Three years ago next winter, there were a number of men out of in Melbourne. These men were forced by circumstances to form l kind of combination and ask the Government to find them employment. The Government tried every means possible to avoiding anything in the direction of opening any relief works to enable l se men out of employment to tide over their distress. Deputation after deputation awaited on the different ministers of the Government, but no signs of relief appeared. Time passed; the men out of work were slowly becoming desperate through hunger. One very cold, wet Friday morning, the unemployed formed a procession, and marched to the Treasury, headed by a flag on which was inscribed in large letters: "BREAD OR WORK." When they arrived, they intended holding a large meeting; but unfortunately, one of their leaders lost self-control and ran up the Treasury steps, leaving the procession in a difficult situation, as no one had been previously cautioned about his strange conduct. The police arrested him; a disturbance followed; and three men were locked up. The following morning, they were fined - two of them, £10 each, or three months' imprisonment; and the other one, £5, or six weeks' imprisonment.
Having taken an active part in the unemployment movement, I felt it my duty to take action toward obtaining the release of the three men. I advertized in the Herald that a meeting would take place at 3 p.m. on the Sunday following, on the Queen's Wharf. The meeting was held, and £10 collected and one man's fine paid. That meeting was the first held by the Anarchists on the wharf. I was the promoter and conductor of it. Comrade Andrade, and others, also spoke, and their names were published in the Monday's Herald. Several meetings were held afterwards, and the other men were released by money obtained at those Sunday meetings.
Comrade Upham spoke on several occasions, but after a short time he discontinued and devoted his energies to the advancement of secularism exclusively.
For a long time, comrade Gregory and I carried on the meetings, until Gregory was attacked by typhoid fever, which unfortunately proved fatal, leaving me to fight the battle of Anarchy alone.
Anarchy was becoming noticed; every means were taken to suppress it; letters appeared in the daily papers drawing the Government's attention to the danger of permitting the Anarchists the right to hold meetings on the wharf. At last the Government took action: they used the Harbor Trust as a tool, and a number of speakers were summoned to court and cautioned against going on the wharf again. I was fined £3, to be levied by distress. I had nothing to levy; for, like every wage-slave, my fruits were in the hands of my persecutors. So they put me in prison for seven days. Being an Anarchist, I was without supporters. Mr. Symes had his furniture taken by the police, and sold at an auction room, where the Australasian Secular Association bought it again. Mr. Symes took his case to the Supreme Court, and the judges decided against him. Now he appears to have let the wharf drop.
A few Sundays back, I had to resist the authorities again. I had to risk imprisonment; but I took my stand on the wharf, and defied the Harbor Trust. They did not prosecute me but sent roughs to push me off. I gave one a good blow, which blackened both his eyes.
That is how liberty of speech has been maintained on the Queen's wharf.
And more. I have fought an uphill fight; but dogged determination has crowned my labor with success. Every Sunday, I sell large quantities of Anarchist literature. On the 11th of November, a special meeting was held, to commemorate the death of our comrades in Chicago. Several comrades-comrades Andrade, Petrie, Beattie, McMillan, Andrews, and myself-spoke, and were well received. The daily "nooze-papers" gave fair reports. We closed, as they said, "by shouting 'Hurrah for Anarchy!' and singing the Marsellaise."
When I glance at the past, knowing the difficulties I have encountered, with foes and pretended friends, I am satisfied my labor has not been in vain. Since the 11th of November demonstration, the task has been rather hard: others have come to assist themselves, but not Anarchy.
One thorough adventurer from America tried to reap the harvest which I have sown, by endeavoring to split our party; he has not succeeded, but is amongst the pretended reformers, endeavoring to work mischief. Earnest reformers are aware of his intentions-so the harm he may accomplish will be small.
Comrades, cling to your principles! Be men and women! We are fighting for freedom; why should we falter?
in Honesty, February, 1889