Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Australia
AUSTRALIA or New Holland, the largest island-continent of Australasia, is situated within 10° 47′ and 39° 11′ S. lat., and 113° and 153° 30′ E. long. It measures 2500 miles in length from west to east, by 1950 miles in breadth from north to south, and contains an area of about 3,000,000 square miles—nearly the same as that of the United States of America, exclusive of Alaska. It is surrounded on the west by the Indian Ocean, and on the east by the South Pacific.
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In the north it is separated from New Guinea by Torres Strait, which is 80 miles broad, and from the Eastern Archipelago by Arafura Sea ; while on the south Bass Strait, 140 miles wide, separates it from Tasmania. The neighbouring colony of New Zealand lies 1200 miles opposite its south-east coast.
Owing to its position at the antipodes of the civilised world, Australia has been longer a terra incognita than any other region of the same extent. Its first discovery is involved in considerable doubt, from confusion of the names which were applied by the earlier navigators and geographers to the Australasian coasts.
The ancients were somehow impressed with the idea of a Terra Australis which was one day to be revealed. The Phœnician mariners had pushed through the outlet of the Red Sea to eastern Africa, the Persian Gulf, and the coasts of India and Sumatra. But the geographer Ptolemy, in the 2d century, still conceived the Indian Ocean to be an inland sea, bounded on the south by an unknown land, which connected the Chersonesus Aurea (Malay Peninsula) with the promontory of Prasum in eastern Africa. This erroneous notion prevailed in mediaeval Europe, although some travellers like Marco Polo heard rumours in China of large insular countries to the south-east.
The investigations of Mr R. H. Major make it appear probable that the Australian mainland was known as “Great Java” to the Portuguese early in the 16th century; and the following passage in the Descriptionis Ptolemaicæ Augmentum of Cornelius Wytfliet, printed at Louvain in 1598, is perhaps the first distinct account that occurs of the country :—“ The Australis Terra is the most southern of all lands, and is separated from New Guinea by a narrow strait. Its shores are hitherto but little known, since, after one voyage and another, that route has been deserted, and seldom is the country visited, unless when sailors are driven there by storms. The Australis Terra begins at one or two degrees from the equator, and is ascertained by some to be of so great an extent, that if it were thoroughly explored it would be regarded as a fifth part of the world.”
It was in 1606 that Torres, with a ship commissioned by the Spanish Government of Peru, parted from his companion Quiros (after their discovery of Espiritu Santo and the New Hebrides), and sailed from east to west through the strait which bears his name ; while in the same year the peninsula of Cape York was touched at by a vessel called the “ Duyfhen” or “ Dove” from the Dutch colony of Bantam in Java, but this was understood at the time to form a part of the neighbouring island of New Guinea. The Dutch continued their attempts to explore the unknown land, sending out in 1616 the ship “ Endraght,” commanded by Dirk Hartog, which sailed along the west coast of Australia from lat. 26° 30′ to 23° S. This expedition left on an islet near Shark's Bay a record of its visit engraved on a tin plate, which was found there in 1801. The “ Pera” and “ Arnhem,” Dutch vessels from Amboyna, in 1618 explored the Gulf of Carpentaria, giving to its westward peninsula, on the side opposite to Cape York, the name of Arnhem Land. The name of Carpentaria was also bestowed on this vast gulf in compliment to Peter Carpenter, then governor of the Dutch East India Company. In 1627 the “ Guldene Zeepard,” carrying Peter Nuyts to the embassy in Japan, sailed along the south coast from Cape Leeuwin, and sighted the whole shore of the Great Bight. But alike on the northern and southern seaboard, the aspect of New Holland, as it was then called, presented an uninviting appearance.
An important era of discovery began with Tasman's voyage of 1642. He, too, sailed from Batavia ; but, first crossing the Indian Ocean to the Mauritius, he descended to the 44th parallel of S. lat, recrossing that ocean to the east. By taking this latter course he reached the island which now bears his name, but which he called Van Diemen's Land, after the Dutch governor of Batavia. In 1644 Tasman made another attempt, when he explored the north-west coast of Australia, from Arnhem Land to the 22d degree of latitude, approaching the locality of Dirk Hartog's discoveries of 1616. He seems to have landed at Cape Ford, near Victoria River, also in Roebuck Bay, and again near Dampier's Archipelago. But the hostile attitude of the natives, whom he denounced as a malicious and miserable race of savages, prevented his seeing much of the new country ; and for half a century after this no fresh discoveries were made.
The English made their first appearance on the Australian coast in 1688, when the north-western shores were visited by the famous buccaneer Captain William Dampier, who spent five weeks ashore near Roebuck Bay. A few years later (1697) the Dutch organised another expedition under Vlamingh, who, first touching at Swan River on the west coast, sailed northward to Shark's Bay, where Hartog had been in 1616. Dampier, two years later, visited the same place, not now as a roving adventurer, but with a commission from the English Admiralty to pursue his Australian researches. This enterprising navigator, in the narrative of his voyages, gives an account of the trees, birds, and reptiles he observed, and of his encounters with the natives. But he found nothing to invite a long stay. There was yet another Dutch exploring squadron on that coast in 1705, but the results were of little importance. It was Captain Cook, in his voyages from 1769 to 1777, who communicated the most important discoveries, and first opened to European enterprise and settlement the Australasian coasts. In command of the bark " Endeavour," 370 tons burden, and carrying 85 persons, amongst whom were Sir Joseph Banks and Dr Solander, returning from the Eoyal Society s expedition to observe the transit of Venus, Cook visited both New Zealand and New South Wales. He came upon the Australian mainland in April 1770, at a point named after Lieutenant Hicks, who first sighted it, on the shore of Gipps Land, Victoria, S. lat. 38, E. long. 148 53 . From this point, in a coasting voyage not without peril when entangled in the barrier reefs of coral, the little vessel made its way up the whole length of the eastern side of Australia, rounding Cape York, and crossing Torres Strait to New Guinea. In his second expedition of Australasian discovery, which was sent out in 1773, Cook s ship, the "Resolute," started in com pany with the " Adventure," commanded by Captain Fur- .neaux. The two vessels separated, and Cook went to New Zealand, while Furneaux examined some parts of Tasmania and Bass Strait. The third voyage of Cook brought him, in 1777, both to Tasmania and to New Zealand. Next to Cook, twenty or thirty years after his time, the names of Bass and Flinders are justly honoured for con tinuing the work of maritime discovery he had so well begun. To their courageous and persevering efforts, begun at their private risk, is due the correct determination of the shape both of Tasmania and the neighbouring continent. The French admiral Entrecasteaux, in 1792, had made a careful examination of the inlets at the south of Tasmania, and in his opinion the opening between Tasmania and Australia was only a deep bay. It was Bass who discovered it to be a broad strait, with numerous small islands. Captain Flinders survived his friend Bass, having been associated with him in 1798 in this and other useful adventures. Flinders afterwards made a complete survey in detail of all the Australian coasts, except the west and north-west. He was captured, however, by the French during the war, and detained a prisoner in Mauri tius for seven years. The shores of what is now the province of Victoria were explored in 1800 by Captain Grant, and in 1802 by Lieutenant Murray, when the spacious land-locked bay of Port Phillip was discovered. New South Wales had already been colonised, and the town of Sydney founded at Port Jackson in 1788. West Australia had long remained neglected, but in 1837, after the settlement at Swan River, a series of coast surveys was commenced in H.M.S. "Beagle." These were continued from 1839 to 1843 by Mr Stokes, and furnished an "exact knowledge of the western, north-western, and northern shores, including four large rivers.
