Personal Recollections of Early Melbourne and Victoria Part 2
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In spite of the attractions and economies of Tempe--for that, I think, was the name it ambitiously held--we quitted South Yarra within the same year for a still greater bargain and temptation in the opposite direction, where I had just then the chance of picking up, "at an old song," the pretty cottage previously occupied by Mr. Locke, on the Merri Creek, four miles north by the Sydney-road. Besides the presentable cottage, there was a large, well-stocked garden, at enacre cultivation field, and a small natural park (vulgarly, paddock), in all 46 acres, for 50 pounds, plus 300 pounds of inevitable mortgage. I called it Maryfield, after my parental home in Edinburgh, and revelled in grapes, plums, and peaches, and much other country happiness. When a host of visitors, on a bright summer day, would rather strain the narrow larder, I used to divert the party into the garden, where they could complete their meal, although at times with inconvenient demand, from the male section at least, upon the brandy. When, in 1854, I re-sold "the lot" to Mr. David Moore, under the heavy temptation of 6,000 pounds, he took the warrantable liberty of a slight nominal alteration to Moorefield, while at the same time he erased the poor old cottage for something more accordant with great golden Victoria.
In this case I had a rather striking ill.u.s.tration of the old land-transfer and other law costs incubus from which my late friend Sir R.R. Torrens has so effectually relieved these colonies; and that, too, as I believe, owing to the multiplied transactions, without any real detriment to our many legal friends. Pounds were pounds in those economy-needing times, and as the Savings Bank had, after a thorough overhaul, accepted the t.i.tle before giving its loan, I declared myself perfectly satisfied to proceed at once to the conveyance. But no, that was impossible. The courtesies, the practice, the established rights, in short, of ancient custom required all to be done over again, in attested copies of t.i.tle, draughts of t.i.tle as to defects for counsel's opinion, and so on, even if all the paper and verbiage were to go straight to the waste-basket; and thus a not over convenient bill of about 70 pounds was rolled up. But I must at the same time bear in mind that this heavy drag applied to all landed property, restricting business in it and reducing its value. Had Torrens's Act been then in action, I could not possibly, with the resulting higher value of land, have secured my bargain at the fifty pounds, probably not even at fifty plus the seventy.
THE EARLY SQUATTING TIMES.
"Our life, exempt from public haunt, Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, Sermons in stones, and good in everything."
--As You Like It.
The t.i.tle "Victoria" did not come to us until, on 1st July, 1851, we bloomed into an independent colony, having succeeded, after a good deal of struggle and contention, in getting separated from our mother, New South Wales, who complimented us by being very loath, and even angry, that so very promising a child should be detached from her. We had begun as the Southern or Port Phillip District of that s.p.a.cious colony, which had already dropped South Australia, and eight years afterwards was to lose yet another arm in Queensland.
I recall with interest and pleasure some early trips into the interior, when it was in a very different condition from now, when the indigenous reigned almost uninvaded throughout, and when aboriginal natives were in many places as plentiful as colonists. For some years squatting life was the predominant or rather all but the sole feature of the interior beyond Melbourne. The little capital was at first always called "the settlement"--a distinctive t.i.tle, however, which was just expiring when I arrived. But, for some years after, the term "settler" always meant a squatter, and not a farmer, as might be supposed, with his "settled" or fee-simple home.
My first trip to the interior was, towards the end of 1841, to the sheep station of my old friend Sam Jackson, situated on the Deep Creek, seventeen miles northward from Melbourne. There I first tasted damper and saw the novelties of squatting life. Samuel, and his brother William, nicknamed for some reason "The General," were of the very earliest from "over the straits," William having been one of the party organized and sent over in August, 1835, by Fawkner. Sam followed soon after, and they "took up" this station on the Deep Creek, under the natural impression that to be so near "the settlement" must be an advantage. They soon found it otherwise for more than one reason. The constant tramp of sheep pa.s.sing over their "run" to go beyond them exposed their ground to infection, especially from scab. And they were exposed in another way hardly less costly and far more annoying; for every "traveller," whether bond fide or not, claimed quarters at the Jacksons', and made the sheep disappear of a hungry morning with marvellous rapidity, and at a time when, with the demand for live stock to fill up the empty country, their value had risen to 40 s.h.i.+llings each and upwards. "The General" had mainly to sustain this attack, as his brother was generally in Melbourne practising professionally as an architect, and was engaged at that very time in building the Scots'
Church in Collins-street. Naturally enough, he would fain have turned somewhat the flank of this invading host; but, without being successful, his efforts only got him the name of "Hungry Jackson."
