W.J. Day had his own successful bakery business, joined the Albany council in 1909 he held his seat for 8 years and was elected mayor of Albany in 1917, holding the position for four and a half years.
He traveled extensively after serving as Mayor visiting many parts of the World which isn’t something many Australian would have had opportunity to do in the 1920’s and 1930’s. His trips often lasted several months and he shared his travel experiences via articles in the local paper. Pretty amazing considering he left school at 13 years old becoming an apprentice baker due to his father’s ill health and attended night school.
This is a collection of his articles I’ve transcribed.
North West of WA and Darwin 1923
A TRIP TO DARWIN
POTENTIALITIES OF THE NORTH.
IMPRESSIONS OF AN ALBANY RESIDENT.
Mr. W. J. Day, an ex-Mayor of Albany and a resident of many years’ standing, recently sought relaxation from business cares in a trip to Port Darwin by the State steamer Bambra. He returned home on August 24, much benefited in health. When invited by our representative to give publicity his impressions, Mr. Day willingly accepted the request, as the trip was one, he considered, which might well be taken by those in a position to do so in order to acquire first-hand Knowledge of the State in which they reside.
“The average uninformed man living in the Southern parts of the State,” said Mr. Day, “when visualising on the great North-West and North, is apt to picture an inhospitable and desolate territory, fit only as a habitation for its; original owners-the aborigines. However, by taking a trip to the North and acquiring information from reliable sources, “this idea is soon exploded and the real potentialities of the vast area revealed. One feels compelled to ask the question: Why is the North not carrying a much larger population than it does today? Well, basing my remarks on what I saw and from information gathered during my brief tour, I am forced to admit that I think past Governments are largely responsible for its emptiness, and justifies the affirmation made by our member (Mr. J. Scaddan) thai the State ia too cumbersome and large for one administration. The seat of Government being so far removed from the différent centres, is apt to breed an dîffereauce in our administrators and cause a lack of knowledge of the true position, with the result that the fine grazing lands fail into the hands of a few, instead of keeping four times as many people as they do ait present. Why should one mian hold a million acres when 100,000 , or 50,000 acres would be sufficient to employ and keep a large family, many of whom are land-hungry and looking for holdings, particularly in the sheep areas? Of course, I know many arguments may be put forward in support of large holdings, but disabilities and drawbacks that might be raised at first sight would be overcome, to a large extent, by proper legislation and a sympathetic Government, more conversant with conditions as they exist. This knowledge can be acquired only by men on the spot. However, it is pleasing to note that ‘the present Government is moving in the matter of smaller areas, with a view of arranging group settlements in the country referred to.
Reaching Geraldton at 7.30 on a Saturday night one immediately saw the familiar face of Tom Doogue. This genial member of the police force is as pleased to see someone from the South as the Southerner to meet an old time acquaintance. Tom has lost no weight by his sojourn in the hotter climate and sends greetings to old friends in Albany. I also met Sergeant Tehan, who still retains a warm spot in his heart for Albany and vows that he will end his days in the plaice where he found a wife. Leaving Geraldton after midnight, we steamed North and, rounding the Northern point of Dirk Hartog Maud, steered a south-Easterly coarse down Sharks Bay, reaching anchorage three hours later. Lighters came off from the little township to take any cargo brought for the inhabitants of this locality, and bringing products for export to other paints. The land here looks somewhat desolate, but is, I believe, good sheep country. Getting out of Sharks Bay, we shaped a course for Carnarvon, situated on the banks of the Gascoyne River, a water coarse running through some of the finest sheep country in the North-West. Here the traveller sees the prettiest little town; North of Geraldton. Prosperity is everywhere noticeable, due to the fine seasons experienced during the past three years and the high price of wool. At the foot of the jetty stands a large freezing works, erected by capital subscribed by the squatters and the Government. The works have not yet, however, been in opération, despite the fact the they have been erected quite a long time. Many disparaging statements are made concerning these works and the alleged waste of money, but, as I have no authentic information, I shall say nothing in this connection.
Bounding North-West Cape, we ran for Onslow and dropped anchor in an open roadstead, where lighters again came off from the jetty to take any cargo for the port.. The country here, I was informed, carries a sheep to every eight acres, and the land is in the hands of a few squatters. Passengers now discard thick clothing and get into white garments, in keeping with the climate in these latitudes, and we sailed into the “summer seas,” where the whales besport themselves in the calm waters peculiar to the North at this time of the year. Speaking personally, I had no white “togs” to get into and as I hadn’t my wife with me, I could most emulate “-Happy Jack” Scaddan on his trip to Singapore. After leaving Onslow we ran through the Dampier Archipelago, abounding with scenery in striking contrast to that found round the South Coast of the State. The Bambra reached Point Sampson at 7.30 alt night. This port supplies the needs of Roebourne, situated 14 miles inland. The connection is by a “Puffing Billy” train running on a 2ft. gauge railway. It does not go in for record breaking and should anyone wish to reach town quickly, I would recommend walking as the faster means.
“Our next destination was Port Hedland, where we arrived the following night. As the heavens were as clear as day we “did the city ” and saw the nights. The buildings are by no means palatial and, as is usual in the West, the four hotels made the best display in the matter of architecture. Everybody was astir early, anxious to see more of the town and its “beauty spots.” Walking only a little way in the early morning, I came into contact with Mr. Geo. Cooper, an old Albanian, and brother of “Billy,” the one-time “Milk King” of Albany. Mr. Cooper made many inquiries after old friends of a quarter of century ago. After breakfast, whilst enjoying the soothing “fag” on the promenade deck of the ship, I was startled by a familiar voice. “What the deuce are you doing here?” it said. Looking round, I ‘beheld the smiling face of our own Roy Barwick, who, judging by his satisfied look, was making the best of things. He was surprised to find that he was not the only person on the “ran tam.” However, as the ship was soon to sail, we had no opportunity of “going gay.” I also met Miss Amy (Nurse) Pearson, another Albanian, who looked the picture of health and happiness, despite the fact that she had sojourned in the hot test climate of Western Australia – Marble Bar.
After leaving Hedland, we steamed North-East and raced for Roebuck Bay, on the shores of which stands “the pretty little town of Broome. Here the time-worn adage of “time and tide wait for no man” applies, as the captain tried to beat the tide, and failed. He reached within 400 yards of the jetty, and then found his ship on the bottom, where we remained for eight hours. However, these are eventualities anticipated and catered for, as the ship a pinnace, which was was quickly and took the passengers ashore – giving them every opportunity of seeing all there is to be seen. Approaching the jetty, crowded with folk in white, the predominate dress of the North, I saw the smiling faces of Mr. W. McLean and his charming wife, both of whom are well known to many in Albany. Once on terra firma, and after handshakes, I was token in hand by this worthy couple, shown the sights of the city and hindered hospitality that only such folk know how to dispense. Mr. and Mrs. McLean send kind regards to their many friends, with the assurance that should opportunity occur, they will again take up their residence in’ the Southern port.
Broome is the great pearling centre, where fortunes were made in the days gone by, but it is rather stagnant now, owing to the low price of pearlshell, caused mainly by the unsettled state of Europe. I had the privilege of meeting some of the leading master pearlers, ail of whom could tell interesting stories concerning this industry. Rising the following morning, one saw, for the first time, the ship resting on dry land.
(To be Continued.)
1923 ‘A TRIP TO DARWIN’, Albany Advertiser (WA : 1897 – 1950), 1 September, p. 3. , viewed 13 Apr 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71828043
A TRIP TO DARWIN
POTENTIALITIES OF THE NORTH.
IMPRESSIONS OF AN ALBANY RESIDENT.
At 11 AM, we had the water with us again, so cast off to continue our journey. Derby, situated at the head of King’s Sound, where the Fitzroy River pays its tribute to the ocean, was our next port of call. We arrived at the entrance of King’s Sound at midnight and then dropped anchor off Cape Leveque, the last lighthouse between this point and Darwin, waiting there for daylight, as the intricate windings, between the various islands cannot be navigated by night. Derby was reached in due course. lt is the only port where cattle are now shipped from for the South. The town, although it boasts three hotels, is not a place one is likely to write home about. Leaving the cattle part, we started on our longest stretch of 570 miles to Wyndham, steaming among the scores of islands between Derby and Cape Londonderry, which are very beautiful indeed. After rounding this point, we steered south-East for Cape Doussejour, after which we again ran due South down Cambridge Gulf, where one is privileged to view same of the prettiest scenery of the North. Here we journeyed another 30 miles through the “Narrows” that cannot be negotiated by night.
At 1 p.m. on Friday we made fast to the Wyndham jetty. Alligators were basking in the sun on the muddy banks, not far from the ship. They are not, however, anxious to make your acquaintance and slip into the water, should you persist in forcing your company upon them, but would, no doubt, be very “friendly ‘ should they meet you in the water. Wyndham might be described as the most interesting place seen on our trip.
The management afforded every opportunity of seeing the up-to-date meat and freezing works erected and run by the State Government. Every facility for quick working is provided and one is amazed at the wonderful and complete machinery installed with this end in view. At the commencement of the season cattle are brought from the distant stations of the Kimberleys and held at agistment stations, 10, 20 or 30 miles or so from the works and are then gradually driven in as required. The bullocks, when nearing the works, enter between two long wings of fence, which converge to small paddocks and then to yards, and so on until the animal is at last in the final compartment, which opens into a race, with an angle of 45 degrees, leading to the third floor of the large building, where all the slaughtering is done. If the beast deelimes to go up this race, or displays any bovine hostility peculiar to his kind, the application of an electric wire to the after port of his anatomy soon changes his demeanor and induces him to do a “shiefield” in record time. At the desired spot he awaits his turn to tread the path that all fat bullocks are destined to go. He soon falls into the hands of the “executioner,” who does his work in a very matter of fact kind of way. And so the work goes on, one bollock going, down every three minutes. There are three crack butchers keeping the floor clear and passing the carcases on to operators, who do the finishing in a remarkable quick manner. The carcasses are carried along on overhead railways, which lead in all directions as required. The three leading butchers make, I was assured, a weekly wage of £21. The most interesting part of the process now takes place, but space will not allow of my going into details. I might mention, however, that I saw a vat of finished bovril, which absorbed 50 bullocks in its manufacture-hence the high price of beef essence by the time the season closes the works will have treated 31,000 cattle, and not a particle of a beast is wasted. I was told that the Government pays the squatter 10/ per cwt for first grade meat and 5/ for second grade. There are three Commonwealth inspectors, who only allow the best meat for export and this must bear their seal. The boarding house keeper, for the works has the privilege of buying his meat from the management at ½ d. per lb – we pay up to 1/6 for ours. The erection of the works, with machinery, water supply, jetty, etc, cost just upon £1,000,000, and involve a loss to the taxpayer, at present, of somewhere in the vicinity of £80,000 per annum. Of course, this includes expenditure on capital cost.
