320 THE BRITISH EMPIRE: — VICTORIA
on niue millions has been paid from time to time out of the consolidated revenue towards meeting deficiencies in the working of the railways (after payment of interest). The number of passengers conveyed in the year 1896-97 was 42,263,638, and the weight of goods and live stock carried was 2,383,445 tons. The train mileage in 1896-97 was 9,228,687 miles. The proportions of receipts from passengers and goods traffic to the total receipts were 51 and 49 per cent, respectively.
There were 1,572 post-offices on December 31, 1897. The total postal revenue, including the receipts from telegraphs, telephones, kc, was ap- proximately 529,754Z. in the year 1897, and the expenditure was 494,257Z.
There were about 6,947 miles of telegraph lines (including railway tele- graphs), comprising 14,374 miles of wire, open at the end of 1897. The number of telegrams despatched in the yea.T 1897 was about 1,821,634. The revenue from telegraphs was 99,194Z. in the year 1897. At the end of the year 1897 there were 778 telegraph stations.
The telephone system (exclusive of railway telephones) included 617 miles of poles, 165 miles of aerial cable, and 10 miles of underground cable, the whole containing 10,541 miles of wire ; whilst the number of subscribers at the end of 1897 was 3,088.
Money and Credit.
A branch of the Royal Mint was onened at Melbourne on June 12, 1872. Up to Dec. 31, 1897, 19,378,380 oz. 'of gold, valued at 77,062,880?., was received at the mint, and gold coin and bullion issued of the value of 77,054,796/. No silver or bronze coin is strack at the Melbourne Mint.
In 1897 the Savings Bank of Victoria (with which have recently been amalgamated the Post Office Savings Banks) had over 400 branches in the colony. At the end of the year there were 331,602 depositors, with a total balance of 7,944,793?. By recent legislation, a special branch of the Savings' Bank, called the "Advances Department," has been created for the purpose of makinsj advances to farmers at a low rate (4^ percent.) of interest, re- payable by instalments extending over a term not exceeding 31^ years. The requisite funds are raised by the issue of bonds, taken up either by the Commissioners of Savings Banks or by the general public, and repayable by half-yearly drawings. The amount advanced during 1897 was 365,000Z.
During the last quarter of 1897 Victoria had 11 banks of issue, with about 420 branches and agencies, with notes in circulation, 956,665?., deposits 29,165,313?., the total liabilities being 31,650,631?. ; gold and silver, coined and in bars, 7,358,753?. ; landed property, 1,985,150?. ; advances, &c., 35,576,947?. ; total assets, 45,560,431?. Total paid-up capital, 17,404,523?.
Agent- General for Victoria in Great Britain. — Lieut. -General the Hon. Sir Andrew Clarke, R.E., G.C.M.G., C.B., CLE.
Secretary (Acting). — S. B. H. Rodgerson.
Books of Reference.
Annual Statistical Register aiul Blue Book.
Report on Census of Victoria, 1891. By II. II Ilayter, C.M.G. Fol. Melbourne, 1893. Handbook to the Colony of Victoria. By H. H. Hayter, C.M.G. (pamphlet). Fresh editions issued from time to time.
Mineral Statistics of Victoria. Annual. Fol. Melbourne.
Report on the Vital Statistics of Melbourne and Subuibs. Annual. Melbourne.
Statistics of Friendly Societies in Victoria. Annual. Melbourne.
Statistics of Trades Unions in Victoria. Annual. Melbcnn-ne.
Victorian Year Book. By .lauifs J. Fisiiton. Annual. Melbourne.
Baiuww (W.), The < lolony of Victoria. London, 1S07.
Blair (David), CycloiiijeJia of Australasia. Melbourne, 1881.
Finn (Kdmuiid). Chronicles of Early Melbourne. 2 vols, illustrated. Melbourne, 1889