Recollections of a Victorian Police Officer Chapter II page 2

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Recollections of a Victorian Police Officer by Sup John Sadleir

(full text transcription)

Some eight days spent not unpleasantly at the Cape , and a few weeks more at sea, brought us safely to our destination. Of the many hundreds of passengers, I know of only three beside myself as still living—viz., Mrs E C Bell, Sir Arthur Snowden, and Mr Reginald Bright. The best-known among the others were the late Messrs Wm Noall, George Robertson, J G Duffet, Charles Martin, and H C Staveley.

On November 12th, 1852 , the Great Britain cast anchor for the first time in Hobson’s Bay, after her protracted voyage of eighty two days. There is no need to repeat the oft-told tale of how Melbourne and its people appeared to a newly-arrived stranger in the very early ‘Fifties.’ The dust and the general discomfort rather shocked us. The dust is with us still, and as for the discomfort - this came to be accepted as amongst the inevitable conditions of life in a new country. These things, however, were soon forgotten in the stir and hopefulness of the new life under the genial influences of the Victorian climate. I can look back with pleasure to the many months spent under canvas, and to the society of cheery companions, - even if our fare was somewhat rough and we had to do our own washing.

It has been said that in the later months of 1852 there were nearly twenty thousand arrivals in a single week. It was natural, therefore, that one should run up occasionally against old friends. Amongst these was one by whose persuasion I was led to adopt the career that I followed for nearly half a century. This friend was Captain Jared Fox, formerly adjutant of the 75th regiment. The renewal of our acquaintance was on this wise. A friend and fellow passenger had laid in a stock of Cape sherry, villainously strong stuff, at two shillings a gallon. It looked exactly like the sherry that one paid forty or fifty shillings a dozen for in the old country. It was my friend who first discovered Fox, and it was at his suggestion that we went together to the Richmond Police Camp where Fox was getting together a detachment of police cadets. We carried to the camp a demi john of this sherry slung by our handkerchiefs to a walking stick. It was just the sort of liquor that Fox most relished.

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