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o [flaq (uariian First Issue - August 20, 1842. With which is incorporated wit, ',ortlailud tirror, Published at Portland every Monday andThlrsday Evening. 'PHONE NO. 39. WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 24, 1919. On the evening of Christmas Day a united service will be held in the Presbyterian Church at 7.30 o'clock. Visitors .and others are cordially invited. Moving picture devotees should not miss the entertainment to be held in the Free Library Hall to night in aid of the Queen of France's candidature, With this, the last issue of the "Guardian" in the old year, we have pleasure in presenting our readers with a calendar for 1920, which we trust will be found useful in marking the days as they plea santly pass by in the year to come. The Secretary of the Portland Hospital acknowledges with thanks the receipt of 478/1/11 from the Treasurer of the Red Cross Society for the Ambulance Fund. This, with the amount given before, makes the (total from the Society £109/19/6. We have received another letter fomern Mr J. L. Clarke, emphasising once more the urgency of the con struction of the breakwater at Port land. If Mr Clarke's writings could shift our dilatory Government we should all be pleased, but we are afraid that nothing less than a high explosive would attain that end. Still, agitation is sometimes a good thing, and Mr Clarke certainly be lieves in this method, but we are sorry we have not room to publish his letter this time. * The local post office will be closed on Christmas Day, while on Boxing D y, Saturday, 27th inst, and New Year's Day it will open from 9 till 10 a.m., and.there will only be one delivery and one outward mail (that in the morning). Telephone conver sations on Christmas Day will be charged double rates,. but on the other holidays may be made at the ordinary rates. Telegrams lodged on Christmas Day will be doubly charged, with an opening fee of 2/6, while on the three other holidays ordinary rates are operative between 9 and 10 a.m., and after 10 double rates and an opening fee of 2/6. Telephone subscribers at the loca exchange are subjected to most ex asperating delays when booking calls, and complaints as to the un satisfactory service are general. From what we can gather from out side sources, it seems that the cause of the trouble is the inadequacy of the staff to meet the heavy demands which particularly occur at this time of the year. Instead of havw ing one hand constantly employed on the board, the work has to be atten ded to by any of-the staff in between their other numerous duties, and consequently the necessary attention cannot be given to the telephone, which is really the most important branch of the whole service. It is satisfactory to note that the Coun cil has taken theematter up, and we trust no effort will be spared to remedy this cause of public in convenience. The very Latest in Milking Ma chines-Two thousand dairy farmers and several Government institutions in New Zealand have installed the "New Zealandia'" milking machine which is considered by experts to embody all the latest improvements in mechanical milkers. The sole agency in the Western District for the " New Zealandia, " together with the " Primrose Separator. and the International Harvester Com pany's Oil Engines has been secured by the Western District Co-opera. tive Produce and Insurance Co Ltd. and farmers are advised tocommun icate with that Company at 49-57 Iing street. or with branches at Colac and Warrnambool or with the managers of co:operative factories. In connection with the water carnival to be held on Boxing Day, a handictip motor boat race will be included in the pro gramme, for which a substantial prize will be given. The Portland Brass Band will march from the Royal Hotel at 12 30 p.m. The Portland Croquet .Club will hold a gymkhana at the Gardens on Saturday, D)eccmber 27th. A varied programme of interesting events is provided, the entrance fee for which is 3d. At the end of the af ternoon the prizes won will be presented, and afternoon tea dispensed at the moderate fee of Gd. All are cordially invited,

With tha " Diljgrs " The "Empire "-the Dads' offi cial organ-hits out as follows under the heading of " Bureaucratic Bom bast" : The permanent heads of the Com monwealth Public Service have met to consi er what preference they are prepared to give to the soldier. Not much; now that they are not likely to have to serve as laborers' laborers under German rule, which was the position the gentle Hun would have given the Big lHats. They are afraid that to give any preference to the men who kept them in their jobs would make the eligible, who valued his hide more than his honor, think "he is being penalised for failing to enlist." Their anxiety for an efficient ser vice by co!dfooters, " who have the best interests of the state at heart," is Peckuniffian. It is a lamentable fact that this state of affairs also exists in Portland, and if the "diggers" are not awake they will find themselves overshadowed altogether. Under these circumstances, therefore, it is satisfactory to note that the local branch of the Returned Soldiers' Association has decided to write to the authorities, bringing under no tice the employment of " eligibles'' on the casual staff at the Portland post office, and justly asking that those men who did not "squib it," but fell into line with the other "dinkums," should be given the preference in employment. The Show Committee has set a good example in this respect-we commend the members for their loyalhy-in deciding to engage only returned men for the various duties, such as ticket collectors, etc., on the two days of the show, and the Race Club is sure to follow suit. On two 'different occasions the Portland Returned Soldiers' branch has written to the Member for the district, H-Ion II. J. M. Campbell, asking his opinion on the much vexed question of closing the Ger man schools which are still being conducted with impunity, whilst Fritz is simply "laughing up his sleeve" at us. The request of the local branch was occasioned by the Central Executive asking that the Member's opinion be obtained in connection with a Bill to deal with this question being brought before the House. The Portland branch does not intend to let the matter drop, but has decided to ask the Casterton Association, which has made the same enquiry of Mr Campbell, whether it has fared any better at his hands. The Hon. Member wculd clear the atmosphere a lot if he gave some explanation of his failure to answer the letter sent him by the Portland branch. It is a pertinent question to ask Is there anything further being done by the Council as regards the Sol diers' Memorial Hall ? The poor old " diggers" are out of a home. They cannot afford to pay 12/6 a week for the room they are at present us ing, and the old Red Cross depot, which is only just habitable, cannot be permanently assured them. They have packed up their few goods and chattels, but have nowhere to re move them. The outlook is not bright, and the only alternative ap pears to be that of resorting to the old warfare custom--pitch a tent or construct a sand bag dug-out.. Would our civic fathers please push the Hall question along, and thus save the "digger's" dignity - it doesn't matter so much about his comfort, as he's been used to "roughing it." The apathetic "don't care" spirit, which certainly did not win for the Austrailian soldiers the repu tation of being the finest fighters in the world, seems to be taking hold of the " digger " in Portland now he has returned to civil life, and he is losing sight of the fact that "unity is strength," The fortnightly meet ings of the local branch of the Re turned Soldiers' Association are very sparsely attended, scarcely a dozen regularly putting in an appearance, which is not a very representative number for a branch which has a membership roll of well over the half hundred. The returned men want to "get a move on," or they will find themselves looked upon as a very negligible quantity in the community, whereas they should be a potent force. The annual meeting of the branch takes place earlyin the New Year, and an urgent appeal is made to members to show by their attendance on that occasion that they are still "diggers," firm and true, and ready to unite, as on the battle field, in a combined effort for the common weal of themselves and comrades in the fight, which is still to be faced, for a fair deal in the civil life to which they have quite recently returned,