Steels Rails, McIlwraith, RNA Show, Courier Editors, Conclusion

Origin of a White Australia

More about Churches

A Marcus Clarke Memory

Many People and Events

          It may not be generally known that there was a very strong effort in the early eighties (1880s), to secure the introduction of labour from British India- coolie labour.

          The impression amongst the advocates of such immigration was that Kanaka labour would in course of time become very scarce, and, further, there was doubt as to the Kanaka being as efficient as the Indian. Most of my political friends were at the back of the movement, though, as one who strove in the North to secure the stoppage of Chinese immigration, I am glad to say that I was not brought to favour the Indian coolie.

          With the Kanaka, it was different, though, through the neglect of more than one Government, the history of that “black-bird catching” business was blood-stained and sordid. The Kanaka was tolerated by the Conservatives as commercially indispensable, and by the Liberals- with some notable exceptions- as a sort of necessary evil, or evil necessity.

          In 1892, I worked as a journalist in a campaign for the extension of the period of Kanaka employment, and we got it through, but with federation , the sugar industry happily became white.

          Sir Samuel W. Griffith had in that year entered into a coalition Government with Sir Thomas McIlwraith. The coolie immigration had got so far that an agent was appointed in British India, probably to represent the Government in conforming to the conditions required by the Government of India; but something happened. Public fear, even dread, had been awakened. This had its first public expression- apart from Press comment- in a meeting promoted by William Brookes, who was member for North Brisbane and the head of the well-known firm of Brookes and Foster.

          Mr. Brookes, as stated on a former occasion, was an English Radical of a particularly eloquent and fearless type, and present day believers in a White Australia have a lot for which to thank the early day Liberals or Radicals of Brisbane.

          On the coloured labour question, as on the convict labour question, they were absolutely uncompromising. They did not preach the brotherhood of man with one voice and the exclusion from Australia of potential industrial competition with another. The advanced Labour man in Brisbane- or the “Red Ragger,” at any rate- says, “Of course, we are all brothers”; adding, “but we love our coloured brethren at a distance!”

          William Brookes and the old-time Liberals were 100 per cent White Australia men, though they were all generous in subscribing for Christian work amongst coloured people- the “heathen in his blindness” and in his own land.

          It was impossible to divest the meeting of party political colour, indeed it would not have been reasonable to expect to do such a thing; but for some present were there only for political purposes. The men of the early eighties who were inclined to coolie labour considered that a tropical country could not be developed by white labour. They were perfectly honest, and many of them not personally interested, but it seemed queer that a Government, of which John Murtagh Macrossan was a prominent member, should do anything to encourage the immigration of coolies from India. Mr. Macrossan , before his entry to Parliament, had led the anti-Chinese immigration movement in North Queensland, and he was not likely to favour the Indians.

          Mr. Brookes was in the chair at the meeting, and the principal resolution was proposed by William Widdop, to the effect that the appointment of an immigration agent in British India to introduce coolie labour, was opposed to the higher interests of Queensland. Mr. Widdop I spoke of in connection with mining here in the early eighties. He was a fruit merchant, with a pleasant home at Clayfield, when that suburb was almost “out in the bush,” and he made and lost a lot of money in Gympie mining. In many respects he was McIlwraithian in sentiment, but he drew the line at Indian labour. Another speaker was Robert Jaeschke, the editor of the German paper, and a partner of my old friend Isambert, M.L.A. for Rosewood.

          Another was Mr. (afterwards Sir Arthur) Rutledge, and Mr. Wm. Miles was there with a few words, and had quite an ovation. Personally, the meeting did not worry me, as the editor of a paper owned by prominent members of the Government, for I had told them that if they authorised coolie labour, their defeat was certain. And so it ultimately came about. But the Indian immigration scheme was not developed. The Government of India found some reason for not approving of the movement of its people to Queensland, and probably the Queensland Government was quite glad to get out of the business. He would be a bold, even reckless, politician, who would today pin his faith to a policy of satisfying our demand for labour by bringing in Indian coolies. Which reminds me that the Australian Government or Governor of 1818 was opposed to Indians coming in. When my great grandfather sold out of the Honourable East India Company’s Army and came to Sydney with shiploads of goods and, as the historian pits it, over £20,000 in cash, he brought from Calcutta a retinue of his Indian servants. Governor Macquarie packed them back again. That may have been the first assertion of the White Australia policy.

          As stated earlier, it was the arrangement initiated to get coolie labour to Queensland that temporarily settled the McIlwraith Government, and not the Steel rails or the Miles v. McIlwraith cases.

          On the other hand, several old-timers have assured me that McIlwraith had made no definite declaration for coolies. Well, I worked very keenly for John Sinclair when he ran for North Brisbane, and knew something of the preparation of his address. He was the McIlwraith candidate, and I have looked up the address to make sure. It contained the following:- “I am opposed to coolie labour, and very strongly resist its introduction into Southern Queensland. I cannot, however, close my eyes to the fact that in reclaiming for cultivation the waste land in the hot and humid climate of our Northern coast, great difficulty is at present experienced by the settlers in getting European labourers. I therefore am unwilling to take the responsibility of retarding the progress of settlement by prohibiting the introduction of coolies for temporary purposes. But I would strictly confine this class of labour by Act of Parliament to work connected with the growth of sugar and other tropical products.”

          So far so good. Mr. Sinclair was defeated for Brisbane on the coolie test by Mr. Wm. Brookes, and by some 350 votes. But what was Mr. S. W. Griffith doing at that time? In Brisbane he inveighed against the establishment of a servile class; but at Cooktown in the early months of 1882, shortly after the Brisbane election, he said he considered Indian coolies as a class not desirable, but if it could be shown that they were necessary to develop any particular interests in certain parts of the colony, they might be admitted under proper safeguards.

          With whom did the term “A White Australia” originate?

          So far as I remember, it was with Sir Samuel Walter Griffith.

          Sir Samuel coquetted, as at Cooktown, with the question of coolie workers from India, and, after the coalition with McIlwraith, he agreed to the extension of Kanaka labour for a fixed period; but in his heart, he never desired the establishment or continuance of any servile class in this Queensland of ours.

          At Townsville, when on a Northern tour with William Miles, Mr. Griffith, as he then was, hedged again on his Cooktown statement. There he said we should first try to make this colony like Great Britain, the country by which it had been founded, “but failing that we might try another experiment.” That doesn’t sound like hedging, but rather like insistence. However, he went on “He would do all he could to make it a White Colony, and if it going to be black, he would leave. But he was not prepared to go so far as some, who said that no man should be allowed to employ a black servant.” The salient of this reference is the “White Colony.” From the words sprang the frequently used “White Queensland,” and from that spread the greater geographical expression of “A White Australia.” In later years the phrase was used by Parkes and Deakin; but my history is sound as to its use in the North in 1882 on the inspiration of Griffith’s words: “A White Colony!”

          Francis Kates, of Allora, was practically the originator of the method of closer settlement of the Darling Downs by the repurchase and subdivision of estates. In the session of 1881, he moved that £500,000 should be placed on the loan estimates “for the purchase of arable properties on the Darling Downs.” The Government of the day, of which I was a supporter, opposed the motion on the ground mainly that settlers up that way did not want land in farming areas. Some plausibility was given to the contention from the experience in connection with what were known as the Allora Exchange Lands. These lands had been re-transferred to the Government in exchange for outside areas. I remember that Mr. Perkins, Minister for Lands, in replying to the motion of Mr. Kates, said that only a few thousand acres of Allora lands had been taken up in two and a half years.

          McIlwraith, as well as Perkins, spoke against the motion, but it was carried by 19 to 15. It may be remarked that in nearly all cases, the Darling Downs repurchases have worked extremely well; and it was rather a poetical justice to see a few years later the very same political heads following on the lines of Mr. Kates’s proposal in September, 1881. Francis Kates was a very highly educated and cultured man, a fine speaker, and intellectually had no superior in the Legislative Assembly. I had many talks with him about the repurchase scheme, and it may be remarked that he always opposed loading the country with debt to build the railways to “the setting sun,” and other fanciful localities, while there were vast areas which should be made available to close settlement, and which already were served by railways.

          One morning, about July, 1881, I was in the old “Observer” Office at the corner of Edward and Adelaide Streets, when Mr. Perkins, the Minister for Lands, drove up in a hansom, and called out to me to “come up to the land sale.” I went up, and we saw realised on behalf of the Crown some £28,000, in about 28 minutes, for blocks which now would fetch £150,000. The upset prices ran from about £120 to £150 a foot. The firm gave £150 a foot. The site was soon built upon, and one of the old names abides there, for the establishment of Chapman and Co. stands upon it. William Young, a pastoralists and owner of Mount Larcombe, when it was a sheep station, got a couple of blocks at £144. Mr. Young lived in Brisbane for many years, his house being on a pretty knoll facing North Quay, just beyond the Helidon Spa Co.’s works. Lumley Hill and Patrick Perkins were also buyers. It may interest some of the younger generations of the families to know that the total of the Edwards and Chapman purchases was just under £7500. Fancy buying land at that figure today! Yet the firm did much to make the added value.

          The papers in 1881 discussed Bishop O’Quinn’s successor, or rather his prospective successor, with the utmost freedom. Even the ultra-Protestant “Evangelical Standard” took it up, and with some warrant, perhaps, for an irresponsible nobody had trained his coat, and said the great desire was for “a red hot Irish ecclesiastic,” who would “lead the Irishmen on to victory.” What that meant I am not quite sure. Perhaps the irresponsible nobody didn’t quite know himself, but it was defiantly rhetorical. The Roman Catholic community was very angry, and one of the number wrote asking what was the objection to Dr. Cani, an Italian, or Dean Murlay, of Rockhampton, a Frenchman, or Father Tenison-Woods, an Englishman, or Father McNab, a Scot. And it was asked also whether it would not be an impertinence to the Holy See to suggest  an Irishman, especially as the Archbishop of Sydney was an Englishman – Archbishop Vaughan, finest type of English gentleman and a most polished orator. But the Holy See was not “taking any” of the “red hot” school, and appointed the saintly Father Dunne, of Toowoomba, whose life was a beautiful lesson, and who was loved by all people. Even the turbulent Protestant element took off its hat and reverently saluted Bishop Dunne. And when he was called to his rest and his reward, the Roman Catholics were given by the Holy See another steadfast son of the Church, but also a great Australian, His Grace Archbishop Duhig, who knows no sectarian bitterness, but who may fairly be written as “one who loves his fellow man.”

          Now let me say a little about a very sharp controversy which took place at about this time concerning the shortage of clergy in the Church of England in Queensland. Bishop Hale had made a tour of the Western country, and was very much impressed by the conditions out there; but he couldn’t get money, and, as he said, he could not expect his clergy to live in the trees and eat grass. Some one was very angry, and wrote angrily to the papers saying that the parsons should go out and preach, and that money would come, but he objected to bargaining for stipends and all that sort of thing. “Money has given us empty churches,” he said, “unread Bibles and mere professional teachers.” The papers did not quite take that view. The “Observer” bluntly said it was the cry of the man who wished to dodge his responsibilities, the man who thought more of spending his money on a spree in town, at the races, and the opera, than supporting his Church.

          The other day, I looked up the old “Courier” files to see what Buzacott, O’Carroll, Feilberg, and Co., had to say. The good old paper went trenchantly for “people who desire to get religion on the cheap,” which was described as “unchristian and destructive of the vitality of the religious principle.”

          Again, it was said that the clergyman who assumed family responsibilities must be assured of a stipend, and that £200 a year was too little. I think an “adequate stipend” was spoken of, and the impression conveyed, if we put it in the words of today, that £200 a year for an educated man with a family was a “starvation wage.” By the way, I have not heard that the clergy have yet started a union. What an opportunity for an energetic organiser! All these matters show, as I have said, how freely we talked and wrote of religious Government, and even of each other’s religions.

          Somewhere or other, I have been told the story of the cabby who, when asked how business was, said “Bad, and it’s all because of those dam spakin’ machines.” The “spakin machine” was the telephone. In the old days, when men had to talk business, one or other took a cab, and was driven round to the meeting place. When the telephone came in, the cab was not so much required. Now that we have just got in Brisbane to the automatics or “them rheumatic telephones,” some one calls them, let us have a look at the initiation of the machines in this city.

          I refreshed my memory by a talk with Mr. F. O’Dwyer quite recently, and there’s little connected with the postal, or telegraph, or telephone departments that he doesn’t know.

          It was in 1881 or 1882 that Bell, the American telephone inventor, came over to direct our installation. I well remember the opening day. The ceremony was in the little exchange room fronting the lane from Queen Street to Elizabeth Street, and amongst those present were the Postmaster-General E. D. Morehead, Colonel John McDonnell, Under Secretary; Matvieff, Superintendent of Telegraphs; F. O’Dwyer, who was in charge of accounts; Starke, the mechanician; and some others whom I just now cannot name. The Exchange opened with 32 subscribers, and the Colonial Secretary’s Office- Sir Arthur H. Palmer’s – was No. 1, Colonel E. R. Drury’s was No. 2, and the office of the General Manager of the Queensland National Bank was, and today is, No. 3.

          Fred. Watson and his sister were in charge of the office, and Mrs. Welch controlled the South Brisbane branch. What a service that of the Telephone Department has been! Perhaps it developed irritably and a peculiar form of complaint, which we may put in English as “suppression of Language.” As a fact, we had to suppress our language because words suitable to some occasions were – forbidden. At any rate, there would have been a risk of their melting the wires.

          Very few now living remember, or ever know, how Sir Thomas McIlwraith received the news of the hoisting of the Union Jack on New Guinea. The story is told me by Mr. George Ross, of the Summit, near Stanthorpe. He says that McIlwraith and a party, headed by Mr. Patrick Lillis, were out inspecting the proposed route of what was then known as the Kilkivan branch, and had met a train at Gootchie Flat. They boarded the train, and, just as it was about to start, the station master, Mr. Charles Laugher, for many years later station master at Tweed Heads, reported a call on the telegraph line. “It was the memorable telegram,” says Mr. Ross, “from H. M. Chester to Sir Thomas McIlwraith, stating that the British flag had been hoisted and New Guinea declared a British possession.” Sir Thomas read out the telegram to the bewildered party, for they did not know what had led up to the incident, and he was exasperated at their lack of appreciation. He called out, “Dammit, gentlemen, can’t you see what this means?” and at last it dawned upon them that they had been called upon to join in the genesis of our connection with what His Grace Archbishop Duhig has termed “The Land of Mystery.” Sir Thomas called for cheers for the Queen (Victoria) and the new country, adding that Queensland was now the holder of New Guinea. At Tiaro, when the train stopped to drop Mr. Tom Price, the member for Wide Bay, there was more cheering. Alas! The British Government was perturbed by the German cry for “a place in the sun,” and refused to ratify the annexation. However, we divided up with Germany, formally annexed our part, which we called Papua, and in the whirligig of chance, are the administrators of the whole of New Guinea.

