Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/220

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valuable article of export is found. If only she can induce a full tide of immigrants to flow to her shores, Western Australia will, before long, rank amongst the richest provinces to the south of the equator.

Tasmania, the smallest but prettiest of the colonies, was, up to the date of the abolition of transportation, known as Van Diemen's Land—the title bestowed upon it by its discoverer, Abel Jansen Tasman. But, when the colony decided on turning over a new leaf and getting rid of the unpleasant associations of convictism, it was deemed advisable to re-christen the island, and thus it is now named after the enterprising Dutch navigator by whom it was first descried. Tasmania is a small but beautiful island situated to the south of Victoria, from which it is separated by Bass Straits. It has an area of 26,375 square miles. Its history is almost a counterpart of that of New South Wales, as it was colonised from the parent settlement for the express purpose of forming a second penal colony. This took place about the beginning of the century, and from that time up to the year 1854, the lovely island was a theatre on whose stage were enacted all the horrors incidental to the presence of rampant convictism. In some respects the picture is even blacker than that of New South Wales during the same period, the daughter revelling in greater infamy than the mother. It would be impossible for any pen to adequately describe the frightful excesses of the early days of Tasmania, but the condition of the island may be conjectured from the following words of Sir James Mackintosh in the House of Commons: "The settlement can never be worse than it is now, when no attempt towards reformation is dreamed of, and when it is governed on principles of political economy more barbarous than those