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Title: The Three Colonies of Australia: New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia; Their Pastures, Copper Mines and Gold Fields.
Author: Samuel Sidney.
* A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 1400441h.html
Language: English
Date first posted: January 2014
Date most recently January 2014

Produced by: Ned Overton.

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Production Notes:

The second edition of this work, arising from an extensive revision of the first by the Author within a year, has been chosen for inclusion here. The work captures the history of the three colonies up to the initial impetus of gold discoveries, which transformed Australia.

Components of the first edition missing from the second include a Chronology, an Introduction and a Table of Contents. Here, a Table of Contents has been added. This misnumbering of Chapters V and VI. and omission of a title for Chapter XXIX have been corrected. A few typographical errors have been silently corrected. The spellings of numerous place names (e.g., Diemen's, Maryburrong, Bellergen, Hansdorf) have been so retained.














{Page i}


Since the 1st September, 1852, an edition of 5,000 copies of "The Three Colonies of Australia" has been exhausted. In this Second Edition I have made material alterations and additions. The work is now divided into two parts—the first Historical, the second Descriptive. I have in preparation, as a sequel, another volume of less bulk, which will be a Practical Hand-Book to the South Sea Colonies, including Australia, Van Diemen's Land, and New Zealand.

The Historical section contains, in twenty chapters of 240 pages, a sketch of the discovery and foundation of the Three Colonies, and the principal political and social events in their respective careers, between the landing of the first fleet in Port Jackson and the opening of the gold mines at Mount Alexander. In the preparation of the first seven chapters (83 pages), I had, in addition to the oral information of old colonists and valuable MSS., the assistance of the works of Collins, Wentworth, &c. The remaining thirteen chapters, which include the administrations of Governors Bourke, Gipps, and Fitzroy, in New South Wales—the Land Question—Emigration Transportation—the Constitutional Contests of the first Australian Representative Council, and the whole History of the Colonisation of South Australia, are in the strictest sense of the term original. The materials were diffused through the votes and proceedings of the Legislative Assembly, English Blue Books, files of colonial newspapers, and other sources still more obscure and difficult of access. Whatever, therefore, be the demerits of this part of my work, it is the History of the Leading Political and Social Events of a period never before chronicled by any writer on Australia—a period to which Australian colonists look back with as much interest as we do in England to the struggles for the Reform Bill or for the repeal of the Corn Laws. In this Second Edition I have rewritten and condensed the pages devoted to the all-important Land Question, and devoted an additional forty pages to the Administration of Governor Fitzroy and the Colonial Policy of Earl Grey; and I have endeavoured to throw new light on the government of Sir George Gipps, by giving a chapter of political poems from a Sydney newspaper, the "Atlas," which will bear comparison with English compositions of the same kind from the days of the "Anti-Jacobin" to the days of "Punch."

The Descriptive section has been rendered more complete by the addition of a tabular view of the counties, towns, mountains, and rivers of New South Wales and Victoria, extracted, by permission, from Sir Thomas Mitchell's "Manual of Australasian Geography," and by accounts of journeys to and from the various gold-fields, which I have in great part abridged from the able reports made by special correspondents of the Sydney papers.

As I have throughout the following pages expressed my opinions on colonial questions and colonial statesmen with a freedom which my friends may call bold and my opponents audacious, I may perhaps, without incurring the charge of egotism, state what have been my opportunities for acquiring correct information on colonial subjects.

In 1844 my brother, with whom I had previously kept up a close correspondence, returned from Australia, where he had passed six years, engaged in pastoral pursuits. He arrived in England in the midst of the furious contest, described in Chapter XI. of this book, between Governor Gipps and the squatters. In the cause of the squatters he enlisted me; and when the Pastoral Question came to be discussed in Parliament, we contributed several letters—criticising the pastoral regulations which the government proposed to adopt, to which some of the leading London journals gave a prominent place.

Up to that time I had been a disciple of the Wakefield system of colonisation—Land Monopoly. It was, however, only necessary to investigate with a practical man the practical effects of this untenable system in order to become irresistibly convinced of its fallacy. In 1847-8 I wrote for my brother, who was a close observer but no writer, a thin duodecimo, "A Voice from the Far Interior of Australia, by a Bushman."

In 1848 we sent forth the first edition of "The Australian Hand-Book." Shortly after its publication I had the pleasure to read an extract, quoted from the volume, in "Blackwood's Magazine," by the then anonymous author of "The Caxtons," who was pleased to describe the "Hand-Book" as "admirable for wisdom and compactness."

From attacking Wakefield's colonial land monopoly in print, I ventured, on every fitting opportunity, to attack it in public at meetings held to promote colonisation. At a meeting in 1848, presided over by Earl Harrowby, I warned the promoters that the land monopoly was the great bar to the popularity of Australia among the working classes. At that period opposition to the Wakefield system was considered wild and democratic; and the line I took up excluded me from any part in the Colonisation Society of Charing Cross, which, in spite of a great array of noble names, never obtained the confidence of the working classes, but after a brief existence, died of inanition. In the same year my brother and I commenced our "Emigrants' Journal," with the view of affording "plain, practical advice to intending emigrants." In 1848, before the fifth number was published, my brother returned to Australia.

While conducting the "Emigrants' Journal" I acquired a vast mass of information on colonial subjects. I was brought into daily contact with colonists of all classes, as well as with emigrants, and in the course of twelve months I answered more than one thousand practical questions on emigration and colonisation.

It was during the progress of this Journal that my attention was called to the singular coincidence between the views at which I had slowly arrived on colonial matters, and the evidence given by Mrs. Chisholm before a Committee of the House of Lords on Colonisation. On this evidence I wrote an article,* which led to my making the acquaintance and acquiring the friendship of Captain and Mrs. Chisholm, to whom I am indebted for a great and rapid advance in what I may call my colonial education. In the second monthly series of my "Emigrants' Journal," in the following year, I may be permitted to say I communicated to my countrymen a valuable contribution in placing before them the first published account of the work done by Caroline Chisholm. This Memoir subsequently formed the staple of all the biographies of that lady which have appeared, including one in "Chambers' Journal," and a paper I had the pleasure of contributing to "Household Words," entitled "Better Ties than Red Tape Ties."

[* No. 8, Sidney's "Emigrants' Journal."]

In January, 1850, I published "A Letter to the Right Honourable Sidney Herbert," on the need of protection for female emigrants, and the necessity for a more careful selection of surgeons in emigrant ships, illustrating my arguments with evidence from Blue Books. Subsequent events proved the reasonableness of my warnings in a very flagrant manner.

On April 17th of the same year a great meeting took place at St. Martin's Hall to launch the last, the most improved plan for colonising Canterbury, in New Zealand, under the Wakefield system, which had so signally failed in South Australia and three other New Zealand colonies. Having during the three preceding years been engaged almost alone in dissecting and exposing this antipodean form of protection and monopoly, I travelled all night from Lincoln, in order to meet the colonising protectionists face to face. I found a platform crowded with Bishops and dignitaries of the Church, Peers, Members of Parliament; in the body of the room some two thousand Clergymen, many Members of the two Universities, and elegantly-dressed ladies. Except a small group at the end of the room, all seemed firm believers in Gibbon Wakefield and model High Church colonisation. I had not had time to obtain the company of a single friend; but when the Bishop of Norwich, Dr. Hinde, ventured to point to Adelaide, Wellington, and Nelson as instances of colonies where "the Wakefield system" had been tried with eminent success, and when Lord Lyttleton, before putting the resolution, invited "the questions or observations of any gentleman," I found courage to rise, and to tell intending colonists that ruin had fallen on all who colonised on the principles embodied in the bishop's resolution, to bid them refer to parliamentary documents for details of the sufferings of South Australian and New Zealand land purchasers, and to say—"I wish you intending colonists to understand that this Canterbury Colony is founded on the principle of creating artificial advantages for those who work with their head and not with their hand that there is no instance of a colonist in any country employing his capital in agriculture as proposed at Canterbury, and obtaining either low-priced labour, or fair profit on his investment—while in pastoral pursuits the purchase of land is unnecessary, and concentration impossible;" and I concluded by observing—"If the colonisers wanted to have the best bone and sinew of the country, they must not adopt an exclusive system, under which no man with less than £500 could become the purchaser of fifty acres, for that, according to my experience, the best emigrants were men with large families and very moderate means, who could till land with their own hands to a profit, but were not willing to emigrate to become mere hewers of wood and drawers of water."

It would be difficult to give any idea of the effect produced by the incontrovertible facts and figures of my unexpected opposition. The Bishop of Oxford made a most brilliant and amusing reply, in which rhetoric supplied the place of facts and arguments; Mr. Adderley, an amiable enthusiast—pretended to believe that I was recommending the wild, free grants of Swan River, or the churchless, school-less colonisation of New South Wales. But not one of the whole array of model colonisers was able to answer my simple question, "How are Canterbury colonists to earn a living and obtain a return for capital invested after the rate of £3 an acre? Not by agriculture, for colonial experience proves that except to the peasant proprietor agriculture will not pay. If pastoral pursuits are relied upon, no land will be purchased by sane men, and the assumed advantages of concentration, with the funds for churches, bishoprics, schools and libraries, can never be realised."

The part I took on this occasion exposed me, as I expected it would, to a good deal of petty persecution from the New Zealand clique—to an attack from the "Spectator," and other organs of Mr. Wakefield's last bubble; but it secured me, I rejoice to add, the warm thanks of several intending colonists, and the friendship of some men whose friendship is worth deserving.

My worst forebodings have long since been confirmed by the letters of unfortunate Canterbury colonists. They find all the money spent on agriculture wasted, but have good hopes from pastoral pursuits on the fine grassy plains, which they once dreamed of converting into Lothian or Norfolk farms.

My next exertions in the cause of colonisation were devoted to the assistance of my friends, Captain and Mrs. Chisholm, in their labours to establish Family Colonisation. In this occupation I was enabled to extend still further my knowledge of Australia, and of the emigrating classes.

Thus, I claim the merit, if merit there be, of having written a Hand-Book of Emigration in a style before unknown, but since popular and common, viz., a style plain and practical, candid as to the defects of the colony, and explicit as to the hardships of the colonist; * of having, during a series of years, criticised, exposed, and successfully attacked the fallacies and frauds of the Wakefield system—all the time unsupported by the press, and opposed by the powerful and unscrupulous vested interests of colonising companies since insolvent and defunct; of having saved a considerable number of most respectable persons from losing their money, their time, their health, and their hopes, in the Canterbury colony;—of having done my utmost to make, public and popular those common sense principles of self-supporting Family Colonisation, and to carry out those essential reforms in the shipping department of emigration to which my excellent friends, Captain and Mrs. Chisholm, have devoted six active years of their lives.

[* All Hand-Books of Emigration, previous to 1848, whether of Australia. New Zealand, or America, were mere puffs, written in the spirit of a recruiting crimp.]

In conclusion I take leave to state, as misrepresentations have been circulated on the subject, that except by the profits of my books and literary contributions, I have never derived any benefit, either directly or indirectly, from my share in emigration agitation. My "Emigrants' Journal" barely paid its necessary expenses. My pamphlets were, as pamphlets always are, a source of expense. From my "Hand-Book" and miscellaneous contributions, I of course derived considerable advantage; but it has been from hard work of another kind that I have been able to earn that moderate income which renders me independent of colonising companies and patronising shipowners, and indifferent to those official attractions to which so many who take part in colonial questions early succumb, and which has enabled me to wait for the success that sooner or later crowns the reputation of those who struggle for truth and justice.

S. S.

London, 1st June, 1853.




Return of the Dray

Grey-headed Vampire

Monument to La Pérouse

Newcastle. From a Sketch by J. A. Jackson, Esq.

Portrait of Captain Flinders

Merino Ram

Native Dog, or Dingoe

Bathurst Plains in 1852

Duck-billed Platypus, or Paradox

City of Sydney

Portrait of Mrs. Chisholm

Bushing it

A Wool Store at [Geelong]

The Antipodes Islands. From a Sketch by J. A. Jackson, Esq.

Gum Trees near Melbourne

Bunynong Hill, near Ballarat

Adelaide, from "the Hills"

Branding Cattle at Illawarra. From a Sketch, by Arthur Westmacott, Esq.

[Wonga Wonga Pigeon]

Bronze-winged Pigeon

Portrait of Dr. Leichardt

Blacks under Gunyah

Gold-washing at Ballarat

Lyre Bird

Megapodius, or Mound-building Bird

Cascade at Greenhill Creek, South Adelaide

Banded Myrmicobius, or Ant-eater

Portrait of Edward Hargreaves

Gold Diggings at Ophir

Issuing Licences

Mr. Hardy, the First Government Commissioner

Dodging the Commissioner

A Nugget of Gold

Gold Washing

Straw-necked Ibis

Gold Escort

Laughing Jackass

Children Cradling

The Post Office, Sofala, Turon River

A Shepherd's Hut

Grass Trees


Gold Diggers at Dinner

The Emu

Removing Goods

Gold-seekers' Graves on the Turon





{Page 11}



Australia—New South Wales—Botany Bay. These are the names under which, within the memory of men of middle age, a great island-continent at the antipodes has been explored, settled, and advanced from the condition of a mere gaol, or sink, on which our surplus felonry was poured—a sheep-walk tended by nomadic burglars—to be the wealthiest offset of the British crown a land of promise for the adventurous—a home of peace and independence for the industrious an El Dorado and an Arcadia combined, where the hardest and and the easiest best-paid employments are to be found; where every striving man who rears a race of industrious children may sit under the shadow of his own vine and his own fig-tree—not without work, but with little care—living on his own land, looking down the valleys to his herds, and towards the hills to his flocks, amid the humming of bees which know no winter.

Under the genial variations of the climate of Australia all the productions of southern and temperate latitudes flourish—the palm and the oak, the potato and the yam, the orange and the apple, wheat and Indian corn. Over her boundless pastures millions of sheep wander—sheep of "noble race," whose feet, according to the Spanish proverb, "turn all the earth they touch to gold;" cattle by tens of thousands, that may compare with the best of Durham, or Hereford, or Devon; and horses as swift and untiring as ever bounded over the stony deserts of Arabia. In her mountain ridges and river beds gold is gathered in greater profusion than Cortes or Pizarro dreamed gathered without shedding one drop of blood. Peaceful seas surround—safe harbours give access to—this goodly land, which may be traversed inland for hundreds of miles on foot or horseback. No ravenous wild beasts threaten or affright the timid. The aborigines are few, and quick to learn submission.

The hard work of colonisation has been done; the road has been smoothed, and made ready; yet is there ample verge and room enough for millions to follow in the track of the thousands who have conquered and subdued the earth, and planted and reared, not only corn and cattle, but an English race, imbued with English traditions, taught by English literature, enjoying English institutions, and practising English love of order and obedience to law while cherishing the firmest attachment to liberty.

With these elements of social and political prosperity, only needing for full development a tide of population which this country can well spare, it cannot be doubted that a very few years will transform what our fathers considered the meanest, into the greatest of Britain's dependencies; and that, at a period when Continental Europe seems retrograding into deeper than medieval darkness and despotism; side by side in friendly rivalry with the great American republic, we shall realise the threat of the baffled statesman (when the rising liberties of Spain were crushed under the armies of the soon-to-be-exiled Bourbon), and "call a new world into existence to redress the balance of the old" *—a new field for the employment of able-bodied industry, which, overflowing from the crowded competition of Europe, may there help on the march of unrestricted commerce by digging capital out of the soil, or, at less exercise of strength, produce choice raw material for the triumphs of machinery.

[* George Canning.]

For some fifteen years armies of emigrants have annually proceeded in greater or less numbers to the Australian colonies, yet it is but recently, that the general public have cared to inquire more than how bread was to be earned or how capital invested. Late discoveries have invested these dependencies with new importance in the eyes of all who follow with interest the progress of the Anglo-Saxon race. The time seems propitious for attempting not only to describe the features, the resources, and the prospects of these colonies, but to trace the series of political, social, and commercial events by which an insignificant penal settlement in the most distant quarter of the globe, supported at great cost by the parent state, has given birth to a cluster of prosperous self-supporting colonies, largely contributing, directly find indirectly, to the imperial revenues, by the production of wool and gold, by the consumption of British manufactures, and by the employment of any amount of labour that can be landed on their shores.

The name "Australia," now universally adopted to designate the whole island-continent, was suggested by the gallant, unfortunate, and ill-requited Flinders, in his "Account of a Voyage of Discovery to Terra Australis," a work from which almost all writers on Australian geography have copied their outlines of the progress of discovery, previous to the voyage of Captain Cook.

The Dutch, who first explored the whole northern coast, called it New Holland in their own language. Captain Cook, after sailing round the south-eastern coast, gave it the name of New South Wales, from a supposed resemblance to that part of Great Britain, and by that name the whole island was known in English works until other settlements were formed. But colloquially, until very recently, Botany Bay, the first landing-place of Captain Cook, was vulgarly and popularly the designation given to Australia, although no settlement was ever formed there; and it remains to this day a swampy suburb, about an hour's ride from Sydney, from which part of the water for the supply of that city is obtained, and where idlers resort, to drink, smoke, and play quoits.

Port Phillip, the name first given to the great bay on which are the ports of Geelong and Melbourne,* after Captain Phillip, first governor of New South Wales, has been applied to the whole province; and although, by the act of Parliament which created it a separate colony, the name of Victoria has been affixed to this region, it will be long before the old inhabitants will remember or consent to give any other name than Port Phillip to the district which Sir Thomas Mitchell endeavoured, not without reason, to designate as Australia Felix.

[* Melbourne stands on the Yarra Yarra River, navigable by steamers of two hundred tons. Larger vessels lie off its mouth, in Hobson's Bay.]

The act of Parliament that created the third colony fixed upon it the vague name of South Australia.

Official and parliamentary documents have superseded the original name of Swan River by Western Australia. Van Diemen's Land retains its old Dutch name, although also occasionally more conveniently known as Tasmania.

Dutch, Spanish, and English have succeeded in affixing nominal marks of their discoveries on Australia, which is almost the last country peopled by an European race; but the French, in spite of efforts of great pains and cost, have been generally superseded, although at one time they had appropriated all the discoveries of Matthew Flinders.

The earliest authentic records of the discovery of any part of Australia are Spanish. The traces supposed to be found by some geographers in ancient charts of "Jave le Grand," and in a map attached to certain editions of Marco Polo's travels, are too obscure to deserve serious consideration.

That Chinese navigators knew of the existence of Northern Australia at a very remote period, is more than probable, looking at the unchanging habits of that people. They have formed a settlement on the Island of Timor, distant only 250 miles from Cape York, and are in the habit of resorting to the coast near the abandoned settlement of Port Essington, to collect a Chinese dainty, the trepang or sea slug.

Between 1520 and 1600 the Spaniards, in the course of their voyages from their South American possessions, discovered several islands of the Australian group; and in 1605 Pedro Fernandez de Quiros and Luis Vaez de Torres made a voyage of discovery in two ships. After finding land, which they named Terra del Esperito Santo, now known as the New Hebrides, the ships parted company in a gale of wind. Torres, the second in command, coasted along New Guinea, and sailed through the dangerous straits which are still the dread of the mariner in stormy seasons, and still bear his name. He passed two months in this difficult navigation, mistaking the portions of the coast of Australia which he sighted for islands. Of this voyage he transmitted a full account in a letter to the King of Spain; but, in accordance with the jealous policy of the age, the record was suppressed, and the existence of Torres Straits remained unknown until they were re-discovered by Captain Cook in 1770.

During our war with Spain we captured Manilla by storm, and in the archives of that city Mr. Alexander Dalrymple, the historiographer of the British Admiralty, discovered a copy of the letter to the King of Spain, which had been deposited there by Torres. Dalrymple, with that right feeling which should inspire all men of science, did justice to the discoverer by inscribing on the official maps issued from his department, against the intricate passage between Australia and New Guinea, "Torres Straits."

About the same time that Quiros and Torres were pursuing their investigation, the Dutch, then in the height of their maritime power, were prosecuting voyages of discovery in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

From the instructions prepared for the guidance of Abel Janz Tasman previous to his voyages in 1642 and 1644 (instructions which were signed by the Governor-General Antonio Van Diemen, and four members of the council, at Batavia), in which the previous discoveries of the Dutch in New Guinea and the "Great South Land" were recited, it appears that a Dutch yacht, on a voyage of discovery in 1605-6, discovered the "South Land," mistaking it for the west side of New Guinea; that a second expedition, in 1617, met with no success; and that, in 1623, a third, consisting of the yachts Pera and Arnhem, was despatched from Amboyna, by which were discovered "the great islands of Arnhem and Spult," being, in fact, the north of Australia, which still bears the name of Arnhem's Land. Other records show that, up to 1626, the Dutch had, either accidentally or by voyages of exploration, discovered and given names to about half the coast of Australia.

Many of these names are preserved to this day, for we have not a passion for re-naming after the standard of our own language.

The Gulf of Carpentaria is still called after General Peter Carpenter, who explored it. At that period military titles were indifferently applied to commanders at sea as on land; and captains of ships then, as at present in the Russian navy, wore spurs. The names of Arnhem, Tasman, De Witt, Endrachts, and Edel, cover the whole of the coast of Northern Australia as far as Sharks' Bay.

It is curious that none of these explorations led to any permanent settlement; and that in this instance, as in many others—in America, at the Cape, and in India—England has reaped the fruits of Dutch industry and enterprise. That industrious people have scarcely been more fortunate than the indolent, anti-commercial Spaniard. The Dutch, of all their rich colonial possessions, retain only Java, and the Spaniards Cuba. The two new gold-fields discovered by Dutch and Spaniards, Australia and California, have fallen into the hands of an English-speaking race.

Of Tasman's voyage no account has ever been published. There was found on one of the islands forming the roadstead called Dirk Hartog's roadstead, at the entrance of Shark's Bay, in 1697, and afterwards again in 1801, a pewter plate, attached to a decayed log half sunk in earth, which bore two inscriptions in Dutch, of different dates, of which the following are translations:—

"1616. On the 25th October the ship Endracht, of Amsterdam, arrived here; first merchant, Gilles Miebais Van Luck; Captain Dirk Hartog, of Amsterdam. She sailed on the 27th of the same month for Bantam. Supercargo, Janstins; chief pilot, Peter Ecores Van Due. Year 1616."

The second inscription was—

"1697. On the 4th February the ship Geelvink, of Amsterdam, arrived here; Wilhelem de Flaming, captain-commandante; John Bremen, of Copenhagen, assistant; Michel Bloem Van Estoght, assistant. The dogger Nyptaught, Captain Gerril Coldart, of Amsterdam; Theodore Hermans, of the same place, assistant; first pilot, Gerritzen, of Bremen.

"The galley Nel Wesetje, Cornelius de Plaming, of Vielandt, commander; Coert Gerritzen, of Bremen, pilot. Our fleet sails hence, leaving the southern territories for Batavia."

In 1642 Tasman discovered and sailed along the coast of the Island of Van Diemen's Land, supposing it to be part of the "South Land."

In successive investigations by Captain Marrion, of the French navy, in 1772; by Captain Tobias, of the British service, in 1773; by Captain Cook, in 1777; and by the French Rear-Admiral D'Entrecasteaux, the coast line to the south and east was further explored; but the insularity of Van Diemen's Land, the harbour of Port Jackson, and the Rivers Hunter, Brisbane, and Yarra, all destined to be the outlets to important districts in future colonies, remained undiscovered.

The many hundred leagues of coast so frequently visited by the Dutch, had afforded no encouragement for the plantation of settlements similar to those which they had founded with such brilliant results in the Indian Seas.

The Commander Carstens, sent by the Dutch East India Company to explore New Holland, describes it as "barren coasts, shallow water, islands thinly peopled by cruel, poor, and brutal natives, and of very little use to the company." Tasman's Land was pronounced to be the abode of "howling evil spirits." In these discouraging reports all mariners, until the time of Captain Cook, agreed; which is not extraordinary, considering that, after the time of Columbus, maritime discoverers sought lands in which either gold was to be had for gathering, or where rich tropical fruits abounded in pleasant arbours.

In New Holland the natives were hostile and miserably poor, in the lowest state of human existence. They built no huts, wore no ornaments of gold or precious stones, cultivated no ground. Their barren, unfruitful coast, afforded no indigenous fruits for barter; neither the yam, the cocoa, nor the pineapple, the lemon, the citron, the gourd, nor indeed any other fruit grateful to European taste.

As the Spaniards were the first, so the British were the last, and (in their first attempts) the least successful; in exploring the coast of Australia.

William Dampier, one of the boldest and most scientific navigators of his age, author of a "Voyage Round the World," from which Defoe drew many hints, visited New Holland three times—on the first occasion with his companions the buccaneers; again as pilot of H.M.S. Roebuck when he spent about five weeks in ranging off and on the coast of New South Wales, a length of about 300 leagues; on the third occasion he passed through Torres Straits as pilot to Captain Woodes Rogers, in 1710, when he explored Sharks' Bay, the coasts of New Guinea, New Britain, and New Zealand.

In July, 1769, Captain James Cook, after having observed the transit of Venus at Otaheite (or Tahiti), and cruised for a month among the other Society Islands, sailed southwards in search of the continent Terra Australis Incognita, which geographers for a preceding century had calculated must exist somewhere thereabouts, as a counterpoise to the great tract of land in the northern hemisphere.

In this search he first visited the Islands of New Zealand, which had been previously discovered by Tasman in 1662; he spent six months in investigating them, and ascertained that they consisted of two large islands.

Leaving New Zealand, and sailing westward, he sighted New Holland on the 11th of April, 1770, and on the 27th anchored in the roadstead to which he afterwards gave the name of Botany Bay. On the following day he landed, with Mr. (afterwards Sir Joseph) Banks, President of the Royal Society, Dr. Solander, and a party of seamen. They were all charmed with the bright verdure of the scene, in which all natural objects the kangaroo bounding through the open forest, the evergreen eucalypti, the grass-trees, the birds—were unlike anything they had ever seen before in the course of their voyages in various quarters of the globe.

After exploring the country for several days, during which a favourable estimate was formed of the capabilities of the district for supporting a colony,* and vainly endeavouring to open a communication with natives, through Tupia, a South-sea Islander, Cook sailed to the northward, passing without visiting the opening into Port Jackson: taking it for a mere boat harbour, he gave it the name of the look-out seamen who announced the indentation in the dark, lofty, basaltic cliffs which open a passage into that noble harbour.

[* The author of the narrative of Cook's first voyage says: "It was oft account of the great quantity of plants which Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander collected in this place that Lieutenant Cook was induced to give it the name of Botany Bay. In cultivating the ground there would e no obstacle from the trees, which are tall, straight, and without underwood, and stand a sufficient distance from each other."]

On the 17th of May, Cook anchored in a bay to which he "gave the name of Moreton Bay; and, at a place where the land was not at that time visible, some on board, having observed that the sea looked paler than usual, were of opinion that the bottom of the bay opened into a river;" but Cook came to a contrary conclusion; it was not until 1823 that the navigable River Brisbane, which gives access to a fine pastoral country, was discovered.

Leaving Moreton Bay, Cook ran down the coast as far as Cape York, taking possession in the usual form wherever he landed. Afterwards passing between New Guinea and Australia, he proved, as Torres had before him, that they were distinct islands.

Cook landed altogether five times on this coast—first at Botany Bay, on the 28th of April, 1770; secondly on the 22nd of May, when he shot a kind of bustard weighing 17 lbs., and named the landing-place Bustard Bay; the third time on the 30th of May, at a spot which, from the absence of water, he named Thirsty Sound. The fourth time was on the 18th of June, 1770 (seven days after his vessel, the Endeavour, had struck upon a coral rock), at Endeavour River, where they refitted. It was during his stay at Endeavour River that one of his crew came running to the boat declaring that he had seen the devil, "as large as a one-gallon keg, with horns and wings, yet he crept so slowly I might have touched him if I had not been afeared." This "devil" was a grey-headed vampyre. (See Engraving on next page.)

On the 21st of August of the same year, having passed and named a point on the mainland "Cape York," Cook anchored, landed for the fifth time on an island which lies in lat. 10° 30' S., and having ascertained that he had discovered, by ascending a hill from whence he had a clear view of forty miles, an open passage to the Indian Seas, before re-embarking took possession in the following words:—

"As I am now about to quit the eastern coast of New Holland, which I have coasted from lat. 38° to this place, and which I am confident no European has ever seen before, I once more hoist English colours; and, though I have already taken possession of several parts, I now take possession of the whole of the eastern coast, by the name of New South Wales (from its great similarity to that part of the principality), in the right of my sovereign, George the Third, King of Great Britain."

His men fired three volleys of firearms, which were answered by the same number from the guns of the ship, and by three cheers from the main shrouds, and, then re-embarking, he named the spot Possession Island.

These explorations of Cook completed the circuit of the island commenced and prosecuted from the beginning of the seventeenth century by the Spanish and Dutch, with the exception of the coast 19 opposite Van Diemen's Land, which was reserved for the enterprise of Flinders and Bass.


In his exploration of Australia, Cook's usual sagacity and good fortune seem to have failed him, although his contributions to our knowledge of an important navigation were of the most valuable character. He selected Botany Bay, a dangerous harbour, which must remain for many years an undrained swamp. He passed without examination Port Jackson, the site of Sydney; Moreton Bay, with its navigable river; and, concluding that Van Diemen's Land was part of the Island of Australia, and the dividing straits a deep bay, lost the opportunity of investigating the great bay of Port Phillip, on the shores of which the most flourishing colony in the British dominions is now rising. In God's good providence the discovery was reserved for a fitting time.

{Page 20}



The accumulation of criminals in our gaols at the close of the American war became an embarrassing question for the county magistrates and the government. Projects for the renewal of transportation, and its effect on criminals, became a subject of discussion among statesmen and philanthropists.

Banishment, from a very early period, was an ordinary punishment, which permitted the sentenced to proceed to any country he pleased. Thus, in Shakspere's "Richard II.:

"we banish you our territories!
You, cousin Hereford, upon pain of death,
Till twice five summers have enriched our fields,
Shall not regreet our fair domains,
But tread the stranger paths of banishment.
Norfolk, for thee remains a heavier doom!

*    *    *    *    *

The hopeless word of never to return
Breathe I against thee, upon pain of life.

Even at the present day it is common, in Guernsey and Jersey, to "banish a criminal to England;" that is to say, to land him at Southampton, and then leave him free to go where he will so long as he does not revisit the Channel Islands.

The first legislative trace of the punishment of transportation is to be found in the 39th of Elizabeth, c. 4, authorising the banishment of rogues and vagabonds. This act James the First converted into an instrument of transportation to America, in a letter written in 1619, addressed to the council of the colony of Virginia, commanding them "to send a hundred dissolute persons to Virginia, that the Knight-Marshal would deliver to them for that purpose." These being the very class of persons against whose introduction the celebrated hero of Virginia, Captain John Smith, had specially protested. In the same year, as a kind of counterpoise to these dissolute persons, the Company sent ninety agreeable girls, young and incorrupt; and again, in 1621, sixty more, "maids of virtuous education, young, and handsome." The first lot of females brought 120 lbs. of tobacco each, and the second, 150 lbs. each. 21

The first distinct notice of transportation is to be found in the 18th of Charles II., c. 3, which gives the judges power, at their discretion, to execute, or transport for life, the moss-troopers of Cumberland or Northumberland. The punishment was inflicted very frequently, in an illegal manner, up to the reign of George the First, when its operation was extended and legalised.

Defoe, who always drew the outlines of his stories from actual life, no doubt gives a true picture of the life led by the convicts in the American plantations in his "History of Moll Flanders."

During the reign of James the Second, transportation, or rather reduction to slavery, was a favourite, and to certain parties a profitable, punishment.

Dr. Lingard quotes a petition setting forth that seventy persons, apprehended on account of the Salisbury rising of Penruddock and Grove, had, after a year's imprisonment, been sold at Barbadoes for 1,550 lbs. of sugar a-piece, more or less, according to their working faculties. Among them were divines, officers, and gentlemen, who were represented as "grinding at the mills, attending at the furnaces, and digging in that scorching island, whipped at whipping-posts, and sleeping in sties worse than hogs in England." *

[* Lingard, xi. 143.]

After Argyle's defeat the planters were on the alert to obtain white slaves, and were successful, Some of the common prisoners, and others, who were Highlanders, were by the Privy Council delivered to Mr. George Scott, of Petlockey, and other planters in New Jersey, Jamaica.

After Monmouth's rebellion, Lord Sunderland wrote from "Winser, Sept. 14th, 1685, to Judge Jeffries," to acquaint him from the king that, of such persons as the judge should think qualified for transportation, the following individuals were to be furnished with these numbers:—Sir Philip Howard to have 200 (convicts); Sir Richard White, 200; Sir William Booth, 100; Mr. Kendal, 100; Mr. Nipho, 100; Sir William Stapleton, 100; Sir Christopher Musgrave, 100; a merchant, whose name Lord Sunderland did not know, 100. Thus it was proposed to give away 1,000. The King directed Chief Justice Jeffries to give orders for delivering the said numbers "to the above persons respectively, to be forthwith transported to some of his Majesty's southern plantations, viz., Jamaica, Barbadoes, or any of the Leeward Islands in America, to be kept there for the space of ten years before they have their liberty. In the end, eight hundred and forty-nine of Monmouth's followers, all from the west, were sold." ** Macaulay's account of the traffic between the maids of honour and the relatives of prisoners will be in the recollection of all our readers, as well as the question of who was the Mr. Penn who acted as broker.

[** Roberts' "Duke of Monmouth," vol. ii. p. 248.]

But the following Bristol legend of an incident in the life of Jeffries proves that he did not permit aldermen to follow the example of the maids of honour: "On his return from Taunton, where his mornings were passed in sentencing to hanging and burning, and his evenings with a congenial soul, Colonel Kirk, in drinking, he stopped at Bristol. Now, the mayor, aldermen, and justices of Bristol had been used to transport convicted criminals to the American plantations, and sell them by way of trade; and finding the commodity turn to good account, they contrived a way to make it more plentiful. Their legal convicts were but few, and the exportation inconsiderable: when, therefore, any petty rogues and pilferers were brought before them in a judicial capacity, they were sure to be terribly threatened with hanging, and they had some diligent officers attending, who could advise the ignorant, intimidated creatures to pray for transportation, as the only way to save their lives; and in general, by some means or other, the advice was followed: then, without any more form, each alderman in turn took one, and sold him for his own benefit; sometimes there even arose warm disputes among them about the next turn. This trade had been carried on unnoticed many years, when it came to the knowledge of the Lord Chief Justice, who, finding upon inquiry that the mayor was equally involved with the rest of his brethren in this outrageous practice, made him descend from the bench where he was sitting, and stand at the bar in his scarlet and furs, and plead like any common criminal."

This system, and the demand for labour, led to frequent cases of kidnapping of the poor and friendless, and of parties who had made themselves obnoxious to powerful and unscrupulous individuals. Thus debtors disencumbered themselves of their creditors, wives of their husbands, and guardians of their wards. Even in vengeance the commercial spirit of Britain was displayed: while the Italian stabbed or poisoned his enemy, the Englishman sold him for a soldier, a sailor, or a slave.

Before the commencement of the American war of independence, the introduction of the more docile and laborious negro had rendered the American planters hostile to the importation of white convicts. The war put a stop to the traffic in white flesh, and crowded our gaols. At the same period the prison labours of Howard commenced. In his vocation he personally examined every place of imprisonment. He found the convicted prisoner, money in his purse, revelling in debauchery, while the untried poor man was half starved, lodged on damp stones, exposed, from unglazed windows, to every blast, and crowded promiscuously with the vilest of mankind in deep dungeons, where fever and foul pestilence ever smouldered. Sometimes a black assize swept away prisoners, gaolers, and even judges. The barbarity of the system may be appreciated from the circumstance that Howard considered he had achieved a great triumph, when he at length obtained an order for a daily allowance of a penny loaf and small piece of cheese for each untried prisoner.

Howard was anxious to establish reformatory prisons or penitentiaries, but his humane schemes met with little favour. With the experience we have since had, we cannot imagine that he could have had any success, except in establishing a clean and wholesome system of management.

The country was no more prepared then than it is at present, to permit desperate ruffians to be unloosed to renew their crimes on the expiration of their terms of imprisonment. But no one then contemplated the construction of prisons like Reading, as costly and comfortable palaces, in which the hard-labour test would consist in composing moral essays, and collating texts of Scripture.*

[* Reading Gaol, Berks.]

The annual accumulation of roguery was to be got rid of! That was the problem; and, so long as it was solved, few cared how. Hanging had been stretched to its utmost limits; transportation had been checked by the revolt of a country which decided to employ no slaves who had not at least 25 per cent. of black blood in their veins, and to receive no rogues except those who had escaped unconvicted.

Under these difficult circumstances, a proposition for "shovelling" out our criminals on the shores of the antipodes, recently re-discovered by Cook, was eagerly entertained. There it was presumed, on very insufficient grounds, the place of punishment could be rendered self-supporting; at any rate, the prisoners would cease to be a nuisance to the life and property of this country. Howard opposed the project, but his opposition was fortunately unheeded, although founded on very sufficient grounds.

When we now examine the population, the wealth, the commerce, the sources of annually increasing power and prosperity of the Australian colonies, and the undeniable elements of empire which they enjoy, it is scarcely possible to believe that the first settlement was formed with the overflowings of our gaols and the sweepings of our streets; that, for a long series of years, its very existence was dependent on supplies of food, which the famine resulting from a month's delay of a store-ship would have rendered useless, and on grants of money, voted at a time when votes, except on the grand field-days of contending parties, were passed undiscussed in Parliament and unreported in newspapers.

At this day, when care for the health, education, and religious instruction of criminals is carried to an extent which shows, in painful relief, the neglect our peasantry endure, it is with amazement and horror that we look back on the cool, careless indifference with which the ministers of George the Third, in 1797, set about founding a penal settlement at the opposite side of the world.

Captain Cook and his companions had passed a few days on the intended site of the proposed penal colony, and had found a small river, a profusion of curious plants, and an indifferent harbour. They had not seen any plains of pasture fit to feed live stock; they had found no large edible animals, such as deer, or buffaloes, or pigs. They had no means of ascertaining whether the soil was capable of carrying crops for the support of a considerable population; and the nearest land at which live stock and dry stores could be procured was the Cape of Good Hope, a colony in the possession of the Dutch.

As little judgment, as little forethought, as little common humanity, was displayed in selecting the colonists as the colony. The first detachment consisted of the first governor, Captain Arthur Phillip, R.N., with a guard of marines, viz., a major-commandant, twelve subalterns, and twenty-four non-commissioned officers, one hundred and sixty-eight rank and file, with forty women, their wives. These were the unconvicted section of the intended colony. The prisoners were six hundred men, and two hundred and fifty women, the latter being not only the most abandoned of their sex, but many of them aged, infirm, and even idiotic. This fearful disproportion of sexes was maintained, and even increased, until the proportion of men to women was as six to one, and the results became too horrible to be here recorded.

This "goodly company" was embarked in a frigate, the Sirius, an armed tender, three store-ships, and six transports, under the command of Captain Hunter. At the last moment, by an afterthought, one chaplain was sent on board. There was no schoolmaster, no superintendent, or gaolers, or overseers, except marines with muskets loaded in case of revolt. No agriculturist was sent to teach the highwaymen and pickpockets to plough, and delve, and sow. No system of discipline was planned, nothing beyond mere coercion was attempted. Even the supply of mechanics required for erecting the needful houses and stores was left a matter of chance, dependent on the trades of the six hundred felons; and, as it turned out, there were not half a dozen carpenters, only one bricklayer, and not one mechanic in the whole settlement capable of erecting a corn-mill.

The "first fleet" sailed on the 13th May, 1787, and, after a voyage of eight months, during which they touched at the Cape de Verd Islands, Rio de Janeiro, and the Cape of Good Hope, being everywhere received with the greatest attention and courtesy, anchored in Botany Bay on the 20th January, 1788.

Within four-and-twenty hours after landing, Governor Phillip ascertained that Botany Bay was quite unsuitable for the site of a colony, that a sufficient quantity of cultivable agricultural land, and of fresh water, were wanting; and that the harbour was unsafe for ships of burden. Without disembarking his charge, he set out with a party of three boats, to explore the coast to the northward, and particularly Broken Bay, an inlet favourably mentioned by Captain Cook, distant about eighteen miles from Botany Bay; but, as he sailed along the barrier of cliffs which line the shore, he decided to examine the narrow cleft which Cook had named Port Jackson.

The day was mild and serene. The expedition sailed along the coast near enough to see, and hear the wild cries of, the astonished natives, who followed them as far as the rugged nature of the land would permit. As they approached Port Jackson, the coast wore such an appearance that Captain Phillip fully expected to find Captain Cook's unfavourable impressions realised; but he was destined to be most agreeably disappointed.

The first tack carried the expedition out of the long heavy swell of the Pacific Ocean into the smooth water of a canal protected by two projecting "heads;" and soon they came within sight of a vast land-locked lake, stretching as far as the eye could reach, dotted with small islands, whose shores sloped, forest-covered, down to the water's edge. Black swans and other rare water-birds fluttered up as the white strangers sailed on, charmed with a scene in which every feature was beautiful, yet strange. They had discovered one of the finest harbours in the world. Coasting round the shores of this great natural basin, Governor Phillip determined to plant his colony on a promontory where a small clear stream trickled into the salt water. After three days spent in exploration, he returned to Botany Bay.

On the morning of the 25th January, as they were working out, the English fleet were astonished by seeing two strange ships of war sailing into the bay. These were the Boussole and Astrolabe, the French expedition of discovery under the command of M. de la Pérouse, which had left France in 1785. La Pérouse "had sailed into Botany Bay by Captain Cook's chart, which lay before him on the binnacle. Having heard at Kamtschatka of the intended settlement, he had expected to have found a town built and market established." Thus it was probably but by a few days that the honour of discovering Port Jackson fell to England. The French squadron remained until the 10th March to refresh and refit, and, then departing, were never heard of more, until, in 1826, Mr. Dillon discovered at the Manicola Islands traces of arms and ornaments which proved their mournful fate—shipwrecked, and murdered by savages.

A monument has been erected to the memory of La Pérouse and his crew in Botany Bay.


{Page 27}



1788 TO 1806.

On the 26th January the English fleet, having been brought round, anchored in deep water close along the shore of Sydney Cove, so called after Lord Sydney, one of the lords of the Admiralty. A formal disembarkation took place a detachment of marines and blue jackets leaping from their boats into the shades of a primaeval forest. After hoisting British colours "near where the colonnade in Bridge-street now stands," the proclamation and commission constituting the colony were read, a salute of small arms was fired, and the career of the province of New South Wales commenced. The whole party landed amounted to one thousand and thirty souls, who encamped under tents, and under and within hollow trees, "in a country resembling the more woody parts of a deer park in England." Such were the accidents of the foundation, and such the founders, of our colonial empire in Australia.

No sooner had the convict colonists been disembarked, and the erection of the necessary buildings commenced, than the want of a sufficient body of artificers was experienced. The ships furnished sixteen, and the prisoners twelve, carpenters; and by a piece of unexpected good fortune, which caused much rejoicing, "an experienced bricklayer was discovered among the convicts. He was at once placed at the head of a party of labourers, with orders to construct a number of brick huts: in the meantime the governor occupied a tent."

This first example is a fair specimen of the manner in which the penal discipline in the colony was conducted for a long series of years. A useful man was placed in authority, and allowed a variety of indulgences, quite irrespective of his moral qualities. The greatest ruffians became overseers, and occupied places of trust. Men of no use—mere drudges—were treated worse than beasts of burden.

In the month of May the entire live stock of the colony, public and private, consisted of—2 bulls, 5 cows, 1 horse, 3 mares, 3 colts, 29 sheep, 19 goats, 74 pigs, 5 rabbits, 18 turkeys, 29 geese, 35 ducks; 210 fowls. The cattle were of the Cape breed, humpy on the shoulders, and long-horned—a fact which it afterwards became of consequence to remember. In the ensuing month it is recorded as a public calamity that two bulls and four cows wandered away from the pickpocket herdsman who had them in charge, and were lost in the woods. In the sequel it was shown that the cattle were better colonists than their owners.

The entrance to Port Jackson, as already partly described, is through projecting capes, or two heads, which conceal and shelter the far extent of the harbour. A channel, about two miles in breadth, opens a land-locked harbour, about fifteen miles in length, of irregular form, the shores jagged with inlets, coves, and creeks, which, when the first adventurers landed, were covered to the water's edge with the finest timber. At the western extremity a current of fresh water mingling with the sea tide gave signs of the winding Paramatta River, navigable for vessels of small burden for eighteen miles.

The settlement was planted on the banks of an inlet or "cove," about half a mile in length, and a quarter in breadth, which received a considerable stream of fresh water at the upper end.

The native blacks, who then swarmed along the whole coast from Botany Bay, and far beyond in either direction, came to meet the white strangers naked, armed with the shield, the spear, and the boomerang, which the settlers at first took for a wooden sword.

From the circumstance of the aborigines not being subject to the authority of any sort of government except that of the strongest man, from the imperfection of their arms, and their mental incapacity for combination, their communications and skirmishes with the white intruders do not occupy that place in the history of the colony which is filled by the Bed Indian tribes in the history of North America, or the semi-civilised Peruvians and Mexicans in that of Spanish South America.

On the 7th February, 1788, the king's commission for the government of the "territory of New South Wales and its dependencies" was read. By this instrument the colony was declared "to extend from the northern extremity of the coast called Cape York, in the latitude of 10° 37', to the southern extremity of South Cape, in the latitude of 43° 39', including all adjacent islands within those latitudes, and inland to the westward as far as the 135th degree of east longitude." At the same time were read the letters patent issued under the 27th George III., cap. 56, for establishing courts of civil and criminal judicature in the colony. Under these the governor—or, in his absence, the lieutenant-governor was authorised, whenever, and only when, he saw fit, to summon a court of criminal jurisdiction, which was to be a court of record, and to consist of the judge-advocate, and six such officers of the sea or land service as the governor should nominate by presents under hand and seal. This court was empowered to inquire into and punish all crimes of whatever nature; the punishment to be inflicted according to the laws of England, as nearly as might be, considering and allowing for the circumstances and situations of the settlement and its inhabitants; the charge to be reduced to writing; witnesses to be examined upon oath; the sentence of the court to be determined by the opinion of the majority; but the punishment not to be inflicted unless five members of the court concurred, until the king's pleasure should be known; the provost-marshal to cause the judgment under the governor's warrant.

In this court the judge-advocate was president (there was no provision that he should be a man of legal education); he was also to frame and exhibit the charge against the prisoner, to have a vote in the court, and to be sworn like members of it. The military officers were to appear in the insignia of duty—sash and sword; they had the right to examine witnesses as well as the judge-advocate; he alone centred in his person the offices of prosecutor, judge, and jury.

There was also a civil court, consisting of the judge-advocate and two inhabitants of the settlement, who were to be appointed by the governor, "empowered to decide, in a summary manner, all pleas of lands, houses, debts, contracts, and all personal pleas, with authority to summon parties, upon complaint being made, to examine the matter of such complaint by the oath of witnesses, and to issue warrants of execution under the hand and seal of the judge-advocate." From this court an appeal might be made to the governor, and from him (where the property exceeded the value of three hundred pounds) to the king in council. To this court was likewise given authority to grant probates of wills, and administration of the personal estates of intestate persons dying within the settlement.

A vice-admiralty court was also established for the trial of offences committed on the high seas. The governor was captain-general and vice-admiral, with authority to hold general courts-martial, to confirm and set aside sentences.

Powers equal to those of the first governor of New South Wales, if held, have never been exercised by any other official in the British dominions. He could sentence to five hundred lashes, fine five hundred pounds, regulate customs and trade, fix prices and wages, remit capital as well as other sentences, bestow grants of land, and create a monopoly of any article of necessity. All the labour in the colony was at his disposal; all the land, all the stores, all the places of honour and profit; and virtually all the justice, as the case of Governor Bligh afterwards proved. The governor's subjects consisted of his subordinates, officers—for, as captain-general, the commandant of the troops was under his orders of the few who resorted to New South Wales to trade (whose profits were at his disposal), and the convicts—outcasts without civil rights. The distance from England, the few means of communication, the indifference of the English public to the fate of the inhabitants of a penal or any other colony, rendered the governor, so far as the control of law extended, actually irresponsible. As there was no law, so there was no publicity and no public opinion to restrain the exercise of the despotism which was the only possible government in such a penal settlement.

The chief officers were naval and military, of the old school; not the school of Cook and Keppel, Nelson and Collingwood, Wolfe and Cornwallis, but of that school which, by its tyranny, its abuse of power, its neglect of common honesty, of common decency, and common humanity in the treatment, the wages, the clothing, and the food of sailors, created the alarming mutinies of Portsmouth and the Nore.*

[* Portsmouth, May; the Nore, June, 1797.]

The powers vested in the governor were exercised without the restraining influence of council or law adviser until 1822.**

[** The Charter of Justice was not formally promulgated until the 17th May, 1824.]

Amazement and horror overcome us when we look back on the early days of New South Wales. Under the absolute government described, the settlers were crowded together on a narrow space a promontory cleared of a dense forest. The soil was a barren sand; every yard required for cultivation had to be gained by removing enormous trees of a hardness that tried the temper of the best axes, wielded in skilled hands. On one side was an unknown shore and a shipless sea; on the other, an apparently limitless country, inhabited by savages, in which not a step could be taken without danger of being totally lost; a country which produced no wild fruit or root fit for the sustenance of man; and, with the exception of a wandering kangaroo, or a shy, swift emu, no game of any size fit for food.

The want of enterprise which marked the early career of the colonists, and left them so long in ignorance of the rich districts on which, after a long interval, the colony became self-supporting, cannot but be attributed to the form of government and to the moral blight caused by the composition of the society. The mass of the community were slaves—slaves without the contented spirit of negroes or Russian serfs, for they had been born in a free country, and could not learn to submit and be happy, even if, in the matter of food and lodging, they had been well provided, instead of being burned with heat, perished with cold, and always half starved. They were slaves, too, labouring hard, but scarcely producing anything.

The long voyage was a bad preparation for useful labour. The convicts were heaped on board ship without selection, the vilest and most venial criminals chained together. No classification of degrees of crime, or for the purposes of useful labour, was attempted. The overseers were prisoners selected by favouritism, or for their bodily strength; and the work was divided between personal service on the officers, handicraft, and mere drudgery.

One chaplain of the Church of England enjoyed a salary for preaching occasionally to an ignorant uninstructed multitude, of whom one-third were Irish Roman Catholics, transported for political or agrarian offences. Religious teaching, the bedside prayer, the solemn call to repentance, were seldom heard in that miserable Gomorrah.

Far from all civilising, humanising influences, in such society the finest natures became brutalised into tyrants, while the criminals under their command dragged on a miserable existence or rebelled with all the dogged ruffianism of despair. Although the chief records of the early days of the colony are drawn from the writings and reports of officials, who were naturally inclined to put the best face on a system of which they were the paid instruments, and whose eyes, ears, consciences were seared by constant contact with misery and tyranny, yet there is more than enough testimony of the cruel and stupid despotism which prevailed.

We learn from the journals of Howard, and the reports of the parliamentary inquiries instituted through his influence, how frightful were the abuses practised on tried and untried prisoners at the close of the eighteenth century in England, where the gaols were visited by numerous individuals of various ranks, where the common-law rights of the subject had been established, where what was considered in those clays a free press flourished, where, from Sabbath to Sabbath, Christian ministers assembled and led Christian congregations to prayer and praise, where a parliament held its sittings whose orators made Europe resound with their denunciations of tyranny, and where laws were administered by incorruptible, independent judges. We may more easily imagine how in New South Wales, where there was no law but the law of the lash, tyranny became chronic, and cruelty spread through the whole body corporate of the colony.

A singular succession of serious, pitiable, ludicrous, and disgraceful incidents, mark the history of the settlement, from the day of proclaiming the king's commission to the end of the year 1800, which has been minutely recorded by Collins. At one time "a person named Smith, on his way to India, professing some knowledge of agriculture," is engaged by the government, and created a peace-officer at Rosehill, the site of the future town of Paramatta, the said Smith being apparently the only freeman with any claims to the kind of knowledge on which the subsistence of the colony was likely to depend. At another time one Bryant, a Devonshire prisoner, employed in his calling of a fisherman, is detected in secreting and selling large quantities of fish, and is severely punished; but, "being too useful a person to part with, and send to the Brick Cart," he is retained to fish for the settlement. This man afterwards escaped with his family and a party of other prisoners in an open boat to the Island of Timor; he was there captured by a mari-of-war, and carried to Batavia, where he died. His wife was conveyed to England, tried, and confined in Newgate until the term of her original sentence expired.

Then we find convicts, "when little more than two years had elapsed," claiming their discharge on the ground that the time of their sentence had expired, which was possible, as it would date from the day of their sentences. When, in answer to these claims, inquiries are made for the documents containing the particulars, "it is found that they have been left in England, and that, therefore, it is impossible to affirm or deny the claims." Consequently, the prisoners are told they must wait for an answer to a despatch to be sent by the first opportunity to England, a period of two or three years. One of the prisoners, not very well pleased with the prospect of such delay, expresses himself disrespectfully of the lieutenant-governor in the presence of the governor. Thereupon he is seized, tried by a criminal court, found guilty, and sentenced to receive six hundred lashes, and wear irons for the space of six months. About the same time a soldier having been found guilty of a horrible criminal assault on a female child, his sentence is commuted to banishment for life to the auxiliary agricultural settlement of Norfolk Island.

These are but a few gems of the judicial system by which New South Wales was ruled for nearly the first quarter of a century of its existence.

In 1790, the third year of colonisation, four ships arrived filled with convicts, of whom the greater number were in a dying state: two hundred and sixty-one had died at sea; two hundred were brought on shore in the last stage of exhaustion, from scurvy, dysentery, fever, bad food, and foul air. In order to save the parties in charge trouble, the men had been chained together in rows, and confined below nearly throughout the voyage. On board one of the ships, the Neptune, several of the prisoners had died in irons; their companions concealed their deaths in order to share the extra allowance of provisions, and so slight was the supervision, that the horrible fact was not discovered until betrayed by the offensiveness of putrefaction.

Many years elapsed before a system was adopted by which the preservation of the health of prisoners and troops became the interest as well as the duty of the surgeon in charge. At that time the more and the sooner prisoners died the more profitable the transaction was to the contractor; so they commonly died like rotten sheep.

Those were the days in which transportation really was a punishment almost as terrible as death. New South Wales was then an awful over-sea gaol, offering no prospect of advancement or liberation; where the will of a prisoner-turnkey was law, where death was the punishment of the most trifling crimes, and a reproachful look was punished with the lash.

A few days before the four ships landed one thousand male and two hundred arid fifty female convicts, the arrival of one storeship, the Justinian, saved the whole colony from perishing of famine. The Guardian, laden with a great supply of provisions, stores, and live stock, under the command of Riou, "the gallant good Riou," of Campbell's "Battle of Copenhagen," had struck on an iceberg, and, after almost all the cargo had been thrown overboard, was with difficulty carried into the Cape of Good Hope. For weeks before the arrival of the Justinian, the whole settlement had been put on short allowance, The governor, says Collins, had thrown his store, 300 lbs. of flour, into the common stock. The weekly allowance of each prisoner had been reduced to 2 lbs. of salt pork, 2½ lbs. of flour, and 2 lbs. of rice. "Labour stood suspended for want of energy to proceed; the countenances of the people plainly bespoke the hardships they underwent." "Garden-robbing became prevalent; the most severe measures were employed to repress the crime caused by, and yet increasing, the effects of the scarcity, but in vain. A man caught by the clergyman stealing potatoes was sentenced to three hundred lashes, to have his rations of flour stopped for six months, and to be chained for that period to two others caught robbing the governor's garden; but this and many similar punishments produced no more effect than the clemency of the governor, who remitted three hundred out of four hundred lashes to which one man was sentenced. The proverb that "hunger will break through stone walls," was exemplified night and day.

"So great was the villany of the people, or the necessity of the times, that a prisoner lying at the hospital from the effects of punishment, part of which he had received, contrived to get his irons off one leg, and in that state was caught robbing a farm;" but the historian reports that at Rosehill, where they had vegetables in abundance, no thefts were committed.

The Justinian, which brought relief from this state of destitution, was driven off Sydney Heads when within hail: it was for some hours doubtful whether she would not strike and become a total wreck on the reefs of Broken Bay. Had that event occurred, and the twelve hundred and fifty additional convicts safely made the port, death by starvation, or in a struggle for food, must have been the fate of the whole settlement.

Could it be wondered if, under such a system of despotism, without discipline in the colony, and in the face of such neglect at home, the descendants of these men had grown fiercely disloyal and anti-British? But yet it is not so. The Australians are a loyal, order-loving, law-obeying race, as they have recently proved more than once. Even gold-digging has not corrupted their honest hearts.

It was not until five years after Governor Phillip's landing that a temporary church was erected, and divine service performed on the 25th August, 1793.

The founders of New England—themselves tyrannical and intolerant, although flying from tyranny and intolerance—did not let a week elapse without making permanent arrangements for religious worship and education, which endure to this day, and have spread their humanising influences all over the wide empire of the American republic. In New South Wales, under the rule of a sovereign which some, disparaging the present, are accustomed to glorify as the reign of a specially Christian king, the penalties of lash, the pillory, the gallows, were administered as freely as teaching and preaching were neglected.

It sounds strangely in this age to hear that "the clergyman complaining of non-attendance at divine service," which was generally performed in the open air, alike unsheltered from wind and rain, as from the fervour of the summer's sun, "it was ordered that three pounds of flour should be deducted from the ration of each overseer, and two pounds from each labouring convict who should not attend prayers once on each Sunday, unless some reasonable excuse for absence should be assigned."

In 1791 (April) we find Mr. Schaffer, a German, arriving from England as a superintendent of convicts; but on discovery that as he spoke no English he was unable to discharge his duties, he retired, and accepted a grant of land of 140 acres at Rosehill. One cannot help feeling curious to know under whose patronage and for what services a German, not speaking' English, was sent as superintendent of convicts at the antipodes. Is it possible that Miss Burney's friend, Madame Schwellenberg, could have had anything to do with this little appointment?

At the same time James Ruse received a grant of a similar quantity of land as a reward for being the first settler who declared he was able to support himself on a farm he had occupied fifteen months, and to dispense with an allowance from the government stores.

These incidents, with the arrival, in two detachments, of a regiment raised for the purpose of serving in the colony, under the title of the New South Wales Corps, are the most remarkable events during the latter years of the reign of Governor Phillip, who resigned his office to Lieutenant-Governor Grose,* and returned to England on the 11th December, 1792.

[* Major Grose was a son of the celebrated antiquary.]

At that date there were sixty-seven settlers, holding under grant three thousand four hundred and seventy acres, of which four hundred and seventeen acres were in cultivation, and a hundred more cleared. We have no means of ascertaining where all these grants were situated, but the greater part is now occupied as building land, and was miserably barren for agricultural purposes, although covered with gigantic gum-trees.

This summary of the cultivation by free or freedmen settlers is interesting, because it marks the first step towards rendering the colony self-supporting. These settlers were, if they required, victualled and clothed from the public store for eighteen months from the time of their going on their grants, furnished with tools and implements of husbandry, grain to sow their grounds, such stock as could be spared from the public, and, at the discretion of the governor, the use of as many convicts as they would undertake to clothe, feed, and employ. Every free or freed man had a hut erected on his farm at public expense.

On ground of ordinary fertility, with settlers of average industry, these terms would have insured early independence; but the greater part of the district was and is as barren as the sea-shore, and the majority of the settlers who were not idle were perfectly ignorant of agriculture. The difficulties of cutting down and removing the forest were so great that, without the use of compulsory convict labour for a quarter of a century, the Sydney district never could have been cleared.

During this period the government was obliged to carry on cultivation as well as it could on public account, although with indifferent success. A principle as old as the first step the first tribes made toward civilisation—which, however, many statesmen and economists even now appear not to understand—was forcibly illustrated in the answer of a settler, reproached with not having worked so well for the joint-stock account as he did on his own grant of land—"We are working for ourselves now."

The following were the prices of agricultural stock and produce at the close of 1792:—Flour, 9d. per lb.; potatoes, 3d. per lb.; sheep (the Cape breed), £10 10s. each; milk goats, £8 8s.; breeding sows, £7 7s. to £10 10s.; laying fowls, 10s.; tea, 8s. to 16s. per lb.; sugar, 1s. 6d. per lb.; spirits, 12s. to 20s. per gallon; porter, 1s. per quart.

At these famine prices the mortality among the convict population was fearful. Between the 1st January and the 31st December, 1792, there died two persons of the civil department, six soldiers, four hundred and eighteen male convicts, eighteen female convicts, and seventy-nine children.

Governor Phillip took with him to England two of the aborigines, with whom, throughout the period of his government, he had endeavoured to promote a good understanding—a task involving great difficulties, arising from the brutality of the convicts and the untameable nature of the savages. The tribes that swarmed round Port Jackson and Botany Bay have, with one exception, all died out; the character and customs of those who survive in less settled districts remain unchanged, or at any rate not more changed than the fox chained in a courtyard, or a pheasant reared in an aviary.

In September, 1795, Governor Hunter arrived, superseded Lieutenant-Governor Grose, and remained the usual term of five years. His difficulties were less formidable than those of Governor Phillip, which were not extravagantly rewarded by a retiring pension of 500. His office was no sinecure. He had had a large body of convict colonists under his command who would not work, who would drink, and who were therefore dependent for subsistence on supplies imported from England and India. By every ship that left the harbour there was an attempt, generally successful, to escape, on the part of convicts; fifty were taken from one ship at a time "when the loss of the labour of one man was important." It was no wonder that all who could, endeavoured to fly from a colony where the population was annually put on short allowance of food, and very often in danger of actual starvation.

At this period, and for more than twenty years, spirits were the ordinary currency of the colony. Almost all extra work was paid for in spirits, and it was thought quite proper to stimulate the diligence of prisoners, in unloading a vessel laden with government stores, by giving half a pint of spirits to each. Among free and bond, drunkenness was a prevailing vice. The tyranny of the prisoner-overseers was so great that the best-inclined convicts were goaded to recklessness and crime. Criminal assaults on women were so common that "the poor unfortunate victims were designated by a title expressive of the insults they had received."

The whole population, on the arrival of Captain Hunter, with the exception of one hundred and seventy-nine, were dependent on the public stores for rations, many of the exceptions being reputed thieves, presumed to subsist on plunder from stores and gardens.

The most favourable feature of this epoch was the extension of cultivation by settlers along the rich alluvial land on the banks of the River Hawkesbury, one of the first districts which seemed to yield a fair return to industry.


Among the events of this five years may be noted the use of a printing-press, the discovery of the lost herd of cattle, and the foundation of a settlement, called Newcastle, on the Coal or Hunter's River.

A printing-press had been sent out with the first fleet, but no printers. All public and private announcements were made in manuscript, or by the bellman, until Governor Hunter discovered a printer among his convict subjects, and established a government gazette. In this age of newspapers, it seems incredible that a number of officers and gentlemen should have been satisfied for so many years without something in the shape of a newspaper; but the colony was divided into slavedrivers and slaves, who were equally content to spend their time in feeding pigs and getting drunk.

The reports of the natives led the governor to send out as scouts men employed as hunters, to collect fresh provisions for public use; and they discovered, feeding on rich pastures on the other side of the River Nepean, still known as Cow Pastures, a herd of sixty cattle, the produce of the five cows and two bulls lost in 1788.

To realise this sight, so pleasant to the eyes of men condemned to perpetual rations of salt meat, rarely varied by fresh pork, the governor himself set out on an expedition, and tracked and viewed the herd with great delight. An old bull, fiercely and obstinately charging, was slaughtered in self-defence; he proved to be of the humpy-shouldered Cape breed of the lost stock, which left no doubt of the identity of the herd, and dispelled the notion of indigenous cattle. The party made a delicious meal, and a few pounds were carried back thirty-eight miles, over a rough road, to Paramatta, the rest being left to the native dogs and hawks, with deep regret, "as meat, fresh or salt, had long been a rarity with the poor sick in the hospital." Many an Australian within the last ten years, galloping through Cow Pastures to purchase the finest cattle at 2 a head to boil down for tallow, has been reminded of the time when a bit of bull beef, that a well-bred dog would now reject, was a luxury to a governor and his suite!

These wild cattle were preserved, and increased greatly, dividing into "mobs," each under the charge of a victorious bull, until the general increase of stock diminished their value. Many were consumed by surrounding small settlers, and the rest, being fierce and a nuisance, were destroyed by order of the government, when beef ceased to be a luxury.

About the time these wild herds were discovered, three miserable cows of the Indian breed sold for £189, and two years afterwards two colonial ships were employed eight months in bringing 51 cows, 3 bulls, and 90 sheep from the Cape, at a cost exceeding the highest price ever paid for the finest short-horns.

Governor Hunter, with the best intentions and an excusable ignorance of the laws of political economy, more than once endeavoured to fix the wages of labour, by a convention of employers, and mutual agreement not to outbid each other. Harvest wages were settled at 10s. a day; but we find, from frequent proclamations, that the rule of supply and demand prevailed, and labourers when much needed obtained "exorbitant terms," although a reward and indemnity were offered to informers.

At this period officers were allowed the use of ten prisoners for agricultural and three for domestic services, and so on in a diminishing scale to every description of settler down to the emancipist, who was allowed the use of one prisoner to assist in tilling his grant. All these servants were fed and clothed by the crown.

In 1797 the first school building was erected for the benefit of three hundred children, and the chaplain, the Rev. Mr. Johnson, began to catechise them after the service on each Sunday.

That instruction was much needed among all classes there can be no doubt; for on one occasion the sails of the public mill, by which the corn of the settlers was gratuitously ground, were stolen in the absence of the miller. On another, with a superstition worthy of the middle ages, the authorities compelled a soldier suspected of murdering his comrade to handle the dead body, in order to see whether it would bleed, and so accuse him.

In 1798 a great Irish expedition in search of China took place. We laugh at it, yet it was not more foolish than many expeditions and theories patronised in the nineteenth century. It is also memorable for the foundation of the first brick church, built on the model of the stables of a citizen's mansion, with clock-tower.

A return made in this year shows 6,270 acres in crop with wheat or maize, a much larger quantity of arable land in proportion to the population than is now cultivated in any of the Australian colonies. Among the more industrious settlers, George Barrington, the celebrated pickpocket, figures as the owner of twenty acres of wheat, thirteen sheep, fifty-five goats, and two mares. He was a constable.

In the following year the colony was again threatened with famine, partly owing to the deficiency of live stock, and partly to the incurable barrenness of the Sydney district.

In 1800 Captain Hunter was superseded by Captain King.

Under Governor King the Female Orphan School was founded, and the first issue of copper coin took place. The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, the first Australian paper, was founded by a prisoner, George Howe, and published by authority in 1803. An insurrection of prisoners, two hundred and fifty strong, armed with muskets, broke out at Castlehill, on the 4th March, 1804, and was defeated in fifteen minutes by Major Johnstone, of the New South Wales Corps, with twenty-four men. Sixty-seven insurgents fell on the field; ten were tried and five hung.

A penal settlement was formed in Van Diemen's Land by Captain Collins. In the first instance he proceeded to Port Phillip, but unfortunately landed on the eastern arm, where there was a deficiency of water; and being, as most military men are, a bad colonist, he abandoned it and proceeded to the Derwent. Had he made his way to the Yarra Yarra River the probability is that Sydney would have become the second settlement; and, with the profusion of white slave labour then available applied on the fine agricultural land of Port Phillip, by this time a population of several millions would have been established there.

1806 was signalised by the great flood on the River Hawkesbury, on the banks of which the principal grain cultivation of the colony was carried on. The Hawkesbury, in ordinary periods, winds in a strangely tortuous course through a deep valley, between the precipitous banks above which, on the occurrence of heavy rains, it rises as much as thirty feet in a very few hours. These floods are not periodical. Until 1806 none of importance had occurred, and people had settled down on the rich "interval" land, the deposit of former overflowings. Crops, houses, and many colonists, were all swept away in one night. Famine was the immediate result. The two-pound loaf rose to 5s.; wheat fetched 80s. a bushel, and every vegetable in proportion. A serious flood had occurred in 1801, but this far exceeded it. It is difficult to teach caution in such matters.

This great flood on the Hawkesbury caused eventually a complete rearrangement of the cultivation and occupation of that district.

Calamities, according to popular prejudice, seldom come single. It was certainly the casein New South Wales in 1806, for the clock-tower fell, and Governor Bligh arrived. Captain King resigned his command on the 13th of March.


On the Hawkesbury and its tributaries the first successful agricultural colonists were planted, and there dwelt, in 1845, a few representatives of the first fleeters. These settlers, whose recollections * do not exactly tally with, although they confirm, the history transmitted to us by Collins, are all in comfortable circumstances—some positively wealthy. Among the last was Mr. Smith, who always spoke his mind to high and low. He had been free almost ever since he arrived in the colony, and had never been "in trouble."

[* Extracted from the MSS., Voluntary Statements of the People of New South Wales, collected by Mrs. Chisholm.]

"He was an old man, with a large-featured, handsome, military sort of face, of a red-brown complexion, shaved clean. His dress consisted of a red flannel shirt, with a black bandana, tied sailor-fashion, exposing his strong neck, and a pair of fustian trousers. Out of compliment to the lady he once put on a blue coat with gilt buttons, but, being evidently uncomfortable, consented to take it off again. He refused to see the lady until he learned that it was 'the Mrs. Chisholm;' being usually rough to those he did not respect."

A Dr. ———, who had the reputation among the prisoner population of never having spared any man in his anger, or any woman in his lust, during the old flogging days, met Mr. Smith, face to face, coming out of the bank in Sydney; and holding out his hand said, "Come, shake hands, Mr. Smith, and let bygones be bygones: I am glad to see you looking so well." Smith, putting his hands behind him, answered, "I suppose, because I have got a velvet waistcoat, and money in the bank, you want to shake hands; but no! Dr. ———, it would take a second resurrection to save such as thee." The doctor slunk away.

Mr. Joseph Smith.

Macdonald's River, County Of Hunter, 3rd Oct., 1845

"I arrived in the colony fifty-six years since; it was Governor Phillip's time, and I was fourteen years old; there were only eight houses in the colony then. I know that myself and eighteen others laid in a hollow tree for seventeen weeks, and cooked out of a kettle with a wooden bottom: we used to stick it in a hole in the ground, and make a fire round it. I was seven years in service (bond), and then started working for a living wherever I could get it. There was plenty of hardship then: I have often taken grass, and pounded it, and made soup from a native dog. I would eat anything then. For seventeen weeks I had only five ounces of flour a day. We never got a full ration except when the ship was in harbour. The motto was 'Kill them, or work them, their provision will be in store.' Many a time have I been yoked like a bullock with twenty or thirty others to drag along timber. About eight hundred died in six months at a place called Toongabbie, or Constitution-hill. I knew a man so weak, he was thrown into the grave, when he said, 'Don't cover me up; I'm not dead; for God's sake don't cover me up!' The overseer answered, 'D——— your eyes, you'll die to-night, and we shall have the trouble to come back again!' The man recovered; his name is James Glasshouse, and he is now alive at Richmond.

"They used to have a large hole for the dead; once a day men were sent down to collect the corpses of prisoners, and throw them in without any ceremony or service. The native dogs used to come down at night and fight and howl in packs, gnawing the poor dead bodies.

"The governor would order the lash at the rate of five hundred, six hundred, or eight hundred; and if the men could have stood it they would have had more. I knew a man hung there and then for stealing a few biscuits, and another for stealing a duck frock.* A man was condemned—no time—take him to the tree, and hang him. The overseers were allowed to flog the men in the fields. Often have men been taken from the gang, had fifty, and sent back to work. Any man would have committed murder for a month's provisions: I would have committed three (murders) for a week's provisions! I was chained seven weeks on my back for being out getting greens, wild herbs. The Rev. ——— used to come it tightly to force some confession. Men were obliged to tell lies to prevent their bowels from being cut out by the lash.

[* J. Bennet, a youth 17 years of age, was convicted and immediately executed for stealing to the value of 5s. out of a tent.—Collins, p. 27, History of New South Wales.]

"Old ——— (an overseer) killed three men in a fortnight at the saw by overwork. We used to be taken in large parties to raise a tree; when the body or the tree was raised, he (old ———) would call some of the men away—then more; the men were bent double—they could not bear it—they fell the tree on one or two, killed on the spot. 'Take him away; put him in the ground!' There was no more about it.

"After seven years I got my liberty, and then started working about for a living where I could get it. I stowed myself away on board the Barrington, bound for Norfolk Island, with eighteen others; it was not a penal settlement then. Governor King was there. I had food plenty. I was overseer of the governor's garden. Afterwards I went to live with old D'Arcy Wentworth,** and a better master never lived in the world. Little Billy,*** the great lawyer, has often been carried in my arms.

[** He came out as a political exile for having been concerned in Irish treason, and was appointed surgeon to the Norfolk Island settlement. He took an active part in the Bligh rebellion. Was afterwards a magistrate. A man of great ability and eloquence, but by no means popular, being of the old fierce republican school of politics of the last generation.]

[*** William D'Arcy Wentworth, barrister-at-law, author of a description of New South Wales, published in 1819—a work, or rather large pamphlet, chiefly political, written with great power and eloquence, which first called the attention of the reading public to the resources of New South Wales. The emancipation of New South Wales is in a great degree due to Mr. Wentworth's exertions.]

"Old D'Arcy wanted me to take charge of Home-Bush **** property, but I took to the river (Hawkesbury), worked up and down till I saved money to buy old Brown's farm at Pitt Town. No man worked harder than I have done. I have by me about one thousand pounds ready cash. I have given that farm of forty acres to my son Joseph, and three other farms, and about five hundred head of cattle; and about the same to my other son. I have also got 80 acres—30 acres, 50, 75, beside my house, and some fine cattle. We are never without a chest of tea in the house; we use two in the year. I have paid £40 for a chest of tea in this colony. Tea is a great comfort."

[**** The Goodwood Park of New South Wales, where races ranking colonially with our Ascot are held annually, about eight miles from Sydney.]

Mrs. Smith's Statement.

"I have seen Dr. ——— take a woman who was in the family way, with a rope round her, and duck her in the water at Queen's-wharf. The laws were bad then. If a gentleman wanted a man's wife, he would send the husband to Norfolk Island. I have seen a man flogged for pulling six turnips instead of five. One ——— was overseer, the biggest villain that ever lived delighted in torment. He used to walk up and down and rub his hands when the blood ran. When he walked out, the flogger walked behind him. He died a miserable death maggots ate him up; not a man could be found to bury him. I have seen six men executed for stealing 21 lbs. of flour. I have seen a man struck when at work with a handspike, and killed on the spot. I have seen men in tears round Governor ———, begging for food. He would mock them with 'Yes, yes, gentlemen; I'll make you comfortable; give you a nightcap and a pair of stockings!'"

Mrs. Smith was blind: she acted as she spoke, and wept on recalling the horrors of her early life. The house was large, and crowded with furniture. Smith presented Mrs. C. with a pistol as a souvenir, which he pulled out of his belt, saying, "You may depend on it!"

Henry Hale.


"I arrived in the third fleet on the 16th of October, 1791; it was on a Sunday we landed. The ship's name was Barrington, Captain Marsh. I was sent to Toongabbie. For nine months there I was on five ounces of flour a day—when weighed out, barely four; served daily. In those days we were yoked to draw timber, twenty-five in gang. The sticks were six feet long; six men abreast. We held the stick behind us, and dragged with our hands. One man came ashore in the Pitt; his name was Dixon; he was a guardsman. He was put to the drag; it soon did for him. He began on a Thursday and died on the Saturday, as he was dragging a load down Constitution-hill. There were thirteen hundred died there in six months. Men used to carry trees on their shoulders. How they used to die! The men were weak—dreadfully weak—for want of food. A man named Gibraltar was hung for stealing a loaf out of the governor's kitchen. He got down the chimney, stole the loaf, had a trial, and was hung the next day at sunrise. At this time a full ration was allowed to the governor's dog. This was Governor ———. I have seen seventy men flogged at night—twenty-five lashes each. On Sunday evening they used to read the laws. If any man was found out of camp he got twenty-five. The women used to be punished with iron collars. In Governor King's time they used to douse them overboard. They killed one. Dr. ——— was a great tyrant. Mine is a life grant from Governor Bourke—fourteen acres. I grow tobacco, wheat, and corn; just enough to make a living."


{Page 44}



From these doleful chronicles of irresponsible tyranny, of crime, and famine, it is a relief to turn and contemplate the heroism of the two men to whose ill-rewarded enterprise the most brilliant discoveries on the Australian coasts are due.

In 1795 Captain Hunter, who had commanded the "First Fleet," was sent out again to supersede Governor Phillip. Among the gentlemen under his command were Matthew Flinders, midshipman; and George Bass, surgeon. Flinders was born at Donington, in Lincolnshire. He was a descendant of the Flemish colonists, introduced by Henry VII., who first taught the English how to turn desolate, heron-haunted swamps into rich pastures. From his earliest years he displayed an adventurous and investigating spirit. It is among the traditions of his family, that on the day he was promoted from petticoats to "buttoned clothes," after being lost for hours, he was found in the middle of one of the sea marshes, his pockets stuffed with pebbles tracing the runlets of water, "wanting to know where they came from." Being desirous of entering the navy, he taught himself navigation from "Euclid" and Robertson's "Elements," without the aid of a master. In 1793, at the age of sixteen, he presented himself as a volunteer on board the Scipio, Captain (afterwards Admiral) Pasley, by whom he was placed on the quarter-deck, and at the instance of that commander joined the Providence, Captain Bligh (afterwards so infamous), engaged to carry bread-fruit trees to the West Indies. In this voyage he was entrusted with the charge of the chronometer, and took his first lesson in the construction of charts.

On his return in the latter part of 1793, he joined the Bellerophon, seventy-four, bearing the broad pendant of Sir Thomas Pasley, to whom he acted as aide-de-camp in Lord Howe's memorable victory of the 1st June, 1794. An account of this action, with diagrams of the position of the two fleets at three several periods of the day, drawn up by Flinders with neatness, clearness, and minuteness, for which all his MSS. are remarkable, are still in the possession of his surviving daughter. From the Bellerophon he followed one of his officers, who took the command of the Reliance, ordered to convey Governor Hunter to New South Wales, and met in George Bass a kindred spirit.

When they arrived in the colony, seven years after the axes of the "First Fleet" rang in the forests of Sydney Cove, little had been done to work out in detail the investigations made previous to the landing in Botany Bay. "Jervis Bay, indicated, but not named, by him, had been entered by Lieutenant Bowen, and Port Stephen had been examined; but the intermediate portions of the coast, both north and south, were little further known than from Captain Cook's general chart; and none of the more distant openings, marked but not explored by that celebrated navigator, had been seen."

The feelings of the colonists seem to have been expressed in a touch of nature which escapes Collins in a note to his heavy, grandiloquent History of New South Wales:—

"In many of these arms of Port Jackson, when sitting with my companions at my ease in a boat, I have been struck with horror at the bare idea of being lost in them, as, from the great similarity of one cove to another, the recollection would he bewildered in attempting to determine any relative situation. Insanity would accelerate the miserable end that must ensue."

Within a month after their arrival in Port Jackson, in 1795, Bass and Flinders set out in a little boat, eight feet long, appropriately called the Tom Thumb, with a crew of one boy, proceeded round to Botany Bay, and, ascending George's River, explored its course twenty miles further than the survey had been carried by Captain Hunter.*

[* The MS. Journal of this Expedition is in the possession of Mrs. Petrie, the daughter of Captain Flinders.]

On their return, a voyage to Norfolk Island interrupted further proceedings until March, 1796, when they set out again in the Tom Thumb to explore a large river, said to fall into the sea some miles south of Botany Bay. They were absent eight days, explored Port Hacking in the course of their expedition, experienced great danger from the sea, and on land from the savage tribes: as when "on a dark night, steering along an unknown shore, guided by the sound of the sea breaking against overhanging cliffs, without knowing where they should find shelter, Mr. Bass kept the sheet of the sail in his hand, drawing a few inches occasionally, when he saw a particularly heavy sea following, I (Flinders) was steering with an oar, and it required the utmost exertion and care to prevent broaching to; a single wrong movement would have sent us to the bottom. The boy baled out the water which, in spite of every care, the sea threw upon us." On another occasion, when their little boat was tossed upside down on the shore, saved from utter destruction by its lightness—their muskets rusted and their powder wet—Flinders amused the semi-hostile savages who surrounded them by clipping their beards, while Bass dried the powder, and obtained some much-needed fresh water.

In December, 1797, during the absence of Flinders, who had been despatched to Norfolk Island, Bass obtained leave to make an expedition to the southward, for which he was provided by the governor with a whale-boat, six seamen from the ships, and six weeks' provisions. With the assistance of occasional supplies of petrels, fish, seals' flesh, a few geese and black swans, and by abstinence, he managed to prolong his absence eleven weeks; and in a boisterous climate, with an open boat, in spite of foul winds, he explored six hundred miles of coast, discovered Western Port and the fine district now known as Port Phillip, and satisfied himself that Van Diemen's Land was separated from New South Wales by the straits that now bear his name.

Bass, having returned on the 24th March, in September following he sailed with Flinders, whom Governor Hunter had placed in command of the Norfolk, a colonial-built sloop of twenty-five tons, for the purpose of penetrating beyond Furneaux Islands, and, should a strait be found, passing through it and returning by the south of Van Diemen's Land. With a crew of eight men they went through the straits, and returned to Port Jackson in three months and two days, during which part of the coast of Van Diemen's Land, including Port Dalrymple and the River Tamar, was explored, and such information gained as led to founding a settlement there in 1803-1804.

From this time we hear no more of Bass. We cannot learn that, beyond inscribing his name on the straits between Port Phillip and Van Diemen's Land, he received either reward or honour. He left Sydney for England in 1802 as mate of a trading-vessel, and there we lose all trace of him. Flinders, in his great work, when describing the explorations made by his gallant and well-loved comrade, speaks of him as no more.

Flinders obtained the rank of lieutenant, and sailed again in 1799, in the same small vessel, on a short voyage to explore the coast to the north of Port Jackson, which he examined minutely as far as 25°. He says, "Of the assistance of my able friend Bass I was deprived, he having quitted the station to return to England."

On Lieutenant Flinders's return to England, in the latter end of 1800, the charts of the new discoveries, which Mr. Arrowsmith pronounced the most perfect that had come before-him, were published, and a plan proposed to Sir Joseph Banks for completing the investigation of the coasts of Terra Australis was approved by him and Earl Spencer, the First Lord of the Admiralty.

In February, 1801, Flinders was promoted to the rank of commander, and appointed to the Investigator sloop. A proof of the popularity of his character and the adventurous spirit of the British sailor was given, when eleven men being required to complete his crew, out of three hundred seamen on board the Vice-Admiral's ship Zealand, two hundred and fifty volunteered.

On July 18th he sailed from Spithead, furnished with a passport from the French Government, which was granted after precedents of similar protection afforded to Admiral La Pérouse, and to Captain Cook, by the respective authorities in England and France.

In consequence of this passport, Flinders received directions from the Admiralty "to act in all respects towards French vessels as if the two countries were not at war."

So miserably slow was the progress of the first Australian colony that at this period, thirteen years after its foundation, it was found necessary to take a supply of salt meat for eighteen months, and to have a general supply of provisions for twelve months more, to be sent after the departure of the Investigator, and lodged in storehouses at Port Jackson for the sole use of the Investigator.

Among the gentlemen who accompanied the expedition was William Westall, landscape-painter.

A passport was also applied for by the French, and granted by the English Government, to Captain Baudin, who was said to be going round the world on a voyage of discovery.

In November, 1801, Captain Flinders sighted the coast of Australia, and proceeded to examine the coast line hitherto unexplored. In the course of his investigations he discovered and surveyed King George's Sound, on which the settlement of Swan River, or Western Australia, was planted in 1829; Port Lincoln, where Sir J. Franklin, a kindred spirit, who was one of the midshipmen in the Investigator, erected a monument to his old commander; Kangaroo Island, Spencer's Gulf, and the coast line of the country which, principally from his report, was selected for the operations of the South Australian colonists; and sailed into and surveyed Port Phillip, which had been discovered ten weeks previously by a government schooner, the Lady Nelson, from Port Jackson. Western Port, a bay in the district of Port Phillip, had previously been discovered by Bass in his whale-boat.

In April, 1802, immediately after discovering and surveying Spencer's Gulf, Port Lincoln, and Kangaroo Island, Captain Flinders fell in with Captain Baudin and his ship La Géographe,* which apparently, instead of sailing round the world, had sailed direct for Australia; but, instead of pursuing further discoveries from the point where the English navigators had ended, they repaired to Van Diemen's Land, following the track of their countryman, Admiral D'Entrecasteaux, and there remained many months, thus losing the opportunity of discovering and taking possession (which was the secret object of their voyage) of more than one site for a colony; just as La Pérouse—a very different man from Baudin lost by a few days the chance of discovering Port Jackson.

[* "The situation of the Investigator when I hove to for the purpose of speaking Captain Baudin was 35° 40' south and 138° 58' east. At the above situation, the discoveries by Captain Baudin upon the south coast have their termination to the west, as mine in the Investigator have to the eastward; yet Monsieur Peron, naturalist to the French expedition, has laid a claim for his nation to the discovery of all parts between Western Port, in Bass's Straits, and Nuyts' Archipelago; and this part of New South Wales is called Terre Napoleon; my Kangaroo Island, which they openly adopted in the expedition, has been converted into L'Isle Decrés; Spencer's Gulf is named Golfe Bonaparte; the Gulf of St. Vincent, Golfe Josephine; and so on along the whole coast to Cape Nuyts, not even the smallest island being without some similar stamp of French discovery." Monsieur Freycinet, First-lieutenant of the Géographe, said at the house of Governor King, at Port Jackson, to Flinders, "'Captain, if we had not been kept so long picking up shells and catching butterflies at Van Diemen's Land, you would not have discovered the south coast before us.' I believe M. Peron wrote from overruling authority, and that it smote him to the heart."—Flinders' Voyage to Terra Australis.]

From Port Phillip Bay Flinders returned to Sydney, where he arrived the 9th of May, 1802. He sailed again the 22nd of July, and, steering north, surveyed the great Barrier Reef, and made the route clear and safe for future navigators through the Torres Straits and round the shores of the great Gulf of Carpentaria, and only ceased his labours on finding his ship "quite rotten." After refreshing at the Island of Timor, he returned to Port Jackson on the 9th of June, 1803, having lost many of his best men.

No suitable ship to complete his survey was to be found in Port Jackson, He therefore embarked in the Porpoise store-ship, "in order to lay his charts and journals before the Admiralty, and obtain, if possible, a ship to complete the examination of Terra Australis."

The Porpoise was accompanied by two trading vessels, the Cato and the Bridgwater. In passing through Torres Straits on the night of the 17th of August, 1804, the Porpoise struck on a coral reef, and "took a fearful heel over on her larboard beam-ends. The Bridgwater was on the point of following, but, the Cato giving way, the former, grazing, escaped, while the latter struck and went over two cables' length from the Porpoise." The coward captain of the Bridgwater, one Palmer, having escaped, sailed away, in spite of the remonstrances of his mate, without making an effort to aid his companions.**

[** Mr. Williams, the third mate of the Bridgewater, kept a journal, from which the following particulars of this unparalleled piece of cowardice on the part of Captain Palmer are taken. After describing the situation of the Porpoise, he says: "Though the noise of the surf was so tremendous, the voice of the unfortunate Captain Flinders was heard, by the fifth officer, to say, 'For God's sake, Captain Palmer, assist me!' I now volunteered my services to proceed in the cutter if Captain Palmer would consent, to the aid of the Porpoise: he did consent, but, while getting ready, he changed his mind . . . . . . The boat was promised in the morning, for which I had every refreshment that could be procured for the relief of my unfortunate companions. We again stood off: at 7 A.M., from the mast-head, we saw the reef off the two ships, and to leeward of them a sand-bank . . . . . . We all rejoiced in the prospect of affording assistance to our companions; but the captain ordered the ship to be put on the other tack, and, sailing away, left them to their fate! I was sent on shore at Tellicherry with the account of the loss of the Cato and Porpoise. In giving this account, I did, for the first time, disobey orders, and gave a contrary account; for I was convinced that the crews of those ships were on the reef, and that the account of their loss was given by Captain Palmer to excuse his conduct. I wrote out the account and left it behind, after having related it as differently as possible. This caused many words, and ended in my leaving the ship, forfeiting my wages and part of my clothes." So far young Williams: Palmer and his ship were afterwards lost at sea In fact, they were never afterwards heard of; Williams, by his honourable quarrel with his captain, escaped this singularly retributive fate.]

Flinders took the command, safely landed the crew of the two vessels on a sand-bank, of which a narrow space was clear at high water collected stores, erected tents, formed an encampment, and established a disciplined order of proceedings. The reef was a mere patch of sand, about three hundred yards long and one hundred broad, on which not a blade of vegetation was growing.

It was determined that two decked boats, capable of conveying all but one boat's crew, should be built from the materials of the wreck, and that the largest cutter should be repaired and despatched, under the charge of Captain Flinders, to Port Jackson, a voyage of 750 miles.

On the 26th of August, a Friday, the cutter was launched, named the Hope, and pushed off "amidst the cheers and good wishes of those for whom we were going to seek relief. An ensign with the union downwards had hitherto been kept hoisted as a signal to Captain Palmer of our distress; but, in this moment of enthusiasm, a seaman quitted the crowd, and, having obtained permission, ran to the flagstaff, hauled aown the ensign, and rehoisted it with the union in the upper canton. This symbolical contempt for the Bridgwater, and of confidence in the success of our voyage, I did not see without lively emotion."

Flinders safely reached Port Jackson on the 6th of September. He returned in the only vessel he could obtain for his purpose—a small leaky schooner, the Cumberland, of twenty-nine tons burden—accompanied by two trading vessels, on the 6th of October; and was received by his crew with frantic cheers of joy, although his brother, Lieutenant Flinders, after hearing that the rescue-ships were in sight, "calmly continued his calculations on lunar observations until they came to anchor."

In his absence the sailors had planted the reef with pumpkins, oats, and maize, which were sprouting above the sand flourishingly; and Flinders expresses his regret that he had not "palm cocoa-nuts to plant, of which he thought ten thousand might be usefully set in these seas, as warning-marks, and food for shipwrecked mariners, as they will flourish within the spray of the sea."

It is evident that Matthew Flinders in this, as in many other instances, displayed the stuff of which a colonial governor should be made. There have been very few among Australian rulers who would have thought of the cocoa-nuts, especially at such a moment: still less would they have inspired their men with the same spirit.

In the miserable Cumberland, Flinders, intent on laying the result of his researches before the Admiralty, set out on a voyage of sixteen thousand miles to England. Every man of his crew, except his clerk, volunteered to share the danger and accompany him; but the leaky state of his craft compelled him soon to seek shelter at the nearest port, and he put into the Mauritius, relying-upon his passport. This would have been a sufficient protection had the government of the island been in the hands of a gentleman and man of honour; but the governor was one De Caen, a low, malignant, envious, insolent wretch, who, to the infinite disgust of many of his countrymen and companions in arms, availed himself of the misfortune which had thrown Flinders into his power to vent his spite on a nation he detested.

De Caen seized the Cumberland, took possession of the charts, journals, and log-books, and detained Captain Flinders for six years, during which period, in spite of the representations of the French Admiral Linois, and of many of the most respectable colonists, he treated him with every kind of cruelty and indignity; and, after evading repeated orders for his release, dismissed him as unceremoniously as he had seized him, detaining, however one log-book, which Flinders was never able to recover. In the meantime appeared an account of Captain Baudin's voyages—the Captain Baudin who had received at Port Jackson every kind of attention and information. In this work, accompanied by an atlas, the discoveries of Flinders and Bass were appropriated wholesale, and renamed.

Baudin had made about fifty leagues of discovery, and claimed nine hundred leagues, part of which had been surveyed by the Dutch a century before his time.

Flinders reached England in 1810, broken in health, but his spirit of duty unimpaired. Under the regulations of the service the time he had passed in unjust imprisonment could not count in his professional employment. At length he petitioned the Prince Regent for promotion, as an act of grace; but his prayer was refused, and neither his widow nor his daughter were able to obtain the pension to which his eminent services formed so strong a claim.

Flinders devoted the last days of his broken health and spirits to preparing his book and maps for the press—an admirable work, which has been the foundation of every subsequent exploration and colonisation in Australia, and died on the 14th of July, 1814, on the very day his "Account of a Voyage to Terra Australis" was published.