          People who read these Memories only occasionally discovered omissions which did not occur. For instance, I was lately asked why I had not mentioned Frank Daly in referring to journalists. If my memory serves me correctly, I had something about Daly’s work, especially on the “Queenslander,” in association with Cecil Gasking, the artist. Daly then wrote under the name of “Fidelio,” and both his prose and jingle were very bright and scholarly. Occasionally he wrote serious little bits of verse, gems too, and they certainly are worth collecting. He collaborated  also with Monty Scott on the “Boomerang,” and did a lot of work for “Bobby” Burns on “Figaro,” which paper survives under the editorship and management of Miss Clayton, the daughter of a very gallant soldier, who served for many years in India and trained many of the older generation of our Queensland soldiers.

          Frank Daly was one of the most modest of men, but he took great delight in his work. I was once asked by a newspaper manager about his ability, and I said that if ever editing a paper again, two men I would surely secure- Henry Burton (“Occam’s Razor,” formerly of Newcastle, England, “Weekly Chronicle”) and Frank Daly. A friend tells me that Daly now lives out Corinda way, is approaching four score years, but still sings his rhymes before putting them on paper. That last was a queer old habit. “These things came singing into my soul,” said another writer many years ago. It was so with Frank Daly’s muse. I have often seen him tramping up and down in the old “Queenslander” room in the present “Courier” building, and humming away to get his thoughts flowing into his easy jingle. Hail, Frank Daly, of the gentle nature and the heart full of warm comradeship! You are not often seen by the newspaper men of today, but you are not forgotten. In the old files of the papers, there are many of your treasures of prose and verse, and some day I hope they will be rescued from present obscurity.

          We were talking – some of us “Old Birds”- the other day, of the genesis of the Brisbane Stock Exchange, and of the time when we had also an open Mining Exchange, which held its calls at night. That was when Gympie and Charters Towers were turning out heaps of gold, and when speculation caught us up, and very ungently cast us down. Some one said that the Brisbane Chamber of Commerce initiated the exchange idea, but I find that it was way of a commercial ‘Change with the “I’ll buy with you, sell with you, talk with you” motto.

          The Chamber of Commerce was then a small and inconsequential affair, not like the powerful organisation embracing our bankers, insurance managers, merchants and all big traders and masters of industry which Mr. R. H. Tanner, the secretary, has evolved from smaller things. At a meeting some 44 years ago, with Mr. Theodore Unmack in the chair, Mr. R. D. Neilsen moved, “That it is desirable that the rooms of the Chamber of Commerce be thrown open for the convenience of the trading portion of the community during certain hours of the day for the purposes of an Exchange.”

          Sydney and Melbourne had their Exchanges, and why not Brisbane? Carried unanimously; but I do not remember that we ever saw the development of the idea. Merchants of not, nor did they in those days, meet to buy and sell. Later on, they developed the commercial brokers like Davis and Rees, “Jim” O’Brien, Cardno, White, Neill Macdonald, and others, who secured buying orders and fulfilled them. Merchants Saturday in their offices as they do today, with breaks, perhaps, for morning or afternoon tea. But, as I think of it, the breaks in the old days were generally for something a little more exhilarating than the brew of the gentle leaf of China or India or Ceylon. Java was not then in the sun with her material help for the cup that cheers, but only very slightly inebriates. Our brews were more potent. Prohibitionists may not regret, but temperance people will rejoice, that we have become a soberer and more “nervy” community.

          I am reminded that at the Brisbane Chamber of Commerce meeting at which Mr. Neilson’s resolution was carried unanimously, there were, besides the chairman, T. E. White, Henry Donkin, C. M. Paul, Nat. Howes, Barron L. Barnett, Marks (probably the manager of Hoffnung’s), E. W. Walker, William Williams, Smith (of W. H. Smith and Sons), and, of course, “the mover.” Where are they all today? Now, all these men were pioneers – pioneers of finance, trade, and industry. When it comes to writing the history of the Chamber of Commerce, let us hope- indeed, we may be sure- that they will not be forgotten.

          Wybert Reeve was a very fine actor. In “Diplomacy” he was splendid. With the co-operation of the Johnsonian Club, he gave a benefit for the wife and family of Marcus Clarke. I mentioned the circumstance to a younger man, a Philistine, and he asked: “Was that Marcus Clarke of the big warehouses in Sydney?”

          Of course it wasn’t, and it seems rather awful to have to say it was Marcus Clarke the writer who died in Melbourne young and poor, and who had married a daughter of John Dunne, the actor, and set about raising a family. Have you heard, you younger folk, of “For the Term of His Natural Life” or “His Natural Life” as the picture fiends have made it? Marcus Clarke was the author of that book. He was also a flaneur, wrote ephemeral but bright stuff, and a lot of clever jingle. He also wrote the rather overloaded Introduction to Gordon’s collected poems. Know who Gordon was? Of course you do; he wrote “Bush Ballads and Galloping Rhymes,” including “How we beat the Favourite,” “The Sick Stockrider,” “The Ride for the Wreck,” and a lot more, and at the time of his realised fame shot himself, and sleeps by the sea at Brighton, near Melbourne.

          When I returned from overseas in 1918, there was staying at the Federal Hotel, in Melbourne, a daughter of Marcus Clarke, a rather well-known actress. I was able to recite to her some of the verses attributed to her father. One was a clever skit on Gordon’s work, a mixture of absurd jingle and heroics relating to the doings of one “Mark Clancy.” Perhaps some others will remember it. Mark Clancy apostrophized his page:-

“Come hither, come hither, my little foot page, and tighten the girths for me!”

But never a word said the little foot page as he louted low on his knee.

For he’d drunk of the wine of the foaming Rhine, and was far gone on the spree.

And when Mark Clancy made his remarkable leap, compared with which that of the escaped Mameluke at the Cairo Citadel would have been merely a trifle, we had:

“What ho, without! Did you hear that shout,

Or was it the driving rain?”

Said the fair Lady Isabel, “Surely it is a bell,

I heard it, I thought, very plain!”

And then the tragic ending:

They found his body next morning, but there wasn’t a sign of his soul;

And the drunken old porter he said to his daughter, as he scratched his obfuscated poll;

“Here’s some poor wight who’s been tight overnight,

And broken his neck in a hole!

However, the Wybert Reeve- Johnsonian Club benefit realised a good sum to help the widow and the kiddies of the brilliant Marcus Clarke, and that was important.

          A discussion arose during the currency of these Memories concerning Wilhelmj, the great violinist, who was declared at St. Petersburg and Vienna to be the greatest living? I have given a little in earlier pages about the Wilhelmj concerts. However, people may like to hear more of so great a musician. He was a very big man, over 6ft in height, and weighed about 15 stone. I saw a good deal of him while he was here, and a fine, pleasant soul he was. He was a German and, I think, of Polish and Hungarian descent. His fiddle was a Stradivarius, which had been through only a few hands, and the varnish was quite fresh looking. A French collector had offered it to Joachim and Vieuxtemps, and the last named, in refusing to purchase, said it was “as hard as wood.” But Wilhelmj loved it, and his father, Dr. Wilhelmj, bought it for 3000 thalers.

Wilhelmj’s first master was Conrad Fisher, and he afterwards studied with Ferdinand David, who was a favourite pupil of Spohr. He married a niece of David, the Baroness Liphardt. Wilhelmj’s concerts in Brisbane were but poorly attended, but they were a great treat. He played at the Albert Hall, in Adelaide Street. Generally I like fiddlers, and enjoyed the company of Kubelik, when he was here, a most cheery and capable young man, whose soul was in his music, that is after his wife and kiddies, then for away in Europe. Kubelik could do wonders with his fiddle- imitating birds and getting all sorts of weird effects, but that was only in private. Of all I have heard, and so far as remembrance goes, give me Kreisler, Wilhelmj, and Kubelik, in that order.

My very old friend, Mr. T. H. Dougherty- a very fine violinist, well known on concert platforms and in the Brisbane Musical Union, wrote to me from Henderson Street, Bulimba, after the appearance of my Wilhelmj article. Mr. Dougherty’s letter will be appreciated by those whose memories go back a good part of 50 years, and, of course, by the younger generation, aw well.

He said: “I will not apologise for liking your vastly entertaining memories touching fiddlers, but rejoice the more to find you are of somewhat like mind to my own, in the appreciation of the one musical instrument, when well played, that captures all listeners. I, too, heard the great Wilhelmj in the Albert Hall, and shall never forget the splendid rendition of the Kreutzer Sonata by him and Max Vogrich, husband of Alice Rees, the well-known soprano of Victoria. I was introduced to Wilhelmj by Mr. A. S. Bean after one concert, and permitted to see and lightly touch his famous Strad. Violin, which he assured me was valued at a thousand pounds. While I was looking at the famous instrument, he clutched it by the neck. After a concert, a small party of us took him to the Johnsonian Club, Adelaide Street, where he inscribed his name in the visitor’s book, and played us a simple sketch, and reminded us that as we no doubt saw that, altogether he was a foreigner, he spoke English grammatically. Kindest regards for auld lang syne.”


William Allan of Braeside

An Old-Time Regatta

The O’Connors of Oxley

A Melba Incident

A picturesque figure in the pastoral and political life of Queensland was William Allan, of Braeside.

          He was also in the Queensland Scottish Volunteers, with A. C. Grant, Fraser, the railway engineer, John Stevenson, Jack Wilson, “Bob” Fraser, and some who are still here and going strong, and I had a son of his with me in the old Moreton Mounted Infantry, when I commanded a section, which was the equivalent of a troop in the Light Horse.

          William Allan owned Braeside, somewhere between Warwick and Dalveen, and had a flock of black sheep. This flock was a pastoral peculiarity, and some of the pure merinos held it to be a pastoral outrage, but William Allan was able to get a tip-top price for the wool, and he had suit lengths made from it for some of his friends. He was a bon viveur, musical, good-looking, and a general favourite.

          Mrs. Allan had been a Miss Mate, of Tarcutta, on the old Sydney road, between Yass and Albury, and I remembered her and others of the family when, at the mature age of 14, I was travelling with a mob of brumbies from the Upper Murray. The Mates were very rich people, and had a store as well as sheep stations, and we bought some mutton, flour and other “tucker” there.

          But that all leads up to William Allan’s appearance in political life. He was in the firm of Morehead and Co., as a side line, and great pals with E. D. Morehead, John Stevenson, and others, including that finest of all “The Old Colonial School,” Harry Bracker, who still is with us, and still one of the greatest of our judges of cattle and horses. I’ll digress to say, long live Harry Bracker, once one of the most dashing of Australian horsemen, and still, as always, with a heart of gold.

          But to get on, Francis Kates, the Allora miner and landowner, had resigned from the Legislative Assembly, where he was a sort of independent Griffiths supporter, and had again been nominated. Allan was nominated also; and for the seat, Darling Downs it was in those days, there was a great battle. All the Griffith influence, and all the Groom influence- which was a greater thing- were with Kates but Allan’s personal popularity gained him the day, and he landed at the top of the poll by some 70 votes. He was nominally an independent Government supporter, but in fact a keen and able supporter of McIlwraith.

          Some of the opposition to William Allan was not over scrupulous; indeed, it was unscrupulous. One prominent Downs paper referred to what it termed a long conference between Allan and the local head of a certain Church. Of course, the meaning was that Allan was out to secure the Roman Catholic vote. That suggestion was obvious enough; but a writer in the “Evangelical Standard” came out with rather a sneering reflection upon Sir Thomas McIlwraith, because he had given a modest subscription to the Bishop O’Quinn Memorial Fund. The complaint was not that the subscription should not have been given at all, but its modesty was the subject of the sneer. Now, McIlwraith, though not a rich man, was the sort of warm-souled Scot who subscribed to everything; but his assailant suggested that he was not very liberal to his own church and its minister. This brought into the field the Rev. J. F. McSwaine, who suffered neither fools nor bigots gladly. Mr. McSwaine, as a minister of the church which McIlwraith attended, went out with a flail, and he unmercifully, though verbally, thrashed the writer of the “Evangelical Standard” letter, asserting – what everyone knew- that Sir Thomas was a good supporter of the kirk, and a generous giver.

          I happen to know that Francis Kates was very perturbed over that phase of the campaign for darling Downs, for Kates was not only a very keen and capable business man, but was well included in the old-fashioned term of gentleman. He would not hit below the belt though at times a pungent critic, and I happen to know also that William Allan thought much more highly of him after their political tussle than before it. And to be sure, Allan also played the game. That same game is a good thing. Only lately, I showed a gallant war comrade, a good Scottish minister and a fine scholar, a little thing written by a gentleman, deceased, named Horace- his other name doesn’t matter. The little thing is in the “Vita Practica,” and it runs:

“…At pueri ludentes ‘rex eris’ aunt

Si recte facies.”

Of course, dear reader, you understand that probably better than I, but perhaps not so well as the Rev. Scott Macdonald, M.A., who will tell us that an interpretation is “But as the boys say in the game, ‘Play the game, and be a King.”

It’s astonishing how the old books such as our Bible, our Shakespeare, and our Horace bristle with quotations!

          But it does matter that “Play the Game” has the respectability of classical origin.

          A newspaper man who reads, or has read at all, knows that many of what are now regarded as slangy terms have quite respectable origin. Once in the Legislative Assembly, when I was doing “Gallery Notes” for the “Courier,” Lesina had greatly provoked John Leahy, who, as everyone who knew the Hon. John will readily understand, retaliated in no kid-glove style. With other things he said that Lesina deserved to be “fired out” of the Labour Party, and then Lesina essayed a rebuke, saying that “fired out” was a vulgar term, and that so great a lover of literature as the Hon. John should employ language more in keeping with his official position and his reputation for literary taste.

          Next day I was able to make a literary deliverance of which I was proud. In parenthesis: We writers really strut a little when we think we have produced “an accomplishment.” I quoted from the Shakespeare sonnet which begins:

“Two loves I have of comfort and despair.”

The hit was in the last line of what in the Petrarchian sense is known as the sestette, which runs:

And whether that my angel be turned fiend,

Suspect I may, yet not directly tell;

But being both from me, both to each friend,

I guess one angel in another’s hell;

Yet this shall I never know, but live in doubt,

Till my bad angel fire my good one out

Needless to say, John Leahy was very delighted when he read the “Gallery Notes.” He had a Shakespearian justification, and Lesina was buried in tumultuous confusion. The reader may marvel and say, “What erudition!” But no. Still a newspaper man, if he lives long enough and has read a little, will occasionally have thrust upon him an opportunity to improve the shining hour.

          Forty-six years ago, or very nearly, we were all very excited over the Brisbane regatta. It was not only an ordinary regatta. There was a prize of £100 for a professional sculling race, though Mr. R. H. Roe, then head master of the Brisbane Grammar School, a very experienced Cambridge oarsman and one of the founders of a crew rowing here, objected to the big prize, or a prize at all, as he did not think it would encourage our young fellows in the actual exercise and sport.