The town of Wyndham, a mile distant from the works, is not beautiful, and many of the populace seem to always have a big thirst up, judging by the number congregated around the hotel and the large stocks of liquor held. In fairness, however, I might mention that the climate is dry, and myself and friends had three “ginger ales” during our one hour’s stay. While in Wyndham, I had the pleasure of meeting the Rev. Mr. Grilbble, who is in charge of the Forest River Mission Station, 50 miles inland from Wyndham. This gentleman is doing very fine work among the the blacks and experimenting with a view of discovering what products can be commercially produced in this part of the country. He expects a fine parcel of cotton this year. A feature of the North is the profusion of bird life noticeable in directions. Cockatoos, Java sparrows and native companions, besides many others, are seen in thousands and they are more tame than the birds down South. Some people make a living trapping them for the London market. I met one of these men, who was very interesting in relating how the feathered tribes are invoiced into captivity and held till about 3,000 are caged.
We ran from Wyndham to Darwin in 24 hours. Darwin, besides possessing a fine harbor, is a very pretty town, owing largely to its altitude above sea level and the beautiful foliage of tropical growth in profusion everywhere. How the people exist I know not, unless it is by taking in each other’s washing- and by he cash left by the tourists-, many of whom call there, going to and from Singapore and other places, and who are looked upon as lawful prey. Speaking personally, I have nothing to complain of in this direction, as everything I purchased was fairly reasonable. Certainly, I was one of a party of four who fell victims to the intractable motor-driver.
While waiting my turn in the barber’s shop, I struck up a conversation with the “boss,” who somewhat, proudly told me that he was one of the ringleaders responsible for deporting the late Administrator.. Although we heard so much about the doings of the Bolsheviks at that time in the Northern town, I think they were not without a grievance. Vestey’s large meat works have not operated for the past two years and this might be responsible for the apparent dullness of the town. Certain parts of the men’s quarters were burnt down recently and must be rebuilt before operations can be continued again. On the run down from Darwin I met a young man who had up till the been connected with the management of one of the large stations run the Northern Territory, and who assured me that they were now breeding cattle, only to die,unless the works started again.
It would not be out of place to congratulate the Director of the Government Tourist Bureau on his enterprise in arranging these trips, which enable me, to so much of his own State at little cost, and which is worth anyone’s while doing. The Bambra is a fine ship and leaves nothing to be desired in the way of comfort and treatment.”
A TRIP TO SINGAPORE.
THE NEAR EAST AND ITS MILLIONS.
A WONDERFUL COUNTRY REVIEWED,
At the termination of his periodical trips to parts afar from his home Mr. W. J. Day invariably has something of interest to record of his travels. Gifted with a keen sense of humor and an observant eye, he absorbs much would escape the average “tripper”. On his return home last week from seven weeks’ holiday run to Signapore, our representative approaced Mr. Day, and was rewarded with interesting budget of notes, the first instalment of which is appended.
Mr Day said:
In relating my experiences of trip to Singapore, it may be well be inform all would-be tourists contemplating a similar voyage, that there many obstacles to negotiate; before slipping away from Australia’s shores. The traveller must obtain a passport; to enable him to obtain this, he first must acquire his photograph, in duplicate, one to be endorsed by a Justice of the Peace, then secure a certificate from the Commissioner of Taxâtion certifying that all his taxes have be paid, and last, but not least, obtain written consent of his wife allow him to go. So, brother tourist, take care to keep on good terms with your “Superior” a couple of weeks before packing up, otherwise you may sadly disappointed at the last moment.
Early in the voyage I met a weathy “cocky,” a real good chap, and though he was somewhat unconventional in manner, I rather liked his “Sam Downes” brand of humor and kindly disposition, and therefore continued a friendship. He stood 6ft, 3in. In socks, so we called him *Little Joe” and as I may again refer to him these articles we shall continue to know him by that name. We sailed from Fremantle at 11am on Sunday, June 14, reaching Geraldton at 8 AM. Monday. No Albanian need feel lonely at the northern sea: port, as there are old friends to be found there in Messrs. Alf Bailey, Willie Norm: Tom Doogue and A. B. Clark (acting Mayor), all of whom are always pleased to meet old acquaintances from the south. And, if the time hangs, seek out the “Guardian” office and have a chat with its genial editor, always ready give you any information you may require, and an all round good sort.
We sailed again at 9 on Monday night reaching Onslow at midday on Wednesday. Here one sees a long jetty, but of reinforced concrete, and a fine structure it appears to be. Of course, its durability and usefulness remains be proved. I may say this because ships sometimes bump heavily when berthing, and if the spring piles are insufficiently strong to withstand the impact there is a possibility or cracking the concrete piles, thus allowing salt water to penetrate to the steel with disastrous results. And when I tell you on our way down the skipper cut a slice out of Carnarvon jetty and punched a hole in his ship, then you may fully realize what I mean. There is no doubt, to my mind, about the structure withstand all the forces of the “willy willy. On shore we had the unusual sight of 52 donkeys drawing a load of wool, also 50 camels attached to another wagon laden with the golden fleece. The donkey team required three driver and although the vocabulary of the proverbial “bullocky” was not to noticeable, the language used on “favorite” members of the team was distinctly Australian and punctuated with stray adjectives not found in Webster dictionary. The approach to the jetty was through heavy sand and it was wonderful to see how these little fellows pulled, taking the waggon along inch by inch. We left Onslow at mid night, arriving at Cossack 24 hours later, where we remained until daylight on Friday morning. We tied up a Port Hedland at 10 the following night where the passengers were given an opportunity of stretching their legs. Here we added Mr. Fred. Robinson (the well-known North-West squatter to our oversea company, and he prove a great acquisition despite his 61 summers.
We cast off from Port Hedland at 10 on Sunday morning, sailing for the great pearling centre (Broome), which was reached at the same hour on Monday morning. Here an Albanian can spend a few pleasant hours with Mr Willie McLean (Acting Collector of Customs), or with “Bobby” Vaughan of the Union Bank. After discharging and taking on a cargo of pearl shell we left for our last Australian port Derby-arriving there at 2 PM on Tuesday. The most interesting feature connected with our stay at Derby was witnessing the loading of cattle on Batavia; 235 bullocks were placed on board in 90 minutes. At 3 AM Wednesday we took our leave of Australia shores, passing out of King’s Sound five hours later. The steamer was then headed Nor’-West for Java, every 2 hours prolonging the light of day by twelve minutes. The sea in these latitudes is particularly smooth, making the journey very pleasant.
At 10 on Saturday morning we picked up the beautiful mountainous island of Lombok -and by noon were entering Lombok Strait, which runs between Lombok and Bali Islands. At 3 we had Lombok Peak, (70 miles distant) on our starboard beam, towering 12,000 feet towards the clouds, and a fine sight it was. At 5.30 we were close to Bali highest peak (10,000 feet), and the ever-changing and shafting clouds among the many remarkable lofty mountain-peaks of this famous island, made the grandest sight I have ever seen. We were only a few miles from the land during our run through the Strait, and when night fell could see the many village lights along the shore.
The Netherland East Indies are divided into the following island groups:The greater Sundo Islands, comprising Sumatra, Borneo, Java, Celebes and the smaller islands around them; the lesser Sunda Islands, to wit, the long stretch of islands to the east of Java consisting of Bali;, Lombax, Soembawa, Soemba, Selor Islands, Wetar and Timor.
The fauna of the Dutch East Indies may be divided into two classes, one typical of the Asiatic continent, the other of the type of the Australian continent, it is said that the islands are supposed to have once formed part of the two continents, and the division line would most probably run through Celebes, as there the typical fauna characteristic of both continents is found. The larger animal are found in the part-once belonging to Asia, and among the best known are: tigers, panthers, elephants, buffaloes; rhinoceros, tapir and deer. The Australian type is for the greater part represented by species of marsupials. Strange to say the two groups of islands with the marked distinction in their flora and fauna, are divided by a narrow strait.
By 10 on Saturday night we had left the island of Bali behind and at 3 on Sunday morning we had Sapeodra Island flashlight on our right. As Samarang was our first port of call we altered our direction to North for a couple of hours, then resumed our course, thus missing the Straits of Maderia. All day Sunday we steamed through the smooth waters of the Java sea, made pretty by the scores of small fish craft peculiar to this locality, sailing about in the morning sun.
We arrived at Samarang at daylight on Sunday morning and there saw ten large steamers at anchor, demonstrating the trade of the port. Samarang is the third port of Java and was the old capital under the British regime. Just after 9 o’clock the agent took us ashore and arranged for two big Hudson cars to run us round the city. The cars were driven by barefooted natives who handled the taxis in a marvelous manner. After passing through the quaint and kaleidoscopic lower part of the town, we were driven up In the hills (residential part), where one is able to fully appreciate the beauty of the place. The beautiful homes, wonderful tree and plant life and glorious roads absolutely enchant the tourist. Of course, this place, like most Asiatic towns, has its native quarters, which do not charm one. In the flat part of the city is a canal running on the side of the street, where you may see scores of women washing clothes and bathing children, or you may pass a street pump where mother has a half-dozen naked kiddies giving them a morning bath by throwing dippers of water over them. Our drive was delightful and cost us 2/11 each, including tips for the drivers (5d. each).
We left Samarang at 12.30 and steamed into Batavia Harbor after breakfast on Wednesday morning. Our tourist party here immediately engaged two large Hudson cars, drivers and an interpreter for the day at a cost of 75 gilders. On leaving the port we drove to Weltevreden (7 miles), the upper town of which is the modern half of Batavia. It is in this district where most Europeans live, and where Government offices, hotels, clubs and shops are located. It may aptly be called the garden city, with its broad streets, large squares, abundance of shady trees and large public buildings. It can also boast of its hundreds of delightful houses and bungalows built far back from the road and surrounded by spacious gardens and lawns. The city has steam and electric trams, on which one may travel miles.
