Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/43

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GREATER BRITAIN'S METROPOLIS.

bar in Melbourne. He took a prominent part in the agitation for separation from the parent colony, and very soon after the successful issue of that contest, when the settlement became an independent colony, he was elevated to the bench of the Supreme Court, and creditably filled that high position for the long period of twenty-nine years. One of Sir Redmond's ardent admirers has recorded that one of his first actions on arriving in Melbourne was the "founding of a reading club for working men. There were few books in the settlement, and no place where a poor man could have easy access to books or magazines. Barry set aside a room in his house as a little lending library, on the shelves of which stood Frazer's Magazine, Blackwood, Cornhill, &c., and a small selection of standard works. Here the working man of the neighbourhood could look in and select his book, no doubt having at times to listen patiently to one of those elaborate little addresses, in which Mr. Barry was fond of pouring out floods of inconceivably out-of-the-way erudition; but those who came in contact with him, all had the same impression of him, as a man who took a pleasure in seeing folks around him happy, even though it should be at the expense of some little discomfort to himself. This little institution is interesting as having been the means of suggesting the great library which he afterwards proposed and helped to found." The Melbourne Public Library now ranks among the great libraries of the world. It has a collection of 150,000 volumes and 20,000 pamphlets. All the year round it is open from ten in the morning until ten at night, and the average attendance of visitors is 1,000 per day. The present librarian is Thomas Francis Bride, LL.D., a distinguished young Irish-Australian, who passed from St. Patrick's College through the Melbourne University to the