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The December weather which wo Victorians' have enjoyed for the last threo anniversaries of tho festival of Christmas, may-nay, ought -in some measure to reconcile tho minds of tho colonists to somo chango in their adho reuco to old country habits of observing like occasions. There will, of course, always bo some amongst us who can never shako off a longing desiie to enjoy again thocustoms of Old England in well remembered places, with former friends, and kith and kin ; but these persons fond, grateful, and amiable in their recollections, now at a distance from the cold, biting, pinching, starving winter of the British isles, can only endeavour to ignoro the memory of tho misery suffered by hun. dreds of thousands in those countries at this
Both the metropolitan and provincial jour- nals havo for some days past teemed with announcements of preparations for tho public enjoyment of tho festivities of tho season, and these will doubtless be, in duo conreo, very largely patronized, for it is no ungrateful task to cater foi tho amusement of a population the working members of which aro almost everywhere thriving, and who are remarkably earnest in making the most of tho days of re- laxation provided in the cnlcndar.
On Christmas Day, it seemed as if half the population of tho metropolis and suburbs had become migratory, or had accepted invitations to dtno with the other half. During the fore- noon, the churches were very largely attended ; but in the afternoon, itscemed as if tlio majo- rity of thq people were moving about-some goinçto, tho greater part leaving,'town until tho oirériing or night. aving the non-obBer vancc of tho rigid proprieties of a day rognrded by the lawns a Sunday, it may bo remarked that thooheerful sceno that every whercmct tho eye, ns tlic Molbourno population spread itself out in different directions from the city itself, wits a sight which would havo moved the mind of the veriest grumbler to admit that thero was at loost tho appeal ance of prosperous and contented industry, iela\ing from tho ordinary toils of daily duty, and taking upon itself the often greater toil involved in tho pursuit of ple.tsuro. It is gratifying to remark that, although so many thousands made holi- day in the afternoon, scarcely a single breach of " law and order" was noticed ; and the Government will have no reason to regret that they afforded additional facilities for persons residing atodibtunco to visit their
friends at this season.
It was welt dói-ons'tratcd yestorday that, largely as Christmas is kept in Molbourno as a holiday morely," there was still a good num- ber who, rcserving'a lively recollection of the solemnity of tho (anniversary, were strict in their performance of their religious duties. Tho Episcopalian churches wcro nearly all well attended, especially in the suburbs ; and tho largo congregation the Cathedral was commented upon by tho officiating clcrgyrnnn. At St. Peter's tho choir performed Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus" with admirable effect. As it is not the custom to hold Christmas cervices in Presbyterian and other dissonting chapels, they were, as a general rule, close throughout the day.
Tlie sinuous stream which environs the metropolis had a fair quota'of patrons yes- torday. At nino a.m. tho scono near Princo's bridgo was most exciting. Parties were then starting on their pio-nic excursions, and tho "over-flowing" was quite alive witliaproccssion of boats. Some of tho expeditions were bound for the Survey Paddock, othors woro for tho convenient slopes beyond nawthorn bridge; whilo several of tho moro legi- timate " wntcr-partics " . had selected
their destination ono or other of the charming nooks with which Studley Park abounds. Eacli expedition .nppeared de- sirous of providing for every contingency. Not only was there carried sufficient of tho wherewithal to lierait nature when it becamo exhausted, but, rcniarkablo to say, musical instruments formed an important feature in tho '' stores" of several of the boats. In tho forenoon tho watermen did not do so large a " stroke of business" as is customary on holi- day occasions, but in tho afternoon thoro was a great rush of visitors, and tho supply of boating accommodation was anything but equal to the demand, although tim Minerva steamer was engaged in plying constantly between Prince's Bridge and tho Botanic Gardens, anti although the ordinary Yarra craft were augmented by a nurnbor of boats from Sandridgo,
