Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/206

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annoying drawback. It was infested with snakes. One day, however, a bright idea struck Sir Henry as he was cogitating on the subject, and wondering if there were any practicable means of ridding himself of these unwelcome intruders. He resolved to try a bold and remarkable experiment. He would see whether the virtue of St. Patrick's prohibition of snakes on Irish soil would extend to the same soil if transferred to the other side of the world. He accordingly sent home for a number of barrels of Irish soil, and they arrived in Sydney in due course. Sir Henry then spread this imported earth as far as it would go around his residence, with the result, very gratifying to himself, that his domestic precincts were never afterwards troubled by snakes, although the other portions of the estate continued to be infested by the reptiles. Succeeding occupants of Vaucluse, amongst them the distinguished statesman, W. C. Wentworth, all agree in testifying to the singular fact that a snake was never known to cross the charmed circle of Irish earth.

The "well-known and highly popular alderman and member of the Legislative Assembly, and of genially Milesian extraction," whom Mr. George Augustus Sala met in Sydney and thus described, is Mr. Daniel O'Connor, a typical specimen of the industrious and unconquerable Celt. He told the story of his life at a banquet given last year in his honour, when he assumed office as Postmaster-General in the Ministry of Sir John Robertson. It is worth quoting as a characteristic specimen of the ups and downs of colonial life, and as showing how a brave-hearted Irishman can triumph over all the obstacles that ill fortune may cast in his path. Mr. O'Connor informed a distinguished company on that occasion that he commenced to earn a livelihood for himself at the early age of ten. In 1865 he started business