[Editor: These news items, including items regarding the Crimean War (1853-1856) and the Eureka Rebellion (1854), are extracts from the “Summary for England” section published in The Empire (Sydney, NSW), 30 December 1854.]
Summary for England
Per G.S.S.S. Co.’s Steam-ship Argo.
Our last Summary of Colonial intelligence was compiled for transmission by the P. and O. Company’s Steamship Norna, which sailed from Sydney on the 21st of November. The present is prepared for the far-famed and successful Steamship Argo. This beautiful vessel has again distanced all competitors on her, outward passage, delivering her mails via Melbourne in 65 days, and we hear that her commander, who is fully entitled now to be regarded as an authority in such matters, expresses a firm conviction that the voyage home from Melbourne will not exceed 62 days. Large bets are made that her mail will be delivered in England before that by the overland route which is appointed to leave this port on the 20th January. The Argo will sail from Melbourne about the 9th of January.
The Argo is full of passengers, many of our colonists who have realised competence, and in some cases fortune, are seeking relief from the monotony and acknowledged disagreeables of a colonial life; though in the greater number of instances the quiet and refinement that charaterise older, and more settled communities, will not harmonise, with the restless habits engendered in the rough activity and absence of restraint which are prominent features of Australian society, and, probably, few of the “old familiar faces” will remain absent for any lengthened period.
In the interval that has elapsed since our last Summary was written, there has not been much to call for particular remark. In this colony public order and confidence has been remarkably preserved. The population, though suffering from stagnation of trade arising from excessive importations and overstocked markets, and at the same time threatened with a severe drought, exhibits a cheerfulness and content which are highly favourable to the public intelligence.
The public mind is still intensely occupied with the progress of the war in Europe. The arrival of every mail containing news is looked for with the greatest anxiety, and the successes of the allied powers can cause no truer exultation in our parent land than they do on this distant shore.
A very painful feeling of regret has been excited by the disturbances in our sister colony, and it may be useful to our readers in England to know that the impression here is that the digging population have been goaded into rebellion by the mal-administration of subordinate officials at the Gold Fields. There has been no public expression of sympathy here with the insurgents, but a conviction is growing up that the imposition of a tax or license for digging is a cumbrous and exasperating method of raising a revenue, as it levies an equal amount of taxation on the successful and the unsuccessful digger, independently of which the revenue when raised will not, in many cases, pay the cost of collection. And it is felt that the present Land system is at the bottom of the disaffection which has been exhibited. The Legislative Council, which was sitting at the date of our last summary, has since been prorogued, after an unusually lengthened and arduous session. Although no measures of very great importance marked its labours, yet the foundations were laid for future legislation on many questions of great importance by numerous committees of enquiry, which entered into their investigations with unexampled industry and application.
The Empire (Sydney, NSW), 30 December 1854, p. 4 (column 5)
Also published in:
The Age (Melbourne, Vic.), 9 January 1855, p. 6
The copy of this text published in The Age (Melbourne, Vic.), on 9 January 1855, was prefaced with the following comment regarding the Eureka Rebellion:
We copy the following paragraphs from the Empire (Sydney) newspaper’s summary of news for England. It gives a faithful report of the feelings entertained in the neighboring colony of the recent transactions in Victoria
Argo = a steamship belonging to the General Screw Steam Shipping Company; it was considered very fast for its time, being able to travel between London and Melbourne in little over 60 days (“Argo” was also the name of the ship that Jason and the Argonauts used in their quest for the Golden Fleece; also a constellation in the southern hemisphere located between Canis Major and the Southern Cross, although it is now divided into four constellations, being Carina, Pyxis, Puppis, and Vela)
See: 1) “Summary for England: Per G.S.S.S. Co.’s Steam-ship Argo”, The Empire (Sydney, NSW), 30 December 1854, p. 4
2) “Argo (1853)”, Wikipedia
digger = a gold digger, someone seeking gold by digging in the ground (usually referring to men); a miner
G.S.S.S. Co. = General Screw Steam Shipping Company (a British shipping company)
See: “General Screw Steam Shipping Company”, Wikipedia
Legislative Council = the upper house of parliament in the various colonies and states of Australia
P. and O. Company = The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (a British shipping company)
parent land = in an historical Australian context, Great Britain; may also refer to England specifically (similar to the phrases “mother country” and “mother land”)
the war in Europe = in the context of 1853-1856, the Crimean War: a war fought by the Ottoman Empire (the Turkish Empire), France, Great Britain, and Sardinia against the Russian Empire
See: “Crimean War”, Wikipedia
[Editor: Changed “of our last summary” to “of our last summary,” (added a comma).]