Special Events | Children's
The British Colonist
Tuesday Morning, March 2, 1869.
Beacon Hill Park- The Municipality Sustained
The meeting called last evening by order of the Mayor was largely
attended by ratepayers and others interested in the preservation
of Beacon Hill Park as city property, and to protest against
the invasion of Municipal rights by the Legislative Council.
Town Clerk Leigh acted as Secretary. His Worship the mayor called
the meeting to order about 8 o'clock and stated the object of
the call. He said the Park had been considered city property
since '58, but in 1867 the Council passed an Act giving the Municipality
of Victoria control of the park. A bylaw was introduced this
session to extend the city limits to include Mr. Young's property,
and hence the opposition on the part of the Government members.
Mr. Young's property had always been religiously excluded from
the city limits, although property lying a mile and a half distant
from the city centre was included. The city workmen were engaged
in blasting rock at Beacon Hill to metal the streets; Mr. Trutch
demanded their authority for doing so, and was referred to the
Mayor, who told him that the City had the power to control the
Park by the Act of 1867, and that if he (the Mayor) saw Mr. Trutch
cutting a tree down hw would bring him before Mr. Pemberton.
It was stated at the Legislative Council that the city was about
leasing a part of the Park to Capt. Stamp to build a stable.
This was a falsehood. Capt. Stamp applied for permission to do
so, but no report was ever made upon the application by the committee
to whom it was referred. Don't let the Park go out of your fingers
gentlemen, (continued the Mayor), if you do, it will be sold
away from you. The pretext that they wish to beautify and improve
it is nonsense. Why have they not done it before? You must raise
your manly voices and tell the Government they shall not trample
upon the public rights. Will you back up the Council (cries of "yes," "yes.")
W.J. Macdonald, Esq., (former Mayor) introduced the following
Resolutions, which he supported with a few remarks:
Resolved, That in the opinion of this meeting, the course pursued
by the Legislative Council with regard to the bill to amend the
Municipal Ordinance, 1867. In attempting to withdraw the control
over Beacon Hill Park from the municipal Council is extremely
detrimental to the interests of the citizens of Victoria and
that such withdrawal would be a retrograde movement throwing
the management of the property of the people into the hands of
the Lands and Works Department, the Chief being in no way responsible
to the people.
That the conduct of those members of the Legislative Council
who voted in support of the Corporation in this matter is deserving
of the thanks of this meeting and of the citizens of Victoria.
Mr. Macdonald said that he was in the legislative Council when
the Act of 1867 was passed, and got the Park put under Municipal
control. He saw the Park while under Government control neglected
and abused, and that was the reason why he wished the city to
have charge of it. Some gentlemen who now opposed the Corporation
were then warmly in favour of it. If the Municipal Council had
abused their trust, he would not be there to-night. He asked
the people to put their trust in the Governor, who he believed,
would give the overzealous officials a rebuke, and end the whole
Mr. W. Hebbard seconded the Resolution- which was carried with
only one or two discontent voices.
Mr. W. S. S. Green, rose to propose the second Resolution. He
thought the matter called for the vigorous action of every citizen.
Some years ago an attempt was made by Governor Kennedy to close
the roads leading to Beacon Hill Park by placing barriers across
them. Those barriers were removed. If the act were repeated they
would not be allowed to remain; the Municipal Council would never
permit it. Governor Kennedy sent for him (Mr. Green) to consult
with him as to the course he should pursue when the barriers
were removed by the people, and he advised his Excellency to "grin
and bear it," for the Government had no power to put them
up again, and when the barriers were removed one evening, his
Excellency took no further notice of them. He asked the assemblage
if it would be advisable for the city to allow the Land and Works
Department to take possession of the Park? (No!) Whilst the city
was out of its power he thought it ought to keep out of it. [Hear.]
The rock that had been removed had not disfigured the Park and
had been used in making a better road than the Lands and Works
Department had ever made. Mr. Green here read the second resolution,
which is as follows:
Resolved, That this meeting strongly urge on their City Representatives
the desirability of strengthening the hands of the Mayor and
Council and supporting them in their laudable efforts to maintain
the rights and privileges of the citizens in preventing the suggested
withdrawal by the Legislative Council of the control of the Corporation
over Beacon Hill Park.
Mr. Richard Lewis [an ex- Councilor] seconded the resolution
in a few well-timed remarks. He thought every citizen ought to
stand up for his rights, and the possession of the Park was one
of them. [Applause.] There were notices in the trees that emanated
from the Lands and Works Department before the Park had been
handed over to the city. They ought to have been removed long
ago. He believed the title of the people to the Park was indisputable.
The resolution was carried only three votes being raised in opposition.
Robert Bishop, Esq., introduced the third resolution. The action
to the Government in hand over the Park was like giving a loaf
to a hungry man with a hungry family and saying "don't let
them eat it!" It was quite true the Corporation were blasting
rock at the Park, but the Lands and Works were doing the same
within a stone's throw of the Corporation workmen. He would say
"O wad some power the gift glorious To see ourselves as
others see us."
Would that same power would give the gift to the Lands and Works
Department to see itself as others see it. He thought the Council
ought to be supported by good men selected from the people. He
regarded the whole thing as a brutem ful nen- thundering words.
Mr. Bishop then put the following resolution:
Resolved, That a Committee of Seven Citizens be deputed by this
meeting to attend His Excellency the Governor in conjunction
with the Mayor and Council for the purpose of urging His Excellency
to refuse his sanction to any clause in the proposed amended
Corporation Ordinance that may be subversive of the rights of
the Mayor and Corporation of Victoria over Beacon Hill Park.
J.E. McMillan, Esq., seconded the resolution. He perfectly concluded
with what had been said, and he thought quite enough had been
said with regard to that part of the matter.
Loud cries for Mr. Fell, but that gentleman declined to make
The resolution was unanimously carried with a tremendous "aye."
The committee named by the meeting were: W.J. Macdonald, Robert
Bishop, , W.S. S. Green, Capt. E. Stamp, T.L. Stahlschmidt, Robert
Mr. McMillian here came forward and stated that he wished to
say a few words upon a subject that had no connection with Beacon
Hill Park, but in which the Municipality and the ratepayers had
a direct interest. ....
The meeting then adjourned with three hearty cheers for the
Mayor and Council.