Page:The Boy Travellers in Australasia.djvu/352

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We will now drop the journals and statistics of Frank and Fred, and attend to what they saw and heard on their journey.

We left them on their way to Newcastle, which they reached without mishap. A fellow-passenger told them that several disastrous wrecks had occurred at the entrance of Newcastle Harbor, which was formerly very dangerous when the wind blew heavily from the southeast. A breakwater has been constructed that greatly diminishes the danger, as it protects the bar from the heavy seas which formerly swept over it. Newcastle is the outlet of a considerable extent of country, but its principal business is in coal, of which it ships more than two million tons annually. The town has many evidences of prosperity, and its appliances for handling coal are extensive and excellent.

One of the citizens volunteered to show our friends the coal-mines. While they were making the round of the place he said that a careful estimate showed that the coal-seams now being worked contained enough coal to keep up the present rate of production for five hundred and twelve years. There are thirty-five seams of coal, varying from five to twelve feet in thickness, and one seam—the Greta—is twenty-one feet thick. Nearly five thousand miners are employed underground, and one thousand at the mouths of the mines. The deepest workings are those of the Greta, four hundred and fifty feet, and the Stockton, three hundred and eighty feet. The authorities of Newcastle believe they have the finest appliances for handling coal that are to be found anywhere, and Doctor Bronson said he certainly did not know of any that surpassed them.

Since the visit of our friends we are told that the railway from Sydney to Newcastle has been completed, and also the line which connects with the one from Brisbane, at the frontier between New South Wales and Queensland. From Newcastle they went by land to Brisbane; near Tenterfield they left the railway for a coach-ride of forty miles, which brought them to Stanthorpe, where they found a train to carry them to their destination. At several points on their coach-ride they saw the working-parties making cuttings and fillings along the route for the railway that now completes the connection between the capitals of the colonies of Queensland and New South Wales. There is now continuous railway communication from Brisbane to Adelaide, a distance of very nearly eighteen hundred miles.

The train left Newcastle at 7.15 in the morning, and brought them to Tenterfield at a little past midnight, the distance being three hundred and eighty-one miles. It carried them through a country of