After seeing the main streets we were whirled along to the beautiful town of Bultenzorg passing many rice fields, tapioca and rubber plantations on the way. Here one is privileged to see the Governor-General’s palace, and a delightful mansion it is; also the wonderful Botanical Gardens, which are looked upon as the finest in the world. Unfortunately we hadn’t sufficient time to look over them as one would have liked. After lunch we started back on our 43 mile run at a terrific pace along roads equal to York-street the whole of the way. Talk about thrills!l The way those native drivers travel and dodge trafile is astonishing. Ted Hill wouldñ’t get a look in. The rule of the road is the same there as here, only much better observed. The distance covered was 90 miles and the cost panned out atl 10/2 each, including tips to the drivers.
Seeing this was my birthday, I may safely say that it was the gayest one I have ever spent . The native women of Java are not ambitious in the way of dress. They wear a sarong about the lower part of the body, whist the upper part s clothed in a bright colored blouse. Of other garments they know nothing and their fashions never change. In Weteverden you see these women bathing in the canals in their clothes, after which they re-cloth without drying. One passenger, seeing a lady bathing and anxious to get another snap for his collection, got his camera ready for the moment that he thought must elapse between garments. But, alas, the impersonation of Eve did not eventuate for, when she had finished her ablutions, just one little wriggle and the wet garment fell off whilst the dry sarong simultaneously followed. The camera didn’t click. About this.time “Joe” discovered that Ming (ship’s barman) was selling gin on the high seas at “thrummer” a glass, and fearing that perhaps he might never meet a similar chance through life, made the best of his opportunities. For a couple of day “Joe” lived in a world of his own–lived well.
(To be continued).
1925 ‘A TRIP TO SINGAPORE.’, Albany Advertiser (WA : 1897 – 1950), 5 August, p. 3. , viewed 30 Apr 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70655220
A TRIP TO SINGAPORE.
THE NEAR EAST AND ITS MILLIONS.
A WONDERFUL COUNTRY BE VIEWED.
Below is printed the second instalment of an interesting account of a holiday run to Singapore, furnished by Mr. W. J. Day, of Albany:
We left Batavia at 5 PM. on Tuesday, June 30, and next morning entered Banka Strait on our final and uninterrupted run to Singapore, with wonderful island scenery, covered with tropical vegetation and cocoanut plantations, on either side. On this day we had the first rain (tropical) experienced since leaving Fremantle. We arrived at our destination at 1.30 on – Tuesday, July 2, Singapore, the land of eternal summer, where the Occident and the OrIent seem to meet; where all nations, creeds and colors gather, and the tourist is the lawful prey of the greater part of the cosmopolitan lot.
Incidentally, one of our party was robbed of a couple of hundred dollars by his bedroom steward, who got clean away with it. Another missed from his room a bag containing six sovereigns, and “Joe” was relieved of a valuable gold trinket. The first gentleman was sport enough to admit that it was his own fault for being careless and putting temptation in the boy’s way. The other little about his loss, whilst “Joe” gave vent to his feelings in lurid language, expressed with fervent eloquence and Australian inspiration which, if spoken a little louder, would have echoed and re-echoed through the hotel corridors. However, speaking personally, I have no complaints to make in this connection, and the pleasure of meeting several gentlemen with whom I was privileged to associate during my brief stay would counter- balance matters in the other direction.
Singapore is a wonderfully lively place, with a marvelous trade, and when one remembers that only about a hundred years have elapsed since Sir Thomas Raffles planted the British flag (just forestalling the Dutch) in a mangrove swamp there, then one is the better able to appreciate the progress made. Old Singapore is now gradually being replaced by buildings of modern design that no city need be ashamed of. Union Chambers, Mansfield Buildings, the large up-to-date hotels and other buildings are very fine structures, and the Post Office, now in course of erection, will be no mean edifice. Then the European residential area has some very nice houses and bungalows. Of course, we must not lose sight of the fact that Chinatown and its environments will take removing. And the native quarters, peculiar to all Asiatic countries held by Europeans, are no embellishment to the city. Here one is able to reaïise under what conditions the lower civilisations are able to live, and if you have a desire to see squalor and dirt, then go to some parts of Singapore, after which you will cheerfully embrace the “White Australia” principle. However, get out of the city, and you will see the most delightful drives and scenery possible to find.
Although I have been rather uncomplimentary to the Asiatic, I wish it to be understood that a section of the Chinese population in Singapore stand on equal terms with the white, and justify this distinction. They are smart, honest and capable business men who can more than hold their own with the Europeans. In sport they have few rivals, and when I tell you that the Chinese football team hold the premiership for last season, stand well in tennis, hold high positions in the banks and other places, then you will readily understand that all are not “the scum of the earth.” Even in the church choir I noticed a pretty girl, whose fine soprano voice stood out on its own. And the young men and boys have their Y.M.C.A, which they attend regularly, according to statements made by residents.
The island is about 27 miles long by by 14 miles wide, containing an area of 217 square miles. It is separated from the southern extremity of the Malaya Peninsula by a narrow strait about three quarters of a mile in width, across which a causeway for road and rail way has now been built. There are a number of small islands adjacent to Singapore, and forming part of the settlement, with a total population of 420,000. The gate of the Far East, it lies on the sea’s highway between China and Japan in the East, and India and Europe to the West. Ships from all over the world discharge goods for distribution to the Malay Archipelago, and, being a free port, it is filled with craft bringing the products of that Archipelago, Indo-Chlna, Japan, China and Siam. From it steamers carry cargoes of tin and robber to Europe and America. The decision of the British Admiralty to make Singapore a naval base, if carried to a conclusion, will turn it into the “Malta of the East,” which Raffles prophesied a century ago. During the last five years the combined arrivals and departures of merchant vessels have averaged over 20 million tons and the addition of small craft would bring the average up to 22 millions. The island has a network of the finest roads I have ever seen, bordered by the jungle in its natural State. Where the Island has been cleared it is covered with rubber plantations, and if you are lucky during a drive you may see some of the animals peculiar to the jungle, although it is now rare, I understand, to see a tiger, but monkeys are very plentiful and may come into the houses out-back a little.
I was fortunate in having letters of introduction to gentlemen who know how to entertain. The first I met was a Mr. Moore, a fine type of well-informed Englishman, a genial personality and a real good sort. Mr. Moore placed his car at my disposal, took me to his home and gave me some very useful information. This gentleman was for some time connected with the British Trade Commission, and prior to that lived in China, and Japan. And one requires just half-an-hour’s talk with this gentleman to realise the necessity of the Singapore naval base. Yes, although we older folk have passed away, there is a generation now living that I will have perhaps to put up a desperate fight to retain this country. There is much more I might say on this subject, but it would be injudicious to do so.
I also came in contact with the Wearne family (Mr. Wearne is a cousin to Mrs. N. G. Forte). There are still a few people in Albany who will remember Mr. Charlie Wearne, chief engineer of the dredge Governor, which came here in 1901. Shortly after leaving Albany, Charlie (now managing director of Messrs. Wearne Bros., Ltd.) went to Singapore and laid the foundation of the business, and, although he had his struggling period, he now runs one of the largest concerns of its kind this end of the world. They build the Ford car at the rate of 10 per day, and are 100 cars behind in their orders for Malaya alone, besides orders for other places which they are unable to pull up. The inevitable “Henry” is sold in Malaya for £121. Apart from the Ford, there is scarcely a car made that they do no stock in their showrooms. For bis own use, Mr Wearne keeps a Sunbeam, and when he takes a guest out a ride one soon realises that it is not a “Lizzie’ spinning along the road. I am deeply indebted to Mr. Wearne for his many kindnesses to me during my stay on the island. On one occasion he put a car, driver and Chinese interpreter at my disposal to go and see the rubber plantations. I saw this industry from the collecting of the latax to the finished rubber goods, which was a revelation and most interesting. The family sends greetings to their Albany friends.
On the last day of my sojourn Mr. Moore took me to a Chinese biscuit factory, where they are just as up-to-date in the matter of making biscuits, as ourselves. The manager speaks good English and seemed very proud to show an Australian over the works. I must confess that these fellows know how to run this big concern. During the last five years they have been continually extending the factory and adding machinery and plant. They have captured, all the trade of Malays and are exporting to Japan. Of course, this has been made possible by cheap labor, which enables them to sell considerably cheaper than we can ever expect to do with our different labour conditions. There is a lot of Australian flour going to these part, but a disquieting fact lies in the matter of the Japanese importing our wheat carrying it to Japan, grinding it into flour, shipping it back to Malaya, are under-selling us by £1 per ton. fortunately, so far, their article is so inferior to ours, that the manufacturer will not use it, and gives Australian flour the preference. The Asiatic is now, to a very large extent, going in for wheat and flour and discarding rice, so there are great possibilities for our wheat and flour if we are not to slow to capture the trade. And don’t forget that in doing business in Singapore, you meet some of the keenest business men it is possible to find, despite their color.
(To be continued).
1925 ‘A TRIP TO SINGAPORE.’, Albany Advertiser (WA : 1897 – 1950), 8 August, p. 3. , viewed 13 Apr 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70655231
A TRIP TO SINGAPORE.
THE NEAR EAST AND ITS MILLIONS.
A WONDERFUL COUNTRY BE VIEWED.
Below is printed the final installment of an interesting account of a holiday run to Singapore, furnished by Mr. W. J. Day, of Albany:
The Strait’s ports are free from Custom duties, and their trade, centred at Singapore, is a transit trade. Excise duties are levied on wines, petroleum and tobacco. The chief exports comprise tin, pepper, nutmegs, mace, tago, tapioca, buffalo hides and horns, rattans, gutta percha, rubber, gambier gum and copra. The cultivation of rice is giving place to rubber and cocoanuts. Imports and exports for six years (exclusive of treasure and inclusive of trade with the Federated Malay States) ending 1921 were as follows: Imports, £531,070,0152. exports, £469,207,310
Of course, these figures are four years old, and cannot give a correct idea of the trade as it now is.- The increased output of rubber, together with the increased price, would materially alter the figures quoted. Official figures for 1922 disclose area under rubber of 250,00 acres; cocoanuts, 250,000 acres. The net export of plantation rubber for the same year was 213,000 tons; copra, 104,495 tons. The net value of rubber export for 1922 was £16,541,819; for copra, £2,262,508. Taking into consideration the area of the Straits Settlements, and the Federated Malay States, one might class it as one of the wealthiest countries of the world. I have many trade figures, taken from Government statistics, that may be of interest to some, but monotonous to others, so shall not go further into matters of this kind and will close by mentioning that Malaya produces roughly a third of the world’s tin and two-thirds of the world’s rubber.
