May 2, 1891
The first sports held under the auspices of the Ipswich Eight Hour Union were held at Sandy Gallop, yesterday, and they proved a great success. The Union has only been in existence a comparatively short time, but it has progressed rapidly, and is now one of the strongest bodies in town. For the past couple of years the members amalgamated with the Metropolitan Union, and took part in their sports on the 1 st of March, but a few of the more enterprising adherents of the local association considered that they were quite strong enough this year to hold an athletic gathering of their own, and they accordingly resolved that they should do so on the 1 st of May. A strong committee worked most assiduously, with the result that a splendid programme was arranged and excellent arrangements were made for the comfort and convenience of visitors. Considerable interest was taken in the effort of the Union and that their decision was a wise one cannot be doubted by the success of the demonstration yesterday.
The procession was one of the grandest displays ever witnessed in Ipswich. Long before 8 o'clock workmen began to gather on the Terrace at North Ipswich, and about an hour afterwards there must have been a couple of thousand persons in the vicinity of the cricket reserve, the footpaths all along the thoroughfare being lined with men, women and children, all anxious to catch a glimpse of the banners, &c. The procession of about 500 persons moved off from the Terrace about half past 9 o'clock, being headed by the Excelsior Band, of about ten players. This was followed by the magnificent banner of the Brisbane Eight-House Union, being borne on the shoulders of eight committee-men, and it elicited universal admiration. Then came fourteen members of the local committee, close behind them being Messrs. Beale and Co.'s spring cart, with a young lady sitting in it busily engaged in work at a sewing machine. The next was the handsome banner of the Protestant Alliance Friendly Society of Australasia, preceding about forty members of the order. The rear was brought up by Mr. W.H. Hemi, of Ellenborough-street. He made a good show. Seated in a spring cart with one of his apprentices and two blackened 'devils' dressed in high hats and with long-tailed coats, he printed small handbills on the whole way out on a small 'platen' machine. These bills were distributed en route, and were as follows: - 'Eight-hour men! Be consistent. Do no shopping on Eight-Hour Day or after 6 p.m. on Saturdays.' The West Moreton Miners Union was splendidly represented, about 150 miners being present. They were preceded by twelve members of the Town Band immediately in front of a beautiful dark banner, the handiwork of Mr. John E, Eckrigge, of North Ipswich, upon whom it reflected the highest possible credit. It bore the following suitable inscription:- 'West Moreton Coal Miners' Union. United we stand: divided we fall. Unity is strength: strength united is stronger. Eight-hour day, the great want of the miners the wide world over, to be established by law. No strikes for us. All disputes to be settled by arbitration assisted by Legislature.' The whole concluded with the verse-
'Hurrah for eight hours a day!
To make all things happy and gay.
To work any more will make you feel sore,
So hurrah for the eight hours' day!'
They were followed by a dray, bearing a number of appropriate mottos, alongside the foregoing verse, and filled with miners' implements. Mr. Richard Seymour and a few of his men were immediately in front of the 'Dental King,' Mr. G.T. Ross, who had offered to draw teeth gratuitously on the journey to Sandy Gallop. Next were the railway employees and others numbering about 110 with a very pretty banner, the result of the labours of Messrs. H. Hadley and T. Cole. On the one side capital and labour were represented grasping each others hand,- and on the other were the words- 'Railway men! Eight hours.' Mr. Thos. Fullelove, jun., drove a dray immediately behind them, in the conveyance being a wheel barrow, with a pick and shovel, and a small banner on which was 'Advance Australia' and 'Unity is Strength.' The employers of the Phoenix Engineering and Rolling-Stock Company made an excellent display. They carried a beautiful banner, which had been tastefully designed and carefully executed by Mr. W. Barber. An engine was represented on the one side, with 'Unity is Strength' standing out prominently underneath, and on the other side 'Labour is one' was conspicuous below a representation of some railway carriages. Among those men was a fine retriever dog led by a strap. Round his neck was suspended a large piece of cardboard, on which was printed- 'Do not shop on Eight-Hour Day' and 'Liberty for Labour.' The band connected with Messrs. Hancock Bros. Employees of twenty six players came next, and they were followed by twenty other men, the rear being brought up by fifty members of the Working Boys' Brigade, under Sergeant Instructor McPherson. The three bands took it in turns to render selections, and the sight was a most imposing one. All the footpaths of Nicholas and Brisbane Streets were lined with spectators, and almost every point of vantage, such as balconies, &c., was thronged- indeed, seldom (if ever) have such crowds of people been seen in our principal thoroughfares, and all the way out to the show grounds the procession was most favourably criticised. The demonstration was undoubtedly a great success, but it might have been made even more imposing had all the different trades in town been invited to take part in it. For instance, the printers might have been asked to join the procession, and we feel certain that had they been requested to attend, the mechanical staff of this journal- all staunch eight-hour men- would have been very pleased to have assisted to make the proceedings a still greater success. It was, however, the first effort of the Union in the way of a gala day, and no doubt such omissions will in future be carefully guarded against.
