The Project Gutenberg eBook of A Settler's 35 Years' Experience in Victoria, Australia

This ebook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this ebook or online at If you are not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this eBook.

Title: A Settler's 35 Years' Experience in Victoria, Australia

Author: E. Hulme

Release date: July 9, 2018 [eBook #57471]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Graeme Mackreth and The Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from scans of public domain works at The National
Library of Australia.)








And how £6 8s. became £8,000.


"Men are agents for the future,
As they work so ages win,
Either harvest of advancement,
Or the product of their sin."

Inscribed by the kind permission of the
Chief Secretary of Victoria.

M.L. Hutchinson, 305 & 307 Little Collins Street,
Nearly Opposite Royal Arcade.
Rae Bros., Printers, 547 and 549 Elizabeth Street North.


"Off for 200 Miles' Tramp."
See Page 10.


Sketch of Artist Life 1
Farewell to Dear Old England 3
Melbourne at Last 6
Christian Socialism 7
Melbourne Experience 9
Off to the Diggings 10
Ten Years on the Diggings 12
Commence Farming 18
Increase of Holdings 25
The Consummation 26
A Dissertation on Temperance 28
The Vine Industry 31
The Settlement of the Lands 32
Irrigation 35
A Scheme of Settlement 37
A Glimpse at the Future of Australia 45
Conclusion 48
Poetry, "All the Way" 49



In giving this little "Life Sketch," I am actuated by a desire to assist many, not only hard-handed men in the "Old Country," but many soft-handed ones also, as I was, and especially those who have large families, as I had, and who are struggling for a living, and see but little hope for the future in the already over-crowded hive in the "Old Land," and a still poorer prospect for the new swarms; I, therefore, think a little advice and encouragement to those desirous to "cast off," from one who has been through it all, will be welcomed by many.—E.H.


[Pg 1]

Sketch of My Artist Life.

W HEN living in the "Old Land," over 35 years since, I belonged to a class of which there are many thousands—a struggling professor—and of the class I have designated as "soft-handed." I was an artist by profession; studied from a child; never did anything else; and in 1850 and 1851 had so far advanced in my profession to have the honor of having my works hung in a creditable position on the walls of the Royal Academy of Arts, of which I was also a student. I married rather young (at 25), and soon had little ones running round. I started fairly well in the neighborhood of London, at Clapham, adding teaching. Just about this time (1847) artists were invited by the Government to send in specimens of their works for exhibition in Westminster Hall, for competition for the decoration of the new Houses of Parliament, then just finished. I was rather too young and inexperienced an artist for so great and honored an undertaking; however, I thought I would venture. I got my large picture finished, but from over-study, excitement, and anxiety, my health gave way. I contracted nervous typhus fever, and consequently could not finish the other one, which was required by the Commissioners to enable me to compete. But Sir Chas. Eastlake, the President, whose letter I still have, said my painting—under the section of "Scriptural Allegory," subject, "The King of Kings and Lord of Lords"—though not entitled to compete, could, if I liked, be hung in the vestibule of the hall; which was an honor I gladly consented to.

[Pg 2]On getting up from my long and dangerous illness, my medical advisers persuaded me to go to a milder climate for perfect restoration, and to give up my profession for a time; at least, to do but very little painting. South Devonshire was recommended. We therefore left our home at Clapham, and took up our residence about four miles from that lovely spot, Torquay. To our residence was attached a small farm and a splendid orchard. In this beautiful climate I soon regained my strength. I did all sorts of labor on the farm, so that I got a general insight into all sorts of farming work. This I have found exceedingly useful since taking to farming in Australia.

I found many kind friends in Devonshire. (I cannot help naming the Savile family. God bless them for their kind patronage and introduction in my profession!) We resided in Devonshire about four years. We then came again to London, but found a difficulty in looking up a connection again; had to fill up my time in decorating in the various courts of the Crystal Palace, at Sydenham, just then being erected. I, however, saw but little prospect of advancing in my profession, or even making a living, and less prospect for a large and increasing family; we having by this time seven children, six boys and one baby girl; besides, I had contracted a great taste for a rural life while in Devonshire. We determined, therefore, to depart for Australia—the land of gold! The goldfields being at that time in full swing. A wide field indeed for enterprise, and anticipated prosperity, with God's blessing; for, I am happy to say, I had long sought His grace and guidance, and committed my ways unto Him, and was sure He would guide our steps.

In the first place, I applied to the Commissioners of Emigration for a situation as schoolmaster for the voyage, on[Pg 3] a Government emigration ship; my wife to act as matron. I presented letters of recommendation—one from the Bishop of London (Blomfield). I was well known to him, as Fulham, near London, where he resided, was my native place. The commissioners said my letters were more than enough, but desired to know the number of children I had. On hearing the number they informed me that they regretted to say that, according to their regulations, this would be a bar to my appointment. Three, I think, was the number allowed.

This was a great blow to us, as we should have saved our passage money, and had a salary besides; I think about £150 as schoolmaster, and wife as matron. Parties told me I could have managed it if I had liked, by getting some of the passengers to take the other four children; but this I could not do from principle. To pay our passage in a general passage ship, therefore, exhausted all our little means.

Farewell to Dear Old England.

We did intend taking our passage in the new ship "Schomberg," just launched, and owned by "The White Star Company." On enquiring at the London office, they informed me that I could send our goods on to Liverpool, but they would not be put on board any ship until our passage money was paid, and that I should find them in the company's warehouse in Liverpool; consequently, I sent the goods on. We could not, however, get ready to go by the "Schomberg." On arriving at Liverpool, and enquiring for our luggage, I found it had been sent on in that vessel.

Now, the fate of that fine new ship, I presume, is generally known. The captain had a bet with the captain of the ship[Pg 4] "Kent," a well known clipper, and declared "if he did not beat the 'Kent,' he would knock her ('the Schomberg's') bows in." On hearing that the "Kent" had made the passage before him, the "Schomberg" was wilfully run on shore, just a little way from Cape Otway. Luckily, it was fair weather, and the passengers and crew were taken safely off, but with only the luggage they could carry in their hands; there being only just standing room on board the rescuing steamboat. The "Schomberg" became a total wreck. This, I suppose, is one of the most wicked and shameful incidents that ever happened on the shores of Australia. We took our passage in the next ship; the good ship "Sultana," from Liverpool, on the 21st October, 1855.

I remember, as we weighed anchor, being some distance out in the stream, and out of hearing of any friendly cheer, a serious calm appeared to pervade the ship; all appeared absorbed with their own thoughts, when we found the ship was under way, more by the apparent moving of the receding shore; she being a sailing vessel. I don't know the feelings of the other passengers; possibly many were like our own, at departing from the good "Old Land." Hitherto, we had borne up well in parting from kindred and friends. We said "Good-bye" in London; but now, in those few calm moments, seated upon the ship's deck, with wife, six sons, and a baby girl around us, we felt the necessity of faith in that good Providence on Whom we had cast the future. Our feelings, however, would have vent in a few hot tears, but these had to be brushed quickly on one side.

I do not think it necessary in this little sketch to give a long account of our voyage, or the various incidents that happened. There was nothing very sensational; our worst experience was our first night out. The ship was so crowded[Pg 5] that there were not berths enough, and, as we came late on board, ours had to be erected, so that we had to huddle down between decks, the best we could. The children being our great care, there was no rest for wife or self. We had fearful weather in the Channel, and, everything being loose on board, the din was fearful; the heavy iron cable on deck rolling from side to side, and the ship's bell tolling at every roll of the ship, and the carpenters working all night, fitting up berths, and the state of the passengers—one can guess the confusion! And what added to it more—just as we reached the most dangerous part of the Channel, off the coast of Ireland, the tug-hawser parted, but, when pulled on board, it evidently had been cut adrift with an axe—a most shameful act. The contract was to take us clear of the Channel. This, then, made further trouble, as all hands had now to set to and work the ship, and there was great danger in working her out of the difficult position she was left in, and anxiously did all wait for the morning. It may be imagined that the whole of the voyage was no pleasure trip for wife or self, in a crowded ship, and seven children (under 12 years of age) to look after. Neither do I think the children liked it; they were too young, and they did not thrive at all on the rough ship's fare, particularly the hard ship's biscuits—they could not manage them at all. After a time, though, we got on better; I had a carpenter's plane with my goods, and we shaved the biscuits down on that, and made it into puddings, and so managed to get rid of them in this way. The plane went the round of the ship after this, particularly among the old people. We had, however, on arriving at Melbourne, an American cask full, unconsumed; these we took on shore with us, and they went fine in soups, &c., with good Australian beef, at 3d. a pound.

[Pg 6]

Melbourne, at Last.