During my stay on the island I was driven over to Johore and saw the Sultan’s Palace, but as he was in residence I could not be shown over his abode, and consequently didn’t get to see into the harem. Again, I cannot help referring to the wonderful drives one is privileged to traverse in these parts. The scenery of Malaya, as in all tropical regions is often surprises the stranger. There are viable no gaudy birds flitting from bough to bough, no gorgeous butterflies, no bright flowers. Birds, butterflies and flowers are there, snakes of all tints, brilliant colored fungi, exotic flowers besides which cultivated garden blossoms look a mere nothing, but all are smothered under a thick blanket of foliage eternally green. A little red parrot on a bare twig hero would strike the eye more than a big salmon pink trogan hidden in the night of virgin forest. Seasons pass without noticeable change of temperature, light or foliage, and scrutiny is needed to detect the burgeoning of fresh leaves in the fierce tropical spring. Yet they say that once let the warmth and abundance of the vegetation steal into one’s senses, then grey, cultivated fields, as we know them, become a drab cabbage patch for evermore. Leave a plot untilled and unweeded for a brief interval and the tide of vegetation sweeps on where man has tired of the struggle against nature. The most vivid thing in Malayan scenery is a field of young rice, stretched out like a green carpet, alive with sunlight and the moisture of rain and dew. Even after the harvest those fields have a beauty of the their own – the straw and stubble on which the buffalos graze, the pools of water, pale at daybreak, golden or red at sunset, grey and autumnal under rainy skies.
In the heart of Singapore stands the fine old Anglican Cathedral, with its spire acting as a landmark to those who lose their bearings. This edifice surrounded by several acres of land-in fact occupies a complete block- which has a decided favorable effect on this part of the city. At one end of the grounds stands the large Adelphi Hotel and on the other the famous Raffles Hotel. One has only to cross the street, enter the grounds; and walk a few chains to the entrance. Passing inside you behold a delightful interior, adjourned with dozens of memorial tablets recalling to memory men who have long since passed away – men who blazed the track, planted the flag, established the Church and made the Empire what it is. Having sat for a few minutes, in meditation, you rise, sign the visitors’ book, and Ieave pleased that even in this city there is a sanctuary to which one may retire from the outside world and the things temporal for a few moments. Continuing the walk for a mile along Stamford-road, you come to the Presbyterian Church, a pretty edifice in spacious grounds, and where all visitors receive a hearty welcome.
We left Singapore on Wednesday, July 8, reaching Batavia, on our return journey, fifty hours later. Our stay in the Javan capital was brief, as we left for Sourabaya three hours later, and after a pleasant run of 36 hours arrived at the great commercial centre of Java. The city is situated on flat country which extends for about 70 miles before the hill districts are reached. The fertility of the land, like most parts of this wonderful country, is remarkable and enables the people to cultivate continuously. We engaged a large car for the day and set out for Malang (60 miles), from where we had a fine view of the highest mount in Java, Semeroe, (over 12,000 feet), in this locality we were able to see the ruins of an Indian Temple, Chinese Mosque, and the famous monkey colony. The “chow” made us bare our feet before allowing us to enter the Mosque, however, our thirst for sightseeing and knowledge enabled us to become “Pagans” for a few minutes. When we got inside there was the question of washing our feet, but as we were able to assure the priest that our “tootsies ” had been cleansed that morning he waived the point. After lunch we started back by a different route. seeing miles of sugar plantations on the way, besides many sugar mills. Here again, we had a fine exhibition of driving by the natives. On one occasion two drivers raced for a bridge, both getting on it together without m’shap. However, one passenger remarked that there wasn’t room to drop a three penny- piece between the two cars, whilst “Joe” said had the bridge had been given another coat of paint we must have struck it. Dr. Meagher was “Managing Director”‘ of all our tours, and right well did he carry out this important part of our trip. The “’Doc.” never paid out more than was necessary to the people with whom he had to deal, though he was always fair to all.
Sourabaya has some nice buildings in the European area, but is uninviting in the native quarters of the city. The harbour is very fine, with insufficient accomodation for the shipping now calling there owning to the expansion of the trade brought about by the wonderful productivity of the Netherlands East India. However, the harbour will, when completed, give more wharfage space for shipping. We left there at 12.30 on Monday, sailing through the Straits of Modero and the afternoon, with the mainland on our right. During the 10 hour run you have a continuous chain of mountains with the highest peak over 19,000 feet. The afternoon sun and the changing clouds amongst these mountain peaks had a very pretty effect. By noon the next day we were leaving these wonderful lands behind, and nightfall closed a delightful chapter of my life. Before leaving Singapore “Joe” bought a “self-Instructor” in the Malayan language and gave himself up to study. After a week he considered that he had conquered the vocabulary, so went into Ming and called for a whisky and soda, but when he was handed a soda straight he declared the language defective and went back to good old Australian-English.
When leaving on our return journey we added two more travellers to our party- Mrs. Dickenson, of Singapore aud Mr. Pollard, of Bankok. The first mentioned is the wife of one of Singapore’s leading lawyers, a cultivated lady with intellectual attainments of no mean order, and as sociable and democratic as anyone might wish for. lt didn’t matter what joke was going she was always in the swim, making things merry. Mr. Pollard, ia a consultant engineer, and a fine type of Scotchman, with all the wit and humor peculiar to his countrymen, but minus the national trait. His presence on board added considerably to our enjoyment.
We reached Derby without incident, and did not unduly celebrate our landing back on Australian soil, “Joe, however, made it a very, very important event. After taking on cattle for the South, we left Broome, arriving there at 10 on Saturday night, but as there was a neap tide, could not get to the jett until Sunday morning. Here, again, I had the pleasure of seeing the smiling faces of Willie McLean and “Bobby’ Vaughan, both anxious to hear all about things abroad. Wending our way up the city sightseeing, we noticed the following sign: “Dead Eye Dick’s Cool Drink Shop.” Mrs. Dickenson suggested that we should go in and quench our thirst. We went. “Well, Dek,” said Mrs. D., “what have you in the line of drinks?” “Well, madam,” Dick replied, “I have many kinds, but would recommend my famous shandygaff, made with ginger beer and my home brewed ale.” “Ail right*, fill up eight glasses,” commanded the lady, shouting. “Joe” didn’t drink. He admitted many faults, but had never stooped lo the level of drinking ginger beer and home-brewed ale. Pollard was the first to get outside of his shandy. Then -“Oo-Gawd!” “Like it!” queried. Dick, with a beam. “Well-er-yes-er-I must confess that I have drunk worse up in S’iam. ” I have no wish, to condemn Dick’s shandygaff, but I think it might improve with age, and if I go, back ten years hence, I shall certainly give it another trial. After completing a pleasant day in the pearling centre we continued our Southward journey, and as the rest of our Journey was uneventful, I shall close my narrative.
Before laying down my pen, I must pay a compliment to the fine little ship on which we travelled, its genial captain and excellent officers, not forgetting old Ming and his famous soda squashes.
In conclusion, let me mention that these articles were written by request of the Editor, and, although they have taken up several hours of good time, I shall feel compensated if they have conveyed an idea of the trip to those less fortunate than myself in the matter of travel.
1925 ‘A TRIP TO SINGAPORE.’, Albany Advertiser (WA : 1897 – 1950), 12 August, p. 3. , viewed 13 Apr 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70655345
South Africa 1927
TRIP TO VICTORIA FALLS.
EARTH’S GRANDEST CATARACT,
(By W.J. D).
A number of friends having asked me to tell them about my trip and the impressions gained abroad, I take this means of relating my travels and experiences while absent from Australia. The reader will readily understand, however, that for one to journey the thousands of miles that I have, and view the different parts of Africa as my trip enabled me to do, it would have been impossible to memorise everything until my return, consequently I Kept a diary, which now enables me to give a more correct impression of where I went and what I saw. I make no apology for telling my my story in schoolboy style, as by this means I can the better impress my readers concerning anything noticed during my wanderings.
Acting on medical] advice, I was compelled to seek a change of climate as I usually do in the winter mouths of each year. On this occasion I decided on a trip to South Africa with the view of getting a sea voyage. As the White Star Company in conjunction with the Governments of the Union of South Africa and Rhodesia, run excursions to and through this vast country, the journey was fairly cheap and easy to arrange. The traveller pays his money (covering everything) into Messrs. Dalgety and Company, Perth, and the agent do the rest – do it well. Everything is arranged in advance, leaving the traveller nothing to worry about. I would take this opportunity of expressing my appreciation of the way Messrs. Rennie and Co., Durban, and Messrs. Wm. Anderson and Co.. Cape Town, attended to my welfare, also the courtesy extended me on every occasion. Every hotel knew of my coming and had a porter there to meet me, which saved me the trouble of locating a place at which to stay. They always took charge of my luggage and provided at taxi for conveying me to and from the station.
I left Fremantle on Thursday, June 16, at 7 am., on board the S.S Suevie, which carried 175 passengers, and after an uneventful passage arrived at Durban on Saturday, July 2, at 6 PM thus completing the journey in 16 days 11 hours. The first thing noticeable at the South African port was the “daylight robbery” of the baggage agents, and the exacting methods of the Ghistoms officials. A friend had the remains of a tin of cigarettes on which they collected 2/. duty. This might be looked upon as the “dizzy limit” in the matter of Customs extortion. When one now remember that a large portion of South Africa lives on the tourist trade, one is justified on expecting the same leniency as extended by the Customs Department in Australia. However, apart from this, I found everything satisfactory.
Durban is a much larger place than I thought to find it, and the population is:- Europeans 54,000, colored, 2,000, natives, 38,000, Asiatics 17,000 total 111,000. The city is looked upon as one of the cleanest in South Africa, and well deserves this distinction, as the streets and pavements are good and well kept and a credit to any Municipality. The only part that might be improved is in Indian quarter, but even this is not bad.
A striking feature of the city is the Town Hall, which cost £352,000 to build, and is credited with being the finest Municipal structure in the Southern Hemisphere. The hall is of three storeys, with a cupola rising to a height of 167 feet, and is a landmark for miles around Durban. The main hall is capable of seating 3,500 persons. In front of this fine Building is the square containing the monuments erected to the memory of great men, including the Cenotaph, on which is inscribed the names of 700 men who fell in the Great War. This is a splendid piece of work and must have cost a deal of money.
The Municipality control the police, the only Corporation in the Union doing so. In fact the Municipality control everything except railways. The net rateable property in Durban is £21,454,580, and the rates are struck, not on the rental value as locally, but on the unimproved and improved land values:-6 d. in the £ in the former and 3d. in the £ on the latter, thus making the rates very heavy, particularly as land values are high in the principal thoroughfares. The Esplanade, with its beautiful hotels, is charming, and a great asset to the city. All the way along is one large park, lying between the upper and lower streets, and containing all manner of amusements for children. Of coarse Durban is looked upon as the great watering place of South Africa, and the season was in full swing during my visit. At night the Esplanade is a veritable “wonderland” lit up with thousands of colored lights giving a glorious effect. There is also an orchestra, 50 strong providing music for the people free of charge.
