Teachers, Mining, Railways, Trams, Distinguished Men

 

More about School Teachers-

Distinguished Men and Fine Scholars –

Railways, Trams, and Mining –

Taylor’s Range

          Mr. Thomas O’Hagan died when quite a young man – 42 years, I find from the records. I first knew him in 1878 at Charters Towers, when he was teaching in the State school. Later he came down to Fig Tree Pocket, out beyond Indooroopilly, in a beautiful river-bound farming area, and had under him lads who later ranked with the best of our Queensland citizens. Mr. O’Hagan was a splendid looking man when I first knew him- over 6ft in height and over 15st in weight, and with a wonderful growth of beard. As formerly stated, the beard was the fashion in those days, and the “beardless youth” was just tolerated. But we must not talk about beardless folk with flippancy, for old von Moltke of 1870 was beardless. However, as was the way with all the prominent men of his day, O’Hagan’s beard swept well down on his ample chest. He came out as one of Bishop O’Quinn’s school teachers, but, like some others, found that the conditions of the Church schools were undeveloped, and there was no certainty of living pay, if any at all. So he joined up in the Government service and off to Charters Towers, and evidence of the respect in which the family was held there is given in the fact that Marian Street was named after Mrs. O’Hagan.

          Thomas O’Hagan was one of the O’Hagans of Tullaghogue, and his father’s cousin was the first Baron O’Hagan, a brilliant lawyer, who was twice Lord Chancellor of Ireland, the first Catholic to be appointed after the Reformation. It may be remarked that the present head of the house is the third Baron, a Baron of the United Kingdom, and a son of the first, having succeeded his brother. I met him on the other side. He is in name Maurice Herbert Towneley O’Hagan, and he is a Cambridge M.A., with many other distinctions in Parliamentary life, and otherwise. He married a daughter of the first Baron Strachie. His mother was a daughter and co-heiress of Colonel Towneley, of Towneley, Lancashire. How do I know all this? Well, we have in the “Courier” office a little volume weighing about a quarter of a hundred, which is called “Burke’s” and there one may learn a lot about the great people. And here one may emphasize the Toryism of the O’Hagans, with generations, so to speak, “in the purple,” shining through a veneer of Liberalism, which was developed in later years.

          After a sojourn in those high realms, I must catch breath and come back to our Thomas O’Hagan, the head master of one of our State schools. Shortly after I came down to Brisbane to edit the “Observer,” which was a morning paper, I was riding one day out beyond Indooroopilly – a chestnut gelding, New Chum, by Newbold – Maria, and bred by John Finnie at Drayton, - and in a group of, say, four men, saw the towering form of O’Hagan. I rode up and said, “Good-day, Mr….” He didn’t know me at first, and, sad to say, didn’t seem much interested in me later. We had some conventional talk and passed on. But one of his sons was to be associated with me in after years. Trooper Tom O’Hagan, with Trooper Charlie Crump, looked after me and my horses during the South African War. A gallant pair of young fellows – Charlie Crump, silent and reserved, and Tommy O’Hagan, boisterous, fearless, and never so happy as when there came the chance of a “scrap.” He was an artist, and somewhat of a poet, and with a great love for a horse. He stayed over in South Africa for some time after the war, and the took over some horses to Port Elizabeth. He is back in Brisbane now, knocking out bread and butter with his pen. Good, warm-hearted Tom. Of two things he may be sure; He will die some day, and (please God), go to Heaven; and he will never be rich.

          Another brother is James, of D. L. Brown and Co., and another is John, or “jack,” the chief Clerk in the Justice Department, who accompanied Mr. Theodore to England on his first visit; later went as secretary to the Queensland Commission at Wembley; and was Deputy Chairman and Government representative on the Tramway Trust before the City Council took over the service. And he holds other important positions, official and otherwise. John is very like his father, with the same courtesy of manner, and the same square set of the jaw.

          Another member of the family is the widow of the late Chief Justice of Queensland, Mrs. McCawley.

