The Railway Contractors and the Stonemasons


Sir,–As a disgraceful attempt is now being made by the Victorian railway contractors to delude several hundreds of the masons of the mother country to this colony, by advertising in the summaries of the daily papers here, we beg to lay the case before you in its true light. The advertisements are for 200 masons on the Geelong and Ballaarat line, and 300 on the Melbourne and Sandhurst line.

With respect to the Geelong and Ballaarat line, numbers of masons, since the advertisements appeared, have left here and applied on the works, who have had to return unable to find employment. They offer to employ masons on the Ballaarat end at 4s. per day below the current wages, thus proving their advertisement at current rates to be a deliberate misstatement.

It is a fact admitted on all hands, that there has not been such a depression in trade as exists here at present, for the last four years. Deputations have been repeatedly sent to the Commissioner of Public Works, requesting him to relieve the distress, by urging on the public works of the colony ; yet, in the face of all this, the railway contractors have the shameless hardihood to advertise conjointly for 500 masons, and, with their usual tact, the first advertisement appears the day on which it is expected the mail will close.

Circumstances have arisen to cause a delay, hence this letter to warn the English masons of the snare laid to mislead them. Ninety masons are the greatest number ever the contractors for the Melbourne and Sandhurst Railway have had in their employ, and those have not been em- ployed much more than half-time. In fact, the railway works here have been conducted by the contractors in the most shameful manner that ever works of a similar character were in any part of the world. Indeed the masons of the colony refuse working under the conditions they offer.
We are, Sir, yours, &c.,
A. B. C.
X. Y. Z.
Signed by order of the Central Committee of the O. S. Stonemasons' Society of Victoria.
Melbourne, December 16.


We do not express an opinion at present of the correctness, or incorrectness, of the charge brought against the railway contractors in the foregoing letter. But it is undoubtedly true that attempts have been some- times made to take advantage of the necessities of certain classes of opera- tives by means of false advertisements. In any instance where a charge of this kind is proved to our satisfaction, we shall expose the author of the fraud, and shall exclude his future adver- tisements, unless verified, from our columns.

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