Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/757

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Queenstown

became premier, and was in power when Queensland joined the Commonwealth. The year was shadowed by the continuance of a terrible drought, which towards the end of 1900 became so aggravated that the revenue began to fall off, owing to decreased receipts from railways and land. In that year Philp’s chief policy was the passing of legislation to permit of the construction of railways by private enterprise. The Labour party offered vigorous opposition; but notwithstanding this a certain amount of progress was made. The Government appointed Dr Maxwell, an American sugar expert, to superintend the sugar industry in the colony; a State school of mines was established at Charters Towers; and the compulsory clauses of the Education Act were put in force for the first time. Another act of importance was the establishment of a Government land bank. A powerful agitation for the extension or renewal of the leases of pastoral lands was raised, but no legislation resulted. A suggestion that Sir Samuel Griffith should retire from the chief justiceship, on a pension of £1750 a year (to be reduced by any emoluments received), to enable him to enter Federal politics, fell through. Some important discoveries of coal were made during the year, and dredging the northern rivers for gold became an established industry. J. R. Dickson represented the colony in London at the conference of Federal delegates in 1900, when the final details of the Commonwealth were settled. Early in 1901 he was created K.C.M.G., but died somewhat suddenly, at Sydney, on 9th January of that year, shortly after he had been made a member of the first Federal ministry.

Alien Immigration. — The working classes of Queensland have always objected to the presence of coloured aliens, and successive Governments have legislated against indiscriminate immigration into the colony. In 1876 Governor Cairns reserved an act imposing certain disabilities upon Chinese working on goldfields. In that year a poll tax of £10 was imposed upon Chinese arriving. In 1884 another principle was adopted: masters of ships were only allowed to carry to Queensland ports one Chinese for every 50 registered tons, and the poll tax was increased to £30. In 1888 Queensland took the lead in summoning an intercolonial conference on Chinese immigration, the outcome of which was the adoption of uniform legislation: in the Queensland Act passed that year the main provision was that only one Chinese for every 500 registered tons should be permitted to be carried to the colony from Chinese ports. The poll tax was then abolished. This act was also reserved, but received the Royal Assent on 5th February 1890, after slight modification had been made.

Treaty arrangements with Japan had been carried through by the Imperial Government, at the initiation of Queensland, under which the Japanese Government undertook to prevent the emigration of coolies to the colony; and a Pearl Shell Fisheries Act was passed in 1895 placing restrictions upon the acquisition of vested interests in the industry by Japanese and other aliens. At Federation eight acts — two Imperial and six local — regulated the importation of Kanakas from the South Seas: that of 1880 was the basis of the system under which Kanakas were recruited in the islands, brought to the colony in schooners, employed there, and returned to their homes at the end of their three years’ engagements. The 1884 act confined Kanakas to field work. In December 1884 a Royal Commission was appointed, consisting of Messrs W. Kinnaird Rose, J. F. Buckland, and Hugh M. Milman, to report upon the system of recruiting Kanakas. Following the report of the Commission, which was in effect that many islanders had been recruited “by force and fraud,” Sir Samuel Griffith, then premier, introduced the important Pacific Island Labourers Amendment Act of 1885, which stopped the importation of Kanakas after 1890. It was — and is — an article of faith with the working classes that white labour could be utilized for sugar cultivation. Yet from the passing of the act the sugar industry began to decay, no fresh capital was put into it, plantations dwindled down in value 50 to 75%, mills were closed, and the magnificent industry threatened to die out. Sir Samuel Griffith, being converted by these signs of the times from his position that sugar could flourish in the colony without coloured labour, issued on 12th February 1892 his “Manifesto to the People of Queensland,” in which he acknowledged that to prevent the collapse of sugar-growing it was necessary to resume the immigration of Polynesians. This manifesto was the forerunner of the 1892 act, which reintroduced Kanaka labour. Since this time there has been no further State legislation on the subject, but the Federal Parliament has dealt with the matter (see above).