          Thomas O’Hagan, head master, is still remembered out at Fig Tree Pocket, and with affection; but, bless us all, his old boys are grey of the head and with lines on their faces, and so the world goes on. One of the old residents, the late William O’Brien, about 30 years ago, talking over the old days, spoke of Mr. O’Hagan as a very distinguished scholar and a most lovable man.

          Writing upon the late Mr. Papi, and upon Italians generally, and attuning my thought to the present migration of Italians to North Queensland, it occurs to me that people have forgotten a lot about others of the great Latin race who were here and worked for big things in our development.

          I referred to Stombucco Toni Tomassi Bonacini, Benvenuti, Prosdocimi, Father Canali, and others in earlier pages; but I had little to say of the distinguished group who came out under the auspices of Dr. O’Quinn. I am reminded of them, in turning over some old papers, by a letter from Mr. J. A. Hayes, of Sandgate, written probably about 1910. I wanted some information about a “Dominus Magnus,” by Carmusci, which appeared on the programme of a Saturday’s organ recital. Mr. Hayes told me that the composer Domenico Carmusci, was a resident in Brisbane in the early 1870s, and was contemporary with Simonetti, the sculptor, Rev. Father B. Scortechnici, botanist, the Rev. Father Rossolini, of Bundaberg, and other Italian priests, artist, and teachers. Dr. Carmusci  was master of music and singing at St. James’s School, and also was choirmaster at St. Stephen’s Cathedral, apart from his clerical duties. He wrote a great deal of music in Brisbane – masses, litanies, motets etc., and some of his manuscript music is still here. The anthem “Salve Regina,” which Mr. Hayes says is rarely heard in Australian Catholic Church choirs, was one of the composer’s own special favourites.

          “From what I can gather,” says Mr. Hayes, “the doctor died in Italy some few years back. He was awfully jolly and good natured, and a grand favourite with the boys at St. James’s. From him I learnt a good deal concerning the liturgical church music, and music if the Church as applied to High Mass festivals and seasons, joyful and solemn. Carmusci’s works have never been copyrighted properly, hence they have been published in a most erratic fashion.”

Father Scortechini I remember in the Logan district, and on an occasion he was severely stabbed by a distracted man, who was sent to gaol to think over his crime with a 15 years’ sentence.

          A Queenslander of distinction, and who is connected in the practical working and proprietorship of one of the big productive industries of the State, says, “Why I am writing is not only to express my interest in your articles, but also to bear testimony from my personal knowledge of the character of two men, referred to in your article No. 71, with whom it was my privilege as a schoolboy to be associated, To W. Bevington I attribute largely what success in life I have attained, as I came in contact with him just at an age when his teaching and his character exercised great influence.

          “And you are quite correct in making the graceful reference to the Gibsons, of Hemmant and Bingera. The friendship was a very close one, and was largely due to Mrs. Bevington, who, by the way, survives. She was a fine character. Her son, W. Bevington, is one of the inspectors in the Education Department at present (as stated in your article). In 1885 I put in one year at the Normal School, and boarded with Mr. Kerr, and the benefits I received under Mr. Bevington were capped by the final 12 months with Mr. Kerr. The last named and I were the greatest of friends, stern disciplinarian though he was…His widow survives. She was a Miss McLeod, another worthy member of the Education Department. Her brother also, I think, is still alive. He was head master in Gympie. Another reference you made was to Mr. Burrell. I remember him well with the co-operative mill at Hemmant. I hope your Memories will go farther back, and bring in some of the pioneers…One feels a pang of regret that there are so few of the old stamina and courage apparently left.”

          Reference was made to Crompton M.A. in an earlier portion of these Memories. He was a “character” and the following notes sent me by R. W. S. give a little idea of his methods and of the methods of the boys: “Mr. W Crompton, second master of the Brisbane Grammar School in the late 1870s and early 1880s, affectionately known by the boys as ‘Crummy,’ (an abbreviation of distortion of Crompton), was a man of very uncertain temper, very irascible at times, but there was nothing uncertain about his memory, which was simply marvelous. Latin and Greek verse, historical facts, Macaulay’s Lays of Ancient Rome etc etc were all stored up ready to be brought out at a moment’s notice. Many a time, if the Latin or Greek translation for the day happened to be particularly awkward to deal with, one of us would be put up to ask an innocent question, which would start him off on ‘Horatius’ or ‘The Battle of Lake Regillus,’ and thus get him into a happy frame of mind, as well as postponing the lesson. In ‘The Battle of Lake Regillus’ the following lines occur:-

The Kites know well the long stern swell,

That bids the Romans close.