Inland Exploration. The geographical position of the Australian continent had now been sufficiently determined, and what Remained for discovery was sought, not as hitherto by coasting along its shores and bays, but by striking into the vast tract of terra incognita that occupied the interior. The colony of New South Wales had been founded in 1788, but for twenty-five years its settlers were acquainted only with a strip of country 50 miles wide, between the Blue Mountains and the sea-coast, for they scarcely ever ventured far inland from the inlets of Port Jackson and Botany Bay. Mr Bass, indeed, once while waiting for his vessel, made an attempt to cross the Blue Mountains, and succeeded in discovering the River Grove, a tributary of the Hawkesbury, but did not proceed further. An expedition was also conducted by Governor Hunter along the Nepean River west of the settlement, while Lieutenant Bareiller, in 1802, and Mr Caiey, a year or two later, failed in their endeavour to surmount the Blue Mountain range. This formidable ridge attains a height of 3400 feet, and being intersected with precipitous ravines 1500 feet deep, pre sented a bar to these explorers passage inland. At last, in 1813, when a summer of severe drought had made it of vital importance to find new pastures, three of the colonists, Messrs Went worth and Blaxland and Lieutenant Lawson, crossing the Nepean at Emu Plains, gained sight of an entrance, and ascending the summit of a dividing ridge, obtained a view of the grassy valley of the Fish River. This stream runs westward into the Macquarie, which was discovered a few months afterwards by Mr Evans, who followed its course across the fertile plains of Bathurst. In 1816 Lieutenant Oxley, R.N., accompanied by Mr Evans and Mr Cunningham the botanist, conducted an expedition of great interest down the Lachlan River, 300 miles to the north-west, reaching a point 34 S. lat., and 144 30 E. long. On his return journey Oxley again struck the Macquarie River at a place he called Wellington, and from this place in the following year he organised a second expedition in hopes of discovering an inland sea. He was, however, disappointed in this, as after descending the course of the Macquarie below Mount Harris, he found that the river ended in an immense swamp overgrown with reeds. Oxley now turned aside led by Mr Evans s report of the country eastward crossed the Arbuthnot range, and traversing the Liverpool Plains, and ascending the Peel and Cockburn Rivers to the Blue Mountains, gained sight of the open sea, which he reached at Port Macquarie. A valuable extension of geographical knowledge had been gained by this circuitous journey of more than 800 miles. Yet its result was a disappointment to those who had looked for means of inland navigation by the Macquarie River, and by its supposed issue in a Mediterranean sea. During the next two or three years public attention was occupied with Captain King s maritime explorations of the north-west coast in three successive voyages, and by ex plorations of West Australia in 1821. These steps Avere followed by the foundation of a settlement on Melville Island, in the extreme north, which, however, was soon abandoned. In 1823 Lieutenant Oxley proceeded to Moreton Bay and Port Curtis, the first place 7 north of Sydney, the other 10, to choose the site of a new penal establishment. From a shipwrecked English sailor he met with, who had lived with the savages, he heard of the river Brisbane. About the same time, in the opposite direction, south-west of Sydney, a large extent of the interior was revealed. The River Murrumbidgee which unites with the Lachlan to join the great River Murray was traced by Mr Hamilton Hume and Mr Hovell into the country lying north of the province of Victoria, through which they made their way to Port Phillip. In 1827 and the two following years, Mr Cunningham prosecuted his instructive explora tions on both sides of the Liverpool range, between the upper waters of the Hunter and those of the Peel and other tributaries of the Brisbane north of New South Wales. Some of his discoveries, including those of Pandora s Pass and the Darling Downs, were of great practical utility. By this time much had thus been done to obtain an acquaintance with the eastern parts of the Australian con tinent, although the problem of what could become of the large rivers flowing north-west and south-west into the interior was still unsolved. With a view to determine this question, Governor Sir Ralph Darling, in the year 1828, sent out the expedition under Captain Charles Sturt, who proceeding first to the marshes at the end of the Mac quarie River, found his progress checked by the dense mass of reeds in that quarter. He therefore turned westward,
and struck a large river, with many affluents, to which, he gave the name of the Darling. This river, flowing from north-east to south-west, drains the marshes in which the Macquarie and other streams from the south appeared to be lost. The course of the Murrumbidgee, a deep and rapid river, was followed by the same eminent explorer in his second expedition in 1831 with a more satisfactory result. He travelled on this occasion nearly 2000 miles, and discovered that both the Murrumbidgee, carrying with it the waters of the Lachlan morass, and likewise the Darling, from a more northerly region, finally joined another and larger river. This stream, the Murray, in the upper part of its course, runs in a north-westerly direction, but afterwards turning southwards, almost at a right angle, expands into Lake Alexandrina on the south coast, about 60 miles S.E. of the town of Adelaide, and finally enters the sea at Encounter Bay in E. long. 139. After gaining a practical solution of the problem of the destination of the westward-flowing rivers, Sir Thomas Mitchell, in 1835, led an expedition northward to the upper branches of the Darling ; but the party meeting with a sad disaster in the death of Mr Cunningham, the eminent botanist, who was murdered by the natives on the Bogan Eiver, further exploration of that region was left to be undertaken by Dr Leichardt, nine years later, and by the son of Sir Thomas Mitchell. Meantime, from the new colony of Adelaide, South Australia, on the shores of Gulf St Vincent, a series of adventurous journeys to the north and to the west was commenced by Mr Eyre, who explored a country much more difficult of access, and more forbid ding in aspect, than the " Kiverina " of the eastern pro vinces. He performed in 1840 a feat of extraordinary per- sunal daring, travelling all the way along the barren sea- coast of the Great Australian Bight, from Spencer Gulf to King George s Sound. Mr Eyre also explored the interior north of the head of Spencer Gulf, where he was misled, however, by appearances to form an erroneous theory about the water-surfaces named Lake Torrens. It was left to the veteran explorer, Sturt, to achieve the arduous enterprise of penetrating from the Darling northward to the very centre of the continent. This was in 1845, the route lying for the most part over a stony desert, where the heat (reaching 131 Fahr.), with scorching winds, caused much suffering to the party. The most northerly point reached by Sturt on this occasion was about S. lat. 24 25 . His unfortunate successors, Burke and Wills, travelled through the same district sixteen years later; and other expeditions were organised, both from the north and from the south, which aimed at learning the fate of these travellers, as well as that of Dr Leichardt. These efforts completed our knowledge of different routes across the entire breadth of Australia, in the longitude of the Gulf of Carpentaria; while the enterprising journeys of Mac- Douall Stuart, a companion of Sturt, obtained in 1862 a direct passage from South Australia northward to tho shores of the Malayan Sea. This route has been utilised by the construction of an overland telegraph from Adelaide to the northern coast. A military station having been fixed by the British Go vernment at Port Victoria, on the coast of Arnhem Land, for the protection of shipwrecked mariners on the north coast, it was thought desirable tc find an overland route between this settlement and Moreton Bay, in what then was the northern portion of New South Wales, now called Queensland. This was the object of Dr Leichardt s expe dition in 1844, which proceeded first along the banks of the Dawson and the Mackenzie, tributaries of the Fitzroy River, in Queensland. It thence passed farther north to the Burdekin, ascending to the source of that river, and turned westward across a table-land, from which th-are was an easy descent to the Gulf of Carpentaria. Skirting the low shores of this gulf, all the way round its upper half to the Roper, Leichardt crossed Arnhem Land to the Alli gator River, which he descended to the western shore of the peninsula, and arrived at Port Victoria, otherwise Port Essington, after a journey of 3000 miles, performed within a year and three months. In 1847 Leichardt undertook a much more formidable task, that of crossing the entire continent from east to west. His starting point was on the Fitzroy Downs, north of the River Condamine, in Queens land, between the 26th and 27th degrees of S. latitude. But this eminent explorer had not proceeded far into the interior before he met his death, his last despatch dating from the Cogoon, April 3, 1848. In the same region, from 1845 to 1847, Sir Thomas Mitchell and Mr E. B. Ken nedy explored the northern tributaries of the Darling, and a river in S. lat. 24, named the Barcoo or Victoria, which flows to the south-west. This river was more thoroughly examined by Mr A. C. Gregory in 1858. Mr Kennedy lost his life in 1848, being killed by the natives while attempting to explore the peninsula of Cape York, from Rockingham Bay to Weymouth Bay. Among the performances of less renown, but of much practical utility in surveying and opening new paths through the country, we may mention that of Captain Banister, showing the way across the southern part of West Australia, from Swan River to King George s Sound, and that of Messrs Robinson and G. H. Haydon in 1844, making good the route from Port Phillip to Gipps Land with loaded drays, through a dense tangled scrub, which had been described by Strzelecki as his worst obstacle. Again, in West Australia there were the explorations of the Arrow- smith, the Murchison, the Gascoyne, and the Ashburton Rivers, by Captain Grey, Mr Roe, Governor Fitzgerald, Mr R. Austin, and the brothers Gregory, whose discoveries have great importance from a geographical point of view. These local researches, and the more comprehensive attempts of Leichardt and Mitchell to solve the chief prob lems of Australian geography, must yield in importance to the grand achievement of Mr Stuart in 1862. The first of his tours independently performed, in 1858 and 1859, were around the South Australian lakes, namely, Lake Torrens, Lake Eyre, and Lake Gairdner. These waters had been erroneously taken for parts of one vast horse shoe or sickle-shaped lake, only some twenty miles broad, believed to encircle a large portion of the inland country, with drainage at one end by a marsh into Spencer Gulf. The mistake, shown in all the old maps of Australia, had originated in a curious optical illusion. W T hen Mr Eyre viewed the country from Mount Deception in 1840, look ing between Lake Torrens and the lake which now bears his own name, the refraction of light from the glittering crust of salt that covers a large space of stony or sandy ground produced an appearance of water. The error was discovered, after eighteen years, by the explorations of Mr Babbage and Major Warburton in 1858, while Mr Stuart, about the same time, gained a more complete knowledge of the same district. A reward of 10,000 having been offered by the Legis lature of South Australia to the first man who should traverse the whole continent from south to north, starting from the city of Adelaide, Mr Stuart resolved to make the attempt. He started in March 1860, passing Lake Torrens and Lake Eyre, beyond which he found a pleasant, fertile country till he crossed the M Don noil range of moun tains, just under the line of the tropic of Capricorn. On the 23d of April he reached a mountain in S. lat. nearly ..22, and E. long, nearly 134, which is the most central marked point of the Australian continent, and has been named Cen tral Mount Stuart. Mr Stuart did not finish his task on III. 14