          Only lately I saw an old programme of the events of the day. In the £100 sculling race, there were three starters- Elias Laycock, Solomon of Sydney, a very fine sculler, and our own Harry McLeer, a splendid specimen of humanity. Laycock made a race of it, though he might easily have won by a furlong; but McLeer was out of it, mainly, as I remember, through fouling another boat up near Hogan’s sawmills. The principal fours was won by the Commercials, composed of C. Myers, Dennis O’Connor, Phil. Hardgrave, and Tom O’Sullivan, and young F. Midson, a nephew of Mr. Arthur Midson, as coxswain. Myers, who probably weighed under 10.0, was bow. He was a dentist, and wore a flowing red beard. Dennis O’Connor, one of the best known of Queensland rowers and now chairman of the Queensland Brewery Co., was No. 3; Phil. Hardgrave, a solicitor, son of John Hardgrave, one of the best known of Brisbane pioneers in his day, was No. 2. Hardgrave was also a keen footballer, as was his brother Fred., and a great all-round athlete. I saw him in Queen Street recently, still straight, and of splendid physique. The stroke of the crew was Tom O’Sullivan, who for some years stroked the Commercials in many a hard tussle, and with O’Connor, Foster, and my dear old friend, “Jack” Devoy, behind him. The Brisbane crew was composed of Hugh Macintosh, J. Burrell, J. T. Fowles, and J. A. Beal; and the Kangaroo Point Club was represented by L. M. Bond, Fred. C. Lea, E. M. Hart, and T. M. Bond.

          Some of the Kangaroo Point men also rowed in the “under 20” fours; and in this event also, and, as a representative of Kangaroo Point, the late Major-General, Sir S. A. Petherbridge, our good old Queenslander, “Sam” Petherbridge, who was the first secretary of the Defence Department on the accomplishment of federation.

          The amateur sculling race was won by Tom O’Sullivan, who had been coached by Laycock. Ernest Winter and R. Larard were also starters. Winter was a great enthusiast in sport, stroke of many winning crews, sculler, boxer, and a good man to his fences in the old days of the Brisbane Hunt Club. Larard was the first to commercialize the Helidon Spa Water, in which enterprise he was later joined by Gilbert Primrose, a cousin of Lord Rosebery. A brother of the sculler, Mr. S. Larard, was afterwards secretary of the Brisbane Chamber of Commerce, and is now out at Charleville. Others of the youngsters in the fours were Williams, who many a time stroked winners, A. C. Boden, R. F. Phelan, Henry Marshall (Under Secretary for Mines), W. R. Curnow, R. W. Southerden, Richard Francis, and Hector Perkins. What a splendid lot of material for a crack eight!

          A correspondent gave me lately some names of well-known officers of the Queensland Scottish Rifles which were not mentioned in the reference to William Allan, of Braeside, in connection with that fine regiment. The names are of J. Mackenzie Lees, well known in connection with Queensland banking and now on the Commonwealth Bank directorate; Bannatyne, a barrister; W. Robertson Strong, chartered acct, and a brother of the Rev. Dr. Strong of Melbourne; and Dr. McSwaine, who was chaplain to the force. All of these I remember well, with the exception of Bannatyne, and I don’t know whether he survives, but with the exception of Mr. Mackenzie Lees, the others have gone on the long journey. Of Mr. Mackenzie Lees, I could and would like to write quite a lot, but he would prefer that I should not. At least it may be said that no man of Queensland is held in greater esteem and affection by those who know him. My correspondent was able to sign himself “A Foundation Member” of the Queensland Scottish.

          The remarkably fine school, established by Mrs. O’Connor at Duporth, Oxley, is now only a memory or part of the history of Queensland. Much of the best of Queensland’s womanhood was trained there, soundly educated, and with characters impressed by the best of precept and example. In all good schools there is a public opinion, a sort of public morality. The liar and the sneak has no place in the ranks of a well-disciplined juvenile democracy, whether of boys or girls. That is where the character of a country is built. One occasionally meets a Duporth girl- a girl on whose temples little touches of silver gleam, and round her grown men and women who, quite ridiculously of course, call her mother. I have never met a Duporth girl who has not retained her respect for the old school and love for Mrs. O’Connor and her daughters.

          My introduction to Mrs. O’Connor was in 1881, at a school entertainment given in the old Presbyterian Hall, which stood just below the Wickham Terrace Presbyterian Church, and which was utilized as a school of sorts by various masters. I rather fancy that the Bowen House School had its genesis there. However, to the entertainment by Mrs. O’Connor’s pupils. It had some bright features, but included scenes from Shakespeare’s “King John.” Now, to a blasphemer like myself, Shakespeare on the stage- excepting the comedies- is almost invariably a trial, and “King John,” with its long speeches, is perhaps the most trying, to me, of the plays. Don’t let there be any mistake. In reading I know and love “King John” and all the rest of them; but, alas, I haven’t the Shakespearian spirit for the stage. It’s a good job that so few are in the same mould, a good job for Mr. Allan Wilkie, to whom all honour. The school entertainment from which I have wandered had as an addition a presentation of prizes. Among the girls who received very charming books and other things were-but no, that wouldn’t do, as it’s 46 years ago, and who so unchivalrous as to say that the sweet girl he knew in the early eighties could ever be on the wrong side of 40. Once a dear young thing asked: “Major, can you guess my age?” And the discreet reply was: “No, my dear, but you don’t look it!”

          The O’Connor family was distinguished apart from the scholastic side. Mr. O’Connor pere was an officer of the Australian Joint Stock Bank, which has become the Australian Bank of Commerce, in the days when Henry P. Abbott was manager for Queensland. Mr. O’Connor was more inclined to science than to finance, and we knew him as a valued contributor to the “Courier” and to the “Queenslander,” for many years. He did much to put Queensland folk on the right side in the matter of scientific fruit growing, and he was especially interested in educating us to a proper appreciation of the mango, not the stringy, parsnip flavoured thing, at which many of us turned up discriminating noses, but the really beautiful coloured and luscious dessert mango.

          Mr. O’Connor also was one of our keenest and best known ichthyologists. He took the Ceratodus, our Burnett “salmon,” to England, having had the honour of being the first to land our remarkable lung fish alive in the British Isles, and he brought to us from Java the domesticated gourami (Osphromenus olfax). We seem to have allowed the gourami to slip; at any rate, we never hear of it. It is a very handy thing about the house in Java, but the report that it runs about the yard and feeds with the chickens is not correct. It is kept in a tank, and is an ordinary gilled breather, not being able to live out of water.

          When the Dutch, or Chinese, or Japanese, or Javanese, or British Indian, or common or garden variety of Britisher thinks some fish would be mice for lunch, the cook goes to the tank and lifts out a gourami, fresh and fat for the grill or the pan or for the baking dish.

          Mr. “Tom” O’Connor (of Alexandra Headland) whom we know today as the lord of the Maroochydore manor, is a son of our old scientific and banking friend, and spent a good many years in the Survey Department. He is a surveyor, at any rate, and largely through his energy, Maroochydore and neighbourhood have been converted from a beautiful wilderness into a beautiful seaside resort, with sufficient of the wilderness left to preserve the charm.

          Another of the family of whose acquaintance I had the honour was Miss Janet O’Connor, who had been a schoolmate of Dame Nellie Melba, and was dearly beloved by her distinguished friend.

          “In the world, there is no girl more lovable than Janet O’Connor,” said Dame Nellie Melba, though for years they had not met. For the “Courier” I had gone down to meet Melba on her arrival, via Vancouver, on her first visit to Australia after she had set the bells of the world ringing out her fame.

          The dear woman was to have gone south by steamer, but she flatly refused to go beyond Brisbane, saying that she would take the mail train on to Melbourne and so be with her much beloved father a few days sooner. I had had my Press talk with her, and the agent of her impresario had told her of the arrangements for her journey on. Melba, however, dictated other arrangements. The result was that rooms were taken at the Gresham Hotel, and a carriage on a train from Central set apart.

          It seems so queer now that motor cars, even so few years ago, had not entered into our scheme of transport things. It became my privelege to escort Melba across from the ship to the railway station. We had suffered in Brisbane from drought conditions. The night was dark, and along Taylor’s and D’Aguilar Ranges ran the long red lines of bush fires. A sticky sort of rain had fallen, and the air was moist and heavy. However, I safely piloted the great lady across the wharf, over the mud and tinder space, over the rails and to the dingy railway station.

          What Melba said and what she did during the little trudge is the business of no one but herself, but I may say that as she landed and walked quietly over to the station, there was a touching little revelation of her love for her native Australia. Ever since that moment, I have understood that she is like other Australians – intensely devoted to the land of her birth.

          Soon the train arrived at Pinkenba station, and in it was Miss Janet O’Connor to meet her friend. Melba simply sprang into the carriage, threw her arms round her friend, and there was something perilously near to a breakdown.

          Perhaps, one should not write these things – but Melba belongs to Australia, and why shouldn’t we know something of the softer womanhood under the luster of the great artist. At any rate, there it is.


Frozen Meat Export

A Brisbane Wool Show

William Baynes, M.L.A.

          Late in 1881, we were all very excited, and the cattle men especially, over the success of a shipment of frozen meat, 150 tons taken from Sydney by the Orient liner Caronne and landed in England in splendid condition.

          The passengers, about 150, and the crew, were fed from the meat all the way across. The process of refrigeration was the Haslam dry air. We had visions of feeding the meat hungry people of the British Isles from our millions of cattle and we are still struggling for the trade. But the Argentine and other South American herds had not then been established to compete with us and to so often beat us. Our principal fear was of the United States competition; but the people of the United States had grown quicker than their herds, and they import a great deal of beef for their own dinner tables.

          Often I think that the history of our frozen meat trade is worth written fully, and I know of no one more competent for the job than our old friend, Mr. T. F. Fauset, of Clark and Fauset, for those two very fine engineers were with the earliest to make a success of fitting ships to carry beef and mutton from Queensland to London.

          Mr. Fauset, on an occasion, reminded me of the formation of a company in the North, with headquarters at Hughenden, for the purpose of exporting meat. I remember it well, and the real promoter- not a “promoter” in the bubble company sense was Mr. Robert Christison, of Lammermoor. Mr. Christison represented a company which had £50,000 subscribed in England, and ready to begin operations about the middle of 1882- so the report ran – but as a condition precedent to the start he laid it down that there must be taken up locally 15,000 shares at £1 by stock owners in the district, who should also guarantee to sell their drafts of fat stock to the company for a term of five years.

          The company offered for prime bullocks 12/- and for prime cows 10/- per 100lb. Sheep were to be supplied on the basis of 7/6 for prime wethers of 55lb. I do remember what became of the enterprise, but I have seen a list of the persons who agreed to sell their stock and to take shares. They included Hays and Bundock of Richmond Downs, A. Rourke, of Dotswood, W. Marks, of Dalrymple, J. Thompson, of Mount Emu, Christison Bros., of Lammermoor, R. Stewart, of Fairlight, R. Gray, of Hughenden, E. R. Edkins, of Mount Cornish, James Anderson of Manuka, M. M. Chisholm, of Moselle Downs, Harris and Elliot, of Landsborough Downs, W. H. L. Thornton, of Tower Hill, and H. Van Homrich, of Landsborough Downs. I had left the North when the project was developed, and perhaps some old Northerner could tell us what became of it.

          On a trip to Roma with McIlwraith in 1881, we found much interest in yards put up at Bungil Creek for entraining cattle to Brisbane. A shortage of trucks had been reported- we were not perfect on the railways even in those glorious days- and the owners of cattle there were talking of travelling them down by road. That would have meant, as it does today, a loss of time and condition. Later on, trucks were provided and some good bullocks from Euthulla and Durham Downs were sent to Brisbane, and we took a good deal of interest in them. They were well aged bullocks, and went up to 900lbs, but had caught a good season, fattened quickly, and the meat was a good bright colour and well “marbled.”

          In those days, and I suppose it still is so, the butcher did not care for the dark meat, and with an old English remembrance, he looked for the little graining of fat throughout it. One old chap, who was rather lean, and perhaps not over scrupulous, sold a lady a chunk of some sort of “top side”- I hope the technicality is all right- and pointed out the sinewy threads as the “marbling of fat.”

It was of this same Brisbane man that the old story was told over 40 years ago, and has just seen a revival. A chance customer went to his shop and said: “A pound of steak- if it’s tender.” The butcher said, “It’s tender as a woman’s ‘art!” The customer replied, “The give me a pound of sausages!”

          I think the entraining of stock at Bungil did not continue very long, and that the yards were moved back near Roma town. A friend lately told me he saw some “real old scrubbers” entrained at Roma “with horns as long as telegraph poles.”

          The importance of wool is, of course, recognised as much today as it was 45 years ago, perhaps even more, for Australia’s progress, even her solvency, depends upon our production of fleece. Yet we do not incline to sheep or wool exhibitions except as sections, and in a small way, at the Royal National Association. As we develop more sheep studs and regular stud sales, probably the specialized exhibitions, as in the South, will be more popular. Queensland, to be sure, has so wide a fling of sheep country that it is not an easy matter to get one general show, nor have we the port concentration of New South Wales or Victoria.

          At the 1881 show, we had quite a number of Southern wool growers, from as far away as South Australia and Tasmania, but the Queenslanders did very well indeed. Our chief exhibitors were Marshall and Slade of Glengallan, J. D. Macansh of Canning Downs, G. Clark and Co., of Talgai, Hodgson and Ramsay of Eton Vale, C. B. Fisher of Headington Hill, Darling Downs and Western Land Co. (Jimbour), and Gore Bros., of Yandilla. All of these were representative of Darling Downs flocks; but we also had Whittingham Bros., and Davidson, of Alice Downs, in the Barcoo district.

          Marshall and Slade won a double championship, and their exhibit was described by the late P. R. Gordon as the most valuable of all six fleeces ranging from 10½lbto 14lb, with a total of 73lb., a fine combing wool. Gordon and Co., of Yandilla, landed first for ewe fleeces. Much interest was taken in the Alice Downs wool for it represented the beginning of the influence of the young Victorians, with brains and capital, who came to Queensland to teach us scientific pastoral work, and that meant sub-divisions, provision of water, and the production of a high-grade wool.

          It was suggested to me that I should look up the report upon the wool from the Messrs. Whittingham and Davidson, and I have done so. The writer was P. R. Gordon, but he would have thrashed out the situation, perhaps, with Hermann Schmidt and one or two others  of the very experienced wool men; though Gordon was no small judge of wool, as we knew it in the early eighties.

          It was stated that Alice Downs wool was from sheep bred on the station for many generations, so that some idea might be obtained as to the effect of high latitudes and the herbage of the great slat-bush plains on the wool. “This wool is deficient in character,” it was said, “and in this respect resembles the best Cape wools, but that, perhaps, can scarcely be attributed either to herbage or climate. There is certainly no deficiency of yolk in it, nor is it wanting in softness or elasticity, and it may be classed as good sound medium combing wool. If it may be taken as a fair sample of the wools of the north-west of Queensland, it would appear a waste of money to invest in wool-washing machinery there. Wool of that description certainly will be best if  placed on the London market in the grease.”