Alluding, of course, to the ‘Advance’ as sounded by the Roman trumpeters. Mr. Crompton, however, had his own little joke about this, and after repeating the line, ‘The kites know well the long stern swell,’ always interpolated ‘that’s Major Snelling.’ This always ‘brought down the house,’ so to speak, for did not the long, stern swell, Major Snelling, sometimes put us B.G.S. cadets through our paces. Our appreciation of the joke always put ‘Crummy’ in a good humour, but after a while he would remember that there was a lesson to be heard, and would probably remark, ‘Well, what about this translation/’ Another innocent question would then be, ‘Don’t you think, sir, that this part of Xenophon is rather difficult to translate?’ ‘Um! Well, yes,’ he would say, ‘perhaps it is,’ and as likely as not he would go through the whole piece for us.”

          It may be added that Major, afterwards Colonel, Snelling, was at one time a “Courier” man, and later manager of Reuters in Queensland, and also of a life insurance company. He was always “the glass of fashion and the mould of form,” a very handsome and distinguished man, and a very keen soldier. Of course, we knew his sons in Brisbane, and they are like him, but, bless us, not nearly so good looking. The qualification is interpolated lest there should be an indulgence of a little vanity, which is not good for young men.

          Mrs. Mary Guthrie, of Northgate, wrote: “When reading your reminiscences of schoolmasters, I missed seeing anything about ‘Daddy’ Jones, the schoolmaster, of the Leichhardt  Boys’, the ‘Quarry’ school, as we called it when I attended the girls’ branch of it. He was quite a character. He spared not the rod, and one budding poet, who never passed the budding stage, made up this doggerel about him:-

Daddy Jones is a nice old man,

He tries to teach us all he can,

Reading, and ‘riting and ‘rithmetic,

And doesn’t forget to give us the stick.

“For all that, he was a lovable old fellow, with the courtliness of an older generation towards the softer sex. And how he loved a joke! I remember when the boys gave a concert, and I was chosen to play the only female part in it – that of the Swineherd’s wife in the story of King Alfred and the cakes – the ear-boxing part was entered into with zest, and Mr. Jones enjoyed the rehearsals as much as ‘His Majesty’ dreaded them. When the swineherds’ wife found out her mistake, her language was, to my thinking, too servile, so, small feminist that I was, I changed it, and sprang it on them at rehearsal. Mr. Jones laugher heartily, and allowed it to stand. He was married three times. I met his third wife during a visit she paid to the school – a rather severe looking lady until she spoke and smiled, when she instantly became a most fascinating personality.”

          Yes, I remember Mr. Jones quite well, though I had for a time forgotten about him – senile decay, young readers will probably say.

          Mr. Jones was not only a fine scholar, but a very fine teacher, and Leichhardt Street had much the reputation of Ipswich Road Junction school in Dempsey’s time, AND eagle Junction of the present day. A boy, looking for a job on leaving school, could have no finer passport than a recommendation from Mr. Jones. He was a very sharp disciplinarian, and accordingly was respected and well esteemed personally. Again, it was the story of the discreet martinet having a better feeling from those under him than the easy going and slack man.

          On an occasion I was asked by Mr. Archibald Archer, then Minister for Public Instruction, to ask the editor of the “Courier” to discuss the question of education in the remote places of the State. It was realised that it was a bad thing for Queenslanders to grow up  as what were technically called “illiterates.” I talked the matter over with O’Carroll, and wrote something on the subject. Other papers had rather an awakening, but no action of any value was taken by the Department of Public Instruction. Really it was only when Mr. George Story, as member for Balonne in the Legislative Assembly, absolutely rattled the House, that the necessary vote was provided and a system of itinerary schools established. The department was only too glad to get going, and good work was done. Now we have something better. The itinerary teacher does a little; where there are groups of, say,  half a dozen children, they are given transport, if practicable, to the nearest schools; where there is some one who can help with studies a very fine teaching by correspondence system has been introduced. In addition we have the domestic science wagons with similar methods of teaching boys various crafts.

