William Cuff.

Sunny memories of Australasia : places I saw and people I met online

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Pastor of Shorediteh Tabernacle, London ; Ex-President of the Baptist Union
of Great Britain and Ireland,









I AM keenly conscious of the defects and shortcomings of this
book, and I wish to say to all who will read it that I have made
no attempt at literary polish of style, as I have never written
but one little booklet besides this. I have tried to tell the story
of our long voyage as simply as possible, and my heart is in
it all.

There are many Colonial questions I should have discussed,
but that I deemed it wiser to leave them alone for the present.
My object was to make this a friendly and grateful record of all
we saw and of all the great kindness we received from so many
good people in every place we visited.

There are many dear friends in London, whose names I do
not feel at liberty to mention, to whom we owe a debt of grati-
tude no words can express, who generously found all we needed
for our long rest and change. I can only hope their reward
will be sweet to them each as they remember I returned to my
life-work restored to health and strength with years added to
my life. I beg to assure them my gratitude will live as long as
I live.

The last chapter in the book is written by my life-long
friend, Mr. G. H. Pike. It was his own kind suggestion, and
Messrs. J. Clarke & Co., the publishers, at once agreed to its being
put in the book. I consented to it because I thought our
Colonial friends would be interested in knowing something
of the work we have been doing hi Shoreditch for thirty-two
years of our life. Mr. Pike has written with an intimate know-
ledge of it all from the beginning until now, and I am very
grateful to him for all he has done with his facile pen to help
us. He has written many articles in magazines and news-
papers on our work through all the years. I am glad of this
opportunity of expressing my heartfelt thanks.

My own dear people at the Tabernacle deserve at my hands
far more than it is in my power to write. During the long


period 1 was so unwell they kindly bore with all my lack of
service and poor feeble efforts to do what I did and my struggle
to keep up the work. Then all the long months I was away,
they faithfully kept together and did wonders to keep the
Church and congregation intact. The result was I returned
to a united and loving people. Never did mortals have such
an overwhelming and enthusiastic welcome as that which
was given to Mrs. Cuff and myself when we came back from
Australia. The scene at the Tabernacle beggars all description
and will never be forgotten. I set down here my unbounded
gratitude to them as I wish it to live when I am dead and

Mrs. Cuff was my gentle and loving companion through
all our travels of over 50,000 miles of land and sea, and now we
join hearts in praise and thanksgiving to our heavenly Father
for His tender care over us in storm and calm, by night and
by day, and for restored health and hope for the future. We
send our abiding and hearty thanks to all dear friends who
welcomed us into their hospitable homes in the far-off lands
across the seas. May God ever bless them all !

Thus I send out this little book to travel where we travelled
and talk to those we talked to of things past, present, and to
come. We pray that our glorious Colonies may ever prosper
and more and more become one with the dear old homeland
in all and everything that tends to make the Empire great,
united, and strong in peace, truth, and all righteousness.


February, 1904.



I. Why We Went 11

II. How We Got There 16

III. When We Arrived 30

IV. Where We Began 39

V. New Friends 50

VI. Our Stay in Melbourne .... 58

VII. Men and Literature 66

VIII. Melbourne Itself 77

IX. Off to Tasmania 84

X. We Go to New Zealand . . . . 93

XI. We Move on to Chris tchurch . . .111

XII. Boiling Mud, Boiling Water, Geysers, &c. . 114

XIII." Home, Sweet Home ! " . . . .122

XIV. What Happened When We Got Home . . 129

The Holy War in Shoreditch 142

(The Ship in which we Sailed.)


" When ye go, ye shall come unto a people secure and to
a large land ; for God hath given it into your hands : a place
where there is no want of anything that is in the earth."

JUDGES xvm. 10.

" And they found fat pasture and good, and the land was
wide, and quiet, and peaceable." 1 CHKON. LV. 40.

WHAT a poor, miserable, helpless dyspeptic
supremely wants is to get away from himself.
Dyspepsia unnerves him, makes him miserable,
peevish, and fretful. Everybody and everything
is a burden and a worry to him. He is by no means
himself. The haunting question ever before him
is, Whither can I go, what can I do to get away
from myself ? To accomplish this he will go
anywhere, and do anything.