The ridge of hills known as the Berea, rising to over 500 feet above sea level, form a picturesque background to the town, and in the main residential quarter of Durban, having innumerable houses of striking architectural beauty, amidst delightful gardens. The round drive is 6 miles and may be taken for 6d, thus giving the traveller an opportunity of seeing the city from an altitude.
Whilst there I called on the Secretary to the Native Affairs Department, with whom I had a very interesting half hour. When this gentleman knew I was an Australian on a visit he became more courteous, and gave me much information concerning everything of an official nature. He then sent me along to the Native Brewery, where Kaffir beer is brewed and controlled by the Municipality. The brewer (Mr. Oxford) was a most interesting man, and detained me for over an hour telling me all about the native question and the many problems that confront the Government. It appears that the Government passed a Native Beer Act in 1909, whereby every person, or body of persons, wishing to make this commodity can only do so under licence. In this particular instance the Corporation does so. The estimated turnover for this year is £60,000, and the net profits £30,000, all of which must be used for the benefit of the native population. The reader might ask why the Corporation do this work when they make nothing out of it. Well, it is simply this: Before the passing of the Act all manner of persons were engaged in the manufacture of this commodity and putting on the market damnable concoctions which were sold to the natives without restriction, thus degrading the Kaffir in inducing immorality of a very bad form. So the Council took the matter in hand for the benefit of all concerned, particularly the black race. I think the local authority should be commended for their work in this direction. Kaffir beer is the only kind of liquor the native is allowed to have, and then in limited quantities. The beer contains 2 percent of alcohol, and is brewed in a manner similar to our own beer, but instead of barley malt they use malt made from native corn, called amabele. I had a drink of the liquor, but, would never cultivate a taste for it like the Kaffir has. Mr. Orford sent me along to the Bazaar where the native buy his drink direct from the man in charge. Mr Brokenhurst was most courteous and showed me ll possible. The average takings for the day amount to about £85. He also showed me the very fine buildings close by where the Kaffir is housed and catered for in many ways. In the building are single and married men’’s quarters, for which the tenants have to pay a small weekly rent. Apart from this, they are catered for in the matter of education, recreation and sport. The African black is polygamous and the extent of his polygamy is regulated by his wealth. No man gets, a wife by “Johnny Cockle” methods.
(To be continued).
1927 ‘TRIP TO VICTORIA FALLS.’, Albany Advertiser (WA : 1897 – 1950), 14 September, p. 3. , viewed 11 May 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70167306
TRIP TO VICTORIA FALLS.
EARTH’S GRANDEST CATARACT.
(By W. J. D.).
When a young couple falls in love with each other, the man approaches the girl’s father with a view of opening up negotiations for the purchase of the young woman of his choice. The price varies. Sometimes she might be bought for six head of cattle, but he never pays more than ten head. Then the wedding day is fixed, and the feast usually lasts two days. If the man is wealthy and has “Solomon” tendencies, he may acquire more wives. The all live under one roof and, I am told never “scrap.” Under such circumstances the African black is never likely to die out. They are now increasing more than the Government desire. The natives seem everywhere to be well clad. There are places in East Africa, however, where any covering is looked upon as immorality and if the man or woman wish to maintain the respect of their fellow creatures they must always appear in nature’s robes.
On the morning of my last day in Durban I called on the manager of Whyte’s large bread factory, and asked to be shown over the premises. My request was turned down with a thud but when I told him I was from Australia, and had forgotten more than he ever knew about the trade, he immediately handed me over to “Scotty,’ the foreman, who took me in hand. This gentleman asked me if I were Scoter I told him I wasn’t really born in the land of the haggis, but possessed many Scottish instincts, and was a “good Presbyterian.” No further questions were asked, and “Scotty” got to work and showed me everything and was most obliging in giving information besides getting all he could out of me. This factory was floated into a company some time ago, when the shares were sold at £1 each. To day they are worth £2/12/. The factory has never paid a dividend of less than 15 per cent, to shareholders. Bread is retailed at 7d. the 21b. loaf, and small goods are 1/6 per dozen despite the fact that their material costs less than out here. “Scotty-‘ and his assistant are white men, and all the other bakers are black and receive a wage of 2/11 per day, so no wonder they can pay dividends. In the afternoon of my last day I joined a part of visitors driving out to Edgecombe’s sugar factory (seven mills) where we were shown over the large works, which were a revelation to me, as it was the first I had seen. The manager told me that it was the largest in the Union and turned out 340 tons per day. The cane goes in at one end of the factory and the bags of sugar come out at the other end of the mill.
Durban is well supplied with motor cars, despite the fact of the tax being heavy. The Government of South Africa levy a tax of £3 per car, after which the local authority steps in for its “cut,” except Johannesburg, where they collect no license apart from the Government fee. In Durban the tax is high, as the minimum is £8, ranging up to £30, so the car is a luxury there,
more so than in Australia.
During my stay I tried to locate the “Angel of Durban” (Miss Ethel Campbell), but was unable.to get her address. However, later on, when I met Professor Rausseaur, he was able to tell me all about her and where she lived. I was sorry at not having an opportunity of again meeting this charming and interesting young woman.
I left Durban at 10 o’clock on Wednesday night, arriving at Ladysmith at 8 the next morning, where I had breakfast, and was shown the hills on which the Boers had their siege guns during the Boer War. I arrived at Blomfontein at 6 the next morning. This is the capital of the Free States, but is not nearly so large as Durban. I think the population is about 14,000. It is, I understand, a very healthy place, and the most Dutch of all the South African towns. During my stay I ascended Naval Hill, from which one is able to get a fine panoramic view of the town. I also looked over King’s Park, which is very fine in its wealth ; of roses, and is looked upon as one of the best of its kind in the country. It is common to see the old bullock drays passing through the main streets, also mule-drawn vehicles of a primitive kind. During the day I met an educated Boer, who was very interesting and told me many things that I had never previously heard. Three miles out is a monument to commemorate the memory of Boers who fell in the Boer war. It is rather weird, but nevertheless the “Mecca” of the Dutch people for miles around. They gather there once every year to hold services during the whole day, with much hymn- singing, etc
I must now digress for a moment to relate a little incident for the exclusive benefit of my Albany pals. My compartment mate was a young Boer, a publican from Capetown, who had come 1,000 miles to Durban for the great races. On the last day he was given a “sure thing” for the big race, and as everybody was dead certain that this horse was going to win, my friend put £70 on him. The horse “nearly won.” The Boer was going home very sad, and seemed to be worrying about having to meet his wife.
I left Blomfontein at 7.45 on Saturday morning, journeying right through the Free State, and during the whole day I saw nothing but clear country, with no sign of timber or bush of any kind. At the different farm houses one passes during the ride, there was noticeable small plantations of Australian gums, but no other timber. At 4 in the afternoon I passed over the Vaal River, thus entering into the Transvaal. The first stop after crossing the Vaal was at Vereeniging, where terms of peace were signed between Briton and Boer after the Boer War.
I reached Pretoria at 7.15 on Saturday night. After dinner Mr. J. E. Turner called, and we spent the evening together. He arrived again at 9 the next morning, and showed me all over the capital, now the administrative centre of the Union. It was a very fine thing for me having someone to take me in hand. The first place we visited was Union Buildings, which is a splendid edifice of fine architectural adornment and something never to be forgotten. It took six years to build and must have made a hole in a million pounds. Other fine buildings I saw were the Palace of Justice, Railway Station, the old Volksraad, where Kruger declared war on Britain in 1899, and the Post Office. We also went and had a look at Kruger’s old home (now a hospital) and the church where Oom Paul used to worship. From the top of Union Buildings one is able to get a fine panoramic view of the city of Pretoria, which is much bigger than Blomfontein. Although it was Sunday, we were able to square the caretaker to show us through the building. He took us into the Governor-General’s office, the secret chamber and all the principal offices connected with the administrative building. In front of the railway station is a fine monument erected to the memory of Paul Kruger, which stands about 10 ftt. high and is a very fine piece of work. It is made of local granite, one top of which is a bronze statue of the old President in his insignia of office. In each corner is a bronze statue of famous Boer Generals of bye-gone days. They are typical of the old Boer, with ? and rifle. On each face of the ? a bronze relief indicative of some important happening in the history of the Boer people. It is a splendid piece of work.
I left Pretoria at 5:20 on Sunday night, feeling much indebted to Mr Turner for his kindness to me during my stay. Who is Mr. Turner? Well, he is the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs.Turner, of Festing-street Albany, and left here over 30 years ago. There are still a few people in Albany who will remember “Teddy” in his youthful days. At that time he was connected with the baking trade, but, having a clearer vision than his pals of that time, pulled out and linked up with the Great Southern Railways, where he served for some years and then left for England. After remaining in the Old Country for five years, he accepted a position in the Railway Department of Cape Colony, and when South Africa united the railways were taken over by the Union Government, thus giving “Teddy” an opportunity of rising quickly. He now holds a high position, and at the age of 60 will retire on a pension sufficient to carry him over the last stage of his march to the setting sun.
I arrived at Johannesburg at 6.30 on Sunday night, and was met at the station and taken to my hotel. Johannesburg is a city of mushroom growth. In September, 1886, when President Kruger proclaimed as a public diggings the farms where the city now stands, little could the fifty inhabitants of that quiet Transvaal valley foresee the stupendous results that were to follow the event. The nearest railway was 300 miles distant, yet, difficult as was travel, twelve months later 3,000 people had been attracted to the spot by the lure of gold. More followed, the search for the precious metal continued and shafts were sunk, until the resultant mines stretched along the reef in an unbroken chain for over 60 miles, making the Band, as it is today, the world’s richest and greatest goldfield. Mining camp days are long past and the “tan shanty” which followed the tented wagon and canvas shack has been replaced by handsome public buildings and business premises, and equally handsome residences. Sandy tracks have given place to about 800 miles of fine streets, and roads, with no less than 73 miles of track whereon modern. electric trams carry millions of passengers monthly.
While in the gold centre I read a report presented by an engineer to the City Council on the matter of road construction, which the Local Authority decided to adopt. He recommended the laying down of concrete highways. This man contended that although the cost might appear high, the life of the road would more than balance the outlay. He allowed the life of a road mentioned to up 25 years, and the only kind that would stand up to the class of traffic met with in these days.. Some of the buildings worth mentioning, according to my idea, are:-Town Hall, Post Office, Law Courts and Railway Offices. Of course there are some very line structures connected with the commercial life of the city. The population of the Rand now numbers about 600,444 people.