          It will interest Mr. A. H. Whittingham to read that report upon the Alice Downs wool grown by his father and uncle when he was a small boy and knew much less of the science of wool production that he knows today.

          The question of selling in the grease or scoured was distinctly controversial even in those days, and before we had out Barcaldine way, either the bore water for the scouring of the wool or the railways to carry it to port. Scouring today is a very different thing from the rather rough and ready way of the early eighties.

On the subject of scouring, an incident may be mentioned. In 1894, I was out at Winton during a serious strike reporting for the “Courier,” and referred to the much-debated matter of shearing wet sheep. It had been said that the pastoralists would not shear damp sheep because of the danger of combustion in the wool; and I remarked that as “most” of the stations out there scoured their wool it would not matter if it was “as damp as a wet sponge” when shorn. “Most” should have been “many,” but there was the deuce of a row about it. Some one behind the scenes objected to the possibility of there being two sides to a penny under any circumstances; but not very much damage was done.

Reference to the wool growers of 45 years ago suggests many interesting things. It has been shown that in “high latitudes” and on “the great salt-bush plains”- which are sometimes there and sometimes not- we grow some of the finest wool in the world; but then, again, on the high lands of the Granite Belt, up Stanthorpe way, where the winters are severe and the rainfall pretty good, and plain grass the principal fodder, we grow wool just as good.

It is really pleasant to know that the Slade of Glengallon of 1881, can with his son still top a Brisbane market with wool, that the Ramsays of Eton Vale (now of Harrow), still grow good stuff on the Darling Downs, as well as in the north-west at Oondooroo, that Jimbour wool is still known to buyers, that though Yandilla has seen many changes good clips still come from parts of the old run, and that the name of Whittingham continues to be known and in the forefront of our pastoral industry and in a hundred other directions, and well honoured in the affairs of our Commonwealth.

So far in these “Memories,” I have had but little to say of William Baynes, a member of the Legislative Assembly, a well-known grazier, with big interests in the Burnett district, and the founder of Graziers’ Butchering Co. Hw left a well-known family, and a surviving son is a very dear friend of mine, Mr. Ernest Baynes, the President of the Royal National Association of Queensland. Ernest Baynes was a fine athlete, especially in rowing, and he was one of the straightest riders amongst the members of the old Brisbane Hunt Club. He is a fine judge of live stock, and especially of horses, and with much of the direct “no dam nonsense” way of his father. William Baynes was a strong supporter of the McIlwraith Government, but at certain points he drew the line. When McIlwraith was keen on coolie labour for tropical agriculture, and said he would be sorry to see white men working in the cane fields, and when Griffiths was temporizing, William Baynes came down in Parliament with a statement which could not be misunderstood. He would support no Government, he said, on the coolie question, and would wipe from the Statute Book the laws relating to coloured labour. He was also keenly opposed to proposals that certain railways to be built should be left to private companies, or to a nebulous private company, to work. Now, McIlwraith, for all his good qualities, was a strong, self-willed man, and a bit of a bounce, but he couldn’t bounce William Baynes, and so respected him. William Baynes was a fine looking man, always had good horses, and the love of good animals, and good horse mastership were born in the bones of his sons.


The Steel Rails Case

Charges of Nepotism

An Absolute Clearance for McIlwraith

The McIlwraith – Griffith Coalition

          An episode in Queensland life arose from the Steel Rails Case.

          In 1880-1881, it was the political subject above all others. It was political in that the Premier of Queensland was assailed in the Legislative Assembly by the Leader of the Opposition with charges of connivance at corruption, if not actual participation. I was in the North when the matter was first mentioned in Parliament, and up there we were a strong body of McIlwraithians. The Douglas-Griffith element, however, had its following, and Griffith, or “Sam” Griffith, as the young barrister and potential political leader was called, formulated the reports concerning McIlwraith’s honesty and the country’s honour and pocket.

          The seriousness of the case first came to my mind on an occasion when I had gone down to Townsville from Cooktown. I was present when two men, afterwards well known in politics – and later on the Supreme Court Bench- were discussing it. It was at the home of Mr. J. K. Cannan, then manager of the Queensland National Bank at Townsville; and the men referred to were the late Sir Pope Cooper, and Mr. Justice Chubb, then plain misters. Both were McIlwraithians, and became, in succession, Attorneys-General in McIlwraith Governments. Their attitude, I remember, was that the charges were based on a little of coincident circumstances built up by informants of Mr. Griffith, who were prejudiced politically or personally desirous of “getting even.”

          The originator of the charges was secretary to the Agent-General of Queensland, who was later dismissed, and the principal mouthpiece of them had been a colleague of McIlwraith in the Macalister Ministry in 1874. Cooper and Chubb were, however, a little uneasy in their minds because they considered Griffith too high-minded to publish accusations unless he believed them, and too astute to be easily deceived. However, I am going ahead of history somewhat in saying that Griffith at the outset put it clearly that he made no charge against McIlwraith, but later said he considered the evidence showed that McIlwraith had connived at a fraud.

          Thomas Hamilton had originated the charges, but he was very much discredited, and when asked why he had not protested when he saw that the colony was being practically robbed, set up the plea that he wished to live a quiet life.

          The Brisbane “Telegraph” – then strongly Griffith or Liberal, and violently anti-McIlwraith-was moved to say that Mr. Hamilton was a “silent witness to nefarious transactions.” And of Mr. Hemmant, upon whose petition the charges were placed before Parliament, Mr. William Coote, in a remarkably dispassionate review of the whole case, said: “I do not know if the personal animosity of Mr. Hemmant towards McIlwraith- bitterly exhibited when in 1874 the latter gentleman left the Macalister administration, in which Mr. Hemmant was Colonial Treasurer- still operated to warm his patriotism, and warm the energy of its display.” Thus we get to certain elements which, if not damaging the claim of bona fides, would generally be taken to have in them some measure of prejudice.

          Despite the original disclaimer of Mr. Griffith, there could be no mistake as to the meaning of the charges. I was not in Brisbane for nearly a year after they were first made public, and so rely upon Mr. William Coote for their general interpretation.

          Mr. Coote said: “It is the first time in Queensland that a serious imputation of personal corruption, or a connivance at fraud, has been made against a Minister of the Crown, and that Minister the Premier and Treasurer of the colony, by any one, much less by a leading member of Parliament, himself an ex-Minister and ostensible head of the Opposition.”

          It would require much space to set out the charges, but it may be sufficient to say that they alleged that the purchase of steel rails for Queensland railways had been made at a price so far above market level that the colony had lost £60,000, and that a further loss occurred over the shipping of the rails.

          Something circumstantial was given to the allegation by the fact that the firm of McIlwraith, McEacharn, and Co., were the contractors, and the McIlwraiths were brothers of the Queensland Premier. But the circumstances were loaded up with statements apparently damning, but which were absolutely blown out. For instance, the purchase on account of the Queensland Government was 15,000 tons of rails, and Mr. Hamilton said: “Mr. Leonard Cooper, an ironmonger in Leeds – a gentleman who enjoys the confidence of the executive engineer, but who was previously unknown to the office in any capacity- made a contract with the Barrow Company for 5000 tons of rails at £6 per ton, and another with the Moss Bay Company for 10,000 tons at or under the same figure. In both cases, they were bought on the Queensland specification- an unusual one…and Mr. Valentine, one of the proprietors of the Moss Bay Company, distinctly informs me that he understood the rails were a direct purchase for the Queensland Government.” Mr. Griffith poke of Mr. Cooper as “an iron merchant or broker in a small way.”

          The rails were secured by the Queensland Government at over £9 per ton; but it was distinctly proved that within a few months, there had been a rise on the market equivalent to the difference, and that the prospects were that prices would not come down. But the Moss Bay and the Barrow Company absolutely denied that they had any such transactions with Cooper; it was proved that Cooper was a well-known iron trade operator whose transactions with two big firms engaged in armour plate making alone ran from £300,000 to £400,000 a year; and whatever might have been the price of rails some months earlier- and the Barrow and Moss Bay Companies had sold at from £5/7s to £6- one contract of 20,000 tons was made at £9/2/6 a ton, and synchronizing with the tenders for the Queensland 15,000 tons, which ran from £9/18/6 to £12/10/-. The well-known Haslam Engineering Company was the lowest tenderer, and some of the greatest iron firms of the United Kingdom had submitted prices.

          And Mr. Griffiths was generous enough to say that the managers of the firms were above suspicion. But there was the strong belief that the rails tendered for by the Haslam Company had been bought by Mr. Andrew McIlwraith in 1879, and though all the evidence went to show that there was nothing dishonest in the transaction, to say nothing of corruption, it was a circumstance which helped those who were building up on suspicions. And the executive engineer for Queensland at the Agent General’s office was a small holder in the Haslam Company, and a relative by marriage of Mr. Andrew McIlwraith. These things did the case of the Premier of Queensland much harm, though evidence clearly showed that suspicions of collusion were unwarranted.

          Mr. Hemmant, by petition, brought the case as presented to him by Mr. Hamilton before the Queensland Parliament. Public excitement ran very high, and fires were lighted in men’s hearts which had in them a good deal of unworthiness. Mr. Griffith honestly expressed a hope that the charges would be disproved. Those who remember Sir S. W. Griffith and his passionate love of country and of justice will readily believe that his expression was sincere; but he was confronted with direct and circumstantial evidence which was of a peculiar damaging nature. Having put his hand to the plough there was no turning back, and all through every point was beaten out with great acumen and forensic skill. The pity is that upon the overwhelming disproof of some of the allegations Mr. Griffith did not recognise the futility and the mischief of proceeding upon discredited evidence. He, however, had the circumstantial evidence, and he had not then learnt how impossible it was for great English and Scottish firms to be parties to flagrant and small corruption. On the other hand, it must be admitted- and we view things now freed from our strong party bias, from the influence of strong affection for McIlwraith, and with a correct perspective- that the relatives of the Queensland Premier in the United Kingdom, who were party to the Steel rails Contract, should, under all the conditions, have divulged themselves. A politician’s dealing with relatives on behalf of the country which he serves may be ever so free of evil, bit it should be conspicuously in the open, if at all.

          The charges submitted to the Queensland Parliament in the Hemmant petition were referred to a Select Committee. That was in July, 1880, and official records show that the allegations were that a contract had been improperly entered into with the Haslam Engineering Co., for 15,000 tons of steel rails, by which a loss of £70,000 had accrued to the colony.

          It further alleged that undue advantage had been give to McIlwraith and McEacharn, ship owners and brokers, the former a brother of the Premier, in contracting for the freight of these rails, as well as for the passage of immigrants; and that the Premier and the Colonial Secretary were owners of shares in several of the vessels under charter to the Government. It may be added that the association of McIlwraith and Palmer with the ships were as trustees under marriage settlements, and that this part of the petition formed the basis of the great case of Miles v McIlwraith, which went to the Privy Council and resulted in a victory for the Premier.

          Mr. Griffith had endeavoured to secure a Royal Commission to be appointed by her Majesty the Queen- all Royal Commissions have the Sovereign authority- but Mr. Macrossan, the Minister for Works, moved for a Select Committee, and that was agreed to. Mr. Griffith was one of the Committee, with Messrs. Dickson (later Sir J. R. Dickson) and Peter McLean with him, and the Government side was represented by Mr. Archibald Archer, chairman, and Messrs. Perkins, Macrossan, and Morehead. The Committee was not agreed on the general bearing of the evidence, but it was agreed that there should be a Royal Commission, and this was, in due course, appointed, and its report was an exoneration of McIlwraith, and more or less a political victory for him; but it was politically a Pyrrhic victory.

          The Government of Queensland nominated to the Royal Commission for the Steel Rails inquiry in London Mr. George King, of Gowrie, near Toowoomba, who had been for many years a member of the Legislative Council, but with commercial as well as pastoral experience, and was generally recognised in the Colony- as Queensland then was- as a man of the highest honour, sans peer et sans reproche. The secretary of State for the Colonies, the Earl of Kimberley, had been asked to nominate a second Commissioner, and he selected Mr. Frederick Waymouth Gibbs, C.B., Q.C.

Then came the general subject of the matters for inquiry and the instructions issued on behalf of the Queensland Government by Mr. (later Sir Arthur) Palmer, who was the Colonial Secretary.

For some detail of these I have gone to “Hansard,” July 5, 1881, vol xxxv, p 2. Though in Brisbane at that date, I had not arrived here when the subjects for inquiry were drafted. Mr. Palmer (or Sir Arthur), referring to the report of the Select Committee of the Queensland Legislative Assembly, said the Commissions had been prepared “to admit of the fullest investigation being made into the charges, direct and implied, made by Mr. Hemmant, and reiterated with much greater force and distinctiveness by Mr. Griffith (later Sir S. W.) in the Legislative Assembly on November 17, 1880: “He said now that…there was a preconcerted arrangement, and that he believed that the Colony had been most shamefully plundered by a ring of speculators in the London office, and he would now say more, and would say it, with a full sense of the responsibility of his position, that he considered, upon the evidence, that the Premier connived at it…he would repeat that the evidence showed that the Premier had connived at it.”

The Commission, referring to the association of Mr. Ashwell, the Consulting Engineer to the Agent-General, with the Haslam Company, said there was no evidence that he had exercised any favoritism, but that there was concurrence with the view of the Select Committee that no one holding shares in a contracting company should hold the position of Consulting Engineer.

On the question of the allegations concerning freights, the Commission reported: “The further evidence obtained in this country proves conclusively that no favoritism was shown to McIlwraith, McEacharn and Co., either in regard to the contract for freight or in regard to the relaxation of the condition as to full cargo ships, and that Mr Ashwell did not interfere as alleged by Mr. Hamilton.”

Also: “We find that the charges brought by Mr. Hamilton against the Agent-General and Mr. Ashwell, of favouring the firm of McIlwraith, McEacharn, and Co., are proved by the evidence to be unfounded.” This was in reply to a question as to whether the business of the Government had been fairly conducted. Then came what was the most important of all the findings, and this may be given in full from the report, as it is a matter of historical concern: “Lastly, we come to the charge against the Premier contained in the remarks to which we have been instructed to direct our attention by Mr. Palmer’s letter. As we have already gone into all the circumstance of the contracts for rails and freight in detail, it becomes unnecessary for us to do more than record our finding on this charge. We beg to report that, having carefully considered all the evidence taken before us, we find that there was no preconcerted arrangement in the matter as alleged in the remarks aforesaid; that the Colony has not been shamefully plundered by a ring of speculators in the London office; and that there was no such ring of speculators; and that the charge of connivance brought against the Premier is without foundation.”

The whole findings as to the Steel Rails Case were explanatory of much that had been alleged, and distinctly unfavourable to the allegations of Mr. Hemmant and Mr. Hamilton in other respects. As to the Premier, Mr. McIlwraith, there was an absolute clearance.

