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.____________—- ---I THE ANNUAL…


t N AVA, II intelligence.

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AUSTRALIA WEEK BY WEEK. (FROM Oui; OWN CORIiESPOXDEXT.) SYDNEY, July, 1st. DOGS AND FOXKS. The plague of foxes is rapidly increasing in the lorthern districts of New South Wales, where the uumals have committed great depredations among -he sheep. They are remarkably wafy, and it is ldlicult to trap them. Large numbers have been soot, 'but they appear as plentiful as ever. The flocks have also found an enemy in tame doys which ,-oiiie from the neighbouring townships, and are oriven to kill the sheep, owing to the scarcity of ood, as meat has become so dear as to be piolubi- i ive for feeding dogs upon. llaits are laid in all directions, but these do not have the desired effect, and in several instances from twelve to twenty -heep have been destroyed in one night. The tame animals hav>e been caught in the act, and several of them shot; but, fortunately for the dugs' owners, they cannot be identified, and settlers have no redress. This is one of the results of the long- continued drought, which, during the last three or tour years, has reduced the number of sheep in New S >uth Wales from seventy millions to forty millions, and threatened the State with an additional loss of twenty millions during the present year. The fox was origillally introduced into Australia for hunt- ing purposes, but, like the hare and rabbit, he has multiplied so rapidly and developed his carnivorous tastes so strongly that he now takes rank as a national pest, to be exterminated—a somewhat remote possibility, at any cost. THE TRAINING OF ACIROTIATS. A strange sto'y is current in Sydney. Hocontlv a troupe of clever acrobats arrived in the city, and gave a series of remarkably daring performances, especially on the part of a youth,one of w hose feats wo* regarded as aimost superhuman. lut a few days later the lad was missing and could not Vie found. He had run away and was not heard of until he turned up under somewhat, unexpected eircum- s ances, having found his way in the direction of the lighthouse at the entrance to Sydney Harbour. Here he knocked at the door of one of the houses. In answer one of the ladies of the house went to the door, and as soon as it was opened the little lellow, without waiting to explain anything, piteously appealed to be taken inside, "as he hud been kicked by the man at the playhouse." "I daren't go back," he cried several times, as if afraid that his appeal might be disregarded. So genuine appeared his distres that there was no refusing his appeal, and lie was taken into the house and made as comfortable as possible by his hostesses, who throughout treated the unhappy lad with the utmost consideration. Gradually he unfolded the story of his sufferings, and also shewed his auditors his bruised body and limbs. conclusively proving that lie had been treated quite recently in a most shameful manner. Accord- ing to the boy's statement, which was given in a straightforward, simple way to the good people who befriended him, he had been the victim of frightful, long-continued and almost unspeakable torment. lie said he was a native of Florence, where he lived with his sister and mother, who were extremely poor. As a child he sold newspapers. One day a gentleman came to his mother and told her he would make a man of him. He would buy him boots and clothes and teach him a grand profession. Ilis mother did not want him to go, the: gh they were very poor; but, then, their good benefactor would make him "a gentleman." That settled it. The little lad threw away his papers to become an acrobat. While in Italy lie was well enough treated, but when lie got into other countries of Contim ntal Europe the rough usage began. Beatings and bang- ing, bumps and bruises were every day his exi eri- ence. In Dresden his brutal master broke his nose. Afterwards, when the troupe went to America, the same cruelties were continued: but why ] roceed with these details. The whole story of the lad was one iong narrative of cruelty and cudgelling, his body being indelibly marked with old scars as the result of the alleged brutality of the man who took theunhajpy youngster away from his mother to make him "a gentleman." The boy was made comfortable for the ni'„ht, and during his short stay there became a prime favourite with the household. On the day foJJowing tile lad was taken away to a safe asylum. Two doctors examined his injuries, and the ] olice were communicated with, the alfeer stationed near the place carefully attending to all the matters in con- nection with the boy's removal. The next stage will probably be a Sydney police-court. In the meantime the case has aided in directing increased attention to John Strange Winter's Iloup-La," to certain portions of which the lad's story bears a striking resemblance. CHAMPAGNE FOR THE UNE.VPLOYKD. For once the good-nature of the Marquess of Hopetoun, Goverror-G» neral of Australia, got the b; 11 er of his judgment. In view of his early di j arture and the King's Coronation, Lie made agiit ot LICO and three hundred botth s of cliamjngne tc the needy unemployed of Melbourne. The dis- tribution was unwisely entrusted to a leader of the um mploved, who keeps a bootshop in Melbourne, and whose exertions in the inteiests of the unem- ployed had won the sympathy of the Governor- Gi neral. On the lirst day tiit, proceedings were d eorous. On the second the scene was discredit- able. Loafers and drunkards swarmed up to the door crying out for a dole of beer (a brewery having sent six barrels), and after two hours the crowd became so noisy and drunken that. the police" ste| ped in and advised that the distribution be shipped. Proceedings were suspended for an hour. Altogether one hundred and twelve bottles of champagne were given away. Many of the bottles were sold by the selected recipients, the rulillg prices to publicans being 5s. and one long beer, but many went to provide a spree for small knots of men and women. Finally, when an enterprising photographer was crushed through the distributor's shop window, apl aratus and all, the proceedings were alruptly stopped. AN AUSTRALIAN POET. To few residents outside the Commonwealth will the name of James Brunton Stephens be familiar; but throughout the federated states it was known as that of a graceful and, at times, vigorous versifier. Although Scottish by birth, his long residence in Australia had caused him to become generally regarded as a son of the southern land of gold and wool, and he certainly felt himself every inch an Australian. His recent death, at the age of sixty-seven, is regarded as a loss to Australian literature, and leaves a gap not easily filled. He was a native of llarrowstowness, Linlithgowshire, where he was born in 1835. He was educated at Edinburgh College, earning his fees by night teach- ing, and did some literary work before arriving in Queensland in 1866. After settling in the State he was engaged as a private tutor for some time. and then joined the Queensland Education Department, becoming liead teacher of tle Ashgroye State School. Through the good offices of Miss Kennedy, daughter of the State Governor of that name. who took a great interest in his literary work,he received an appointment under Sir Thomas M'llwrnith's Ministry in the Queensland Ilomo Secretary's Department- as correspondence clerk, which entailed the writing of all cllicial despatches. He held this appointment until the cleatl. of Mr. Dutton, when he received the appointment of Lnder-Secretary in the Queensland Chief Secretary's Department, which position lie held to the time of iiis death. He was at his office till late in the afternoon of the day preceding his death. He took ill on the following- night, and died before his medical attendant 1'f'I)H;¡] hi", Hi" "1 "'r.rl" 'A.A. t,.a.IJ.Jvlj-u".J. nVln were "Convict Once" and "The Uodolphin Arabian." I He also contributed a large number of miscellaneous poems to various periodicals, including "The Dominion of Australia: A Forecast." published in 1877 and "The Dominion of Australia Fulfilment," published in 1901. He also wrote a novelette, entitled "A Hundred Pounds." Mr. Stephens leaves a widow, four daughters, and one son, who is in South Africa.

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