Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/116

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

the people of Geelong took no thought of the future. To all appearance they believed that the days of lucky diggers, and the consequent plentiful circulation of money in their midst, would last for many a year. They foolishly adopted no means of removing the only drawback to the permanent utilisation of their capacious harbour, and the result was the gradual centralisation of the shipping trade in the metropolis. When they did take action in the other direction, their procedure was equally disastrous to the interests of their town, for, instead of connecting themselves by railway with Ballarat and thus securing the gold-fields' traffic, they constructed a line to Melbourne, and only succeeded in killing the goose with the golden eggs, that is, in diverting a most lucrative trade from their own doors and into the coffers of the rival, Melbourne.

It took some years before Geelong recovered from this double blow inflicted by its own unthinking inhabitants, but after a period of depression, the place gradually regained to some degree its old position of importance, and it is now the leading manufacturing centre of provincial Victoria. Woollen mills, tanneries, foundries, a paper mill and a rope factory give constant employment to a large section of its population. The last-named is a most extensive establishment, occupying three acres of ground, with a rope-walk of 1,650 feet length. It was originally founded in 1853 on a very humble scale by an honest, hard-working Irishman, Michael Donaghy, under whose industrious hands it grew year by year, and finally developed into the largest establishment of its kind in Victoria. It is now directed by the founder's son, Mr. John Donaghy, a good citizen, and one of the three Parliamentary representatives of the town. Geelong is also noted for the number and the excellence of its educational