LAYING OF THE FOUNDATION-STONE OF THE NEW POLICE-STATION, MINTARO.
[From our own Correspondent.]
Wednesday, August 28, presented a busy appearance. The weather being remarkably fine induced many persons to visit this township to witness the laying of the foundation-stone of the first Government building erected here. The ceremony commenced at half-past 3, by the Band, which had arrived from Clare for that occasion, perambulating the township, accompanied by about 30 Oddfellows and Foresters in regalia. On reaching the ground, Mr. Thomas Gibson read a document, as follows :—”This foundation-stone was laid by Thomas Priest, Esq., on the 27th day of August, 1867, being the 31st year of the reign of Queen Victoria, the sixth year of the Governorship of Sir D. Daly of the colony of South Australia.” The building was designed by R. G. Thomas, Architect, the builder being Mr. W. Patterson, of Clare; Clerk of the Works, Mr. W. Anderson. The cost of the building £1,100, and to be built of blue stone and freestone procured in the neighborhood. Mr. Thomas Gibson said he was deputed by the inhabitants of the place to present to Thompson Priest Esq., a trowel with which to lay the foundation stone. The following inscription was engraved on it:—”Presented to Thompson Priest, Esq., in honor of laying the foundation-stone of the new Police-Station Mintaro, August 27, 1867.” Mr. Thompson Priest then placed under the stone a bottle containing the latest newspapers and other documents and some coins of the realm. The stone was then lowered into its place. Mr. Thompson Priest said he considered it a great step taken by the Government in the erection of such a building. He had been a resident there for 12 years, and at times he had seen the necessity of such a building, and for police being in the vicinity. He also believed it would be a comfortable dwelling for them, and although it was a lock-up, he hoped it would be a long time before any that were present would be placed in it. However it being built might be a check to wrong-doing. He might say the Government had selected a beautiful spot, on a nice elevation; and he had no doubt the contractor would carry out the work in a masterly manner. There was a Clerk of the Works who would watch its progress. He hoped that all present would live to see it erected, and be familiar with its appearance for many years to come. He proposed three cheers for the Queen, and three for the Clerk of the Works. (Cheers, and the band playing.) The dinner was held at Host Piper’s, Mintaro Hotel, Mintaro. About 40 or 50 persons sat down, and every one seemed to enjoy himself. The cloth being removed, the chair was taken by Mr. Thomas Gibson, the vice-chair by Mr. James Brown, when the usual loyal toasts were given and responded to. The Chairman then proposed the health of Mr. Thompson Priest. He might, in a manner, consider him the guest of the evening. He had laid the foundation-stone at the request of the inhabitants, although he was not in a fit state of health to do so; but he (Mr. Priest) had taken a great interest in it, as also in all other things for the welfare of Mintaro, and it was the duty of all to wish him happiness and long life. Drunk with cheers, and “For he’s a jolly good fellow.” The Vice-Chairman responded, and said he was sorry his task had not fallen into better hands. It was well known to all that Mr. Priest had used his utmost endeavors for the good of the place. For many years the village had been in the shade—nothing done for it; but by Mr. Priest’s exertions in the District Council they got their share, and perhaps more. For his part he was glad they had selected him to lay the stone, as they could not have found one who took more interest in their behalf. (Cheers.) Song, Mr. Evans—”Bullock Creek.” Mr. Thompson Priest said he was much obliged to them for the kind manner in which his health had been proposed and responded to. He had been called upon to lay the foundation-stone of the first building erected by Government in that township. In the first instance, it set forth that they were recognised; secondly, that it improved the appearance and the property; and lastly, it was a necessary appendage to a populous locality. As to taking an interest in it, he did so, and thought it his duty to do so in every way, and would continue still to use his influence when possible, for the benefit of the town. The traffic was increasing and our wants increased with it. The land was nearly all occupied, and good roads would be a necessity. The Council had determined to have what was done, done properly. (Cheers.) Song, Mr. D. Currie—”I never say nothing to nobody.” Mr. Thompson Priest proposed “The Parliament of South Australia, and especially Messrs. Kingston and Bright” He said in respect to the Parliament of South Australia, that they might thank them