this occasion, on account of indisposition and other causes. But the 18th degree of latitude had been reached, where the watershed divided the rivers of the Gulf of Carpentaria from the Victoria River, flowing towards the north-west coast. He had also proved that the interior of Australia was not a stony desert, like the region visited by Sturt in 1845. On the first day of the next year, 1861, Mr Stuart again started for a second attempt to cross the continent, which occupied him eight months. He failed, however, to advance further than one geographical degree north of the point reached in I860, his progress being arrested by dense scrubs and the want of water. Meanwhile, in the province of Victoria, by means of a fund subscribed among the colonists and a grant by the Legislature, the ill-fated expedition of Messrs Burke and Wills was started. It made for the Barcoo, with a view to reach the Gulf of Carpentaria by a northerly course midway between Sturt s track to the west and Leichardt s to the east. The leading men of the party were Mr Robert O Hara Burke, an officer of police, and Mr William John Wills, of the Melbourne observatory. Messrs Burke and Wills, with two men named Gray and King, left the others behind at the Barcoo on 16th December 1860, and proceeded, with a horse and six camels, over the desert traversed by Sturt fifteen years before. They got on in spite of great difficulties, past the M Kinlay range of mountains, S. lat. 21 and 22, and then reached the Flinders River, which flows into the head of the Gulf of Carpentaria. Here, without actually standing on the sea- beach of the northern shore, they met the tidal waters of the sea. On February 23, 1861, they commenced the return journey, having in effect accomplished the feat of crossing the Australian continent. Unhappily, three of the party perished on the road home. Gray, who had fallen ill, died on the 16th of April. Five -days later, Burke, Wills, and King had repassed the desert to the place on Cooper Creek (the Barcoo, S. lat. 27 40 , E. long. 140 30 ), where they had left the depot, with the rest of the expedition. Here they experienced a cruel dis appointment. The depot was abandoned; the men in charge had quitted the place the same day, believing that Burke and those with him were lost. The main body of the expedition, which should have been led up by a Mr Wright, from Menindie, on the Darling, was miscon ducted and fatally delayed. Burke, Wills, and King, when they found themselves so fearfully left alone and unprovided in the wilderness, wandered about in that district till near the end of June. They subsisted miser ably on the bounty of some natives, and partly by feeding on the seeds of a plant called nardoo. At last both Wills and Burke died of starvation. King, the sole survivor, was saved by meeting the friendly blacks, and was found alive in September by Mr A. W. Howitt s party, sent on purpose to find and relieve that of Burke. Four other parties, besides Howitt s, were sent out that year from different Australian provinces. Three of them, respectively commanded by Mr Walker, Mr Lands- borough, and Mr Norman, sailed to the north, where the latter two landed on the shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria, while Mr Walker marched inland from Rockhampton. The fourth party, under Mr J. M Kinlay, from Adelaide, made for the Barcoo by way of Lake Torrens. By these means, the unknown region of Mid Australia was simultaneously entered from the north, south, east, and west, and important additions were made to geographical knowledge. Lands- borough crossed the entire continent from north to south, between February and June 1862 ; and M Kinlay, from south to north, before the end of August in that year. The interior of New South Wales and Queensland, all that lies east of the 140th degree of longitude, was ex- [EECENT EXPLORATION*. amined. The Barcoo and its tributary streams were traced from the Queensland mountains, holding a south-westerly course to Lake Eyre in South Australia; the Flinders, the Gilbert, the Gregory, and other northern rivers water ing the country towards the Gulf of Carpentaria were also explored. These valuable additions to Australian geography were gained through humane efforts to relieve the lost explorers. The bodies of Burke and Wills were recovered and brought to Melbourne for a solemn public funeral, and a noble monument has been erected to their honour. Mr Stuart, in 1862, made his third and final attempt to traverse the continent from Adelaide along a central line, which, inclining a little westward, reaches the north coast of Arnhem Land, opposite Melville Island. He started in January, and on April 7 reached the farthest northern point, near S. lat. 17, where he had turned back in May of the preceding year. He then pushed on, through a very thick forest, with scarcely any water, till he came to the streams which supply the Roper, a river flowing into the western part of the Gulf of Carpentaria. Having crossed a table-land of sandstone which divides these streams from those running to the western shores of Arnhem Land, Mr Stuart, in the month of July, passed down what is called the Adelaide River of North Australia. Thus he came at length to stand on the verge of the Indian Ocean ; " gazing upon it," a writer has said, " with as much delight as Balboa, when he had crossed the Isthmus of Darien from the Atlantic to the Pacific." The line crossing Australia which was thus explored has since been occupied by the electric telegraph connecting Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, and other Australian cities with London. A third part, at least, of the interior of the whole con tinent, between the central line of Stuart and the known parts of West Australia, from about 120 to 134 E. long., an extent of half a million square miles, still remained a blank in the map. But the two expeditions of 1873, conducted by Mr Gosse and Colonel Egerton Warburton, have made a beginning in the exploration of this terra incognita west of the central telegraph route. That line of more than 1800 miles, having its southern extremity at the head of Spencer Gulf, its northern at Port Darwin, in Arnhem Land, passes Central Mount Stuart, in the middle of the continent, S. lat. 22, E. long. 134. Mr Gosse, with men and horses provided by the South Australian Government, started on April 2 1 from the telegraph station fifty miles south of Central Mount Stuart, to strike into West Australia. He passed the Reynolds range and Lake Amadeus in that direction, but was compelled to turn south, where he found a tract of well-watered grassy land. A singular rock of conglomerate, 2 miles long, 1 mile wide, and 1100 feet high, with a spring of water in its centre, struck his attention. The country was mostly poor and barren, sandy hillocks, with scanty growth of spinifex. Mr Gosse, having travelled above 600 miles, and getting to 26 32 S. lat. and 127 E. long., two degrees within the West Australian boundary, was forced to return. Meantime a more successful attempt to reach the western coast from the centre of Australia has been made by Colonel Warburton, with thirty camels, provided by Mr T. Elder, M.L.C., of South Australia. Leaving the telegraph line at Alice Springs (23 40 S. lat., 133 14 E. long.), 1120 miles north of Adelaide city, Warburton succeeded in making his way to the De Grey River, West Australia. Overland routes have now been found possible, though scarcely convenient for traffic, between all the widely separated Australian provinces. In Northern Queensland, also, there have been several recent explorations, with results of some interest. That performed by Mr W. Hann, with Messrs Warner, Tate, and Taylor, in 1873,
related to the country north of the Kirchner range, watered by the Lynd, the Mitchell, the Walsh, and the Palmer Rivers, on the east side of the Gulf of Carpentaria. The coasting expedition of Mr G. Elphinstone Dalrymple, with Messrs Hill and Johnstone, finishing in December 1873, effected a valuable survey of the inlets and navigable rivers in the Cape York peninsula. The Endeavour River, in S. lat. 16, which was visited by Captain Cook a hundred years ago, seems capable of being used for communi cation with the country inland. A newly discovered river, the Johnstone or Gladys, is said to flow through a very rich land, producing the finest cedars, with groves of bananas, nutmeg, ginger, and other tropical plants. The colonial geologists predict that the north-east corner of Australia will be found to possess great mineral treasures. At the opposite extremity of the continent, its south-west corner, a tour lately made by Mr A. Forrest, Government surveyor, from the Swan River eastward, and thence down to the south coast, has shown the poorness of that region. The vast superiority of eastern Australia to all the rest is the most important practical lesson taught by the land-exploring labours of the last half century.
Physical Description. The continent of Australia, with a circumference -of nearly 8000 miles, presents a contour wonderfully devoid of inlets from the sea, except upon its northern shores, where the coast line is largely indented. The Gulf of Carpentaria, situated in the north, is enclosed on the east by the projection of Cape York, and on the west by Arnhem Land, and forms the principal bay on the whole coast, measuring about 6 of long, by 6 of lat. Further to the west, Van Diemen s Gulf, though much smaller, forms a better protected bay, having Melville Island between it and the ocean ; while beyond this Queen s Channel and Cambridge Gulf form inlets about S. lat. 14 50 . On the north-west of the continent the coast line is much broken, the chief indentations being Admiralty Gulf, Collier Bay, and King Sound, on the shores of Tasman Land. Western Australia, again, is not favoured with many inlets Exmouth Gulf and Shark Bay being the only bays of any size. The same remark may be made of the rest of the sea-board ; for, with the exception of Spencer Gulf, the Gulf of St Vincent, and Port Phillip, on the south, and Moreton Bay, Hervey Bay, and Broad Sound, in the east, the coast line is singularly uniform. The conformation of the interior of Australia is very peculiar, and may perhaps be explained by the theory of the land having been, at a comparatively recent period, the bed of an ocean. The mountain ranges parallel to the east and west coasts would then have existed as the cliffs and uplands of many groups of islands, in widely scat tered archipelagoes resembling those of the Pacific. The singular positions and courses of some of the rivers lend force to this supposition. The Murray and its tributaries, the Murrumbidgee, the Lachlan, and the Darling, rising from the mountains on the east coast, flow inwards so far that they were at one time supposed to issue in a central sea. They do, in fact, spend their waters in a large shallow lake ; but this is not far from the south coast, and is provided with an outlet to the ocean. The Macquarie and the Lachlan merge in extensive swamps, and their beds in the dry season become a mere chain of ponds. This agrees with the idea that the whole country was a sea-bottom, which has scarcely yet assumed the character of permanent dry land, while another proof consists in the thinness and sterility of the soil in the lowlands. Along the entire line of the east coast there extends a succession of mountain ranges from Portland, in Victoria, to Cape York in the extreme north, called in different parts the Australian Grampians, the Australian Alps, the Blue Mountains, the Liverpool Range, and other names. These constitute, like the Andes of South America, a regular Cordillera, stretching from north to south 1700 miles in length, with an average height of 1500 feet above the sea. The rivers flowing down the eastern slope, having but short courses before they reach the sea, are of a more determined character than those which take a westerly and inland direction. They cut their way through the sand stone rocks in deep ravines ; but from their tortuous and violent course, and from the insufficient volume of water, they are unfit for navigation. Very few of them traverse more than 200 miles, inclusive of windings, or pass through any district extending more than 50 miles inland. It is different with the Murray, flowing westward, which has a course of 1100 miles, traversing a space from east to west measuring 8 of longitude. The Murray is navigable during eight months of the year along a great part of its course. This great river, with its tributaries, drains a basin the area of which is reckoned at half a million of square miles. Yet it has no proper outlet to the sea, de bouching into a lagoon called Lake Alexandrina, on the sea-coast of Encounter Bay. On the opposite or north western part of the continent there are several important water-courses. One river, the Victoria, which rises some where about 18 or 19 S. lat. and 131 E. long., flows northward to 15 D 30 S. lat., where it turns westward. Its bed forms a deep channel through the sandstone table land, with cliffs 300 feet high, while in width it sometimes extends to half a mile, its depth varying from 50 feet to as many fathoms. The Victoria debouches into Cam bridge Gulf, 14 14 S. lat. and 129 30 E. long., an estuary 20 miles broad, with a depth of 8 or 10 fathoms. To the westward of this district run two other large rivers, the Prince Regent and the Glenelg, the latter being navi gable, with a fertile country on its banks. The Roper, a navigable stream in Arnhem Land, has a width of 500 to 800 yards 40 or 50 miles from its mouth, which is at the Limmen Bight in the Gulf of Carpentaria. In the more settled and inhabited provinces of Australia there are the Brisbane, the Fitzroy, and the Burdekin, rivers of Queens land ; the Glenelg River, of Victoria ; and the Swan River, of West Australia. But this continent cannot boast of a Nile, an Indus, or a Mississippi, and the interior suffers from the want of water communication.