Our own goldfields are now petering out, but not so with Johannesburg, as, although they are down 7,000 feet, they are still paying propositions. This fact is borne out by the number of fine buildings I noticed in course of erection. The tram system is good and, like Durban, every car is double decker, thus increasing the carrying capacity of each car. I could have gone down one of the mines, but an electrician who used to work on the Rand advised me not to go. The Art Gallery is not extra good, but the Zoo is very decent, and situated in spacious grounds, in which there is a fine monument erected to the memory of members of the Johannesburg Light Horse who fell in the Boer war. On the morning of the last day of my sojourn in the golden city, I went to Market Square to catch a tram for Bramfontein, and sitting down on a seat to wait, I discovered I had as companions Mr. and Mrs. L. Dale, of Wagin. The surprise was mutual; suffice it to say, that we spent the rest of the day together, and had a very pleasant time.
I left Johannesburg at 8 on Thursday night for Bulawayo, and my compartment mats was a “Scotchman” named Israel Samuels, a most interesting man, living at Broken Hill, 500 miles above the Falls, in Northern Rhodesia. He had lived for many years in the Belgian Congo, and was most entertaining in his stories about this central African country, particularly concerning wild animals and officialdom of this large territory. He assured me that where he lived there every official, from the Governor to the policeman, was susceptible to “palm grease,” and if you were prepared to go fifty-fifty with them, the Government got nothing, and you could evade any of the laws. He told me a very fine story about a magistrate, which I might relate at a later date.
(To be continued).
1927 ‘TRIP TO VICTORIA FALLS.’, Albany Advertiser (WA : 1897 – 1950), 17 September, p. 3. , viewed 11 May 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70167335
TRIP TO VICTORIA FALLS.
EARTH’S GRANDEST CATARACT.
(By W. J. D.).
We reached Mareking at 7 next morning, and after a stay an hour, waiting for the express, resumed our journey of a wearisome nature, reaching Bulawago at 7 in the morning, Iwas met on the station and taken to my hotel, where I remained until 10.40 that night, then started for Fort Victoria. I found my carriage reserved, so went straight to bed, arriving, at Gwelo at 5.45. The hotel porter drove me to the town (one and a half miles) where I had breakfast, leaving again at 7.45. We reached Umvumma in time for lunch.
After the midday meal we started again on our journey and reached Fort Victoria at 4 p.m.. Here the proprietor of the Great Zimbabwe Hostel met me and others and drove us out to the site of the great ruins. The hostel is 18 miles from Fort Victoria, and the road is perfect. Starting out from the railway station, it heads for a range of hills similar to the Stirlings, and after getting through the pass we cross a valley, which is completely surrounded by the range.
About 250 miles from Bulawayo are the world-famous ruins of Great Zimbabwe. Visitors are accommodated in the comfortable hostel on a high health situation within easy distance of the ruins. The many rooms are like glorified Kaffir kraals, or at least, built in a similar manner with the latched roofs, in the Rhodesian country style. These are cool in summer and warm in winter. The sitting room is a Rondavel with large fireplace and earth floor. The latter is covered with native marting and leopard skins, and the many easy chairs complete a very comfortable lounge. The nights were ‘nippy’ there, but the hostess always kept a good fire going and was most attentive to the guests’ requirements.
Here, in this secluded region, amidst rugged and romantic scenery, are the monuments of a long, vanished race of temple builders and gold seeker. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of years have passed since the ancient ruilders were overthrown by their unknown conquerors, arriving from the dark recesses of Central Africa. The question that one is compelled to ask is: Who are these people and whence came they? Many writers have tried to solve the mystery, but none are definite on the matter. It is certain that they were there before the coming of the Bantu, and that they “were similar to the Egyptians in many respects. The number of things found in the vicinity make this certain. In the museum one is albe to see many of the treasures found among the Ruins by the white explorer. There is even the crucible in which they smelted their gold and copper, also the soap stone moulds used for casting the precious metal into ingots. The carved trays of soap stone are a work of art. In the Bulawayo Museum can be seen an ingot of pure copper weighing 37lb., besides gold trinkets and ornaments of many kinds. It is stated that early explorers got away with much gold before the place was known to the outside world. That these people lived in constant fear of a powerful enemy is proved by the building of the Acropolis on the hill close by. The hill is similar to Mont Clarence only rises more abruptly, and from the top of which one is able to get a commanding view of the whole valley. This, no doubt, was their last line of defence and was made impregnable.
The fortress can only be entered by narrow passages, through which one man at a time can walk. There are also escape outlets, if, by chance, the place was overwhelmed by a foe. The wonderful thing is where ail the stone was got and who squared it and placed it in position without the use of mortar of any kind, and then to stand for hundreds of years. I had a chat with the Curator and his estimate of the stone in the main wall of the temple amounts to 30,000 tons, but this is only a trifle when you take into consideration all the other ruins. The outer wall of the Acropolis is 14ft. thick. I had a very happy time here, owing, largely, to the many fine people met with, all of whom seemed to be sociable and agreeable. The most important couple I shall mention at a later stage.
We left Zimbabwe at 7.30 a.m. Wednesday, reaching Fort Victoria an hour lafter. Here we entrained for Bulawayo and arrived at Gwelo at 7 in the evening. At this place we had to wait five hours for the express to which our coach had to be hooked. All the passengers went into town for dinner and, returning a couple of hours later, we able to go to bed on the train. We arrived at the largest Rhodesian town at 7 the next morning. Bulawayo is a town with a population of 7,000 whites and 8,000 natives, and possesses fine broad streets and many fine buildings. Considering it is only 31 years since the last Matabele war, I think they have done well in the time mentioned.
The war memorial is the best I have seen for a place of this size. The gardens are really splendid and a credit to the municipality. Here I saw the largest caged lion in the world. It was originally bought from a native for 1/ and reared by a woman, who later presented it to the local Zoo. This lady can do anything with it but no one else. On the Friday I arranged to be taken to the Motopo Hills, but when the time came for starting the only passengers available were Mrs. Janet Phillips, of New York, and myself. The lady proved a very interesting woman and gave me some lawful information. Our guide was a real cvclopodia as he had lived in the country for many years and proved most useful to us during our visit to the Motopos, as he was able to explain everything. lt was a glorious day and the hills looked beautiful as we drove through them.
Here on this lonely mountain in a grave hewn out of the solid rock, lies the body of a great man, covered with a plain granite slab, on which are inscribed the words: “Here lies the remains of Cecil John Rhodes.” This is according to his wish. With all his wealth, he looked for nothing grand after closing his earthly life. On our way back we drove through the great Motopo Park in which is planted a tree from every country in the world, even our own bottlebrush. The park is set aside for the people for all time and is maintained from the Rhodes Trust. There is a Curator in charge, consequently the place is well looked after. Besides Rhodes’ grave is the Shanghai memorial to commemorate a gallant incident in the war with the Matabeles when Major Allan Wilson and 33 Rhodesian pioneers were surrounded by a Matabele army and fought till the last man was killed. The monument is a beautiful piece of work. When they had picked the site for the monument they had to blaze a track for the guidance of the niggers who pulled ali the material to the top of the mountain on a kind of gun carriage. As it was all sheets of flat rock, they made a mark by pouring vitrol over the stone, which is still visible. On our way up we saw our first mob of baboons, but the only other animals noticed were tiger cats and rock rabbits.
We were shown a number of Bushmen’s caves, in which their painting are still visible after centuries. The paint is made from ground ironstone and vegetable oil, and despite the fact that there is a reward of f3.000. no one has yet been able to find the oil. Halfway up the hill we were shown Lobegula’s cave. It appears that when Rhodes decided to meet the great chief to arrange terms of peace, it was agreed to hold council on the spot where the great man now lies buried. Fearing that the white man might mean treachery, Lobengola had a large number of men concealed in the cave, and watched Rhodes ascend the hill through a fissure in the rock, but when they saw that he went unarmed, all the men dispersed through a back passage, and the chief and his counselors follower to the top, where terms of peace were agreed upon. I look upon this trip as splendid and worthwhile.
I must now digress for a moment to mention an incident, for the benefit of all those whom it may concern. Mrs. Phillips and myself stayed at different hotels, consequently each party had their own lunch baskets. Her’s contained tea; mine beer; and as I never drink this commodity with meals, the liquor went begging. After lunch I offered the lady a glass of ale, which she readily accepted, and as she seemed to relish the hop juice, I jokingly remarked, “Ah, that is more than you can get in America.” “No,” was her sharp reply, “and we don’t want it.” “Well,” I continued, “What is your idea of prohibition?” Her face face beamed as she said, “Mr. Day, it is one of the grandest things that ever happened to America. I travel over 20,000 miles every year in the States, and I can now see the increased prosperity through prohibition. Certainly much liquor can still be had for money, owing largely to the corruption of officials, but that kind of thing must die out in time. We shall never go back to the old system.” “That is funny,” said I, “as we have always been told in Australia that prohibition in America is a ghastly failure. ” “Who ever told you that,” she said, “is a ghastly liar.” How far the statement is true, I know not, but have related the conversation as it occurred. We arrived at Bulawayo at 5.30, after a glorious day.
1927 ‘TRIP TO VICTORIA FALLS.’, Albany Advertiser (WA : 1897 – 1950), 21 September, p. 3. , viewed 11 May 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70167414
TRIP TO VICTORIA FALLS.
EARTH’S GRANDEST CATARACT,
(By W.J. D).
On Saturday morning I had an hour with the Town Clerk, a very fine fellow who was anxious to tell me everything he could concerning the government of the town. The electric plant is controlled by the Council (steam turbines) and the charge for current is 1/ per unit for light, and 3d. for power. But when the consumer, with five lights, has used 15 units he gets the balance at 3d. per unit. The rates are struck on the unimproved and improved values of the land; 4d. in the £1 for the former and 2d. on the latter. There is a flat rate of £4 on every motor car, collected by the Council. When a driver qualifies for a licence he pays 10/, which is for all time. The sanitary system is let by contract, for which the householder pays 9/ per month with a service every night. All streets are laid down with water-bound macadam and tar sprayed under pressure, which is giving very good results. Water is sold at 7/ per thousand gallons, and every house is metered. The Council has a steam tractor with two trailers and this is doing excellent work. This kind of transport has no detrimental effect on the roads, according to the Town Clerk’s idea. All the Council workmen are natives and receive a wage of £1 per month, with quarters and an allowance of meals.
