By the Lady Bird we have Melbourne papers to Tuesday last inclusive.
The reports from the Diggings states that Sir Charles Hotham has made the best use of his time in seeing all that is to be seen there, and that he has contrived to make himself very popular with the miners. A monster meeting against the gold license fee was held at Bendigo during his Excellency's stay ; nine or ten
thousand persons were present.
A nu etiiig in favour o "Postal Reform was held in Molnoiiriie on Monday, the Mayor in tlie chair, when the following resolutions «ere
adopted : -
Tint tim majority of Ibis meeting, being deeply impressed with the groat importance of the adop- tion of every avail.iblo menus calculated to pro mote Hie «illusion of knowledge'-among nil classes ol'the community, hereby declaro lheir opinion, that Iho introduction into tho province of Victoria of tho lowest minimum rat« of postage upon all letters (newspapers to be sent ¡ree) will prove one of the greatest aie's to secure mell a blessing, hy effecting the permanant circu- lation of general iufiu mation throughout the land. Tim majority of this meeting pledgo themselves, therefore, to uáe o\ery lawful moans in lheir power to olitnin an immédiate repeal of tho Postage Act of Victoria, Ni. 30, and the substi. tuiion of one uniform penny rate on all letters (exclusivo of Ocean Postage), thereby advancing our mutual soei.il progress in this colony, and in ihe scale of nations throughout tiio ü'lobs.
That as cheap postage is admitted to bo of tho greatest importance, this meeting petition tho Legislative Council to appoint a se-leet committee to enquire into tho administration of thu Po t OfBee, with a viewjto nsoeitnin tho practicability of reducing the expenditure and of re-adjusting the present rates so as to make permanent ar- rangements on an equitable basis and postage cheap in reality as well as in appoaranee,-a re- sult «Moll cannot ho obtainad hy roeiely taking the burden off one pot (ion of tho community to throw it upon another.
On Thursday, the long-ponding claims of the salvors of the Sacramento «ere tried in tho Supremo Court, and verdicts amounting to
£ 14,500 were awarded.
The first locomotive engine, says the Herald, that has been built south of the equator, and the first of any kind that has worked in the Australian colonies, except a temporary adap- tation by the same firm of a portable engine to locomotive purposes, has just been completed by Messrs. Robertson, Martin, and Smith, for the Hobson's Bay Railway Company. It appears that the company ordered from England, some eighteen months since, engines which have not yet arrived, and that, disgusted at the delay, and anxious to open the line, they sought in Melbourne engineers capable of undertaking the construction of a locomotive to begin work with. Messrs. Robertson and Co, undertook the task. They have completed the work in a space of time under ten weeks, little longer than is usually allowed in England, though they laboured under many disadvantages, of which the cramped space where their operations are temporarily carried on, was not one of the least. This firm is erecting large and complete workshops on the bank of the Salt- water River, with a quay, where vessels can come alongside for repair, and freight can be landed into and work discharged from the factory itself. A cupola is then provided, with
which a casting of twenty tons can be executed. A steam hammer and a lathe for turning rail- way wheels of the largest size are expected from England, so that work of any magnitude can he done on the spot. We are the more ready to notice favourably these evidences of enterprise from the fact that the previously existing establishments seem to have been actuated by a jealousy of the new concern that has thus made a bid to cut them out, the latter having been stimulated to increased ac- tivity and self-reliance by the unwillingness of its older neighbours to co-operate with them. The engine referred to is a six-wheeled loco- motive, with the tender on the same body as the machinery, as is common on short lines where a very large supply of fuel and water is not needed. The boiler is tubular, and con- tains in addition to the casing of four inches space all round the furnace, fifty-eight two and a half inch tubes. A slightly peculiar arrangement is observable in the steam chest. The cylinders, instead of having the slide valves on the top, of each, are laid on their sides, and have the slides working in a common steam chest between them. The cylinders, two in number, are eight inches in diameter. The power of the engine is 30 horse, and its power of traction is equal to 130 tons with a speed of 25 miles an hour. It is entirely of colonial manufacture. Considerable difficulty was experienced in getting the monster from the yard, when it was built, to the railway station. The labour was accomplished in the quiet of the night by laying rails down tem- porarily and pushing it along them. Owing to the sharp corners that had to be passed, and the difficulty of poising so heavy a mass to slue it round, more than a whole night was occupied in the transit. The engine is now on the line ready for action. A private trial of its efficiency was made on Saturday afternoon. It was run to Sandridge and back with tolerably satisfactory results. Of course, the machinery being new and somewhat stiff, no very great speed was attained ; but the conclusion drawn from the experiments was favourable. The Directors and some of their friends were to have gone down the line after the engineers' trial had bein made ; but in passing the points to get round in front of the carriages that had been drawn up from the depot, the engine got off her trail ; it was soon replaoed, but the ac- cident occurring again immediately afterwards the engineer decided on not taking any further steps that night. In the present condition of the rails at that point, such an accident seems likely to be of frequent occurrence. The curve is a very awkward one ; there is a doubt of the accuracy of the gauge ; the switches are abrupt, and the rails are smothered in sand.
Until those obstacles to effective working are removed no fair idea of the powers of the en- gine can be learned. The line was to be opened with great ceremony on Tuesday, and trains would commence running the next day.