Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/670

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322

THE BRITISH EMPIRE: — WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Commissioner for Railioays and Director of Public Works. — Hon. F. H. Piesse.

Commissioner of Lands. — Hon. George Throssell. Minister of Mines. — Hon. H. B. Lefroy, Attorney 'General. — Hon. Ricliard William Pennefathen Colonial Secretary. — Hon. George Randell.

Area and Population.

As defined by Royal Commission, Western Australia includes all that por- tion of the continent situated to the westward of 129° E, longitude. The greatest length of this territory from Cape Londonderry in the north to Peak Head (south of King George's Sound) in the south is 1,480 miles, and its breadth from Steep Point near Dirk Hartog's Island, on the west, to the 129th meridian, on the east, about 1,000 miles. According to the latest computa- tions, the total estimated area of the colony is 975,920 English square miles, or, 624,588,800 acres. It is divided into 33 magisterial districts.

Western Australia was first settled in 1829, and for many years the population was small. In 1850 the colony had not more than 6,000 in- habitants, but at the census of December 1859 the population had risen to 14,837 — namely, 9,522 males and 5,315 females. On December 31, 1867, the population numbered 21,713, comprising 13,934 males and 7,779 females. At the census taken on March 31, 1870, the total population was 24,785, of whom 15,375 were males and 9,410 females. Included in these numbers were 1,790 male prisoners, either in prisons or at working depots in various parts of the colony.

At the census of 1881 the population of the colony was 29,708 ; and the results of the census of April 5, 1891, gave a total population of 49,782 — 29,807 males and 19,975 females. This shows an increase since 1881 of 20,074, or 67-57 per cent. These figures do not include the aborigines, of whose numbers it is difficult to give even an approximate estimate, scattered as they are over an extensive territory, much of which is yet entirely un* known. There were 5,670 civilised aborigines in the colony in 1891. Of the total population in 1891, 27,825 were returned as being natives of Western Australia, and 34,271 as being unmarried. Of the unmarried population, 21,577 were males and 12,694 females, while of the unmarried population over 21 years of age, 10,126 were males and 1,990 M^ere females. Perth, the capital, had a population of 37,929, in October, 1897, according to a census taken by the Public Works Department ; Fremantle, about 17,000, including North Fremantle. In 1897 there were 4,021 births and 2,643 deaths, giving a surplus of 1,378 ; there were 49,387 arrivals and 26,787 departures — excess of arrivals over departures 22,600. The total estimated population on December 31, 1897, was 161,924 — 110,359 males and 51,565 females. During 1897 there were 1,659 marriages in the colony.

Religion.

The religious division of the population was as follows at the census of 1891 :—

Heligious Divisions

Number

Per cent.

Religious Divisions

Number

Per cent,

3-16 4-01

8-89

Church of Eng- land Roman Catholics Wesleyans

24,769

12,464

4,556

49-75 25-04 9-15 1

Independents .

Presbyterians .

Other religions

not specified .

1,573 1,996

4,424