Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/752

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735
QUEENSLAND


barrier reefs are thickets of corals of the most varied forms, in life glowing with colour, in death shrubs of snowy purity. Among the shell-fish conspicuous for beauty or rarity are the exquisitely delicate paper nautilus and Venus comb (Murex tenuispina), the orange and other valuable cowries, and the gigantic clam-shell, which may require a ship's tackle to lift it from its bed. The fishery of the trepang, beche-de-mer or sea slug employs a considerable number of boats about the coral reefs. Boiled, smoke-dried and packed in bags, the trepang sells for exportation to China, though its agreeable and most nourishing soup is relished by Australian invalids. One species of this sea slug-the teat-fish-fetches as much as £240 per ton. The pearl fishery is a prosperous and progressive one in or near Torres Straits. A licence is paid, and the traffic is under government supervision. Thursday Island is the chief seat of this industry. The shells are procured by diving, and fetch from £120 to £200 a ton. Mother-of-pearl and tortoise-shell constitute important exports of the colony, capable of great expansion. Oysters are as fine flavoured as they are abundant. Turtles are caught to the northward. Of the hsh which frequent the coast, one of the best known varieties is the sea mullet (Mugilidae), large shoals of which strike the Australian coast 100 m. south of Sydney, and travel northwards, arriving on the southern coast-line of Queensland in the months of April and May, crossing bars and ascending rivers on the appearance of south-easterly weather. These magnificent fish often attain a weight of from IO lb to 12 lb. Small schools of bream succeed the mullet, and are followed in September and October by the poombah or tailor-fish, a fish of exceptional fiavour, and much esteemed by epicures. These are succeeded by jewfish, specimens of which caught in southern waters have been known to exceed a weight of 50 lb, whiting, garfish and Flatheads, while founders, black and tongue soles are occasionally caught by seine or hauling nets. hite and black trevally, -groper and rock cod, and a variety of bonito identical with the tunny of the Mediterranean Sea are also frequently met with. Several species of the tassel fish (Polynemus macrocohoir), from which isin lass is procured, have been taken by fishermen. King-fish, batfisi, gurnards and eels of many varieties are also common. Schnapper, bream, rock cod, parrot-fish and groper are caught by hook and line in from 10 to 30 fathoms of water ofi' the rocky headlands of the southern coast. Sardines, whitebait and sprats make their appearance in large shoals on the coast at intervals. The barramundi (Osteoglossum leichardti), which occurs in the Dawson and western waters, is found also on the east coast, and is one of the most esteemed fresh-water fish in Queensland. Dugong, which formerly were found in herds along the northern coast and as far south as Moreton Bay, are caught in set nets of 36 in. mesh, 100 fathoms in length. Different varieties of turtle are lentiful, the green edible turtle being caught by large set nets, andp preserved and tinned for export. In Torres Strait and the northern coast the hawks bill turtle, yielding the valuable tortoise-shell of commerce, is said to be captured in a peculiar manner, the sucking-lish or remora (Echeneis naucrates) being utilized by the islanders for that purpose. The remora is carried alive in the bottom of the canoe, a long thin line being attached to the fish's tail and another usually to the gill. On a turtle being sighted and approached to within the length of the line, the sucking fish is thrown towards it, and immediately it swims to and attaches itself by its singular head sucker to the under surface of the turtle, which if of moderate size is easily pulled into the canoe. Amongst the crustacean may be enumerated the gigantic clams which are found on the reefs of the Inner Route. Occasionall some are met with weighing nearly half a ton, embedded in corall Fresh-water clams are found in the rivers in the northern districts. The edible oyster (Ostrea gramimfora) has been largely cultivated in southern Queensland. Amongst other crustacean, the squat lobster (Themis oftentalis) is, with giant prawns and quampi, or small golden-lipped pearl shell, obtained by trawling in the southern waters. Many varieties of crabs are also found on reefs and foreshores at low tide; prawns and shrimps are caught, dried, and form an article for export to China; mussels, pinna or razor-shell cockles, and eugaries (a species of small shell-fish) are also abundant. Climate.-As one-half of Queensland lies within the tropics the climate is naturally warm, though the temperature has a daily range less than that of other countries under the same isothermal lines. This circumstance is due to the sea breezes, which blow with great regularity. The hot winds which prevail during the summer in some of the other states are unknown in Queensland. Of course, in a territory of such large extent there are many varieties of climate, and the heat is greater along the coast than on the elevated lands of the interior. In the northern parts of the state the high temperature is trying to persons of European descent. The mean temperature at Brisbane during December, January and February is about 76°, while during June, July and August it averages about 60°. In towns farther north, however, the avera e is higher. Winter in Rockhampton, for instance, averages nearfy 65°, while the summer average rises almost to 85°. At Townsville and Normanton the average is higher still. The average rainfall is high, especially along the northern coast, where it ranges from 60 to 70 in. per annum. At Brisbane 50-01 in. is the average of 35 years, and even on the plains of the interior from 20 to 30 in. usually fall every year. West of the coast range the air is dry and hot, and in summer the thermometer rises frequently to IO6° in the shade. The monsoons play an important part in cooling the atmosphere near the coast, and are very regular in the north. The winter climate is perfection, especially in the north, but frosts are frequent and regular west of the coast range. Ice is commonly seen at Herberton, 17° S., during winter, and on the Darling Downs frosts are of nightly occurrence.