The Queensland Parliament was opened at noon on July 5 with the usual ceremonial, and in the Legislative Assembly, at 3.30pm., after the formal business, the report of the Royal Commission was presented by Sir A. H. Palmer. The exculpation of McIlwraith had leaked out during the forenoon, and I got my tip about it for an “Observer” special at about 11 o’clock on the day. The situation had caused intense excitement and the Legislative Assembly was packed early in the afternoon. The Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, the late Mr. L. A. Bernays, C.M.G., F.L.S., read the report, and there was an adjournment of a week to allow members to study it.

Mr. Hume Black, of Mackay, had moved the Address in Reply, and Mr. Henry Palmer, of Maryborough, had seconded it, and, when the House met again, Griffith moved an amendment to the Address by way of an addition to a reference to the Steel Rails Case as follows:- We have had under our consideration the evidence given before the Commissioners appointed to take evidence in England on the matters referred to in Mr. Hemmant’s petition, and are of the opinion that in making of the contracts for the supply and carriage of rails specially referred to in that petition, the interests of the Colony were subordinate to the interests of private persons.”

Upon this there was along and bitter debate. The amendment was noting more nor less than an impeachment of the competency of the members of the Commission, for against their characters even politicians would not dare breathe a word. It was there, looking at the matter after 44 years, and judging with the perspective of that intervening period, that Griffith made his mistake. The whole of the debate from the Opposition point of view was covertly an attempt to prove that the Commission had ignored the evidence.

Now Mr. King, in addition to being chivalrous and honourable, was  a man of singularly clear vision, independence of character, and unusually discerning, while Mr. Gibbs was a distinguished English lawyer, a Queen’s Counsel specially selected by the Secretary of State for the Colonies. The continuance of the attack was purely political. A Royal Commission to take evidence in England had been asked for, and pressed for, by the Opposition, and that same Opposition not only would not accept the finding, but sought to show that the report was the work of incapables. The public sympathy swung unmistakably to McIlwraith.

Mr. Archibald Archer, of Gracemere, who was member for Blackall, came down with an amendment on the amendment of Mr. Griffith. It was to the effect that, while it was undesirable to express an opinion on the working (general working) of the London office pending a further enquiry, “we are glad to congratulate your Excellency on the fact that the charges made against the Premier have been proved to be completely unfounded.”

It was proposed to omit certain words from the amendment of Mr. Griffith, and a vote was taken on the question, in the usual form, that the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the question. The division was as follows:-

Ayes, 20; Messrs. Griffith, Dickson, McLean, Garrick, Thorn, Thompson, Kates, Rea, Miles, Rutledge, Stubley, Bailey, MacDonald-Paterson, Aland, Macfarlane, Foote, Grimes, Groom, Beattie and Fraser.

Noes, 27: Sir Arthur Palmer, Messrs. McIlwraith, Perkins, Feez, Macrossan, Pope Cooper, O’Sullivan, Stevens, Lumley Hill, Simpson, Stevenson, Lalor, Baynes, Sheaffe, Weld-Blundell, H. Palmer, H. Wyndham Palmer, Norton, Scott, Kingsford, F. A. Cooper, Black, Low, Hamilton, Meston, Price, and Archer.

Mr. Archer’s amendment was adopted on July 20, and that ended the Steel Rails Case in Parliament.

The attack on the Address in Reply was led by Mr. (afterwards Sir S. W.) Griffith, with a very long review of evidence; but all the forensic skill of the able lawyer could not turn the views of many people from the findings of the Royal Commission.

On behalf of the Government, Mr. John M. Macrossan made one of the most effective speeches ever heard in our Legislative Assembly; but it was “with the gloves off.” Mr. Macrossan did not spare the leader of the Opposition, and he had not only a downright way of hammering facts home, but he had the verbal incisiveness which enabled him so to speak, to rub controversial salt into the wounds of his adversaries. Meston was the only Opposition ma to go over to vote with the Government, and he stood by the Royal Commission. To be sure our old friend Archibald Meston could not repress his facility in quotation to point a moral and adorn a tale, and he said of those who had placed accusations before Griffith in ‘the most plausible and alluring from,’ that they were men:

Skilled in the art to deepen scandal’s tints

With all the kind mendacity of hints,

While mingling truth with falsehood, sneers with smiles,

A thread of candour with a web of wiles.

John Stevenson made a rattling good speech on the occasion, and a new member, Oscar de Satge, spoke, but did not vote. De Satge was one of the purest of the old pure merinos, and rather felt that he was conferring an honour on Parliament by becoming a member. He put all the blame for the trouble on the Minister for Works, Mr. Macrossan, and that brought up Archibald Archer, who understood the de Satge foibles, and laughed off the attack on Macrossan by saying that he felt sure that capable Minister would go away and forever hide his diminished head.

Oscar de Satge was one of the first to put sheep on Carandotta, which is away in the north-west, at the back of Camooweal somewhere. To the surprise of every one, Lumley Hill supported McIlwraith, convinced and satisfied by the report, but he made a ferocious attack on Mr. Hemmant, and later on ran the “Observer” into a libel mess- out of which it was mighty hard to get- by an attack in a letter and footnote which appeared in the paper.

In the Assembly, Lumley Hill had the shelter of privelege. When he took his strong statements outside, Hemmant went for him and shook him up. The attacks on Hemmant, and especially a counter-attack, dealing with his business transaction with the Agent-General’s Office, roused the ire of his very warm friend, Mr. J. R. Dickson (afterwards Sir J. R., a Queensland Premier and a member of the House of Representatives). Mr. Dickson was fluent of speech, and he bitterly assailed members of the Opposition. But many of us lived to see the lion and the lamb lying down together, and all the old bitterness of the Steel Rails Case under the years which level down our scorn and cover up our little enmities.

The McIlwraith Government was defeated in the following elections, but not as an aftermath of the Steel Rails Case, but upon the continuation of the South Sea Labour trade and the proposals to secure indented coloured labour from British India. The relationship of McIlwraith and Griffith in and out of Parliament was marked by extreme bitterness; but much of that has already been the subject of “Memories.” It is pleasanter far to refer to the rapprochement of these really great men, and that occurred in 1892 to the intense astonishment of those who were not aware of the great events which were on the Queensland horizon.

As a fact, the shadow of the financial crash of 1893 was upon it. The disastrous floods could not be foreseen but there were premonitions of the hurricane retribution which was to fall upon the people of Australia. It was not that the country was anything but inherently sound, but because the people had entered upon and long continued, a policy of a boom caused by the expenditure of loan money instead of devoting themselves to the economic development of the colony.

A little later on, the policy was colloquially but truly described as one of “Borrow, boom, and burst!” Perhaps some of our politicians will remember that history has a habit of repeating itself. Today we are borrowing extravagantly and taking our labour from industrial production to Government jobs. Politicians are vote buyers. They will be pulled up with a round turn one of these days. McIlwraith and Griffith, it was hoped, by uniting, could divert the storm; but the storm was not only for Queensland, but for all Australia. They formed a strong Government. Griffith and his followers, on account of representations made, agreed that the kanaka labour for the sugar industry should be extended for 10 years, and strenuous efforts were made to secure greater production and land settlement. The coalition did not even defer the crash, which had more than a local origin. However, the two men who had fought so bitterly were content, for what they hoped might well serve the country, to bury their animosities.

Charles Hardie Buzacott and E. R. Drury had much to do with the meeting of the two leaders, and when they met, they were left to talk. The only story of that meeting that is reliable is this: McIlwraith rose and said: “Griffith, there is every reason why we should lay aside our differences, and pull together to restore confidence abroad.”

McIlwraith had in mind the English and Scottish people who were becoming “panicky,” and would not renew their deposits in the banks. Griffith said: “I am quite prepared to put aside all personal feeling and work with you for the good of the colony.” “Then,” said McIlwraith, “the past is past>” And Griffith replied, “Yes, let it rest.”

They did not then shake hands, but did so some days later after a conf with colleagues and the formulation of a general policy. How do I know all this? Well, I had it from a very close friend who was a very close friend of McIlwraith, and who got the story of the meeting from him. To mention it now is not just pure gossip. It comes appropriately at the close of the recapitulation of the Steel Rails Case. It illustrates the futility of human fume and personal bitterness as between public men. Political fate took in hand these two really great leaders and wiped out their antagonisms. But they were men above littlenesses or the fume of little minds when there came the great call for sacrifice and devotion.


Death of Newton

A Coincidence in Names

The 1881 Exhibition

Dr. Scholes of Goodna

Experiences with the blacks

        During the currency of these “Memories” in the “Courier” a group of more or less old Queenslanders stood bareheaded at a Toowong graveside, and saw placed to rest all that was mortal of Richard Newton.

The tall, well-set-up figure, the handsome face, with its closely trimmed beard after the Vandyke style, the steadfast grey eyes, kindly but fearless, the convincing but infrequent smile, and the well-modulated voice- all these are things of the earth, but not earthy.

We know, however, that there was something more, something quickening, keenly sensitized, eternal. That was the spirit. His soul is marching on.

Forty-five years ago, Richard Newton was only known formally; but “Dick” Newton was familiar and always affectionately regarded. From his articles in the “Courier” a couple of years since, we all know of his struggles in Queensland. Sugar and sheep failed him, and ultimately he found himself in his beautiful home overlooking the wide stretch of Redland Bay, but with no income.

Like many other of our pioneers, he was paving the way. We who came later walk on the easy road. He had done something in the way of fugitive writing for the “Queenslander,” and it would be strange, he thought, if he could not with his pen, make bread and butter for his wife and the kiddies who had “arrived.” So he approached his friend Lukin, who gave him regular work on the “Courier” and “Queenslander.”

 It was £6 a week- worth about £14 a week under present conditions. At any rate, it was a godsend to the man of fine education and high mentality, who had soldiered abroad, and spent his money in developing Queensland industries.

I am the only living contemporary of Newton on the “Courier” literary staff today, for my old friend and colleague, Charles Melton, “Nut Quad,” was in the composing room when Newton wrote and reported for our paper. We stood together to pay a little tribute to a comrade who has put a “half double” at the foot of his copy. Forty years ago there would have been hundreds of friends at Newton’s funeral- but he outlived most of them. I said to his son- a gallant and distinguished comrade in another phase of life: “They are all here today!” They, too, are sleeping on the crests and in the slopes of the Toowong God’s Acre, which catches the first kiss of the morning sun and at eventide takes the later shadows.

Newton’s best general work on the “Courier” and “Queenslander” was in reviews, musical and dramatic notices, descriptive articles, and occasional bright leaders. One of his many acceptable articles was “A Day with the Devil.” It was not an interlude with a great fallen angel, or even with a grotesque monstrosity with hoofs, horns, tail, and pitchfork- merely an account of a day’s operations with an ingenious machine which hauled out stumps and pulled down trees, and was known as a forest devil.

The great article which made him famous, “Suspended Animation,” has been wrongly described as a hoax. It was not intended as a hoax, but as a quasi-scientific bit of imaginative writing. It was not assumed that any one would take it seriously. But there was a basis of scientific knowledge in it. We know that certain hornets place in their nests of clay, spiders which have been stung to unconscious inertia, and we know that the digger wasp similarly treats the grub, lays his eggs in it, and leaves it in suspended animation as fresh food for the young. I was in Cooktown at the time “Suspended Animation” was published, and even there we had a thrill.

Our old friend Eiche- an Englishman – the auctioneer, wired South and offered himself as a subject for experiment. Newton also wrote a hostile pamphlet against the McIlwraith land grant railway scheme- and killed it. No doubt Hardacre’s “Gridiron” campaign helped in the slaughter. Then, during the bushworkers’ strike in 1891, Newton had in the “Courier” a stirring article entitled “Phlebotomy or Rosewater.” He, like many others, had believed that the bush workers meant it when they threatened a capture of the Queensland Government by revolution.

But the work of “Dick” Newton which I admired most was when he was appointed trustee in the estate of a young Englishman who had come to Queensland with some money, and prospects of a lot more, and who was, by a couple of men of some business standing and social exaltedness, treated as a stranger and taken in.

          On a rotten sort of deal, the new chum had paid a big deposit , but had realised the character of the speculation and wanted to cry off. His “friends” would not have it so, and they ultimately put him through the court. As trustee, Newton discovered the whole of the circumstances of the sordid affair, and I think it was Mr. Justice Real who did the rest. There was an order for the cancellation of the contract, a return of the deposit, payment of costs by the polite chevaliers of industry, and- annulment of the insolvency. I hope that now, though no longer young, that Englishman remembers the firm courage and uncompromising honesty of Richard Newton.

          Newton was a courteous gentleman of a good old school. He taught his family to be good sports, to ride straight, and to go straight in this crooked world of ours. He was a lover of sports, good at cricket, and owned some tip-top racehorses in his day, including Balfour. Queensland was good to him. He came here almost an invalid; for years it was thought that his life was to be very short; insurance companies looked at him askance; but under our bright skies, and in our wonderful atmosphere, he lived an intensely busy and active life and died in his 85th year.

          I saw him in England in 1917 during the war, looking fresh and well, and naturally proud of, but particularly reserved, concerning the distinguished service of his son, Frank, Colonel Newton, C.B.E., D.S.O., with the Australian Cavalry in Palestine and beyond. Richard Newton, too, was good to Queensland. I don’t know whether he has left any money or lands, or houses; but he was a fine example to the younger generation of the days of his activities, and to those of his blood he has left an honoured name. And so, Farewell!

          After the article on Dr. Doherty and his wife, “Eva” of “The Nation” a correspondent wrote as “A Loyal Britisher” in rather a flattering strain upon “breadth of vision” and things of that sort, and he asked under what circumstances Dr. O’Doherty was exiled. I had better give this piece of important and, to me at any rate, very interesting page of history in Dr. O’Doherty’s own words. In 1849, the last year of the great famine in Ireland, while following his studies, he visited Cork Fever Hospital, and the heart-rending sights he saw there caused him to become “a rebel.” In that year the famine to a great extent passed away, but the evictions remained. Perhaps I had better quote him in the first person:

          “I, with half a dozen other enthusiasts, started a paper, calling on the people to save their harvest. The harvest was a good one, and there was enough food in the country to save the life of every Irish man and woman; but it being exported to meet the demands of the landlords, while the people were being left to starve on the soil. I indicted one leading article for the paper referred to- and never wrote another in my life- appealing from the depth of my heart to the people to save their harvest. For this offence I was, after three trials, convicted and sentenced to be exiled for 10 years.”

          That is just the story, and, of course, every one would like to know where I got it from. Well, it was published in the “Courier” about the time I arrived in Brisbane, and John Flood, who had been on the “Courier” staff, showed me where to find it.

          The irony circumstances: Thirty years after Dr. Kevin Izod O’Doherty was exiled for this one and only leading article, James A. Froude in the “Nineteenth Century” and a writer in the “Contemporary Review” were following the O’Doherty lines- Englishmen both and neither even prosecuted. The world was widening!

          Under the heading of “A Call from Ireland” we printed extracts from a letter with comments, of course, from Gawne Echlin of Drinagh House, Wexford, Ireland. Probably it will be considered that my comments are like Bernard Shaw’s Prefaces to his plays- meaning in volume.

