Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/47

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One of the most imposing of the public buildings of Melbourne is the Town Hall, situated at the corner of Collins and Swanston Streets, a little below the Public Library. It was erected about sixteen years ago at a cost of £100,000, and more recently a grand organ has been procured at an expenditure of £5,000. That Melbourne is a music-loving city is evidenced by the large audiences that are drawn together in the Town Hall by attractive concert programmes. It is the largest hall in Melbourne, and can give seating accommodation to four thousand. Its holding capacity is taxed to the utmost on each recurring St. Patrick's Night, when a programme of Irish national music is presented for popular acceptance. Lectures on Irish and Catholic subjects are occasionally delivered here with success, but for obvious reasons smaller halls are usually chosen for that purpose. The ruling spirit of the Town Hall is Mr. Edmond Gerald Fitzgibbon, for thirty years Town Clerk of Melbourne, and one of the most familiar figures within its corporate bounds. Mr. Fitzgibbon is a native of Cork, and, like many other ardent young Irishmen, was attracted to Victoria by the exciting accounts of the gold discoveries. After seeing a little of the rough digger's life at Mount Alexander, he returned to Melbourne, and very soon obtained more congenial employment. He is in point of fact, and has been for years, the municipal governor of Melbourne. The members of the City Corporation are invariably swayed by his recommendations. He is universally recognised as the best and most reliable authority in all matters relating to local government. The generally well-ordered condition of Melbourne, and its comparative freedom from most of the glaring evils of old-world crowded cities, are traceable in the main to Mr.