Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/121

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107
A FEW IRISH CENTRES.

the district, in common with the adjacent but elevated suburb of Newtown, the government thought proper to change the name from Irishtown to Chilwell, the name it now bears. Kildare, the other Hibernian suburb, and Little Scotland, a Caledonian centre, became merged in the extensive borough of Ashby, or Geelong West, as it is now officially designated. Irish names figure very conspicuously in the first government land sales at Geelong, and the purchasers all seem to have been actuated by the patriotic desire to perpetuate in a new land the titles which had been familiar to their lips in childhood's days. On this account a large map of Geelong and its suburbs forms a very interesting study. There we see the "Avoca Estate" at the junction of the Moorabool and the Barwon, with Herne Hill rising up abruptly in the background—a pretty spot that suggested to its exiled owner a reminiscence of "the vale in whose bosom the bright waters meet." An Irish-Australian author, Samuel Hannaford, describing this portion of Geelong in his "Sea and River Side Rambles in Victoria," says: "Here the banks remind us of the dark glen-like scenery of some parts of Ireland; high hills whose declivities reach to the water's edge, and dark hollows intersecting, into which the daylight scarcely seems to glance." Other suburban estates, which have since been subdivided and built upon, originally bore such names as Kilkenny, Roscommon, Ballinasloe, Drumcondra, Cashel, Dunboyne, etc. As showing the exceedingly high value that was once set upon these lands, it may be mentioned that the late Frederick Griffin, a pioneer Victorian squatter, refused an offer of £50,000 for a small estate of five acres adjacent to the before-mentioned suburb of Irishtown. This was in the palmy days of Geelong, when its people revelled in