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Effects of the diggins on the other towns

Geelong Advertiser 4 October 1851, 2/1-2:

ALARMING SPREAD OF THE YELLOW FEVER.—We cannot quite say that we are heartily tired, or utterly sick of hearing nothing talked about except Gold, because it would be sheer affectation to pretend indifference to a matter which absorbs the thoughts of every one, and is unhinging all the relations of our social condition. But there is certainly something very curious, if not even alarming, in the extraordinary spread of the ‘Yellow Fever.’ It has smitten the entire community. From the old crone to the hoyden girl, from the grey-haired man to the beardless juvenile, nothing is talked about but ‘Gold.’ It absorbs all passion, all interest, all feeling. It is disorganizing our social relations. It is unhinging every one, it is deranging the functions of social life; it is literally unbalancing common sense, and upsetting the sturdiest understanding. The wildest fictions of German romance are becoming reality. And the most charming part of the matter is, that there is no diabolical compact to be enterred into, nor mysterious process to be gone through. You are not required to sign a deed with a pen dipped in the "ensanguined fluid" or "purple fountain" of the victim. No compact with the evil one is necessary. You have simply to throw up your situation, rig yourself out, and march out to the "Diggins." The torrent is too strong, and nothing will abate it, until it is seen and felt that all is not gold that glitters.

That much inconvenience, suffering, and loss will be endured by individuals, we admit. But the thing will right itself. Our mineral treasures are to us what the ‘bullion vaults’ are to the Bank of England; and though trade and labour may be temporarily convulsed, we cannot be otherwise than ultimately benefitted, by that increase of capital, that augmentation of our monetary power, which will be the result of our auriferous discoveries.

Geelong Advertiser 4 October 1851, 2/2:

THE VICTORIA COLONIST. —Our contemporary has determined to suspend publication for a couple of months, in consequence of his compositors and press-men, suffering from the all-pervading gold mania, having resolved upon a trip to the Gold Fields. As no alternative remained but to head a current it was useless to oppose, the proprietor of the "Colonist" wisely determined to accompany his workmen in their excursion

As regards ourselves, we are determined to maintain our daily issues; but we are afraid we shall be compelled to reduce the size of our sheet, to bring its punctual publication within the capabilities of our thinned establishment.

Geelong Advertiser 4 October 1851, 2/2-3:

MELBOURNE.
THE GOLD.
(FROM THE ARGUS.)

The people of Victoria have shown themselves not less enterprising than their neighbours at Sydney, all classes appearing determined to avail themselves of the new field of industry. Multitudes pass of all classes of society, from the humblest menial or respectable artizan, to the once prosperous tradesman and busy merchant. The latter class must yield to so general a pressure, which however temporary, will affect a great social revolution. New ties will be formed, and from discordant elements spring a social fabric, whose base may extend from the uttermost parts of the earth. Until the full tide of immigration sets in, we must expect a complete disorganisation of society, and every one will have to use exertions on his own behalf instead of dependence upon others. The time has arrived when poverty need plead no excuse, but when all may place themselves on a level with those of their fellow-men whom adventitious circumstances have raised. Industry will be rewarded and perseverance triumph, and if care be taken to avoid the fatal errors and vices of a Californian epoch, we may hope to reap the full benefits of these grand discoveries. Settlers and those in the far interior will experience the greatest amount of inconvenience, which may be greatly obviated by the wise precaution of growing their own supplies where practicable. The welcome marks of plough and furrow may now be seen in places which promised to have remained in the undisturbed possession of flocks and herds. The workmen in this district have abandoned their employment, and the entire population appears to be on the move. Buildings which were rapidly approaching completion have been abandoned; contracts neglected and penalties despised. Vast numbers crowd along, some well provided and equipped, others in less fortunate circumstances have to endure the severe fatigue of travelling under a warm sun with a heavy load, amongst which may be included one or two women.