Geology. The interior plain of Australia, enclosed by the coast mountain ranges, is a vast concave table of sand stone, with a surface area of 1,500,000 square miles. The sedimentary rock, in some parts, has been washed away or scooped out ; but in the opinion of Mr W. H. L. Ranken (Dominion of Australia, 1874), the edges of the plateau, where highest and least reduced by denudation, are actually formed of this sediment. While the southern margin of the plain consists of walls of sandstone cliffs, extending along the sea-coast, the plateau on the east, south-east, the west, and partly on the north, is bordered by terraced ramparts of mountains. These elevations consist of granite and syenite on the west side, rising from 1000 to 3000 feet in height. On the east side, in New South Wales and Gipps Land, they rise to a much greater height, attaining 7000 feet at the south-east corner in the Australian Alps. Here, too, the sandstone masses are often violently rent asunder, and mingled with the overflows of igneous matter, forming basalt and trap. On the north side of the con tinent, except around the Gulf of Carpentaria, the edge of the sandstone table-land has a great elevation; it is cut by the Alligator River into gorges 3800 feet deep. In examining more particularly the geological structure of eastern Australia, we must take into account the neigh bouring island of Tasmania. The late Count Strzelecki, author of the first scientific essay upon the subject, in 1845; after minutely describing all the mountain ranges of New South Wales, passes on to Wilson Promontory, the most southerly point of Australia, whence he looks sea ward at the islands in Bass s Strait. As he there observes the Tasnianian mountains, with which he is equally familiar, it occurs to him that the whole is the result of identical forces, operating in a direction from north-east to south-west. Such phenomena he ascribes to a series of * volcanoes of elevation," along a vast fissure of the earth, upon the line regarded by him as " the Australian eastern axis of pertur bation." These forces he believes to have been exerted, with different degrees of intensity, at four several epochs, which are indicated by the character of the sedimentary rocks, broken through or contorted by the eruptive greenstone and basalt. That eruptive action is seen in the ravines and precipices of the Blue Mountains near Sydney ; in the Grose valley, below Mount Hay and its neighbours, Mount King George and Mount Tomah ; but still more remark ably in the mountains of Tasmania, viewed from Ben Lomond, within 30 miles of Launceston. The sedimentary deposits of the first epoch are characterised by the presence of mica slate, and of argillaceous and siliceous slate, as well as by the absence of gneiss. Those of the second epoch are found to be arenaceous, calcareous, or argillaceous stratified deposits. The third epoch includes the coal deposits, with their intervening shales and sandstones, including many fossils ; while the fourth and last epoch is marked by the occurrence of elevated peaks, and by the remains of land animals found in the limestone caves or in alluvial deposits. The Kev. W. B. Clarke, of Sydney, again, in a revised treatise published in 1871, expresses a doubt whether the southern range of mountains, extending to Wilson s Pro montory, be really a continuation of the main Cordillera of New South Wales. He rather considers this to be pro longed in a westerly direction, taking a bend that way at the Warragong or Snowy Alps, and to be continued within 60 miles of the border of South Australia, which is on the 141st meridian of E. long. The subject is further dis cussed by Mr R. B rough Smith, of Melbourne, in his essay of 1872 on the mineralogy and rock formations of Victoria. This geologist has also remarked that the Murray, which must have repeatedly shifted its bed and changed its out let, may have once been a far more powerful stream, flood ing a vast tract of the interior, and thus becoming an effective agent in the geological formations of all south-east Aus tralia. It has produced, in Victoria more especially, the Tertiary stratifications which are equivalent to the Pliocene rocks of Europe. Throughout the whole of eastern Australia, including New South Wales and Queensland, while no tertiary marine deposits have been found, there occur many remarkable beds of siliceous sandstone, bearing impressions of ferns and leaves of trees, which are referred to the Tertiary epoch. An interesting theory is advanced by Mr Clarke to account for the absence of Tertiary deposits on the eastern coast, when they are found on the western and southern coasts of Australia. In the islands of New Caledonia and other Australasian groups, from the Louisiade, near New Guinea, to New Zealand, there is a repetition of Australian geo logical formations, and there are abundant Tertiary deposits; and this may confirm the supposition that the Australian continent at some period extended farther to the east, and that a vast portion has disappeared under the ocean. To the same hypothetical cause Mr Darwin ascribes the formation of the Great Barrier Reef, stretch ing along the east coast from S. lat. 22 23 to Torres Strait, with an interval between it and the land varying from 12 to 140 miles. With regard to the more remote geological epochs, Aus tralia presents fewer materials for study than the other continents of our globe. Mr Clarke doubts the origin of some of the more ancient slates mentioned in the "first epoch" of Count Strzelecki, and does not find, either in eastern or in southern Australia, sufficient proof that these regions contain azoic and metamorphic rocks. Large masses of granite occur along the coast, and more extensively in Western Australia. Of the lower Palaeozoic there is a great deal of Upper Silurian rock in New South Wales and Queensland, and some in Tasmania. It is in the Lower Silurian formation, as Sir Roderick Murchison predicted, that gold deposits are chiefly found. Rocks of the Devonian period are not yet proved to exist anywhere in Australia, and it is doubtful if any true Permian or Trias, so common elsewhere, have been met with in this continent. The great Carboniferous series is very prominent in New South Wales and in parts of Queensland; it prevails less in Victoria. Coal-beds, of thickness varying from 3 feet to 30 feet, are found associated, both above and below, with fossils resembling those of the Carboniferous strata in Ireland. Their antiquity is proved beyond question, in some districts, as in the valley of the Hawkesbury, where they are overlaid with beds of sandstone, shale, and con glomerate, 1000 feet thick. It has been shown by Mr Daintree that there is a very extensive distribution of the Secondary or Mesozoic rocks in Queensland the Cretaceous strata, both there and in Western Australia, covering a large area. The Oolitic are more abundant in Western Australia. The great plains of the interior, and the slopes of the inner mountain ranges, consist largely of deposits of the Tertiary epoch. They occupy an immense area in Victoria and New South Wales, including the Riverina district, which was probably, as Mr Brough Smith considers, levelled and planed down by the ancient vast expansion of the Murray. " The waves of the sea," he remarks, " and the waters of this river, have eaten away mountains of granite and great hills of schist in past times, and placed instead of them a smooth covering of sands and clays." The great basin east of Port Phillip, connected with another basin about Westernport, is underlaid with Mesozoic carbonaceous rocks, upper Miocene, a nodular basalt, and decomposed amygdaloid of older volcanic origin, the quartzose drift of the first Pliocene formations, and some volcanic products of more recent date. Here the Miocene beds abound with fossil leaves of plants belonging to that age. The sands, clays, and gravels of later periods, in the ancient beds of the streams within the Silurian areas, are more or less auriferous. Some of the deeper " leads " of the gold-miner contain fossil fruits and the trunks and branches of trees, which are described by Baron von Miiller in the Melbourne official reports of the mining surveyors. In the Ballarat gold-fields the auriferous quart zose gravels are overlaid by flows of lava and vesicular volcanic rocks, while in a neighbouring district south of Ballarat, pebbles and sand are cemented by ferruginous matter into an extremely hard conglomerate. In eastern Australia, where no Tertiary marine deposits are met with, there are deep accumulations of drift, such as transmuted beds of the Carboniferous formation, porphyry, and basalt, and other igneous rocks, and fragments of the older Palaeozoic strata. Many of the drift streams are not only highly auriferous, but contain gems of all kinds. Diamonds, though of small size, have been taken from the Cudgegong River, near Mudgee, in New South Wales, and likewise from the Macquarie River. In the eastern plains of the interior, embedded in black muddy trappean soil, are found the bones of enormous animals of the marsupial or kangaroo order, as well as birds, fishes, and reptiles. The accumulations of bones in caverns at Wellington, New South Wales, and on the rivers Colo, Macleay, and Coodradigbee, are of great interest. A femur bone of the diuornis, the gigantic extinct bird of New Zealand, has been discovered in the drift on Peak Downs in eastern Australia, at the depth of 188 feet ; and this would lead to the belief that land once existed where now the Pacific Ocean separates by a thousand miles two countries of Australasia, whose present animal and vege table races have so little in common.
