Freeman's Journal 4 July 1850
Australia, young as she is amongst the nations of the world; has yet in her brief history, one scarcely beyond the span of man's life—many proud eras to look back to with pride as being dates whence her present wonderful position in the world owes its origin. We allude to those eras when her own sons and adopted sons obtained Trial by Jury, Freedom of the Press, a Free Representation, the Cessation of Transportation. We question greatly, however, if she ever had a prouder day than yesterday, or will have a greater day to refer to than that of the turning of the turf of the first Australian railway. Years hence sires and matrons will tell their children of it, rejoicing they saw the ceremony. When that great and eminent statesman, Sir Robert Peel, turned the first turf of the Trent Valley Railway, he spoke of the importance of railways, shewing how great, how in appreciable were the results they brought forth to man, both in his social as well as political state. By their aid commerce was extended ; and in narrowing the distance between man and man, each, learnt better to know the other, there sprung up feelings of brotherhood amongst the mass. If such was considered the great achievments of railways in England, where its population is counted by thousands, what may not be the great result in Australia where we enumerate in comparison but by tens. England, says Punch, viewed out of the car of a balloon, looks like a gridiron from the bars of iron crossing its face. We shall not regret to have the remark apply to New South Wales, we do not despair of seeing it. 
The railway to Goulburn is only the beginning of the commencement. Not near so many years will elapse to make a railway from Goulbourn to Melbourne as has been taken to make the colonists understand the importance and benefit of a line from Sydney to Goulbourn. The weather yesterday was about as un propitious as the bitterest enemy of the railway could have desired. Still, at a rough guess, we should say, taking the as semblage outside of and within the enclosure, there were at least, between five and six thousand persons present. Though we regretted as much as any one, the rain, still we think there was something in its visitation, which must have caused rejoicement in the well wishers to the Railway. There were thousands present. They battled with the elements to see the ceremony. Is this not proof palpable that real, true, and surpassing interest was felt ? One and all seemed impressed with the importance of the subject that had drawn them together. There, was no grumbling at the rain. Every, one seemed joyous. Neighbour shook hands with neighbour, and all con gratulated each other that this was a great occasion. The scene in the Redfern Paddock, certainly had it been fine, i would have been a glorious one. The countless flags flyirg, the bands of the different orders of Odd Fellows and Foresters playing — the members of each in full costume with their regalia, — the galaxy of Beauty, and the cheers of the populace formed a toute ensemble any nation might have been proud of. We may proceed now to details of the ceremony. We will, however, first notice the spade and barrow. The handle of the Spade is formed of satin wood, and is circular, and bears a carving of the arms of New South Wales. The motto is engraved on silver. The shaft is formed of tulip wood, and at its junction with the blade is a circlet on which is carved the Fleece. The blade is of steel, manufactured from the yield of the Fitz Roy Mine, on the Lockyersleigh Estate. It is in the form of a shield on which are the Fitz Roy Arms, and those of the Railway Company. Beneath is the following inscription:—

Hon Mrs. Keith Stewart,
ON THE 3RD JULY, 1850.

