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Australia--Its extent--Bays--Deserts--Mountains--Rivers--Salt Lakes--Discovery--Colonies--Governors--Progress--New Constitutiqn--Extension of the Franchise--Vote by Ballot--Squatting --Aborigines--Geology--Coal--Gold--Its supposed origin-- Gold-bearing Rocks. Tasmania. New Zealand. Ornithology --Botany--Climate--Winds-- Tides -- Storms--Earthquakes-- Magnetism--Explorers--their dangers.
AUSTRALIA, the Southern Land, comprises the continent of New Holland, or Australia Proper, and the neighbouring island of Van Dieman's Land, or Tasmania. The several British settlements on that continent, including those in Tasmania, constitute what are termed the Australian Colonies.
This fifth division of the world is in the southern hemisphere, being nearly the antipodes of Europe. It lies south of Asia, and between Africa and South America. Western Australia is 5,000 miles east of the Cape of Good Hope. The northern part of the continent approaches the equator, being 4,000 miles to the south-east of India, and 4,000 to the; south of China. Timor, Borneo, Java, Sumatra, and Singapore, in the Indian Archipelago, lie between Australia and India; New Guinea, the Spice Islands, and Phillippine Islands, lie between Australia and China; and the Polynesian or South Sea Islands, lie between Australia and America.
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New Holland is an immense tract of land lying between 10 deg. and 40 deg. south latitude, and 110 deg. and 155 deg. east longitude. Its length from east to west, is 2,500 miles, and its mean breadth 1,200 miles; having an area of 3,000,000 square miles, which is fifty times that of England, and one hundred that of Scotland or Ireland.
The continent has been divided into five parts, in each of which English settlers are located. New South Wales lies between longitude 141 deg. and the Pacific, and north of the Murray river; its capital is Sydney, and this division extends over an area of 450,000 square miles. Victoria is situate south of the Murray, and east of longitude 141 deg., has Melbourne for its capital, and an area of 100,000 square miles. South Australia lies south of latitude 26 deg. and between longitude 132 deg. and 141 deg., has Adelaide for its capital, and covers an area of 300,000 square miles. Western Australia lies west of 129 deg. east longitude, has Perth for its capital, and covers an area of 1,000,000 square miles. North Australia is situate between Western Australia and the Pacific Ocean, and north of latitude 26 deg., and has an area of 1,000,000 square miles.
On the north side of New Holland is the Gulf of Carpentaria; on the west is Shark's Bay; on the south are the Australian Bight, Spencer's Gulf, St. Vincent's Gulf, Encounter Bay, Port Phillip, and Western Port; on the east are Botany Bay, Port Jackson, and Moreton Bay.
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Three-fourths of the interior have been untrodden by civilized man. A great inland sea may exist. There are vast sandy deserts. No high ranges nor large rivers are known, but on the eastern side. One chain of mountains passes through the island on that side from north to south; the southern portion of this is called the Snowy Alps.
The rivers of Australia seldom run direct from their sources to the sea; they exist simply as connected water-holes, or else are absorbed in swamps and sands, or lost in some subterranean drainage. Branches frequently strike out, and after a circuitous course, again unite with the parent stream; these are called ana-branches.
An amount equal to five-sixths of the known drainage passes through one channel into the sea. The waters of the great rivers, Maranoa, Balonne, Macquarrie, Bogan, Darling, Murrumbidgee, and Lachlan, fall into the Murray, and so reach the Southern Ocean, by an outlet of less than a mile broad and six feet deep.
Many salt lakes have been discovered amidst the barren wastes of the interior. One, Lake Torrens, of a horse-shoe shape, is about 500 miles long by 20 broad. No stream is known to reach the sea along a thousand miles of the southern coast, and a similar distance along the northern.
Nothing certain was known of New Holland till the year 1605, when a Spanish ship discovered
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Torres' Strait, and a Dutch vessel part of Northern Australia. A chart, bearing date 1542, shows a country south of the Spice Islands, called Great Java, supposed to be part of New Holland.
Western Australia was discovered by the Dutch in 1616; New South Wales, by Captain Cook, in 1770; Victoria, by Bass and Flinders, 1798; and South Australia, by Captain Flinders, in 1820. The aboriginal population is less than 30,000. North Australia was discovered by the Dutch and Spanish, in 1605; and in that year Torres passed through the strait bearing his name.
Each of these colonies is governed by councils, under the superintendence of a governor appointed by the Queen of England. The governor-in-chief of Australia resides in Sydney.
