The visit of the Gayundah to this port was brought to a very pleasant termination with a social gathering tendered by the townspeople to the men of the gunboat at the Belmore Arms Hotel on Saturday evening. There were between forty and fifty present, and the chair was occupied by Mr. S. W. Hartley. Among those who honoured the gathering with their presence were the Naval Commandant (Captain Cresswell) and the officers of the Gayundah. The toasts usual to such gatherings were duly honoured, among them being “The Queen,’ ‘ “The Navy and Army,” “The Citizens of Rockhampton, the Defence Force, and the Central Queensland Rifle Association,” and ” Sweethearts and wives.” The toast of “The Navy and Army” was given by the Chairman and responded to by Captain Cresswell and Captain Alder. Captain Cresswell said he had to thank the Chairman for for the kindly way in which he bad proposed the toast and the company for the hearty manner in which they had received it. In course of conversation with the Chairman he had remarked that he thought the long stretch of waterway between Keppel Bay and Rockhampton was in itself a good defence to the town; but while that was so, he would point out that the use of the Navy was to enable places to be held in security and, at the same time, continue their trade and commerce. What he meant would be better understood when he said that a man in business might close his shop and prevent an attack; but that would mean that his business would be ruined. The Chairman had also referred to the Powerful. Everyone recognised that the officers and men of that warship had rendered great service in South Africa. Perhaps it might have flashed into the Chairman’s mind that the gunboat, now lying in the river was something of the same character. There was just this in it by way of difference – the Powerful was at least a little larger. He was quite sure that the officers and men of the Powerful had done all they possibly could and bad done it, perhaps, better than any of their brethren might under the circumstances : but he was quite sure of this — that the officers and crews of other vessels would have at least done their best. The reply to the toast made by Captain Alder was very brief. He remarked that the captain of the Powerful, in praising General Sir George White for his services at Ladysmith, said that the General, in saving Ladysmith had saved Natal, in saving Natal he had saved South Africa, and in saving South Africa he had saved the Empire. The greater part of the evening was spent in harmony. Excellent songs were given by several members of the Gayundah’s crew and by Messrs. J. A. Part, H.W. ??? and T. D. England, while Mr. N. G Wiley presided at the piano. All the toasts were received with musical honours, that of ‘Sweethearts and wives’ being drunk to the singing of the song of that name.
Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1878 – 1954) Tue 24 Jul 1900 Page 5