Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/33

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GREATER BRITAIN'S METROPOLIS.

recollection of many living persons, black fellows have encamped where colossal banks and stately public buildings now rear their lofty heads against the blue Australian sky, it is not surprising that visitors should be amazed at what they see before them. The progress of Melbourne from the primeval wildness of less than half a century ago of its brilliant position to-day in the world of culture, civilisation, and commerce, fully justifies the epithet of "marvellous" applied to it by the much-travelled George Augustus Sala. The rapid growth of San Francisco is the only contemporaneous incident that suggests itself by way of comparison, but it remains to be seen whether the great American city of the West will eventually distance the great Australian city of the South in the race of material and permanent prosperity. Melbourne is situated at the head of a large inlet or land-locked sea called Port Phillip. It is bisected by the River Yarra, the native name for "everflowing water." This river is navigable for several miles, and thus the large intercolonial steamers are enabled to come up almost to the doors of the massive warehouses, and discharge their multifarious cargoes. But most of the ocean vessels and mercantile marine remain in the bay. Port Melbourne and Williamstown, the two ports of the capital, presenting all the facilities and conveniences that could be desired. Melbourne proper is built on two hills, gradually sloping to the river, the intervening valley, covered with shops and warehouses, being about a mile in width.

Sailing up the bay from the Heads, one of the first objects that arrest the stranger's eye is the magnificent Cathedral of St. Patrick, crowning the summit of the Eastern Hill—a monument of the undying ftxith and active piety of the