Water and wood, level plain and mountain background, make this railway journey, between Launceston and Hobart a most attractive one. I wonder if the pretty little village of Boss was named by Governor Macquarie, or if it is called after the little town in Herefordshire, where "the man of Ross" lived, and where long years ago I once knew a good young Catholic priest, who lived on an income about half that which the poorest Soggarth Aroon in Australia receives. The pride of this Tasmanian Ross was the Horton College belonging to the Wesleyan denomination. A few miles further on is Tunbridge. We are now 59 miles from Launceston, and visitors who have provided themselves with Cook's tickets to visit the Lakes will halt here and take conveyance to Interlaken on Lake Sorell, a drive of less than 14 miles. From there they can go on to the Great Lake, a distance of 28 miles, and return from Interlaken to Parattah, a 20 miles drive, being then within 55 miles of Hobart by rail.
Parattah is the junction of the main line and a small branch running to Oatlands. We are now at the highest point of the railroad, 1513 feet above the sea. More of Parattah in describing the journeys to the lakes. The through traveller finds here a first class railway hotel, with a refreshment room and bar large and long enough to accommodate the wants of more than the number of hungry and thirsty excursionists who are likely to be here at one time. A square meal and good Tasmanian ale are obtained here. The traveller is now again puzzled by the nomenclature. We are in the region of scripture names. Lake Tiberias is a muddy lagoon, a sort of Waihora, where wild fowl and eels breed. This is the source of the River Jordan, which is very unlike that in Palestine, or that in Queensland. Further along are Jericho-road and Jerusalem, the latter being close to Colebrookdale !. After this you are not surprised to pass through Campania and arrive at a Brighton which is many miles from the sea !. All the way from Parattah we are on the down grade, and the scenery is as picturesque and striking as that on the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. Bridgewater is the only appropriately named town on the whole railway route, for here we cross the lovely Derwent. Ecce ! Mount Wellington, and Hobart open up before us after 133 miles journey made in less than six hours.
The first thing the visitor to Hobart should do is to drive round the Domain, which will enable him to get a good idea of the environs of the city. From our hotel in Murray-street we turn into Liverpool-street. At the bottom of this is the rail way station, with the Exhibition Building adjacent, and the Hobart College blossoming into a university on a wooded hill opposite. Leaving these behind us we are in the Queen's Domain, known of old as the Government paddock. This is a public park, made up of hill, and bush, and carriage drive and disused quarry, now made beautiful by adornment of shrubs. No-where in the Southern Hemisphere have the people a finer public reserve. Bounded by the Derwent on one side, and by the city and its suburbs on the other, one obtains here almost a bird's eye view of the surroundings of Hobart and its lovely setting of river and mountain. There is only one pen which has done justice to this, that of Mrs. Meredith, the widow of the late Mr, Charles Meredith, an honored Tasmanian statesman, whose memory is perpetuated in a drinking fountain in this Domain, Mrs. Meredith has the deep respect and sympathy of everyone in Tasmania. We have many mutual friends, but I have never had the pleasure of meeting the one authoress who has glorified Tasmania. She: describes how one can look down : -
"On the whole fair estuary of the Derwent, on white winged outward bound ships, gliding away almost imperceptibly, and on fussy, pulling steamers leaving forked wave's behind them as they hurry into port ; on the city and its environs, with the grand mountain amphitheatre behind, from Mount Wellington to Mount Direction, over the Domain and Government House, and over the many beached shores and wooded hills, rising clear mirror'd in the glassy waters, with a grace ful sweep and curve, sea above wood, and wood o'er sea again, as South Arm and the narrow stretches of land about Sorell and Fredric Hendrik Bay show their fantastic shapes, and look as the sunlight dances on the glittering waters, and drops soft shadows over hill and vale, rather like the fantasy of a painter's dream than portions of the solid sordid world we work and weep about. Betsy Island glorified in golden light, seems poised in air, above a pleasant realm of bays and in lets, slopes and points, silver specked as sea birds float athwart them, and studded with round, dark, compact shapes, in groups that we know as she-oak trees in everyday life, but now have a glint of elf land as they shadow that rocky nook, where we might see the long haired mer-maidens combing their sea green tresses, if only that fisherman's boat were not so obtrusively on the romance preventive service. Rising from a sapphire sea, like a fairy citadel built of pearl, shines the islet, beloved of mariners, where the friendly light gleams forth its guiding radiance through murky night and gathering storm ; and trending into distance, on either hand, the grand coast outlines of Bruin Island and the Black Bluff fade into blue uncertainty."
Lying in the Derwent are the powder hulks. If you listen to the histories of these you may weave columns of romance respecting them. One vessel, an old whaler, was previously a French man-of-war, captured by one of Nelson's captains early in this century. There is the poetry of association in every thing around Hobart. But its Government House, like ours at
Melbourne, looks very new. It was, however, built so long back as 1858, at a cost of £70,000 !. The people of Hobart boast that there is no gubernatorial residence like it in any of the other colonies. Certainly as regards beauty of site it is not equalled. Lord Gormanston has his official lines cast in a pleasant place here, Far different to the unhealthy West Indies, from whence he came. The Governor may generally be seen taking his walks abroad in the Domain for the benefit of his liver. Lady Gormanston, tall and stately, takes the air in a wonderful yellow carriage, specially imported to strike awe into the hearts of Hobart, It has the desired effect. Mr. Rawlinson, the suave private secretary, writes his social notes in a study, the like of which no other private secretary possesses. The view from its windows tempers with poetic suggestions the driest official documents.
