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John McKinlay

White's Concert and Assembly Rooms, King William-street, Adelaide.
Monday, 8 December 1862

South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide)
Tuesday 9 December 1862
Page 3


This event, which has created considerable public excitement for some time past, took place on Monday, the 8th of December, at the Adelaide Assembly Rooms. No exertion had been spared by the Committee to make the occasion the most brilliant of the kind which has taken place in South Australia, and we believe that few will be disposed to deny that their success was complete. Messrs Compton and Hall were most particularly active in their duties. To Mr George Aldridge, whose talents as a caterer are so well-known, the greatest praise is due for the admirable manner in which he carried out the important department committed to his care. The room was most tastefully decorated with flags and evergreens. At the upper end of the Hall was an emblematic device (the work, we believe, of Mr Leicester, the scenic artist,) representing the genius of civilisation standing on a pedestal, on which was inscribed the name of McKinlay, and driving away ignorance and famine from Australia. Round this was placed a handsome trophy of flags. At the lower end of the room over the large doors was another device with the motto "Honor to our Brave Explorers." From the middle of the walls on either side of the room flags were also gracefully arranged, while the names of McKinlay's companions, Poole, Middleton, Wylde, Davis, Hodgkinson, and Kirby, were emblazoned, in medallion on the walls and surrounded with wreaths of flowers.

The guests numbered about 300 according to the estimate of the Stewards. The chair was taken shortly after 7 o'clock by His Worship the Mayor of Adelaide (Thomas English, Esq.), on the right of whom was the guest of the evening, Mr John McKinlay, and the Hon the Attorney-General, Mr E J Peake, Mr Wylde (one of McKinlay's party), and the Hon J H Barrow. On the left were Mr Davis (Mr McKinlay's second in command), Mr Poole (another of the party), the Hon H B T Strangways, Mr John Lazar, and Mr A Stow MP. The vice-chair was filled by Mr Wm Townsend MP.; the croupiers being Mr C S Hare, Manager of Railways, and Messrs Charles Bonney and G W Hawkes.

After the dinner (of which we may say that it comprised every requisite and every delicacy procurable in Adelaide) was concluded, the Chairman gave "The Health of Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen," which was most loyally drank, the band playing the National Anthem. "The Health of the Prince of Wales and the rest of the Royal Family" was next drunk.

Band - "Rule Britannia."

"The Health of His Excellency the Governor-in-Chief, Sir Dominick Daly"was given by the Chairman, who spoke of the regret felt by His Excellency in not being present. He had to apologise on his behalf, and stated that only previous engagements, which he could not break, prevented the Governor's presence amongst them that night. (Hear, hear)

Band - "St Patrick's Day."

The Chairman then called for bumpers, and gave the toast of the evening, "The health of Mr John McKinlay and his party." The reason for delaying the toast was that he hoped that Mr Howitt and Dr Murray would have arrived, and he hoped, have joined them ere this. They had met that evening, the Chairman said, to do justice and honor to one to whom honor was fairly due, and they had met that the citizens of Adelaide might give a hearty welcome to Mr McKinlay and his party. (Loud and continued cheers.) He regretted his inability to propose the toast in sufficiently able terms, but no eloquence on his part was required to recommend the subject of it to their warmest welcome. It might be thought that Adelaide was slow in acknowledging Mr McKinlay's deserts, but they had not been overlooked. The citizens only waited first, until the Legislature had noticed his services, and next, until Mr McKinlay had recovered from his fatigues and enjoyed a little rest. The colonists generally ought to give Mr McKinlay that reception he deserved. This assembly tonight would show Mr McKinlay that it was no sudden impulse that had actuated them, but they had met with a full and settled determination to do him honor. They rejoiced that the Legislators had suitably acknowledged Mr McKinlay's labours and those of his party. He had done great and arduous services for them in crossing the continent, and he had returned and brought back his men in perfect health of body and mind. Mr McKinlay's name would in future be placed amongst the greatest names in the annals of South Australia. He trusted that the Geographical Society would award him one of their highest praises. He did not wish to arrogate all praise to Mr McKinlay alone. They had some of his party present. (Cheers.) They were men of the right stamp, and Mr McKinlay had just told him that without them he never could have done what he had. He hoped they would live long to enjoy the fruit of their labors. He would not detain them longer, but give the "Health of McKinlay, and his party." Drank upstanding, with three cheers, and one cheer more.

Band - "See the Conquering Hero comes."

Madame Stuttaford then appeared, and was received with loud applause. She sung the song composed in honor of Mr McKinlay "Away o'er the Hills." Each verse as sung was rapturously cheered, and an universal encore followed the conclusion of the song, with which redemand Madame Stuttaford kindly complied.

Song, Mr Gouge - "The Holy Friar"
Encore - "Man the Lifeboat."

