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2-340 (Text)

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addressee author,male,Byrne, J.C.,un
Narrative Discourse
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Public Written
Ward, 1969
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In the constitution of its society, South Australia has been especially favoured; among her original colonists were a large number of men previously occupying most respectable positions in England - men of intellect, talent, and perseverance; and even her emigrants were originally chosen with a care seldom exercised in the case of other colonies. Among the agricultural class are a considerable body of Germans, who, driven from their native country by religious feeling, have sought at the antipodes a resting-place and a home where, under the protection and laws of Great Britain, they may worship their Maker after their own ideas. Temperate, honest, industrious, persevering, and submissive, the Germans have proved of great service to the colony, and are found especially valuable from their knowledge of the cultivation of the vine, and other plants unknown to the agricultural classes of England. Fond of combination and collective exertion, the Germans, assembled around and under the jurisdiction of beloved pastors, have formed particular locations of their own, and the benefit of the system is observable in the high cultivation of their lands, and their generally improved condition. Superior in education and general knowledge to the poor of this country, the Germans in South Australia have by their unvarying good conduct made themselves respected and regarded by the settlers, who generally prefer them to any other labourers. But in the latter condition they seldom continue long; the high wages payable in the colony soon enable them to establish themselves on their own account, as they are a saving race, and find in music, in which many of them are proficient, the amusement and relaxation which the British emigrant labourer unfortunately too often seeks at the public-house. 
Notwithstanding that South Australia abuts on New South Wales, yet the settled and convict portion of that colony is removed to such a vast distance, that comparatively few persons who have been convicts have crossed to this colony. They have generally engaged themselves as stockmen or shepherds to the different overland parties who penetrated through the interior, and they form such a small proportion of the entire population, that they have little, if any, bad effect on society. No doubt, many old liberated convicts have been introduced into the colony by sea, but yet these, again coming amongst a free and moral population, generally endeavour to sink their former character in a newly-acquired one of honesty, probity, and industry; they lose the swagger, the bold coarse front, and drunken habits, general in New South Wales, and seek to identify themselves with those around them; but the indelible stamp that years of punishment, suffering, and crime, has marked upon their countenance, remains impressed there, and the bronzed, parched, careworn face, tells for ever of former guilt, of chain-gangs, and of penal settlements. 
In Adelaide itself and its vicinity, where agriculture is carried on, there is much good society to be met with; ladies - bright, fair, educated, and accomplished, and gentlemen who would not suffer by a comparison with any other colonists in the world. In the country districts, where pastoral pursuits are the chief occupation, the stations are generally too far apart for much society; the inhabitants lead the lives of squatters with their servants, already described in the first volume of this work; with this improvement, that in South Australia the female sex are more frequently present at these places, the adult female of South Australia bearing a larger proportion to the males than in any other of the Australian colonies. At the mines the large wages earned by the men generally promote intoxication, and indeed all over the colony there are to be found not a few thirsty souls, from whom the public-houses derive a considerable revenue, the trade of a licensed victualler being one of the most profitable occupations in the colony.
Adelaide boasts of a theatre, at which considerable audiences frequently assemble, and endeavour to find as much amusement in the performances of third class professionals as they would in the best display at Drury Lane or Covent Garden. A savings' bank for the lower classes has lately been established at the capital, and there is a public subscription library supported by the more respectable inhabitants. There are three or four ledges of freemasons, half a dozen of the odd fellows, and an abstinence society. Heretofore the voluntary system for the support of religion has prevented the bitter acrimony and party religious feeling which prevail in the other Australian colonies; and it is much to be desired that the same good feeling and forbearance will continue, even if State support be afforded to the different religious denominations. This, however, must chiefly rest with the clergy; and it is well for the colony that at the head of the two creeds of the Church of England and Romanian there are two such urbane and educated men as the present Protestant and Roman Catholic bishops of Adelaide. The latter, from having been many years in Sydney, must have experienced largely the evils resulting from the religious animosities prevalent in New South Wales; and being an enlightened gentleman, it is to be hoped and expected that he will profit by his experience, and prevent by every means in his power those differences which mainly tend to retard the advancement of a colony, and diffuse discomfort and discord, where all should be union for the general welfare and the advancement of their adopted land.