          The letter said: “My good old pal, Jack Alexander, sent me a ‘Brisbane Courier,’ last week, and it made me very sad to read about dear old (Dr.) Scholes, and brought before me the good old times and the happy days I spent with him when he was medical superintendent at Goodna.” My friend adds that he hears from Dr. Jackson and “Jack” Alexander, who sends him an odd “Courier,” which is very welcome, and read from beginning to end. Gawne Echlin hunted the Brisbane hounds in the late 1880s, as already mentioned. On returning to the Old Country, Echlin (a brother of Captain “Dick” Echlin, of Brisbane, also a fine rider to fences) haunted the Ripley and Knaphill barriers for six seasons, the Screen barriers for a season, and finished up by hunting the West Surry Staghounds also for a season. This probably is a record as I know of no one else who has hunted hounds in England, Ireland, and Australia.

          Gawne Echlin adds, “I have done a lot of hunting since the Brisbane days, but I really think I enjoyed the Brisbane Hounds and dear old Pilot more than any hunting I have had since.”

          The horse, Pilot, was typical of the steady English hunter, but not fast. He was true as steel to his jumps, knew as much about the game as a man, and I saw Gawne Echlin win a high jump with him at the Brisbane Exhibition, probably in 1890. Pat Moylan described Pilot, with true Irish brogue, as “a very intrikit (intricate) lepper.” And Pat Moylan, after a long spell of training gallopers in Brisbane, has made the long journey. He was “off-sider” generally to Gawne Echlin with the Brisbane Hounds and would run the drag, easing the fences for some of us, act as whip and at a stretch as kennel huntsman. It will be remembered that when Gawne gave up the hounds he was succeeded as master by Mr. Adolph Feez.

Gawne’s letter from Wexford says, “Kindly remember me to any old friends you may drop across. I am afraid there are very few left now.” Well, there are a few, and this may be taken as the delivering of the message and greeting from far-away County Wexford.

          While on personal subjects, reference may be made to a letter to the “Courier” asking why I had cut out Mackay from my Memories. I replied that, though I had put in a few hours on occasions, at Flattop Island, I had never been at Mackay. Mr correspondent said to a mutual friend: “But I know people who knew him there.” It is a case of mistaken identity through a remarkable coincidence in names. A good many years ago, there was a Reginald Spencer Poysey-Browne at Mackay. He died under tragic circumstances at his farm, a little distance out from the town.

          Though my parents were unable to endow me with wealth, they gave me the names at Christening of Reginald Spencer, and the last mentioned as a family name; but it must be distinctly understood that I am not the man who died at Mackay.

          On an occasion my friend, Mr. “Jimmy” Orr, of the Stock Department, rang me up and asked if I wished the registration of my brand at Mackay continued. I said I had no brand registered, and he replied, “I thought not, but thought that it might have been your father’s brand.” Who the Mackay Browne was I don’t know. He may have been a relative of some sort, for the family is numerically strong. In England, there was the well-known racing authority and started, Spencer Browne.

          In 1888, I was living in England when he was appointed starter to the Belgian racing clubs. One day I went to see the editor of the “Sportsman” with some notes on Rugby Union football in Australia as an English team was about to visit this happy land, and sent in my name. “Come in old chap,” said the editor, with what seemed to me a very familiar tone. I went in, and he stared; but we pretty soon got to an understanding – and I sold my articles. The racing man had the family weakness in respect to the sport of the gee-gees. I hope the unhappy Spencer Browne had not to bear the responsibility of my many iniquities, and I hope not to bear any of his. And it may be added that one day I asked Mrs. Reginald Whipham, who had lived in Mackay, if she remembered my namesake. She did and added that he was a much older man than I but that she and many others had been confused over the names.

          The secretaryship of the Queensland National Association – now with the well deserved prefix of “Royal”- was for the 1881 Exhibition in the hands of Mr. F. M. Lascelles, who had gained experience under that very fine organiser, and most courtly gentleman, Mr.Jules Joubert. Mr. Lascelles was a slight, intensely energetic man, who knew a thing or two about exhibitions, and he had a council of wise and devoted men. At the head of the council was Mr. John Fenwick, whose name is with us still in the firm of Fenwick & Co., the well-known wool brokers and stock and station agents. When I came to Brisbane, the firm was Fenwick and Scott, and then Fenwick and Macgregor. The Mr. McLeod joined in, and soon took over the active management.

          Mr. John Fenwick was a fine citizen. He was always well turned out with an invariable flower in his buttonhole. He inclined to music and painting, but the great work of his life, apart from his business, was Masonry. Not being of the craft, I cannot quite say to what dizzy heights he did not rise in that most estimable order, but I know that he was a real Panjandrum, and held in great esteem. He was president of the National Association in 1881, or chairman of the council, and it was he who made the formal request to the Lieutenant-Governor (Sir Arthur Hunter Palmer) to open the Exhibition. I was not reporting on the occasion, August 10, 1881, as I was the full blown editor of the “Observer,” then a morning paper, but I was there in a hallowed circle- one of the select who were favoured with special invitations. To be sure, we had not the present great building, with its spacious pavilions, which Mr. G. M. Addison gave us in later years, nor had we anything approximating the Ernest Baynes grandstand, where the opening ceremony now takes place. We had the old wooden building facing the Bowen Bridge Road (or is it Brunswick Street at the point?), and the Lieutenant-Governor drove in his carriage, drove in at the wide gates with a clatter of horses and a swish of wheels and was received with a salute from a guard of honour of the 1st Queenslanders - in their red tunics- under captain Macfarlane, who went to his rest only a few years ago.

          Sir Arthur Palmer personally did not like ceremony, but he was representing the Governor and the Queen, and- well, dam’ it all, sir, things had to be done properly. And it may be remarked that in the bluff Sir Arthur Hunter Palmer, Queen Victoria had no more loyal or honourable representative in these wide-flung spaces of the Southern Seas. He was attended by Captain “Corney” O’Callaghan, A.D.C., and there was a really gay assemblage. It may be said that the Governor of the day, Sir Arthur Kennedy, was away to Sydney to meet his son-in-law, Admiral Lord Clanwilliam, who was in command of the squadron with the Royal Princes Edward and George.

          It was the sixth annual exhibition of the association, and in two previous years there had been an expansion of ideas through the coming of exhibits from the International Exhibition held in Sydney and Melbourne. On this occasion, Queensland stood more by her own resources. Sir Arthur Palmer had no sophistical compliments to pay. He was an experienced pastoralist and pioneer in New South Wales and Queensland, but he did not undertake to teach his maternal grandparent to suck eggs. He said, “the exhibition mania had been running hot for the past few years, and he thought it was nearly played out.”

          Of course, he referred to the big exhibitions in the South and their overflow to Brisbane. The only thing in the way of a compliment was not particularly generous. He had been through the various sections on the previous day, he said, and “the council had nothing to reproach itself with.” In about seven minutes, the affair was over with cheers for Sir Arthur, who looked as though to say: “Don’t be silly!” The guard of honour was the smartest turnout I had seen of the Queensland Volunteer Forces.

          Those who remember the 1881 exhibition do not talk very much about “the good, old days.” In live stock, we had some good stuff, but very little of it; but those workers who devoted their time to its organisation had laid foundations, and were building up.

          I remember Mr. Slade, of Glengallan, with a very fine Shorthorn bull, Royal Purple 1st, and Mr. Macansh, of Canning Downs, was represented by some good Bates Shorthorns, and “Harry” Bracker won a championship with a very fine young bull, Master Butterfly, which he had bought from John Fales, of Duckenfield Park, near Maitland, New South Wales. That was my first meeting with Mr. Bracker, but I knew him well by reputation as a horseman, and particularly as a dashing bush ride- a hard one to follow, and a good one to lead, or words to that effect.

          Only the other day we stood together at Bowen Park, studying the Shorthorns, and noting that Mr. W. B. Slade still was able to show us champions.

          What great work such men have done for Queensland in building up the flocks and herds. It scarcely seemed 46 years since they were at the Brisbane Exhibition with their good things in stud stock- and they have never looked back. It is good to remember that men like Slade and Bracker have seen the splendid results of their work and are with us yet.

          Only a little while ago, when Slade wool topped the Brisbane market, nearly all the old hands had memories of the old studs at Glengallan, and also of the Clark studs at Talgai. Captain Chauvel, of Tabulum, was well represented in the Hereford section- that was Captain Chauvel who commanded the New South Wales Lancers in Northern New South Wales and the father of General Sir Harry Chauvel, and other well known Queenslanders.

          In sheep, C. B. Fisher’s stud was represented, and there were good merino types shown by Bell and Sons (Sir Joshua Peter Bell being one of the “Sons”), by Slade of Glengallan, by George Morris Simpson of Bon Accord, and by Macansh of Canning Downs. Mr. Slade is the only studmaster of the lot who is left to us in Queensland. Mr. P. R. Ricardo, afterwards Colonel Ricardo, showed some Romney Marsh sheep, which I fancy he had at Franklyn Vale, but how they or their crossbred stock fared, I do not remember.

          The blood horses were not strong in numbers- and we do not get a very strong class even in this year of grace- and Laureate, the sire of some good racing stuff, won the blue. Others who had blood stock in were Messrs. W. Kellett, Eugene Monahan- who judged in classes where he was not represented- and J. P. Jost. All were racing men, Kellett being well represented at all times, and he was especially well represented when he managed the Grange for Sir Joshua Peter Bell.

          Eugene Monahan went North and West, and had some good horses, while J. P. Jost anchored in Brisbane- indeed it seemed that he had always been anchored here- and had some really first-class horses racing. Two of his grandsons are on the “Courier,” sturdy young fellows, with the firmness of character of J.P.J. and a lot of his love of sport.

          The draughts were few, but Loch Fergus, the champion, 4 years and over, was a good one, and has left his mark. Mr. J. H. Delpratt, of Tambourine, had the best colt under four years, and had a good eye for a Clydesdale in later years. Until very late years, Mr. Delpratt was steward in the draughts section, and is much missed. A kindly gentleman-using the word in the true sense- and a pretty old colonist. He was for over 40 years master of Tambourine; but the call came which comes to us all, and he has joined the great army of Queensland pioneers who have laid down their burden.

          In 1881, we had no great establishments for the preparation of hams and bacon and other of what the Americans call “hog products.” Those of us who could afford it ate York hams and English bacon, and to the epicures of today, or gourmets, let me say that in the early 1880s, ham was a favourite item at well done suppers.

          It was first cooked in the ordinary way of boiling or baking- and a baked ham one seldom sees in these degenerate days- and thin slices were given a sharp turn over the fire in champagne and served hot. With it, of course, the wine was a good brand of “Bubbly water,” tough, at times, and especially at oyster suppers, we took as a beverage a very delectable “black and tan” champagne and stout made into a shandy gaff. I wonder if that sort of shandy gaff is known to the folk of today.

          But to return to the Exhibition. A few people were curing and turning out pretty fair “farm” stuff, together with smoked and rolled beef. Nor had the days of the butter factory come to us, preceded by the travelling dairies instituted by Colonel Thynne when Minister for Agriculture. Butter was made on the farms, and William Marshall, of Cedar Creek, secured first prize (vide “Courier” report), and Mr. David England, of the Pine River Settlements, a well-known owner of some good cattle, had to take second place.

          A feature was the display of Mr. B. Skinner with Moreton Bay turtle soup and other delicacies in tins. The turtle soup industry promised to become a big thing, but Mr. Skinner died.

          Of course, on the opening day of the Exhibition, we had a big crowd- 11,875 during the day; on the second day, 5533, and on the third, 2076. We must not compare the figures of 1881 with those of today, when we can point to crowds of 75,000 or 76,000.

          And now for a last remark. The “Courier” said: “One of the principal sideshows was Dan Sullivan’s refreshment booth!” The same Dan Sullivan kept an hotel where the “Courier” building now stands, a good soul, and to his memory let us “turn down an empty glass.”

          Newspaper men in the 1880s fell into all sorts of jobs, but seldom fell down on them- which is an Americanism, and we all hate Americanisms, especially when giving evidence before Royal Commissions on the “fillum” business.

          On an occasion, I had to report a football match- Rugby Union- and hope that the work was decently done. Some sub-editors like to send to a job of the kind, just for the sake of freshness, a writer who has no technical knowledge, claiming that general readers get something better than from a man who knows all about the game; and between us, beloved reader, sub-editors-may their shadows leave them- sometimes don’t fret. We had on the “Courier” in the late 1880s a very brilliant chap named Peter Robertson, a New Zealander, who had been on the Rockhampton “Bulletin,” and came along to Brisbane when the “Courier” had a vacancy. Robertson was primarily a music critic, and was a good man at dramatic work, also a tip-top shorthand writer, and occasionally did a very charming leader; but of athletics he knew nothing. He had seen a cricket match, and was horribly bored- and no wonder, if it was on present day lines- and had once reported a boxing match, which made him quite ill; and he was much upset when he was allotted an “Intercolonial” football match. Vainly he protested, the sub-editor saying: “Oh, you’ll pick it up all right, besides I’ve no one else to send.” So Peter went to the football match, and wrote a column. In one place he said “So and so picked up the ball and ran away with it; but he was seized by several opponents and thrown violently to the ground! The police did not interfere.” The report was very funny, and the sub-editor, very pleased, said: “I knew you would do it alright!” The football authorities, however, were very angry and tremendously outraged at the blasphemy of the game, waited on the editor next day, and made a strong protest. Peter’s picturesque fancifulness was not requisitioned for future matches.

          Of course, football is in the air, the game, not the implement? A couple of years ago we had an English “Soccer” team here, and I went, for old times sake, to see them play our Queenslanders. We hear a lot of nonsense from base-job soldiers about “Pommies,” but the English “Soccer” chaps were just types of young fellows of the Old Land. How did we compare with them either physically, in dash, in cleverness, or in knowledge of the game? Well, I’m an Australian, one of a family which reckons seven generations in the land, and about the Englishmen? Suppose we put it that they are representative of our forebears. Even Americans do that. Rather a neat idea. At one time, I hadn’t much respect for “Soccer,” or, as it was known in later years, the “British Association Game.” In youthful days we played it, village against village, with no special rules save that the team which got the ball home won.

          In England, in 1888, we were discussing the merits of the various games, when John Voelcker- a cousin of my old friend and neighbour, Fred. Heussler, of Eagle Junction- chemist of the Royal Agricultural Society of Great Britain, and a one-time crack mile runner, said, “Come with me on Saturday to the Surrey grounds to the charity match, and you’ll see a game of ‘Soccer’ as it should be played.”

          Accordingly, I went, and we saw Oxford and Cambridge combined play the Corinthians, a team of English amateurs who did a lot of touring. It was a treat- beautiful, fast play, and like that of our own boys in that there was no “dirty” business, except when a player rolled in the mud. In my young days, I could give and take hard knocks, but a football player who tries to hurt or injure another has in him too much of the brute element. He should devote himself to boxing, with a referee strict on clean play.