This is very natural when we think of what


dyspepsia really is, and what it brings with it.
Here is a description taken from a popular
medicine book : " Impaired appetite ; flatulence ;
nausea and eructations, which often bring up
bitter or acid fluids ; foul tongue ; foul taste ; heart-
burn ; pain and sensation of weight or fulness, after
a meal ; headache ; diminished mental energy and
alertness ; dejection of spirits ; palpitation of the
heart ; and various afflictions in other organs." A
pretty catalogue of miseries that ! Where is the man
who would not run away from the whole company,
if possible ?

During four years these thorns in the flesh had
kept me close company ; they had " buffeted" me
day and night. In the study, in the pulpit, on
the platform, in the railway train, in bed, asleep,
awake, toiling or resting, in company and in soli-
tude, there was, as it were, a voice, a feeling,
a terror. It would persist in whispering to me
" You are worn out, your work is done, you must
give up and retire into silence and obscurity."
Yes, and it dragged me down to that level, till I
believed it was all true, and despair took the place
of a buoyant, hopeful soul. What Mr. Joseph
Hocking puts into the mouth of one of his fine char-
acters just suited me. It was like butter and
honey to my taste : " ' I think I have tried every-
thing now,' he said, as, with a sigh, he threw
himself into an armchair, and cut the end of a
cigar. He smoked silently a few minutes, and went
on thinking. ' The world's a pretty weary business,'
he continued presently, ' and that old cynic was
right when he said that life was " short and
dirty." All places are alike, and people are uni-
formly dull. I did think that African trip would


have interested me, but it proved as tame as any-
thing else. I wish I could hit upon something
that would really interest me something new
something that would yield freshness and sweet-
ness. But Solomon was right : there is nothing
new under the sun.' " Of course, that was all non-
sense, but it exactly suited the vitiated taste of a
miserable dyspeptic. Again and again the doctor
was consulted. Then the diet was arranged,
and plainly written down, but it was not strictly
observed. Oh ! it was a lovely diet ! Everything
I liked was cut out. Everything I hated was put
in. This added one more misery to life, but I did
not brood over that mocking old question, " Is
life worth living ? " Just because I still thought it

There are some lucid moments even with dys-
pepsia, and some good work can be done, despite
the condition. The doctor had often said, " A
spell of rest and a long voyage would set you right,
and add ten years to your life. You have had
thirty years of hard and trying work in Shoreditch.
It is time you had a long pause, and a change of
scene." But then that meant time and money. The
time could be managed, the money was a problem.
The Bank of England could solve tbe problem,
but I did not know that I had a friend in the midst
of all the gold of that place. Notwithstanding my
ignorance of the fact, he was there. One morning
a note came from this kind friend requesting to
see Mrs. Cuff. The interview took place, and he
there and then suggested a voyage to Australia,
and generously promised to find the money it
would cost, and my wife was to go too. I would not
have told this, but I wish to honour and glorify


the Lord and Master whom I have now served
for over forty years. I profoundly believe He put
it into the heart of the gentleman to whom I have
referred to send us for the long rest and change
which we have enjoyed. Of course, I know that
some who will read this will mildly smile at such
a faith. But it remains a fact that, in spite of any
cold scoffs of unbelief, God hears and answers
prayer. I should be craven to the best instincts
of my life, and hush up the deepest convictions
of my mind, if I did not set this down with all plain-
ness and force. I believe there is a kind of benefi-
cent Providence that manages all our little affairs.
Jesus Christ, the purest and profoundest of all
teachers, says : " The very hairs of your head
are all numbered " (Matt. x. 30). I have ever
found it so, down to the minute particulars of life.
From my heart I wish that everyone that reads
this book believed this, for it is a very happy faith,
and by no means blind or unreasonable. It saves
a man from a thousand biting worries, and from
as many wearing cares. Whether this testimony
is accepted or rejected, my problem was solved,
and we set sail to the far-off lands of wealth and

