Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/117

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103
A FEW IRISH CENTRES.

institutions, its healthy and salubrious situation inducing many inland colonists to send their children there for scholastic training. It possesses the oldest provincial newspaper in the colony—the Geelong Advertiser, and in it the first Victorian literary periodical was started in 1849, under the title of the Australia Felix Monthly Magazine, Most of the public buildings of Geelong were designed in the heyday of its brief period of golden splendour, when it aspired to be the metropolis of Victoria, and it is therefore not surprising to find that they were projected on a great scale of magnificence. But long ere they were completed, Geelong's dream of future prosperity and pre-eminence had vanished, and its suddenly-awakened people had the good sense to swallow their pride, accept the situation, and suspend the building of the gorgeous edifices they had in hand. The suspension has lasted ever since, and the result is that every visitor to the town is immediately struck with the quantity of ambitious architectural work left in an unfinished condition. The two most striking examples of these unaccomplished aspirations are to be found in the Town Hall and St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church. The former, a massive and highly ornate structure as originally designed, has only its southern front completed, and this presents a curious contrast to the baldness and incompleteness that are so conspicuous on the other faces of the building. But, more than anything else, a glance at the accepted design for St. Mary's Church will supply convincing evidence of the strong faith in the future of Geelong as the coming capital, that was entertained by its early inhabitants. It exhibits an edifice of colossal cathedral proportions, such as one might expect to find in the episcopal city of some ancient Catholic continental nation, but which excites astonishment when associated with an anti-