Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/207

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
193
THE MOTHER OF THE AUSTRALIAS.

for himself in the city of Sydney, and he worked with such industry and perseverance that he realised a considerable fortune in six years' time. In 1871 he was the possessor of fourteen houses, and had over £7,000 to his credit. Then he launched into mining speculations, with the result that in five months he lost everything he possessed. He sold all his houses, and although he paid every man as far as the money went, he was still left very largely in debt. But he did not lose heart at this sudden revolution in his fortunes. He set to work again at his legitimate avocation, and, at the end of seven years, he was in the proud position of paying everybody twenty shillings in the pound, besides being in receipt of a clear income of £1,000 a year—the reward of untiring industry and dauntless courage in fighting the up-hill battle of life.

Sydney has of late years made such rapid strides in population and commercial importance that it is now almost on an equality with its great southern rival, Melbourne; and the competition between these two chief centres of colonial life is now characterised by the keenest intensity. Political considerations enter largely into this struggle for supremacy, for at Sydney free-trade is the orthodox gospel; whereas, at Melbourne, protection to native industries has been the settled fiscal policy of the country for years by the deliberate vote of the great majority of the people. Time alone will tell which of these opposing systems is the best adapted to the development and the material well-being of the colonies. Besides Sydney, there are several other prosperous cities and towns in the parent colony—notably Newcastle, Maitland, Bathurst, and Goulburn—all largely peopled by the industrious Irish, who constitute a third of the general population of New South Wales. In the rural districts also