Australian Access Federation

You are here: Home Corpora Corpus of Oz Early English 2-339 (Original)

2-339 (Original)

connection failed.

2-339.txt — 2 KB

File contents

THUS IN 1842, Sydney became a city, with its Mayor, Aldermen and Town Councillors. Much party spirit and bad political feeling were displayed during the first election for municipal officers. Bad as home election riots used to be, they were fully equalled, if not exceeded, by the scenes in Sydney, when the residents of that place were first called upon to exercise their franchise. Thousands of pounds were spent on that occasion in canvassing, and the wholesale distribution of drink.
Some curious scenes took place in the vicinity of a polling booth. One of the police magistrates was endeavouring to preserve order; the drunken infuriated mob drove him into an enclosure surrounded with high palings, some five feet from the ground, where they pelted him with bricks, stones and large pieces of the paling. Fortunately for him he was well mounted, and although he had but one leg, by a daring jump he cleared the fence and escaped.
In another part, the writer saw a still worse scene enacted. Near the signal station at the north end of the town, there had been erected a polling booth: during the excitement, the tent which partly composed it, had been pulled down, and one of the candidates, a shipowner of the colony, had been maltreated, and several others hurt. [277] Without applying to the authorities, the shipowner proceeded to the bay, where he had several whalers lying, and arming some scores of their crews with harpoons, whaling knives, and other such formidable weapons, returned with them to the place of polling, and with cold steel swept mob and electors from the place, but not without a desperate resistance, in which several persons were severely injured. This was rather a novel way of carrying an election; the gentleman -- as he was called in the colony - was afterwards tried for severely stabbing a person with a cane sword on the occasion, and escaped conviction with difficulty.