The weather prophet of Queensland is sup-
posed to be. somewhere on the Continent of Eu- rope in search of scientific refreshment and in- spiration; and his first assistant, Mr. Archibald
Anderson, for the present reigns in his stead. In former periods of absence from the Chief Weather Bureau, Mr. Wragge has had the satisfaction of seeing the elements assume a more or less mili- tant and truculent attitude. It is only fair to Mr. Anderson to say that he has on more than one occasion shown himself a neat hand with
a storm or a flood, and an ingenious dealer in meteorological horoscopes. This time, however, he has chiefly been confronted with monotonously dry weather, and only an occasional diversion in the shape of a thunderstorm. The arid regions of the interior got some slight relief from the drought before the close of winter; but the spring rains of normal conditions have been, if not al- together absent, painfully irregular and insuffici- ent. Altogether the prospects for summer are not cheering. A dry, hot-summer is sadly im- minent, and for the present both nature and man are clamorous for rain. The heavens, however, are as brass, and already excessively high tem- peratures for the time of the year have been; re- corded in most parts of the colony. Probably when it does start to rain, it will, rain, and rain, and rain; and those who now hail with satisfac-
tion every threatening-looking cloud will mu- tinously growl at the leaden heavens. That, however, is encroaching upon the domains, of me- teorological prophecy; and in Queensland, at any
rate, there is but one meteorological power, and Mr. Anderson is. his prophet.' It may, therefore, be discreet for lay fallibility, to wait until his weather is officially horoscoped for him; and leave predicting to those who know.
The ordinarily placid course-of Queensland po- litics has been considerably perturbed. The stone-walling. of the proposal of the Government to allow a private syndicate to build a line from Gladstone to Callide Creek, where there are re- ported to be very extensive coal deposits was continued with more or less vehemence up the
the small hours of last Saturday morning. The House had then been in continuous session from the previous Wednesday afternoon. It was a case of war to the knife. The Opposition declined to lend the least favor to what they declared was an unauthorised departure from the settled policy of State railway construction. The Government side were equally determined that the measure should go through. A compromise being out of the question, the proceedings resolved themselves into a tug-of-war, the Government side having a firm hold of one end of the rope, from 30 to 33 strong; and the Opposition, with dogged pull,on the other end with a hauling power of from 23 to 25, Had it been a contest of mere talking power and physical endurance, the struggle would pro bably be still in progress. What the Opposition lacked in numbers they were quite prepared to make up in determination and oratorical fluency. The new standing order passed recently was a handicap which in the end proved fatal. Clause after clause of the bill was steadily forced through by, means of the cloture, but not without a display of bitterness and resentment which more than once threatened to culminate in sus- pensions and what Mr. Clement Wragge in the do- main of meteorology would term cyclonic disturb-
anees. The Opposition were unsparing in their denunciation, of the brutal strength of the ma- jority—as all Oppositions are—and of the conduct
of the Chairman, of Committees and of the Govern- ment. The latter were among other things term- ed, "dirty tools of a boodle syndicate," and "po- litical thieves:" and the Chairman's actions were loudly declared to be a scandal and an outrage.
Neither abuse nor invective, however, availed, for the bill was successfully pushed through commit- tee, and the second protracted sitting during the last month was brought to a close shortly after 3 o'clock on Saturday morning. This bill, it should be remarked, is only one of five, to each of which the opposition is equally pronounced and uncom- promising. It would be hazardous to say when they will be got through. For the present even the Government has had enough of then. For the next fortnight they have decided to push on with other legislation which is not likely to meet with the same hostility, and which, so far as the country is concerned, is more urgent. They do not intend, however,, to drop the obnoxious bills. They hâve merely called a truce, and in the meanwhile it is probable they will seek to arm themselves with a more effective form of cloture; while the Opposition; on the other hand, will furbish up every weapon that is left in their political arsenal. If Parliament is to finish its -work before Christmas, it may be predicted that . the ne"xt two months; of parliamentary 'procedure will be the. liveliest, the colony has witnessed for = many ' a day. ' ' ' '
Meanwhile,, after the storm there is, a calm, and the Legislature moves in a .serener atmosphere than that bf party politics. The weapons of war-1 .fare of the past few; weeks have been sent back "to, theÍ armorer, pending occasion fpr their use again.: The vexed question of the Callide Rail way Bill was set at rest yesterday, when the measure was peaceably read a third time. The war.-worn legislators were then invited to discuss the Federal Elections Bill, and so elated were they with the' change from perpetual disagreement to comparative agreement that they debated and passed the second reading in two sittings. The only important difference of opinion is as to the elections for the Senate, and there the old sepa rationist feeling in favor of the direct representa tion of northern and central interests naturally crops up. The north does not love the south, aor does the centre, and.the south, while it has no particular animosity for either of them, still
religiously insists upon every advantage claim able by a largely preponderating population. The other colonies have to elect their Senators, vot ing as one" electorate, but it will be remembered
that at the Premiers' Conference permission was . given t© .the Parliament to subdivide the co lony into electorates. The Hon. J. R. Dickson, who was Premier of the colony when' that was agreed upon, has expressed now his pceference for the colony voting &3 one electorate, but if a division is insisted upon he thinks there should .be six electorates. The north and the central towns do not, however, favor either plan. They want the colony divided into three electorates, corresponding to the present three division of
north, central, and south, with ¿wo. Senators, for: each, or, at the most, and by way of Compromise, two for the north, one for the centre,-, and three for the south. There will probably be a good deal of debate before the details of the plan of
election are agreed upon. When the matter ls not out of the way, a~new Shop, and. Factories Bill,' and a proposal to establish an Agricultural Bank, will afford food for reflection fand'< debate.