Later on, I met further variety of early squatting life in a trip to the Werribee Plains, where some friends, the Pinkertons from Glasgow, and Mr. James Sceales, late merchant and Chief Magistrate of Leith, had their respective stations. On those vast plains, extending westwards 30 to 40 miles, from Melbourne to the Anakies, or Station Peak, the slight and scattered squatting invasion had hardly disturbed anywhere the indigenous features. Thus over a vast solitude we revelled in much of specially Australian scenery, particularly that of tortuous and deeply excavated "creeks," with their chains of ponds or waterholes, the running stream mostly dried up--indeed sometimes for whole years together--but all characterized, more or less, by irresistible rushes after heavy rains, sweeping all before them, including not seldom the sheep, and even the homestead, of the incautious or inexperienced settler. I have a striking contrast in store when I revisit those plains, which now resound to the traffic of road and railway, and to the busy hum of many towns and villages and of farming and gardening life.
As early as 1842, I paid a pleasant visit to pretty little Geelong, and thence on to beautiful and diversified, but then almost empty, Colac, meeting, at either one or other place, Mr. Duncan Hoyle and his two sisters; the Messrs. Hardie, of Leith, who were then or after the husbands respectively of these ladies; Messrs. Hugh and Andrew Murray, and Mr. Augustus Morris, of Colac, who entertained us hospitably at "the huts"--as station homesteads were then humbly designated--and who poured out upon us interminable colonial experiences in a clear, penetrating voice from which there was no escape. But we did not wish to escape, and so we enjoyed everything.
Mr. Morris, who is now a prominent and useful man in Sydney, came early from "across the Straits" with the tide, and settled here, and after some few years, pa.s.sed through rather trying times, which were not perhaps quite so profitable as he expected, he was induced to "sell out"
to the famous Mr. Benjamin Boyd, who, arriving unexpectedly just before this time from London in his fine yacht, had descended upon quiet, plodding Melbourne like a Dives of unfathomable wealth. He had made a hasty run up to Colac, seen and appreciated Morris, bought him out, and left him in charge of this first of many purchases of the great "Australian Wool Company," or whatever other t.i.tle was to suit the great schemes of this busy head which had turned up amongst us. Mr. Boyd's main idea of buying up squatting property during the reaction sure to follow the early speculation excitement of 1837 to 1840 was no bad business project, or at all unskilfully formed. He gave Morris 7 s.h.i.+llings a head for his sheep. But the fall went on continuously into 1844, so that Boyd effected large purchases at rates as low, in some cases, in the Sydney district, as even one s.h.i.+lling a head, besides cattle and horses at relatively the same. The result, however, was sad and terrible. It was confusion and failure, and mainly for this simple reason--that human nature, left practically uncontrolled, will never give the due care and attention to interests which are only those of other people.
He had got up a bank specially for the supply of all the needed funds for his grand schemes, thus securing, as he put it, an independently large business for that inst.i.tution. The chief shareholders knew, or might have known, the character of their prospects. They all expected unusual profits under the circ.u.mstances, and might possibly have got them. Under this pleasant result they would have credited chiefly their own sagacious courage. But instead they realized most severe loss, and then, with angry unanimity, they condemned, and would have prosecuted, Boyd. Wrath fell upon the younger brother, Mark, who had stayed at home, and who, I think, had honestly but vainly striven to keep an intelligible reckoning out of the confusing advices of his senior's various and huge money-absorbing speculations. There was a sad uncertainty about Mr. Boyd's ending. The local representatives, for the time, of the Royal Bank of Australia had closed accounts with him in the best way they could, allowing him to leave Sydney with his yacht and several friends. He visited the Californian diggings, and afterwards took a cruise among the Pacific Islands. He landed on one of them, as though for some shooting, but was never either seen or heard of more.
