Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/113

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99
A GOLDEN CITY.

being actually the agents or the "dummies" of the adjoining squatters. So craftily was the system pursued, and so difficult was it to legally prove collusion between the parties, notwithstanding that the facts pointed unmistakably in that direction, that for years this baneful practice flourished like a noxious weed, and all the precautions of Government officers were powerless to check it. But when Mr. Casey came into power, he firmly grasped the nettle and saved the public estate from further spoliation. He instituted boards of inquiry at most of the principal pastoral centres, and so energetically were these investigations conducted that several lords of the soil were at last convicted of dummyism, and punished by the forfeiture of the selections they had unjustly acquired as well as the lands they had originally leased from the government. In thus making an example of some of the aristocratic dummy-mongers, Mr. Casey administered a salutary check to the pernicious practices that had previously prevailed, and rendered good and lasting service to the colony of Victoria. Another prominent Irishman long connected with Sandhurst was Judge Macoboy, who, in his early years, was an active promoter of the Tenant League of Ireland. The names of Edward O'Keefe, founder of the first society of Irishmen on the gold-field and chairman of the mining board of the district, and Patrick Hayes, the present popular mayor of the city, during whose reign many civic improvements have been effected, are also entitled to honourable mention amongst the civic worthies of Sandhurst.