Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/100

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Dr. Dunne has kindly supplied the subjoined interesting recollections of his visit to early Ballarat: "The scenes on the first gold-field at Ballarat were something to be remembered. The camp fires at night, the echo of the songs and choruses in the tents after the evening black tea and damper, the barking of dogs, for every tent had its dog, the discharge of firearms, all resounding through the primeval forest, made up such a chaos of sounds as no words could describe. In the morning all were up and stirring at early dawn, the fires were lighted to prepare for the morning meal, the sound of the axe was heard, and the crashing of falling trees made those who were not early risers feel rather uncomfortable whilst sleeping under a frail canvas tent. After breakfast all were off to their different occupations, some sinking with pick and shovel, others carrying the auriferous clay to the nearest water-hole or creek to have it washed in some of the most primitive constructions imaginable. Tin dishes were most generally used, but cradles with perforated zinc were adopted by the most experienced. In the absence of anything better, old hats were sometimes called into requisition. The ten thousand people at Ballarat during the first two or three months after the discovery of gold were almost without an exception as intelligent, orderly and respectable a body of men as you would meet in any part of the world. Mr. Blair, the police magistrate from Portland, was there more as a spectator than in his official capacity. There were members of parliament, lawyers, doctors, and men of every class and grade in society, and during the two or three months that I remained at Ballarat I never saw a man the worse for drink. There were no rows or robberies, but everything went on in the very best order and good feeling. The Irish element at Ballarat was in the