Another pleasant trip about this time was to Yering, the Ryries'
station, situated nearly half-way up to the cool mountainous sources of the River Yarra. This had already been made a charming home to any contented mind, satisfied to fall back upon country resources. It was a cattle station, for, in the thickly wooded hills, hollows, and flats about sheep could not live--at least, to any purpose--and the homestead had the importance of a little straggling street, with the main dwelling at the top, as the end of a cul-de-sac, and the dairy and what not in marshalled line below. We revelled in pastoral abundance. I wandered into the adjacent woods, experiencing the sense of overpowering grandeur amidst their vast solitudes, with the gum-trees rising straight above me with colossal stems, not seldom 300 feet and more in height, and 100 feet, or even much more, from the ground without a branch. When this "redgum" has elbow room, it expands in all variety of form, attaining in favouring circ.u.mstances vast dimensions, as in one example met with in the Dandenong Ranges, which measured 480 feet in height. But in this Yering case, crowded as they were impoveris.h.i.+ngly together upon flats of the river, they did not bulk out into such dimensions, but they shot up side by side, straight as arrows, rivals en route to the clouds. Sad changes came to Yering's happy and hospitable owners since, for, like many others, they had to "realize" in the bad times, and to quit a most pleasant home. But Yering itself has thriven, and has since advanced into a great wine-producing district, whose wines Mr. De Castella, its later owner, has made to carry prizes even at European Exhibitions.
EARLY WESTERN VICTORIA ("AUSTRALIA FELIX").
"Oh! 'tis the sun that maketh all things s.h.i.+ne."
--Love's Labour Lost.
"He makes a July day short as December."
But my chief excursions, which have left a pleasantly vivid recollection of early colonizing life, were made to the far west--the one in 1844, right through to the Glenelg; the other the year after, to the newly-founded towns.h.i.+p of Warrnambool. The first of these was undertaken partly on business in the interests of the Boyd stations lately formed about Eumerella, a place of evil repute then as to the native hostility.
I had previously chanced to "chum" with Boyd's Port Phillip manager, Mr.
Robert Fennell, a young fellow as well-looked, gentlemanly, and pleasant as anyone could meet with, and with whom I both officed and housed to mutual satisfaction for two years, until his marriage with a daughter of John Batman. And thus I came in for some few of the many Boyd commissions that were flying freely about in those years, and which were not at all unacceptable to any of us in that time of small things. I afterwards, as I have pleasure in recording, received the hospitalities of the great commission-maker in his generously open house at Sydney.
Once more, in pa.s.sing westwards, I was at Colac. It was the month of June (midwinter), but the country, with its lake, was not the less beautiful in the universal green. Excepting the partial post-and-rail barricade of my friend William Robertson's 5,000 acres of purchased land, there was nothing all around but free and open squatting. On every side was the hardly yet disturbed indigenous aspect. Pelicans flew aloft, tall "adjutants" stalked about here and there, and c.o.c.katoos screeched everywhere. One of the curious green knolls, so common there, was so thickly covered with the yellow-crested white c.o.c.katoo as to give the look of a cap of snow.
Leaving Morris's huts, I made for another Boyd station, in the famous far west Eumerella district. There were many beauties around, for I had entered Mitch.e.l.l's "Australia Felix"--its extreme borders, to be sure, but the most beautiful of it all. My nag was more than ever "in clover,"
and we wandered on through marvels upon marvels of remarkable and richly fertile country. The country was all but empty as I now coursed through it, but no amount of colonization could much alter its most striking scenery, geological and general. I had some sense of awe and mystery as I gazed down into a sort of "Dead Sea" depths at the southern end of salt, salt Korangamite, and then up at the abruptly towering "Stony Rises," capped by volcanic p.o.r.ndon in my near vicinity. I pa.s.sed the Manifolds', where a sprinkling of fat cattle left hardly an impression on the superabounding gra.s.s.
Eumerella, or rather the Boyd fragment of that large, rich, and varied cattle area, was in charge of a versatile youth of the name of Craufurd, of a good Scotch family, whom, to the great amus.e.m.e.nt of my friend Fennell, I re-christened as Squire Hopeless, owing to his utter nonconformability to the monotonies of civilized life. I was sufficiently versed in geology to be aware of the wonders around me, so we were soon off over the Stony Rises to Mount Eeles, only a few miles away, which, like another p.o.r.ndon, raised its not lofty but mysterious-looking head to arouse our curiosity. We were guided latterly by a well-beaten native track, for this seemed a favourite walk of the aborigines. Our trip was not without danger, for the aboriginal relations had been anything but of that peacefulness which characterized the Melbourne vicinities; but we made up a station detachment under a remarkably fine strong young fellow called Wells, of Tasmanian birth, and equal, in an emergency, to six or a dozen natives for his own share.
We saw nothing of natives, however, and were rewarded with wonders of geology. The little Mount Eeles cone surmounted, we looked far down into a vast crater of miles in circuit, whose sharp-ridged, angry, unsettled-looking sides could barely convince us that we looked upon an extinct volcano. Hardly did its aspect reach the solid quiet of the Vesuvian interior, as described by some scanty cla.s.sic records, prior to the grand, sudden, entirely unexpected outburst of the Pompeiian eruption. Let the crowds of the future Pompeiis and Herculaneums of Victoria look out, for their Vesuvius may some day play havoc, with similar treachery.
