Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/219

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
205
FOUR OF THE FAMILY.

the convicts transported to Western Australia were several of the Fenian prisoners of twenty years ago, one of whom, John Boyle O'Reilly, after successfully escaping to America, published an interesting story of Western Australian life, under the title of "Moondyne." Mr. O'Reilly has since achieved a series of literary successes in the United States, and now stands in the front rank of American writers. J. K. Casey (Leo), the author of the popular poem, "The Rising of the Moon," was another of the Fenian prisoners deported to Western Australia. Dr. R. R. Madden, the writer of that splendid monumental work, "The Lives and Times of the United Irishmen," also spent some time in this colony, though not as a captive of the Crown. For three years the industrious historian of '98 filled the office of Colonial Secretary of Western Australia.

It is only within the last few years that the resources of this vast territory have come to be estimated at their right value. The explorations of Giles and Forrest have brought to light millions of acres of rich pastoral country, most of which has been taken up and occupied by enterprising capitalists from the adjoining colonies. Gold, too, has been discovered in considerable quantities, and what is known as the Kimberley district of the colony has been rushed by adventurous diggers from all parts of Australasia. Railways have been started in various directions; public works have been commenced on an extensive scale, and a liberal system of immigration has been adopted with a view to supplying the colony with its greatest need—a population in some measure proportionate to the vastness of its area and its undeveloped resources. The olive, the vine, and the orange grow with the greatest luxuriance, and, in the immense forests of jarrah timber, with which the country is studded, a