Minerals. The useful and precious metals exist in considerable quantities in each of the five provinces of Australia. New South Wales has abundance of gold, copper, iron, and coal, as well as silver, lead, and tin. The mineral riches of Victoria, though almost confined to gold, have been the main cause of her rapid progress. South Australia possesses the most valuable copper mines. Queensland ranks next to the last-named province for cop^- per, and excels her neighbours in the production of tin, while gold, iron, and coal are also found in considerable quantities. In Western Australia mines of lead, silver, and copper have been opened ; and there is much ironstone. The discovery of gold in New South Wales and Victoria took place in 1851, and during the next twenty years Vic toria exported 40,750,000 oz. of the precious metal, while New South Wales, from 1851 to 1871, exported nearly 10,000,000 ounces. The Queensland gold mines, since 1860, have displayed increasing promise; up to the end of 1872 they had yielded rather less than 1,000,000 ounces ; but much was expected, at a more recent date, from the Palmer River and other districts of the north. The yearly value of the aggregate gold exports of Australia, on the average of fifteen years, has been 10,000,000. Vic toria alone has produced gold to the value of 170,000,000. The alluvial gold-fields, in which the early diggers, with the simplest tools, obtained for a short time large quantities of the coveted ore, seem now to be mostly exhausted. It is in the quartz formations of the mountain ranges, or in those at a great depth underground, reached by the sinking of shafts and regular mining operations, that Australian gold is henceforth to be chiefly procured. There are mines in Victoria 1000 feet deep, as at Clunes, and many others from 300 to 600 feet. The copper mines of Burra Burra, in South Australia, proved very profitable some twenty-five years ago, yielding in a twelvemonth ore to the value of 350,000, and the Moonta mines, in 1872, were scarcely less productive. The province of South Australia, in that year, exported copper to the amount of 800,000. Queensland, in 1873, produced one-fourth that quantity. Tin, an article of great mercantile interest, is divided between Queensland and New South Wales in a frontier district, two-thirds of the extent of which belongs to the Darling Downs, within the last-mentioned province. There is a little tin, also, in some parts of Victoria. Lead, silver, and cinnabar have been obtained not only in New South Wales, but likewise in Western Australia. The abundance of good iron ore, in convenient vicinity to thick beds of excellent coal, ensures a future career of manufacturing prosperity to New South Wales, and not less to Queensland. The country north and south of Syd ney, and west of that city 100 miles inland to the dividing range of mountains, is all of Carboniferous formation. At the mouth of the Hunter River, from the port and town of Newcastle, coal was exported in 1873 to the value of 1,000,000 sterling. The collieries there taken up have an extent of 35,000 acres, but the area of the coal-field is officially estimated at 10,000,000 acres, and the seams are 9 feet to 1 1 feet thick. The quality of this coal is said to be equal to that of Great Britain for most furnace pur poses, and it is generally used by steamships in the Pacific and Chinese navigation. Next in importance are the Wollongong collieries, south of Sydney, and those ef Hartley, Maitland, and Berrima, now connected by railway v.ith the capital. In each of the places above named there is iron of a superior quality, the working of which to advantage cannot be long delayed. On the lllawarra coast it is found close to the finest bituminous coal, and to limestone. The iron of New South Wales is mostly haematite, and the ironstone contains from 60 to 70 per cent, of ore. Among other mineral products of the same region are cannel coal and shale yielding kerosene oil. This is a re cognised article of export from New South Wales to the other colonies. It is hardly worth while to speak of dia monds, opals, and precious stones, but they are often picked up, though of small size, along the Mudgee and Aber- crombie Rivers, and at Beechworth and Daylesford, in Vic toria.
Climate. The Australian continent, extending over 28 of latitude, might be expected to show a consider able diversity of climate. In reality, however, it experi ences fewer climatic variations than the other great con tinents, owing to its distance (28) from the Antarctic circle and (ll c ) from the equator. There is, besides, a powerful determining cause in the uniform character and undivided "extent of its dry interior plain. On this subject Mr Ranken, in his Dominion of Australia, remarks "A basin having its northern portion in the tropics, it acts like an oven under the daily sun. It becomes daily heated ; then its atmosphere expands ; but such is its immensity that no sufficient supply of moist sea air from the neigh bouring oceans can reach it, to supply the vacancy caused by this expansion. Of an almost perfectly flat surface, there is no play for currents of air upon it; only the heat is daily absorbed and nightly radiated. Such is the heat, that in the summer the soil is more like a fire than an oven ; the air, if it moves, is Like a furnace-blast ; and such its ex tent and sameness, that as great heat may prevail hundreds of miles south as north of the tropics." This continual radiation of heat is sometimes relieved though not with the regularity of an annual season, indeed rather at uncer tain intervals of several years by the admission of masses of vapour, drawn in from the Pacific or the Indian Ocean. Great masses of clouds, after labouring many months to reach the interior from the sea, succeed in passing over the sea-bound mountains, and spread themselves in floods of rain upon the inland country. The north-west shore, and that of Carpentaria, are favoured with an annual visitation of the monsoons, from December to March, penetrating as far as 500 miles into the continent, where the sands of the desert are driven in wavy heaps by the force of this wind. But South Australia, though it feels a cool sea breeze from the south-west, gets little rain, for lack of any mountain range parallel with the coast to arrest and condense the passing vapours. The yearly rainfall at Adelaide and Gawler is therefore not more than 15 or 20 inches, while at the head of Spencer Gulf it is but 6 or 8. In Victoria and in New South Wales, on the contrary, where a wall of mountain fronts the ocean, most places on the sea-board enjoy a fair allowance of rain. It is 32 inches at Portland, nearly 26 inches at Melbourne ; at Sydney and Newcastle, on the east coast, as much as 48 and 44 inches in the year. But at Brisbane, in Queensland, farther north, it amounts to 50 inches ; at Rockingham Bay, in latitude 18 S., where the hills are covered with dense forests, the rainfall in 1871 was no less than 90 inches. In every part, however, of this magnificent highland region, the supply of moisture is rapidly diminished by passing inland ; so that very little remains to fall on the interior or western slopes of the coast ranges, and to irrigate the interior plains. With regard to the temperature, the northern regions of the continent being situated within the tropic of Capricorn,
resemble the parts of South America and South Africa, that are situated in corresponding latitudes. The sea ward districts of New South Wales seem in this respect to be like Southern Europe. The mean annual tempera ture of Sydney is 62 4 Fahr., almost equal to that of Lisbon in Portugal. The inland plains of this colony, how ever, west of the Blue Mountains, which suffer much from evaporation, experience in summer a heat which rises to 100 Fahr. in the shade, and sometimes as high as 140. There are highland districts, on the contrary, such as Kiandra, 4640 feet above the sea-level, where frost, snow, and hail are endured through the winter. On the Australian Alps, cold being more intense in the dry air, the limit of perpetual snow comes down to 7145 feet. The days on which rain falls in the coast regions of New South Wales average from 100 to 150 in the year, and the amount from 20 inches to 50 inches, decreasing generally farther inland. In winter, in New South Wales, the prevalent winds blow from the west, with occasional storms of wind and rain from the eastward ; while the autumn months have much cloudy weather, not accompanied by rain. January and February are the hottest months of summer, and July the coldest month of winter. With regard to the climate of Victoria, Mr Robert Ellery, Government astronomer at Melbourne, in his report of 1872, furnishes exact information. The mean annual temperature at Melbourne during fourteen years was 57 6, and that of the whole province 5 6 8, including stations 2000 feet or 1400 feet above the sea-level at Daylesford and Ballarat. This is equivalent to the mean annual temperature of Marseilles and Florence, in the northern hemisphere, but the climate of Melbourne is much more equable than that of the Mediterranean shores. The lowest temperature yet recorded has been 27, or 5 below the freezing point; the highest, 111 in the shade, occurring during one of the hot winds, called " brickfielders," which, loaded with dust, occasionally blow for a few hours in summer. At Sandhurst, 778 feet above the sea, the greatest extremes of temperature yet observed were 117 and 27 5; at Ballarat the extreme of winter cold was 10 below freezing. The amount of humidity in the air is liable to great and rapid variations in the summer months. It is some times reduced as much as 60 per cent, within a few hours, by the effect of hot dry winds. But this is com pensated by an access of moisture upon a change of wind. The annual average rainfall at Melbourne, which for thirty years is stated at 25 66 inches, does not seem less than that of places in similar latitudes in other parts of the world. Yet it proves inadequate, because of the great amount of evaporation, estimated by Professor Neumayer at 42 inches. The spring season in Victoria, consisting of the months of September, October, and November, is genial and pleasant, with some rain. The summer December, January, and February is generally hot and dry, though its first month is sometimes broken by storms of cold wind and heavy rain. In February the north winds assume the character of siroccos, and bush-fires often devastate the grassy plains and forests of the inland country. The autumn months March, April, and May are, in general, the most agreeable; and at this season vegetable life is refreshed, and puts forth a growth equal to that of the spring. The winter is June, July, and August, with strong, dry, cold winds from the north, alternating with frequent rain from the opposite quarter ; there is little ice or snow, except in the mountain districts.