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The plague is still wittons, but; happily, not in the formidable shape which it assumed in the winter months. Its outbreaks are spasmodic, and generally only, occur when the community is taking the flattering unction to its soul that it has gone the way of all pestilences. The seare stage was passed long ago, and the discovery of an isolated case in one or other of the seaport towns excites little more attention than any other outbreak of disease. If there has been a slump in the sensational . element in that sense, matters connected with the ad ministration of the hospital at 'Colmslie, on the Brisbane River, may be sall , to have come to the rescue to some extent'. It seams to be the characteristic of public institutions to get out of gear at some period or other of their exis tence. Exemplary institutions, like exemplary people, are sometimes seized with a wild- desire to kick over the traces, and sooner or later they run a course of dissipation, the revelations con nected with which supply "copy" to newspaper writers, and demonstrate the, frailty or fallibility of all-human things. Who does not,recall the devastating trouble connected with the Adelaide Hospital? What hospital of magnitude is there which at some period of its life has not \had its sensation or scandal? The~ Colmslie Hcs .pltal, in a modest kind of way, is about, to'make tits little mark on the records of. the time. - So far as the mátter has gone yet,.ihere does not ap pear to be much more in it originally than' a dis agreement between the medical superintendent and the matron. The two were at variance, an«l the doctor carried his grievances to the Epidemic Board, which controls the hospital. In some way or other that body got it into its head that the doctor wished to resign, and prbcee3ed to accept his resignation. The doctor's interpretation of their action was that he had been dismissed; and, not unnaturally, he is clamoring to know i why. An inquiry has been demanded, and as one
is to be held, it is not improbable that the EpI ' demie Board will find that inquiries, like sweep
stakes, were very uncertain things.
The Colmslie Hospital is not the only institu tion which may be said to be rather more than usually unusual at the present time. The Brisbane Girls' Grammar School, which not many months ago furnished one incident, or, rather, a ssries of incidents, which divided the whole community into hostile camps, has broken out again. For merly, it was a duel between the then . head
mistress and the board of trustees. Now, the chief warring elements are the head mistress, an assistant mistress, the board of trustees, and a hat, the latter being the most truculent and dangerous of tho lot. Hats aré offensive things in theatres, but in schools, hitherto, they have ' not been known to work much mischief. In this
case, however, but for a hat, and that a confus edly complicated affair, a sentence of suspension would not have been recorded, nor an impending
crisis have been suddenly precipitated^ with inore
or less 'earthquake like results/ When this schcol was previously io evidence, the trustees, headed by the Chief Justice, for some inexplicable rea
son, displaced a very popular head mistress-Miss x Fewings-who has since started, a school of her ' own," and has reaped ; the . reward of publie ^sym
pathy in a no small degree ofsucsess. _One of > the prominent figures in that _ incident waa Miss Sellors, a-lady who at that.time was in high favor with the trustees. She was then assistant head mistress, an office which apparently she oc->. cupied when the hat incident brought about a climax. The trustees seem to have treated her. somewhat peculiarly. They played her off against Miss Fewings, but when they had displaced that lady they did not appoint her in her place. They, appointed Miss Wilkinson, the present head mis tress. Latterly the fervor pf the trustees seems to have cooled, and Miss Sellors rs finding herself very much in the position once occupied by Miss
Fewings, minus the very-marked public sympathy,. which buoyed the latter up. A hat,"as I have re i marked, brought matters to. a head. Apparently,
the school was to attend a sports gathering, and Miss Sellors, to save time, wore her hat for half an hour, one of. her reasons being, to quote her own words, that it was an elaborate hat, and its
putting on and taking off required time. Subse- , quently, an interview took place between the head mistress and Miss Sellors, but what actually, took placa , has not yet been stated. . Evidently,
the hat caused trouble, but whether it was .the .'. ' .' wearing or the style of it, or whether it signified
something more than à hat usually signifies, arer^"- - ; matters involved in impenetrable mystery. All the public know is that Miss Sellors has been sus pended; and she has demanded an inquiry at the hands of the trustees. ? ? ? : ..
