The Gold Stealers by Edward Dyson

The Gold Stealers

byEdward Dyson

Kobo ebook | August 3, 2013

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The schoolhouse at Waddy was not in the least like any of the trim State

buildings that now decorate every Victorian township and mark every

mining or agricultural centre that can scrape together two or three

meagre classes; it was the result of a purely local enthusiasm, and was

erected by public subscription shortly after Mr. Joel Ham, B.A., arrived

in the district and let it be understood that he did not intend to go

away again. Having discovered that it was impossible to make anything

else of Mr. Joel Ham, Waddy resolved to make a schoolmaster of him. A

meeting was held in the Drovers' Arms, numerous speeches, all much more

eloquently expressive of the urgent need of convenient scholastic

institutions than the orators imagined, were delivered by representative

men, and a resolution embodying the determination of the residents to

erect a substantial building and install Mr. J. Ham, B.A., as headmaster

was carried unanimously.


The original contributors were not expected to donate money towards the

good cause; they gave labour and material. The work of erection was

commenced next day. Neither plans nor specifications were supplied, and

every contributor was his own architect. Timber of all sorts and shapes

came in from fifty sources. The men of the day shift at the mines worked

at the building in the evening; those on the four-o'clock shift put in an

hour or two in the morning, and mates off the night shift lent a hand at

any time during the day, one man taking up the work where the other left

off. Consequently--and as there was no ruling mind and no general

design--the school when finished seemed to lack continuity, so to speak.

As an architectural effort it displayed evidence of many excellent

intentions, but could not be called a brilliant success as a

whole--although one astute Parliamentary candidate did secure an

overwhelming majority of votes in Waddy after declaring the schoolhouse

to be an ornament to the township. The public-spirited persons who

contributed windows, it was tacitly agreed, were quite justified in

putting in those windows according to the dictates of their own fancy,

even if the result was somewhat bizarre. Jock Summers gave a bell hung in

a small gilded dome, and this was fixed on the roof right in the centre

of the building, mainly for picturesque effect; but as there was no rope

attached and no means of reaching the bell--and it never occurred to

anybody to rectify the deficiency--Jock's gift remained to the end merely

an ornamental adjunct. So also with Sam Brierly's Gothic portico. Sam

expended much time and ingenuity in constructing the portico, and it was

built on to the street end of the schoolhouse, although there was no door

there, the only entrance being at the back.

Title:The Gold StealersFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:August 3, 2013Publisher:WDS PublishingLanguage:English

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