THE BOTANIC GABDENS AND THE
Many who dosired to spend their Christmas holiday in a quiet way dovoted a portion of the day to a saunter "through ono or moro of the ornamental reserves in tho neighbourhood of the city. Tlio Botanic Gaulons, wo need scarcely say, wero the chief resort. Thoy were thronged in the afternoon by a continual stream of visitors, who appeared hcaitily to enjoy their biiof libeiation from the toil and moil of daily work, and tho opportunity of btcathing the pute and fragrant air around them. Tho Botanic Gardens on a general holiday, liko tho International Exhibition on shilling days, seem to bo almost oxcluBively given up to what Professor Owen denominates the " wage classes ;" and at every turn and corner of tho gardens tho oye of tho casual visitor alighted upon intelligent artisans" with theil wcll-diossed wives and families, evidently bont upon an afternoon's pleasure. The beautiful sylvan sconory and tho rich variety of "nature's jewels" with which tho gardens abound, even after sovoral weoks of hot weather, form a nevor-onding charm ; and the long gravelled walks and steep slopes afford a pleasing and diver- sified piomenado, as well as ample scopo for the most vigorous limbs becomo weaiy. The zest with which the moro youthfulportion of the visitors lo the gardens relished their day's "outing," would, no doubt, tiro both mind and body, only, wo trust, to mako them feel moro refreshed on tho morrow. Tho Carlton and Fitzroy Gardens had their fair share of visitors, the latter especially, which aro in splendid Condition-thanks to tho care and attention which havo been bestowed upon them. Bichmond Paddock, often so gay at holiday seasons, scorned almost de- serted, and presented a striking contrast to the scono which it " exhibits on a Saturday afternoon, when it is usually besieged by an army of juvenile'cricketers. It was nearly solitary, as far as human boings were con- cerned, with tho excoption of two or threo small groups of small children, who seemed tohnvojiccn left behind by other persons on thçir way through the pad- dock to soino moro attractive place. At tho Boyal Park the visitors were very fow, not from any want of appreciation of what is to be soeii there, but.sunply from tho iso- lated position which tho pink occupies mid from tho fact that the general taste induced nearly tho wholo of tho pleasure-seekers to direct their stops to opposite pointe of the compass. Tho consequcuco was, that the monkeys and other quadrupeds in the park digested their Christmas dinner fieo lroin nnnoyanco or molestation.
The suburban railway stations wore crowded all yesterday with pleasuro-seekorg. At tho St. Kilda and Hobson's Bay Railways, tho pressure of passongors was tremendous, and tbo total number of persons conveyed from -t-elbourno was l?,30C, 0,052 of whom went to Sandridgo and ,8,2_i to St. Kilda. -To tho Molbourno Railwaj', tho attractions of Brigh- ton drew nearly an equal number, np.u\ tho prices wore increased. 2,16t) porsons took
return-tickets to tho beach, while tho total number of persons who left tho Flinders stfeei Station oxcceded 5,000. A sad accident happened at the Swan-street Station, whoro the engine-driver feU as he was mounting tho engine. He had just the moment before said, "All right," and tho engine started and ran over his leg. Tho poor follow was carried to the Duko of Richmond Hotol, and we havo not heard the result of tho disaster. On the Vic- torian Railways thero was also an unusual amount of traffic, and this would have been more, but for the fact that the authorities failed to publicly announce tiiat the trains would run as on Sunday, till nearly tho last moment. Theresttlt was great disappointment to many who found thpir exiwctations baulked, and their arrangements superseded. Several times in the course of the day, Mr. Jerome, the sta- tion-master, had a hard time of it to answer complaints on this score, for which, of course, ho was not at all responsible. Even at the very last moment, tho hours of departure wore altered, and many persons had to spend a largo portion of, their holiday on tho platform waiting. Wo are Informed that 300 persons left for Ballarat, and over 400 for Sandhurst, numbers which doublo the usual daily pas- senger traffic. ,