Of Flinders' noble fellow-labourer in the cause of discovery—George Bass—we were unable to find any published memorials, but while the first edition of this work was passing through the hands of the reader for the press, a native of Lincoln, he wrote to a relative and obtained the following interesting particulars:—

"The mother of Mr. George Bass lived with them (the Calder family) fourteen years, and died with them. Her son and only child, George Bass, was born at Asworthy, near Sleaford, where his father had a farm, and died when he was a boy, The widow and son afterwards went to reside at Boston. From his boyhood he showed a strong inclination for a seafaring life, to which his widowed mother was much opposed. He was apprenticed to Mr. Francis, a surgeon at Boston; and at the end of his apprenticeship walked the hospitals and took his diploma with honour. But his inclination for the sea being unsubdued, according to a promise she made, she yielded to his wish, and sank a considerable sum in fitting him out and buying a share in a ship, which was totally lost. She was a fine, noble-minded woman, of no ordinary intellect. Her son wrote her long-letters containing full accounts of his discoveries. These came into the possession of Miss Calder on the death of Mrs. Bass. A short time ago she thought to take a peep at the letters, went to the old box, but they were gone. The last time his mother heard of Bass he was in the straits of China. She expected him many years, thinking that he might be taken prisoner; but at last gave up all hopes, concluding that he had been wrecked and drowned. He had only been married three months when he sailed away never to return. His widow is dead."

We have devoted thus much space to an imperfect record of the labours of Flinders and Bass, as an act of justice towards two men whose labours profit, but whose merits are scarcely known to thousands of Australian colonists. In their silent paths they were both heroes; who ventured and endured shipwreck, thirst, famine, the attacks of black barbarians, and displayed not less humanity than courage and sagacity while pursuing discoveries of the highest possible importance to their country, with faint and distant hopes of any reward other than that inherent feeling which supports unknown or neglected genius and heroism—the consciousness of power rightly exercised, of the "talent" put out to interest tenfold—a hundredfold.

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1806 TO 1809.

Captain Bligh appears to have received his appointment as Governor of New South Wales as a reward for his gallant conduct in successfully conducting an open boat, with eighteen companions in misfortune, scantily provided with food and water, 3,618 miles, to the Island of Timor, without the loss of a single man, after being cast adrift by the mutineers of the Bounty. No man could be more unfit for such an office. But governors are appointed for the oddest reasons: sometimes because they are distinguished soldiers or sailors: sometimes because they have written a timely book or pamphlet; often because they are related to some great personage, and, being in debt, want an opportunity for saving money. But no matter for what cause, or by what influence a governor is appointed, the most important quality of all,-the temper of the candidate, is seldom taken into account; and yet in the governor of a colony no talents can compensate for a violent or spiteful temper.

Bligh had a very difficult task to perform. Almost the only unconvicted colonists were the military and civil officers, and their relatives, who formed a sort of Venetian oligarchy of government and trade, and who, beside enjoying the lion's share of grants of land and use of labour, had been accustomed to divide with previous governors, at a price arbitrarily imposed upon the importers, the cargoes of vessels as they arrived, and enjoy the profits derived from distributing articles in demand among the unprivileged settlers at a monopoly tariff. Spirits formed a principal part of these cargoes, and it became the interest of every civil and military officer in the colony that the settlers, free and bond, should drink as much spirits as possible. Bligh brought out instructions to put down this traffic, and hence his immediate unpopularity. But he was a specimen of the naval captain now happily nearly extinct violent in temper, coarse in language, hating the military, despising the civilians. To those of the humblest class who cringed before him he could be generous of public land and public money; but to those who dared resist, or even question his authority, he was implacable.

At an earlier period in the career of the colony no one would have ventured to question his acts, however tyrannical; but in 1806 the character of the settlement was slowly changing. A few respectable free settlers had arrived under Governor King-. They found profitable employment in growing produce for the use of the government by the help of convicts, whom the government also fed and clothed a very safe speculation. All the officials were, as already observed, more or less engaged in barter; but some of the New South Wales Corps had quitted the military service, in order to betake themselves exclusively to agriculture and commerce. Among these was John M'Arthur, formerly a lieutenant in that regiment, a man of far-seeing views, great energy, great intelligence, and indomitable courage.

M'Arthur observed the improvement produced by the climate of New South Wales in the texture of the hairy Indian sheep, and appreciated the value of the district called the Cow Pastures, on which the produce of the lost herd of cattle were found feeding. In 1793 he purchased eight fine-woolled sheep which had been sent out by the Dutch Government to the Cape, and re-exported to Sydney as the Dutch farmers preferred their own fat-tailed breed. His purchase subjected him to much ridicule among his brother colonists, who thought it more profitable to grow wheat or pigs for sale at the commissariat stores.


In 1803, in consequence of grievances of which he had to complain at the hands of the colonial authorities, M'Arthur visited England, and there not only obtained permission to purchase a few pure Spanish merinos from the flock of George III., at a time when the exportation of the merino from Spain was a capital crime, and the breed was only to be procured by royal favour, but produced such an effect on the Privy Council, before whom he was examined on his wool projects, that he carried out to the colony on his return an order for a grant of ten thousand acres. This grant he selected on the banks of the Cowpasture River, for he appreciated the discrimination of the lost herd which had there fattened and increased while the colonists starved. This spot has since become famous as "Camden," where the first pure merinos were bred and the first vineyards planted in New South Wales. To Camden, perhaps, future generations of grateful Australians will make pilgrimages. For not greater services the Greeks made of Jason a demi-god. No doubt the Golden Fleece was shorn from a merino ram.

Soon after Bligh landed, Captain King introduced him to M'Arthur, who invited the new governor to visit Camden and inspect his flocks, the result of the crosses from the King's merinos. The answer was a refusal in the language of the forecastle, expressive of Bligh's contempt for all such occupations. This was characteristic of the man. When the mother and uncle of young Hey wood (a boy midshipman on board the Bounty, who received a free pardon and afterwards rose to distinction in the navy) entreated his aid in obtaining mercy for one whose only crime had been not forcing his way through and springing into the overladen boat, he answered in a few lines: "I very much regret that so much baseness formed the character of a young man I had a real regard for, and I hope to hear that his friends can bear his loss without much concern."

It would be unnecessary to dwell upon Bligh's numerous acts of cruelty and tyranny, were it not that his government was one of the great epochs in the history of New South Wales. The results of his despotism turned the attention of the English public to the resources of the colony, and the defeat of his crowning act of oppression enabled M'Arthur to change the destinies of Australia, and make it, instead of a mere gaol, the finest emigration field in the world.

A little anecdote related by Wentworth, culled from hundreds floating in the colony at that period (1816), illustrates a form of government and a state of society strangely at variance with our notions of the rights of Englishmen. Governor Bligh, having heard from his cowkeeper that the servant of an officer of the staff had made some impertinent remarks because disappointed of the customary supply of milk for his master, on the following morning sent for the dissatisfied delinquent. Wondering and trembling, he was ushered into the presence of his excellency, was received with a condescending smile, and told that, as the chief constable's house was on his way home, the governor had merely sent for him to save a dragoon the trouble of going there with a letter. The poor fellow, his mind relieved, respectfully received the missive, delivered it, was immediately tied to the triangles, and rewarded with twenty-five lashes from the cat-o'-nine-tails.

After a career of two years, during which the person and property of every class of the community were at the mercy of his temper for the day, Governor Bligh proceeded with arbitrary illegality to summon, arrest, and try Mr. M'Arthur, on a frivolous charge of infringing the customs laws, hatched up for the purpose of wreaking his long-smouldering spite.

M'Arthur having refused to notice an illegal summons, the Advocate-General Atkins arrested him, lodged him in prison, and proceeded to try him in a court over which he himself presided, with the assistance of six officers of the New South Wales Corps. This Atkins had been appointed by private interest in England, had no knowledge of law, and was described in a private despatch to the Secretary of State as "accustomed to inebriety, the ridicule of the community, pronouncing sentences of death in moments of intoxication, his knowledge of law insignificant, subject to private inclination."

To supply his deficiency of legal knowledge he took for his councillor and secretary a convict attorney of the name of Crossley, transported for forgery.

With the help of this miscreant Atkins prepared a monster indictment, charging M'Arthur with a series of offences—from contempt of court up to high treason. M'Arthur protested against being tried by a man who was at once judge, juror, and prosecutor, beside having a private quarrel of some years' standing with the prisoner. The judge-advocate refused to receive the protest, and actually threatened to commit him for words spoken in his own defence. Fortunately for the fate of the colony, the six officers, who, with the advocate-general, formed the court, sided with the prisoner. They admitted him to bail, and repeatedly, in the most respectful terms, addressed the governor, praying him to supersede Atkins and appoint an impartial advocate-general. Bligh refused; perhaps he had no power to adopt that step; but he could have put an end to proceedings, which ought never to have been commenced, by entering a nolle prosequi. But it was his object to crush M'Arthur, so he persisted; and when he found the six officers of the New South Wales Corps equally firm in protecting him, he proposed to arrest and imprison the six officers on a charge of high treason. At this stage of the proceedings the patience of the colony was exhausted. On the 26th of January, 1806, Major Johnstone, lieutenant-governor, commanding the New South Wales Corps, who had been prevented by severe illness from attending to the repeated summonses of the governor, rode into town. He was surrounded by his friends and brother officers, who represented to him the madly tyrannous course which the governor was bent upon pursuing, and urged him to place the governor under arrest.

In order to support him in taking this extreme step, the following memorial was signed by every respectable settler then in the town of Sydney:

"Sir,—The present alarming state of the colony, in which every man's property, liberty, and life are endangered, induces us most earnestly to implore you instantly to place Governor Bligh under arrest, and to assume the command of the colony. We pledge ourselves, at a moment of less agitation, to come forward to support the measure with our fortunes and our lives."

Immediately after the presentation of this address, the drums of the New South Wales Regiment beat to arms, the troops formed in the barrack square, and then marched, with Major Johnstone at their head bayonets fixed, colours flying, and band playing—toward Government House, which they surrounded. Mrs. Putland (afterwards married to General O'Connell, commander of the forces in New South Wales), the widowed daughter of the governor, courageously endeavoured to resist the entrance of the insurgent officers through the Government gate: failing in that, she tried to conceal her father under a bed, whence, after an anxious search, he was dragged, and conducted, without personal injury, to the presence of Major Johnstone, who immediately placed him in custody, and assumed the command of the colony. Thus ended the first act of this bloodless revolution—the 1688 of New South Wales. Had Bligh succeeded in his conspiracy to ruin M'Arthur, the progress of the colony would have been retarded for years. Up to 1845, wool of the breed introduced and improved by the persevering experience of M'Arthur formed the only certain staple export of Australia. Without fine-woolled sheep Australia must have remained dependent for subsistence on the commissariat expenditure, and would, perhaps, in a fit of economy, have been abandoned, in favour of some penitentiary plan or island prison nearer home.

Cowardice has been imputed to Bligh for concealing himself, but without reason. He was neither king nor even commander to awe the troops with his presence; and any man may be excused for flying from an infuriated regiment; above all a man like Bligh, conscious that there was scarcely an individual in the assemblage which surrounded Government House whom he had not injured or insulted.

Major Johnstone transmitted to the Secretary of State a full account of the events which had forced upon him the government of the colony. Lieutenant-Governor Foveaux, arriving from England ignorant of the insurrection, superseded Major Johnstone, and was himself superseded by Lieutenant-Colonel Paterson, who arrived from Van Diemen's Land on the 1st July, 1809; by him Governor Bligh's arrest was continued until the 4th February, when the colonel agreed to put him in possession of his ship, the Porpoise, on condition that he should embark on the 20th, and proceed to England without touching at any part of the territory of New South Wales, and not return until he should have received the instructions of his Majesty's ministers. Released from arrest, Bligh treated engagements entered into under duress as void, and lingered on the coast for some time, in hopes of provoking a movement in his favour. He afterwards repaired to Van Diemen's Land, where he was at first treated with much attention, but, on communications arriving from the lieutenant-governor at Sydney, was constrained to remain on board his ship.

It is easy to imagine the sensation created in the king's cabinet when they learned that the gaol colony of Botany Bay had imitated our forefathers of 1688, and, after sending a tyrant unscathed packing, had continued the government of the colony with a new governor and new officials, without bloodshed or plunder. Vigorous measures were decided on, and an able man was selected to execute them.

Lachlan Macquarie was appointed governor, and sent out with instructions to reinstate Captain Bligh in that office, and, after the expiration of twenty-four hours, to resume his own authority—to declare void all appointments, grants of land, and processes of law which had taken place between the arrest of Governor Bligh and his own arrival; and further, to send home Major Johnstone in close arrest, to be tried for his rebellion. At the same time the 73rd, Colonel Macquarie's own regiment, was sent out to relieve the New South Wales Corps, which was disbanded, the privates being, however, permitted to volunteer into the 73rd. These orders were obeyed.

Major Johnstone was tried at Chelsea Hospital on the 11th May, 1811, found guilty 5th June, and sentenced to be cashiered. His conduct was clearly illegal and revolutionary, but it saved the colony. He made that a peaceable revolution which would otherwise have flamed into a wild riot, how ending, with the fearful materials present there, it is impossible to foretel. Major Johnstone returned to the colony, and lived many years on his farm at Annandale, near Bathurst district, much respected. We have not been able to learn whether the signers of the memorial ever attempted to compensate him for the ruin of his own professional prospects. The gratitude of a mob, well dressed or ill dressed, is as vain a thing as the gratitude of a prince.

Bligh * became an admiral, but was never again called into active service. The slight sentence passed upon Johnstone was a stigma he carried to his grave. He died in 1817.

[* Bligh asked Flinders to dedicate his "Terra Australis" to him, but Flinders,-who had formed a most unfavourable opinion of his character while serving under him in the Reliance, politely declined.]

Since the time of Bligh there have been colonial governors as violent in temper, as tyrannical in disposition, but their powers have been limited not only by law, but by public opinion, the influence of a free press, and the effects of a ready communication with Europe.

Without a free press or a public to restrain him, out of sight and hearing of a British Parliament, had Bligh confined his tyrannies to the humbler classes he might have lived honoured and prosperous, while his victims sank brokenhearted, or died under the lash, as hundreds have on the shores of Port Jackson and Paramatta; but he ventured to attack a gentleman—the comrade of soldiers—a man of courage, eloquence, and determination—and the unjust governor fell.

{Page 59}



1809 TO 1821.

Colonel Macquarie directed the government of New South Wales for twelve years—the longest period that any governor has enjoyed that office. He exercised a pure despotism, but it was neither a stupid nor a brutal despotism, according to the light of the day.

The following extract from his first despatch not unfairly describes the state of the colony on his arrival:—

"I found the colony barely emerging from infantine imbecility, suffering from various privations and disabilities; the country impenetrable beyond forty miles from Sydney; agriculture in a yet languishing state, commerce in its early dawn, revenue unknown; threatened with famine, distracted by faction; the public buildings in a state of dilapidation, the few roads and bridges almost impassable; the population in general depressed by poverty; no credit, public or private; the morals of the great mass of the population in the lowest state of debasement, and religious worship almost totally neglected."

He was the first man of decided talent appointed to office in Australia. He was distinguished by his self-reliance and constant energetic action. If the comparison had not been vulgarised, one might liken him, comparing small with great, to Napoleon. His was the same order of mind—views narrow but clear—essentially a materialist in politics. In New South Wales wealth was the visible sign of success, and Macquarie rewarded success wherever he found it. He made roads, erected public buildings, and again and again traversed the whole length and breadth of the colony, following closely in the footsteps of new explorers, distributing grants to skilful settlers, planning townships, and pardoning industrious prisoners. His activity was untiring, his vanty boundless. He seldom condescended to ask advice, and, when he did, generally followed his own opinion. With charming naïveté he observes, in answer to a despatch from the Secretary of State, informing him that it was not the intention of the Government to appoint a council to assist the governor, as had been recommended: "I entertain a fond hope that such an institution will never be extended to this colony."

Even the recommendations of Secretaries of State he disregarded; and, as he was successful, he was permitted to pursue his own course. He infused his own active spirit into the settlers, and under its influence the material progress of the colony was extraordinary. Higher praise his administration scarcely deserves. The moral, not to say the religious, tone of the settlement owes little to his care. One instance will suffice. He requested, in one of his despatches, that as many men convicts as possible should be transported, as they were useful for labour, but as few women, as they were costly and troublesome; thus losing sight altogether of the inevitable demoralisation which must be the result of a community of men.

Macquarie has been much attacked for saying "that the colony consisted of those who had been transported, and those who ought to have been;" and "that it was a colony for convicts, and free colonists had no business there:" but there was truth at the bottom of both these rude speeches. He looked upon New South Wales as a place where convicts were sent to be subsisted at the least possible expense, and certainly neither he nor any one else at that tune foresaw a period when it would cease to be a convict colony. His strong common sense told him that the cheapest way of ruling his felon subjects was to make them wealthy and respectable. Under his predecessors the idea had grown up that convicts were sent over to be the slaves of the free settlers. Governor Macquarie would perhaps have had no objection to that arrangement on moral grounds, had it been possible; but it was not, as the free settlers of free descent were too few in number, too indolent in character. He therefore took up the opposite ground that the colony and all its emoluments and honours were for the benefit of those prisoners who were industrious, prosperous, and free from legal criminality.

The first individual selected for favour was a Scotchman, Andrew Thompson, transported at sixteen years of age, probably for some trifling offence. He had not only attained wealth and developed new sources of commerce for the colony, by building coasting vessels, by establishing saltworks and other useful enterprises, but had distinguished himself by his humanity and general good conduct. For instance, in the Sydney Gazette of the 11th May, 1806, we find Thompson permitted to purchase brewing utensils from the government stores, at the usual advance of fifty per cent. on the invoice price, with the privilege of brewing beer, in consideration of his useful and humane conduct in saving the lives and much of the property of sufferers by repeated floods of the Hawkesbury, as well as of his general demeanour.

Macquarie, within two months after his arrival, created Thompson a magistrate, and repeatedly invited him and other emancipists of similar success and conduct to dine at Government House, in spite of the remonstrances of the free inhabitants, of the officers of the 43rd Regiment, which succeeded the 73rd, and of hints from the Colonial Office. No doubt in New South Wales many a prisoner was induced to persevere in sober industry by the sight of an ex-prisoner and publican riding in his carriage to dine at Government House; but in England the effect could scarcely have been beneficial as a restraint on idle apprentices and incipient pickpockets. Such reports interleaved in the Newgate Calendar, and other light reading of the felonry of Britain, must have tended to diminish the vague horrors that previously hung round Botany Bay.

Governor Macquarie commenced by employing the convict labourers not required by settlers in making roads, and erecting and repairing public buildings. On the first harvest after his arrival, to the horror of the martinets, he permitted the privates of the 73rd Regiment to hire themselves out as reapers, to be paid in grain or money, the price of wheat at that time being £1 3s. 6d. a bushel. At the same time lie patronised amusements which the high prices of provisions did not prevent the wealthier classes from establishing. The New South Wales Gazette of October contains an account of three days' racing, conducted in Newmarket style, followed by an ordinary and two balls, the principal prize, a lady's cup, being "presented to the winner by Mrs. Macquarie." The whole proceedings are related in a style which would leave nothing to be desired in the Little Pedlington Gazette. For instance: "The subscribers' ball, on Tuesday and Thursday night, was honoured with the presence of his excellency the governor and his lady, his honour the lieutenant-governor and lady, the judge-advocate and lady, the magistrates and other officers, civil and military, and all the beauty and fashion of the colony. The business of the meeting could not fail of diffusing a glow of satisfaction—the celebration of the first liberal amusement instituted in the colony in the presence of its patron and founder." A supper followed the ball:—"After the cloth was removed the rosy deity asserted his pre-eminence, and, with the zealous aid of Momus and Apollo, chased pale Cynthia down into the Western World; the blazing orb of day announced his near approach, and the god of the chariot reluctantly forsook his company: Bacchus drooped his head, Momus could no longer animate. The bons vivants, no longer relishing the tired deities, left them to themselves!"

In the first year of his government, Macquarie undertook a tour through all the known districts of the colony, and continued the practice annually during his reign. On his return, by a general order, he censured the settlers for the little attention they had paid to domestic comfort or good farming, in buildings for the residence of themselves and shelter of their cattle; offered cattle, sheep, and goats from the government herds, to be paid for in grain, with eighteen months' credit; and announced that he had marked out for settlement the five new townships of Richmond, Pitt, Wilberforce, and Castlereagh, out of reach of floods of the Hawkesbury and Nepean, in which grants would be awarded to deserving applicants, on condition that they erected dwellings according to plans supplied, and other measures of a similar practical character.

In the December of the same year, the first brick church, St. Philip's, was consecrated (on Christmas-day) by the Heverend Samuel Marsden,—a name from that time forward constantly occupying a conspicuous place in the annals of the colony, as clergyman, magistrate, landowner, and stockbreeder. For instance, his next appearance in the Sydney Gazette is, in conjunction with two other gentlemen, advertising a reward of one pound sterling, or a gallon of spirits, for every skin of a native dog,—an animal which was then, and has been ever since, the scourge of flockowners.


In 1812 a Committee of the House of Commons, appointed to inquire into the state of the colony of New South Wales, after 63 examining a number of witnesses, including the ex-Governors King and Bligh, printed a report, from which it appears that the population amounted to 10,454, distributed in the following proportions:—The Sydney district, 6,158; Paramatta, 1,807; Hawkesbury, 2,389; Newcastle, 100: of these, 5,513 were men, and 2,200 women; military, 1,100; of the remainder, one-fourth to one-fifth was actually bond; the rest being free, or freed by servitude or pardon. In addition, 1,321 were living in Van Diemen's Land, and 177 in Norfolk Island, but orders had been sent out to compel the voluntary settlers, who had adhered to that island after the government establishment had been removed, to withdraw.

The settlements of New South Wales were bounded on the west by the Blue Mountains, "beyond which no one has been able to penetrate the country; some have with difficulty been as far as one hundred miles from the coast, but beyond sixty miles it appears to be nowhere practicable for agricultural purposes; beyond Port Stephen and Port Jervis these settlements will not be capable of extension; of the land within the boundaries, one half is absolutely barren." The ground in actual cultivation was 21,000 acres, and 74,000 were held in pasture. The stock, in the hands chiefly of the settlers, was considerable, but it was still necessary to continue the importation of salt provisions.

The currency of the colony was in government paper and copper money, but barter was the principal medium of sale; and wheat and cattle had been recognised by the court of justice as legal tenders in payment of debts.

The exportations of the colony consisted principally of whale oil, seal skins, coals, and wool. The iron ore, of which there was abundance, had not been worked. The trade in skins and coal was limited by the monopoly of the East India Company. Sheep were not sufficiently numerous to make wool an article of large exportation. The culture of hemp had been less attended to than might have been expected. An illegal trade in sandal-wood had at times been carried on with the South Sea Islands and China. Mercantile speculation had been discouraged by impolitic regulations.

For many years a maximum price was imposed by the governor upon all imported merchandise, often too low to afford a fair profit to the trader; at this price the whole cargo was distributed amongst the civil and military officers of the settlement, who alone had liberty to purchase; and articles of the first necessity were afterwards retailed by them, at an enormous profit, to the poorer settlers. The imposition of a maximum price on imported articles, and on the price of grain and butcher's meat, had been discontinued, and the attempt to limit the price of labour had failed. The trade in spirits Was reported as a great difficulty.

The defects of the system of criminal jurisdiction by court-martial, and civil jurisdiction without legal assistance or juries, are described; and the report states,-that the governor, uncontrolled by any council, had power to pardon all offences, except treason and murder; to impose customs duties, to grant lands, and to issue colonial regulations; and for the breach of these regulations to inflict a punishment of 500 lashes and a fine of £100.

The committee recommended that a council should be given to the governor. With regard to grants of land, they reported that, according to evidence, a retiring governor had granted 1,000 acres to his successor, who had returned the compliment by a similar grant immediately after being installed in office.

Free settlers latterly had not been permitted to emigrate to New South Wales without giving proof that they were possessed of a certain capital. On their arrival they usually received a grant of land in proportion to their means.

On the arrival of Governor Bligh, two-thirds of the children annually born in the colony were illegitimate.

This report, which also entered at considerable length into the treatment of convicts, directed a little of public attention to the antipodean colony, and the result was to induce the Government to appoint a judge, with two magistrates chosen in rotation, who composed a supreme court in civil and criminal cases; and in Van Diemen's Land, as well as New South Wales, a fifty-pound civil court, with appeal, was formed, with the judge-advocate as sole judge.

This was the first step toward meliorating the absolute despotism under which the free settlers had hitherto lived. Measures were also taken for removing the restrictions on commerce with Van Diemen's Land, and abolishing trade monopolies: but Governor Macquarie's protests against the interference or assistance of a council prevailed, and he was enabled to pursue his plans with that concentrated vigour which is the one advantage of an enlightened despotism.

To enumerate all the public works which, with no mean amount of skill and at great cost to the parent country, Governor Macquarie executed, would be neither useful nor amusing. It is sufficient to state, that, while he erected many substantial if not elegant buildings in the town of Sydney, he took care, by well-devised roads, to render available all the cultivable land and pastures to be found within as much of the territory as had been explored. The settlers imbibed his spirit of progress, and imitated his energy; flocks and herds increased to a great extent, although the sheep were for the greater part of an inferior breed, a mixture of the hairy Bengal and heavy-tailed Cape, whose wool was worthless for export. But M'Arthur, whose efforts had been neglected and repressed by previous governors, was steadily pursuing his great idea of naturalising the "noble race," or Spanish merino, on the plains of Australia. In December, 1812, the Sydney Gazette reports that ten rams of the merino breed, lately sold by auction from the flocks of John M'Arthur, Esq., produced upwards of 200 guineas; and that "several coats made entirely of the wool of New South Wales are now in this country, and are of most excellent quality." In 1852 a whole fleet of ships were required to convey the wool of Australia to the manufacturers of Yorkshire.

In 1813 occurred one of those droughts, the one drawback on what would otherwise be a course of unvarying prosperity, which are periodical in Australia. On this occasion it was not only the crops that suffered; the numerous flocks and herds were unable to find sufficient pasturage on plains which, when first discovered, were overspread with luxuriant herbage many feet in height. Necessity forced upon the colonists the idea of again searching for a passage across the Blue Mountains. The attempt had been unsuccessfully made by several early colonists; amongst others, by the brave Surgeon Bass.

The last and successful effort was made by three gentlemen whose names are still well known in the colony—William Wentworth, son of the D'Arcy Wentworth who took an active part in the deposition of Governor Bligh, one of the earliest free colonists, himself destined in various ways to occupy a distinguished place in the annals of the colony; Lieutenant Lawson, afterwards one of the greatest land and stock owners; and Gregory Blaxland, one of the first members of the Legislative Council of New South Wales.


With incredible toil and hardships, they effected a passage across a chain of mountains clothed with dense timber and brushwood, and intersected by a succession of ravines, which presented extraordinary difficulties, not so much from their height as from their precipitous character. At the foot of the opposite side of the mountains, an easy journey led to Bathurst Plains, the finest pasture country the colonists had yet seen, far exceeding even the famous Cow Pastures on the Nepean. It is to this country, the discovery of Messrs. Wentworth and Lawson, that the gold-diggers are now streaming in thousands, but not clambering up precipices, sliding down ravines, and cutting paths through impenetrable brushwood, like the early pioneers; but easily travelling, and grumbling as they go, at the ill-kept condition of a macadamised road which has been conducted with admirable engineering skill in a series of ascending and descending gradients, over which even loaded drays can travel with ease.

Within fifteen months from the discovery of the first pass over the Blue Mountains, Governor Macquarie caused a practicable road to be made. He never lost any time in planning and executing such works. Some governors would have occupied as much time in preparing a despatch as he did in completing the work. Many settlers, without waiting for the road, contrived to transfer portions of their live stock to the new pastoral El Dorado. In April, 1815, the governor himself, with Mrs. Macquarie, accompanied by his principal officers and Mr. Lewin, painter and naturalist, set out on a progress to view what he called "his last conquest."

The results of this progress, made two months before the battle of Waterloo, are recorded in the following extracts from a "General Order:" certainly one of the most curious documents of the kind ever published.


"The commencement of the ascent from Emu Plains, through a very handsome open forest of lofty trees for twelve miles, was much more practicable and easy than was expected. At a further distance of four miles a sudden change is perceived in the appearance of the timber and quality of the soil, the former becoming stunted, and the latter barren and rocky. Here the country became altogether mountainous and extremely rugged. From henceforward to the twenty-sixth mile is a succession of steep and rugged hills, some so abrupt as to deny a passage altogether; but at this place an extensive plain is arrived at, which constitutes the summit of the western mountains, and from thence a most extensive and beautiful prospect presents itself on all sides to the eye. On the south-west side of this table land [query, King's Table Land?] the mountain terminates in an abrupt precipice of immense depth. At the bottom [the governor does not mention how they got to the bottom] is seen an immense glen, twenty-four miles in length, terminating as abruptly as the others, bounded on the further side by mountains of great magnitude, to which the governor gave the name of Prince Regent's Glen. Proceeding hence to the thirty-third mile, on the top of a hill, an opening presents itself on the south-west side of the glen, from whence a view is obtained of mountains rising beyond mountains with stupendous masses of rock in the foreground, in a circular or amphitheatrical form. The road continues from hence, for the space of seventeen miles, on the ridge of the mountain which forms one side of Prince Regent's Glen, and there suddenly terminates in a perpendicular precipice of 676 feet. Down this Mr. Cox had constructed a road to which the governor gave the name of Cox's Pass, and to the ridge, Mount York.* On descending the pass, the first pasture land and soil fit for cultivation appeared, watered by two rivulets running east and west, and joining, forming Cox's River, which takes its course through Prince Regent's Glen, and empties itself into the River Nepean. Three miles hence the expedition of Messrs. Blaxland, Wentworth, and Lawson, terminated. A range of very lofty hills and narrow valleys, alternately, form the part of the country from Cox's River for a distance of sixteen miles, until Fish River is reached.

[* Mount York Road has since been abandoned in favour of an easy descent by Mount Victoria executed by Sir Thomas Mitchell.]

"Passing on, the country continues hilly, but affords good pasturage, gradually improving to Sidmouth Valley, distant eight miles from the pass of Fish River. The land level, and the first met, unencumbered with timber, forms a valley north-west and south-east between hills of easy ascent, thinly covered with timber. Leaving the valley, the country again becomes hilly; thirteen miles brought the party to Campbell River, where an extensive view opened of gently rising hills and fertile plains. In the pool of Campbell's River, that very curious animal the paradox, or water-mole, was seen in great numbers.** The Fish River, which forms a junction with the Campbell River a few miles to the northward, has two fertile plains named O'Connell's and Macquarie's Plains. Seven miles from the bridge over Campbell River, Bathurst Plains open to the view, presenting a rich part of champaign country of eleven miles in length, bounded on both sides by very beautiful hills thinly wooded. The Macquarie River, which is formed by a junction of the Campbell and Five Rivers, takes a winding course through the plains, which can easily be traced from the highlands by the verdure of the trees on the banks, which are the only trees throughout the extent of the plains. The level and clean surface (marked in plough ridges) gives them very much the appearance of lands in a state of cultivation."

[** It is now extinct in that part of the colony.]


On the south bank of the Macquarie, the governor encamped for a week, occupying his time in making excursions in different directions through the country on both sides the river; and on Sunday, 7th May, 1815, fixed on a site suitable for the erection of a town at some future period, to which he gave the name of Bathurst."

This discovery, made by the courageous perseverance of the three gentlemen before named, rendered available by the wise energy of Macquarie, and-profitable by the fine-woolled sheep of M'Arthur, assured the future fortunes of the Three Colonies of Australia, and laid the foundation of an empire on the sweepings of our gaols.

Macquarie was vain, hopeful, ambitious, and not unjustly proud of what, in his despatches to Earl Bathurst, he called "his discovery;" but his utmost expectation only extended to supporting a considerable but isolated population by pastoral and agricultural pursuits. He expressly stated, in his curious general order, that "The difficulties which present themselves in the journey from hence [Sydney] are certainly great and inevitable; those persons who may be inclined to become permanent settlers will probably content themselves with visiting the capital rarely, and of course will have them seldom to encounter." And under this impression the grants of land were made chiefly in large blocks of several thousand acres.

What would have been his pride and admiration could he have foreseen that, within a few miles of the plains of pasture land which have realised to the first settlers hundreds of thousands of pounds in wool, gold lay in heaps for gathering; and that within the lifetime of Wentworth, the explorer, an unbroken army of gold adventurers would crowd the highway from Sidney to the "City of the Plains," and in one year double the exports and the consuming powers of the colony.

The road to Bathurst Plains, executed in an incredibly short period, under the direction of Governor Macquarie, was materially improved by succeeding governors, and especially by the surveyor-general, Sir Thomas Mitchell, the Cook of Australian inland discovery. Sir Thomas Mitchell effected works second only in importance and merit of design and execution to the Simplon Pass over the Alps. It is unfortunate that he was not permitted to carry out other public works which he suggested at a period when the barracks and gaols were filled with idle convicts. The road by Mount York was so steep that bullock drivers were in the habit of cutting down and attaching part of a tree to their drays, by way of substitute for a drag. Sir Thomas filled up an intervening valley by cutting down part of the summit of Mount Victoria.

Under Macquarie, in addition to the Bathurst, the Argyle district, one of the best agricultural and pastoral districts on the road, of which Goulburn is the centre, was discovered; as also Port Macquarie, afterwards a penal settlement, at the mouth of the River Hastings, leading to a fertile district, as yet, in consequence of the price of land and labour, unoccupied to its full extent. Mr. Oxley, the surveyor-general, traced the Rivers Lachlan and Macquarie to the west of the Blue Mountains, where they disappear in a swamp in dry seasons, and in seasons of extraordinary rain form an inland sea. Macquarie also formed one penal settlement on the fertile soil of Emu Plains, and another in the coal district at the mouth of the River Hunter, not improperly named Newcastle. He also materially improved the aspect of Sydney by laying it out on a new plan, and gave encouragement to every useful enterprise. He was wise enough to see the importance of, and did his best to create, a class of small farmers, who, tilling the ground with their own hands, would be independent of hired labour, and assist in protecting the colony against the effects of a dearth of corn. With this view, he gave grants of thirty acres each to emancipated convicts. Unfortunately, he did not accompany this wise measure with an importation of female population.

Among the gossiping libels against the yeomanry class current among the squatocracy is a statement that Macquarie's settlers sold all their farms for rum. This statement was investigated by Mrs. Chisholm, who found a great number of the settlers in the Hawkesbury voting for members of council on their original grants. That under the horrid single-man system many should have flown to rum for consolation, is not extraordinary. The old saw says—

"Without a wife,
"A farmer's is a dreary life."

Very little could be expected from a population of which not one in five could obtain an honest helpmate, and which knew little of clergymen except as sellers of rum and dispensers of lashes. Even in the mother country, the duty of educating the masses had hardly begun to make way; thus it was only the inoculation of whatever good there was in the colony, and the facility of getting an honest living, that prevented the colonists of Macquarie's time from becoming a nation of bucaneers.

The ignorant and the vicious were turned loose in New South Wales with the lash and the gallows for those who were found out, but with independence for those who were industrious. The result showed how human nature can run clear where not pressed down by poverty or compressed in towns.

The Rum Hospital was a specimen of the tone of morality during the early years of New South Wales. It was built by three gentlemen, under a contract with the governor, which gave them a monopoly of the sale and importation of rum for a certain number of years. The workmen were, as much as possible, paid in rum, and public-houses were multiplied to an extent exceeding the proportion in the lowest and poorest haunts of Great Britain.

Many individuals, profiting by the enormous government expenditure, became wealthy; and all the sober, and many who were not sober, of the free or freed population were prosperous. It became manifestly better policy to live by work or trade than by robbery.

Of churches there were two, and these barely filled; of the few clergymen the majority were occupied as magistrates, in awarding lashes to refractory servants, in farming, in breeding stock, and dealing in anything that would bring a profit. When New South Wales was considered worthy of an archdeacon, one honourable exception, the much-loved Parson Cowper,* was passed over and neglected, according to the rule of the day, in favour of an ex-wine-merchant.

[* A son of the Rev. Mr. Cowper is one of the most respectable and influential men in the colony, and a valuable member of the Legislative Council.]

The Roman Catholics, amounting to some thousands, were not allowed to have the comfort of a priest of their own religion. Considering that the Roman Catholic cannot, like the Protestant, retire to any solitude and there relieve his mind by prayer and confession to God—that he deems the intervention of the priest, especially on his deathbed, essential to his salvation—it is not extraordinary that the Irish part of the prisoner-population should have been turbulent and desperate; they felt themselves condemned to misery in this world, and perdition in the next—dying "unhousel'd, unannointed, unanel'd."

The tone of society in the towns was horrible: no educated or honourable class; no church worthy of the name; no schools except for the wealthy, and these chiefly taught by convicts; slave-masters who sold rum; slaves who drank it; an autocrat surrounded by parasites, whose fortune he could make by a stroke of his pen. Except military honour, and the virtue cherished by a few who lived apart, there was as little virtue and honour as freedom in this wretched, prosperous colony.

From the foundation of New South Wales to the end of Governor Macquarie's administration, about 400,000 acres of land were granted to private individuals. Of these, in course of time, many town lots have become of enormous value, as likewise some of the country land; but much was barren, and not worth cultivation when better land was rendered accessible by roads.

In 1817, the first judge, Mr. Field, arrived; a branch of the Bible Society was established-, and a Roman Catholic priest, Father O'Flynn, landed and spent some time in the colony, but, not having been duly authorised by the home government, he was compelled to return. Bigotry was in full bloom before Christianity had taken root.

In 1819 arrived a commissioner of inquiry, John Thomas Bigge, Esq., and his secretary, Thomas Hobbs Scott, Esq. He remained until February, 1821, having collected a body of evidence, which was afterwards printed for the use of the House of Commons. It contains many curious stories. The publication of this report had a considerable effect in directing the attention of the British public to the resources of Australia, and eventually caused the influx of a superior class of emigrants. But it was not until Governor Darling's time that the demand for convict labourers, on terms then in force, began to exceed the supply. Colonists, chiefly the Scotchmen, discovered the advantage of agricultural pursuits in a colony in which, with a grant of land, they became entitled to rations for twelve months for themselves and their wives, and convict labourers at the rate of one for each thirty acres, who were also rationed by the government for the space of eighteen months. The inquiry by Mr. Commissioner Bigge was partly owing to the representations made, in a work published by Mr. William Wentworth, during a visit paid to England for the purpose of being called to the bar.

Among other subjects that came under the notice of the commissioner was the ecclesiastical government of New South Wales. The report of Mr. Bigge recommended the appointment of an archdeacon. Mr. Scott, the secretary, lost no time in taking orders, and in 1825 reappeared in the colony as Archdeacon Scott.

In the year that the royal commissioner quitted the colony a Wesleyan chapel was opened, and the foundation stone of a Roman Catholic cathedral was laid by the governor at the request of Father Therry—good Father Therry—who shared with Parson Cowper the honour, the respect, the affection of the poorer colonists, and of the outcast prisoner population, whom they so faithfully tended, and the persecution of their spiritual superiors.

In 1822 Governor Macquarie embarked for England, after a longer and more successful administration than any governor in the Australian colonies has hitherto enjoyed. He found New South Wales a gaol, and left it a colony; he found Sydney a village, and left it a city; he found a population of idle prisoners, paupers, and paid officials, and left a large free community, thriving on the produce of flocks and the labour of convicts.

{Page 73}



1821 TO 1831.

Macquarie was succeeded by Sir Thomas Brisbane, whose term of office, undistinguished by remarkable actions on his part, was full of events of importance to a colony which was fast acquiring a population that could no longer be controlled by a purely military despotism. From the day of Macquarie's departure a struggle commenced between the people and the government which was carried on up to the present year, when the Duke of Newcastle conceded to the Australians full powers of self-government and self-taxation.

Under any circumstances Sir Thomas Brisbane's task would have been difficult. The fortunes made in the colony had attracted a class of emigrants not prepared to submit to the despotic system which the prisoner part of the population could not, and the officials and settlers living on government patronage were not inclined to resist. Succeeding to the absolute powers of Macquarie, in 1824, three years after landing, the Legislative, or rather Executive Council, against the check of which his imperious predecessor had protested, was established. The first chief-justice, the first attorney-general, a solicitor-general, who was also a commissioner of the Court of Requests, a master in chancery, and colonial treasurer, arrived in the colony. Trial by jury took place in the first Court of Quarter Sessions; liberty of the press was conceded; and the Australian, the first colonial newspaper independent of government aid, was published by Mr. Wentworth and Dr. Wardell, and followed by two other journals.

While on this side of the globe we were declaiming and subscribing for the liberties of Greeks, Spaniards, and South Americans, at the antipodes our countrymen were struggling for trial by jury and "unlicensed printing."

Commercial liberty yet remained to be gained. The East India Company claimed the monopoly of trading in the Indian seas, and repeatedly asserted their right by confiscating vessels loaded with produce for Port Jackson. In 1824 the captain of a man-of-war actually seized the ship Almorah, with a valuable cargo of tea and rice, at anchor in Sydney Cove, and sent her as a prize to Calcutta in charge of his lieutenant.

Major-General Sir Thomas Brisbane, K.C.B., had acquired a high reputation as a soldier in the Peninsula, and as a man of science. The first observatory in Australia was erected under his auspices. But his government, which only lasted four years, was unpopular, and the political concessions made rendered further concessions inevitable. To this fire was added the fuel of grievances which went home to the pockets of almost all the settlers and traders, and an insult which deeply offended a powerful, united, and intelligent religious community—the Scotch Presbyterians.

The Presbyterians applied in 1823 for assistance to build a Presbyterian church in Sydney, and referred pointedly to the support afforded the "Roman Catholics." The tone of the application appears not to have pleased either Sir Thomas or his secretary, and he returned a bitter reply, of which the following is the concluding paragraph. The style is eminently characteristic of colonial secretaries and governors:—

"When, therefore, the Presbyterians of the colony shall have advanced by private donations in the erection of a temple worthy of religion; when in the choice of their teachers they shall have discovered a judgment equal to that which has presided at the selection of the Roman Catholic clergymen; when they shall have practised what they propose, 'To instruct the people to fear God and honour the King;' when, by endeavouring to 'keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace' in a a colony requiring it more than all others, they shall have shown through their lives the influence of the holy religion they profess, then assuredly will the colonial executive step forward to extend its countenance and support to those who are following the Presbyterian creed."

The governor, it is said, acted under the advice of his secretary, a gentleman of the old Tory school. The Scotch gentlemen applied to the home government, when the governor received a severe reprimand, and the Presbyterians the aid they required.

Sir Thomas Brisbane's financial measures were equally unfortunate, yet there is no reason to question the purity of his motives.

It had been usual under previous governors to purchase the surplus grain from farmers at the current price of the day. The colonial government was almost the only purchaser, and to government the corn-growers looked for a certain share of their profits. Among the smaller settlers, the only cash they received in the course of the year was from the commissariat. This was the latter phase of a system which began with rationing the whole community, and gave liberty to prisoners who undertook to support themselves, which, in its second stage, willingly provided a free and emancipated settler with land and prisoner labour, and purchased the produce of land so tilled, to feed the prisoners whom the settlers could not employ.

Sir Thomas Brisbane, who arrived with Commissioner Bigge's report hanging over him, adopted the ordinary contract system, and invited tenders for the quantity required at the lowest price. The small farmers, unused to calculate the effects of open competition, rushed forward to the stores with such eagerness, that wheat fell from 10s. and 7s. 6d. a bushel to 3s. 9d. Abstractedly Sir Thomas Brisbane was right, practically he was wrong; so serious a change required care and time.

About the same time the governor established a colonial currency which raised the pound sterling twenty-five per cent., and proceeded to pay government debts in colonial money to parties who had contracted debts in sterling currency;—a revival of the system of depreciating the circulating medium obsolete in England, but still practised by continental monarchs.

The colonists, seeing the price at which wheat was transferred to the government stores, took it for granted that the harvest had been redundant, proceeded to feed pigs, and otherwise expended the unsold proceeds of their harvest. As the season advanced it was discovered that the harvest, so far from being plentiful, was deficient. Wheat rose to £1 4s. a bushel. Those who had sold cheap had to buy at a high price. The tampering with the currency added to the severity of the crisis. A great flood swept away the finest crops on the Hawkesbury. A famine followed: the government, by proclamation, required that cabbage-stalks should not be rooted up. A large body of small farmers became so insolvent that their farms were sold to pay their debts, and passed into the hands of money-lenders and grogshop-keepers.

The discontent of the colonists reacted on the home government, and Sir Thomas Brisbane was recalled on the 1st December, 1825.

Four very important discoveries were made during his administration. In 1823, the Maneroo Plains, situated between two and three thousand feet above the level of the sea, separated from Twofold Bay by a lofty range of mountains, over which there is now a dray-track, were explored by Captain Currie, R.N., who named them Brisbane Downs, but they have since reverted to their native name. In the same year, Mr. Oxley, the surveyor-general, by order of Sir T. Brisbane, explored Moreton Bay, and discovered the navigable River Brisbane, leading to the fine semi-tropical country now fully occupied by squatters, but capable of supporting a large agricultural population.

In the following year Messrs. Hovell and Hume made their overland journey to Port Phillip; and in 1825, Mr. Allan Cunningham, one of the most enterprising and accomplished of Australian explorers, discovered Pandora's Pass, a cleft than which the Alps offer nothing more wild, more imposing, or more picturesque, affording the only practicable road from the Upper Hunter to the pastoral uplands of Liverpool Plains.

Lieutenant-General Sir Ralph Darling, K.C.B., succeeded Governor Brisbane; the colony, during an interregnum of eighteen days, having been in the hands of Colonel (afterwards General) Stewart, of Bathurst, an honour which formed one of the boasts of the gallant officer and standing jokes of the district for the remainder of his life.


Sir Ralph Darling arrived in December, 1825; his administration lasted six years, and was singularly and deservedly unpopular. He was a man of forms and precedents, of the true red-tape school—neat, exact, punctual, industrious, arbitrary, spiteful, commonplace. He laboured hard to reduce into order the confusion he found in the public offices of the colony, and substituted a system which became quite as corrupt and more dilatory. It was like changing from the court of a Turkish cadi to the Court of Chancery. He obstinately evaded the control intended to be imposed upon him by the secret official and nominee council, and perpetrated one act of tyranny which has no parallel in English history since the time of Charles I. and the Star Chamber, The red-tape tendencies of Governor Darling were shown in his management of the waste lands of the colony.


New South Wales, in common with South American mines, Greek and Spanish loans, and a crowd of other bubble speculations, which seem to be decennially necessary to the commercial existence of Englishmen, became, in the last year of Governor Brisbane's official reign, the subject of the operations of a great company, incorporated by charter and by act of Parliament, with a directorate including the best men of the city of London, a capital of a million pounds, a grant of a million acres, and various other privileges and pre-emptions, of which a monopoly of the working and sale of coal eventually proved the most profitable to the shareholders and offensive to the colonists. Under Governor Darling, the agents of this Australian Agricultural Company selected, took possession, and commenced operations on their grant.

A retrospect of the plans and prospects of this company in 1825 will perhaps afford the best landmark of the progress of the colony from the time when the whole community depended for salvation from famine on one ship, and that ship driven by adverse gales out of Sydney Heads away to sea.

The directors of the Australian Agricultural Company, in their original prospectus, represent New South Wales as well calculated for the growth of "timber, wheat, tobacco, hemp, flax, and fruits, amongst which are the olive, grape, fig, mulberry, guava, almond, peach, citron, and orange." They derived their information chiefly from the reports of Mr. Commissioner Bigge; and from the same source rested great hopes of profit—

"1st, On the growth of fine merino wool.

"2ndly, From the breeding of cattle and other live stock, and the raising corn, tobacco, &c., for the supply of persons resident in the colony.

"3rdly, From the production, at a more distant time, of wine, olive oil, hemp, flax, silk, opium, &c., as articles of export to Great Britain.

"4thly, From a progressive advance in the value of land, as it becomes improved; and by an increased population."

The grant of land was made on the ground that the colony would derive advantage from the importation of so large a capital, invested in cattle, horses, and sheep of the Cheviot breeds; in the cultivation of the produce of southern Europe; and that the mother country would be saved the cost of maintaining a certain number of convicts.

At that period it was still so much an object with the government to relieve itself of the cost of the maintenance of criminals, that it was agreed that the company should be relieved of quit rent, on condition of their employing a certain number of prisoners. But from the period of the grant to the Australian Agricultural Company, the value of convict labour rose so rapidly, that they never were able to obtain the stipulated number of servants. In 1830 we find the editor of the Sydney Monitor proposing that convicts should be sold on arrival to the highest bidder, and anticipating that they would realise, in lots of two hundred, £100 a year each for five or ten years!

In the course of the correspondence with this company, the Secretary of State for the Colonies announced that in future, "instead of giving grants of land free, lands were to be put up to sale, according to a valuation of the surveyor-general, similar, in many respects, to the system adopted in the United States of America."

This plan had been suggested by Mr. Commissioner Bigge, with a price of 10s. an acre for lands near towns, and 5s. an acre in the country.

Unfortunately the example of the Australian Company infected many members of Parliament and other persons of influence, who hastened to obtain grants which cost the minister nothing, and appeared to the granters of immense value—a delusion on both sides. The precedent became most embarrassing to the government, while many of the huge blocks were of very little money value to the absentees, and of great disadvantage to the colony.

As to the Australian Agricultural Company, their proceedings created, in the then state of the colony, a financial revolution. They sent out from England, according to the custom of joint stock companies, a numerous staff of officers, with cargoes of implements and breeding stock on a most costly scale; and purchased ewes and heifers in the colony so largely, that prices were raised nearly two hundred per cent. "The company with a long pocket" was a popular toast at colonial dinners, and sellers were never wanting as long as they had any money to invest.

A reaction followed, as it always does follow, extravagant expectations of pecuniary profit. Nevertheless the colony derived advantage from the introduction of the company's capital and superior stock in sheep, horses, and cattle. The grand ideas of vineyards, olive oil, opium, silkworm cultivation, and orange groves, which formed applauded passages in speeches in the House of Commons and the court-room of the company, were never extended beyond the resident manager's gardens.

Unfortunately the beneficial influences were neutralised by a further grant, which not only handed over the large tract of coal seams which had been unprofitably worked by the government, but actually created a monopoly which precluded the colonists from working, on any terms, any coal which might happen to be found under their estates.

These doings seem monstrous now. At that period they were ordinary transactions, in which honourable men and liberal politicians took a share without shame. In the same perverse spirit the authorities and merchants at Sydney, up to 1826, compelled every ship to enter and break bulk at Sydney before calling at the ports of Van Diemen's Land. In 1825 monopoly was as much an article of faith with statesmen as free trade in 1852.

Under Governor Darling emigration from England of persons of moderate capital increased. But a vicious system was established in the surveyor's office, for the benefit of favoured or feeing parties, by which surveys of waste land were kept secret from the uninitiated. In 1830 the author of "A Letter of Advice to Emigrants" recommends "every settler to bring out an order from the Secretary of State to be allowed to inspect charts and maps in the surveyor's office;" and adds, "from being denied such inspection, emigrants wander about the interior of the colony at great expense, but to little purpose." Reform makes slow progress in the Colonial Office. If we are to believe the boasts of an Hibernian-German captain who, in 1848, visited Port Phillip, even in that year there existed secret choice reserves near the town of Melbourne, which, by the "open sesame" of his letter from Earl Grey, after being long retained, were handed over to a German colony.

Darling ruled the convicts with a rod of iron. The times of the "first fleeters," with floggers, and short allowances of food, were revived. A penal settlement was formed at Moreton Bay; and there, it is commonly affirmed, the prisoners were so badly treated that they committed murder in order to be sent for trial to Sydney. County magistrates were permitted to award any number of lashes for insolence, idleness, or other indefinite offences. As it was not lawful for a man to flog-his own assigned servants, he exchanged compliments with a neighbour. Considering the class of persons who were then frequently selected for magistrates in the colonies, it may easily be conceived to what brutal excesses such irresponsible authority led.

But year by year the civilising elements of society made way. At one time, in 1826, we find a dispensary opened: in the following year a great public meeting is held, with the sheriff in the chair, to petition the King and both Houses of Parliament for the civil rights of trial by jury, and a House of Assembly; and the next year a general post-office throughout the colony, and an Australian jockey club, are established. The editor of a newspaper is found guilty of libel, and two gentlemen fight a bloodless duel. A dispensary, a post-office, an action for libel, and a duel!—the banes and antidotes of civilised society.

The two last years of Governor Darling present events and contrasts still more remarkable.

A Legislative Council, being a step in advance of the Executive Council established by the charter of 1824, held its first meeting in 1829. This was the check against which Governor Macquarie so earnestly and naively protested. The council consisted of Archdeacon (the late Bishop) Broughton, who superseded Mr. Scott, the Commander of the Forces, the Chief Justice, Attorney-General, and Colonial Treasurer, Alexander M'Cleay, afterwards (at eighty years of age) the first speaker of the first Australian Legislative Assembly, and four members selected by the governor.

The proceedings of this council were secret, under an oath administered to that intent; and the governor had an absolute veto. The majority were officials, totally unacquainted with the colony; and, looking at the minority in which the nominees of the government were constantly found in the subsequent open Legislative Assembly, it is not extraordinary that this council gave no satisfaction to the colony. It must, however, be confessed, that in 1829 New South Wales did not possess the materials for representative institutions.

The first act of the council was to establish trial by jury in civil cases.

In the following year, on the 31st March, 1831, the first steam-boat in Australia was launched; two other steam-boats came into use within a few months. Close upon the steam-boat followed Dr. Lang, from Scotland, the first Australian agitator, a Presbyterian O'Connell, who, after professing and printing every shade of political opinions, has recently avowed his preference for a republic, and his hopes that he "shall yet see the British flag trailed in the dust."

Decidedly, in 1831, Australia was making progress.

The history of General Darling's administration reads more like that of one of Napoleon's pro-consuls than that of an Englishman reigning over Englishmen.

The case of Sudds and Thompson is an instance which stands out in the history of the colony as a sort of landmark indicating the termination of the Algerine system of government, and affording a singular example of the state of society in which such an outrage on law, justice, and constitutional rights could be not only done, but defended. The story is worth relating, if only to show what deeds could be perpetrated in the same age by the same race that expended millions in redeeming negro slaves and attempting to convert aboriginal cannibals.

Sudds and Thompson were two private soldiers in the 57th Regiment, doing duty in New South Wales in 1825, the second year of Sir Ralph Darling's reign. Thompson was a well-behaved man, who had saved some money; Sudds was a loose character. They both wished to remain in the colony. In New South Wales these two soldiers saw men who had arrived as convicts settled on snug farms, established in good shops, or become even wealthy merchants and stockowners. As to procure their discharge was out of the question, Sudds, the scamp, suggested to Thompson that they should qualify themselves for the good fortune of convicts, and procure their discharge by becoming felons. Accordingly they went together to the shop of a Sydney tradesman, and openly stole a piece of cloth—were, as they intended, caught, tried, convicted, and sentenced to be transported to one of the auxiliary penal settlements for seven years. In the course of the trial the object of the crime was clearly elicited. It became evident that the discipline of the troops required to keep guard over the large convict population would be seriously endangered if the commission of a crime enabled a soldier to obtain the superior food, condition, and prospects enjoyed by a criminal. Accordingly, Sir Ralph Darling issued an order under which the two soldiers, who had been tried and convicted, were taken from the hands of the civil power, and condemned to work in chains on the roads of the colony for the full term of their sentence, after which they were to return to service in the ranks. On an appointed day the garrison of Sydney were assembled and formed in a hollow square. The culprits were brought out, their uniforms stripped off and replaced by the convict dress; iron-spiked collars and heavy chains, made expressly for the purpose by order of the governor, were rivetted to their necks and legs, and then they were drummed out of the regiment, and marched back to gaol to the tune of "The Rogue's March." Sudds, who was in bad health at the time of his sentence (from an affection of the liver), overcome with shame, grief, and disappointment—oppressed by his chains, and exhausted by the heat of the sun on the day of the exposure in the barrack-square—died in a few days. Thompson became insane.

A great outcry was raised in the colony: the opposition paper attacked, the official paper defended, the conduct of the governor. The colony became divided into two parties. Until the end of his administration, Sir Ralph Darling, whose whole system was a compound of military despotism and bureaucracy, was pertinaciously worried by a section which included some of the best and some of the worst men in the colony. Combining together for the extension of the liberties of the colony, they found in the Sudds and Thompson case "the inestimable benefit of a grievance."

It would be unjust to consider Sir Ralph Darling's sentence by the light of public opinion in England. He was governor of a colony in which more than half the community were slaves and criminals; he had to punish and to arrest the progress of a dangerous crime; but he fell into the error of exercising, by ex post facto decree, as the representative of the sovereign, powers which no sovereign has exercised since the time of Henry VIII., and violated one of the cardinal principles of the British constitution, by rejudging and aggravating the punishment of men who had already been judged. At the present day it is, as we before observed, only as an historical landmark that we recal attention to this transaction, which can never be repeated in British dominions.

During General Darling's government further successful explorations of the interior were made, both by private individuals and officials. Among the latter were Major (now Sir Thomas) Mitchell, Mr. Allan Cunningham, Mr. Oxley, and Captain Sturt, the most fortunate of all. In his second expedition, in 1829, Captain Sturt embarked with a party in a boat on the Morrumbidgee (which receives the waters of the Macquarie, the Lachlan, and Darling), until he came to its junction with the Murray, an apparently noble stream. Pursuing his voyage, in spite of many impediments, hardships, and dangers, from rocks, snags, sandbanks, and hostile savages, he reached the Lake Alexandrina, and discovered the future province of South Australia. This 83 lake is a shallow sheet of water, sixty miles in length and forty miles in breadth, which interposes between the sea and the river, thus presenting an impassable obstacle to ocean communication. The hopes excited by the discovery of this picturesque river have hitherto not been realised. Although broad, deep, and bordered by rich land for many score miles, the perpetual recurrence of shallows limits the draught of water to two feet, at which depth steamers cannot be profitably navigated. Captain Sturt, having made this important discovery, returned by reascending the river. In consideration of these and other services rendered to South Australia, the new Legislative Council of that colony have recently voted to Captain Sturt, who has unfortunately become blind, a pension of £500—an act of liberality for which no precedent is to be found in the proceedings of the other settlements.

In October, 1831, General Darling resigned his government, and after an interregnum of two months, filled by Colonel Lindsay, was succeeded by General Sir Richard Bourke.

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1831 TO 1838.

Major-General Sir Richard Bourke, K.C.B., became Governor of New South Wales in December, 1831, and retired in November, 1837. He was, without question, the ablest man who had as yet occupied that office; equal in zeal, energy, and plain common sense to Macquarie; superior in the liberality, humanity, and statesmanlike far-sightedness of his views. With wise self-reliance he resisted the blandishments of the official clique who have been the curse of all our colonies, and the opposition of the faction of white slave-drivers, who looked upon the colony as a farm to be administered for their sole benefit. He had courage, too, of a rare quality, for he dared to differ from his chief, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, on a vital point of administration. His recorded objections to the Wakefield land system are remarkable for their prophetic wisdom. Sir Richard was, and his memory still is, deservedly popular among the humble, or the wealthy sons of the once humble settlers—a rare merit, and not a qualification for favour at the Colonial Office. The six years of his reign were crowded with measures and events of the utmost importance in the history of New South Wales.

1. The discussions of the Legislative Council became public, and the financial estimates were regularly submitted and discussed.

2. The Church and School Corporation (which had become a gross job) was abolished, and religious equality established by an act of the Legislative Council.

3. An attempt was made to introduce the Irish national school system (which the bigots defeated).

4. Free grants of land were abolished, and sale by auction at a minimum price of 5s. substituted.

5. The despatch was received from Lord Glenelg, and steps were adopted which, in 1840, finally abolished transportation to New South Wales.

6. The squatting system was legalised and systematised on a plan which has since produced nearly £60,000 per annum.

7. Rules for regulating the number of convict servants to which each settler should be entitled (without favour), and the number of lashes which should be inflicted on a convict servant by a single magistrate, were framed and promulgated.

8. Port Phillip was peopled by settlers from Van Diemen's Land, and South Australia by colonists from England.

The powers of the executive council imposed on the Governor of New South Wales in the last year of Sir Thomas Brisbane's administration were, under Sir Ralph Darling, almost nominal. Not only were its deliberations secret and its dissent powerless, but Governor Darling illegally and systematically exercised authority in the only matter entrusted to the council—the distribution of the revenues. Towards the close of his administration he introduced a bill indemnifying himself, and legalising his illegal assumptions. Sir Richard Bourke, on the contrary, earnestly co-operated in raising the character of the council, treated the non-official members with the utmost respect, and endeavoured to give the council, as far as possible, the tone and functions of a representative assembly; a course directly the reverse of his successor, Sir George Gipps. Both were able, but the one was a frank and generous, the other an astute and jealous man. It is very much to be regretted that Governor Bourke had not been permitted to govern with as little interference from Secretaries of State as Governor Macquarie, and to remain long enough to initiate the partly elective council which fell into the unhappy hands of his successor.


First in importance among the legislative changes effected by Sir Richard Bourke's government, must be ranked the "Order in Council," subsequently embodied in an act of parliament, by which sales by auction, at a minimum upset price of 5s. per acre, superseded free grants of land; and the act of the Colonial Legislative Council, by which pastoral occupations of the vast territories beyond the surveyed limits of the colony (colonially, the Bush) were legalised, placed under the control of special commissioners, and charged with a rent in the shape of a licence-fee and a poll-tax.

From these two sources (the sale of land and pastoral or squatting rents) a fund has been derived, which, during the last twenty years, has conveyed to Australia more than one hundred thousand free emigrants, selected from the poorest labourers of the United Kingdom. The introduction of these labouring emigrants rendered the abolition, first of the assignment system, and finally of transportation, possible.

Here it may be convenient to review the various "land-laws" which had prevailed in the colony up to the time when those changes were introduced, which occupied so important a place in colonial discussions during the government of Sir Richard Bourke and his successor.

From the foundation of the colony in 1788 to 1824, regulations for the disposal of land were left entirely in the hands of the governor. From time to time the home Government exercised the right of bestowing grants upon such persons as were willing to proceed to the colony to occupy them. Up to 1818 free passages, as well as grants of land, were offered to such free emigrants as were willing to proceed to the colony, with rations for two years.

Thus, John M'Arthur, in 1804, after reporting the result of his experiments for naturalising the merino in New South Wales before the Privy Council, received a grant of fifty thousand acres, to be selected with the permission of the governor, in any part of the unoccupied territory.

So, too, as long as the settlement depended for subsistence on imported provisions, lands were bestowed on any man, bond or free, who would undertake to support himself after the expiration of the first year of occupation of his farm. With each grant a certain number of convicts were allowed as labourers for every eighty acres, who, as well as the settler and his wife, were rationed for a limited period by the local government, thus receiving from the government stores, beef, mutton, and flour of the same quality as that which they themselves had the profit of selling to the commissariat.

Up to the time of Governor Darling the produce of the colony was so uncertain, and the means of profitably employing the prisoners so limited, that every means was adopted to induce settlers to relieve the Government of the care and cost of convicts for whom there was no work.

In Macquarie's time the settler usually obtained, in addition to a supply of farm labourers, the use of a "clearing-gang," which cut down, burned, rolled, and cleared the huge trees from great tracts that no one would have attempted to cultivate without such assistance.

Under these rude means, up to 1820, the last year of Macquarie's government, 400,000 acres passed into the hands of private individuals. Brisbane granted 180,000 acres at a yearly quit rent of 2s. per 100 acres, and 573,000 at 15s. annual quit rent per 100 acres; he also sold between December, 1824, and May, 1825, 369,050 acres at 5s. an acre, giving a long credit, with a quit rent of 2s. per 100 acres in addition. In 1828, under Darling, the total number of acres alienated amounted to 2,906,346. But this acreage cannot, for any useful purpose, be compared with that of cultivated Europe; large patches and vast continuous tracts are so barren or so thickly timbered as to be of no more value than those Connemara estates offered for sale at 5s. an acre, and dear at the money.

It must also be noted that these quit rents were scarcely ever collected, but allowed to run in arrear until, under the government of Sir George Gipps, they exceeded in amount the value of the whole fee-simple of many estates, and became the source of a very formidable grievance.

Under Governors Brisbane, Darling, and the first years of Bourke's government, it was usual to make grants to colonists in proportion to the amount of capital they imported in cash or implements of husbandry.

In 1822 Commissioner Bigge recommended that sales of land contiguous to grants issued in consideration of capital imported into the colony, should be made at the rate of 10s. an acre for land in very favourable situations, and 5s. an acre in more remote situations. But this suggestion remained a dead letter.

In 1825 Lord Bathurst, as already stated, announced to the Australian Agricultural Company, but did not carry out his determination, that instead of free grants as theretofore, land in New South Wales would be "put up to sale according to a system similar in many respects to that adopted in the United States of America." In 1824 the Secretary of State for the Colonies issued regulations for the disposal of land in New South Wales, of which the following is an abstract:—

"1. A division of the whole territory into counties, hundreds, and parishes, is in progress. When that division shall be completed, each parish will comprise an area of 25 square miles. A valuation will be made of the lands throughout the colony, and an average price will be struck for each parish.

"2. All the lands in the colony not hitherto granted, and not appropriated for public purposes, will be put up for sale at the average price thus fixed.

"3. All persons proposing to purchase lands must transmit a written application to the governor, in a certain prescribed form, which will be delivered at the surveyor-general's office to all parties applying, on payment of a fee of two shillings and sixpence.

"4. The purchase-money must be made by four quarterly instalments. A discount of 10 per cent. will be allowed for ready money payments.

"5. The largest quantity of land which will be sold to any individual, 89,600 acres. The land will generally be put up in lots of three square miles or 1,920 acres.

"6. Any purchaser who, within ten years of his purchase, shall by the employment and maintenance of convicts have relieved the public from a charge equal to ten times the purchase-money, will have the money returned, but without interest. Each convict employed for twelve months will be computed as £16 saved to the public."

Persons desirous of becoming grantees without purchase might obtain land on satisfying the governor that they had the power and intention of expending in the cultivation of the land a capital equal to half the estimated value of it.

On grants of not less than 320 acres, and not more than 2,560 acres, subject to a quit rent of 5 per cent. per annum on the estimated value, redeemable within the first twenty-five years at twenty years' purchase, with a credit for one-fifth part of the sums the grantee might have saved by employing convicts. No quit rent was required for the first seven years, but the grantee was subject to forfeiture of his grant if unable, to prove to the satisfaction of the surveyor-general that he had expended a capital equal to one-half its value.

Detailed regulations like those above quoted as to expenditure of capital can never be enforced. In practice, quit rents fell in arrear and could not be recovered. Thousands of acres granted were barren and utterly valueless.

In September, 1826, Sir Ralph Darling created a land board, composed of the Colonial Secretary, the Civil Engineer, and the Auditor-general of accounts, which issued the following set of regulations worthy, for their thorough absurdity and impracticability, of their bureaucratic descendants, the South Australian commissioners, and the New Zealand Company.

Persons desirous of obtaining land were (1) to apply to the colonial secretary for a form to be filled up and submitted to the governor, who (2), if satisfied of the character and respectability of the applicant, directed the colonial secretary to supply him with a letter (3) to the land board, in order that they might carefully investigate the stock articles of husbandry, &c., and cash, forming part of his capital. On the land board reporting (4) to the governor satisfactorily as to capital, the governor furnished the applicant (5) with a letter to the surveyor-general, who (6) was to give him authority to proceed in search of land! When he had made his selection he had to apprise the surveyor-general (7), who twice a month was to report (8) to the governor such applications; and, if approved (9) by the governor, the applicant received written authority (10) to take possession of the land until his Majesty's pleasure should be known, or the grant made out. Terms as to quit rents the same as the first set of regulations—viz., 5s. per cent. after seven years; grants to be in square miles; one square mile, 640 acres, for each 500 of capital, to the extent of four square miles.

Land selected for purchase, not granted, to be valued by the commissioners, put up for sale, and sold by sealed tender, not under a price fixed by commissioners. Personal residence, or residence of a free man as servant or deputy, required on purchases and grants.

These regulations of Sir Ralph Darling were marked by every official vice—unnecessary forms, expense, and uncertainty, inquisitorial investigation, bribery and corruption among the subordinates in the various offices; in fact, everything that could be done, was done to disgust decent, unpolished, unlearned settlers. They were adopted by the Colonial Office in 1827, and had the effect of rendering the business of obtaining and granting land one series of jobs. The home government always reserved to itself the right of making grants, and exercised it in a most baneful manner.

One effect, unintentional on the part of the authors of these cumbrous arrangements for obtaining grants of land, was to encourage unlicensed squatting in districts unsurveyed, and at that period allowed to remain in "healthy neglect." So the live stock increased in spite of the forms of the "land board."

An impartial retrospect of the granting; system, before it was systematised and encumbered with regulations, leads to the conclusion that with a just and intelligent governor, it was the best that could be devised for such a colony.

The attraction of a free passage, with free grants of land and the use of convict labour which were offered up to 1818, did secure a certain number of respectable colonists. The free grant of land made to emigrants, in proportion to their capital, and to prisoners who had served their term, during the governments of Macquarie and Brisbane, between 1788 and 1825, with the aid of convict labour, did colonise and cultivate the country. For instance, in 1821, the great road across the Blue Mountain to Bathurst was executed, and rendered practicable for wheeled vehicles. In 1822 the Hunter River District was a wilderness; in 1827, for a distance of 150 miles along the river, half a million acres had been surveyed, granted, or sold to settlers whose capital was estimated at from four to five hundred thousand pounds, and whose stock included 25,000 horned cattle, and 80,000 fine-woolled sheep. All the improvements, buildings, fences, and cultivation were effected by assigned servants, whom the government fed and clothed for the first eighteen months of their servitude. Nothing but convict labour could have done so much in public and private works in five years.

Considering the slight offences for which the majority of the prisoner population of New South Wales had been transported, between 1788 and 1825, there can be no doubt that had the free grants of land system been accompanied by measures for classifying, teaching, and Christianising the convicts, and for providing, from the destitute parts of the United Kingdom, such an emigration of women as would have equalised the sexes, the character of the colony would have been materially changed, and a population provided well calculated to amalgamate with and rise to the level of free emigrants, when the time came for abolishing transportation, and giving up the land which convicts had pioneered to the use of a free population.

But as it is difficult to obtain a succession of governors, able and honest enough to bear the responsibility of granting land when it comes to be of value, it is to be regretted that, when it was no longer considered necessary to bribe prisoners to honesty and industry by the prizes in the shape of a farm of wild land, we did not imitate the simple system by which, during half a century, the vast territories of the United States have been colonised, cities founded, harbours constructed, canals cut, and railroads made.

Under this system the territories for sale are surveyed in advance, and laid out in lots of eighty acres and upwards, at a fixed price of a dollar an acre; a mapr containing the land for sale is open to every intending purchaser; there are no reserves except for special stated public purposes; parties settling beyond the bounds of surveyed land do so at their own risk, and have no power to inflict on the parent state heavy expenses in armies or officials. They are expected to govern and protect themselves, and to retire or purchase when the government surveyor makes his appearance. No doubt the American system has its defects, but, taken as a whole, it is the best which has ever been devised for employing a large emigrant population, and conquering and subduing the earth, at the least possible public expense.

It is possible that something like it might have eventually been transplanted to Australia, but a series of accidents threw that island-continent entirely into the hands of a clique of political land-jobbers.

In 1829 the colony of Swan River was founded on principles, under circumstances, and in a situation which ensured failure.

Mr. Peel, a gentleman who had influence with government, combined with Sydney merchants to found a colony in some other part of Australia. The merchants found the money, Mr. Peel the influence. The large fortunes which had been realised by colonists in New South Wales led the colonisers to believe that the same might be realised in a new colony, without the disadvantage of a convict population.

Swan River, on the north-western coast of Australia, was the site chosen. Sailors who had visited the shores gave the favourable reports, as sailors always do of any safe harbour where they find wood and water enough for their ship's crew. Geographical reasons led the adventurers to expect a temperate climate; further precise investigations as to the quality of the soil, extent of pastures, and character of the aborigines, were considered unnecessary.

The government, in total ignorance of the simplest principles of colonisation, did its part by bestowing a million acres on the founder, and to every other colonist acres in proportion to his capital in cash, live stock, implements, or the number of labourers whose passage he paid.

In great haste ships were freighted, and loaded with fine gentlemen and ladies, farmers and labourers, blood-horses, short-horned cattle, merino rams, carriages of fashionable build, and agricultural implements enough for one of the best farmed English counties. Those who had little money made use of their credit to obtain consignments which would entitle them to land. Not one of them doubted that the wild land in an unknown country would soon be as valuable as in Bedfordshire, or, at any rate, as on the banks of the River Hunter in New South Wales, and that the labourers would labour as contentedly for the same wages abroad as at home.

The first fleet of Western Australian colonists arrived to find the country not only unsurveyed, but unexplored. They were disembarked on a narrow slip of beach, bordered by thickets filled with hostile savages, who speared men and their cattle on every opportunity. A fine stud of thorough-bred horses perished for want of fresh water; whole cargoes of furniture and agricultural implements rolled on the beach without being unpacked. The labourers repudiated their home engagements, and obtained exorbitant wages. When the country was further explored, the quantity of available land turned out to be extremely limited; the live stock was rapidly consumed for food, while the remoteness of Swan River from the old colony rendered importations of any kind difficult, expensive, and uncertain. The sheep turned out to pasture repeatedly died, poisoned by a plant which, up to this day, the colonists have been unable to discover and extirpate.

In a word, planted in a remote district, far from other ports and out of the track of commerce, with very little land available for agricultural or pastoral purposes—what little there was of the one monopolised by a few hands, much of the other poisonous; with colonists, both high and low, the most unfitted by previous education for a rude, self-dependent life, without leaders or servants of colonial experience, without forced labour—the Swan River settlement failed miserably. This failure would have been confined to the fortunes of the first colonists, however bad the system of colonisation, had there been, as in the other settled districts of Australia, vast plains of sound pasture on which pure-bred merinoes could have fed and multiplied; or coal, or copper, or gold to be had for digging; but there was nothing, and is nothing up to the present hour, beyond the bare means of sustenance; thus, without a single staple export, Swan River, in spite of a series of systems of colonisation, has never been able to rise from the condition of an eleemosynary dependency, supported by the bounty of the parent state. With the failure of Swan River the system of free grants of land ended in Australia.

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The apparently digressive sketch of the colonisation of Western Australia and its lamentable results is rendered necessary by the fact, that on the failure of Western Australia a new theory of colonisation was floated into public notice and incorporated in our colonial legislation and administration.

It was in 1829 that a sensation was produced in the literary and political world of London by the appearance of a little book entitled "A Letter from Sydney," the principal town of Australasia (edited by Robert Gouger), which was soon known to be the production of Mr. Edward Gibbon Wakefield. Out of this book grew the "High-Priced Land System of the Three Colonies" the monopoly of wild lands at a nominal rent, which the squatters now enjoy the colonisation of South Australia and New Zealand some good, and a world of misery, ruin, social and political estrangement, of which we have not yet seen the end.

This "Letter from Sydney," by far the most brilliant of the many works on colonisation by the same author, is now out of print. It contains so clear a statement of the origin, merits, and objects of a theory which was at one time accepted, supported, and acted on by almost every statesman, political economist, and journalist of eminence, that the following abstract of its contents will not be out of place.

The writer represents himself to be an English gentleman of large fortune and refined tastes, who has emigrated under the idea that an estate of twenty thousand acres in Australia would procure the same comforts, income, and consideration that an estate of a thousand acres would in England. He says "I have got 20,000 acres for a mere trifle, and I imagined that a domain of that extent would be very valuable. In this I was wholly mistaken. As my estate cost next to nothing, so it is worth next to nothing. The trees on my property, if growing in any part of England, would be worth at least £150,000. The best thing that could happen to me would be the annihilation of all this natural produce; but the cost of destroying it would be at least £15,000." He then goes on to enumerate mines of iron and coal which would make him "a peer in England," but which are valueless for want of labour or roads. "I did not, you know, intend to become a farmer. Having fortune enough for all my wants, I proposed to get a large domain, to build a good house, to keep enough land in my own hands for pleasure grounds, park, and game preserves, and to let the rest, after erecting farmhouses in suitable spots. My mansions, park, preserves, and tenants, were all a mere dream. There is no such class as a tenantry in this country, where every man who has capital to cultivate a farm can have one of his own." He then graphically describes the miseries of a solitary life to a man accustomed to the elegant luxuries of civilised life. His "own man" leaves him, and invests his savings in a small farm. He imports labourers and mechanics from England, and they leave him without repaying the cost of their passage. He observes to a friend, "Were you a broken farmer, or a poor lieutenant, I should say, come here by all means; you cannot be placed more unhappily than at present, and you may gain by the change. But I am advising a man of independent fortune, who prefers his library even to the beauties of nature, and to whom intellectual society is necessary for his peace of mind. I thought at one time of establishing a dairy; but my cows were as wild as hyaenas, and almost as wicked. I had no dairy woman, no churns, no anything that was wanted; and, above all, I wanted industry, skill, economy, and taste, for any such pursuits, or, at least, a drudge of a wife to supply those wants." He then paints an amusing although exaggerated picture of the want of intellectual society in a colonial town.

Having come to the conclusion that the colony would fall into total barbarism whenever the abolition of the convict assignment system should leave the colonists dependent on free labour, he proceeds to state the cause of these miseries—

"Fons et origo malorum."

The whole evil, according to this unfortunate gentleman, of fortune without "industry, skill, economy, or taste for agricultural or pastoral pursuits," lies in cheap land, which produces dear labour, by drawing labourers into landowners, by promoting dispersion—by deterring men from renting land, as they prefer freehold. Dear labour obstructs improvements in agriculture, in public works, in arts, in science. There being no tenants and few servants, there is no easy, refined, intellectual class: mere mechanics, labourers, and even common farmers and poor lieutenants, such in fact as suffer privations in lands where labour is cheap, are the only persons who enjoy colonial life. With cheap land and dear labour, colonists could get the advantage of the presence of such emigrants as the letter-writer.

The remedy propounded in 1829, (repeated with equal confidence in 1849,) is to make land so dear that labourers shall not be able to obtain possession of land "too soon"—to affix to all colonial land what Mr. Wakefield calls in another work a "hired labour price." And further, that the money for which the land sold should be devoted to the importation of the redundant labour of the mother country—an importation which he advises should be conducted with a view to the greatest benefit of the capitalist,—that is to say, it should consist entirely of young married couples under five-and-twenty years of age, unencumbered by children or parents. "Family Colonisation" had no charms for Gibbon Wakefield.

Thus supplied with ample cargoes of healthy young labourers of both sexes, debarred by a sufficient price from becoming freeholders, the writer of the letter from Sydney "promises that the capitalists shall find ample profitable employment for their capital, shall concentrate population, carry on model farming, cultivate art and science."

But he anticipates one important question which he answers thus:—

"It becomes clear that the object we have in view may be attained by fixing some considerable price on waste land. Still, how is the proper price to be ascertained? Frankly, I confess I do not know. I believe that it could be determined only by experience." This was in 1829. Twenty years later, in 1849, after having experimented on New South Wales, and on three colonies in New Zealand, and provided for all his relations in snug colonial berths, he says,—"It is here that I have been frequently and tauntingly required to mention what I deem the sufficient price; but I have hitherto avoided falling into the trap which that demand upon me really is. I could do that certainly for some colony with which I am particularly well acquainted, but I should do so doubtingly and with hesitation, for the elements of calculation are so many and so complicated, in their various relations to each other, that in depending on them exclusively there would be liability to error."

We may observe that this caution in naming price only extended to books and pamphlets, as Mr. Wakefield never hesitated to assure those who bought lots of land in his model colonies that they would enjoy all the advantages it was presumed a sufficient price would confer. Therefore, of course, the colonising purchasers, seeing Mr. Wakefield in constant communication with the managers of each colony, took it for granted that 12s. in South Australia, or 20s. at Wellington, New Zealand, or 30s. at Nelson, and £3 at Canterbury, according to the colony, was the "sufficient price."

At the period when this theory, in every respect so plausible, was propounded, there were no adverse critics except mere colonists, and they were silenced with a jest, or a sneer at their selfish jealousy. And it is not extraordinary, for seldom has a chapter of political economy been clothed in language of such eloquence as adorned and enlivened the pages of the "Letter" from Sydney. It contains passages (the picture of the Italian girl—the journey from Alexandria to Genoa)—so beautiful, so warm, so real, that one cannot help regretting, for the sake of his own happiness and reputation, as well as of his numerous colonising victims, that Gibbon Wakefield had not devoted himself to writing novels and travels, instead of puffs, paragraphs, articles, pamphlets, and books in praise of joint stock and lottery colonisation.

But Mr. Wakefield had to assist him in propagating his tenets not only the charm of "style," but of personal fascination, with a more than Protean adaptativeness, which rendered him the friend and bosom adviser of Republicans and Radicals, Whig and Conservative Peers, Low Church and High Church Bishops. Five secretaries of state for the colonies—Lords Glenelg and Stanley, Monteagle, Aberdeen, and Grey—have been more or less his pupils; the influence of his writings—even quotations from them—are to be found in their despatches; while so late as 1850, he led, or rather sent captive, to Canterbury, New Zealand, a crowd of educated victims.

Energetic, tenacious, indefatigable, unscrupulous, with a wonderful talent for literary agitation, for simultaneously feeding a hundred journalists with the same idea arid the same illustrations in varying language, for filling eloquent, but indolent, orators with telling speeches; at one time he had rallied round him nearly every rising man of political aspirations, and secured the support of nearly every economical writer of any celebrity. He has shaken a ministry, founded and distributed the patronage of at least two colonies, and left the seeds, after nearly exciting open rebellion in a third.

But one hard unvarying undercurrent of fact destroyed the edifice of fame and fortune which seemed rising under the influence of Gibbon Wakefield, with his troops of friends, his fiery orators, his city bankers, his well-descended nobles, his bishops of all hues—Whig, Tory, and Trimmer—Hinde, Exeter, and Oxford. The results of his theory, his best arranged plans, were, invariably disastrous. His disciples only continued his disciples as long as they sat at the desk critical, speculated within reach of Threadneedle-street, or reclined on the soft benches of the Houses of Parliament. No sooner did the colonisers become colonists than they renounced him and all his works.

We are willing to admit Gibbon Wakefield's first experiment in colonisation was perfectly legitimate, although the manner in which he hunted down all who ventured to question his views was as inexcusable as the recklessness with which he sacrificed established colonies in order to prop up his model speculation. For like the Bourbons, he forgets nothing and learns nothing; fiercely implacable, he has neither candour, nor truth, nor humility. In 1849, in order to float off his Canterbury colonisation scheme, he published "The Art of Colonisation," a volume of 500 pages, which, as regards the land question, is merely an amplification, in a diffuse style, with the same arguments and even the same illustrations, of the theories so fervidly propounded in 1829. Not a sentence, not a word, does the book contain of Mr. Wakefield's twenty years' experience, during which he had directed the colonisation, with successive variations in detail, but always on the "sufficient price," or "hired labour price" system, of four colonies—South Australia, Wellington, Nelson, New Plymouth, beside planning half a dozen others. Not a hint that the "Wakefield theory" had, in every colony in which it had been attempted, ruined all those who put faith in it, and been acknowledged to be absurd and impracticable by the intimate friends and brothers of the theorist.

In New South Wales the year 1830 was marked by a change from the complicated system of sales at quit rents and free grants to uniform system of sale by auction at 5s. an acre, which, in effect, except for choice lots, was a fixed price of 5s. an acre, for practically there was no competition. Whether this change was brought about by the ventilation of Mr. Wakefield's theories, it is impossible to say.

The announcement of land for sale by auction at the minimum upset price of 5s. an acre soon brought money into the government chest. Those who had occupied land of a superior quality near their grants purchased their occupations; others rounded off their grants, and took in slices of land for the sake of uniformity, for a natural boundary for pasture, or for access to water; others, who had not had either influence or patience, or time to wade through the dreary forms of Governor Darling's land board, indulged in freehold as soon as it became a mere matter of money. This was especially the case with a considerable section of the emancipist population.

Governor Bourke had distributed a number of ten-acre grants on the alluvial flats of rivers among poor prisoners of good conduct before the sales by auction were sanctioned.

During the years between 1831 and 1836, great encouragement to purchase land was held out by the facility for obtaining the labour of prisoners without favour on fixed terms; by the large purchases of produce by the commissariat; and the activity with which the governor prosecuted road-making wherever land was settled. The result was a rapid and annual accession of funds to the colonial Treasury.

The news of the avidity with which both colonists and absentees purchased wild land, which the government imagined it had been giving away for nothing, or for a nominal price, ever since the foundation of the colony, appears to have inflamed the imagination of the colonial department of Downing-street; and very soon the Colonial Office began to think and act as if it had discovered an exhaustless treasure, which could be sold in any quantity and at any price they chose to fix. Just as in 1845, when all the British public was mad on railways, there were parties who believed that because one or two lines paid 10 per cent., all lines would pay 10 per cent., and therefore wished government to buy up and complete the whole net-works of iron roads, and pay off the national debt with the profits.

In like manner, in the course of a few years after the publication of Mr. Wakefield's theories, the whole colonial possessions of Great Britain were surveyed, on maps only, priced, and offered for sale at sums per acre in which intrinsic value formed no element of the calculation.

The one part of the Wakefield theory for which the author deserved credit, was the application of part of the purchase money of land to the introduction of free emigrants in equal numbers of both sexes. Thus, preparation was made for substituting free for convict labour.

The first five years of land sales at 5s. an acre, including the acreage sold by Governors Brisbane and Darling, and paid for in those years, amounted to £176,435, of which the last year amounted to £89,380. During the same period £31,028 only was expended in introducing 3,079 emigrants.

But in 1835 two events occurred which materially affected the colonising fortunes of Australia. A party of stockowners from the Island of Van Diemen's Land, in which the accessible pastures had been nearly all appropriated, crossed Bass's Straits, and established themselves on the shores of Port Phillip Bay, on the River Yarra Yarra; about the same time squatters, pushing on westward over the plains of Maneroo, gradually extended their pastures overland, while whalers settled at Portland Bay in the same district. And before the government of New South Wales, within which this territory was included under Governor Phillip's commission, acknowledged the existence of the settlement of Port Phillip, many thousand sheep and cattle were feeding over the finest plains that had yet been discovered in the vicinity of a natural port. These "unauthorised squatters," as they were called in a despatch, poured into the new land with such rapidity that the home government was very unwillingly obliged to sanction the measures for their recognition and settlement which had been taken by Governor Bourke.

At the same time that the Tasmanians were swarming across Bass's Straits, and the pastors of New South Wales were marching overland with their flocks to this and other new lands of promise, in England a commission had been issued, an act of Parliament obtained, and a charter granted for colonising South Australia (the unexplored tract of land, traversed by a river which the adventurous Sturt had descended and ascended in 1829, and named South Australia), on the "sufficient price" principle propounded by Gibbon Wakefield in his "Letter from Sydney."

The history of the origin, rise, progress, fall, and revival of South Australia, will be found duly chronicled in the chapter devoted to that province. We refer to it here in order to show how the speculations of the South Australian colonisers affected the progress of New South Wales and Port Phillip.

Their scheme was floated on the success of New South Wales and the failure of Swan River.

Give us, they said to the legislature and the stock-jobbing public, the territory we mark on the map; the right of imposing a "sufficient price" on the land, and of applying it to the importation of labour; and we will render labour cheap by the exclusion of labourers from the possession of land, concentrate society, introduce agriculture as scientific as that of Great Britain, in addition to the productions of Spain and Italy, reap all the profits that have been reaped in New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, without the taint of convict labour, or "the dispersion of the semi-barbarous squatter;" and we will produce a state of society so prosperous and so charming, that the neighbouring cheap-priced convict colonies shall hasten to follow our example.

As they desired so it was granted to them; and under "South Australia" we shall tell how bands of youths and maidens, and old men who had not gained wisdom with their grey hairs, went singing in triumph to sit down in a sandy plain and spend two years in gambling for town lots and village lots, with their own and with borrowed paper money; and how they sank into a slough of despondency, and were only saved by resorting to the people and pursuits they had been taught to despise.

But the South Australian interest—an interest much more successful in its parliamentary tactics than in its colonising operations—in the course of a few years succeeded in raising the price of land successively from 5s. to a minimum of 12s. and 20s.; in inoculating the Colonial Office with their own notions as to the value of wild land and the injurious effects of dispersion; and in suddenly, without due preparation, abolishing the assignment system, which supplied the greater part of the pastoral and agricultural labour in the colony.

So early as 1834 the Earl of Aberdeen, then Secretary of State for the Colonies, appears, from a despatch addressed to Governor Bourke on the subject of the vast extensions of the pastoral interest in every accessible direction, but especially toward the unexplored Port Phillip district, to have embraced Mr. Wakefield's doctrine as to the banefulness of dispersion. Both the theorist and the statesman were applying the rules of an agricultural to a pastoral state of society. They were looking to the condition of the Lothians, when they should have been studying the history of the Patriarchs. And although the squatting system was then in its infancy and not one-third of the territory was then explored that has since been occupied, Lord Aberdeen expressed a strong opinion "that it was not desirable to allow the population to become more scattered than it then was."

In 1836 a committee of the House of Commons, appointed under the influence of Mr. Wakefield's parliamentary disciples, made a report in favour of that gentleman's principles of colonisation, after hearing evidence which consisted almost entirely of witnesses interested in the South Australian speculation, and which did not include a single colonist from New South Wales. After this report, Lord Glenelg, then Colonial Secretary, authorised the Governor of New South Wales to raise the price of land to 12s. if he thought fit.

The replies of Sir Richard Bourke on the two questions of "dispersion" and price of land, place him in the first rank of colonising statesmen; they display a degree of foresight which we can now duly appreciate:—

"Admitting," he said in answer to Lord Aberdeen, "as every reasonable person must, that a certain degree of concentration is necessary for the advancement of wealth and civilisation, and that it enables government to become at once more efficient and more economical, I cannot avoid perceiving the peculiarities which in this colony render it impolitic, and even impossible, to restrain dispersion within limits that would be expedient elsewhere. The wool of New South Wales forms at present its chief wealth. The proprietors of thousands of acres find it necessary, equally with the poorer settlers to send large flocks beyond the boundaries of location, to preserve them in health throughout the year. The colonists must otherwise restrain the increase, or endeavour to raise artificial food for their stock. Whilst nature presents all around an unlimited supply of wholesome pasture, either course would seem a perverse rejection of the bounty of Providence. Independently of these powerful reasons for allowing dispersion it is not to be disguised that government is unable to prevent it. *    *    * The question I beg leave to submit is simply this: How may government turn to the best advantage a state of things which it cannot wholly interdict? It may be found practicable, by means of the sale of land in situations peculiarly advantageous, however distant from other locations, by establishing townships and ports, and facilitating the intercourse between remote and more settled districts of this vast territory, to provide centres of civilisation and government, and thus gradually extend the power of social order to the most distant parts of the wilderness."

In answer to the suggestion for raising the price of land, made at the instance of Colonel Torrens, chairman of the South Australian speculation, who found "semi-barbarous" Port Phillip a serious rival to his model colony:—

"Whatever minimum is fixed, there will be found instances in which land acquired at that price without opposition will prove a cheap bargain; but such is not often the case. Land even of very inferior quality, happening to possess a peculiar value to the individual purchasing in consequence of its proximity to his other property, finds a sale solely on that account, cannot be considered as cheaply obtained, even at the minimum price. The cases in which land is sold without opposition, from ignorance of its marketable value on the part of the public, or from the secret agreement or friendly forbearance of those otherwise interested in bidding against each other, must diminish yet more and more as the colony advances in wealth and population; nor are such accidents, even if they were more numerous, deserving of much consideration. It is upon general tendencies and results that all questions of public policy are to be decided.

"The lands now in the market form a surplus, in many cases a refuse, consisting of lands which in past years were not saleable at any price, and were not sought after even as free grants.

"By deciding to dispose of them at 5s. an acre, it by no means follows that they will be sold at a higher rate. The result may be to retain them for an indefinite time unsold, a result more certain in consequence of the alternative at the settler's command of wandering over the vast tracts of the interior. A facility for acquiring land at a low price is the safest check to this practice. The wealthiest colonists are continually balancing between the opposite motives presented by the cheapness of (then) unauthorised occupation on the one hand, and the desire of adding to their permanent property on the other. The influence of the latter motive must be weakened in proportion to the augmentation of the upset price.

"It is possible that the augmentation of the minimum price would have the injurious effect of checking the immigration of persons possessed of small capital, desirous of establishing themselves upon land of their own."

We shall hereafter show that all Sir Richard Bourke's predictions were realised. To this hour, in the midst of settled districts, large tracts of land remain the haunt of wild dogs and vermin, which are no more likely to be worth £1 an acre in twenty years to come than they were twenty years ago, unless they turn out to be gold fields.

Parallel with the new arrangement, which enabled every man with money to buy a farm, and filled the colonial treasury to overflowing, the pastoral system, which, at the least possible expenditure for labour, raised a vast exportable produce in wool, was extending itself both east and west,—daily discovering new pastures, and driving the emu, the kangaroo, and the aborigine before armies of soft-fleeced merinoes.

