Alexandra Times at KellyGang 15/7/1876
MORNINGTON AND SOUTH GIPPSLAND
By A. TRAVELLER
Having returned from a journey through this part of Victoria, I thought it might amuse your numerous readers, and possibly be to their advantage, to know a little of this really grand part of the colony, which has hitherto been almost unheard of by the majority of the people. Its resources are great-timber second to none in the southern hemisphere; land, either for grazing or agriculture, magnificent; water communication of the best, and freight such as would induce men of limited means to settle down and make homes, as the low charge by the crafts trading from this place to Melbourne would place them in a position to compete with places having railway communication with the centre.
I may state that the idea of placing before your readers a few jottings from my travels occurred in this way. I was in that healthy business parlour of Cleeland's Albion, commonly called the back bar, and in looking round at the files of newspapers I espied the Alexandra Times and as I was a sojourner in that district for years, and had known many whom I had counted among my friends, though it its many years since I had been in the district, I sat myself down to scan the paper. In one column was a report of your shire council. I was amused yet sorry to find that sensible man like Wightman and Kelly could not refrain from indulging in that weakest of all argument - personalities - for what do I or the public carn whether Cr Kelly sold butter, Councillor Wightman had driven bullocks, or Cr Wheeler sold pills; for, sir, the greatest gem in a man's cap is his success through his own exertions, and so long as he does his duty as a councillor of your shire I am sure the ratepayers will gladly dispense with nonsense.
After making inquiries at the different offices as to my route, without success. I fortunately met with an old friend, who knew the road and marked it down on a slip of paper, for which information I can assure you many a time I had occasion to bless him.
Starting from the Albion at 8 a.m. with Cobb and Co.'s coach, I arrived in Dandenong at 10.30 am., the distance being 19 miles along a beautiful road, with the exception of that slough of despond in the Oakleigh Shire, near and at Spring vale.
I believe, is one of the oldest townships in the colony, and certainly the residents have improved their time if the appearance of the place has anything to do with it. Local government seems to have thriven here, and the ratepayers representatives at the shire council seem to have done their duty. This township can boast of four hotels, two of which can favorably compare with any in the colony, while the other two, of more humble origin, are conducted with propriety. There is a Church of England, a Roman Catholic Chapel, and I believe that hard-headed but slow-going body, the Presbyterians, have called upon the Rev Mr Morton, preparatory to building a church, to hold forth to them in the Mechanics' Institute, which building would be a credit to any township in Victoria. Stores abound, and from the amount of stock on hand the owners seem to be well satisfied. The State schoolhouse is a fine structure, and the inhabitants are fortunate in having for the head teacher a gentlemen of first-class attainments.
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