The steel is about as fine a specimen of that metal as we have ever seen. The designer of the spade was Mr. Sheilds, the engineer of the company, and high talent has combined with art in the producion. To Mr. Abrahams was entrusted the task of the carvings, and he has sent forth from his atelier a specimen he may be proud of. Mr. Carmichael the engraver, seems also to have worked con amore. The Railway Arms are an Engine. The minute work of the smoke from the furnace, the connecting chains of the tender, the taps and whistle of the boiler are as beautifully clear and distinct as we could desire in an "Annual" Engraving. The barrow was of colonial wood highly polished. It was ornamental, yet, withal, chaste and neat in its simplicity. Mr. Shields is also entitled to merit as being the designer of the article. 
A few minutes after twelve a detachment of the 11th Regiment came on the ground with their band, and within the succeeding hour His Excellency arrived, accompanied by the Hon. Mrs. Keith Stewart. Shouts and cheers gave full note of the approach of the distinguished visitors, long ere the carriage drove up. They were received at the gate by the directors of the company, the military presenting arms and the band playing the Anthem. Mr. Lamb, the president, took Mrs. Stewart's arm and a procession was then formed. The Odd Fellows lodges preceded, filing off as they entered the enclosure. Immediately around his Excellency were the Colonial Secretary, the Colonial Treasurer, the Commander of the Forces, the Judges, and, we may say, all the officials of the colony garbed in full uniform. The cortege then advanced to the enclosure where the turf was to be raised, and on arrival within it, Mr. Lamb briefly stated the work Mrs. Stewart had consented to perform, and presented Mr. Shields, the engineer, who then submitted to Mrs. S. the spade and barrow to be used on the occasion. Mrs. Stewart grasped the spade, we say grasped, because there was no common nerve displayed in its handling, raised the turf and threw it into the barrow. At this moment the cheers and shouts might have been heard at a mile distance. No sooner was the turf deposited in the barrow than Mr. Charles Cowper took it, wheeled it some few yards, and cast it out. There was another succession of cheers Mr. Cowper, after discharging his load, returned and addressed his Excellency, delivering a congratulatory address on the commencement of this great enterprise during his administration. His Excellency replied, expressing his pride and high satisfaction at participating in the event of the day. The procession then again formed, and the visitors proceeded to THE LUNCHEON. This was prepared in an immense marquee, which was most tastefully fitted up. The devices displayed in various parts, formed of many colored flowers, were most appropriate, and some of the products of the confectioners work were admirably conceived and as admirably executed, being fitting to the event. The viands, which were supplied by Mrs. Gill, were, excellent. Covers were laid for 500, but we think there must have been far more than that number partakers.
The Luncheon discussed.— Mr. Lamb proposed the health of Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen. He had lived in four reigns; but in none had he witnessed so great enthusiasm prevailing at this loyal toast as that which greeted the name of Victoria, whose realms were boundless. Was it that under female reigns England had always attained great glory ? The destruction of the Armada under that of the last of the Tudors, and the establishment of her great naval power? Was it the victories of Marlboro', under Anne, or under Victoria the subjection of the ruler of 330 millions of the enslaved of of India? No ; it was not to this Victoria's glory was attributable. It was for the progress of science, for its triumphs of peace. Mr. L. then alluded to the great tubular bridge over the Meani, a work which would vie with the vaunted monuments of Egypt or Rome.
 In proposing the toast of the Queen of England, he would add, Long may the colony of New South Wales be an integral and loyal portion of her empire. (Loud cheers.) The toast was drank nine times nine, the band playing the national anthem. Mr. Lamb then proposed Prince Albert and the rest of the royal family. He anticipated the toast would be accompanied with every honor. His Royal Highness had given his influence and his purse to all that conduced to the progress of science, to the welfare and happiness of the people, amongst whom his lot had been cast. The toast was drank with all honors. Air by the band, "Prince Albert's march." Mr. Lamb rose again to propose the health of the governor. His Excellency's private virtues were too widely known to require him (Mr. L.) to discant upon them. He would, however, speak of his public acts, and the important benefits the colony had derived under his administration. To the present great work he had extended his name and his influence. Sir George Gipps' great boast was, that under his governorship the colony obtained free representation. It would be the boast of Sir Charles Fitz Roy, that under his viceregalty the first railway in New South Wales was commenced. The toast received due honor and one cheer more. The band played a grand march.
Mr. Lamb. The next toast was the army and navy. He was a Veteran in the navy himself, having: served under Exmouth and Cornwallis, For this reason, therefore, he would rather speak of the deeds of the army. Like good workmen, they had done their work and brought it home. That work was peace. (Loud cheers.) Air by the band, The British Grenadiers and Rule Britania.
General Wynyard—Briefly returned thanks and congratulated the colonists on the event which had brought so many of them together. The Governor, in an excellent speech, proposed the Railway. The band played the Railway Gallop, which was encored. The whistle was took up by nearly all present, and there was a screeching. Mr. Cowper returned thanks in a most masterly speech. Our space forbids us giving it at full length, and no precis could be given without injustice to the speaker. Mr. Lamb proposed the health of the Hon. Mrs Keith Stewart and the ladies of the colony. Need it be said how deep was the obligation Mrs. Stewart had laid the directors under. The other ladies who were present must not be forgotten. Success must now attend the railway when the jewels of the father land, and the flowers of the forest of our adopted country, lent their aid, he knew that their influence would make the gentlemen follow in their wake. Nine times nine and one cheer more was the response to the toast. His Excellency having, in a brief but extremely terse terms returned thanks on behalf of Mrs. Stewart, a unanimous call was made on Mr. Donaldson, who responded on behalf of the ladies. The females of Australia might have their peers in other countries, but not their superiors. This returning of thanks for the ladies was one of the happiest moments in the life of an unhappy man. Mr. Lamb proposed the Colonial Secretary and the civil officers of the colony. One and all had given their aid and displayed in tent interest in furthering the company. He would emphatically mention the name of the Hon. Edward Deas Thomson. (Loud cheers.) Air by the band, "For he's- a jolly good fellow."
The Colonial Secretary believed the good work this day commenced, would not end until the line went from the capital of Sydney to that of Victoria, and the 600 miles would be traversed in a day, and begged to give the healths of the President and the Directors of the company. Air by the band, money in the pockets.
Mr. Lamb returned thanks. There was one master mind to whom he conceived all the credit given the Directors was due, Mr. Charles Cowper. (Vehement cheering.) The Chief Justice proposed Mr. Cowper's health, which was enthusiastically drank. Mr. Cowper having relumed thanks. Mr. Justice Therry proposed the health of the Stewards. Mr Thomas Barker returned thanks. Dr. Douglass gave the health of Mr Shield's, the Company's Engineer, which was duly responded to. His Excellency and Mrs. Stewart then left, and the great event was at an end.

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