Geelong Advertiser 4 October 1851, 2/3:

CAUTION TO GOLD SEEKERS.—With a view to check the system of "bolting" from employers, now unfortunately too much in vogue with the employed, the Government have come to the wholesome resolution not to issue licenses to dig to parties who are unable to produce regular discharges from their last employers. There may be some difficulty in enforcing this rule, but if regularly enforced, and so it ought to be, much annoyance and confusion will be saved to both master and man. In order however to enable the Gold Commissioner to discriminate in any case where a doubt may be entertained as to the aplicant’s right to a license, it would be well for employers who are unceremoniously left in the lurch by their servants, to drop that official a line to that effect, stating the circumstances under which they have been so left; this precaution would in very many cases doubtlesssly have the effect of depriving the "bolter" of the advantages to be derived from the gold fields altogether; and send him back if not a better, at all events a wiser man.—M. HERALD.

Geelong Advertiser 7 October 1851, 2/2:

One more question of vital importance remains to be considered. What is to become of the present year’s [wool] clip and harvest? There is, we admit, danger to be apprehended; but we think there is energy to overcome it. Up to the prersent time there has been no inconvenience felt; and we feel satisfied that there will always be a large section of the working population who will prefer their ordinary avocations. All superfluous servants will have to be dispensed with, and for a time the sheep will have to be run in larger flocks. Wages will be temporarily raised; the profits of the woolgrower will be reduced; while the gains of the agriculturist will most likely be enhanced in a greater ratio than his expenses. A few may be injured, but the classes benefitted will form a large majority.


So long as the golden rumours were merely echoed from a distance, they sounded more like romance than reality, and quiet people were at least not disturbed by the actual spectacle of a whole population, an entire town, rushing off to the "Diggings." But the romance has now become reality. Geelong is actually and visibly a moving encampment; those that are going are in a state of hilarious delirium, and those that are staying are in a state of excited stupor—if we may use such an expression. Scarcely any one can or will work at their ordinary callings. A short time ago, it would have been almost impossible to realise the spectacle now passing before our eyes. It is not alone the moving panorama which our town exhibits, the restless excitement, the feverish throb of our social state; every thing is disturbed or upset, and madness rules the hour. Nothing but time and bitter experience will calm down the excitement of the community. So long as men hear of extraordinary "luck" in gold hunting, it will create and maintain a craving of restlessness, which can only be subdued by repeated evidences of thorough disappointment; and we must wait until time and experience impress upon the community the great fact, that all are not destined to find gold, nor to be happy with it, even should they prove successful in obtaining it. Meantime, the fever must work itself out—as no doubt the gold fields will be, whatever may be their present richness.

Geelong Advertiser 14 October 1851, 2/3: [on the scarcity of good crime at Geelong]:

POLICE OFFICE.—This Judicial Hall continues to be less frequented, and more particularly since the late discovery of gold at Ballarat, causing all the thieves, we suppose, as well as honest folk, to desert our town and flock to the diggings, so that all the diurnal bench transacts per week, generally amounts to one drunkard or two, who, after making their five shilling bow to the bench, are politely handed out of court by the officials.

Geelong Advertiser 14 October 1851, 2/3: [effects of the gold rush exodus on the economy of Geelong township]:

The most recent intelligence from Ballarat respecting the mines, is that the average yield is still maintaining its usual rate. There is now a vast multitude at work at Ballarat, all of which, as might be expected, are not equally successful. Many have been so disappointed in their expectation of finding the treasure, that they have returned to their homes with heavy hearts.

This, together with the near prospect of the mines being partially if not entirely deprived of water for a season, by which to carry on the cradling operations, is tending to cool down the excitement in the minds of many who had seriously purposed to have gone to Ballarat. Indeed it would be well if any inducement were powerful enough in its operations to prevent any more working men from leaving town at the present moment. Already we sufficiently feel the absence of labour in the ordinary operations of business. The bread is at famine price, wood, water, and most other indispensable articles are proportionately high. And what is more serious still, we are now suffering simply from the want of labour, but we cannot shut our eyes to the forebodings of the future. If matters continue to proceed for a length of time, as they are at present, there will, in all probability, be a scarcity of money also. Much of the capital that would have been available for the general purpose of trade will soon be found locked up in more bullion, and although we shall certainly have plenty of gold we will be sadly deficient in a circulating medium. It would considerably obviate this evil were the proceeds, arising from the sales of gold by diggers and others, to be immediately invested in the various branches of commerce; but this is not at all likely; indeed, the probability is that a great proportion of it will be useless for some months. This gloomy consideration stares us in the face, and will, according to the present state of things, continue to haunt us longer than could be wished.

