Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/750

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733
QUEENSLAND

impermeable cover over the subterranean stores of water, which maintain the flowing wells of central Australia. The Rolling Downs formation underlies the whole of the Western Plains of Queensland, from the foot of the Queensland Highlands, westward to the Barklay Tableland; and it extends from the Gulf of Carpentaria on the north, across the state into South Australia and New South Wales. The Desert Sandstone overlies the Rolling Downs formation. Its age is shown to be Upper Cretaceous by some marine fossils from Ma borough and Croydon, which are said to be from rocks interbedltfed in it. In the interior, the Desert Sandstone is entirely of terrestrial and lacustrine origin, and the only fossils are obscure plant remains and the silicified trunks of trees. Glossopteris has been collected on Betts Creek from a rock identified as Desert Sandstone, which is said to overlie the Rolling Downs formation; but there is probably some mistake in the stratigraphy, as Glossopterfis is only found in Coal Measures which are clearly of Palaeozoic age. If it had survived into the Cretaceous, some specimens of it would doubtless have been obtained from the coal seams of the Lower Mesozoic. The Desert Sandstone once covered nearly three quarters of Queensland, having a wider range than the Rolling Downs formation. It was formed partly on land, partly in freshwater lakes and partly in arms'of the sea, as at Croydon and Maryborough. There is no trace of volcanic rocks in this period, and the vitreous surface of the Desert Sandstone is due to the deposition of efflorescent chert. The Desert Sandstone formation has now been weathered into isolated plateaus and tent-shaped hills. The Cainozoic group includes many volcanic rocks, mainly sheets of basalt, as at Townsville and Hughenden. Near l-lerberton, between the head of the Burdekin and the Einasleigh River, the basalts occupy 2000 sq. m. of country. Their age appears to be Oligocene, as they probably correspond with the oldest Cainozoic basalts of Victoria. Volcanic rocks of a later period occur north of Cooktown, and in the Einasleigh River, where the eruptive centres are recognizable; and a series of hot springs, some of which are described as geysers, represent the last stage of volcanic activity. The most important Cainozoic sedimentary rocks are the bone breccias, made up of bones of extinct marsupials, such as Diprotodon, T hylacoleo and giant Kangaroos. They appear to have been bogged in the mud by drying water holes, during droughts. The bones also occur in beds of gravel and sand, and they have been found in places covered by 188 ft. of overlying deposits. Caves occur in the limestones, and on their floors there are beds yielding bones of marsupials and extinct birds; but no well authenticated case of the ancient remains of man has yet been established.

The chief mineral product of Queensland is gold, found in veins in Archean, Palaeozoic and Lower Mesozoic rocks. The most famous gold mines are Mount Morgan, now changing into a copper mine, Charters Towers and Gympie. Tin is found in the fields of l-lerberton, Cooktown and Stannary Hills. Copper occurs near Herberton, Chillagoe and Mungana, coal in southern Queensland in the Upper Carboniferous and Lower Mesozoic deposits. A full account of the geology of Queensland up to 1892 is given in jack and Etheridge's Geology of Queensland. The tectonic geology of the coast-line has been described by E. C. Andrews, and the general geology is described in the numerous valuable publications of the Geological Surve of Queensland. A summary of the mineral resources was issuedy by the Queensland government in 1901. information regarding the artesian water supply is given in the Annual Reports of the Queensland Hydraulic Enwneer. (J. W. G.)

Flora.—The Queensland flora comprehends most of the forms peculiar to Australia, with the addition of about five hundred species belonging to the Indian and Malayan regions. There are no mountain ranges of sufficient altitude to make any appreciable change in the plant-life. Bellenden Ker, the highest mountain in tropical Australia, has a height of only 5200 ft., and the plants growing upon its summit, as well as on the highest parts of the neighbouring mountains, are for the most part similar to those on the low lands in the southern parts of the state, and the plants which may be considered as peculiar to these heights are few in number of species.” They consist of a Leptospermum and a (?) Myrtus, which attain a height of about 30 or 40 ft., and have wide spreading, densely leaved heads. The most attractive of the tall shrubs are Dracophyllum Sayeri, of which there are two forms, Rhododendron Lochac and Orites fragrans. A few orchids of small growth are met with, but the only large species known to inhabit these localities is the normal form of Dendrobium speciosum. These high spots have a few ferns peculiar to them, and of others it is the only known Australian habitat; for instance, the pretty whitefronded java Bristle-fern (Trichomanes pallidum) has onl so far in Australia been met on the south peak of Bellenden Kiir; here also Todea Fraseri may be seen with trunks 2 to 3 ft. high. The sides of these mountains are clothed by a dense forest scrub growth, some of the trees being ve tall, but diminishing in height towards the summits. Palms andrfern-trees are plentiful, but the greatest variety are met with at about 4000 ft. altitude. So far this is the only known habitat of that beautiful fern-tree Alsophila Rcbeccae var. commutata, peculiar for the wig-like growth at the summit of its stem, which is formed by the metamorphosed lower pinnae and pinnules.

