and we were obliged to retire before them, but not before we made a great slaughter. On the same spot we lost our company alone 18 killed and 14 wounded. My right and left hand men were shot dead beside me: my rear rank man wounded in two places, and I thank God, came away with only two bullets through the camp of my big coat, and one through my forage cap. Our loss altogether was 33 men killed and 32 wounded. And so we were obliged to come back to our camp - I can say nothing else than defeated, through only by overwhelming numbers. One lieutenant was killed.
"The steamer is just going away, so I must close this rambling account of the engagement : and with best regards to R., his wife, and love to yourself, believe me, ever your affectionate brother.
"God knows when we shall get back to Melbourne."
NEW SOUTH WALES. - The Snowy River Gold Fields have within the last month or two fallen into great disrepute. The intense cold which has been experienced has driven the greater number of diggers away from this inhospitable clime, and those who remain complain sadly of their ill back. We have reason to believe that the reports which were at first promulgated were to a great extent without foundation, and were more efforts of the imagination. Many are leaving Victoria for the El Dorado; but like those who have gone before them, they will probably make but a visit.
TASMANIA . - The Tasmanian submarine cable is still silent, and, owing to the many interruptions in the line, very little benefit has been derived by Tasmanians by their enterprise. The damage to the line is not supposed to be irremediably, and steps are now being taken to repair. No discoveries of an important nature have resulted from the recent exploratory expeditions. There is very little other news of importance from this colony.
The recent determination of the English Government to do away with the branch service at Kangaroo Island has induced the South Australian Government to take steps to endeavour to place the colony on an equal footing with Victoria. They have arranged to have a branch steamer running between Adelaide and King George's Sound, by which they expect to have their letters two day before the mail steamer arrives in Melbourne. They decline, however, to pay their portion of the subsidy, and the Melbourne Government have signified their interest if refusing to deliver up the mail unless such subsidy is paid. The President of the Legislative Council of South Australia is to receive the honor [honour] of knighthood. The Parliament is in full operation, and the new ministry appear to be holding their ground. The salaries of ministers have been reduced, and a proposition was also made to reduce the salary of the Governor, but it was negatived. The Cooper mines in the far north are described as likely to rival the far-famed Burra Burra.
JOURNAL OF AMUSEMENTS
The last month has been excessively dull in theatrical circles. The fact is, that though there is no lack of excellent actors and actresses in Victoria, they are now so scattered over the length and breadth of the colony, instead of being concentrated at one or two theatres, that there is no possibility of going anywhere and seeing a play really well put upon the stage. This is beginning to tell upon the public, who find that the principal result of the present severe competition = there being three theatres open in Melbourne - is, that the performances are less attractive than when there was only one. The principal novelty during the month has been the production at the Royal of Mr. R.H. Horne's one-act tragedy of "Marlowe." a piece seldom before acted, but abounding in beauties of composition. An original five-act comedy. entitled " A Spee in China." from the pen of the same author, has also been produced. Though smartly written, and the scene partly laid in the colony, there was not enough of incident for a five-act comedy, and after running for a night or two it was withdrawn. An original burlesque upon Sir Walter Scott's "Talisman" has met with but indifferent success, and the management have been compelled to fall back on stock pieces, and a clever adaptation of the "Miller and his Men."
The Princes of Wales is now devoted to the regular drama, under the management of Mr. R. Younge. Mr. McKean Buchanan is now fulfilling an engagement there.
The Princess's occupies a place somewhat similar to the Victoria in London, and relies upon a species of burlesque and old-fashioned melodramas.
Mr. and Mrs. Holt, Mr. and Mrs. Heir, and Mr. G.V. Brooke have been playing in the provinces. the Bianchis have returned to Melbourne, and have taken the Royal for a short opera session, during which they intend to produce "Nabuco," :Attila" "Rigoletto" and "Macbetto."
Mr. John Drew, an Irish low comedian of great talent, has sailed for England in the Dover Castle.
One of the most interesting incidents of the month has been the marriage of the Governor to the daughter of Major General Pratt. His Excellency was married on Saturday, the 21st July , in Christ Church, South Yarra, by the Right Rev. the Bishop of Melbourne, assisted by Rev. Mr. Guiness, incumbent of the church. The ceremony was to have been private ; but a considerable number of residents of South Yarra were attracted to the church to witness the ceremony. Miss Barkly was the only bridesmaid, and Major- General Pratt's aide-de-camp, Lieut. Foster, was the bridegroomsman. Doubtless the departure of the gallant Major-General for New Zealand has hastened his Excellency's marriage, which it was previous understood would take place in August.
