Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/324

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interference of the Colonial Office in London with the legislative independence of the colonies, secured him the confidence and the attachment of the great bulk of the people to an extraordinary degree. Though no longer in Parliament, and though now hampered with judicial restraints, he is still their leading platform orator whenever the interests of labour are endangered or some new reform has to be gained, and the enthusiastic cheering that greets his appearance at a great public meeting in Melbourne is a pleasing proof that the populace is not invariably fickle. Mr. Higinbotham may be the exception that proves the rule, but here at least is one public man who has never forfeited the favour of a democratic people, and whose popularity has only been mellowed by time. On the recent retirement of Sir W. F. Stawell from the bench, Mr. Higinbotham was at once appointed to the Chief Justiceship.

To the cultivated tastes of Sir Redmond Barry, one of the first of Victorian judges, Melbourne, as is narrated elsewhere, is indebted for the possession of two of its noblest institutions—the public library and the university. A judicial Irishman of lesser degree—Judge Bindon—is to be credited with having established that splendid system of technological training, which has been in successful operation throughout Victoria for years, and which has done so much to elevate the tastes and improve the workmanship of thousands of young colonial artisans. The Hon. R. D. Ireland, Q.C., a member of the Irish Confederation of 1848 (as was also Judge Bindon), was for many years the most famous advocate at the Victorian bar, and one of the wittiest speakers in the Legislative Assembly. Many anecdotes of his readiness at repartee are narrated. On one occasion, when he occupied a seat on the front Opposition bench, a member