In the early days of the colony, landowners grazed near their grants without paying anything for what in fact was valueless except to them. As the population of Sydney increased a charge of 2s. 6d. per 100 acres was imposed on wild lands, conveniently situated for pasture.

No instance occurred of refusing-this privilege at this rent on unoccupied land until the time of Governor Darling, who refused to permit the editor of a paper which had ridiculed his government to rent additional land for his increasing herds.

Beyond the boundaries of settlement—colonially "the bush"—no rent was charged, and until Governor Bourke took the matter in hand, club-law prevailed. It was not unusual for a great squatter to drive a small one out of a district of peculiar richness in grass or water by what was called "eating him out;" that is to say, sending such a flock as would, in four-and-twenty hours, devour every blade within many miles of the small settler's hut, until Sir Richard Bourke, to a certain extent, extended the operation of the law beyond the boundary. He seems to have been the only governor, with the exception of Macquarie, thoroughly impressed with the necessity of encouraging and protecting against the prejudices of the great settlers a class of agricultural yeomanry. It was the policy of Sir George Gipps, acting under his instructions, to throw every impediment in the way of freehold farms for those who, not rich enough to become great flockowners, were not willing to become mere shepherds. Governor Bourke saw through the selfishness of the colonial monopolists, in the shape of great flockholders, who, forgetting their own or their fathers' original insignificance, grudged every acre and every head of stock that fell to the share of hardworking men; he was not led away by a cry against the frugal peasantry, who fed small flocks or a few cattle on wild land. He observes, in a despatch of 18th December, 1835:—

"Another cause to which Judge Burton attributes the prevalence of crime in this colony, is the occupation of waste lands by improper persons. The persons to whom Mr. Burton alludes, familiarly called 'squatters,' * are the objects of great animosity on the part of the wealthier settlers. It must be confessed they are only following in the steps of all the most influential and unexceptionable colonists, whose sheep and cattle stations are everywhere to be found side by side with the obnoxious squatter, and held by no better title. *    *    * I trust I shall be able to devise some measure that may moderate the evil complained of, without putting a weapon into the hands of selfishness and oppression. *    *    * ." And again, in September, 1836:—

[* The great flockowners had not at that time appropriated the term squatter to themselves, as they did soon afterwards. Before Bourke's time they chiefly fed their flocks on grants.]

"There is a natural disposition on the part of the wealthy stockholders to exaggerate the offences of the poorer classes of intruders upon crown lands, and an equal unwillingness to suit themselves to such restraints as are essential to the due and impartial regulation of this species of occupancy. Of the former disposition I have had ample proof in the result of an inquiry lately instituted as to the number of ticket-of-leave holders in unauthorised occupation of crown land. The dishonest practices of this class of persons in such occupation had been represented as one of the principal evils which required a remedy. I have, however, discovered from the returns of the magistrates, which I called for, that not more than twenty to thirty ticket-of-leave holders occupy crown lands throughout the whole colony, and of these a great proportion are reported to be particularly honest and industrious."

Out of this despatch grew the pastoral or crown land rents, which produced, the year before the gold discovery, upwards of forty thousand a year, and which—although less equitably worked than Sir Richard Bourke intended, or would have permitted had he remained long enough to adapt the details to the circumstances of the colony—had, doubtless, a great effect in stimulating the growth of the pastoral resources of Australia.

Sir Richard Bourke divided the wild land or bush, beyond the boundaries of the settled districts, into "squatting districts," each under the charge of a "Commissioner of Crown Lands." An annual licensing fee was charged to each squatter for his occupation, and a poll-tax on his stock. Advantages of pre-emption were, by custom, conceded to the discoverers of new pastures. In arranging this system, it seems Sir Richard Bourke did not expect to obtain a greater revenue than would defray the expenses of the machinery which superseded club law by magistrates and police.

Thus it will be observed that under Governor Bourke, the means of obtaining either the absolute possession of land in fee-simple, or the use for pastoral purposes, were systematised and simplified. It ceased to be a matter of favour, of complicated form, or of bribery to subordinates; and what was still more important, and directly reverse to the policy of his successor, the administration was conducted on the principle that the possession of land could not be made too easy to those who were disposed to occupy or cultivate it.

Sir Richard believed that he was best serving the interest of his sovereign by promoting the prosperity of colonists of all classes, by permitting them to follow their pursuits in their own way, so long as they did not injure each other. He did not think a few acres, more or less, were of the least consequence to the crown; he thought capital would be better employed in the hands of the colonists than in the treasury of the colony; therefore he never attempted like his successor to extract the uttermost farthing by haggling at land sales, or dreamed of treating worthless, limitless forests as if they were plantations of English oaks, or of laying claim to such waifs as "Australian guano." In fact he believed that he was serving the crown by administering the colony for the benefit of the colonists; he did not pretend, like Cyrus, to force upon them a garment they did not like, or to teach them how to transact their own business.

But while these reforms were being so wisely carried out, and cultivation among small proprietors and sheep-feeding among the rich was daily adding wealth and stability to the colony, the Home Government, worked upon by the parliamentary evidence, the literary agitation, and the so far successful speculations of the South Australian interest, became inoculated with most extravagant ideas of the value of wild lands, and of the necessity of asserting, with the utmost rigour, the rights of the crown to everything worth or supposed to be worth a shilling. There were many excuses for an infatuation which has since cost colonists dear in Australia, New Zealand, and Natal, and induced this country to make expensive wars on the Maories and Boers, besides keeping up expensive colonising establishments at such wretched outposts as the Falkland Islands.*

[* By valuing wild land at a farming price, it became easy to put a Governor on the estimates instead of a lieutenant with a file of marines.]

In the new colonies of South Australia and Port Phillip, enormous prices were given by infatuated speculators for town and country lots, and for a time enormous profits, or apparent profits, were realised. A land mania very soon infected New South Wales. This mania was supported by an influx of emigrants from England, with capital and without experience. Into the details of this mania we shall enter more precisely in a future chapter. It is enough for our present information to observe that after a time all ranks and ages were carried away by the infatuation. Everything rose in price; the colonial treasury was overflowing with the produce of land sales. These funds the governor placed with the banks. The banks, over supplied with capital, extended their accommodation, and credit became almost unlimited. Imports rose enormously. To those who did not look below the surface, there were all the outward and visible signs of prosperity produced by the change from grants to sales. In 1837, the last year of Sir Richard Bourke's government, the land sales produced upwards of £120,000.

It was about this time that we see a sign of the fatal idea of the intrinsic value of wild land which had begun to make way in the Colonial Office, in the refusal of the Secretary of State for the Colonies to permit a meritorious pilot, who had rendered essential services, to be rewarded according to colonial custom by a grant of fifty acres. The secretary, Lord Stanley, saw no reason for so bestowing her Majesty's land, the said land being worth nothing to the state, although much to the pilot. From that time forward rigid adherence to a theory substituted ingratitude, or money payments, for the previous convenient payment of fifty-acre grants.

{Page 105}



During the six years, between 1831 and 1837, that Sir Richard Bourke had the government of New South Wales, convicts were introduced at the rate of about three thousand a year, while the number of free emigrants for that period, including those introduced at the expense of the land fund, did not exceed fifteen thousand. The proportion of the sexes throughout the colony was about thirty women to every hundred men.

During the government of Brisbane and Darling, able-bodied convicts had ceased to be an expense to the government; they were eagerly sought as mechanics, labourers, and shepherds, and their distribution became an important part of government patronage. A man on good terms with the powers in office might not only farm, build a house, furnish it, manufacture carts and agricultural implements, and carry on any mechanical trade with workmen to whom he had not to pay any wages except such presents as it pleased him to make to stimulate their vigilance. The proprietor of a newspaper, who had criticised some act of Sir Ralph Darling's government, was punished by the recal to government service of the prisoner compositors he employed.

One of the early acts of Sir Richard Bourke was to arrange a set of rules, on which, without favour, and according to priority of application and extent of occupation, employers were to be entitled to the use of prisoner servants.

In 1831, Sir Richard Bourke introduced and passed an act, by which the number of lashes to be inflicted on summary conviction by a single magistrate were limited to fifty. The moral condition of the employing classes in the colony at that period may be imagined from the fact, that for this measure, of justice and mercy, the governor was assailed with a loud cry of pro-flogging indignation, and from that time forward was subjected to a factious opposition and a series of annoyances from the Plutocracy of the colony, which eventually led to his resignation. Foremost among his assailants was a Scotchman, of the name of Mudie, who had had the misfortune to take up his abode in New South Wales a few years too late, instead of proceeding to Louisiana or Cuba, where his little peculiarities might have had full scope, without impertinent interference from governors or newspapers. Facts which came out in the course of the trial of six servants of this Mudie, who were all hanged for an attempt to shoot his overseer, induced Sir Richard Bourke to strike him out of the commission of the peace. Thereupon this white slave-driver became a grievance-monger, and wrote a book, in which, with perfect unconsciousness, he painted his own picture in such colours as to more than justify his erasure from the roll of magistrates. The curious and instructive part of the business was, that Mudie actually succeeded in obtaining a long string of testimonials in favour of his virtue and humanity from parties, some of whom were highly respectable.

Yet the following extract unconsciously conveys the severest satire on the man and the state of society:—

"A young fellow who had just become free, and had got himself established on thirty acres of land, with a few pigs, &c., set off to the factory (female convict barrack), in search of a wife. On his way he had to pass the estate of Mudie. In conversation with the wife of the porter he mentioned the object of his journey. The porter's wife advised him to pay his addresses to one of her master's convict female servants, whom she recommended as being both sober and industrious, whereby he would at once gain a good wife, and spare himself an additional journey of 140 miles.

"The young woman was sent for and consented at once. No wonder that a woman would accept marriage in preference to slavery with a Mudie. The white slave-driver author then gives the following dialogue as taking place between himself and the young couple:—

"Marianne—'I hope your honour will allow me to get married.'

"His Honour—'Married! To whom?'

"Marianne— (rather embarrassed) 'To a young man, your honour.'

"His Honour— 'To a young man! What is he?'

"Marianne— (her embarrassment increasing) 'I really don't know.'

"His Honour—'What is his name? Where does he live?'

"Marianne—'I don't know. To tell your honour the truth, I never saw him until just now. Mrs. Parsons sent for me to speak to him; we agreed to be married, if your honour will give us leave. It is a good chance for me.'

"His Honour— 'Send the young man here.'

"Enter Coelebs.

"His Honour—'Well, young man, I am told you wish to marry Marianne, one of my convict servants. Have you observed the condition the young woman is in?' (Marianne being 'in the way that ladies wish to be,' &c.)

"Cœlebs—(grinning, as we may imagine Mudie if some one had offered him the chance of an heiress, old, ugly, ill-tempered, with a hundred thousand pounds)—'Why, your honour, as to that, in a country like this, where women are scarce, a man shouldn't be too greedy. I'm told the woman is very sober, and that's the main chance with me. If I go to the factory, why I might get one in the same way without knowing it, and that might be the cause of words hereafter; and she might be a drunken vagabond besides. As to the piccaninny, if it should happen to be a boy it would soon be useful, and do to look after the pigs.'"

The American slave-owners are very indignant at the picture of Legree, painted by their own countrywoman. If they will only take the trouble to search the convict annals of New South Wales, Simon Legree will appear mild beside some convict masters.

In 1836-7 a committee of the House of Commons sat on the subject of transportation, at the instigation of Mr. Gibbon Wakefield. The object of the promoters was to put a stop to the source which supplied New South Wales with cheap slave-labour, in competition with the hired labour of the South Australian speculation.

Thus, although the subject well deserved investigation, the promoters were dishonest, the evidence was cooked, the conclusions were foregone, and the results, although eventually most advantageous to Australia, retarded criminal reform, and created vices worse than those which it was intended to eradicate. Van Diemen's Land was sacrificed, and turned into one vast overflowing-cesspool of crime.

The government was not to be blamed for the series of mistakes committed on the subject of transportation. After fifty years' indifference they were forced by active public opinion to do something; they were pressed upon by a number of excellent men, like Archbishop Whateley and Mr. C. Buller, who had been overpowered by a "case" got up in a manner then new to the House of Commons, but now perfectly understood. A change that should have been gradual, and accompanied by the foundation of a new colony, was made abruptly, at an enormous pecuniary loss and moral gain to New South Wales, but to the ruin, social and financial, of Van Diemen's Land, on which alone was poured the felonry previously distributed over New South Wales.

Governor Bourke was directed to discontinue assignment by a despatch from Lord Glenelg, dated 26th May, 1837, which took effect in 1810. In answer to that despatch, Sir Richard Bourke observes, with his usual good sense, "If the abolition of the assignment system be resolved on, it should without doubt be gradual, as the sudden interruption of the accustomed supply of labour would produce much distress." The system was suddenly discontinued under Sir George Gipps, and succeeded by the horrible gang system.


The "Church and School Incorporation," under which one-seventh of the crown lands was devoted to the support of episcopalian churches and schools, had not worked well, and in 1833 it was dissolved by an order of the king in council. The expenses of management had been large, the receipts small, and the results, in the extension of religion and education, insignificant.

In the same year Sir Richard Bourke addressed a despatch, dated 30th September, in which he propounded principles of religious equality which had a very important influence on the religious and educational institutions of the colony, and displayed principles much in advance of the traditions of the colonial government.

After stating that the followers of the Church of England were most numerous; that one fifth of the population was Roman Catholic; that the members of the Church of Scotland were less numerous, but among the most respectable, consisting almost entirely of free emigrants; that the annual charge for the Church of England amounted to £11,542 10s.; for the Church of Scotland to £600; and for Roman Catholic chaplains and chapels to £1,500; while Protestant dissenters of several denominations, who had formed congregations, "received no support from government beyond some small grants of land for sites of chapels;" that the Church of England possessed seven churches of stone or brick in or within forty miles of Sydney, two in more remote districts, and several less permanent buildings in various places; the Church of Scotland one respectable building in Sydney, and three temporary buildings in country districts, the one church having been built by subscription, aided by a loan from government of £520; the Roman Catholics one handsome church, towards which the government had, at various times, granted sums amounting to £1,200; that the chaplains of the Church of England were provided with glebes of forty acres each, and with houses or lodging-money; that the magnitude of the sums annually granted to the Church of England in New South Wales were a subject of general complaint, and had been the origin of a public meeting and petition numerously signed, praying for a reduction;—Governor Bourke proceeded to observe, that "in a new country to which persons of all religious persuasions are invited to resort, it will be impossible to establish a dominant and endowed church without much hostility, and great improbability of its becoming permanent; if, on the contrary, support were given, as required, to every one of the three grand divisions of Christians indifferently, and the management of the temporalities of their churches left to themselves, the public treasury might in time be relieved of a considerable charge, and, what is of more importance, the people would become more attached to their respective churches, and be more willing to listen to the voice of their respective pastors."

He then proceeded to sketch out the plan afterwards carried out by the act which will presently be quoted, and recommended that New South Wales should be created into a separate diocese, instead of being included in that of Bengal.

From the same despatch it appears that the schools which had been established under the Church and School Corporation consisted of a male orphan school, in which 133 boys were boarded and taught at an annual expense of £1,300, and a female orphan school, in which 174 girls cost £1,500 annually, exclusive of supplies from lands cultivated for the use of the schools.

At Paramatta there was a boarding-school for the wealthier classes, who paid £28 each for boarders, and £10 for day-scholars the head master, a clergyman, receiving £100 a year and the rent of a house.

There were thirty-five primary schools in various parts of the colony in which 1,248 children were taught, at an expense of £2,756. In all these schools the Catechism of the Church of England was part of the instruction.

The Church of Scotland had received a loan of £3,500 toward the erection of the Scotch college founded by Dr. Lang; and £800 had been granted to the Roman Catholic schools.

The governor stated that the disproportionate assistance for education was a subject of very general complaint; and expressed an opinion "that schools on the Irish system, in which Christians of all creeds are received, where approved extracts from Scripture are read, but no religious instruction is given by the master or mistress, such being imparted one day in the week by ministers of different religions attending at the school to instruct their respective flocks, would be most suitable to the condition of the colony. It would be necessary that the government took the lead in their institution, erecting school-houses, appointing well-qualified teachers at liberal salaries." In like manner infant schools should be established in the towns. And he adds:—"I may without fear of contradiction assert, that in no part of the world is the general education of the people a more sacred or necessary duty of the government than in New South Wales." The home Colonial Office have never taken any pains to perform this duty.

In 1836 the Legislative Council passed an act, under which, whenever £300 had been raised by private contributions toward the building of a church or chapel, the governor, with the advice of his Executive Council, might issue from the colonial treasury, in aid of the subscribers, any sum not exceeding £1,000.

And for minister of church or chapel with 100 adult attendants, £100 per annum. If 200 adults, £150 per annum. If 500 adults, £200 per annum. Under special circumstances the governor and council could grant a salary of £100 per annum where the congregation amounted to less than 100. Where there was no place of worship, 100 might be granted from the colonial treasury if £50 a year were raised by private contributions. Under this act £3,000 a year was divided between the Church of England, the Church of Scotland, and the Church of Rome, and recently the Wesleyan Methodists shared part of the grant.

In his attempt to introduce an improved system of education Sir Richard Bourke was defeated by religious jealousies, but the despatches and Act quoted will remain monuments of his patriotism and statesmanship.

In December, 1837, Sir Richard Bourke retired deeply regretted by all the colony, except a small section of prison-flogging magistrates and officials of the true colonial school. New South Wales had attained the highest state of prosperity; Port Jackson was crowded with shipping bringing free labourers and capitalists, the banks overflowing with money, and the whole population full of the happiest excitement.

The discussions of the Council, although still secret and irresponsible, had assumed a real character, and prepared the way for representative institutions. Restrictions placed upon the summary conviction of prisoners by magistrates, and preparations for the abolition of the assignment system, concurrently with the introduction of free emigrants by funds derived from the sale of lands, had laid the foundation of a free colony. The colonisation of Port Phillip and South Australia by emigrants of a superior class had done much towards directing the attention of this country to an island which had previously been only considered a receptacle for criminals, while the discovery of vast tracts of fine land in the interior, with an overland communication between the three districts, and the establishment of the squatting system on a legal basis, greatly stimulated the increase of live stock, the growth of wool, and the general value of colonial exports. The Australians began to think they could walk alone without the aid of convict-labour, and the money of the commissariat.


{Page 111}



1838 TO 1846.

Sir Richard Bourke was succeeded by Sir George Gipps, who was sworn in on the 2nd February, 1838; the government, during an interregnum of ten weeks, having been administered by the Lieutenant-governor, Colonel Snodgrass.

Sir George Gipps, who was a captain in the Royal Engineer Corps, owed his appointment entirely to the talent he had displayed while acting as secretary to the commission issued for inquiring into the grievances of rebellious Canada. During his residence in that colony he had devised and published a plan for educating colonists to the use of representative institutions by "district councils" for the administration of local affairs. It was an ingenious theory, but, as we shall hereafter show, no more suited for the state of society in pastoral Australia than an American river steamboat for crossing the Atlantic. Nevertheless, the forcing this district council scheme on the unwilling colonists was the one great idea of Sir George Gipps's colonial career, to which he sacrificed them and himself.

He was a man of abilities far above the average; an eloquent speaker, a nervous writer; with industry, energy, and a special aptitude for the details of administrative business; but haughty and narrow-minded; impenetrable to reasoning which did not square with his preconceived views; filled with inordinate ideas of his own importance as "the representative of majesty;" with a violent, temper, which in dealing with the colonists he took little pains to control, although his communications with the Colonial Office displayed a pliability almost amounting to subservience. He claimed to receive the deference due to a viceroy, and at the same time to exercise the duties of an English prime minister. With sharp and ready tongue he introduced and pressed legislative measures for carrying into effect theories most distasteful and unsuitable to his colonial "subjects;" but opposition, or even that fair criticism and discussion which a British premier would expect and even invite, he treated as personal insult to his authority; almost as high treason.

The period of his accession to power was in every respect most inopportune. Backed by a Secretary of State as fiery and obstinate as himself, with the sanction of a House of Commons utterly ignorant of the condition of Australia, Sir George Gipps came determined to govern on high prerogative principles, at a time when the colony had advanced from the Algerine rule of Phillip and Darling, to enjoy the externals of a free state. A Legislative Council no longer secret, although not elective, had superseded the irresponsible decrees of the governor. Courts regularly constituted, with juries in political cases, had taken the place of courts martial. The press was free; the liberty of assembling to discuss political questions had been sanctioned and exercised. A rapid, enormous immigration from the mother country swelled the ranks of the thousands who, however descended, were born free; and, under the guidance of the burning eloquence of a native-born Australian, claimed to exercise those rights of representation and self-taxation which they had forfeited by becoming colonists.

The history of this long contest would fill a volume; but the time has not yet come for writing at full length the details of the struggles in which the liberties of Australia were born. That must await the growth of a colonial public. It is, however, not venturing too much to assert that if ever—which Heaven forbid!—Australia should rise up and violently sever her connection with the British crown, the origin of so dire a calamity may be distinctly traced back to the period when, with the high approval of the home authorities, and of politicians of all colours, Sir George Gipps coerced and insulted the colonists of Australia, forcing, with threats and blows, legislative shoes, modelled in Downing-street, upon their unwilling feet.

Yet Sir George Gipps was not without noble as well as brilliant qualities. His hands were clean. He took no share in the jobs of the servile crew whom he used and despised. But he was intoxicated by the greatness thrust upon him. At one stride he passed from a subordinate military rank to the government of a great province of wealthy and discontented men; having in his hands authority which could make or mar a whole class or a whole district. In a different sphere, and subdued by the even competition of English parliamentary life, he might have done himself honour and the state service.

In the temper of the governor and the governed, questions of difference were not long in arising.

Under Sir Richard Bourke the Legislative Council, although composed of salaried officials and an equal number of the colonists nominated by the governor, had nurtured enough of the spirit of independence to occasionally dissent from the views of the home government or its representative. But Governor Bourke took a colonial view of colonial subjects; he did not hesitate to dissent from the views of a Secretary of State; he treated the opinions of his council with deliberate consideration and respect, even where he came to a contrary conclusion. Sir George Gipps adopted an opposite course. Nothing could equal the contempt with which he treated colonial opinions, except the zeal with which he echoed and carried out the instructions issued by the Secretary of State.

The following were among the more prominent political questions which formed the subject of contention and agitation on the part of the colonists against the governor:—

1st. The appropriation of the revenue of the colony.

2nd. The extent to which the colonists were taxed for gaols, police, &c., rendered necessary by the transportation system.

3rd. The manner in which the home government exercised the patronage of the crown, passing over colonial claims, and appointing unfit persons, at high salaries paid by the colonists.

4th. The price of land, and the arbitrary manner in which it was raised, lowered, and raised again, at the will of the governor.

These four grievances were discussed in one or more distinct cases. On each the governor took up the position of "high prerogative" in the most offensive manner, and found his policy approved by the home government.

It is very odd that, whether Whigs or Tories hold office, the most obnoxious regulations issued, the most discreditable rights of patronage exercised, have been defended under the plea of asserting "the sacred rights of the crown" in the colonies. Thus ignorant bushmen were taught, when a few acres of waste land were not granted, as the Legislative Council prayed, to the worthy captain who had saved a shipwrecked crew; or when a worn-out attorney was sent out to fill a useless office at an extravagant salary, that the ungracious refusal and disgraceful job were both the effect of the "Queen's Prerogative."

Such are the modes in which Downing-street, before the days of unrestricted political competition, used to drag the sacred name of the sovereign through the dirt.

No sooner had Sir George Gipps commenced his government than he became involved in discussions involving very important principles, which were carried on with such feeble means of attack as the colonists possessed, until, in 1842, an act of the Imperial Parliament bestowed, upon New South Wales a Legislative Council, which consisted of twenty-four elective members, and twelve who held their seats either in an official capacity or on the recommendation of the governor. The opening of the Colonial Parliament took place on August 3rd, 1843, and in his "speech from the throne," Sir George Gipps described the Council as "composed of three elements or three different classes of persons—the representatives of the people—the official servants of her Majesty, and of gentlemen of independence the unofficial nominees of the crown."

The nominees were soon taught that so far from being independent, they were expected to follow the lead of the governor without discussion or hesitation.

The questions which had already occupied the attention of the colonial press and the nominee council, afforded ample employment for the elective chamber; among the first and most important of these was


The revenue dispute commenced in 1832, when Lord Goderich, then Secretary of State for the Colonies, directed Sir Richard Bourke to submit annually to the Legislative Council an estimate of the expenditure proposed to be charged on the colonial revenues. This estimate, if passed by the Council, was to be embodied in an ordinance, and forwarded to the home government for his Majesty's approval. If rejected, the majority were to be requested to furnish their estimate, and the two were to be forwarded for "his Majesty's approval." With this illusory control, the non-official but nominee members and the colonists were obliged to be content. It was not of much use to object to an estimate that had to travel round the world; and although the non-official councillors sometimes protested against any particularly scandalous job, their protests were received, and—laid up with other dusty papers.

At the period to which we are alluding-, the administrative powers of the governor had been so clipped, without addition to the legislative powers of the colonies, that he could scarcely erect a pair of stocks without first reporting to Downing-street, with plan and estimate. No wonder that almost all the non-official party in the colony were republicans.

In 1835 the expense of maintaining the police establishment and gaols was made a colonial charge. Every non-official and two official members of the council protested against this heavy burden, on the ground that these expenses were largely increased by the presence of all the transported felonry of Great Britain, either as prisoners or freedmen. To this it was answered, that the colony had had the benefit of their work. However, as a per contra, the surplus of the fund derived from the sale or lease of crown land was allowed to be taken to assist the colonial revenues, after defraying the expenses of emigration. The terms of this arrangement or contract, as the colonists assert, are to be found in despatches with enclosures from Mr. Spring Rice, and from Lord Glenelg, dated respectively 15th November, 1834, and 10th July, 1835. It is not now worth while to quote or discuss them. The truth seems to be, that, while the returns from the land revenue were trifling, the officers of the crown did not care to have the spending of them, having admitted that it was "just and reasonable that the revenues should be applied wholly and exclusively for the benefit of the colony." But, when the land revenues rose to hundreds of thousands of pounds annually, the question assumed a different aspect in the eyes of a young but accomplished bureaucrat like Sir George Gipps.

Sir Richard Bourke, after receiving the despatches in question, believed that the Legislative Council had the complete control of the land revenue. He seems to have been always anxious to extend the legislative powers of the colonies.

Sir George Gipps commenced what may be called, to use a slang term of modern polities, his reactionary course of policy, by repudiating the assumed contract in the extract from a despatch, dated November, 1838, which alone affords a complete key to the favour in which he was held at the Colonial Office, and the detestation in which he was held in the colony:—

"It is asserted in the colony that the right to appropriate this revenue was conceded to the governor and council by a despatch, &c., and that this right was recognised by Sir Richard Bourke . . . . . Notwithstanding the strength of these expressions, I must say that I very much doubt whether, by the Treasury letter of the 24th September, 1834, it was intended to give up unreservedly, and for ever, the right to select the objects on which the crown revenue (viz., from colonial land) should be expended; and I therefore, whenever occasion required, maintained, during the last session of the council, that the crown has still power to do so—feeling that, if wrong in this opinion, I could easily set myself right with the council; but, if I committed an error the other way, I might involve myself in difficulties from which there would be no escape." And he proceeds with great ingenuity to "get up a case" to enable the Colonial Office at home to shear the colonists of the trifling powers recently conceded to them.

This was a very pretty quarrel to begin with, and the governor lost no opportunity of improving it.

Whether the contract existed or not, it is quite clear that the powers claimed and exercised by the governor and the colonial secretary, in the much-abused name of the sovereign, amounted to revolting despotism under a caricature of free discussion. The colonists were expected to defray the cost of their own government, with all the addition of police and gaol expenses incident to a periodical inoculation of British-grown felonry, while, with the sham of a Legislative Council and financial discussions, all sources of revenue, except additional taxation, were removed from their control. As to the crown or waste lands—the price, the management—the expenditure of the funds arising from them in emigration—were settled by English commissioners; the surplus was appropriated by the crown. The custom-house tariff and the rules for levying it were settled, and the officers appointed, by the English custom-house. As to the funds raised by local taxation, the Colonial Secretary, in the name of the crown, created offices, fixed fines, salaries, and appointed officers, without the slightest regard, to the wants or wishes of the colonists.

The grievance with respect to the appropriation of the land revenues became more unbearable inconsequence of the orders and acts of the home government in respect to the land question, which were in direct opposition to the feelings and interests of the colonists.

It was with the representative members of the Legislative Council, while the colony was in a state of insolvency, that Governor Gipps's battles commenced, and were carried on with an acerbity on both sides which did not breed a rebellion, because the materials in the shape of coercive powers had not been conceded to the governor. The new council lost no time in investigating the grievances of the colony, and soon collected a most formidable list, although the most oppressed class of all, the small settlers, were entirely unrepresented.

The revenues, the price of crown lands, the assessments on the pastoral proprietors, the abuses in the exercise of crown patronage, successively attracted the attention of the opposition, vigorously led by William Wentworth, a gentleman of brilliant talents and great oratorical powers, whose influence was to a certain extent unfortunately impaired by a violent temper and want of tact, the result of a provincial education among men vastly his inferiors in intellect, and long exclusion from a legitimate exercise of his powers.

Without the evidence printed by these Legislative Councils of New South Wales, it would be impossible to credit that a government at home, professed to be formed on "reform" and "retrenchment," could have perpetrated and maintained powers so oppressive and jobs so corrupt. But jobbery and despotism seem incident to all corporate bodies which have the control of sea-divided territories. It was impossible to imagine anything worse than the administration of the Colonial Office, until the New Zealand Company, composed of colonial reformers, showed in perfection what a colonising Robert Macaire could do with a large capital, a directorate of credulous capitalists, and an array of still more credulous colonists.

The following cases, gathered from the reports of the committees of the Legislative Council appointed to inquire into certain gross cases of embezzlement and mismanagement, afford examples of the "patronage grievance," of the sort of persons selected for colonial office, the nature of the powers they assumed On the strength of holding a home instead of a colonial appointment, and the manner in which they performed their duties.


In 1841 the Registrar of the Supreme Court became a defaulter; in the following year he took the benefit of the Insolvent Act, and eventually paid a dividend of sixpence in the pound. The committee which investigated his case, with the view of obtaining redress from the home government for the sufferers by the malversation of their appointed, reported, that the first registrar, Colonel Mills, was a decayed gentleman, with no knowledge of business, and who, therefore, left what there was to be done to other officers. On his death the governor and council recommended that the office, in the then state of the colony not needed, should be abolished; but, before receiving or without attending to this recommendation, the defaulter in question, Mr. M———, was appointed. His antecedents were not more encouraging than those of Colonel Mills. In 1811 he had executed a deed of assignment of all his property for the benefit of his creditors; and in 1823, after returning from an eight years' residence on the Continent, had taken the benefit of the Insolvent Act; in 1828 had been appointed Chief Justice of Nova Scotia, and had been permitted to exchange the appointment for that of Registrar of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, with the duty of collecting the effects of intestates, and, according to his own account, the privilege of investing the money for his own benefit pending its distribution.

On arrival at the colony Mr. M——— took up a high position. That part of his duty which related to registering deeds of grants of crown land he entirely neglected and suffered to fall into an arrear, which eventually involved great numbers of the humbler class in litigation and ruin. But the collection of the estates of intestates he entered on as zealously as any wrecker on the spoils of storms. The presence of near relatives was no protection for the moneys of the deceased: in defiance of son, brother, or father, the registrar grasped all the estate, invested it in his own name for his own benefit, and from 1828 to 1838 kept neither day-book, cash-book, nor ledger, but one account at his banker's, rendered no statement for audit to any one, and paid over what balance, if any, to the next of kin of intestates when and how he pleased.

In 1838 the judges made rules of court requiring the registrar to pass his accounts and pay the balance into the savings' bank. The great man remonstrated against these rules in a most indignant tone, "as threatening to take from him a source of legitimate income, on the faith of which he immigrated to the colony," and intimated that, "unless he was permitted to retain and make use of the money himself, he would use no exertions to obtain it."

At this audit he reported himself to be in possession of £1,980 17s 0½d., but the court, after argument, found £3,085 18s. 2d. due, compelled him to pay it into court, and, in spite of violent resistance, in which he was supported by one of the official legal advisers of the governor, had a set of rules of court sanctioned by the governor in council, under which the registrar was bound to account regularly and pay in the proceeds of every intestate estate within a certain fixed time (three months from the period of the intestacy); the injured registrar all the time protesting that "the judges were reflecting on his honour by calling for accounts, and depriving him of the legitimate profits to be derived from the employment of other men's money, which had induced him to settle in the colony." The judges being firm, and supported by the council, the registrar then resorted to fraud, and in the course of two years became possessed of £9,000. When no longer able to conceal his appropriations, he announced his insolvency in a debonnair yet dignified manner—a condescending, much-injured style—which could only come from a colonial official. The sufferers by this embezzlement petitioned for compensation from the home government. The correspondence with the appropriator is extremely rich and racy. Throughout he appears to consider himself deeply injured. The home government rejected the prayers of the petitioners.


The next case is illustrative of the confidence with which colonial secretaries set aside colonial recommendations; the avidity with which they embrace opportunities of patronage; the indifference with which they increase salaries; and the admirable skill with which certain governors imbibe the principles of the chiefs.

The judge, Chief Justice Dowling, finding it needful to recommend that certain offices included in the charter of justice should be filled up, and especially that of prothonotary, at a salary of £800 per annum, for which he recommends one Mr. John Grover, late chief clerk, "who, from his long services, indefatigable industry, and experience, is admirably qualified for the office," Governor Gipps, the late captain of engineers, enters into a correspondence, as was his custom, with the judges, in which he instructs them how to manage the business of their courts, and save £50 a year. The judges demur, and show the governor that he knows nothing about the matter.

The question is referred to the Colonial Secretary, Lord Stanley, who settles the question in King Stork fashion, without a moment's loss of time. He does not appoint the gentleman recommended by the judges. In other respects he follows out their recommendations, but sends out two new officers, one at £1,000 a year, and the other at 850; and creating a third appointment, at £650, to be filled up by the governor; thus at a blow saddling the colony with-increased salaries to the extent of £400 a year, on the ground that in England competent persons could not be induced to accept these offices for less. An early act of one of these gentlemen was to set the local legislature at defiance on a matter of salary; the other was a worn-out, ruined attorney.

We have only to imagine, in order to understand colonial feeling on these subjects, the case of the town council of Liverpool applying to the Home Office for a stipendiary magistrate, stating their willingness to pay a salary of £800, and suggesting a particularly well-qualified gentleman to fill it, and their having a total stranger thrust upon them, with orders to pay him 200 more than they had offered. It seems the rulo with all officials appointed from England to treat with the greatest contempt the colonists who pay them.


An inquiry into the management of the Colonial Lunatic Asylum brought out facts equally characteristic of the independence and irresponsibility of all officials, up to the time that the elected members of the Legislative Council began to exercise their privilege of inquiry. In 1846, a select committee of the Legislative Council investigated the condition of Tarban Creek, the only lunatic asylum in New South Wales. In the course of this inquiry it appeared that the head keeper and his wife, the matron, in consequence of having received their appointment direct from the Secretary of State, habitually resisted all attempts to control, or even investigate the performance of their duties, by the visiting magistrates or colonially-appointed physician. Lunatics are sufficiently neglected and abused even to this hour in England, but it is only in a colony that a sort of turnkey for lunatics would presume to set the dignity of his office against both magistrates and medical men.

The visiting magistrate "had occasion to refer to the governor for definite instructions in consequence of the superintendent considering that he was interfering." He states, "My authority is repudiated by Mr. Digby; he says I have no right to interfere. Although he gives me every information in his power, he does so in courtesy, protesting against my right to interfere."

The committee found "no books or registers such as ought to be kept in a public establishment; no record of cases; no written statement of the appearance of any patient at the time of his admission, or of the progress of the disease, or of the treatment, medical and moral." They report that—

"The medical officer is not in his proper position." According to evidence, "he gets all his information from me [the keeper] as to the particulars of the case and form of insanity." The keeper stated, that in going round with the doctor, if he suggests any alteration in their moral treatment, and it appears to him [the keeper] an improvement, he acts upon it; but if he does riot approve of it he does not yield to him. "For instance, he might recommend that restraint should be taken off a patient, but if, from a better knowledge of the party, he might not deem it advisable, he should refuse to do so."

We quote this passage because it so perfectly illustrates the manner in which colonists and colonial interests are treated.

It is quite evident that the merits of this worthy officer of the order of the strait-jacket were not duly acknowledged. He ought to have been a colonial governor or a colonial secretary. Colonists are treated like the Tarban Creek lunatics: they do not know what is good for them neither do their representatives. The governor is the man; he is responsible to no one; and although the Legislative Council, liko the doctor, may recommend removing restraint, he knows better. We have not space to go into the jail cases, where the governor provided himself with coachman, footman, gardener, and a crew of boatmen, out of the criminals sentenced to imprisonment for colonial offences, and the convicts of Hyde Park Barracks were left under charge of a convict turnkey, who let them out to rob at so much a night, with pistols hired at ten shillings for each case.

With these examples we leave the subject of official responsibility, and return to the two great questions which agitated the colony during the whole administration of Sir George Gipps, and which still continue to excite the interest and apprehension of all who look ahead—"The Land," and "Emigration."


The question of the terms on which the waste lands of the colony were to be sold, and, until sold, occupied by flock-owners and stock-owners, formed the subject of the most bitter contest between Governor Gipps and the colonists. To the colonists the question was one of existence; it involved not only the liberties so dear to every English-speaking race, but the means of existence.

Just before the departure of Sir Richard Bourke, the pastoral proprietors of New South Wales, as well as all the merchants, capitalists, and every one else possessed of money or credit, were seized with a land mania, which can be compared to nothing less than the share and stock-jobbing manias which, from the period of the Mississippi scheme down to the last rage for railway scrip, have, from time to time, carried bankruptcy, ruin, and roguery through the length and breadth of the infatuated nation.

The disease arose in South Australia in the manner which will be found described in the chapter devoted to the foundation of that colony, and it received a great stimulus from the foundation of Port Phillip, where a considerable extent of picturesque, and more than ordinarily fertile land, easy of access from the port, became the object of competition among English colonists with more money than colonial experience.

Mr. Gibbon Wakefield's theories seemed to receive, in one important respect, confirmation from the large sums paid into the colonial treasuries by colonists bidding one against another for land at government auctions. These large funds were placed in the colonial banks. The banks, in order to employ the government deposits, gave unusual accommodation to their customers, until, moving in a circle of fallacies, the whole colony dreamed of growing rich by selling to each other land which produced nothing.

The series of Secretaries of State for the Colonies, Lords Aberdeen, Glenelg, Normanby, and John Russell, who succeeded each other in rapid succession up to 1842, and Lord Stanley, who held office until 1845, seem all to have taken the promised results of the Wakefield theory for granted—assumed that it was the duty of the government to obtain the highest price for crown lands—that a high price of land would keep down wages, and check dispersion; and to this notion their successor, Lord Grey, adhered, in face of an unbroken line of colonial evidence of the most practical character.

Thus, in August, 1838, Lord Glenelg instructed Sir George Gipps to substitute 12s. for 5s. an acre as the upset price of ordinary land, adding, "If you should observe that the extension of the population should still proceed with a rapidity beyond what is desirable, and that the want of labour still continues to be seriously felt, you will take measures for checking the sale of land even at 12s."

It would be an insult to the powerful understanding of Sir George Gipps to doubt that he was as well aware of the fallacy of this idea as his predecessor, but he came out with the fixed principle of earning the approbation of his official chiefs by zealously and actively carrying out their desires and orders. As he once answered a colonial remonstrant, "I was sent here to carry out the Wakefield system of land sales, and whether it suits the colony or not, it must be done."

Animated by this spirit he adopted two measures which soon transferred the greater part of the ready money of the colonists, new and old, into the colonial treasury. He limited the quantity of land offered for sale so as to raise the competition between new arrivals to the highest pitch, and he successively raised the upset price to the last sum given by the last land-lunatic under the excitement of an auction.

Thus, at a land auction on the 10th June, 1840, at Port Phillip, the price was run up by emulation and competition to such a height, that shipmates of Richard Howitt, with a capital among them of £20,000, only ventured to invest £600. Land was sold at £30 and £40 acre, which, for years afterwards, remained in a state of nature.

In the New South Wales district Sir George Gipps offered and sold land at Illawarra at 12s. and £1 an acre; when raised to £10 an acre it remained unsold; it was then reduced to £1, and, being worthless refuse, still remained unsold. In a second and third district, the upset price was raised to £10 in one instance, and £100 in another, and afterwards reduced to £2 an acre. And all this was done repeatedly against the advice of the official surveyors, on the principle that it was the duty of the governor to wring the uttermost farthing from the settler.

The land mania was followed by a crash of universal insolvency. Land became unsaleable; live stock fell to nominal prices; and the importers of British and foreign luxuries had nothing better to offer their creditors than the dishonoured bills of their customers.

It was in 1841, in the commencement of this crisis of insolvency, that the British Parliament, in utter ignorance of colonial affairs, under the influence of a band of stock-jobbing theorists, attempted to prop up the insolvent colony of South Australia by an act which fixed the minimum price of land in Australia at £1 an acre.

In 1843, when the elective Legislative Council commenced its labours, the dissatisfaction of the colonists with the fixed minimum price of £1 an acre had become universal.

The wealthy parties who had expected their free grants, and their purchases at five shillings an acre, to be augmented in value by the increased price, were disappointed—the speculators who, following the example of the South Australians, had purchased large estates in the hope of realising large profits, by laying out paper towns and villages, were either insolvent or encumbered with tracts of useless waste land, unsaleable and unprofitable—the small settlers were deeply discontented with the impediments thrown in the way of purchasing small farms in good agricultural districts—while the great pastoral proprietors, or squatters, who were many of them also landowners in the settled districts, were worried—(no other word will express the policy of Sir George Gipps)—by taxes, regulations, and restrictions imposed, repealed, and reimposed in a most arbitrary manner, with a view of compelling the purchase of their occupations at the ruinous price of £1 an acre.

Live stock became absolutely valueless; cattle were allowed to rove wild, unbranded on the hills; and sheep which had cost 30s. a piece were unsaleable at 1s. 6d., until it occurred to an ingenious gentleman to boil them down for tallow, by which the minimum price was raised to 3s. Land sales had ceased; the fund, which had previously imported labouring emigrants to take the place of convicts, was exhausted. The pastoral interest, whose fortunes had already been seriously injured by the depreciation of their stock, determined to resist the governor in his attempt to regulate their taxation, and to virtually confiscate their property on the fiat of himself and his irresponsible representatives, the Crown Commissioners.

In the same year Lord Stanley's despatch, accompanying the act of Parliament which gave legislative fixity to the land system, arrived in the colony, and damped the expectations of those who had hoped that the failure of the £1 an acre panacea for promoting concentration, regulating wages, and encouraging cultivation, would induce the home government to consult a little more the wishes and interests of actual colonists.

Under these circumstances, the first of six committees of the Legislative Council which have examined and reported on this question—viz., two committees in 1843, one in 1844, one in 1845, and two in 1847—was appointed, held its sittings, examined witnesses, and made its report.

The committee of 1843 on "the crown land sales" examined, amongst others, the surveyor-general, Sir Thomas Mitchell, one of the M'Arthurs, and several landed and pastoral proprietors. They reported that "the act of Parliament under their consideration cannot but be injurious in its operation—that it is calculated to prevent emigration (of small capitalists), to withdraw capital, and to prevent the permanent occupancy of the soil."

In the same year the select committee on immigration also reported by its chairman, Dr. Nicholson (since elected speaker of the Council, and knighted), "that the measure of her Majesty's government for raising the upset price of land from 5s. to 12s., and subsequently to 20s. an acre, had completely annihilated the land fund, which, in six years previous to the change, had produced one million sterling;" and they recommended, in a series of resolutions, one for "rescinding the present land regulations and effecting a return of the old system of sales ly auction, at an upset rate not exceeding 5s. an acre for pastoral land."

In 1844 a "select committee on grievances connected with land in the colony" examined twenty-six witnesses, and received answers to a printed circular of questions from one hundred and twenty-two justices of the peace. The attention of the committee was directed, among other subjects, to the minimum price of land, and to the attempts to harass the squatter, not being a purchaser of land, by rendering his tenure of crown lands as uncertain and onerous as possible.

All the witnesses who were asked the question (except Mr. Deas Thompson, the Colonial Secretary, who declined, on the ground of his official character, to give an answer), and all the replies to the circulars, except three, expressed decided opinions against the measure which raised the minimum price of crown land from 5s. to £1; all justly taking it for granted that at £1 an acre the purchase of pastoral lands was impossible, claimed fixity of tenure by lease, and right of pre-emption for the squatter. The latter was the grand point with the squatters; that gained, their interest in the land question, except in promoting sales to create an emigration fund, ceased.

The opinions of the three dissentients from the report of the committee exhibit very exactly the feelings of the small class, resident chiefly in Port Phillip and South Australia, who advocate the high price of land.

These three gentlemen are John Leslie Foster, of Leslie Park, Melbourne—Peter M'Arthur, of Arthurton, Melbourne—John Moore Airey, of Geelong.

Mr. Foster says, very candidly, "I look on the price of one pound as not too much for agricultural land, and as a prohibition on the purchase of mere pastoral land. Being both a landowner and a settler, I would in both characters regret to see any reduction in the price, as it would not only reduce the value of my (purchased) land, but, by rendering it easier for others to purchase my (rented) runs, would diminish the permanent interest I now hold in them." *

[* Mr. Foster has recently been appointed Colonial Secretary of Victoria.]

Mr. Moore thought "the country destined, from its physical character, to become an aristocratic one;" that "the class of emigrants really beneficial to the country, English country gentlemen with some property, but with large families and limited means, would not be deterred by £1 an acre; that a class of small but independent farmers will never be generally adapted to the country; that it will eventually fall into the hands of a landed aristocracy, who, possessing the frontages to water convenient to the residence of tenants, will possess capital sufficient to guard them against the vicissitudes of the seasons, as well as means to cultivate the interior to advantage."

Mr. Peter M'Arthur (no relation to "the M'Arthur," of Camden) "arrived in the colony in 1834, specially introduced to the favour and protection of the governor by the Secretary of State." He recommends that "the governor shall have the power to grant twelve thousand eight hundred acres to respectable parties of station and education, and capital, and of habits worthy of being imitated by the humbler class;" one thousand acres to be purchased at £1 an acre, payable by instalments in ten years; the remaining eleven thousand eight hundred to be held on a perpetual quit rent of £12 per annum.

These three gentlemen evidently considered that imperial and colonial interests were bound up in the encouragement of their class, in the protection of their interests, and the keeping down of aspiring yeomanry.

The report of the committee on crown land grievances was the foundation of a fierce agitation on the part of the pastoral interests for the suppression of the obnoxious regulations as to the pastoral occupations, and for fixity of tenure. In this agitation, which was also directed against the £1 acre minimum, the whole colony joined. Public meetings were held in every part of New South Wales; petitions and memorials addressed to the home government were signed, sent to England, and placed in the hands of political men of influence; and influential organs of the English press were enlisted in defence of the great pastoral interest.

In the same year the whole Council adopted resolutions condemning the high price of land in the terms suggested by the committee.

In 1845 a fourth select committee reported against the £1 an acre Act, supporting their opinions with a great body of facts and statistics, and concluded by observing, that "the practical evils resulting from the augmentation of the upset price of land had already been fully developed in the Report on Immigration and the Report on Waste Lands in 1843, and in the Land Grievance Report of 1844, and in the opinions of your honourable Council, distinctly pronounced on the same subject, in the resolutions of the whole Council of the 17th September, 1844."

To complete the history of the land question we will add, that in 1847, under the administration of Sir George Gipps's successor, a select committee on immigration, of which Mr. Cowper was chairman, reported "the disastrous results and impolicy of the high upset price;" and also that a select committee, presided over by Mr. Robert Lowe (now so well known in England), made an elaborate report against the high upset price of land, to which we shall have occasion to allude more minutely in describing the compromise effected between the government and the squatters under the government of Sir Charles Fitzroy.

But Governor Gipps stood firm; determined to make war on the squatters, determined to maintain the obnoxious £1 an acre, and to carry out the spirit of the act which imposed it, by throwing, as he was instructed, all possible obstacles in the way of men of small capital investing their savings in land; and he was supported by the British Colonial Office.

For while the governor was courageously attacking the most wealthy and powerful body in the colony, he took no pains to foster that class of yeomanry which were the object of Sir Richard Bourke's peculiar care. He divided the land into large lots; discouraged small holdings, whether of land or stock; and treated emigrants as merchandise or live stock consigned for the benefit of the purchasers of land.

It certainly was most unfortunate for the colony that the initiation of a representative government, the substitution of free emigrant for prisoner labour, and the attempt to establish local self-government, should have fallen under the direction of one who, with great talents, was obstinately determined not to learn anything from experience, and not to permit any measure of reform he did not originate. His want of pliability was strikingly displayed in the conduct of emigration.

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When grants of land ceased altogether, and were superseded by sales, the character of emigration to Australia, and even the motives which directed it, were materially changed. To Australia, previous to 1831, the same class of persons proceeded in small numbers, who by thousands have resorted, during the last ten years, to Canada, and, above all, to the western states of America families with capital varying from fifty to five hundred pounds, intent on living on land of their own.

The distance, and the then little known capabilities, of Australia, would, twenty years ago, have made it, under any circumstances, a difficult task to direct towards its shores a similar stream of colonists; but the new system of so raising the price and the quantity of land sold, so as to discourage the purchases of all but the wealthy, and of devoting the proceeds to the importation of able-bodied labourers for their use, altered the whole character of the free colonisation. The new system was not without merits as a temporary expedient for supplying, as rapidly as possible, the demand for shepherd servants, occasioned by the abolition of the assignment system, peopling the shores of the newly-settled districts in Port Phillip and South Australia. But as a permanent measure the moral and social defects were, and are, very serious.

By the emigration land fund system the parent state is relieved of a certain amount of (surplus?) labour without expense, and the colonies are supplied with the same, in proportion to the amount received for the purchase or rent of land. According to the principles of the system, those who are rich enough to purchase or rent land (the minimum of rent being 4,000 sheep) have a right to dictate what manner of labour shall be supplied for the money. The sort of labourers who suit the employers of labour are not often those who would contribute most to the intelligence and education of a colony. For a long series of years the Australian flockowners' beau-ideal of an emigrant was an able-bodied single man from an agricultural county humble, ignorant, and strong.

The South Australian commissioners exhibited one halfpennyworth of sense, amid gallons of nonsense and jobbery, by introducing the system of pairs of both sexes. This was the one good feature in their system.

The Australian squatters, and all persons more or less in communication with, and able to influence, the home government, like our own agricultural and the American manufacturing interest, held two very strong opinions—first, that their pursuit was the only calling of any consequence to the State; and, secondly, that it could not be protected too much. They always wanted labour, and it could not be too cheap.

We find them constantly desiring to bring down wages to a level which, if reached, would have very soon put a stop to all emigration, for it would have been lower than in England, and that was not worth crossing the sea to earn. We find them constantly desiring to dictate what class of labourers they would have, and that class specially in reference to sheep. We find them depreciating, not untruthfully perhaps, but untruly, the character of the Australian soil and of the Australian agricultural settlers. To them the Alpha and Omega of the Australian colonies—was breed sheep, to grow wool and tallow.

Even when claiming a return to a low price of land, many desired to keep up the size of lots, so as to exclude small farmers from freehold.

The result we now see. For fifteen years the agents of the colony and the emigration commissioners have been recruiting and sending out emigrant recruits. Their most successful operations have been conducted in times of distress in the home labour market. The fund in the early period of the system down to 1839, when all the colonists were madly engaged in nodding at the government continental land sales, was sufficient to pay the passages out of fifty thousand emigrants. For a time the market was apparently glutted, but the increase of stock, and the judicious measures introduced by Caroline Chisholm, soon absorbed them. Soon arose an increased demand for labour. The land fund was dried up; sales at £1 an acre were few and far between, except in the copper-mining colony of South Australia; but by degrees he rents from pastoral occupations of crown lands became so large that security was found for an emigration debt, to which was added, from time to time, the produce of town and suburban lots, and, as the population increased, occasionally of choice rural land. But it occurred more than once that when labour was needed in the colony there were no funds, and, when funds were forwarded to England, that the commissioners found a difficulty in collecting suitable emigrants.

Indeed, until the discovery of the gold-fields, very few, except the utterly destitute among the labouring classes, turned their attention to Australia.

Committees on emigration were appointed by the Legislative Council in 1839, when the bounty system was in operation, in 1842, in 1843, and in 1845; and in 1843 and 1844 committees on the "distressed labourers" of Sydney collected important evidence bearing on the same subject. It is worthy of remark that in these, as in committees appointed by the British Parliament, witnesses have seldom been called from among the respectable mechanics and labourers who are most interested in emigration, and best acquainted with the emigrating classes.

The committee of 1839 reported that emigrants were being introduced at the rate of 12,500 souls a year, at a cost of about £17 per adult, expressed a decided preference for bounty over government emigrants, and recommended a loan to be raised on the security of the land fund, and devoted to emigration a bounty at 19 a head for adults only, excluding children, and very humbly prayed that the crown would devote the land fund, which they calculated at not less than £150,000 a year, to emigration purposes. It is curious to remark that the committee object to the introduction of emigrants over forty years of age. The government emigration agent had invited emigrants of fifty years of age. The gold discoveries have recently enlightened the pastoral interests to the value of parents of even sixty years of age.

In 1842 the committee repeat their preference for the bounty system, announcing that in the preceding twelve months 23,000 emigrants had been introduced, and the cessation of emigration, in consequence of the falling off of the land fund, to an extent unexpected by the home government. They gently hint at the propriety of a reduction of the price of land to five shillings an acre. The tone of the document is that of a respectable nominee council.

The committee of 1843 represented the wealthy squatting class, and the majority took an entirely colonial and pastoral view of the labour question. They wanted shepherds as quickly and as cheaply as possible, and nothing else. No seven-shilling a week farmer—no cottage-destroying landlord—no unlimited-time-of-labour manufacturer—no woman-employing coal-worker, could have taken a narrower view of the question.

There is unfortunately in all of us a germ of selfishness which, when unchecked by public opinion or political opposition, is apt to grow into injustice and tyranny. In private life the squatters were excellent, generous, hospitable men; but one large proportion consisted of old colonists accustomed to convict servants, who cost nothing beyond their board and lodging, and another of young bachelors of capital, who arrived in the colony to make a fortune, intent on returning to the old country as soon as it was made. The one despised, and the other were indifferent to the opinions of the working classes. Both dreamed of naturalising in Australia the miserable wages of the southern counties of England and the Highland counties of Scotland.

To resist the aggressions of Sir George G-ipps on the pastoral interest the squatters had formed themselves into a protective association, and by an easy process the association, founded to resist unjust confiscation and taxation, branched off into a combination for permanently lowering the wages of the colony. At the head of this association was the late Mr. Benjamin Boyd. Mr. Boyd arrived with the express purpose of making investments at the time (1841) that the colony was in a general state of insolvency, or, as he expressed it, "in a jam." A yacht of the Royal Squadron, an apparently unlimited capital, an imposing personal appearance, fluent oratory, aristocratic connexions, and a fair share of commercial acuteness, acquired on the Stock Exchange, at once and deservedly placed him at the head of the squatocracy. His aim was the possession of a million sheep. He was the chief of the hundred thousand sheepmen, with whom he combined to obtain fixity of tenure for their sheep pastures, to put down small settlers, and to reduce wages.

At the period we are describing, from 1841 to 1844, the colonial labour market presented the most curious contradictions. The bounty agents were pouring in a crowd of most unsuitable persons, who, once landed, were soon left to shift for themselves. Among the merchants of the town of Sydney distress prevailed in consequence of the cessation of building and other works, the wages of mechanics were depressed to a rate before unknown, and newly-arrived immigrants were astonished at the low rate of pay for town labour, so different to the flaming representations of the crimps by whom they had been collected. But in the country districts, and especially in the bush, where sheep and cattle were breeding, while their proprietors were going through the insolvent process, wages were maintained; and the anomaly was presented of large bodies of men being employed at the expense of government, at high wages, at public works, on a sham labour test, while flocks were wanting shepherds in the interior. Several causes supported this anomaly: 1st, There was no government machinery for distributing newly-arrived emigrants; 2ndly, The preference of the squatters for single men left families on the hands of the government; 3rdly, The Squatters' Club were not sorry to see the government embarrassed by the presence of a large body of unemployed labourers in Sydney; 4thly, The dishonest conduct of certain masters in withholding or unfairly deducting wages promised had given the bush a bad name; 5thly, Many of the emigrants were of a class who, having left parish aid behind, liked to keep close to government rations and wages. All were engaged, as far as their short-sighted views would permit, in killing the golden goose of colonisation.

Mr. Boyd's evidence before the immigration committee of 1843 affords, when read with the notes we can supply, a fair specimen of the haughty, gentlemanly, selfish class he represented. He had then been eighteen months in the colony, and was employing two hundred shepherds and stockmen, besides artificers. He was building a town and port at Twofold Bay; had two steam-boats, and a schooner yacht, the Wanderer. He had devised a wild scheme of saving labour, by putting three thousand sheep, instead of eight hundred, under the charge of one shepherd, on horseback.

Mr. Boyd despaired of the prosperity of the colony "unless the wages of a shepherd could be brought to £10 a year, or about 3s. 10d. a week, with meat and flour, without tea and sugar." The two last had been previously universally allowed; but he expressed his intention of doing away with them, "being of very questionable utility and necessity, although such is the waste and extravagance here that 8 lbs of tea and 90 lbs. of sugar are consumed per head." He states, further, that he "had no difficulty in engaging shepherds at £10 with these rations, but much difficulty in getting men engaged at these low wages forwarded to stations, as they were generally picked up on the road." "Any money advanced towards travelling expenses was usually spent in public-houses;" and it is his decided opinion that "more than 10 a year only does harm to shepherds, by sending them to public-houses."

Mr. Boyd also mentioned how he had kindly given a free passage to Twofold Bay, distant 600 miles from Sydney, to one hundred labourers out of employ. He did not mention that, on their arriving there, those who refused to accept £10 wages were refused a passage back for less than £5; and that, while a few strong men walked back over the mountains, those who remained created such a feeling in the country that Mr. Boyd could not venture to visit his stations until the time of the year when the police magistrate, with a guard of policemen, took his annual round.

Fortunately all squatters were not like the Boyd clan, and the productiveness of the land defeated the combination. Had it been otherwise, a very few years would have produced a servile war of men against masters. From the Boyd clan proceeded stories founded on fact, and dressed to suit a purpose, about allotments of land sold for quarts of rum, champagne drunk in buckets by shearers and shepherds, who insisted on having pickles with their [measley?] pork.

Another order of men, chiefly permanent colonists, residing on their own property, were represented by Mr. Charles Campbell as employing from fifty to sixty shepherds and watchmen. "He had been obliged by the pressure of the times, to reduce his old servants to £18 for shepherds and £16 for watchmen, and had not found them so reluctant to accept the reduction as he expected. He would hardly like to see wages lower." He thought a great oversight had been committed by settlers in neglecting to form villages on their estates. He says, "Many of those who now complain of want of employment in Sidney might have been comfortably settled up the country in small villages, containing from ten to twelve men, heads of families, in various callings. In the present state of things we employ, at sheepshearing and reaping, men who wander through the country, from one place to another, in quest of occasional employment. Many of these are handy, clever fellows, but unmarried, and of irregular and dissolute habits. All these men earn is frequently spent in the first public-houses they come to after leaving the station where they have been employed. If, instead of employing men of this class, the flockmasters and landowners had invited married emigrants to settle in small villages, by allowing them land at a low rent, and not attempting to monopolise their labour, permitting them to choose their own employer in the neighbourhood, we should have our reaping, mowing, and shearing done at a cheaper rate; and the emigrants, by means of the money made during the busy season, added to their earnings, would maintain their families well, and their children, from not being scattered, might have opportunities of learning to read and write, and of receiving religious instruction. Many would in a few years become small farmers—first as tenants, then as landholders, and in either capacity would increase the demand for labour."

This was sound sense in Charles Campbell, as contrasted with the selfishness of Benjamin Boyd; but although Mr. Campbell's views were afterwards enforced and illustrated with a large collection of facts gathered by the one great colonial reformer produced by Australia, yet 1851 found the pastoral interests as ill provided with permanent labour as 1843. The selfish maxims of Mr. Boyd's Bent Street Club prevailed after the ruin and death of the founder. The successful efforts to retain good land as sheep walks only,—to encourage the growth of sheep and discourage the rearing of children, found Australia, when the golden revolution broke out, largely dependent on wandering shepherds, bound by no ties, either moral or local, social or domestic, to the district or the land of which they had no share. Even at this hour short-sighted successors to the Boyd policy are attempting to forge legal bonds to retain the unwilling services of cheap shepherds, hired in Europe—anything rather than give up a share in the land monopoly, although it is melting from their grasp.

But while the governor, backed by the Colonial Office, was deep in the contest which killed him and deceived thousands—while the bounty crimps were pouring in their miscellaneous collections to work or saunter, or, if women, walk the streets—while the squatters, losing sight of the just half of their claim, were factiously obstructing all government, and ready to ruin the bodies and souls of shepherds to save wool—an individual appeared, unencumbered with colonising theories, undebased by any mercenary objects, laborious in collecting facts, diffident in expressing new opinions, prepared to learn, willing to teach, and anxious to be useful to all conditions of men. This individual—Caroline Chisholm—the greatest, the only practical reformer and worker in colonisation of the age, who will be remembered and blessed by thousands following their flocks and cultivating their farms in Australia, when the names of the land-jobbers and charlatans of the "sufficient-price school," the "Protectionists of colonial capital," are forgotten.

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Mrs. Caroline Chisholm arrived in Sydney in 1839, with her children and husband, Captain Archibald Chisholm, of the Madras army, who had been making a tour of the Australian colonies during a limited sick leave. On returning to India he decided to leave his family in New South Wales.

Soon after their arrival, during the first crash of insolvency of 1839, some Highland emigrants, who spoke no English and had large families, found difficulty in obtaining employment. A little money lent them by Captain Chisholm to purchase tools, and a little useful advice, set them up as wood-cutters, and they prospered; while assisting his countrymen, having seen the neglected state of the bounty emigrants, he pointed them out to his wife as fit objects for her charitable zeal and energy. There is a wonderful freemasonry among the poor—by degrees Mrs. Chisholm's rooms were crowded by emigrants seeking advice. But it was the unprotected position of female and often friendless emigrants that awakened her warmest sympathies. She commenced her work, in the literal sense of the term, by at the same time gathering information and acquiring the confidence of the working classes.

Mrs. Chisholm found young women who had emigrated nominally under the care of friends, but really under that of strangers, at the instigation of the bounty agent, without home, some lodged in tents with companions of indifferent character, others wandering friendless through the streets of Sydney. Many of them having been collected in rural districts, knew more of cows and pigs than housework, and if engaged in town, soon lost their situations, and were superseded by more accomplished servants from ships which arrived daily. Some of these poor creatures slept in retired nooks out in the public gardens and in the rocks, rather than face the contamination of the streets. The total number of respectable females unemployed in Sydney at one time in 1840-1 amounted to six hundred.


There were other and more serious evils attendant on emigration, as then conducted, than the condition of the emigrants on landing. A considerable number of females of notoriously bad character were sent out in the bounty ships for whom bounty was never claimed. The Emigration Board sat in Sydney merely to apportion the bounty; the utmost punishment they could inflict was to stop the passage-money due to the agents. So long as the emigrants were delivered in good health, and within the standard, there was neither tribunal nor even organised opinion which could be brought to bear on any of the parties connected with the mercantile transaction. If duly invoiced, the bill for the live lumber was paid, while damaged goods were rejected. In some ships the emigrants were deprived of their fair share of provisions, insulted and assaulted by the crew, even by the officers, and otherwise abused. In others unrestrained intercourse took place between the officers, the crew, and the female passengers. In more than one instance the captain or surgeon selected pretty emigrants for companions during the voyage, and during their stay in Sydney.

On arrival in harbour, not only were single gentlemen allowed to choose housekeepers on board, but notorious brothel-keepers regularly visited the emigrant-ships. The captain and surgeon could not know them, and had no power to impede them if they did. There was no government officer on board to superintend the contracts or protect the emigrants; and thus, while women fell into the hands of seducers and harlots, there were a certain number of keen hands, with whom few in the colony would deal without a lawyer, who skimmed the cream of the labour from the ship on terms of very sharp practice. All these things oozed out in England among the emigrating classes, and made, and continued to make, long after they were to a great extent remedied, emigration very unpopular; but no one cared, or dared to take up the obnoxious and ungenteel position of the emigrants' friend in Sydney. The colonists had not then learned that the cheapest and most powerful mode of colonising is to make the working colonists content.

Mrs. Chisholm had courage and foresight. She began by appealing to the press and to private individuals on behalf of the poor destitute girl immigrants. At first she met with much discouragement, a few civil speeches—no assistance.

The most imperious section of the employer class saw no advantage from the protection of the employed. The officials foresaw more work, some supervision, and no increase of pay. The Roman Catholics, as soon as they found it was to be a universal, or, to use the Irish term, a "godless" scheme of practical philanthropy, and not sectarian and proselytising, opposed it vehemently. A dignitary of that church wrote a letter to a newspaper, in which he termed Mrs. Chisholm a lady labouring under amiable delusions. At the same time the Protestants raised the cry of "No Popery!"

But she pressed on her plan of a "Home," and when almost defeated was nerved to determination by the sight of a Highland beauty, "poor Flora"—whom she had last known a happy, hopeful girl—drunken, despairing, contemplating, and hastening to commit, suicide.

Mrs. Chisholm offered to devote her time gratuitously to a "Home of Protection," and to endeavour to procure situations for the emigrant girls, unengaged and out of place, in the country—an offer which was eventually accepted, after "she had given an undertaking not to put the government to any expense." On obtaining this concession she issued the following circular, which will give an example of that practical business talent to which she owes her success, not less than to her genuine philanthropy:—

"Jamieson-street, Sydney, October 21st, 1841.

"Sir,—I am endeavouring to establish a 'Home for Female Immigrants,' and have little doubt but funds will soon be raised to enable me to accomplish this; and, as my first object is to facilitate their obtaining employment in the country, I shall feel obliged if you will favour my intention (should you approve of the same) by giving me the information I require regarding your district; and any suggestion you may think useful will be considered a favour.

"1st. Whether girls who at home have merely been accustomed to milk cows, wash, and the common household work about a farm, would readily get places? at what wages? and how many do you think would in the course of the next two years be required?

"2nd. Good servants, such as housemaids and cooks, the rate of wages? and the probable number required for the same period?

"3rd. Married couples with small families, say two or three children, ditto.

"4th. Could employment and protection be found for boys and girls from seven to fourteen years of age?

"5th. Have you had opportunities of observing if the young women can save any part of their wages? for they are generally of opinion that nothing can be saved in the country, every article of wearing apparel being so much dearer than in town.

"6th. What would be the cheapest and best way of conveying the young women to your district?

"I have to observe that the servants will be classed according to their qualifications, and distributed fairly, so that those who are absent will have an equal chance of getting a good servant with those who are present. Subscribers of £1 will have servants selected and sent to them without any trouble; it will, however, be necessary that an order should be sent to cover the expense of their conveyance.

"I require by donations to raise what will furnish a house; and by subscriptions I expect to support the institution. I am of opinion that when families in the interior can get servants sent them, we shall not hear of young women suffering distress and losing character for want of a situation. I shall feel obliged if you will favour me with a reply by the 10th of November next.

"I have taken the liberty to annex a subscription list, and I shall feel obliged if you would leave it in the hands of some person to receive subscriptions, and acquaint me with the name, that it may appear in the papers."

It was in reply to one of these circulars that the Rev. Henry Styles, of Windsor, the chaplain to the Bishop of Australia, an honest opponent, wrote:—"I fully appreciate the zeal and charity in your endeavours to establish the 'Home for Female Emigrants.' My only reason for declining to co-operate in a design which at first sight appears so entirely laudable is, that it is natural to suppose that an institution established by a lady who is a devoted member of the Catholic Church, which renders allegiance to Rome, should prove rather an instrument for augmenting the numbers of that communion, than merely what its name imports—a home for all destitute female emigrants, without respect to their religious professions. The result would be, that the immigrants in your 'Home' would be advised, restrained, and protected by the clergy of the Church of Rome." After thus expressing himself, the reverend gentlemen replied minutely to every question in the circular.

Mrs. Chisholm's answer to this plain and proper letter produced a second letter from Mr. Styles, in which he said, "Your frank and straightforward avowal of the objects you aim at, and the means you will use for their attainment, disarm suspicion. The assurance in your note that you will not be led by the agents of any ecclesiastical party, but that you will pursue steadily the good of the whole of the emigrants who may come under your care, referring in matters of religion to their respective clergy and teachers, induces me to offer you very cordially whatever support I am able to afford. I beg to enclose £2 as a donation."

Eleven years have elapsed since this correspondence took place. Proselytism and propagandism are not to be done in a corner. For every day during that period Mrs. Chisholm has almost lived in public, yet no case of misuse of her influence has ever been brought against her.

The government building appropriated to the "Home" consisted of a low wooden barrack fourteen feet square. Mrs. Chisholm found it needful, for the protection of the characters of the girls, to sleep on the premises. A store-room seven feet square, without a fire-place, and infested with rats, was cleared out for her accommodation. There she dwelt, eating, drinking, and sleeping, dependent on the kindness of a prisoner employed in the adjoining government printing-office for a kettle of hot water for tea, her only luxury; and there she laid the foundation of a system to which thousands owe their happiness in this world and the world to come—saved from temptation to vice, and put on the road to industrious independence; a system which, if fairly carried out, would save and civilise a great empire from the pollution of nomadic money-earning and unsocial profusion—from the rule of a plutocracy and the horrors of a servile war.

Following the example of our greatest philosophers in every branch of science, Mrs. Chisholm was careful and eager to collect facts, but slow to publish grave conclusions. If she claimed publicity it was not to propound a complicated theory, but to attack some flagrant abuse.

The first party of girls collected within the "Home" amounted to ninety, whom Mrs. Chisholm protected from open insult, covert seduction, and the evil influence of black sheep, inevitably admitted at times, while seeking to obtain them employment. The difficulties were great, the annoyances most wearying. The girls were many of them ignorant and awkward, others too pretty, and others again too proud and idle to work; but Mrs. Chisholm never gave them up while there was hope and a good heart.

She says in her first pamphlet—"If I had entered the office expecting grateful thanks from all, I should have seen in a week my folly; but, having a very fair knowledge of human nature, I was aware that to be able to do a good I must be prepared to encounter certain disagreeables. I did not start expecting to please all, but intending to be just and fair towards all."

As for the mistresses, she told them in print—probably the first time so wholesome a truth had been so plainly stated—that "the assignment system of convict servants had spoiled them a little; it will take some time to teach them," she observes, "that they have lost a little power, or, in fact, that they must bear and forbear;" "an English servant would not like the ration and lock-up system, and would expect domestic comforts not common in Sydney;" "many of the mistresses are apt to take the law into their own hands."

These statements were unpleasant to make and unpopular; but they worked a cure, which if not effected would have damaged the character of the colony in the home country.

The general public, as distinguished from the official class, when they understood the nature of the plans Mrs. Chisholm was engaged upon, responded very liberally to her appeal for assistance. But before they gained confidence in her plans the "Home" became crowded with a number of girls more fit for rough country work than town service. There was no machinery extant for distributing them, so Mrs. Chisholm determined to avail herself of the information supplied in answers to her circulars, and to send them into the country. The first dray that came to the door was sent away empty: frightened with foolish 'board-ship stories of blacks and bushrangers, not one girl would go. A second attempt, the first failure having been kept a secret, was successful. Mrs. Chisholm, at her own risk and expense, took a party up the Hunter River district by steam-boat. The enterprise was considered so Quixotish by her friends that, as she sat on deck in the centre of her troop of girls, no one of her acquaintance dared to expose himself to the ridicule of owning acquaintance by offering any refreshment.

The plan succeeded; the girls were well placed in the families of often humble but always respectable married people, and competent committees were induced to undertake the charge of "Branch Homes" in the interior. The bush journeys were repeated with parties of young women, varing from sixteen to thirty, who were conveyed to Campbell Town, Maitland, Liverpool, Paramatta, Cross Roads, and Port Macquarie—Yass, Gundegai, Murrumbidgee, Goulburn, and Bathurst—where she went from farm to farm, scrutinising the characters of the residents before she trusted them with "her children."

The settlers came forward nobly, and supplied provisions, horses, and drays; the inns universally refused payment for Mrs. Chisholm's personal accommodation; and the coaches, a most costly conveyance in Australia, carried her sick women and children free. Mr. William Bradley, a gentleman born in the colony, a member of the Legislative Council, gave an unlimited credit to draw for anything for the use of the emigrants—of which she was not obliged to avail herself, so liberally did the colonists of the interior come forward.

Very soon the fathers, brothers, sons, and husbands claimed the same care, and asked to be permitted to form part of her parties. Her journeys became longer and her armies larger: 147 souls left Sydney, which increased on the road to 240, in one party, in drays and on foot, Mrs. Chisholm leading the way on horseback. She established a registry-office for servants, where names could be inscribed and agreements effected on fair terms gratuitously: she drew up and printed a fair agreement, of which the master took one, the servant one, and one was filed. The result of this registration was to extinguish litigation as far as regards servants engaged at the "Home." Out of many thousands only two were litigated. Yet in the course of her experience, before she stirred in the matter, and for want of agreements and speedy justice, fifty-one cases occurred up to 1843 of wages unjustly detained or taxed. For the first time the emigrant found a "friend."

The abuse of power by captains, and the immorality of the inferior sort of surgeons, at that time engaged in the Australian trade, were checked by a prosecution which she compelled the governor to institute against parties who had driven a girl mad by their violence.

When Sir George Gipps, hesitating, said, as officials will say, "A government prosecution is a very serious matter," she answered, "I am ready to prosecute: I have the necessary evidence; and if it be a risk whether I or these men shall go to prison, I am ready to stand the risk." That trial established a precedent and checked the abuse.

By the end of 1842 Mrs. Chisholm had succeeded in placing comfortably two thousand emigrants of both sexes, and then, when slowly recovering from the effects of a serious illness brought on by her exertions, she published the remarkable report to which we have before alluded.*

[* "Female Emigration considered in a Brief Account of the Sydney Emigrants' Home. By the Secretary. Sydney: James Tegg, 1842."]

It is a collection of notes and memoranda, interspersed with pithy remarks and pathetic and comic sketches from real life—a valuable contribution to the art of colonisation, and a literary curiosity. It was an outspoken book; it did not mince matters—as, for instance, in the following passage, which went far to kill the bounty system, and so, although people were shocked, the evil was abated:—"One girl, long known at Liverpool as the Countess, arrived per ship; the last time I saw her was on a Sunday; she had evidently started in the morning, with an intention to look interesting at either St. James's or St. Mary's, for her book was in her hand; but she had taken a glass by the way, and was so far aware of her state that she retired to the domain. I saw her fall twice. Now people express their astonishment 'that English girls are not sent out.' We will suppose that some Liverpool families are meditating this step, and, in their anxiety to obtain all information, they learn that the Countess is missing—has left for Australia (by a bounty ship). They condemn all for one they shrink with horror from sending their daughters where the Countess is received—they are strangers to all on board, therefore all suffer for one. I wish particularly to call attention to the injustice done to girls of good character by a case of association, and not a solitary one like the one I have stated. Again, in Sydney, the character of the Countess is known in less than two hours, arid the girls of good character in the same ship suffer."

In this "Countess" story was the germ of one great feature of Mrs. Chisholm's Family Colonisation Society—protection for single girls.

In the same effective manner the letter exposes all the tricks practised on the Bounty Board and on the government agents. The following illustrates a class still plentiful:—

"One girl, having health and strength, had refused five situations; at last I thought I had suited her. She was to live in a settler's family, and teach five children to read and write: she was not required to wash the children; but, as the good and thrifty woman kept no servants, she was to wash her own clothes (or pay for the same out of her wages), make her own bed, and clean her own room: the good woman also said, she would teach her anything she knew, but ask her to do nothing. I thought there could be no objection to this; but when I told her that once a week she must scour her own room (the best in the house)—when I said this she burst into a passionate flood of tears; the degradation was more than she could bear. I thought it then my duty to refuse her the benefit of the Home. In less than three months from this this victim of false pride was living with ———; anything rather than work. I have since regretted that I did not give her one more trial."

"The 'Do-nothings.' This name will surprise some and offend others, but in the end will do good; and I really do not know any one useful thing they can do. E——— was entered as a governess; I was glad of this, for I had then, as I have now, several applications for governesses, in the country: she was a pretty girl too; and I know when pretty girls have no money—no friends Sydney is a very bad place. There is nothing so unpleasant as to question a young lady as to her competency. She could teach music, French, drawing, &c. &c.; she was satisfied with the salary, and her testimonials were first-rate. 'You say you can teach music?' 'Yes ma'am.' 'You thoroughly understand it?' 'Most certainly.' 'One of your pupils is nine years of age; how long do you think it will take her to get through Cramer's Instruction Book?' A pause. 'Perhaps you have not seen it?' 'No, ma'am, but I was very quick myself—I have a good ear for music.' 'What book did you study from?' 'I learnt singing and music at the same time.' 'Tell me the name of the first piece you played? 'Cherry ripe.' 'The second?' 'Home sweet home.' 'The third?' 'We're a'noddin.' I said no more about music. I gave her a sum in addition; and she made sixteen pounds five, eighteen pounds four. Now this girl I afterwards ascertained, at home, had lived in a family as nursemaid, and washed the clothes of five children every week: but she was a pretty girl—something of a favourite at sea. The captain was very anxious about her; had taken her in his own boat, to the North-shore, to try and get her a good place; he devoted seven hours to this work of charity. Nor did his zeal rest here—the following day he took her to Paramatta; they returned to the ship, and this girl was kept four days in it, after the other girls left. When he called at my office he was astonished, horrified, that I knew the detail; said Sydney was a scandalising place; that his feelings were those of a father. However, I received the girl the same evening, and removed her the following day very far from his parental influence."

"But for another specimen; and really, out of fifty, I am at a loss how to select; but I will give ———. She was another of the would-be governesses; but her views were more humble—for the nursery. Now, she could neither read, write, nor spell, correctly. 'Can you wash your own clothes?' 'Never did such a thing in my life.' 'Can you make a dress?' 'No.' 'Cook?' 'No.' 'What can you do?' 'Why, ma'am, I could look after servants; I could direct them; I should make an excellent housekeeper.' 'You are certain?' 'Yes, or I would not say so.' 'Do you know the quantity of the different ingredients wanted for a beef-steak pie for that dish and a rice pudding for this?' 'Oh, no, ma'am, that's not what I mean; I'd see that the servants did it.' 'But there might be great waste, and you not know it; besides all, or nearly all, the servants sent to this colony require teaching.' Nothing but my faith in Providence that there must be a place for everybody enabled me to bear with this infliction; and yet, if I turned them out, I knew their fate. But it was trying to my patience every morning to be up and breakfasted, and in my office first. I never had but one in the Home of this class that fairly made her own bed; they would smooth them over and, night after night, get into them."

The following is in a more serious strain:—

"I may here remark, that in going my evening rounds in the rear of the establishment I never met with any impertinence. And after I had been three months or so in office, on going out, I saw a large party of men at the corner of the Domain-gate, evidently trying to conceal two girls: I knew one of them, the other was a stranger. 'Have you any relations in the colony?' 'No.' 'Then come with me.' She was a young girl, not more than fifteen; she refused, and went into the Domain. I sent the other into the Home, and followed her; in a few minutes she returned with me, and I found myself suddenly surrounded by men, I felt, I must acknowledge, in that lonely place, very uncomfortable, but my fears were groundless; they came to apologise, to express their regret at the great annoyance they had given me, and promised me never again to go near the place. 'We never knew you until to-night; we thought you were well paid for looking after the emigrant girls; but when we saw you follow the strip of a girl and we have been talking to this man, and he says you don't get a penny, and that all you do is for the girls' good, we do say, that that man is not a man who gives you trouble;—good night, ma'am.' I never saw but one of these men afterwards, and he came on a mission of mercy, to tell me of a girl that he thought would be advised, and kept from ruin; he was in terror lest he should be found out. 'I should be jeered at, past bearing; but somehow it lay on my mind—I ought to tell you.' This girl is now well married; and she may thank this poor man that she, under Providence, escaped the pit dug for her."

This strange little book concludes with the following recommendation:—

"I am now going to give advice, and am really at a loss how and where to begin. 'Tis a delicate—an ungracious task; this I know from experience. Perhaps the very thing I am going to advise, ——— has determined to do; and if this is the case, I dread the perverseness of human nature: for I have more than once heard a person say, 'Now I meant to do the very thing you tell me; but if I do it now it will look like taking your advice and to be advised by a lady! Pshaw! nonsense—the idea is ridiculous, and I won't do it.' Now an 'I won't' from a gentleman is just as troublesome a thing to manage as an 'I will' from a lady—how must I proceed? By the bye, I recollect having read that enlightened men of all ages have looked upon advisers as friends, and have said that 'shreds of knowledge may be picked up from ploughboys, and patches from old women are worth preserving:' this encourages me to begin; and as this is a very ceremonious colony, where a breach of etiquette would be a serious offence, I will commence with his excellency the governor I therefore, with every feeling of respect, beg to suggest to his excellency the governor, that he should promise protection and shelter to all female emigrants sent to this colony, until situations are provided for them. I also most earnestly entreat and implore that no more engagements may be allowed on board ship. As soon as an emigrant ship arrives, the board should assemble, and the emigrants be fairly drafted to the district Homes, giving a fair and proportionate share to Sydney. The gentleman whose duty it is to draft the emigrants according to orders received must have the confidence of the people; he must be a person of honourable integrity, and alike proof against a lady's entreaties and a gentleman's censure. Those emigrants that are intended for Port Macquarie, Moreton Bay, Maitland, Wollongong, Manning Elver, &c., should be received per steamers and small crafts from the ship. Those intended for Sydney, Liverpool, Campbell Town, Goulburn, Bathurst, &c., should be sent to the place intended for their reception, and I hope Grose's Farm will be appropriated for this purpose: this would be very convenient for drays. I also beg to curtail the privileges of the board: they must not be allowed to select servants for themselves or their friends, even though they chance to be members of the Bent-street club.* All who want servants must go to the Registry-office for them; let all have a fair chance: this appendage to the agent's office I hope your excellency will sanction. The district Homes cannot be kept open without one, and I do hope your excellency will give them all the aid in your power. Any government buildings that are unoccupied cannot be better employed; and I also hope you will lend tents freely. I think you must acknowledge that I have not asked for half what your excellency expected: my moderation will, I hope, induce you to grant all."

[* Mr. Benjamin Boyd's Club of Squatters—the aristocracy of wool.]

"I now beg to call the attention of the gentlemen of the interior to the necessity of establishing Homes. The expense of a Home in the country is very trifling: if there should be no government buildings available, a few tents, and a small cottage will suffice. Food is cheap and plentiful a sack of flour from one, a bag of potatoes from another, a basket of cabbages, and a few pumpkins, go a great way, and all would help the Home—a few sheep too, a welcome gift; and what gentleman is there that would not give one or two in the year? The amount of the ten days' rations you could fairly claim. Sending the emigrants up in large numbers would make conveyance cheap: you would establish such rules as met the wants of your district. A Home well looked after will be a saving to you of time, trouble, and expense. You become familiar with the people; you know their characters; you can influence them for their good. If a man forfeits his word, and flies from his agreement, his conduct is reported to the committee; his character is known in the district. I see no other plan by which you can get a fair supply of servants: if you go on in the old way, you must take what the people of Sydney refuse. Wealthy men can afford to spend their time in Sydney; and before you can hear, in the country, of a ship's arrival in Sydney, the single men, the shepherds you want, will be on their way to J. B.'s or members of council."

The appendix contains answers to a circular from ten magistrates and clergymen, stating that "not one of the girls sent through Mrs. Chisholm's name had lost character as regarded honesty and morality;" and a letter to the "Sydney Immigration Board," with hints not without value, even in 1853.

"The present mode of selecting emigrants must be faulty, as it allows so many bad bargains to creep in. I have heard that this evil is to be remedied by getting the parochial clergy of England to select emigrants for you. The idea amuses me, that you should suppose you can get people to do for you what you ought to do for yourselves." "There are poor rates in the mother country, and to suppose that the clergy and magistrates will send you their best, and keep their worst, is to give them credit for an extraordinary share of kindness." And again, after some comic pictures of pauper hard-bargains, who were "too sick to work, but not sick enough for the hospital," she says—referring to the fall in wages that took place between the time when the crimps published their glowing placards, and the arrival of the ship in the colony:—

"From the opening of the office I had the confidence of the emigrants.* In a short time they requested me to fix the wages they should accept. Disappointed, as many of them were, in their expectations, they never doubted my endeavours to serve them.

[* This is the secret of successful colonisation which none of our squatter and capitalist or church colonising societies have yet learned—S. S.]

"Feeling the responsibility and confidence, I exerted myself to obtain, as far as was possible, an accurate knowledge of what rate of wages the flockmasters could pay their shepherds.

"I first inquired of the wealthy men whose flocks cover the mountains, and whose cattle crowd the valleys. They agreed on £15 and £16 per annum as the most that could be paid. These gentlemen said they acted on principle, and did not care for the money.

"I then inquired of those respectable, but less wealthy settlers who have one sheep and one cattle station, and live retired at a convenient distance from both. They thought from £18 to £20 a year; the latter doubtful. I went lastly to the third class, who, having two stations, instead of employing servants only, live always at one or the other farm their own farms, in fact. These could afford to pay £20—never wanted, or wished, to see wages less.

"There is nothing, perhaps, that injures a colony more than giving the working population a bad character. Respectable people of capital get alarmed: yet many charges have been brought against servants which I consider unjust."

This plain speaking and unusual style of colonial publication—hard truths without acidity—did its work. A considerable reform was introduced. Government protection was granted to friendless young women; an agent appointed to superintend and witness the agreements with men on board ship; and the colonial press, when furnished with the materials, did good service to emigration reform. The whole cost to government of the guarding and distribution of the emigrants was little more than 100. The other expenses were borne by Mrs. Chisholm and the friends whom her honest, clear-sighted policy had made among persons of all politics and various religious views.

In 1843, before a committee of the Legislative Council, which was appointed to consider the condition of the "distressed labourers," and especially of three hundred parties with large families whom, in the depressed condition of the colony, the settlers could not afford to engage, Mrs. Chisholm took another step forward. She proposed, and entered into, the details of a plan which, at a very trifling expense, would have placed these three hundred families in a self-supporting position on land, instead of continuing to receive 3s. a day for nominal labour on government works.

Sir George Gipps's instructions precluded him from granting or leasing of crown land for this valuable, or any other purpose, except feeding sheep. As he expressed it, "he was sent out to carry out the Wakefield system," and could turn neither to the right nor to the left, Nevertheless, on private property, on clearing leases, Mrs. Chisholm succeeded in placing some families of mechanics.

In the course of her examination it appears that the government had then expended £2,500 in casual relief. For £1,000 she considered the whole distress could be extinguished, and the people not only removed, but placed where they could do some good for themselves. "The distress will increase unless proper measures are taken, but if they are promptly taken it will not be very serious." There are several "trades mentioned in the list that are not required; for instance, I have only had two applications for shoemakers; for tailors four. The number stated to be unemployed is forty-seven. About twenty months ago forty tailors came to me out of employ. The flockmasters refused to take them as shepherds. With a great deal of trouble I scattered them through different parts of the country as domestic servants, and in other capacities; and it is remarkable that nearly all thus scattered have been able to find work at their own trade. With respect to tradesmen and labourers with large families, there is no way in which they could provide for their families so well as on a piece of land.

"My first arrangement would be to select from fifty families one who was a good judge of land, and one of the women, as women would require to know what kind of a place they were going to, whether the children would be comfortable, &c. I should also require two or three good bush hands [prisoners] from Hyde Park Barracks. With these, as soon as arrived on land, I would set to work to clear half an acre, in order that the people might see what could be done in a given time. There must be some tents provided until more substantial buildings could be erected. One allotment must be set apart as a family allotment, to be first cleared and cultivated, to supply food for the whole community. Then the land must be divided and apportioned to the different families. A schoolmaster will go with the party, to have land rent free. The parents of the children have agreed to pay for the education of their children, the terms settled by me. One day's labour per quarter for each child, and for the whole family 1 cwt. of potatoes and one bushel of wheat.

"I have worked this plan on a small scale for the last three years, where there has been a large family. The eldest girl has, in some instances, gone to service, and given up a portion of her earnings to support them. Upwards of one hundred small settlers have thus received assistance from their relatives. Many have half or a third share in a dray.

"I should advise limiting these people to twenty acres, with a lease of not less than ten or fifteen years. On a less term the tenant works for the proprietor. . . . The plan is before you to accept or reject. All I ask is that, if you approve it, you will let me work it out my own way. Appoint the government emigration agent treasurer, and two gentlemen to examine and control the expenditure. You will bear in mind, in forming an opinion of my statements, that mine is not a plan of to-day. The working it out will be attended with much trouble and responsibility to me; at the same time I am certain the people will work with me. The distress will be removed, and those persons who are now suffering in Sydney will, if my plan is carried out, within three years, become the employers of labour."

At this last sentence one of the committee allowed his fears of the bugaboo ever present to the imagination of the Australian capitalist—to escape him, a terror carefully nourished by the Colonial Office, and guarded against with endless folds of red tape of the true Wakefield hue. He exclaimed, "I am afraid we should find that these people, becoming employers of labour, would do us mischief!"

Not a word, not a thought of the benefit conferred upon three hundred destitute families, converted from costly paupers to independent peasant proprietors, but only terror lest they should become so well off as to give wages at £20 a year instead of £16.

Mrs. Chisholm answered, "I do not think so, but rather that you would be able to obtain in the children of these people brought up in sober, industrious, and frugal habits, a most valuable description of labourers; this class of persons prefer sending their children at a certain age (and for a limited period) into service with respectable families."

Mrs. Chisholm's plan was rejected, and she was left to work it out as well as she could with private assistance on the land of a speculator; and to go on laboriously registering agreements and distributing emigrants from farm to farm, as we shall presently describe.

The committee in their report recorded "their grateful sense of the valuable services of a lady to whose benevolent exertions on behalf of the unemployed, as well as of free emigrants of the humbler classes generally, this colony is under the highest obligations,—Mrs. Chisholm, whose name is so well known for her disinterested and untiring exertions."

The chairman of the committee was Dr. Lang.

In August, 1844, the distress amongst the labourers and mechanics of Sydney had not ceased. A committee was reappointed to consider it. There was a great clamour in favour of undertaking bridges, roads, and other public works, with public money. The mob and officials were favourable to the scheme. The government emigration agent was examined before this committee. "His knowledge," he states, "of the emigrants who arrived in past years was merely general, of the present year tolerably accurate;" "had no knowledge of the number of destitute families then in Sydney;" had no detailed information, but thought a certain detailed statement delivered in by a former witness exaggerated. This was a gentleman paid for his services, who, according to colonial custom, considered it his duty to perform his strictly office duties, and think and know no more,—a very natural view, considering the ill reward that any zeal obtains, except zeal for the views of the Colonial Secretary of State.

Mrs. Chisholm, being called before this committee, produced a complete statistical statement, exhibiting the numbers, ages, sexes, characters, and trades of the unemployed (in all 2,034 souls), the number of weeks and average number per man they had been unemployed. These tables show some curious particulars: 59 carpenters and 25 joiners, 10 butlers and 10 coachmen and grooms, 15 cabinet-makers, 26 brickmakers, 10 quarrymen and 19 bricklayers, 2 surgeons, 2 hairdressers, and 1 tailor; 244 farm labourers—in all 572. "The large number of children made it difficult to provide for many of these families." *    * "The system of relieving distress has now been in operation for a year; we have been consuming capital, we can only remove distress by producing it." "Last year I settled some families on land, and, considering the many difficulties thrown in my way, they have succeeded remarkably well on private land. I wished to try the system of leasing, in order to see whether the people were industrious, and could subsist on land; and I have satisfied myself that, although any gentleman would lose a large fortune if he were to commence as a farmer, where the family are all workers an industrious man cannot do better than get on land. The great difficulty with me has been that I have never had an opportunity of putting a sufficient number of people together; and where they are only a few they have no team, no set of tools, and there is a constant struggle; yet they do succeed."