          Since 1881, the progress of teaching has been great with our Technical Colleges, High Schools, and, to cap ‘em all, the University; but the facilities for reaching the outback have increased wonderfully, and that is a great gladness to all who know what the old conditions were.

          When McIlwraith was last in office, in 1889 it was, we often talked over the wretched grounds, and worse surroundings, of the Normal School. I put up a proposal to buy Mayne’s paddock, just beyond Bowen Hills, and Cribb’s paddock, at Milton, and establish big metropolitan schools there, with splendid playgrounds – the boys at Mayne, and the girls at Milton. McIlwraith was in love with the idea, and he would have carried it out, but his colleagues were against the expenditure, just as they were against the building of the Central Railway Station. It is a thousand pities that we do not look well ahead. In such matters posterity has to pay a considerable share, but it gets the greater share of the benefit.

          Mr. J. J. Dempsey, late of Junction Park State School, made a remark that, after a long service in the department of Public Instruction, and 35 years as headmaster at Junction Park, he was turned out at a moment’s notice. He had reached “the age limit.” Shame upon the Government that would tolerate such a thing. But that is not its only shame. Mr. Dempsey explains that the original site of five acres for the school was secured by Mr. William Stephens, M.L.C., who lately died, and that he (Mr. Dempsey) secured the balance and held it over for years until it was purchased by the Government at the instance of Mr. D. F. Denham, who was chairman of the school committee for 27 years. I have, as a journalist, been out to Mr. Dempsey’s school functions there, saw his devotion to his work, and the devotion of the scholars to him. In earlier pages I have referred to the weakening of the personnel in the schools. The Dempsey type is becoming as scarce as the dodo, and no wonder. I gave a list of good men, some of Queensland’s best, who have gone out of school work. Who are their successors? We know the new type. Some of them without a gracious thought, and tinctured to the lips with incipient Bolshevism. However, a few of the Dempsey pupils have paid tribute to him. His work is remembered in the right quarter, and to the – well, that would be strong- with the tuppenny’ ha’ penny politicians and their parasites.

          And while on the subject of head teachers, my friend Burrell- he of Burrell and Fenton – said on occasion “You had nothing about ‘Sandy’ McLeod in your Memories.” As a fact I had almost forgotten Mr. J. A. McLeod, of the flowing beard and the cheery laugh, a braw Calendonian whom I met at Gympie in 1883, when he was “head” out at the One Mile. Mr. McLeod was a brother of the late “Dan” McLeod, for many years head of Fenwick and Co., and his sons, the present heads, the young McLeods, are therefore nephews of J. A. McLeod. A fine character was “Sandy” McLeod, as he was called, though I didn’t know him well enough to use the familiarity. He is still with us, out Auchenflower way, and may he long be spared in health and strength.

Another not mentioned was Mr. A H. Outridge, who was at Stanthorpe in my earlier days, and was transferred later to Nundah. He left his mark on the minds of many who are well known men and women of Queensland today. I met him only on a few occasions, and even those were forgotten until certain reviving incidents were lately mentioned. I knew his brother, also Mr. P. P. Outridge, now of Redland Bay, who married a Miss Foote, of Ipswich, the Cribb and Foote people, and met him at Redland Bay when I was unveiling a memorial to some of our soldier lads who are sleeping overseas. His “digger” son motored “me and the missus” over from Cleveland, and we had a good talk of things on the other side.

The senior Outridges were brothers of Mrs. A. H. Barlow, of Toowong. And it may be remarked that Mr. P. P. Outridge was well-known years ago in the pearling industry in the Far North, and that a fine lad, a son of Mr. A. H. Outridge, was lost in a hurricane, which destroyed the pearling fleet.

Mr. A. H. Outridge is still well represented, and those of his family whom I know are Mrs. Ferguson, the wife of Colonel George Ferguson, D.S.O., of Nundah.