Geelong Advertiser 22 October 1851, 2/2:

Various parties having returned from the diggings to Geelong, the streets have ceased in some measure to wear that deserted holiday appearance which have characterised them for some weeks past. They are still, however, comparatively dull looking, not only from the want of the usual number of stragglers and business men, but from many of the shops being shut up, owing to their occupiers having gone to Ballarat. In the suburbs a more visible change is manifested still, most of the brick works which at this season of the year were wont to be in full and healthy operation, are now at a stand still. Instead of the volumes of smoke which not ungracefully emanated from them when associated with the rewards of industry, the inhabitants of these districts are in the enjoyment of a pure atmosphere. An observer cannot but be sensibly impressed with the number of empty and dilapidated cottages to be met with, which only a few weeks ago were the scenes of thriving industry, and the habitations of comfort. Some of these have the windows and doors nailed up with spars, others have their doors open and windows taken out. Little neat gardens are left to the mercy of the weeds, or to the destructive propensities of mischievous boys. Altogether, the appearance of our suburban district is indicative of having been visited with some awful calamity, which had bereft many of these once thriving and cheerful dwellings of their inhabitants. Such are some of the immediate effects of the gold diggings on our prosperity; the remote ones, it is hoped, will carry with them characteristics of a more cheerful and satisfactory nature. The city of Melbourne wears quite as deserted an appearance as the town of Geelong. There is perhaps a less proportion of shops closed, but those which are open do very little business. In Geelong, there has been a degree of bustle with dealers in gold-diggers’ stores, which has been well-sustained, and the return of successful diggers has given a hope-inspiring tone to dulness itself.

Geelong Advertiser 6 November 1851, 2/2:

OUR GOLD WEIGHING ROOM. — In a quiet little room on the shady side of Kardinia-street [Geelong], is the gold weighing room. Hither flock the gold diggers with the "dust," bagged or bottled. See yonder man, he quietly takes from his side trousers pocket a pudgy chamois leather bag, tied round with a string, which he throws on the table, quite independently, and with an air that seems to say, "there’s plenty more where I got that." Mr. Patterson looks up for a moment, and then untying the corpulent bag, pours out the contents into a tin dish, circles it round and round, puffs it, blows it, pricks it, and then stirs it with a magnet to draw off the iron preparatory to weighing it. And then how carefully done is that operation! It is so precious that not even a pin’s head must turn the scale. "How much?" says the digger. "60 ounces, 2 pennyweights, 10 grains," says Patterson. "By Escort?" "No, brought it myself." "Do you want to sell?" "Don’t care: how much?" "Three." "Well, give us a cheque." Receiving which the digger draws off, and another coming forward, pulls out a soda water bottle, very carefully corked, to secure the precious deposit, or an old lucifer match box, or a fragment of a shirt, torn off, probably, for the express occasion; but then he knows that gold will sanctify all things, and so he produces it with the greatest nonchalance, and, receiving his check, proposes a "nobbler." But do you think that he is going "to see it out?" If you do, you are mistaken, for the Gold Digger has a nobler object in view. He has his eye on the land, and proposes another return to Ballarat to attain his object. But the scene itself—is it not a strange one? Three months ago it would have been scouted as an empty ephemera; and to-day, whilst we deem it a subject of proud congratulation, it seems enclosed in a sort of dreamy stupendousness, that reality itself is hardly capable of dispelling. Blue shirts crammed full of gold bags, breeches pockets brimming over with gold dust, brings forward the memory of the German stories of "Diableric" and the Hartz Mountains—but an afternoon’s visit to Patterson’s Weighing Room puts us all right again, and the wildest visions of gold that ever crazed the brain-pan of a distempered German is surpassed by the real tangible fruits of Geelong’s Ballarat.

