VICTORIA'S FIRST CONTRIBUTION
To be Blessed by Archbishop Lees
Leaving Melbourne tomorrow for London, the Commonwealth Government steamer, Hobson's Bay will carry the first consignment of merchandise collected by committees working in Sydney and Melbourne for the relief of the Armenians. The Victorian contribution consists of 100 tons of flour. Sydney is sending leather, tinned milk, and a large quantity of clothing and woollen material. These supplies are consigned to Port Said, whence they will be shippedd to Constantinople. At midday to-day Archbishop Lees, assisted by clergy of other denominations, will bless the flour before it is moved from the wharf. The ceremony will take place at Prince's Pier, Port Melbourne, where the Hobson's Bay is lying.
The task of organising Armenian relief committees in Australia fell upon Dr. L.L. Wirt, of California, who reached Australia in May to conduct a campaign on behalf of the Near East Relief of Armenia. Dr. Wirt spent a considerable time in Armenia in relief work, and prior to arriving in Australia had conducted successful campaign in Hawaii, Japan, China, and the Phillipine Islands.
Last night Dr. Wirt expressed his delight at the result of his mission in Australia. "It far exceeded my greatest expectations," he said. "I have never seen anything like the generosity of the Australian people. I look upon it all as more beautiful than anything else in my life. I did not believe that any people on earth would have done what Australia has done. I go away with a new conception of Anglo-Saxon generosity. During my stay in this country 10 different committees have been formed and all are hard at work; and we estimate that in the next few months we shall have collected £25,000 worth in money or food."
"Miss Hilda King, of Melbourne, has been appointed to go with me to Constantinople, where she will act as correspondence officer for the Australian fund, and attend to details when I am absent in the interior. The Rev. Seafield Deuchar, honorary secretary of the fund in Victoria, will leave for Constantinople in a month or two to take charge of the actual distribution. Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Bryce, of Sydney, will travel at their own expense to assist in the work."
The Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) had been upproached, continued Dr. Wirt, and asked whether supplies could be carried free on the Commonwealth Government steamers, Mr. Hughes had expressed himself as being in deep sympathy with the cause of the Armenians, but so far had not given a definite reply. Dr. Wirt will leave Melbourne by rail for Perth, where he will organise a committee, and will then sail by the steamer Naldera for Port Said on September 15.