Interesting memoirs of the boyhood days of Mr. J. W. Miller, one of the oldest members of the Historical Society, depicing life in Melbourne between 1842 to 1851, were read by the Secretary ( Mr. A. W. Greig ) at a meeting of the Society in the Melbourne Town Hall last night. The paper was compiled from notes prepared by Mr. Miller, who was born in Little Collins Street, near the presnet site of Coles Book Arcade, in 1841.
Melbourne was pictured as a sparsely populated common, with primitive buildings and with tall gum trees and wild bush vegetation encircling the outskirts of the settlement. Mr. Miller told how the Government Domain was once used for small farms and how the spot where Federal Government House now stands had been the rendezvous of the aborigines. He told of the swarms of dogs that infected the settlement and how in one year the police were praised by "The Argus" for having slaughtered no fewer than 1,200.
An interesting picture showing the area now occupied by the business portion of Melbourne as it appeared in 1837 was found on Thursday among a number of other old pictures while the archives at the Melbourne Town Hall were being prepared for the annual cleaning. Though the picture has been moved once a year for many years, it has never before been examined. It presents a view from the south bank of the Yarra and shows the section of Melbourne extending from about the present position of Russell Street to King Street. The area is thickly covered with small trees, which have been cleared in places and the street lines are well defined. In all 40 houses can be seen in the area, and several tents are visible among the trees. Three ships and several small boats can be seen on the river. Through the centre of the picture runs a deep gully which is believed to be the position now occupied by Elizabeth Street. There is no indication of the length of time the picture has been in the archives at the Town Hall.
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