This is naturally in intimate connection with the preceding, and it is very advisable to refer to it in order to direct attention to one or two matters. In the first place, I shall commence by saying that both Sydney and Melbourne are lamentably deficient in fishmongers' shops similar to those which are so common in London. As a matter of fact, the show of fish exposed for sale is in striking contrast to that of meat. For in Sydney and suburbs alone the butchers' establishments run to the number of nearly 600, while in the Melbourne metropolis they even exceed this. One has only to look through the directories of either Sydney or Melbourne, under the heading of "Fishmongers," to see how few their numbers are. In our own city, Chinnery, of Hunter Street, and Matterson, of Pitt Street, make a highly creditable show, and in the southern capital, Jenkins, of Swanston Street, is well known for his excellent display. Otherwise the exhibition of fish for sale in either city is disappointing in the extreme, and is nothing less than an abject confession of our inability to develop our own natural resources.
There was formerly in Melbourne, however, a most admirable firm known as the Mutual Provedoring Company, whose premises were centrally situated near the main suburban railway station. Their show of fish was something to behold, and I do not remember to have seen it surpassed, even in the old country; and, in addition, they hit upon a very excellent device - one so good, in fact, that it is well worthy of imitation. That is to say, they gave to every customer a capital fish cookery book, written, indeed, by our own Mrs. H. Wicken. It was a well-compiled production, and contained a goodly number of practical and economical recipes, having special regard to our Australian fish. In this way they did splendid work, as by means of the Fish Dainties (the title of the book) they popularised the use of fish. Now, it is greatly to be regretted that this firm no longer exists, because if ever there was a venture which deserved support, it was surely this. But I am no pessimist in these matters, and verily believe that before long this company, or one similar, will be in full swing again, and that the public will thereby benefit in every conceivable way.
As far as Sydney is concerned there is a different state of affairs, and it is with genuine pleasure that I refer to the New South Wales Fresh Food and Ice Company, of whose enterprise and praiseworthy efforts I must express my sincere approbation. It is a good thing for the whole community that their endeavours have been crowned with such marked success; and I am very certain that, without any exaggeration whatever, one is justified in saying that this company have been of unmistakable service to their numerous customers, and that by their distribution of fish throughout New South Wales, quite a number of invalids, as well as of healthy people, have every reason to be grateful. Their exhibition of fish in King Street is at all times most satisfactory. Moreover, schnapper and other prime fish are often sold there as low as 4d. per lb., a price at which no one can complain.