Population.-The population of Queensland in 1905 was estimated at 528,048 290,206 males and 237,842 females, the density of population per sq. m. being about 0.79. In 1861, that is, two years after the separation from New South Wales, the population of the colony stood at 34,400; in 1871 it had reached 125, IOO; in 1881, 227,000; in 1891, 4IO,300, and at the census of 1901, 498,129. The policy of assisted immigration contributed greatly to Queensland's progress, and people of foreign descent are proportionately more numerous than in any of the other states, though they only amount to 8-71% of the total population. At the census of 1901 there were 13,166 Germans, 3161 Danes, 2142 Scandinavians, and among coloured aliens 8587 Chinese, 2269 Japanese, 939 Hindoos and Cingalese, 9327 Pacific Islanders, and 1787 other races, making a total of 22,909 coloured aliens. It is estimated that the total aboriginal population of Queensland is about 25,000.

The births in 1905 were 13,626, of which 950 were illegitimate, and the deaths 5503, the respective rates per thousand of the population being 25-92 and I0-47. The decline in the birth rate will be gathered from the following table:-

- Birth Rate per 1000 - Birth Rate per 1000

Period' of Population. Period' of Population. 186I-65 43-07 1886-90 . . 38-81

1866-70 43-91 1891-95 . 35-15

1871-75 40-81 1896-1900 30-40

1876—80 36-72 1901-05 . 26-60

1881-85 . . 36-37

The death rate shows a remarkable diminution: in 1861-65 it averaged 21-06 per 1000; in 1871-75, 17~94; in 1881-85, 19-10; and in 1891-95, I2~82. The marriage rate in 1905 was 6-04 per 1000, being an increase on the figures for 1904 of 95. The chief cities and towns, with their population in 1905, are:- Brisbane, 128, o0o; Rockhampton, 15,461; Gympie, 13,200; Maryborough, 12,000; Townsville, 10,950; Toowoomba, IO,700; Ipswich, 8637? Mount Morgan, 8836; Charters Towers, 6000; Bundaberg, 5000.

Administration.-As one of the Commonwealth states Queensland returns six senators and nine representatives to the federal parliament. The state parliament consists of a. legislative council of 37 members nominated for life, and a legislative assembly of 72 members, who each receive £300 per annum for their services. For purposes of local government the state in 1905 was divided into 46 municipalities and 125 shires. The boroughs control 354 sq. m. and the shires 667,898 sq. rn.; the revenue and expenditure of the former in 1905 being respectively £312,510 and £321,645, and of the latter £190,837 and £180,457. Revenue is mainly derived from rates levied on the capital value of assessed properties, which amounted for the whole state to £42,358,173, representing an annual value of £2,647,400. All improvements are exempt from assessment, and much of the revenue is expended in road-making and the building of bridges. Rates are supplemented by an endowment from the central government.

Education.-Public education is free, unsectarian and compulsory. State or provisional schools are formed wherever an average attendance of twelve children can be got. Theoretically the school age is from six to twelve years, but in practice compulsory attendance is seldom if ever enforced in certain parts, owing mainly to the difficulty of providing suitable schools within reasonable access. In IQOS there were 1044 state schools, with 2382 teachers and 88,903 scholars. Of private schools the number in 1905 was 171, with 739 teachers and 14,891 pupils. Exclusive of coloured aliens almost the whole adult population can read and write. In 1905 the sum spent on education was £281,575. Ten grammar schools are endowed by the state. By a system of competitive scholarships the government gives free education in grammar schools to scholars in state schools, and also three-yearly exhibitions to universities to students who pass an examination of a high standard. State aid is also rendered to schools of art, schools of design, free libraries and technical schools.,