Now, this in a few words is the true art of colonisation. Locate poor men on waste land in England or Ireland and they sink under the multiplicity of money payments or debts, having to compete with a fund of cheap labour, and inferior land against superior land and skilled cultivation. Locate the same men in a colony, and they rise buoyed up by a surrounding dear labour market, which enables them to barter their chief possession, labour, for seeds, tools, stock, or whatever they may need; a virgin soil, and the absence of money payments for rent or taxes, and of competition of agricultural skill, compensating for the want of capital and rural experience. Thus, a day's labour from time to time with a neighbouring farmer will buy a yoke of bullocks, a dray, a quarter of wheat or maize, and assist both. In England and Ireland a poor man clings to land in hopes of making more than bare wages by extra toil; in a colony a man desires land to keep his family together, even at some sacrifice of money wages. In old countries the little freehold must be divided with sons and sons-in-law; in a colony the full-fledged brood can always, if idle "protective" laws do not impede, go further afield, and find a new site for a nest. So argued in other words Mrs. Chisholm; and many a flockowner, now contemplating his flocks spreading wildly unshepherded over his run, and the deserted huts of his single men shepherds on their way to the diggings, wishes he had followed Mrs. Chisholm's advice, and encouraged children as well as sheep.

Not being able to induce the governor and the influential colonists to go heartily into her land-colonising plans, Mrs. Chisholm continued to employ herself in dispersing the people through the interior, and in teaching the government and the colonists, by example, how the colonial part of colonisation should be conducted. She worked hard for six years, warmly supported by some of the first among the colonists, the Wentworths, M'Arthurs, Bradleys, Fitzgeralds, Suttors, and Dr. Nicholson, the present speaker of the Legislative Council, and by the unanimous confidence of the working classes, but subject to much obstruction and annoyance in official quarters.

Sir George Gipps, who was capable of noble sentiments when his evil temper or home instructions did not override them, took a public opportunity of expressing his sense of the merit and utility of her plans—saying, "I think it right to make this public acknowledgment, having formerly thrown cold water upon them."

A characteristic anecdote is circulated in the colony in reference to the privilege of franking letters, which Sir George had given to Mrs. Chisholm. A few days after the permission had been granted, the governor sent for her in a great hurry. She found him much excited, and the table covered with her own letters. "Mrs. Chisholm," he exclaimed, "when I gave you the privilege of franking, I presumed you would address yourself to the magistrates, the clergy, and the principal settlers; but who, pray, are these John Varleys and Dick Hogans, and other people, of whom I have never heard since I have been in the colony?"

"If," replied Mrs. Chisholm, "I had required to know the opinions of those respectable gentlemen on the subject of the demand for labour, and the rate of wages they could afford, I need not have written; I can turn to half a dozen blue books and find there 'shepherds always wanting, and wages always too high;' besides, to have answered me they must have gone to their overseers, and then answered me vaguely. I want to know, as nearly as possible, what number of labourers each district can absorb, and of what class and what wages. If your excellency will wait until I get my answers, you will admit that I have applied to men humble but intelligent, and able to afford exactly the information I require."

Sir George Gipps was satisfied with the explanation, and still more with the replies of the bush settlers; so the sub-officials were on this occasion discomfited.

By Mrs. Chisholm's exertions, applied to the elastic resources of Australia, before 1845 the distress of 2,000 souls was so far removed that some parties were ready in a few years to assert, forgetting that a detailed list was on record, that it had never existed; and in 1845, as Mrs. Chisholm, in her evidence before the committee of 1844, prophesied, the demand for labour was more vigorous than ever, and has never since been checked, even for a moment; on the contrary, the supply has always been under the demand, both in quantity and quality.


It was while making forced marches at the head of armies of emigrants, as far as 300 miles into the far interior, sometimes sleeping at the stations of wealthy settlers, sometimes in the huts of poor emigrants or prisoners; sometimes camping out in the bush, teaching the timid, awkward peasantry of England, Scotland, and Ireland, Protestants and Roman Catholics, Orangemen and Repealers, how to "bush it;" comforting the women, nursing the children, putting down any discontented or forward spirits among the men; now taking a few weary children into her covered tandem-cart; now mounting on horseback and galloping over a short cut through the hills to meet her weary caravan, with supper foraged from the hospitable settlers;—it was in the midst of marshes in which she managed the discipline, the route, the commissariat, the hospital, and the billetting, all herself, with such aides-de-camp as each army happened to furnish, that she commenced another great work subsidiary to colonisation, the "Voluntary Statements of the People of New South Wales," for the use of the home country. These were statements in answer to the series of printed questions, taken down in the words of the informant, of which we shall give some examples at the end of this chapter.

They were written down in all manner of dwellings, but chiefly among the humbler; in cottages and bark huts; on the roadside; on the top of a hat; in the field, on a plough; in the forest, on the first log of a frugal bush servant's first freehold.

There were nearly eight hundred of these statements from natives of almost every county of the United Kingdom, from emigrants, from "old hands," and from ticket-of-leave men.

These records proved incontestably that Australia was a country in which any industrious man could thrive; that there was ample verge and room enough for millions; that land which squatters then and now assert to be only fit for sheep pasture would support yeomanry in comfort and independence. They laid bare much injustice, exhibited in a striking manner the demand and necessity for an increased female population, and presented a more perfect, truthful, and valuable picture of bush life, painted by servants and settlers, than had ever been drawn in travellers' tales or parliamentary blue books.

It was in consequence of the habit of collecting these statements that Mrs. Chisholm was able to tell the committee of the House of Lords in 1847:—"I never returned from a journey to the interior without gaining information which would enable me to provide for a second number; and it was frequently unnecessary to go into a district more than once; then I knew the character of the people and the sort of servants that would suit them, and it enabled me to advise people when they called at my residence to say, 'You go to such a place and I can guarantee you employment.' My first object was always to get one female emigrant placed: having succeeded in getting one female servant in a neighbourhood, I would leave the feeling to spread among this class. These girls eventually married best, for the parents were thankful if their son married her.

"One of the most serious impediments to transacting business of hiring servants in the country were the applications for wives. Shepherds left their sheep and would come for miles for this purpose, with their certificates of good character, and of money deposited in the savings banks, and list of their stock, and even bank notes. I had more than forty applications of this kind in two years. One man, according to a note in my register-book, who came down to Sydney for a wife, was very anxious to know 'when we should have a new governor who would attend to matters of consequence like that."

The governor took a different view of the subject, for when, in the early days of the "Home Protection," it was suggested to him that many of the forlorn girls if sent into the interior would marry well, "His excellency drew himself up to his full height, and exclaimed indignantly, 'What, Mrs. Chisholm! is it my business to find wives for bush servants?'" He might have done worse.

In 1845 Mrs. Chisholm was examined before a committee of the Legislative Council, on the best means of promoting emigration, the whole distress having been absorbed, and the demand for labour being urgent. She then produced a few of the "Voluntary Statements."

In the same year she published a "Prospectus of a Work to be entitled 'Voluntary Information from the People of New South Wales, respecting the Social Condition of the Middle and Working Classes in the Colony,' with the view of furnishing the labourer, the mechanic, and the capitalist with trustworthy information, and pointing out obstructions to immigration that ought to be eradicated." She writes:—

"Few persons, if any, are more intimately acquainted with the actual condition of the working classes than I am. Silence, therefore, would be culpable. The servant in Sydney, the shepherd, and the small settler in the bush are known to me; I have visited their homes and witnessed their trials and deprivations; I have the satisfaction of laying before the public proofs of their importance as a body and their merits as individuals: their virtues far exceed their failings—their language may be rude, but their hearts are kind and true. To improve the condition of these people is my object; to break up the bachelor stations my design; happy homes my reward. To supply flockmasters with shepherds is a good work: to supply those shepherds with wives a better. To give the shepherd a good wife is to make a gloomy, miserable hut a cheerful, contended home; to introduce married families into the interior is to make squatters' stations fit abodes for Christian men.

"If I meet with the co-operation I expect, it is my intention to submit to her Majesty's commissioners of emigration a plan for female emigration, which will secure the young women the protection which they so essentially require on the passage and on their arrival. If protection is extended to the helpless—if Britain's moral banner is to be unfurled in the far interior civilisation and religion will advance until the spires of the churches guide the traveller from hamlet to hamlet, and shepherds' huts become the homes of happy, virtuous men and women, *    *    *    *    *    *    *

"I feel that a judicious circulation of these statements will promote the best interests in the colony. Personal interest in the labour market I have none. I hope to enjoy the proud satisfaction of laying before the British public several thousand proofs of the good character and persevering energy of her Majesty's subjects in New South Wales."

In the following year, 1846, Mrs. Chisholm left the colony with her family for England, charged with the following missions from the humbler classes:—

Firstly, From a number of freed prisoners, who had been promised by the government that if well conducted their wives and children should be sent to join them. This promise had been forgotten. A return made to the Legislative Council showed that these claimants numbered several hundreds.

Secondly, From successful emigrants, who desired to pay the passages of their wives, parents, and other near relatives.

Thirdly, From parents who, to comply with the regulations of the emigration commissioners, had left young children beyond the standard number to the care of poor relatives or the parish.

In the first and last cases, armed with the facts and proofs necessary, without which she never makes a claim, Mrs. Chisholm succeeded. The other formed the foundation of the Family Colonisation Loan Society.

Before Mrs. Chisholm sailed for England a committee, which included eight members of the Legislative Council, magistrates, landholders, and others of all shades of opinion, raised a subscription for a testimonial to that lady, and presented an address, in which they said:—

"We beg to offer you, on the occasion of your departure from this colony, the expression of our thanks for your active and zealous exertions on behalf of the emigrant population during the last seven years. In establishing emigrants' homes, in establishing great numbers of the emigrant population in the interior as servants and occupiers of small farms, your exertions have proved of signal advantage to the community. In the large collection of 'statistical facts' and 'voluntary information,' derived from the labouring classes, you have accumulated materials for establishing the great advantages which New South Wales possesses as a favourable field for the emigration of British settlers."

In the course of her reply, Mrs. Chisholm said:—"It is my intention, if supported by your co-operation, to attempt more than I have hitherto performed."

During-the six years and eight months which she spent in Australia, Mrs. Chisholm, without wealth or rank, or any support except what her earnest philanthropy gradually acquired, provided for eleven thousand souls.

Yet since her sojourn in England she has redeemed her pledge, and done much more. With less than two thousand pounds, between 1850 and 1852, she personally sent out more than one thousand emigrants of the best class, and has advised, corresponded with, or otherwise assisted tens of thousands.

We have devoted thus much space to the colonising career of Mrs. Chisholm, because with her exertions the colonisation of the interior commenced. Before her time, emigrants were merely tumbled out on the shores, like so much live stock, to find their own way to market—to service, marriage, sin, or death.

Mrs. Chisholm first taught the Australian squatters that property had its duties as well as its rights. She tapped the springs of spontaneous self-supporting emigration, and showed how closely the extension of national power was connected with the social and domestic virtues inseparable from family colonisation.



The guardian angel of her helpless sex,
Whom no fatigue could daunt, no crosses vex;
With manly reason and with spirit pure,
Crown'd with the blessings of the grateful poor,
For them with unrepining love she bore
The boarded cottage and the earthen floor,
The sultry day in tedious labour spent,
The endless tale of whining discontent:
Bore noonday's burning sun and midnight's chill.
The scanty meal, the journey lengthening still;
Lavished her scanty store on their distress,
And sought no other guerdon than success.
Say ye who hold the balance and the sword,
Into your lap the wealth of nations poured,
155 What have ye done with all your hireling brood,
Compared with her the generous and the good?
Much ye receive and little ye dispense,
Your alms are paltry, and your debts immense.
Your toil's reluctant—freely hers is given;
You toil for earth, she labours still for Heaven.

{Page 155}



Beside the questions involved in the price of land, the tenure and tax on pastures, the abolition of assignment of prisoners, and cessation of transportation—on all of which the governor and his chiefs were at issue with the colonists, from the day of the opening of the Legislative Council, when the word "humble" was struck out of the motion for an address in answer to the governor's speech—certain constitutional questions of great importance were at issue between Sir George Gipps and the Legislative Council.

The Colonial Parliament was justly incensed at finding that the new constitution gave them nothing more than the liberty of talking and taxing themselves. Three schedules appropriated upwards of 80,000 to the payment of officials, over whose appointment, from the colonial secretary down to the prothonotary, they had no sort of control. The council attempted to regulate the distribution of the funds secured by the schedules, by taking from those who did nothing to give to those who worked hard. The governor successfully resisted the attempt, and in other words told them, as Lord Ellenborough told Hone, "to protest and go about their business." Whereupon the Colonial Parliament being unable to cut down the sinecure salaries included in the schedules, retaliated by refusing to vote the estimates for the sums required over and above the estimates. The governor responded by cutting down that part of the public service which was most needed by the colonists. For instance, he retained the Prothonotary and Master in Equity, and closed the office of Registrar of Deeds, who regulated all the titles and mortgages in the colony. From that time forward the struggle between the governor and that part of the council which was not official, became relentless. Evil breeds evil—so in proportion as Sir George Gipps was despotic and insolent, the opposition became virulent and factious. Between both it was war to the knife.

A great battle was fought upon the "District Councils." The idea of district councils made Sir George Gipps Governor of New South Wales. He had had influence enough to have the scheme embodied in the Act of Parliament (5 and 6 Vict. cap. 79, sect. 47), which gave the colony representative institutions. The theory was plausible: it might have suited Canada, it may suit England. It met the high approval of Lords Stanley and John Russell. To this day Earl Grey believes it failed through the spiteful obstinacy of the colonists. Sir George Gipps, during the few years of his administration, postponed measures for establishing schools, for repairing and constructing roads, and other practical works of the utmost importance to the colony, at first in order that "his district councils" might reap a harvest of glory, and afterwards to spite the scoundrels for rejecting so admirable an institution. And so it was admirable on paper, but perfectly impracticable in a pastoral colony. Had any other than himself originated it, the governor would have seen its fallacy in a month, and dissected it in a masterly despatch.

According to Sir George's plan the inhabitants of each district were empowered to elect, and if they neglected to elect, the governor had power to appoint a council, which should decide on the sum required for a year for the district. Half such sum was to be contributed from the colonial treasury, and the other half to be levied on the property in the district. If no local treasurer was elected, the colonial treasurer could issue his warrant, and sell up as much of the property of the district as would raise the requisite sum. But the scheme would not work.

In the first place, there was no population sufficiently dense to work such a system, there were very few electors, and no councillors; in the second place, there was no ready money to pay the taxes.

In a pastoral colony like Australia wages are high, consumption is large, and by taxes on consumption, levied at the ports, a considerable revenue may be raised, but by direct taxation very little. The colonists have, or rather had—for it is impossible to say what changes a gold currency may effect—sheep and cattle, which they exchanged, in meat, wool, and tallow, for what they needed in tea, sugar, tobacco, and clothing, but very little money.

When Sir George Gipps attempted to introduce his district councils he found the colonists unprepared to travel for miles to elect a councillor, or pay five or ten pounds per annum for roads over which they never travelled, and bridges a hundred miles from their farms, and indignant at suddenly finding their property at the mercy of the colonial treasurer, the irresponsible officer of the governor. The colonists determined to resist the district council scheme. The governor was determined to enforce it. It was his darling child; he had conceived it while looking out from his study on the dense population of a different state of society, and he was not the man to be beaten by circumstances. Like the Abbé Sièyes, and other celebrated manufacturers of constitutions and governing machines, he was blind and deaf to all facts which militated against his theories,—prepared that everybody should suffer so long as he maintained his character as a legislator. Thus he answered a deputation of the Legislative Council, and other influential colonists, who waited on him to point out the practical difficulties in the way of executing his district council scheme: "Whether it ruins the colony or not, an Act of Parliament must and shall be carried out."

On this question the battle began. The inhabitants, except in one district, neglected to elect committees. The governor appointed them. Then came the question of levying, after assessing, a rate. A flaw was discovered in the Act of Parliament. It was decided that the word "levy" did not empower the council to distrain. The governor applied to the Legislative Council for an Act to amend the flaw. The Legislative Council refused to help him. He was thrown back on the powers vested in the colonial treasurer; the "Algerine clause," as it was called in the colony, he threatened, but he dared not put in force. The struggle was carried on for years. The governor was supported by the approval of the home authorities; but the passive resistance of the colonists was too much for him. At length, in 1846, Earl Grey called for a report from the principal officials, including Mr. Deas Thomson, the colonial secretary for New South Wales, and Mr. Latrobe, the lieutenant-governor of Port Phillip, and they reported in a manner which effectually, and for ever, shelved Sir George Gipps' district councils.

In 1844, before the district councils had been shelved, a select committee of the Legislative Council investigated "grievances unconnected with land," and drew up a report, which was a kind of Australian declaration of rights.

These grievances, of which the following is a summary, remained unredressed until the advent of Sir John Pakington and the Duke of Newcastle to the Colonial Office opened up "unrestricted competition" in colonial concessions.

The colonists' committee complained of "being saddled with taxation for a civil list which they were not empowered to discuss, to the extent of £81,000." By the Act of 1850 this civil list was increased.

Of the total failure of the "District Councils, which created municipalities where the sparse population render popular election and local taxation impossible, and which placed in the hands of the governors the nomination of an officer with powers of taxation."

Of the want of a "responsible government," the governor being, in fact, merely a subordinate officer of the Colonial Secretary of State for the time being; and the governor's official advisers in a position which made them practically as independent of the Legislative Council as if they had been merely his private friends. Thus, so long as the governor and his official advisers satisfied the home authorities, the colonists were without remedy for any illegality committed by the colonial government, however flagrant. As an instance of the working of the system, the report cites £127,000 applied to various illegal (not fraudulent) purposes by the governor in the course of seven years; "and a sum of £30,743 15s., which was not only expended by his excellency without any authority of the Legislative Council, but applied, by the governor's mere fiat, to the payment of debentures and other purposes to which the ordinary revenue was not applicable by law."

They further protested against the expense in police, gaols, and judicial expenditure inflicted upon the colonists in consequence of New South Wales being made a receptacle for the felons of England, after it had ceased to derive the profits of their labour on the assignment system; and of the violation of the [alleged] compact by which the surplus land revenues and other casual revenues of the crown had been ceded to the colonial treasuries. Under this head the committee claimed a large sum—£831,742 3s. 7d., and for the future an annual payment towards police, gaols, and courts of assize of £74,195 6s. 8d.

And finally, they requested that persons having claims of any description against the local government should, by special Act of Parliament, be enabled to sue a public officer as nominal defendant, and that the judges of the Supreme Court should be placed in the same position as to tenure of office and security of salary as the judges of the mother country, and no longer be liable to be suspended by the fiat and removed by the report of the governor.

But it would be impossible within any reasonable space to detail the series of overt acts which characterised the sedition-breeding policy of Sir George Gipps.

Nominally, a portion of the land revenue was set apart for the benefit of the aborigines; but when application was made for curing a native of a dangerous infectious skin disease, the governor "had no funds for such a purpose," and poor Jemmy Nyrang was pushed out of the government hospital.

Session after session it was a game at cross purposes and crooked answers between the representatives of the colonists, the governor, and his patrons in Downing-street.

For instance, the colonists proposed to reduce the salaries of certain colonial custom-house officers; in the next session of the British Parliament, it is presumed at the instigation of Governor Gipps, the British Colonial Secretary passed a special Act, taking that department from the control of the newly-created colonial Parliament. The colonists proposed to spend £9,000 of their own money in building a lighthouse in Bass's Straits; they were informed that they must first consult the home government on its situation—a matter of two years' delay. The colonists passed an Act, establishing mortgage and register for mortgages on wool; the Colonial Secretary of State, without consulting the colonists, disallowed the Act, as "repugnant to the laws of England." See p. 164. But after long delay and great loss of property, the home government was obliged to yield and sanction a measure indispensable in a pastoral country. The colonists examined and unanimously protested against the land system established by the Imperial Parliament, arid still more unanimously against the ordinances affecting pastoral occupation. Lord Stanley, without regarding petitions which, as Sir George Gipps admitted, expressed the almost unanimous opinions of the colonists, hastened to pen in a despatch "his determination to uphold the land system, and his perfect approval of the arbitrary powers exercised by the governor against the squatting interest." A bill was introduced into the British Parliament for establishing the new system of pastoral occupation—the ex-governor was consulted—the Legislative Council were left in ignorance of the provisions of the bill.

In fact, the records of the Legislative Council are largely occupied with discussions between the governor and the elected members on every possible subject, the governor constantly adopting a line of defiance, always treating the opposition as if it were rebellion. On the one side were the colonists, on the other the governor, backed by the home government, concentrating in his own person all power and patronage, supported by the official members, and the nominees, who were plainly instructed that, unless prepared to support the governor, "right or wrong" (if a governor could be wrong), they must resign.

The ability and integrity of the colonial secretaries of state during the administration of Sir George Gipps, and of Sir George himself, are indisputable; but they obstinately insisted on knowing whether shoes fitted or not better than the people who wore them, and insisted too, that they should wear them, whether they pinched or not. Fortunately the prosperity of the colony did not entirely depend on the crotchets of a colonial minister, or of a governor, although both could, and did, seriously retard its progress.

But while the Legislative Council were contesting, inch by inch, the "elementary rights of Englishmen," the grass was growing, the sheep were breeding, the stockmen were exploring new pastures, and the frugal industry of settlers was replacing and increasing the capital lost by wild speculations. And in 1845-6, Sir George Gipps was able to announce that the revenue exceeded the expenditure, and the exports the imports, while the glut of labour which followed his arrival had been succeeded by a demand which the squatters termed a dearth.

In July, 1846, Sir George Gipps retired from the government of New South Wales, and embarked for England, worn out in body and mind by the excitement of perpetual contests with colonists as unscrupulous in their attacks as he was obstinate and haughty in maintaining his opinions and position. It was a war to the knife on both sides. The last measure he presented to the Legislative Council (a bill to renew the border police) was rejected, and an address voted, by a large majority, after two nights' debate, which was virtually a vote of censure on his government, after which the council adjourned itself for a month.

During an administration of eight years, distinguished by unusual official and literary aptitude, Sir George Gipps succeeded in earning the warm approbation of the Downing-street chiefs, and the detestation of the members of every colonial class and interest, except his immediate dependents. The squatocracy, the mercantile, and the settler class were equally opposed to him. Yet even with the same political and economical views, erroneous and baneful as many of them were, with much less talent, but with a more conciliatory temper, he might have been a happy, a popular, and a really useful governor. The value, as well as the popularity, of a colonial governor depends more on the manner in which he conciliates and advises the people under his charge, than on the manner in which he pens a despatch or delivers a speech from the vice-throne.

We have dwelt on Sir George's unhappy career unhappy—for himself and for the colony under his charge—to show what manner of policy was approved and rewarded by the Colonial Office of Lord Stanley and Earl Grey, and why discontent has been chronic in New South Wales for so many years.

Had he been a man of less mark, or a governor of less power, his faults and foibles should have been buried with him; but unfortunately they form an important part of the history of the colony he misgoverned. We may yet have to reap a bitter harvest from the seeds he sowed. Imperfectly as our task has been performed, we have said enough to show that his administration must always be considered one of the most important epochs in the history of Australia.

The permanent infliction of the £1 an acre monopoly—the consequent triumph of the great pastoral over the freehold interest—the development of the wonderful pastoral resources of Australia—the abolition of assignment and transportation of criminals—the rise of a free population—the introduction of the elective element into the legislature—the commencement of a legitimate parliamentary struggle for the establishment of responsible government, and a crowd of events of great local but minor national importance,—all these date back to the period during which Sir George Gipps "reigned and governed too," contesting every possible question with the Legislative Council, with the judges, with the crown land commissioners, with the clergy of all denominations, with squatters, with settlers, with every colonist who dared to have any other opinion than the opinion of the Governor.

{Page 161}



Among the "signs of the times" during Sir George Gipps' government, we notice a decided progress in the literature of the colony: verse as well as prose of no mean order was called into existence by the fierce contest between the colonists and their governor. We give a few extracts from the colonial newspaper of 1845. They may be received as evidence of some value by those who do not care to dive into any of the reports we have quoted on important but not very amusing questions.


The commissioner bet me a pony—I won—
So he cut off exactly two-thirds of my run;
For he said I was making a fortune too fast,
And profit gained slower the longer would last.

He remark'd, as devouring my mutton he sat,
That I suffer'd my sheep to grow sadly too fat;
That they wasted the waste land, did prerogative brown
And rebelliously nibbled the droits of the crown;

That the creek that divided my station in two
Show'd nature design'd that two fees should be due.
Mr. Riddel assured me 'twas paid but for show,
But he kept it and spent it, that's all that I know.

The commissioner fined me because I forgot
To return an old ewe that was ill of the rot;
And a poor, wry-neck'd lamb that we kept for a pet,
And he said it was treason such things to forget.

The commissioner pounded my cattle, because
They had mumbled the scrub with their famishing jaws
On the part of the run he had taken away,
And he sold them by auction the cost to defray.

The Border police were out all the day,
To look for some thieves who had ransack'd my dray;
But the thieves they continued in quiet and peace,
For they robb'd it themselves, had the Border police.

When the white thieves were gone next the black thieves appear'd,
My shepherds they waddied, my cattle they spear'd;
But for fear of my license I said not a word;
For I knew it was gone if the government heard.

The commissioner's bosom with anger was fill'd
Against me because my poor shepherd was kill'd;
So he straight took away the last third of my run,
And got it transferr'd to the name of his son.

The cattle that had not been sold at the pound,
He took with the run at five shillings all round,
And the sheep the blacks left me at sixpence a head,
And a very good price the commissioner said.

The governor told me I justly was served;
That commissioners never from duty had swerved;
But that if I'd apply for any more land,
For one pound an acre he'd plenty on hand.


An Australian Version.


Mivins, a Port Phillipian squatter, has been bought out of his run. On his road, with his sheep, looking for a new station, he meets Timmins, an old "lag," who, by "tipping" the Clerks at the Crown Land Office, has had his run kept out of the government sales.

Mivins.     While, Timmins, you recline at ease,
Under the shade of these gum trees,
Whistling such ditties, gay and flat,
As "Nix my Dolly" and "Bound my Hat,"
We, with all manner of vexations,
Are forced to look out for new stations;
I have been put to total rout,
A d———d new chum has bought me out!
While you sit there, you happy sticker,
And smoke your pipe and drink your liquor.

Timmins.     A real gentleman, and no mistake,
Has done the business, Mivins, for my sake;
I tip him very regular, you must know—
A brace of lambs I send, or else a ewe;
And thus you see it comes about,
That I have not been purchased out.

Mivins.     I do not envy you, but wonder how,
Or why, they have got up this blessed row;
The ewes and lambs I am too weak to drive,
And fear I'll bring off very few alive;
The weakest lambs I put upon the dray,
But still I save but few alas the day!
A score of them are dead in yonder spot,
The very finest too of all the lot.
The overseer, I recollect, fortold
That all this run of ours would soon be sold;
Such croaking prophecies I sent to h———;
But, Timmins, tell us something of this swell.

Timmins.     The city they call Sydney, I once thought
Was like this town of Melbourne, where we brought
Our wedders oft for sale; so ewes to lambs
Resemblance show, and cubs are like their dams:
But Sydney does this town of ours surpass,
As does the tall white gum the burnt up grass.

Mivins.     What was it brought you up to Sydney, pray?

Timmins.     To get my freedom, which, with some delay,
I did obtain at last; but while away
I saw the swell I mentioned: and I tell you
There are no flies about him, my good fellow;
And when I asked him if I were secure
My run should not be purchased, "To be sure,"
Says he: "Don't be in such a fright;
You pay the tip, and I'll make it all right."

Mivins.     A fortunate old chap you surely are;
For though the run may seem a little bare,
And dotted over here and there with rock,
Yet still it is sufficient for your stock;
And by the river is so well protected,
There is no danger of its being infected.
But some of us must go to Portland Bay,
Others to Gipps's land or Goulburn way;
Or else to South Australia and the plains
North of the Pyrenees and Grampians.
I wonder if I ever shall again
Behold the spot which once was my domain;
The door against the Bushman never shut,
And the bark covering of my humble hut.
Some half-pay officer will reap my corn,
Some sailor shear my flocks may I be shorn,
If I had thought it would have reach'd this pass,
If ever I'd have been the infernal ass
To build a wool-shed, or to put a rod
Of fencing up, or turn a single sod.

Timmins.     At any rate you'll spend the night with me,
And have a bit of damper and some tea;
And now I see it's getting rather late,
So we'll go in and finish the debate.


THE commissioner 'll come with his wolves to my fold,
And order my station and sheep to be sold;
For of New Regulations I can't pay the fee,
So my fold must go into Gipps' treasury.
With their white silky fleeces, my ewes will be seen
Disporting at eve with their lambs on the green
Next morning all dusty, and panting, and hot,
Ewes, wethers, and lambs will be off to the pot;
For the gov'nor 'ill issue his new regulations,
That all must pay twice, or p'raps thrice, for their stations;
And the purse of the squatter the treas'ry must fill,
Just as much and as oft as the gov'nor shall will.
"And there be my wheat to be reap'd by the blacks,
Because I can not pay the governor's tax.
And the huts will be silent, their occupants gone,
The yards all unswept, and the squatter undone.

*    *    *    *    *    *
And the wealth of Australia, wool, commerce, and ships,
Will be melted like wax at the breath of a Gipps.


Scene, the Colonial Office.—Lord STANLEY discovered reading the advertisement of the Times, when enters Mr. CARDWELL.


Lord Stanley.     Stop, Mr. Cardwell, you have doubtless heard
That New South Wales has got a Constitution:
Such an assembly, I should think, was never
Seen since the time of Romulus—all thieves—
Several who have not yet received their pardons;
And Stephen says they voted it a breach
Of privilege, to pick a member's pocket
While in debate engaged. 'Tis sad to think
The spurious liberalism of the age
Should give such rascals power.

Mr. Cardwell.     Sad, indeed!

Lord Stanley.     Well, Sir, these rascals have presumed to make
A law about their filthy sheep and cattle,
For which we've written them a sharp despatch,
Whereon I would interrogate you briefly.

*    *    *    *    *    *
Tell me, then,
If any difference exist in law
Betwixt the pledge of personal estate and alienation?

Mr. Cardwell.     Very great, my lord:
If personal estate or goods be sold,
Possession ought to follow the transaction;
Or, if the seller still do keep the goods,
It is so Turyne's case says a badge of fraud:
But if the property be only pledged,
Possession in the pawner does not give
The slightest badge of fraud. 'Tis true, if bankrupt
The mortgagor become, his assignees
Will have a preference o'er the mortgagee,
Because the property does still remain
Within the order and disposing power
Of him they represent.

Lord Stanley (rising sternly).     Sir, I intended
To have promoted you to mighty honour;
But finding you so grossly ignorant
Of the first axioms of the legal science,
I do repent me of my former purpose.
Sir, had you been a lawyer, you'd have known
That mortgages of personal estate
Are held by English law in perfect hate;
For law, indeed, we do not greatly care,
Save that injustice must not be too bare.
Away, young man, and seek your special pleader;
If you talk thus, you'll never be a leader.



The Devil.     I've come, my dear soul, for an hour or two,
On passing events to chat with you;
To render you thanks for the mischief you're brewing
For the state you oppress, and the men you're undoing.
And also to offer—excuse my freedom—
A few words of advice where you seem to need 'em.

The Governor, after some parley, excuses himself from offering hospitality on the grounds of the lateness of the hour, and that he does not himself drink "grog;" to which answers the

Devil.     *  * Such is the general spread of sobriety,
They've got up in hell a Temperance Society;
Now I make it a rule, though some trouble it brings,
To patronise all those sort of things.
A sober sinner is not the less
A sinner for want of drunkenness;
And they wrong me who say I'm fond of riot,
I like those crimes best that are done in quiet.

*    *    *    *    *    *

Governor.     Your advice, your advice, 'twere a shame to lose it,
Though I need not take it unless I choose it.

Devil.     I grant you the praise you've fairly won
By the deeds you do and the deeds you've done;
I know that no causes corrupt the mind
Like the chains by which tyrants have crushed mankind;
That the blighting touch of a despot's rod
Kills in man's spirit the breath of God;
That the cherishing light of the holy skies,
Falls barren and vain upon servile eyes;
That the weeds of evil will thrive there best
Where the fair shoots of nature are clipped and dressed:
And under those climes where the poisonous brood
Of error is nursed by servitude.
When most I am bent on man's undoing,
The tyrant assists my work of ruin:
In New South Wales, as I plainly see,
You're carving out plentiful jobs for me.
But—forgive me for hinting—your zeal is such,
That I'm only afraid you'll do too much.
I know this well:—to subject mankind
You must tickle before you attempt to bind;
Nor lay on his shoulders the yoke, until
Through his passions you've first enslaved his will.
You're too violent far—you rush too madly
At your favourite ends, and spoil them sadly.
Already I warn you, the system totters—
They're a set of hornets—these unruly squatters;
Especially when you would grasp their cash.
Excuse me, George, but I think you're rash.

Governor.     Rash! d——n it! rash!

Devil.                    Don't fly in a passion,
In the higher circles 'tis not the fashion.

Governor.     Would you have me forego the rights of the Crown,
To be laughed at all over the factious town?
I'll teach these squatters to pay their rent;
I don't care a rush for their discontent!
They've abused me in print, they've made orations,
They've their papers and Pastoral Associations;
They've gone to the length of caricaturing,
But I'll show them the evil is past their curing.

Devil.     Come, come, be cool, or your aim you'll miss,
Your temper's too hot for work like this.
'Twere a pity to peril this rich possession
By foolish rashness or indiscretion.
Wentworth and Windeyer are troublesome chaps,
And the Council's a thorn in your side, perhaps;
But let them grumble and growl their fill,
You know very well their power is nil.
Look at the schedules by which, 'tis clear,
You handle a monstrous sum each year;
Look at the patronage thrown in your gift;
To give your backers a solid lift.
Look at the power you have to draw
On Downing-street when you want a new law;
Look at the lands that are unlocated,
Where droits of the crown are so nicely created;
Then calmly proceed.*    *    *    *    *    *
Subdue by degrees, and slowly oppress,
Or I tell you you'll get yourself into a mess.
While people petition they'll find it a sell,
But don't push them too hard they might rebel.

Governor.     Rebel! Ha! ha! you're surely in joke;
Rebellion here—a mere puff of smoke—
A handful of troops would put them down,
And the higher classes would join the crown.

Devil.     It might be so; but just mark, my friend,
Who'll come to be losers in the end?
No doubt ther'd be fun well worth enjoying,—
Burning, and plundering, and destroying;
Fighting for towns not worth disputing;
Skirmishing, robbing, and rifle-shooting
From bushes and trees, and rock for barriers;
Murdering of postboys and plundering of carriers
Storming of camps by midnight entries,
Driving off horses and popping off sentries;
Seizures of stock for purposes royal;
Pressing of men to make them loyal.
Some heroes might fall in that petty strife,
Whom bondage had taught a contempt for life;
Some patriots leading in civil storms,
Might dangle on gibbets their martyr forms;
Or exiled afar, to return no more,
Might bury their bones on a foreign shore,
Proscribed by the tyrants they dared to brave,
And mocked by the people they sought to save.
But not in vain would they bear and bleed;
This land would have gained what most they need;
John Bull from his drowsy indifference waking,
Would give you small despots a terrible shaking;
You'd be robbed of your berth and your reputation,
For causing your masters so much vexation.*

[* The author of this fierce poetical summary of Australian wrongs was a young gentleman born and bred in the colony. We give it, therefore, nearly at length, not only as evidence of colonial feeling, but of colonial talent.]



Pervading Gipps! whose penetrating soul
The least o'erlooks, the mightiest can control;
Now drowning towns, now decimating quills,
Now taxing provinces, now taxing bills;
Or when thy jaded spirit seeks for ease,
And e'en misgovernment has ceased to please,
Just acting o'er to dissipate thy gloom,
The dread rehearsal of a felon's doom!


In 1844 the colony was visited by severe floods. The water was from four to five feet deep in the township of Gundagai, which had been laid out and sold in building lots by the government sometime previously. The Commissioner of Crown Lands, in the district, addressed a letter to the Colonial Secretary, Mr. Deas Thomson, suggesting that, "in consequence of the late floods, it would be highly essential to the future welfare of the township of Gundagai to have part of the township laid out on the south bank of the Murrumbidgee River, on moderately high ground, well adapted for building, giving the parties who have now allotments in the recently-flooded land others on the high land." The suggestion of the Crown Commissioner as to laying out allotments was adopted; but in conveying this information Mr. Thomson adds:—"His Excellency further directs me to inform you that he cannot sanction the proposed exchange of the flooded allotments, as he considers that what a man buys he buys for better or worse." *

[* In consequence of this decision, a hundred people were drowned in this same township in 1851.]

Ye watermen of Gundagai
Who're grounded in the mud,
Whose huts, not quite triumphantly,
Have battled with the flood;
Your new allotments haste to buy,
And pay for, ere you go,
For the old ones are all gone
To the settlements below.

New Holland lacks much water
Her flocks and herds to keep;
Your streets are little rivulets,
Your homes are in the deep.
With punts, canoes, and jolly boats,
From hut to hut ye go;
As ye swim with the stream
To the settlements below.
Your wives and children's drowning cries
Shall rise in every shower;
They swam their last at Gundagai,
In that ill-omened hour;
And as the auction-hammer fell
To "gone," why 'twas a "go:"
For you float in your boats
O'er the settlements below.

Then Gundagai, then Gundagai,
Be liberal with your purse,
Again your town allotments buy
"For better and for worse;"
And if, as further still you wend,
To lands still worse you go,
Gipps will still stand your friend
In the settlements below.

{Page 169}



1846 TO 1850.

Sir Charles Fitzroy, a younger son of the Grafton family, and a brother-in-law of the Duke of Richmond, who had previously been Lieutenant-Governor of Prince Edward's Island, and Governor of Antigua, in the West Indies, succeeded Sir George Gipps in August, 1846; Sir Charles M. O'Connell, Commander of the Forces in New South Wales, having administered the colony during the intermediate space of a month.

Sir Charles Fitzroy, who has retained the office with increased dignity as Governor-General, under the Australian Reform Bill, is in every respect the reverse of Sir George Gipps. His talents are not above mediocrity, and his manners are conciliatory. On colonial politics he has no opinions and no prejudices; apparently his chief object has been to lead an easy life. It is said that on landing he exclaimed—"I cannot conceive how Sir George Gipps could permit himself to be bored by anything in this delicious climate." Sir Charles is in fact an eminent example of how far good temper and the impartiality of indifference, in the absence of higher qualities, may make a very respectable colonial governor. By placing himself unreservedly in the hands of men of colonial experience—by yielding every point left to his own discretion by the home government to the wishes of the majority of the Legislative Council—and in fact by never taking the trouble to have any opinion on any colonial subject, has glided over difficulties on which men of more intellect and obstinacy would have made shipwreck. And perhaps, after all, the sporting, four-in-hand driving, ball-giving governor,

"A dandy of sixty, who bows with a grace,"

and leaves the political part of his work to his secretaries and law advisers, is the best governor for Australia,—until some nobleman or great commoner can be found of common sense and conciliatory manners, not only able to initiate the business of colonial government with advantage to the dependency and the parent state, but to teach the rising generation of Australia by example, that without a taste for art, science, and refined intellectual amusements, the most fashionable tailor, the most correct equipage, the most beautiful horses, the most stately mansion, and the most varied wine-cellar, will not make a gentleman, as colonial plutocrats often fancy.

The Earl of Derby (then Lord Stanley) had held the seals of the Colonial Office during nearly the whole period of Sir George Gipps's government, and heartily sustained him in all his needless and despotic assertions of royal prerogative. He had earned, too, considerable personal unpopularity by disallowing several important acts of the Legislative Council, by the exercise of his patronage in an arbitrary manner in favour of very improper objects, and by a general course of conduct both negligent and defiant. In 1845 Lord Stanley resigned, and was succeeded by the Right Hon. William Gladstone, who retired with Sir Robert Peel's government in June, 1846.


Transportation to New South Wales had been discontinued in 1840, in consequence of the report of a committee of the House of Commons made in 1838. The class of convicts who had previously been distributed over New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land as assigned servants, following agricultural and pastoral occupations, were all poured into the island of Van Diemen's Land, and there massed into what were called probation gangs. Without separate cells or trustworthy gaolers, they festered into the foulest community that ever poisoned the population of a civilised state.

The gentlemen of the House of Commons who forced the sudden abolition of the assignment system on the government, were the cat's-paws of certain South Australian and New Zealand land-jobbers. By a coup de main they compelled the government to do that in a day which required the preparation of years. For the consequent mistakes and failures which occurred between 1840 and 1845 the Colonial Office is scarcely answerable. The experiment was new; it was suddenly forced upon them by a powerful political combination, and at that period the means of obtaining authentic information from the colonies were few and far between.

In 1845 Mr. Secretary Gladstone's attention was directed to two serious facts in regard to convictism. On the one hand the gang and probation system in Van Diemen's Land had produced a state of crime and danger fatal to the progress of the whole colony, which could no longer remain unnoticed. On the other, on the rich pastoral plains of the Port Phillip district the increase of flocks and herds had been so rapid as to place the proprietary of squatting runs in great difficulties for want of labourers; and they had consequently formed an association, made a subscription, and imported about two thousand expirees and ticket-of-leave holders from Van Diemen, to supply their urgent demand for pastoral servants. With a view of controlling these whitewashed criminals, the Legislature of New South Wales (which until 1850 extended over Port Phillip) proposed to subject the Van Diemonian importations to a system of registration and surveillance similar to that to which the ticket-of-leave men were subjected who had originally been sentenced to New South Wales.

The home government declined to sanction a colonial legislative act, which would have made such a registration legal.*

[* One of the first acts of the Legislative Assemblies created by the Australian Reform Bill of 1850, was to pass similar acts levelled against Van Diemonian expirees.]

But although pastoral proprietors, anxious to preserve and multiply their fleecy treasures, were willing to accept the services of convicts, just as some of them had endeavoured to introduce Feejee cannibals, by a new slave trade, and Pagan Chinese, there was a large free population in the towns of Australia which was satisfied to depend on free emigrants for the supply of labour, and determined to resist the return to convictism. With the educated and wealthy opponents of white slavery were banded the labouring classes, who naturally were just as anxious to keep wages up as their employers were to keep them down.

It was then—in the commencement of a contest between that portion of the population resident in towns or engaged in agriculture, which, on moral and political grounds, objected to the renewal of transportation, backed by the labouring classes, who were equally averse to the reduction of wages and to the vexatious police regulations incident to the system of prisoner labour which affected all labouring men, and the squatters, to whom cheap and obedient labour was essential if they were to retain their wealthy and dominant position while the respective parties had scarcely marshalled their forces, that a despatch arrived from Mr. Gladstone, in which he requested the governor "to submit to the consideration of the council whether they would not accept, in part supply of the labour market, a renewal of a modified system of transportation." Mr. Gladstone had already determined to discontinue transportation to Van Diemen's Land for two years, pending the arrangement of a better system; and also to found, on northern Australia, a new penal settlement.

On the 13th of October a committee of the Legislative Council was appointed, on the motion of Mr. Went worth, which contained, of ten members, five squatters and two colonial officials.

The first act of this committee was to meet and decide that it was not expedient at that late period of the session to take any evidence as to the question in Mr. Gladstone's letter—"Whether a modified and carefully-regulated introduction of convict labourers will be in accordance with the general sense of the colony." Accordingly they confined their labours to inquiring from the employers of labour whether they would like a renewal of transportation—that is to say, cheap labour—they were unanimously answered in the affirmative, provided the transportation was accompanied with certain precautions which they mentioned—and inquiring from the police magistrates in what manner and on what terms such transportation ought to be renewed. Although while the committee was sitting, a number of petitions against the renewal of transportation were presented, no witnesses holding the opinions of the petitioners were examined.

Among other witnesses called was Captain J. Innes, stipendiary magistrate at the convict barracks, and superintendent of irongangs, a gentleman whose office and position alike secured him from any sentimental terror of convictism, and induced him to acquiesce as much as possible in the views of those home authorities from whom he received his appointment. But Captain Innes only ventured to propose, as the terms on which the colony should consent to receive a limited number of prisoners, "that the colonial government should have the power of settling the rules for the management and discipline of the prisoners;" "that the home government should pay half the police, and gaol, and administration of justice expenditure, the cost of the penal establishments in the colony, and send out one male and one female immigrant for each prisoner and all the female convicts, so as to keep a parity of sexes."

From the same evidence we learn that at that period (1846) there were about fifteen hundred old convicts "the very worst class of men imaginable" still remaining in the gangs and gaols; and that in the colony there were 13,400 ticket-of-leave holders. The committee reported, too late for the council to take their recommendations into consideration, to the following effect:—

They commence by observing that—

"They are sufficiently cognizant of the state of public feeling among their fellow-colonists to be satisfied that if the proposed renewal of transportation were any longer practically and substantially an open question; if it rested on the colonists themselves to decide whether the deportation of convicts to this hemisphere should cease or continue—whether they should at once and for ever free themselves and their posterity from the further taint of the convict system, doubtless a large majority, especially of the operative classes, would give the proposal for renewed transportation an unhesitating veto; nor do your committee feel by any means certain that the decision of the majority of the upper and middle classes of society would now also be in accordance with the report of the General Grievance Committee of 1844, 'that the moral and social influences of the convict system, the contamination and the vice which are inseparable from it, are evils for which no mere pecuniary benefits could serve as a counterpoise;' and if the Secretary of State be prepared to discontinue the transportation of the convicts of the British empire to all of the Australian colonies, and thus practically as well as nominally free this continent from their presence, such a course would be more generally 'conducive to the interests, and agreeable to the inclinations of those whom it will ultimately concern.' Seeing, however, that in the view of your committee, transportation is no longer an open question—that transportation is still to go on to Van Diemen's Land—seeing, moreover, that a new penal settlement is immediately to be formed on the very northern boundary of the colony—that thus this colony, already inundated on the south with the outpourings of the probation system in Van Diemen's Land, the most demoralising that ever was invented, is soon to have poured upon it from the north the exiles of the mother country, as well as the expirees from that colony; and that to augment the volume of this double stream of felonry, a system of conditional pardons, confining the holders of them practically to the Australian colonies, has been resorted to, with the effect of relieving the British treasury from the cost of maintaining this class of criminals in reality, although free men in name: seeing this, your committee consider the question narrowed down to whether transportation should exist in the indirect and polluted shape which it has already assumed; whether, in short, we are to have this double tide of moral contamination flowing upon us without restraint or check; or whether, along with whatever compensation transportation can be surrounded, we are to have the additional advantage of modifying and regulating its introduction into the colony by the knowledge which fifty years' experience of its working has given us, which will at all events enable us to combine with the greatest possible good derivable from it, the least possible admixture of evil."

The committee, after arguing in a very forcible manner against anything in the nature of probation gangs or other aggregation of criminals, "whether for the execution of public works generally, or making and repair of roads," proceed to report—

"As a mere choice of evils, which, whatever may be the general desire, this community has no power to escape from, we are willing to submit to a renewal of transportation upon the following terms, and upon no other:—

"1st. That no alteration shall be made in the Constitutional Act, 5 and 6 Vict. c. 76, except with the view to the extension of the elective principle.

"2nd. That the transportation of male convicts be accompanied, as a simultaneous measure, with the importation of an equal number of females, to consist of female convicts as far as they exist, and the balance to be made up of female immigrants.

"3rd. That, as a further simultaneous measure, such transportation be accompanied with an equal importation of free immigrants, as nearly as possible in equal proportions as to sexes.

"4th. That the wives and families of all convicts receiving permanent or temporary indulgences should be brought out, and count as part of this free immigration.

"5th. That no fewer than five thousand male convicts be annually deported.

"6th. That the ironed or road gangs of criminals under colonial sentence, and the convict establishments of Norfolk Island and Cockatoo Islands should be maintained as heretofore at the cost of the British treasury.

"7th. That two-thirds of the expense of police, gaols, and the criminal administration of justice be paid by the home government; but that on the relinquishment of the land fund and all other revenues or droits of the crown to the appropriation of the governor and Legislative Council, the whole of this branch of convict expenditure be assumed by the colony, with a view to aid the British government in defraying the cost of the free emigration stipulated for in the second and third conditions.

"8th. That in order to insure due permanency and efficiency in the regulations to be provided for the government and discipline of convicts, the sole power of making such regulations be vested in the governor and Legislative Council, saving entire the royal prerogative of mercy.

"The description of convicts the colony should agree to receive on the above conditions are—

"1st. Young delinquents who have committed first offences—to be sent after little or no probation.

"2nd. Convicts who have committed grave offences, after a probation, under the separate system, considered adequate to the crime.

"3rd. Convicts at the commencement of their sentences who have committed various crimes.

"4th. Convicts with tickets of leave (if any) from Van Diemen's Land.

"The committee recommend that—

"The two first classes receive tickets of leave entitling the holders to dwell in some particular district, altogether excluding them from towns.

"The third class to be assigned in the nineteen counties in which pastoral pursuits were most followed and the squatting districts, to parties into whose character rigid inquiry had been made."

The committee express a preference for assignment over probation for the second class.

With respect to the Van Diemonian ticket-of-leave men, the committee state that they would rather not receive them at all, but that a system of granting conditional pardons very indiscriminately having been very extensively practised, they would prefer receiving men subject to registry muster and the surveillance of the police, to receiving them without any restraint at all.

In another part of their report the committee observe, "The secret to disarm transportation of its evil influences is to increase the free population," that it may always maintain a decided ascendancy, and to keep up the equality of the sexes, that the colony may never more be subjected to the horrors of a populus virorum."

It seems that at that period the males of the colony were 114,000 to 74,000 females.

The committee conclude with an eloquent peroration, no doubt the work of their accomplished chairman, on the beneficial results to be anticipated from their recommendations.

This report having been issued too late to be discussed by the Legislative Council, was forwarded by the government to the Colonial Office, and fell into the hands of Mr. Gladstone's successor, Earl Grey.


Sir Charles Fitzroy, warned by the error of Governor Gipps, in his first address to the Legislative Council, assured them that he should defer any legislative action on his own part until he made such a stay and such investigations as were "necessary to acquire personal experience upon several momentous questions upon which it would be presumptuous to offer any opinion at so early a period of our intercourse;" and he added: "I take this opportunity of publicly declaring, in perfect sincerity, that I have assumed the responsible trust with which our Sovereign has honoured me, unfettered by any preconceived opinions on every subject affecting the interests of any class of her Majesty's subjects in this territory."

Among the important subjects affected by this timely and sagacious declaration stood foremost the renewal of transportation; the upset price of crown lands; the terms on which those lands were to be temporarily occupied by pastoral proprietors; the control and appropriation of the colonial revenues; and the establishment of steam communication.

On all these and many other colonial subjects, as we learn from a work recently published by the noble earl, Lord Grey had fully made up his mind, with that instinctive intuition peculiar to those who are "swaddled, and rocked, and dandled into legislators."

And here we must pause in tracing the progress of the transportation question to describe the minister who has had so large a share in alienating the affections of the Australian colonists from the mother country, and in elevating into patriots of the hour those unprincipled agitators who found, to their infinite satisfaction, in the anti-transportation cry the means of preaching sedition.

Lord Grey, as Lord Howick in the House of Commons, early became a convert to the brilliant plausibilities of Gibbon Wakefield's land theory. He took an active part in the South Australian Committee of 1841, and in 1845 he vehemently supported the attack made in Committee arid in Parliament on Lord Stanley and Sir Robert Peel's government by the New Zealand Company, and had a large share in securing to that corporation a renewed lease of the powers they exercised so injuriously to the interests of their shareholders and their colonists.

On his accession to the Colonial Office his first step was to break up the colony contemplated by Mr. Gladstone in Northern Australia.

In reply to Sir Charles Fitzroy, Earl Grey declined to accede to any of the conditions suggested by the Transportation Committee, except that which stipulated for the emigration at the expense of the mother country of a number of free emigrants equal in number to the convicts sent; but he suspended any action until the decision of the Legislative Council should be pronounced.

In the meantime the Legislative Council, in the session of 1847, had considered Mr. Went worth's report and rejected it.

In the same year Earl Grey wrote to the Governor of Tan Diemen's Land, Sir William Denison, "that it was not the intention of her Majesty's government that transportation to Van Diemen's Land should be resumed at the expiration of the two years for which it has already been decided that it should be discontinued." The Governor, Sir William Denison, took the sentence in its literal sense, and announced the good news in terms which caused general rejoicing. But although it appeared in the sequel that Earl Grey had never meant to discontinue transportation, but only to have convicts on the shores of Van Diemen's Land as exiles—that is to say, convicted emigrants or ticket-of-leave men, instead of concentrating crime in probation gangs,—he took no measures to disabuse, to correct the mistaken reading of the governor, until the time came when transportation was openly renewed. In actual fact, although the number of criminals sent to Van Diemen's Land was diminished, transportation never was discontinued during the proposed two years, but prisoners who had passed through a course of penal discipline in English gaols were landed and almost immediately set at liberty, either as exiles or "ticket-of-leavers," to the extent of 3,154 between 1846 and 1848.

The despatch from Sir William Denison, informing the Colonial Office that he had announced the abolition of transportation to Van Diemen's Land, and that to revive it in any form would be a breach of faith, was received at the Colonial Office on the 5th February, 1848. The receipt was acknowledged by Earl Grey, by a despatch on the 27th April, 1848, in which, without reprimanding the governor for the since-alleged misconstruction of the despatch, which seemed to announce that transportation was to be discontinued, he thanked the governor for his valuable information, and, without preamble, announced that prisoners would be sent out with tickets of leave. From that period, without interruption up to the present time, the free colonists of Van Diemen's Land have never ceased to agitate and protest against the system, with such unanimity that at the first general election under the new constitution no single member was returned who did not pledge himself to resist to the uttermost the continuance of transportation; and this in the face of opposition from candidates who were supported by all the influence of a government expending upwards of £100,000 a year.

It is quite true, as Earl Grey states in the apology for the failure of his colonial policy, which he has lately addressed to the (colonial) ignorance of the British public, that there were gentlemen in Van Diemen's Land who, sharing the patronage of the government, openly approved of this wholesale transportation. It is extraordinary, with so large a government expenditure among a community so limited, its supporters were not more numerous, and it is equally true that there were always employers to be found willing to engage the cheap labour provided by ships laden with "ticket-of-leavers." But cheap labour will always find customers, whatever the quality or morality. The pest and crime-breeding cottages of Dorsetshire, denounced by the Rev. Sidney Godolphin Osborne—the seven-shilling-a-week life, with a workhouse burial, as the goal of Wiltshire labourers—the employment of women in mines, and the unlimited hours of labour in factories, have, in turn, met with apologists as well as supporters. So in Van Diemen's Land, those who fertilised their lands or derived wealth from the moral cesspool approved it, and not unwillingly saw it overflow the neighbouring colony.

A key to the unpopularity which in Australia attended Earl Grey's administration of the Colonial Office, may be found in the communications which passed between certain elective members of the Legislative Council of New South Wales, who were chosen a corresponding committee, and the parliamentary agent or representative of the colony, the Hon. Francis Scott, M.P., from which we shall presently make some extracts.

But as regards transportation, in 1848, the Legislative Council received some accession of strength from the squatter party; the colony was in straits from the cessation of immigration, which had fallen from some six thousand in 1842 to barely three thousand two hundred during the whole five years of 1843, 1844, 1845, 1846, and 1847, and ventured to pass a resolution assenting to a proposition made by Earl Grey, by which he undertook to forward a certain number of criminals who had passed through a course of discipline in British penitentiaries, to be landed with tickets of leave; and further to accompany their immigration with that of an equal number of free emigrants to be sent, not at the cost of the Colonial Land Fund, but of the British Exchequer.

The passing of this resolution was the signal for the organisation of a fierce agitation against the renewal of transportation, which was kept alive by the arrival from time to time of small bands of felons under the new name of exiles.

Sir Charles Fitzroy's despatch, enclosing Mr. Wentworth's resolution in favour of the renewal of transportation, reached England in August, 1848.

The financial state of the country deterred the English government from proposing the vote needful for defraying the expenses of the free emigrants promised to the colony, in consideration of their receiving convicts. Had the compromise been strictly fulfilled by Earl Grey, and accompanied by such measures as would have prevented the convicts from remaining in towns to compete with free labourers, it is possible that convictism might have been endured for some years longer; at any rate until the discovery of gold rendered transportation to Australia absurd as a punishment. But Earl Grey, in a defiance of public opinion in the colonies, as exhibited in a crowd of petitions, resolutions, and reports of public meetings forwarded to him, as well as in the universal tone of the colonial newspapers, adopted that part of the bargain which suited the mother country, and neglected to fulfil the colonial conditions on which the concession was made. He decided to send out prisoners but no free emigrants—revoked the order in council of 1840, by which New South Wales had ceased to be a place for the reception of convicts—and commenced to send out the pets of Pentonville and Parkhurst.

The publication of this despatch in the colony was received with one universal outburst of indignation. A passage at the conclusion of the communication, in which Sir C. Fitzroy was told that "if the Legislative Council should object to receive convicts without free immigration at the expense of the home government according to the stipulation of the compromise, the transmission of convicts would be stopped, and application made to parliament for the means of fulfilling the originaj promise," was considered as approaching insult, because it was evident that-during at least nearly twelve months between the penning of that despatch to the receipt of an answer, transportation must flow on. From that time compromise was impossible; the breach of faith became a potent rhetorical weapon in the hands of political agitators. The excitement and fury of all parties was such, that it only needed the presence of an obstinate and haughty governor to provoke a rebellious outburst. Fortunately Governor Fitzroy preferred a pleasant day on the race-course to any assertion of vice-royal attributes.

In 1849, the Hashemy convict-ship arrived in Sydney harbour. At one of the largest public meetings ever held in that city, speeches of the most violent character were delivered, and resolutions passed, calling upon the governor to send back the cargo of England's crimes to England. At the same time certain of the great flockowners—the political Buckinghams and Newdegates of the colony—eagerly engaged the ticket-of-leave men, tamed somewhat by penitentiary discipline, and all unencumbered by wives and families, at lower wages, in preference to a thousand free emigrants, consisting of men, women, and children, who arrived at the same time.

In the latter end of 1848 the results of distress in England and famine in Ireland were felt in Australia in the shape of an inflowing of free emigrants more numerous than had been received since the frantic mania of 1841; and this was increased to such an extent in 1849, that little short of thirteen thousand labouring people were landed in Sydney, and an equal number at Port Phillip. An addition of many thousand free emigrants to the population could not fail to produce an effect on the anti-transportation feelings of the colony. It is self-evident that when emigrants begin to flock freely into a colony, the period for employing convict labour has passed.

In 1849, the Legislative Council answered Earl Grey's extraordinary reading of the compromise offered him in 1848, by voting an address to the Queen in which they protested against the adoption of any measure by which the colony would be degraded into a penal settlement, "and entreated her Majesty to revoke the order in Council by which New South Wales had been again made a place to which British offenders may be transported." That in this address they only echoed the feelings of the great majority of the colonists was proved in the next election, when gentlemen with the highest claims to the honours of Legislation were rejected on the one ground of having supported the transportation compromise.

Earl Grey, in his recent apology for his colonial policy, treats this absolute reversal of the compromise previously offered as something marvellously inconsistent, if not unprincipled: his own "error of judgment" in sending the poison without the antidote, he treats very lightly.

But Earl Grey writes like a man whose political position and still more his tone of mind remove him altogether from those influences which affect popular assemblies. During his official career he had no constituents; no equal cared, no subordinate dared, to controvert his fixed ideas on all colonial subjects; and when colonists ventured in deputation to urge unpleasant arguments, we have ourselves witnessed with what impassive, incredulous sternness he bowed them out!

Earl Grey takes some pains to marshal the respective elements of the pro and anti-transportation parties; he performs his task in a manner which reminds one of the instruction for a brief given, according to an old circuit story, by an attorney to his new clerk—"our client, the plaintiff, is a most respectable baker, the defendant is a rascally cheesemonger."

And so Earl Grey declares, that the "minority in favour of the renewal of transportation included no small proportion of the most intelligent and enterprising members of society," whilst the majority against included not only those "who sincerely entertained the repugnance they professed on moral grounds, but a great number of the labouring classes who were influenced by jealousy of the competition of convicts, and a fear that their coming might lead to a reduction of the extravagant wages they had been in the habit of obtaining. Others, again, for personal or electioneering objects, thought it their interest to excite popular passions. The anti-transportation party in the interval since the subject was previously considered in the Legislative Council gained the ascendancy, assisted in no small degree by the diminished urgency of the demand for labour, in consequence of the large free emigration." *

[* Colonial Policy, by Earl Grey, vol. 2, p. 47.]

It is worthy of note that the dearth of labour which had prevailed in previous years, was owing entirely to Earl Grey's refusal to adopt the measures pressed upon him by "the most intelligent and enterprising colonists," and that the supply of labour was due, not to his commissioners, but to the English distress and Irish famine. But in order that those not conversant with colonial affairs may not be imposed upon by the strenuous efforts of Lord Grey to extenuate a course of policy which, if pardonable in a novice, is quite unpardonable in a statesman, we venture on the following parallel passage from English History:—

An administration, of which Earl Grey formed one, offered to compromise the corn-law question by offering an 8s. duty. That offer was rejected by the agricultural interest in 1842; while in 1848 nothing less than the total and immediate abolition would satisfy those who would once willingly have accepted the 8s. compromise, those who in 1842 had rejected it disdainfully would have been only too willing to accept it. In the same way the party who carried the repeal of the corn laws, was composed of some who sincerely approved of it on moral and political grounds, others who were chiefly moved by the prospect of increased trade, and others who saw in the movement personal and political advantages and the way to the enjoyment of extravagant official salaries.*

[* We do not consider that the secretaries of state are by any means extravagantly paid, but it is very likely that a colonist might. And we do not agree-with Earl Grey that the wages of colonial labourers are to be measured by a Northumberland standard, for what is extravagant in England is moderate in a new country.]

It would be difficult to find two passages in cotemporary history more alike. When Earl Grey reads colonial events with such singular one-sidedness, it is not surprising that he did not observe that the party in favour of the renewal of transportation was composed of those whose income would be increased by hundreds and thousands per annum by a reduction of the price of labour to £16 per annum—who would never be brought in contact with the convict element—who could afford free butlers and ladies' maids—whose sons would not associate and whose daughters would not be entrapped into marriage with Pentonville exiles or ticket-of-leavers.

The obnoxious order in council making New South Wales a penal colony was, after a brief contest, withdrawn, but the seed of agitation had been sown, the anti-transportation league, embracing all the Australian colonies and Van Diemen's Land, had been organised. The gold discoveries proved to every one, except to the son and heir of the great man who carried the Reform Bill, that transportation was not only odious to the colonists but absurd as a punishment. Within the present year it has been abolished by the Duke of Newcastle. But Earl Grey, like his countryman, the gallant Whittington, still fights upon his stumps, and endeavours to perpetuate the bitter dislike with which his official career was regarded in the colonies, by proclaiming that as regards Van Diemen's Land he would not, had he continued in power, have yielded to either gold or agitation; nay, more, that he would have created the Moreton Bay district into a separate colony for the express purpose of enabling the squatters—whom his land policy has fixed in possession of that fine country to the exclusion of yeomanry—to accept the convicts whom the colonists on the whole line of coast eastward have agreed in rejecting.

Such are the leading facts of the Anti-Transportation Question, one of several which formed the subjects of bitter contest between the colonists and Earl Grey during the administration of Governor Fitzroy. Of the seeds of distrust, almost of sedition, then sown, we fear we have not yet seen the full fruit.

{Page 182}



We are enabled to obtain a good idea of the state of public opinion on all the important points which formed the subject of discussion between the Colonial Office and the colonists during-Sir Charles Fitzroy's administration, by turning to the correspondence which took place between a committee of the Legislative Council, named as the Corresponding Committee, over which the Speaker of the Council presided, and Mr. Francis Scott, M.P.

So early as 1844 the Legislative Council, in the height of their contest with the Governor and Colonial Secretary of State on "the grievances connected with crown lands," turned their attention to the propriety of securing the services, as paid agent, of some member of the British Parliament, who would fill for New South Wales the post occupied by Edmund Burke, as representative of the State of New York, before the breaking out of the War of Independence.

With this view the late Mr. Benjamin Boyd, who was urging with indefatigable energy and zeal the cause of his brother squatters in England, selected the Hon. Francis Scott, M.P., brother of Lord Polwarth, a barrister, a director of the South-Western Railway, a Conservative of very decided Protestant and Protectionist views, with a good political connection among his party, and industrious business habits. But when the scheme was laid before Lord Stanley, the Colonial Minister, he declined to give it his sanction unless the Council would consent that one-third of the Committee of Correspondence should consist of nominee members—that is to say, in the same proportion as the council. To this the elective councillors would by no means agree, and the official appointment of Mr. Scott, and his salary, remained in abeyance, with many other questions of greater importance; but in the meantime Mr. Scott exerted himself with considerable success to oppose the bill prepared by Lord Stanley, on the information of Sir George Gipps, for settling the tenure of pastoral lands, and entered into a correspondence, from which we make the following extracts.

In a letter addressed by Mr. F. Scott to the Speaker of the Legislative Council, dated 30th June, 1846, he refers to "the small amount of attention which colonial questions command in parliament," and adds "two more examples to one given in a previous letter," in the fact that twice the House of Commons had been counted out when he had motions standing for considering the subject of emigration. So that at that time it was impossible to find forty members willing to listen to Mr. Scott, on a question vitally affecting an important colony.

He then goes on to state that he had ascertained that the bill for the regulation of waste lands of Australia, laid on the table of the House of Lords by Lord Lyttleton, the under-secretary of the recently-appointed secretary, Mr. Gladstone, was substantially the same as one which had been printed the previous session, laid on the table of the House of Commons, and sent out to the colonies. He observes—"After a year's deliberation, after ascertaining the opinions of the colonists to be opposed to the measure, it is a matter of deep regret that the government should introduce the same bill to settle a question of vital importance, which it leaves more unsettled than ever." Then he adds these remarkable words coming from a Conservative of the old school: "I am not aware that the opinions of any one in this country connected with New South Wales, or of any one in the colony except his Excellency Sir George Gipps, were either ascertained or asked for. So that it would appear that the transmission of a bill by the government in this country for the consideration of a colony with a Legislative Council as a deliberative assembly, is little more than its transmission to the colony for the signature of the colonial governor without the council. The bill seems to be framed rather in accordance with the observations of the land and emigration commissioners than with a view to the interests of the Australian public."

The principle of the bill protested against was to maintain the high price of land, and to retain the land until sold in the hands of the crown, to be rented to tenants at will, or on short leases, as in Turkey and Egypt, on such terms as would have left the fortune of every pastoral proprietor in the hands of the governor or his subordinates.

Eventually Mr. Scott was able to organise an opposition among the aristocratic and wealthy relatives of the squatters—the Elliots, the Trevylyans, the Edens—more formidable than had been anticipated. Among the other questions he was instructed to urge was the concession of the control of the casual revenues of the colony—claimed by the council and refused by Sir George Gipps; and assistance for establishing steam communication—a subject which had occupied the council since 1845.

Earl Grey commenced auspiciously by ceding the point as to the casual revenues. On the land question he adhered to the opinions of his preceptor in the art of colonisation, Gibbon Wakefield, and addressed a despatch to Sir Charles Fitzroy, containing a report prepared by his obedient, sympathising subordinates, the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners, the tenor of which may be gathered from the colonial documents we are about to quote.

In July, 1847, Sir Charles Nicholson, as chairman of the committee of correspondence, addressed a letter to Mr. Scott, in which, after recapitulating the circumstances under which the correspondence had commenced in 1845, and the discussion with Lord Stanley; the passing of a bill in September, 1846, for appointing Mr. Scott agent for three years at a salary of £500 a year; the reservation of that bill "for the signification of her Majesty's pleasure," "in consequence of the terms of Lord Stanley's despatch;" the absolute refusal of the council to submit to the "unconstitutional" terms suggested by Lord Grey as to the composition of the committee; the passing of a vote for £1,000 toward two years' salary of the agent; and acknowledging the receipt of several letters, including the one already quoted, Sir Charles Nicholson proceeds to observe that "the provisions of the Australian Land Bill" introduced by Lord Stanley in July 18, 1845, "were framed in utter disregard of the repeatedly-expressed opinions and votes of this council. The vesting the executive with enormous and all but uncontrolled powers, in order to carry out its provisions; the reservation to the crown of the right of sole appropriation of the revenue derivable from the waste lands, and the continuance of the high upset price, are the most prominent, though not the only objections which characterise Lord Stanley's bill." He continues:—"Many of the objections urged against the bill brought in by Lord Stanley, apply with equal force to that of Earl Grey—"The most prominent of the evils with which this measure is defaced is the continuance of the hiah upset mice of land."

As we have before observed, Lord Grey was early a convert to the "sufficient price theory." In 1841, when, by the influence of the South Australian and New Zealand speculators, the committee on South Australian Insolvency reported on permanently fixing the price of land by Act of Parliament at £1 an acre, they came to this conclusion, without examining any colonial evidence, on the strength of a case carefully and ingeniously prepared and filled up by the evidence of the two principal witnesses, Mr. Gibbon Wakefield and Colonel Torrens. In that committee Lord Grey, then Lord Howick, proposed, although he did not succeed in carrying, a resolution to the effect that the price of land in Australia should never be less than 2 an acre, and that it should be from time to time increased in price until the want of labour, and the high price of labour then experienced, should be diminished.

It is quite clear that at that time he believed the price of land regulated the price of labour; and, considering the influences brought to bear upon them, he might fairly be excused for so believing. But in the five years which had elapsed since 1841, although a series of reports—to which we have already referred in Chapter XI.—from the Legislative Council, supported by a mass of evidence, had disproved the advantages anticipated, it seems that Earl Grey had either never read or totally disregarded the colonial authorities, and steadfastly adhered to his first impressions; for in Nov., 1846, he had addressed a despatch to Sir Charles Fitzroy, in which, "in justification of the policy pursued by Parliament in prohibiting the sale below its present price," he "recalled to recollection the grounds upon which that policy was originally adopted, and so far he considered that it ought to be chiefly adhered to. And he referred to the despatches of Lord Ripon," where the expediency of abolishing the system of free grants, and substituting one of sales by auction, at a uniform price, is stated, and the example afforded by the failure of Swan River is cited.

It would not now answer any useful purpose to quote this despatch at any length, especially as the contents may be gathered from the criticisms contained in the letter from which we are quoting.

The speaker observes, first, "That neither the council nor the colony have ever proposed to revert to the new grant system. Secondly, that Lord Ripon's system was 5s. an acre and not £1; that £1 an acre had only produced £57,104, while the low upset price had produced £680,000. Thirdly, that sales at 5s. an acre had abated the evil of free grants. Fourthly, that the answer to Earl Grey's argument, 'that value will be eventually given to the land by the application of the proceeds of sales to emigration,' is, that purchasers cannot be found at the price. Fifthly, that the idea of concentrating-population by affixing a high upset price is signally defeated in the practical working of the system; for as all persons settling can only afford to settle as graziers, they migrate to distant parts of the interior colony. Thus the system increases dispersion."

But these arguments produced no effect on the impassive and perfectly self-contented mind of Earl Grey; nor did a more elaborate report made in the same year, to which we shall presently advert; for we find in 1853, that, in exact imitation of Gibbon Wakefield in 1850, Earl Grey published his "Colonial Policy," and there, in the very words of his despatch of 1846, urged the same arguments on the land question, with the same example of Swan Elver, without appearing conscious of the contradicting facts above quoted, which had been so repeatedly pressed upon his attention.

In the same letter it is announced that in 1846 the Legislative Council had agreed to make a contribution of £6,000 a year for three years toward promoting steam navigation, or about one-third of the estimated cost. The gold discoveries of 1851 found the colony no further advanced toward steam communication than 1846.

In a second letter, dated the 1st October, 1847, we find the following passage:—"Intelligence has reached the colony indirectly through various channels, that Earl Grey has under consideration the establishment of constitutions for the Australian colonies upon a new scheme, allied to that framed for New Zealand. The mere suggestion of any such constitution, in which district councils appear to be the predominant element, being fastened upon us has excited general dismay. Should our apprehensions prove well founded in this matter, it will afford another and striking instance of the injustice of which we have not unfrequently to complain, of being made the subject of great and important changes through the medium of Parliament without any reference to ourselves, or any consultation with those best qualified to form an accurate judgment of our social and political wants."

From these extracts it will be seen that the first intimation of the accession of Earl Grey to office was accompanied with ample cause for distrust, which he lost no time in improving and justifying.

When the colonists learned the terms on which the contest between the pastoral interest and the Colonial Office had been settled, they saw at once that the interest of all those who were not squatters with four thousand sheep had been sacrificed; and that to maintain a high price of land on sale, land on lease had been handed over in perpetuity.

Many of those who had supported the squatters so long as Sir George Gipps attempted to confiscate their property, and had encouraged them to resist a system of taxation based on royal prerogative, similar to that which Hampden died resisting, now saw that the compromise sacrificed everything to the pastoral interest, and seriously checked the extension of that class of yeoman freeholders on whom the colonisation of the colony chiefly depended—for without farms there would be few wives and children in the bush.

Among these was Mr. Robert Lowe, who, as chairman of the committee appointed "to consider the minimum upset price of land," drew up a report, in which, on the evidence of all the most distinguished men in the colony, the whole legislation of the mother country on the subject of land was shown to be opposed to the feelings, to the needs of the colonies, and, in fact, to the colonisation of such a country as Australia.

In the same year Mr. Lowe issued a small pamphlet, entitled "Address to the colonists of New South Wales, on the proposed Land Orders," which shortly and clearly explained the defects of the compromise with the squatters. He observes:—

"The position of the squatter has always varied with the price of land. Precarious when land is low, more assured when it is high, and little short of freehold, when the sale of land is, as now, virtually prohibited. Up to the year 1841, when the price of land was raised from five shillings to twelve shillings per acre, the squatters looked upon themselves, and were regarded by the community as merely temporary occupants, depasturing the land till it was wanted for sale—as persons who might soon, and must eventually, be removed, to make way for the proprietor in fee-simple. The Act of Parliament which passed in 1842, for raising the minimum price of land to £1 an acre, was not intended to have any effect on the position of the squatter; it was intended, as Lord Grey tells us, to prevent jobbing to concentrate the population—to bring out immigrants by raising a large land fund, and by means of such immigrants to raise the value of land. Instead of preventing jobbing, it has sacrificed almost the whole territory to one vast job. Instead of concentration, it has given us dispersion; it has destroyed the land fund which it was intended to raise, stopped the immigration it was intended to promote, and annihilated the value of land it was intended to enhance.

"The squatters, considering that they held the land till it was required for purchase, and that the purchase had been made by Parliament impossible, began to look upon their runs as their own. They began to sprout from tenants-at-will into freeholders. Sir George Gipps saw the danger, but instead of meeting it by a reduction of the minimum price of land, which would at once have extinguished these aspiring hopes, he sought, by showing them the precarious nuture of their tenure, by exacting arbitrary tribute, more objectionable in its nature than in its amount, and by withholding from them all the machinery of government, for the use of which they were taxed, to check this encroaching spirit. This injudicious harshness had precisely the contrary effect. It united in favour of the squatters all the liberal and constitutional men in the community. Advantage was taken of this indignation to divert public attention from the real cause of the evil—the high price of land—which alone had made the squatting question of importance, and to fix it on the plausible palliation of leases and pre-emption.

"It is needless to dwell upon the vacillating and contradictory schemes of the home and local government during the years 1845 and 1846, in which they seem to have considered every expedient for settling the question, except the only effectual one, the reduction of the price of land. At last the Act 9 and 10 Victoria, chap. 104, was passed. By this Act, Parliament delegated the powers which it withheld from the Legislative Council of New South Wales, to the Privy Council of England. The Privy Council has transmitted a set of proposed rules to the colony, not for the purpose of obtaining the opinion of the colonists, (for what right have they to an opinion about their own affairs?) but to prepare the local government for the exercise of the powers which the Privy Council—the delegate of Parliament—has delegated to it. These rules are in substance that the governor shall divide the lands of the colony into three districts, to be called the "settled," "intermediate," and "unsettled." The settled lands are to be sold by auction at £1 an acre, upset price, and the unsold parts are to be leased for not more than one year, by auction. In the unsettled lands, every holder of a licence is entitled to demand a lease for fourteen years. His rent is to be £2 10s. for every thousand sheep or 640 cattle which the run will carry. During the fourteen years nobody else can buy the run, but the lessee can buy any portion, not less than 160 acres, at £1 an acre, without competition. At the end of the lease, the lessee is entitled to a renewal for another fourteen years, unless at least one-fourth of the run be sold at auction, when the upset price will consist of £1 an acre, and the value of the improvements. In the intermediate districts the lease is to be for eight years only, and the land is liable to be sold at the end of every year.

*    *    *    *    *    *

"Once grant these leases, and beyond the settled districts there will be no land to be sold—the lessees will have a right to hold their lands until some one will give £1 an acre for them.

"These leases cannot be sold, mortgaged, or sublet. Be the capabilities of these lands what they may, they are to be a sheep walk for ever. The home government which raised the price of land to enforce concentration, is now in the sequel of its policy compelling dispersion.

"The squatter may make sure of his run at the end of his lease by buying up, in the exercise of his pre-emptive right, all the water and all the water frontage; thus rendering the run valueless to any one except himself.

"The price he is to pay for these privileges is, counting three sheep to an acre, one-fifth of a penny per acre. Thus does a government which is so niggard of its land that it will not part with the fee-simple of the most barren rock for less than £1 an acre, while that £1 an acre law remains in force, alienate millions of acres at one-tenth of the rent which it received on its free grants. The system devised for the preservation of the waste lands will end in their confiscation.

"Deal liberally with the squatters give them the most ample compensation—give them the land for nothing till it is wanted for purchase—comply with all their reasonable, nay more, with many of their unreasonable demands—their present views have been forced upon them by the folly of the home government—not originated by themselves; they are a great and growing interest, producing the main export of the colony, respectable for their numbers, their intelligence, and their wealth. But we ought never to forget, that if we give over to them their territory, we are giying away what is not our own—we are trustees for posterity.

*    *    *    *    *    *

"Our obvious duty therefore is, to press upon the home government the repeal of the £1 an acre Act, and the Act under which these orders were made not because the first has dispersed our population, driven away capital and checked emigration, but because this Act, in addition to these minor grievances, is about to wrench from us for ever the possession of our own territory, and give it over to men who have no right to it whatever, and who will neither develop its resources nor enable others to do so."

This protest, supported as it was by the public opinion of the great majority of the colonists, had no effect on the official or home government. Earl Grey assigned to the three Land and Emigration Commissioners the task of replying to the report of a committee which had embodied the opinions of a large body of experienced and intelligent colonists, and these three young gentlemen, whose lives had been passed in the study and practice of official routine, "looking out on St. James's Park, settled to the entire satisfaction of themselves and their chief, and in direct contradiction to the opinions of the Colonial Legislative Council, how land was to be sold and grazed at the antipodes."

This was adding insult to injury. In 1848 a committee of the House of Lords on colonisation examined a number of Australian colonists. With one exception, a gentleman engaged in promoting a new land speculation in Western Australia, all the witnesses agreed on the impolicy of the land system which had been fastened on the Australian colonies.

For instance, Lieutenent-Colonel Sir Thomas Mitchell, surveyor general and member of the Legislative Council of New South Wales, thus describes the course imposed on a colonist desirous of purchasing land:—

"The intending purchaser must notify and describe to the government the land he wishes to purchase. Then no matter in what part of the very extensive colony it may be, the land must be measured and described, and a report made upon it to the local government. After this selection has received the governor's sanction, which takes time, the land is put up and advertised three months for sale by public auction, so that a party who may have taken the trouble to seek out a suitable portion of land, has to wait a long time before it can be advertised for sale, and then three months after such advertising he has to run the risk, at the end of that time which he has lost, of seeing another person purchase the land which he may have taken the trouble to seek out and select.  *    *    *    *  During the time of Sir George Gipps the maximum price of the last sale was ordered to be the minimum price of the next sale that operated to stop that kind of colonisation altogether."

He also says in reference to the "ordinances" we have quoted—

"The squatters have been clamorous to obtain some title to possession; a great concession has recently been made, and according to orders in council recently sent out, they are to have leases of runs for fourteen years. The colonists in general seem to consider a fourteen years' lease with power to renew almost as good as fee-simple."

Before the same committee Mr. William Bradley, a native Australian member of the Legislative Council, a landed proprietor, a magistrate, and holder of a run of three hundred thousand acres; Captain Coghill, member of the Legislative Council, and a proprietor of thirty thousand acres of freehold; and Mr. W. Verner, late Chief Commissioner of the Insolvent Court, and a settler in Port Phillip, gave strong evidence to the same effect.

While Mrs. Chisholm said—"The most important thing to be done, would be to get a survey of land, laying out farms, varying from thirty acres to one hundred acres. That land would be purchased by small capitalists, who are now in the labour market, and only want an opportunity to purchase land. There is very little encouragement given to agriculture; there is a difficulty in getting land. If families are to be provided for, it is necessary that agricultural farms should be thrown open to them, by making it easy for the poor man, when he has saved his money, to purchase a farm without loss of time."

But, as in 1848 the Squattocracy had obtained all and more than they had ever hoped to obtain; as Earl Grey, who never changes his mind, was at the head of the Colonial-office; as emigration was rendered brisk by the distress at home; no change was made toward multiplying freeholders in Australia.

Mrs. Chisholm also suggested that as a means of enabling labouring men to invest in land, and inducing them to save, land notes or tickets should be issued of the value of five pounds each and upwards, which should pass current in the purchase of government land, so that frugal families might find a safe substitute for the savings bank.

Subsequent events have doubly proved the soundness of the principles of those who opposed the government land system.

The good land of Australia lies in patches, "oases" in deserts fit only for pasture. The high-priced symmetrical system, condemned by Sir Thomas Mitchell, doomed many districts to sheep, where villages and agriculture would have been found of great value not only in extending population and civilisation but in providing food for the gold diggers.

The result of the policy inaugurated by Lord Stanley, carried out and still approved by Earl Grey, was to make the humbler class of the Australian population as loose as possible on the land, vagrants instead of settlers. The condition of the country would have been infinitely less critical, if for the last ten years the successful emigrants had been encouraged to settle as much as possible on land instead of investing their savings, if not in drink, in stock, or in tours on the coast. Freeholds, easily obtained, would have stimulated marriage, and those who resorted to gold hunting would have returned successful or unsuccessful to their homesteads.

Another result pregnant with evil looms in the future. The best land for settlement and cultivation in the neighbourhood of a gold-field may be held on lease by a squatter, who having held it for a nominal rent during the lease may claim to purchase it in a block at a price which, considering the enhanced value, will be nominal! It will not be surprising if the men enriched by gold-digging, who saw themselves before the golden age of Australia excluded from freehold by squatters, runs, and the £1 an acre lots, grow rather discontented, when under the new order of things they again meet their old friend the squatter still in the character of a monopolist, with power to buy for £1 land worth ten which he has held on lease for a rent of one-fifth of a penny, when it was well worth in 100 acre lots 5s. or 10s. an acre.

But these are questions we must leave the colonists and their Parliaments to settle. Fortunately, we have not Earl Grey at the Colonial-office to fan up the flames of insurrection; for we learn from his apology for his "Colonial Policy," that in 1832 the universal evidence of the colonists against his land system had not shaken his original convictions; he considered "that the working of the Act (of 1842), far from showing that there was anything erroneous in the views of those by whom it was recommended and passed, seems to have proved the soundness of the principles on which it was founded. At the same time, some improvements in its detail were suggested by experience." And he proceeds to quote the Act of 1846, and the orders in council, which we have dissected, as specimens of "improvements in detail." * A little further on he says, "those who contended that instead of adopting the squatting ordinances the minimum price of land ought to have been reduced, asserted, that by the regulations the squatters were virtually put in possession of land which could never be resumed if wanted. Experience has, however, demonstrated that there was no ground for such an apprehension. Already in Victoria above £20,000 has been laid out by one individual, in purchasing the fee-simple of land which had been occupied as a run by another person." Earl Grey's illustration is most unfortunate, but characteristic of the careless manner in which he collects the few "facts" with which he embellishes his narrative. In the case cited no lease had been granted to the occupier of the run, no lease could be granted, inasmuch as it was within the settled district of Melbourne. Leases are for 8 years and for 14 years, and no lease granted under the ordinances has yet run out. The purchase in question consisted of land, which from its quali ty and situation, if put up for auction in convenient lots even at an upset of one shilling-an acre, would have fetched more than the sum paid under the special survey system, in one block, viz., £20,000 for 20,000 acres without competition. This purchase gave the purchaser the right of pre-emption and of pasturage over three times as much more land, which was worth to rent altogether at that time one thousand pounds a year.

[* Vol. I., p. 314, Earl Grey's Colonial Policy.]

Earl Grey says (vol i. page 317), "there can be no doubt that by reducing the price as much as would be necessary to meet the views of the chief opponents of the present system, a powerful impulse would be given to the spirit of land jobbing."

For our own parts we cannot conceive any system more calculated to promote land-jobbing than that which retains good agricultural land as sheep walks, until such time as the spread of population raises the demand high enough to tempt a capitalist speculator who lays out twenty thousand pounds in order to make sixty, by retailing to actual cultivators, without adding a shilling to the value of the land, by roads, buildings or fences.

And that is the system Earl Grey approved and maintained in office, and still approves in his unwilling retirement.

We have deemed it right to give the history of the land question at great length, with full quotations from colonial evidence on the subject, because its past and proximate effects on the condition of the colonists, and their relations with the parent state, fill a place in colonial annals not less important than the anti-corn law struggle in the political history of Great Britain—and because, too, Earl Grey has ventured, in his published defence of his policy, on a misrepresentation and suppression of the facts of the case, which may mislead those who are not prepared for the drudgery of searching for colonial truth in blue-books, despatches, and files of colonial debates.


While the transportation question was unsettled and the land question in hot dispute, a third question, that of a new constitution, with extended powers, from time to time occupied the attention of the politicians of the three colonies. South Australia looked forward anxiously to the enjoyment of representative institutions having, up to 1850 been ruled by a governor with an official and nominee council. Port Phillip desired separation from New South Wales, and a representative legislature of its own. The distance of Melbourne from Sydney was so great that it was found impossible, in a limited and dispersed population, to find gentlemen able and willing to abandon their pursuits and property to pass the legislative sessions in so distant a city as Sydney.

In New South Wales it was confidently expected that the new constitution would bestow rights similar to those enjoyed by the Canadians—that is to say, an executive responsible to the Legislative Council, with full control over their revenues and the disposal of the waste lands.

In 1847 Earl Grey prepared a scheme by which the district councils, which were held throughout the colony in equal hatred and contempt, were to form electoral colleges, and by double election return a representative assembly, while a second superior chamber was to be composed of nominees.

The publication in the colony of the despatch containing a sketch of this scheme, which looked in print like a chapter out of "Telemachus," was followed by such a manifestation of opposition, and by petitions so numerously signed, requesting that no change should be made in the constitution without the colonists being first permitted to express their opinion upon it, that the colonial minister withdrew his project.

In 1849 a committee of the Board of Trade, to whom Earl Grey entrusted the task, prepared a report suggesting a form of constitution to be bestowed on the three colonies. A bill for carrying into effect this report was introduced into, but not carried through the British Parliament. Under this bill the three colonies would have had the power of settling the land, and several other questions, by a sort of congress.

In the meantime the Report was sent out to the colonies. In Port Phillip and South Australia the concession of representative institutions was considered so great a boon that the other parts of the scheme were not too closely criticised. In Port Phillip especially, where an ancient contest had been carried on to obtain separation from New South Wales, the new constitution was received with the utmost enthusiasm. In New South Wales, where a representative council had existed for several years, the sections of the report which gave the most satisfaction were those which appeared to give control over the expenditure of the land revenues, and the power of fixing the price of land.

In the session of 1850 a bill became law, of which the following is an abstract:—

13 and 14 Vict. cap. 59—An Act for the better Government of her Majesty's Australian Colonies.

§ 1, after reciting the previous acts for the government of the Australian governments, enacts that the district of Port Phillip shall form a separate colony, to be henceforth known as the colony of Victoria. After the separation (2), in the colony of New South Wales the Legislative Council is to consist of such a number of members as the Governor and Council shall determine, of which one-third is to be appointed by her Majesty, and the remaining two-thirds to be elected by the inhabitants of the colony; and the Governor arid Council are to establish the electoral districts and polling-places, issue the necessary writs for the elections, and make regulations for taking the polls and deciding on the validity of the returns. § 4 provides that every natural-born or naturalised subject of her Majesty, of the age of 21, possessing a freehold estate within the district of £100 clear value above all incumbrances or charges on it, for at least six months before the date of the writ or the last registration, if a registration has been established, or occupying a dwelling-house for six months of the clear annual value of £10, or holding a licence to depasture lands within the district, or holding a leasehold estate in the district of the yearly value of £10 of which the lease has not less than three years to run, and on which in all cases the rates and taxes due to within three months of such election or registration have been paid, and is not attainted of treason, felony, &c., is to be entitled to vote at the election of a member of the Legislative Council.

Power is given (§ 11) to the Governor and Legislative Council to alter the districts, and to increase the number of members, but in the case of an increase a number equal to one-third of the whole is to be appointed by her Majesty.

The Governor and Legislative Council (§ 14), when thus constituted, are authorised to make laws within the said colony, and to appropriate the whole of the revenues arising from taxes, duties, rates, &c., provided such are not repugnant to the laws of England; but they are not to interfere with the lands belonging to the crown, nor with the revenues arising therefrom, nor shall it be lawful to appropriate any sums of money to the public service, unless the Governor have first recommended to the Council to make such provision for the specific public service towards which such money is to be appropriated, nor shall any money be issued except under the order of the Governor directed to the treasurer; and the revenues (§ 15) are to be charged with the costs and charges for the collection and management of the same, subject to such regulations and audits as may be directed by the Treasury Board of England. Out of the revenues (§ 17) are to be paid the sums for judicial, official, and religious services, enumerated in schedules A, B, C, and D; these sums, however, may be altered by the Governor and Legislative Council (§ 18), subject to the consent of her Majesty.

By § 22 power is continued to district councils to make by-laws, subject to the approval of the Governor, who is to appoint the districts, fix the number and qualification of councillors, and the time and manner of election, nominate the first councillors, make regulations for their going out of office, and to define their powers; but the Governor and Legislative Councils (§ 24) may regulate the tolls, rates, and assessments in such districts, and may also regulate the constitution and duties of the district councillors, and the number and boundaries of the districts.

27 empowers the Governor and Council to levy customs on goods imported, but no duty to be imposed on any article from one country that is not alike imposed on the same article from other countries. No duties, however (§ 31), are to be levied on articles imported for the supply of her Majesty's land or sea forces, nor may they grant any exemption, or impose any duty at variance with any treaty concluded by her Majesty with any foreign power.

By § 32 power is given to the Governor and Legislative Council, subject to the assent of her Majesty, to alter the provisions of this act as to the election of members of the Legislative Councils, and the qualification of members and electors; or to establish, instead of the Legislative Council, a Council and a House of Representatives or other Legislative Houses, and to vest in the same the powers of the Legislative Council.

The other clauses extend to all the other colonies in Australia, namely, Victoria, Van Diemen's Land, South Australia, and Western Australia, the same rights as are given to New South Wales, with power to extend them to new colonies; they also enable the boundaries to be altered, and provide a new Supreme Court at Victoria. The act is to commence within six weeks after a copy has been received by each Governor respectively.

Schedules referred to in the foregoing act. New South Wales is marked A, Victoria B, Van Diemen's Land C, and South Australia D.