The colony of New South Wales was founded on January 18th, 1788. Captain Arthur Phillip arrived there in the Supply and Sirius, with 212 soldiers, 558 male prisoners, 228 female prisoners, 28 wives, and 17 children. The public stock consisted of two bulls, four cows, and seven horses. The first huts were constructed of the cabbage palm. Merino sheep were introduced by M'Arthur in 1797, and in 1810 had increased to one hundred and twenty thousand, and in 1821 to five millions. There are now (1857) ten millions of sheep, three millions of cattle, and a million of horses. The population is 300,000, out of which number Sydney
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alone has 80,000. Since 1853, many of the bad streets in Sydney have been repaired; numerous old houses rebuilt; the circular quay, Sydney Cove, improved and extended; and Hyde Park greatly beautified. The revenue for 1854 was £991,683, of which £351,059 came from the land; the exports were £3,619,630, of which the wool was £1,044,000, and the gold £891,753. The export of coal from the thirteen Hunter River mines, last year, was one hundred and ninety-two thousand tons. The imports from the British colonies amounted to £545,000, against £1,624,700 exports. The public schools number four hundred and sixty, with twenty-eight thousand pupils. The railway to Paramatta is now completed.
The several governors of this colony and the dates of their arrival are as follow: --Captain Phillip, 1788; Captain Hunter, 1795; Captain King, 1800; Captain Bligh, 1806; General Lachlan Macquarrie, 1810; General Sir Thomas Brisbane, 1821; General Darling, 1825; General Sir Richard Bourke, 1831; Sir George Gipps, 1838; Sir Charles Fitzroy, 1846; Sir William Denison, 1855.
The colony of Victoria was founded in August, 1836, by Mr. John Pascoe Fawkner, who belonged to the original colony of Port Phillip, having been a lad in Governor Collins' fleet in the year 1803. Victoria was a dependency of New South Wales,
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under the superintendance of Mr. Latrobe, and remained so until July, 1850, when Mr. Latrobe was declared lieutenant-governor of Victoria. In 1854, Sir Charles Hotham was appointed governor. The present governor, Sir Henry Barkly, was appointed in 1856. The gold discovery took place in July, 1851. The exports for the year amounted to £11,787,226, of which gold came to £8,770,798, and wool to £1,800,000. The imports were £17,742,996. The expenditure of the government for 1854 was £4,394,695. Gold is subject to an export duty of 2s. 6d. per ounce; and the total amount obtained during 1856 was 6,533,527 ounces, valued at £14,134,108 against 2,964,073 ounces, valued at £11,856,292 in 1855, and 2,192,699 ounces valued at £8,770,796 in 1854. The total revenue of the colony during the present year amounted to £3,346,671, or about £10 per head--an enormous ratio, and the more astonishing as it is raised without any perceptible pressure upon the people. Of this amount, the sum of £1,600,000 is raised by the customs, £90,000 from gold duty, and £750,000 from the sale of crown lands. The entire debt of the colony is £1,962,385, all of which has been expended on the erection of public works, which as necessary and permanent improvements, are most fairly made a charge upon the present and future generations. The quantity of crown land sold during the year
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was 463,525 acres, realizing £738,493. The increase of the quantity of land brought into cultivation has been very great; and so much attention has recently been paid to agriculture, that the colony will soon be self-supporting, so far as the great staples of subsistence are concerned.
The population of Victoria is 310,000. That of Melbourne and its suburbs, 110,000; of this, Collinwood has 22,000, Richmond 10,000, Parham and St. Kilda 9,000, Flemington 700, Hawthorne 600, Northcote 600, Port Williamstown 4,000, Port Sandridge 5,000, and Emerald Hill (Canvass Town) between Sandridge and Melbourne, 3,000.
The number of sheep in this colony is about nine millions. The stock of the unsettled districts is --horses, twenty thousand; cattle, five hundred thousand; sheep, six millions. The exports of the produce of Victoria are, in proportion to the population, fifteen times that of the British Islands, and the government expenditure eight times as much. The revenue in September 1856, exceeded three millions.
Mails arrive at Melbourne from Sydney twice a week, and vice versa, travelling day and night. The road out of the city is metalled for a distance of twenty miles, and is in a passable state the whole way. A railway now connects Sandridge with the city and a branch from thence runs to St. Kilda. The electric telegraph has been in operation some time.
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from Queen's Cliff to Melbourne, a distance of seventy miles, and another line from Geelong to Ballarat will shortly be opened; thence it will extend to Bendigo, and the various important diggings. The railway from Geelong is open for traffic half way to Melbourne; from this line a branch runs to Williamstown. The new houses of parliament are open for business, but not finished. The streets and roads are in excellent condition; gas and water have been introduced. The Tan Yean reservoir supplies the water from the Upper Plenty streams. Large tanks are placed upon pillars in different parts of the city, from which the water-carriers fill their carts. The corporation received at one time 2s. 9d per load of 100 gallons, but at present the charge is 1s. 9d. A steamer runs to and from Prince's Bridge to Richmond every half-hour; fare 6d. A theatre, estimated to hold fifteen thousand people, has been erected in Great Bourke-street; and a portion of one narrow street has been transformed into a splendid arcade. An exhibition building and several large chapels have been erected since 1853.