We were thankful to arrive safely, after a fine passage of 81 days. We arrived off Cape Otway in the night, and stood "off and on" until daylight, when the pilot came on board, and the first thing he told us was the loss of the "Schomberg." Well, of course, we then knew also that all our goods were at the bottom of the sea. We were thankful, though, that we did not ship on board that ill-fated vessel; but ought we to attribute her loss to fate? No! It was wilful wickedness. I regretted our loss the more as my Westminster Hall picture was among the things lost, as it was the highest class work I ever attempted.

It was with anxious eyes myself and several other heads of families viewed the shore of the "promised land." It certainly (from the deck of the vessel) did not look very prepossessing; not even with a good glass, and more particularly as we went up the bay nearer to Melbourne. It being the dry season—January—nothing looked green, and the dry grass looked more like sand, and the trees looked stunted. It was a hot wind and dust storm on the day we landed, and the place looked very dreary; what few shops there were, were nearly closed to keep out the dust. We were brought up the Yarra River to Melbourne from the ship by steam tugs. Of course, most of us had on our "Old Country" clothes; it was quite easy to know a "New Chum." I don't remember seeing a belltopper hat, or a coat, being worn in Melbourne at that time, and "New Chums" hated to be conspicuous, as they were always "Joed," that they soon dropped their "Old Country" style, and took to jumpers and straw, or slouched felt hats. The highest style, however, was the cabbage-tree hat. I had carefully preserved a nearly new[Pg 7] belltopper hat through the voyage, but somehow had forgotten it in the bustle of leaving. The last I saw of it, however, it was being kicked about on the other lighter as a football, which I did not after regret. There were several parties with large families on board. The head of one, who had been on shore to look round for a few hours, and had been a schoolmaster, took charge of the women and children (about 30 children), and conducted them to a place he had seen—"the Wesleyan Home"—about a mile and a quarter from the landing place, leaving myself and the other males to look after the luggage, and follow on with the drays. It was after dark when we arrived at the "home." It was a pleasant sight to see the dear children sitting round the table enjoying their tea and nice "soft tack" (bread, &c.), after roughing it so long on board ship.

"The Wesleyan Emigrants' Home"—I believe it is still in existence; it was a few years since—was a fine institution, and a great boon to emigrants. It was a peaceful, christian home, and the only one, I think, at that time. Hotels and restaurants were the resort of the lowest characters, and hardly safe for anyone to enter; most people in them went armed, and fearful scenes took place.

Christian Socialism.

The manager of the "home" had a book, in which he entered the names of all who lodged there. He also entered your nationality and religion; also denomination. When he put the last question to me, I answered, "A Christian Brother." "Why," said he, "yours is the first entry I have made in my book of such a sect." "Sect!" I replied, "I did not know[Pg 8] it was a sect at all." I hoped not, for I had adopted it in opposition to sectarianism, of which I had seen so much evil in the "Old Country." I therefore determined to drop "isms" in the sea, and, on arriving at this new and good land, hoped to be known simply as a christian, and "give the right hand of fellowship to all who loved the Lord Jesus in sincerity and truth," irrespective of denominations. I regret, however, that the old animosities have reached this new land. The old bickerings and trifles, non-essentials, about "Apostolic Succession," "Dipping or Sprinkling," "Free-will," "Election," "Reprobation," &c., &c.—neglecting the more paramount matters, "Belief," and a "consistent walk in life." But now, at this time (1891), I am glad to see a growing desire for unity and christian socialism in Victoria, and more particularly in the country districts; and I think they are setting an example to the towns, where there is a sad want of unity among the clergy, and christian socialism among the people. The congregations even are divided into "sets," or, as the Yankee would call them, "grades," who "stand off" from each other, and think it quite condescending, in any way, to recognise the lower "set." The visitations, also, of the clergy, are in very many cases confined to the higher "grades." There are, though, a few grand exceptions. Now, all this should be broken down if the church is ever to take its true place in the world. We should rather begin at the bottom—with men of low estate—for, hath not God chosen such? In my long life I have found the best traits of character among the poor. Verily, many that we think last shall stand first on that day. In my humble opinion, nothing will tend to overthrow the sceptical and atheistical tendencies of the age so much as christian fellowship and brotherhood; in fact, it is the want of this, with the dissensions and bickerings of professors,[Pg 9] which create this scepticism; and this will continue until the world can say of christians of to-day, as it was said of old, "See how these christians love each other." "Dearly beloved brethren" will then not only be upon the lips, but in the heart. I must, however, stop this homilistical strain, and return to my narrative.

Melbourne Experience.

I stepped on shore in Melbourne, with my dear wife and seven children, with the grand sum of ten shillings in my pocket; but, with a stout heart and willing hands, and a firm reliance on God's blessings, things did not appear so very hard. We stayed two or three days at the "Wesleyan home." On the second day after landing I got work, digging potatoes at 14s. per day. We then rented a small two-roomed house in Collingwood; had our boxes, at first, for furniture; but the grand wages of fourteen shillings per day soon provided what other little furniture we required. It appeared a poor home, though, after the style of the "Old Country;" but it is astonishing how soon one gets over this feeling, where love and happiness reign. I am not a believer in that foolish saying, that "when want comes in at the door, love flies out of the window." No; true hearts cling the tighter.

On looking round Melbourne, I found some few parties I knew in England. They were very old settlers long before the discovery of gold; they were in affluent circumstances. They kindly gave me a commission to paint a few portraits in oils, which led to one or two more. I also painted a few fancy pictures. The colony, however, was too young to appreciate the fine arts to any extent. The rougher arts were more in[Pg 10] vogue, and the gold fever was not abated. I also got a touch of it, my wife having two brothers on the Ovens diggings, who had been in the colony about a year. I determined, therefore, to join them.

Off to the Diggings.

I started alone with swag, blankets, billy, pannikin, etc., in orthodox style, for a 200 miles' tramp through the bush. (See frontispiece.) This, however, was not much of an undertaking for me, as I was a great pedestrian, could do my six miles an hour easy, and often over 50 miles per day on my sketching tours in the "Old Country;" being tall (fully six feet), I had a good stride. At that time the Sydney Road was only formed a few miles out of Melbourne, and from the Rockey Waterholes to the foot of the Big Hill (commonly then called Pretty Sally's Hill) was swamp ground. I found a difficulty in getting over this; I had to tread the thistles down for miles to prevent bogging, and it was raining fast. The contractors were just forming the road, and on the first rise on the other side of the swamp the camp was formed. The men had knocked off on account of the rain. Just as I was level with the camp, I heard my name called out in true Irish accent, and out ran one of our shipmates to greet me. He occupied the next berth to us on board ship, and was ill a great part of the way. He had been a tradesman in Dublin. He was lively enough now, as he grasped my hand and cut a real Irish caper, with "Hurrah! for Australia and 14s. a day, and wood and water!" He was driving one of the contractor's drays. He wanted me to stay, as it was far into the afternoon, but no—my alloted mileage was not done, so I marched on.

[Pg 11]

My first night's "bushing" was a strange experience. Rolled up in blankets, at the foot of a gum tree, I had not turned down long (I cannot say turned in) when I was conscious of something being upon my shoulder, and, cautiously turning round, saw an animal perched quite innocently there. It was an opossum. I presume he did not recognise me from a log. He appeared quite content to sit there until I gave him a cant, and sent him some distance off. This "camping out" is not at all an unpleasant experience, as many might think, and this was a splendid moonlight night. At that time it was far more safe to keep clear of restaurants and shanties, as they were the resort of the vilest characters. Neither was it safe to camp out alone with a fire at night, as this was an attraction, and you were pretty sure to get objectionable company. The plan, therefore, generally adopted, was to boil the billy for tea, then, after tea, leave, and go on a little distance in the dark, and turn off the road or track into the silent bush, and roll up in your blankets; thus you avoided unpleasant company. I got through in about seven days. I passed through the famous "Woolshed Diggings," where the rich claims were, and where the men had to wash the gold off their boots when they left work. There was a "strike" on just then. The claim-holders wanted to reduce the wages to £1 per day. I was interviewed, and offered work at that price, but, of course, I refused, as I was on my way to join my wife's brothers. I then went on through Beechworth—Spring Creek diggings. The scenes on the diggings were strange and novel to me. Beechworth was the chief centre of the mining district, and the other diggings around were named by the distance from Beechworth, thus—"The One Mile," "The Three Mile," and "The Nine Mile." This last was my destination. It was also called "Snake Valley," from the[Pg 12] winding course of the creek. It was late in the evening when I arrived, quite dark and pouring rain, and there had been a long rain before, so that the roads in the township were wretched. At the crossings of the creek it was impassable, and was only indicated by side logs, on which I had to crawl. The worst of it was, I had to wander up and down the creek to find my brothers' hut. The storekeepers knew them by sight, but could not say where they lived. I was directed to a large restaurant, about a mile down the creek. There were about 40 diggers, just at tea. I walked up and down between the tables, and I think they were the finest, strongest, and roughest set of men I ever saw. I did not see my brothers, though. Came back, enquired at the police camp, also to no purpose. Over the creek again, when at last I found a butcher who pointed out on the bank, on the other side of the creek, the light shining through the calico top of their hut. He lent me a piece of candle to cross the creek with, and I managed to work my way among the holes and sludge, etc., to the other side. And glad I was to get there, and I was as "wet as a rat," and pretty well tired out. I soon got "a shift" however, and such a fire as they had I never saw before; enough to roast a bullock; at which also I got a good roasting; and after a good supper of beef, damper and tea, soon felt all right. This for my first tramp in Australia.

