Special Report [of the Fund Raising Committee], 1860.
|Progress Reports and Final Report of the Exploration Committee of the Royal Society of Victoria.|
Melbourne: Royal Society of Victoria. Mason & Firth Printers.
A public meeting was held at the Mechanics
Institute, Collins-street, Melbourne for the purpose of receiving the report of the
Exploration Fund Committee, the Hon John Hodgson, MLC in the
23 January 1860
Your Committee has much pleasure in meeting the subscribers to the Exploration Fund on the present occasion and in offering its hearty congratulations upon the successful issue of the important undertaking for the accomplishment of which it was, appointed, and your Committee has now the honor to submit the following report:
It will be remembered that a public meeting was held in this place on the 1st September 1858, at which his Honor the Chief Justice, Sir William Foster Stawell presided. It was then announced that the munificent gift of £1,000 was offered by an unknown friend of Australian exploration, on the condition that £2,000 should be raised by private subscription within twelve months for the same object. At that meeting your Committee was appointed for the purpose of carrying out the expressed wishes of the unknown donor and of securing his generous offer.
On its appointment, your Committee thought it advisable to invite the cooperation of the Exploration Committee of the Philosophical Institute, now the Royal Society of Victoria, which was cordially acceded to; and during the whole year both committees have zealously combined all their efforts to ensure the success of the proposed object.
The efforts of your Committee in raising subscriptions were in the first instance chiefly confined to Melbourne. At the same time a printed circular was forwarded to all the principal towns, and to many of the leading gentlemen and magistrates throughout the colony. The following is the circular referred to;
For many months your Committee zealously labored but with very discouraging prospects of success not from any general unwillingness to support the object. but chiefly from the commercial depression, which has extended it's influence through all classes of the community. From the many difficulties and discouragements which your Committee had to encounter, it was almost on the point of abandoning the project as hopeless. When eleven months of the stipulated period had nearly passed the amount of the subscriptions realised scarcely one half of the stipulated sum.
The bright star of Australian progress was, however in the ascendant and it was considered to be yet possible to secure success by an urgent and final appeal to the squatters, merchants, and country gentlemen in all parts of the colony. This appeal, which was prepared in the form of a lithographic letter was immediately followed by the happiest results, which amply rewarded your committee for all its labors and anxieties. Every post brought in bundles of letters containing cheques, orders and cash, and in not a few instances long letters of advice; and thus, within the stipulated period, the sum of £2,000 was raised by private subscription, and the munificent gift of the unknown donor claimed and secured through the kind office of his Honor the Chief Justice. The Exploration Committee of the Philosophical Institute having brought up its report at a recent meeting of the Institute, and that report having been adopted and printed in the daily papers, your Committee thinks it unnecessary to go over the same ground again on the present occasion. It may, however, be satisfactory to some of the subscribers now present to hear that document read if they have not already seen it viz-vide Fourth Report of Committee.
Your Committee, on its own behalf and in the name of the whole body of subscribers to the Fund most cordially adds its tribute of admiration to the deep feeling of respect and esteem which is universally entertained and expressed for the noble hearted and generous donor to know that before the stipulated time had elapsed and before it could possible be ascertained that there was any possibility of the conditions of the offer being complied with, he intimated through his Honor Sir William F Stawell that he would extend the time four months, or until the first day of the present year, so as to give ample opportunity to Your Committee to carry out all its arrangements, and thus secure with certainty the offered gift.
Your Committee cannot conclude this report without expressing its fervent hope that the name of the generous donor may yet be given to the world, that it may incite the ardour of our Australian youth in the cause of science and Australian progress, that it may add to the lustre of Australian patriotism and Australian enterprise and that it grace an honoured page in Australian history.
Your Committee has one more pleasing duty to perform, which is to congratulate the subscribers and all other friends of exploration, upon the noble liberality which has been shown by the Victorian Parliament in voting the sum of £6,000 for Australian exploration. By this patriotic act our reformed Parliament has done honor itself and the cause of science and has added fresh laurels to the frame of our adopted country.
Every Australian must now acknowledge that Victoria has at length vindicated her character among the Australian colonies, and every citizen of Victoria will feel a national pride in the reflection that, in looking beyond the mere selfish interests of our colony, our legislators have nobly responded to the claims of humanity and of Australian settlement.
Your Committee has the honor to submit the following financial statement;
David E Wilkie, MD MLC,
Hon. John Hodgson, Chairman,