Mr. Clem Outridge, later of Toombul, but who had bee a station owner in the Burnett district, and my comrade, Gordon Outridge, a well-known “digger.” All these are Queenslanders of the highest type, the sort of men and women who make this old world of ours purer and sweeter.

Robert McComb was a school teacher at Cooktown. He only lately laid down the burden.

Stephen Foote was the head at Cooktown in my day, and I think Mr. McComb must have gone there after I left. But I remember him well at Eagle Farm, where he served loyally and well for 33 years. And who would ever expect him to serve otherwise than loyally and well? He came from the North of Ireland, where he had been trained for the teaching profession, and was a fellow student, I believe, of the Rev. J. S. Pollock. They came out to Australia together. Here is a little story of the McComb family. After the Big War, when I was back home at the old place at Eagle Junction, I saw a lady one Sunday morning going off to church with three soldier sons. It was Mrs. McComb. Later, I said: “How proud you must have been going to worship with your three soldier boys!” “I was,” Mrs. McComb said, “and I’ll be prouder still when I have the other two back!” Yes, there were five of them in the war, good , loyal citizens of the Empire like father and mother, and, thanks be, they all came back. They are all doing well in their professions or jobs, just the sort of “Diggers” to whom Australia owes so much.

It may be that, in writing of school masters, I have omitted one or two whom I knew in the old days, but do not now call to remembrance. It is impossible, however, to leave the subject without a tribute to R. H. Roe, who was head master of the Brisbane Grammar School for so many years. A fine scholar, a fine oarsman, a thorough believer in the healthy mind in a healthy body, and so the helper of all lads in athletic training, Roe had the respect of the lads. They knew that “the head” had done all the things which he encouraged them to do, and that he had done them with distinction. But there was with him a wonderful charm, in addition to great strength of mind and courage. In soldiering, as in journalism, I have had many of his “old boys” with me, and, in my experience, very few indeed were below the mark. I knew him in connection with the Grammar School Cadets, and it was always a pleasure to have so fine an influence in camp. One day I put it to him in a quiet way whether he preserved discipline by holding up the terrors of the cane, and the reply was in his whimsical way: “I thought you would know that flogging in the army has been abolished.” His successor at the school, Mr. Bousfield, I have known for a good many years, but our ways have lain apart, and I cannot from personal knowledge give the school estimate and the general estimate of his fine qualities. Cowan and Jones, of the school, I knew pretty well, as stated in earlier pages. In closing on the Grammar School, I may add a strong belief- that the influence of Roe will remain with it for many years, just as it will remain with Queensland while the old boys of his day, and even their boys’ boys survive.

On the Press in Brisbane for some years as a free lance, and in the Legislative Assembly as a Griffith Liberal. S. W. Brooks was a well-known figure, an educationalist as well as a writer and politician. He had, I think, been a Methodist missionary- anyhow, a missionary- in Fiji, but for reasons of conscience had broken away from his Church, and away from a lot of the old beliefs as well. Just lately in “Back to Methuselah” I read one of the Shavian quips, that some one came “to call the righteous, not sinners, to repentance.” It reminded me of S. W. Brooks. He had many cute, keen sayings. He was a fine speaker, with great breadth of mind, and he should have had a place in the Government of the day; but, bless us, S. W. B. would have turned things upside down in a month. He had “no time” for humbug; he believed in honesty in political; as well as in ordinary life; and he even went so far on occasion to rise up and praise the arch-enemy of his party, McIlwraith. That in those days, as now, was the unforgivable sin, as much as though he had, after having grace, blasphemed the Third Element of the Trinity. Brooks began his literary work on the “Observer,” when it was a morning paper, and during my editorship. He was a great reader and always eagerly sought new books. At the Brisbane School of Arts was a round table, on which were placed the new works, and these, though available to those who could sit down there and read, were not allowed to be removed from the table until a month had passed. Like Tantalus thirsting in the lake, he thirsted for these good books, and he wrote a weekly article on “The Tantalus Round Table,” being mainly literary notes on the new volumes. It was S. W. Brooks who succeeded Beattie for the Valley in the Legislative Assembly, and it was John McMaster, I think, who succeeded Brooks; but the last named is not to be confused with William Brookes, of Brookes and Foster, who was member for North Brisbane, and later was in the Legislative Council.