We were introduced early to old Gorrie and his nephew McGregor, two doughty Scots, famous--and too famous--in the native hostilities of the last year or two--indeed, ever since these fine runs were taken up. The aboriginal of so fine a country was, at any rate, a primus inter pares of his race, and no way to be despised. The white invaders suffered heavily, in property at least, if not much in their own lives, at the hands of the invaded. Which side was in fault would have been a hard knot to unravel, and probably few on either side troubled themselves much to undo it. Old Gorrie was ever in the thick of war, and duty and inclination went cordially together. He was a cool and terrible shot, and had a terribly long and forcibly arguing rifle. The story goes that, when a couple of pursued marauders had escaped from one covert, and in wild terror were making for another, he quietly waited till they chanced to come in line, and then sent one bullet through both. But he had his cautious and adroit way of telling his doings, as he described to us how, in the turmoil of pursuit, "the gun gaed aff" and "some puir craturs fell." He had good need, for the authorities had been thoroughly aroused by the occasional atrocities that were sure to arise out of the strong mutual antipathies of the case; and on one occasion, for what seemed a signal case of this kind, involving the ma.s.sacre of unresisting women as well as men, five colonists were arrested and brought to trial, and would certainly have "swung for it" had there not been some inadequacy of direct evidence.
The next station, Dunmore, was already quite famed for its pattern homestead. I entered its hospitable doorway with a sense of comfort and of the climax of possible squatting attainments such as had never been approached before. "Campbell, McKnight, and Irvine," "brither Scots"
all, and all of them at home at the time, were of the best company, cla.s.sic or otherwise, alike to one another and to all visitors. Janet, from the kitchen, too, sent us the best oatcakes and other Scotch fare.
I always fancy now that such cooks must be called Janet, from lively remembrance of the savoury hotch-potch and sheeps' head of another Janet at old Robert Sutherland's, at Egham.
Thence I reached "Burchetts', of the Emus," less finished, indeed, but hardly less attractive. They were business clients of my pleasant old friend Charles Barnes, whose name I gave as my pa.s.s, with, however, but little need in those open-door days. This was a sheep station, as it was a drier locality, the other stations having been more suited for cattle.
We sat joyously chatting in the bright midwinter suns.h.i.+ne. The air was redolent of humour, for which the Burchetts had a name. One of them was rather deaf--indeed very deaf, but when he did pick up the current subject, he seldom failed to contribute good sauce. With regret I remounted next morning, for with business finished in this direction, I was resolved to push on to the Glenelg, as I wished to see through Victoria westwards while I had the opportunity. So I turned my steed north for the Wannon.
I struck a little southern tributary of that pretty gra.s.s-banked river, and saw a noteworthy as well as a quite Australian sight. Some recent slight rains had just set the tiny creek in motion, and it was now in the act of filling up a previously quite dry waterhole. I watched the tiny stream till it filled up this hole, and then saw it duly into the next, only a couple of hundred yards off. There was a long succession of these holes before it, generally so precisely rounded and scooped out as to give the idea of human intervention, only that the human beings were nowhere visible there as yet. Then I came down upon the Wannon, in continuous admiration of the rolling hills on either side, gra.s.s-covered to the very tops. One part of the Wannon vale here is remarkable for the deep, almost blood-redness of its rich soil, a hue which seemed to come from the similarly coloured stone and rock all about. Here I suddenly came upon a grand spectacle--the falls of the Wannon, which Chevalier's highly artistic brush has immortalized, along with almost countless other Australian beauty. The river plunges over a far-projecting floor direct into a volcanic crater, which, although very much less in its dimensions, was as unmistakable in its character as that of Mount Eeles.
The only thing I had to regret as absent from the scene, but a most important factor, was water, for, as far as I recollect, not one drop was visible over the edge. At flood seasons the spectacle must be grand indeed.
As evening drew on, causing me to be on the alert for quarters, I espied a rather pretentious homestead, cosily placed in a natural shelter half-way up the hillside. This proved to be Mr. Edward Henty's. He was not at home, but Mrs. Henty happily was. Young, ladylike, beautiful, she received me with that high courtesy which sets one at once at ease by the flattering impression that in these squatting solitudes it is rather the visited than the visitors who are the obliged parties. Ten years later I, with my wife, called upon her in Melbourne to renew this early acquaintance. She was then, of course, ten years older, but hardly less charming. Thirty-four more years have since elapsed, and yet I must still hope to meet her once more in that country which has become so great, and which is, in so special a sense, her own.
