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LIFE IN NORTH QUEENSLAND.I

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LIFE IN NORTH QUEENSLAND. I Old Ledbury Boy's Impressions. We have this week received a long letter j from Mr George T Smith, of Waverley Hotel, Charters Towers, North Queensland, Australia, a son of Mr George Smith, ?" carpenter, formerly of New Bridge Street, Ledbury, who with his wife and family emigrated to Australia some years ago. We have previously reproduced letters sent by Mr Smith, jun., to Ledbury friends, and we have pleasure in giving the following letter from the same writer addressed to the editor Sir,- You will, no doubt, be surprised to hear from me direct, but I will explain my reason for writing. It is now three years since I left dear old Ledbury with my parents and brothers to try my luck in the Antipodes. Since then I have written several letters to Mr J H Parry, who had them published -n your paper. A great many friends have written to me asking when I was going to write again, as they were verv pleased to bear all about life in the Colonies from a Ledburian, and in order to keep my promises made to them, I will now endeavour to give them an idea of the characteristics of this neighbourhood if you can spare me a little of your valuable space in the Reporter. Since we have arrived in Charters Towers, which is a gold mining centre, things have ahered a great deal, which is the case with most mining centres, and hundreds of houses and shops, the majority of which are wooden structures, have been removed to some of the agricultural or other mining districts. The rest of our family, like a great many others also, thought it advisable to make a move to a more thriving town, and about seventeen months ago took up their residence in Townsville, which is a seaport town at the one extremity of the Queensland Northern Railway and abiut 82 miles from here. My father found a suitable spot to reside in just outside the town. and purchased a newly built house. As both he and. my younger brother are carpenters they found very little difficulty in getting work close to home. If there are any young Ledburians who l are contemplating emigrating to Australia, and have a good knowledge of carpentering or bricklaying, they will never do better than to try North Queensland. There is always a demand for carpenters, who in some parts get 15.3 per day, and a good bricklayer can get his 16s or 183 per day. I have known a good man at either of these occupations get as much as £ 1 per day. It must be distinctly understood, though, that the secret of success HPS in a man at once becoming a member of one of the trade unions, nearly all of which are affiliated with the Australian Workers' Union or the Australian Workers' Association. In some cases a workman has to produce his union ticket before he can get employment. The Bcales of wages are governed by a Wages Board appointed under the supervision of the Government by the different unions. It is owing to the different unions and the appointment of this wages board that the rates of wages have been increased consider- ably during the past few years. The work- ing day consists of eight hours and out of the eight hours they get about half-an-hour for Smoke Ho." A thrifty yeung fellow could save enough money at either of these occupations in three years to have a six .months' trip to England. If they are living in the town they can board from 20s t6 25s per week, that is good living, after which they can save say £ 2 10s, which leaves about 153 to spend to buy clothes, this of course being plenty unless a person is of a very extravagant nature. They pay time and a half for all overtime except Sundays and holidays, for which double time is paid. Holidays of course, I mean those gazetted by the Government as public holidays. There are ofcen time3 when you get out on a job in the bash, then of course you do not require anything to spend, for perhaps you are un- able to come into town for six or eight months. In cases like this it does not cost so much to live, for when several young fellows get out for any length of time they do not board, but batch," that is live in a tent and take it in turns cooking their own meals. My brother Jim is working as a carpenter and earni ng 15s per day out at the Alligator Creek Meat Works, which is about 17 miles outside To-.vnsville. There are a great many men employed on the extension of these works, and the company provides accommodation and a cook to get the meals, for which they charge 17s per week. The only chance of getting into town is on a Saturday afternoon, either by road or motor boat. Of course, the road is only a rough bush track, aud in wet weather is almost impassable fur cyclists. There are several small creeks or streams to wade through, for there are no bridges. On most of the bush roads the cyclists have made their own tracks, which as a rule are just wide enough for a bicycle to run on, with long grass and undergrowth on either side. I have done a little bush-riding myself lately. Starting from Charters Towers with several mates I ride down to the Burdekin River, which is about nine or ten milps away, on a Saturday afternoon and do a little fishing, coming home on Sunday morning, or if it is a. full moon I leave the river soon after midnight. It is a fine out- ing after being caged up in an office all the week. I bad a rather strange experience a few weeks ago. Myself and two others went out on a Saturday afternoon and fished until just before sundown, when we went out to gather some logs for firewood to make a fire to boil our billy." We bad wandered around for some time and dark- ness began to creep on us, when one of the fellows thought he had struck a nice log of wood, and put his hand on a huge snake taking his afternoon nap after having had a good feed. You may be sure be soon let go, and before we were able to get anything to despatch him with, he bad made himself scarce. Another week two of us went down in a buggy, and when we arrived at our destina- tion we hobbled the pooy, as is the custom in Australia, to keep it from straying too far away from the camp, and began fishing. We bad tea and fished until midnight by the light of the moon. After the moon had disappeared we drew in our lines, and as the grass was still damp from the recent rains we made up our minds to make tracks for home. when we rememembered that we had not caught the pony. Then began a tedious tramp across a paddock over two miles square in search of the pony. With an acetylene bicycle lamp and a bridle we set out to look for it. It was now quite dark and not too pleasant to be tramping about the bush, studded with gum and bloodwood trees and grass almost up to our knees. We arrived back at the camp just after two o'clock and made a start for home. With the aceytelene lamp exhausted and the very faint light from our buggy candle lamp, we found it difficult to keep on the track and were forced to keep the pony going at a walking pace only. Several times we got off the track, but having a.fair knowledge of the district, we managed to keep in the right direction. When the roads were good enough to get the pony into a trot, there were generally a few cattle lying on the road, so we bad to be careful. That is one thing I have noticed in these parts that the cattle always prefer the hard road to sleep on in preference to the grass. I have only met one fellow who came out since me from anywhere near Ledbury, and that was a young fellow who came out from Hereford, named Will Charles. He came out here about two years ago, and he says that his father is a retired police officer of Hereford. Mv brother Jim when working at the Ross River Meat Works about 18 months ago, one day happened to go into a storekeeper's shop at Oonoonba for provis- ions, when his eye fell upon a Ledbury newspapei, and a supplement showing the Fair Tree bridge at Newtown, Ledbury, with the brook in flood. He at once recog- nised the features of several of his old schoolmates in the photograph, and you may be sure he wanted to know who the person was that owned the newspaper. After making enquiries he found out that it belonged to a fellow named Bishop, and I can tell you they both had a great talk about the old town. This man said he was related to the Bishops that used to live at the Withers, but neither Jim nor my father happened to know him. (To be continued.)

A SURGERY IN A TWO-INCH BOX.

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