Under this head I will take, first, the pastoral interest, and endeavour to show how great has been our progress in this branch of industry. Sheep, of course, is the mainstay of the pastoral interest, and it appears that after the separation of Queensland, with its two millions and a half of sheep, we were left with a stock of 5,162,671 sheep on the 31st March, 1860, this being the date upon which the returns for the year are made up. Well, what accumulation have we to show as the result of our six years' breeding? Well-founded doubts having arisen as to the accuracy of the figures in the statistical tables of the Registrar-General, I take my figures from the returns made by the sheep proprietors to the clerks of Petty Sessions, and verified by solemn declaration under the Scab in Sheep Act (27 Vic. No. 6). I find, then, from these returns that we had on the 1st January, exclusive of small lots under five hundred, in the hands of butchers and others, no less than 11,100,245, that is to say, an increase in the six years of 5,937,574 sheep, equal to 115 per cent.
The declared returns of the previous year show that we had 10,075,468 sheep. We may therefore fairly assume that we are increasing our sheep at the rate of over a million annually, and our staple produce to the extent of not far short of three millions pounds of wool, which, at eighteen pence per pound, is equal to a sum of £225,000.