It was a fine trip from start to finish ; not one
hitch occurred in our tour of nearly 50,000 miles.
We did not go for business, or money, or pleasure,
but for rest and health, and we found both. I
started with shattered nerves, and a weary brain.
I returned with every nerve rested, with a mind re-
freshed and invigorated, and altogether a new
man. The dyspepsia was left on the wild and beau-
tiful hilla of New Zealand, or on the rolling seas
over which we sailed. This is written for the sake


of those who may be as I was. A long voyage
may set them right also. It is an unspeakable
relief to get on board a ship, and to live where news-
paper, telegram, telephone, or letter cannot reach
one every morning. One must be quiet and restful
on board a ship during a long voyage. It was the
longest and sweetest rest I ever had, and brimful
of interest from first to last. There was no need
for a dull hour, and certainly there were hours and
days when everything was very lively. But, then, a
breeze, a squall, a gale, are one and all included
in the programme of the voyage ; and this diversity
saves all on board from any feeling of monotony.
It also makes room on the promenade deck and at
all the meals for those who do not trouble about
such trifles as a gale of wind. Let no one think
he can go down our English Channel, across
the Bay of Biscay, down the Mediterranean, through
the Red Sea and the great Indian Ocean, and over
the Australian Bight to Sydney without alternate
calm and storm, sunshine and cloud. But in
these are the charm and fascination of the voyage.
For such changes we went out. We had them in
great variety and plentiful abundance, and they
healed and helped us. We have come home rested,
refreshed, renewed in body and mind.


The tide is in, the breeze is fair,

The vessel under weigh ;
The gallant prow glides swiftly on,

And throws aside the spray ;
The tranquil ocean, mirror-like,

Reflects the deep blue skies :
And pointing to the destined course,

The straightened pennon flies.

IT was no toss or haphazard that decided us to go
to Australia. We quietly deliberated, and sought
guidance of wisdom which never errs. We also
resolved to try and visit New Zealand. Seeing we
had such a long voyage before us, we made careful
choice of the ship that should take us. There are
many vessels that sail from England to Australia,
and many business men and others who seek rest
and health constantly take the voyage. These
all have their favourite ships, and, as a matter of
course, there are no ships afloat like those they
choose. Our friends who were old hands at ocean
travelling advised us to go by this line of steamers,
and then by that. Then particular ships were
picked out, and it was said, " By all means go

by the : she never rolls, never pitches ; no,

not even in a hurricane, or a mistral, or a monsoon !
The food on board is excellent, and the stewards
are all Al at Lloyd's." We ventured to mention
just the name of another company, and another



ship. " There is the , belonging to the

Company." That was more than enough,
and set our friends going. " Oh, do not go in her :
she rolls, and tosses, and lurches about ; she does so
even in smooth waters ! You will be ill before
you get to the Nore ! What is much more serious,
the cuisine on board that ship is simply abominable,
and the cooking is worse than the food. The stewards
are rude, familiar, and vulgar. The captain !
Well, of course, he may be a good seaman, and
know how to navigate his ship, but then he is not
a gentleman." So on, and so on ad lib.

It naturally came to this : we had to make our
own choice of a ship, and we did so. We chose
to go on that noble vessel, the Omrah, of the Orient
Pacific Line. She is registered at 8,291 tons, and
10,000 horse-power, with twin screws. I went
down into and all over the engine-room, and saw
all the vast and mighty machinery in full work.
It was all explained to me by the kind and courteous
chief engineer. Of course, I could not understand
such an intricate complication of tubes, pipes,
spindles, cranks, pistons, etc., but I saw clearly that
it was a marvellous triumph of science over nature.
There, too, I saw brain and muscle united to secure
the triumph ; and there also, in that engine-room,
was a vivid picture of capital and labour closely
linked together for the wealth of our Empire, and
the good of mankind. It made one wish that
capital and labour better understood each other,
and were never antagonistic.