I reached the Glenelg, which, however, I found to be, at or near the Wannon junction, hardly better than a big, irregular, ugly ditch. How curious!--for not far off, above or below, I might have found great deep waterholes and picturesque water stretches as sketched by Mitch.e.l.l. I took all for granted, and turned back homewards.
I struck a little north towards Victoria Range, and pa.s.sed one of my nights with a solitary shepherd in an out-hut, so far and away from all companionable life but that of his sheep that I could well realize, in this extreme case, the dolorous side of squatting. My breakfast was a tin of tea without milk, and a hunch of damper of my host's own baking--not altogether rejectable in the keen fresh air when one had nothing else. A sheep could not be killed for two, even if the business could afford it. On I went, merrily withal, for it was the heyday of youth and strength, making steadily eastwards for the southern extremity of the Grampians, which rose in grand outline before me, forty miles away. Neither station nor human being came in my road afterwards till I reached and was rounding Mount Sturgeon, upon whose rocky summit the setting sun already glinted. I was now upon a good, broad bush track, which must lead to some station. But when? This small side-track to the left looks as though a hut at least were nearer, and so I diverged into it. Mile after mile I trotted, as well as the rough track would permit, and when night fell, and for long after, I still pegged away. A dozen miles right up, within the outer sierra, towards Mount William, brought me at last to an open glade, where some small piles of "split stuff"
showed me at once my mistake. Dodging about till day, thus giving rest to my horse, I soon regained my road, and after an hour's further ride, reached Dr. Martin's sheep station, where a pleasant young fellow, Bya.s.s by name, who had lost an arm in wars of some kind, and was then in charge, ministered to my wants, and allowed me to take well-nigh the largest breakfast on record in those parts.
I must not continue in such detail with the rest of my western tours'
incidents, especially as the second was mostly over the same ground as the first. I dilly reached my last Boyd station, in the pretty and varied Pyrenees district--a sheep station, then under charge of my friend James M. Hamilton. Here the hospitalities were equal, but all the rest sadly below The Gums, and an infinity underneath Dunmore. But Hamilton promised us compensation in a visit to the more comfortable residence of a squatting neighbour, Mr. John Allen. The master was not at home, but the mistress received us with squatting welcome. She was a young South Australian wife, charming alike in person and manners, and surrounded by a little troop of children, some with the stamp of her own beauty. She died not long afterwards, prematurely cut down, alas! like many another bright flower in the world's great garden.
Next year, 1845, I reached Warrnambool, just then commencing its urban life with a few straggling small white houses, along the edge of its pretty semicircular bay. I had pa.s.sed Mounts Noorat and Shadwell, occupied respectively by Mr. Neil Black and Captain Webster, both early colonists, and was once more in raptures with the spectacle of almost continuously rich soil. I also came upon several round, deep, and mysterious-looking lakes, one of which, with its waters far below me, I descended to examine with no slight sensation of awe. I was told of beautiful and grand coast scenes towards the east and Cape Otway; but the ways were of Nature's uninviting hardness, and I apprehended a main difficulty of the Glenmutchkin Railway kind, from want of house or human being to help dependent humanity. I turned, however, the opposite way, to rising Belfast and Port Fairy, and wandered about through the Alison and Knight, and Rutledge and other acres; amongst c.o.c.katoos, as the small farmers were there called, observing a soil of unsurpa.s.sable richness, the potatoes and other products, the former particularly, being the finest in the world. The striking new feature of this journey seemed to me the picturesque and beautiful River Hopkins--beautiful in all but its name! Why give such starched, hard, dot-and-go-one names, when there are Eumerella, Wannon, Doutagalla, Modewarra, Yarra Yarra, and countless other such natural and genial modulations to be had of the natives for the asking?
