The electoral framework regulating the 1856 election was established by the
The Census of 1854 was the basis for establishing the electoral boundaries. The figures are a fast blurring snapshot of an incredibly dynamic polity, subject to numerous incitements and opportunities to roam to and fro across the landscape.
The Wimmera, far from Melbourne and not endowed with gold, contained only 4000 scattered souls and only a small number of nascent settlements.
WEDNESDAY, lst OCTOBER, 1856.
THE CONSOLATION STAKES.
THE “Consolation Stakes” have attained some considerable public importance, for a field, including some very good horses, his now fully qualified to enter for them. Already there have been beaten for the
Lower House :
‘ Mr. Langlands Mr. A’Beckett
M’Culloch P. Johnson I Greeves Wood
Ebden Bright Blair Behan Chapman Bailey. F. Stephen
Considering the names on this list, and looking down the table of candidates which we reprint today, it becomes very evident that not only are there still stakes to be run for which it might be a consolation to these gentlemen to win, but it becomes a matter of very considerable public importance that some of them should hasten to supply the lamentable deficiency in eligible candidates which still exists in some districts.
What law of nature governs the distribution of candidates over the face of the country we can no more comprehend than we can the laws which govern the weather, the potato disease, or any other seemingly irregular and incalculable phenomena. A swarm of candidates will settle down upon home constituency, and begin squabbling, and placarding, and contending, for the honor of representing it, while within a stone’s throw some other district remains quite neglected, or is left in the hands of candidates whose election is not to be thought of without a shudder. We have seen three or four dogs, when some bones have been flung among them, begin fightings, for the possession of one, while others just as good have been lying untouched around. Dash believes that the bone Hector has seized upon must be better than the rest, and endeavors to snatch it away accordingly Tiger is evidently persuaded that what Hector and Dash think worth fighting about must be specially excellent, and he immediately leaves the undisputed bone to fight for one no better. It almost seems as if some of our candidates had been urged by like impulses, so curiously have they concentrated themselves upon particular places.
This uneconomical use of public men is perhaps to some extent unavoidable, unless they pre-arrange among themselves the places for which they propose standing-a modus operandi rendered particularly difficult by the requisition system which has been so generally adhered to during this election. But, taking the matter as it stands, let us see what places are still in want of good candidates, and for which the nominations are not yet over. The nominations for North Grant, North Grenville, Ovens, Rodney Loddon, and Talbot took place on the 3rd inst. Probably it is too late to do much with any of these places-unless some of the defeated for Melbourne and elsewhere have already been as active as Mr. Blair, who lost no time after Emerald Hill rejected him in getting into the district he sought to represent on a former occasion. Talbot has certainly abundant choice so far as the number of candidates is concerned-as to the quality we say nothing.
On the 7th inst. the nominations take place for East Bourke, West Bourke South Bourke, and South Grant. The field is pretty well occupied at East Bourke, but West Bourke is grievously in want of a decently eligible candidate. The four candidates in the field for this place not one is by any means up to standard. The only choice as yet afforded is between utter unfitness, embodied in Englishman, Irishman, or Scotch man. Mr. Robertson and Mr. M’Dougall give the electors an opportunity of have their interests badly advocated in broad Scotch; Mr. Phelan is, we believe, a very deserving and much-respected man, but in other respects no belter than his country man, Mr. O’Brien. We regret that Mr Phelan should have yielded to the foolish ambition of seeking to occupy a seat which we feel persuaded can only prove pillory for him, if he should have the misfortune to succeed in the present contest. Mr. Wilkie has not shone at the few meetings he has held, and his claims upon to confidence of the constituency are so infinitesimal that we presume he may a most be considered out of the field. The important constituency of West Bourke, then, returning two members has no eligible candidate. Two of the rejected candidates should certain betake themselves to this district where we should think that a week actively
spent in holding meetings would suffice enable any really good men to make it for any advantage that length of canvas can have given to the candidates who have already come forward. South Bourke we apprehend, pretty well provided for by Mr. Foxton and Captain Pasley. South Grant, returning three members,has yet only four candidates, and Mr. Myles is one of them ; but probably Messrs Haines, Wills, and Holmes leave little room for another candidate here.
On the 10th there occur the nomination for Evelyn and Mornington, Anglesey and Dalhousie, Dundas and Follett, Normanby Villiers and Heytesbury, Polwarth and Ripon, the Murray, Gipps Land, and the Wimmera. For the first of these places a really good candidate would be an improvement on any of the three who are now contesting it. Neither Mr. Anderson nor Mr Burnley would be heavily missed,
believe, and the bare idea of Mr. Pender’s election is too horrible to be dwelt upon. We suppose Mr. Mollison will be elected for Anglesey, and every now and then there used to dart out from him in the Council such curious rays of unexpect light that it would really be pity if he were to be’ excluded from the new Parliament. Mr. Griffith will probably, be returned for Dundas and Follett without opposition. As for Normanby, it has almost seemed as if the district were doomed to be unrepresented owing to the want of a candidate.
last, however, Mr. Woolley, the Secretary cf the Railway Board, has taken compassion on its neglected constituency, and has announced himself a candidate for their suffrages.
Villiers, Polwarth, the Murray, and Gipps Laud are each either occupied too distant, or both, to leave any chance for new candidates. But Wimmera certainly wants one, or two, candidates. Mr. Hammill and Montgomerie at present, probably, hope to walk over the course, but the list of rejected contains names which might substituted for those of the present candidates with advantage to the electors of Wimmera.
According to the view we have here taken, it appears that West Bourke Evelyn and Mornington, Normanby, and the Wimmera still offer a fair field for five or six candidates. Upon the list of rejected more than five or six men appear whose services it would be a pity that
country should lose. We trust that they will at once re-enter the field, taking care if it he possible, by some little pre-arrangement, to avoid jostling at one place and leaving another altogether deserted.
Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954), Wednesday 29 October 1856, page 3
ELECTIONS YET TO BE DECIDED.
The election of representatives for the districts subjoined has yet to take placo. The names of tho candidates are given in connection with those of the constituencies respectivelyPoLAVARTir, PoLAVARTir, Ripon, &c. (2 Members ; 478 Electors). Polling,’ 23rd October.
Mr u. uampoen Air biunner M’Caig. The Murray (2 Members ; 292 Electors.) Polling, 23rd October. Mr Goodman Mr Forlonge Adamson AVatson Wimmera (2 Members; 268 Electors.) Polling, 24th October. Mr. Montgomerie Mr Hammill Mr M’Culloch Mr Ebden
Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), Wednesday 12 November 1856, page 5
WIMMERA ELECTION.-The official declaration of the poll took place on the 6th instant at Horsham, and resulted in the return of
Messrs. Hammill and M’Culloch, The following were tho numbers :-Hammill 44 ; McCulloch 26: Ebden 24; Montgomerie 10. No votes were polled at Swan Hill.