          However, I have always spoken highly of “Soccer,” or “The Association Game,” ever since.

          A little while ago I was talking football with my “Digger” friend, Leacock, who lived near me at Toombul and was doing some referee work. I said that I had never seen the beauty of “Soccer” until I saw the Oxford and Cambridge combined play the Corinthians on the Surrey grounds in 1888. Leacock said, “And Somerset played Surrey a turn of Rugby Union on the same afternoon.” “Yes,” I replied “Were you there?” “Yes,” said Leacock, “I was one of the Corinthians.”

          Now my fiddle is to play a different tune. I wrote in the Memories an article under the heading of “Houses of Sadness” and two places of sadness to me are the prisons and the mental hospitals. Perhaps some day we shall do without prisons, have no question of human being punishing human being, and work out our own destinies by love and moral suasion. Seriously it may be doubted if punishment qua punishment effects any good, though a gentleman of philosophic fame and various other peculiarities has warned us that to spare the rod is to spoil the child. How would it sound- a plank in a new political platform, wiping out all punishment? One advocating that might be sure of a big constituency of “crooks.” It is possible that the solution of the criminal problem, especially in the case of congenital criminals, is an operation on the brain. But some of the more startling crimes are committed by people who, before the event, we would gladly have shaken by the hand; perhaps after the event we would more gladly do so. One thinks, of course, of unwritten laws, and those peculiarly involved circumstances of life in which it may be a crime not to commit a crime. But even if we dispensed with gaols, with the wiping out of punishment, or if we substituted in the case of habitual criminals the lethal chamber for the gaol, we still would have the mentally afflicted. How many of such afflicted are victims of our conditions- drug addicts and alcohol addicts, and how many sufferers from derangement caused by disease or accident? To go through a gaol or hospital for mental cases means an awful awakening. Knowing that, I have never been on St. Helena.

          Many years ago, Captain Townley, when Superintendent there, asked me down for a week-end. I gave the real reason for my refusal, saying: “No, I shouldn’t like to see so many of my friends in prison clothes.” The feeling was probably that attributed to John Bradford, who was ultimately burnt at Smithfield, on seeing some criminals going to execution: “There, but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford.” To be sure, he was not burnt because of quoted expression.

          But I have been through the Brisbane Gaol, in the days when Captain Frederick Bernard was Governor, and not only in the old place at Petrie Terrace, but in the “new gaol,” out at Boggo Road; and I have been through the place which at one time was Woogaroo, but now called Goodna, at the inspiration of some one who didn’t know the meaning of the word.

          And that reminds me that close enquiry is not always wise. Only over at Gallipoli, during the fearful blizzard of November, 1915, one of the watchers in my brigade reported the discovery of some writing, a notice posted up in the Turkish lines, which were about 40 yards from our front line at the top of Wire Gully, and the front line was just 22 yards from my headquarters.

          With commendable promptitude, we sent for an interpreter of Turkish and after studying the notice for some time, he solemnly  gave us its purport. It was not an uncommon thing in tortuous trenches, even in our own. It ran: “This way to the latrines!” The aboriginals have a very gross interpretation of “Goodna.”

          A journalist, and especially a young one, is fond of thrills. On an occasion, W. H. Ryder and others fitted me up with the somewhat unattractive jacket and cap in which unhappy people- we call them unhappy- are garbed when about to be hanged. The coat was really a straightjacket, with muffled concerns for the hands, and the cap was hideous. Then my feet were strapped together, and round my neck was placed the hangman’s rope- a thin, strong cord, well waxed, and soaped, and as pliable as an Arizona lariat. It was horrible. It is much less distressing and much less horrible to face an armed party and take what is coming when the commander of the squad gives the signal.

          I could say something of this phase of life and death, but I saw it as a soldier, not as a journalist, and probably readers would not be thankful for a description.

          But both at Petrie Terrace, and at Boggo Road, as a journalist, I have seen people executed. The sight is not edifying. One story is of Boggo Road. A very pretty woman of loose life, really only a girl, had gone up to Rockhampton  with one of those worthless brutes who, while living on the hire of the poor creatures, shockingly ill-use them. One might he knocked her down and kicked her to death- a young girl of decent parentage. He was tried, convicted, and hanged. The last scene was out at Boggo Road, a dull, rainy morning, sufficiently depressing under happier circumstances. After the execution, when the body had been lowered into the coffin, a little grey, bent man stepped forward and looked closely into the dead man’s face. The old fellow chuckled, turned on his heel, and quickly walked out. He was the girl’s father.

          A newspaper man sees lots of things, and after the first execution he begins to doubt the wisdom of capital punishment- but in war? Well, in war there are breaches of the rules in which death should be sure. An Australian soldier deserted at Ypres. He was caught and betrayed a Scottish companion. The Scotchman, being of the British Army, was shot; the Australian was spared, to return to this land.

          The Governor of the gaol put me in “according to plan,” and closed the door. We had arranged for one minute. In half a minute I began to feel it, and to long for the light, but pulled myself together, and sang: “Salve, dimora casta e pura!” from Gounod’s “Faust,” and before I was through with it, the door swung open. An hour in there for a man without steadfastness and without knowledge of the term of the “cells” punishment would probably suffer horribly. I went out to tea with Captain Bernard and his devout “Plymouth Brethen” wife, later wrote an account of the experiences, and in the “Courier,” of 1883 the reflections would be found.

          My old friend, Dr. R. B. Scholes, was Medical Superintendent at Goodna when I first went through the place. He worked hard to avoid depression, went out as much as possible, and once referring to a large number of cures, said: “If it was not for the cures, I should go mad myself.” All the old hands will remember Dr. Scholes. He succeeded Dr. Pat. Smith, who succeeded a very clever and very genial English medico, Dr. Japp, who married a sister of William Lambert Fowles, and aunt of “Birtie,” Percy, Edgar and William Fowles, all of whom grew up, and some of them probably, will grow old in Brisbane.

          Scholes had a captaincy in the Field Artillery, and was a member of the Brisbane Hunt in the days when Gawne Echlin, and later, Adolph Feez, hunted a really good pack over a drag, and sometimes up at Ipswich after a dingo.

          We had been up for an afternoon’s cricket at Goodna, the “Courier” team, I mean, and a jolly good team it was. We had Robert Burley, Jimmy Hamson, Dave Wall, Jack Fitzgerald (afterwards a member of the Government in New South Wales), Harry Cox, and others, not forgetting a slight, fresh-looking, and fair young fellow, just back from England- our present Brisbane Newspaper Co., chief, J. J. Knight. We could pretty well hold our own with Goodna, and Goodna was by no means a bad side.

          That day, or probably the next, I went on rounds with Scholes, and the first case we saw in a padded cell was a man, naked as at his birth, and very nervous. He had just come out of a paroxysm, and was inclined to be apologetic. He was very glad, however, to see Scholes, and said, quite sensibly, “It was the worst attack, I think, Doc., that I have ever had.” “Yes, old chap,” Scholes replied, “I’ll send in Blank with your clothes, and I think I’ll give you something so that you may get a sleep.”

          We had not the merciful morphia in general use in those days. At the doctor’s house, I met a gentlemanly old chap, who had been editor of a newspaper in the North. We talked for a little while, and then he said: “Good-bye, doctor, I’ll come down tonight,” and was gone. Scholes told me the man’s story. It was a combination of malaria and the bad-grog habit which led to his being placed in restraint. “But now,” said the kindly doctor, “he is quite right mentally. He comes down at night for a game of whist and a peg before going to bed, and he does a little clerical work. I can’t turn the poor chap out.” And he didn’t. The poor old chap died there, and a few folk saw to it that he had a decent burial. I may mention that the patients were very much interested in the cricket matches at Goodna, and some of them played and some of the crowd were intensely parochial. They hated to see Goodna lose, and plainly showed disapproval of my rapid scoring on the part of visitors.

          I remember well the day on which Scholes was sentenced to death. He had long suffered from the heart, and one day he came down to Brisbane, and was examined at the Home Secretary’s Office by two brother medicos. After it was over, he said quite quietly, though he was rather pale: “Well, they give me six months- but an option for12 months.”

          Ryder asked: “What does that mean?” Scholes answered: “They say that, if I give up the pipe and the glass of grog, and keep quiet, I may go 12months; but if I go on with the little comforts, six months will see me out.” Ryder, looked distressed, and put it: “And what are you going to do?” Our friend smiled and said: “Well, I think we will have our quiet little evenings, our games of cards, our smokes, and our night caps to wind up- and the six months to do it in. After all, it is quite a long time.” Ina little more than six months, the gentle soul of Richard Scholes went for its judgment. We shall be happy, dear chaps, and chapesses, if we go out with as clean a life to our credit.

          In response to a request, I gave some particulars of the severe spear wound received by Dr. Jack when on his geological exploration work in Cape York Peninsula. Time after time blacks were caught in the act of stalking the geologist’s little party, and just as often they were warned and allowed to go free.

          Dr. Jack says: “I may have been in error in letting the treacherous savages go, but shooting a naked unarmed man, however justifiable the act may be, is plainly suggestive of murder to my mind.” Then the inevitable happened. Dr. Jack told me the full story at Townsville, and certainly he carried an ugly scar. It is better to take the story from his reports to the Mines Department- “I arranged that the night was to be divided into four watches by the stars. Macdonald had finished the first, and I the second; Love, who had been sleeping in the same tent with me, had been on guard for about twenty minutes (about half past one o’clock), and was rounding up the horses about 200 yards from the camp, when suddenly I felt a spear crash through my neck a little above the shoulder blade. To reach me, it must have passed over the space where Love had been sleeping till he was roused to take his watch. I Saturday up and was in the act of reaching for my revolver, when a second spear pinned the canvas stretcher from which I had just lifted my head. I fired a shot, and called on all hands to turn out…I attempted to pull out the spear, which was about 8ft in length, and the thickest I have ever seen, being nearly an inch in diameter, Its barb (which I have preserved, was of quarter inch iron, 7in long, and the thickest part of the spear, about 6in beyond the barb, was tight fixed in my flesh. Not knowing whether or not we were to have the satisfaction of seeing our enemies face to face, and resolved to bear my part in their reception should they come, after hastily satisfying myself no important blood vessel was involved in the wound, I carried the sheath knife to Macdonald, and ordered him to set me free, by cutting into the spear through my flesh…to cut the spear, which was of very hard wood, might have taken a few minutes of time, and the integrity of a little bit of flesh might have been very dearly purchased had the blacks resolutely followed up their attack.”

          Then we get a characteristic bit of Dr. Jack. He says: “After the rough surgical operation, I felt rather faint for a few seconds.” The blacks were beaten off. Dr. Jack says very little more of the episode, just this: “For some time the wound was very painful. My head had to be laid down for me when I went to rest, and lifted for me when I wished to get up, and I had to be lifted into the saddle.”

          Later, Dr. Jack’s party rejoined Crosbie and party, and Crosbie dressed and poulticed the wound. It was a ghastly rip in the flesh, and though the brave Scottish scientist frankly admitted that shock to his nervous system “was greater than I could have believed, a healthy man could have suffered from what was, after all, only a flesh wound,” he generally made light of it. He was more concerned about Crosbie, who “suffered martyrdom from earache.” Well, that’s the last about Dr. Jack, and the blacks.

          Before leaving, I wish to say what a splendidly enduring man he was. Very quiet, of charming personality, and with a keen sense of humour, he and his companions in that Cape York Peninsula trip had a time of intense hardship and danger. Fancy the official intelligence which sent a party out exploring in that country in the wet season.

          And while on the subject of the aboriginals, it may be mentioned that during the period when all Australia was thrilled by the news that women survivors from the wreck of the Douglas Mawson in the Gulf of Carpentaria were held captive by the blacks, a Sydney letter came asking my views as to the truth or otherwise of the story. To the correspondent I said, as the lady cook in England said to her mistress when asked about her religion: “I’m a hagnostic!”

          Of course, not an agnostic, as some one said later, probably with impressions of the Stadium in his mind. Simply, I don’t know.

          The surviving woman and her girl and baby were there or were not; but that didn’t sound very satisfying. If asked what I would have done in view of the many and conflicting reports, I may say that I would have offered a reward of £500, or even £1,000, for the settlement of the question or the recovery of the survivors, assuming that there were survivors. But aboriginal stories are rarely reliable.

          The late Inspector Harvey Fitzgerald, whom I knew so intimately in Cooktown, and later in Brisbane, told me some of his experiences when enquiring into the Mrs. Watson tragedy at Lizard Island, off Cooktown, in the late months of 1881; and his official reports related the earlier yarns of the blacks just as he gave them to me. Certain prisoners were made and taken out to Lizard Island. They said that Mrs. Watson shot one of her assailants dead and wounded two others. Certainly there were two wounded men.

          Then the story went, the blacks killed the two Chinese who were with Mrs. Watson in the camp and ate them. They also killed Mrs. Watson and her baby, cut them in pieces, and threw the pieces into deep water. The yarn was mostly lying. One Chinese were killed, it is true, and one wounded, but Mrs. Watson with her baby, and the wounded man, escaped, as I have said in an earlier chapter, in half of a ship’s tank- which is now in the Queensland Museum- to another island, and there perished from thirst.

          Inspector Fitzgerald said that the black prisoners rehearsed the whole performance for him, but he was too keen a man and knew the aboriginal  too well to accept all that was said or done.

          With the incident fresh in my mind, I hesitated to accept the story of the Douglas Mawson survivors, but the way to have tested it, would have been to offer a reward and encourage the experienced bushmen, or the “beachcombers,” to try it out. In three months, we should have known all about it.

          Writing of the North, it may be added that it is not generally known that James Venture Mulligan’s reports of his first expedition to the Palmer were contributed to the “Queenslander,” in 1873-1874, and were reprinted in a Guide Book in 1875. Dr. Jack speaks of Mulligan’s “pre-Wordsworthian contempt for mere scenery, which bored him almost to the point of incoherence,” but the discoverer of the Palmer as a gold field had his own way of putting things. Of Palmerville, he said: “Due north to the coast range, close at hand, the range of sandstone capping is irregularly broken into by creeks and gorges, whilst in a parallel line south, at the back of Thompson’s Range, is horrid to look at, and really I think looks worse than it really is. On the whole, looking at the numerous bush fires and darkies’ signal fires, which show so well this calm morning, the scene is a little shocking, though pleasing.” The old “Queenslanders” contain practically all of Mulligan’s infrequent apostrophes.


Foundation of the “Courier”

Editors from 1846 to 1919 and after

A line of over 80 years

          The “Moreton Bay Courier” was established in 1846, and in 1861, its name was changed to the “Brisbane Courier,” which we know today, and on which I have served with a few breaks for journeying overseas, since 1882, a period of about 45 years.

          It is a long time, but it does not seem long. That is rather a reversion of the reply of the insurance agent to the man who was considering the wise course of taking out a policy. “Why do married men live longer than single?” The reply of the agent was: “They don’t, but it seems longer!”

          The years have sped in my busy life.

