The train to Sydney--Aspect of the country--Sir Henry Parkes--The Australian Club--The public gardens--The Soudan contingent-- Feeling of the colony about it--An Opposition minority--Mr. Dalley --Introduction to him--Day on Sydney Harbour--The flag ship-- Sir James Martin--AdmiralTryon--The colonial navy--Sir Alfred Stephen--Sunday at Sydney--Growth of the town--Excursions in the neighbourhood--Paramatta river--Temperament of the Australians.
TRAVELLING in Australia was made an inexpensive process to us--we had free passes over all the lines in Victoria, and free passes were sent us from New South Wales on the mere report that we were going thither. We left Melbourne on February 11 by the night train to Sydney. They had been very good to us there. I had found true friends, and I was sorry to think that I should probably never see them again. The line passes through the highlands where the rivers rise that run inland to the Murrumbidgee. The heat had been followed by violent rain; and near the frontier of New South Wales an embankment and bridge had been carried away by a flood at the moment when the train from Melbourne was coming up. I read in a newspaper that the pointsman on the bridge had seen the earth giving way, and had seen the lights of the approaching engine. His own cottage, with his wife and children sleeping in it, stood in a situation where it would certainly be overwhelmed, and instant warning could alone save the lives of his family. If he advanced along the rail to stop the engine the cottage would be lost, with all in it. The choice was hard, and nature proved the strongest. The wife and children were saved, the train fell into the boiling abyss.