Botany. A probable computation of the whole number of distinct vegetable species indigenous to Australia and Tasmania has been made by Baron Ferdinand von Miiller, the Government botanist at Melbourne. He believes that, omitting the minute fungi, there will not be found above 10,000 species of Australian plants. The standard authority upon this subject, so far as it could be known sixty years ago, but now requiring to be completed and extended, was HQ Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandice, published in 1810 by Mr Robert Brown of the British Museum. Besides making personal observations from 1802 to 1805, he had classified the collections procured by Sir Joseph Banks when Captain Cook s ship visited the eastern shore. Upon that occasion, in 1769, the name of Botany Bay was given to an inlet near Port Jackson, from the variety of new specimens found there. Baron von Miiller s Report of 1857 on the researches made by him alone in the North Australian exploring expedition under Mr Gregory, exhibits 2000 new species, representing more than 800 genera, which belong to 160 different orders. He could discover no new natural order, or fundamental form of the vegetable king dom, in a minute examination of the flora of Arnhem Land, the country around the Gulf of Carpentaria, and the Victoria River, but 60 genera were found that had not been noticed by any earlier Australian botanist. The eastern parts of this continent, New South Wales and Queensland, are very much richer, both in their botany and in their zoology, than any other parts of Australia. Much was done here for the former science, half a century ago, by Mr Allan Cunningham, whose monumental obelisk fitly stands in the Botanic Garden at Sydney. In general, the growth of trees on the north and north-west coasts is wanting in size and regularity, compared with their growth in eastern Australia. To the last-mentioned region, for instance, the pines are entirely confined ; here the Moreton Bay pine, and Bunya Bunya pine, of the genus Araucaria, growing to 150 feet in height, yield excellent timber. The red cedar, the iron bark, the blue gum-tree, and others useful to the carpenter, belong likewise to the eastern highlands. The Casuarina, or she-oak, is found on the shores of Carpentaria and in the interior, but not on the banks of the Victoria River to the north-west. Of the Eucalyptus, or gum-tree, Australia has 400 species; but the one most uniformly distributed is the Eucalyptus rostrata or acuminata, called the flooded gum-tree ; its timber is durable, and takes a fine polish. Rosewood, tulip-wood, sandal-wood, and satin-wood, with other materials for the cabinetmaker s ornamental work, abound in the forests of Queensland. The forest scenery of the more northerly districts, within the tropics, and onwards to Rockingham Bay, is described as of great luxuriance. It consists of many kinds of large umbrageous trees, some of an Indian type, intermixed with noble araucarias, all matted together in an impervious thicket by lianes of the convolvulus, the calamus, and other plants, climbing or pendent, harbouring in their shade many parasitical orchids and ferns. Such forests overhang the seaward sides of the mountain ranges, where they inhale abundant moisture from the winds of the Pacific Ocean, and feed upon a congenial soil from the decomposition of schistose rocks. A striking contrast is offered to the view beyond the coast ranges. The interior of Queensland presents either high land downs of basaltic origin, almost bare of trees, but with abundant herbaceous vegetation, good pasture grass, and an immense quantity of vervain, or the Brigalow scrub, merely shrubs and small trees, on a soil of argillace ous sandstone. The sandstone table-lands, again, naked and dry, produce but a few diminutive eucalypti, and sparse tufts of uneatable grasses, while the inland deserts have only the acacia to break the monotony of the scene. The character of the inland flora adds confirmation to the belief that the interior was formerly a marine soil, which
has not yet been deprived of its saline properties. In the districts farthest removed from the action of fresh water, hundreds of miles are covered with such plants as will grow on the sea-shore, e.g., the mesembryanthemum called pig s face or Hottentot fig. Other species belonging to the coast ward uplands seem to have been conveyed into the interior by the action of water, as the belts of timber, and of pine or cypress scrub, are always found to extend along the line of direction taken by floods. They grow on sandy ridges, alongside of hollows, or depressed channels. On the north coast, so much of which is flat, and often swampy or sandy, the mangrove flourishes as in other tropical regions. From the extreme aridity of the climate in most parts of northern Australia, there is a singular absence of mosses and lichens. North-west Australia possesses, in the Adan- sonia Gregorii, or gouty-stem tree, a counterpart of the West African baobab, or monkey-bread tree. It is worthy of remark that, with a few exceptions, the Australian trees are evergreens. They also show a peculiar reverted position of their leaves, which hang vertically, turning their edges instead of their sides towards the sun; and the eucalypti have the peculiarity of shedding their bark annually instead of their leaves. In Australia the native species of lily, tulip, and honeysuckle appear as standard trees of considerable size. The native grasses do not form a continuous and even greensward, as in Europe, but grow in detached clumps or tufts. None of the cereal plants are indigenous, and very few of the fruits or roots that supply human fcod; but many Australian plants are likely to be valuable for medicinal or chemical manufactures. This continent, as might be expected, has some of the same botanical families that occupy South Africa, Poly nesia, and South America. Its relations in that respect to Europe are shown by Alphonse de Candolle s tabular statements in the Geographic Botanique Eaisonnee. He gives the exact number of species common to Australia and to France in each of the principal families or natural orders. It appears that of 3614 species of phanerogamic plants in France, only 45 belong to Australia. But it will be sufficient, without citing the numerical details, to quote Baron von Muller s list of the natural orders having the most numerous species of indigenous growth in South Australia. They are here arranged in succession, according to their comparative amounts of specific diver sity, those which have the greatest number of species being mentioned first. Of the phanerogamic series, the legumin ous and the composite families united form nearly one- fourth. Indeed, the half of the dicotyledonous plants, or exogens, that exist in the sub-tropical districts belong to these two orders. Next come the myrtaceous plants, the ferns, and the grasses ; the Proteacese, which form a conspicuous feature of Australian botany; the Orchidacese, the epacrid family, and the parsley family, or Umbelliferse; the Diosmeee, a sub-order of the Rutacese or rue family; the Liliacese, the Labiatae or mint family, the Goodenice, the Scrophulariacese or figworts, and the Salsolaceag. The Ranuncuiacese, the geranium family, the rosaceous plants, and the epacrid group, are not found in Australia north of the tropical line.
Animals. The zoology of Australia and Tasmania pre sents a very conspicuous point of difference from that of other regions of the globe, in the prevalence of non-placental mammalia. The vast majority of the mammalia are pro vided with an organ in the uterus, by which, before the birth of their young, a vascular connection is maintained between the embryo and the parent animal. There are two orders, the Marsupialia and the Monotrernata, which do not possess this organ. Both these are found in Australia, to which region indeed they are not absolutely confined ; but the marsupials alone constitute two-thirds of all the Australian species of mammals. It is the well-known peculiarity of this order that the female has a pouch or fold of skin upon her abdomen, in which she can place the young for suckling within reach of her teats. The opossum of America is the only species out of Australasia which is thus provided. Australia is inhabited by at least 110 different species of marsupials, which have been arranged in five tribes, according to the food they eat, viz., the root- eaters (wombats), the fruit-eaters (phalangers), the grass- eaters (kangaroos), the insect-eaters (bandicoots), and the flesh-eaters (native cats and rats). Of these tribes the wombats are closely allied to the phalangers, represented by the opossums and flying squirrels, with the native bear, while fossil remains of twenty extinct species have also been found. Of wombats now existing there are four species, all of nearly the same size, seldom exceeding 100 tt> in weight. They all burrow in the ground, and their habitat is in New South Wales, Tasmania, and South Australia. There is but one species of the singular animal miscalled the native bear, which is more like a sloth in its habits. Three varieties of brush-tailed opossum are found, but one of them exists only in Tasmania ; and there are three ring- tailed varieties in almost every part of Australia. The great flying phalanger (Petaurista) is nearly allied to the last-mentioned genus ; it exists only in East Australia ; as does the small flying phalanger (Belideus), which is re stricted to mountain districts. The interior of Australia and the west coast are wanting in these species, but two or three of them occur on the north coast. The smallest phalanger (Acrobata jiygmcea) is less than a mouse, and has a feathery tail. The little Tarsipes rostratus is almost toothless, but has a long hairy tongue, which it thrusts into flowers to suck their sweetness. The kangaroo (Macropus) and most of its congeners show an extraordinary disproportion of the hind limbs to the fore part of the body. The rock wallabies again have short tarsi of the hind legs, with a long pliable tail for climbing, like that of the tree kangaroo of New Guinea, or that of the jerboa. Of the larger kangaroos, which attain a weight of 200 S> and more, eight species are named, only one of which is found in West Australia. There are some twenty smaller species in Australia and Tasmania, besides the rock wallabies and the hare kangaroos ; these last are wonderfully swift, making clear jumps eight or ten feet high. To this agility they owe their preservation from the prairie fires, which are so destructive in the interior during seasons of drought. In the rat kangaroo there is not the same disproportion of the limbs ; it approaches more nearly to the bandicoot, of which seven species exist, from the size of a rat to that of a rabbit. The carnivorous tribe of marsupials, the larger species at any rate, belong more to Tasmania, which has its "tiger" and its "devil." But the native cat, or dasyurus, is common to every part of Australia. Several different species of pouched rats and mice, one or two living in trees, are reckoned among the flesh-eaters. Fossil bones of extinct kangaroo species are met with, which must have been of enormous size, twice or thrice that of any species now living. We pass on to the other curious order of non-placental mammals, that of the Monotremata, so called from the structure of their organs of evacuation with a single orifice, as in birds. Their abdominal bones are like those of the marsupials ; and they are furnished with pouches for their young, but have no teats, the milk being distilled into their pouches from the mammary glands. Australia and Tasmania possess two animals of this order, the echidna, or spiny ant-eater (hairy in Tasmania), and the Platypus anatinus, the duck-billed water-mole, otherwise named the Ornithorhynclius paradoxiis. This odd animal is provided