          It seems only the other day that Mr. Charles Hardie Buzacott, after I had done some “casual” work, sent for me, and made me a very liberal offer to join the staff. William O’Carroll then was Editor, Carl Feilberg sub-Editor, and Mr. Buzacott was Managing _Director, and laid down the lines of policy.

          The Brisbane Newspaper Company has been good to me, and I think I may say that I have given it loyal service. The original “Courier” was founded by James Swan, a printer who had been in the composing room of the “Empire” in Sydney, when that paper was in the hands of Henry Parkes, afterwards one of the most distinguished of Australian politicians, and T. W. Hill and J. Power, both of whom put in many years on the “Courier” in my time, had “frames” there at the same time. In later days, the world went very well with Mr. Swan. He made money and was called to a seat in the Legislative Council, but he was always of the old Radical School.

          The first Editor was A. S. Lyons, a well-educated Sydneysider, who had been interested in the pastoral industry. The second Editor was William Wilks, a scholarly man, whose portrait appears in this volume and indicates strength and refinement.

          The old “Courier” files show that in his time, the paper had in it a literary “touch,” but we have no record of the writers. However, it is pretty safe to assume that the Editor wrote the leaders. In later years there was an exception, when Charles Lilley, afterwards Premier of the Colony and later still, Chief Justice Sir Charles Lilley, wrote leaders and did law reports.

          After Wilks came, with one exception, the Editors whom I have known. Ten of them I served under, and Theophilus P. Pugh I knew in years after he was Police Magistrate at Beenleigh.

          Thus I may count him in with “Courier” Editors whom I have known. But if we include George Hall, the brilliant “Bohemian” of the “Telegraph” in the 1880s, who was Editor of the “Courier” for a period. I knew a dozen of them, and in relation to each, there are pleasant memories.

          T. G. Pugh was Editor 1859- 1863 and was in that position when the “Courier” became a daily paper. Mr. Pugh was a straight-from-the-shoulder writer, and on one occasion when it was found that New South Wales was hot giving the new colony of Queensland its financial due, the “Courier” came out with a very caustic leader headed, “Stop Thief!”

          My old friend, Charles Melton of the “Queenslander” literary staff, and who is in his seventieth year of service with the Brisbane Newspaper Company, presented a boyish enthusiasm when speaking of T. P. Pugh. When I met him at Beenleigh I found him a smart well-dressed little chap with a very keen mind, but with horticultural rather than literary tastes. To be sure, the two make a very pleasant, and not infrequent combination. George Gissing may be quoted as a case in point. Pugh was for sometime member of the Legislative Assembly for North Brisbane. Of his appearance before the Supreme Court for some real or imagined offence by the “Courier,” I have written in an earlier chapter. His portrait given was taken in his younger days, probably when he was editor of the “Courier.” After Pugh came R. Belford, who had been on the “Queensland Times,” but of whom I have no other record.

          Mr. D. F. T. Jones succeeded Pugh as Editor. He has been mentioned earlier as head of the Parliamentary “Hansard” when I came to Brisbane- a tall, bearded man as will be seen by his portrait, scholarly and a very fine organiser.

          Mr. Jones was quite of the English journalistic school, though his forbears were mainly Welsh. I have not been able to get the exact period of his service as Editor of the “Courier,” but it would be after 1863, and probably before the coming of William O’Carroll. He lived on Red Hill in a bright cottage, vine-embowered, and with a delightful garden, not far from St. Bridgid’s Church and over the road, but on the higher level from where Wishart’s stores were for many years.

          William O’Carroll succeeded D. F. T. Jones, the date of his coming into the Queensland literary firmament I cannot give, but I have seen a photograph of an illuminated address presented to him on his retirement from the Editorship in 1869. He rejoined the staff later, and served until 1883. Mr. O’Carroll came to Queensland on one of the immigrant ships, and under the auspices of Bishop O’Quinn. He was not satisfied with certain conditions after his arrival, and wrote a series of articles in the “Courier” criticizing the authorities and also Bishop O’Quinn’s organisation for bringing out immigrants. The good Bishop was very displeased with the articles, but the “Courier” people were  very pleased with O’Carroll’s literary method, and secured his services, first as a contributor and later on the regular staff. Mr. O’Carroll is also referred to in an earlier chapter. He was a man of strong political views with a Conservative pose of mind, a very straightforward and independent man with the inflammable temperament of the Celt and with its inclination to sentiment. He had a great love for Scottish poetry and for Scottish songs. Mr. O’Carroll was about middle height and of slight, even frail physique, but he had wonderful vitality. His portrait is very good, the domed forehead, and scanty hair, the prominent Celtic nose, and the rather straggling beard of the Dickens style. He was my first experience of a “Courier” Editor, and it was a happy one, though William O’Carroll was somewhat of a taskmaster. On the illuminated address spoken of above were portraits of the “Courier” literary staff.

          Carl a Feilberg, Editor “Courier” September 10th, 1883 to October 29th, 1887 when he died, was a literary genius, a picturesque and rapid writer and a great worker. He was born in London but was of Danish extraction. Before settling in Brisbane, he had been on the papers at Cooktown and Maryborough. A man of about middle height, bearded as shown in his portrait, and he wore glasses, a necessity which was less frequent in the early 1880s than it is today. Feilberg was a good comrade with his staff, and on Sunday nights-every second Sunday- he had some of us over to his house and with Mrs. Feilberg, who was a charming hostess with a wonderful wealth of beautiful hair, gave us a very happy time. The death of Carolus was a great loss with the “Courier” and a great grief with the staff. The name Carolus was given him by Francis Adams, the poet and essayist, in a clever appreciation published in a short lived little paper of the magazine type brought out by Adams and others.

          William Kinnaird Rose, Editor “Courier” January 1888, to November 12th, 1891, was a distinguished war correspondent as already stated, but the portrait given shows him in the infantry kit of the Queensland Defence Force with which he held a captain’s commission. He was a Scottish advocate or barrister, had been as stated earlier was correspondent for the “Scotsman” with the Russians against the Turks in the 1876-1877 war, and after leaving Queensland, was war correspondent with the Greek Army in the war against the Turks. Rose was a tall, breezey chap with a flowing red beard, and he was a picturesque figure walking down Queen Street of a summer afternoon, his beard dividing and blowing back over his shoulders. He wore a light coat and slacks, the coat unbuttoned and showing a bright blue cummerbund about 9 inches deep, Distinctly he was a personage, a very bright writer, and a very cheery companion. He abhorred dullness, and sometimes late at night when the centre of a merry party, he would suddenly remember his paper, start up- but sit down again with the remark: “It will be all right; Barton the ever faithful is there.” Now Mr. Barton was the sub-editor.

          Dr. F. W. Ward, editor “Courier” January 1st 1894 to November 12th, 1898, was one of the keenest and most devoted of newspaper men who, as already stated, had graduated through the Primitive Methodist Ministry. He was above middle height, of fairly heavy build, and as the portrait shows, had a great flowing beard of deep copper red. Dr. Ward was a worker who put his paper first and expected everyone else to do the same. Before coming to the “Courier,” he had been editor of the Sydney “Daily Telegraph” as he was later upon leaving Brisbane. He did much through the “Courier” to develop agricultural settlement and production in Queensland, and his watchword was “Service.” Dr. Ward was in later years editor of the “Telegraph” in Brisbane and the first President of the Press Institute.

          Mr. C. Brunsdon Fletcher editor “Courier” December 25th 1898 to April 4th, 1903, after a brilliant school and college career, qualified as a surveyor and practised his profession in Queensland for some years. He was one of Dr. Ward’s “finds” and joined the staff of the Brisbane Newspaper Company as a contributor to the “Courier” and later became regular leader writer for the “Courier” and “Observer.” On Dr. Ward’s retirement from the editorship, Mr. Brunson Fletcher was appointed to the position and, like his predecessor, was a keen newspaper man and a great worker with a scholarly literary method and a fine knowledge of Australian and Pacific affairs.

In 1903, Mr. Brunsdon Fletcher was offered and accepted the position of Associate Editor of the “Sydney Morning Herald,” and in the later months of 1917, was appointed Editor. He took to the “Herald” the good experience and practical training in newspaper work obtained on the “Courier.” He is the author of valuable works on the Pacific. Mr. Brunsdon Fletcher is above middle height, slight but as “hard as nails,” and has stood the test of long days in the field on Queensland surveys as in burning the midnight oil as Editor of a daily paper. Mrs. Fletcher is a daughter of the late Sir Arthur Rutledge, K.C. who did much for the political life of Queensland and at the Bar.

Me. E. J. T. Barton, Editor of the “Courier” April 5, 1903 to May 5, 1906, went to the Brisbane Newspaper Company, when little more than a lad, being then a shorthand writer and earnest student. He became Chief Sub-Editor when Feilberg took over the Editorship, and office records show that he was Acting Editor for a couple of months in 1887, from June 1891 to December 1893, and again for a few weeks in 1898.

Mr. Barton was a most devoted worker, extremely painstaking, and cared for the “Courier” as for his own conscience. He was a very religious man always, and though he had sometimes a pretty swift team to handle in some of us in the old days, I may say on behalf of the element which caused him occasional disquiet, or perhaps a chronic disquiet, that he always had our respect. We knew that he was sincere, charitable in word, and in deed, often the victim of too plausible humbugs, but never unresponsive to a call for help. With Mr. Barton it was not whether a man deserved help, but whether he needed it. He lived out at Paddington in a pleasant cottage with big weeping figs shading it from the smiting suns of our summer afternoons, and at times, I have called there for him on Saturdays when we used to ride out to the hills and have a quiet day. They were, to me, very happy days. And it was the same with Walter J. Morley who, with one or another of his hefty boys, loved a day in the hills. Barton and Morley were lifelong friends, and when I knew them first spent their leisure time in sailing, and had their own comfortable little yacht. Mr. Barton is still actively engaged in journalism and church work, and philanthropic work generally, and he will leave the world sweeter and better than he found it.

John J. Knight was Editor of the “Courier” from May 6, 1906 to June 3, 1916, and is now Chairman of Directors of the Brisbane Newspaper Company, as stated elsewhere. Serving under Mr. Knight on the company’s papers, it is impossible for me to say all that I would like to say of his service, in our long comradeship while I was reporting with him, writing leaders on the “Observer” when he edited it, and doing general work and leaders at times on the “Courier” from the time he took over the control. In my dedication of this volume, I refer to his work for his papers and for the State, but much might have been added descriptive of his untiring zeal and personal pluck in the developments of civil aviation.

Mr. Knight has been responsible for a valuable work “In the Early Days” and other historical publications and he shaped and edited and made into a coherent volume Nehemiah Bartley’s “Opals and Agates.” Under his guidance, the “Courier” and associated papers have made unparalleled progress and on modern lines for he has not only literacy ability and experiences but also technical knowledge possessed by very few in Australia.

In the older days, Mr. Knight with his family loved bush jaunts in a smart sulky and pony; then came the motor boat stage, and then the motor car, and our chief has always been his own expert. Mr. Knight is above medium height, clean shaven, and resolute of face as shown in his portrait, and in younger days delighted in athletics and music, not an uncommon blend of qualities.

John Macgregor was editor of the “Courier” June 4th 1916 to June 14, 1919. He came to the company from the Sydney “Daily telegraph” as Associate Editor and “took the chair” when Mr. knight became Chairman of Directors. Mr. Macgregor was the second “Courier” Editor to go to the “Sydney Morning Herald” as Associate Editor. He is a keen practical journalist, a keen controversialist and of wide knowledge. Tall and robust with the strong blood of his Scottish ancestry, Mr. Macgregor has wonderful vitality and an abounding love of work, with side lines in rose growing and poultry raising. He has a fine son, Bruce, a “dinkum Anzac,” who represented the “Sydney Morning Herald” for some years in London and is now back on the staff of the paper in Australia.

Richard Sanderson Taylor was appointed Editor of the “Courier” on June 15, 1919, and at the time this was written, was still in that position. Born in England, Mr. Taylor had his first newspaper experience on the Sydney “Daily Telegraph.” He joined the “Courier” staff in 1890, and his more conspicuous work was in musical and dramatic criticism and in law reporting, the “Courier” reports being taken by the authorities as official. In June, 1916, he became Associate Editor. Mr. Taylor is recognised as a writer of perfect English, which is something in these days of slip-shod work. As in the case of Mr. Knight, it would be easy to say many pleasant things of the present Editor, but like the Chief, he is not “looking for compliments” from one of his staff. Mr. Taylor has a son who served in Egypt and France from 1915 to the close of the Big War, a journalist not only of promise, but of achievement.

Two outstanding names in the history of the “Courier” are Gresley Lukin and Charles Hardie Buzacott.

Each in his time had been Editor-in-Chief, but they had under them men who practically if not always, were nominally Editors. Both Mr. Lukin and Mr. Buzacott have been referred to on occasions in this volume as managing partners of the Brisbane Newspaper Company. They were high-minded men, and their services to Queensland should never be forgotten. Mr. Lukin made the “Queenslander” well known throughout the British Empire, and he set a very high literary standard to the best writers of the day, being employed on both “Courier” and the weekly newspaper. Mr. Buzacott placed the “Courier” to the forefront, but unhappily had to dispose of his interests after the financial crash of 1893. In political, as in literary life, and in the pioneering of newspapers, he made a reputation greater in value than much gold and when he went to his rest, it was with the consciousness that he had done the State some service.

Mr. Charles Melton tells me that George “Bohemian” Hall was at one time Editor of the “Courier.” I had not known that. The period would probably have been after O’Carroll’s temporary retirement in 1869. I regret I have not a portrait of Mr. Hall to include in this volume.


            I’m now closing the chapter.

Readers have borne with me for two years in the “Courier.”

Many letters came to me in appreciation, and some made me blush. A few kindly critics guided my wandering feet into the rigidly correct path of historical perfection, or as near to it as I have attained. Some have sent me welcome reminders with their corrections. The wonder to me and to many of my friends is that there was so little to correct. To be sure I killed off one good chap who wrote to say that he was alive, and when we met, he would show me that he was also kicking. I made him a Lazarus of my next modest budget.

But nothing have I set down in malice. My great joy in it all has been the giving to the present generation a little appreciation of women and men who made easier the way, whose courage and devotion should be enshrined in the memories of us all. My regret is that so many have been unmentioned.

Most that I have written is from memory. Occasionally I refreshed remembrance at the fountains of the “Courier” and the “Observer,” or at the Supreme Court Library.

Often I have wandered into disquisitions on morals, economics, education, religion, and music. Those parentheses will be taken for what they are worth, but they represent the convictions of one who has seen a good deal, travelled somewhat in other lands, and thought a little, and whose mind and body and deepest sentiments are Australian.

I gratefully acknowledge the goodness of the Brisbane Newspaper Company in permitting publication of the “Memories” in book form. The noble head of a great Church said to me when the articles were ended, that there should be sufficient interest in them to ensure the financial success of a book. Characteristically he added, “I will do my share.” And he did it, and to His Grace Archbishop Duhig, I offer my sincere thanks.