15 September 1858
Original held at:
After the Public Meeting of the 31st August 1858 to discuss Ambrose Kyte's £1,000 offer, the Exploration Fund Raising Committee released a circular aimed at raising £2,000 by public subscription.
Melbourne, September 15, 1858.
At a public meeting, held at the Mechanics' Institute, on the first 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,