Ten Years on the Diggings.

I joined my brothers in their claim, and we had two other mates, making a party of five. We were driving out wash-dirt, and sluicing it in long boxes with the creek water. We did fairly well—made from £6 to £7 per week for each man.[Pg 13] This year (1856) was an exceedingly wet one, particularly in the winter and early spring. This drove the miners, out of shallow sinking, and the great "Woolshed Diggings" (Read's Creek) were flooded out, and thousands rushed the shallow sluicing ground of the Nine-mile Creek; in consequence, there was great trouble about water, and "water rights," which caused endless litigation. The creek could not supply half the water required; therefore, all the hills for miles round were tunneled for water, and an astonishing number of springs were opened. These were recognised by the Mining Warden as independent—independent of the creek—and a permit given for the sole use of the same. Many of these cost hundreds of pounds to cut. It was also called "created water;" that is, water before locked up in the hills, and not feeding the creek. The creek water was available to all, but this would not command one-thousandth part of the mining ground. Our party, therefore, looked about for indications of springs, by sinking trial shafts, and then driving tunnels. We were fortunate in tapping water. This we conducted to dams, and used for sluicing purposes in shallow ground, from 3ft. to 10ft. deep, washing away the whole of it.

I could not rest long with my family remaining in Melbourne, as some of the children had colonial fever; a very distressing complaint, but not very fatal. Most "new chums" had it at that time, but I don't hear anything of it now. Therefore, I tramped down to Melbourne and back twice during the first year to see them; the last time to bring them up; so that during my first year in Australia I walked about 1000 miles. The last time I was over two months in Melbourne, as our eighth child was near at hand, and I thought it my duty to be with them. I filled up my time in Melbourne decorating the new Legislative Chambers, just[Pg 14] then finished. My wages were just about the same as what I was getting in the claim, viz., £6 to £7 per week—good wages too; but not high for that class of work. Masons at that time got over £1 per day. I then started with the wife and family in the arduous duty of taking them 200 miles through the bush in an American waggon. We were 20 days on the road. It is now done in about six hours per rail. We had a fearful time on "Pretty Sally's Hill" (before mentioned); it blew a gale with heavy rain. It would have blown our tent clean away had I not "turned out" and cut saplings down and logged it all round. We pitched our tent every night, and had a long picnicing all the way. We could only procure milk at one place (Benalla) the whole 200 miles. We went per coach from Beechworth to the Nine Mile; had to place all the children in the bottom to prevent them being pitched out, the roads being so rough, and hills all the way. Glad, indeed, were we (dear wife, in particular, with baby) to arrive at our digger's home. I had previously erected the sides and skeleton of our future residence, and had only to put the calico top on, and stretch the fly roof. The sides were made of split slabs, the plates and rafters trimmed saplings, so that it took us, with the assistance of our mates, only a few hours to get it ready for occupying. It was very cold up there in the winter. I think the altitude is over 3000 feet. I often had to "turn out" in the night to shake the snow off the fly roof. We managed to keep nice and warm, though, with the huge logs on the fire—the fire-place almost as wide as the hut. It took two men to roll some of the back-logs in, and the fire was kept burning all night. In a few years we put up a better residence. Sawn timber for the frame, shingle top and a verandah; and we started a good garden from the very first, and were the first[Pg 15] to introduce fruit trees in the district. Mine was the second formed garden on the Creek, and out of which we made many a pound in vegetables—sold cabbages at sixpence per pound. Had splendid flowers also. I likewise introduced the watercress, and had a sale for them even in Beechworth. They grew to perfection with our spring water running over the beds. The boys carried them round among the miners, and they were greatly appreciated. This was long before the Chinamen thought of gardening (which they monopolize now), and there were about 4000 of them then on the Nine Mile.

I will not dwell long on our life on the diggings. I was not a "lucky digger," with the exception of one little patch (which see particulars further on). We lived, however, a comfortable, happy, healthy, and a very independent life, and brought up a large family—they now had increased to eleven, seven boys and four girls. This ten years on the diggings was, by far, the longest rest down, up to then, of our married life. For instance, of our seven children born in England, not two were born in one house; here, in our digger's home, we had three in addition, one being also born in Melbourne. It will be imagined that by this time I had worn off all my "smooth-handedness." Yes, indeed, I had become a "horny-handed" working man, and considered it no disgrace either.

"Who will hang his head in blushes
For the stains to toiling due?
There is dignity in labor,
If the laborer be true."

I worked like a navvy for ten years, through many hardships and danger. I had two narrow escapes in falling banks of earth—had my pick caught each time, and buried as I was dragging it in running out of the way of the fall. I had also, during the first year, a very narrow escape of being[Pg 16] buried alive, working underground when the ground was rotten and dangerous from the continued wet, mentioned before. It happened thus: Just before knocking-off for dinner, I had given up the wash-dirt to the man at the windlass, and put a prop in. On resuming work after dinner, I remarked that the prop had got "as firm as a church," and that I did not like the appearance of things at all, as this was a sign that the ground was giving. I also said that, as the stuff would hardly pay for driving much further, I would sweep it out and try in another direction from the shaft which my brother had pointed out, where he had got a fair prospect. I had just sent up the few buckets of sweepings, and was pointing out to the windlass-man the direction I intended driving, when, all of a sudden, without the least warning, the sides of the shaft commenced cracking; large masses also from the lower part breaking off. Of course, the rope was immediately let down, and I was hauled up, but not before a large block of earth struck me on the knee, which lamed me for about a week. Well, in about an hour afterwards, the whole of the ground, for about half an acre, sunk bodily down. The ground was completely honeycombed with drives. I was thankful I put that prop in before dinner, as it gave the indication of danger.

As the mines are not now very interesting or attractive to intended emigrants, it is not necessary to enlarge further. It will be sufficient to say that when we broke up our partnership, my wife's brothers, being single men, had saved, I think, about £400 each, but I only had my share of the water right, which we also sold. My share was about £60. The whole of my earnings, therefore, had gone to bring up my large family. My money was invested in them, to be drawn upon some day, by God's blessing, with interest—and compound[Pg 17] interest, too. Neighbors used to think they could command and use my boys as they liked. "No," I said, "you cannot draw upon my bank in this way; you must remunerate them for their services."

About this time, the Government were beginning to sell the country lands in the district. My brothers went with their savings and purchased land some thirty miles from the diggings, and started farming—an occupation they had been used to in the "Old Country." I continued working on the diggings with the boys for some time longer, sinking and driving for "a patch" I thought should exist from the formation and dip of the ground—but failed. A short time after, though, a party went down one of my shafts, and only drove a few feet and struck what I had been looking for so long. I believe it was about £90 worth. This is a very common fate on the diggings. The largest nugget ever got in Australia was found in an old drive only two or three inches under the bottom. The original occupiers had actually driven over and knelt over it, but the mass of gold, being so heavy, had sunk into the pipe-clay, below the ordinary run of wash-dirt. I could tell of many curious incidents of the sort. After this I and the boys worked a puddling machine; some of them were able to do a fine day's work now. We only just made a living, though, and had to keep the horse; feed, also, was very expensive. I can remember hay being worth £50 per ton, and that only bush hay; of course, it was only then used for the Government—for police and gold escort horses. By this time (1865), these old diggings were nearly worn out.

About this time (1865) the Government passed a new Land Act, opening the lands of the colony for free selection, and deferred payment at £1 per acre, payable in half-yearly[Pg 18] payments of one shilling per acre, without interest; certain improvements to be effected in residence, fencing, clearing, cultivation, etc., enforced. Of this liberal Land Act I thought I would avail myself. I could select up to 320 acres; but that was beyond my means. At the next sitting of the Land Board I selected 128 acres—the most suitable to my capital. A river-side lot. Of this, 30 acres were river flat, not suitable for cultivation, being subject to floods; 35 acres only were fit for cultivation, the other portion being inferior, crab-holey, grass land. I said above, this was most suitable to my capital. Upon selecting, I had only just cash sufficient to pay the first deposit, as the first half-year's rent, viz., £6 8s. Little enough, it will be said, after 10 years' hard labor in the colony. But, remember, labor is equivalent to capital, and I was backed with that banking account named before, viz., my seven good boys.

