Third Report, 1858.
|Progress Reports and Final Report of the Exploration Committee of the Royal Society of Victoria.|
Melbourne: Royal Society of Victoria. Mason & Firth Printers.
Your Committee has the honor to report that a meeting was held on the 3rd instant, to take into consideration the appointment of a Committee, at a public meeting held at the Mechanics Institution on Tuesday, the 1st instant, on the subject of Australian Exploration, and at which Sir William F. Stawell presided. It was agreed that a deputation, consisting of Mr R.H. Bland, Dr Macadam and the Chairman should seek an interview with Sir William Stawell, and draw his attention to the existence of the Exploration Committee of the Philosophical Institute, and to the present position of the Institute in relation to Australian Exploration.
The deputation was unfortunately unable to meet Sir W. Stawell at the time appointed by him, but at the subsequent meeting of the Exploration Fund Committee, the following resolution was agreed to;
Your Committee is of opinion that the time has now arrived when an immediate application should be made to the Hon. The Treasurer to place on the Estimates for 1859 the sum of £5,000 to enable your Committee to cooperate with the Exploration Fund Committee, according to the terms of its resolution in the steps to fit out, in Victoria, an expedition for the exploration of the interior, at as early a period as possible.
Your Committee has every confidence that its application to the Government on behalf of the Institute will receive a favorable consideration.
Your Committee has much pleasure, in recommending to the earnest attention of the members of the Institute the following circular which has been drawn up by the Exploration Fund Committee, and which it is intended to circulate largely throughout the colony, and venture to urge upon the members the great importance of individually exerting themselves in promoting the objects which both have in view.
David E Wilkie, MD.
At a public meeting, held at the Mechanics' Institute, on the 1st inst. Sir W F Stawell in the chair, the undermentioned gentlemen were appointed a Committee, to take the necessary steps for raising £2,000 by public subscription, to be applied to the purpose of exploring the interior of the colony; a donation of £1,000 having been made for that object, coupled with the proviso that double that sum should be subscribed by the public within twelve months from the present date. The Committee consisting of Sir W. F. Stawell, the Hon J Hodgson, MLC, Professor McCoy, Dr Mueller, and Mr James Smith, to which Dr Macadam has been appointed Honorary Secretary, and Dr Wilkie Treasurer, was limited in number, for the sake of securing a greater amount of individual responsibility as regards its financial administration; but as soon as it has discharged the first duty delegated to it - that of collecting the sum specified above -it is pledged to cooperate with the Exploration Committee of the Philosophical Institute, in concerting for the prudent, economical and efficient expenditure of the Exploration Fund. That fund, there is every reason to believe will be augmented by a grant from Government; and the aggregate amount, it is confidently hoped, will suffice to prosecute the enterprise to a thoroughly successful issue. In the mean time I have to solicit, on behalf of the Committee, the exercise of your local influence (either by the formation of sub-committees, or otherwise) in procuring subscriptions to an object which is national in character, and must secure the approbation of every Australian who is anxious to promote the material prosperity of his country, to enlarge the boundaries of knowledge, to clear up the mystery which envelopes the fate of poor Leichhardt and to facilitate our intercourse with the other hemisphere. The Government have promised to place a sum of money on the estimates for the introduction of twenty or thirty camels, to be employed in traversing the sandy deserts ascertained to exist in the interior and the time, appears to have arrived when we may undertake the work of exploration under the most favourable conditions of success, and may worthily emulate the laudable example which has been set us by the adjoining colonies.
To open up a communication with the northern shores of this is an enterprise which should engage the sympathies and command the support of the merchant, the squatter and the miner, no less than those of the man of science; for such an enterprise promises to abridge the distance which separates us from the Old World; to bring us at an early date in telegraphic communication with India and Europe; to open new avenues of commerce; to indicate how we may obtain access to vast areas of pastoral land from which we are at present cut off, owing to our ignorance of the intervening country; and to solve a geographical problem, which is as important as it is interesting.
Under these circumstances, the Committee confidently appeal to you for assistance in the way of soliciting contributions in the district in which you reside, and would feel obliged by your remitting any sums you may receive on this account to the Treasurer of the Exploration Fund - Dr Wilkie, of this city - or to the account of the Exploration Fund at the Bank of Victoria, Melbourne.
I am, Sir,Your obedient servant,