for the building they had begun that day. The Parliament had a great deal to contend with at the present time, in consequence of the depressed state of things. They were trying to push on public works. He had read of some individuals offering 6s. or 7s. per day, and parties refusing to accept it. If they would not work for that what could be done? This session would show them what they intended to do. Many public works were needed, such as extension of railway north, &c. Perhaps by a little coaxing they might get it; it did not always answer to drive. The Parliament would no doubt do what they considered right for the colony at large. No doubt a few years would make a great alteration. The colony was yet in its infancy. Drunk with “For they are jolly good fellows.” Mr. W. Bowman said he thought Mr. Priest had said all that could well be said, and he returned thanks on behalf of the Parliament of South Australia. Song, Mr. J. Richards—”The Sailor’s Grave.” Hr. G. Faulkner proposed—”The Staple Interests of the Colony, viz., the agricultural, pastoral, and mining interests.” He must say the agricultural interests were at a low ebb, and when farmers suffered all suffered. The pastoral interests had suffered severely by drought and loss of stock, and it was to be hoped that their landlord—the Government—would look to them too. As to the mining interest, that was bad. The stoppage of the Burra had thrown hundreds out of work, but it was to be hoped the works would be resumed again. The Moonta had paid a handsome dividend; yet miners were starving. No doubt the low price of copper has a deal to do with it, but let us one and all hope for better times. Mr. W. Patterson supported the toast in a few appropriate remarks. Song, Mr. T. Currie—”Trafalgar.” Mr. W. Anderson proposed “The Health of Lady Daly and the Ladies of South Australia in a few eulogistic remarks. Song, “Here’s health to all good Lasses.” Mr. Michael Tobin proposed “The Town and Trade of Mintaro.” Mr. W. E. Giles said he thought the previous speaker might said something on the subject. Mr. Tobin had as much interest in the welfare of the place as he had, but there was no doubt that if all pulled together the town would go ahead. There was an instance that day of it, in the erection of a Government building. The Government would, if applied to property, grant what was necessary as far as means permitted. As to the trade of Mintaro, it was at a low ebb, but no doubt it would improve. Song, Mr. W. E. Giles—”The Slave Ship.” Mr. Thomas Gibson proposed “The Health of the present Contractor of the Police-Station.” “For he’s a jolly good fellow.” Song, Mr. F. Leighton—”The Mountain Maid.” Mr. Thompson Priest said he had known the contractor (Mr. Patterson) about two years, and from what he had seen of him, he was a business man, and had lately had weather to contend with. People might think the work slow, but they were not aware of all hindrances. There was a certain time specified, and it must be finished, or there would be a liability to a fine. He, however, believed it would be finished in time. He had much pleasure in supporting it. Mr. W. Patterson thanked them kindly for their opinion of him, and would say, that the heaviest of the work was done, which any tradesman would know; and as to the quality of it the Clerk of the Works was noways behind in speaking if required. Indeed he sometimes thought him too sharp; but perhaps he was not; it was his duty, and he had a right to perform it. He hoped, however, the building in appearance would be a credit to Mintaro, as workmen were employed on it second to none in the colony. (Cheers.) Song by Mr. Richards, “Sweet Katey Clyde.” Mr. Thomas Gibson proposed “The Health of the Clerk of the Works.” He said he believed he was a person who looked well after the contractor; in fact he was always at his post, whether the contractor was or not. He had much pleasure in proposing his health—”For he is a jolly good fellow.” Mr. Tucker said he did not know Mr. Anderson as a director of public works; but from the eulogiums passed on that gentleman he believed him to be the right man for all parties. Mr. W. Anderson said he must say a few words in respect of the Police-Station. There had been six weeks of bad weather, and material that was suitable could not be found in a day or two. However, first-class sand and stone had been got. Had the works been pushed on it would not have been so well as it would be now, and as the weather was altogether better, good progress would be made. The contractor might think he was harsh; but he would act impartially, and perform the duties he was entrusted with. He begged leave to return thanks. Song—Mr. Evans, “The Maid of Llangollen.” Various other toasts were given and replied to, viz., “The Working Men,” “The Press,” “The Chairman,” “Vice-Chairman,” &c., &c.