Geelong Advertiser 7 November 1851, 2/3-4.

BROWNE COMES BACK FROM THE DIGGINGS.

The time passed so wearily whilst Browne was at the diggings. The morning was dull, the day was dull, and there was no comfort until the candles were lighted, after dark, when Mrs Browne divided her sorrows with Mrs Jones, who imparted hers in return, and so both felt mutually miserable, and much relieved thereby. There is a consolation to some minds, in seeing others miserable. Poor Mary! she was getting heart-sick, and had formed a desperate resolve to go to the diggings herself, and bring back Browne, as she said in spite of the Commissioner and all the police, a resolution that Mrs Jones highly applauded, and after taking a slight refreshment, hinted the possibility of getting back Jones by the same means, and by way of showing their earnestness, they agreed to take a cold fowl and ham with them, and book their places in the Red Rover for the diggings.

Mrs Jones went home full of this stern resolve, and Mary declared with tears in her eyes, that she would die—that she would—or succeed in her attempt; for what was life, and gold dust, without Browne.

Sorrow, and sleep, bowed down Mary’s eye-lids. She had put her hair in paper for the night, and was tying the strings of her night-cap, when the sound of a horse stopping at the door, made her listen earnestly.

‘Wo!’ said the voice outside.

‘Goodness gracious!’ said Mary.

‘Softly—wo! old girl! Quietly does it!’

‘It is Browne himself!’

How changed he was, to be sure! He was overrun with hair, which had spread over his face like weeds on neglected land, the promontory of his nose only being visible through the scrubs which, from his lip downward to the point of the chin, was impervious. No Leichardt razor had penetrated there: it was all "Mallee." His skin was bronzed, and his hands hardened and corned by continuous toil. But he was the master of 100 ounces of Ballarat gold, which made his fustian trowsers quite picturesque, his blue shirt a manly garb, and his battered straw hat, more sightly than a beaver. Brown [sic] was successful—and success is the test of merit.

Who but a wife can appreciate the joy experienced on the return of a husband after a long absence, especially if that absence has been passed at the diggins successfully? Mrs. Brown [sic] cried, then laughed, and cried again, as Brown [sic] made his appearance. She was delirious with joy, as she clasped Brown [sic] in her arms, and called him her "nugget." She poured out endearments by troy weight, and regarded Brown [sic] as a "specimen" not to be parted with, even at 3 l. 17s 10d. He was above standard value. True—her protestations may have had a dash of the auriferous in them, but what has not at the present moment?—and Mr. Brown [sic] is mortal.

‘You’ve been away a long time,’ said Mary.

‘My word! you may say that,’ replied Browne, and to some purpose, too. [‘]What do you think of Geelong now? Like to go home to your mother, eh?’

‘Now, Browne, don’t. I am so glad you’ve come back.’

‘Back before I intended, Mary, glad as I am to see you, and much better off than I thought I should be when I started for Buninyong, on what you called a cock-and-bull errand.’

‘I never did, Browne. I never used such an improper expression; and if I did, which I didn’t, it should not be repeated now. By the bye, what do you think, Browne? Mrs. Jones says that Mr. Jones will give all his gold to her.’

‘Has he?’ remarked Browne briefly.

‘Why, of course he will, Browne. Who else should he give it to but his wife?’

‘Ah! to whom, indeed,’ said Browne. ‘Better than throwing it away, or spending it in nobblers, and getting in the station-house, and being fined the next morning,’ retorted Mary. ‘How you do go on, Browne.’

‘True,[’] said Browne,{’} ‘a choice of evi{]}s. The foolishness of the wife against the folly of the husband. Equal weight balanced by Commissioner Chance or Commissioner Appetite, and turned by accident.’

‘What a fright you do look, Browne,’ retorted Mary, turning the conversation. [‘]No wonder they made you pay licenses, and refused to be responsible for you by escort. The governor was quite right to issue a proclamation against such things, and a hole eight feet square is quite good enough for men with such beards as you’ve got, Browne. You look like an underground animal—a mole.’

