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A Settler's 35 Years' Experience in Victoria, Australia And how £6 8s. became £8,000

A Settler's 35 Years' Experience in Victoria, Australia
And how £6 8s. became £8,000
Title: A Settler's 35 Years' Experience in Victoria, Australia And how £6 8s. became £8,000
Release Date: 2018-07-09
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
Count views: 28
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And how 6 8s. became 8,000.


"Men are agents for the future,
As they work so ages win,
Either harvest of advancement,
Or the product of their sin."

Inscribed by the kind permission of the
Chief Secretary of Victoria.

M.L. Hutchinson, 305 & 307 Little Collins Street,
Nearly Opposite Royal Arcade.
Rae Bros., Printers, 547 and 549 Elizabeth Street North.


"Off for 200 Miles' Tramp."
See Page 10.


Sketch of Artist Life1
Farewell to Dear Old England3
Melbourne at Last6
Christian Socialism7
Melbourne Experience9
Off to the Diggings10
Ten Years on the Diggings 12
Commence Farming18
Increase of Holdings 25
The Consummation26
A Dissertation on Temperance28
The Vine Industry 31
The Settlement of the Lands 32
A Scheme of Settlement37
A Glimpse at the Future of Australia45
Poetry, "All the Way"49



In giving this little "Life Sketch," I am actuated by a desire toassist many, not only hard-handed men in the "Old Country," but manysoft-handed ones also, as I was, and especially those who have largefamilies, as I had, and who are struggling for a living, and seebut little hope for the future in the already over-crowded hive inthe "Old Land," and a still poorer prospect for the new swarms; I,therefore, think a little advice and encouragement to those desirous to"cast off," from one who has been through it all, will be welcomed bymany.—E.H.


[Pg 1]

Sketch of My Artist Life.

WHEN living in the "Old Land," over 35 years since, I belonged to aclass of which there are many thousands—a struggling professor—andof the class I have designated as "soft-handed." I was an artist byprofession; studied from a child; never did anything else; and in1850 and 1851 had so far advanced in my profession to have the honorof having my works hung in a creditable position on the walls of theRoyal Academy of Arts, of which I was also a student. I married ratheryoung (at 25), and soon had little ones running round. I started fairlywell in the neighborhood of London, at Clapham, adding teaching. Justabout this time (1847) artists were invited by the Government tosend in specimens of their works for exhibition in Westminster Hall,for competition for the decoration of the new Houses of Parliament,then just finished. I was rather too young and inexperienced anartist for so great and honored an undertaking; however, I thought Iwould venture. I got my large picture finished, but from over-study,excitement, and anxiety, my health gave way. I contracted nervoustyphus fever, and consequently could not finish the other one, whichwas required by the Commissioners to enable me to compete. But SirChas. Eastlake, the President, whose letter I still have, said mypainting—under the section of "Scriptural Allegory," subject, "TheKing of Kings and Lord of Lords"—though not entitled to compete,could, if I liked, be hung in the vestibule of the hall; which was anhonor I gladly consented to.

[Pg 2]On getting up from my long and dangerous illness, my medical adviserspersuaded me to go to a milder climate for perfect restoration, andto give up my profession for a time; at least, to do but very littlepainting. South Devonshire was recommended. We therefore left ourhome at Clapham, and took up our residence about four miles from thatlovely spot, Torquay. To our residence was attached a small farm anda splendid orchard. In this beautiful climate I soon regained mystrength. I did all sorts of labor on the farm, so that I got a generalinsight into all sorts of farming work. This I have found exceedinglyuseful since taking to farming in Australia.

I found many kind friends in Devonshire. (I cannot help naming theSavile family. God bless them for their kind patronage and introductionin my profession!) We resided in Devonshire about four years. We thencame again to London, but found a difficulty in looking up a connectionagain; had to fill up my time in decorating in the various courts ofthe Crystal Palace, at Sydenham, just then being erected. I, however,saw but little prospect of advancing in my profession, or even making aliving, and less prospect for a large and increasing family; we havingby this time seven children, six boys and one baby girl; besides, Ihad contracted a great taste for a rural life while in Devonshire. Wedetermined, therefore, to depart for Australia—the land of gold! Thegoldfields being at that time in full swing. A wide field indeed forenterprise, and anticipated prosperity, with God's blessing; for, I amhappy to say, I had long sought His grace and guidance, and committedmy ways unto Him, and was sure He would guide our steps.

In the first place, I applied to the Commissioners of Emigrationfor a situation as schoolmaster for the voyage, on[Pg 3] a Governmentemigration ship; my wife to act as matron. I presented letters ofrecommendation—one from the Bishop of London (Blomfield). I was wellknown to him, as Fulham, near London, where he resided, was my nativeplace. The commissioners said my letters were more than enough, butdesired to know the number of children I had. On hearing the numberthey informed me that they regretted to say that, according to theirregulations, this would be a bar to my appointment. Three, I think, wasthe number allowed.