Inquiries are in the air. There are at least three of them, talked "of. The Colmslie affair, the I Girls' Grammar School, and the North Chillagoe ÍMines are all to be probed into in some shape or
form. The mining inquiry, whatever form ft , may take, will be, of course, the most important.
I When attention was called to the alterations , ; which had been made in the report sf the assis-* i tant Government geologist upon the properties of
j the company and to the offers pf bribes to that ' gentleman, the Premier stated that the whole thing
? should be probed to the bottom. He favored the - \ procedure of the Criminal Court, but he was not
j sure whether the end in view could ne attained-in ? j that way. If no criminal prosecutions result, an j independent inquiry will be made by the Govern ] ment, with a judge of the District Court (pro
; bably Judg« Mansfield) as president of the board
of inquiry. Needless to say, the inquiry will be . looked forward to -witt- a great deal- of interest. ' The other matters are comparatively of small con I cern beside this , mining scandal,
j The capital of Central Queensland, Rockhamp j ton, is not only the largest town outside of Bris I bane, but it is one in which the force of progress
t and expansion are, perhaps, in the most j active operation. In the misty past, j Rockhampton was the city of the three "S.'s," j and there is no doubt that it. was more than elm ira atical ly hot. The Rockhampton of to-day,
j with its broad, well-kept streets, its excellent
, public buildings,, its solid-looMng banks and pri , vate warehouses, is a" city which the colony has I every reason to be proud of. Rockhampton people , believe in their city, and they are building it lip j and pushing it ahead at a rate which is truly
impressive' to an occasional .visitor. ' Townsville
fa a very go-ahead centre, but it ia years behind Rockhampton in its public and private buildings. The latest movement to further improve mattera in Rockhampton is to instal an electric tram ser vice in its streets. The same thing was talked about for Townsville not long-ago, and there can be little doubt that neither city will be content till lt gets equal with Brisbane in that matter. Both are anti-Brisbane in a very marked way, and there are very few things in which the aver age Townsville and ' Rockhampton resident will admit the metropolis is superior to their respec tive cities. The spirit of emulation may not al ways be amiably indulged in, but its practical re sults have been beneficial to the north and to'the central .district, and not a whit injurious to Bris bane. There is room for several Brisbanes, .Rockhamptons, and. Townsvlllea In Queensland.
Whatever may be done in other colonies, lt can not be said that in this, the female State school ? - teachers are pampered or spoilt. When one.rea
lises how small the reward offered to industry and ability is, the miracle is that so many make teach ing their calling. A hard and fast political eco nomist would argue! that the lady teachers are ^ the victims of the law-'of supply and demand. They are so numerous that they can bo obtained for a mere song. If private employers had their destinies In their hands, one would not be sur prised at advantage being taken of an overstock ed market; but nowadays the public do not expect the State to run., things on strict supply and de mand principles. The unrosy lot of some of the .lady teachers was urged oa the Minister for Pub-: lie Instruction the other: day by a deputation of lady teachers. . There are now 405 classified fe "-anale teachers in the service or the department.
According to the ladies, it is not possible, under the present regulations of the department, for the mass of female assistants to receive more than £96 a year, while about 28 per cent, of them get no more than £72, and 13 per cent, not an excess of £84. The department cannot be accused of ex travagance. A ' smart barmaid can earn from £60 to £70 a year, and have - board and lodging thrown in. To ask a young lady, who has devoted years to study, and who is entrusted with perhaps the most important duty that can fall to a woman, except that of a mother, to give her services to the State for a paltry £72, or even £96, a year is parsimonious in the extreme. As one of the teachers put it, "Even with the exercise of a most rigid economy it is not sufficient to' supply dally needs and enable us to maintain the stand ard of .respectability imposed upon us by so ciety, let alone make adequate provision for sick ness and old age." . Of course, lady teachers never grow old, but they may get sick, and a'doc tor would not have the least trouble in mopping up what remained after paying the boarding house keeper for board and lodging. Queensland politicians are fond of boasting of the wealth of their country. Their treatment of the assistant lady teachers savors more of an empty Treasury and a barren and /unprosperous country than a State which Has every appearance of ; prosperity. The singlar part of it is that'the Minister for Public Instruction, instead of at once promising the ladies all ..they asked, ungallantly went out of the way to point" out how much it would cost the country.. Probably many;'öf>my readers will think that a country with a salary -list of this kind ought to blush-and pay un. ;
.- .. : y.- ; -. Gaeta.