The First Railway in Australia

The Argus Tuesday 27 March 1855 p. 6.
(From Punch.)

An Australian paper gives an account of the start—and rather a " rum start" it was—of the first railway in Australia. The line is called the Hobson's Bay Line ; and from the account of the proceedings we should say, that in the case of Hobson's Bay Hobson's choice lina been realised. The colony must be satisfied with the best it can get, though the railway line seems to be something quite out of the line of the Australians, if we may judge by the description contained in the following paragraph, extracted from the Sydney Empire of the 18th of September:

"Sir Charles and Lady Hotham, and a considerable number of the distinguished officials, having taken their places in the train, which only consisted of four carriages, the signal was given to proceed. The steam was turned on, but the iron-horse would not budge an inch. Great was the dismay depicted on the face of the engineer and engine-driver. The valve was opened to its widest extent, and the pantings of the over laden steam-horse were quite alarming.

The band of the 40th struck up a merry tune to hide the confusion, but still the train would not move. Accordingly a whole host of railway porters and policemen set to work, and pushed it along the line by main force for a hundred yards, when it again carne to a dead stop. More police then came on, and a stout gentleman in a dress-coat, ready for the banquet, came behind and applied his shoulder vigorously to the buffer of the last caring, and at last, by slow degrees, the train moved, amid shouts of laughter from the assembled thousands in Flinders-street."

This is not exactly the way to go a-head in an infant colony, and, though the police may be con- sidercd to embody the great principle implied in the words " move on !" we do net think " the force" should be used in applying that principle to an obstinate railway train. Even the police however, could not make the Hobson's Bay locomotive "move on !"and it was only when "a stout gentleman in a dress-coat" applied his shoulder to "the buffer," and it became a question of " buffer against buffer," that the train moved in earnest, and the old buffer triumphed over the new one.

As it is probable that the stout party in the dress coat will not be always at hand to put his shoulder to the wheel of a refractory railway carriage, it is to bo hoped that the Australians will get up their steam a little better than they did on the inauguration of their first railway. Later advices are, however, net very encouraging, for a more recent extract informs us that.

" As the six o'clock train was leaving Sandridge, a slight derangement occurred, which prevented its progress, so that the passengers had to alight and walk up to town. The stoppage was understood to arise from some of the fire-bars having fallen out, so that the fire could not be sustained." What with an engine that won't strike out, and a fire that won't keep in, we fear that the railway system must be considered in a state of infancy or even babyhood, in Australia.

—[We wonder which of our fellow-colonists was the "stout gentleman" in the dress coat, whom Punch has thus immortalised.—En. A.]

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