Education has also progressed rapidly under the fostering hand of government. In 1852 there were 54 public and 99 private schools; there were also 89 denominational, 9 national, and 17 other private schools, having 7, 850 children. In 1853, the denominational schools were 132, and the national
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schools 25. In 1855, the denominational board of education had 306 schools and 16,500 children, and the national, 57 schools and 4,500 children. The sum voted for the schools in 1854, was £100,000; and in the same year the government granted the sum of £36,180, to be divided amongst various christian bodies. In 1855, the church of England had about a hundred places of worship; the Roman catholics forty-five. The church of England had 48 ministers, the Roman catholic 32, independent 15, baptist 6, united presbyterian 13, Wesleyan 17, kirk of Scotland 10, and the Scotch free church 15.
The new constitution of Victoria permits every man receiving £100 a year, either as wages or otherwise, to enter the list of electors. The diggers, by receiving a document called a "miner's right," which costs annually the sum of £1. This also secures the right to dig, and protection whilst so employed. In addition to this, the present ministry have carried a new electoral bill through the lower house of parliament, which confers the franchise on holders of real property of the value of £50, and on tenants paying a yearly rent of £5.
The electors vote by ballot. This measure was introduced by Mr. William Nicholson, a Cumbrian, who was subsequently offered the premiership. This he declined, owing to the sudden death of Sir Charles Hotham, the governor. The mode of voting
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is very simple. A returning officer is chosen in the usual way, who declares the time when the poll will open. A list of electors, with ballot-papers corresponding, are placed in a public room. Each elector receives one of these ballot-papers, on which are the names of the candidates. He is then passed alone into a private room, where he may mark out the name of the candidate for whom he does not vote. The paper is subsequently folded and placed in the ballot-box. The returning officer affixes his signature to all ballot-papers, and each candidate has the privilege of appointing a scrutineer to sit beside that officer till the poll is closed. Melbourne has 8,500 electors, and amongst them the ballot system works well. At the close of the first election on this principle, so favourable was the impression generally made, that the Melbourne Punch eulogised Mr. Nicholson in the following strains: --.
"Briskly and gaily we wended home
From the scene of our present story,
To carve this tribute and pen these lines
To Nicholson's honour and glory."
Fifty-three years ago, Tuckey, the colonial historian, in recording the failure of Colonel Collins's attempt to establish a settlement on the banks of the Yarra, exclaimed--"The kangaroo seems to reign undisputed lord of the soil; a dominion which, by the evacuation of Port Phillip, he is likely to retain for ages," What a mistake! Look at Melbourne now!
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The colony of South Australia was founded by Governor Hindmarch, in December, 1836. Colonel Gawler became governor in 1838; Captain Grey, in 1841; Colonel Robe, in 1845; Sir H. F. Young, in 1848; Sir E. Macdonnell, 1855.
The population is 110,000. Of this Adelaide contains 19,000, and Port Adelaide, eight miles from the city, 4,000. Between these places are Hindmarch and Albert Town. In this colony the proportion of females is greater than in any other Australian colony; and in 1854 the proportion of labourers was 1 in 17, farmers 1 in 16, shepherds 1 in 80, publicans 1 in 240, clergymen 1 in 870, lawyers 1 in 1416. The proportions of the several denominations were as follow: --Free church 1, church of Scotland 3, Congregationalist 3, Roman catholic 6, Wesleyan 8, church of England 24.
Adelaide and Port Adelaide are now connected by a railway, which was opened in April, 1856. The fares for the respective classes, during the first fourteen weeks, were Is. 6d., Is., and 8d.; after that they were raised to 2s., 1s. 6d., and 1s. The result was, that in the following ten weeks the receipts showed a decrease of £386 10s.
Captain Cadell explored the river Murray in the year 1852. His boat was made of canvass, so that he might the more securely pass the rocks and snags on the river. He sailed a thousand miles down the Murray in twenty-two days. About a
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year after, through the liberality of Sir H. F. Young's government, he. was enabled to conduct a steamer up the river, far beyond Swan Hill, off Victoria. Now seven steamers and ten barges ply on the river through a distance of 2,000 miles. The runs in the vicinity have advanced from 25 to 50 per cent, since the opening of the navigation. Of cattle stations there are 58 on the Murray, and 70 on its tributaries; so sheep stations on the river, and 31 on its tributaries; the cattle number 3,000, and the sheep 1,300,000. A railway, six miles long, is in progress from Goolwa, off Lake Victoria, to Port Elliot, Encounter Bay, whence the produce can be taken to Adelaide, or exported. The exports of flour for 1856, were 20,000 tons, 80,000 bushels of wheat, and 5000 tons of copper ore. 758 persons are now finding employment in the Burra mines: 385 miners, 200 ore-dressers, 113 labourers, 47 mechanics and engine-drivers, and 13 officers.