Mr McKinlay then rose and was received in the most enthusiastic manner and with repeated rounds of cheers, the whole company standing. The gallant explorer said that he was happy to see so many of his old friends and fellow colonists that evening. Had he been a speaker it would have been easy for him to have kept them for two hours, and explained to them what had been done, but he supposed the results would soon be laid before them. All he would say was that he would be very glad if his discoveries could prove of service to the colony. (Cheers.) He believed that some other explorers were amongst them tonight, though they were not visible; and he hoped they would soon see another who would return successful to them from his travels. Again be thanked them for the kind manner in which they had drank his health. (Mr McKinlay then resumed his seat amidst renewed applause.)

The Chairman explained that they had expected Mr Howitt and Dr Murray, but they had not as yet arrived.

There were now loud cries for Davis and that gentleman then rose, and in a humorous speech said that he did not expect to have to speak. He believed that Mr McKinlay did all the work; they only followed him. (Hear, hear.) They got to Carpentaria all safe, but to get back was the job. Mr McKinlay killed the horse; some did not like some parts of it, especially the heart and liver, but they had to eat them. At the Gilbert they killed the camel; Mr McKinlay did not like that much himself, but of course he was leader and knew he must set them the example. Soon after they killed another horse. That was better than the first. (Laughter.) They had nothing but water to drink for breakfast, dinner, and tea. (A Voice - "Nardoo.") No, no; that won't do. (Loud laughter.) None of them looked the worse for the hardships they had undergone, and he believed they came down to Port Denison as well as any ten fellows could look. He had himself only lost 10lbs in weight, and he believed Mr McKinlay had gained 15lbs. (Laughter.) Mr Davis concluded by thanking them for the compliment paid him. (Loud cheers.)

Mr Poole was then called for, and said that Mr McKinlay deserved all the honor, and it was justly due to him. They were glad for what he had done, and they were all ready to follow him, and do the same again, he thanked the company for drinking his health and the party's. (Cheers.)

Mr Peake then rose and said it was always considered that those who died for their country deserved to be remembered, and it was worthy of their regard and respect of mankind to live for them. Those who gave their time to public affairs did so at no small amount of labor and discomfort. Those who constitute the present Parliament would receive the gratitude of those whose interests they represented as embodying the politics of the people, and for the work they would do on behalf of the people. There were great difficulties in the way of legislation, and there were many sneerers at their efforts—(hear, hear) - and to bear with the sneers required no small amount of courage. The present Parliament would prove that it was not a retrograde but a conservative House - that is, one which would keep the country going on. There were many trials before them, and they would require great abilities to do their work. They should help them on, and let their work be one of love as well as labor. (Cheers.) He concluded by proposing the Parliament of South Australia. Drunk with cheers.

Band - "There's a good time coming."

At this moment Mr Howitt and Dr Murray were announced, and were escorted to the top of the room by Mr Compton and Mr W Townsend MP., amidst the loud and reiterated cheers of the company. They shook hands with the Chairman, and Messrs McKinlay and Davis, and then took their seats - all in the room remaining standing until they had done so. The Chairman said that he had great pleasure in introducing Mr Howitt and Dr Murray. They were the men who had brought down the honored remains of Burke and Wills, and who had found King. They then sought for Mr McKinlay and his party, who were then as he believed 1,200 miles away from them. Here they first met and he might congratulate Messrs Howitt and Murray at finding their old friends in such comfortable quarters. (Cheers.)

Song, Mr Lazar - "The Groves of Blarney," with variations.
A general and loud encore followed, and Mr Lazar substituted a clever parody on "The Low-Backed Car."

The Hon the Attorney-General responded. He stated that he could point with feelings of pride to the past Parliament of South Australia for their vote for the equipment of Mr McKinlay's expedition to search for the late lamented Mr Burke. That Parliament had reason to congratulate itself on the success of its course of action. He trusted the present Parliament would work as arduously for the public weal as anxiously as the past. (Hear.) The Constitution Act was a glorious bulwark of liberty, and it was owing to its influence that the Parliament of South Australia had been so successful (Cheers.) It was nothing but right that the Parliament should have the support of the public at large (Hear.) As respected the present Parliament, he believed it was not of a retrograde character, but, on the contrary, would prove itself to be of as useful a character as its predecessors. It was customary in all ages to welcome men with applause who had achieved the object for which they had been sent out by their country. (Cheers.) He had the most sincere expectation that the Parliament of South Australia would use their best endeavour to forward the public interest, and prove a benefit to the colony (Applause.)

