The principles of total abstinence from all intoxicating drink were making great headway in the country districts around Geelong. New divisions of the Sons of Temperance and tents of Rechabites were in a fair way to being launched. Yorkshire evangelist Matthew Burnett, who had arrived in Australia in 1863 had toured the area advocating temperance. Hundreds of drunkards were redeemed. Thousands signed pledges during his campaigns.
Members of the Order of Rechabites residing at Freshwater Creek, celebrated the new year with a grand tea meeting in the schoolhouse at which up to two hundred were present.