Commencing Farming.

Now, striking out my digger's experience, I will dwell a little. It may be asked, Why did I put upon the title page of this "Life Sketch," "How £6 8s. became £8000?" Why did I not start with the 10s. I landed with? It is this. My object in writing at all is to induce others, under similar circumstances and conditions, to settle upon the land; therefore, I put down £6 8s., the amount I started farming with; or it may be seen further on that I might have put down £76 8s., but, the other £70 was only prospective, or hardly that at the time, as will be seen. Well, even this is no great sum, as many a laborer can earn that, or rather, can save that sum, in a little more than a year, at present[Pg 19] wages; pick and shovel men getting 7s. to 8s. per day. Had I a large sum of money saved from mining, it might have been said—"Oh! with that amount of capital, anyone ought to succeed."

So myself and two eldest sons started to make a home on the land. At this time I had one son, the third, aged about 16, living upon a station with squatters, not far from where we selected. He was getting small wages, but at the same time he was getting good experience with cattle, &c., and his masters were gentlemen of high character, and for whom I have the greatest respect. The two who joined me were now able to do a good hard day's work, and they had to do it, too. So we started at once. I left the wife and the smallest of the children (seven of them, one other son being at a dairy some few miles off) for a time, at the home on the diggings, and registered our claim for a few months to prevent anyone "jumping" it.

We put up residence No. 1 on the farm, composed of two side logs, and sheets of bark for top. We got a party to plough about an acre ready for potatoes and vegetables, and then started into the bush, about six miles off, to split fencing stuff; living under a few sheets of bark, for about two months. While there, I wrote a letter to my good mother in dear old England, and just in fun, headed it, "Splitters' Hall." This was taken in earnest, and I received a letter in due course, addressed to "Splitters' Hall." This gave us much amusement. Having got our stuff split, a difficulty arose. How to get it out of the bush! We must either give our labor to some farmer for a time for fetching it out for us, or return to the claim, and try for a few pounds, as we only had one old horse we used in the puddling machine, and no dray. We determined, therefore, to go and wash a few[Pg 20] machines of stuff on the claim. I took one of the boys with me, and, to our agreeable surprise and astonishment, we washed out £70 worth of gold (alluded to before at page 18) in one week. The only "patch" we ever got, and for which I trust we were thankful enough; and grand indeed did it look as we washed it off, and it followed the sluicing fork in the clean water in washing down the boxes. But it was only just a "patch," and ran out the next day. We call it our "Providential patch." On coming from the bank, where I sold it, my pocket felt nicer than I ever recollected (except upon one other occasion), and we all felt quite jubilant!

This other occasion I will insert here, although it should have been in the sketch of my "Artist Experience." This is an occasion which I shall always remember with pleasure and gratitude to the individual who interested himself so kindly in my interest. I went into Norfolk professionally, portrait painting, drawn on this occasion in that direction by the attractions of a certain individual whose acquaintance I had formed in London. The Bishop of London, who was always my friend, and always kindly gave me letters of introduction, gave me one to the Bishop of Norwich (Bishop Stanley), the father of the late honoured Dean Stanley, of Westminster. He kindly introduced me to the Mayor of Norwich, Mr. Freeman, as the best way to introduce my profession. The first portrait I painted there was the Mayor's, in his robes of office. He also kindly took charge of some paintings of fancy subjects I took with me, to show to his friends. After painting for some time in various parts of the country, in the meantime I got married, and this act, I suppose, under the circumstances, would be considered (and what is generally called) "improvident" and "imprudent," as I had no settled home of my own. It[Pg 21] then became imperative that I got one. My wife's home was about 22 miles from Norwich, and, as I always was a great pedestrian, which I have mentioned before, I started off one fine morning early to Norwich, to see my good friend, the Mayor, and inform him of my position, and see what could be done with the paintings he had charge of. We were dining together when I broached the subject. He said my pictures had been much admired, and he thought several of his fellow citizens would like to purchase them. He at once then, at the table, wrote a note stating my intention of leaving for London, and would they make me an offer for one or more of my pictures. An answer was soon back, but the answer and offer was not satisfactory to him. "No," he said, "he shan't have it for that;" sent a note to another, and thus this novel auction went on until he got rid of several of my pictures, and, as the term is, "at satisfactory prices," and before the evening I had the money in my pocket (between £66 and £70), and, indeed, it felt warm, as my heart also did, with gratitude. On starting back the same evening, how I "lift my feet!" Like Jacob of old, after his dream and receiving the blessing. (Read from Gen. 10th v. xxviii ch. to 1st v. xxix ch.). It says—"He went on his journey;" but the Heb. in the margin is far more expressive to one who has gone through a somewhat similar experience. It there says—"He lift up his feet." Light of heart, light of heel. I well remember the son of the Mayor, a fine young fellow, about my own age, accompanying me for a few miles on my journey back, conversing by the way (as christians love to do) of God's good providence and love; and who knows but what there was a third person in spirit with us, as He was in person with the "two disciples on the road that evening journeying to Emmaus?" But it could not[Pg 22] be said of us that "we were sad," as they were. They were sad because the "Comforter" had not then come, but we were in full enjoyment of that "Comforter." And they, also, when the Saviour revealed Himself, had "burning hearts of love;" and did not our hearts burn with love also? On our parting, with a good-bye and a hearty and friendly grip, I shall never forget his kindly words. They were these—"Remember how sweet is the day of prosperity to those who have tasted adversity's cup." And thus we parted on that memorable day and evening on the Norwich high road.

I hardly felt the remainder of my long walk. It was rather late in the evening (or rather night) when I reached home, and, upon entering, threw the proceeds of my trip into my young wife's lap. Our feelings may be imagined.

We then went up to London and furnished our first home at Clapham, as narrated in the sketch of "My Artist's Life." It will be seen that this transpired before my health broke down from over study.

But to resume. With this £70 from the claim we purchased a good draught horse, new dray, etc., so that we were enabled to cart our fencing stuff, and felt quite like getting on. After erecting the fence around a good part of the allotment, we commenced clearing the land, as there was a good bit of timber on. Grubbing trees, chopping up, and burning off, occupied us during the winter. We found hut No. 1 rather cold some nights, as our fire was outside. I often took my blankets and slept outside by the large fires, where the large logs were being burned off; these, also, required "rounding up" during the night. We got about 12 acres cleared, ploughed, and sown with wheat and oats by the month of June. We started then with the orchard and garden,[Pg 23] planted about 50 fruit trees of various sorts, and put in a few vines. This should always be done as soon as possible, but very few do it. We considered now we had got fairly started. Thus: A good deal of the fencing done, 12 acres cleared and under crop, orchard and garden dug and planted, one good horse and dray, also old puddling horse, being light, was useful for riding, etc.; three cows, with calves, from the station; out of my son's wages—2 pigs in the sty, and a few dozen fowls. Therefore we began thinking of shifting the family down. I sold our claim for a few pounds, and as our house on the diggings was still good, we shifted the materials down, and erected farm residence No. 2. This put us up till nearly our first harvest time. Thus we were all together again, except the son at the station, but he was only a few miles off. Our youngest child at this time—a boy—was 2 years old. We did not leave the digging's home, though, without some regrets. God having blessed us with many peaceful years of comfort and independence, and, although we had not saved much money, it did not interfere with our happiness; and the hills were very healthy, abounding in crystal springs, as will be supposed, for during the 10 years' residence I had no occasion to consult a medical man. It was a great blessing with 11 young children. I had, however, made it a duty to study medicine to some extent, which is necessary in a colony like this, and, particularly in those early days. Up to this time all our furniture had been home-made bush furniture, with the exception of one sofa-bedstead, and one American rocking chair, but then it matched with the bush residences. I now made a new set of furniture for our farm-house.

I have now to record a great sorrow which befell us. We had not all been together on the farm many weeks, when we[Pg 24] lost our fifth son, by drowning. He was a fine lad of 15 years. It happened in this way. He was out with the gun, keeping the cockatoos off the crops, but seeing some ducks in a lagoon near the river, he shot one of them, and stripped and swam in to secure it. He was a fine swimmer. He, however, did not, in his hurry, take the precaution to keep his cap on, as he always did when bathing, and, it being an exceedingly hot day, I believe he got sunstruck, as his younger brother, who was with him, said he laid upon the top of the water some time. There were several parties sunstruck on that day. He was a good boy, and had that morning, as usual, with his brothers and sisters, said their prayers, and sang together their little hymn—

"Come to this happy land,
Why will you doubting stand?"

