Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/141

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A FEW IRISH CENTRES.

as they are generally called, possess the peculiar property of arresting fever germs and poisonous exhalations. They have been transplanted for this especial purpose to some of the malaria-infected districts of Europe and America, and with pronounced success. Australia, to which they are indigenous, has mercilessly hewn them down in the past, but is now repenting of its folly in that respect, and is replanting them on every seasonable opportunity.

Apart from its rich grazing grounds and its teeming farms, Gipps Land has immense stores of mineral wealth only partially developed—coal, tin, iron, copper, and gold. One of its principal towns—Walhalla—contains a gold mine known as the Long Tunnel, which has recently achieved the unique distinction amongst the gold mines of the world, of paying one million pounds in dividends to its fortunate shareholders.

Gipps Land has been the scene of many romantic incidents, from that early period when several expeditions started from Melbourne in search of a white woman supposed to be held in captivity by its ferocious blacks, down to the recent time when the "Buckley will case" took its place amongst the most remarkable legal puzzles of the century. One of the few fearless pioneers, who followed in the footsteps of Count Strzelecki in the memorable tour of exploration already referred to, was a young penniless Irish-Australian named Patrick Coady Buckley. He chose the wildest part of Gipps Land for his home, leased a pastoral area from the government, and, by his bull-dog bravery and determination, soon struck such terror into the marauding blacks of the neighbourhood, that they wisely gave his homestead a wide berth in the future, though in other parts of the country they continued their favourite pastime of spearing shepherds,