A testimonial large when our limited population is taken into consideration, has been raised for Tom Sayers. £153 was transmitted to England last mail through Bell's Life in Victoria, and £70 by the Melbourne Club, £46 has since come to hand, and the total amount contributed by the colony will be little short of £300.
The Second Australian Champion Sweepstakes to be run at Sydney on the last prox., is beginning to attract considerable attention. There were original sixteen entries, of which Flying Buck, Mainstay and Bonny Rose were from Victoria; Gratis, Veno, Moss Rose, Zoe, Young Morgan, Areber, The Don and Mag of the Wing, from New South Wales; and Strop, Camden, Wildrake, Sister to Zoe, and Deception, from New Zealand, Bonny Rose has since been scratched, but the honour of Victoria is likely to be well-sustained by Flying Buck, who is backed at 2 to 1 against the field.
In the case of Raleigh and others v. Holmes, White, and Co., on which some strong remarks were made in the columns of a contemporary, a nonsuit has been granted by a full court, including the judge before whom the case was tried. The allegations made against the defendants, therefore, fall to the ground, and those gentlemen have taken other steps to vindicate themselves from the unjust imputation.
A strike has taken place amongst the labourers ad artisans at Malmsbury, on the Mount Alexander line of railway, in consequence of the contractors, Messrs. Cornish and Bruce, having decided to pay the men monthly instead of fortnightly, as heretofore. The men has solicited the interference of the Government, who have refused, and as the dispute stands at present, the contractors appear likely to carry their point. Many of the men have since resumed work.
THE LABOR AND PRODUCE MARKETS
The unemployed held a meeting in Melbourne, at which above two hundred persons were present. A deputation waited the following morning upon the Chief Secretary, who expressed sympathy, and provided fifty labourers for work.
The following is the latest market report:
There is no improvement whatever in the market; stout able agricultural men listlessly walking from one office to another seeking employment, yet still two months must elapse before any permanent improvement will be perceptible, and that is when sheep washing, commences; even this is not to be relied on, as many flock masters shear in the grease. Skilled labour much the same. Females in abundance, and a vast number unemployed : people cannot afford to pay the wages they demand.
WITH RATIONS -Married couples for home stations and farm service, per annum £60 to £65; for hotels £70 without incumbrance; do., with families, £50; ploughmen, 17s. to 20s. per week; farm labourers, 13s. ; bullock drivers, 16s. to 20s.; gardeners, from £52 to £60 per annum; shepherds, from £30 to £35 per annum; hut-keepers, £26 per annum, blacksmiths for stations, 35s. per week; carpenters 25s. to 30s. do.; rough carpenters, 20s. to 22s. 6d., per week ; wheelwrights, 35s. to 40s., do.; cooks, from 20s to 45s. l waiters, from 20s. to 25s. ;
hay cutters and trussers, 4s. to 3s. per ton, or 25s., to 27s, per week ; lads to drive bullocks from 10s. to 12s. per week ; carters, from 20s. per week.
WITHOUT RATIONS. -Carpenters from 10s. to 20s. per day; masons, from 14s., plasterers and bricklayers, 12s., quarrymen, 8s., to 10s., per day ; blacksmiths, 10s. to 12s. ; able pick and shovel men, 8s.; fencers, three rails, 1s. 6d. to 2s. per rod; stone breakers, no average price can be stated, few persons will take that employ if any other is to be had, so many have been cheated. Wood cutters 5s., per ton.
FEMALE SERVANTS -Cooks and laundresses, £25 per annum, for hotels, restaurants, etc., et. ; housemaids, £26 to £30; thorough competent women for general housework, £30 supper class nursemaids, £25 per annum ; nursegirls from £14 to £20 ; needlewomen, £26 to £30 ; if they are dressmakers, £35 per annum.
The following rates are current at present in Melbourne, for provisions and garden produce :
Bread, 4lb. loaf..............10d. Eggs, per dozen ...............3s
Apples, per lb.................4d. Geese, per pair..................16s.
Meat......................4d. to 7d. Hens, per pair.....................7s.
Onions, dry, per cwt........20s. Rabbits per brace.......4s. to 5s.
Do. green, per doz. homebox 1s. Turkeys, per pair.18s. to 20s.
Potatoes , per cwt,.............8s. Beer... 6d. per glass, 1s. 6d per quart.
Sugar per lb. ...........4d. to 6d. Do. bottled.........12s.per dozen
Tea, ..............2s., to 3s., 6d. Gas.....17s. 6d. per thousand feet
Coffee...............1s.6d. Wood.........15s.to 20s. per load
Butter, per lb. fresh, 2s. 6d.: salt 18d. Coals, English.....£2 to £2.5s.
Ducks, per pair............7s. do., Colonial £1. 16s to £1. 18s.