with a bill or beak, which is not, like that of a bird, affixed to the skeleton, but is merely attached to the skin and muscles. Australia has no apes, monkeys, or baboons, and no rumi nant beasts. The comparatively few indigenous placental mammals, besides the dingo, or wild dog which, however, may have come from the islands north of this continent are of the bat tribe and of the rodent or rat tribe. There are four species of large fruit-eating bats, called flying foxes, twenty of insect-eating bats, above twenty of land-rats, and five of water-rats. The sea produces three different seals, which often ascend rivers from the coast, and can live in lagoons of fresh water ; many cetaceans, besides the " right whale " and sperm whale ; and the dugong, found on the northern shores, which yields a valuable medicinal oil. The birds of Australia in their number and variety of species (reckoned at 690) may be deemed some compensa tion for its poverty of mammals ; yet it will not stand com parison in this respect with regions of Africa and South America in the same latitudes. The black swan of West Australia was thought remarkable when discovered as belying an old Latin proverb. There is also a white eagle. The vulture is wanting. Sixty species of parrots, some of them very handsome, are found in Australia. The emu, a large bird of the order Cursores, or runners, corresponds with the African and Arabian ostrich, the rhea of South America, and the cassowary of the Moluccas and New Guinea. In New Zealand this order is represented by the apteryx, as it formerly was by the gigantic moa, the remains of which have been found likewise in Queensland. Of the same species as the birds of paradise is the graceful Mcenura superba, or lyre bird, with its tail feathers spread in the shape of a lyre. The mound-raising megapodes, the bower- building satin-birds, and several others, display peculiar habits. The honey-eaters present a great diversity of plumage. There are also many kinds of game birds, pigeons, ducks, geese, plovers, and quails. The ornithology of New South Wales and Queensland is more varied and interesting than that of the other pro vinces. As for reptiles, Australia has a few tortoises, all of one family, and not of great size. The "leathery turtle," which is herbivorous, and , yields abundance of oil, has been caught at sea off the Illawarra coast so large as 9 feet in length. The saurians or lizards are numerous, chiefly on dry sandy or rocky ground in the tropical region. The great crocodile of Queensland is 30 feet long ; there is a smaller one, 6 feet long, to be met with in the shallow lagoons of the interior. The monitor, or fork-tongued lizard, which burrows in the earth, climbs, and swims, is said to grow to a length of 8 or 9 feet. This species, and many others, do not extend to Tasmania. There are about twenty kinds of night-lizards, and many which hibernate. One species can utter a cry when pained or alarmed, and the tall-standing frilled lizard can lift its forelegs, and squat or hop like a kangaroo. There is also the Moloch horridus of South and West Australia, covered with tuber cles bearing large spines, which give it a very strange aspect. This and some other lizards have power to change their colour, not only from light to dark, but in some parts from yellow to grey or red. Dr Gray, of the British Museum, has described fifty species of Australian lizard. The snakes are reckoned at sixty-three species, of which forty-two are venomous, but only five dangerous North Queensland has many harmless pythons. There are forty or fifty different sorts of frogs ; the commonest is distin guished by its blue legs and bronze or gold back; the largest is bright green ; while the tree-frog has a loud shrill voice, always heard during rain. The Australian seas and rivers are inhabited by many fishes of the same genera as exist in the southern parts of Asia and Africa. Of those peculiar to Australian waters may be mentioned the arripis, represented by what is called among the colonists a salmon trout. A very fine fresh water fish is the Murray cod, which sometimes weighs 100 Ib ; and the golden perch, found in the same river, has rare beauty of colour. Among the sea fish, the snapper is of great value as an article of food, and its weight comes up to 50 5). This is the Pagrus unicolor, of the family of Sparidae, which includes also the bream. Its colours are beautiful, pink and red with a silvery gloss ; but the male as it grows old takes on a singular deformity of the head, with a swelling in the shape of a monstrous human-like nose. These fish are caught in numbers outside Port Jackson for the Sydney market. Two species of mackerel, differing somewhat from the European species, are also caught on the coasts. The so-called red garnet, a pretty fish, with hues of carmine and blue stripes on its head, is much esteemed for the table. The Trigla polyommata, or flying garnet, is a greater beauty, with its body of crimson and silver, and its large pectoral fins, spread like wings, of a rich green, bordered with purple, and relieved by a black and white spot. Whiting, mullet, gar-fish, rock cod, and many others known by local names, are in the lists of edible fishes belonging to New South Wales and Victoria. Much interesting and valuable information upon Australian zoology will be found in a recent essay by Mr Gerard Krefft, curator and secretary of the museum at Sydney, and in the Count de Castelnau s report on the fishes of Victoria at the International Exhibition of 1873.
Aborigines. The Papuan, Melanesian, or Australasian aborigines exhibit certain peculiarities which are not found in the African negro, to which race they otherwise present some similarity. In the Australasian the forehead is higher, the under jaw less projecting, the nose, though flat and extended compared with that of the European, is less depressed than in the African. His lips are thick, but not protuberant; and the eyes are sunken, large, and black. The colour of his skin is lighter of a dusky hue than that of the Negro. In stature he equals the average European, but tall men are rare, except in North Queens land ; his body and limbs are well shaped, strongly jointed, and highly muscular. The hind parts are not, as in the African, excessively raised ; and while the calf of the leg is deficient, the heel is straight. The natives of Papua have woolly spirally-twisted hair. Those of Tasmania, now exter minated, had the same peculiarity. But the natives of the Australian continent have straight or curly black hair. The men wear short beards and whiskers. Their mental faculties, though probably inferior to those of the Polynesian copper-coloured race, are not contemptible. They have much acuteness of perception for the relations of individual objects, but little power of generalisation. No word exists in their language for the general terms tree, bird, or fish ; yet they have invented a name for every species of vegetable and animal they know. The grammatical structure of some North Australian languages has a considerable degree of refinement. The verb presents a variety of conjugations, expressing nearly all the moods and tenses of the Greek. There is a dual, as well as a plural form in the declension of verbs, nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. The distinction of genders is not marked, except in proper names of men and women. All parts of speech, except adverbs, are declined by terminational inflec tions. There are words for the elementary numbers, one, two, three; but "four" is usually expressed by "two- two;" then "five" by "two-three," and so on. They have no idea of decimals. The number and diversity of separate languages, not mere dialects, is truly bewilder ing. Tribes of a few hundred people, living within a few
miles of each other, have often scarcely a phrase in com mon. This is more especially observed in Xew South Wales, a country much intersected by dividing mountain ranges. But one language is spoken all along the Pavers Murray and Darling, while the next neighbours of the Murray tribes, on both sides, are unable to converse with them. It is, nevertheless, tolerably certain that all the natives of Australia belong to one stock. There appears reason to believe that their progenitors originally landed on the north-west coast, that of Cambridge Gulf or Aruhem Land, in canoes drifting from the island of Timor. They seem then to have advanced over the continent in three separate directions. By one route they moved, in the course of ages, directly across to the south coast, near the head of the Great Bight, Spencer Gulf, and the Gulf of St Vincent. Another division followed the west coast to Swan Paver, and round by King George s Sound. The third and most important body, turning eastward, crossed the head of the Gulf of Carpentaria, then split and sub divided itself amidst the rivers and highland ranges of Queensland, while some of its tribes crossing the Upper Darling occupied New South Wales, overspread the Riverina, and peopled the south-eastern quarter of Aus tralia. The proofs and arguments upon which this hypo thetical distribution is based are set forth by Mr Eyre in his interesting essay on the Australian aborigines (Dis coveries in Central Australia, &c., by E. J. Eyre, resident magistrate, Murray River, vol. ii.) It is chiefly the pre valence of some peculiar customs, such as circumcision, or the removal of two upper-jaw teeth at a stated age of adolescence, that seems to mark the common descent of tribes, now widely distant in location, which appear to have belonged to one of the supposed main streams of population. The discontinuance of such customs among the tribes of the other main divisions is plausibly ascribed to local influences. From a comparison of their languages, the diversities of which have been already referred to, it appears that little aid is to be expected from them in ethno logical grouping. The natives of the north-eastern quarter a tropical region of diversified surface, with many rivers and thick forests, as well as open highlands are far superior in body, mind, and social habits to those of the rest of Australia. They bear, in fact, most resemblance to their rfeighbours and kindred in the island of Xew Guinea, but are still below these in many important respects. If a general view be taken of the tribes of Australia, and the state in which they existed independently of recent Euro pean intercourse, two or three extraordinary defects exhibit themselves. They never, in any situation, cultivated the soil for any kind of food-crop. They never reared any kind of cattle, or kept any domesticated animal except the dog, which probably came over with them in their canoes. They have nowhere built permanent dwellings, but con tented themselves with mere hovels for temporary shelter. They have neither manufactured nor possessed any chattels beyond such articles of clothing, weapons, ornaments, and utensils as they might carry on their persons, or in the family store-bag for daily use. Their want of ingenuity and contrivance has, however, undoubtedly been promoted by the natural poverty of the land in which the race settled. The sole dress of both sexes in their aboriginal state is a cloak of skin or matting, fastened with a skewer, but open on the right-hand side. Xo headgear is worn, except sometimes a net to confine the hair, a bunch of feathers, or the tails of small animals. The bosom or back is usually tattoed, or rather scored with rows of hideous raised scars, produced by deep gashes at the age when youth comes to manhood or womanhood. Their dwellings, for the most part, are either bowers, formed of the branches of trees, or hovels of piled logs, loosely covered with grass or bark, which they can erect in an hour, wherever they encamp. But some huts of a more commodious and substantial form were seen by Flinders on the south-east coast in 1799, and by Captain King and Sir J. Mitchell on the north-east, where they no longer appear. The ingenuity of the race is mostly to be recognised in the manufacture of their weapons of warfare and the chase. While the use of the bow and arrow does not seem to have occurred to them, the spear and axe are in general use, commonly made of hard- wood ; the hatchets of stone, and the javelins pointed with stone or bone. The peculiar weapon of the Australian is the boomerang, a curved blade of wood, of such remark able construction, that it swerves from its direct course, sometimes returning so as to hit an object behind the thrower. Their nets, made by women, either of the ten dons of animals or the fibres of plants, will catch and hold the strong kangaroo or the emu, or the very large fish of Australian rivers. Canoes of bent bark, for the inland waters, are hastily prepared at need ; but the inlets and straits of the north-eastern sea-coast are navigated by larger canoes and rafts of a better construction. Without claiming permanent ownership of the land, each native tribe was accustomed, till the English squatter came, to enjoy the recognised manorial dominion of its own hunting-ground, perhaps ten or twelve miles square. This was subdivided between the chief heads of families. The affairs of a tribe are ruled by a council of the men past middle age who are still in full vigour of mind and body. One may be their president, but they have no hereditary prince. Their most solemn assemblies take place when the youth undergo one or other of the painful ceremonies of ini tiation into manhood. In every case of death from disease or unknown causes the sorcerers hold a public inquest, and pretend to ask the corpse how it was killed. Such deaths are invariably ascribed to witchcraft practised by a hostile or envious neighbouring tribe. The bodies of the slain in battle are sometimes eaten, or the fat of the kidneys, at least, is extracted for a feast of victory. But cannibalism in Australia is not confined to the flesh of enemies, nor is it generally associated with an insulting triumph. It is rather, like that reported of the ancient Scythians, a rite of funeral observance, in honour of deceased kindred and friends. The reality of this custom is proved by the testi mony of trustworthy English witnesses, who have watched the revolting act. The only idea of a god known to be enter tained by these people, is that of Buddai, a gigantic old man lying asleep for ages, with his head resting upon his arm, which is deep in the sand. He is expected one day to awake and eat up the world. They have no religion beyond those gloomy dreams. Their notions of duty relate mostly to neighbourly service and social interest ; and they are not all thieves or liars, but are capable of many good deeds. The marriage bond is observed by the wife or wives, the penalty of its violation being death. But chastity upon any other account is a virtue beyond the native conception, though a certain delicacy of feeling in matters of sex is not unknown. The deplorable lack of moral restraint has involved this unhappy race in sufferings which may be easily under stood, from their contact with the more reckless and vicious representatives of foreign nations. The numbers of the native Australians are steadily diminishing. A remnant of the race exists in each of the provinces, while a few tribes still wander over the interior. Altogether it is computed that not more than about 80,000 aborigines remain on the continent. Perhaps the most complete and trustworthy informa tion on the Australian race is to be found in works pub lished some twenty or thirty years ago, before the country III. i =
was occupied as it now is by the European settler. Mr Eyre s work above referred to, and Captain (afterwards Sir George) Grey s Discoveries in North-West and Western Australia, are authorities that may be relied upon.
