WHEN CABS WERE NOT RESPECTABLE

First One at Geelong Gained Notoriety


The day of the cab as a means of conveyance, at any rate so far as Geelong is concerned, arrived and has now practically passed within the space of 90 years. Judging by a reference in the "Geelong Advertiser" of 1848 to this class of vehicle, it had to live down a somewhat notorious reputation before it became popular.

Recording the appearance of a cab here in the late forties, a journalist wrote: "A vehicle of this description has been introduced into Geelong; but has been used as yet only by disreputable men and females who may be seen riding about town in all directions and at all hours of the day and night. Doubtless the time will not be long when this convenience will come into vogue for more legitimate purposes. Two or three respectably conducted cabs would do exceedingly well at the present season".

But the section of the early settlers which thus drew the journalistic shafts was not the only one that was castigated, for the same writer had some observations to make regarding the blacks. "These gentlemen', he commented, "mustered yesterday afternoon alarmed many of the inhabitants of the town by getting 'plenty drunk', and putting themselves in attitudes not to be mistaken, in vino veritas. These savages, when intoxicated, never fail to show their attitude towards the whites, giving us plainly to understand what they would do if they dared. It cannot be denied that in their hearts they bear malice and ill-feeling of the direst purport. The seat of their quamby yesterday presented a fearful scene of noise, uproar and confusion."

Contributed by Alexander Matthew (PPPG Member No. 603)


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