The cabins are large and ventilated as best they
can be. Each one has in it a small wardrobe, a
chest of drawers, and a place for boots. The lava-
tories and bath-rooms are all on the latest approved



form and principle, and are all spotlessly clean.
There is also a barber's shop where you can buy
almost anything, from a hairpin to a fancy-dress
coat. But apart from all the minor details of the
ship, the deck of the Omrah is superb. I question
if there is another to equal it on any ship
of her size. In a voyage like that to Australia,
a good wide, long deck is no small advantage to
passengers. After all that is said about the sea,
there is much more calm weather than rough,
and the deck is the place on which to live. There
are so many nooks and corners and sheltered spots
on the deck of the Omrah that one can usually get
into a cosy, comfortable place. In point of fact,
we did, and spent nearly the whole time on deck,
both when going out and coming home. The
promenade for saloon passengers is 262 feet long,
with a minimum width of 13 feet on each side of
the ship. It is much wider in places where it reaches
right across the ship. Ten times up and down the
deck measures a mile, and you can walk this be
the weather wet or dry, smooth or rough. In the
latter case, you require only a pair of good sea
legs. The promenade deck is covered by a boat
deck, and is thus sheltered from sun and rain.
This upper boat deck is free to saloon passengers,
and is thirty- two feet above the sea. It makes a
most delightful place to sit, in all moderate weather.
Our voyage out was full of variety and interest.
We got through the dreaded Bay of Biscay with
a little rough weather, but this was even quite
refreshing after the smoothness of the Channel.
We had just enough sea to show us how well our
good ship would behave herself when the wind
should howl and hiss in her rigging, and seas run


high at her bow. Even that came, further on, and
she kissed one wave, sneezed at the next, and
then, with majesty and might, mounted and rode
them all. I stood on the deck and watched her be-
haviour till I thrilled with wonder at the power
and glory of the sea, and the wit and skill of man
which makes even the ocean to become his good
servant. To many such a sight would be common-
place, if not misery ; but it filled me with reverence,,
awe, and inspiration. Again and again I thought
of what a great saint andsinger once wrote :

The storm has broken and the heavy blast.

That stifled morn's free breath and shook its dew,
Is dying into sunshine ; and the last

Cold cloud has vanished from yon arch of blue>
And yet I joy as storm on storm awakes ;

Not that I love the uproar or the gloom,
But in each tempest over earth that breaks,

I count one fewer outburst yet to come.

We called at Gibraltar, and had time to go
ashore and see the quaint and curious old place.
It was intensely interesting to see the many
nationalities represented by men and women in
the long, narrow street that leads to the markets.
We thought of battles that had been fought, and
of the blood that had been shed to secure that
one spot of earth. We knew that the old Rock
and every hill around was full of soldiers, guns
and all manner of munitions of war. At last we
had seen the place about which we had heard
and read so much. Another dream of life was
realised as we weighed anchor, and sailed out
into the classic Mediterranean. It was a glorious
day, and we had a magnificent view of the grand
old Rock and all its surroundings. We were soon


at Marseilles, for the weather was perfect and
the sea smooth. We had a good long day here,
and so had time to drive round and see the town.
This is one of the great advantages of going by
one of a line of ships that puts hi at such beautiful
and historic ports.

Our ' next port was Naples. The weather kept
lovely, and in less than two days we dropped
anchor in the beautiful Bay of Naples. The din
round the ship began as if by magic, and soon
became unbearable. Then the coaling of the
vessel began. At once something else was added
to the noise. My good friend, Rev. J. G. Green-
hough, describes this operation better than I can,
so that I venture to quote what he says :
" Early in the day the coaling began. Four
barges laden with the precious material came
alongside the ship. Each of the barges brings,
standing on the coal, about eighty sparsely-clad
men, black as Cyclops from the forge, and sugges-
tive of something much less earthly. The
coal is chiefly dust, and at each breath of wind
becomes dust with wings, flying noiselessly every-
where. Quickly the Cyclopean gentry get to
work, shovelling, filling baskets, carrying, empty-
ing, and returning. An interminable procession
of lost spirits, such as Dante might have pictured
in his Inferno. Meanwhile, the black dust rises
and spreads and grows thicker and more palpable.
It is ubiquitous, penetrating, irresistible. It
darkens the air, hides the mountains far off, covers
the city with a thick veil or funereal pall. Again
I envy the few wise passengers who elected to
go ashore."