The year following, when my dear old friends, Mr. and Mrs. A.M. McCrae, had betaken themselves from hard lines of law to the pleasant variety of an Arthur Seat cattle station--pleasant to their town visitors at least--I oftener than once looked in upon them from Melbourne. They had the life and adornment of a large family of pretty curly-headed young boys and girls, some of them with the aristocratic fine black hair and cream-white skin of their accomplished mother. McCrae and I galloped the thirty miles interval, and while crossing and watering at the ever-running Cannonook half way, and admiring the varied, almost park-like vistas among the three gentle hill rises of the bay's eastern coast, we would marvel at the stupidity of Collins in 1803 in abandoning such a country. To be sure he chanced to squat on the least inviting of its varied areas, and this benevolent excuse we confirmed by a ride across country one day to inspect the spot. All we could see was what seemed the remnant of a small fireplace. The "cups and saucers" country we pa.s.sed over on the way might be interesting geologically, and even artistically; but on any dry, hot summer day the look around might not be enlivening to a new arrival. None the less, Sorrento has since arisen there--a considerable, lively, and pretty watering-place, as I hear, for which the colony's good friend, Mr. George Coppin, has provided, amongst other benefits to it, a regular steam communication. This steam route includes another like wonder of progress, Queenscliff, which, at the time I speak of, only possessed a lighthouse, but is now a breezy and lively crowded and fas.h.i.+onable retreat from the great dusty city of business and cares to the north.
SOME NAMES OF MARK IN THE EARLY YEARS.
"Some are born great; some achieve greatness, And some have greatness thrust upon them."
Before endeavouring to give a sketch of our early society and its ways and means, I am fain to pick out a few prominent persons as they flitted before me at the time and have stuck to my recollection since. Although they might not all have been in an equal degree interesting, good or great in themselves, they were yet men of mark, closely a.s.sociated in various ways with our early colonial life, and, like a busy dentist, much in the mouth of their public. By all right and reason, the first of these prominent personages is the brotherhood group of the Messrs.
THE HENTY FAMILY, AND THE FOUNDATION OF VICTORIA.
"Let the end try the man."
--2nd Part Henry IV.
"Great world! Victoria brings thee meat and corn and wine, With richly veined woods, and glittering gold from mine, Fairy web of silken thread, soft thick snowy fleece; Wide room for smiling homes of industry and peace."
--Mrs. H.N. Baker.
The founder of to-day's great colony of Victoria was Mr. Edward Henty, who landed at Portland Bay from Launceston, with live stock and stores, for the purpose of settlement, on the 19th November, 1834. But in regard to that notable event I prefer to speak of "The Henty Family," because, in their colonizing efforts they seem to have acted so much with mutual family purpose and in mutual help, and because there was a preparatory work in which the family were all more or less engaged, all leading up to this settlement at Portland, a site which had been selected after more than two years of previous adventurous excursions and observations along the coasts of Western Victoria and of South Australia.
The successful settlement of the n.o.ble Port Phillip Harbour the following year by Batman and Fawkner caused such general attention and such a tide of colonization, that remote Portland was comparatively overlooked. For many years, therefore, much less was heard of the Hentys than of those who had merely followed their steps. In fact, there can be but little doubt that these latter were first aroused to the colonizing of the vast areas, the all but terra incognita, across the Straits by the vigorous example set by the Henty family almost from the moment of their arrival in Launceston in 1831, and by the reports which they brought back from time to time of the lands of promise they were opening to public notice in South-Eastern Australia. But now that rail and telegraph have virtually abolished distance, and familiarized the central colonists with the value and beauty of the earliest occupied Western areas--the Australia Felix of Mitch.e.l.l--the Messrs. Henty's position has pa.s.sed more to the front, and their priority been universally acknowledged.
I was not personally very intimate with any of the Henty family, otherwise I might have had more to say in this sketch. But I have met most of the brothers repeatedly, and frequently I met James, the Melbourne merchant, who was the eldest, and also William, the lawyer and ex-Premier of Tasmania, a most amiable and gentlemanly man, who latterly resided at Home, where he died, and who often attended the lectures and discussions at the Royal Colonial Inst.i.tute of London. Both of these brothers were rather grave and quiet, while Edward and Stephen were energetic and lively even beyond most colonists. Francis, now the only survivor of the large family, I met only once, about forty-three years ago, in the Western District. He was then a handsome and rather slim young man, not of the Henty mould, which was rather of the full John Bull kind, as "Punch" gives him, minus the obesity. But if I may credit the Melbourne "Ill.u.s.trateds" in a recent likeness of the last of the Victorian founders, he must have consented, in later life, to drop more into the family mould. They were a family of eight sons and one daughter. Seven of the sons emigrated with their father. They were all men of mark, above average in mind and physique--men of a presence, who would have been prominent in any society; altogether, in numbers, in appearance, in circ.u.mstances, and in events, quite a remarkable family.
Personal Recollections of Early Melbourne and Victoria Part 2
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