There is one there awaiting us "beyond the river."

Myself and boys kept grubbing and clearing, and got in four acres of maize by harvest time. Two of them then went to assist their uncles at harvest; they resided about six miles from us. They coming, in return, to help us. So our first harvest-home in Victoria was completed. "The wilderness was, indeed, blossoming as the rose," and we felt proud at being permitted to fulfil the Heavenly behest of "subduing and replenishing the earth." What occupation on earth can equal that of the husbandman, to raise man's mind from "Nature to Nature's God"; that is, to a properly-regulated mind. To see the beautiful order of all Creation. The unerring instinct of animals. The song and wonderful plumage of birds, so very beautiful in Australia. The sweet hum of the busy bee fructifying the beautiful flowers, and modelling their cells so wonderfully and as unerringly as in the garden of Eden. Man, in his regenerate state, standing thus amid[Pg 25] these surroundings, and leaning upon the merits of his Saviour alone, to atone for the sin of the first Adam, and with his face and aspirations raised heavenward, must feel that Paradise is, in a measure, restored even in this world. He has, at least, a foretaste of the Paradise above.

Unregenerate man alone appears the only contradictory element and anomaly in the universe.

Increasing our Holdings.

We selected 115 acres more land the next year, and 95 the year after. All spare time, the two eldest sons went out fencing, etc., for other settlers, but, in a few years, we had plenty of work at home, and our son from the station joined us; the other sons, as well, growing up strong and useful. My wife and daughters also busy attending to housework, dairying, etc., which now had increased considerably by natural increase and further purchases. Horse stock also increased in the same way. Thus we have gone on year after year, all working for one common object and mutual welfare, and which we have now continued to do for nearly 25 years on the farm up to this time, 1891. Two of my sons have selected other allotments, and we have purchased two "drunk out" farms from the mortgagees. We also, in 1884, purchased a very eligible block of land. We had to pay dearly for it, though. It contained about 400 acres of good tillage land—good for this district, where land is not first-class, like many parts of Victoria. For this, we gave £8 per acre, and for 636 acres of grass land adjoining, £4 per acre, costing altogether over £6000. This we had to get partly upon loan. With our own great strength, now of six grown-up sons, and plenty[Pg 26] of horse strength besides, we have reaped in produce and stock from the same land, quite two-thirds of the amount, and expect in a few more years' crops to clear it, so that it was a good investment, but there has been very heavy labor attached to it.

Although we have a large quantity of the finest land in the district suitable for Hop-growing, we have scrupulously and conscientiously refrained from growing the same; considering it would be most inconsistent with our principles to have anything whatever, directly or indirectly, to do with any product that contributed to the production of that substance that has been the greatest curse to the world; also putting some of the best land to a base use, instead of using it for the benefit of mankind. The Hop is different altogether from the Grape, or Barley, as they are in themselves a blessing, and of eminent use to man, properly and rationally used.

The Consummation.

About six years since we erected on the "Home Farm"—our first selection—Residence No. 3, a superior brick house, which cost about £500, and very desirable now and appreciated, as wife and I are growing old—self, 74; wife, a few years younger. The bush furniture has given place to as good a suite of furniture as anyone could wish for in sitting, bedrooms, etc., also a superior organ, with which to praise and glorify the good God who has blessed and prospered us. I have, besides, taken the brush in hand again to adorn the walls, and leave some of my handiwork behind me for the children. In fact, for the last eight years I have done a few[Pg 27] paintings, sold a few landscapes, and exhibited them at various places in the colonies; also sent a large one to the Colonial and Indian Exhibition in London, for which I got a certificate and medal. Heavy, laborious work, of course, begins to tell upon me now if long continued, so that this "soft-handed" work is a relaxation. My department now in the firm is principally in the garden and orchard, of which we have now a large one, both fancy and useful. We have also an orangery recently planted, have also a good many old trees, which bear wonderfully well. We irrigate with a horse-pump.

We are all still working together in partnership, as it has always been my policy to give my sons a direct interest in all our undertakings and property, and this is only right and just, as to them mainly, under God's blessing, I must attribute our success; anyhow, the labor portion has largely devolved upon them.

We stand now (1891), after 25 years on the farms, thus:—

Amount of Land, 2,523 acres
At a fair valuation, free £6,150
Stock, cattle, horses, 1,500
Plants, Machinery, etc. 550

Thus I have shown, as I promised, how £6 8s., or, if you like, £76 8s., has increased to £8,000.

It must be remembered, although this looks a nice sum of money, that if divided between six sons and four daughters, the amount for each would not be large; say among the six sons, the amount to each would only be about £1,350. However, by still holding together in partnership, they can increase it much more than if they divided; in fact, they are just doing so by purchasing a property in New South Wales of 3,000[Pg 28] acres, mainly for sheep-farming. Besides, I have known steady, single farm-men, as hired hands at £1 per week and "found," and £1 10s. per week for harvest work, who have banked at least £40 per year, for over 20 years, which, with compound interest, I presume would total up to the above sum. Not that I am an advocate for this style of saving, as, when the money was about half that sum, they would have the means to marry and settle down; thus be better citizens, and add more to the prosperity of the colony.

Now, doubtless, the question will be asked by many situated as I was, and others, "Can I do the same?" My answer is, I really cannot see why they cannot. But they must have seen that even upon the land, there is a very rough time to go through, especially in new country, and many years of careful labor, though, with all, a pleasant, healthful, and independent occupation, and, "with a long pull, and a strong pull, and a pull altogether," and a firm reliance on God's blessing, a peaceful and restful end.

A Dissertation on Temperance.

It must be born in mind, however, that there was one great and important, if not indispensable factor, which I have not mentioned in the foregoing sketch, that has greatly contributed to our success, viz.:—The curse of alcohol was never permitted to enter or pollute our home. I was early in life (1840) convinced of the advantages, physically and morally, of abstaining from the narcotic poison—alcohol. My pledge card, which I still have and keep with much pride, is dated 1841. I had abstained some time before, so that I can count over half a century in this good cause. And I am happy to[Pg 29] say the whole of my children have followed our example, and it was only natural that they should do so, as I am a firm believer in parental example. When this great cause was first advocated, we all gladly joined it, as we, as a family, had suffered from the curse—and what family has not, in some measure? My own father was a victim to the demon; but those were days of ignorance, and drunkenness was only looked upon as a venial weakness, and almost as a virtue among all classes—the clergy not even exempt; and it was considered a breach of hospitality if you did not make your guests drunk. Thank God those bad old times are past! My dear parent was more excused as he was a naval man—a "man-of-war's-man," and fought under the great Nelson, and at that time it was thought necessary to make men half mad with rum before they could fight. Now: how changed! The commanders call for the teetotalers when they want any particular or dangerous duty performed. I said, as a family we suffered, for he died early in life, and left his widow with six very young children to battle alone in the world. But I must draw the curtain; we cannot claim ignorance now.

Now, do not let it be understood that I mean to say that no one will succeed unless they are abstainers; but from my long experience and extensive observation, it is extremely rare to find those who started with moderation in intoxicants, can continue so, at least with the potations in the same quantity or strength; it is almost physically impossible to do so. Alcohol is a substance that principally exerts its influence on the nervous system, like opium—a kindred substance. It creates an artificial appetite or craving, and nervous prostration is the result, which can only be relieved, in thousands of cases, by a continued increase in quantity or strength, and a diseased state of the system is insensibly created. In very many cases[Pg 30] moderation is impossible. No man ever started in life with the intention of being a drunkard, and if you suggested the possibility of such, he would be most indignant. Nevertheless, they fall against their will. Neither do I think any man leaves his home and family with the deliberate intention of getting drunk, and coming home to abuse those who, in his sober moments, he treats with affection. If he did so, such a man has fallen far below the brute creation. Man is simply deluding himself with this alluring and fascinating "serpent." In fact, "mocked," and "he that is deceived thereby is not wise." And the true wisdom is to banish this "curse of the race" from your home, as no one knows how soon they or someone dear to them, may be drawn into this snare. I never knew an abstainer but what prospered in this colony, and I have known hundreds of drinkers "go to the wall." I have not known a single farmer in this district who planted a vineyard, and made wine, who has not been "bitten by his own dog," and died prematurely; except one, and he sold out, but is still a confirmed drunkard. Alas! what shocking tales I could tell of wasted homes. I have already mentioned two "drunk out" farms we purchased—premature deaths, violent deaths. Children turned adrift on the world, sacred and loving ties sundered, etc., etc., simply from indulgence in this most insidious, useless, and dangerous habit. However, a brighter day is dawning even for Australia, which, as yet, is far behind in this glorious movement of true temperance (temperance in all lawful things). Alcohol is unlawful, being foreign and destructive to man's physical nature, but the total abstinence cause is destined also to be the moral salvation of the world, and the hand-maid and stepping-stone to a religious and Christian life. And I am happy to say many of our youth are seeing the advantages and duty of abstinence from intoxicants.