Only twice have I been a visitor to Nudgee Orphanage School. Once was in 1881, and once in about 1911. The first occasion it was when editing the “Observer,” and there was a very big party, with a great array of Roman Catholic prelates. It must have been shortly after the death of Bishop O’Quinn, for his brother, Bishop Quinn, of Bathurst, was there, and others who had come to attend the funeral. It seems queer that one brother should have been O’Quinn, and the other Quinn, but in an earlier chapter I explained that the Brisbane Bishop had restored the O to his name. I well remember the tributes paid to the “prince of the Roman Catholic Church,” and especially that from his brother, who said that Bishop O’Quinn knew how to disagree with those who did not hold his opinions- he knew they were bound to love one another. There was only one God, who was the God of all, and there was but one Savior, who died for us all. Other prelates spoke, and the dominant note of their speeches was the call for good citizenship. What appealed to me most was the appreciation of Bishop O’Quinn’s work in the establishment of schools which had religious atmosphere, for then as now, I often wrangled with my friends over my objection to education of a purely secular character. A splendid luncheon was given, and the outstanding speeches at it were from John Murtagh Macrossan, the Minister for Works and Railways, and “the Hon. Charles Lilley,” the Chief Justice who had not yet become Sir Charles. Both the Roman Catholic politician and the Church of England Chief Justice spoke for brotherhood and fellow citizenship. We were much more free then than in these days in the public discussion of religious matters. We had our extremists on both sides – really bitter men, as we perhaps have today, but the real leaders of public affairs were in the most friendly way outspoken one with the other. I can truthfully say that in those years I never heard a breath of disloyalty from any Irish Roman Catholic or any other Roman Catholic, though Irish affairs were extremely turbulent, and we had in high position under the Crown two men who had been transported to Australia for Irish political offences. They  were of the best, the most honoured, and most loyal of our citizens. Other times, other manners.

Mr. Charles P. Perry, of “Wyndale,” Bootharb, Isis, writes in appreciative terms of my “Memories” of school teachers, and he sends some remembrances of his first days at school – at the Enoggera Primary, when Edward James Curd was headmaster. The school was built in the early 1870s, and “Good Old Jim Corbett gave a large corner free of charge out of his beautiful property, ‘Killarney.” Mr. Curd was intellectual looking, young, fresh complexioned, and rather short and slight, with very bright eyes and an abundance of light brown wavy hair. Boys and girls sat together, says Mr. Perry, and helped each other. Some of the girl pupils were quite big ( a little chap’s idea no doubt), including Annie Rayment, Dotie Mott, Dora McDowall, Harriet Furnival, Norah Maunsell, Sarah Pickering, Harriet Davies, Nellie Bagnall, little Winnie Manwaring, Katie Nicholson, and many others. Many of Queensland’s good citizens were educated at Enoggera under Mr. Curd – Sam, Kelsey, and Walter Voller, the Manwarings, Pickerings, Poulteneys, Davies, Llewellyn, Sneyds, Maunsell, Bagnall, Webb, Marshall, Rayment, Nicholson, Edward and Willie Corbett, Perrys (2), and so on. Mr. Perry goes on to say that Mr. Curd was a good musician and soon introduced a little “harmony” to Enoggera, starting “Penny Readings,” the local talent meeting each month on the Saturday evening nearest the full moon. Mr. Curd was ably seconded by his wife, an accomplished musician and delightful amateur actress. It is added: “I think Mrs. Curd lives near the tram terminus, Mount Pleasant, Logan Road.”
          When writing on the famous Robb Arbitration Case, I stated that, in connection with the Cairns railway, which was the cause of the action, John Robb had lost heavily. Shortly after the article appeared my very good friend, John Mann, formerly M.L.A., now sugar growing at Edmonton in the Cairns district, who worked on the line, expressed doubt as to Mr. Robb having come out on the wrong side. Mr. Mann has the impression that, in a case in Melbourne later on, a profit of £500,000 on the job was admitted. Mr. Munro, one of the Government engineers on the line, was, a couple of years ago, fruit growing at Birkdale, on the Cleveland line – perhaps still is. Mr. Mann gave me some interesting matter in connection with the work on the cairns line, which, of course, is quite unofficial. He says “The highest cost of excavating on the job was set down at 2/11d per yard on a centre cutting composed of jointy rock and tricky to bore. Most of the cuttings had an open face to the gorge, and thousands of yards of stuff were blown by ‘fracture,’ clear of the formation, at trifling cost. If a cavity was found a few packages of dynamite were flung into it, and the country for yards around was disturbed. I have this story from Malachi Finn, now living in retirement in Herberton, that he saw half a ton of dynamite and nine casks of powder put into a cavity, and the resultant explosion blew out sufficient rock to keep three sets of hammer and drill men boring for eight weeks ere the last remnant found a resting place in the Barron Gorge. And there was no ‘go slow’ in those days I can assure you. Robb, we understood, was getting 4/6d per yard for excavation, and, if he was, I do not wonder at the huge profit, as I have seen men on the face of the hill each letting down hundreds of yards daily by simply undermining and stepping aside to let an avalanche slide down clear to the river bed. In some cases the unfortunate man himself went over; but, in those days, human life was cheap. I saw a workman dismissed for refusing to work where he was endangering other men’s lives. Oh, yes; he punched the ganger, put his coat on, and walked away; and did not try to get up a sympathetic strike. They were men in those days. The ganger footed the bill later when his brief day of authority was ended.”