A. B. C. D.
Governor £5,000 2,000 2,000 2,000
Chief Justice 2,000 1,500 1,500 1,000
Two Puisne Judges 3,000 —   1,200 —  

Attorney and Solicitor General, Crown Solicitor, and expenses of the administration of justice

} 19,000 5,000 13,300 5,000
Colonial Secretary, and his Department 6,500 2,000 1,800 1,500
Colonial Treasurer, and his Department 4,000 1,500 1,800 1,500
Auditor-General, and his Department 3,000 1,100 1,600 1,000
Clerk and expenses of Executive Council 500 400 700 500
Pensions 2,500 500 2,000
Public Worship 28,000 6,000 15,000
——— ——— ——— ———
53,500 20,200 41,900 13,000

In the new province of Victoria, and in South Australia, the new law was received, as was to be expected, with universal satisfaction. They had obtained at least as much as they expected; but when the colonists of New South Wales found that the clauses as to land and revenue for which they were most anxious had been excised, their universal discontent was embodied in the following remonstrance, and passed as almost their last act by the expiring Legislative Council. The hand of the author, William Wentworth, fiercely eloquent, is visible in every line:—

"We, the Legislative Council of New South Wales, in council assembled, feel it a solemn duty which we owe to ourselves, our constituents, and our posterity, before we give place to the new legislature established by the 13 and 14 Vict., cap. 59, to record our deep disappointment and dissatisfaction at the constitution conferred by that act on the colony we represent. After the reiterated reports, resolutions, addresses, and petitions, which have proceeded from us during the whole course of our legislative career, against the schedules appended to the 5 and 6 Vict., cap. 76, and the appropriations of our ordinary revenue therein made, by the sole authority of Parliament against the administration of our waste lands, and our territorial revenue thence arising against the withholding of the customs department from our control against the dispensation of the patronage of the colony by or at the nomination of the minister for the colonies and against the veto reserved and exercised by the same minister, in the name of the crown, in all matters of local legislation; we feel that we had a right to expect that these undoubted grievances would have been redressed by the 13 and 14 Vict., cap. 59; or else that power to redress them would have been conferred on the constituent bodies thereby created, with the avowed intention of establishing an authority more competent than Parliament itself to frame suitable constitutions for the whole group of the Australian colonies. These our reasonable expectations have been utterly frustrated. The schedules, instead of being abolished, have been increased. The powers of altering the appropriations in these schedules, conferred on the colonial legislature by this new enactment, limited as these powers are, have been, in effect, nullified by the subsequent instructions of the colonial minister. The exploded fallacies of the Wakefield theory are still clung to; the pernicious Land Sales Act (5 and 6 Vict., cap. 36) is still maintained in all its integrity; and thousands of our fellow-countrymen (in consequence of the undue price put by that mischievous and impolitic enactment upon-our waste lands, in defiance of the precedents of the United States, of Canada, and the other North American colonies, and even of the neighbouring colony of the Cape of Good Hope) are annually diverted from our shores, and thus forced against their will to seek a home for themselves and their children in the backwoods of America. Nor is this all. Our territorial revenue, diminished as it is by this insane policy, is in a great measure confined to the introduction among us of people unsuited to our wants, in many instances the outpourings of the poorhouses and unions of the United Kingdom; instead of being applied, as it ought to be, in directing to our colony a stream of vigorous and efficient labour, calculated to elevate the character of our industrial population. The bestowal of offices among us, with but partial exceptions, is still exercised by or at the nomination of the colonial minister, and without reference to the just and paramount claims of the colonists, as if the colony itself were but the fief of that minister. The salaries of the officers of the customs and all other departments of government mentioned in the schedules are placed beyond our control; and the only result of this new enactment, ushered as it was into Parliament by the Prime Minister himself with so much parade, and under the pretence of conferring upon us enlarged powers of self-government, and treating us, at last, as an integral portion of the British empire, is, that all the material powers exercised for centuries by the House of Commons are still withheld from us. That our loyalty and our desire for the maintenance of proper order are so far distrusted that we are not permitted to vote our own civil list, lest it might prove inadequate to the necessities of the public service. That our waste lands, and our territorial revenue, for which her Majesty is but a trustee, instead of being spontaneously surrendered as an equivalent for such civil list, is still reserved, to our great detriment, to swell the patronage and power of the ministers of the crown.

"Thus circumstanced, we feel that on the eve of this council's dissolution, and as the closing act of our legislative existence, no other course is open to us but to enter on our journals our solemn declaration, protest, and remonstrance, as well against the Act of Parliament itself (13 and 14 Vict., cap. 59) as against the instruction of the minister by which the small power of retrenchment that act confers on the colonial legislature has been thus overridden; and to bequeath the redress of the grievances, which we have been unable to effect by constitutional means, to the Legislative Council by which we are about to be succeeded."

It would be easy to prove to those who were unacquainted with the political history of New South Wales that these grievances are for the most part imaginary; for in theory the colonists have almost all the rights claimed, and against granting them those they have not there are plausible theoretical objections.

For instance they have nearly the same control in theory over the customs department that we have; but as the officers are appointed in England by a board distant sixteen thousand miles, and paid out of a fund over which the colonists have no control, it may easily be imagined that they find it difficult to regulate the due execution of the duties of a department which has been almost too powerful for the merchants of London with all their parliamentary influence close at hand. It is true that here the salaries and cost of collection are deducted from the gross revenues, and so far the Australian rule follows the bad British precedent; but here the ministers who refuse to redress an administrative grievance may be turned out of office—there the advisers of the governor are irremovable.

So too there are theoretical reasons for making the salaries of the principal officers permanent, but the colonists remonstrating had in their view instances in which they had been compelled to pay Masters in Equity and prothonotaries, thrust upon them against their will.

There is no question that to confine patronage to colonists would be to shut out much talent and learning from the colony; but the remonstrants were thinking of a whole line of incapables and insolvents who had been provided for by the British minister at the expense of the colony.

Again, it is desirable that in certain cases the imperial government should have the power of vetoing colonial legislation; but the remonstrants were thinking of instances then recent in which that power had been exercised in a most injurious manner,—as for instance, in the "Wool Lien Act."

We need not pursue further the particulars of a contest which has died away, not without leaving some ill-healed scars, under the conciliating policy of Earl Grey's successors and the hilarious prosperity of the gold discoveries.

We have mentioned enough to prove that the discontents of the colonists of New South Wales were not excited by imaginary causes, but had their source in real and chiefly in taxing grievances—the sort of grievance, next to an interference with his personal liberty, which troubles the Englishman most acutely.

It is quite certain that the colonists were not always in the right; sometimes in their contests with the Colonial Office they were very much in the wrong,—just as we in England are subject to political and commercial aberrations; but in order to form anything like an apology for Earl Grey's unpopularity in Australia we must assume that he was infallible—that he knew better than any colonist what was good for the colony; and that therefore he was justified in ruling a transmarine dependency, peopled by an English race, on principles that no minister dare apply to Yorkshire or Lancashire.

In the midst of the first session of the new Colonial Parliaments, all political contests, internal and external, were cast into the shade by the gold discoveries: land question, convict question, taxation question, all were absorbed by the digging up of gold, over which flocks and herds had long been carelessly driven. The year 1850 found New South Wales with 200,000 free people, an export of £2,899,600, an import of £2,078,300, and 7,000,000 sheep—a surplus revenue and an annual demand for labour—nominal freedom of self-government, actual restriction from legislation on every vital interest. Who can say in what condition, social and political, 1860 will find the felon colony of 1788?



{Page 199}



1835 TO 1850.

In the year 1834 Victoria, or Port Phillip, was a desert, barely known to Europeans except by the reports of wandering shore parties of whalers and sealers. In the year 1852 nearly two hundred thousand inhabitants, six millions of fine-woolled sheep, a city furnished with many of the luxuries if not the comforts of civilised life, two thriving ports crowded with ships, steam-boats, and coasters, farms, gardens, and vineyards, attested the colonising vigour of the English race, the advantages of its soil and climate, and, not least, of administrative and legislative neglect; for Port Phillip attained all its solid prosperity without the aid of colonising companies or acts of Parliament, or governors or regiments, or any of the complicated machinery with which sham colonies are bolstered up, and real colonies are so often encumbered.

A small band of experienced colonists, a succession of flocks and herds from the opposite coast, a magistrate, a few policemen and customs officers, then a sort of deputy-governor under the modest name of superintendent—these were found sufficient for building up the most flourishing dependency of the British crown, without calling on the home country for a single shilling.

The history of Port Phillip is singularly barren of incident, and may be comprised in a very few pages, while volumes might be filled with the moving accidents which have chequered the career of colonies which have not attained, and are not likely to attain, one-tenth of its wealth and importance as a field for British labour and capital.

In 1798, Bass, in the course of his whale-boat expedition, visited Western Port, one of the harbours of Victoria. In 1802 Flinders sailed into Port Phillip Bay, having been preceded ten weeks previously by Lieutenant John Murray, of the Lady Nelson.

In 1803 Lieutenant Governor Collins, who held the office of judge-advocate under Governor Phillip in the first colony, and on his return to England in 1796 had published an "Account of New South Wales," was sent out with H. M. ships Calcutta and Ocean with detachments of royal marines, a number of free settlers, and several hundred prisoners to found a settlement at Port Phillip, where, having sailed on April 27th, he arrived October 3rd. The expedition disembarked on the southern shore of the bay, where the beach was unfavourable for landing, and there was no fresh water. It is evident, from a narrative published by one of the party,* that from the first Colonel Collins ** had no earnest desire to form a settlement at Port Phillip: he had heard glowing accounts of the beauty and fertility of the opposite shores of Van Diemen's Land, and, after a very cursory survey, he decided on removing thither. In the course of a walk round the bay, undertaken by the officers of the ship, they found "on the eastern shore, twenty-eight miles from the entrance, a stream of water emptying itself into the port." "The bed of the stream is covered with folicacious mica, which our people first conceived to be gold-dust." At the present day we cannot be so sure that it was mica. According to an account given in a Tasmanian almanack, which does not agree with that of Lieutenant Tuckey, the expedition remained at Port Phillip from 3rd Oct. to 30th January. If that were so, it is difficult to understand how the great natural advantages of Port Phillip could have escaped the observation of two ships' crews.

[* Lieutenant Tuckey's Voyage in H. M. S. Calcutta, to found a Settlement in Bass's Straits. 1803-4."]

[** Colonel David Collins was the grandson of Arthur Collins, author of the Peerage of England, which was afterwards continued by Sir Egerton Brydges. He was a Lieutenant of Marines in the Southampton frigate in 1772, when Matilda, Queen of Denmark, took refuge on board. He afterwards fought at the battle of Bunker's Hill, under his father, General Collins: he died in Van Diemen's Land.]

During their encampment on the shores of Port Phillip three of the convicts escaped into the interior: one of them was William Buckley, a native of Macclesfield, who had been a grenadier, served under the Duke of York in Flanders, and had been transported for striking his superior officer.

Previous to the arrival of Collins, Mr. Charles Grimes, the surveyor-general of the colony, had completed the marine survey of Flinders by making an outline of the harbour, where he reported the existence of the river now known as the Yarra Yarra, or "ever-flowing water."

In 1824 Messrs. Hume and Hovell, two stockowners of New South Wales, made an expedition to explore new pastures, and, travelling from near Lake George four hundred miles, in the course of which they traversed the flanks of the Australian Alps, and crossed three rivers, which they named the Hume, the Ovens, and the Goulburn, emerged on shores which they imagined to be those of Western Port; but there is now little doubt that they had really reached the western arm of Port Phillip Bay, near the site of the port of Geelong. In looking at a map of the Melbourne district a spot will be found marked Mount Disappointment, about thirty miles from Melbourne. It was this hill that the weary travellers climbed, calculating that from its summit they would behold the sea. They were right in the direction, and a long line of coast and a stretch of the finest sheep plains lay in a line before them; but, unfortunately, lofty broad-boled trees hid everything from their longing eyes, and they descended sad and disheartened.

It would seem as if there had been a spell over this fortunate land which guarded its wealth from the discovery of a series of explorers, from Cook to Hovell and Hume.

Mr. Hovell was afterwards employed by the government to form a settlement at Western Port, which, however, was soon abandoned; and the fine pastoral country traversed in the course of his journey with Mr. Hume excited little attention, in consequence of the discovery, about the same time, of Brisbane Downs, better known as Maneroo, which were more accessible from the previously-occupied districts.

In 1834 Messrs. Henty, engaged in the whaling trade at Launceston in Van Diemen's Land, formed a branch establishment at Portland Bay, and soon afterwards imported a few sheep and cattle to feed on the splendid pastures which there, unlike the other districts of Australia, carpetted the shores almost to the water's edge; and in the same year other flockowners from Van Diemen's Land crossed the straits to Port Phillip.


Already the Tasmanians had found the pastures of their island, covered as the greater portion of it is by inaccessible mountains and forests of gigantic timber, too limited for the annual increase of their flocks. The reports of the pastoral resources of the opposite shore became a constant subject for discussion; and in April, 1835, a party of settlers formed themselves into an association,* for the purpose of taking possession of an estate in Port Phillip; but before they could execute their project Mr. John Batman, a blacksmith, born in New South Wales, but then visiting Van Diemen's Land, secretly set sail from Launceston, accompanied by a party of tame blacks from the neighbourhood of Sydney, landed in the middle of May, and, through his native interpreter, entered into an arrangement with the Port Phillip aborigines for the purchase of some of their land; returned to Van Diemen's Land, and, again crossing the straits with a store of goods, induced the savages to put their marks to a deed prepared by a Tasmanian lawyer, which purported to transfer a large tract of land, altogether about half a million acres, in consideration of certain blankets and tomahawks. This transaction, like all similar purchases from hunting tribes, was mere child's play. The aborigines of Australia have no idea of cultivation, and consequently no idea of possession of land or anything else. They accepted Batman's blankets, tobacco, 203 flour, tomahawks, &c., and only understood that by that payment he became their ally.

[* The association consisted of Messrs. S. and N. Jackson, Fawkner, Marr, Evans, and Lancy.]

Batman selected the site of his future manor-house at Indented Head. Thence he soon beheld the approach of the ships of the Association whom, by his rapid proceedings, he had forestalled in the honour of founding the future Victoria.

It is said, we know not with what truth, that he mounted his horse, and, galloping down to the beach, warned them off his estate. Perhaps, in 1950, a young Victorian painter may assemble crowds in the Melbourne National Gallery, to see "Batman warning the intruders from Port Phillip Bay."

Some of the party, awed by his legal threats, retired inland, and set their flocks to feed on land they eventually acquired. Mr. John Pascoe Fawkner, a name still well known in Victoria, with more obstinacy and good fortune, took up a position on the northern banks of the Yarra, overlooking the spot where a natural ledge divided the salt tide from the fresh river at the ebb, above a natural basin, which has since, by the aid of masonry, been converted into a port for the city of Melbourne, open to vessels and steamers of two hundred tons.

Batman had previously addressed a letter to Colonel Arthur, the Governor of Van Diemen's Land, in which he informed him of his proceedings; described the country he had explored in glowing but not exaggerated terms; and requested the support of his excellency in his schemes of colonisation, and for the civilisation of the natives. Colonel Arthur transmitted copies of Batman's letter, and all the documents connected with his alleged purchase from the natives, to the Colonial Office; expressed his decided opinion that the settlement of Port Phillip would form a useful outlet for the settlers of Van Diemen's Land; and that Mr. Batman, "whose conduct had been marked by humanity as well as enterprise," was deserving of a grant of land, although his purchase, as he had already informed him, was clearly illegal.

Lord Aberdeen, and his successor, Lord Glenelg, followed the unfortunate course which has almost invariably been adopted by our colonial ministers. They began by saying no, and in a very short period were obliged to say yes—to acknowledge a fact!

Lord Aberdeen in December, 1834, and Lord Glenelg in July, 1835, wrote elaborate despatches, the one against the occupation of Twofold Bay, the outlet to Brisbane Downs, or Maneroo, as it is now called, on the borders of Port Phillip, as recommended by Sir Richard Bourke, and the other against the occupation of Port Phillip, as recommended by Colonel Arthur, objecting to measures "the consequence of which would be to spread over a still further extent of country a population which it was the object of the land regulations to concentrate," and declining, on the ground of "expense to the mother country, and danger to the natives and settlers," to sanction the proceedings of Batman and his associates.

But before the despatches were unsealed the thing was done. Mother Partington's mop was not more powerful to stop the Atlantic than paper proclamations to arrest the march of Australian settlers with sheep and lambs in sight of "fresh fields and pastures new."

On the one hand, shepherds and stockmen were spreading overland, following their flock from pasture to pasture toward Port Phillip; on the other, a Port Phillip fever seized the Tasmanians, and they crowded across the straits like the patriarchs of old, with tents and all their woolly possessions.

"We went down," says a lady, who was then a little child, "to see the six adventurers embark for Port Phillip, with the same feeling as if it had been Cortez or Pizarro; but very soon there was the same universal rush for Port Phillip that there is now for the gold-diggings."

It was while one of these early parties was landing from boats near the future site of Melbourne that they saw, amid a tribe of natives sitting under a tree, with all the arms and tokens of a chief, a man of large limbs and gigantic stature, lighter-coloured than his companions, as well as could be distinguished through tan, paint, and dirt. He stared hard at the strangers, and seemed muttering to himself; then, rising, he approached, and addressed them in a strange jargon, in which a few words of English were distinguishable. It was Buckley, one of the convicts who had escaped from the party of Colonel Collins, and, after thirty-two years' sojourning with the aborigines, again found himself among his countrymen.

He had forgotten his native tongue, and had assumed all the habits of his savage companions, among whom he was a chief by virtue of his superior stature and strength.* He at once joined the colonists, gradually re-acquired the English tongue, and exercised very useful influence over his late subjects. Colonel Arthur, the Governor of Van Diemen's Land, granted him a free pardon, and, as it was disagreeable to him to remain in the scene of his savage life, he became a constable in Van Diemen's Land.

[* Buckley was six feet seven inches in height.]

But either some original infirmity or long absence from civilised social life had impaired his intellect, and he rarely and unwillingly conversed on the events of his extraordinary career. There is reason to believe that he and his tribe never wandered more than forty miles inland from the shores of the bay.

When, in June, 1836, a magistrate, Mr. Stewart, despatched by Sir Richard Bourke, arrived to assert her Majesty's rights, and to announce the invalidity of all purchases from the aborigines, he found the country already occupied, and the work of colonisation steadily proceeding. Nearly two hundred men had arrived from Van Diemen's Land, and were settled around the estuary of Port Phillip; 35,000 sheep, under the charge of strong armed parties, with a number of horned cattle and horses, were spread for many miles over the site of the present Ballarat gold-fields, each party seeking to appropriate as large a run as possible.

Until very recently, on the station of Messrs. Jackson, at Saltwater River, was to be seen one of the great bells, mounted on a lofty frame, which used to be rung from station to station to summon assistance when an attack from the blacks was anticipated.

In the same year Sir Thomas Mitchell re-explored and surveyed the overland route from Xew South Wales, part of which had been traversed by Messrs. Hovell and Hume, and described the fine plains of Victoria, to which he gave the name of Australia Felix—"the better to distinguish it from the parched deserts of the interior country, where we had wandered so unprofitably and so long." ** He then discovered and named Mount Byng, the hill since become world-famous as Mount Alexander.

[** Mitchell's "Australia Felix."]

The publication of this report in the colonial and English papers, and afterwards of Sir T. Mitchell's travels, fanned up the flame of the Port Phillip fever, and very soon, along the overland route, pool after pool was drunk dry by the thousands of stock marching on to the promised land.

In April, 1837, Sir Richard Bourke visited the new colony, and gave directions for laying out the town of Melbourne on two hills, East and West Hill, sloping down to the banks of the River Yarra. In June the first land sale took place, and speculation commenced, and did not cease until it ended in wide-spread insolvency in 1841 and 1842.

The steady course of depending on their increase of flocks and herds was abandoned; all but a few went into town speculations and country lots; village sites were laid out in all directions, some of which remain projects or miserable hamlets to this hour. Emigrants crowded in from all parts of Great Britain. At Hobson's Bay, the entrance to the Yarra, more than one hundred three-masted ships were to be seen at anchor at one time. Labour rose to an enormous price; brickmakers earned 8s. a day; the common four-pound loaf was sold for 3s. 6d.; and mere huts were let at the rate of £100 a year. Meantime, fortunately, the living pastoral treasures of Australia came pouring in, and increased and multiplied on the fine downs and grass-covered hills, while some wise, hard-working settlers devoted themselves to agriculture.

During this period the Port Phillip district was nominally under the government of the central authority at Sydney, but in reality the people governed themselves, with the help of a magistrate and a few policemen, while a neighbouring colony of the same date was enjoying all the costly magnificence of elaborate government machinery.

In 1839 C. J. La Trobe, Esq., the present governor, was appointed superintendent of Port Phillip district, with an authority little more than nominal, as the surveys, post-office, customs, &c., were managed by subordinates responsible to the chief departments at Sydney; and even up to 1839 the sales of rural land took place at Sydney.

The centralisation of authority in a distant city, having different interests, and the appropriation of funds derived from Port Phillip land sales to emigration into Sydney district, were long subjects of grievance on which, as they have been redressed, it is not necessary to dwell.

When representative institutions were conceded to New South Wales, six representatives were apportioned to the Port Phillip district; but it was soon found impossible to find that number of colonists able and willing to live for six months of the year six hundred miles away from their estates; and for several sessions before 1850 the Port Phillippians virtually declined to elect representatives.

In 1842 Melbourne obtained a municipal corporation, under 5 and 6 Victoria, c. 76. Victoria has, however, never been a penal colony, although long and still suffering from the overflowings of the felonry of Van Diemen's Land.

It would not serve any useful purpose to record the struggles of Port Phillip to obtain an independent existence as a separate colony, now that the question has been finally settled.

The general quality of the soil in Port Phillip has given the settlers an advantage over land purchasers in less fertile districts of Australia, and the absence of an expensive local government has enabled the colonists to escape a local debt like that which so long weighed down South Australia.

In fact the brief history of Port Phillip proves how much more safely, successfully, and inexpensively colonies may be planted by colonists than by enthusiastic amateurs and speculating companies.

In 1852 the assembling of the first Legislative Council of Victoria marked the commencement of a new era of independence and prosperity, crowned by the golden discoveries at Ballarat and Mount Alexander.


{Page 208}



1835 TO 1851.

Lord Alvanley, stopping at a country inn, met Beau Brummel's valet descending the stairs with an armful of crumpled clean cravats. "Pray," he inquired, "what are those?" "These, my lord," replied the valet, "are my master's failures." When the Beau emigrated to Calais, amongst other creditors, he owed an enormous bill to his laundress.

South Australia was the first, as Canterbury, in New Zealand, was the last, of Mr. Edward Gibbon Wakefield's colonising failures—failures which have been tried at the expense of every class of capitalist. But, his credit being now exhausted, it seems as if he would end his days without a good fit, thus, sharing the fate of other unfortunate philosophers and financiers, like Law, Owen, Cabet, and Louis Blanc, with this difference, that those gentlemen all sacrificed something to their theories—they lost fortune, or character, or country; but Mr. Wakefield, while his disciples have suffered in purse and in person, has contrived to patch up a character originally much damaged, and build a living, if not a fortune, out of a series of bubbles.

In 1829 Mr. Wakefield's charming little book, which was analysed in Chapter IX., with its really ingenious theory and really desirable aims—good wages, large profits, and complete civilisation took the active world by storm; and no sooner was the serious business of carrying the Reform Bill completed, than a society was formed for carrying it into practical effect.

The extraordinary success with which this theory was received at home, although opposed by every intelligent colonist, may be traced to the skilful manner in which it combined the interests and conciliated the prejudices of the legislative and middle as well as the executive class. The capitalist for the first time saw himself painted as an injured victim, and presented with a new field for ample profits; the ratepayer was charmed at the idea of getting rid of an unlimited number of paupers; the educated gentleman hoped to live on his 20,000 with all the state, dignity, and luxury, physical and intellectual, that a landed estate of £100,000 confers in England or Scotland. The adventurous of the middle class dwelt on the charms of distinction which would be open to them in a new colony; while to ardent politicians and essayists, who in 1830 were for the most part deeply dissatisfied with all our ancient institutions, the idea of becoming founders and modellers of a model commonwealth was truly delightful. Even the government was eventually conciliated by the prospect of additional patronage which a new colony presented.

In 1831 Major Bacon, a fellow-soldier in the Spanish Legion with Colonel Wakefield, brother to the theorist, appears to have opened negotiations at the Colonial Office, then under Lord Goderich, for establishing a chartered colony in some part of Australia; and in 1832 these negotiations had so far progressed that a provisional committee of the South Australian Land Company had been formed, with Colonel Torrens, then one of the proprietors of the Globe newspaper, as its chairman, with a proposed capital of £50,000.

In a letter dated 9th July, 1832, Colonel Torrens transmitted a draft of the charter suggested by his committee, and drawn under the instructions of Mr. Wakefield. On perusing this draft Lord Goderich curtly closed the negotiation, on the ground that "it would virtually transfer to the company the sovereignty of a vast unexplored territory; that it would encroach upon the limits of the existing colonies of New South Wales and Western Australia; that the charter would invest the company, with powers of legislation, of erecting courts, of appointing judges, of raising and commanding militia; that all the powers of the company, involving in their practical effects the sovereign dominion of the whole territory, would be transferred to a popular assembly, which would be to erect within the British monarchy a government purely republican; and that the company would be receivers of large sums of money, for the due application of which they do not propose to give any specific security."

When the promoters offered to modify their plan they were informed, "that the views entertained by the proposed company are not sufficiently precise and determined to lead his lordship to apprehend that any advantage will arise from continuing a correspondence that has for some time been going on."

In 1833 another association was formed, and the chairman, W. W. Whitmore, Esq., M.P., opened negotiations with the present Earl of Derby, then Under Secretary for the Colonies. He proposed to found a colony on the site where it was eventually planted, to sell land at 5s. an acre ("this will ensure the concentration of settlers in proportion to the price at which land is sold"), and devote the proceeds to the conveyance of young pauper labourers of both sexes in equal numbers. The company to have a million acres at 5s. an acre. "On this land they will perform such works as they may deem expedient, with a view to attract population thereto, while government will sell in an entirely unimproved state the land not purchased by the company to any individuals desirous of purchasing it."

This association, which contemplated fame and patronage rather than profit, included George Grote, the eminent historian of Greece; William Hutt, afterwards Governor of Western Australia; Henry Bulwer, since an Ambassador and K.C.B.; Colonel Torrens; H. G. Ward, since Governor of the Ionian Islands and K.C.B.; J. A. Roebuck; Sir William Molesworth; Benjamin Hawes, since Colonial Under Secretary; and Edward Strutt, since Chief Commissioner of Railways.

This negotiation also failed. Mr. Gibbon Wakefield's charter was not approved.

While approving of the plan of colonisation suggested as regarded the disposal of land, Mr. Secretary Stanley insisted that the government of the colony should be left in the hands of the crown until such tune as it was able to govern itself.*

[* Letter from John Lefevre, Esq., to W. W. Whitmore, Esq., M.P., dated Downing-street, 17 March, 1834.]

After receiving this communication the South Australian Association decided to continue their operations for the purpose of forming a crown colony, provided that, by Act of Parliament, provision were made for the permanent establishment of the mode of disposing of waste land, and of the purchase-money of such land, devised by Mr. Gibbon Wakefield.

Before the negotiation concluded Mr. Stanley resigned. Mr. Spring Rice (now Lord Monteagle) became Secretary for the Colonies. Under his administration an act was passed, in the session of 1834, substantially embodying the terms agreed upon with Mr. Stanley, by which the present province of South Australia was established, the minimum price of land fixed at 12s. an acre, and the business of colonisation was placed in the hands of a body of commissioners.

Lord Aberdeen having become Secretary for the Colonies, eight commissioners were selected from the members of the South Australian Association, and gazetted May, 1835, Colonel Torrens being appointed chairman, because, as he stated in his letter of application, he had "more knowledge of the object and principles of the proposed colony than any of the other gentlemen willing to act."

It is important to note that, although the Colonial Office refused to permit the foundation of a chartered colony, in which the government and responsibility would have been in the hands of the colonisers, from first to last the personal friends and pupils of Mr. Wakefield had the sole control of every arrangement and the selection of every officer, and that every step was taken under the advice of Mr. Gibbon Wakefield, who was a constant attendant at the rooms of the association in the Adelphi.

The commissioners first offered the post of governor to the present distinguished General (then Colonel) Charles James Napier; but on being refused a small body of troops as police, and power to draw on the British government for money in case of need, he declined the dangerous honour, observing, with wise prescience, "While sufficient security exists for the supply of labour in the colony, and even forces that supply, there does not appear to be any security that the supply of capital will be sufficient to employ that labour." Thus South Australia lost an active governor, and India obtained a great general. Of two governors subsequently appointed, one was compelled to overdraw £400,000, and the next obtained a company of soldiers in lieu of an expensive police. The commissioners then selected as governor Captain Hindmarsh, R.N., a distinguished naval-officer, now Sir John Hindmarsh, Governor of Heligoland, and Colonel Light as chief officer of the survey department; Mr. Fisher, as resident commissioner; Mr. Robert Gouger, the editor of the "Letter from Sydney" and secretary of the South Australian Association, as colonial secretary—in all seventeen appointments, including two attorneys, and an unsuccessful merchant, "who had been found useful to the commission in selling land and raising money." The parties selected seem to have been studiously chosen for their innocence of all colonial, official, and agricultural experience.

While the political steps for founding the model colony were progressing, means for agitating the public mind in favour of emigration, on the new principle, to the unknown territory selected by the South Australian Association had not been neglected.

The theory propounded in the "Letter from Sydney" had been repeated and enlarged upon in a work called "England and America," and in a multitude of pamphlets, reviews in newspapers, speeches, and lectures. The active world began to believe that a political philosopher's stone had been discovered.

A newspaper, the South Australian Gazette, was published in London, with the view of being transplanted to the new colony as soon as a hut could be found for its reception; while the most influential daily and weekly organs re-echoed the statements and conclusions which received the admiring assent of all parties. Anything in the shape of opposition, or even doubtful criticism, from persons of colonial experience, was greeted with the utmost degree of scorn and contempt. They were hissed down, unheard, as the most stupid or jealously envious of mortals. The friends of Mr. Wakefield's theory had, from the first taken it for granted that nothing but the basest motives could induce any one to hesitate in accepting their panacea for colonial ills, and they had the same advantage in attacking the Colonial Office that a quack like Morison or Holloway has in ridiculing a venerable, high-charging, pill-and-potion, bleed-and-blister practitioner of the old bag-wig school.

A small book, published in 1834, entitled "The New British Province of South Australia, with an account of the Principles, Objects, Plan, and Prospects of the colony," one of scores of the same tendency which appeared about the same time, is a favourable and temperate specimen and the ingenious literary agitation which Mr. Wakefield perfected, if he did not invent. This work, adorned with maps, a picture of a bay, with palm trees and an emu, commences with an extract from one of Archbishop Whately's speeches, which now sounds excessively absurd, but which was then received with enthusiasm:—

"A colony so founded would fairly represent English society: every new comer would have his own class to fall into, and to whatever class he belonged he would find its relation to the others, and the support derived from the others much the same as in the parent country. There would be little more revolting to the feelings of an emigrant than if he had merely shifted his residence from Sussex to Cumberland or Devonshire."

And then, after devoting many pages to disparaging all other colonies and systems of colonisation, and promising a supply of labour and a state of refinement equal to that of an old colony, a considerable space is devoted to a description of the proposed country, particularly "Kangaroo Island," and its resources, with a list of probable exports. Seldom have more errors been propagated in so few pages, in so formal, so positive, and so pompous a manner. Out of five pages of tabulated exports only one, "wool," has been obtained, and that, not as promised, in greater, but in less quantities than in the older colonies. The means of communication promised by the seacoast, the Lake Alexandria, and the River Murray, remain unused to this hour, and Kangaroo Island is still a solitary waste.

A day in Adelaide at any time, from the founding of the city down to the time when the last ship left the port, would show how absurdly the following premises have been falsified:—

"The price of land will take out the labourers free of cost to their employer, and will enable him to retain their services. It will be the first colony combining plenty of labour and plenty of land." "The large produce of industry, divided in the shape of high profits and high wages, will not only make living high, but will cause the interest of money to be high, and will thus enable persons owning, money, without engaging in any work, to obtain much larger and more effective incomes than their property yields in England; and will furnish a demand for such persons as surveyors, architects, engineers, clerks, teachers, lawyers, and clergymen."

These were the inducements held out with eminent success to tempt men most unfit for the toil of early colonisation to emigrate to a colony which was to be founded, not by slow degrees, but complete. The land was to be sold in England, at such a fixed price as would, by preventing labourers from becoming landowners "too soon," preserve a "hired labour price," and secure high profits on good wages. The proceeds of the land sold were to be applied to supplying labourers with free passages, and thus a complete section of all the ranks and classes composing the parent state was to be transplanted, full grown, to the antipodes.

In the commencement the commissioners found difficulty in selling the quantity of land and raising a sufficient amount of the loan of £200,000, at £10 per cent., authorised by the government. But eventually these difficulties were overcome by the active assistance of Mr. G. F. Angas, and Mr. John Wright, the once eminent and afterwards notorious banker of Covent Garden.

Mr. Angas resigned his post as commissioner, and formed the South Australian Company, which commenced operations by purchasing a large quantity of land from the commissioners with certain special privileges. A sum of £30,000 completed the preliminary financial operations, and the first part of the colonising career of South Australia commenced.

The South Australian Company, which had obtained special privileges in consideration of their large and early purchase, lost no time in sending out a pioneer expedition, with emigrants and officers, to make preparations for carrying on every kind of pursuit considered likely to be profitable in a colony—farming, sheep-feeding, banking, building, and whaling. We may mention here that after an experience of eleven years the company have found reason to subside into the humble but more profitable position of absentee landholders and land jobbers.

Colonel Light was despatched by the commissioners in March, 1836, and a surveying staff and a few emigrants; and when he arrived at the appointed rendezvous in Nepean Bay, on the 19th August, he found three vessels of the South Australian Company, which had brought a body of emigrants who were settled on Kangaroo Island; and in November the Africaine arrived with the colonial secretary, a banking association, and a newspaper.

In July Captain Hindmarsh, the governor, sailed in the Buffalo, a vessel of war, with a number of emigrants.

All this was done before the commissioners had received any report as to the suitability of the district selected for supporting emigrants. Kangaroo Island, which had figured largely in prospectuses and speeches, was found to be unfit for colonisation, after time and money had been wasted by emigrants and the company in building and clearing.

Colonel Light landed in the Gulf of St. Vincent, and after a survey fixed upon the site of the present city of Adelaide for the capital, and the present Port Adelaide for its harbour. It was then a narrow, rather shallow creek, about as wide as the Thames at Richmond, leading out of St. Vincent's Gulf. The landing was in a mangrove swamp, seven miles from the intended capital. Wharves, deep dredging, a solid road, and other improvements have now transformed the mangrove creek into a good harbour, not inconveniently distant from the capital, to which it will be soon united by a railway.

Governor Hindmarsh arrived on 28th of December, 1836, read his commission under a gum tree, in presence of about two hundred emigrants and officials; and then, looking round, felt extremely dissatisfied with the selection made by the resident commissioner and the surveyor-general. That he should have been dissatisfied with a selection which placed the capital in a picturesque but hot valley far from a port, and without the use of a navigable river, and that he should as a sailor have been forcibly impressed with the fearful cost of landing and conveying cargoes to the interior from such a harbour, is not extraordinary; nevertheless experience has proved that the site was as good as any that could have been chosen, and art has corrected the defects of nature. Governor Hindmarsh attempted to change the site of Adelaide. Differences of a serious character arose between him and the resident commissioner: the colony became divided into two parties, one of which supported the governor and the other the resident commissioner. Both parties were greatly to blame. Lord Glenelg settled the question by. acceding to the request of the commissioners and recalling Captain Hindmarsh. In the sequel the site of the capital to which Captain Hindmarsh had objected was retained, and almost all the officials, from whom he had experienced most vexatious and insolent opposition, were found either incompetent or corrupt, and dismissed by his successor.*

[* The most serious evils that befel the South Australian colonists arose from the precipitancy with which emigrants were sent out, before the surveyor-general had reported whether the country was fit for settlement, and before any preparation had been made, by roads, wharves, barracks, conveyances, surveys, and importation of live stock, for employing or feeding emigrants, But it seems part of the system to care rather for producing a sensation of doing business in England than for the welfare of the emigrants. The same error was committed at Wellington, in New Zealand, where, with a shipload of colonists going they knew not where, Colonel Wakefield was obliged to settle at Wellington—a fine harbour shut out by inaccessible mountains from the adjoining country. Even expensive military roads have not yet opened out land enough to feed the town population; and two secondary settlements at Wanganui, distant 100 miles, and New Plymouth were formed in order to obtain the quantity of land sold in England. On a second occasion Nelson was chosen without proper survey, where, in order to find land enough, two thousand colonists are obliged to spread over 150 miles of coast. Even in founding Canterbury, Mr. Wakefield had influence enough to persuade the directors to send out, at an enormous useless extra expense, a fleet of four large ships half filled, to the great inconvenience of the first colonists, in order to make a sensation in the English newspapers. The expedient failed.]


To replace Captain Hindmarsh the commissioners recommended and secured the appointment of Lieutenant-Colonel George Gawler. At the same time that Colonel Gawler was appointed governor he was also made resident commissioner—vice Mr. Fisher,—dismissed and thus united in his own person all the administrative powers of the colony.

In order to obtain money to commence operations, before the colony had been surveyed or even settled, the commissioners issued "preliminary orders," as a bonus to the first purchasers and colonists, at £72 12s. each, which entitled the purchaser to select, in a rotation settled by lottery, 120 acres of country land, and one acre in the intended capital of the intended colony. This capital city, before discovery or survey, was settled by the commissioners to consist of 1,200 acres, or nearly nine square miles—a space sufficient to accommodate the population of Westminster. As soon as the capital, Adelaide, had been selected and mapped, the holders of preliminary orders, forming the first body of colonists, selected their sections, and the whole surplus was put up for auction to the colonists, "as a reward for their enterprise," and sold at an average rate of £2 per acre. Thus, more than ten times the space that has ever been required was turned into and perpetually dedicated to building land. From that moment the great object of the first colonists became to puff, magnify, and sell to future colonists their building land in Adelaide. No crop was so profitable as land left in a state of nature, but called and sold for a street.

The first operation having been performed, by which the future site of what was intended to be a great city had been transferred into the hands of a few persons, chiefly consisting of the friends of the commissioners and the officials of the South Australian Company, the next was to sell as much land as possible in England, by giving English purchasers a decided advantage over those who, nevertheless intending to emigrate, declined to buy a pig in a poke.

Accordingly land orders were issued at 80 each, which entitled the holder to select eighty acres of country land in the order dictated by the date of payment. Thus, when any particularly desirable plot of land was brought into the market, a speculation arose to discover and purchase the oldest "order" in the colony. A class of Adelaide brokers arose who dealt in and professed to put a value on these "scrip," according to their respective dates. Sometimes an emigrant who had been months in the colony would be superseded by the holder of the land order of an absentee sent at the latest moment by ship letter. It was a foreshadowing of the railway stagging of 1846, and a revival of the famous days of the South Sea Bubble. On one occasion the supposed discovery of a lead mine, under an eighty-acre section, sent up the earliest-dated order to a premium of £500. After all there was no lead mine; but the lucky purchaser, being in command of the market made use of a later order, and reserved his £500 prize for future use.

After five days of the week had been consumed by those who purchased "land orders" in England in selecting the best sections, on the sixth the colonising emigrant who had preferred seeing before investing, or the frugal labourer who had saved enough to work for himself on his own land, was allowed to take his pick of the refuse. Such parties were required to send in a sealed tender. A person tendering for several adjoining sections had the preference over a person tendering for a single section. Thus, in every way, the cultivating colonist was discouraged, and land-jobbing speculation invited.

That no element of confusion might be wanting in the land arrangements of the model colony, the commissioners devised, and Mr. Wakefield approved, the "special survey system," which enabled them to raise large sums of money, by offering special privileges to capitalists; and it proved most effective in England. Under this system a capitalist was entitled to have 15,000 acres surveyed in any part of the province, on condition that he purchased not less than 4,000 acres at £1 an acre. In South Australia, as in New South Wales, there is a great scarcity of water, and good cultivable land lies only in patches surrounded by other land which is, at best, only fit for pasture. By judicious management the purchaser of a special survey could command all the water, and all the pastoral advantages of 15,000 acres, by purchasing 4,000; the remainder, 11,000 acres, being useless to any one else, fell naturally in his occupation, at an average of 5s. 4d. an acre. To increase the mischief, purchasers of special surveys were permitted to establish secondary towns, in addition to Adelaide, which was twenty times too large for the population; while the staff of surveyors were continually interrupted in their regular work, to the great injury of cultivating emigrants, in order to make these special surveys, at an expense often exceeding the total value of the purchase-money.

In a very short time all the good land in the neighbourhood of 217 Adelaide was monopolised by the absentee capitalists and proprietors of the South Australian Company.

In a word, the whole system discouraged the proper pursuits of colonists, and propagated a spirit of land-jobbing, which, by its apparent profits, very soon infected the neighbouring colonies, and bewildered and deceived the merchants, the legislature, and the colonial department of Great Britain.

At an epoch in the existence of an infant state, when the first settlers ought to consist of a few gardeners, a few shepherds, a few farmers, and a few mechanics, with half a dozen men of superior attainments and energy, and plenty of sheep and cattle, and when a village with a wharf was all the town needed, South Australia had nine square miles of building land, a bank, two newspapers, and a population of speculative gentlemen. In England, paragraphs carefully culled from South Australian land sellers' newspapers were circulated as accompaniments to flaming advertisements in the English press, with the lectures and speeches of well-paid agents of the South Australian interest, combined to raise the colonising speculations and movements to fever pitch about the time that Colonel Gawler anchored in St. Vincent's Gulf.

{Page 217}




1838 TO 1841.

Colonel Gawler arrived in South Australia on the 13th October, 1838, and was recalled in May, 1841. Under his administration the colony attained the highest state of external prosperity; the population quadrupled, the port was filled with ships bringing imports and emigrants; public buildings, shops, mansions, and paved roads were constructed on land which four years previously had been desert; wharves and warehouses on a swampy creek, which was converted into a convenient port; ornamental gardens were laid out, farms were cultivated, live stock was imported by thousands, the interior explored, and the whole colony rendered more familiarly and favourably known to the intellectual portion of the British community than any other colony; and under Colonel Gawler the land sales ceased, capital and labour emigrated, insolvency was universal, and the colony, loaded with public and private debt, collapsed more rapidly than it had risen.

The powerful party whose pecuniary interests and personal pride, as colonising philosophers, are alike concerned in upholding the system on which South Australia was founded, have long been in the habit of attributing the rise of that colony to the merits of their system, and its fall to the extravagance of Colonel Crawler; and they have passed uncontradicted, because actual colonists are ill represented in Parliament and the press, and it has not been worth the while of the public to dive into blue books or examine colonial evidence for the truth.*

[* This, true when written, has ceased to be true in 1853, since the failure of Canterbury colony—a failure predicted by the author.]

A very slight examination of the history of South Australia will show that it was what is called the extravagance of Colonel Gawler which caused those sales of land, that export of emigrants, that speculation in building lots and houses which was supposed to be prosperity. If a million sterling had been at the disposal of the governor at the time when, to speak commercially, the colonial government stopped payment, the mania for land-buying might have been continued some time longer, but it must have stopped sooner or later, just as the railway-scrip mania came to an end, because the purchasers and sellers were producing nothing; and no amount of imported population and capital could have made the colony produce enough to pay for its consumption until time had been given to raise some staple article saleable in a foreign market. Wool cannot be produced, like calico or cloth, by steam power; for agricultural produce there was no foreign demand worth mentioning; the existence of mineral wealth was not suspected. When Colonel Gawler resigned his office into the hands of his successor, South Australia was in debt about £400,000, on account of the colonial government; the private debts of the colonists to English merchants were at least as much more. The utmost extent of excess in Colonel Gawler's expenditure was £20,000, or five per cent. on the expenses.

It always takes a considerable time to inoculate the English people with new ideas. About the time that Captain Hindmarsh was recalled and Colonel Gawler sailed, the fruits of skilful agitation began to be reaped by the South Australian Commissioners. No unfavourable accounts of the new colony were allowed to appear in any organ of influence; flourishing reports of the beauty, the fertility, and the commercial importance of the new city were industriously circulated. Colonel Torrens, in lectures he condescended to deliver, stated and believed that the situation of the city of Adelaide would give it the same importance with respect to the valley of the Murray that New Orleans held with respect to the valley of the Mississippi:—the Murray, which in 1851 had not yet been navigated by anything beyond a whaleboat, and which a range of lofty mountains divides from Adelaide! An influential agent in the South Australian interest not only produced a magnificently-coloured plan of the new city, divided into streets and squares, but, by a further stroke of imagination, anchored a 400 ton ship in the Torrens, opposite Government House—the River Torrens being a chain of pools in which the most desperate suicide would ordinarily have difficulty in drowning himself, and across which a child may generally step dryshod!

Thus land was sold, and emigrants were shipped off before the commissioners had time to receive further accounts from their new and trusted governor and commissioner.

Colonel Gawler being an amiable, enthusiastic, simple-minded, yet ambitious man, was dazzled with the idea of becoming the founder of a great, civilised, self-supporting community. He accepted the theories of Mr. Wakefield as solemn, immutable truths, and the calculations of the commissioners as the emanations of the highest financial ability. Confiding in the private assurances of the commissioners, he was most bitterly and cruelly deceived.

Under the original plan of the colony the commissioners had calculated that an annual sum of £10,000, over and above any revenue to be derived from customs or local taxation, would be sufficient to defray all the govermental expenses of South Australia. This calculation was founded on what they hoped to be able to raise, and not on the necessities of the case. In order to make it fit they fixed on an arbitrary number of officials at arbitrary salaries.

The statements made in a despatch written by Colonel Gawler, immediately after his arrival, show that if he had been less zealous to carry out the views of the commissioners and more cautious about his own personal interests, he would have at once brought the progress of colonisation to a stand-still, strictly followed his written instructions, and retired with his private fortune uninjured, to his own profession.

He found the treasury empty—the accounts in confusion. Twelve thousand pounds, being two thousand pounds more than the whole amount authorised to be drawn for in England in the year, had been drawn in the first six months; a large expense was required for the support of emigrants sick of fever and dysentery; provisions, wages, and house rent were enormously high; custom-houses, police-stations, a gaol, and offices for transaction of public business were urgently required; a police establishment, at colonial wages, in the absence of a military force, was indispensable; the commissioners in their calculations had omitted to provide for a postmaster, a sheriff, or a gaoler for letters, debtors, or criminals; the surveys were seriously in arrear; the head of the staff and all his attendants had resigned; the late resident commissioner and accountant-general, the colonial treasurer, and several other officers were found insubordinate, irregular in their accounts, and grossly inefficient; it was necessary to supersede two of them peremptorily—almost immediately; all officials were dissatisfied with low salaries in the face of the high prices of provisions, house rent, &c.; Governor Gawler himself, with Mrs. Gawler, his children, private secretary, and servants, was compelled to occupy a small hut, and expend £1,800 a year whilst receiving a salary of £800. With this imperfect machinery, and an empty treasury, a population of some four or five thousand souls, partly encamped on the site of the city of Adelaide, and partly dispersed in pastoral pursuits over a tract of country one hundred miles long by forty miles broad, instead of being, according to the theories of the commissioners, concentrated on ten square miles, engaged in reproducing English agriculture, had to be governed, customs dues and debts had to be levied, criminals imprisoned, and aborigines repressed.

As to the prospects of the colony, and character of pursuits of the colonists, the inspector of the Australasian Bank at Sydney wrote to his Directors in October, 1818, about the time Governor Gawler landed:—

"I venture to express my fears that the price received for the sale of land will be found insufficient to pay for the transplantation and government of emigrants; and, unless funds be provided by the British government, it will be impossible to provide for the administration of police and law. There appears also to have been a great want of experience and decision in directing the energies of the colonists to that source from which alone they can hope to rise to wealth or prevent themselves from sinking into poverty, until an article of export be produced in considerable quantity; as otherwise the funds of the colonists must be expended in paying for articles of import and luxuries considered as necessaries of life. Wool is the only article of export that can be produced, and on this subject the colonists seem as supine as they have been eager to purchase town allotments and build houses, giving the place what seems to me a false appearance of commercial prosperity. Had it been left to me I should have delayed establishing a branch bank until I could be sure there were at least 100,000 sheep in the settlement, and that provision was made for the efficient administration of the law." *

[* Report of House of Commons on South Australia, 1841, p. 146.]

The new governor, full of colonising enthusiasm and innocent of colonial or commercial experience, was dazzled and deceived by the building activity which had excited the serious apprehensions of the experienced bank manager. He found a. large body of educated, apparently intelligent men, who had encamped on the site of the city of Adelaide, all hopeful, active, speculating, dealing with each other and with each party of newly-arrived emigrants, full of magnificent plans for every sort of investment, in markets, warehouses, arcades, ship-building, and whaling. A bit of painted board nailed to a tree created a Wakefield, a Torrens, an Angas, or Whit-more street. All the notabilities of the South Australian interest were thus immortalised. Each speculator, having so large a space to deal with, endeavoured to draw the tide of trade or fashion into his own locality, and thus, instead of one compact village, as near as possible to the port, tents, wooden huts, pisé huts, wooden houses imported from England, shops of slabs, brick, and stone, and elegant cottages of gentility, surrounded by iron rails, were scattered over a vast park of 1,130 acres.

Those who had not been able to secure town lots at prices to their mind proceeded into the suburbs, where at one time, with the aid of surveyors' pegged lines, not less than thirty villages were founded, for sale to those who could not afford to give the city price; others were building mansions, laying out pleasure grounds, and even contemplating deer parks. The climate was delightful, the valley of the Torrens fertile; and emigrants of capital poured in, burning to commence realising the golden dreams they had enjoyed during a three months' voyage.

Colonel Crawler was carried away by the stream. The very con fusion in which he found public business, the inefficiency of all the officers selected by the commissioners, the backward state of the surveys, were to a certain extent an encouragement; because he sanguinely contemplated that, if so much had been done under no system, or the worst possible system of administration when no accounts were kept—when the governor and the resident commissioner held rival public meetings, and the colonial secretary and colonial treasurer fought in the streets,—how much more might be done under an orderly, regular government, such as he lost no time in establishing.

He proceeded to supersede the incompetent officials, to bring all the government business into a regular form, to press on the surveys, and to make proper arrangements for the reception of the emigrants into barracks, and the numerous sick of ship-fever and dysentery into an hospital. In order to obtain a revenue from customs dues, to keep down illicit distillation, and protect the public from criminals, it was necessary, as Colonel Napier had foreseen, to raise a police. As labourers were worth from 10s. to 15s. a day, and indifferent horses cost 50 each, this was an expensive affair; but, by giving a tasteful uniform, and making the appointment rather honourable, he succeeded in obtaining a highly respectable body of men, including some poor gentlemen, at 5s. a day.

The port on Colonel Gawler's arrival was a narrow swamp, through which, for seven miles, emigrants dragged their luggage and merchandise. Under his arrangements a road was constructed, and wharves and warehouses erected. He built a government-house of no extravagant pretensions, but which, nevertheless, cost, from the price of labour and materials, £20,000; and he also built custom-houses, police-stations, and other public buildings, which were indispensable for transacting public business. He expended a large sum in protecting and endeavouring to civilise the aborigines. He contributed to two expeditions which were unsuccessfully made by Mr. Eyre in search of tracts of fertile country. To every charitable claim his purse was open; while his hospitalities were on a liberal scale.

The result of his measures was to give an extraordinary impetus to the apparent prosperity of the colony. The brilliant reports of public and private buildings in progress, building land sold at £500 and even £1,000 an acre, of balls, fêtes, pic-nics, horticultural shows, dexterously reproduced in England, tempted men of fortune to emigrate, capitalists to invest, and merchants and manufacturers to forward goods of all kinds on credit. Port Adelaide was crowded with shipping, which discharged living and dead cargoes, and departed in ballast. When 14,000 colonists had arrived, in the fourth year after the foundation, scarcely a vestige of an export had been produced. The land sales and the custom-house receipts rose to enormous amounts.

In the midst of a career of infatuation, by which some half dozen money lenders realised fortunes, and hundreds were entirely ruined, there were men of considerable fortune who endeavoured to realise the Utopia they had been taught to dream in England, and introduce the comforts and the scientific cultivation of an English country gentleman, as sketched in Mr. Wakefield's letter from Sydney. These gentlemen purchased what in English eyes appeared considerable tracts of land; loaded ships with furniture, with curious, useless agricultural implements, with live stock of choice breeds; brought domestic servants, labourers, and even tenants, and landed intent on making, according to the cant cry of the hour, the "desert blossom like the rose."

The example of one gentleman, whose name it would be cruel to mention, will exemplify the case of scores of his class, although less wealthy, who sank and died without notice in other colonies, or in England. Mr. B——— possessed an English estate which brought him in about £1,000 a year: fascinated by Mr. Gibbon Wakefield's writings, he sold his estate, and landed in South Australia with an extensive land order, built a house of no great size or comfort at a vast expense, fenced in a farm, and began to cultivate; but the cheap labour promised in the commissioners' pamphlets was no more forthcoming than the roads. He soon found that he was sowing shillings to reap halfpence. After spending a great deal of capital he gave up farming in disgust, and went to live in Adelaide: there, thrown constantly among the company of speculators, having a considerable balance at his banker's, he was inclined to do as everybody did, and speculate. He lost everything, at middle age returned home with his family penniless, and, after living a few years dependent on the bounty of his relations, died broken-hearted, a victim of the "sufficient price" delusion.

Among the successful there were scarcely any of the head-working, white-handed class, but a number of hard-working, frugal men, who, landing without a penny, accumulated enough by labour to purchase a good eighty-acre section, and there, by growing vegetables and wheat, rearing pigs and poultry, with the help of their wives and families, throve steadily, and made money, in spite of the system which was intended to retain them for an indefinite time as labourers at some three shillings a day. These people often derived considerable advantage from sections of land adjoining their own being the property of absentees. On these sections they were able to pasture their live stock without expense. Where labourers could not afford to buy a whole section they clubbed together and divided one; for free men will have land whenever agriculture is the only manufacture, and no protective laws can prevent them. It was these cottier farmers and a few sheep squatters who saved the colony from being totally abandoned when the inevitable crisis came.

A Scotch gentleman of ancient lineage and no fortune, in every respect the converse of Mr. B., afforded an instance of what may be done in a colony by industrious hard work, with the help of a large family, without that capital which, according to theorists, it is indispensable that a landowner should possess. He arrived in the colony very early, the owner of a single eighty-acre section, with twelve children, one half of whom were stout, well-grown lads and lasses: his whole property consisted of a little furniture, a few Highland implements, a gun or two, a very little ready money, and several barrels of oatmeal and biscuit. His section had been selected for him previous to his arrival. It lay on the other side of a steep range of hills, over which no road had then been made, ten miles from the town. He lost no time and spent no money in refreshing or relaxing in Adelaide; he found out a fellow-countryman who lent him a team of oxen, dragged his goods over the hills to his land, and encamped the first night on the ground, under a few blankets and canvass spread on the brush. The next and successive days the family worked at cutting trees; there was timber plenty for building a house. This house, situated on the slope of a hill, consisted of one long, low, wooden room, surrounded by a dry ditch to drain off the rain, and divided into partitions by blankets. The river lay below: any water needed was fetched in a bucket by one of the young ladies. A garden, in which all manner of vegetables, including tobacco and water melons, soon grew, was laid out almost as soon as the house; an early investment was made in poultry, they requiring no other food than the grasshoppers and grass-seeds on the waste land round. Until the poultry gave a crop of eggs and chickens the guns of the lads supplied plenty of quail, ducks, and parrots. In due time a crop of maize, of wheat, and of oats was got in. Before the barrels of oatmeal were exhausted, eggs, chickens, potatoes, kale, and maize afforded ample sustenance, and something to send to market. Labour cost nothing, fuel nothing, rent nothing, keeping up appearances nothing; no one dressed on week days in broadcloth, except the head of the house. First a few goats, and then a cow, eventually a fair herd of stock, were accumulated. Butter and vegetables found their way to Adelaide; and, while the kid-glove gentry were ruining themselves, the bare-legged boys of the Highland gentleman were independent, if not rich. The daughters, who were pretty, proud, and useful, have married well. In another generation families like this will be among the wealthiest in the colony.

Now, it is certain that every shilling taken from industrious settlers like this Scotch family, under pretence of supplying labour, was money very unprofitably invested, as it would have fructified more rapidly in their own hard hands.

A lady, who landed at Port Adelaide a few months after the governor, in a MS. letter describes the then "dreary appearance of the shores; the anchoring of the ship in a narrow creek, where, as far as the eye could reach, a mangrove swamp extended; disembarking from a small boat into the arms of long shoremen upon a damp mudbank, under a persecuting assault of musquitoes." On this mudbank lay heaps of goods of all descriptions, half covered with sand and saturated with salt water, broken chests of tea and barrels of flour, cases of hardware, furniture of all kinds, pianos and empty plate-chests, ploughs and thrashing-machines. A little further, at the commencement of the "muddy track which led to Adelaide, bullock-drays stood ready to hire for conveying our baggage. The lowest charge for a load was 10. All along the side of the track were strewn baggage and broken conveyances, abandoned in despair by their owners. We stopped at a small public-house to get a little refreshment. For a cup of tea, with brown sugar, bread, and oily butter full of insects, we paid 4s. 6d. each. The butter seemed spread with a thumb."

"Our troubles partly vanished when we reached the beautiful site of Adelaide, where it almost seemed as if a large party of ladies and gentlemen playing at gipsying had encamped. This was the third removal of some who had pitched tents on Kangaroo Island, then built huts in Holdfast Bay, and finally took up their abode in the city of Adelaide. Several times, before the small, bright green, highly ornamented wooden summer house which had been engaged for us, our carriage had like to have been upset over stumps and logs. Every one we met seemed in the highest spirits; and it was more like a walk in Kensington Gardens than in a colony scarcely two years old."

This bit of contemporary description affords a key to much that is singular and contradictory in the early accounts of the foundation of South Australia. Nat Lee, the mad poet, sings—

"There is a joy in madness none but madmen know."

and there was a charm about the gipsy encampment of Adelaide, with its wild speculation, perpetual excitement, liberal hospitality and charity, constant succession of new faces, splendid luxuries, and curious shifts, to which the survivors look back with the feelings of a mariner to the months he spent with jolly companions on a desert island, with plenty of turtles and plenty of rum puncheons—the difference being, that in the one case the shipwreck preceded, and in the other followed, the jollification.

Governor Gawler held a little court, which was graced by the magnificent uniforms of the officers of the volunteer corps, a corps which consisted of some two dozen officers, from a cornet to a brigade-major, and four or five privates. There were courtiers, too, and ladies in plumes and great airs; there were fashionables, and exclusives held to be the crême de la crême; there was an aristocracy composed of the principal officials; there were balls given, to be invited to which great manoeuvres were practised. It was a life like that of one of the little gambling courts and watering-places of Germany, with more heartiness, in consequence of the constant arrival of friends and victims from England. The town lots of Adelaide formed the great rouge-et-noir table. The climate rendered out-of-door life delightful, the imaginary streets swarmed with well-dressed crowds; so much really good society, so many fashionable men, had never before been found in a colony; every one fancied himself the hero of a great enterprise, and enjoyed all the pleasures of gambling, while dreaming that he was helping to found an empire.

In the morning the men dashed about on horses, in dog-carts, barouches, and four-in-hands, which cost fabulous sums, in search of eligible sections and sites for villages. In the evenings grand dinners were given in tents and huts, where champagne, hock, burgundy, and every luxury that could be preserved in a tin case abounded; fashionable dance music and the songs of Kossini and Donizetti resounded from the cottages of the "great world;" and at cock-crow beaux in beards and white waistcoats, "half savage, half soft," might be met picking their way, in the thinnest, shiniest boots, through the dust or mud of a projected crescent or arcade. There was scandal written and spoken; political intrigue; a court party and an opposition, with each a newspaper; and everybody flattered everybody else that building, dining, dancing, drinking, writing, and speechifying, "was doing the heroic work of colonisation."

Young men of spirit were not satisfied to retire into the bush and look after a flock of silly sheep while it was possible to buy a section of land at £1 an acre, give it a fine name as a village site, sell the same thing at £10 an acre, for a bill the bank would discount, and live in style at the Southern Cross Hotel; for when a man had made such a speculation he could not, and did not, do less than invite a party of new-made friends to celebrate his good fortune by a dinner, a ball, or a pic-nic, with a few cases of champagne imported by the merchant on credit.

At this period a romantic air was infused into the simplest transactions. For instance, in the old colony exploring expeditions had been undertaken either by a government surveyor, who marched out from some remote station without any special demonstration, or by a squatter who, with a friend or two, a stockman, and perhaps a couple of black boys, all on horseback, set out as quickly as possible to find new pastures for his stock. In South Australia they managed things very differently. Mr. V. Eyre having undertaken to explore the interior of the province, on the day appointed for his setting out a grand entertainment was given, over which the governor presided. At the close of an affecting speech a band of young ladies clothed in white garments marched up the room, and presented, amid the cheers of the men and the sobs of the women, a banner which they worked, to be planted on the limits of his proposed discovery.

Mr. Eyre's journey, and a second expedition, proved the hopeless barrenness of a great part of the province. He afterwards became lieutenant-governor of the small settlement of Nelson, in New Zealand. It is rather curious that two gallant but unsuccessful exploring expeditions, that of Mr. Eyre and that of Lieutenant (now Sir George) Grey, should have led to the appointment of two governors.

During the administration of Colonel Crawler important assistance was afforded to the colonists by the arrival of the overlanders, who, led by love of adventure and hope of gain, found their way from the bush of New South Wales and Port Phillip, across inhospitable deserts, over precipitous hills, through dense forests, rivers, and swamps, and, in spite of tribes of fiercely hostile savages, brought flocks of sheep and "mobs" of cattle and horses to the South Australians, at a time when butchers' meat was rising to famine price, when a good pair of bullocks could earn 60 a week in working from the port to the city, and horses which had arrived from Van Diemen's Land, after a long voyage of alternate calms and adverse winds, mere skeletons covered with sores, were sold as a favour at £100 each.

The overlanders saved the colony from total abandonment during the first crash of insolvency. The strength of Australia is in her pastures: sheep to the Australian, before the discovery of copper and gold, were what the pine-tree was to the Highland laird, who on his death-bed said to his son, "Jock, be aye putting in a tree: it will be growing while ye are sleeping." The natural pastures and the climate grow the wool, and men, women, or children can be shepherds who have neither strength to fell timber, nor power or skill to plough, to sow, or to thrash. Besides, a pack of wool is always worth cash, while a bushel of wheat in Australia may be worth 10s. one year and nothing the next; in the worst of times ewes go on breeding and increasing, and wethers boil down for tallow, while a field allowed to go out of cultivation under an Australian climate, after devouring all the capital spent on reclamation, very soon becomes as much waste as before the plough turned the first furrow. The overlanders who brought these invaluable animals were many of them men of education: the enormous profits reaped by the first parties, in spite of the loss of both men and beasts by drought and skirmishes with the blacks, made the overland route a favourite adventure with the young bushmen. They brought with them, as well as live stock, "old hands," who taught the cockneys how to fell a tree and make a fence, and sometimes gave the Gawler police a good deal of trouble.

The gentlemen overlanders affected a banditti style of hair and costume. They rode blood, or half-bred Arab horses, wore broad-brimmed sombreros trimmed with fur and eagle plumes, scarlet flannel shirts, broad belts filled with pistols, knives, and tomahawks, tremendous beards, and moustachios. They generally encamped and let their stock refresh about 100 miles from Adelaide, and then rode on to strike a bargain with their anxious customers. Before the journey became a matter of course, the arrival of a band of these brown, bearded, banditti-looking gentlemen created quite a sensation—something like the arrival of a party of successful buccaneers in a quiet seaport, with a cargo to sell, in old Dampier's time.

In a few days the stock was sold; the overland garments were exchanged for the most picturesque and fashionable costume which the best Hindley-street tailor "from Bond-street" could supply; and then, with hair combed, brushed, oiled, and gracefully arranged after Raphael or Vandyke, the overlander proceeded to spend freely the money he had so hardly gained, and, as one of the lions of the place, to cast into the shade the pert, smooth, political economists and model colonists fresh from the Adelphi.

New arrivals from England, fortunate enough to be admitted to the delightful evening parties given by a lady of the "highest ton," the leader of the Adelaidean fashion, were astonished when, to fill up basso in an Italian piece, she called on a huge man with brown hands, brown face, and a flowing beard, magnificently attired, in whom they recognised the individual they had met the day before in a torn flannel jersey, with a short black pipe in his mouth.

The overlanders included every rank, from the emancipist to the first-class Oxford man. By the end of 1840 they had introduced nearly 50,000 sheep into the colony, and taught the wiser colonists the necessity of looking to pastoral pursuits for the safe investment of capital.

The trade of turning wild land worth a few shillings an acre into building sections, to be sold at from four or five pounds to one thousand pounds an acre, by the simple expedient of a few pegs and a coloured plan, was too good to be monopolised by South Australia. The government and private speculators followed the ingenious example in New South Wales and Port Phillip; while in England a dozen foolish or fraudulent schemes were started, under the patronage of names as respectable as those who patronised the South American mines of 1824, and the railway delusion of 1845, for colonising New Zealand, the Chatham Islands, New Caledonia, the Falkland Islands, and other countries having the inestimable advantage of being very distant and almost unknown; all to be divided into "town, suburban, and country lots," to be sold in England at a "sufficient price."

The competition of these new bubbles, home and colonial, diverted the attention of intending colonists from South Australia, where the high price of town lots left but small margin for profits or premiums. Besides, in those epochs of speculative frenzy which periodically recur in England and Scotland, unknown schemes have a certain advantage. About the end of the second year of Colonel Gawler's administration, the resources of South Australia as an investment for capital were partly known, while, as nothing was known about the resources of New Zealand, not even whether there was any available land there at all, it became an excellent and fashionable subject for speculation.

Colonel Gawler piteously complains in some of his despatches of the misrepresentations of rival colonists, and of parties who, after a very partial inspection of the port and coast, had departed, exclaiming, "All is barren!" But the fact was, that the capitalists who had landed found no advantageous opening for the investment of capital; town lots had been driven up to an enormous premium; the cultivation of land did not pay, and has never paid the employer of labour on a large scale in any new country. Wool-growing and other pastoral pursuits were more profitable in Port Phillip and the new districts of New South Wales; besides, under the puffing forcing system, enough land, supposing it all fertile, had been sold to support a population of 200,000. The population of the colony was 15,000, of which 8,000 were settled in Adelaide, gambling with each other. As for the labourers, they were partly employed in waiting and working for the white-handed emigrants who had come out under Mr. Wakefield's advice "to labour with their heads, not with their hands," and who, therefore, required more work done for them than old-fashioned colonists, who were not ashamed to mend their own tools or carry their own packages, and partly in executing works for the government and for the South Australian Company. A considerable number were in the hospital, and others were working at such sham labour tests as drawing fallen timber from the park, to be used for fuel in the government offices.

It had been found impracticable then, as in all subsequent attempts, to carry out the scheme of obtaining recruits for free passages "exclusively of young married couples not exceeding twenty-four years of age." The labouring classes have their feelings and affections as keenly in regard to family ties as their superiors in fortune and education; they are not to be draughted out, as the Wakefield theory proposes, like sheep or cattle; and the parties charged with supplying the quota of labourers required for the ships, so recklessly despatched to South Australia, completed the number by a per centage who from age, feebleness, or unfitness for colonial labour, became almost immediately chargeable on the government. All who were shipped, if able to work, claimed under their shipping order a minimum of 5s. a day.

When more houses had been built than could be let when the capital, of which a large portion was exported for the importation of labour which it was impossible to employ profitably, began to grow scarce—the price of land orders fell, and the rate of wages. Then the frugal labourers began to retire from service, to settle down on purchased sections, and combine to purchase and divide sections of 80 acres, to the extreme disgust of the hired-labour and sufficient-price theorists.

In England the large draughts of the governor, in conjunction with the falling off of land sales, had driven the commissioners to endeavour without success to negotiate the remainder of the loan authorised by their two acts of Parliament, and then to apply for assistance to the Treasury, which was in the first instance granted to a limited extent.

In the colony Colonel Gawler was travelling on a declivity, and could not arrest his course. When he found the commissioners could no longer meet his bills he drew upon the Treasury for the expenses of government. The first bills were met; but eventually a series of draughts, to the amount of £69,000, were dishonoured.

The commissioners, who had been perfectly content with Colonel Gawler, as long as the public continued to purchase land, fell upon him like a herd upon a stricken deer, repudiated acts to which they had given tacit approval, and tried to throw the failure due to their absurd plan and improvident conduct on "the governor's extravagance." He was recalled abruptly, and left to hear of the dishonour of his bills by a circuitous private source. The commissioners themselves were soon after ignominiously dismissed.

When the news of the dishonour of the governor's bills reached the colony the bubble burst; land became immediately unsaleable; an insolvency all but universal followed, from which the banks, from early private intelligence, were able to protect themselves. The chief sufferers were English merchants, shippers, and manufacturers. The colonial speculators had long been trading on fictitious capital. A certain number of colonists of fortune were reduced to absolute beggary. A rapid re-emigration of capital and labour took place. Many labourers were thrown on the government for support. The price of food, rent, and wages fell rapidly. Adelaide became almost a deserted village. The only persons busy were officials whom the commissioners had forgotten to appoint, viz., the sheriff and his officers, engaged in pursuing beggared debtors, and the Judge of the Insolvent Court, by whom they were rapidly whitewashed.

Colonel Crawler retired, after having sacrificed a considerable private fortune to his faith in an impracticable system, and became the scapegoat for the criminal absurdities of the colonising theorists in London. But his hospitality, his charity, his truthfulness, his genuine kindness of heart, rendered him respected and beloved in South Australia, especially among the humbler classes, or those who were humble in his time.

He was succeeded by Captain (now Sir George) Grey, who, happening to be in London at the time Colonel Gawler was recalled, and able to afford the Colonial Office some information about this pantomime colony, received and accepted the ungrateful office of governor.

From that day it has been the endeavour of the theorists and their orators to charge to the extravagance of the ruined ex-governor the inevitable result of an attempt to plant a colony without the preparations dictated by common prudence—to regulate the flow of capital and labour—and to raise revenue and profits from the application of capital and labour to unproductive works. The commissioners sent ship-loads of colonists, where, had they been wise, they would have sent sheep.

{Page 231}



1841 TO 1844.

When Colonel Gawler retired, land became unsaleable, emigrants ceased to arrive, and of those who were in the colony a large per centage re-emigrated to colonies where there were more cattle and fewer town lots. The population of Adelaide diminished in twelve months to the extent of four thousand souls. The price of everything fell fifty per cent.; whole streets of Messrs. Gouger's and Stephens's cottages stood empty; the South Australian merchants who had paid their English creditors in the Insolvent Court, ceased to be trusted with speculative shipments; the police horses were turned to graze upon the beautiful gardens constructed by Colonel Gawler on the banks of the Torrens; Government House, late the scene of vice-royal entertainments, was closed; the little world of Adelaide recovered its senses and lost some of its conceit; and the sober and industrious were able to survey and take stock of the true position of the colony.

The raw materials of colonisation had been provided, a road had been constructed from the port, others toward the interior had been marked out and made practicable. Land suitable for cultivation had been discovered, surveyed, and handed over to land purchasers, who had now no temptation to stay in town, if they meant to remain in the colony; labourers were willing to take reasonable wages, or ready to set to work for themselves with hearty good will; and, what was most satisfactory of all, live stock by importation, by overland, and by natural increase, afforded an ample supply of meat at reasonable prices, with a certain and increasing quantity of wool and tallow for exportation. Impoverished gentry were now happy to fall back, from imported fresh salmon, or ducks and green peas in tin cases, at fifty per cent. above the Piccadilly tariff, upon native poultry, at almost nominal prices. During the land mania geese imported from Van Diemen's land sold at 12s. 6d. each, fowls, 5s. a head, and everything else in proportion. In 1842 country people used to drive a cart filled with live poultry, fowls, ducks, geese, turkeys, in fair condition, covered over with a sheet, and sell the whole lot at from fourteen to sixteen shillings.

Under the bountiful, genial climate of South Australia actual want was unknown, and-industry produced immediate results.

Governor Grey's task was easy. The famine or speculative prices of labour and provisions had fallen to reasonable rates, the emigration of paupers had ceased, and with the immigration the cost of maintaining the infirm, the sick, and the lazy. The unhired were set to work at such bare wages as induced them to seek private employers as soon as possible; the surveys were carried on steadily without pressure, and without exorbitant expenses for stores and hire of drays; and the police expenses were partly superseded by the arrival of a company of soldiers granted to Governor Grey, although indignantly refused to Sir Charles Napier. With these reductions of expenditure, and power to draw upon the home government for a limited sum, Governor Grey was still unable, in homely phrase, to make both ends meet; but the colony survived and vegetated in a sort of obscurity, which contrasted painfully with the brilliancy of its early, brief, blooming, hothouse career.

In the mean tune the model colonists were not idle in England. On the 7th July, 1840, the colonisation commissioners for South Australia brought under the notice of the Colonial Secretary (Lord J. Russell) the embarrassed state of the finances of the colony; and in August they reported that the revenue of the colony did not much exceed £20,000 per annum, and the current expenditure had risen to £140,000. Under these circumstances the Secretary of State, by letter dated 5th November, 1840, undertook to guarantee a loan of £120,000 to be raised by the commissioners; but negotiations to raise this loan failed.

In the same year the original commissioners were dismissed.

In February, 1841, a select committee of the House of Commons was appointed to consider the South Australian acts, and the actual condition of the colony of South Australia. The inquiry lasted until the 10th June. A long array of witnesses were called on behalf of the Colonial Office and the South Australian interest. Personal and documentary evidence proved in the clearest manner that the Colonial Office had given every reasonable assistance to the commissioners, and were in no manner responsible for the blunders of the commissioners or the commissioners' agents. The South Australian interest, including non-resident purchasers of vast tracts of land, and Mr. Gibbon Wakefield and his disciples, were examined at great length, but not a single representative or settler from any of the colonies whose interests were likely to be affected by the decisions of the committee was called.

The case for South Australia was "got up and worked," in railway phrase, by Mr. Wakefield and Colonel Torrens, and all the colonial evidence was made to fit their peculiar views.

The committee made two reports. In the first, on the 9th March, 1840, they state, "that at the present moment the sales by the colonisation commissioners of land in the colony are suspended; emigration has ceased since the month of August; the bills drawn by the governor have been protested, the estimated amount of such bills already due and in progress is £97,000, the amount due to parties in England for services performed is £56,000; the debt from the revenue to the emigration fund is £56,000; making a total deficiency of about £210,000."

In the second report they enter into the history of the colony in detail, in the course of which they say:—"With regard to Colonel Gawler, it is impossible to doubt that when he entered on the duties of his office they were in a state of the greatest confusion, and that the difficulties he had to contend with were most embarrassing; that shortly after his arrival in the colony he represented these circumstances, and gave the commissioners reason to expect a considerable excess of expenditure above what had been provided; that among those witnesses who have most decidedly pronounced his expenditure excessive, none have been able to point out any specific items which could have been reduced without great public inconvenience, while the chief item of expenditure, incurred on account of the government house and public offices, was one that the late board had authorised."

*    *    *    *    *    *

"The commissioners had originally set apart a sum of £10,000 annually, over and above the revenue, out of which they intended that all the ordinary expenditure should be defrayed. It is now calculated that after spending the whole local revenue, and providing otherwise for the charge of surveys, which has hitherto been defrayed by drafts upon the commissioners, and without making any allowance for public works, there will still remain to be provided for an annual deficit of about £40,000."

But the committee, as experience has since proved, were more correct in their statement of facts than fortunate and sagacious in proposing a remedy. Having unsuspectingly received all Mr. Gibbon Wakefield's assumptions and assertions as incontrovertible economical truths, they proceeded to recommend by resolutions, amongst other things, that all land be sold by auction at a minimum upset price, except special surveys of 20,000 acres; that "the minimum price of land in South Australia may safely be raised above the present amount of £1 an acre; and that in fixing such amount it is desirable to keep in view the principle of maintaining such an amount as may tend to remedy the evils arising out of a too great facility of obtaining landed property, and a consequently disproportionate supply of labour and exorbitant rate of wages."

At that time the committee were firmly convinced that they could regulate the rate of wages by the price of land; and Lord Howick, since Colonial Secretary as Earl Grey, then a pupil of Mr. Wakefield, moved as an amendment to the above-quoted resolution, "That one minimum price for land in all the Australian colonies ought to be established, and that this price ought not to be lower than £2 per acre, and that it ought to be progressively increased until it is found that the great scarcity of labour now complained of in these colonies no longer exists."

The fallacy of these assumptions has now been rendered as patent as another favourite assumption of the same period—that the price of corn in England regulated the rate of wages.

Ten years' experience have proved that the highest rate of wages may exist in the face of a price of land so high as to exclude all but a very small number of purchasers; and in that ten years the home government, in the face of a ruinous rate of wages, have been unable, although willing, to raise the price of land in Australia. The sale of land has ceased, except in the immediate neighbourhood of towns, in choice situations, and where mines were supposed to exist.

But in 1841 colonial opinions were treated with contempt. As in 1847 grave commercial men like Mr. Morrison, deceived by imaginary dividends, believed that government could buy up and work all the railways of Great Britain at a profit, so Lord Stanley and Lord Grey, dazzled by the land purchases of mad speculators in New South Wales, Port Phillip, and South Australia, fancied that the government had an inexhaustible treasure for emigration and patronage in the waste lands of every colony in the British dominions, from the Sugar Loaf Hills of New Zealand to the wild wintry moors of the Falkland Islands.

Two acts brought in and carried by Lord Stanley, the Colonial Secretary, in the session of 1842, embodied the recommendations of the committee, and arranged for the future government of South Australia. By one a minimum price of £1 an acre, with sale by auction, except in the case of special surveys of 20,000 acres, was imposed on all the Australian colonies, including Van Diemen's Land. It is this act against which the colonists, who were never consulted, have not ceased to protest. By the other act South Australia was transferred from the management of commissioners to the Colonial Office, and its debts were arranged in the following manner:—The whole debt amounted to £405,433; of this, £155,000, which had been granted by Parliament in 1841 for passing exigencies, was made a free gift; £45,936, of which £17,646 had been incurred by Governor Grey in maintaining unemployed emigrants, was to be paid by the Treasury; and the remainder was converted into debentures, partly guaranteed by the government and partly charged on the colonial revenues.

It may be convenient to state here that renewed sales of land, after the discovery of copper mines, paid off the greater part of these debts, with interest, between 1845 and 1849, with the exception of the £155,000. About £50,000 still remains due.

On the passing of this act South Australia sank into obscurity, and in spite of the vigorous efforts of the South Australian Company, which found itself in possession of large tracts of land that could neither be sold nor let to rent-paying tenants, ceased to attract the attention of emigrants.

Great bankers and capitalists who had been induced to purchase lots of land wrote them out in their books as value nil. So late as 1850 there were parties in the city of London who had forgotten that they held some thousand acres in South Australia until reminded by an application to purchase from returned colonists. In very rare cases has the investment in rural land at £1 an acre turned out profitable.

Dover, the quietest and least enterprising of towns, contributed by public subscription in 1837-8 one emigrant to South Australia. The fortunate man no sooner arrived, with nothing to lose, than, carried away by enthusiasm and the persuasions of the Colonial Secretary, Gouger, he became the purchaser of a thousand acres of land, and boldly drew upon two of the gentlemen who had charitably sent him out, advising them of the favour he had done them, and promising to remit in due course the title-deeds. The good Doverians, on the arrival of the tremendous bill, held a consultation, learned the total ruin that would fall on the drawer if it were returned protested, wishing, too, not to have the one Dover emigrant disgraced, and perhaps a little dazzled by the brilliant reports of fortunes daily realised in Australian land, made a round robin of 100 apiece, met the bill, in due course received the grant, and from that time forward never heard a word of the emigrant or the land.

The following figures will show the results of this self-supporting, sufficient-price colony:—


£    s.  d. 
In 1840, Government Expenditure, £169,966; Revenue, 30,199 11 1
1841, do. 104,471 do. 26,720 5 11
1842, do. 54,444 do. 22,074 4 6
1843, do. 29,842 do. 24,142 1 2


South Australian Act, 4 and 5 Wm. IV., cap. 95, Royal Assent

Commissioners Gazetted 5th May, 1835
Colonel Light and Surveying Staff March, 1836
Governor Hindmarsh and first party of Emigrants sailed 30th July, 1836
Governor Gawler 1838

Area of Adelaide, 4½ miles N.E. to S.W., 4 miles N.W. to S.E., 700 acres, 432 acres. Population 8,000

Port opened 17th May, 1840
Governor Gawler recalled 1841

Acres £ s. d. Emigrants
1835 Land sold 58,995 at 35,417 5 0 .  .
1836 " 1,680 " 1,378 0 0 .  . 941
1837 " 3,120 " 3,140 0 0 .  . 1,279
1838 " 37,960 " 37,960 0 0 .  . 1,938
1839 " 48,336 " 48,336 0 0 .  . 5,797
1840 " 7,040 " 7,040 0 0 .  . 5,025
1841 " 160 " 160 0 0 .  .
———— ————————— ———
157,291 £133,431 5 0 .  . 15,030

[ Shipping 1839—190; Ships tonnage, 40,000.]


Year. No. of Proprietors. Acres.
1840. 2,503
1841. 6,722
1842. 873 19,790
1843. 1,300 28,690

In 1844 the sheep in South Australia were about 409,000
" Cattle 30,000
" Horses 2,000
In 1840, writs from South Australian sheriff's office 154
1844, only 10
1842, fiats of insolvency 37
1844 10

Thus it appears that, between 1837 and 1840, 15,000 inhabitants, who were importing provisions at the rate of £200,000 per annum, only cultivated 2,000 acres; but in three years after they had abandoned land-gambling, and lost all credit in the English market, they had 28,000 acres in cultivation, of which 23,000 were in wheat, and the number of landed proprietors had nearly doubled. But the result of this industry proved that, although much misery would have been saved the colony had agriculture occupied the colonists instead of land-gambling, still that agriculture could not be carried on with a profit with hired labour in the colony, for in 1843-4 wheat fell to 3s. 6d. and even 2s. 6d. a bushel, with wages at least 3s. a day; while Van Diemen's Land, with better soil and climate for wheat growing, and cheaper labour, could not afford to grow wheat for less than 4s. or 5s. a bushel. In fact, the South Australians found themselves in possession of 200,000 bushels of wheat which was absolutely unsaleable, although of admirable quality; and in June, 1845, after exporting 200,000 bushels, chiefly sold at a loss, a surplus of 156,000 bushels remained.

Of wool there were only 5,000 bales to export in 1843. Port Phillip, colonised with sheep and shepherds at the time that model colonists were forwarded to Port Adelaide in thousands, exported 9,000 bales in 1841; and in 1843 enjoyed exports to the amount of £307,000, without a shilling of debt, against South Australian exports of £46,000, and £400,000 debt.

In 1843 the results of the monstrous system on which South Australia was colonised began to disappear. The ruined capitalists were forgotten, so too were the debts due to the home government and home creditors. Those who had been able to weather the storm of insolvency and keep a few sheep had retired towards the interior: there dispersed, they were able to live cheaply, to carry on their business with little hired labour, and to look forward with confidence to annual income from the clip of wool, and annual increase of wealth by the natural increase of their flocks.

Thus, in 1843, South Australia, formed with so much preparation, the subject of so much printing, colonised by a superior class, forced forward by an enormous expenditure of public and private capital, instead of presenting a picture of a contented population, divided into capitalists and labourers engaged in scientific agriculture, owed all its exports to dispersion after the manner of neighbouring colonies, whose "barbarous manners" had been so much contemned, and presented a picture of cottier farmers, vegetating in obscurity, content to live with few comforts, without rent or taxes. Some squatted on land the property of absentees, many more as tenants not paying any rent, whom the landlords were glad to retain in order to keep their land in condition. The tenants of the South Australian Company were in this state.

Looking back at the condition of South Australia after it had ceased to attract the importation of capital, there can be no doubt that if it had been as far from the old ports of the colonies as Swan River, and out of reach of the expeditions of overlanders, it would have sunk even to a lower ebb than Western Australia.

When land-jobbing had been exhausted, and all the schemes hatched in England for employing capital had been tried and found wanting, an accident revealed to the colonists the existence of a treasure which even the sanguine and poetical promoters of the colony had never suspected or suggested. They had placed coals, marble, slate, and precious stones among the probable exports; but copper and lead had not entered into their calculations.

In 1841 a little lead ore was discovered and sent to England. In 1843 Mr. Button, the brother of a gentleman of some means, but who had himself been compelled by the general depression to accept the situation of sheep overseer, accidentally discovered, and, in partnership with Captain Bagot, became the purchaser of, the eighty-acre section which included the Kapunda mine. Other mines were subsequently discovered, to which, wherever of any importance, a description will be given in the chapter devoted to the present resources of the colony; but the great event, the turning-point of the fortunes of South Australia, was the discovery of the Burra Burra mine, which has alone furnished for the last five years more than four-fifths of South Australian exports.

The discovery of the Kapunda set all the colony hunting for mineral outcrops; the residue of the land-jobbers took up the geologist's hammer; but by a singular fortune, the investigations of Mr. Mengs, a practised geologist, were fruitless, while a mine of wealth was turned up by the wheel of a bullock-dray.

In 1845 the existence of a remarkable and promising outcrop on the Burra hills became well known in the colony: rumours on the subject had been afloat in 1840. In order to secure the whole district without the unlimited competition, application was made to the governor for a special survey of 20,000 acres. At the same time a party of speculators arrived from Sydney, intent on securing the great prize if possible. The survey was ordered; a day and hour was fixed for the payment of the £20,000; the governor decided not to accept bills of the local bank, or anything but cash. Cash in 1845 was a very scarce commodity in Adelaide, although corn was plentiful, and pride as rampant, and with as little reason, as in any decayed watering-place in England. The retailers, and all not within a certain indescribable line, were dubbed the snobs; the officials and self-elected aristocracy the nobs.

To raise the £20,000, a union between the nobs and snobs became indispensable; but even that was not enough, for there was scarcely so much gold in the possession of all the colonists, and the Sydney speculators were waiting ready to bear off the prize. On the last day for payment a hunt for gold was commenced by half a dozen men of good credit. Cash-boxes in hand, they traversed the streets and suburbs of Adelaide, offering with ample security a handsome premium for sovereigns. On that day many secret hoards were dug out; husbands learned that prudent wives had unknown stores, and old women were even tempted to draw their £1 and £2 from the recesses of old stockings. Almost at the last minute the money was collected, counted, and paid, and the richest copper-mine in the world rewarded the long suffering of the South Australians, and awakened all their old gambling spirit. The purchase effected, the class spirit which forms so absurd an element in the English character, broke out, and a division of the 20,000 acres was decided on. The toss-up of a coin gave the "snobs" the first choice; they took 10,000 acres, to which they gave a native name, the Burra Burra. The nobs named their 10,000 acres the Princess Royal. The outcroppings on the hills of the Princess Royal were magnificent; nevertheless in 1850 their £50 scrip was not saleable at £12. The history of this mine is the history of the commercial progress of South Australia. Farms, land sales; emigration, wharves, warehouses, projected railways, imports, rents, wages, have all rested on the yield of the Burra Burra.

The government was vested in the governor and commander-in-chief, assisted by an executive and legislative council, composed of the governor, the colonial secretary, the advocate-general, the surveyor-general, and the assistant commissioner, to whom were subsequently added four nominees from among the non-official colonists.

Of the progress of South Australia since the discovery of mines and the dissolution of the South Australian Commission, the following figures will afford some idea:—

The exports of the year ending April, 1850, amounted to £453,668 12s. Of this sum £11,212 was in wheat, £20,279 in flour, £63,729 in copper in ingots, £211,361 in copper ore, £8,188 in tallow, and [£]113,259 in wool.

The imports for the same period were £887,423, part of the excess arising from imports of railway and mining machinery, and other productive investments. In the same year 64,728½ acres were in cultivation—wheat, 41,807 acres; potatoes, 1,780; gardens, 1,370; vineyards, 282; hay, 13,000.

The population was 63,900, of which 7,000 were Germans.

Live Stock: Cattle, 100,000; sheep, 1,200,000; horses, 6,000.*

[* We give the statistics of 1850, because since that period the colony has been disturbed by temporary emigration to the gold mines of New South Wales and Victoria.]



{Page 243}



Australia is the largest island in the world, so large that it is more correctly described as an island-continent, situated between the 10th and 45th degrees of south latitude, and the 112th and 154th degrees of longitude east from Greenwich. It may be said to be nearly three thousand miles from west to east, and two thousand miles from north to south, of a nearly square form, were it not for the deep indentation formed by the great Gulf of Carpenteria. But this superficial extent, which is sometimes compared with that of other continents, affords no true index to the area really available, or ever likely to be available, for colonisation. A great portion of the interior is more hopelessly barren and impassable than the deserts of Africa, being in dry weather a hollow basin of sand, in rainy seasons a vast shallow inland sea, alternately and rapidly swelled by tropical torrents, and dried up by the tropical sun.

Comparisons are frequently instituted between the relative areas and populations of Europe and Australia; but nothing can be more fallacious or dishonest.

The resources of Australia have been as yet barely discovered; a century of active colonisation can scarcely develop them to their fullest extent. Even without the appliances of science and combined labour a vast population may be subsisted in comfort; but, without some change more extensive and material than it is possible to foresee, there can be no such dense multitudes concentrated in Australia as are found in the more civilised states of Europe, and as may be found at some future period in North America. The absence of great rivers and the means of forming inland water communication, and the quality of a great proportion of the soil, settle this point.

The surface of this island is depressed in the centre, bounded by an almost continuous range of hills and plateaux, which, varying in height from one to six thousand feet above the level of the sea, in some places approach the coast and present lofty, inaccessible cliffs to the ocean—as, for instance, the heads of Port Jackson—and in others tend toward the interior of the country, at a distance of from twenty to eighty miles; but these elevations being all of an undulating, not a precipitous character, no part of the country can be considered strictly alpine.

The features on the exterior and interior of this range of hills differ so much as to present the results of climates usually found much further apart, especially on the eastern coast, where between the mountains and the sea as,—for instance, at Illawarra, Port Macquarie, and Moreton Bay—the vegetation partakes to a great extent of a tropical character; and on the rich debris washed down from the hills we find forests of towering palms and various species of gum-trees (Eucalypti), the surface of the ground beneath clothed with dense and impervious underwood, composed of dwarf trees, shrubs, and tree-ferns, festooned with creepers and parasitic plants, from the size of a convolvulus and vine to the cable of a man-of-war. These dense forests, through which exploring travellers have been obliged to cut their way inland at the rate of not more than a mile or two a day, are interspersed with open glades or meadow reaches, admirably adapted for pasturing cattle, to which the colonists have given the name of apple-tree flats, from the fancied resemblance between the apple-trees of Europe and those (Angophoræ) with which these glades are thinly dotted.

Within the ranges, on the other hand, are found immense open downs and grassy plains, divided by rocky and round-backed ranges of hills, and interspersed by open forest without undergrowth and detached belts of gum trees (Eucalypti acaciæ), presenting a park-like appearance, which, advancing towards the interior, are succeeded either by marshes, or sandy and stony deserts, perfectly sterile and uninhabitable, except by a few reptiles, and birds which prey upon them.

The rivers of Australia are few in number, and insignificant in a navigable point of view. The one series, rising from the seaside of the mountain range, flow deviously until they reach the coast, seldom affording a navigable stream more than twenty miles inland, usually rushing down with such rapidity during the rainy season as to fill up their seamouths with a bar which excludes all except boats of slight draught of water. The other series, falling toward the interior, are lost in quicksands, marshes, or shallow lakes, after a course varying from a score to many hundred miles of zigzag current, now flowing with a full, deep stream, and then suddenly diminishing to a depth of a few inches, or even totally and suddenly disappearing.

The Dutch colonists in South Africa have terms by which they express the exact value of flowing water, whether perpetual or intermittent, whether a mere rivulet or a deep stream; but there are no words invented in the English language which convey a correct idea of Australian waters. The two terms most in use are creek and river, the former being an arm or branch of the latter. But an Australian river, even when marked by an imposing coloured line on a map, giving according to proportion an idea of a Rhine, a Danube, or a Thames, is generally a chain of pools, varying in dimension from a few yards to a league in diameter, which are, with a few grand exceptions, according to their respective depth and proximity to mountains, reduced to an absolute or comparative state of mud in dry seasons, or united into a deep, still stream, or roaring torrent, after a few hours of tropical rain.

The brother of the writer rode down, on an exploring expedition during a season of drought, with a fellow-squatter, in search of fresh pastures, and discovered a river, flowing bank high, as broad as the Thames at Richmond, winding along plains which, as far as the eye could reach, were covered with rich grass higher than the necks of their horses. As they rode along, ground pigeons, grass parroquets, and quails rose up in thousands; and from time to time flocks of emus thundered past, while kangaroos bounded swiftly away, and from the river rose clouds of waterfowl. There seemed game enough to feed an army, and grass enough for tens of thousands of live stock. Yet he lived to see within a few years the grassy plain burned to a sandy desert, and the great river shrink to a chain of shallow pools, in which it was difficult to find water enough for a hundred oxen.

The deep pools, called colonially "waterholes," and the winding course pursued by all the Australian rivers, economise the supply during the long droughts, and at the same time distribute it over a considerable part of the country. Thus the Hawkesbury, one of the earliest rivers navigated by the settlers, is not more than thirty-five miles in a direct line from Windsor, where it is navigable to Broken Bay, and where it flows into the sea; but its tortuous route is one hundred and forty miles, and higher up its windings are still more remarkably circuitous. The Murray, the greatest river of Australia, rising on the western flank of the Australian alps, after a course of fourteen hundred miles, in which it receives the waters of the Ovens, the Darling, and the Murrumbidgee, by which name it is known for part of its course, ends in the broad shallow lake of Alexandrina, in South Australia.

Until the later explorations of Mitchell and Leichardt hopes were confidently entertained of discovering an inland sea, and a great navigable river, flowing to the northward; but these hopes are now no longer entertained, and it is certain that on land conveyance the chief Australian communications must depend.