This was a great blow to us, as we should have saved our passage money,and had a salary besides; I think about 150 as schoolmaster, and wifeas matron. Parties told me I could have managed it if I had liked, bygetting some of the passengers to take the other four children; butthis I could not do from principle. To pay our passage in a generalpassage ship, therefore, exhausted all our little means.

Farewell to Dear Old England.

We did intend taking our passage in the new ship "Schomberg," justlaunched, and owned by "The White Star Company." On enquiring atthe London office, they informed me that I could send our goods onto Liverpool, but they would not be put on board any ship until ourpassage money was paid, and that I should find them in the company'swarehouse in Liverpool; consequently, I sent the goods on. We couldnot, however, get ready to go by the "Schomberg." On arriving atLiverpool, and enquiring for our luggage, I found it had been sent onin that vessel.

Now, the fate of that fine new ship, I presume, is generally known. Thecaptain had a bet with the captain of the ship[Pg 4] "Kent," a well knownclipper, and declared "if he did not beat the 'Kent,' he would knockher ('the Schomberg's') bows in." On hearing that the "Kent" had madethe passage before him, the "Schomberg" was wilfully run on shore, justa little way from Cape Otway. Luckily, it was fair weather, and thepassengers and crew were taken safely off, but with only the luggagethey could carry in their hands; there being only just standing roomon board the rescuing steamboat. The "Schomberg" became a total wreck.This, I suppose, is one of the most wicked and shameful incidentsthat ever happened on the shores of Australia. We took our passage inthe next ship; the good ship "Sultana," from Liverpool, on the 21stOctober, 1855.

I remember, as we weighed anchor, being some distance out in thestream, and out of hearing of any friendly cheer, a serious calmappeared to pervade the ship; all appeared absorbed with their ownthoughts, when we found the ship was under way, more by the apparentmoving of the receding shore; she being a sailing vessel. I don't knowthe feelings of the other passengers; possibly many were like our own,at departing from the good "Old Land." Hitherto, we had borne up wellin parting from kindred and friends. We said "Good-bye" in London; butnow, in those few calm moments, seated upon the ship's deck, with wife,six sons, and a baby girl around us, we felt the necessity of faithin that good Providence on Whom we had cast the future. Our feelings,however, would have vent in a few hot tears, but these had to bebrushed quickly on one side.

I do not think it necessary in this little sketch to give a longaccount of our voyage, or the various incidents that happened. Therewas nothing very sensational; our worst experience was our first nightout. The ship was so crowded[Pg 5] that there were not berths enough, and,as we came late on board, ours had to be erected, so that we had tohuddle down between decks, the best we could. The children beingour great care, there was no rest for wife or self. We had fearfulweather in the Channel, and, everything being loose on board, thedin was fearful; the heavy iron cable on deck rolling from side toside, and the ship's bell tolling at every roll of the ship, and thecarpenters working all night, fitting up berths, and the state ofthe passengers—one can guess the confusion! And what added to itmore—just as we reached the most dangerous part of the Channel, offthe coast of Ireland, the tug-hawser parted, but, when pulled on board,it evidently had been cut adrift with an axe—a most shameful act.The contract was to take us clear of the Channel. This, then, madefurther trouble, as all hands had now to set to and work the ship, andthere was great danger in working her out of the difficult positionshe was left in, and anxiously did all wait for the morning. It may beimagined that the whole of the voyage was no pleasure trip for wife orself, in a crowded ship, and seven children (under 12 years of age)to look after. Neither do I think the children liked it; they weretoo young, and they did not thrive at all on the rough ship's fare,particularly the hard ship's biscuits—they could not manage them atall. After a time, though, we got on better; I had a carpenter's planewith my goods, and we shaved the biscuits down on that, and made itinto puddings, and so managed to get rid of them in this way. The planewent the round of the ship after this, particularly among the oldpeople. We had, however, on arriving at Melbourne, an American caskfull, unconsumed; these we took on shore with us, and they went fine insoups, &c., with good Australian beef, at 3d. a pound.

[Pg 6]

Melbourne, at Last.

We were thankful to arrive safely, after a fine passage of 81 days.We arrived off Cape Otway in the night, and stood "off and on" untildaylight, when the pilot came on board, and the first thing he told uswas the loss of the "Schomberg." Well, of course, we then knew alsothat all our goods were at the bottom of the sea. We were thankful,though, that we did not ship on board that ill-fated vessel; but oughtwe to attribute her loss to fate? No! It was wilful wickedness. Iregretted our loss the more as my Westminster Hall picture was amongthe things lost, as it was the highest class work I ever attempted.

It was with anxious eyes myself and several other heads of familiesviewed the shore of the "promised land." It certainly (from the deckof the vessel) did not look very prepossessing; not even with a goodglass, and more particularly as we went up the bay nearer to Melbourne.It being the dry season—January—nothing looked green, and the drygrass looked more like sand, and the trees looked stunted. It was a hotwind and dust storm on the day we landed, and the place looked verydreary;

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