As I had been in the North, and had seen some little of the goldfields, including the wonderful Palmer, and, as I had dropped a little money in a Hodgkinson venture after coming here, there was an impression that I was more or less of a mining authority. Mainly it was “less.” However, I had a run around Thane’s Creek find, on Rosenthal, where some very rich stuff was found, and wrote some articles, which were very cautiously worded, too cautiously for some of the folk who wished to create a boom. The stuff in the Mountain Maid was rich, though patchy. Mr. Hutchinson had estimated that some of the stone would go 100oz to the ton, and he was said to have carried away a specimen worth £5. In 1865 there had been a sensation. so the historians said, over a “jewelers shop” at Talgai, and this was described as not a circumstances to the Thane’s Creek show. So far as I can remember, the gold at the Mountain Maid was carried in a 9in leader; but it seemed to cut out after a time, though a lot of gold was taken out. A “jeweller’s shop” is  a term often used in connection with the breaking down of rich stone. We saw lots of “shops” in the palmy Gympie days in the Ellen Harkins, Wilmot Extended, Hall’s Lease, and lots of others. Mr William Spreadborough, who used to write occasionally to the “Courier,” with the nom de plume “W. S. over Norbiton,” was, I think, the discoverer of the Thane’s Creek show. In after years the place had a rather extended trial, and I have an impression that it was there that my old friend, Mr. T. F. Groom, did a lot of prospecting and exploration work some 14 years ago. Probably a systematic working there even now would give good results, though wages and mining stores are so high. Shortly after I came here there was also some excitement over a discovery on Mr. A. Norton’s run, about 50 miles southwest of Gladstone. The best of the shows, I think, was the “Who’d-a-thought-it,” in which Friend Bros., of Gladstone, were the principals, with, I think, a Mr. McCollim. When Mr. Norton was writing for the “Courier” and “Observer,” after his term of Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, we often talked over the mining prospects there , and he was very sanguine that the place would be found payable if exploration was continued. Perhaps the area should not be described as in South Queensland’ but he had plenty of little flutters in the South, and not far from Brisbane either.