Land Legislation. — In Queensland's early days, with the predominance of the squatting class, the lands were freely leased in large blocks for sheep and cattle grazing. The squatter furnished 50% of the public revenue with his rents, and opened up the great interior by his pioneering enterprise. As, however, population increased, the necessity for the agriculturist arose, and it became requisite to legislate in the interests of the small holder. Successive Queensland Governments have had some of their hardest work in adapting their land legislation to the needs of the community, recent policy being to reduce large estates and place the cultivator on the soil. At separation from New South Wales the holding of land was regulated by Orders in Council, under an Imperial act of 1846: untransferable leases of “runs” for fourteen years were issued, the minimum size of the run was measured in sheep-carrying capacity — 4000 sheep being the least number, and £10 the minimum rent. The lessee was able to buy up his holding in blocks of 160 acres at a time, £1 per acre being the minimum price, and was entitled to a renewal of his lease at its expiry. The minimum lease principle shut out the small agriculturist. The first leading acts passed by Queensland were the Crown Lands Alienation Act of 1868, dealing with the settled districts, and the Pastoral Leases Act of 1869, dealing with the unsettled districts — these divisions were fixed by the first-named measure. The “resumption” principle was introduced by the 1868 act: lands in the settled districts were resumed after twelve months from the passing of the measure, and lessees were granted leases of half of their holdings for ten years; the other moiety was thrown open for settlement. The 1869 act granted new leases for twenty-one years at practically the same low rentals, but 10% was added to the rent after each period of seven years; the area of a run was fixed at from 25 to 100 sq. m. This act greatly pleased the squatters. In 1884 the Dutton Act was passed. Its importance lies in its dealings with the 1869 act leases: on their expiry the State resumed from one-quarter to one-half of the area as crown lands, which were thrown open to selectors, and new leases of from ten to fifteen ears were granted for the balance. Grazing farms (20,000 acres), and agricultural farms (1280 acres) were established. This measure was very unpopular with the squatters. With the act of 1897 it forms the basis of the existing land regulations of Queensland. Under the 1897 act the passing of the land into the hands of agriculturists was further marked by the creation of agricultural homesteads (160, 320, or 640 acres), grazing homesteads (20,000 acres), scrub selections (10,000 acres), and unconditional selections (1280 acres). Some of these classes of selections could be purchased right out, and all were leased at extremely moderate rates. Sales of country lands were established. Two measures were passed, in 1894 and 1897 — the Agricultural Lands Purchases Acts — under which the State was authorized to purchase suitable estates of specially fertile land already alienated, to be cut up and thrown open as agricultural farms. These measures confirmed Queensland’s determination to encourage agriculture. Owing to the expiration of pastoral leases and the fact that no legislation existed for their renewal for a term long enough to encourage the investment of capital, a formidable agitation prevailed in the colony, the lessees bitterly complaining of the uncertainty of their tenure. The British Australasian Society was formed in Great Britain, to protect the interests of British capital invested in the pastoral industry in Queensland. In 1900, out of the total Queensland area of 427,838,080 acres, no less than 411,793,786 acres remained in the hands of the State unalienated.

Queenstown, a town of the Cape province, South Africa, in the upper valley of the Great Kei river, 1 5 5 m. by rail N.W. of East London. Pop. (1904) 9616, of whom 4157 were white. Founded in 1853 and named after Queen Victoria, it was laid out in an unusual form. From each angle of a central hexagonal-shaped open space there runs one of the main thoroughfares. This arrangement was adopted to facilitate defence in case of an attack by Kaffirs, Queenstown at the time of its foundation being a border settlement. Up to 1868 the burghers held their lands on a military tenure. It contains several fine buildings, including the town hall, court-house and public offices and the Anglican church of St Michael. Many of the streets are lined with oaks and blue gums. Situated on the Karroo, at an elevation of 3500 ft., between the Stormberg and Amatola Mountains, it is the centre of a wheat and sheep-rearing district, and is a busy commercial town. The climate is healthy, and Queenstown has a reputation as a sanatorium.

Queenstown, a town of Montagu county, Tasmania, on the Queen river, 23 m. by rail by Strahan, and 353 m. W. of Hobart. It is the centre of the Mount Lyell mining district and has numerous smelting works, brick-works, and sawmills. The county is mountainous and finely wooded. Pop. (1901) 5051; of the district, 10,451.

Queenstown (formerly Cove of Cork), a seaport, watering-place, and naval station of county Cork, Ireland, picturesquely situated on the south side of Great Island, on the slope of an