Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/70

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Settlers by the score followed in their track, and, in less than a year, the whole of the country along their line of march was occupied by the advanced guard of civilised progress. "So rapid has been the occupation of this hitherto unknown country," says an official report of the era, "that, on the east coast alone, the sheep stations now taken up and stocked extend from the settled districts in an unbroken line to within one hundred miles of the Gulf of Carpentaria." Burke's expedition in fact completely revolutionised the accepted notions of Australian geography, and filled the map of the great southern continent with the host of names that are now seen abounding where a huge blank space had previously existed. It is no small honour to the Irish in Australia that one of their number was the leading spirit in effecting so wondrous and beneficent a transformation in the face of the country which they had made their adopted home.