‘I’m sleepy Mary, and tired, from a long ride—sixty miles. Ha!’

‘To see me dear—your wife—your own Mary. Come, tell me all about it, whilst supper is getting ready. Well, he’s gone to sleep.{"}

{‘}Browne, was snoring and muttering of holes, cradles, tin dishes, creeks and water-holes, and suddenly starting up captured his own wife, by the wrist, and declared he would walk her before the Commissioner.

‘I was only putting it in the tea caddy, Browne.’

‘Putting what in the tea caddy’ said Browne.

‘Why this little leathern bag, to be sure, that you had in your side pocket.’

[‘]There now, Browne,[’] said Mary, putting her little hand on his mouth—[‘]its [sic] no use talking, I want lots of little things—so sit down to supper and tell me all about the diggings.[’]

Geelong Advertiser 2 December 1851, 2/5. [Quoting The Herald. ]

THE GOLD.— The extraordinary yields of gold which are springing up on every side are strongly indicated in the haberdashers and ironmongers’ shops, where the wives and friends of fortunate diggers are lavishing the precious metal on every article of finery that can adorn the human figure. The most expensive articles of dress are in the greatest possible demand, and the shops are crammed. The ironmongery trade is equally startling; the demand for spades, picks, shovels, tin dishes, pots, cradles, &c., is immense, and can scarcely be supplied, even at the extravagant figure demanded for them. And this is but "the beginning of the end." Our baker, who is doing a roaring trade, has already given us notice that he and his establishment are off for Mount Alexander to-morrow, and many of the same calling are doubtless similarly affected with the gold mania. We expect our butcher to give us the same polite hint in a day or two. We must, like hundred (sic) of others, then have to fly to damper and salt beef, to hold out during the panic, unless we can induce the "softer sex" to slaughter the cattle, and knead the dough; the latter work can be accomplished certainly, but the butchering process, we fear, is altogether hopeless. Joking apart, matters are really looking very serious. Everybody, non-alarmists and all, are beginning to cry out "what will become of us!" The only answer in our power to give is, "be off to the diggings."

Geelong Advertiser 2 December 1851, 2/5. Quoting The Daily News.

GOVERNMENT CLERKS.— The Government, we are afraid, will be in rather an embarrassed state at the end of the year. We have received information that no less than twenty-four clerks intend sloping to the diggings, when their agreements terminate, on the 31st December, 1851. The police will also be in a very defective state, as many of the efficient members of that body have expressed their determination also to "leave."

THE WATERMEN are turned waterwomen: we observe water-carts about the town driven by women—their husbands having gone to the "diggings." We strongly suspect that in a few days, the women of the town will perform most of the out-door labour.

Geelong Advertiser, Supplement, 11 November 1852, 1/3.

A gold digger, who had returned to Geelong, set to melting his gold in alcohal (sic); and the brain naturally became "at sea." Under the impression that some friend of his was in a house in Little Scotland, he attempted to force an entrance, and as drunken men are often brutal, he cut the woman of the house with a razor, which he held in his hand. Such scenes make us almost regret the existence of gold fields.

Geelong Advertiser, Supplement, 11 November 1852, 1/3.

The Australian diggings have quite deranged the morals of the young clerks and shopkeepers of London. Numerous cases appear in the papers, of defalcation by young persons employed in confidential situations, who have embezzled the monies of their employers, in order to appropriate the proceeds, to enable them to proceed to Australia.

Argus 24 November 1852, 4/2-3:

GEELONG.
(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.)

Monday, 22nd November, 1852.

A picture from life. Biddy Carrol is the fictitious name I have given a young Irish orphan girl who has just become a blushing bride; but Biddy’s past station, and present and future prospects are matters that should be impressed on the minds of the intelligent portion of the community of both sexes, and should teach those of her class, who have any atom of sense left, to be careful before they leap. Unions of this kind are becoming by far too general not to create grave apprehensions for their future results.