Colonial History. -Of the five Australian provinces, that of New South Wales may be reckoned the oldest. It was in 1788, eighteen years after Captain Cook explored the east coast, that Port Jackson was founded as a penal station for criminals from England; and the settlement retained that character, more or less, during the subsequent fifty years, transportation being virtually suspended in 1839. The colony, however, from 1821 had made a fail- start in free industrial progress. By this time, too, several of the other provinces had come into existence. Van Diemen s Land, now called Tasmania, had been occupied as early as 1803. It was an auxiliary penal station under New South Wales, till in 1825 it became a separate province. From this island, ten years later, parties crossed Bass s Straits to Port Phillip, where a new settlement was shortly established, forming till 1851 a part of New South Wales, but now the richer and more populous colony of Victoria. In 1827 and 1829, an English company endeavoured to plant a settlement at the Swan River, and this, added to a small convict station established in 1825 at King George s Sound, constituted Western Australia. On the shores of the Gulf St Vincent, again, from 1835 to 1837, South Australia was created by another joint-stock company, as an experiment in the Wake- field scheme of colonisation. Such were the political component parts of British Australia up to 1839. The earlier history, therefore, of New South Wales is peculiar to itself. Unlike the other mainland provinces, it was at first held and used chiefly for the reception of British convicts. When that system was abolished, the social conditions of New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia became more equal Pre vious to the gold discoveries of 1851 they may be included, from 1839, in a general summary view. The first British governors at Sydney, from 1788, ruled with despotic power. They were naval or military officers in command of the garrison, the convicts, and the few free settlers The duty was performed by such men as Captain Arthur Phillip, Captain Hunter, and others. In the twelve years rule of General Macquarie, closing with 1821, the colony made a substantial advance. By means of con vict labour roads and bridges were constructed, and a route opened into the interior beyond the Blue Mountains. A population of 30,000, three-fourths of them convicts, formed the infant commonwealth, whose attention was soon directed to the profitable trade of rearing fine wool sheep, first commenced by Mr John M Arthur in 1803. During the next ten years, 1821-31, Sir Thomas Bris bane and Sir Ralph Darling, two generals of the army, being successively governors, the colony increased, and eventually succeeded in obtaining the advantages of a representative institution, by means of a legislative council. Then came General Sir Richard Bourke, whose wise and liberal administration proved most beneficial. New South Wales became prosperous and attractive to emigrants with capital. Its enterprising ambition was encouraged by taking fresh country north and south. In the latter direc tion, explored by Mitchell in 1834 and 1836, lay Australia Felix, now Victoria, including the well-watered, thickly- wooded country of Gipps Land. This district, then called Port Phillip, in the time of Governor Sir George Gipps, 1838 to 1846, was growing fast into a position claiming independence. Melbourne, which began with a few huts on the banks of the Yarra-Yarra in 1835, was in 1840 a busy town of 6000 inhabitants, the population of the whole district, with the towns of Geelong and Portland, reaching 12,850; while its import trade amounted to 204,000, audits exports to 138,000. Such was the growth of infant Victoria in five years ; that of Adelaide or South Australia, in the same period, was nearly equal to it. At Melbourne there was a deputy governor, Mr Latrobe, under Sir George Gipps at Sydney. Adelaide had its own governors, first Captain Hindmarsh, next Colonel Gawler, and then Captain George Grey. Western Australia progressed but slowly, with less than 4000 inhabitants altogether, under Governors Stirling and Hutt. The general advancement of Australia, to the era of the gold-mining, had been satisfactory, in spite of a severe commercial crisis, from 1841 to 1843, caused by extrava gant land speculations and inflated prices. Victoria pro duced already more wool than New South Wales, the aggregate produce of Australia in 1852 being 45,000,000 Ib ; and South Australia, between 1842 and this date, had opened most valuable mines of copper. The population of New South Wales in 1851 was 190,000; that of Victoria, 77,000; and that of South Australia about the same. At Summerhill Creek, 20 miles north of Bathurst, in the Macquarie plains, gold was discovered, in February 1851, by Mr E. Hargraves, a gold-miner from California, The intelligence was made known in April or May ; and then began a rush of thousands, men leaving their former employments in the bush or in the towns to search for the ore so greatly coveted in all ages. In August it was found at Anderson s Creek, near Melbourne ; a few weeks later the great Ballarat gold-field, 80 miles west of that city, was opened; and after that, Bendigo, now called Sandhurst, to the north. Not only in these lucky pro vinces, New South Wales and Victoria, where the auri ferous deposits were revealed, but in every British colony of Australasia, all ordinary industry was left for the one exciting pursuit. The copper mines of South Australia were for the time deserted, while Tasmania and New Zea land lost many inhabitants, who emigrated to the more promising country. The disturbance of social, industrial, and commercial affairs, during the first two or three years of the gold era, was very great. Immigrants from Europe, and to some extent from North America and China, poured into Melbourne, where the arrivals in 1852 averaged 2000 persons in a week. The population of Victoria was doubled in the first twelvemonth of the gold fever, and the value of imports and exports was multiplied tenfold between 1851 and 1853. The colony of Victoria was constituted a separate pro vince in July 1851, Mr Latrobe being appointed governor, followed by Sir Charles Hotham and Sir Henry Barkly in succession. The more rapid increase of Victoria since that time, in wealth and number of inhabitants, has gained it a pre-eminence in the esteem of emigrants ; but the varied resources of New South Wales, and its greater extent of territory, may in some degree tend to redress the balance, if not to restore the character of superior importance to the older colony. The separation of the northern part of eastern Australia, under the name of Queensland, from the original province of New South Wales, took place in 1859. At that time the i district contained about 25,000 inhabitants; and in the first six years (as Sk George Bowen, the first governor, observed in 1865) its population was quadrupled and its trade trebled. It appears, from a general view of Australian progress in the last twenty years, that the provinces less rich in gold than Victoria have been enabled to advance in prosperity by other means. Wool continues the great staple of Aus tralia. But New South Wales, possessing both coal and iron, is becoming a seat of manufactures ; while Queens- [Plate III. Austria-Hungary.] land is also favoured with much mineral wealth, including tin. The semi-tropical climate of the latter colony is suit able for the culture of particular crops, needing only a supply of other than European labour. Meantime South Australia, besides its production of copper and a fair share of wool, has become the great wheat-growing province of the continent. The separate colonies of Australia are still in a some what transitional state, emigration being so continuous, and the country to be yet occupied so extensive. For this and for other reasons, therefore, it may be more fitting to describe the several colonies, with respect to their industrial and social conditions, under their respective names. To enable the reader, however, to judge of the general position of the provinces at a recent date, the following statistics are appended:—
|Name of Colony.||Estimated Population at close of 1873.||Revenue of 1873.||Public Debt on Dec. 31, 1873.||Value of Imports for 1873.||Value of Exports for 1973.|
|New South Wales||560,275||3,324,713||10,842,415||11,088,388||11,815,829|
|Total for Australian Colonies||1,825,692||9,754,671||31,762,487||35,738,295||36,407,428|