The Commissioner of Crown Lands, before proceeding to propose the next toast, would express his gratification at seeing that night not only Mr McKinlay and party, but also Mr Howitt and Dr Murray. (Cheers.) It was indeed, strange that they should see present that evening the leaders of the Victorian and South Australian Exploring Expeditions sent out for the noble cause of risking their lives to save the lives of others. Although they did not succeed in saving the lives of all the parties, whom they were sent out to rescue, yet Mr Howitt was instrumental in saving one life and receiving information as to the whereabouts of the dead bodies of the others. (Cheers). He would propose "The Army and Navy, including the Volunteers of South Australia." (Cheers.) He pronounced a high eulogiom on the past bravery of our army and navy; and with respect to the volunteers, as he was a member of that forces, he would not say much about it, but he believed that the volunteers would, if called upon to defend the land they lived in, be found ready and willing to do so. This was proved as regarded the volunteers who took part in the New Zealand war. (Cheers.) If South Australians were smitten on the one cheek they would not turn the other for a second edition, but smite their opponents much to their discomfiture. (Applause.) He had much pleasure in proposing the toast.

Band - "The Red, White, and Blue."

Captain Douglas responded. He had been called upon unexpectedly to respond to the toast. There was great credit due to the navy, but the brave explorers present that evening were also worthy of credit. (Applause.) He had much pleasure in responding to the toast.

Mr W Townsend MP., proposed "The land we live in." Although there were not more than 130,000 inhabitants in "The land they lived in," yet still he believed no colony could give a more hearty welcome to our brave explorers (Cheers.) The map of the colony was daily increasing, and its increasing extent was due to such men as John McKinlay and others. The land opened up by those gentlemen would at no distant period be populated by a hardworking and intelligent class of people (Hear.) The speaker referred at some length to the benefits derivable from the exertions of Mr McKinlay, and concluded by proposing "The land we live in."

Band - " Song of Australia,"
Song, Mr B B White - "Kitty Tyrrell"

Mr G W Hawkes responded, stating that the land we lived in was one of the wealthiest colonies - excepting Victoria and New South Wales - in existence. It was a land that would reward perseverance and industry - (Hear.) He thanked them for the kind manner in which they had received and drunk the toast of "The land they lived in." (Applause.)

Mr J Lazar proposed "The Corporation." The present Corporation of the City of Adelaide was a credit to the citizens, and had during the past 18 months accomplished an amount of work that was truly wonderful (Hear.) Drunk with cheers.

Mr Councillor Bundy responded. He thanked them on behalf of the Council for their kind expression of feeling, and he felt proud to think that body had the confidence and the esteem of the citizens. Since he had been connected with the Corporation he was aware that many improvements had been made in the city (Hear.)

Mr Chas Bonney proposed "The Early Australian Explorers." He thought they should not separate that evening without paying respect to those gallant explorers. During the past few years an immense amount of land had been made known. He alluded to the exertions of Captain Sturt, Messrs Oxley, Eyre, and Hamilton, in the cause of exploration. To Captain Sturt they were especially indebted - (hear) - in fact he was the pioneer of explorers. Messrs Horrocks and Darke had perished in the cause, but nevertheless their names would be long remembered by the people of the various colonies (Applause.) He had much pleasure in proposing the toast (Loud cheers.)

Song. Mr A H Gouge -"The Maniac." which was encored.

Mr C S Hare proposed "The Chairman." Drunk with three times three.

Band - "He's a jolly good fellow."

The Chairman responded. They had two guests that evening that had not been expected. He called upon them now to drink to "The Memory of Burke and Wills.- Drunk in solemn silence.

The Hon The Commissioner of Crown Lands proposed "The Healths of Mr Howitt and Dr Murray." The exertions of both Howitt and McKinlay were stimulated not by ambition, but by an earnest desire to serve their fellow-creatures. The remains of Burke and Wills were at that time not far from Adelaide. He hoped on their arrival in Adelaide the citizens would, as the Chairman had just reminded him, pay some mark of respect to their remains (Applause.) The actions of Mr Howitt and party had been fully explained in the public press, and consequently he would not further dwell on that subject. In a few days the remains of Burke and Wills would be in Adelaide, when he hoped the citizens would carry out the suggestion of the Chairman. Drunk with three cheers.

Band - "Home, sweet home."
Song Mr Lazar.

Mr Howitt rose amidst loud applause and prolonged cheering, and said he thanked them for the grand manner in which himself and Dr Murray bad been treated that evening. There was no explorer he envied more than Mr McKinlay for his brilliant success in crossing the continent.

Loud cheers for Dr Murray. Dr Murray returned thanks, amidst applause, stating that he was unworthy of the reception they had given him, at which he was extremely gratified.

Mr E J Peake proposed, "Lady Daly and the Ladies of South Australia" in a humorous speech.

Band - "Here's a health to all good lasses." "

"The Committee and Stewards" was proposed and responded to. Mr A Stow proposed "The Press."

Band - "Marseillaise."

The evening's proceedings then terminated with the performance by the band of "The National Anthem."

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