A great diversity of climate prevails in Australia, varying with the latitude and the height from the sea. Van Diemen's Land, with its more isolated and more southern position, enjoys more rain and the irrigation of many streams. In certain districts of Australia, especially between the 25th and 35th degrees of latitude, the thermometer frequently rises to 110°, 120°, and even 130°, in the shade, while hot winds sweep over the country from the sterile, burning plains of the interior. This great heat is unaccompanied by night-dews; and droughts of many months' duration occur at uncertain intervals, and are of uncertain extent, during which rivers and waterholes are dried up. The settlers, who have not yet imitated the costly construction of tanks and aqueducts, or even the more simple and successful contrivances adopted in peninsular India and in Asia Minor for collecting and husbanding rain and spring-water, suffer dreadful straits. The pastures become parched deserts—the sheep eat the grass to the roots—the waterholes are poisoned by the bodies of cattle suffocated in sloughs when struggling for drink, and thousands of stock of all kinds perish either before moving or while on the road to districts which the drought has not affected. It is during these droughts that almost all the great discoveries of new pastures have been made by enterprising stockowners and their servants.

But after a time—which no man, white or native, can calculate—rains fall in torrents, grass springs up abundantly, "and the plains, on which but lately not a blade of herbage was to be seen, and over which the stillness of desolation reigned, become green with luxuriant vegetation." The rivers and creeks fill with marvellous rapidity; a roaring flood rushes down the lately dry bed of a stream, overflows the banks, and carries all that impedes its progress in white foam before it. On such occasions the Hawkesbury has risen, between precipitous cliffs, ninety-five feet in a few hours. In 1851, in the Maneroo district, the sites of townships recently laid out for sale by the government surveyor were converted into deep lakes, and a whole camp of aborigines were drowned.

The ravages of the drought and flood are quickly replaced in a climate so favourable to the increase of live stock, and in a very short time the losses and the dangers are forgotten. These afflictions were of a more serious character in the early years of the first colony, when but a comparatively limited part had been explored. At present plenty in one colony or one district counterbalances the droughts or floods of another.

At a height of two or three thousand feet above the level of the sea a temperate and even cold region is to be found, where the vegetables, fruits, and grain of northern Europe nourish, and the settler or traveller finds the necessity of warm clothing, and the comfort of blazing fires.

But despite all the varieties of temperature found in Australia, the climate is, with the exception of the burning plains of the interior, congenial to Europeans. Even the tropical regions of the coast are free from those fevers which decimate white men visiting the Indian seas and the African coast.

The soil of Australia varies even more than its climate. Of the whole extent a very large proportion is hopelessly barren, but still enough remains capable of supporting a very numerous, and in some districts a dense population. There are no data for calculating with such a degree of accuracy as would be useful the proportions of available land in the occupied districts. It will be safe to assume that only two-thirds of the land worth occupying is, or ever will be, fit for pastoral purposes, and can no more be profitably cultivated than the limestone hills and moors of Wales, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, and Gloucestershire, or the Highlands of Scotland.

Of land fit for agricultural purposes, and sufficiently clear of trees to be put under plough at a reasonable expenditure of labour, there is enough to support a population to be counted by millions, but continually intersected by barren ranges and forests of scrub, which can never be of any value except for firewood.

On the coast to the northward, between Port Macquarie and Moreton Bay, are vast tracts of well-watered land, on which the soil is excellently adapted for various crops, but so covered with heavy timber that nothing less than the old system of convict-clearing gangs, or of free grants to clearing parties, will bring them into cultivation in this generation, although well placed for water conveyance to the seaport towns. On the other hand, in Port Phillip there are plains on which the plough might be driven for one hundred miles in a straight line, turning up a furrow of rich mould along the whole tract; and the other two colonies can present similar instances, although not to the same extent, or so near the seacoast.

The soil of Australia presents as many anomalies as its configuration and its animal and vegetable productions.

In other parts of the world the most fertile tracts are generally found near the mouths of rivers; in Australia the greatest fertility usually commences where the navigation ceases. In Europe the valleys will generally be found full of rich soil; in Australia some of the richest mould is to be found on the tops of hills. The low hills formed on the banks of rivers above the navigable waters are often unequalled in richness, while the valleys are composed of a soft clay, producing a rich coarse herbage, very fit for pasturing horned cattle, but unsuitable for cultivation.

The neighbourhood of the first settlement, west and south-west of Sydney, is chiefly composed of sandstone and unproductive clays. The first good land was found in patches on the River Hawkesbury; and on the alluvial flats formed by the overflowing fresh-water rivers the richest cultivable land is to be found. Works for draining or irrigating can only be attempted where damming a valley or draining a high-lying marsh can produce a great effect at a moderate expense. For half a century the progress of colonisation in Australia has rested on its pastoral resources, which are of the very first order, as regards soil, climate, and arrangement of territory.

From the level of the sea to the summit of the highest mountains pastures are to be found extending for hundreds of miles,—now undulating smoothly and almost imperceptibly, then extending in broad, flat plains, or over a succession of round-backed hills, broken with rocky ranges, and ending in deep gullies. Over these the flockmaster may, if needful, drive his flock for days, nay, for weeks, without meeting any serious interruption to his progress, or without failure of the pasture on which sheep thrive.

The districts which, from their dampness and rankness of the vegetation, would be unsuitable for sheep, are available for cattle, which in certain regions, in default of grass, find good feed on the tender branches of a species of primrose.

Agriculture has hitherto been but rudely pursued in Australia, with rare exceptions. To gentlemen of capital it is not, and is not likely to become, a profitable pursuit; for this reason, a prejudice against the agricultural capabilities of the colonies has been entertained and sedulously encouraged among the pastoral interest, who, dreading the prospect of a class of yeomanry which might encroach on their sheep-walks, can with difficulty be induced to admit that there is any fertile soil to be found—a prejudice which must always be taken into consideration in estimating the value of colonial evidence on such subjects. It is quite certain that ignorant cultivators have successfully cropped farms on the Hawkesbury, the Hunter, the Macquarie, year after year, without manure, and without any sensible diminution in the returns. As to quality of grain, the wheat imported into this country from South Australia, Port Phillip, and Van Diemen's Land, has been pronounced equal to any ever exhibited in Mark-lane for weight, size, and flavour.


{Page 249}



New South Wales and the new province of Victoria have so recently been divided, and are geographically so completely united, that it is difficult to describe the principal rivers or mountains of the one without referring to the other. The reader must therefore study the colonial divisions of Eastern Australia with a map.

Sir Thomas Mitchell, as Survey or-General, was in 1827 entrusted with the task of surveying and dividing that district into counties, and the laying out of towns, roads, and reserves for public purposes. In this work, now complete, he has been zealously engaged for twenty-six years. He has cut all the passes that lead through mountains to the interior country, planned two hundred towns and villages, and reported (without success) in favour of several roads and public works, which would have conferred the utmost benefit on the colony.

The following sketch is taken by permission of the author from a manual of Australasian Geography, prepared by Sir Thomas Mitchell for the use of colonial schools.

New South Wales is divided into sixty-seven counties—formerly into ninety—but twenty-three have been cut off by the act which erected Australia Felix, under the name of Victoria, into a separate colony.

"The nineteen counties," frequently referred to in colonial documents, are those which were first proclaimed by "Letters Patent." The principal rivers falling to the eastern coast are the Shoalhaven (on which the township of Braidwood stands), the Hawkesbury (on which there are the townships of Penrith, Castlereagh, Richmond, Windsor, and Pitt Town, all in the county of Cumberland, and Emu and Wilberforce, in the county of Cook), and the Hunter. The Hunter receives from the south the waters of the River Wollombi; from the north the rivers Page, Paterson, and Williams; its most western source is the Goulburn. The following townships are on the northern tributaries of the Hunter:—Muscle Brook, on the northern branch of the Hunter; Murrurundi, on the Page; Dulwich, on Glendon Brook; Paterson, on the navigable branch of that name; and Clarence Town, at the head of the navigation of the William.




Port Jackson is the fittest centre from which to take a survey of the settled and inhabitable districts in Australia, being not only the finest harbour and the port of the greatest Australian city, but the inlet and outlet for commerce, having settled on its shores the wealthiest and most dense population in the whole island.

The usual course to Sydney for sailing-vessels is through Bass's Straits; and in fair weather, with a favourable wind, ships frequently pass sufficiently near the shores to afford an agreeable but very tantalising view of the scenery.

"The shore is bold and picturesque, and the country behind, gradually rising higher and higher into swelling hills of moderate elevation, to the utmost distance the eye can reach, is covered with wide-branching, evergreen forest trees and close brushwood, exhibiting a prospect of never-failing foliage, although sadly monotonous and dull in tone compared with the luxuriant summer foliage of Europe. Grey rocks at intervals project among these endless forests, while here and there some gigantic tree, scorched dead by the summer fires, uplifts its blasted branches above the green saplings around." *

[* Cunningham.]

Approaching Port Jackson, the coast line consists of cliffs of a reddish hue. Where the land can be seen, shrubs and trees of strange foliage are found nourishing on a white, sandy, barren soil, destitute of herbage.

The entrance to the port is marked by the north and south heads, about three quarters of a mile apart. On the southern head a stone lighthouse, bearing the often-repeated name of Macquarie, affords a revolving flame at night and a white landmark by day to the great ships from distant quarters of the globe, and to the crowd of large-sailed coasters which ply between innumerable coast villages and Sydney.

Steering westerly, the great harbour, like a landlocked lake, protected by the curving projecting heads from the roll of the Pacific storms, opens out until lost in the distance, where it joins the Paramatta River. The banks on either hand, varying from two to five miles in breadth, are sometimes steep and sometimes sloping, but repeatedly indented by coves and bays, which, fringed with green shrubs down to the white sandy water-margin, when bathed in golden sunlight, present dainty retreats as brilliant as Danby's Enchanted Island.

On one of the first and most romantic coves stands Vaucluse, the marine villa of William Wentworth.

Five miles from the heads, on "Sydney Cove," is the city of Sydney, the head-quarters of the Governor-General, the residence and episcopal city of the Bishop of Australia, and the greatest wool port in the world. The still waters, alive with steamers passing and repassing, with ships of English and American flags, and a crowd of small craft, yachts, and pleasure-boats, betoken the approach to a centre of busy commerce, even before the church spires show themselves against the sky. In this city, which has been too often described to need any detailed account here, every comfort and every luxury of Europe is to be obtained that can be purchased with money.

The entrance to Port Jackson is so safe and easy that the American surveying ships ran in at night without a pilot; and when the inhabitants rose in the morning they found themselves under the guns of a frigate carrying the stripes and stars.

Vessels of considerable burden can unload alongside the quays.

Sydney Cove is formed by two small promontories, between which the rivulet flows which induced Governor Phillip to choose this site for his settlement, as it possessed a safe harbour, wood and water, three essential points, although not alone sufficient to support a flourishing colony. The first harbour is of little value, unless it is the outlet to a country capable of producing some exports.

Tanks were cut for storing the water of the fresh-water stream during the summer; but the increase of the town having rendered this supply insufficient, water was brought from Botany Bay; and recently further extensive works have been executed, by which an aqueduct is brought from Cook's River, where a dam has been built to exclude the salt water.

Along the hollow formed by the two promontories or ridges, where the native track through the woods formerly led down to the water's edge, George-street extends, and holds in the colonial metropolis the relative ranks of the Strand and Regent-street. There, until recently, stately plate-glass shops were to be found side by side with wooden huts.

The harbour of Port Jackson affords an almost unlimited line of deep water, along which, when needed by the extension of commerce, quays and warehouses may be erected at a very trifling expense. Many of the coves in Port Jackson are even now as much in a state of nature as when Captain Phillip first discovered it. As a central point for the commerce of the Australian seas, it is not probable that it can ever be superseded as a maritime station, even by other colonies planted in a more fertile situation, although it may be asserted that, with rare exceptions, the land for a hundred miles round Sydney is a sandy desert. But roads, railroads, and steamers will afford Sydney the advantages of the produce of districts which have no such harbour as Port Jackson.

Cumberland and Camden were the two counties first settled. Cumberland is the most densely-populated district in Australia, and has the poorest soil; a belt of land parallel to the sea, from twenty to forty miles in breadth, is either light sand dotted with picturesque, unprofitable scrub, or a stiff clay or ironstone, thickly covered with hard-wood timber and underwood. After passing this belt, to which the colonists confined themselves for more than ten years, with a few spirited exceptions, the soil improves a little; that is to say, narrow tracks of a rich alluvial character are found on the banks of the rivers, but the greater proportion consists of forest on a poor impenetrable soil, which defies the perseverance of the most skilled agriculturist. The deeper you go the worse it is.

Camden has a moderate extent of cultivable land, including the singular district of Illawarra, which is at once one of the most beautiful and fertile spots in the world, in regard both to the luxuriance and variety of its vegetable productions. The pastures of Camden are extensive, and were considered important until the discovery of the western and southern plains.

The dryness of the counties of Camden and Cumberland, in which, in the course of the year, nearly as much rain falls as in the counties of Essex and Sussex, is greatly owing to the stiff clay of which the soil is chiefly composed, through which the rain cannot easily filter, or from which springs can with difficulty burst forth. Boring, on the artesian plan, has been recently adopted with success.

To describe in detail the character of each county and each district would be a difficult and wearisome task. Many, after being charmed with the exquisitely picturesque appearance of Port Jackson and Sydney, on a very cursory inspection of the surrounding country, come to the conclusion that the whole province of New South Wales is a barren desert only fit for feeding sheep—a conclusion which is not more correct than to judge of the agricultural capabilities of England by Dartmoor, or of France by the "Landes."

Within the Sydney district are the towns of Paramatta, Windsor, and Liverpool; but, in consequence of the dispersion incident to the pastoral pursuits which have hitherto formed the chief employment of Australia, there are really no towns in the European sense of the word, with the exception of the three capitals, Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide, and Geelong in Victoria, which, being the port to a rich district is likely to rival Melbourne. The other towns with imposing names are mere villages, with a gaol; a magistrate's office, some stores, and a great many public-houses.

Taking Sydney as the starting point, we propose to survey the general features of the settled and pastoral districts, proceeding first towards the north, and returning to Port Jackson, travelling along the coast to the other two colonies.

The three great colonies of New South Wales, Victoria (late Port Phillip), and South Australia, occupy a continuous coast line, extending from Wide Bay, in New South Wales, to Cape Adieu, in South Australia. With the exception of the small and unsuccessful colony of Western Australia, or Swan River, the remaining coast line of this island-continent is unsettled, and only inhabited by wandering savages or stray parties of whalers and sealers. Attempts have been made more than once to form settlements in Northern Australia, but they have been abandoned, and will not probably be renewed until the older colonists find the need of further extensions inland, or some coal stations are established for the numerous steamers which are now plying between England and the gold regions.

The three colonies are only divided by imaginary lines, so easy are the means of inland intercommunication. Overland journeys have been executed between all by parties driving great herds over an imtracked country.

The principal ports to the north of Port Jackson are Broken Bay, the mouth of the River Hawkesbury, up which vessels of one hundred tons can proceed for four miles beyond the town of Windsor, which is one hundred and forty miles by the river, and about forty miles in a direct line from the coast. Broken Bay is not a safe harbour, being much exposed to the east and south-east as well as the north-west winds.

Port Hunter is the mouth of the Hunter River, which receives the waters of the Rivers Williams and Paterson.* It is navigable for about thirty-five miles by waterway, and twenty-five miles in a direct line from the coast. This stream was formerly called the Coal River. On the bay sheltered by Nobby Island stands Newcastle, a town which owes its name and importance to the coal-fields by which it is surrounded, and has recently been made the see of a bishoprick, extending to the extreme northern district of the colony. Forty miles up the river are East and West Maitland, and four miles nearer the sea Morpeth, the port of the Hunter River Company. A regular steam-boat traffic in all the produce of the Hunter River district is carried on between Morpeth, Newcastle, and Sydney, from which they are distant about eighty miles, the cheapness of steam communication having led to the abandonment of the road formed at immense cost by convict labour over the mountainous barren country inland between Sydney and the Hunter River.

[* So named after Colonel Paterson, for a short time Lieutenant-Governor; one of the earliest colonists who devoted himself to botany, and introduced the first orange trees in 1791.]

Hunter River is subject to droughts, but otherwise one of the oldest and finest agricultural districts. Vine cultivation is carried on there successfully, on a large scale. Its tributaries, the Williams and Paterson Rivers, are both navigable for a greater distance than the Hunter, the Williams uniting at twenty miles and the Paterson at thirty-five miles from Newcastle. They give access to districts which are cooler and better supplied with rain than the Hunter.

Maitland owes its double name to the government having laid out East Maitland during the land-buying mania, three miles up the river, at a point too shallow for steam-boats to approach; on which speculators laid out West Maitland.

The country round is flat, sometimes flooded, and produces fine crops of wheat and Indian corn. Along the Paterson the country is undulating and fertile, surrounded by hills which attract rain, and render it better adapted for cattle than sheep. Tobacco cultivation has been successfully pursued: thriving farms occupy the banks of the rivers, which fetch a good price, either to sell or rent. Kangaroos, plentiful a few years ago, are becoming scarce; but wild ducks may be shot on the river, and good fish caught.

In April the winter sets in and continues until September, with nights cold enough to make a fire pleasant, and sharp frost at daybreak.

In October the summer commences, and the wheat harvest in November. Then in the Hunter district the hot winds commence, blow for three days, and not unfrequently blight wheat just coming into ear: these hot winds are usually succeeded by a sharp southerly gale, accompanied by rain, which soon makes everything not actually blighted look green again. This more particularly refers to the Paterson. At Segenhoe, one of the most beautiful estates in New South Wales, which extends in romantic park-like scenery for six miles along the River Hunter, in the county of Brisbane, three years have sometimes elapsed before the fall of rain.

The Hunter River may be considered a favourable specimen of an accessible and long-settled district. The river is now not only the means of communication by the sea for the produce of its immediate territory, but also for all the wool and all the supplies interchanged by the great squatting district of New England and Liverpool Plains, to which access is obtained by a deep cleft through a spur of the Australian cordilleras, called the Liverpool Eange, which bounds the Liverpool Plains in a northerly direction. A great and increasing steam communication exists between Sydney and Hunter River.

Port Stephens is a large estuary fifteen miles in length and contracted to about a mile in breadth in the centre, into which the rivers Karuah and Myall flow. The Karuah is navigable for twelve miles only for small craft to Booral, a village built by the Australian Agricultural Company. The valley of the Karuah, in the county of Gloucester, is chiefly in the possession of the Australian Agricultural Company, and pronounced by Count Strzelecki to be one of the finest agricultural districts in the colony.

On this estate some of the rarest birds of Australia are found. The wonga wonga pigeon (Leucosarcia picata) is a large bird, with white flesh, excellent eating, with handsome black-patched plumage, which spends most of its time upon the ground, "feeding upon the seeds of stones of the fallen fruits of the towering trees under whose shade it dwells, seldom exposing itself to the rays of the sun, or seeking the open parts of the forest, whence when disturbed it rises with a loud fluttering, like a pheasant. Its flight is not of long duration, being merely employed to remove it to a sufficient distance to avoid detection by again descending to the ground or mounting the branch of a tree. It is a species which bears confinement well." The accompanying engraving, as well as all our illustrations from natural history, are copied by permission from Mr. Gould's splendid work on Australia. In Port Stephens harbour, at certain times of the year, the aborigines may be seen fishing and disporting in their canoes. Their habits are as uncivilised as when their ancestors were seen by Cook and Dampier, but quite harmless.


The park-like scenery, the neatness of the cottages provided by the company for their servants, the richness of the vegetation, and the fertility of gardens full of the choicest fruits and flowers, render this one of the counties which the traveller who can afford the time should visit, as it affords a pleasing contrast to the dry, barren country round Sydney, in the county of Cumberland.

From Booral the Australian Company have an overland communication with their stations on Liverpool Plains, but they ship most of their wool at the Hunter,

In the orchards of the Australian Agricultural Company at Port Stephens, Count Strzelecki mentions that he saw an example of the extensive range which the beautiful climate of New South Wales embraces in its isothermal lines—the English oak flourishing by the side of the banana, which again was surrounded by vines, lemons, and orange-trees of luxurious growth. "To the southward of Port Stephens are a series of thriving farms spreading along the Goulburn, Pages, Hunter, Paterson, and Williams Rivers, which comprise an agricultural district of 2,000 square miles in extent. The excellent harbour of Newcastle, good water and tolerable roads, a coal-mine, a soil well adapted for wheat, barley, turnips, the vine, and European fruits, and a situation most favourable to the application of irrigation, render this district one of the richest and most important in the colony."

Captain Stokes, in "The Voyage of the Beagle," says: "A change took place in the features of this portion of the eastern coast: a number of conical hills, from four to six hundred feet in height, presented themselves. Two very remarkable headlands, Wacaba and Tomare, constitute the entrance points of Port Stephens. The sea face of Tomare is a high line of cliffs.

"On the side of a hill, two miles and a half within the narrowest part of the harbour, is Tahlee, the residence of the superintendent. It stands on the crest of a steep grassy slope, over which are scattered numerous small bushy lemon-trees, the deep verdure of their foliage interspersed with golden fruit, contrasting charmingly with the light green carpet from which they spring. At the foot of this declivity a screen of trees, rising to a considerable height, almost shuts out the view of the water, though breaks here and there allow small patches to to be seen.

"I ascended to Booral, twelve miles up the River Karuah, where all goods are landed for the company's stations. The treasurer resides there in a charming cottage, almost covered with roses and honeysuckles. About two miles within the entrance the river winds between high and steep banks, densely covered with creepers, acacias, and other vegetation of a tropical character, hanging in festoons, the ends floating in the water.

"We were as much delighted as surprised with the richness of the vegetation, when compared with its dry, parched appearance at Sydney—another of the striking characteristics of Australia."

The next harbour after leaving Port Stephens is Port Macquarie, which is the outlet of the Rivers Hastings and Wilson.

Port Macquarie is a bar harbour, into which vessels drawing more than nine feet water cannot safely enter, but there is a good anchorage outside. The River Hastings cannot be ascended for more than ten miles by vessels of any burden; but from the mountains where it rises it flows in a full although not deep stream for fifty miles, traversing an undulating district, chiefly open forest.

Port Macquarie was first founded as a penal settlement. It is the commencement of a fertile semi-tropical district, extending to Moreton Bay. The township has gradually decayed since the penal settlement was discontinued.

The following striking picture is from the work of a gentleman who was the first to draw public attention to this fine district * :—

[* Port Macquarie to Moreton Bay, first explored and surveyed by Clement Hodgkinson.]

"On entering the surf of the bar of Port Macquarie, immediately beyond the last breaker, the mirror-like surface of the river extends in a long reach, whilst on the left dark serpentine rocks protect the smooth round eminence, covered with green sward, and crowned by a signal-post, fire-beacon, and windmill. A little further on is the town, built on a gentle rise, the tall, square church tower rising conspicuously in the highest part. A grove of magnificent trees encircles the port, whilst, turning to the west and north-west, appears a wide extent of forest country, the windings of the valley among the mountain ranges through which the River Wilson flows; Mount Caoulapatamba being sufficiently near to enable one to distinguish every tree on its grassy declivities."

The soil of the country in the county of Cumberland round Sydney appears barren, the vegetation harsh and dismal, but "on the coast of Port Macquarie dense thickets of cabbage-palms and myrtle-trees extend down the rocky declivities, even within reach of the spray, and every unwooded patch is covered with grass, while the lofty forest rising luxuriantly close to the sea presents a striking contrast to the stunted Banksia thickets and desiccated scrubs on the sandstone round Sydney. The mountains approaching near the coast collect vapours from the sea, and cause frequent rains; in summer heavy thunderstorms mitigate the heat."

The River Hastings was discovered by Mr. Oxley, a late surveyor-general, on the report of two shipwrecked mariners whom he rescued on the coast.

It has been calculated that there are twelve million fertile acres well watered by small streams. The dividing range of mountains rises upwards of six thousand feet; on the other side lies New England—a range of table land, where a temperate climate prevails, where potatoes and gooseberries are raised in perfection, and the settlers retain the rosy bloom of England,—one of the finest sheep districts in the colony. A road has been made across the mountains for bringing down wool to Port Macquarie.

Shoal Bay, the next harbour, is the embouchure of the River Clarence, navigable for steamers for more than fifty miles, flowing through a rich, fertile, and hot country, the reverse of the New England climate: large boats have ascended as far as ninety miles. It was surveyed and made public in 1839 by a private expedition under the charge of S. Perry, Esq. The average width of this river is from 450 to 600 yards, with a depth of from six to twenty feet water, the banks from ten to twenty-five feet above high-water mark. About twenty miles from the mouth is an island fifteen miles long, and from three to four miles broad; a range of hills rises in the centre. It is occupied as a cattle station, and partly for agricultural purposes, by the occupant, who holds it under a squatting licence.

Grafton is the township of the Clarence district, situated fifty miles from the mouth of the river. The finest land for arable purposes is found on the river banks, about thirty miles from Grafton, where the valley is wider, and the country consists of a scrub, easily cleared. The climate, too hot for growing wheat or raising sheep, suits cattle and maize. The sheep stations are being gradually discontinued. But although the land is admirably fertile on the banks of the river, at the distance of a few miles it is barren, with few patches of good soil.

The next river to the Clarence is the Richmond, which waters an infinitely finer cattle country, better supplied with rich pasture. The heads of the Richmond are about fifty miles from the Clarence River. The mouth is obstructed by a bar, dangerous for vessels drawing more than one hundred tons. After crossing the bar, the river is deep, winding in a narrow channel. This is one of the districts from which Sydney draws its chief supply of cedar.

It is right to mention that the plains lying between the Clarence and Richmond River, forty miles north of Shoal Bay, and as far north as Wide Bay, are all taken up and stocked under squatting licences. The soil is rich and the water advantages superior, but the climate more hot and less healthy than the plains on the other side of the range.

The next port, and centre and site of the capital of all this district, is Moreton Bay, into which flows the Brisbane River, discovered by Mr. Oxley, on an exploring expedition, in December, 1823. He reported that "when examining Moreton Bay we had the satisfaction to find the tide sweeping up a considerable inlet between the first mangrove island and the mainland. A few hours ended our anxiety: the water became perfectly fresh, and no diminution had taken place in the size of the river after passing Sea Reach. The scenery was peculiarly beautiful; the country along the banks alternately hilly and level, but not flooded; the soil of the finest description of good brush land, on which grew timber of great magnitude, some of a description quite unknown to us, amongst others a magnificent species of pine.* Up to this point the river was navigable for vessels not drawing more than sixteen feet of water. The tide rose about five feet, being the same as at the entrance. We proceeded about thirty miles further, no diminution having taken place in either the depth or the breadth of the river, except in one place, for the extent of thirty yards, where a ridge of detached rocks extended across the river, not having more than twelve feet upon them at high water. From this period to Termination Hill the river continued nearly of uniform size. The tide ascends daily fifty miles up the mouth of the Brisbane. The country on either side is of very superior description, and equally well adapted for cultivation or grazing."

[* The pine forests mark the commencement and the boundaries of intertropical Australia.]

On Mr. Oxley's report, which further explorations have proved to be in no degree exaggerated, a penal settlement was founded at Brisbane, and among other experiments for employing the prisoners, sugar was cultivated, until a flood swept the machinery away. There is no doubt that the climate and soil of the Moreton Bay district, by which it is better known than by its parliamentary title, county of Stanley, would produce sugar and cotton; but that those crops would be remunerative to capitalists at the present or probable price of labour in Australia is more than doubtful. Whether any tropical cultivation could be successfully carried on by families of small freeholders remains yet to be tried. At some future period when New South Wales has the power of promoting colonisation without consulting Downing-street, perhaps families of Germans, of the class that have at times settled in Brazil, may be induced to try the experiment.

Moreton Bay is forty-five miles in length, and twenty in breadth, enclosed between the two islands of Stradbroke and Maitland. This harbour is rendered unsafe by numerous shoals and narrow winding passages.

Moreton Bay Island is nineteen miles in length, and four and a half in breadth. It consists of a series of sandhills one of which is nine hundred feet in height, quite barren in an agricultural point of view, but producing a cypress which is a good furniture wood.

The river Brisbane flows into the bay about the middle of its western side, with a bar on which there are not more than eleven feet of water at flood-tide. Large vessels have to anchor about five miles off, under the shelter of one of the islands.

The towns of Brisbane, north and south, are fourteen miles from the mouth of the river, and thirty-five miles from Ipswich, on the River Bremer, an inland port for shipping wool from the Moreton Bay district.

Steam communication is maintained between Brisbane and Ipswich, and between Moreton Bay and Sydney.

From Moreton Bay a considerable trade is carried on with Sydney, and other less-favoured settlements, especially in the Moreton Bay pine (Auracaria Cunninghami), which is of the same quality as the Norfolk Island pine, as well as wool and tallow, the staples of the country.

In the bay and on the coast the aborigines eagerly pursue the dugong, a species of small whale, generally known to the colonists as the sea-pig. The head of the dugong is small in proportion to his body, and is most singularly shaped. The upper lip is very thick, and flattened at the extremity. It is to this queer looking snout, we presume, that the animal is indebted for the swinish cognomen by which it is ordinarily known. The dugong has a thick smooth skin, with a few hairs scattered over its surface. Its colour is bluish on the back, with a white breast and belly. In size the full-grown male has never, we believe, been found more than eighteen or twenty feet long; but those commonly taken are much less than this.

The food of the dugong consists chiefly of marine vegetables, which it finds at the bottom of inlets, in comparatively shallow water, where it is easily captured. Its flesh resembles good beef, and is much esteemed. The oil obtained from its fat is peculiarly clear and limpid, and is free from any disagreeable smell, such as most animal oils are accompanied with. It has not yet been produced in sufficient quantities to acquire a recognised market value.

The blacks devour the carcase roasted, after expressing the oil for sale to the colonists. A perfumer in Sydney tried to convert this oil into a new mixture for the hair: unfortunately, an experiment upon himself and his wife produced baldness instead of luxuriance, yet its appearance is as fine as sperm.

Behind Moreton Bay, on the other side the mountain range, forming a district of high tableland and cool temperature, are the Darling Downs, a magnificent sheep country, which is also accessible from the Clarence River.

The climate of the Moreton Bay district, like nearly all the district north of Port Macquarie, is too hot for wheat, which grows luxuriantly, but is subject to blight: for sheep and cattle there is no finer country, and maize and all semi-tropical productions grow in perfection. Grapes ripen, but are too subject to frosts to make good wine.

A very short distance from the town of Brisbane the clearings end and the forest commences; now green trees, then pine, then open plains, and well-watered valleys.

The rainy season of this intertropical region has been graphically described by Mr. Mossman:—"Masses of dense scud rise up from the Pacific Ocean towards the interior, until they are checked by the southerly wind blowing over the higher, colder New England country (on the other side of the mountain ranges), and packed into a uniform mass shrouding the heavens; a stifling sultriness succeeds, the lightning bursts forth from the lurid gloom, flash succeeds with fearful rapidity—now forked from the zenith, anon like a chain around the verge of the horizon, while the crash of thunder resounds. The floodgates of the black canopy are opened—the rain descends in torrents with a loud pattering—soon the narrow tributaries of the river are swollen, some rising as much as fifty feet in twelve hours—the surrounding plains are deluged. In the five months of rain the earth becomes saturated, the forests drip continually, while the nearly vertical sun creates a warm, humid, unhealthy atmosphere." Ophthalmia and general debility follow this kind of weather; but the author of the passage just quoted considers that if Indian bungalows were erected by the settlers, instead of naked English cottages, many of the ill effects of the rainy season would be avoided.

In the Moreton Bay district may be found many establishments containing all the luxuries of Europe—elegant houses, gardens, libraries, music, pictures, and wives in Parisian bonnets.

Wide Bay, beyond Moreton Bay, and the boundary of the county of Stanley, is the last port of the colony of New South Wales: it receives the waters of the Mary Fitzroy River. The land is undulating, well timbered, covered with good grass, and suited for horned stock. Within the last five years a considerable number of stations have been formed there, and the country taken up in cattle runs for more than two hundred miles in the interior. In the 27th parallel of the Wide Bay District grows the bunya-bunya tree, a species of pine, often from seventeen to twenty feet in circumference, and upwards of one hundred feet in height, which once in three years yields a harvest of cones about a foot long and three quarters in diameter, containing seeds or kernels, which the natives from the most distant regions triennially journey to collect, roast, and eat, afterwards enjoying the relaxation of a little fighting.

Orders have been issued by the colonial government that no stations be planted and no stock run in this bunya-bunya country, which occupies a space of about fifty miles in length by ten in breadth. It will be difficult to enforce this order.

Dr. Leichardt, one of the scientific travellers who has, we fear, like Cunningham, Gilbert, and Kennedy, fallen a victim to his adventurous courage in an attempt to penetrate overland to Swan River, passed some time in the Moreton Bay district, preparing himself for the successful journey he afterwards made overland, in 1844, to Port Essington, in Northern Australia. In a letter addressed to Professor Owen, which is quoted in that eminent physiologist's "Report on the Extinct Mammals of Australia," read at the annual meeting of the British Association, July, 1845, and which accompanied a box of fossil bones from Darling Downs, he describes his life in terms which sound sadly and strangely affecting, now that, after succeeding in his first, he has perished in his second enterprise:—

"Living here as the bird lives who flies from tree to tree—living on the kindness of a friend fond of my science, or on the hospitality of the settler and squatter—with a little mare I travelled more than 2,500 miles, zigzag, from Newcastle to Wide Bay, being often my own groom, cook, washerwoman, geologist, and botanist at the same time; and I delighted in this life. When next you hear of me, it will be either that I am lost and dead, or that I have succeeded in penetrating through the interior to Port Essington."

Leichardt set out on this expedition, and left Jimba, the last station on the Darling Downs, 30th September, 1844, and reached Port Essington in December of the same year. The privations he endured were terrible. Mr. Gilbert, a naturalist in the employment of Mr. Gould, fell a sacrifice to the savages. More than once the bronze-winged pigeon, flying to water, saved them from dying of thirst.


To the parties engaged in this expedition the Legislative Council voted £1,000, and 1,500 was raised by private subscription for the same purpose. Of these two sums, £1,450 were presented to Dr. Leichardt. He lost no time in preparing a second expedition, for the purpose of "exploring the interior of Australia, the extent of Sturt's desert, and the character of the western and north-western coast, and to observe he gradual change in vegetation and animal life from one side of the continent to the other." This expedition set out in December, 1846, and was expected to occupy not less than two years and a half in reaching Swan River. The following is the last letter ever received from him, addressed to a friend in Sydney:—

"I take the last opportunity of giving you an account of my progress. For eleven days we travelled from Mr. Birell's station, on the Condamine, to Mr. Macpherson's, on the Fitzroy Downs. Though the country was occasionally very difficult, yet everything went on well. My mules are in excellent order, my companions in excellent spirits. Three of my cattle are footsore, but I shall kill one of them to-night to lay in our necessary stock of dried beef.


"The Fitzroy Downs, over which we travelled or about twenty-two miles from east to west, is indeed a splendid region, and Sir Thomas Mitchell has not exaggerated their beauty in his account. The soil is pebbly and sound, richly grassed, and, to judge from the myall, of most fattening quality. I came right on Mount Abundance, and passed over a gap of it with my whole train. My latitude agreed well with Mitchell's. I fear that the absence of water on Fitzroy Downs will render this fine country to a great degree unavailable. I observe the thermometer daily at 6 A.M. and P.M., which are the only convenient hours. I have tried the wet thermometer, but I am afraid my observations will be very deficient. I shall, however, improve on them as I proceed. The only serious accident that has happened was the loss of a spade; but we are fortunate enough to make it up on this station, where the superintendent is going to spare us one of his.

"Though the days are still very hot, the beautiful clear nights are cool, and benumb the musquitoes, which have ceased to trouble us. Myriads of flies are the only annoyance we have.

"Seeing how much I have been favoured in my present progress, I am full of hope that our Almighty Protector will allow me to bring my darling scheme to a successful termination.—Your most sincere friend,

"Ludwig Leichardt.   

Mr. Macpherson's Station, Cogoon, April 3, 1848."

There is now little doubt that the brave Leichardt was murdered by savages shortly after leaving Cogoon.

It would be impossible in any reasonable space to convey a correct idea of the physical character of a country like Melbourne, Port Jackson, and Wide Bay, which extends over more than eight hundred miles of coast range alone.* But the distinctive features of this north-eastern coast, as far as Moreton Bay, have been very clearly summed up by Mr. Clement Hodgkinson, in his before-quoted work:—

[* Port Albury, recently discovered near Cape York, on Albury Island, affords a good and ready anchorage and easy access to vessels to or from Torres Straits or Sydney.]

"First. Its geological formation, which, instead of being sandstone, which so generally predominates on the Hunter, consists of rocks of primitive or transition origin, such as granite, trap, ancient limestone, slates, &c., all which in Australia furnish, by their decomposition, a much more fertile surface than sandstone.

"Secondly. The mountainous nature of the country, the great altitude of the mountains exceeding six thousand feet above the level of the sea, and their proximity to the coast.

"Thirdly. The abundance of water and the proximity of navigable rivers. From Moreton Bay to Macquarie, in 270 miles of coast, there are nine rivers with bar harbours, which can be entered by coasting vessels and small steamers, viz., the Brisbane, Tweed, Richmond, Clarence, Bellergen, Macleary, Hastings, Camden Haven, and the Manning.

"Lastly. The fitness of the rich alluvial soil, which extends in continuous narrow borders of brush land along these rivers, for tropical cultivation (if labour could be applied at not too great a cost at clearing away the brush)."

Thus it will be observed that the north and north-eastern track of New South Wales, lying between the mountains and the sea, is exempt from the aridity which characterises a large portion of Australia.

Retracing our steps, we will now take a glance at what may be called the transmontane regions, lying parallel to the coast district just described, separated by the dividing range of the Blue Mountains, or, as it has been lately termed, the Australian Cordilleras.

Passing the dividing range which separates the hot lower countries watered by the Brisbane and the Clarence, we reach Darling Downs (discovered by Allan Cunningham, the king's botanist, in 1830, when he travelled from Sydney to Moreton Bay by land), which are watered by the river of the same name. These downs are part of a system of high table lands continued toward the north, where the boundaries are indefinite, by the Fitzroy Downs, discovered by Sir Thomas Mitchell in 1846, and toward the south by the New England district. There a rapid descent changes the climate from snow and hail to the hot country of the Peel, Page, and the Liverpool Plains, bounded on the south by the great dividing or Liverpool Range, through which Pandora's Pass gives exit to the Hunter River; and thus with intervals of mountain range or desert, a series of pastoral plains run parallel with the interior of the mountain range which encircles the eastern coast of Australia, including the Goulburn, Bathurst district, the Maneroo or Brisbane Downs, and the Murray district, which flow into, if we may use the term, the province of Victoria. And in this series of pastoral plains the climate is considerably modified by their altitude above the sea. It was these plains, where fine-woolled sheep increase and multiply at the least possible expense, which first gave exports and wealth to Australia. Before the shepherd and his flock the savage and the emu gradually disappear.

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In traversing the coast from Port Jackson to Port Phillip there is a singular absence of good harbours. The first. Botany Bay, fourteen miles from Port Jackson, receives the waters of the George River, on which the township of Liverpool was planted by Macquarie, but has not flourished; and the Cook's River which has been dammed, for the purpose of affording a supply of fresh water to Sydney. Botany Bay is unsheltered, and offers indifferent accommodation for small vessels. A brass plate on the cliffs marks the spot where Captain Cook first landed; and the stranger may drink from the well of fresh water opened by that illustrious navigator.

Between Botany Bay and Shoalhaven is Illawarra, also known as the Five Islands, one of the most fertile and wildly beautiful districts in the world, which, from the peculiarity of its situation, bounded by the sea for eighteen miles, running north and south, and by a mountain chain which encircles about 150,000 acres, unites the peculiarities of both temperate and tropical climates, a sort of Norway or Switzerland, rocks, lakes, fat alluvial valleys, under a southern sun, tempered by breezes from the sea. We descend from the landward side by crossing a range of hills 1,500 feet in height, so precipitous that it is difficult for a horseman to ride down, and, without dismounting, impossible for a loaded dray to descend.

The communication with Sydney, which Illawarra supplies with large quantities of fruit, vegetables, and agricultural produce, is chiefly carried on by coasters from the small harbour of Wollongong, a favourite resort for invalids. Here is a celebrated show-garden, where may be seen fruits and English watercress, tropical oranges, pomegranates, nectarines, and bananas, and avenues covered with grape-bearing vines of all colours. Here is Illawarra Lake, too, than which it is scarcely possible to conceive anything more picturesquely beautiful, environed by rocks and tropical vegetation, peopled with bright-coloured birds.*

[* A beautiful and accurate view of this lake was given in Prout's Australian Panorama.]


At Illawarra the palm and the tree-fern flourish, and from land as fertile, and cultivation as careful, as that of Devonshire, a short walk may bring you to a camp of aborigines sheltering from the warm rain beneath their gunyah, the nearest approach to a hut which these poor creatures have contrived.

Jervis Bay—in the county of St. Vincent where the township of South Huskisson has been founded—is eighty miles from Sydney, with an entrance two miles wide, and an inner harbour three leagues in length, safe for ships of the heaviest burden, with access to ample supplies of wood and water, and presents a total change of climate. Unfortunately, this fine port is surrounded by a hopelessly barren country. It has been suggested by Mr. Ralfe, an experienced Australian surveyor, that Jervis Bay should become the terminus of a railway from the Bathurst district. A railway for wool and tallow would be a very doubtful speculation; but recent events have laid the foundation for more important exports and imports. Perhaps by following the course of streams it would be possible to find workable gradients for a tramway on the Welsh coal-mining or American plan.

The next ports, Ulladulla and Bateman's Bay, the outlet of the Clyde River, are only accessible for coasters; but the latter has recently come into notice from the discovery of the gold-diggings, distant only thirty miles: that thirty miles being over a country of so difficult a character that a party with loaded packhorses were three days in crossing it.

The last harbour in the New South Wales district is Twofold Bay, 240 miles from Sydney, on which two townships have been founded, Eden by the government, and Boyd Town by the late Benjamin Boyd, with the funds of a Scotch company which he represented. Eden has never been anything better than a government project at the expense of a few foolish land speculators. Boyd Town enjoyed a brief period of factitious prosperity, when the steamers, whalers, and yacht of the founder lay in harbour. It was at Boyd Town he appeared with almost viceroyal state, when laying the first stone of the never lighted lighthouse; and it was there that he landed the island cannibals whom he had purchased from their savage conquerors, with the view of reducing wages by introducing slavery into Australia, rather than encourage shepherd families upon his boundless sheep-runs.

The steep range of hills which separates Twofold Bay from the vast squatting district of Maneroo has hitherto, in spite of a road constructed at much expense by Mr. Boyd, to a great degree neutralised its advantageous position as the only harbour for large ships on a long line of coast. It is still used as a station for shore whalers being almost the only station for that purpose in the colony. There has been a great falling off in the whaling operations of the Sydney merchants.

The Australian whalers are for the most part from 200 to 300 tons burden. All on board, from the captain downwards, are paid by a share of the oil procured, which share is called, in whalemen's parlance, a "lay," and is proportioned of course to the rank and ability of the man. There is one feature of this trade in the Pacific which is not generally known—the intercourse of those who follow it with the tribes of Polynesia. Whaling captains generally seek some of the islands for the purpose of procuring supplies of provisions, or of repairing slight damages sustained at sea; because, in the first place, they can obtain provisions there at infinitely less cost than in any of the colonial ports; and, in the second place, they find it easier to keep their men together. Supplies arc frequently procured in boats, without bringing the vessel to an anchor. These supplies, consisting of pigs and fowls, with yams, cocoanuts, bread-fruit, and other productions of a similar nature, are procured by barter: calicoes, hardware, common trinkets, and other matters likely to be prized by the untutored islanders being carried for that purpose. These articles are technically known as "trade." All the precautions which the captains can take are insufficient to prevent occasional desertion; and extraordinarily numerous as are the islands of the Pacific, there is scarcely one of them which has not one or more runaway sailors domesticated among the people who inhabit it.*

[* The runaway sailors and escaped convicts dwelling in the islands of the Pacific have been estimated at many thousands, but great numbers have been attracted from their retreats by the Californian and Australian gold diggings.]


From Twofold Bay, passing Cape Howe, which receives the point of the imaginary line dividing the provinces of New South Wales and Victoria, no harbour presents itself until we reach Corner Inlet, within which is Alberton, on the River Albert, the capital of the fine district of Gipps's Land; unfortunately it is obstructed by a bar. Then follows Western Port, discovered by George Bass in his whale-boat, a port formed by two islands, Port Phillip, Port Fairy and Portland Bay. Leaving Western Port, we enter the now world-famous Port Phillip, an inland sea, which receives the ships whose cargoes or passengers are destined for the towns of Melbourne and Geelong.

The entrance to Port Phillip Bay is little more than one mile and a half across. On the one hand Point Nepean, a low sandy promontory, like a rabbit-warren without rabbits, at the base of the cape: beyond rises for a thousand feet Arthur's Seat, a woody range of hills, precipitous towards the sea, with barely room for a road between its foot and the flood-tide. In the distance, on the same margin, Mount Eliza, a range of hills, with extensive outline, mark the bounds of Port Phillip Bay. On the other side the lowlands of Indented Head and Shortland Bluff present a dull scene, sprinkled with funereal shiak or "she oak trees."

The rush of waters through the narrow canal into this Great Lake, nearly fifty miles in length by twenty-five in breadth, which forms Port Phillip, in certain states of the wind and tide, creates a foaming, stormy whirl of water not a little alarming to the inexperienced landsman. Within the bay the waters calm down, and a beautiful and picturesque scene is unrolled.

At Port Phillip Bay the great dividing range which runs parallel at varying distances with the coast from Wide Bay, penetrating New South Wales under various names (the Blue Mountains near Sydney, the Australian Alps in Gipps's Land), seems to sink into the sea across Bass's Straits, where its course is marked by a chain of islands, and reappears with the same character in Van Diemen's Land.

Thus it is that, sailing up the bay, the scenery changes: the rugged cliffs and alpine ranges of the east coast give way to undulating grassy plains, sprinkled with picturesque hills. The western arm of Port Phillip, extending about twenty miles, opens the course to Geelong. In sailing up the bay the hills around Geelong appear, covered with cultivation.

Ships of burden for Melbourne cast anchor in Hobson's Bay, at the mouth of the River Yarra, off Williams Town, which is built on a flat promontory, with three sides to the water. Williams Town was laid out by Sir Richard Bourke as the seaport of Port Phillip, for which the situation affords advantages; but the want of good drinking water has hitherto hindered it from making any progress since the years of the mania when town lots were sold there at a great price. It contains the harbour-master's residence, two or three public-houses, a few butcher's shops, a clergyman's house, and a small temporary church. An aqueduct or water-pipes would soon make Williams Town an important place.

The shores of the Yarra are so even with Hobson's Bay that from the anchorage the entrance can scarcely be distinguished.

From Hobson's Bay, taking a boat for a mile, a walk or ride of a mile and a half will bring the traveller to Melbourne; but by the winding channel of the river, which is just wide and deep enough to admit the steamers which ply constantly from Sydney and Geelong, the distance is seven miles.

"Passing the junction of the Maryburrong, or Salt-water River, on the bank of which are beautiful villa sites, the Melbourne race-course, and several establishments for boiling down sheep and cattle into tallow, which give out a most villanous odour, the city, of which only an indistinct glimpse was to be observed from the bay, comes in view; the cathedral, a heavy building, without a tower or a steeple; and the government offices, built of stone, without ornament, on the highest point of the hill." The voyage ends in a sort of pool where steamers can find room to turn round and take up a berth alongside the quay. A breakwater has been erected on the foundation of a natural ledge of rocks which effectually divides the fresh water from the salt.

Melbourne occupies two sides of a valley, East Hill and West Hill, of very fertile soil. Inferior in port accommodation and in picturesque beauty to Sydney, it has the advantage of being in the midst of productive corn-fields, gardens, vineyards, and pastures.

The principal street is a mile long, crossed at right angles by other streets of half that length: a macadamised causeway runs down the middle, leaving a strip on each side to be converted into mud in the rainy season. The footpaths for the most part are of gravel, with kerbstones. So far there is an improvement. Some years ago a traveller was shocked the day after his arrival by seeing among the announcements in a local paper, "Another Child drowned in the Streets of Melbourne."

The buildings present the irregularity incident to all colonial towns; occasionally great gaps of building land were to be found representing investments made eight or ten years ago by absentee speculators. But the gold revolution has covered every vacant space with weather-board huts and tents. The chief lion work of Melbourne is a stone bridge across the Yarra, of the same size and proportions as the centre arch of London-bridge, which cost an enormous sum.

The population was about twenty thousand in 1851; what it is at present it is impossible to say. It is to be feared that houses will be built more rapidly than the present streets will be drained and rendered wholesome. The lower part of Melbourne is subject to sudden floods from the falling of rains and melting of snow in the range of hills in which the Yarra takes its rise. An Australian flood is "short, sharp, and decisive."

From the summit of either East or West Hill, by which the valley of Melbourne is formed, may be seen Mount Macedon, the crowning mountain of a range of the same name thirty-five miles from the city, three thousand feet in height, covered with open forests, and the richest vegetation of Australia. Thence may be viewed the richest mountain in the world, the Mount Byng of its discoverer Mitchell, the Mount Alexander in gold-digging records. To the north of Mount Alexander is Mount Hope, from the summit of which the weary eyes of Mitchell were gladdened by all the sylvan pastoral glories of "Australia Felix."

Fifty-four miles from Melbourne, by sea or land, with access by steamers several times in the day, is Geelong, the western arm of Port Phillip, which "opens on the larboard hand of a vessel immediately upon clearing the shoals at the entrance of the Great Lake, standing between the miniature Bay of Corio with its picturesque green hills and sheltered water, and the River Barwon, which flows into the Lake Connemarra."

The situation, in the centre of one of the best grazing and agricultural districts, near a gold-field, will probably render it an important town. A bar at the mouth of the harbour at present restricts the entry of vessels drawing more than ten feet water; but this, it is thought, may be removed by dredging. Should this be the case, the province of Victoria will enjoy the advantage of two excellent available ports, and have two great towns. In the other provinces there seems no probability of any rival competing with Sydney or Port Adelaide.

Forty miles from Geelong the Buninyong range forms part of the second series of mountains, after the termination of the Australian Alps. At Ballarat, one of the spurs of Buninyong, in the midst of plains of unequalled fertility, the first gold-field in Victoria was worked.

In proceeding along the coast to the point where an imaginary line divides Victoria from South Australia, the whole coast line of the former being about 600 miles, the most important harbour is found in Portland Bay, 255 miles from Melbourne. Three streams, none of them navigable, fall into this bay, which is little better than a roadstead, and very dangerous when the south-easterly gales, which prevail during the summer months, are blowing. The government has been compelled to pay one pound a ton more chartering for vessels to Portland Bay than to Hobson's Bay. The north shore is low; the western rises in bold cliffs, upwards of 150 feet.

It was at Portland Bay that one of the earliest settlements was formed by one of Messrs. Henty's whaling parties, on which the land explorers came, to their great surprise, after many weeks' journey through an unknown, uninhabited country.

The Portland Bay district receives streams from the Grampians, a range running to the northward, of which Mount William, the extreme eastern point, is 4,500 feet in height. Mitchell ascended Mount Abrupt, on the south-eastern extremity of the Grampian range, and beheld from the edge of an almost perpendicular precipice, 1,700 feet in height, vast open plains, bordered with forests and studded with lakes. "Certainly a land more favourable could not be found. Flocks might be turned out upon its hills, or the plough at once set agoing upon its plains. No primeval forests require to be first rooted out here, although there is as much timber as could be needed for utility or ornament." Australia Felix is one of the few regions in which the sanguine expectations of the discoverers have been realised.


It will be found on examining a map of the province of Victoria and of the Melbourne district—and a most excellent one has been published by Mr. Ham, of Melbourne—that it has three natural divisions. The central division, including Australia Felix and Mount Alexander, finds its natural port and capital in Melbourne. The western division, including Portland Bay, for want of a better harbour, finds its outlet chiefly at Geelong. The eastern division, including Gipps's Land, finds partly an outlet at Western Port; but Gipps's Land must export and import through Alberton.

Victoria has many streams and rivulets, mentioned in our table of the counties at page 255, but no rivers navigable in the European sense of the term.

Gipps's Land was discovered by Count Strzelecki, C.B., who is equally eminent as a scientific traveller and philanthropist. The honour has been claimed for a Mr. Macmillan, who communicated his discovery to his employers some months before the count published his report. This is probable. Stockmen have been the first explorers of most of the finest pasture districts of Australia; but it is contrary to the custom and interest of squatters to make such discoveries public.

In the count's report to Sir George Gipps he says: "Seventeen miles S.S.E. from Lake Omeo, a beautiful stream, the first of the eastern waters, soon assumed the breadth of a river, and appeared to be a guide into a country hitherto unoccupied by white men. A hilly country closes the valley, narrows the river banks, and brings the explorer across the mountain ridges to an elevation whence there is a view of the sea on the distant horizon; to the south-east an undulating country, with mountain ridges to the north-east. Approaching or receding from the river, according to the windings of its bordering hills, the descent into a noble forest is effected. A series of rich pasture valleys, prairies, and open forests are intersected and studded with rivers, lakes, and wooded hills; the pastures opening out and sloping towards the sea." Strzelecki describes Gipps's Land, viewed from Mount Gisborne, as resembling a semi-lunar amphitheatre, walled from north-east to south-west by lofty picturesque mountain scenery, and sloping towards the south-east down to the sea.

In 1840 Strzelecki was engaged for twenty-six days in cutting his way through the scrub-covered ranges between Gipps's Land and Western Port, was obliged to abandon his packhorses, and he and his party did not escape without imminent danger both from famine and exhaustion.

In 1844 Mr. Hawdon, with a party of twelve able-bodied men, including black native police, was instructed by the government to open up a practicable route for cattle from Western Port to Gipps's Land. He has published a very interesting account of his expedition, with some spirited illustrations. He was engaged thirty days in the task, and he, too, very nearly perished in the scrub; yet he considered himself well repaid for the famine and fatigue he had endured "by the sight of the fine plains—Barney's Plains of the map—beyond the Glengarry." The good country lies upwards of fifty miles from the government township of Victoria founded on the Albert River.

It is the opinion of Mr. Hawdon that the greater part of the scrub country through which he travelled would be capable of cultivation if cleared. This scrubby tract is nowhere found in Victoria except between Gipps's Land and Western Port.

It was while performing this journey that he had an opportunity of closely examining the shy and curious lyre bird (Menura superba), which is peculiar to Australia, and only found on the south-eastern coast. The settlers sometimes called it a pheasant, but it is in reality one of the thrush family.


"I was awakened," writes Mr. Hawdon, "at sunrise by the singing of numerous pheasants. These are the mocking-birds of Australia, imitating all sounds that are heard in the bush in great perfection; they are about the size of a small fowl, of a dirty brown colour, approaching to black in some parts; their greatest attraction consists in the graceful tail of the cock bird, which is something like a lyre. But little is known of their habits, for it is seldom they are found near the dwellings of civilised man.

"Hearing one scratching in the scrub close to the dray, I crawled out, gun in hand, intending to provide a fresh meal for breakfast. The sun having just risen, inclined it to commence its morning song; but the natural note (bleu bleu) was almost lost among the multitude of imitative sounds through which it ran—croaking like a crow, then screaming like a cockatoo, chattering like a parrot, and howling like the native dog—until a stranger might have fancied that he was in the midst of them all. Creeping cautiously round a point of scrub, I came in view of a large cock bird, strutting round in a circle, scratching up the leaves and mould with his formidable claws, while feeding upon a small leech which is the torment of travellers, and spreading open his beauteous tail to catch the rays of the sun as it broke through the dense forest. As I raised my gun a piece went off within six feet of me: it was one of the black police who had blown the bird's head off that had been amusing me for more than an hour."

These birds when disturbed never rise high, but run off into the densest scrub, scarcely allowing a sportsman time to raise his piece before they are out of his reach. Even the aborigines, who are so skilful in creeping up to game of all kinds, seldom kill more than three brace in a day. Their song is not often heard during rain, or when the sun is obscured. "The nest is about three feet in circumference, and one foot deep, having an orifice on one side: they lay but one egg, of slate colour with black spots. The female is a very unattractive bird, having but a poor tail, nothing like the male."

Gipps's Land, with its boundary of snow-capped precipitous mountains, its fine plains, many lakes, and temperate climate, may be considered as one of the several contrasts of soil, climate, and vegetation, of which Darling Downs, Moreton Bay, Illawarra, and Bathurst, each afford different examples.

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The River Glenelg, flowing into the sea, marks the natural boundary between the province of Victoria and that of South Australia, thence embracing a seaboard of about fifteen hundred miles, into which no river navigable by vessels of burden flows, and only two ports have as yet been found capable of safely accommodating ships of burden. As a compensation, inland journeys may be performed with little obstruction, on horseback or by drays, for hundreds of miles.

The first important indentation in to the line of the coast is Encounter Bay; but there are coasting ports at Rivoli Bay and Guichen Bay, at which wool has been shipped. Hopes were once confidently entertained of finding an entrance from the sea to the River Murray, but it has unfortunately proved that this, the noblest stream in Australia, ends in the Lake Alexandrina, and is divided from the ocean by a barrier of land and a surf-beaten sea margin.

Cape Jervis forms the apex of the county of Hindmarsh, which is for the most part occupied by industrious settlers, although the promontory itself is rather barren, and only known for its shore whale fishery. On rounding this cape, Kingscote Harbour and Nepean Bay appear on the opposite shores of Kangaroo Island—excellent harbours, and one of them well supplied with water. Unfortunately they lead to nothing. The buildings erected by the South Australian Company in 1837 were permitted to fall into decay. Recently a few stock stations have been taken up on the island, and about one hundred persons are resident there.

The kangaroos and the emus, so numerous in Flinders' time, have disappeared; and the large white eagles that stooped upon his men, mistaking them for kangaroos, have become rare.

Entering St. Vincent's Gulf, and passing Holdfast Bay, where Governor Hindmarsh disembarked, and Mrs. Hindmarsh's piano was floated ashore through the surf—for it is no harbour at all, but a dangerous open roadstead—passing a number of seaside villages, Port Adelaide is reached. By dint of dredging, and with the advantage of quays, this has become a safe and convenient harbour; and, with the aid of the intended railroad, will afford the city of Adelaide nearly as much convenience as if it had been planted on a navigable river, or on a deep harbour;—that was impossible, since no site exists in South Australia combining a good harbour, agricultural land, and fresh water. No other port presents itself in St. Vincent's Gulf, unless we except Port Wakefield, to which vessels from Swansea with cargoes of coal for smelting copper have recently been consigned. It has been proposed to construct a tramway between this port and the Burra Burra mines, and an attempt would have been made to execute this project if the gold diggings had not temporarily withdrawn all English speculation from South Australia.

The whole sea face of York Peninsula and Spencer's Gulf is unfavourable to the formation of a port and town, until we arrive at Port Lincoln, on the western arm of Spencer's Gulf, where a natural harbour could receive the largest squadron that ever went to sea—a landlocked estuary, protected at its mouth by Boston Island, with three arms or bays, Spalding Cove, Port Lincoln proper, and Boston Bay. But these harbours, viewed with so much admiration by seamen, are silent; no busy population labours on the shores, a few scattered flocks and herds are all that the mainland supports; and the allotments, which were competed for so eagerly in the years of land mania, are left to nature and a few wandering cattle.

On entering Port Lincoln, a white obelisk, on the summit of a hill, may be seen, which bears the following inscription by Sir John and Lady Franklin:—

ON 26 FEB., 1802, BY












[* Sir John Franklin served under Flinders in the Terra Australis Voyage of Discovery.]

To pursue the coast line of the province of Victoria to 132 of E. longitude, where it ends in a desert, would be useless, as no rivers or harbours break the line of this almost uninhabited coast.

Equally absurd would it be to state—as South Australian advocates who do not know the value of truth frequently do—that South Australia contains an area of 300,000 square miles, or nearly twenty millions of acres, without adding that a very large proportion of this vast space is occupied by stony deserts and lakes of mud. Nevertheless, enough of land remains admirably fertile and well watered to support a large population, much larger than is likely to occupy it for a long series of years. In the most inhospitable regions, copper, lead, silver, and iron have been found; and there is no reason to doubt that gold will eventually be discovered.

The district in a north-westerly direction, between Port Lincoln and Streaky Bay, has been but imperfectly explored, and, with the exception of a few detached squatters' stations, settlement has not extended beyond the peninsula formed between the River Murray and St. Vincent's Gulf, the furthest inland township being founded by the Burra Burra mine, ninety miles from the capital.

South Australia is intersected by three mountain ranges,—Mount Lofty, Mount Barker, and Wakefield.

The Mount Lofty range runs from north-west, and after attaining a height of about 2,000 feet, twelve miles east of Adelaide, falls to the south-west, terminating in low cliffs on the seashore near Ockaparinga.

From these hills Adelaide, in the valley of the Torrens, presents a singular scene—a green oasis in the midst of a bed of sand, running like a riband along the sea by which it has been upheaved.

Capital farms occupy the foot of Mount Lofty, with a sure market in Adelaide. A steep road leads across the hills or mountains; on the other side rich but not extensive valleys are found; in one of these, twenty-four miles from Adelaide, is Hansdorf, one of three German settlements to which South Australia owes much in vine culture and sheep management. Beyond, parallel with Mount Lofty, is the Mount Barker range, the summit being 800 feet above the level of the surrounding country, which is about 1,600 feet above the level of the sea. The summit forms table-land, on which there are some good cattle and sheep stations. This is the range which divides the waters that flow on the one side into the Murray and Lake Alexandrina, and on the other into Spencer's Gulf.

To the north of Adelaide a long tract of level, well-watered country extends, which, at about one hundred miles' distance, opens into a series of high, open downs.

The River Torrens, which formed so prominent a feature in early puffs and pictures of the colony, is not a river at all, but, like many of the misnamed rivers of Australia, simply a watercourse, which during the rainy season rushes along furiously, ending in a marsh; but when the rains cease, the "river" becomes a mere chain of pools, unreplenished with mountain springs, which shrink daily with the heat, like a farmyard rain-filled pond, such as are common on the wolds of Lincolnshire. Colonel Light saw the Torrens when full of water, and that and the beauty of the valley decided his choice. Fortunately water is to be obtained in Adelaide, by sinking wells, at a very moderate expense; and the same advantage is found on farms, and in the slopes of the neighbouring hills. But in this instance of the Torrens, as in many others, the injudicious puffs of speculators reacted and threw undeserved discredit on the solid advantages of a very fine colony.

The one great river of Australia is the Murray, which, rising in the Australian Alps, where its sources were discovered by Count Strzelecki near Mount Kosciusko, in Victoria, receives the waters of the Murrumbidgee, the Lachlan, and the Darling, and presents, at certain times of the year, so full and flowing a stream that the early colonists expected to draw down its waters the commerce of the squatting districts of Yass and Albury, in New South Wales; for they calculated that the cheapness of an unbroken water communication would draw away the dray traffic, which was then, and is now, carried to Sydney. But the uncertain supply of water, and the obstacles arising from rocks and snags, have hitherto defeated this project.

The Murrumbidgee rises in the dividing range of mountains in the Maneroo district, two hundred and fifty miles S.W. of the city of Sydney, then flows onwards for five hundred miles, until it unites with the Lachlan at a point where the brave Sturt took a boat and descended to the sea in thirty-six days, when he discovered South Australia, returning in forty days—thus earning the title of the father of South Australia.

The early course of the Murrumbidgee is between hills steeply sloping, covered with herbage and creeping vines, down to the water's edge. "As I sat in a boat," writes a lady to the author, "I could see above me small, very small cattle, in single file—now lost in the foliage, now reappearing, as by zigzag well-worn paths they descended to the water to drink. So lofty and steep were the cliffs that I fancied they would fall down upon me. At length they made their appearance at the edge of the stream, drinking beneath bowers of overhanging creepers—a huge bull and a mob of portly cows."

The space encircled between this river and the Murray (the Murray was formerly named the Hume by its discoverers, Hovel and Hume) is one of the fine squatting grounds of New South Wales. Higher up the stream the hills disappear, and long alluvial flats succeed. The Murrumbidgee spreads and loses some of its waters in the marshes of the Lachlan.

It is the peculiar character of the Murray, the Darling, and the Murrumbidgee, that after receiving the waters of the Maranoa, the Balorme, the Gwydir, the Namoi, the Castlereagh, the Macquarie, and the Bogan, they flow hundreds of miles without receiving any tributaries.

The navigation of the River Murray has been the subject of a commission appointed by Sir Henry Young, the present Governor of South Australia; and, although the financial calculations of the commission have been questioned by a committee of the South Australian Legislative Council, it is presumed their facts may be relied on. They are quoted from the abstract of a gentleman (Mr. White) who was endeavouring to obtain steamers to open the navigation of this river:—

"In August, 1850, the Legislative Council of that province voted '£4,000 to be equally divided between the two first iron steamers of not less than forty horse power, and not exceeding two feet draught of water when loaded, that shall successfully navigate the waters of the River Murray from the Goolwa to the junction of the Darling, computed to be about five hundred and fifty-one miles.'

"1st. The natural seamouth of the Murray cannot be entered, owing to the great surf that is constantly breaking on the Encounter Bay coast, and consequently any vessels intended to navigate the river would have to be constructed on the shores of the Lake Alexandrina.

"2nd. This lake, into which the river empties itself previous to its passage to the sea, is about thirty miles long by ten broad, and from six to eighteen fathoms deep, and fresh water is found about the middle.

"3rd. The river preserves an uniform width of about three hundred yards to the junction of the Darling, which latter river is about one hundred yards wide, and the width of the Murray is not materially altered onwards to the junction cf the Murrumbidgee and the Lachlan. The soundings that have been made from the Lake to the Darling, in the months of September and October, give an average depth of two fathoms, or rather, this may be said to be the shallowest.

"The Murray is subject, like all the other streams in the country, to annual floods. It begins to rise towards the end of June, and continues rising until the end of January, generally from ten to twelve feet.

"The only impediments that occur are in the shape of snags or fallen trees, which in some places would have to be removed; but for this the assistance of the natives could be obtained, and up to the junction of the Darling they present no serious obstacle. This point being the limit of the province, the river beyond has not been surveyed; but from those who have descended it so far as the town of Albury (a distance of only three hundred and sixty miles from Sydney) it has been ascertained that, before steam-vessels of the smallest size could navigate it, the snags would have to be removed, though a canoe, drawing eleven inches of water, went the entire distance at a time when the river was lower than has been known within the memory of the 'white man.' From a point in the channel of the Goolwa, which is a stream issuing from the lake, and also one of the mouths of the Murray, it is proposed to lay down a railroad of seven miles in length to a point in Encounter Bay where a safe anchorage may be effected. In the event of any unforeseen difficulties occurring in the construction of Port Elliot, it would be necessary to make a road from Morundee to the city of Adelaide (a distance of about sixty miles), which road would pass through some of the richest districts of South Australia.

"With reference to the country of the Lower Murray, the estimate of the traffic is about 2,000 tons annually, made up of ores from the mines, green, dairy, and other produce.

"On either side of the river to the Darling there are extensive cattle-runs, all of which are taken up.

"Proceeding up the river from this point, we enter upon the province of Victoria, and the extensive sheep-runs of the Lachlan, the Lower Darling, and the Murrumbidgee, which in June, 1860, according to the New South Wales statistical and other authentic accounts, were stocked by 1,155,774 sheep, 306,861 horned cattle, 10,093 horses, and 1,872 pigs. There is in Australia an annual increase of 40 per cent. on sheep, and 25 per cent. on cattle. According to the commissioners' report, the increase by the close of 1852, allowing for sales, &c., will have amounted to, say, 2,500,000 sheep, 500,000 cattle, the former yielding about 3,384 tons wool, washed and unwashed; and if a quarter of the annual increase were boiled down, say 250,000 sheep, averaging 28 lbs. tallow, 3,125 tons; and 31,000 cattle, averaging 154 lbs. tallow, 2,130 tons. Total annual freights, 8,603 tons, independent of hides, skins, and other matters, at present thrown aside on account of the great cost of transport.

"For return cargo it is estimated that no less than 5,000 rations would offer, say 1,450 tons, with at least an equal quantity of slops, iron, paling, and other goods, say 2,900 tons. The produce from those remote districts is at present conveyed to Melbourne and Geelong in bullock-drays, travelling about ten miles a day, occupying many weeks in its transit to the port."

In our opinion speculations involving so trifling an amount of capital as a couple of small iron steam-boats should be undertaken and managed by colonists or the provincial government, and would be, if worth doing at all.

The navigation of the Murray is an enterprise, if feasible, within the means of a party of colonists, although the clearing of the river is a national and provincial work, to which this country might be called upon to contribute; but the less absentees have to do with small colonial speculations the better for their finances and the credit of the colony.

In the Murray scrub—a beautiful but barren belt of shrubs and plants from fifteen to twenty miles in breadth, which runs parallel to the river for many miles between Lake Alexandrina and the Great Bend in lat. 34 S.—a great number of the rare birds and animals of Australia are to be seen; amongst others, the leipoa, or mound-building bird, improperly named by the colonists the wild turkey, is found in great numbers; and the satin, or bower bird, which builds a bower for its mate so curiously arched and adorned with shells and shining stones, that when Mr. Gould first discovered one he took it for the playground of some aboriginal child. The leipoa, which was first brought before the attention of the scientific world by Mr. Gould, realises the ancient fable of the ostrich, and buries its eggs, to be hatched by the fermentation of a mound of decomposed leaves and earth.

Mr. Gould observes in his great work, from which all our objects of natural history have been, by permission, copied:—

"This family of birds (Tallegalla, Leipoa, and Megapodius) forms part of a great family of birds inhabiting Australia, New Guinea, the Celebes, and the Philippine Islands, whose habits and economy differ from those of every other group of birds which now exists upon the surface of our globe. In their structure they are most nearly allied to the Galllnaceæ, while in some of their actions and in their mode of flight they much resemble the Rallidæ: the small size of their brain, coupled with the extraordinary means employed for the incubation of their eggs, indicates an extremely low degree of organisation. Three species inhabiting Australia, viz., Leipoa ocellatta, Tallegalla, and Megapodius tumulus, although referable to distinct genera, have many habits in common, particularly in their mode of incubation, each and all depositing their eggs in mounds of earth and leaves, which, becoming heated either by fermentation of the vegetable matter, or by the sun's rays, form a kind of natural hatching apparatus, from which the young at length emerge, fully feathered, capable of sustaining life by their own unaided efforts.

The male bird of the leipoa (according to a letter to Mr. Gould from Sir George Grey, the present Governor of New Zealand) weighs about four pounds and a half; they never fly if they can help it, and roost on trees at night. The mounds are from twelve to thirteen feet in circumference at the base, and from two to three feet in height. To construct the mound a nearly circular hole of about eighteen inches in diameter is scratched in the ground to the depth of seven or eight inches, and filled with dead leaves, dead grass, and similar materials; over this layer a mound of sand, mixed with dry grass, &c., is thrown; and, finally, the whole assumes the form of a dome. When an egg is to be deposited, the top is laid open, and a hole scraped in the centre to within two or three inches of the bottom of the layer of dead leaves; the egg is placed in the sand just at the edge of the hole, in a vertical position, with the smaller end downwards; the sand is then thrown in again until the mound assumes its original form. "Egg after egg is thus deposited up to eight, arranged on the same plane in a circle, with a few inches of sand between each. The cock assists the hen in opening and covering up the mound. The native name on the Murray River is marrah-ko; in Western Australia the name of the bird is ngow-ngoweer, meaning a tuft of feathers."

The Megapodius, of which we give an engraving, was found by Mr. John M'Gillivray, during a survey of Endeavour Straits, to construct a much larger mound, 24 feet in its utmost height, and 150 feet in circumference at the base.

South Australia has been divided into counties, which are more recognised as distinctive boundaries than in the other colonies, were the first colonisation was effected by sheep.

These counties are eleven in number, viz.—1. Adelaide; 2. Hindmarsh; 3. Gawler; 4. Light; 5. Sturt; 6. Eyre; 7. Stanley; 8. Flinders; 9. Russell; 10. Robe; 11. Grey.


The county of Adelaide is that in which cultivation is most extensively carried on, the other districts being chiefly occupied for grazing, as the difficulty of getting crops to market prevents sellers from raising more than for their own consumption. But in every favourable situation vineyards are making great progress.

Port Adelaide has a population of 2,000, who find occupation in the extensive movements of a large export and import trade. The primitive appearance of the Mangrove Creek, through which the disconsolate first colonists waded, has disappeared.

A road of seven miles, through sterile, sandy ground, leads to the city, which is traversed by conveyances of all kinds, from the heavy dray to the omnibus and smart dog-cart. Crossing the Torrens by a wooden bridge, one of four which is occasionally swept away by the torrents, after performing a sinecure duty for many months, the city of Adelaide appears in the midst of trees, often full of most rare and curious birds, which migrate periodically from the colder to the hotter climates, in a warm, pretty, and dusty valley. Adelaide, although very unlike a city according to European notions, presents a much more pleasing appearance than Melbourne, which is crowded into a narrow valley, without squares, park, or boulevard. In the park lands surrounding and intersecting the straggling streets of the former, which are as picturesque as Wiesbaden or Cheltenham, although less finished, Colonel Gawler encouraged the blacks to camp by frequent feasts of flour and mutton, aud there strangers had an opportunity of seeing, sometimes to their amusement, oftener to their surprise, their peculiar customs, habits and sports. Many pretty cottages are to be found in the suburbs, as neat and highly finished as in England.

South Adelaide is considered the commercial quarter of the town, and contains the principal streets, one of which is 130 feet wide, and Government House, which stands in the centre of a domain of ten acres.

Hindley-street is the Regent-street of Adelaide, and has the distinction of being paved. For want of this luxury of civilisation, coupled with the nature of the soil, Adelaide is terribly afflicted with dust, at all times a nuisance, which is indeed common to all Australian towns. Sydney has at certain times of the year its brickfielders. In addition to the park lands, which occupy a breadth of half a mile round the two divisions of the city, a cemetery and a racecourse are among its out-of-door ornaments.

In the surrounding suburbs many pretty villages have been founded, both inland and on the shore. The system of selling land regularly in eighty-acre lots has, in some degree, neutralised the disadvantage of the large absentee proprietorships and the special surveys, which have monopolised so much of the limited extent of agricultural land.

There is one point in which the South Australians possess an unquestionable superiority over the other two colonies, and that is their local literature. With the exception of the Sydney Morning Herald, which is the Times of the southern hemisphere, the newspapers and periodicals are very superior in style of getting up and in matter to those of New South Wales and Port Phillip. This superiority is especially marked in the South Australian almanacs, which contain a fund of useful information on the statistics, the agriculture, the horticulture, and the mining progress of that colony.

Before the check occasioned by the gold discoveries, sheep stations had been formed as far north as Mount Brown, toward the Darling, near the eastern boundary. The whole of York Peninsula had been occupied, and, in the country westward of Spencer's Gulf, flockmasters had penetrated to Anxious Bay, on the Australian Bight; and townships had been founded at Rivoli Bay, in the county of Grey, and Guichen Bay, in the county of Robe, whence a coasting trade had been opened.


Ever since 1843 South Australia has been a corn-exporting country, although with great fluctuations: in that year 38,480 bushels were exported; in the following year the quantity increased to 132,000 bushels; but the low price, 2s. 9d. a bushel, reduced the cultivation by ten thousand acres. In 1845 the price continued low, and cultivation was further reduced; but high prices at the end of the year increased cultivation to 36,000 acres in 1847. And thus, according to price, cultivation ebbed and flowed, constantly making more progress as small settlers became landholders, and became more steady. As a general rule it may be asserted that miners are situated in barren districts, and obliged to draw their grain and vegetables from some considerable distance. The system of eighty-acre lots enables colonists of the cultivating class to plant themselves upon land at the most convenient distance for supplying the mines. These same cottage farmers also derived great advantage from contracts for conveying ore from the mine to the port, and coals and wood to the smelting establishments, in their bullock-drays.

In 1850 the whole original scheme of the colony had disappeared: cultivation was entirely in the hands of the working classes; the capitalists and educated were engaged either as squatters, in commerce, or in mining speculations. The remains of the old ideas were only to be found in a little grandiloquent speechmaking, and, better still, in some very beautiful gardens. There were a few fortunate purchasers of town lots in the main streets who made and retained very handsome fortunes.


{Page 294}



Up to 1850 South Australia was considered the mineral district, par excellence, of Australia. In the old colony of New South Wales indications of copper mines had been discovered many years previously, but the reservation of minerals by the crown prevented purchasers and grantees from pursuing discoveries which might only lead to the disturbance of their freeholds by some stranger under official patronage. The South Australian colonists had influence enough in the home Parliament to obtain a concession of the "rights of the crown." The discovery of the Burra Burra gave a vivid impulse to mineral exploration, and in 1850 not less than thirty-nine South Australian mining adventures were before the colonial and British public, in various stages of progress, most of which depended on English capital for their working. Nearly all, according to the reports of the promoters, "only needed the expenditure of a little more capital to become most flourishing investments." Not one, with the exception of the Burra Burra, had ever paid a public dividend; and when the gold discoveries brought them all to a stand-still by the abstraction of labour, several "most respectable colonists" were engaged in preferring new schemes for the benefit of English capitalists. At that time the following mines, in addition to nearly sixty other schemes which had never gone beyond a prospectus, were in the market at a discount.

The Wheal Gawler silver lead was the first mine discovered in the province; opened in 1841; abandoned, and re-opened by a company without success; nevertheless the directors in 1850 boasted their good prospects. The Adelaide Mining Company, near Montacute, "with a capital of £1,000; the Australian Mining Company, with an English capital of £400,000, and a special survey of Reedy Creek, forty-six miles from Adelaide, other lots at Tungkillo and at Kapunda" founded in 1845—the outlay has been enormous—no dividends; the Barossa Mining Company, with a capital of £30,000, formed in England, with a view of prosecuting mineral explorations on the property of G. T. Angas, Esq.; the Glen Ormond, another English company, with a capital of £30,000, founded in 1845; the Port Lincoln, with a capital of £10,000; the Mount Remarkable, with a capital of 25,000 in 1846; the North Kapunda, a capital of £22,200, in 1846; the Paringa, capital £20,000, in 1845; the Port Lincoln, capital £4,000, in 1848; the Princess Royal, capital £20,000, in 1845: this was the unlucky half of the Burra.

There were two gold companies established in 1846, the workings of one of which were suspended in 1850, "pending an anticipated sale of the sett in England."

Two conclusions may be drawn from an examination of the reports of these mines—first, that South Australia is extremely rich in minerals; and secondly, that parties who do not understand mining should be cautious in taking the advice of South Australian friends as to mining investments.

In Cornwall there are always a number of mines manufactured for the benefit of green strangers. It was the same in South Australia. For this reason the gold crisis, which destroyed the fictitious credit and bubble mining adventures of South Australia, will in the end do good, by directing the attention of the South Australians to labor instead of puffery for the development of the true wealth of their noble province.


The following statement of the results of the Burra Burra mine will show that the South Australians have some reasonable excuse for the gambling mining spirit with which they are afflicted, and which succeeded to the town-lot roulette of 1839-40:—

The Burra proprietary divided their purchase into 2,464 shares of £5 each, with liberty to increase their capital to £20,000, which they have since done.

In the first year, from 29th September, 1845, to 29th September, 1846, at a cost of £16,624, they raised 7,200 tons of ore. As the depth of the workings increased a great improvement in the quality of the ore took place; instead of the blue carbonate, the red oxide, malachite, and the richest description of ore became predominant. The highest price realised for the first 800 tons was £31 9s., and the lowest £10 16s. per ton. At a considerable distance from the principal workings eighty tons of blue and green carbonate of copper were raised in the month of March, 1847.

In the months of June and July, 1847, the first and second dividends of fifty shillings each per share were paid to the shareholders. These dividends were paid out of the net proceeds of 2,959 tons of ore, amounting to £35,678, out of which also were paid the expenses of the association, including the cost of producing the 2,959 tons of ore, amounting to £15,926, leaving an undivided balance of £7,584. During the six months ending 30th September, 1847, 7,264 tons were raised within that period of a superior quality. During the six months ending the 31st March, 1848, 6,068 tons were raised. The large raising of the whole year, amounting to 13,533 tons, was produced from within the limits of the twenty-fathom level. All the ore discovered below that to the thirty fathoms was left for future raising, there being plenty of good ore-ground above the twenty-fathom level to employ the miners for some time to come.

The wages and cost of working the mine, including timber, fixed machinery, tools, &c., amounted to £74,030, and the cartage of the ore to £44,803.

In this year £83,106 was realised, out of which the expenses of working the mine and carting the ore were paid, but three further dividends were declared. By March, 1848, the original £5 shares had advanced up to 150; a sixth and seventh dividend of £10 each, in June and September, raised the prices to £200 and £210 for cash. A fall afterwards took place in consequence of the depreciation of the value of copper in Europe. But an important discovery was made of a valuable lode in the thirty-fathom level leading from Kingston to Graham's shaft. The lode was cut four fathoms below the water level, was solid, and from ten to eleven feet wide, composed of a compact green carbonate or malachite, producing upwards of 40 per cent. of copper. The lode was described as clearly defined, in easy working order, and dipping well into the mine.

In the half year ending the 30th September, 1848, 10,163 tons were raised, making a sum total for the ore raised during the first three years' working of the mine of 33,386 tons, equal to upwards of 10,000 tons of fine copper ore (at £70 per ton), £700,000. The cost of the mine for the year ending the 30th of September, 1848, was £81,491; of the cartage of ore, £31,445.

In the latter part of 1848 the miners struck for higher wages. The workings of the mine were suspended from November until February, 1849. In March the miners resumed work.

Further important discoveries were made—one of a lode in the thirty-fathom level, south-west from Graham's shaft, consisting of red oxide and malachite in great abundance; and the other of a lode two fathoms wide, yielding malachite of high produce. Only two pitches were set on these lodes, and twelve men produced in the first week eighty tons of the richest ores.

On the 5th of September, 1849, an eighth dividend of £5 per share was declared. In the year 1850 the £10 quarterly dividends were regularly paid. Two steam-engines of thirty-five horse power each, one for crushing the ore and the other for drawing from the shafts, arrived; and the directors ordered seventy fathoms of fifteen-inch pumps to replace the eleven-inch lifts then in work, and a pumping-engine of three-hundred-horse power.

The quantity of ore raised in the year ending September, 1850, was 18,692 tons. Since that period the returns have experienced a check from the emigration to the gold-diggings, and shares have fluctuated in value, but of the ultimate value of this property there can be no question.


The workings of the mines at the close of the year 1850 consisted of the following shafts, winzes and levels viz., 45 whim shafts, of an aggregate depth of 812 fathoms; seven trial shafts, of an aggregate depth of 34 fathoms; 35 winzes and ladder roads, of an aggregate depth of 270 fathoms; 3,876 fathoms of levels, equal in length to four and one-third British miles. The whole of the transactions of the company, from its formation to the 29th September, 1849, embracing four years and a half, were, in the year 1850, finally balanced, and the profits during that period were found to amount to £229,535, of which £221,760 were divided among the shareholders in twelve dividends, the twelfth dividend of 10 having been paid on the 1st September, 1850. The ore raised during this period was 37,736 tons, at a cost of £309,825 3s. 6d., or 8 4s. 3d. per ton, and produced in the province, free of freight and charges, £536,486 13s. 4d., or £14 4s. 4d. per ton, leaving a profit of £226,661 6s. 10d., or £6 0s. 1d. per ton. During the year 1850, the company, however, incurred the following expenses:—

£   s. d.
Wages 72,715 9 10
Stores, candles, timber        20,006 19 9
Horses and fodder 3,074 18 7
Machinery 5,096 7 6
Buildings at the Burra 13,043 13 4
Cartage of copper 2,394 16 6
Cartage of ore 14,344 1 0
Purchases of land 15,458 5 3

Making, with other expenses, a sum total of £169,611 2s. 5d. After deducting these expenses from the estimated value of ore on hand, the directors notified that 52,000 was applicable to dividends, and a 10 dividend was accordingly paid in December, 1850, and in March, 1851.

The Burra Burra Mine is distant about a hundred miles from Adelaide, and reached by a road which, although low and dusty, is good in the summer months. The transit was recently performed by the mail, an open four-horse omnibus, at a charge of £l, in fifteen hours' travelling, halting for the night on the road. "A party is frequently conveyed to the Burra in a spring cart, driven tandem fashion, and supplied with fresh horses from the stations along the road, belonging to Mr. Chambers. A trip of this sort, to and from the Burra mine, costs about £12 or 13. The road from Adelaide to Gawler Town traverses a flat open country along the coast line of St. Vincent's Gulf. On each side of the road the country is subdivided into small farms reaching on one side to the gulf, and on the other extending to the long range of hills which intersects the province of South Australia. The country in February last presented a brown parched appearance owing to a long and unprecedented drought. Very few objects of interest are met on the road, being limited to the teams of the German farmers, and the bullock drays, laden with bars of refined copper, en route from the smelting works to Adelaide. At Gawler Town—a rapidly improving township—there are two large inns with excellent accommodation. About thirty miles from Gawler Town you reach the Kapunda, the property of Captain Bagot, M.L.C., and some proprietors in England. The North Kapunda and the South Kapunda mines adjoin the Kapunda. They are mineral sections of land which were purchased in the expectation of their containing a continuation of the rich lodes found in the Kapunda; but although much had in 1851 been done with the scrip of the North Kapunda and South Kapunda Companies, but little profit or success had attended the working of the mines themselves. The road from the Kapunda passes through an undulating park-like country and an extensive plain, across which, in the distance, the mirage is often plainly distinguishable. About eight miles before arriving at the Burra the country becomes remarkably barren and hilly, and the eye is at once attracted by the peculiar appearance of ridges which run north and south along the ground at what seem to be regular intervals of distance, suggesting the natural inference of lodes of some kind or other. This inference is fortified by the multitudinous out-croppings of lime and other descriptions of stone which appear at the base and along the brow of the hills. As you approach towards the Burra, a tall white chimney, rising from the summit of one of the hills before you, announces that the mine is not far off, and then your eye fixes upon a congeries of bald rounded hills towards the north, looking like so many tents crowded together upon raised ground.

"The Burra Hotel, situated at the commencement of the Burra Burra township, is a fine spacious stone building, furnishing every accommodation to visitors, and unsurpassed by any house of the kind, either in the province or New South Wales. The township of Kooringa is well laid out, comprising several very handsome stone buildings, and contained, in 1851, a population of 5,000 inhabitants. Five years ago the whole of this place was a barren wilderness: now stores, and shops, and offices line the High-street. Several ministers of religion are located here. Excellent accommodation is afforded to the wives and families of miners, and workmen belonging to the smelting-works, in several well laid out squares of comfortable cottages, chiefly built of stone, and let at low rents. The whole of the township is the freehold of the Burra Company, who have let some of the properties such, for instance, as the Burra Hotel, on long improving leases.

"Leaving the Burra Hotel, you pass down the High-street, and proceed along a road, which on one side winds round the base of a large hill, and on the other side is skirted by a creek that exhibits a very singular coup d'œil. Along the channel of the creek runs a thin stream of water, and on each bank is a line of little detached cottages or sheds, each of which has been excavated out of the sides of the creek, and faced with weather boards. The inside of each house has a fire-place and a chimney or flue, which, making its exit out of the surface ground, is then capped, either by a small beer barrel or mound of earth with a hole in the centre, as a substitute for the ordinary chimney-pot. In these strange dwelling-places, which take up two miles of the creek on each side, the great bulk of the miners and their families reside, being permitted by the Burra Company to do so rent free.* A busy hum pervades the creek swarms of children are at every door here—and there a knot of gossips is collected and every now and then the scene is diversified by the chatter of a tame magpie, the barking of quarrelsome curs, the grunting of swine, the neighing of horses stabled alongside the huts, or the fluttering of red shirts and other apparel drying in the open air. Two minutes' walk brings you to the mine. Turning from the creek, and looking towards the low but gently-rising ground that lies between three hills, you observe an area of from eighty to one hundred acres, crowded with stone buildings, covered shafts leading under ground, machinery and engine works, engine-houses, storehouses, tanks, and dams of water, innumerable sheds of all sizes, and countless piles of copper ore of various assorted qualities, in different stages of dressing, lying almost in every direction. If you arrive after six in the evening expecting to find all quiet and the business of the day over, great will be your surprise at the bustling animated appearance of the place. The first striking object is the gigantic white chimney towering from the summit of the middle hill, and carrying the smoke from the different engine-flues which run under the surface of the ground towards the middle hill. At the summit of this same hill, also, you observe a large well-finished stone warehouse, used as a powder magazine. The eye is next caught by a fine lofty stone building, situate about the centre of the ground—the three-storied pumping engine-house, with the great beam in front, steadily working up and down. Ascending the road, you pass the weigh-bridge, and an extensive square of stone-built offices and stores adjoining a spacious yard, enclosed by a stone wall. These premises are used as depots for building timber, iron, workmen's tools, and various engineering stores. In the back ground, on the brow of the hill, is a row of well-built stone cottages two of them the residences of Captain Roach and another mine captain, and the third comprising the consultation room, the changing rooms, and the office of the company's accountant and his clerk.

[* Since this description was written a flood has destroyed these dwellings, drowning some of the inhabitants.]

"On the right of these cottages is another similar range, the residences of the other captains of the mine and their families. Still further to the right is a pretty detached cottage, occupied by Dr. Chambers, the principal surgeon at the mine. On the brow of the right hill is a long line of stabling and sheds for carts, with adjoining yards and barns. The stalls are roomy, floored with small stones, and capable of receiving upwards of one hundred horses. Near the stabling is a substantial and capacious shed, used as a timber-store and saw-pit, and close by a similar one was in the course of erection for the further accommodation of the carpenters. About eleven whims were at work at the shafts. Most of these whims, as well as the great pumping engine, are at work day and night, which accounts for the busy scene presented to the eye, although long past six o'clock. The whims are situate each of them close to a shaft which communicates with one or other of the different levels under ground. Connected with the pumping engine shaft is a series of long wooden spouting, elevated upon and supported by stands. The spouts which receive the water drawn up from the mine run backward in several directions, and feed various tanks, and dams, and other places, where the operations of cleansing and dressing the ore are carried on. The refuse water is conducted to the head of the Burra Creek, down which it makes its way for seven miles, reaching the Princess Royal Mine, and ultimately running into the Murray flats. Near each shaft where the whim is at work are ranges of sheds, in which parties of men and boys are busily engaged in crushing and reducing lumps of ore from one size to another, and so facilitating the washing and separation of the copper ore from the earth and foreign matter with which it is mixed.

"There are other sheds set apart for tanks and various contrivances, by which parties of men and boys wash and sift the copper ore, until prepared for sampling. Collected near the sheds are numberless square and oblong heaps of ore, about six feet long, four feet broad, and two to three feet deep. These heaps are composed of copper ore of various qualities, and in different stages of dressing. When it is remembered, that in addition to the large heaps of ore which cover the ground near these sheds, and near the dams and tanks for washing, there are innumerable piles of ore ready for the samplers and smelters, gathered together in every available quarter of this eighty-acre area, some faint idea may be formed of the enormous masses of mineral wealth thus collected at the Burra. A pleasing aspect is imparted to them by the rich deep blue of the carbonate, and by the greenish hues which characterise the malachite ore, affording a striking contrast to the sombre appearance of the red oxide. The offices of the clerk of the works, and of the assayers, and of the samplers, form another range of buildings. The workshops of the engineers and the different mechanics engaged on the ground are of course pretty numerous, but still each place is so situate, and all the works are proceeding in such a manner, as to impress even a superficial spectator with the conviction that the most thorough order and method is the principle of the establishment throughout. A stone engine-house has been completed, and fitted up with an engine of forty-five horse power, from the Perran Foundry, Cornwall, intended for crushing the ore, and so dispensing with a large amount of expensive manual labour. A stamping machine, for extracting the leavings from the refuse copper ore which has hitherto been thrown on one side, is also very near completion. Workmen were also engaged upon a new engine-house, in which a winding-engine of thirty-five horse power, already at the mine, is to be placed. When the deeper levels of the mine are reached, this winding-engine will be connected with the ropes and iron buckets now worked by the horse-Whims, and thus save a large expenditure, which is now necessary at the several shafts. Of the extent of the operations going on at the surface of the mine, some notion may be obtained from the number of men who are employed by the Burra Company at surface work. Most of the buildings and engineering works are erected by contract, and, reckoning exclusively of the men working for the contractors, and also of the officers of the mine, 383 men and 111 boys are employed by the Burra Company as ore dressers, and labourers, and similar descriptions of surface work; 27 men are employed as carters and stablemen, and 85 men as carpenters, masons, smiths, painters, plasterers, engineers, and boiler-makers—total, 600."


