Ballarat and Geelong Railway

The Courier (Hobart) Thursday 2 September 1858 p. 2.
At a moderate computation not fewer than 15,000 persons were present at the 'turning of the first turf' of the Ballarat and Geelong Railway. There were all sorts of out-door sports, and an ox was roasted whole. The members of the Town Council and the Volunteer Rifles awaited the arrival of his Excellency Sir Henry Barkly, who came to town by the first train from Melbourne. He alighted at half-past twelve o'clock, and was received by the Corporation, his Worship the Mayor welcoming him. His Excellency was accompanied by Mr. Haines, M.L.A. Mr. Sladen, M.L.A., his aide-de-camp, Captain Bancroft, and his Private Secretary. As they passed along the platform, the assembled multitude cheered most enthusiastically, the Volunteer Rifles presented arms, and their excellent band struck up the national anthem.

The ceremony of "cutting the first turf" was performed by His Excellency amid confusion. Immediately surrounded by his suite, the members of the town and suburban corporations, and the two chairmen of the East and West Ballaarat Municipalities and the members of their respective Councils, His Excellency took the spade and dug up a piece of rich soil, which he placed in a barrow and wheeled about a dozen yards amidst deafening cheers. We could not hear the few words that he addressed to the Mayor. He wheeled his light load back, when His Worship Dr. Thomson, assisted by Dr. Stewart (Chairman of West Ballaarat Municipal Council), and Mr. R. Belford (Chairman of the East Ballaarat Municipal Council), filled the barrow and turned it in the opposite direction. This concluded the ceremony of the day. The company then adjourned to the dejeuner.

The celebration was prolonged on the Eastern Beach by a large number of persons who went to witness a "Corroboree" by the aborigines. A quantity of fireworks were let off, which had great attractions for the juveniles.

At the west end of the town the more Aristocratic of the community were participating in a ball, which was held in the Mechanics' Institute, His Excellency being present.

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