That description is surely enough to persuade


future passengers to go ashore wherever coaling
operations take place. We did so, and came
back in the evening to a nice clean and quiet
ship. When the ship was coaled again at Port
Said we remained on board, because no one was
allowed to land ; but as the wind was in the
right quarter, we suffered little or no inconvenience.
The jabber, and din, and noise were the worst.
There are worse things at sea than coaling the
ship, especially if you are a saloon passenger,
and the wind blows direct from stem to stern. In
that case the second-class passengers get all the
benefit of the black dust.

We had a beautiful passage from Naples to Port
Said. It was glorious weather, and poetical scenery
was right and left of us nearly all the way. Almost
every mile was over classical waters. Every
scene of sea and land was full of memories of
mighty men and momentous historical events.
Poets, philosophers, historians, sages, soldiers, and
sailors have all been here. In their crazy crafts
they sailed over these very seas, and wrought
wonders in the earth. The three days' sail from
Naples to Port Said was like a delicious dream
in some fairyland, full of wonders, enchantments,
and revelations. Memory brings it back to us
in form and beauty, fact and fable, visions and
reality. After a few hours at Port Said we entered
the famous Suez Canal. No, it was not mono-
tonous to me ; it was full of wonder and fun.
There were strange things to boot, but they
mingled then very well there. We saw great
plains studded with trees and bushes, with strangely
coloured hills as a background. Then came a
view of the sea, and the tide was flowing fast.


One man took my field-glass, and declared he
could see it running along a fine, sandy beach,
and there were rocks in the water farther out.
One man added he could see a gentleman's man-
sion. It was very large, with a white front, as
the sunshine was on it. Had I been a sporting
man, I might have bet any man on earth anything
he liked that I could, there and then, see a river
of water, with well-defined banks covered with
trees ! We stood on the deck in a little group,
and we were all quite confident about what we
were looking at. At length, one infinitely stupid
fellow said, " We keep on going, and yet all we
see keeps at the same distance from us, and the
things keep on changing. I can't see that mansion
now. Neither can I see the river and the trees."
Some might have been tempted to throw that
man overboard. The bare suggestion that we
were in any way deceived was shocking. Indeed,
some of us had an idea of requesting the captain
to put the man hi irons for a rude hint to such
experienced and well-read gentlemen !

But all we saw was only a mirage, the com-
mon mirage of the desert. And what is that ?
Here is a definition, and I give it word for
word :

"It is difficult to ascertain exactly what is the
condition of the atmosphere when multiple images,
mirage, etc., are seen ; and it is obvious from the
remarks and illustrations already given that many
very different arrangements will produce sensibly
the same results to a spectator in a given position.
Comparison of the appearances seen simultaneously
by a great number of scattered observers is the
only way we can expect to obtain definite informa-


tion on such a point. ... To find, then, the
various rays by which a distant object near the
horizon can be seen, all that we have to do is to
draw the curve of vertices which passes through
the eye of the spectator, and to find the points in
which it is intersected by a vertical line situated
midway between the object and the eye. Each of
these points is the vertex of a ray by which the
object is seen. When the curve of vertices leans
forward towards the eye at one of these points, two
contiguous rays cross one another, and an inverted
image is seen ; when it leans from the eye they do
not cross, and the image is erect. . . . When
there is no intersection we have only the direct
image ; but when there are two intersection* a
distant ship will be seen as usual through the
lower, uniform air, while there will be seen above
it an inverted image, and then a direct image,
both due to the stratum. This form of mirage is
commonly seen at sea. When there is no stationary
value of the index at the upper boundary, the
upper erect image is not given by the stratum.
This arrangement, however, turned upside down,
explains the ordinary mirage of the desert where
we see objects directly through the nearly uniform
air at some distance above the sand, but also an
inverted image (suggesting reflection from a pool
or lake) formed by the refraction in the hot layer

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Online LibraryWilliam CuffSunny memories of Australasia : places I saw and people I met → online text (page 1 of 13)