The Botanical Gardens are next to Government House. Here, during his stay in Hobart, the visitor will find shady seats and seclusion midst shrubs and flowers. Driving or walking from the Lower to the Upper Domain one continually gets fresh points of interest brought before your vision. All the beauty spots of the world seem mixed up here. Every now and then I obtain souvenirs of scenery from other lands. I think of the view from Host Farrell's hotel over the Yarra Flats. Cover that plain with gleammg water, dot it with the white sails of pleasure crafts, and you would get a suggestion of some part of Hobart Harbor. Again I am reminded of the estuary of the Mawddy, and the view over Arthug, a magnificent picture of
which hangs in the library of the Savage Club in Adelphi-terrace. The drive all around the Domain is one of many miles. From the summit all the surroundings of Hobart may he seen. Across the river, the suburbs of Bellarine and Beltana, the latter the product of a land boom. Cornelian Bay skirts the point on which God's Acre stands, as beautiful a resting place as that at Waverley, where Henry Kendall sleeps. Landwards, Hobart and Newtown, and Mount Wellington always dominant. Few visitors will leave the Domain without paying a visit to the cricket ground, a reserve of some eight acres. Colonel J. G. Davies, M.H.A, is the father of this. He and his brother are keen sportsmen, whose colors are well known at Flemington and Caulfield. They have made sport and printing pay.
Having obtained an idea of the surroundings of Hobart from the Domain, the visitor will find interest in the streets of the city. These are unlike any other Australian thoroughfares. They are English, but English with a variation. There is grand accommodation provided for those wishing to drink. What specially strikes the stranger is the number of chemists' and boot shops. It doesn't take one long to get out of the town. You are assisted to do this by the electric tramway, which runs through the three principal streets of Hobart, forming the chief outlets to the surrounding country. The tram cars startle the strangers as they startle horses. They are very high and ugly, but from the upper seats one gets most interesting views of the thoroughfares you pass. In the matter of wheeled vehicles, too, Hobart is different to other Australian cities. Here they are principally two horsed open carriages, the same as one still sees at Brighton and Bath and Leamington. There are some decent carriages and good horses to be hired, and you can imagine yourself to he a duke for 3s. 6d; an hour. Go by train, or drive or walk to the suburb, and you pass terraces of houses of the unattractive ancient Islington, or Tottenham, or Old Kent-road style of architecture. There is a dreadful sameness and monotony about these two-storied residences, with their little garden plots in front, which must he depressing to the inmates, if they know better. But the Kalizoic is not worshipped in Hobart. Mount Wellington and the fulness thereof satisfies then. It is as Fusiyama to tho Japs.
In the matter of public buildings Hobart shines. The light freestone of which they are built is an added attraction to their architecture. For once the Church of Englaud has secured a good site for its Cathedral. St. David's occupies a prominent corner lot in Macquarie-street. St. Mary's Catholic Cathedral is also well situated. As the Governor and Lady Gormanston are strict followers of the Faith of Rome, St. Mary's is now the best filled ecclesiastical edifice in Hobart. The Houses of Parliament are most unimpressive of all the public buildings of this city. Built under the hill which bounds Sullivan's Cove, the Legislative Halls of Tasmania are amply adapted for their purpose, but outwardly there is none of the pomp of place which the visitor to Melbourne so much admires in the building at the top of Bourke-street, and which we the taxpayers of Victoria have had to pay for. There is a homely way about the Parliamentary proceedings at Hobart which commend itself as being sensible. The Council is composed of 18 nice elderly citizens, who have periodical contests with the Members of the Lower House.I look on them with respect and veneration. Most of the M.L.C's bear names well known in the history of Tasmania since its earliest days. And the Name of Mr. Walter Angus Bethune Gellibrand calls to mind the pioneer Gellibrand who was lost in the western bush. He was the real father of the Batman Association, the brains of the expedition, and like many such men, he profited little by his enterprise. He died of thirst and starvation in the bush, or was murdered by the blacks.
When I see Mr Gellibrand, I think of the number of Tasmanians who settled in Victoria, and whose names are still of high repute in our midst. Henty, Robertson of Colac, Murray, Manifold, Officer, Clarke, Browne, Lawrence, Armytage. All these are names of good men and true, who were the pioneers of Port Phillip. Half of Toorakia is Tasmanian. In the Hobart House of Assembly one also finds the names of old Tasmanian families. It may be that it is because this colony was settled long before Victoria, but certainly there are more natives to the front than with us. There is no stiffness observed in this House. When I humbly ask the usher if he will take my card to the Attorney-General, be requests me to step into the Chamber. I find myself, therefore, seated behind the Speaker — practically on the floor of the House — able to study the members, to many of whom I am afterwards introduced. The personality of the present Premier Edward Braddon, is most striking. Tall, thin, erect, and with military bearing, white hair and moustache, contrasting with his bronzed cheeks, Sir Edward is a type of a veteran beau sabre. He looks every inch a soldier— Colonel Newcome in the flesh. But Sir Edward was in the Indian civil service in the days before "the competition wallah." He fought however, during the Indian Mutiny. Viscount Gormanston also saw service in India at this time, serving 60th Rifles. In due time Sir Edward Braddon obtained his pension and settled in the North-west district of Tasmania, the home of so many retired Indian officers. He has been in parliament 15 years, has been a Minister and Agent-General, and as the later was mage a K.C.M.G. No more presentable representative of the colony or community could be found than the present Premier of Tasmania. If outwardly Sir Edward resembles my idea of Colonel Newcome, he possesses sterner qualities than those attributed to Thackeray's dear gentle hero. Sir Edward, as his opponents know, possesses a vein of bitter sarcasm as well as of humor. Miss E. M. Braddon (Mrs. Maxwell), the novelist, is a sister of the Tasmanian Premier. Sir Edward is a splendid amateur actor, and was a renowned shekarry in India. Above all he is an Englishman of the rare old type.