Brighton offers many attractions to visitors, and tho numbers winch flock thero whenever a ho-idny occurs prove that they aro fully appreciated. Xosterday was not an exception to tho rule, and throughout tho day crowds of people wore to bo found enjoying them- selves in many ways along the cliffs or on tho sands. Tho railway convoyed an immenso number of pooplo to tho beach, while the road was almost cquaUy busy, vehicles of all kinds being employed in Uro con- veyance of visitors to and from Brighton. Fortunately, tho wont-tor was most favour- able, and thero was, therefore, no draw- back in that i respect to tho outdoor plea- sures of tho day. For tho accommodation of visitors, several touts had been elected, not far from tho station, while n large out hou.o attnchcd!to tho hotel there, tho covering of which, was heatly formed of branches of trees, afforded tho means of shelter and rest to all who thought proper to avail themselves of it. Tho hotel itself, tho railway refresh- ment rooms, atjd tho tents, must havo driven a brisk ' trade during the day. Such Visitors as chose could also add tho
pleasures of a sail to thoir other en- joyments, sinco ono of tho small bay Btcamçrs started at intervals from the pier for a trip of nu hour or so, and tho fare charged was a moderate one. From tho numbers who patronized tho steamer, the speculation could not hnvo been n bad one, and sho must havo douo much moro thnu pay her eixponses for tho day. Tho return trains in the afternoon and evening wero crowded, and tho number of vehicles ou the road, both going and co niug, was a sight worth seeing.
Tempted, no doubt, in a great measure, by the fine weather, au unusually largo number of pleasure-seekers visited the bay and Wil- liamstown yesterday, and cortainly tho day was most favourable for son-sido onjoymonts. To meet tho demand for conveyance, trains weio run to Sandridge every fifteen minutes ; and to St. Kilda, also, tho rush was so groat as to necessitate a departure from tho oidi nary nrrangoments, trains starting from the Melbourne station evory twenty minutes. Tho bay with its shipping, and tho beautiful view which meets tho oye on every side, is always attractive, and,.'with tho addition of blight warm sunshine, and a fine ficsh breeze, theic is little wondei that tho bay lind yesterday so many visitors. ' Nor was Williamstown no glected, although the inducements which it is able to offer' to holiday-keepers aro not many. But fow as'its attractions are, tho " fishing village" was quito gay yesterday. In nil re- spects the day 'on tho bay and at Williams- town passed off most pleasantly and satisfac- torily. It may be'added, to the credit of the officers of the nobson's Bay Ballway, that the arrangements ¡is to the conveyance of the vory large number of passengers who flocked to the utation throughout tile day, wero so completo that thore was little either of con- fusion or delay experienced : and, what does not usually happen on a holiday, the different
trains wore not overcrowded.
THE SALTWATER RIVER.
Among the holiday rcsoits of tho populnco may now bo classed tho Saltwater Biver, which has of lato become the favouiito haunt of Melbourne anglers. On Christmas Day many wore found to prefor the quiet recreation to bo obtained on the banks of the rippling stream to joining in moro noisy and social diversions. A consequence of this resort to the rivor is that tho anglers- are ow provided in tho neighbourhood with a tho accommodation
thoy require, and can enjoy their favourito amusementwithout inconveniouce from shoit ness of bait or want of duo refreshment. Thcro is good spoit to ho obtained ut tho pre- sent season, and both the solitary angler who mado Iris way on foot, or procooded by rail to tho nearest station, and those who combined a lively boating excursion with theil' angling pursuits, appeared to be amply rewarded for
<FROMr OUI! OWN COBttEai'ONDENT.)
This lias been tho dullest anti quiotest Christmas Day witnessed in Geelong since, I should think, 1Î545 or 1840. Tho weather has certainly beou splendid, and has induced many hundreds to tako to the country on pic-nto expeditions ; while others who do not respect this as a religious holiday, havo shouldered their guns and fishing-rods, and gone in quest of destructivo nmusoments. A very .huge number of our people havo formed themselves into pleasure-parties, and gono off to Station Peak, Barwon Hoads, tlio Lakes, Queenscliff, tho Vineyards, Fyansford, or BOUIO other of tho numerous pleasant rural solitudes pa- tronised on such occasions us tho present.