Submitted by scott on Tue, 12/13/2016 - 17:25

Mark Twain was in Australia from September of 1895 to January of 1896. Part of that time, some of November and December, was spent in New Zealand. Australia was not a unified country at this time but consisted of seven separate British territories. Twain visited the four southeastern territories: New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. He saw the shoreline of Western Australia from his ship, the Oceana, en route to Ceylon. It anchored off-shore from Albany January 4th, 1896. He remarked at length on the Queensland labour trade but did not visit the territory due to its extreme tropical climate. "The book's main Australian chapters (9-11, 12-25, 27-29) reflect Mark Twain's interest in the continent's economic history as a convict settlement; its subjugation of native peoples; and its unusual wildlife. His admiration of the amazing tracking abilities of native Australians probably helped inspire "A DOUBLE-BARRELLED DETECTIVE STORY."" (MTATZ)

If the climates of the world were determined by parallels of latitude, then we could know a place's climate by its position on the map; and so we should know that the climate of Sydney was the counterpart of the climate of Columbia, S. C., and of Little Rock, Arkansas, since Sydney is about the same distance south of the equator that those other towns are north of it—thirty-four degrees. But no, climate disregards the parallels of latitude. In Arkansas they have a winter; in Sydney they have the name of it, but not the thing itself.

Captain Cook found Australia in 1770, and eighteen years later the British Government began to transport convicts to it. Altogether, New South Wales received 83,000 in 53 years. The convicts wore heavy chains; they were ill-fed and badly treated by the officers set over them; they were heavily punished for even slight infractions of the rules; "the cruelest discipline ever known" is one historian's description of their life.—[The Story of Australasia. J. S. Laurie.]

My health had broken down in New York in May; it had remained in a doubtful but fairish condition during a succeeding period of 82 days; it broke again on the Pacific. It broke again in Sydney, but not until after I had had a good outing, and had also filled my lecture engagements. This latest break lost me the chance of seeing Queensland. In the circumstances, to go north toward hotter weather was not advisable.
So we moved south with a westward slant, 17 hours by rail to the capital of the colony of Victoria, Melbourne—that juvenile city of sixty years, and half a million inhabitants.

The Melbourne Cup is the Australasian National Day. It would be difficult to overstate its importance. It overshadows all other holidays and specialized days of whatever sort in that congeries of colonies. Overshadows them? I might almost say it blots them out. Each of them gets attention, but not everybody's; each of them evokes interest, but not everybody's; each of them rouses enthusiasm, but not everybody's; in each case a part of the attention, interest, and enthusiasm is a matter of habit and custom, and another part of it is official and perfunctory. Cup Day, and Cup Day only, commands an attention, an interest, and an enthusiasm which are universal—and spontaneous, not perfunctory. Cup Day is supreme—it has no rival. I can call to mind no specialized annual day, in any country, which can be named by that large name—Supreme. I can call to mind no specialized annual day, in any country, whose approach fires the whole land with a conflagration of conversation and preparation and anticipation and jubilation. No day save this one; but this one does it.

October 4 Friday – The Clemens party was still at the Menzies Hotel in Melbourne. Sam’s carbuncle problem caused the cancellation of a performance planned for Bendigo’s Masonic Hall.
From Cooper (102-3): "The next day, Dr. Thomas Fitzgerald, the leading Australian surgeon of the day and the first Australian to be knighted for eminence in medicine, attended Clemens. The doctor froze and lanced Clemens's carbuncle, gave him an injection of opium, and prescribed plasters, which Mrs. Clemens conscientiously applied."

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