Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/515

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497
SOUTH AUSTRALIA


telephone revenue and expenditure, the former amounting to £25,815. These sums are exclusive of revenue received by the Commonwealth government. The use of telephones in Adelaide is rapidly extending; in 1905 there were eleven exchanges and 2284 telephones in actual use. There were 6092 m. of telegraph line in operation in that year; the state owns the principal overland line by which communication with Europe and the East is maintained.

Banking. — The assets of all the banks of issue trading in South Australia at the end of December 1905 amounted to £7,4 2 5>775> and the liabilities to £7,623,060; these latter comprised deposits at call and at interest, £6,866,281; notes and bills in circulation, £381,573 ; and other liabilities £52,929. Among the assets were coin and bullion £1,861,691. The South Australian people are very thrifty, and thirtv-one in every hundred have accounts with the savings banks. On the 30th of June 1905 the depositors numbered 126,821, the amount of their credit being £4,380,358, a sum equal to £34, 1 os. 9d. per depositor. Taking deposits in banks of issue and in savings banks together, the total was £11,186,639, which is equal to £29, 12s. 4d. per inhabitant.

Authorities. — E. G. Blackmore, The Law of the Constitution of South Australia (Adelaide, 1894); H. Y. L. Brown, A Record of the Mines of South Australia (Adelaide, 1890); John Ednie Brown, A Practical Treatise on Tree Culture in South Australia (Adelaide, 1881); J. F. Conigrave, South Australia: A Sketch of its History and Resources. A Handbook compiled for the Colonial and Indian Exhibition in London, 1886 (Adelaide, 1886); B. T. Finniss, The Constitutional History of South Australia, 1836-1857 (London, 1886) ; R. Gouger, The Founding of South Australia, edited by E. Hodder (London, 1898); William Harcus, South Australia: Its History, Resources, Productions and Statistics (London, 1876) ; Edwin Hodder, The History of South Australia, with maps (2 vols. 8vo., London, 1893); S. Xewland, The Far North Country (Adelaide, 1887); South Australian Year Book (1904-1905); T. A. Coghlan, Australia and Sew Zealand (1903-1904). (T. A. C.)

History. — Though the coast of Northern Territory was well known to Portuguese and Spanish navigators as early as perhaps 1 530, being called Great Java, it was not surveyed till 1644, when Tasman laid down the line of shore pretty accurately. The western part of the southern coast had been seen and named Nuyt's Land in 1627. But Flinders, by his discovery of the two great gulfs, Kangaroo Island and Encounter Bay, in 1802, was the first to reveal South Australia proper. Captain Sturt descended the Murray in 1830, and looked over the hills near Adelaide. The first to direct attention to a settlement there was Major Baron, who communicated with the colonial office in February 1831. His suggestion was to establish, at no charge to the British government, a private company, that should settle a party on Yorke Peninsula. He believed a large river entered Spencer Gulf. In August Colonel Torrens and others proposed to purchase land between 132° and 141 — 500,000 acres at 5s. an acre. Some were in favour of Spencer Gulf, others of Kangaroo Island, and a few for the mainland towards the Murray. Memorialists in 1832 sought a charter for the South Australian Association, giving extensive powers of self-government. Land sales were to pay the passages of free labour, chiefly young married people, and no convicts were ever to be sent thither. Lord Goderich did not favour the scheme, and thought a colony with free institutions might prejudice the interests of New South Wales, while free trade would interfere with the English navi- gation laws. After much negotiation, the English authorities regarded the scheme more favourably, but would not consent to give the company the powers they sought. The company receded in their demands, and offered security for the proper observance of law and order, while depositing cash for the purchase of land. Captain Sturt in 1834 informed the colonial secretary that Spencer Gulf and Kangaroo Island were objec- tionable, but that the eastern side of St Vincent Gulf was the best locality. In 1835 the ministry got an act passed for the erection of a colony under commissioners appointed by the Crown, who would be responsible for their acts to the British government. It was arranged that a local government should be established when the settlement had 50,000 people. Mr George Fife Angas advanced a large sum as security to the state. Though the first settlers were sent to Kangaroo Island, all were afterwards gathered on the Adelaide plains. The colony was proclaimed under a gum tree on the 28th of December, 1S36. Great delay took place in the survey of land. The South Australian Company purchased large tracts from


the commissioners at 12s. per acre and sold at 20s. A general speculative spirit arrested progress. Governor Gawler went into extravagant outlay on public buildings, &c, and drew against orders upon the English treasury. Such difficulties arose that the British rulers had to suspend the charter in 1841 and make South Australia a Crown colony. A revival of prosperity took place when the farms were tilled and poverty had taught pru- dence. Copper and lead mines were subsequently discovered. Kapunda in 1843, and the Burra Burra copper-mine in 1845, greatly aided in the restoration of commercial credit. The gold fever in Victoria drew off numbers in 1852; but the good prices then realized for breadstuffs gave a great impetus to farming.

In 1856 the colony was given its own constitution and self- government. On the attainment of autonomy Governor MacDonnell, in closing the last session of the then partially nominated legislature, made use of the following words: " I confidently expect that the extended political power en- trusted to the people of this country, and the universal suffrage conceded by the new constitution, will prove in reality a safe and conservative measure; and whilst conferring the utmost possible power of self-government, will render stronger and more enduring than ever the cherished ties of affection and loyalty which link this province to the throne of our respected and beloved sovereign." This prediction appears to have been amply verified: South Australia enjoys the reputation of being one of the most progressive and at the same time one of the most stable of existing communities. From its origin as the venture of private enterprise the state has passed through orderly stages of evolution up to the zenith of democratic government. Such alterations as have been made in the constitution have been in the direction of a still further enlargement of the franchise. Payment of members proved to be the corollary of manhood suffrage. In 1887 a temporary act was passed for the payment of £200 a year to each member of both houses, and in 1890 the law was made permanent. Thus was rendered possible the direct representation of all classes. Soon afterwards the parliamentary Labour party came into existence; this forms a considerable proportion of the membership of both houses, and includes in its ranks men of the highest intelligence, industry and eloquence. In 1894 the principle of " one man one vote " was extended to that of " one adult one vote " by the inclusion of women as voters on terms of absolute equality with men. There is no bar to the election of women to parliament whenever the electors think fit to be so represented. The delegates to the Federal convention and to the Commonwealth parliament were in South Australia elected by the combined vote of men and women. Elections were formerly held in successive batches, but since 1893 they have taken place simultaneously in all the districts. Electoral expenses are rigidly limited, both as to objects and amount, and a declaration of money thus expended has to be filed by every candidate. Experience has demonstrated that, owing to the intrusion of the personal element, general elections have often failed to afford conclusive evidence of the state of the popular will. Attention was therefore directed towards the referendum as a means of obtaining an unquestionable verdict on important public issues, although no general statute was formulated on the subject. In 1896, at the general elections, the following questions were submitted to the electors: "Do you favour (1) the continuance of the present system of education in the state schools? (2) the introduction of scriptural instruction in the state schools during school hours? (3) the payment of a capitation grant to denominational schools for secular results?" An overwhelming majority pronounced in favour of (1) and against (2) and (3). Again, in 1899, a direct vote was similarly taken on the question of household franchise for the legislative council. Undoubtedly the practical application of the referendum in South Australia facilitated the adoption of this principle in the ratification and in the method of amendment of the Commonwealth constitution. The right of the Second Chamber to suggest amendments to bills which it has not power to amend was borrowed by the Commonwealth from the constitution of South Australia, as