The copper ore raised in the South Australian mines has been principally sent to Swansea. As there is a considerable demand for copper in India and China, it became an object to refine the ore in South Australia. With this view an immense capital has been sunk in establishing several copper-smelting companies, but hitherto with moderate success, in consequence of the scarcity of fuel. Coal has not yet been discovered, therefore the smelters were dependent on wood or imported coal. According to experience in Norway, a large forest is soon consumed by the demands of a smelting establishment. The most extensive smelting works, late the property of Messrs. Schneider, have unfortunately been planted close to the Burra mine, where wood is scarce, and where four tons of coal must be carted up for every ton of ore. The proper site would have been at or near a port.

The necessity of transporting coal imported from England, or from the Newcastle of New South Wales, has called into use Port Wakefield, a creek at the head of St. Vincent's Gulf, forming the embouchure of the River Wakefield. The intervening country between the Burra and Port Wakefield, a distance of about thirty miles, is composed partly of undulating hills and partly over flat land well adapted for heavy carriage. No doubt had the smelting works continued in full operation, a tramway would have been attempted over this line.

Mining, agriculture, and pastoral pursuits have been the principal investments of the South Australian colonists. The number of sheep grazing was about one-sixth of that of the Port Phillip district. Fat cattle are driven over from Portland Bay to Rivoli Bay for South Australian consumption.

South Australia is at present under a cloud, but the depression can only be temporary. A genial sun, a fertile soil, a healthy climate, with sheep, cattle, English colonists, and a Burra Burra mine, cannot but produce good fruits, although the dreams of empire of newly-fledged legislators may scarcely be realised.

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The provisions made for the promotion of religion and education are nearly the same in New South Wales and Victoria, having been finally settled before the two provinces were divided. In South Australia the system of the old colony seems to have been taken as a model. In all three colonies the law is, with a few local exceptions, the same.

We have already mentioned the circumstances under which a bishop was appointed in New South Wales. By the munificence of Miss Burdett Coutts a bishopric was endowed in South Australia; this led to the appointment of a bishop of Melbourne, and perhaps to the creation of the second bishopric in New South Wales, the diocese of Newcastle, which extends to the northward, the residence being at Morpeth.

The assistance afforded to the building of churches and the support of religious ministers in New South Wales and Port Phillip is at present regulated by the act passed by Sir Richard Bourke, described at page 109.

By an act of the Legislative Council of South Australia, passed 3rd of August, 1847, for promoting the building of Christian churches and chapels, public money was issued, under the sanction of the governor and Executive Council, in proportion to the amount of private contributions; the grants in aid of building to range from £50 to £150, and toward the stipends of clergy and ministers from £50 to £200 a year. One-fourth of the sittings in places of worship so assisted must be free.

The Congregationalists and Baptists have always refused to receive aid from the state; and there exists in the three colonies, especially in South Australia, a party opposed to all state assistance to religion. In our opinion, although religion and education may be sustained in towns with a large floating population by the voluntary system, the inhabitants of the interior, without government assistance, will remain to a great extent in a state of practical heathendom altogether, without the advantage of religious rites and ordinances. The state of life in the bush is, or ought to be, patriarchal: churches are an impossibility: every father must be the pastor of his family. To establish the voluntary system is to decree that the long lines of rivers shall never be visited by a minister of religion.

It is a pity that a few thousands cannot be tithed from the vast sums spent on hopeless missions to the heathen for the support of itinerant missionaries to our emigrant countrymen: missionaries who would not disdain to be also schoolmasters. The collection of bibles in many languages in the Great Exhibition was a fine, an impressive sight; but still it is to be regretted that men of piety, rank, wealth, and influence, do not pursue rather the positive kind possible than the impossible, and begin by taking care that every child in the bush of Australia shall have and know how to read a bible before sending missionaries to perish in Patagonia, or attempting an impossible Church of England Utopia in Canterbury, New Zealand.

The following are the numbers of the various religious denominations in New South Wales:—Church of England, 93,137; Church of Scotland, 18,156; Wesleyan Methodists, 10,000; other Protestants, 6,472; Roman Catholics, 56,899; Jews, 979; Mahomedans and Pagans, 852; other persuasions, 740. The churches which receive State support are the English, the Scotch, the Wesleyan, and the Romish. The respective amounts paid for the year 1850 were as follows:—The diocese of Sydney, £12,015 17s. 4d.; the diocese of Newcastle, £4,028 7s. 10d.; the Presbyterian Church, £3,378 1s. 1d.; the Wesleyan Church, £850; and the Roman Catholic Church, £8,159 0s. 9d.; in all about £30,000. In South Australia the places of worship of the Church of England are seventeen; of the Roman Catholics, six; Church of Scotland, seven; Methodists, twelve (having 1,300 Sunday-school scholars); Congregationalists, nine; Baptists, three or four. The Germans have six pastors, and five places where they meet for worship.

Up to 1836 education was as much neglected in Australia as in England, until Lord Brougham commenced the agitation compromised by the establishment of the miscalled national schools. A large proportion of the colonial population consisted of adult convicts, who arrived as ignorant as vicious.

We have already described in Chapter X. how Sir Richard Bourke carried through the Legislative Council, at the time that the church and school lands were surrendered, a measure for founding-schools throughout the colony, on the plan of Lord Stanley's (now Earl of Derby) Irish national school system. But the opposition on the part of the late Bishop of Australia was so hot and effective that the local act remained a dead letter, and the moderate per centage of education afforded to the working classes was distributed through denominational or sectarian schools, aided by colonial funds. The result was, that many country districts were left without schools, whilst two or three were established to educate forty or fifty scholars. At Camden there were three schools, none of which had more than twenty scholars.

In 1844 a committee of the Legislative Council, appointed to investigate the subject of colonial education, of which Robert Lowe, Esq., was chairman, reported strongly in favour of the Irish national system, observing:—

"There are about 25,676 children between the ages of four and fourteen years: of these only 7,642 receive instruction in public schools, and 4,865 in private ones, leaving about 13,000 who, as far as the committee can learn, receive no education at all. The expense of education is about £1 a head. This deficient education is partly attributable to the ignorance, dissolute habits, and avarice of too many parents, and partly to the want of good schoolmasters and schoolbooks, but a far greater proportion of the evil has arisen from the strictly denominational character of the public schools.

"The very essence of a denominational system is to leave the majority uneducated, in order thoroughly to imbue the minority with peculiar tenets. The natural result is, that where one school is founded two will arise, not because they are wanted, but because it is feared that proselytes will be made. It is a system impossible to be carried out in a thinly-inhabited country, and, being exclusively in the hands of the clergy, it places the state in the awkward dilemma of either supplying money, whose expenditure it is not permitted to regulate, or of interfering between the clergy and their superiors."

The committee further recommended the formation of a board, to be appointed by the governor, consisting of persons favourable to the plan, and possessing the confidence of the different denominations, "with a salaried secretary."

The Lord Bishop of Australia and the Roman Catholic Archbishop were both examined before this committee; both were strongly opposed to the Irish system of educating different denominations in one school, and expressed their adherence to the denominational system. The Bishop of Australia would countenance no schools in which the dogmas of the Church of England were not taught; the Roman Catholic Archbishop, in like manner, insisted on having exclusive Roman Catholic schools for the members of his church.* They were both excellent, charitable, and pious men; but either was evidently prepared, if he had the power, to enforce the dogmatic teaching of his own church in all the schools, and to leave those who did not agree with it without any teaching, moral or educational. They were not satisfied with a compromise system, by which the duties of truth, chastity, honesty, charity, forgiveness of enemies, and thankfulness to God, should be inculcated, with reading, writing, and arithmetic, unless the questions of the number of sacraments and the right line of apostolic succession were also expounded according to the views of each; and sooner than either would give way, they were content to leave infant minds to gather all their learning from the blasphemy of the streets.

[* The two following instances will show how far sectarian zeal will carry excellent and educated men. There is not in all Australia a more pious and actively charitable man than the Rev. Robert Allwood. A remarkable instance of his benevolence is mentioned in Mrs. Chisholm's report of the "Emigrants' Home" in 1844. Mr. Allwood says, "I could not sanction any system in which the Church of England catechism was not taught." Q. "In thinly-peopled districts, where it is impossible to find schoolmasters for each denomination, and where some concession is necessary to each, in order to get education for all, do you not think the Scriptures might be read by all Protestants, the Roman Catholic children being exempted, this education being supplemented by Sunday-schools?"—"I would not approve of it." On the other hand, the Roman Catholic Archbishop Polding considered "religious and moral instruction in a very low state in England," which may, perhaps, be true; but in another part of his evidence, which is too long to quote, he leaves it to be inferred that the state of education at Rome, as regards the humblest classes, is in a most satisfactory state, that a large proportion of the public revenues is given to education," and that "the Papal government is extremely anxious that all should have the means of education." Archbishop Polding must have examined the English in courts and alleys, and looked at the Romans through the windows of a cardinal's carnage.]

The vigorous opposition of these two prelates, and others of their mind, aided by many who, really worshipping nothing, except what the Americans rather profanely call the "Almighty Dollar," yet loved a party cry, temporarily suspended the carrying out of the recommendations of this report.

But the Stanley National system of instruction is the only system possible in a colony where the divers religions were so evenly balanced, and made and is making progress. In the principal towns where denominational schools were in existence in 1844 they are still maintained, but in new districts Lord Stanley's system is introduced.

In pursuance of the recommendations of Mr. Lowe's committee, a board has been formed on the principle of the Irish Board of Education; and a normal school for training teachers on the Irish system has been established.

Throughout the "Three Colonies" great anxiety prevails among all classes for the extension of education, and a willingness to bear taxation for that purpose.

The normal school of Sydney affords one of the many comical anecdotes afloat illustrating the mode in which officials in England attend to colonial affairs.

In consequence of the suggestion of Mr. Lowe's committee, after the heat of the educational question had toned down, application was made to the Colonial Office for a master acquainted with the Irish school system, and capable of taking charge of a normal school for the instruction of masters in that system. For nearly four years the Colonial Office slept on the application: at the end of that time, by some chance, the "order for a schoolmaster" turned up. Earl Grey, it is presumed after some inquiries, selected a Mr. Wilson. Mr. Wilson received a letter desiring him to call on Earl Grey, in Downing-street. He went, was congratulated, favoured with a little of the good advice of which great men keep a stock for the benefit of the small, and then handed over to Mr. Benjamin Hawes, the late Under-Secretary for the Colonies, who in due course handed him over to Mr. Gairdner, the chief clerk, who transferred him to a stylish young gentleman, name unknown, who stood with his back to the fire, a pot of stout in his right hand, and delivered himself something in the following strain:—"Well, you're appointed to this berth in Australia? Consider yourself lucky; you'll make your fortune. Now, these colonial fellows are in a deuce of a hurry, so you must lose no time. Let me see the shipping list. Ah! here's a ship sails on Friday for Adelaide. This is Monday—you must go on Friday—your passage will be paid, and all right."

Mr. Wilson remonstrated on the shortness of the time, but it was of no use: the colonists were in a "deuce of a hurry." He suggested that Adelaide was a considerable distance from Sydney. The objection was pooh-poohed—knowledge of colonial geography is not an indispensable qualification for colonial office. Poor Mr. Wilson was hurried off by the ship to Adelaide. Arrived there, he had to wait nearly a month for a conveyance to Sydney. Arrived in Sydney, and installed in his office, he was questioned as to the latest improvements in the Irish national system. He knew nothing about it, had never heard of it, had never seen any of the books; he had been master of an excellent Church of England school. So, after four years' delay, in desperate haste, the Colonial Office had sent off the wrong man, to the wrong place!

In justice to Mr. Wilson it is right to add, that, being a clever and conscientious man, he applied himself to the study of the Irish schoolbooks, and has performed the duties of his office with credit to himself and advantage to the colony.

In South Australia, by an act of the Legislative Council, passed in August, 1847, the governor is authorised to appoint a board of education, who shall have power, under his sanction, to make regulations for giving effect to the ordinance. No aid to be given to schoolhouses. The salaries issued to teachers will be in proportion to the children taught, not less than twenty, between six and sixteen years of age, 20 being the lowest and 40 the highest sum. The governor to appoint visitors and inspectors. The reports to be laid before the Legislative Council, and one public examination to take place yearly. The boards, previous to the introduction of an elective Legislative Council, consisted of the judge of the Supreme Court, the advocate-general, the colonial chaplain, a dissenting minister, and a layman.

The University of Sydney, established by an Act of the Legislative Council, was opened in October, 1852, on the following scale and plan:—A fee of two pounds must be paid on matriculation, and two guineas for each course of lectures. All students matriculated the first year, were required to attend the lectures on classics and mathematics, and to be attired in academical costume. Six scholarships, of £50 a year each, tenable for three years, have been established.

The candidates for matriculation in October, 1852, were examined in Mathematics: in the ordinary rules of Arithmetic, vulgar and decimal Fractions; the first four rules of Algebra, and the first book of Euclid. In Classics: in the sixth book of Homer's Iliad; the first book of Xenophon's Anabasis; the first book of Virgil's Æneid; the Bellum Catilinarum of Sallust; and in the History and Geography connected with those portions of those works. In the same session the Principal lectured to the Upper Division on Thucydides, Bk. 1; Sophocles, Antigone: Sallust, Bell. Jug.; Horace, Epistles. To the Lower Division, on Xen. Anabasis, Bk. 1; Hom. Iliad, Bk. 1; Cicero de Senectute; Virg. Æneid, Bk. 6. The Professor of Mathematics lectured on Euclid, first four Books; Arithmetic, and Algebra. Lectures were also delivered daily on Chemistry, Natural and Experimental Philosophy, by a third professor.

The following are the subjects on which the candidates for scholarship were examined:—Mathematics: Arithmetic and Algebra, as far as Quadratic Equations inclusive; first four books of Euclid; the popular Elements of Statics and Dynamics. Classics—Greek: The Medea of Euripides; Xenophon's Anabasis. Latin: First six books of Virgil's Æneid; Cicero de Amicitia; Roman Antiquities; Translations from English into Latin; Questions in Ancient History connected with the foregoing works.

It is much to be regretted that no provision has hitherto been made for founding professorial chairs of English Literature, Modern History, and Moral Philosophy. Some such counteracting influences are needed in a country where at present public libraries are unknown, literary influences do not exist, and wealth and official rank are the only recognised distinctions.

The Supreme Court of New South Wales consists of a chief and two puisne judges, who exercise the powers of the three Courts of Queen's Bench, Common Pleas, and Exchequer at Westminster, and have criminal jurisdiction. They go on circuit twice a year to Bathurst, Goulburn, Maitland, and Brisbane.

In common law the "new rules" of pleading are in force.

One judge sits in equity (by delegation) with the powers of a vice-chancellor, and there is an appeal from his decision to the Supreme Court.

The proceedings are by bill and answer. The equity rules of 1841 are in force; but in 1849 a reform was introduced, by which the proceedings for obtaining a rule nisi in a common law court, by affidavit, and a defence by affidavit, were, in a variety of instances, substituted for the tedious complication of the old chancery system.

The Supreme Court also exercises, in the person of one of the judges appointed for the purpose, those functions as regards the validity of testamentary dispositions, letters of administration, &c., which in England are performed by the Ecclesiastical Courts; but no court exists for deciding on questions of divorce, alimony, &c.

The Master in Equity presides over an Admiralty Court.

The Supreme Court exercises jurisdiction in bankruptcy and insolvency. One of the judges presides, exercising powers similar to the commissioners in England, with an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Estates of insolvents are vested in official assignees.

A person can be made a bankrupt or insolvent either by petition of creditors or by his own petition.

A Court of Conscience, presided over by a single commissioner, who decides, not according to law or evidence, but according "to equity and good conscience," like the courts which have been superseded in England by our County Courts, is held for the metropolitan county of Cumberland in Sydney, and one for the metropolitan county of Bourke in Melbourne, which has jurisdiction up to 30.

The magistrates, paid and unpaid, in the other districts have jurisdiction up to £10 absolutely, and up to 30 by mutual consent in cases of simple debt, but not in actions for damages or disputed rights to land, &c.

Under the enactments of the "Masters and Servants Act," two magistrates can decide on disputes as to wages and service: they can commit a servant refusing to perform his written agreement, and levy a distress on the property of a master or his agent if wages are unpaid; and, by a recent law, this power extends to contracts made in England.

The division of barrister and attorney is maintained in the colonies.

English barristers and Scotch advocates are admitted at once to practise.

The judges appoint a board of examiners, and admit any man of good character to practise as a barrister, after passing an examination in classics, mathematics, and law.

Attorneys and writers to the signet are admitted to practise of course.

Persons who have served their articles and not passed in England may be admitted in the colony. The result is, that parties who have been or would have been rejected in England, in consequence of tainted character, are able to practise in New South Wales.

Three important law reforms are due to the exertions of Robert Lowe, Esq., now member for Kidderminster, during the time he was a member of the Legislative Council, and practised at the bar in Sydney:—

1. The substitution in 1849, in the Colonial Equity Court, of the common law proceedings on application for a rule nisi instead of the tedious delays of bill and answer.

2. The abolition of imprisonment for debt on final process. In Australia to commit a man to prison virtually amounted to destroying all his property.

3. Arrangements for admitting gentlemen to the bar without proceeding to England, provided they are able to pass an examination in classics, mathematics, and law, before examiners appointed by the judges. The sons of Australian gentlemen, for want of friends accustomed to the state of society in the universities, are usually ruined.

In South Australia there is a Supreme Court, composed of one judge, who also presides in the Vice-Admiralty Court, a commissioner in the Insolvent Court, and three police magistrates.

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We are in possession of very exact statistics of New South Wales; but in Victoria, in consequence of the confusion into which every public department has been thrown by the revolution in ordinary colonial pursuits, and the enormous influx of population, it has been impossible to prepare the same accurate collection of statistical facts. The same causes have depressed South Australia.

It is sufficient to observe, that all the natural productions enumerated in the statistical account of New South Wales, may be grown or manufactured in the other two colonies, the soil and climate being essentially the same.


By the census taken on the 1st March, 1851, the population consisted of 108,691 males and 81,260 females, making a total of 189,951. The increase to the 31st December, 1851, had been 9,043 males and 5,243 females. The increase in the males, arose from immigration, 5,799; from births, 3,244. In the females, from immigration, 2,091; from births, 3,152. The decrease to the 31st December was 4,702 males and 2,367 females. The decrease in the males arose from deaths, 1,344; departure from the colony, 3,358; and in the females from deaths, 823; and from departures, 1,544. The total increase was 14,286; the total decrease, 7,069, leaving the nett increase, during the three quarters of the year, 7,217—viz., by births, 4,229; by immigration, 2,968—the increase by births being a fraction more than 2 per cent., and by immigration about 1¼ per cent. The number of marriages in the year 1851 was 1,915, and they were solemnised as follows:—Church of England, 765; Church of Scotland, 426; Wesleyan, 100; Independents, 8; Baptists, 4; Church of Rome, 605; Jews' Synagogue, 7. Since the year 1837 the returns show, almost without exception, an increase in the births and a decrease in the deaths over and above the proportionate increase of population.


The total number of immigrants introduced at the public expense was, in 1832, 792; in 1833, 1,253; in 1834, 484; in 1835, 545; in 1836, 808; in 1837, 2,664; in 1838, 6,102; in 1839, 7,852; in 1840, 5,216; in 1841, 12,188; in 1842, 5,071; in 1843, nil; in 1844, 2,726; in 1845, 497; in 1846, nil; in 1847, nil; in 1848, 4,376; in 1849, 8,309; in 1850, 4,078; in 1851, 1,846 making a total number of immigrants, introduced during the twenty years at the public expense, of 64,807; consisting of 21,653 male and 25,595 female adults, and 17,559 children under fourteen years of age. The total cost to the colony for this immigration was £1,134,511 15s. 6d. In 1832 the cost per head was £6 13s. 8d.; in 1833, £10 16s. 10d.; in 1834, £10 9s. 7d.; in 1835, £18 0s. 9d.; in 1836, £16 4s. 6d.; in 1837, £17 13s. 10d.; in 1838, £16 18s. 11d.; in 1839, £18 17s. 6d.; in 1840, £22 12s. 5d.; in 1841, £17 0s. 2d.; in 1842, £16 9s.; in 1844, £16 9s. 9d.; in 1845, £19 4s. 2d. The averages for the remaining years are not given, but they have been about £15 per head. The whole of this expenditure has been borne out of the territorial revenue of the colony, although it has at times been found necessary to anticipate that revenue by borrowing upon its security. The debentures issued by the Government for this purpose amount in all to £336,800; and the nett proceeds realised by the sale of these debentures is £338,286 15s. 1d. The amount of debentures which has been paid off was £149,700; and the amount outstanding on the 31st of December, 1851, £187,100. The interest paid on debentures has been £33,786 14s. 1d.


In the year 1840 there were in the colony 159 schools, with 4,639 male and 3,935 female scholars—total, 8,574. In 1841, 192 schools, with 4,935 male and 4,124 female scholars—total, 9,059. In 1842, 232 schools, with 5,698 male and 4,635 female scholars—total, 10,333. In 1843, 279 schools, with 6,286 male and 5,103 female scholars—total, 11,389. In 1844, 313 schools, with 6,814 male and 5,776 female scholars—total, 12,590. In 1845, 327 schools, with 7,813 male, and 6,641 female scholars—total, 14,454. In 1846, 338 schools, with 8,613 male and 7,650 female scholars—total, 16,263. In 1847, 376 schools, with 9,848 male and 8,752 female scholars—total, 18,600. In 1848, 382 schools, with 10,267 male and 8,722 female scholars—total, 18,989. In 1849, 444 schools, with 10,721 male and 9,250 female scholars—total, 19,971. In 1850, 493 schools, with 11,214 male and 10,170 female scholars—total, 21,384. In 1851, 423 schools, with 11,118 male and 10,002 female scholars—total, 21,120. The schools in the year 1851 consisted of the Protestant and Roman Catholic orphan schools, with 345 scholars, maintained by Government at an expense of £5,212 3s. 11d.; the Church of England denominational schools, with 4,998 scholars, receiving 5,321 5s. 3d. from Government, and paying £2,324 2s. 7d. by voluntary contributions; the Wesleyan schools, with 891 scholars, receiving £588 9s. 2d. from the Government, and £665 11s. 2d. from voluntary contributions; the Roman Catholic schools, with 3,310 scholars, receiving £2,576 15s. 4d. from the Government, and £985 17s. 1d. from voluntary contributions; the National schools, containing 2,861 scholars, receiving from Government £6,766 10s. 3d., and £1,179 17s. 3½d. from voluntary contributions; private schools, consisting of 227 in number, containing 6,721 scholars.


The next chapter in the colonial statistics is a very painful one one, we fear, that is scarcely equalled in its mournful details by the experience of any other British colony. It is a return of the lunatics in the colony. The first establishment mentioned is that at Tarban Creek. During the year 1851, 50 male and 35 female lunatics were received into the asylum; 18 males and 14 females were cured, 9 males and 18 females improved, 14 males and 4 females died. On the 31st of December, 1851, there remained in the asylum, 42 males and 24 females, supposed to be curable; 25 males and 27 females supposed to be incurable. Total in the asylum, 118. In the establishment at Paramatta for free lunatics there were admitted in the year, 8 males and 17 females; there were cured, 3 males and 3 females. On the 31st of December, 1851, there remained in the establishment, 5 males and 6 females supposed to be curable, and 51 males and 50 females supposed to be incurable. Total in the establishment, 112. In the Convict, Lunatic, and Invalid Establishment at Paramatta (the invalids being for the most part helpless and imbecile), there were lunatics—males 5, females 2, supposed to be curable; males 95? females 20, supposed to be incurable. Total, 122. The total number of lunatics in the asylums of the colony is 352, or about one in every 550 persons.


The return of the convictions in the colonial courts of the colony is one of a much more agreeable nature. In the year 1839, the convictions for felony were 741; in 1840, 652; in 1841, 563, in 1842, 542; in 1843, 523; in 1844, 488; in 1845, 442; in 1846, 463; in 347, 396; in 1848, 360; in 1849, 437; in 1850, 451; in 1851, 641. The convictions for misdemeanour in 1839, were 125; in 1840, 149; in 1841, 78; in 1842, 94; in 1843, 76; in 1844, 78; in 1845, 78; in 1846, 115; in 1847, 85; in 1848, 85; in 1849, 97; in 1850, 104; in 1851, 113.

Thus the total convictions in 1839, were 866, while in 1851, with a population nearly double, they were reduced to 574. The capital executions were in the same manner reduced from 22 in 1839 to 2 in 1851.


The order in council, dated 9th March, 1847, came into operation on the 7th of October that year; under which the lands of the colony were divided into three classes—the settled, the intermediate, and the unsettled districts. The settled districts in the colony of New South Wales comprise the whole of the nineteen counties, the counties of Stanley and Macquarie, the towns in the country districts with the lands immediately adjacent, all the land within three miles of the sea, and the lands at the head and along the banks of some principal rivers.

The intermediate districts in New South Wales comprehend the county of Auckland, Gipps' Land, and some other partially settled districts.

The unsettled districts comprise all the remaining lands of the colony.

In the unsettled districts occupation leases are given for fourteen years with the right to cultivate for the consumption of the establishment of the lessee, and no further: the amount of rent being ten pounds per annum for the estimated capability of the run to carry 4,000 sheep or an equivalent number of cattle; the capability of the run to be determined by two valuers, one appointed by the commissioner of the district, and one by the occupier. During the lease the land can be sold to only the occupant. The lease may be renewed for the whole run if no portion is sold, or for any portion of the run, provided that one-fourth of the whole remains unsold.

In the leases there are reservations for public purposes, and conditions for the payment of rent, &c., punishable by the forfeiture of the run in case of non-observance.

In the intermediate districts, the leases are confined to eight years, it being, however, a condition that at the end of every successive year from the date of the lease, the governor may, by giving sixty days' previous notice, offer for sale the whole or any part of the lands on the said run.

In the settled districts the leases are given from year to year only.

This, then, is the position, politically speaking, in which the pastoral districts now stand; under the constitutional act of 1850 the population outside the boundaries were allowed the elective franchise. At present, however, the squatting districts have been erected, under certain combinations, into electoral districts, and exercise very considerable influence in the legislature of the country.

In the year 1810, twenty-two years after the establishment of the country, the sheep of the colony were 25,888 head, and the cattle 12,442. In the year 1821, the number of sheep had increased to 119,777; in 1828, it was 503,691; in 1834, it reached one million; in 1843, the number of sheep was 3,452,539; in 1844, 3,743,732; in 1845, 4,409,504; in 1846, 4,909,819; in 1847, 5,673,266; in 1848, 6,530,542; in 1849, 6,784,494; in 1850, 7,092,200; in 1851, 7,396,895. In 1837, the export of wool was 4,273,715 lbs.; in 1840, it was 7,668,960 lbs.; in 1845, it was 10,522,921 lbs.; in 1850, it was 14,270,632 lbs.; in 1851, it was 15,268,473 lbs.

By the authorised returns for the year 1851, the number of sheep within the settled districts was 2,263,386, beyond the settled districts it was 5,133,509. The proportion of cattle and other live stock between the two classes is very nearly the same.

The returns of the number of horses, horned cattle, and pigs are as follows:—

Horses. Horned Cattle. Pigs.
1843. 58,739 850,160 54,607
1844. 64,093 971,559 52,196
1845. 73,014 1,116,420 56,022
1846. 76,726 1,140,297 39,723
1847. 91,118 1,270,706 57,395
1848. 97,400 1,366,164 65,216
1849. 105,126 1,463,651 52,902
1850. 111,458 1,374,768 52,371
1851. 116,397 1,375,257 65,510

In the year 1851, the number of horses within the settled districts was 81,083; horned cattle, 451,263; pigs, 59,439. Beyond this settled districts there were horses, 35,214; horned cattle, 923,994; pigs, 6,081.

In the year 1843, the export of tallow was 4,660 cwt.; in 1844, 48,029 cwt.; in 1845, 64,440 cwt.; in 1846, 18,117 cwt.; in 1847, 58,478 cwt.; in 1848, 71,304 cwt.; in 1849, 84,454 cwt.; in 1850, 128,090 cwt.; in 1851, 86,460 cwt.; in the year 1850, the estimated value of the export of tallow was £167,858. In the year 1850, 190,791 yards of woollen cloth were manufactured in the colony.

During the year 1851, the exports derived from pastoral pursuits in this colony exceeded 1,000,000. The live stock of the colony in proportion to the whole adult and infant population of the colony (197,168) is as follows: To every individual 37 sheep, six and a half horned cattle, two-thirds of a horse, and one third of a pig.

It is probable that the community of New South Wales is, in proportion to the number of its population, the largest meat-consuming one in the world; certainly it is the largest consuming community of beef and mutton, as there is little fish, and scarcely any game.

The pastoral pursuits of the colony afford an export very nearly amounting to £6 per head for every man, woman, or child in the colony.


Let us first compare the operations of the last two years:—


1850. 1851.
Wheat, acres 70,720 82,110 11,390 Inc.
Maize,      " 23,170 25,017 1,847     "
Barley,     " 7,576 6,725 851 Dec.
Oats,        " 2,717 2,470 247     "
Rye,          " 293 245 48     "
Millet,      " 42 54 12 Inc.
Potatoes, " 4,236 4,079 157 Dec.
Tobacco,  " 510 731 221 Inc.
Sown for hay. 35,383 30,626 4,757 Dec.
———— ———— ———
Totals. 144,647 152,057 7,410 Inc.

Notwithstanding the gold-excitement year, agricultural operations in the main staples of subsistence considerably increased on the previous year. The breadth of land under cultivation for wheat shows an increase exceeding sixteen per cent.; for maize, about eight per cent.; for tobacco, more than forty-three per cent.; while the total under cultivation shows an increase of more than five per cent.

We have next to compare the quantities of


1850. 1851.
Wheat, bush. 921,582 1,407,465 485,883 Inc.
Maize,      " 457,102 717,053 259,951     "
Barley,     " 124,625 133,944 9,319     "
Oats,        " 53,313 49,069 4,244 Dec.
Potatoes, tons 9,400 13,644 4,244 Inc.
Tobacco, cwts. 4,923 12,530 7,607     "
Hay, tons 44,762 36,605 8,157 Dec.

Of wheat an increase approaching 500,000 bushels, or upwards of fifty per cent.; of maize, nearly 260,000 bushels, or about fifty-seven per cent.; of barley, more than 9,000 bushels, or upwards of seven per cent.; of potatoes, more than 4,000 tons, or forty-five per cent.; and of tobacco, 7,600 cwt., or the immense ratio of one hundred and forty-five per cent. On the other hand, oats and hay show a falling off; the former to the extent of more than 4,000 bushels, or about eight per cent.; the latter to the extent of 8,000 tons, or about eighteen per cent.

We subjoin a statement of the average


1850. 1851.
Wheat, bushels 13.0 17.1
Maize      " 19.7 28.7
Barley     " 16.4 19.9
Oats        " 19.6 19.9
Potatoes, tons 2.2 3.3
Tobacco, cwts. 9.7 17.1
Hay, tons 1.3 1.2

With the exception of hay, an increase in every article.

The Grape.—In 1848, 508 acres of vineyard produced 33,915 gallons wine; brandy, 751. In 1850, 1,069¾ acres, 111,085 gallons wine; 1,985 gallons brandy. In 1851, 1,060 acres, 84,843 gallons wine; 1,641 gallons brandy.

The wine imported in 1851 amounted to 273,856, the export of colonial wine, 3,000 gallons.


The manufactures of the colony are at present very limited; and they have in fact in some branches considerably diminished of late years. Three years after the foundation of the colony, brickmaking commenced; and the first brick building built of colonial bricks was erected in 1791. In 1805 the first sailing vessel was built; in 1815, the first steam-engine was worked in the colony. In 1820, colonial tobacco was first manufactured, and colonial spirits first distilled; and in 1831 the first colonial steam-boat was launched.

Distillers.—There were two distilleries established in the year 1837, and these have remained in full work, except at short intervals, up to the present time. Under the old system of very high duties on foreign spirits, these distilleries made large profits; but even these were insufficient to satisfy the proprietors, and illicit distillation took place to a considerable extent in 1846; however, more stringent regulations for the inspection of distilleries were enacted, and the duty on foreign rum was reduced from 7s. 6d. to 3s. 6d. The profits of the distillers then began to fall off, and the largest of them was compelled to shut up, but it has recently been again set to work by a sugar-refining company, and the two distilleries are now turning out from 7,000 to 10,000 gallons weekly. Nearly the whole of the spirits distilled in this colony are manufactured from sugar and molasses. In addition to these distilleries there is one extensive rectifying and compounding establishment; and in former years there were three or four. In the year 1837 there were seven breweries—three in Sydney, two in Parramatta, one in Windsor, and one in Maitland. In 1844 there were twelve; in 1845 there were fifteen; in 1846, sixteen; in 1847, fifteen; in 1848, twelve; in 1849 twenty-one; in 1850, nineteen; and in 1851, seventeen.

Beer.—The beer brewed at these breweries is drank to a very considerable extent in the colony by the humbler classes, but a very large portion of it is an unwholesome beverage, being adulterated with many deleterious articles. Medical men have attributed death in many instances to the excessive use of this drink. The two largest breweries in the colony are in Sydney; and as they are carried on by men of respectability and large capital, the profits are large. The quantity of beer consumed in the colony is very great, as in addition to the home-made, the importation of the article in 1851 amounted to 57,000. The colonial beer is very inferior to the British, and is sold at less than half the price. It is probable, however, that a better article will soon be produced to supply the deficiency of English beer which frequently exists. One of the Sydney brewers has lately succeeded in producing a beer which successfully competed with the English beverage for some months.

Sugar.—There are two sugar-refining companies in the colony, one of which has been established ten years, the other four. The Australasian Sugar Refining Company carries on a very large trade, supplying not only nearly the whole of the home consumption, but also the wants of the neighbouring colonies. The raw sugar is procured for the most part from Manilla, and the trade to that settlement is much encouraged by these establishments. The prices charged by the company for its sugar in ordinary times are about 45s. per cwt. for loaf, and 34s. per cwt. for crystallised. The quantity of refined sugar manufactured in 1847 was 39,600 cwt.; in 1848, 26,000 cwt.; in 1849, 35,000 cwt.; in 1850, 51,000 cwt.; and in 1851, 74,000 cwt.

Soap and Candles.—There are twelve soap and candle manufacturers in the colony, and they produce a considerable quantity of both articles both for home consumption and for exportation. With the exception of sperm candles, indeed, the whole colony is supplied by the home manufactories. The colonial soap has of late years nearly superseded the English article, which used to be imported in large quantities. The soap made in the colony is preferred for use, while it is produced at a cost of about 3d. per pound. The quantity of soap manufactured in 1847 was 19,925 cwt.; in 1848, 18,900 cwt.; in 1849, 24,623 cwt.; in 1850, 25,986 cwt.; in 1851, 33,065 cwt.

Tobacco.—There are at present only six manufactories of tobacco in the colony, but in 1849 there were fifteen; and in 1850, fourteen. These, however, were on a small scale, and the quantity manufactured was but small. Many samples of tobacco grown and manufactured in the colony have been pronounced by competent judges equal to Virginian; but a very considerable prejudice exists against it. The reduction of the duties on foreign tobacco in the last session of the Council will probably retard the progress of the production and manufacture of this article; but with an abundance of labour there is no question that this branch of industry will be again profitably resorted to. The quantity of tobacco manufactured in 1847 was 1,321 cwt.; in 1848, 714 cwt.; in 1849, 2,758 cwt.; in 1850, 3,833 cwt.; in 1851, 4,841 cwt.

Cloth.—There are five woollen cloth manufactories in the colony, the largest of which is the Messrs. Byrnes', at Paramatta. This establishment is very extensive, and is conducted by its enterprising proprietors on the true British principle. There was also a large manufactory at Maitland, but the works have been interfered with by a serious fire, which took place there some time back, and this accounts for the falling off in the production last year. The cloth principally manufactured in the colony is tweeds, and the quality has been much improved in the last few years. The quantity of cloth and tweeds manufactured in the colony in 1847 was 175,088 yards; in 1848, 164,749 yards; in 1849, 180,197 yards; in 1850, 190,791 yards; in 1851, 114,394 yards.

In addition to the larger factories thus enumerated, there are two hat manufactories, fifty-five tanneries, nine salting and meat-preserving establishments, four potteries, two copper smelting establishments, and fifteen iron and brass foundries. The export of unmanufactured leather is very considerable, amounting in 1851 to 562,215 lbs., valued at £11,665. The consumption of colonial leather in the colony is also very large, both for shoes and boots, and for coach-building and harness. The other establishments we have enumerated are chiefly employed in supplying the colonial consumption. The lighter handicrafts in a small way are pursued with great avidity and considerable skill in the towns of the colony, especially in Sydney. There are plenty of expert jewellers; and the articles of colonial workmanship, manufactured from colonial gold and colonial gems, would, in many instances, do credit to London establishments. Furniture, and some of the larger articles of cabinet ware, are also manufactured with much taste in the colony. Many of the woods of the colony are peculiarly appropriate to this trade, which, we have no doubt, will one day assume a very considerable importance. There are also one or two small cutlery establishments; but though very good knives and scissors, and even surgical instruments, have been made in the colony, they are principally employed in repairing such instruments.


Ship building has been engaged in to a very considerable extent, and the colonial vessels for the most part, as models of soundness and durability, are highly creditable to the colony. There is an abundance of excellent timber suited for every department of ship building.

In 1840, the vessels built in the colony were 17; tonnage, 1,196. In 1841, 33; tonnage, 2,037; In 1842, 25; tonnage, 1,297. In 1843, 41; tonnage, 1,231. In 1844, 15; tonnage, 498. In 1845, 15; tonnage, 931. In 1846, 27; tonnage, 1,013. In 1847, 33; tonnage, 2,122. In 1848, 26; tonnage, 1,281. In 1849, 35; tonnage, 1,720. In 1850, 36; tonnage 1,605. In 1851, 24; tonnage 939.


In 1837 the import was in value £4,303; in 1838, £3,347; in 1839, £8,260; in 1840, £15,254; in 1841, £13,192; in 1842, £11,559; in 1843, £3,457; in 1844, £1,553; in 1845, £6,235; in 1846, 4,051; in 1847, 4,426; in 1848, 1,765; in 1849, 1,891; in 1850, £2,159; in 1851, £3,721. The export has been, in 1837, £14,562; in 1838, £6,444; in 1839, £8,815; in 1840, £21,750; in 1841, £7,004; in 1842, £5,806; in 1843, £9,534; in 1844, £7,989; in 1845, £7,319; in 1846, £7,060; in 1847, £7,158; in 1848, £5,591; in 1849, £12,988; in 1850, £17,138; in 1851, £17,462.


The return of the export of all the produce of the fisheries of the colony, shows a very great decrease in late years. The value of the oil exported in 1837 was £183,122; in 1838, £197,644; in 1839, £172,315; in 1840, £224,144; in 1841, £127,470; in 1842, £77,012; in 1843, £72,877; in 1844, £52,665; in 1845, £95,674; in 1846, £68,936; in 1847, £79,298; in 1848, £68,969; in 1849, £44,993; In 1850, £28,999; in 1851, £25,877.


The return on auction sales and duties is more satisfactory. In 1840 the sales were £1,035,196 5s., and the duty was £15,527 18s. 10d.; in 1841 the duty was £12,811 0s. 1d.; in 1842, £8,900 8s. 2d.; in 1843, £5,865 15s. 5d.; from which it sank down by 1847 to £4,834 6s. After that year the auction duties were taken off articles of colonial produce, and the sales in 1848 were £649,815 16s. 8d., duties, £3,249 1s. 7d.; in 1849, sales £545,797 10s., duties, £2,728 18s. 9d.; in 1850, sales £1,143,649 3s. 4d., duties £5,718 4s. 11d.; in 1851, sales £467,575, duties £2,337 17s. 6d.


The sale of Crown lands is also a return of interest, as it is now separated from the Port Phillip sales. In 1837, the amount sold was £116,474 18s. 5d.; in 1838, £79,130 6s. 10d.; in 1839, £92,968 1s. 9d.; in 1840, £97,498 10s. 11d.; in 1841, £19,235 15s. 7d.; in 1842, £11,844 17s. 8d.; in 1843, £5,311 2s.; in 1844, £6,745 14s. 8d.; in 1845, £11,563 13s. 10d.; in 1846, £11,249 19s. 3d.; in 1847, £2,929 19s. 2d.; in 1848, £7,624 6s. 6d.; in 1849, £20,113 12s. 3d.; in 1850, £33,757 6s. 11d.; in 1851, £64,425 17s. 6d. In the last three years, at least one-third of the amount went to the credit of the general revenue, being the produce of the sale of the land on the site of the Circular Quay and old Military Barracks.


The next return is of coin in the colony, contained in the military chest, and in the banks; and in 1845, when the amount was greatest, it was £855,166; in 1846, £827,306; in 1847, £634,186; in 1848, £633,803; in 1849, £643,458; in 1850, £670,852; in 1851, £540,766.


The amount of the general revenue collected in the year 1851 was £277,728 18s. 1d.; the territorial revenue was £204,508 7s. 2d.; the Church and School Estates fund, £4,460 18s. 9d.; being a total revenue of £486,698 4s.

The total expenditure of the general revenue was £290,361 6s. 3d.; of the territorial, £153,747 3s. 7d.; total, £444,108 9s. 10d.


The Post-office return is very interesting. In the year 1849, the year before the Uniform Postage Act came into operation, the number of post-offices in the colony was 88; the number of persons employed, 115; the number of miles travelled by the mails, 586,675; the number of ship letters, 178,533; inland letters, 383,353; town letters, 47,135; ship newspapers, 277,787; inland, 457,197; total letters, 609,201; newspapers, 734,984; income, £15,462 9s. 10d.; expenditure, £13,751 7s. 11d. In 1850, when the new Act came into force, the number of post-offices was increased to 96, and in 1851 to 101; the number of persons employed, to 123; in 1851, to 137; the number of miles travelled, to 686,614; and in 1851, to 751,154; the number of ship letters, not affected by the new Act, to 179,406; and in 1851, to 202,480; the number of inland letters, from 383,353 to 592,026; and in 1851, to 694,356; the number of town letters, to 70,877; and in 1851, to 78,482; the number of inland newspapers in the first year rather decreased, as there was a postage charge of one penny made upon them for the first time. The total number of letters in 1850 was 842,309; and in 1851, 975,318. The income in 1850 was reduced from £15,462 9s. 10d. to £13,646 5s. 9d., while the expenditure was increased from £13,651 7s. 11d. to £15,732 11s. 4d.; but in 1851 the revenue had increased to £18,252 1s. 11d., while the expenditure was £16,324 13s. 4d.


The value of the total imports and exports of the colony of New South Wales, in each of the last eight years, was in round numbers as follows:

Imports. Exports.
1844. £780,200 £871,300
1845. 985,600 1,022,400
1846. 1,315,000 1,056,300
1847. 1,544,300 1,201,500
1848. 1,182,900 1,155,000
1849. 1,313,600 1,135,900
1850. 1,333,400 1,357,800
1851. 1,563,900 1,796,900

The imports of last year exceeded those of the previous year by £230,500, or rather more than seventeen per cent.; while the exports show the far larger increase of £439,100, or thirty-two per cent. So that in the first year of our gold discovery, the increase of our exports was nearly double that of our imports.

Comparing the figures of 1851 with those of 1844, it will be seen that during the last seven years both the imports and exports had rather more than doubled themselves.

Last year the exports exceeded the imports by £233,000, or about 15 per cent. It should not be overlooked, however, that the exports of 1851 include colonial gold to the amount of £468,336, being the produce of about six months' digging.

The ratios per head of the population, at each of the last two censuses, were about as follows:—

Imports per head. Exports per head.
1844. £8 10. £6 17
1851. 8   7. £9 12

It thus appears that while the ratio of imports shows a diminution of three shillings per head, that of exports shows an increase of £2 15s.; and that while in 1846 the imports exceeded the exports by £1 13s. per head, in 1851 the exports exceeded the imports by £1 5s.


The revenue of the colony of New South Wales is derived from customs dues and the proceeds of pastoral licences, an assessment on live stock, and the licences issued to gold diggers and the sale of land.

An inclination was at one time prevalent among influential members of the Legislative Council to establish a protective tariff, if the power of so doing should be conceded by the Imperial Parliament; but more sound financial ideas have recently prevailed, and in 1852 the new Legislative Council established a tariff of great simplicity and liberality, while the auction duties have been abolished, as also all port and harbour dues. In fact, Sydney offers an example of a great free-trade port.

The duties now charged on goods imported to New South Wales are solely as follows:—Ale and beer in wood, 1d. per gallon; ale and beer in bottle, 3d. per gallon; coffee, chocolate, and cocoa, ¾d. per lb.; currants, raisins, and other dried fruits, ½d. per lb.; brandy, proof strength, 6s. per gallon; gin, ditto, 6s. per gallon; rum, and all other spirits, 4s. per gallon; perfumed spirits, of whatever strength, 4s. per gallon; all spirits, liqueurs, cordials, brandied fruits, or strong waters, 6s. per gallon; refined sugar, 3s. 4d. per cwt.; unrefined ditto, 2s. 6d. per cwt.; molasses, 1s. 8d. per cwt.; tea, l½d. per lb.; manufactured tobacco, other than cigars and snuffs, 1s. 6d. until the 31st day of December, 1853, and thereafter, 1s.; unmanufactured tobacco, Is; per lb. until 31st December, 1853, and thereafter 8d. per lb.; cigars and snuffs, 2s. per lb.; wine, 1s. per gallon.

The eminent simplicity of this tariff has created the highest satisfaction throughout the colony. The duties on spirits and tobacco, being articles of luxury and the use of which, indeed, a wise policy would be as far as prudent to resist can be no burden on any one.

The duty on tea and sugar is one which will so equally and universally affect all classes, that no injustice can be inflicted by it; and if it cause a fractional advance in the price of these articles to the consumer, the absence of taxation on all other articles will enable him to procure those articles at a proportionably cheaper rate. As long as money must be raised by taxation for revenue purposes, the one great principle to be observed is to make that taxation bear equally on all, and it is wise therefore to confine duties to those articles only which are of very general consumption.

It is confidently anticipated that this alteration of the tariff will have a most beneficial effect, both as regards the amount of revenue collected, and the encouragement it will give to trade. Concurrently with the passing of this act, all port and harbour dues, and all auction duties, were repealed; and it may perhaps be said, that New South Wales affords the first example of a great commercial community abandoning almost without exception the legislative restrictions by which trade has hitherto been governed.


The statistics of Port Phillip have not been prepared this year.

In 1851 the population of Melbourne was 23,000, of which 12,000 were males. This population has been increased to something approaching 60,000, dwelling in huts and tents.

The population of 1851 was divided as to religion into 10,000 Church of England, 3,000 Presbyterians, 1,600 Wesleyans, 1,500 other Protestants, 5,500 Roman Catholics, 233 Jews.

The Quarter's Revenue for the quarter ending 30th September, 1852, showed an increase of four hundred thousand pounds over the same quarter in 1851. Every item of the revenue depending on consumption shows an increase, the post-office only being stationary. The gold licences produced 109,000, but considering that at least 60,000 diggers were at work, this item ought to have amounted to £270,000.

The Live Stock were by the last returns:—Sheep, 6,033,000; Cattle, 346,562; Horses, 16,734.


{Page 324}



In the month of April, 1851, New South Wales and Port Phillip were enjoying an unexampled condition of financial and commercial prosperity; the demand for labour was steadily increasing, and in the elder colony several manufactures and copper-mines were affording new investments for colonial capital. The leading colonial journal was amusing its readers with calculations of the period when all the pastoral land of the colony would be overstocked with sheep and cattle. The politicians had their grievances to discuss, among which was the long delay in establishing a steam post.

In the midst of this satisfactory state of affairs, "through the Exchange of Sydney a horrid rumour ran" that a great gold-field had been found near Bathurst. Very soon small "nuggets"—the word is Californian—arrived in the city, and were handed about as curiosities. Thereupon a few score pedestrians, chiefly of the humblest class, set out to walk to Bathurst, 140 miles.

By the 2nd May there was no longer any doubt about the diggings; crowds of all ranks streamed across the Blue Mountains; the governor's proclamation gave official currency to the dazzling fact; the gold fever commenced.

When whispers and rumours had grown into a great fact, every body wondered that the discovery had not been made before, as it had been so often prophesied by various individuals, none of whom seem to have had, like Mr. Hargreaves, sufficient confidence in their own judgment to travel to the district, and put a spade into the ground.

The history of the gold discoveries in Australia lies in a very short compass, but is worth telling. It illustrates many curious things.

The first written reference to the existence of gold in Australia is to be found in a despatch (not published at the time) addressed by Sir George Gipps, 2nd of September, 1840, to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in which he encloses a report from Count Strzelecki, mentioning under gold "an auriferous sulphuret of iron, partly decomposed, yielding a very small quantity of gold, although not enough to repay extraction," which he found in the Vale of Clwdd. It was known to a few that an old shepherd of the name of Macgregor was in the habit of annually selling small parcels of gold to jewellers; but those who watched him could discover nothing, and the common belief was that he sold the produce of robberies which had been melted up to destroy suspicion. The Rev. D. Mackenzie, in his "Gold-digger," states that this old man has recently acknowledged that he obtained his gold from a place called Mitchell's Creek, beyond Wellington Valley, about 200 miles west of Sydney.

The Rev. W. B. Clarke, one of the colonial chaplains, and a geologist of considerable acquirements, in 1846, privately, but unsuccessfully, directed the attention of some of his brother colonists, among others of Mr. Manning to the gold-bearing regions of Bathurst. While in England Sir Roderick Murchison read a paper before the Royal Geographical Society, in 1844, compared the eastern chain of Australia to the Ural Mountains. In 1846, a year before the Californian discovery, he addressed the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall, recommending unemployed Cornish tin-miners to emigrate to New South Wales, and dig for gold in the debris and drift of what he termed the "Australian Cordillera," in which he had recently heard that gold had been discovered in small quantities, and in which he anticipated, from the similarity with the Ural Mountains, that it would certainly be found in abundance.


After these opinions had been made public, persons resident in Sydney and Adelaide sought for and found specimens of gold, which they transmitted to Sir Roderick, who thereupon wrote to Earl Grey, the minister for the colonies, in November, 1848, stating the grounds for his confident expectation that gold would be found in large quantities, and suggesting precautionary measures. Earl Grey never answered this letter, and neither took measures nor sent out private instructions to prepare the governor for the realisation of the predictions of the man of science. As he afterwards explained, he thought it better that the people should stick to wool-growing.

The first printed notice by Mr. Clarke appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald in 1847, in which, following in Sir Roderick Murchison's footsteps, he compared Australia with the Ural.

In 1848 a Mr. Smith, engaged in iron-works near Berrima,* waited upon Mr. Deas Thomson, the colonial secretary, produced a lump of gold imbedded in quartz, which he said he had found, and offered, on receipt of £800, to discover the locality. On reference to the governor, a verbal answer was returned that, if Mr. Smith chose to trust to the liberality of the government, he might rely on being rewarded in proportion to the value of the alleged discovery. The government suspected that the lump of gold came from California, "and were afraid of agitating the public mind by ordering geological investigations." Nothing more has been heard of Mr. Smith.

[* Berrima, In the county of Camden, eighty-one miles from Sydney.]

On the 3rd of April, 1851, Mr. Edward Hargreaves addressed a letter to the colonial secretary, after several interviews, in which he said that if the government would award him 500 as a compensation, he would, point out localities where gold was to be found, and leave it to the generosity of the government to make him an additional reward commensurate with the benefit likely to accrue to the government.

It seems that Mr. Hargreaves, while in California, was struck with the similarity between the richest diggings of that country and a district in the Bathurst country which he had travelled over fifteen years previously; and on his return to Sydney made an exploring expedition of two months, which realised his expectations.

The same answer was returned to Mr. Hargreaves as to Mr. Smith. He was satisfied, and on the 30th April wrote, naming Lewis Ponds and Summerhill Creeks, and Macquarie River, in the district of Bathurst and Wellington, as the districts where gold would be found.

A copy of this letter was, by the governor's directions, forwarded to the colonial geologist, Mr. Stutchbury, with whom Mr. Hargreaves was put in communication.

Messrs. Hargreaves and Stutchbury set out on their journey. On the 8th of May, a Mr. Green, a crown commissioner, wrote in great alarm from Bathurst that "a Mr. Hargreaves has been employing people to dig for gold on the Summerhill Creek, who have found several ounces;" and suggested "that some stringent measure be adopted to prevent the labouring classes from leaving their employments to search on the crown lands." On the 13th of May Mr. Green writes again, in still more alarm:—"A piece of gold valued at £30 had been brought in, and that he feared that any future regulations would be set at defiance."

Having frequently in the course of this work had occasion to stigmatise the mistakes and misdeeds of the local colonial government, it is only common justice to say that the line of conduct adopted by Sir Charles Fitzroy and his council on the occurrence of the gold crisis reflects upon them the highest credit.

A few dates will show how rapidly gold-gathering grew into an important pursuit, stimulating agriculture, and overshadowing the pastoral interest.

May 14th. Mr. Stutchbury reported that he "had seen sufficient to prove the existence of grain gold."

19th. "That many persons with merely a tin dish have obtained one or two ounces a day. Four hundred persons at work, occupying about a mile of the Summerhill Creek, fear that great confusion will arise in consequence of people setting up claims."

22nd. A proclamation was issued declaring the rights of the crown to gold found in its natural place of deposit within the territory of New South Wales.

23rd. John Richard Hardy, Esq., chief magistrate of Paramatta, was appointed the first gold commissioner, with instructions to organise a mounted police of ten men; to issue licences to gold diggers, at the rate of 30s. a month; to receive in payment gold obtained by amalgamation at £2 8s. per ounce, and at £3 4s. per ounce for gold obtained by washing. And, to preserve the peace and put down outrage and violence, he was further instructed to co-operate with the local police, and to swear in special constables from the licensed diggers.


25th. Mr. Stutchbury reported that gold diggers had increased to one thousand; that lumps had been found varying in weight from one ounce to four pounds; that the larger pieces were generally got out of fissures in the rock, "clay slate," which forms the bed of the river, dipped to the north-east at various angles, the fissile edges presenting jagged edges, which had opened under the influence of the atmosphere, "the smaller grain gold being procured by washing the alluvial soil resting upon and filling in the clewage joints of the slate;" that "gold was also found in the planks of the ranges, proving that it had originated in the mountains."

He observes:—"The workings at present are conducted in the most wasteful manner, from the cupidity and ignorance of the people, which cannot be remedied until some officer is appointed acquainted with the proper mode of working, with power to enforce it. The best thing that could happen would be a severe flood, which would fill the diggings, and oblige them to begin, de novo, under proper restrictions."

Such is the constant hankering of government officials to teach and regulate commercial enterprise.

Mr. Stutchbury further reported that gold had been found in Argyle, on the Abercrombie River, in the creeks running north and south of the Canobolas Mountains, such as Oakey Creek, the whole length of the Macquarie from Bathurst to Wellington.

About this time a considerable number of respectable persons were seized with terror, lest the whole framework of society should become disorganised, and anarchy and violence become chronic.

When the existence of gold was first ascertained, there were flock-owners who disapproved of the course pursued by the governor in raising gold-digging to the condition of a regular industrial pursuit, and recommended "that martial law should be proclaimed, and all gold-digging peremptorily prohibited, in order that the ordinary industrial pursuits of the country should not be interfered with;" that is to say, some of the same order who have always patronised vagabond bachelor shepherds, and opposed the establishment of wives, families, and small farms in the interior, were ready to risk a civil war rather than endanger their wool crops.

But, fortunately, the governor had no taste for spilling the blood of his countrymen in a "futile attempt to stop the influx of the tide."

Provincial Inspector Scott, of the police, reports from Bathurst that the distance thence to Summerhill Creek is forty miles, over a clear and denned but mountainous road, fit for the passage of drays:

"Thought that the deposits of the creek would be exhausted soon—that any mechanics in full work would commit an act of insanity to resign their situations in search of gold; that on Sabbath all parties left off work, and the Rev. Mr. Chapman, a Wesleyan minister, preached to a large congregation. Further, Mr. Scott anticipated difficulty in preserving the peace, unless prompt and energetic measures were adopted—viz., to swear in all respectable persons as special constables, and permit them to be armed; to grant licences to other classes (not respectable), and take their arms away to be locked up in Bathurst Courthouse."

From the letters of the provincial inspector of the same date, reporting the preparations he had made to assist the gold commissioner, in case of the anticipated resistance, it is evident that no ordinary degree of alarm was generally experienced.

But, fortunately, the colonists of Australia proved themselves more orderly and sensible than the police and other timid individuals had imagined; and in Mr. Hardy, the first gold commissioner, the governor had selected a man of judgment, temper, and cool courage, who was determined to let the industrious miners have fair play, and equally determined to enforce his lawful authority. His reports are all models of strong common sense.


For instance, when called before the Executive Council to be informed of his appointment, he states, "that he does not consider that he should have any difficulty in enforcing an observance of any reasonable regulations, if twelve mounted men on whom he could depend were attached to him, all being soldiers who have but a short time longer to serve to entitle them to claim their discharge with pensions." He does not desire to associate civilians with soldiers. His confidence was not misplaced.

June 2nd. Mr. Hardy arrived on Summerhill with eight extra police, lent by Major Went worth; found not the least desire to resist the government regulations, and did not keep the extra force on the ground half an hour. An arrangement to intercept all new arrivals, by sending them to an unoccupied ground, prevented confusion.

On June 8th, four hundred and forty-six licences had been issued; to two or three hundred new arrivals he had given a few days to pay; quiet and good order prevailed: "in one instance alone was there an inclination to disregard my decision. A tall, strong man, a butcher at Bathurst, who had been in the habit of beginning to work wherever he saw promises of lumps of gold, trusting to his strength to keep down opposition, began to work on another man's opening. I told him to desist; but as soon as I turned my back, he began again saying he would work where he liked in spite of any one. I turned back immediately, and as I went up to him he dropped his pick and snatched up a spade as if to strike at me. I instantly collared him, put him in handcuffs, and marched him off the ground, declaring my intention of sending him to Bathurst gaol. I sent up to my camp, with orders for a policeman to get ready to take him in, and continued my walk. On my return, in about an hour, the man was very penitent, begged to be let off, which I did: he has been working quietly ever since, and the neighbourhood has been relieved of a very unpleasant man. I have mentioned this to show how easily such a population may be managed. There is no occasion for any increase of force here."

There is no doubt that if convicts from Van Diemen's Land could have been kept out of the gold-fields, there never would have been any dangerous disturbances.

June 9. The government geologist reported the existence of gold in the Turon, and other branches of the River Macquarie; and Mr. Hardy, anxious that there should be no great accumulation of diggers, posted up notices of the new discoveries.

For this measure, as tending to stimulate gold-digging, for giving time to new arrivals to pay for their licences, and for not swearing in special constables, he was called to account by the Executive Council.

The advantage of dispersing the daily-arriving armies of diggers, by giving them actual intelligence instead of mere rumours for a guide, would seem obvious to any one except those Mother Partingtons of legislation who still hoped to mop back the tide which had set in from other employments towards the gold-field.

June 11. Mr. Hardy writes:—"All anxiety as to the payment of the licence fee is at end. I give parties who profess themselves unable to pay at the onset a few days. But it is well understood, and invariably acted on, that no man works more than a few days without a licence; and it is partly from this known circumstance that so many leave after a week's fruitless labour. This is, after all, of a good tendency. Universally successful diggers would leave the colony in a bad position. The return to their former employments adds greatly to the general benefit.


"With respect to special constables I do not think I need be under any apprehension of any opposition to the payment of licences. It was necessary on two occasions to break the cradles, and march the owners off the ground, not on account of any refusal to pay the licence fee, but because the parties had worked the four or five days I had given them to determine whether they were able to pay or not, and still professed their inability to pay, and refused to take up their cradles and remove. In such cases, and indeed in all cases, instant and determined action is necessary, and disregard of possible consequences the safest policy. Some days ago several persons were working on Mr. Lane's land, and on the application of Mr. Rudder, who was in charge of the ground, I ordered them off. Half an hour after I found one set of men still at work, and, although alone, and two miles away from my men, I did not hesitate to kick the cradle into the stream, and take the owner a prisoner into the town. If I had thought it necessary to call upon Mr. Rudder and those who were with him, instead of acting as I did, I should not have succeeded better—I probably should not have succeeded at all; and the probability is, that on the many occasions when I am necessarily alone, and in remote places, I might meet with defiance, as one who could do nothing unless his police were with him. I can rely on myself; I have the most perfect reliance on the men, one and all, that the government has given me; but I could never rely on special constables, however respectable: the more respectable the more unfit under the peculiar circumstances."

The same good sense and firmness characterise Mr. Hardy's answer to the deputation of diggers who came up to present a petition and some resolutions for the reduction of the licence fee from thirty shillings a month to seven shillings and sixpence:—"I informed the deputation that I should advise the government not to lower the licence fee, and I informed them of my reasons for so doing, as follows:—It was well ascertained that about eight hundred persons earned on an average £1 per diem; that about six or seven hundred earned from three to four or five shillings a day; that about three hundred earned nothing; that the first-mentioned eight hundred were able, industrious, and persevering men, working in the numerous favourable localities on the creek; that the second six or seven hundred were men who worked some time less than a week without judgment, and who had not the energy, strength, and bodily powers to be successful; that the last-mentioned three hundred were men who did not work at all, but, after looking about for a day or two, went off in disgust; consequently, that to the eight hundred successful diggers the thirty-shilling fee was positively nothing, seeing that any man could live well on nine shillings a week; that the remainder—the partially and totally unsuccessful—would be much better employed in their past avocations. That the government had to consider the general interests of the community, and not those of the diggers alone, and that those general interests would not be advanced by encouraging all the labouring hands of the colony to be employed in gold-digging."

In July the rush to the diggings had somewhat moderated, when the discovery of a hundredweight of gold revived and stimulated the excitement to a degree which affected all classes of society; and, after that discovery, crowds of gentlemen repaired to the diggings. This great prize having been raised by a gentleman (Dr. Kerr) who had not taken out a licence, the gold commissioner, in the exercise of his duty, seized it, in order to assert the rights of the crown. By an equitable arrangement it was afterwards given up, a precedent having thus been established, on payment of a royalty of ten per cent.

"In the first week of July an educated aboriginal, formerly attached to the Wellington mission, and who has been in the service of W. J. Kerr, Esq., of Wallawa, about seven years, returned home to his employer with the intelligence that he had discovered a large mass of gold amongst a heap of quartz upon the run whilst tending his sheep. He had amused himself by exploring the country adjacent to his employer's land, and his attention was first called to the lucky spot by observing a speck of some glittering yellow substance upon the surface of a block of the quartz, upon which he applied his tomahawk, and broke off a portion. At that moment the splendid prize stood revealed to his sight. His first care was to start off home and disclose his discovery to his master, to whom he presented whatever gold might be procured from it. As may be supposed, little time was lost by the worthy doctor. Quick as horseflesh would carry him he was on the ground, and in a very short period the three blocks of quartz, containing the hundredweight of gold, were released from the bed where, charged with unknown wealth, they had rested perhaps for thousands of years, awaiting the hand of civilised man to disturb them.

"The largest of the blocks was about a foot in diameter, and weighed 75 lbs. gross. Out of this piece 60 lbs. of pure gold were taken. Before separation it was beautifully encased in quartz. The other two were something smaller. The auriferous mass weighed as nearly as could be guessed from two to three hundredweight. Not being able to move it conveniently, Dr. Kerr broke the pieces into small fragments, and herein committed a very grand error. As specimens the glittering blocks would have been invaluable. Nothing yet known of would have borne comparison, or, if any, the comparison would have been in our favour. From the description given by him, as seen in their original state, the world has seen nothing like them yet.

"The heaviest of the two large pieces presented an appearance not unlike a honeycomb or sponge, and consisted of particles of a crystalline form, as did nearly the whole of the gold. The second larger piece was smoother, and the particles more condensed, and seemed as if it had been acted upon by water. The remainder was broken into lumps of from two to three pounds and downwards, and were remarkably free from quartz or earthy matter.

"In the place where this mass of treasure was found, quartz blocks formed an isolated heap, and were distant about one hundred yards from a quartz vein which stretches up the ridge from the Meroo Creek. The locality is the commencement of an undulating tableland, very fertile, and is contiguous to a never-failing supply of water in the above-named creek. It is distant about fifty-three miles from Bathurst, eighteen from Mudgee, thirty from Wellington, and eighteen to the nearest point of the Macquarie river, and is within about eight miles of Dr. Kerr's head station. The neighbouring country has been pretty well explored since the discovery, but, with the exception of dust, no further indication has been found.

"In return for his very valuable services, Dr. Kerr has presented the black fellow and his brother with two flocks of sheep, two saddle horses, and a quantity of rations, and supplied them with a team of bullocks to plough some land in which they are about to sow a crop of maize and potatoes. One of the brothers, mounted on a serviceable roadster, accompanied the party into town, and appeared not a little proud of his share in the transaction."

Dr. Kerr, the fortunate finder of this lump of gold, is mentioned in one of the Voluntary Statements from which we have several times quoted as an excellent, kind master. His brother-in-law, Mr. Suttor, of Brucedale, is a son of the introducer of orange-groves, also one of the most deservedly popular men in the colony.


Dr. Kerr's great prize revived the "sacred rage for gold" among the whole population, and Sydney seemed about to be deserted. New discoveries in various directions were made.

The Bathurst district consists of elevated table-land, intersected by barren ridges, watered by a series of Australian rivers flowing from the Canobolas Mountains, most of which have been found to be auriferous. The journey to Bathurst was easily performed by mail-coach or on horseback. Arrived at Bathurst, the explorer found himself in the midst of a rich pastoral and agricultural district, in which every fertile valley had a small colony of settlers, ready to supply flour, meat, milk, and butter, at reasonable charges.

The gold-diggers, instead of settling in a wilderness infested by grizzly bears and savage Indians, like California, found themselves in a district where a market was only needed to call into cultivation thousands of acres of capital land—at Frederick's Valley, a gold placer of extraordinary richness, belonging to Mr. Wentworth; at Summerhill Farms, at King's Plains, Pretty Plains, Emu Swamp, and the Cornish Settlement, where the crops in the severest droughts never failed.

The Summerhill diggings, which are now nearly exhausted, and the style of life which prevails throughout the interior of Australia, are well depicted in the following sketch by a correspondent of the Sydney Morning Herald:—

"Monday, June 2.—In the morning the ice was thick upon the water in the dishes outside, and the ground covered with hoar frost, as it always is here in fine weather at this season; hot days and frosty nights.

"To an unscientific eye the gold country (Bathurst district) consists of a mass, not of ranges, but apparently of points of ranges, thrown together without any regular arrangement, but dovetailing into one another like the teeth of two saws placed close together, face to face; these teeth again being cut into smaller pieces by narrow precipitous gullies, many of them nearly as deep as the main creek itself. Small creeks twist and twine down these narrow gullies, which have a sudden bend every half-dozen yards, into the Summerhill or main creek, which twists and twines like the others, but on a larger scale. The banks of the gullies are precipitous on both sides, but in the main creek there are alternate bluffs and low points, the teeth of the saw sloping gently down, diminishing in height as they do in width, till they come to a point overhung on the opposite side by a high bluff or precipice, which forms the inside of the nick of the opposite saw; and, as we stood upon the edge of the cliff, we looked down nearly two hundred feet over and along each side of the opposite point, dotted with tents and gunyas of bark or branches, each with its fire in front, sending the blue smoke up into the clear frosty morning air; some under the noble swamp oaks at the water's edge, others behind and under the box and gum trees which towered one above another till the rising branch was merged in the main ridge behind. The point was occupied by about fifteen parties cutting straight into the hill; and, as we looked down upon their busy movements, digging, carrying earth, and working the cradles at the edge of the water, with the noise of the pick, the sound of voices, and the washing of the shingle in the iron boxes of the cradles, I could scarcely believe that two months ago this was a quiet secluded gully in a far-out cattle-run, where a solitary stockkeeper or black fellow on the hunt were all that ever broke the solitude of nature. On saying so to Scotch Harry, he said that he had stock-kept there for nearly twenty years, and when he came there were flocks of kangaroos; these were driven off by the cattle, and now they were as completely driven off by the gold-diggers, 'Little enough the first occupiers thought of gold,' I remarked. 'Yes,' answered Scotch Harry, 'and it would be well for some of these fellows if they thought as little;' and he told us of two who had gone mad already—one a shepherd, in the neighbourhood, found a piece while poking about his run, and came to him making a great mystery about the place, till he could find no more, when he took him to it, but it was a chance piece, and not accompanied by five or six more, as is usually the case; the fellow, however, was not satisfied, and continued searching about, till, from excitement and anxiety, he went mad; the other was a man who, after starving for two days, found 5 lbs. weight, fainted repeatedly, and is now in confinement. Kerr said that two months ago hardly a traveller passed his house in a week, now they were in crowds every hour; his children never thought there were so many people in the world before, and wondered what it all meant; he could hardly believe it himself. We did not find our dray, but heard of it close at hand, and sat down to look about us. Drays and parties of men were arriving every few minutes, many of whom gave a cheer as if they saw fortune in their hand when they looked down upon the workers in the bed of the creek below; some were putting up tents and gunyas, and some working, but all busy and all in good humour, barring the men who were constantly leaving, and looked sufficiently disgusted. We were a good deal puzzled how to get our baggage carried to Messrs. Roach and Barrington's, as it would take us at least two days to carry seven hundredweight over two miles of such ridges, or down the bed of the creek, cut up as it is in every direction; but, just as the last rays of the sun were leaving the top of the ridge, a party of nine native warriors, in their new government blankets, painted and armed with spears and boomerangs, came winding down the bank. As they passed through our camp, I asked the foremost if they would carry our baggage, to which they at once agreed, and camped with us.

"We were all astir at daylight, and found the water frozen in the bucket, and the top of our blankets quite wet within the tent. The loads were adjusted, and the blacks, with the two men, started under the guidance of the company, and returned about noon by a short cut, we remaining to erect the tent. On loading them again, one fellow complained that a pot of beef hurt his head, so I gave him a roll of brown paper, but soon found my mistake, as not a man would move without the same, so that when I came to the last there was not a scrap left; he had only bedding to carry, and I explained to him that no pad was necessary, but he drew himself up and asked if I thought him a fool; 'Another one black fellow hab it.' He was evidently in earnest, and would have left his load there and then, had I not clapped a calling-card on his shaggy bullet head, and he went off quite proud; we gave them one shilling each and their rations, which is high pay for a black. Many return at once, without giving it one minute's trial. I saw one party arrive, six respectable looking hardworking men, all well provided with tools, clothes, and provisions. As I stood conversing with one of them, who was putting his things together to move to their tent, a parcel unrolled, and a Bible and Prayer-book fell out. He looked up, and said they should not forget these even for gold, to which I assented, with the remark that men would get none the less gold for minding them."

The Turon, which, like many Australian names, was scarcely known beyond its immediate neighbourhood before the gold discoveries, rises in the county of Roxburgh, near Cullen Cullen, and flows, like the Summerhill Creek, into the Macquarie. On its banks Sofala has been founded. Here it was that the art of cradling gold and washing gold was learned by thousands who have since removed to Mount Alexander and other districts.

The gold-fields of the Turon include river-bed claims and dry diggings.

In the river-bed claims it is the object to clear a deep hole of water, and then wash the mud and sand which have been carried there in the course of ages; partly washed to the hand of the miner by the torrents of nature. "In dry diggings" the earth after being raised must be carefully broken up and washed.

Fortunate diggers come from time to time upon lumps or "nuggets" of various sizes, which once excited great attention and curious comparison between those found in quartz, in clay, in alluvial mould; but now in the auction-rooms of Sydney and Melbourne they excite no more attention, unless of rare beauty, than so much copper or lead.

The immediate result of the rush to the Bathurst gold-fields was to supply the district with labour at reasonable rates. A traveller observes:—"We were much struck by the difference between their ideas of the mines and those of men at a greater distance. To the latter the gold country is a place with pieces of gold ready to be picked up without trouble, and they start off, trusting to find food somehow, and quarters somewhere, as they have done hitherto in the bush; but to these men here it is an open box forest, with severe frosts every night, sleet and snow for weeks at a time, without any accommodations whatever, or rations, unless paid for in hard money, at three times the usual price: if they turn out, they exchange their comfortable warm hut and regular meals for cold and hunger at once, so that there is no room for the imagination to work. And though they all intend to give it a trial when they get their discharge, and their wages to fit them out, they expressed the greatest astonishment at the folly of the men they saw passing every day, totally unprovided: they looked upon them as literally mad."

It would fill a volume, which we may at some future time be tempted to write, to follow the history of the New South Wales Gold Fields, with all the curious attendant anecdotes. At present we cannot do better than avail ourselves of the report made to a Sydney paper by an eye-witness in the autumn of 1852:—

The time which has elapsed since Mr. Hargreaves announced that extensive auriferous regions existed in the colony has done much less towards the development of the hidden golden treasures of this province of the island than was at first anticipated. In fact, during the last twelve months, since the attractions of Mount Alexander began to tell on the mining population engaged at our diggings, we have made but little progress. With one or two exceptions, our present supplies of gold are derived from the very same localities whence they were received last year, the only difference being, that they are in diminished quantity. The only diggings opened up since that time which have materially affected the increase in our production of gold are those of Tambaroura and the Hanging Rock. Even these were known before that period, although their richness was not established. In July, 1851, parties were at work in the vicinity of the Bald Hill, and a short time after at the Dirt Holes; and about the same time gold had been found, although in small quantities, near the present diggings on the Peel. During the last twelve months, the Turon and the Braidwood diggings have retrogressed, partly in consequence of the incessant rains impeding as they do mining operations in the beds of creeks and rivers, but chiefly on account of the migration of the population to the Victoria gold-fields.

The attractions of other gold-fields have drawn away the great body of adventurers—those who had no other motive to attach them to the gold-fields here than desire of gain. The large proportion of gold-diggers left are persons who have got a permanent interest in the country—inhabitants of the small inland towns—where their families are resident, or settlers on farms in which all their property is invested. These persons distributed over the face of the country, of course find it more profitable and convenient to devote their spare time to working at diggings in the vicinity of their dwellings, and consequently are ever on the search for gold near home. There is hardly a shepherd's hut in the interior, where there is the slightest probability that the precious metal may be found, which does not boast of a cradle and other mining implements, devoted to use whenever opportunity offers.

The first locality which claims attention is Ophir, the parent diggings of the colony. Ophir may be regarded as belonging to what may be termed the Canobolas gold-field. This mountain, which is nearly a mile in height above the level of the sea, and is composed chiefly of trap rock, is the centre whence a considerable number of streams, including the Summerhill Creek, take their rise, and flowing through a country composed chiefly of schists and quartzites, are more or less auriferous. Gold has been found throughout the length of the Summerhill Creek, from its source at the Canobolas to its junction with the Macquarie, but most abundantly at Ophir, and Frederick's Valley, where the Wentworth diggings are situated. The gold is chiefly of a nuggetty description, and has been found in lumps of three or four pounds in weight. At the Wentworth diggings, very fine gold has been obtained in considerable quantities. The country about Ophir is very broken and rugged, and the deposit of gold lies, for the most part, in the bed of the creek, as the banks are too steep to allow of extensive dry or bank diggings. Towards the Macquarie the banks of the creek become still more rocky and abrupt, and there is not much likelihood of any extensive deposit of gold having been formed. The bed of the creek at Ophir has never been sufficiently dry to allow of its being profitably worked since the first rains after the opening up of the diggings on Fitzroy Bar. The population has never been very great since that period, and at present does not number over two or three hundred. The earnings at these diggings average from 10s. to 60s. per diem, and in a few cases much more. There are many parties at work in the vicinity of the Canobolas, and on creeks flowing from it. At the Tea Tree Creek and Brown's Creek, profitable diggings have been opened, and the earnings are from 10s. to 20s. a day, but the number of persons engaged at these places is not large. The whole of the region surrounding this mountain, which is situated some forty or fifty miles to the westward of Bathurst, may be regarded as a gold-field comparatively unexplored, which when the return wave of population and enterprise shall have set in to the gold-fields of this colony, will occupy no insignificant position.

The Turon still claims the first position among the gold-fields of the colony in point of richness and extent. Sofala, the township which has been formed at the richest locality on the Turon, is distant about twenty-five miles north from Bathurst. Fifteen miles above Sofala remunerative diggings were opened at what is called the Gulf, and thence to the junction of the river with the Macquarie, a distance of nearly forty miles, digging operations having been carried on with more or less success. The geological formation of the country is of schist, intersected by quartz veins of various thickness, but there are many other rocks present at different portions of the river. The mountains are lofty, but with rounded summits and gently sloping bases, and the river flows for the greater part through a narrow valley between the ranges. The banks and slopes on the river side are seldom abrupt, and dry diggings consequently abound. The gold procured on the river itself is chiefly dust, generally of a very fine description, but coarse gold has been obtained in various places, and is abundant in the creeks and ravines opening into the river. Lumps weighing as much as seven pounds have been found The yield of gold on the Turon has been in many instances most extraordinary, In several cases, from eighty to 100 oz. a day have been obtained by parties of three or four for days together; in numerous instances from twenty to fifty ounces a day have been procured, and from five to fifteen ounces were at one time a common yield. The gold has been obtained in equal quantities in the bed of the river, and on the banks and slopes in its vicinity. In the former case the greatest depth to which it is necessary to go for the gold is from four to ten or twelve feet, but the continual presence of water has rendered it generally a matter of difficulty, and often of impossibility to get at the auriferous deposits. In the dry diggings the depth of the claims varies from the surface to forty or fifty feet, and the largest deposits of gold are got in the pockets and crevices of the bed rock. In the river diggings the useless surface soil is wholly removed, but in the dry diggings when a shaft has been sunk, the ground on the level of the gold deposit is tunnelled. The dry diggings on banks of the Turon are considered by many to he comparatively exhausted, but this is by no means the case in the opinion of more competent judges. Recently rich dry diggings have been discovered on the slope of the hill leading to the township of Sofala, and not more than a pistol shot distance from the town. This ground has been constantly traversed by eager miners for many months, and is proved to abound in deposits of precious metal, which hundreds have left its vicinity to seek for at distant localities. The mining population of the Turon numbered at one time certainly not less than 10,000, but at present (September, 1852,) the number of persons engaged in digging on the Turon and its tributaries does not exceed 1,200. The average yield at these diggings, is from 15s. to £3 or £4 a day, but the instances are numerous in which large sums are earned in a very short period. The labour required is great, whether in the bed or the dry diggings, as in the former the water has constantly to be contended with, and in the latter, the conglomerate soil which has to be wrought through is almost as hard as rock. Many of these tributaries, Big Oakey and Little Oakey Creek especially, have yielded a large amount of gold. On the tableland, where their source is, parties have been at work for months, making large earnings; and more extensive research would, undoubtedly, develop many rich deposits at this place. Along the Bathurst-road gold has been found, and at Wyagden Hill, midway between that town and the Turon, operations on a large scale have been begun.

The Braidwood diggings next-claim attention. They are confined chiefly to Major's and Bell's Creeks, which flow over the tableland, above the valley of Araluen. They are not more than ten or twelve miles distant from the town of Braidwood. What is peculiar in these diggings is the fact that they are situated to the eastwards of the dividing range of mountains. These creeks before named join the river Moruya, which flows into the sea at Short Maven, on the east coast, between Bateman's Bay and Twofold Bay. Major's Creek and its tributary Bell's Creek have amply repaid those engaged in mining operations on them. The country is not of so mountainous a description as at the Turon. Slate and quartz abound in the vicinity, but the bed-rock is granite, and the gold has been found chiefly in what is regarded as decomposed granite. The prosperity of these diggings has been seriously retarded by the incessant rains which have fallen during the last several months, and the population has almost deserted them. At one time there must have been nearly 2,000 persons on Major's and Bell's Creeks and at Araluen; but at present there are not, at most, more than 500. The average earnings at these diggings approximate to those at the Turon, and, as at the latter place, many instances of surprising good fortune have occurred. At Mungarlow, some fifteen or twenty miles from Major's Creek, remunerative diggings have been opened, and several nuggets have been found weighing up to eight or ten ounces. At the Braidwood diggings the gold is generally fine, and it is reckoned to be very pure. Dry diggings have been opened on Major's Creek, in which many parties are procuring four or five ounces of gold a day.


About thirty miles north of the Turon are the Meroo diggings. The Meroo is a river somewhat resembling the Turon in its general features, and in its banks and bars large deposits of gold have been found. The geological character of the country is similar to that of the Turon. The diggings already opened here extend several miles along the river. The yield of gold is generally large, and the gold itself coarse, with occasional large nuggets. Several points on the Meroo have turned out uncommonly rich. The golden reputation of the Meroo itself, however, is small in comparison to that of one of its tributary creeks, the Louisa, on whose banks such extraordinary masses of the precious metal have been found, and where the great nugget vein lies. The country about the Louisa is generally of a flat description, and the declivities of the creeks are mild. Mr. Green, assistant commissioner, in a report on the Western Gold Fields, has expressed his opinion that the auriferous ground available for dry diggings at this creek extends for several miles to Campbell's Creek, and that on the tableland, of which this forms a portion, 40,000 or 50,000 miners could find profitable employment. Considering that this table land includes the rich diggings at the Long Creek, the Dirt Holes, the Tambaroura and other creeks, we do not think that it is any exaggeration of the truth. At the Louisa beautiful specimens of gold in the matrix are constantly procured, and nearly all the gold obtained here is coarse and not waterworn. Nuggets of large size have been discovered. The hundredweight every one is familiar with. Brenan's twenty-seven pound lump was found at the Louisa, as was also the largest waterworn nugget yet obtained, weighing 157 ounces, besides numerous other nuggets of less size, which it would be tedious to enumerate. The heavy rains have greatly interfered with all the diggings from the Meroo to the Turon, putting a stop to further operations, and compelling the miners to seek other places. This has been the case at Long Creek, the Devil's Hole, Pyramul Creek, Nuggetty Gully, Married Man's Creek, the Dirt Holes, &c. The gold at these places is coarse, and the earnings are in many cases very large. Generally speaking a man may make certain of securing 20s. a day if the weather is favourable and he sticks to his work. The number of diggers on the Meroo, the Louisa, and the other places just named, may be put down at 1,500.

Between the Turon and the Pyramul, and parallel to both, lies the Tambaroura Creek, which disembogues itself into the Macquarie several miles below the junction of the Turon. This place has lately taken an important position among the diggings for richness and extent, and bids fair to retain it. The diggings are situated chiefly on tableland, and the yield of gold, when the weather allows of operations being carried on, is very large. Many of the claims yield from two to twelve ounces a day. The gold is coarse, and lies at various depths from the surface. At Golden Gully, and at the Bald Hill also, the diggings are very prolific, and to all appearance an extensive region teeming with golden wealth lies around. Although mining operations are very much impeded by the frequent rains, which convert the tableland into a swamp, yet it is feared that in dry seasons these diggings will be unworkable for want of water. The number of miners at work at the Tambaroura and the vicinity is probably about 1,000.

The Hanging Rock may be regarded as among the number of those gold fields whose richness has been established. It is situated at the River Peel in New England. The Oakenville, Hurdle, and Oakey Creeks, flowing into the Peel, have been found to be rich in auriferous deposits, and a large tract of country in the vicinity presents the same indications. The number of diggers at the Hanging Rock is about 200, who are doing exceedingly well. As much as twenty ounces per diem have been obtained here, and dry diggings have been discovered which promise to be exceedingly rich. Although the richness of the Hanging Rock diggings has been established, the extent and probable productiveness are still matter of doubt.

These northern diggings are fifty miles from the Page River; the nearest road by Aberdeen, between Muswell Brook and Scone. From Goonoo Goonoo, the head station of the Australian Agricultural Company is about twenty-seven miles. The whole of the country is extremely hilly, and in wet weather the numerous creeks present an impassable barrier to the traveller.

The direct approach to the Hanging Rock is over a series of most difficult precipitous ascents, but there is a bridle path. The Hanging Rock is a prodigious mountain, the sides of which are overhung with huge masses of rock, which seem on the point of being precipitated into the yawning gullies beneath. The herbage is scant, affording but a bare subsistence for the horses and cattle. Descending over the ridge which shadows what is called the Rock, you arrive at the "Hanging Rock Creek," and the "Swamp Diggings." All these are liable to interruption in the wet season.

The bed of the creek is composed of a very compact mass, interspersed with quartz. The banks are chiefly a black, thick loam, intermixed with red, ferruginous clay. The richest claims are where the quartz ridges dip down into the creek.

The Dry Diggings are in one of many deep gullies which prevail in this region.

Oakenville Creek is in this (the rainy) season a narrow, rapid rush of water down the bed of a deep, precipitous, rocky gully.

The Peel River Diggings.—The Peel River diggings are divided into two classes. The field on the western side of the river belongs to the Australian Agricultural Company, whose stations extend seventy or eighty miles along the banks of this stream. The gold-field is situated about five miles from Hanging Rock, and was discovered in March, 1853. The company, in the first instance, endeavoured to raise a revenue by issuing licences, but as only thirty-six were taken, while more than one hundred and fifty were at work, the deputy-governor adopted means for driving off all trespassers, and at length succeeded. The gold is found on the banks of the river in thick ferruginous clay; in some instances nuggets are found clinging to the roots of the grass. The greatest wealth is supposed to exist in the quartz ridges. The reporter found several lumps the size of a duck's egg, thickly speckled with gold.

The river diggings on the crown side are principally three spots:—Golden Point, Blackfellow's Gully, and Bold Ridge.

Of the remaining gold-fields, which are so only by anticipation, their riches not having been developed, and but little being known of their extent, the Abercrombie is one of the longest known, and probably one of the most important. Gold has been found in considerable quantities, not only in the river itself at the Sounding Rock, or Tarshish diggings, but also on its tributary creeks, the Tuena, Mulgunnia, Copperhannia, and Mountain Run. The Abercrombie lies some forty miles to the southward of Bathurst, and forms the upper portion of the Lachlan River. Dry diggings abound on some of the creeks—the Tuena especially—and large earnings have been made here. The gold is coarse. The field may be regarded as unexplored, as there are not more than 200 persons at work on it.

North of the Abercrombie lie the diggings at Campbell's River called Havilah, and those on the Gilmandyke and Davis Creeks, its tributaries. Gold was found at Havilah shortly after the discovery of the Turon diggings; but as the yield was small, the latter soon drew away the enterprising pioneers at Campbell's River. The gold procured was very fine, but no locality has yet been discovered where the deposits are so plentiful as to entitle these diggings to consideration. On the Gilmandyke and Davis Creeks coarse gold is obtained, and there are promising indications of future richness. Perhaps about 100 miners are engaged at these diggings, who are making fair earnings.

There is about the same number of persons engaged in digging on Winburndale Creek, which rises on the tableland a few miles to the northward of Bathurst, and, flowing in a north-west direction, falls into the Macquarie several miles above the junction of the Turon. No very sanguine anticipations are entertained as to the productiveness of these diggings, where, however, fair wages are made by the few persons engaged at them. It is far otherwise, however, with the regions adjacent to the Macquarie River. Gold has for a long time been found on this river, but the diggings hitherto opened have been isolated. Late researches, however, have brought to light auriferous deposits, where the depth of washing-soil is ten and even fifteen feet, and these extend for miles along the banks of the river. The capabilities of such a gold-field may be guessed at where the supply promises to be almost inexhaustible. Only in dry weather, however, can these be turned to account, as the river is a large and important stream during the greater part of the year, and from the prevalence of water the claims cannot be worked. The Macquarie receives the tributary waters of the Winburndale, the Turon, Summerhill, Tambaroura, Pyramul, &c., all auriferous streams.

An extensive gold-field has been discovered at the Billabong range, which lies nearly a hundred miles to the west of Bathurst, between the waters of the Lachlan and Bogan. Schists and quartz are the constituent rocks, and specimens of gold in the matrix have been found. At the Snowy Mountains, to the southward, where many of the great streams of the colony, the Murrumbidgee, Murray, Snowy River, &c., take their rise, the researches of the Rev. W. B. Clarke, who was specially appointed by the Government to survey this district, have disclosed an extensive tract of auriferous country, and several localities which promise to be highly productive. The severity of the weather in these Alpine regions will, however, preclude mining operations being carried on for several months in the year. Over both these extensive portions of country the utmost done in gold-digging are isolated efforts of a few prospecting parties, who are merely testing the capabilities of the country. In these alone a vast field for enterprise lies open to the world.

The last-discovered diggings in this colony, which have excited the most sanguine expectations of their future productions, are Bingara, situated on the Courangoura Creek, which joins the Gwydir, seventy miles to the north-west of Tarn worth. The diggers who first discovered the treasures of this locality made extraordinary gains in a short time, and the gold appeared to lie in such abundance on all sides, as to be inexhaustible. The gold obtained has consisted chiefly of nuggets and coarse grain, very little worn. Nuggets weighing fourteen and sixteen ounces have been obtained. Upon the intelligence of the success of these diggings a large number of persons started for them, and at present we dare say there are 300 on the ground. The diggings at present opened are situated on tableland, and it is feared that there will not be a sufficiency of water even in moderately dry seasons. The usual characteristics of a gold region, slate and quartz, abound; and a large extent of country in the vicinity has the same external appearance as that at the diggings at the Courangoura Creek. The country is very level, resembling the gold-fields of Victoria, and the samples of precious metal obtained resemble those of Mount Alexander in the coarseness of the grains and their rich appearance. At various places, between the Hanging Rock and Bingara, gold has been found in some instances lying on the surface of the ground. The distance of this gold-field from Maitland is upwards of 200 miles in a north by west direction. A considerable quantity of gold has been received from it, and at present there is a large quantity in the hands of the miners.

According to the estimated number of diggers which we have stated as engaged in each locality, the total number at the places particularised is about 6,000. As there are numerous creeks and gullies throughout the country where miners are at work, but which are either too unimportant to be named such as the Jew's Creek, the Crudine, &c.—or are altogether unknown, a considerable addition must be made to this number. If we add 2,000 more to the 6,000, it will include all these detached miners, and any possible deficiency in our estimate of the number of diggers at the established gold-fields. The total number of persons engaged in gold-digging in this colony will then be about 8,000.

Hitherto a pick and shovel and a cradle, with probably the addition of a crowbar and pump, have constituted a miner's outfit. At the diggings of Victoria, indeed, thousands of the more successful miners never use a cradle, the richness of their claims in large gold preventing the necessity; but at the Turon and other places, the fineness of the gold dust, and the manner in which it is diffused throughout the soil, have necessitated the utmost skill and care in cradling. Lately, however, companies have been formed in this colony for the more effectual development of the wealth of the gold-fields. About half-a-dozen of these companies have commenced operations. The Great Nugget Vein Company are setting up expensive machinery on the banks of the Louisa for crushing the auriferous quartz of their claim at that locality. The Turon Golden Ridge Quartz Crushing Company are making active preparations for developing the richness of an auriferous quartz vein on the Lower Turon, which promises the most splendid results. The Messrs. Samuel are proceeding with their exertions to drain the waterhole at Ophir. The Australian Mutual and the British Australian Gold Mining Companies have combined operations, for the purpose of working the alluvial claims on the Turon. They have secured ground at Lucky Point, and have made considerable progress towards developing the golden deposits of an island in the bed of the Turon contiguous to Erskine Point.

Gold has been found throughout more than eight degrees of latitude, from Bingara at the north to the ranges near Cape Otway, in Victoria. There is good reason for believing that it exists throughout twelve degrees, as samples of the precious metal were found by the late Mr. Roderick Mitchell, son of the surveyor-general, as far north as Mount Abundance at the Fitzroy Downs. The easternmost diggings in Australia yet discovered are those at the Hanging Rock, about the 151 of E. long. A gold-field has been discovered in South Australia, in about the 139 longitude, twelve degrees to the westward; but whether gold will be found throughout the intervening country it is impossible to say. It has certainly been found as far westward, in Victoria, as the 143rd meridian, and at Mount Cole and Mount William.

On Thursday, 2nd September, I joined a gentleman of Murrurundi, whose business required his attention here, and travelled over the almost trackless ranges to the Isis, one of the rivulets which runs into the Hunter. Towards evening we reached the hospitable abode of a venerable Highlander, who here, high above all other human habitations, at the foot of the Liverpool range, aided by his stalwart sons, tends his numerous and thriving flocks.

The next morning they directed our steps to a remarkable cave, the front apartment of which is adorned with stalactites, in the form of pillars and curtains. The entrance being turned upwards, is altogether hidden from most passers by; but when a descent has been accomplished over the broken rocks, the main arch of the cavern has a fine appearance. To this cave the worthy and patriotic Highlander has given the name 'Uamh Garrie,' Garry's Cave, from its resemblance to a cave of that name in the Highlands of Scotland.

There is a larger cave lower down the stream, which we had not time to visit, but which some travellers have said will surely become an object of great interest, as soon as better modes of travelling are afforded to the inhabitants of our towns and cities.