I left for the Victoria Falls at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 23. My compartment mate was a young man on the clerical staff of the railways, at Livingstone, Northern Rhodesia. He was a very decent fellow, most entertaining, and, I think, a fairly good liar when relating his adventures with lions. However, I enjoyed every moment of his company, and was sorry to say goodbye at the Falls.
We arrived at the falls at 7 on Sunday morning, and some time before reaching this wonderful phenomenon of nature, one is able to hear the roar and see the clouds of spray sent up by the tremendous volume of water falling into the abyss below. Here on the broad Zambesia River can be seen this wonderful and stupendous cataract. First discovered by Livingstone in 1885, the Victoria Falls are about twice as broad and two and a half timer as high as the Niagara being over one mile wide and 400 ft. high. The entire volume of water flowing down the mighty Zambesia River precipitates itself here into a narrow chasm 300ft. wide, which opens into a 40 mile stretch of twisting canyons before the waters once more begin to broaden out on their long passage to Chinde, where this mighty river pays tribute to the ocean. These wonderful falls have not yet been despoiled by the commercial avariciousness of the white man, but remain in all their natural grandeur, a thing of admiration for the tourist, who comes from every part of the civilised world to view them.
Unfortunately we were not there during the fall moon, when one is able to see the lunar rainbow peculiar to the falls when the moon is at the full. However, it was all very wonderful and a thing never to be forgotten. One might read and hear much about the sight, but I think there is a lot in what Tennyson said: “Things seen are mightier than things heard” and for one to get a proper idea of the falls it is best to go and see. To me the wonderful thing is how all this water is received into the narrow chasm and carried away. The gorge has a rise and fall of 54ft. between summer and winter levels, and as one stands on the high bridge looking into the abyss below he becomes lost in wonder, watching the snake-like movement of the narrow stream.
During my stay I took a trip to Kandahar Island, eight miles up the Zambesia, and although we were not fortunate enough to see a hippo, we did see crocodiles in plenty. The following day we all took a run over to Livingstone, the capital of Northern Rhodesia, a town in the making. The best building noticed was Government House. There are vendors of curious and wild animal skins, which can be seen in hundreds. The Falls Hotel is a very fine place and run on sound lines, and the comfort of visitors is well attended to. The house was full to overflowing and unable to accommodate all who wished to spend a few days there. The builders are there now adding two new wings, besides doubling the size of the dining room. The train on which I journeyed up consisted of 15 long coaches, and was packed. There were four sittings in the dining saloon at meal times, and as I was in the far end of the train I didn’t get my dinner until 8.30 on Saturday night, when the waiters were getting fairly “snappy” with overwork. However, everybody took things in good part and so the meal passed off all right. During my stay I agreed to accompany Mrs. Dr. Wylie and her companion (two fine women) through the rainforest. The hotel staff loaned uns oil coats and sou’westers for the occasion. When we had completed the mile we were like drowned rats. This was largely our own fault for going so close to the edge to peer into the abyss below. Of course, women will be women all the world over. And perhaps, I didn’t want too much persuading to follow them, as it was all so enchanting and glorious. The next day a lot of us went through Palm Grove, which was very beautiful in deed. It was here we saw another mob of baboons.
I left the Victoria Falls at 4.45 p.m. on Wednesday, “thus saying good-bye; to some very fine people whom I had met at different places and who had traveled with me to the centre. The train reached Bulawayo at 10 the next day, and after a five hours wait we resumed our long ride to Cape Town, which meant three nights in the train. I was to have stayed at Kimberley, but it meant a rather long delay. This time could be better spent in the southern city, so I cut this place out of my itinerary. I was sorry to do so as I had a letter of introduction to one of the De Beeres’ managers, who, no doubt, would have treated me well.
My compartment mate was a Mr. Patrick, a Scotch engineer, on his way to do some big job a few hundred miles down the line. He left me 24 hours later, after which I joined the passenger in the next compartment, who was a most interesting fellow. Besides fighting in the recent war, he went right through the Boer campaign and was able to tell me things I had never heard of previously. He was a man who had held high commissioned rank in the late war.
We had a short stay at Mafeking on Friday morning, when this gentleman took me around, showing me relies of the Boer war, such as guns, redoubts, war memorials and the bullet-riddled houses, which can still be seen. All day long we journeyed through uninteresting country, and on Saturday morning we were at the Great Karoo, which is a fascinating of our Nullabor desert, save that it is not flat. They have a two years’ drought in most parts of South Africa, particularly in the Karoo, consequently the country is in a bad way. However, the day before our arrival they had a good downpour in the Northern part.
Concerning the drought, I attach an interview published in the “Cape Times” the day I left:- “On the authority of Mr. Petrus van Heerden, MLA. for Graaff-Reinet, the drought has cost this country 10,000,000 head of small stock and 150,000 head of cattle in the last year.”
” Pretty heavy figures,’ suggested the interviewer.
” ‘Yes in 1919 the losses in small stock were 5,000,000 and 250,000 cattle, but the position was not so serious as it is to-day. The reason is that this time the drought has been for more continuous and more general. If I were apportioning, roughly, the present losses, I would say that the major losses have been in the Midlands of the Cape Province, and if it had not been for the prices of wool matters would, have been far more serious.
“When I speak of these drought stricken areas, I am pleased to tell you that thc areas north of Graaff-Beiuet, in the Sneduwbergen, have had no cause to complain.
” ‘If this drought lasts another six months, South African agriculture will face one of the biggest disasters the country has ever known, but we hope that rain will come to prevent this,’ emphatically asserted Mr Van Heerden at a utter stage. ‘The little rain that has fallen came as a God-send, but it is far from adequate to save the situation in the drought-stricken
Unfortunately we passed the Modder and Orange Rivers in the night, so could not see the old battlefields. However, all day Saturday my gentleman friend was able to point out the remnants of old blockhouses, and in some cases they were absolutely intact, with the steel plates and loopholes as used by the occupiers over a quarter of a century ago. This man knew all about things, as he took part of the war. We reached Cape Town at 6.30 Sunday morning, where.I was met by the porter and taken to my hotel at Sea Point which, by the way, is very fine.
(To be continued).
1927 ‘TRIP TO VICTORIA FALLS.’, Albany Advertiser (WA : 1897 – 1950), 24 September, p. 3. , viewed 11 May 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70167519
TRIP TO VICTORIA FALLS.
EARTH’S GRANDEST CATARACT.
(By W. J. D.).
During my stay at the Great Zimbabwe Hotel I sat at table with Mr. and Mrs. Oxenhaam, of Cape Town, both Australian born. When they discovered that I was an “Aussie ” no further introduction was required, and when a little later, “Oxy” learned that I belonged to that downtrodden people always battling for a crust,” our friendship was consummated and sealed for evermore. Although Australian born, Mr. Oxenhaam has lived in Africa since the Zulu War and knows as much about the country as any living man. He was here before they knew what a railway was. He is a man of means, and both he and his wife are warm-hearted people. Before leaving Zimbabwe, they exacted a promise from me to call on them on arrival at Cape Town, I did so, and they lost no opportunity of making the closing days of my South African tour pleasant and happy. They have only son, a charming daughter-in law, and a bonnie grandchild, and are now in the autumn of life, enjoying it to the full. The old man is of a very restless nature, and when not travelling around the world, is always “electrifying” his house. He is a mechanical genius and has everything operated by electricity, even to scaring off the boy thieves who pinch his fruit. Thank God that when I was a boy, electricity was not so far advanced as it is to-day; consequently I always got my fill of that sweetest of all fruit-stolen apples.
Capetown is a very pretty place, with a delightful climate and some very fine drives and walks, and the powers that be have lost no opportunity of making the best use of the mountain and coastal scenery. The remarkable granite hills are very picturesque and pleasant to drive around on a fine day. There are many places of interest to visit, both from a historical and scenic point of view.
The castle is a place that no one should miss seeing. It was built as a fortress for the defence of the settlement in the early days of occupation by the Dutch. Van Riebeck was a far-seeing man and took precautions against attack by the Hottentots, and, incidentally, against the encroachment of enemies from Europe. The citadel covers an area of 13 acres and was laid out in 1666 and completed in 1679. It was built to sustain a lengthened siege, as provision was made for any emergency, including the storing of food and water supply. The latter came from a well, still intact, and securely covered with a solid roof.
All the legislation was enacted within the garrison, and the Council Chamber can still be seen, but it is used for a different purpose now. The keeper took us through the dungeon where prisoners were placed to wait their trial. According to the old Dutch law no man could be executed until he confessed to the crime, and as no man would do this, he was tortured until he did confess. The dungeon is below sea level, and a terrible place for any poor devil in which to be incarcerated. The roof is still black and begrimed with the smoke of torches used by the warders when visiting the prisoners. There is a long passage through which one must pass before arriving at the dungeon door, and when we were inside the guide closed the heavy door and put the light on, thus giving us some idea of what the poor wretches had to go through. We were also taken into the cell where prisoners undergoing solitary confinement were placed. The main entrance was from the sea, but the doorway is now masoned up and used as a motor garage. The bell in the belfry is still hanging, as it has done for 236 years, but has not been tolled for over one hundred years. After the British occupation a large room attached to the chamber was known as Lady Barnard’s ballroom (1797). The doors here are a wonderful example of the carver’s art, and have hung on the hinges for 232 years. Each door weighs 2501bs and work on the hinges as smoothly as ever. There were five forts on the ramparts, each named after a member of the Dutch Royal Family. The fortress was surrounded by a moat 60ft. wide and 9ft. deep, and flooded from the sea. The moat is still there, only used as a flower garden. I might go on with more details but space will not permit. I might say however, that the fortress disclosed the completeness of the Dutch in all things. After the British occupation a deserter named Hickey was caught and sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment. After his release the Warder noticed scratched on the door (still visible), the following: –
“Mrs. Beeves’ Hotel Lodging for single men only.”
Also the following lines:-
Unwelcome stranger to this woefuplace,
Adieu to friendship and mental peace.
When sad reflections ponder over crime,
No cheery comforts gladden the wear eye,
As the incessant hours in dull rotation fly.
Another place of interest is the old Anglican Cathedral in which are placed many tablets to the memory of men long since gone, and who played an important part in politics and the Life of the Church. More interesting that this old place of worship is the Dutch Reformed Church, first erected in 1704 and rebuilt in 1837. The unsupported span of ceiling work is the third largest in the world. The pulpit is 137 years old and is also a fine example the wood carver’s art – something that one never sees these days. The van contains the bodies of four Dutch Governors, the last of which was interred there 148 years ago. The church capable of seating a congregation 3,000. The organ was the first organ imported into South Africa, and arrived in Capetown in 1828. It was made in London.
