Saturday, 13 May 1876.
Exploration in Central Australia
Mr Howitt's Lecture at Rosedale
(From our own correspondent)
A lecture by A W Howitt Esq. PM, of Bairnsdale, was delivered on Wednesday evening at the Mechanics' Hall, Rosedale, to an appreciative audience. The subject, Exploration in Central Australia, naturally evoked considerable interest, and about 150 persons consequently assembled to hear what a gentleman, who could certainly lay claims to considerable experience of his subject, had to say about it.
Mr Howitt divided his lecture into two portions. The first dealt with explorations of the interior of this vast Island Continent in a general manner, from the time of Sturt and Mitchell to the late journeys of Mr Ernest Giles, from whose journals Mr Howitt gave several extracts, some showing the humorous events incidental to an undertaking of the kind, others the tragic, such as the loss of poor Andrew Gibson on the good mare Fair Maid of Perth, who both perished for lack of water.
After an interval, which Mr Sutcliffe kindly filled up with a couple of buffo songs, accompanied by Miss Montgomery, Mr Howitt proceeded with the second part of the discourse, which treated, of the Burke and Wills expedition, its' collapse, the unfortunate fate of the leaders, and the rescue of King by the search party sent out under charge of the lecturer. This portion of the lecture was particularly interesting, the audience evincing their appreciation by eagerly following every word of the speaker, who in well-chosen language, clearly and succinctly told the tale of the Victorian expedition, from the start at the Royal Park to the finding of poor Burke where he had lain down to die. In concluding, the lecturer warmly defended the memory of John King with reference to some statements madle through the blacks, and which had run through a portion of the Press, to the effect that Burke had been shot on arriving at Cooper's Creek from Carpentaria, and showed the groundlessness of such, reports.
The chair was occupied during the evening by Dr Simmons, JP, President of the Institute. At the counclusion of the lecture a vote of thanks, moved by Rev Mr Kelly, was most warmly accorded to Mr Howitt. A similar compliment to the chairmnan was moved by Mr Howitt and carried nem con, after which' the audience dispersed.
It may be remarked, en passact, that were such lectures to become more the rule than, unfortunately as at present, the exception, a great impetus would be given towards educating the public taste towards something better and higher than what is too often considered sufficient mental pabulum for country districts. The committee of the Institute certainly made a move in the right direction by accepting Mr Howitt's kind offer to deliver a lecture, it now remains for them to follow up the step they have thus initiated.