On leaving the Isis, we ascended the Liverpool Range—crossing, at various elevations, on both sides of the range, tablelands of the most promising soil; where several thousands of agriculturalists are likely to find a highly remunerative field for their industry and skill as soon as markets for the gold-finding population of the neighbourhood, and means of transit to distant towns, make their settlement practicable. In the afternoon, soon after crossing the Peel, we came in sight of the perpendicular facing of rock which gives a peculiar appearance and a name to this mountain. The ascent to this flat, near the summit, is a steep one of at least three miles; did we not see the tracks, we could not believe it possible for drays to be brought up it by any means. As the golden creek runs in all directions from the top, and the precious metal is found at all heights, there is no regular camp of tents here as at the Turon and other places; the people are thinly scattered over a wide space, and hidden from one another by the ridges. Never, perhaps, did men pursue their daily toil in such delightful and beautiful workshops as these ravines, where the dark foliage of the oak, the rugged and fantastic piles of rock, and the numerous cascades, combine to form pleasant pictures. Among the diggers it is easy to discover many a thorough gentleman, and many a worthy farmer, artisan, and sailor.


{Page 349}



The opening up of the gold fields of Victoria followed quick, and soon eclipsed the river claims and dry diggings of the older colony.

Gold was sold in small quantities to a jeweller of the name of Brentano, in 1848, which was found on the banks of the river Loddon, at the foot of the Climes Hill, which is supposed to be of volcanic origin, and rises from a plane.

In August, 1851, after a reward had been offered for the discovery of gold in the Port Phillip district, the diggings were opened at the Climes, whence a piece of two pounds of fine grain gold was sold. Afterwards they were successfully opened at Buninyong, a deep gorge formed by the bed of Anderson's Creek, in the heart of stringy bark ranges.

The weather was unfavourable, and the first attempt to levy licence fees at the Climes created discontent. A different spirit from that at the Turon was displayed; the people struck their tents and retreated further into the ranges; this led to the discovery of Ballarat.

The commissioner having acted with great discretion, taken pains to conciliate, and applied his mechanical talent to constructing a better cradle, an improved feeling was created.

In September the returns were better more nuggets one man getting eight ounces in a week. Success soon brought two hundred up; and, the weather clearing, gold gathering became one of the trades of Victoria, and licence fees, being found a protection, were paid willingly. Diggers combined to preserve order, held meetings, and settled all disputed points.

At Clunes the rock was mined—at Ballarat the soil only was washed.

In October the government escort was established, and large returns were raised daily. By the middle of the month ten thousand men were at work with 1,200 to 1,300 cradles at Ballarat. The estimated daily earnings were £10,000, very unequally distributed.


In the same month a public meeting of the Ballarat diggers was held, to adopt measures for securing a supply of water during the coming dry season, and a subscription of one shilling a head was commenced for the purpose of damming up the waters of the creek; the commissioner of crown lands was elected treasurer, and any surplus was to go towards an hospital for the sick diggers.

In September the gold was found in such quantities round Mount Alexander, the Mount Byng of Mitchell, as to attract large numbers from Ballarat. At Mount Alexander gold was taken up with pocket-knives from soil a few inches below the surface in such profusion, that one man filled a quart pot with small nuggets in the course of the day. A rush took place from all the other diggings to the last-found region, and in a very few days there were eight thousand at work.

In November three tons of gold lay at the commissioner's tent at Forest Creek waiting for an escort, and not less than twenty-five thousand persons were working at the spot.

On December 1st government issued a notice raising the licence fee to £3 a month; but this move met so much resistance that it was almost immediately rescinded.

The dry weather setting in, the diggers in the course of January were reduced to 10,000 persons.

In January the new Legislative Council came to a series of resolutions adverse to the licensing system, and suggesting an export duty.

In the same month a working man found at the Forest Creek diggings the largest lump of solid gold yet discovered, weighing 27 lbs. 8 oz., perfectly pure, free from quartz or other impurity, which he sold to a Melbourne dealer.

In May, 1852, the numbers at Mount Alexander were estimated at from thirty to forty thousand souls.

Since that period the gold-fields round Mount Ballarat have been almost deserted, except by residents in the locality.


"Having cleared the city we overtook the golden army of bullock-drays moving northward, surrounded by companies of men and lads: occasionally a female is seen. Four bulldogs pull one carriage, a great dog in the shafts of another, and a man pushing behind at a load of near five hundredweight.

"Presently the splendid panorama opened to view an extensive sweep of plains, encircled by mountain ranges in the remote distance. Far as the eye can reach, the pilgrimage, its line moving along the undulations, now hid, now rising into view English and Germans, Irish and Scotch, Tasmanians.  *    *    *    *    *

"Sixteen drays at Yuille's Ford, and nearly two hundred people. It is nearly impassable, from the fresh current of yesterday's rain. But the men, tailing on to the ropes by dozens, pull both the horses and carts through. Some there are pulling, some cooking their midday meals, some unloading the drays, some moving off the ground. Over the ford the road is delightful, the scenery charming, the land more broken, and timbered like a park. Ladidak comes in view, a beautiful ravine formed by the convergence of several hills, at the base of which the river so winds that it must be crossed thrice.

"Where formerly was silence, only broken by the voice of the bellbird, now bullock-drays, bullocks, and bullock-drivers, are shouting, roaring, and swearing up the hill, or descending splashing through the once clear stream. On, on until the expanse of Bacchus Marsh opens, until lately a favourite meet of our hounds.

"A camp of tents has been formed by those who think it discreet to put off the crossing struggle until their beasts have had the benefit of a night's rest; loud is the ringing of bullock-bells; meanwhile an impromptu bridge of a tree has been thrown across the river, and men are crossing and recrossing like a stream of ants. A dray deep in the stream makes a complete capsize before it can be hauled through.

"Our tandem dog-cart dashes through gallantly, we reach the Pentland Hills, where another encampment has been formed in the long ravine; we trot on slowly, the moon bright, the sky cloudless, a sharp frost nips the uplands, the campers eating, drinking, and smoking; architects, jewellers, chemists, booksellers, tinker, tailor, and sailor, all cold but cheerful. At the next station we halt and enjoy our friend's fire and supper.

"The next morning broke bright and fresh; the ground was white with frost; at daylight the train of pilgrims were crossing the plain—the Germans with wheelbarrows led the way. At Ballan we find the inn eaten out. A horse passes at speed bearing on his back two horsemen. We meet sulky parties of the unsuccessful returning, and see signs in small excavations of prospecting parties. The forest grows denser; toward evening we reach the hospitable roof-tree of Lal Lal, where at daybreak all the laughing jackasses of the country seemed to have established a representative assembly. Ha, ha, ha! ho, ho, ho! hu, hu, hu! ring forth in every variety of key innumerous.


"The cavalcade in motion splashes through the broad river, where one driver, in his shirt, without breeches, walks beside and urges on his horses, fearful of his dray sticking on the way. Our next point is Warren Neep, where we refresh with a draught from the delicious mineral spring. Two miles from Warren Neep the hills begin gradually to slope toward Ballarat. The forest trees are loftier and denser, but the surface soil is not so richly grassed. The road emerges on to a rich bottom of considerable extent, and the hill to the left extends upwards in such a gentle slope as to diminish the appearance of its height. Within a mile and a half of Golden Point the tents begin to peer through the trees. The Black Hill rises precipitously on the right from a creek that washes its base, and through its thick forest covering the road is visible down which the carriers are conveying their earth.

"The bank of the creek is lined with cradles, and the washers are in full operation. Round the base of the mountain, on the further side, at right angles with this creek, the River Lee flows; and for half a mile along its bank the cradles are at work. We descend, leave the road, cross the bottom, spring over a dam, and are among the workmen. 'Rock, rock, rock! swish, swash, swish!'—such the universal sound.

"The cradle is placed lengthwise with the water. The cradleman, holding the handle in his left hand, with a stick or scraper to break the lumps of earth or stir up the contents, keeps the cradle constantly going. The waterman, standing at the head of the cradle with a ladle of any kind, keeps baling water continuously into it. A third man washes carefully into a large tin dish the deposit that has fallen through the sieves of the cradle on to the boards beneath, carries it into the stream, where he stands knee-deep, and, tilting the dish up under the water, and shaking its contents, the precious metal falls to the bottom, while the earth and sand are washed out by the water.

"After long washing the glittering dust is seen along the bottom edges of the dish. This residuum is carefully washed into a pannikin, dried over the fire, and bottled or packed for exportation. Meanwhile the 'cradleman' and 'waterman' examine the quartz stones in the upper sieve for quartz gold. Occasionally some are found with pieces of quartz adhering, the rest are thrown aside. The cradle filled, the men are at work again, and the rocking recommences. On the top of the hill the diggers are hard at work; the carriers descend the steep side, dragging a loaded sled filled with the gold-impregnated earth, some with tin vessels on their heads, others with bags on their backs. The earth thrown down, they reascend the toilsome way; and this is the process 'from morn till dewy eve.'

"Returning to the road, the outer encampment this side of Golden Point became visible. A sound is heard like the continuous beat of a thousand muffled drums, or the rushing of a mighty waterfall. As we issue from the trees the cause is beheld. From the margin of the forest a broad swamp spreads, through which the Lee runs. Over against you the broad shoulder of a bold hill is pushed out to meet its attacking waters, and round its base run the swamp waters, uniting with the river. Along this the cradles are ranged for about half a mile, on both sides of the creek and down the river, forming the letter T with the ends upturned. They are crowded so closely together as barely to permit being worked, in some places in triple file. At this distance you see some of the excavations, and the carriers swarming up and down hill with all sorts of vessels, from the bag to the wheelbarrow. The enormous ant-hive swarms like a railway cutting, where the crown of a hill is carried down to fill a valley.


"Higher up the hill's crest, along its sides, and stretching down to the swamp far away to the right and left, are the tents, thickly clustered and pitched, and, far beyond, the lofty white-barked trees form a background. This is Ballarat!

"Crossing the swamp, we reach the commissioner's tent, where he is trying a depredator, who, for want of a lock-up, has been tied to a tree all through the hard night's frost.

"Troops of horses, drays, carts, and gigs, with their owners, are all around. Squatter, merchant, farmer, shopkeeper, labourer, shepherd, artisan, law, physic, and divinity, all are here.  *    *    *  You meet men you have not seen for years, but they recognise you first, for even your most intimate friends are scarcely to be known in the disguise of costume, beard, and dirt.  *    *    *  'Welcome to Golden Point!' 'Ah, old friend! hardly knew you. How are you getting on?' 'Did nothing for a week; tried six holes and found no gold. My party, disheartened, left me. I formed another party; sank eighteen feet until we came to the quartz, and dug through it, and now I have reached the blue clay. It is a capital hole; come and see it.'

"Imagine a gigantic honeycomb, in which the cells are eight feet wide and from six to twenty-five feet deep, with the partitions proportionately thin, and to follow a friend to find a hole in the very midst is dangerous work—

'Lightly tread, 'tis hollowed ground.'

"The miners move nimbly about, with barrow, pick, and bag, swarming along the narrow ledges, while below others are picking, shovelling, and heating the stove.

"'No danger, sir; our bank is supported by quartz. We've got to the gold at last. Made an ounce yesterday. There was a man killed yesterday three holes off; the bank fell down on him as he was squatting down this way, picking under the bank, and squeezed him together. His mate had his head cut, and was covered up to the throat.'

"Down the shady excuse for a ladder, half the way, then a jump, and the bottom of the capital hole is gained. Nearly four feet of red sand formed the upper layer, next a strata of pipeclay, below which lie the quartz boulders; then a formation of quartz pebbles, with sand impregnated with iron; this penetrated, the bluish marl is reached in which the vein of gold is found.

"Down among the men washing there is nothing to be observed. The work is earnest—no time for talk.

"The commissioner has a busy time issuing licences. His tent has the mounted police on one side, and the native police on the other. The black fellows are busy tailoring; one on the broad of his back, in the sun, with his eyes shut, chanting a monotonous aboriginal ditty.

"Three men are waiting their turn with the commissioner.

"'I say, Bill, this here's rayther respectable okipashun—that cove with the specs is a first-class swell in Melbourne, and there's a lot in the same party with him. The greatest nobs are all the same as uz snobs! I saw Mr. ——— from the Barwon here this morning: he found his shepherd in a hole getting gold, and no mistake! He comes with his brother to have a turn with the rest; but when he saw him he looked non-plushed, and said to himself, "Well, I can't go down to this,"—and I believe the fool started back;—but come, it's our turn now.'

"The evening shadows fall, the gun from the commissioner's tent is fired—the signal for digging to cease; the fires blaze up, the men gather round them for their evening meal, their smoke floats over the trees as over a city, the sounds of labour are hushed, but are succeeded by loud voices and ringing laughter, mingled with the bells of the browsing oxen, and the dogs baying more loudly as the darkness grows more dark. A party of gamblers are staking each a pinch of gold-dust on the turn of a copper. The native police, lithe and graceful as kangaroo-dogs, are enjoying a round of sham combat; one black fellow attacks with a frying-pan; the other pretends to shoot him with his knife: a painter might study their attitudes. Hark! to the sax-horns from the Black Hill floating to us across the valley; close at hand the sweet melody of the German hymn in chorus rises; and then down from toward the river comes the roaring chorus of a sailor's song. The space and distance mellow in one harmonious whole all the sounds; and as we retreat they fall upon one wearied with hard labour, like the rich hum of an English meadow in harvest time.

"A flash! a bang! another! now platoon-firing: become infectious, the sounds of war mingle with and overpower the music.

"The warm day terminated in a bitter cold night, and a storm of snow and hail ushered in Sunday—for we are 1,200 feet above the sea. On the Sabbath digging and washing gold cease; but the axe and the hammer ring continually, and the crash of falling timber booms over the hills. The miners, with what few wives are there, are building huts, mending tents, gathering firewood, and washing out their mud-stained garments.

"The men soon assume a clean and more civilised costume, form groups, compare notes, make calls. The unsuccessful wander off into remote spots, prospecting. Some start for the post-office. The tide of emigrants flows in, and men who never before dwelt out of reach of an inn and a waiter have to learn now to camp under a tree and cook a chop without a frying-pan."


{Page 358}



The disappointments in California had rendered the English public cautious, but the arrival in the port of London of actual cargoes of gold, and letters from colonists enriched by digging, presently brought the emigrating public to fever heat, and thousands of all classes and ages betook themselves to Australia, and a large re-emigration took place from South Australia and New South Wales. From the correspondence and journals of these adventurers—some of them experienced colonists we condense accounts of what they saw, omitting much of what they thought, hoped, feared, and ejaculated.


"In the first place, take your own passage or berth for yourself: trust not to any one, not even a brother, for it. Second, make the bargain that no one is to be in the same berth with you (that is, if you go in the second cabin or intermediate.) Bring on board a small barrel for holding water (not a tin can, on any account), a camp stool for sitting on, a lock and key for your berth door, and a determination to make a companion of no one all the voyage, and only seek a speaking friend after you have been three weeks at sea. It is also indispensably necessary that every article you possess, except the wearing apparel on your person, be locked in your trunks and the keys in your pocket.

"In the accounts of the voyages to Australia you will notice that much is said about the great heat; but, as far as my experience goes, too little is said about the extreme cold weather which is experienced after rounding the Cape of Good Hope. It is necessary, therefore, to have a suit of very warm clothing, no matter how coarse it is, but warm it must be. If you were not teetotalers, I should also advise you to bring with you two bottles of brandy and the same quantity of whiskey, but that as your taste inclines.  *    *    *    * 


"The headlands of Port Phillip were reached and entered, the anchor was thrown overboard, and our vessel from Liverpool, with 175 passengers, had completed the voyage from England to Australia in eighty-two days.  *    *    *    * 

"We thought then our troubles were over, but not so. Well, the anchor is dropped; and the captain, who has been up all night, hoarse with bawling and swearing, goes down below to sleep. You go below also to get breakfast, and find that the steward does not consider himself bound to serve the passengers with clean cups any longer. On being remonstrated with, his answer will probably be, 'You may go to the devil.' Well, it is no use kicking against the pricks; therefore help yourself, and go to the cookhouse for hot water, and get everything requisite for breakfast. The talk then begins in the forenoon—after all the beauties of the bay have been pointed out over and over again, until you are absolutely sick of them—the cry then is, 'Where is the pilot?' The answer from some one is, 'Oh, all those ships are to go up the bay before us, and we must wait our turn. It may be a week before we get up yet.' Day draws on, but no pilot. Next morning no pilot; still dirty plates, and the steward grown more insolent. In the afternoon the pilot comes on board. He says, 'The wind is against us, we may lie here a week.' All next day the wind is against us, but the following day a breeze springs up, the sails are spread out to the breeze, a man is placed in the chains to heave the lead, and off we go. In the afternoon we reach Hobson's Bay, still a part of Port Phillip, but a different creek. Well, the anchor is again dropped, the pilot leaves the ship, and another is added to the 150 ships at anchor in the bay. We are still eight miles from Melbourne, which lies on the Yarra Yarra. The cry then is, 'When shall we get ashore?' 'Oh,' replies one, 'the inspector must come on board first, and the captain must go on shore to deliver up his papers, and a lighter or steamer must be engaged to take us up.' Well, in two days no steamer or lighter appeared: and Mr. W——— and I went off' with a steamer that was plying about among the shipping, and paid 5s. each for a sail of eight miles. We reached Melbourne. We asked where a house was to be had. The reply was, 'There are no houses to let in Melbourne.' Lodgings we could have got at 2 each a week, but that we did not want. All that day we walked through the town searching for a house, but found none. We returned to the ship, and paid 7s. each for another sail. We came on shore next day for 2s. 6d., walked all day, and again failed in our object; but that night we stayed in an inn on shore, and next morning we had the pleasure of securing a wooden erection, miscalled a house, of two rooms, at the moderate rent of £1 per week. Joyfully we returned to the ship, expecting that a lighter would be alongside to take our luggage and our wives to the house we had rented; but, alas for the courtesy and attention of our captain! no such comfort awaited us. 'It will be here to-morrow,' was his reply when asked about it. To-morrow came, but no lighter. Passengers got savage; some swore; some urged that a deputation should be sent to the agent of the ship, and to the magistrates of Melbourne. This course was adopted; two gentlemen were deputed to go. They went. The agent told them he knew nothing about it, and that they had better get on shore with their luggage as best they could. The magistrates said, 'Make your case known to a respectable solicitor, and we will hear it.' Thus were we pushed about from one to another. One man took his luggage ashore in a boat, at his own cost, at an expense of £9 sterling. Had I followed his example it would have cost me as much. I went to the captain; he assured me the lighter would come in a few days, and, being sick of the ship, Mary and I, along with a Mrs. W——— and her daughter, bolted from the ship, and left our luggage to the care of Providence. We slept two nights in an inn. Mr. W———'s luggage came at the expiry of that period in a lighter, and we then got his boxes into one of the wooden houses previously taken. There we lived for a fortnight. None of my luggage came ashore all that time. I was in the same position as the rest of the passengers, and after waiting and wearying our hopes almost out, we got everything safe and sound out of the lighter on the 1st of November. That, however, was but one-half of my troubles. Melbourne was flooded with young men seeking situations, which were not to be had."

After several unsuccessful applications for employment, and some other mishaps, the writer continues—

"Sad, dejected, and weary, we reached Mr. W———'s house, where we slept all night. Next day I got up my luggage and took one of P———'s rooms, dressed myself in my best, went to the Argus office, quite in a state of desperation, and was civilly received, and offered at once a situation at £208 per annum."


"Melbourne, Nov. 4, 1852.   

"Here am I at this moment seated on a trunk, with my writing-desk opened on the top of another trunk, and a blazing wood fire on the hearth, with the lamp that served us on the voyage lighted beside me. My wife is seated on my carpet bag, stuffed with dirty clothes, busily engaged in mending stockings, which yesterday she washed and dried at the front of the house. The floor is covered with canvass; the walls are of wood, through which the light shines when the lamp is extinguished, and the roof is also covered with pieces of wood instead of good blue slates. Our mattresses, which served us on the ship—good hair ones—are spread out in one corner of the room. In another is a load of wood, for which I paid this day the sum of £1 5s., and my large trunk stands against a partition, with the lid covered with all my books and papers. The house has two rooms. Mr. Hutton and his wife stay in one apartment, James Pett and his wife are living in the other. There, now you have a picture of our domestic economy; and when I add that both Mary and I are cheerful and happy in it, I give you full liberty to enjoy a laugh at what I have the honour to call my first house.

"The advance of Melbourne, in a commercial point of view, is surprisingly rapid, and so far her prosperity seems to be based on a safe monetary foundation. The business part of the city is crowded each day by an anxious throng, mostly parties preparing for or returning from the diggings. In one lot you will see the lately arrived 'new chum,' with his carefully cultivated moustache, raised on the voyage, a la Bond-street; his leathern overalls, his fancy stick, and his 'swag' done up in Mackintosh. In another you may behold the 'old hand,' the wary old file who has campaigned it at the Turon, at Braidwood, and at the Mount, and who is now preparing for a trip to Bendigo, but who declares that there is no use going till the roads are open. With him there is none of your finery. A pair of stout boots, a blanket, and the everlasting 'hook-pot,' complete his equipment. Anon you enter a gold-buyer's shop, and perceive a party disposing of the proceeds of their adventure. One party of three that I saw the other day had 145 lbs. weight to dispose of. Another, a sailor lad, had 28 lbs., the produce of three months' work at the Bendigo. Such instances are of no rare occurrence; in short they are rather the rule than the exception.

"I have said much about the immorality of the place; it is but fair to state that my remarks apply only to a certain class, who are, as it were, beyond the pale of society, but whose conduct exercises a pernicious influence upon the whole social system. I have been to most of the churches on Sabbath, and I was pleased to find all of them well filled with respectable and attentive congregations. In one particular the clergy are reaping a golden harvest from the diggings themselves. I allude to the demand which there is for their services in that ceremony which binds the sexes together 'for better for worse' through life. And let me inform you that a digger's marriage here is no everyday affair, though they be upon each successive Sunday. The turn-out on all occasions is spicy. I have seen even the wheels of the vehicles (six in number) adorned with rosettes of love ribbons; the jarvey and the horse covered with white so profusely that at a distance they might pass for a small locomotive pyramid of snow. And such dresses as are worn by the brides and bridesmaids such silks,—such satins, such orange blossoms!

"The city itself, though well laid out, is in the most wretched condition as regards all sanitary regulations, and as regards what is still of more immediate consequence to its inhabitants—protection for life and property. The rains, which have not yet ceased for the season, continue to pour down in incessant torrents, covering all the flat and marshy ground around the city, and within it it is no exaggeration to say that the streets are like so many rivers of mud, and in many instances knee deep. So deep and so dirty are the streets, that one out of every three pedestrians you meet in the course of the day, has his nether man encased in a pair of huge leather boots—no other way of getting along with safety being available. Add to the filthy state of the streets the fact that there is no gas in the town, nor attempt made to light it in any way, and that water for culinary purposes is so dear as to become an article of luxury rather than of use, and you will be able to form some slight idea of the sanitary condition of this city.

"There is not household accommodation for one-third of its present occupants. I have seen instances of over-crowding in sleeping apartments since I came here, that were it to occur in any other country in the world would breed almost instant fever. It is no rare thing to see twenty stout and stalwart men, each requiring as much air for the proper inflation of his lungs as an ox, stretched upon the floor of a close, confined, unventilated room, night after night; and for this accommodation various prices are charged, from one-and-sixpence to half-a-crown. Nor in this respect are what may be termed respectable taverns much better. I know an instance where four men were sleeping in one room, in a respectable hotel, and were all thrown into dirty sheets, handed on the first morning of their sojourn, dirty, nay filthy towels; and after the lapse of four days I happened to meet with one of the party, and making inquiry as to whether there had been any reform in the toilet department—'No,' said he, 'the same nasty things are there yet. We asked for a change, but were told that if we did not like them we might change our quarters, and so we are just as before.'

"A few evenings since I was at the house of a friend of that peace-loving class called Quakers, and several other gentlemen were there besides, when we were all at once startled by a heavy rap at the door. Our host and 'friend' immediately opened it, when a herculean savage thrust a great bullet head inside, and in the most insolent tones demanded either money or a night's lodging. Friend John expostulated, but, being rather diminutive in stature, the intruder paid but little attention to him until he perceived the company, when he retired grumbling and swearing, 'What, though he was a government man, he had as good a right to summit as any other.' It is generally believed here that the parties who are the ringleaders, at least, of those vagabonds are those gentlemen whom Earl Grey so pathetically describes as bearing favourable comparison with the free emigrants who have come here."


"In the neighbourhood of the capital of Victoria there are many pleasant spots, where one given to rambling may spend a quiet afternoon, and where 'ye manners and ye customs of ye people' may be learned as clearly as if you mingled in all their everyday avocations. Amongst the most popular places of resort are, St. Kilda and Liardet's Beach, both situated on the margin of the noble bay, nearly opposite William's Town. Although Melbourne possesses a tolerably fair steam fleet, in the shape of various tug boats, belonging chiefly to Captain Cole, not one of these vessels is allowed to ply on Sunday; and hence there is, upon one day in the week at least, a very great demand for horse-flesh. The bazaars and livery stables upon a Sunday morning present a very animated spectacle; for here almost every masculine biped of the genus homo considers it his peculiar privilege to mount his horse on Sunday, without, be it remembered, the smallest reference to the fact as to whether he can ride or not.

"St. Kilda lies about three miles from Melbourne, on the south side of the Yarra, and as there is no highway, except the usual bush ruts after the Prince's Bridge is crossed, the walk or ride, which you please, is very pleasant. Arrived at the village, you are somewhat surprised at the appearance of rapid growth which everything indicates. Houses (wooden, of course) are in course of construction, some nearly finished, others but commenced; and yet so eager are the people for house accommodation, that the shingles are scarcely on the roofs before they are tenanted. At St. Kilda there is a very fine hotel, at which they charge very fine prices; but then, in the go-a-head city, as Melbourne is now called, who cares for a handful of silver? I was much pleased to observe here a taste more generally diffused for the cultivation of flowers than is to be found generally about Melbourne.

"The ramble from St. Kilda to Liardet's Beach, by the margin of the wide and noble bay, a distance of about two miles, is very agreeable; although, beyond the broad expanse of water, dotted, nay, closely studded with shipping at anchor, there is nothing to relieve the dull monotony of the place. At Liardet's, however, the scene changes, and from the solitude of the shore and your own reflections, you are once more aroused by the din of human voices. Here they are again—shopkeepers, shopmen, diggers, ladies, diggers' wives, horses, hackney carriages, shandies, gigs, and almost every possible, and sometimes very questionable modes of conveyance, all congregated on the sand. Pedestrians wandering, promenading, flirting, drinking, laughing, talking, on the pier and in the shade of the cool verandahs; pic-nics in the scrub; mirth and merriment everywhere; boatmen lustily bawling for passengers, and waiters for more drink at the bar of the hotel. Tents are pitched upon all the ground surrounding this house of entertainment, wherein many a new chum for the first time indulges in a glass of ale, and when he has paid sixpence, declares that it is not half so good as Burton or Alton.'

"A good deal of novelty is added to this scene by the constant transit to and from a large ship, the Duke of Bedford, which is here moored off the pier, and turned into a model lodging-house. 'Bed and board, sir,' said our conductors on board, the other day, 'for two pounds a week; delightful marine residence and boatage found into the bargain.' Decidedly the accommodations are excellent, and the worthy proprietor keeps a good table. His apartments are full. It would be well if a few more of the dozens upon dozens of idle ships lying in harbour were turned to an equally useful and profitable account to their owners. I was a good deal surprised to find, amidst all the recreations of all classes and all kinds who visit the beach upon Sunday, so little riot or intoxication. Except upon the arrival of a lot of 'new chums,' with more money than sense, you will hardly observe any riot or drunkenness. Noise there is, but still there is order.

"The road from the beach to town lies through a low marshy scrub, which presents not one single pleasing feature, except we diverge at the Emerald Hill and take a look in at the encampment of the tents of gold-diggers in transitu to the Mount or elsewhere. There are the coverings erected by poor new-comers to shelter them from the heavens, and to make a temporary but safe refuge for themselves, their luggage, and their families. And, oh! such squalor, such misery. It is pitiable to see well-dressed and genteelly-reared females, young and tender infants, as well as grown-up persons, crouching and squatting in miserable wigwams, of which a North-American Indian would be ashamed. But what can the creatures do?

"The botanic garden is another favourite resort for the Melbournites upon Sunday; but its visitors are of a different class. This is the ground where half the 'matches' which grace our churches daily are contracted. Here it is that newly-married husbands display their brides during the honeymoon. Such a blaze of silk and satin, such bonnets, such feathers, flowers (artificial, of course), and such ribbons! I was particularly struck with the freshness and beauty of many of the charming belles who frequent the gardens, contrasting strongly with the general sallow and somewhat acclimatised style of female beauty prevalent about Sydney. They are generally handsome, and fresh in colour.

"The charges to which poor confiding passengers are subjected to before landing here from the bay are monstrous. These people take their passage at Liverpool or London on the faith that themselves and luggage will be delivered at Melbourne the same as at Sydney; but guess their astonishment when they find that they have 4s. each to pay for steam-boat fare up, and 30s. per ton for their luggage; and when they get on the wharf, there are other dues which, as the wharves belong to private individuals, are fixed at such rates as their honours please.

"When the Lady Head arrived here from Liverpool the weather was most inclement—wet pouring down in bucketfuls, and the dirt, slop, and mud more than knee-deep, not only in the thoroughfares, but in every spot where it was possible for human beings to set foot. In this state of affairs I saw more than 400 poor people thrust upon our wharves, without food or shelter, but what their scanty bedding supplied. In this state of affairs, Mr. Cole allowed the poor sufferers the use of the sheds on his wharf. Happening to be there in the early part of the night, I ascertained that a young woman, the wife of an intelligent Scotchman, gave birth to her first-born child.

"The public buildings of Melbourne are of a most inferior description, both in point of architectural style and internal accommodation. The only building of note at all adequate to its requirements is the Mechanics' Institution; and it has now to do the treble duty of concert hall, assembly room, and town hall, including offices, &c., for the town clerk. The library attached to the institution is very good indeed, and the rooms spacious and commodious. The Legislative Council sits now in St. Patrick's Hall."


"Sep. 8th.—Left the camp, passed through Flemington, about three miles out of Melbourne; roads in a dreadful state. Hundreds going to and returning from the diggings. Met several of those who came down in the Waratah with us, who had been up at the diggings, and had returned already, having 'ta'en a scunner' at it, as they say in Scotland. A most beautiful country, as green as emerald, hills richly sloping, and clotted with umbrageous trees. The country, from the appearance of the soil and formation of the hills, appears to be admirably adapted for the cultivation of the vine. The mimosa, which is a much handsomer tree here than in New South Wales, being large and shady, appears scattered through the forest, and lacing now in full bloom, presents to the view a perfect mass of beautiful golden flowers. Travelled to-day only five miles, the roads being ankle-deep.


"9th.—Our horses strayed away during the night, and we did not find them until mid-day. Just after starting it commenced to rain slightly. Crossing Keila Plains the roads were awfully bad, and to add to our ills the rain poured down in regular torrents. Had our horses not have been first-rate ones we must inevitably have stuck fast, as during the whole day they had heavy pulling, men on foot being unable to walk the road without sinking knee-deep. We had two horses in the cart, and had about 12 cwt. on it. Notwithstanding the plight in which we were, we could not but admire the scenery, which was beautifully varied—now broad, undulating meadows—now groves of shea-oaks, eucalyptus, and mimosa; while the grass everywhere was green and soft as silk. Crossed the Broad Meadow, and came to the foot of Gellibrand's Hill. Several drays were at the bottom of this, trying to get up, but it was with the greatest difficulty that they reached the summit, five or six bullocks falling down at a time through the slipperiness of the road. Ascended it without much difficulty, and encamped on the top of it. Travelled seven miles.

"10th.—Roads worse than on either of the previous days, the ground being quite rotten and swampy. Country resembling parts of Liverpool Plains; timber principally box. In the evening a suspicious looking character came to the camp, having no boots or hat on, telling us that he had been robbed, and threatening vengeance on the thief. Our clothes-box being in the cart, C——— wanted to have it brought into the tent, as our fortune he said was in it, upon which some wit in the camp replied that it was a ragged one. The fellow, however, who appeared to be a shepherd for some one in the vicinity, after staying some time, and using some ferocious language in reference to his spoliator, departed quietly, but not before we had given him several hints that his room was more acceptable than his company. Eight miles.

"11th.—When at breakfast this morning, a large brown snake came out of the log that was burning, and went into a pool of water close by. Those who doubt the fact of a snake's having legs might have been convinced of it by seeing this one, as the legs were distinctly visible after they had been swollen by the heat, and much resembled those of a caterpillar, only they were much larger. Roads very swampy. Kept along the Deep Creek for a considerable part of the day, Mount Macedon being in sight on our left hand. Much of the scenery very picturesque, especially on the Deep Creek, the trees consisting of honeysuckle, cherry-tree, mimosa, eucalyptus, &c. There is a species of thorny mimosa growing here, which I have never seen in New South Wales, and the foliage of which is very pretty. Came to the Rocky Waterholes' Plain, where we met a bullock driver, who informed us that gold had been found within a few miles on a station belonging to Mr. Rigg. We determined upon inspecting the new gold-field, and leaving the others with the cart, three of us started in search of it. After going about half a mile, we came to Rigg's house, when we were directed to the diggings, about a quarter of a mile distant. When we got there, there were about a dozen men, two of whom only were at work; the rest having come, like ourselves, to see the place. The two men who had discovered the gold informed us that they had been working there about a fortnight—no one knowing it until the day before. They had sunk several holes on the top of a pretty high hill—the gullies as yet being too wet to allow of a hole to be sunk in them. From what we could learn from themselves, and from washing several tin dishfuls of earth taken from the bottom of the holes which they had sunk, it did not appear to us that much could be done in that spot, although it seems very probable that a rich gold-field will be discovered somewhere in the neighbourhood. About four feet below the surface there was a vein of quartz, which was extraordinarily rich in ore. Every stone that we broke was dotted with minute specks of gold. One of the men showed us a piece that he had obtained from one of the holes, about the size of a pea. The soil through which they sunk was decomposed slate, resting on a bed of pipeclay. The appearance of the country around is very picturesque, particularly near the banks of the Deep Creek gently sloping hills, dotted with umbrageous gum-trees, and covered with a thick sward of grass as green as emerald. Went back to our mates, intending to proceed about half a mile further before we pitched our tent. Crossing a flat, we were obliged to divide the load into two; but notwithstanding this, we got bogged, and were obliged to unload and take the horses out. Camped on Rigg's station. Five miles. The mosquitoes very troublesome, which one would not expect at this time of the year.

"12th (Sunday).—Stayed at encampment. Some went out to inspect the new diggings, and returned bringing with them several pieces of quartz full of specks of gold. The majority, notwithstanding, determined on proceeding to Bendigo, in preference to stopping to give the place a trial. Four men encamped with us this night, who reported a fight about a claim at the diggings, in which two or three men were killed, and several wounded. They told us also that a nugget of pure gold, weighing upwards of 28 lbs., had been found at Eagle Hawk Gully, Bendigo. The Deep Creek, on which the new diggings are situated, runs eastward. If, therefore, gold in abundance be found there, it will be somewhat in contradiction to geological theories. The distance is twenty-five miles from Melbourne.

"13th.—Very bad roads again. Country undulating and more thickly timbered; box and stringy-bark ranges. Get bogged, and take the horses out. Ascended Pretty Sally's or the Big Hill. The soil excellent, and cultivation on the very top of the mountain. The road which we came and that to Sydney meet on the top of this hill. Magnificent view from the top of the hill—open plains, wood-crowned heights, shady valleys, and towering hills—'places which pale passion loves' the view extending on one side to the sea coast, and the habitations of man alone being wanting to make the scenery perfect. Descended the hill and encamped at the foot of it. Twelve miles. A tall Highlander who was at a camp close by came down to converse with some of his countrymen who were with us, and afforded us much amusement.

"14th.—Passed through Kilmore; the land very rich; saw the wife of the man who had obtained the 28 lb. nugget at Bendigo. She informed us that her husband had sold it for £4 per ounce. About midday it commenced to rain very hard; roads indescribably bad; got bogged and unloaded, pulled the dray out, went a few yards and got bogged again; pulled the dray out again, and camped on the side of a ridge; the ground everywhere, both on the road and ranges, being perfectly rotten. Up nearly all night drying our bed-clothes, &c., which had got wet through. Obliged every night to cut poles and boughs to put under us, the ground being a regular quagmire. The tinkling of the oxen's bells, which one hears at every encampment, gives somewhat of an oriental character to the scene. Six miles.

"15th.—Crossed Donohoe's Creek; broke one of the traces in crossing, with fair pulling. If the horses had not been extraordinarily good they could never have kept on, in the state in which the roads were. Came to a creek in which there were several drays stuck—one with nine horses—it being unable to cross. There is scarcely a dray you meet on the road that is not accompanied with one or two women, oftentimes with families of children, all bound for or returning from the diggings. Got bogged in crossing the creek, unloaded, and then had great difficulty in getting over, as the horses had no footing, and sank up to the shoulder. The country very beautiful, compensating in part for the badness of the roads, which were the worst we had encountered. The hills and valleys were covered with flowers—daisies, white and yellow butter-cups, snowdrops, &c., while the mimosa bloomed along our path, adding fresh beauty to the scene and fragrancy to the air. Each succeeding scene only impresses more forcibly on the mind the appropriateness of the title bestowed upon the country by Sir T. Mitchell, of 'Australia Felix.' The country is well grassed and watered, the timber low and branching, without any underwood, and more beautiful and picturesque than any park. Just before encamping got bogged the second time, the ground being very deceiving, the horses sinking to their middle in a place where you would least expect it. Encamped in a most beautiful and romantic valley, on the banks of a deep creek, with large waterholes—which some fanciful individuals of our party imagined might be the retreats of the far-famed bunyip. Honeysuckle, mimosa, and eucalyptus were the most common trees, and formed beautiful groves. Five miles.


"16th.—Crossed two very bad creeks; met a great number of drays; crossed box hill and stringy bark ranges; the latter always dreary-looking. Witnessed some beautiful scenery; hills rising over hills, covered with grass and shady trees; the valleys enamelled with flowers. Passed Morrison's station—a beautiful place. Ascended the Dividing Range. Granite in large masses begins to appear; quartz predominates in this to a very unusual extent, and this fact may probably throw some light on the richness of the Victoria gold-fields. The rocks are ofttimes of very peculiar forms, and in remarkable situations; large masses of tons weight, and quite round, lying on top of one another; the least effort being sufficient to remove them, and send them headlong down the mountain. The ranges are very low, and in fact the whole country is remarkably level; a circumstance which is contrary to one's preconceived notions of a gold-bearing region. The roads much better, and lined with diggers homeward and outward bound. The soil decomposed granite, which appears to be the only rock in the neighbourhood. The honeysuckle is met with here much farther from the coast than in Australia Proper, and grows in all sorts of soil and situations. Crossed Morrison's Creek, over which there is a bridge, the passage over which is rather unsafe, in consequence of the late heavy rains. Overtook two horse teams from Goulburn, which had been four months on the road, having been detained in crossing the river a week or fortnight at a time. Splendid views from the axis of the mountain ranges; sheep and cattle feeding on the wood-crowned hills, and in the fertile valleys, and forming a charming and enticing picture of pastoral life. Encamped, having for beds the branches of the gum wattle, as soft and luxurious as a bed of down. Fourteen miles.

"17th.—Crossed scrubby stringy bark ranges; got bogged, and were obliged to lay logs for twenty or thirty yards in order to get through roads pretty good except in the gullies, which were desperately bad; fragmentary quartz in great abundance, and strong indications of gold; got bogged the second time near the M'lvor Inn; most beautiful scenery; roads excellent, and as level as possible for the last three miles of this day's journey; encamped in the most delightful valley that the eye of man could behold. Never before did the country seem so justly to merit the appellation of the 'blest Australia'—never before did the mimosa seem to bear such lovely blossoms, or shed such fragrant odours—never before did the air seem so pure, clear, and inspiriting as in that delicious valley. The herbage soft, green, and luxuriant. Flowers of all hues, white, and purple, and crimson, and gold, and violet, in which those of a golden colour predominated, enamelled the hills and valleys, grateful alike to the sight and smell. Buttercups, dandelions, eglantine, daisies, snowdrops, &c., completely covered the ground; the first-mentioned, in particular, growing as richly as possible over acres, nay, miles of ground. The trees are principally mimosa and honeysuckle, and here and there some giant of the eucalyptus order grew in handsome clumps, some in full blossom, others without any, but not the less beautiful; while between them were green open spaces, on which the sun poured down a flood of light. To complete the scene the M'Ivor meandered through the valley, each winding-turn disclosing 'some fresher beauties varying round.' Travelled to-day eleven miles.

"18th.—Travelled along the course of the M'Ivor for eleven miles. The scenery equal, if not superior, to that of yesterday. Even those who are usually unmindful of natural beauties were unable to gaze on the landscape without giving vent to passionate exclamations of admiration; English, Irish, and Scotch, all concurred in agreeing that they had never before seen anything so beautiful. To add to our pleasure the roads were excellent, and as level as a bowling-green. The formation of the country is principally schistose, with an abundance of fragmentary quartz. Crossed the M'Ivor, and came on to box flats, in which swamp oak appeared for the first time. Scrubby ranges, box, and stringy bark; coarse grass and herbs like those at the Turon; country more level than at the Turon. From the geological structure and general appearance I should imagine that gold would be found somewhere in the neighbourhood in abundance. Roads very bad again. Crossed a box flat entirely consisting of hillocks having the appearance of waves, and very uniform in their size. It seems as if the land had been thrown up in a fused and slightly agitated mass, and then suddenly cooled. Came to the Campaspie River, and had a fresh view of the celebrated Mount Alexander; romantic scenery, great abundance of trap rock. When we got here, we were told we could not cross, as the river was up. About forty drays were encamped on the banks, waiting the first opportunity to pass over; we accordingly pitched our tent on the bank of the river, intending to cross over on Monday morning, the stream being then considerably swollen and running rapidly. To-day eighteen miles.

"19th (Sunday).—Remained in camp. An immense number of people, on foot and on horseback, crossed the Campaspie to-day, on their way to and from the diggings, The river fell considerably during the day and previous night. About sunset the sky became overcast with heavy clouds, threatening immediate rain, and therefore we thought it advisable to cross the river at once, as it was probable we should be detained on its banks a week or two if it should happen to rain. Packed up accordingly, and started to cross over, one of the party riding the leading horse. When about half way over, the leader laid down, which circumstance was nearly causing an unlucky termination to our passage; fortunately, however, she rose again, and we crossed without further trouble, although the water was above the bed of the cart, and running with a strong current. It was lucky for us that we did cross, as it rained hard during the night.

"20th.—Raining hard during the forenoon, but fine in the afternoon. Passed over box and gum forests, scrubby in places, and thinly-timbered well-grassed flats. The country in general, so far as this, was as fine as could be wished for. The grass every where soft, silky, and as green as a field of young wheat. Unlike that of New South Wales, the grass and pasture here consists of nutritious herbs and very fine grass, growing in a thick sward, and completely hiding the soil. Hills and vales alike were covered with flowers, principally of a yellow colour, and growing as thick as they could—presenting to the eye of one accustomed to the almost flowerless fields of Australia an unusual and beautiful appearance, realising in some respects the description given of English meadows. Everywhere, too, the mimosa, loveliest of the flowering trees of Australia, and destined to be as much celebrated in the lays of her poets as the hawthorn has been in those of the British bards, scented the air with its perfume, and dazzled the eye with its rich yellow blossoms. Passed over some barren ranges covered with quartz, the only thing pleasant on them being some flowering shrubs, chiefly of the mimosa species. Through some fertile flats, the roads very level and good, as indeed they were during the greater part of the day—the only fault in them being a bog here and there, which after our previous bad roads we considered a mere nothing. Met several men who were returning from the diggings, and from whom we learned that robberies and murders had of late been very frequent at Bendigo. On Wednesday last, near thirty drays were stopped by a large gang of bushrangers in the Black Forest, and rum, tobacco, and other property taken from them to a great amount. One man lost upwards of £700 worth of gold. No less than three murders have been committed during the last week at Bendigo, one in Eagle Hawk, another at Peg Log Gully, and another in the Long Gully. One of the murdered men, we are informed, had his head completely severed from the body. Our informants told us that they had heard cries of 'murder' from the tent in which one of the unfortunate men was killed, but hearing some one (probably one of the perpetrators of the crime) laugh at the same time, they thought that the men were joking among themselves. The police are out scouring the bush in all directions. We thanked our stars that we had not gone by the road through the Black Forest, as we had at first intended, since being indifferently armed, how much soever we might have wished to display our heroism, we should have had but little chance of doing so. Crossed Emu Creek; the country of slate formation; quartz in abundance. An immense number of people passing to and from the diggings; men, women, and children along the whole road from this to Bendigo. Came to Bullock Creek, where we saw the places that the diggers had made for cradling during the dry weather, when the washing stuff had to be carried here from Bendigo, a distance of seven or eight miles. Four seizures of sly grog-sellers' carts, &c., were made here by the commissioner and police this morning. Passed over barren ridges, the timber on which consisted of iron bark, box, gum, and stringy bark. This was the first time I had seen iron bark in Victoria. Quartz in great abundance, every ridge being covered with it. The country, in its geological structure and general appearance, very much resembles that on the Long Creek in the Western diggings. The ridges are unusually uniform in their size, lower than one would be inclined to imagine in a gold region, and have all the same direction. The strike of the strata is north by west and south by east; schistose formation well developed; and quartz in unusual abundance. The whole, or nearly the whole, of the country over which we passed to-day, has every appearance of being a rich gold-field, but it has not yet had a fair trial. About three P.M. came in sight of the commencement of the Bendigo diggings, or what is called the Back Creek. Pitched our tent on the Back Creek. Travelled to-day a distance of 16 miles thus making the whole distance to Bendigo 107 miles, which I think is correct, although less than what we were informed it was.

"We, however, travelled upwards of 140 miles, having to make so many detours in order to avoid bad places in the roads.

"R. W."   



"We started for these mines on foot, each carrying his swag—mine weighed 50 lbs. We had no other alternative, for there was no dray to be got. I found the roads as bad as I had heard. We saw about 100 drays on the road stuck fast. We could only make fifteen miles a day, so it took us seven days; and when we arrived I was knocked up with cold, owing to being continually wet through between heavy rains and wading through creeks up to the middle. I and another got lost once on the mountains for eight hours; but, as luck would have it, we fell in with our party at the Bendigo diggings, which, when all mustered, consisted of five. To-day ends our first week's work; my share consists of £15, besides half an ounce I made myself.

"I enjoy very good health now, otherwise it would be a hard case, as doctors charge £5 5s. for looking at you.

"You would scarcely know me. My hair is very long, I wear an old cap, a flannel shirt next my skin, and a blue one over all, with a belt round my waist, where hang a brace of pistols and a knife eighteen inches long, and a pair of antepopelos up to my haunches. I am always covered with mud and soaked with water. You may judge of the weather when I tell you, that when we rise in the morning our blankets are covered with frost."


"The surface of the hills in this district, in many places, is quite white from the quantity of small quartz, from the size of a pin's head to a man's head. I tried surface washing, and knocked out an ounce a day, taking eight or nine inches of the surface like the above, the quartz being embedded in black loam. I also found gold in a red clay under the above, say from nine to fifteen inches under the surface. This was heavier gold, as if it had by gravity gone through the loam and rested in the clay. The richest surfacing here has been on Spring Hill, which is the highest part of the range between Forest Creek and Fryer's Creek, the summit being about 600 feet above these creeks, which are four or five miles from each other. Surfacing is as uncertain as sinking. You may wash a whole day and get nothing, or you may happen upon some ounces in a square foot. I have tried many places, and invariably found at least a few streaks of gold in each dishful.

"The quartz lying in this soil I may liken to the fruit in a good plum-pudding. Where there is gold on the surface, there is sure to be gold lying on the rock below.

"Sinking in gullies and flats, I have always found the clay predominating, generally lying in strata more or less mixed with gravel, and sometimes a stratum of pure gravel or pure sand; the latter is reckoned a bad sign. In this sort of sinking you come to the rock at various depths to twenty-five feet; I have seen none deeper. Hill sinking is more tedious, as the strata are always harder—going through a hard red conglomerate gravel, or a hard white cemented quartz, very gritty the base rock is often forty or fifty feet down.

"These base rocks, on the top of which the gold lies, are sandstone, generally red, and pipe-clay. This pipe-clay appears to be slate in a softer state. It is laminated, and will cut easily with a knife. The top of the slate is softish for four or five inches, and contains gold. It is this top that is scraped off with a knife and washed. The pipe-clay is seldom a good gold-bearing bottom. All the rocks run almost north and south—are in laminæ and on edge, like a ream of paper placed on its edge, not laid flat. Often you will find these different sort of bottoms in the same hole.

"We have done very little here for six weeks past in gold-finding, though we have worked hard. In the above time we have seen (three of us) the bottoms of ten holes, two of them upwards of twenty feet deep, and all turned out not worth the washing. We have just bottomed two others, nearly twenty feet deep; two or three days will show what it will turn out. In my hole I have to-day commenced mining; but I do not expect to see gold in any quantity till I get six or seven feet in. I took out a few pounds of gold about two months ago, but I am sorry to say that it is all spent, everything is so expensive. I have also been speculating foolishly in things I knew nothing about, and naturally got burned. I cannot, therefore, leave this till I have made a few pounds. By persevering at the digging, I have no doubt fortune will favour me at last, Spring, of course, is the best time for digging, so that it is not likely I shall be in New Zealand soon, unless my luck turns very soon."


South Australia seemed about to be depopulated by the rush to the gold diggings of Victoria, when the happy idea was suggested of establishing an overland route, so as to give Port Adelaide the advantage of a gold escort. The following journal gives a better idea of the country and bush life than the most elaborate description:—


Having conceived that a shorter and better route could be found between Adelaide and the Victoria gold-fields, and that the adoption of a regular escort of mounted police to bring the gold from the mines would be a benefit to South Australia, and his Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor having approved of the same, I received instructions on the 6th instant to proceed forthwith, and in obedience thereto left Adelaide on the 10th February, at nine o'clock, A.M.

During the day overtook numerous parties travelling overland in almost every description of vehicle; many were on foot, advancing with a firm step, and head erect, as if determined to face and surmount whatever hardships might cross their path. Arrived at Mount Barker at twelve o'clock, rested a couple of hours, and again started for the crossing-place at Wellington, which I reached at half-past seven, P.M.; thus making the distance in eight hours and a half, including the two hours' rest on the way. The present line of road between Mount Barker and the crossing-place on the Murray is very circuitous, and might be greatly improved by cutting a direct line across the scrub, starting from near Mr. Ray's station. I imagine that ten miles might thus be saved in the distance; and Corporal Hall, of the mounted police, who is stationed here, informs me that the ground is sound, and good travelling over. Overtook the police light cart at Langhorn's Creek, the driver of which had started from Adelaide the day previous, and was furnished with instructions to the officers in charge at Mount Gambier and Mosquito Creek police stations to join me without delay at Mount Alexander, to form an escort hack to South Australia.

Wednesday, 11th.—The sun rose at twenty minutes past five. Got up early to prepare for the journey; saw the horses safely across the Murray; fitted packsaddle to carry water, &c.; secured the services of an intelligent native, and rigged him out at the store with a new blanket, shirt, and half a pound of tobacco, with which he seemed highly delighted. The number of persons, horses, and carts daily crossing the ferry, is truly astonishing. I ascertained that no less than 1,234 passengers, 1,266 horses and bullocks, and 164 carriages of all descriptions passed during the month of February. The fees collected were £64 14s. 2½d.

Thursday, 12th.—Rose early; had the horses well fed and saddled. At seven o'clock made a final start; taking an east-south-east course; my party, consisting of myself, two constables, one native, and five horses, the extra one being used as a pack-horse to carry water and provisions. The morning cool and cloudy, and very favourable for travelling. During the first few miles I cut the surveyor's tracks several times; crossed extensive well-grassed plains, extending seven or eight miles; good travelling ground. Entered some low scrub, rather sandy; made for a scrubby-looking range, distant about ten miles. Following same course, came to a belt of shea-oaks (casuarina), with a little grass in the centre of a flat; here there is a splendid well, or cave, with abundance of water. The survey party had encamped at this spot, and had secured the top of the well by fixing, a cask sawn in half. As we approached a number of bronze-winged pigeons flew from within. Watered the horses by means of my oiled calico tent, and pushed on, keeping same course towards two peaks. Halted for a few minutes in a valley amongst some light-looking sandy ranges; very little grass, no water. Native says water could be obtained by digging. Distance from last halting-place ten miles. Passed through heavy, sandy country, densely scrubby; saw some native signal fires to the north-east. The scrub became still more dense as we proceeded, and impeded our progress greatly; added to this, the pack became every moment entangled in the branches, so that towards night I found myself forced to fall back upon the beaten track which cuts that part of the desert known as the Hundred Mile Scrub. Made the road at dusk, but saw no signs of the survey party having passed. Pushed on about a mile further, and encamped amongst some shea-oaks, honeysuckles, and a variety of shrubs, with plenty of grass, and a good supply of water. Shortly after encamping, two drays belonging to the survey party came up, the drivers of which informed me that the rest of their party were sinking a well, about ten miles back, in a well-grassed patch of country of about fifty acres in extent, well wooded. Doubts were, however, entertained as to their succeeding in obtaining water. They had already sunk twenty feet. Wrote a letter to the Deputy Surveyor-General, acquainting him with the object of my journey, and enclosing a copy of the Colonial Secretary's letter, addressed to me on the subject. Distance travelled this day, thirty miles.

Friday, 13th.—A drizzling rain during the night, which soaked us completely; left camping-place by eight o'clock; traversed extensive open country, sandy, and covered with low bush or heath. About four and a half miles from last camp found water in three different spots amongst the shea-oaks. Numerous remarkable granite rocks crop out of the ground near this, and will not fail to indicate the precise spot to travellers. The wells can be much improved by deepening. At noon halted to refresh the horses in a flat, with a fine spring of water, good feed, convenient halting-place. The road to-day I found very heavy on account of the sandy nature of the soil; the heat of the sun excessive. Rested two hours, and pushed on; distance from last camp, sixteen and a half miles; horses much refreshed; two and a half miles further, again found water and feed; five miles more, discovered another well—the latter requires deepening and cleaning, however, before it is made available. Observed the tracks round the wells of a great number of emus; the bronze-winged pigeon is likewise seen about the water a sure indication that that great desideratum to the wearied traveller is at hand. Passed two or three small plains well grassed, containing from fifty to one hundred acres, surrounded with scrub—no water; possibly it could be obtained by sinking, as the soil differs-from the generality of that found in the scrub: it is of a rich black loam, and might be made useful for growing hay and other produce. Encamped for the night amongst the shea-oaks; here two or three wells have been sunk in which we found abundance of water. This spot makes an excellent camping-place, as there is plenty of feed for the horses: distance, forty miles.

Saturday, 14th.—Morning cloudy; fine travelling weather. Got up early; not much refreshed, however, in consequence of having been disturbed by the howling of the native dogs, which were prowling about our camp. These animals are perfectly harmless, and have never been known to attack any one. It would be well, however, for bushmen to drive them off when heard in the vicinity of their camp, as they are apt to gnaw the tethers, and thereby loosen the horses: a good, useful kangaroo-dog will always scare them away. Moved off from the camp at six o'clock, A.M.: on emerging from the scrub which surrounded our camp, we entered a large plain, covered with heath, extending to the eastward, as far as the eye could reach, bounded by a ridge to the north-north-east—a conspicuous hill bearing east-south-east, near which, the native informs me, there is a sheep-station: steered direct for it. The road passes at its base, and winds round to the left. The road, although sandy, is much less so than yesterday. I noticed a great variety of new shrubs, one in particular was pointed out to me by my sable companion he informed me it bore a fruit in winter which the natives are very fond of; it is sweet-tasted like sugar. Saw an emu quietly feeding in the plains. As soon as it noticed us it made off, and would in a few moments have been out of sight, but old Cusack commenced whistling in a peculiar manner, which, to my surprise and great amusement, not only put a stop to its further retreat, but actually brought it back to within a few yards. After surveying us for a few moments, it again started off at a wonderful speed. I have frequently in my bush excursions ridden after this extraordinary bird, but although well mounted, seldom succeeded in overtaking it; it gains fresh impetus at every stride. Reached the hill above described; distance from our last encamping ground, fifteen miles. Observed the fresh tracks of sheep; but being anxious not to delay a moment I did not attempt to look for the station. This will make a good halting-place for travellers, as there is plenty of wood, grass, and water. The road after this is extremely heavy, the soil being composed of sand. Arrived at a deserted sheep-station; the feed luxurious, the country well timbered with gum, shea-oak, blackwood, and other trees. Distance from hill where sheep-tracks seen, fifteen miles. I may here remark, that on reaching this station the desert ends. The traveller will find abundance of feed and water in a well wherewith to recruit his horse before again proceeding on his journey. Marked a tree, and left a note for Mr. M'Laren, directing him where to find water. Altered my course to the east, and pushed on to Mr. Scott's station; distance, eight miles. Had dinner, resumed my journey, and encamped at the Woolshed Station. This station is supplied with excellent water from a chain of deep water-holes; water permanent.


Sunday, 15th. Finding the water-kegs were very inconvenient (causing considerable delay in my progress), and as water could now be obtained with certainty, I determined upon leaving them at the station until my return. Resumed my journey at seven o'clock, after our morning meal. Passed through the same sort of country rich and fertile; water at intervals at from three to five miles My attention was drawn to a very graceful tree (swamp-oak) quite peculiar to this locality; the leaf is similar to the casuarina, with this exception, that the former stands erect whereas the latter droops; it is likewise dissimilar in taste—the one being acid and the other bitter: the wood is very hard, and is much used by the settlers for fencing and building purposes. Crossed the Boundary line at eight miles. One mile to the eastward of the line Messrs. Lloyd and Young have a station. I called but both were from home Moved on, and halted two hours at one of their out-stations, and had dinner. At this, as well as at every other station I have called at, a woman "hutkeeps," while the husband is minding the sheep. Hutkeepers, shepherds, and other labourers are as difficult to be obtained in this province as in South Australia; all are gold-digging mad. Continued an easterly course; came to a lagoon, and had to turn to the north in order to head it. The country through, which I rode this day surpasses anything I have met with in South Australia; vast extensive plains, with luxurious herbage, everywhere meet the eye: these are intersected by belts of fine timber of all kinds. In crossing one of the plains, saw a mob of wild cattle; no sooner did they perceive us than they started off, tearing over the ground and raising such clouds of dust, one might have imagined a herd of buffaloes. Came across old sheep-tracks; but could not spare time to look for the station. Suddenly came to a long lagoon, stretching to the north and south for several miles. After refreshing ourselves with a pannican of tea, pushed on, altering my course to the southward for some distance to head the swamp. As this delayed me considerably, and took me out of my course, I determined upon crossing, and made a dash accordingly. Succeeded, but found it boggy, and water rather deep, occasionally reaching to the saddle-flaps. I have not the least doubt but what this awkward spot can be avoided by going round. Same sort of country; occasionally undulating, well grassed, and timbered. Travelled till late, and encamped amongst some large timber, with abundance of grass. I deemed we had travelled this day thirty miles.

Monday, 16th.—Horses are looking well and keep in good condition. One or two of them have unfortunately sore backs—a matter which, particularly in hot weather, is difficult to guard against on long journeys. Saddled the horses and started, keeping my old course; heard the bark of a dog, and on going towards it found that we had encamped within a mile of one of Major Firebrace's out-stations (sheep); here there is a permanent spring of splendid water. Heat of the sun dreadful. Reached a deserted sheep-station, found water near the hut: distance from our camp, fifteen miles. Our course then took an east-south-east direction, across a heath, sandy and bad travelling. Mount Arapiles bearing south-east; followed the beaten track, and entered some scrub; slow travelling, heavy sand; this I regret to say continued for fifteen miles. I have since been informed that ten miles of this heavy part of the road can be avoided by continuing same course at the sheep-station, and not turning to the east-south-east, as I was directed to do by the hutkeeper at Major Firebrace's station. By following the line which I now indicate, Mr. Patterson's station on the Wimmera will be made, and from thence a track will be found leading, to the village of Horsham, which is on the direct route to Mount Alexander (see map.) After leaving the scrub we came out on some open country, near two salt lakes, Mount Arapiles distant ten miles. Entered some thickly-timbered country, well grassed, halted for two hours to refresh the horses-at some water which we found in a swamp on the left of the road; ten minutes after resuming our journey crossed the Wimmera River. This is a fine stream, not unlike the Onkaparinga, near Hahndorf; the holes are, however, considerably larger and deeper, some, I dare say, measure thirty yards in breadth and from two hundred to three hundred in length; the soil on either bank for miles, cannot, I am satisfied, be anywhere surpassed for its fertility and richness. Passed the station of Messrs. Baily and Hamilton, and moved on, keeping along the north bank of the river to Major Firebrace's station. The Major was from home; his son, however, hospitably entertained me and my party; to him I feel much indebted for a great deal of valuable information respecting the line of route which we have still to travel. Distance made this day, thirty-five miles. At night it thundered and lightened considerably, which greatly cooled the air; heavy drops of rain fell.

Tuesday, 17th.—I got up very early and left the house without disturbing the family, and started. The regular beaten overland road passes close to tins station; we got upon it and followed it the whole of the day; it is rather circuitous, as it follows the windings of the river: by a little observation many miles might be saved during a day's journey. Passed several fine stations. The homestead is invariably enclosed by a substantial fence, and stands in die centre of a paddock of from 300 or 400 acres. From inquiries which I made, I find that none of the land belongs to the squatters; they rent it from the Crown with a pre-emptive right of purchase. Passed numerous parties on their way to the diggings, some encamped, others travelling. Came to the-village of Horsham, distant twelve miles from the station of Major Firebrace; after a stay of a few minutes at the "pub," resumed my journey. Here is a police-station, a store, a blacksmith, and one or two wooden houses. Travelled during the day pretty smartly, and arrived about nine o'clock, P.M. at the village of Glenarchy. The village is similar to Horsham, about the same size, and containing about the same number of houses. I was forced, much against my inclination, to pass the night at the inn, in consequence of the want of feed in the neighbourhood. I did not at first like the appearance of either the building or the inmates, and in truth I was not deceived; the accommodation was bad, beds filthy, full of bugs, charges exorbitant, and extremely uncivil withal. The rascally hostler had the impudence (as I was giving directions about the feeding of my horses) coolly to tell me to feed them myself! Distance made, forty-four miles.

Wednesday, 18th.—Made rather a late start; obliged to ride pack-horse, in consequence of my own having a galled back. On reaching Mr. Green's station, distant twelve miles from Glenarchy, turned off to left, to avoid the village of Burnbank, thereby saving a distance of twenty miles to Mount Alexander: indicated the spot by marking a gum tree with the words, "Take to the left." This track leads through a well-watered country, with plenty of grass, to the Navarre Inn, kept by a person named Mackoy, distant from Glenarchy thirteen miles. A glance at the map will at once point out how the saving is effected. Rested the horses two hours, and once more moved on; a high range in the distance, beautiful in appearance, much resembling the Mount Lofty Range of South Australia. On leaving the inn the road became very circuitous; it winds by the bank of a creek, well watered, into the heart of the mountains: good travelling almost level.

Thursday, 19th.—Up by the break of day; felt much refreshed, having slept soundly all night; effected a good start at half-past six o'clock; road led through a beautiful valley, with a creek meandering through it; the country then became undulating, exceedingly beautiful and romantic, the rising slopes and valleys studded here and there with shrubs of every description, amongst which I noticed the silver wattle, or Van Diemen's Land acacia, predominating. Passed Mr. M'Kinnon's sheep station nine miles; country more hilly, densely timbered; the stringy bark, blue and white gum, box, and many other trees familiar to a South Australian, are found in the hills. Crossed a creek near the station of ————. I could not help remarking that the water in all the creeks, as I get nearer and nearer to Mount Alexander, is of a singularly dark colour, perfectly clear, however, when taken out, and sweet tasted. Query can this be an indication of During the day passed through open forest land, plains, and now and again densely-timbered flats of from three to four miles in extent. Made Mr. Bucknall's station; crossed a large creek a few hundred yards below the house. The country here, as we emerged from the thick timber, changed like magic; hills appeared in our front extending to the right and left for miles, grassy, but perfectly bare of a single tree; these again were bounded to the east and south-east by a more distant, remarkable, high-peaked range, to all appearance of the same character. Turning the head to the north-east a ridge, thickly wooded, similar to that already described, is seen, behind which rises the already far-famed Mount Alexander; entered the thick wood seen sometime back; again emerged into a large plain, crossing which we came to the River Loddon, where the diggings commence, thus accomplishing the journey between the Murray and it in eight days. Encamped on the east bank of the river; good feed and water; distance travelled this stage, fifty-nine miles.

Friday, 20th.—Visited Forest Creek and Adelaide Gully; conversed with many of the South Australian gold seekers, and informed them of the purport of my visit; shortly after it was made known throughout the diggings that I had arrived, I was met by crowds, who expressed their delight at the success which I hud had in making so quick a journey, at the news I was bearer of, and at the establishment of a mounted escort to convey the gold to Adelaide. I have since been assured that hundreds will remit their hard-earned earnings by the present escort, and will so continue if it be regularly established, instead of having to send it to Melbourne, or otherwise dispose of it, at a shameful loss, to agents who reside at the mines. It affords me much pleasure to note that the Adelaide diggers in general have obtained, and still continue to obtain, more gold-dust than others. The greatest good feeling appears to prevail amongst them, and I can confidently assert that nine out of ten will, as soon as possible, return to settle permanently in South Australia, rather than remain in Victoria.



Dear ———, We left Bendigo on Tuesday, about 12 A.M., and arrived in Melbourne on the Friday following, about 2 P.M. Previous to leaving we had to sell two carts and horses. The mode of disposing of such articles at Bendigo is rather peculiar, but answers better than any other. The cart is driven through the diggings with a flag, or rather a substitute for one in the shape of a handkerchief, flying in front, and the words "For Sale" chalked in large letters on the sides and back. The same plan is pursued with respect to all other articles for sale, and answers admirably; the goods being speedily disposed of. There are several purchasers of second hand tools, &c., but as these parties of course buy to make a profit, the mode above described is generally resorted to by the diggers. The practice has even reached Melbourne, as I saw several carts driven about the town with the words "For Sale" on them in letters of enormous magnitude.

Having disposed of the carts we set out on our journey with light hearts, although the day was excessively hot.

The first day, having had a late start, we only went as far as the junction of the road leading to Forest Creek.

You will recollect that we went up by the Kilmore road, which at that time, though by far the longest, was the best for drays. The road by which we came down, usually called the "Kyneton Road," is much shorter, and at all times better for foot-men, inconsequence of the great number of accommodation houses which are situated along the whole road at about the rate of one to every two or three miles. The roads at this time of the year are in splendid condition, and, as there is abundance of grass and water, nothing can be more agreeable than travelling on them. There is no lack of public-houses, moreover, where the weary traveller may solace himself with a cheering cup, but for which he has to pay at rather a high rate: spirits and beer at nearly all the inns are 1s. 6d. per glass. Provisions, too, are far dearer than at the diggings. The four-pound loaf is 5s., and beef is 9d. per pound at the Bush Inn, which is only thirty-six miles from Melbourne.

On Wednesday morning we were up by day-break and on the road. We walked ten miles to the Robert Burns hotel, where we had breakfast, which, considering the price of things, was not very dear, being only 3s. Here we got a lift in a cart for £1 each as far as the Broad Meadow, which is within ten miles of Melbourne. The number of people whom we met on their way to the diggings was astonishing. Most of them were evidently new arrivals; and being unaccustomed to carrying heavy swags, many of them appeared to be quite worn out. More than one-half of those whom we met wore veils, and at a distance might easily be mistaken for women.

Women, too, there were in abundance bound for the gold-fields, many of them with large families, seemingly bent upon making the diggings their home for some time. The country through which we passed was most beautiful, being luxuriantly grassed and but lightly timbered. In fact it might be described as a succession of undulating plains, there being scarcely trees enough to relieve the scenery from the charge of monotony. We had dinner at the Columbine where there is a township, which seems rapidly progressing; wooden houses, some of them very elegant, springing up in all directions. The Columbine was running at the time with a considerable body of water, which was as clear as crystal. In the middle of summer, however, the country is completely parched up, and there is not a drop of water to be had on the road for miles. The government has at length bestirred itself with regard to the road, and there are now numerous parties at work metalling it. When approaching Kyneton, we met six men drawing a laden cart, arranged in the form of a wedge, one leading, two in the middle and three behind. This is no uncommon thing to see on the diggings, but it is rather unusual on the roads from Melbourne. They appeared to be a party of recent arrivals from England. We passed through Kyneton, which, since the diggings have commenced, has been making considerable progress, being the principal town between them and Melbourne. About three miles from Kyneton is Carlsruhe, 5 there is a large police-station. As we were passing there was a sergeant ilfing about a dozen recruits, most of them boys, in every variety of costume, from the blue shirt to almost no shirt at all; but in this respect they are only like the rest of the Victorian police. It was impossible to refrain from laughter while watching their movements, which disrespect on our part caused the sergeant to look austere, although he said nothing. After going about three miles beyond Carlsruhe we camped for the night.

"Thursday morning we were on the road as soon as we had breakfast, and after travelling about three miles came to the entrance of the "Black Forest," of evil memory. During the more lawless days of the Victorian gold diggings, it was the custom for travellers to wait on the verge of the forest until a sufficient number were collected to insure their passage through it in safety. Latterly, however, the place, although offering uncommon opportunities of concealment to the bushranger, has become so quiet, that no more fear is entertained by those who pass through it than on any other portion of the road. The Black Forest well deserves its name, for it is as gloomy a place as the imagination could well conceive. It is situated at the foot of Mount Macedon, and extends for several miles in all directions. The timber, chiefly stringy-bark, is very large—indeed by far the largest that I saw in Port Phillip. The stringy-bark of itself is a dismal looking tree, and is here more so, from having its trunk blackened with fire. The underwood, too, is very thick, which adds to the gloom of the forest. Some years ago there were great fires in several parts of Victoria, which occasioned an immense destruction of life and property. The day on which the fire took place, or in which it was at the highest pitch, is still known in Port Phillip by the name of Black Thursday. Traces of this fire are to be seen in several other localities beside the Black Forest. The part of the forest through which we passed was about twelve miles across, commencing at a place called Wood's End and ending at the Bush Inn. There are now several accommodation houses in the forest, which were much needed.

The road through the forest was crowded with teams; and it certainly would have been a difficult matter for any gang of bushrangers to have committed any depredations, as they would have been obliged to "stick up" hundreds of drays. One of my companions counted no less than seventy-five drays within the space of a mile. It must be taken into consideration, also, that there were three or four other roads to the diggings, on all of which the traffic was nearly as great as on that of which I am speaking. After leaving the Bush Inn you again come into an open country of trap formation. The soil, though uncultivated, is evidently fertile, and would be admirably adapted to the cultivation of the vine. The most peculiar feature of the scene is Mount Macedon, which is visible both from Melbourne and the diggings, rising almost abruptly from the surrounding country. In consequence of its vicinity to Mount Macedon, scarcely a day passes on which more or less rain does not fall in the Black Forest,—a fact which was exemplified when we passed through it. The trees in many places after leaving the forest are dying out, and as there are no new ones springing up to replace them, it seems probable that in time a great portion of Victoria will be quite destitute of timber. From Spring Hill, distant about twenty-seven miles from Melbourne, there is a splendid view over Keilor Plains, which are clothed with the most luxuriant verdure. The view extends as far as the sea coast, and on a clear day the shipping in William's Town can be distinctly seen. We camped this night at Jackson's Creek, where there was the greatest abundance of feed and excellent water.

Friday morning was cold and rainy, and as we had to travel through an open country, we found it impossible to keep ourselves warm. We crossed the Deep Creek, which flows between banks of a great height, and in the winter season carries all before it. The country is of granitic formation, and along the banks of the creek highly picturesque, though tame enough everywhere else. What forcibly strikes the traveller in Victoria is the entirely uncultivated state of the country, and the almost total want of gardens and orchards, notwithstanding the fertility of the greater portion of the soil. In this respect, also, the contrast between Melbourne and Sydney is very unfavourable to the former, the numerous gardens and shrubberies in and around Sydney giving it an infinitely superior and more delightful appearance than Melbourne. From the Deep Creek you have a first-rate view of the shipping at William's Town, which to one coming from the interior is a more agreeable sight than could be imagined. Leaving the drays at the Broad Meadow, we struck across the country until we came to the old Sydney mad, which we followed until we arrived at Flemington, where we met the governor starting on a tour through the gold-fields. After leaving Flemington, which is about three miles from Melbourne, if you have been the road before, you are perfectly bewildered at the change that has taken place in a short space of time. Wooden houses and tents have arisen as it were by the power of Aladdin's lamp, and have completely altered the appearance of the scene.

Now you begin also to see some of the bustle that necessarily characterises such a stirring place as Melbourne. You feel yourself, moreover, safer, as it were, than previously, although I doubt if you have any reason for so doing. However, your plan is to consider every man as a rogue you may meet between Bendigo and the Flag-staff. You now begin to get fairly in the city, and after a few minutes' walk you are in Collins Street, the principal street of Melbourne. Here you witness such a bustling scene as you are altogether unprepared for, notwithstanding your previously conceived opinions of the great traffic that must exist in Melbourne. It is literally impossible to walk through the streets without being jostled and squeezed at every step; and if you for a moment deviate from the foot-path, you run the most imminent risk of being knocked down by a cart or cab, which completely block up the streets. Melbourne is swarmed with Jews, and being easily recognised as a gold-digger as you are walking down the streets, you are every half-dozen yards accosted by them something in the following style:—"Any gold tor sale, sir?" "£3 10s. to-day for gold, mate." "I say, old fellow, have you got any gold to sell?"—the salutation being framed according to their different ideas of which will be most acceptable, the familiar or the polite style. You are so pestered with these wasps, that you are compelled at length, in self-defence, to return them some saucy answer, which, being well accustomed to, they receive with the most philosophical indifference. Next you take a stroll along the wharves, where goods of every description are lying piled in immense heaps, and completely exposed to the destructive influence of the weather. The wharves are, if possible, more crowded than the streets, and if not particularly alive to your own safety, you stand every chance of taking a cold bath in the Yarra.

Here and there are groups collected around some recent arrivals by the English vessels, who are selling off their superfluous goods, most of which they are obliged to dispose of at a loss. But what matters this? They have reached this El Dorado, the land of their long-cherished hopes. Look now to the south side of the Yarra, and there you will see a perfect city of tents. It is estimated that there are between three and four thousand individuals living there, and there certainly cannot be less. These are all new arrivals, sojourning here for a time, until they resolve upon whether they shall go to some employment, or shape their course for the gold-fields. Everywhere you go in this golden city your olfactory senses are disagreeably assailed with almost unbearable stenches, which must at no distant period occasion some frightful epidemic. The influenza is now raging in Melbourne to an unusual extent, and the great numbers of funerals that take place daily tell but too sadly the "common tale" of humanity. It needs no great wight to foretel that some terrible disasters will befal Melbourne if the people do not speedily bestir themselves to introduce a better state of social affairs.

To-day I was at the Victoria Gold Escort Company's office, an establishment admirably conducted. Those holding escort receipts may obtain their gold or money in a few hours after the escort arrives, whereas at the government office there are the most unnecessary and provoking delays. The name of the depositor is not written in the receipts given by the company, but is transcribed into a book kept for that purpose, together with the amount said to be deposited. The receipt merely states that so many ounces or pounds are said to be in the bag, neither money nor gold being counted or weighed. The bag is tied and sealed, and received thus by the depositor, the company not holding themselves in any way responsible for the amount. Omitting the depositor's name in the receipt is obviously an excellent plan, and prevents a great deal of fraud.

I have been employed the greater part of the day in looking out for a vessel. So many people are hurrying home just now that it is a matter of some difficulty, notwithstanding the number of vessels laid on for Sydney, to obtain a passage for that port. I have at length obtained one in the Wild Irish Girl, the passage-money being £9, which is an advance of 3 on what the cabin passages were formerly.

With these extracts, which afford so perfect an idea of the life and the land of the diggers, we conclude our attempt to describe the Australian Gold Regions. New creeks, rivers, and mountains are daily announced as the sites of inexhaustible treasures, the last being generally for a time considered the richest. The Ovens, near the River Murray, is now exciting a good deal of attention in New South Wales, and has caused the desertion of localities previously in great repute,* while the discovery of two enormous nuggets at Ballarat has caused a vast re-emigration to the first discovered Victorian gold-field.

[* Mr. Stutchbury, the government geologist, found in the Cudgegong River small specimens of ruby, sapphire and chrysolite, topaz, hyacinth, amethyst, and cairngorm, and expects to find emerald and aqua marine.]

The South Australians have not yet been successful in discovering a gold-field worth working. At Echunga 1,208 licences were in the first instance issued, but of these only 166 were renewed once, only 64 twice, and 7 three times. At the last accounts 180 persons were at work.

The following is a list of the outfit required for four gold diggers. The cradles sold in England are for the most part toys, not strong enough to bear rough work. English carts, forges, and pumps, unless made from colonial directions, are not worth their freight for real use:—

Tools. £ s. d.
One cradle 1 10 0
One heavy crowbar 0 10 0
Six picks, with one end pointed and the other square 0 18 0
A water-lifter 0 2 6
Two shovels 0 10 0
Two zinc buckets 0 8 0
Two tin milk-dishes 0 5 0
One axe 0 4 6
Nails, tacks, cords, tomahawk, &c. &c.
Tarpaulin 7 0 0
Camp oven 0 10 6
Iron pot, kettle, quart pots, plates, &c. &c. 1 2 10

To this must be added the cost of a tent; and at any of the Victoria diggings, a cart, a team, and provisions for six months.

While New South Wales and Victoria were becoming wealthy and populous on the strength of their gold-fields, the able-bodied population of South Australia proceeded en masse to the neighbouring colonies. Two measures wisely and promptly adopted by the local government and the Legislative Council saved South Australia. By an act, rapidly passed through the legislature, in January, 1852, gold of 22 carats was made a legal tender at the banks at the rate of £3 11s. per ounce against an issue of bank-notes. It thus became the interest of South Australian diggers to bring the produce of their labour to their own colony, there to employ it in purchasing land at government sales, in paying duties on imports, and in other modes in which it was worth more money than in the gold provinces. South Australia was the first province to strike gold tokens, which passed there for twenty shillings, and in England are worth about twenty-three shillings.

At the same time that the Bullion Act was passed, the overland route to Mount Alexander was opened, and a government escort was established.

The system prevalent in South Australia of selling land in small lots in quantities always in advance of demand, afforded a further inducement to the return of gold-diggers to settle on small farms. The results have been most satisfactory; a regular export trade in agricultural produce has been established between Port Adelaide and the gold colonies.

The Legislature of New South Wales have passed a Gold Mining Act, of which the following are the most important clauses:—


Clauses 2, 5, and 8, withhold the ordinary privileges of mining from any persons who are not British subjects, except on payment of double fees or royalties. Clause 2 gives power to the executive to grant leases or licences for gold mining, in regard to auriferous tracts, for twenty-one years; and clause 10 authorises the demand of a fee, not exceeding £25, from any applicant for quartz vein or auriferous tracts, which is to be returned if his application is not granted. Clause 3 gives power to suspend pastoral leases or licences, in so far as may be necessary to mining operations, upon the runs to which these leases or licences pertain, and to make compensation for such suspension according to a previously established rule. Clause 4. No sort of occupation may be carried on within any auriferous tract of crown lands without licence except the pastoral and agricultural. Women not mining, and children under fourteen years of age, are exempt from this rule. Clause 11. Persons employed in making tunnels or drains are to be permitted, on condition that they give security that they will pay the due royalty upon any gold they may accidentally find in the course of their work. Clause 9 allows a half-licence to be taken after the fifteenth day of any month, the applicant not having been guilty of anything during the previous half month to furnish a sufficient ground of objection.

An idea of the financial importance of the gold exports may be gathered from figures:


Gold exports to 3rd February. 1,088,244 ounces
At 70s. per ounce £8,850,000
Licences issued in 1852 22,500


Gold exported to 30th January 2,625,820 ounces
At 70s. per ounce £9,200,000


1850. 1851. 1852.
LABOUR £ s. d. £ s. d. £ s. d.
Labourers per week 0 11 0  .  0 17 6  .  2 14 6
Shepherds, with rations, per annum 23 0 0  .  29 0 0  .  38 0 0
Blacksmiths ditto 47 10 0  .  55 0 0  .  65 0 0
General useful servants, ditto 28 0 0  .  38 0 0  .  57 10 0
Carpenters, per day 0 4 2  .  1 1 0  .  1 2 6
Thorough servants, per annum 15 0 0  .  17 0 0  .  27 10 0
Cooks, ditto 18 0 0  .  20 0 0  .  42 10 0
Nursemaids, ditto 9 0 0  .  17 0 0  .  27 10 0
Beer ale per hogshead 4 10 0  .  5 10 0  .  6 15 0
Tea, hyson skin, per chest 2 9 0  .  3 10 0  .  3 15 0
Coffee Java, per lb. 0 0  .  0 0 6  .  0 0 11
Sugar refined per lb. 0 0  .  0 0 7  .  0 0 9
Flour,* fine, per ton 17 10 0  .   .  25 4 0
Bread, per 4lb. loaf 0 0 7  .   .  0 1 6
Rice Java per ton  .  9 0 0  . 
Cabbages, per dozen 0 0 7  .   .  0 1 6
Gooseberries, per quart 0 0 6  .   .  0 2 0
Cherries per lb. 0 1 3  .   .  0 4 0
Fowls, per pair 0 4 0  .   .  1 4 0
Ducks, ditto 0 4 9  .   .  1 4 0
Geese and Turkeys, each 0 6 0  .   .  1 15 0
Sheep, wethers, each 0 6 6  .   .  0 15 0
Cows, each 2 5 0  .   .  4 17 6
Horses, hacks. 7 0 0  .  8 0 0  .  17 10 0

[* Flour is usually sold in Melbourne by the ton of 2,000 lbs., instead of 2,240 lbs., as in the United Kingdom. If reckoned by the ton of 2,000 lbs., the price is respectively £15 and £22 10s.]

The Melbourne Argus of January 3 estimates the number of diggers at the Victoria Mines at 100,000, earning on an average an ounce per man per week.

The forebodings of the pastoral proprietors, who saw in the gold discoveries the desertion of all their labourers and the destruction of their flocks, have not been realised. A very large per centage of the armies of emigrants who are daily landing on the shores of Australia either find themselves prevented from taking to the pursuit which led them to emigrate, by the expense and toil of the journey to the interior; or, after having tried gold-digging, are compelled to abandon labour harder than they can endure. These disappointed ones fall back upon the staple employments of the colony, and either turn farmers or accept situations as gardeners, shepherds, agricultural labourers, &c.

We have every reason to believe that while the great prizes of the gold-fields are suffered to attract a steady stream of self-supporting emigration, the overplus, unfit for such a laborious occupation, will be sufficient to maintain the flocks of sheep and herds of cattle which have hitherto supplied in wool and tallow the principal exports of the gold colonies.

The first effect of gold mining has been to give a value, in the shape of beef and mutton, to sheep and cattle, which had previously been only worth money to shear or boil down. Another result will be the establishment of towns and villages, surrounded by agricultural farms, in districts which, under the pastoral system, seemed condemned to perpetual barrenness and solitude. The question of opening the navigation of the Murray, by clearing away shoals, rocks, and snags, will perhaps be successfully solved by the gold-diggings at Albury.

If these anticipations be realised, gold will prove a most valuable agent in stimulating colonisation. Every gold-digger gives occupation to at least three other men, in feeding him, clothing him, and conveying backwards and forwards what he produces, and what he consumes. The profits on meat lately given to the dogs supports many a butcher in a gold district, and land only used by sheep becomes worth the toil of tillage.

It is a most favourable feature of the Australian gold-fields, that they are within reach of settled communities, surrounded by live beef and mutton, and by land of the best quality, which only needs the plough and the hoe, roughly handled, to produce great crops of wheat, maize, and every green vegetable. These lands will not remain untilled.

The Australian gold-digger, unlike the Californian, has no sooner filled his pockets than he sets to work to settle his wife comfortably in a neat cottage with a garden, reserving the chances of another visit to the mines if he should find more capital needful.


{Page 393}



In the preceding pages we have followed step by step the series of social, commercial, and political events which have established three free and prosperous colonies on the island-continent of Australia; the progress of the pastoral interest from the eight merinos imported by M'Arthur to the fourteen millions of fine-woolled sheep which now graze over Australian pastures; the progress of emigration, from the few score officials, soldiers, turnkeys, and rum-traders, who, for a quarter of a century, formed the only free additions to the native-born population, to the present time, when armies of emigrants, counted in tens of thousands, arrive from all countries of Europe and America; the progress of the value of land from the period when a bribe of rations and the aid of government-fed slave labour was needed to induce a colonist to accept a farm, to the present year, when land is sold by the foot at the rate of thousands of pounds per acre; the progress of trade from the mere barter of the year 1800, with imports dependent on the expenditure of the home government, to the year 1853, when millions of Australian exports in gold and wool create a new and profitable export for almost every branch of British manufactures, and afford employment for an amount of tonnage which British shipowners find themselves unable to supply; the progress of political institutions, from the irresponsible despotism of the first governor and gaoler, to the concession of the amplest powers of self-government and taxation, with full control of land and land funds, customs and casual revenues, to the three Legislative Assemblies of New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia, by the Conservative Duke of Newcastle.

These rapid strides of the English-speaking Australian colonists, in which the acquisition of political rights has kept pace with the enlargement of their material resources, we have endeavoured to trace with a firm and impartial pen. We conclude our task at a moment when the brightest prospects seem opening to the three colonies; when, released from the baneful control of transmarine bureaucracy, permitted to exercise with the most perfect freedom those rights of self-government which are so essential to the full development of the powers of an English race; relieved from the contamination of old world felonry; with all the aid that can be derived from the capital, the credit, the colonisation, and "cheap defence" of the parent state, Australia seems starting on the race of empire with greater advantages than have ever fallen to the offshoot of a great nation in ancient or modern times. Free institutions, unrestricted commerce, ample revenues, without debt, and without the taxes which a defensive force, naval or military, would require nothing can retard the progress of our Australian fellow-countrymen, if they prepare in good time to counteract the money-worshipping, utilitarian spirit, and low tone of commercial morality which are the bane of new communities.

An antidote is to be found in the teaching of zealous Christian ministers, and in the study of those treasures of the literature, art, and science of the old world, which no modern material El Dorado can excel.

The regulation of the future colonisation of the Australians will rest with the colonists themselves. If they are wise, they will give no encouragement to that system of pauper emigration which the Government Commissioners have long patronised. No population can be more difficult to govern than a mob of uneducated peasantry, suddenly transferred from indigence to the wages of a gold country. It is the interest alike of the colonies and of this country, that the influence of rude men who crowd to the gold diggings should be counterbalanced by a stream of industrious, educated, intelligent families, the yeomen and frugal mechanics, with large families, who swell the ranks of "Family Colonisation," men who would be prepared to carry on colonisation by cultivation, and reproduce on the fertile lands of Australia the farms and villages of England. We commend to the attention of the Colonial Legislatures, the fathers of this many-childrened class, who are led to emigration, not by discontent, not by vain Utopian longings, but by

"The pride to rear an independent shed,
And give the lips they love unborrow'd bread,
To skirt their home with harvests widely sown,
And call the blooming landscape all their own,
Their children's heritage in prospect long."

{Page 395}


The Legislative Council of New South Wales, on the recommendation of the Committee (whose report we give below, I.), have passed an Act (which we also give, II.), rendering it lawful to make contracts with emigrants in this or any other country,—to bind them to work for wages settled in Europe—to repay the cost of their passage to Australia—to compel emigrants sent out by the Emigration Commissioners to repay part of their passage money—to apprentice boys and girls above the age of thirteen for four years, at £5 for two years, and £10 for two years, with board.

The principle that emigrants should repay part or all the cost of their passage is sound, but whether the mode proposed by the Parliament of New South Wales will work, we may be permitted to doubt.

Attempts to make labourers or mechanics work for less than current wages have always failed in this country, and so have contracts binding men to serve a particular master in a skilled trade.

If the Council had made the passage-money paid by the colony a debt due by the emigrant, that would have been reasonable; but to bind a man in Europe to serve a master he has never seen, in an employment he has never practised, for wages to be fixed by the master, is to sow the seeds of perpetual litigation and discontent, especially as the magistrates who will have to decide the disputes are inevitably employers of labour; and no man is a safe judge in his own cause.

In like manner the theory of apprenticing minors is reasonable, but this legislation is one-sided.

The wages will often be inadequate, and no provision is made in the Act for the inspection or protection of those apprenticed orphans. There may be Mrs. Sloanes in Australia as well as in England.

We feel for the hard position of the great stockowners and other employers of labour in the difficult position in which they are placed by the labour attraction of the gold-fields, but we venture to hint that the only law which will bind the labourer to his employer under such circumstances, is the law of kindness. "One man can lead the ox to water; a hundred cannot make him drink."


Second Report of the Select Committee of the Legislative Council, appointed on the 10th June, 1852, "to inquire into and report upon the most speedy and effectual means of introducing into the colony a supply of labour adequate to its requirements."

THE number of applications which are now pouring-in upon the Emigration Commissioners for passages to this colony, under the existing regulations, is so great, that it is evident the territorial revenue as at present administered can no longer of itself sustain the charge, nor can it supply an immigration at all commensurate with the large and growing requirements of the colony. The fact, too, that the immigrants who are thus introduced at the public expense, are under no obligation to embark on their arrival in the ordinary industrial pursuits of the colony, which was the primary object of their introduction, and is the sole ground upon which any expenditure of the public revenue for such an object can be justified, renders it both just and necessary that they should not only be compelled, as a preliminary measure, to enter into such an engagement in England for a term of not less than two years, but that they should also bind themselves to repay, by equal yearly instalments, a certain sum towards their passage-money, which your committee have fixed at 13. It is considered that this amount ought to be repaid by all statute adults, that is, by all persons above fourteen years of age, because they can earn wages which will enable them to repay without difficulty; but no contributions will be required from the mothers of families, and children under that age. Whilst it is obviously but just that the immigrant who is likely to benefit so largely by being brought to this colony at the public expense, should be compelled to refund this stipulated amount to the public treasury on the one hand, it has been deemed equitable on the other hand, first, that he should be allowed on his arrival to repay (if he can) his passage-money; second, that for a certain short period after his arrival here (to be fixed by public regulation) he shall be permitted to choose his employer, so as to enable him to obtain the current rate of wages; and third, that after serving an employer for one year he shall be at liberty to pay any balance of passage-money 'due by him, on giving three months' notice to his employer, and so terminate his agreement. To carry out the details of this new system, it will be necessary that the immigrant, in England, should indent himself in England to the immigration agent in the colony, and that this officer again should have power to bind him by indenture here to any competent employer, so as to carry these regulations into effect. For this purpose a local enactment will be necessary, which your committee will prepare.

Your committee further recommend, that the Immigration Commissioners should be instructed, as a general rule in the distribution of passages by emigrant vessels, to give a preference to emigrants hired under indenture in England by colonial employers, or for them by their English agents, so long as they belong to any enumerated classes now eligible for bounty emigration; but with an understanding, nevertheless, that they are to be subject to the repayment out of their wages, of the amount of passage-money, viz., 13, thus fixed by your committee.

As some misunderstanding seems to exist in England as to the necessity that such indenture should be stamped, it may be as well here to observe, that, by the 9th Geo. IV., cap. 83, all indentures of this sort are expressly exempt from the stamp duty; and to make this exception the more certain, a clause to the like effect will be introduced into the legislative measure which will be required to carry out these recommendations.

Your committee having-learnt by advices lately received from England, that there are large numbers of boys and girls of good character, of thirteen years of age and upwards, in the orphan schools and other eleemosynary establishments of the United Kingdom, towards whose emigration to this colony the guardians and other managers of such establishments would contribute largely out of parochial or other funds, with a view as well to the relief of such establishments from the cost of their maintenance, as to the advantageous settlement of the apprentices themselves in the colony, recommend that whenever any such boys or girls are under indenture to the immigration agent of this colony for the time being, to serve an apprenticeship of four years, the two first for wages at the rate of 5 a year, and the two last for wages at the rate of 10 a year, a contribution of at a rate not exceeding 8 for statute adults, should be made towards their passage-money from the territorial revenue, and be repaid by the employer at the time the apprentice is indented to him by the immigration agent, provided the remainder of their passage-money and their outfit be contributed by the guardians or other managers of any such institutions at home.

The emigrants of the enumerated classes, and to whom your committee recommend that passages should be furnished under the foregoing stipulations as to indenture and repayment, are as follows:

Amount to be
paid in
advance in
Amount to be
paid in the
Colony out of
their earnings.
Married agricultural labourers, shepherds, herdsmen, miners, and other males of the labouring classes generally, not exceeding 45 years of age £



 .  £



Exceeding 45 and under 50 years of age 5 0 0  .  8 0 0
Exceeding 50 years of age 11 0 0  .  2 0 0
Unmarried males