The Myrtaceous genus Eucalyptus, of which sixty species are found, furnishes the greater part of what is designated “ Hardwoods, ” the kinds being variously termed “ Box, " ' Gum, " “ Ironbark, " “ Bloodwood, " “ Tallow-wood, " “ Stringy-bark, " &c. These are mostly trees of large size. Other large trees of the order which supply hard, durable timber are the broad-leaved teatree (Melaleuca leucadendron and others), “Swamp Mahogany ” (Tristania suaveolens), “ Brisbane Box ” (T. conferta), “ Turpentine " (Syncarpia laurzfolia), “ Peebeen ” (S. Hillii), “ Penda ” (Xanthostemon oppositrfolius). These are most generally cut at sawmills. Other orders, however, furnish equally serviceable, large-sized timber, 'particularly the following:-“ Sour Plum ” (Owenia venosa, Meliaceae), “ Red Cedar " (Cedrela T oona), “ Crow's Ash" (Flindersia austral is, Meliaceae), “Burdekin Plum ” (Pleiogynium Solandri, Anacardiaceae); “ Bean-tree ” (Castanospermum australe, Leguminosae), “ Johnstone River Teak" (Afzelia auslralis, Leguminosae), “ Ringy Rosewood" (Acacia glaucescens, Leguminosae), “ Black Walnut ” (Cryptocarya Palmerstoni, Laurineae), “ Hill's Teak” (Dissiliaria baloghioides). Many trees yield wood particularly adapted for carving and engraving, such as the “Native Pomegranate ” (Capparis nobilis), the “Native Oran e " (Cilrus austral is), " Sour Plum " (Owenia acidula), “ Ivorywoocf ” (Siphonodon australe). Coachbuilders and wheelwrights use the wood of many myrtaceous trees and several others, with Flindersias (Meliaceae), whilst tool-handles are also formed from these and other trees. There is also a large variet of woods suited for cabinetmaking and building. A large number furnish tannin barks, gums, &c. The tannin barks are mostly derived from various kinds of acacia. Three spice barks, locally known as sassafras, are employed for favouring-in the northern parts, Daphnandra aromatzca, a Monimiaceous tree, and Cinnamomum Tamala; and in the southern parts Cinnamomum Oliveri. Many indigenous plants are used in domestic medicines, and several are recognized in the Pharmacopaeia, such as Eucalypts, Cinnamomums, Sideroxylons, Alstonias, Duboisias and Pipers.

With regard to fodder-plants, no country is better furnished; there are many herbs and a large number of salt bushes and other shrubs, which form excellent auxiliaries to the food supply for stock. It is, however, to the grasses that the excellence of the pastures is mainly due. On the extensive plains where the best species abound may be seen a large number of the genus Panicum, of which the following are looked upon with the greatest favour:- “ Vandyke grass, " a form of P. flavidum, “ Cockatoo grass" (P. semialatum), on the roots of which a species of cockatoo, in some parts of North Queensland, feeds; “Barley grass” (P. decompositum and P. distachyum); “Blue grass ” (Andropogon sericeus, /1. pegtusus, A. refract us, and A. erianthoides); “ Russell River grass ” (Pasfalum gglmarra, nearly allied to the South American species P. panicu atum, minutzflorum, and P. brewfolium, Agrogyrum scabrum); “Tall Oat grass ” (Anthistiria avenacea); “ Lands orough grass " (Anthis-Iiria membranacea); Danthonia racemosa, D. pilosa, D. pallida, and D. semi annularis; Sporobolus Benthami, an excellent species found near the Diamantina and Georgina rivers, and S. aclinocladus; Stga aristiglumis, Leptochloa chinensis, Microlaena stipoides; “ arly spring grass" (Eriochloa punctata), with the following “Love grasses”: -Eragrostis Brown-ii, E. chaetophylla, E. 'losa and E. tenella. The “Mitchell grasses ” (Astrebla pectinata and its varieties, viz. the Wheat (trnicoides), the weeping (elymoides) and the curly (curvifolia), are those that have the most extraordinary vitality, but some stockholders consider that the “Sugar grass" or “ Brown Top" (Pallinia fulua) surpasses them in its quickness of bursting into leaf with the first showers of rain. Amongst the fruits are Antidesma Bunius, A. Dallachyanum, A. erostre, A. Ghaesembilla, and A. parvifolium, called cherries or currants according to the size of the fruit they bear, the jelly made from the fruit of some species being in nowise inferior to that made from the European red currant. The Kumquat or lime of Southern Downs country (Atalantia glauca) makes a peculiarly nice-flavoured preserve. Of the allied genus Citrus two species are met with in the south, C. australir, which has a round fruit I to 2 in. in diameter; the other, C. australasica, with long finger-like fruits 3 or more inches long and about I in. in diameter; of this a red variety (C. inodora), which is only met with in the tropics, bears a fruit often 2% in. long by 1% in diameter. All these fruits are juicy, and of an agreeably sharp, acid flavour. " Davids0n's Plum" (Davidsonia pruriens) is a fruit with a sharply acid, rich, plum-coloured juice, sometimes attaining the size of a oose's egg. Of the genus Eugenia, over thirt are indigenous, ang fully onethird produce more or less useful guits. One Fig (Ficu: gracilipes) produces a fruit used for jam and jelly. Two Garcinias are recorded as indi enous, but of one only (G. Mestoni) is the fruit known. It is of a depressed globular form, sometimes 3 in. in diameter, very juicy, and of a pleasant flavour. Leptomeria acida, one of the very early fruits used by Australian colonists, is met with in some localities. The “Finger Berry ” or “Native Loquat ” (Rhodomyrtus macrocarpa) makes a good jam, but is in bad repute for use in the raw state, perhaps owing to a peculiar fungus at