Biddy arrived here about six months ago, a poor, simple, ignorant, orphan girl. The first place she went to was a private family; there her qualifications were thought so little of that the people were glad to get rid of her. Exceedingly stupid, lazy, and dirty, poor Biddy could make no friends, and seemed to care for none. If anything in the vegetable kingdom can be compared to another in the animal kingdom, an unripe potato just dug from the soil, with its jacket flying, was as like Biddy as two peas, as they say in her own country. But a great change has come over the fortune of the orphan—a change which, notwithstanding all its present attractions for a poor silly girl, is not likely to improve her comfort and happiness hereafter. Biddy is a wife.

On going into the station of the Victoria steamer the other day, I had to pass a magnificently dressed female whose back was to me, and who diffused the blessings of musk and lavender water on all around her. On getting past her, and turning round, I was thunderstruck to find, enveloped in so much extravagance, the simple, stupid, potato-like face of Biddy Car[r]ol; there she stood, in everything that the art of dress could do for her, the very perfection of a lucky, thoughtless, gold digger’s bride. Her bonnet was of white satin, with a profusion of the most exquisite flowers, the whole enveloped in the folds of a rich white veil. She wore a superb lavender-colored flowered satin dress, with a gorgeous barege shawl, the latter being fastened in front with a massive gold brooch. On her right hand was a fawn-colored glove, the left hand being naked for the purpose of displaying the emblem of her new state, her wedding ring. But it was accompanied by three others of a very gaudy appearance. Round her neck was suspended a rather massive gold chain, and her wrists were encircled with handsome silver bracelets, and in her hand she held a gaudy parasol.

The man who had won the affections of poor Biddy, and decked her out in all this absurd and extravagant finery, was with her, and she no doubt believes him sincere. Far be it from me to render her miserable by expressing a contrary opinion. But as I have concealed her real name, and as I am a stranger to her, I must for the sake of others say that I believe she is a poor deluded victim. Married I know she is, from the word of her previous master, but she has got a faithless and wicked partner. Her husband, although now called a lucky digger, was well known to the police formerly as an out-and-out thief, and I have myself seen him in the company of the most abandoned people of both sexes, since the day I saw him escorting his young wife to Melbourne in the Victoria.

What the result of such marriages may be is fearful to contemplate, eityher as regards the position of the wife, or her family. The recklessness with which men of her husband’s character spend their money prognosticates too truly a career of crime and ignorance for their miserable offspring.

Geelong Advertiser 18 December 1852, 2/2.

DISTRESSING CASE.— Yesterday morning, a young woman of the name of Eliza Vyvin with an infant in her arms, appeared before the Bench of Magistrates to obtain assistance under the following circumstances:— From her statement, it appeared that, about six months ago, her husband left her for the gold mines, and since that time she had heard nothing about him. That, on account of her infant child, and her advanced state of pregnancy, she was totally unable to do any work for her support; and her friends, who has acted as such until the last shilling was expended, now turned their backs upon her. This case formed a proper and legitimate claim upon the utility of Benevolent Asylum, but the Magistrates determined on affording prompt relief, and promised her 20s a week out of the poor box for a few weeks to come, and relieved her immediate necessities with the present of a sovereign.

Argus 23 August 1854, 4/4-5:

[The gold rush — from England, America, and Europe, as well as from the other Australian colonies — into the colony of Victoria turns Melbourne into "a city of lodging-houses", many of them filthy and the breeding-dens of crime]:

LODGING-HOUSES.

Probably no people in the world are so much interested in the proper regulation of lodging-houses, as those of Melbourne. A very large proportion of the inhabited houses in the city belong to this class. We will hope that the greater number of these are conducted with as much regard to the health and comfort of the inmates as is attainable in the present dearth of house accommodation. But many of the lower class, there is reason to fear, are overcrowded and filthy to a degree, perilous not only to the health of their inhabitants but to that of the whole community. Many of them are scenes of extortion, drunkenness, riot, and robbery, if not sometimes of murder. The previous habits of many of those who keep such houses prepare them to take advantage of any opportunity which may present itself for the commission of such crimes, and similar characters will naturally gather around them. They may almost calculate on impunity, and the circumstances of the colony bring continually within their power those who may be plundered, in such a way as that they cannot convict the criminals; or who may even be made away with, their disappearance leading to no hazardous enquiry.