The programme was commenced about half past two o'clock and was proceeded with in a most satisfactory manner. It was an unusually lengthy one, and many were of opinion that the committee would not be able to get through all the events, but so promptly were the different items proceeded with, that at half past 5 o'clock, all had been decided, with the exception of the quoit match, which will be terminated this afternoon at North Ipswich. The weather was all that could be desired. A gentle breeze was blowing all day from the south, and the atmosphere was delightfully cool and bracing, just such a day as would be selected for a sports gathering. The attendance was excellent, as during the afternoon, over 2000 persons would have been on the ground, over 70, we are informed, having been taken at the gate. A sub-committee had been appointed to look after the grounds, and they performed their portion of the work admirably. The running track for the straight races had been carefully roped off, and though there was no grand stand, a number of seats had been placed on the top of the hill near the exhibition building for the convenience of ladies. The whole of the grounds had been nicely decorated with flags, and several of the banners were to be seen in conspicuous positions during the day. There were but few side-shows, the principal attraction in that particular being the swinging-boats which were excellently patronised. The sport was good, and many of the events were very closely contested, the handicappers (Messrs. J.J. Petford and W.H. Bemi) having done their work in a manner that reflected the highest credit upon them. The sports were occasionally slightly interfered with by the crowd encroaching on the convincing ground, and this is a matter which will have to be attended to at future gatherings. A strong committee should be deputed to look after the ring, and they should compel the general public to keep outside the ropes. Dancing was indulged in throughout the whole day in the exhibition building, a long list of dances being carried out to the strains of the Excelsior Band. The Working Boys' Brigade, under Sergeant-Instructor McPherson, went through a large number of exercises during the day, and their performance was favourably commented upon by all who witnessed them. Among those present were Messrs. G.A. Barker, Geol. Hall, William Home, and John Goodridge (delegates from the Brisbane Eight Hour Union), and Messrs. Wm. Salkeld and Thos. Glassey, MM.L.A., were also among the crowd. The committee all worked hard throughout the day, headed by their president (Mr. J.B. Henderson.) The secretary (Mr. J.C. Breakley) and his assistants (Messrs. D. Williams and T. Dellar) were kept very busy, but they ever proved most courteous and obliging. Mr. W. Webb acted as treasurer, and he was ably assisted by Mr. R. Thompson. His Worship the Mayor and Mr. A.J. Stephenson acted as judges of the different races, with Mr. B. Wilson, of Dinmore, as referee, and all their decisions gave universal satisfaction. Mr. E. Harding, jun., acted as the judge of the obstacle race, and, with Mr. W.D. Phie decided upon the merits of the dancers, their awards apparently giving general satisfaction. Messrs. A. Beresford and S. Stevens managed to start the various events very well, and they were helped materially by the track-keeper, (Mr. R. Fairley). Mr. William Webb made an excellent time-keeper, and Mr. S. Phillips officiated as clerk of the course. Messrs. J. turner, a. Skinner, Holt, D. Watson, R. Archibald, and several others, aided by the handicappers worked hard to make the sports a success. The different bands played numerous selections, and all present appeared to thoroughly enjoy themselves.