices, that the Australian desires to exclude the yellow man.

Mr. Villiers delivered a rebuke to Australians on the score of "swelled   head" concerning the exploits of   Australian soldiery, and was amusing in his sketch of inter-State jealousy. It may further be said that his point of view, in support of which he showed some excellent maps, deserved to be supported with more logic and less acidity. For Mr. Villiers was but striving to show that it is absurd for three million people, who inhabit a continent larger than Europe, to wall themselves around, and hoist the banner of total exclusion. In that belief Mr. Villiers is by no means singular, though his method of pro- claiming it is hardly calculated to

contribute to its extension.

RECENTLY PURCHASED REMOUNTS. — It's funny to hear some of our alleged horse judges saying nasty things about the horses purchased fur the portion of the Federal Contingent that is being contributed by this State, says the "Stock and Station   Journal." As we pointed out in a recent issue, there is little to pick and choose from in this way of horseflesh now, for not only has New South Wales been well raked over by the South African buyers, but also Queensland and the other colonies. It is noticeable that the buyer for the Contingent is getting mostly mountain-bred horses that have had to battle for their living, and it may yet be proved that the dregs of our horse supply are hardier and better suited to the drastic service of South Africa than the better-looking ones thac went earlier to the field. It's very easy to buy good-looking horses, five and six years old, when they are available, but the shrewdest judge in the world cannot buy what doesn't exist in the market. Certain it is that our part of tue Contingent must be horsed with the least

possible delay, and there isn't time for the   buyer to visit every town in the State for the purpose of picking up one "good" horse in     each place.

The Picton water supply is in a shocking

state, and the Government medical officer

reports it to be unfit for human consumption.