Many persons land in Melbourne whose inexperience and very excess of caution render them an easy prey. Others return to town from the gold-fields whose experience there leads them to fool-hardy rashness in exposing themselves to danger. The new comer has exaggerated notions of the expense of living in Melbourne. To his home notions the price demanded for even trifling services is alarming, and from prudential considerations he seeks some of the cheaper and less respectable lodging-houses. If, after the privations of the voyage or the life at the diggings, such a one be betrayed into excess, there is great probability that he may pay for his imprudence by the forfeiture of all he has, if not by the loss of life itself.

It is stated upon good authority that in many of these houses drugs are kept, and if it appears that any one who is worth the trouble is sufficiently off his guard to be safely operated on, a dose of laudanum puts him completely in the power of the desperadoes whose guest he has become. If he return to consciousness he may be persuaded or bullied into believing that in his intoxication he has fallen a prey to others. If the dose has been sufficiently powerful to produce continued insensibility, and endanger life, it is easy to procure medical attendance. The representations of bystanders as to the conduct of the patient will lead the medical man naturally to regard the symptoms as those of ordinary intoxication; and if death ensue, a certificate to the effect that the deceased died from intemperance, will enable the funeral to be effected without suspicion arising in any quarter.

It is obvious that this is an evil which may exist for some time, and spread to a considerable extent, without attracting much attention. There is no public officer charged with the detection of this evil. Indeed there is no power possessed by the police authorities to interfere. They cannot visit these houses, and exercise that surveillance over them which is absolutely necessary. The victims are usually friendless and strangers. No one probably notes their absence; or if their disappearance does lead to inquiry, such inquiry may be easily baffled. The evil seems one which imperatively demands a remedy.

In London and other large towns of England model lodging-houses have been erected by private enterprise; and it has been proved that working men can be comfortably accommodated at much less cost in such establishments than in those which they have replaced. In France the sum of ten millions of francs has been devoted to the improvement of the lodgings of workmen in large manufacturing towns. A considerable proportion of this sum has already been expended. Vast buildings have been erected in Paris and other towns, in which single bedrooms for unmarried men are let at 20 centimes a night, and apartments for married couples at 7 francs 50 centimes per superficial yard per annum. Of the expense of these buildings the French Government contributes one-third. It might be a profitable as well as a philanthropic mode of investing money, to erect in Melbourne lodging-houses on a large scale for the accommodation of different classes of the community.

But the matter appears to require interference on the part of the Legislature. In England, lodging-houses are inspected, are licensed for the reception of a certain number of inmates, according to the accommodation afforded, and are subjected to regular police superintendence. A similar measure has been introduced into the Legislatures of New South Wales and Tasmania. The Common Lodging-houses Bill now before the Legislative Council at Sydney provides for the registration of all such houses after they have been inspected and approved by a duly appointed officer, for their being regularly cleansed and inspected, for their being furnished with an abundant supply of water, and for notice being given of the appearance of disease. The Colonial Secretary, in introducing a similar measure in the Tasmanian Legislative Council, described it as nearly identical with that in force in England. He stated that the necessity of such a measure was felt both in Launceston and Hobart Town. He said—

The number of houses of which the bill took cognizance in Hobart Town were about fifty, situated in all parts of the city, but principally in the lowest neighborhoods. Many of them were the resorts of thieves and prostitutes—complete dens of infamy. At present these places were closed to the police, unless armed with a warrant, and, as a consequence, outrages of a monstrous description were perpetrated with impunity, and sometimes murder itself. The filth in most of these dens was abominable, and it was necessary for Government to interfere, if only for the good order and health of the residents.

If such measures are found necessary in the adjacent colonies and in England itself, it might be expected that the same necessity would exist in such a city of lodging-houses as this. There is evidence that it does exist. The protection of the helpless, the prevention of crime, and the abatement of nuisances, physical as well as moral, which, if undiminished, may entail suffering on all, require that the evil be recognised and a remedy sought for without delay.

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