[Pg 31]

The Vine Industry.

On the other hand, many of our politicians and others are advocating the advantages of the vine-growing industry for making wine, and have even dubbed Australia—"John Bull's Vineyard." Yes, vineyard, I will, if you like, endorse, but "Wine Shop," which they mean, I will ignore. The grape, rightly used, is one of God's greatest gifts, and I would like to see every hill-top clothed with the vine, but not quite so, for we are, or should be, wise enough to know that the hill-tops should never be denuded of their forest's adornment. Say every hill-side. The pure "fruit of the vine," the blood of the grape unfermented, or grapes preserved as raisins, are wonderfully nutritious, and contain many of the elements of the blood. By fermentation, which is a process of decay and destruction, nearly the whole of the nutriment is destroyed. Thus, the gluten and gum are entirely destroyed. Six-sevenths of the albumen, and four-fifths of the sugar, and most of the others, are also destroyed. And what do we get in lieu. Why, a narcotic, sleeping, irritant (irritating) poison; irritating, though, should have been placed first, as it excites the passions to commit every evil deed, long before the drunken or sleepy stage commences. Now, will any sane person have the temerity to say that this poison alcohol, the substance created by the destruction of all these life-sustaining constituents, is "the good gift of God" as "received from His hand?" There is hardly a substance on earth but what can be and has, in like manner, been perverted. Grain of all sorts, fruit, rice, potatoes, beet-root, starchy substances of all sorts, in fact, anything that can be converted into saccharine (sugar: the foundation of alcohol), milk also, and even meat. Were all these good gifts ever intended to be worse than destroyed?[Pg 32] In the United Kingdom, 80,000,000 bushels of bread food are thus destroyed, when millions of people are in a state of pauperism or semi-starvation. And all this waste, to do what? To feed men? No. To give health? No. Strength? No. To warm? No. To allay this? No. It is of no earthly use whatever. But this it does. Debases men below the beast, also producing crime, poverty, disease, and moral degradation. This is the sum total that man reaps for destroying the bountiful fruits of the Creator.

Is it then a wise policy on the part of a paternal Government to unduly encourage the manufacture of wine in bonuses and viticultural colleges? Is it patriotic? Is it philanthropic? Is it Christian! With a climate that can produce wine by natural fermentation up to 34 per cent. (this is disputed by experts in Europe) of alcoholic strength, two-thirds the strength of brandy, and a very large quantity is being distilled into brandy, how can we expect a sober people?

It may appear to some that I have dwelt unreasonably long upon this question, but feeling strongly, I must write strongly.

Having, therefore, pointed out to the best of my ability what I consider the greatest drawback to the advancement of this fair colony, viz., the wasteful expenditure of 6,000,000 of money annually for Victoria alone, I will return to consider at greater length the object for which this sketch was mainly written.

The Settlement of the Lands.

Husbandry is the source of all true wealth, and the back-bone of every country. I regret to say the farming interest in Victoria has been heavily handicapped by the protective[Pg 33] duties, to sustain the interests of the manufacturers and importers. The crisis came upon the farmers first, as soon as they had to compete in the world's market, and it will come upon the manufacturers just in the same way, when they have over-produced for the home market. It is just now upon the turning point. Can they compete with the world with men's present wages, and eight hours' labor? I very much doubt it. If not, what will they do with their surplus goods. Farmers' sons have had to rush the cities for employment, and there is a vast population just growing into manhood—sons of artisans, which our football matches testify. Can these be absorbed into the various trades? I don't like taking a gloomy view of things, but I think the subject should have very serious thought. It is very easy to boast about the eight hours' movement, and wages to be fixed, and "strikes" ordered by a Trades' Hall Council. But will they provide an outlet for the working man's commodities at colonial prices? But to return to the land. In the first place, I may say as regards Victoria, the open selection of Crown land has ceased. Even the grazing blocks, under the new Act, 1884, which nearly covers all the inferior or waste land, I think are all pretty well taken up, and the only hope now is the breaking up or sub-division of the large estates, and they comprise, luckily, the very finest runs of land, on 100 acres of which, a family could live better than on 320 of ordinary land. Of course, to get this good land requires some capital, but the return lies surely in the soil, and it only requires labor—the poor man's capital—with strict economy, to recover the first expenditure. The breaking up of these large estates will be the making of Victoria. Or the cutting up into tenant blocks would be even better for the owners, and better for men of limited means. A ten years' lease on prime land should[Pg 34] make him independent. I don't mean make his fortune, but should place him in a position to go ahead. This is the only land that will bear a dense population, or bear intense cultivation, and is, in fact, the only hope for the colony. This want of land for the rising generation is the cause of so many of our young men—farmers' sons—seeking employment in Melbourne, their parents' holdings not being sufficient to maintain the whole of the family, and many are marrying, and desire to have homes of their own. I trust the large owners of estates are patriotic, if not philanthropic enough to see the necessity of this, which is also a duty to God and man, for it is pitiable to see men willing to go upon the land, and many with sufficient means, looking about in vain. Without these are cultivated, how can the population increase as it should? And how can work be found for the artisans in the cities? These and the farmers must go hand in hand, and prosper together; for if the 130,000 farmers have only a surplus of an average of £10 each yearly, it throws into their hands £1,300,000—no insignificant sum. To a small extent, there has been a disposition to sub-divide. I trust they will increase a hundred-fold.

I think it will be seen from what I have written, that for "New Chums," at least in Victoria, there is not much chance for settling on the land, without they possess a few hundreds in cash. Therefore they must be satisfied with patient, frugal labor for a few years, to save sufficient capital. But there are the other colonies of Australia—New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland, and Western Australia, where they have liberal land laws. Splendid countries, inviting capital and labor, and upon which, in the various latitudes, the products of the whole world can be grown to the greatest perfection, and the area so vast, that the population of another[Pg 35] Europe could be set down; but a very great portion of it, from its position, climate, etc., is not very inviting, or hardly suitable for needy emigrants. There is, though, a vast outlet for the profitable investment of capital in those outlying districts. Capital and labor must go hand in hand like twin brothers. Then the waste places of the earth would soon "blossom as the rose," and we should soon find the over-stocked hives of the old lands relieved of the burden of humanity, for as yet it is idle to talk of the "over-population of the world;" why, we know in fact that as yet it is not half populated, not only Australia. Look at the vast country of South America, watered by that mighty river the Amazon, also the Argentine Republic. Then the great north-west of Canada, also the regions of the Congo and Central Africa, and many other considerable and desirable places. Yes, there is room enough yet in the ample and bountiful bosom of "Mother Earth," and she is inviting, with open arms, her children to partake of her bounties. We hear a great deal about "over-population" and "over-production." Why is it? Simply because the great masses of the working bees are not placed in a position to gather the world's honey, and thus to become customers for the products of the manufacturing countries. The cry should be—Put the people on the lands, at whatever cost! They will return interest an hundred-fold.


At the present time the subject of irrigation is absorbing the attention of the Government and the community in general. The appointment of the Royal Commission on Water Supply was a grand idea, and for which the colony[Pg 36] should be grateful, and particularly to the president, the Honourable Alfred Deakin, M.P., for his arduous and indefatigable labor to promote a general interest in the subject. The visit also of the Commission to America, and the report of the same, are highly interesting and useful, and which led to the establishment of Messrs Chaffey Bros.' Irrigation Colony at Mildura. This will do immense good. It will be an open book, giving ocular and practical demonstration of the advantages of water and intense cultivation, but above all, to show how capital can be advantageously invested for the mutual and common good, and I think it will lead to many such in Victoria, and also extend right across the continent to the Gulf of Carpentaria, and thus make a profitable outlet for English capital, and at the same time relieve the old lands of the plethora of humanity. What can be done in arid countries without water? What would India, Egypt, Italy, &c., be without irrigation? In fact, it is the life of all nature. We can hardly estimate its value. It is the only solvent and menstruum to set free the constituents of the soil. Intense culture with water requires intense labor and intense manuring. It will also require cheap labor and cheap mechanical appliances. At present our machinery is nearly double the price it is in America. How then can we compete with the world without we start fairly? A 50-acre irrigated farm will suffice to keep a family comfortably, as crops are not only doubled, but you can double crop. That is, take at least two crops, one grain and the other roots or fodder plants, in one season, and you can cut fodder crops three or four times, and lucerne five or six. I have experimented for some years, and I have come to the conclusion that "soakage" is the best; that is, run the water in the furrows between the lands or beds, not too wide, so that the water, by[Pg 37] capillary attraction, may soak quite through. There is a very great deal to learn. The right time to put the water on, and the time to leave off, otherwise it will do more harm than good. For fruit, also, you must not keep watering too long, or the fruit will never mature properly, and be of inferior flavor and quality, and the young wood will not mature for the next year's crop. Independent of fruit growing, which is so much advocated just now, I think irrigation is of as much advantage to the general farmer, not so much for corn growing, as it is difficult to catch the right time, and an excess is pretty sure to create mildew and rust; but for roots and fodder crops, and "catching crops" after harvests, for the dairy, etc., too much cannot be said in favor of irrigation. Every stream, however small, running through a dry country, should be utilised, if not, it is so much wealth running to waste, and its use to the dairy industry, which has advanced with such strides during the last few years, is not half enough appreciated. The Government has aided this industry most liberally, and it has been the making of thousands of families, but improved methods of growing crops by irrigation and better feeding, and an improved breed of dairy cattle, would quite double the produce. I think I have said enough as to the advantages and difficulties of irrigation, difficulties which experience will overcome.