One of the sights of this southern city is Grot Schot the old home of the famous Cecil Rhodes, but now the official residence of the Prime Minister of United South Africa. Rhodes was once Premier of Cape Colony, and the founder of Rhodesia. It really requires a more able writer than myself to describe the remarkable and wonderful old home, originally the ancestral home of the Hofmeyers. Rhodes was a man of vast wealth, and lavished money freely the matter of making his home beautiful, and in purchasing the old furniture that money alone can buy. Every ceiling in the building is different and contains tons of massive Burmese teak elaborately carved. The same applies to doors and windows; in fact to everything in the house. It would be a waste of time for me to attempt to describe the old Dutch furniture that Rhodes bought from different people, even to the marble clock used Napoleon at Longwood farm, St. Helena.
During my visit the place it closed against all visitors, but fortunately for me the keeper (Mr. Bennington) is a friend of Mr. Oxenham, jun who was able to arrange for me look over the place. Or course, we got access to every nook and corner, consequently saw more than most people. We were admitted the store room where all the gold and silver plate is kept, and which is dazzling the human eye. One of the gold spoon was at one time or other “pinched” by some one. and all attempts to it have failed, so the set is spoilt. I am not going to mention anything about the wonderful tapestries and many other things such as old Dutch clocks, cut glass, brass work, beds and relics of every description as I am not able to do so. The great man’s room is there just as he left it – bed ready made, candle stick on the table as if awaiting his return. The thing that took my eye was his bathroom, the floor and walls of which are all polished marble, whilst the bath is hewn out of a solid rock brought from the Motopo hills, and polished inside and cut. It weighs three tons and cost £600. The grounds are hundreds of acres in extent, and besides drives and walks and plantations, possess a zoo, consisting of African animals.
As Rhodes was a man very simple in life one is at a loss to know why he spent so much money on these things. It seems to have been just a craze of his. Of course the redeeming feature, if one can consider it as such, lies in the fact that he left everything to the nation when he died. Here one has an illustration of the irony of fate. It has always been understood that this man’s great desire was to make the whole of South Africa English, yet the three first Prime Ministers to occupy Groot Schoor were Dutch. The museum of Cape Town is one of the finest I have seen, but it would require a much longer time to look over than I was able to give it. The old Dutch museum, with its quaint furniture, glassware and antiquities of various kinds, is rather good and most interesting. The Art Gallery is small, with few pictures. The Town Hall is a fine modern structure, but not kept in a clean condition. The marble staircase is very fine, but worthy of a building receiving more consideration in the matter of cleanliness. The Council Chamber is nicely appointed, with seating accommodation for the 42 councillors eligible to sit in this centre of civil government. While visiting the hall the city orchestra were practising, which was quite a treat in the matter of music. The City Council guarantee this fine body of musicians £12,000 per year, so the cïty of Cape Town is never without a good orchestra.
(To be continued).
1927 ‘TRIP TO VICTORIA FALLS.’, Albany Advertiser (WA : 1897 – 1950), 28 September, p. 3. , viewed 11 May 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70167581
TRIP TO VICTORIA FALLS
EARTH’S GRANDEST CATARACT.
(By W. J. D.).
My trip to Simon Town, along the Sea coast, through Musinberg, Kalk Bay and Fishcock, was a journey worth a King. At Musinberg I was shown the small thatched cottage in which Cecil Rhodes breathed his last. Here was another striking illustration of the fact that, at the closing hour of our existence, wealth and grandeur avail us nothing, for, with all his riches, Rhodes was compelled to quit this life in a humble cottage by the sea.
Cape Colony, particularly Cape Town, has a very large colored population, ail of whom speak the Dutch language. By what i was told, the early single Dutchman, failing to get a wife, supposed to take a black woman as a partner, consequently they have what is known as the colored people, and after generations of inter-marrying you notice all shades, from very dark to cream-colored folk. The colored man does all the manual labor in Cape Town, whilst the white man is always looking for something high, such as a profession or semi-profession, because he considers hard work below his dignity. And the white woman, who must do something for a living, looks for nothing lower than a typist or a governess, as it is ? be anything else, and that’s where the white man’s decadence if setting in. Why, in Cape Town there are 87 chemist shops, and as far as I could see, they are all struggling to make a crust, thus the attractiveness of professional life.
When the chambermaid entered my room with morning tea on Saturday morning, August 6, I was forcibly reminded that the hour of my departure was at hand, and the erd of a glorious holiday in sight. The ship was scheduled to leave at 3 pan., and at a few minutes to the hour all was ready to slip the gangway when, the clock struck the hour. My newly found friends were down to see me off and as the water between the ship and wharf widened and the waving handkerchiefs grew to small specks as we proceeded to sea, I felt a tinge of sadness at leaving friends seldom met with in a strange land.
Naturally, the reader will ask my impressions of South Africa as a whole, and the possibilities of the settler. Well, although I was in the country for only 35 days, I feel safe in saying that it cannot compare with Australia, neither in the matter of primary production, nor as a country in which to live. First, they have the two white races- Dutch and English – torn asunder by racial hatred, and lately much aggravated by the flag question, which might well have been left in abeyance for the time being. Secondly, they have the mighty native problem which grows in magnitude as the years roll on, and which has never yet been given serious thought in the matter of finding a solution. Their politics are as rotten as ours in Australia, and, perhaps, a little more “putrid” in their “rottenness,” which is not going to help the people solve the mighty question that now confronts the white population.
Today the Dutch seem to be in the ascendancy, and so are gradually shouldering out the English where opportunity occurs. It is a bilingual country, which is also helping to increase the cost of administration, thus adding a further burden to the already highly taxed white man. Development seems to receive scant consideration at the hands of those in power. No person can get a job in the Government unless he or she can bi-lingo, which is much easier for the Dutch than the Englishman. South Africa possesses 1 1/2 million white people and seven million black and colored population. Some time ago a high Australian official, speaking at a farewell banquet, said: “I wouldn’t live in South Africa for all the tea in China, because one never knew when the great black cloud from the North would roll down and crush the white.” Such a statement is as absurd as its realisation is impossible. In the first place, let me point out, that the native is not allowed to own firearms; and in the second place, with the modern weapons that we have today, a few whites could hold thousands of blacks in check, as was proved in the Matebele war in 1893, when the Chartered Company, with a few men, mowed them down in thousands.
No, dear reader, the great danger lies in another direction. The white woman of Africa is so surrounded by cheap labor that she never soils her hands, consequently she becomes lazy and indolent, which in turn evolves indifference to all things that go to make a womanly woman. She is now more concerned about the pleasures of life than anything else. The home is nothing to her, and she is shirking the greatest of all essentials – the duty of childbearing, which alone can save the white people of Africa from extinction. On the other hand, the black woman knows nothing, and cares less, about birth control. In fact, a native woman looks upon childbearing as part of her duty. Let Africa have another 50 years of this kind of toing and the white people will be swamped by the black population.
There is now a Royal Commission sitting in Cape Town, and taking evidence on the great native problem, but I notice that all the witnesses treat the matter lightly, as is common with all people content to live in a fool’s paradise. One professor said it was only a matter of educating the black to our standard of living. It is hard to conceive a man of common sense, leave alone a man of education, making such a statement. A passenger was inclined to support this idea and instanced the American negro, who, he said, was taken from the dregs of African black and raised to our level in three generations. At the time of emancipation the black population was so small as compared with the whites that he was quickly absorbed by his own environment, and was able to evolve quickly. lt is not so in Africa, where the black outnumbers the white five to one, and is still surrounded by the environment known to his forefathers, which makes all the difference. The more one goes into the native question the more one becomes puzzled in the matter of a solution. The country belongs to the black man, therefore he must receive some consideration at the hands of the white population.
And although the black has as much right in the world as ourselves, I say, with all sincerity “Thank God for a White Australia,” and if the Government and the people can only cope with the menace that now confronts us. I think we are on the right track. I discussed the black question with a wealthy Johannesburg Jew on the way over, and he seemed to find a lot of consolation in the fact that “General Hertzog was going to segregate all the natives in the country.” I had to laugh in his face. That is, however the kind of thing you hear from men content to make money and treat the black as dirt and the white man’s slave. Of course, some peopíe will say let the overflow of population from the Old Land migrate to Africa and fill up the empty spaces. This might be all right if the small man had a reasonable chance of success by going on the land, but as far as I could see it is not a small man’s country. True, in Rhodesia, tobacco growing has been carried out fairly successfully, owing largely to the preferential tariff allowed in England, but increase the output to any extent, and the position might be changed. Certainly, Rhodesia is rich in mineral wealth, but this requires the wealthy man, and when he sinks his capital into a venture he looks for the cheapest labor. In Australia a small settler has a chance of supplementing his capital by earning a little while his crop is growing, but not so in South Africa, as he has no show of competing with the black man in the matter of work. The “poor whites” of South Africa today are in a bad way. During my stay in Johannsburg I read an interview between a reporter and a Trades Hall official, concerning the unemployed. The official assured the reporter that there were dozens of men in the gold centre who would be glad to accept 10/ per day to help keep body and soul together.
Whilst painting a gloomy picture concerning the future of Africa, I am not unmindful of our own danger as long as we are content to live in a fool’s paradise as we are doing today. I have already referred to meeting a lady in Africa, a brainy woman representing a large American firm. During our ride to the Matopos I was able to discuss industrial matters with her, and learn the secrets of America’s success. Every worker there, she assured me, whether on ? work or otherwise, was paid according to results, thus giving the industrious man the benefit of his labors. A redeeming feature about the Government of South Africa lies in the fact that every port or centre is allowed to retain its own trade, or the trade that rightly belongs to it. In Australia everything must be taken to the metropolitan area, and our State is the worst in this direction. The last census disclosed that in the richest area of W.A, where the bulk of the wealth is produced – embracing towns and rural districts – the population had only increased 12 per cent, whilst the metropolitan area had increased 42 per cent. Of course, the Government always gets the blame for centralisation, but it is, to a certain extent, backed by the people themselves.
In closing my narrative, let me express the hope that I have not wearied my readers. I have endeavored to relate my experiences as they occurred, and to give my views of South Africa as they appeal to me.
1927 ‘TRIP TO VICTORIA FALLS.’, Albany Advertiser (WA : 1897 – 1950), 1 October, p. 3. , viewed 11 May 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70167651