Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/46

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

Redmond Barry,[1] "was a memorable day in the history of the colony, for on it were laid the foundations of these two institutions of which we have reason to be most truly proud—the Public Library and the University. At twelve o'clock on that morning, the newly-appointed Governor, Sir Charles Hotham, who was then in the full tide of popularity, formed his procession and led the way to the forty acres which had been reserved at Carlton for the University. Here he was met by Redmond Barry in all the splendour of the Chancellor's robes. We can imagine the effect as the judge, then forty-one years old and considered the handsomest man in Melbourne, read his long and classically garnishee address, and bowed with his stately gallantry to Lady Hotham, who occupied a chair at her husband's side. Sir Charles replied, and the stone was well and truly laid. Then the cortège wound its way to the corner of Swanston and Latrobe Streets, where two acres had been set apart for the magnificent pile which will eventually cover its site. There Dr. Palmer, afterwards Sir James Palmer, read the address, and Sir Charles laid another stone; after which he and the notabilities accepted Judge Barry's invitation to a magnificent repast, which had been prepared at his private residence. In 1859 Barry was able to inform the then Governor Sir Henry Barkly, that there were thirteen thousand volumes on the shelves. Year after year, under his careful guidance, the institution prospered; additions were steadily made to the building, and by degrees the collection of books was converted from a merely respectable set of standard works into a most valuable and complete library, ranking amongst the finest that the world contains."

  1. Melbourne Review, July, 1882.