Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/352

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the progress of the colonies, and the extension of the higher education. In the realm of Australian history, "there is no more reliable chronicler," to quote the words of a literary critic in the Argus newspaper, "than Roderick Flanagan, whose two well packed volumes," he adds, "will always be treated with respect by reason of their honesty, their modesty, and their simple dignity." Flanagan's "Hitsory" is, in fact, a mine of information on colonial subjects, from which many valuable pieces of rough gold have been extracted, and briskly polished, and brightened up by a later generation of literary artists, and made to appear as much as possible like original discoveries.

It is something to be proud of that the two most popular English operas of the century—"The Bohemian Girl," by Michael William Balfe, and "Maritana," by William Vincent Wallace—are the products of Irish musical genius; and it is a fact not generally known that it was in an Australian city, Sydney, that the delightful music of "Maritana" was mainly composed. Wallace seems to have caught a happy inspiration from the serene and sunny skies of Australia, and the lovely surroundings of Sydney, which are reflected in the airiness, the brightness, and the vivacity that distinguish his magnum opus. Though he achieved distinction as a young violinist in Dublin, Wallace seems to have emigrated to Australia in 1835, with the fixed determination of abandoning a musical career, and turning himself into a hard-working pioneer colonist. Anyhow, it is certain that he buried himself for some time in the bush country to the west of Sydney, and it was whilst paying a brief visit to this metropolis that a lucky accident revealed his secret, and opened the eyes of his fellow-colonists to the fact that they had a musical genius of the first order in their midst. The discovery was the