Probably Mr. Charles Hardie Buzacott was the originator of the Brisbane Tramway Company, and closely associated in the movement was Robert Porter, a well-known contractor, alderman of the city and prominent in all public movements. I was at one of the earlier meetings, and remember there J. Malbon Thompson, M.L.A., who had been in Cabinet, William Pocock, J. W. Forth, John Cameron, and R. D. Neilson. Mr. Pocock had a general agency business, was connected a good deal with mining, and did practically all the outside business, trusteeships etc. for the Bank of New South Wales. His son, the late Captain George Pocock, of the Field Artillery, who married a Miss Burkitt, was in the Bank of New South Wales. Mr. William Pocock took up a big tin dredging area on the Annan River near Cooktown, but passed out before he could put his ideas into effect.

J. W. Forth had a big produce business in Elizabeth Street, near the Theatre Royal, a very reserved man, but greatly esteemed by all who knew him.

John Cameron was a well-known real estate auctioneer, and for a long time, specialist in sub-divisions. He was a very bright, descriptive writer, and, as dear old T. A. Ryan said on an occasion, his advertisements would charm a bird off a bough to bid. John Cameron left his business in very capable hands – his sons, John (deceased), and Waverley, and Stuart, whom every one knows, and I have known since they were little chaps in knickers.

The moot point with the Tramway promoters was whether the lines should be built and operated by the Municipal Council or by a company working under an Act of Parliament. John Cameron favoured municipal building and ownership

Then John Cameron and R. D. Graham, a surveyor, urged that the Government should be asked to introduce legislation forming what we now  know as a Joint Board; but the difficulty of raising the necessary capital by debentures was pointed out by McIlwraith, and the private company was formed.

          A good thing for the local authorisation that they were not saddled with the tramway in the earlier years, for practically all the capital was lost; but the franchise was there, and when population warranted it, Sir Malcolm McEachern and others came along with the electrification scheme, and then began the J. S. Badger regime. This last mentioned taught us how to do thing. Mr. R. D. Neilson was one of the originators. He was a wine and spirit and general merchant in those days, a good looking, rather dandified chap, but cultured, and one of the old day amateur actors, with a special reverence for Shakespeare. Mr. Neilson’s family are out on the world in good positions, and he had his beautiful home on the river bank at Chelmer- a worthy pioneer, and one whose great services in religious and philanthropic movements should be gratefully remembered. With Sir J. R. Dickson – father of Mr. Acting-Justice Dickson- he was a church-warden of All Saints on Wickham Terrace, in the days when High Church methods were rather a shock to the “Protestant” congregations. But Neilson, like myself, always held that the Church of England is not, and never was, Protestant, but Catholic, and I have heard him refer some contentious spirits to the Apostles’ Creed. But that is a digression from the tram track.

A very interesting visitor to Brisbane, and concerning whom I wrote in 1881, was Mr. J. Taylor, of Taylor, Bethell, and Roberts, his shipping people. It is “for him” that Taylor’s Range is named. He had been out here in the sixties (1860s), and brought up quite a lot of land on the range, and held the view that residential Brisbane of the future would be on the slopes. Captain Simpson’s old place was there, and a wonderfully beautiful place it was at the time of Mr. Taylor’s second visit. Dr. Lockhart Gibson lives on one of the spurs of the range, a plateau with fine altitude, and it is his white roof that we see gleaming in the midst of the hill foliage like a splash of snow on a green background.

Many of us still think that Taylor’s Range will be the favourite residential area, and even in a few years’ time. The motor ‘bus and the motor car are smashing up our little distances, and it seems almost inevitable that before long the trams will run round the level country at the foot of the hills and work round to Mount Coot-tha. A tramway circle from Paddington to Mount Coot-tha and back by Toowong would be a wonderful scheme. It would give us a present unknown delight, and I fancy, would be a paying proposition.

Mr. Taylor thought the hill scenery like that of Switzerland. He was a very enterprising man, and knew Queensland geographically better than 90 per cent of the people of the country, for he travelled a great deal in the coastal areas and inland. I remember his saying to a couple of Press writers, of whom I was one, that he looked for great things from our mining and from our wool growing, but most of all from our sugar industry, which was then assuming stability. And he thought we would have no difficulty in getting English families with capital to come out if they thought a sufficient supply of coloured labour would be available. Ahem! Mr. Taylor certainly did not contemplate that Australian sentiment of 1927. Some of us do not even desire Italians, much less coloured labour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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