Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/290

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

But a property qualification was necessary, and immediately committees were formed throughout the colonies, and, in a remarkably brief space of time, the sum of £5,000 was raised. With this a property in Hawthorn, a pretty suburb of Melbourne, was purchased, and Mr. Duffy entered the first Parliament of Victoria as member for the combined counties of Villiers and Heytesbury. The presentation of the title-deeds of his Hawthorn property was made the occasion of a grand demonstration in Mr. Duffy's honour. It took place in Melbourne on August 20th, 1856. Mr. (afterwards Sir John) O'Shanassy presided, and made a graceful reference to the enthusiastic manner in which Mr. Duffy had been welcomed to the colonies, and how he had been everywhere spoken of as a valuable acquisition to the ranks of their public men. The large gathering of that day was meant to testify their regard for genius, talent, honour and fidelity shown in a good cause. It was their object in making that presentation to endeavour to attach Mr. Duffy to Victorian soil. All parties, all creeds and all classes had united in doing honour to their guest, and wishing him many happy days in his new home.

The speech that Mr. Duffy delivered on this occasion is of historical value, as it sounded the key-note of his future honourable and lengthened political career in Victoria. He said, and said truly, that such a generous gift as a freehold estate to a man in his position had no parallel for munificence in the history of Australia, but its weight in solid gold was not its chief value. The immense constituency it represented, in upwards of 100 districts of Victoria and New South Wales, made it a political demonstration of peculiar weight and significance. He trusted he would never forget, as a stimulus to worthy courses, that he had had the happiness