As this "Life's Sketch" was written mainly to induce the settlement of the people on the land, my concluding division will be an endeavour to propound.

A Scheme of Settlement.

It appears strange that the wealth of Great Britain has not gone in this direction long ago for the benefit of her own sons.[Pg 38] "Charity should begin at home." The poverty and the drudgery of the masses is appalling in England, and this by the side of enormous wealth. A burden of poverty and a burden of wealth. Strange anomaly! Not only the produce market, but the money market as well, is regulated by Great Britain. The hands and eyes of the whole world are lifted up to her! What would be the state of most countries without the markets and wealth of England? Look at the millions wasted in worthless Turkey. Then we see the millions that have been spent in India and Egypt. Blessing indeed, no doubt, to those countries. Then it appears so passing strange that a portion of this British wealth has not been diverted more to the lands of her colonies in a systematic way, and there can be no safer investment. N.B.—The Chaffey Brothers' scheme.

We find, however, that the British Government are commencing action in this direction, at least at home, in establishing peasant proprietary, and millions of money is to be appropriated to this purpose in purchasing land, &c. This is a step in the right direction, and I trust this sort of thing will be extended to the colonies, where, as I said before, there is room for another Europe. Britain's sons and our colonies should be thought of first. It would not be charity. Charity in this sense is rather an unchristian term; the benefits would be reciprocal. When her sons are wanted for the defence of the Empire, they are willing to lay down their lives by thousands, and millions upon millions of money, for the purpose of war, is forthcoming. Is it, then, too much to ask that a few millions be spent in the cause of peace, to enable them to do battle with rugged nature?

As regards the extension of settlements in Victoria, I think I have hinted enough respecting the necessity of sub-division[Pg 39] and irrigation. I think after a few years, when the advantages of irrigation have been proved, many will be glad to sub-divide their present holdings of 320 acres, and confine themselves to half the quantity, especially if the anticipations of the fruit industry are realised, and I have considerable faith in them, but not such glowing results as are held out; only one-half of the profits stated would suffice. One thing we know: this generation appears to have made the discovery that man is more of a fruit and vegetable eater than was before supposed, so that therein a good deal of our hope lies. By the partaking of fruit, we require much less drink, as a pound of most fruits contain more than three-quarters of a pound of water; we may say three-quarters of a pint to one pound, so that they are eminently meat and drink. As to the other vast portions of Australia, I can see no hope for settlement, particularly in the arid districts, without either the Governments at home or in the colonies, or syndicates, take the matter up. With respect to individual settlements in these parts, we cannot compare it with North America; the conditions are so very different, there is such a very small portion of Australia in the temperate zone, the climate of which is so suitable for European constitutions, whereas, in North America and Canada, there is an enormous territory congenial for the products and people of temperate climates. In Australia, wheat appears to fail north of 30deg., at least, it does not pay to grow it without it is on table-land, such as part of New England district in New South Wales. It is strange that as yet that great colony, four times as large as Victoria, does not grow near corn enough to feed her own people, and Victoria has already exported this year, 1891, millions of bushels. Well, as regards that, Victoria cannot boast, and it is quite as strange that they cannot, or do not grow half meat enough[Pg 40] for the insignificant population. The facilities and inducements for settlement in America are grand. Many a sturdy man has "gone west" into the wild woods, and made a home with nothing more than his axe, and a bag of seeds, living well in the meantime upon the indigenous products of that splendid country, which are abundant. Wild animals, large and small, birds, fish, native fruits and nuts, and sugar from the maple tree, &c. Truly, that was a rich land! But nothing of this sort can be attempted in Australia.

If I were to draw up a plan of settlement, basing the costs according to my own personal experience, but depending upon a company for the capital to start with, I would advise, after the company had agreed with the Government for the purchase of the land, and the same was surveyed in blocks of 200 acres each, to settle down 200 families, which would amount to 40,000 acres, and a reserved right for 40,000 more at a somewhat higher figure. The cost to place each family of say five individuals, would be about £200 each family; that is, to pay passage, supply them with food, implements, stock, seeds, &c., for the first year, until some produce came to hand. Residences, of course, would be rough, and should be erected by themselves. Thus far the support and provision of the 200 families for one year would be £40,000, or for 1600 families—8000 souls—£500,000. Say, for illustration, the company got the land for two shillings per acre, and gave each family a lease for 10 years at two shillings an acre per annum, the payment to be for purchase money, so that at the end of 10 years it would be his own, having paid the company £1 per acre. The £200 also, advanced in the first instance, to be paid off by instalments with 6 per cent. interest per annum added, so that at the end of ten years or a little more, each family should be possessed of their own freehold, and a[Pg 41] considerable increase of stock, etc. The company should have a depôt, where everything necessary for the settlement could be supplied at the lowest possible rate, and also undertake to preserve and market the produce of the settlers to the best advantage, to ensure them the highest possible price, like Chaffey Bros. propose doing. To go more into detail and figures as to the first year's expenses of a family of five, I would put it down thus:—

Cost of bringing out and placing upon the land a family of five individuals £50  0 0
Provisions for one year 50  0 0
———— £100  0 0
2 horses at £10 20 0 0
4 cows at £7 28 0 0
4 pigs 3 0 0
Fowls 2 0 0
———— 53 0 0
Dray 10  0 0
Plough 6  0 0
Harrows 5  0 0
Sundry tools 2 10 0
Dairy utensils 2 10 0
Harness 6  0 0
House utensils 5  0 0
———— 37  0 0
For 20 acres of wheat 6  0 0
For 10 acres of oats 2  5 0
For 5 acres of maize 0  5 0
For garden seeds 1  0 0
50 fruit trees (various) 3  0 0
———— 12 10 0
Total £202 10 0

If a family of five—husband, wife, one daughter, and two strong lads of from 14 to 16 years of age—entered upon the land in the month of January, and started at once putting up a house and getting stuff ready, they should be able to do all the work among themselves, and get the wheat and oats in[Pg 42] in June—orchard and garden in July. The maize ground could be left until the fence was up round the crop. The amounts put down for food may look small, but it would not be more than that, as in six months (and before, with milk, butter and eggs) they would have potatoes, &c., from the garden, and one pig killed, which together would be half a living. Such a scheme as this could be easily worked out in detail, and thus I think millions of capital could be profitably invested. In fact, without some such scheme I don't know how the vast territories under the British Crown, now lying waste, can be utilised. A few such settlements would give an immense impetus to trade and manufacture, and we should soon cease to hear the cries of "want of employment," "over-population," and "over-production." N.B.—Such a scheme should commend itself to General Booth. It may further be said as regards settling a large population upon the land with intense culture—What is the amount of land a family can comfortably live upon? The sub-division of land has taken place considerably in the original eastern States of America. I see by the Government reports of the State of Massachusetts, 71,000 persons live from the products of farms averaging only 56 acres, and the average size of farms over the whole State in 1850 was 99 acres; in 1875, 76 acres, so that they are now being reduced. The income of these farmers average about £125 per year, independent, I presume, of farm products consumed by themselves. Any way, it shows a very thrifty, frugal, and industrious people. The population also has increased in the 13 original States from 15 per square mile in 1780, including towns, to 55 in 1880, or over 11 individuals to the acre. This is amazing! Then take Belgium, France, and Ireland, where families live, or appear to do so, or are compelled to do so, comfortably upon only five, eight, and ten acres of land.[Pg 43] Take France, as its position, various industries, and climate much resemble Victoria. I find by the Government reports that there is a population of nineteen millions (19,000,000) existing on farms of about eight acres each. This is wonderful! And, as our Governments are partial to commissions, it would be very interesting and instructive if we had one to go through France, as they did through California, to see how these farmers manage their system of farming, various products, prices, &c., also diet, beverages and social standing. It would, I think, open the eyes of some of the settlers in Victoria who say they cannot make a living on 320 acres. I can give a very good example of frugality, and also details of a farm in Ireland under Earl Spencer's prize system, on his estates. A tenant named Hill was awarded the first prize; area, 11 acres.

