The Argus at KellyGang 18/1/1861
PRICES ON THE OVENS
TO THE EDITOR OP THE ARGUS
Sir,-For some time past I have been residing on the Ovens, more especially at Beechworth, and, from my experience there, have been but, too forcibly induced to beg a space in your influential columns to endeavour to obtain redress for the grievances under which the people there labour. In the first place, I desire to call your attention to the price of bread, for which 9d the 2lb loaf is paid. For the same article only 6d. is charged at Wahgunyah. In the next place, Sir, and worst of all, in my opinion, meat is dispensed at from 6d to 8d per pound - a startling difference between Melbourne prices, 2¼d to 4d, more especially when you take into consideration. the fact that the cattle and sheep have to travel nearly 200 miles further to your market that to ours. The cause of this enormous injustice is, I believe, a monopoly amongst the carcass - butchers, as it is patent that the squatters reap no greater advantage from Beechworth than from Mel bourne.
Lastly, I would say a word about the publicans. Would you credit it, Sir, that no less than 2s per quart is charged for colonial ale, and 1s. for nobblers and pints of English ale? I am not one of the advocates of intemperance, but I do say that, after a man has been working hard all day in the broiling sun, and requires his draught of beer, it is monstrous that he should be victimized to this extent. The publicans admit that they can purchase spirits at the rate of 3d per nobbler, and I do think 300 per cent, profit rather too much. There are but very few of the working-class here whose average earnings amount to £2 per week per annum, and yet they have to pay the same exorbitant rates for all necessaries and luxuries as when they could easily earn double that amount.
Trusting, Sir, that you will give insertion to this, and that it may be the means of drawing public attention to the matter, and lead to an alteration,
I am, Sir, yours obedientlv.
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