Division of Land.

1 acre 1 rood, turnips and mangles.
1 acre 2 roods, potatoes.
4 acres, oats.
6 acres.
1 acre 2 roods, upland.
1 acre, lowland.
1 acre 3 roods, permanent pasture.
11 acres.

Half an acre of land seeded after potatoes, 1¼ after manured roots, 2½ under lea-oats.

Live stock consisted of 1 horse, 3 dairy cows, 2 heifers, 2 pigs, and 46 poultry.


[Pg 44]


Cr. Dr.
£ s. d.    £ s. d.
Produce of cows 35 0 0       Rent and taxes 12 18 4
Oats (exclusive of horse feed) 21 0 0        Wages and keep of servant 22 0 0
Profit on beast sold 19 0 0       Seeds 1 1 0
Potatoes (5½ tons at £3) 16 10 0       Labour (spring and harvest) 5 0 0
2 calves 9 0 0       Hand feed to cows 1 12 0
Profit on pigs 6 0 0   
Eggs 6 10 0   
—— —— —— —— —— ——
£113 0 0    £42 11 4
—— —— —— —— —— ——


Cr. £113 0 0
Dr. 42 11 4
£70 8 8

I (the reporter) asked Hill what wages weekly would have been equal to this. He seemed astonished at such a question, and confessed that no reasonable wages could have placed him in such a comfortable and independent position.

This is a modest affair, and yet the tenant was most contented and happy.

In concluding this section, I must say I would very much like to see in Victoria, a small model farm of say 25 acres of tillage as a dairy farm; everything to be consumed on the farm; that is, all the produce from the land—hay, straw, fodder plants, roots, etc.—and the whole to be under the direction and supervision of the Minister of Agriculture, and the Government Agricultural Chemist, —— Martin, Esq., and everything carried out under an intelligent tenant and his family, and a strict balance-sheet kept.

[Pg 45]

A Glimpse at the Future of Australia.

I am not so sanguine as many that Australia, in the near future, will have such a very large population, and particularly a European one. There is not temperate climate enough. I have already stated that wheat cannot be profitably grown beyond 30 degrees of latitude north, and we may say most of the European products also, and the climate, beyond another 20 degrees, is not suitable for European constitutions to labor in. If we, therefore, draw a line at 30 degrees across the map of Australia, we shall see the insignificant portion there is left in the temperate zone; we shall find it not one-fourth of the continent. Take it through Western Australia, and there is just a little corner. What, then, is the future of the enormous country north of 30 degrees, and which is only suitable for tropical and semi-tropical products, all of which will grow to the greatest perfection? The question then is, will Europeans grow these products? I think not. At least, not European labor. It must, and no doubt will be done, by large companies, by employing Chinese, Coolie, or Kanaka labor, under the superintendence of Europeans. These hotter regions, otherwise, will never be utilized. Therefore, it is my belief that instead of persecuting and expelling these races as the fashion now is, we shall be glad to invite them to assist in developing this vast territory. I think this conclusion will strike everyone as correct, who calmly reflects upon the subject. Besides, the products of these districts, such as sugar, rice, tea, coffee, etc., require so much hand labor, that to compete with these with other countries which have cheap labor, will be impossible. Even at the present day, neither Englishmen nor Europeans will do the necessary work in the northern districts, and even in Victoria our[Pg 46] tobacco, hops, and vine industries can hardly be carried on without the despised Chinese. We have an example already in the sugar industry in Queensland. Recently a plant was up for sale that cost £26,000, and the highest offer was £5000. What are we then to do without this cheap labor? Without it this vast territory must evidently remain in a state of nature, or still be devoted to wandering herds of cattle, and by their vast numbers cripple the farmers of the more temperate parts by competition. Where, then, are the boasted millions of population to come from, which so many calculate upon?

One great factor which will stay the progress of this great country more than any other is the present jealousy and war between Capital and Labor. No country can advance without there is perfect security for life and property. If capital cannot find security in one country, it can easily go to another. Social order must be maintained at all costs. It appears coming to this, whether the Elected Government is to rule the country, or the Trades' Hall Council. There is a class of men in Melbourne who want to fix things according to their own Utopian ideas, and upon such "hard and fast" lines that would be totally unbearable and tyrannical even to their own class. It would be well for them to ponder the wise words recently uttered by President Harrison, viz., "The safety of the State, the good order of the community, all that is good, the capacity, indeed, to produce material wealth, is dependent upon the intelligence and social order. Wealth and commerce are timid creatures, they must be assured that the rest will be safe before they build. So it is always in those communities where the most perfect order is maintained, where intelligence is protected, where the Church of God, and the institutions of religion are revered and respected, we find the largest develop[Pg 47]ments of material wealth." There is far too much "dog in the manger" feeling among the well-to-do artisans in Melbourne. They are jealous of others coming into this good land. They were glad enough to come themselves. It is the fear that a few shillings will come off their own wages. It is strange that sensible men, with any idea in their own heads, can listen to, or be guided by the strange contradictory logic of the leaders of the labor party. Recently, one of them said, speaking against the "Bloated Capitalists," "those who are living without working, you may depend upon it, are living upon those who do work, and that all independent people are 'loafers or parasites' on the State." Holding that independence is a crime. Well, many of their own class, by industry and frugality, are independent or approaching to it. These, then, are graduating to this new species of crime. Another said these "loafers and parasites" should be compelled to turn out and work, and in the next breath called competition the work of the devil, and over-production the curse of the colony. According to this logic, if all were workers and all producers—what then? The greatness of Melbourne consists of the great number of independent non-workers, who employ and consume the produce of the workers, and this is also the secret of England's greatness, and their wealth is assisting the great national works of the whole world. These wiseacres even dictate to the farmers in this matter, thinking, I suppose, that they cannot see a yard from the plough-tail. If we get an overplus, and the prices consequently lower, and of which they reap the benefit, they tell us it is over-production again, and say, "Why don't you just produce what the colony requires, and then you would be all right?" But should we do so, and their loaf be double the price, which it would be, they would be the first to cry out that[Pg 48] "we were not utilising the land." Not considering that in advocating this grand remedy, this colony, instead of exporting millions of bushels of wheat to feed the hungry in Europe, would simply revert to a sheep walk, or nearly so, and two-thirds of the agricultural population would swell the present too over-crowded cities, and increase their own ranks with double the number of workers—and what then? The railways also might shut up, as sheep, &c., can travel to market on their own legs. But enough of this. The farming and the town interests are identical, the one cannot prosper without the other, but the farmer can get over a pinch best. Farming also is paramount, and Governments should see to it as soon as possible and establish farm colonies—see that the large estates are put to the best use. Previous Governments have frittered away the best of the land by special surveys, and permitting dummyism. They should also see that the remaining unalienated land is kept in the hands of the State, and only leased to tenants. A 20 years' lease, renewable, is almost as good as a freehold, and suits thousands better. Large estates in England have been let in this way, and have remained in the hands of the same tenants for generations. As I have previously said, I now emphasize again, viz.—Put the People on the Land at all Costs!—without which it is impossible, even in Victoria, to have a large population or prosperity in town or country.


In concluding, I trust this little "Sketch from Life" and personal experience and advice therein contained, may cause many in the "dear old land" who are situated as I was, and others, to take heart and courage, and I doubt not the same[Pg 49] blessing will attend them. They may have a rough time for a few years, and many ups and downs, but what of that? Labor with plenty, gives the best health, strength, enjoyment and longevity. Thus, with a firm trust in the "All-wise" to direct their path, their feet shall never slip, and they shall cause the "wilderness to blossom as the rose," and, "by the good hand of God upon them," build up a home, as surely as Nehemiah built up Jerusalem, and to cheer their hearts I will give them a song to sing all along their pilgrim journey.


All the way my Saviour leads me,
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my guide?
Heavenly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know whate'er befalls me,
Jesus doeth all things well.

All the way my Saviour leads me,
Cheers each winding path I tread,
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living bread.
Though my weary steps may falter,
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the rock before me,
Lo, a spring of joy I see!

All the way my Saviour leads me,
Oh, the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father's house above.
When my spirit, clothed immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day,
This my song, through endless ages,
Jesus Led Me all the Way.

N.B.—The profit, if any, from the sale of this little sketch will be devoted to the furtherance of True Temperance.

[Pg 50]


Rae Bros., Printers, 547 & 549 Elizabeth Street