The colony of Western Australia was established through private enterprise on June 1st, 1829. The several governors have been, Capt. James Stirling, 1829; John Hutt, Esq., 1839; Lieutenant-Colonel Clark, 1846; Captain Charles Fitzgerald, 18i8; Arthur E, Kennedy, Esq, 1855.
The population is 14,000; of which Perth, the capital, situate on the Swan river, has 3,000, and Freemantle, the port at the mouth of the river,
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twelve miles below Perth, has 3,000. At the head of King George's Sound, in latitude 25 deg., is Wyndham, and on its west side Albany. These towns are 250 miles from Perth, by land, and 450 by sea; and 2,000 miles west of Melbourne. The exports of this colony are wool, lead, sandal-wood, and mahogany. In 1854, they amounted to £35,350, and the imports wero £121,000. In that year the public revenue was £39,000 and the expenditure £43,000. The colony has 200,000 sheep and 20,000 cattle. At present it receives British convicts.
The colony of North Australia has not, as yet, become a government settlement.
With respect to squatting, the first thing necessary for the settler is to apply to the Commissioner of the Crown lands for a depasturing license. This will secure him the run for six months; at the expiration of that time he will, however, be required to pay an annual sum of £10 for as much land as will graze four thousand sheep, or an equivalent number of cattle; and for every thousand sheep the run may be judged to carry over the four thousand, he will have to pay £2 10s. This not only gives full right to the run, but also the presumptive right to purchase when the government is disposed to sell. In addition to the sum paid for the license are the assessed taxes, collected half yearly, viz; --0 1/2d per head on sheep, 1 1/2d on cattle,
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and 3d. on horses. The squatter is burthened with no other taxes; there are neither poor-rates, church-rates, tithes, excise duty, nor any of those multitudinous imposts which are a constant drain on the resources of the English graziers. Having secured his run, the squatter has an almost permanent interest in the land, which he may purchase at the lowest price--£1 per acre.
The chief portion of the wool in Australia is produced by the squatters. They are indeed, the wealthiest men in the colonies. In forming a sheep run on a piece of maiden country, tenanted only by the wild dog, kangaroo, and emu, the settler collects his sheep, cattle, horses, and men, and proceeds slowly to his destination, allowing the stock to feed on the rich pasturage by the way, A team of eight or ten bullocks conveys the baggage of the party, together with a supply of provisions and a few carpenter's tools. Each night the party encamps, taking it by turns to watch the stock until the station is reached. A place for the hut and stock-yard is then marked out as near a supply of water as possible. Huts are erected in various ways, according to the skill of the architect or the materials at hand. Logs, mud, slabs, and bark are indiscriminately employed. The stock-yards for sheep are made of brushwood; for cattle, of strong posts and rails. A kitchen-garden and a few paddocks for the culture of wheat and other grain, and the station is formed.
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The furniture of the hut is is the highest degree primitive, and like it, is more useful than ornamental the bedstead being the item on which most attention is bestowed. It consists of four stakes driven into the ground; upon these, rails are laid, with a few cross-pieces to support the occupant. The table is constructed on the same principle, and is crowned by a piece of bark. A frying-pan, an iron pot, a spade, bucket, axe, and a few other trifling, but highly requisite articles, complete the inventory of the bushman's dwelling.
With respect to the management of a sheep station, much depends upon the quality of the country. In thickly wooded districts, from 700 to 1000 sheep constitute a flock; but on the open plains, in the vicinity of the Murrumbidgee and Murray rivers, 3000 or 4000 may be attended to by one shepherd. The flocks are driven daily to the pastures, and brought home at night, when the watchman takes charge of them. His duty is to watch them during the night, and to cook for the shepherd, each being constantly attended by a dog. In the squatting districts of New South Wales, three acres per sheep is the average capabilities of the runs, or 213 to the square mile. Many of the early settlers allowed their ewes to rear two crops of lambs in the year. It is now deemed bad farming to have more than one lambing season; as the second crops are sickly, and their fleeces un-
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sound. The proportion of rams is from ten or twelve to a flock of a thousand. Some settlers have their lambing-seasons in September and October; others in March and April. The September (spring) lambs are generally the best. The lambing season is a busy time with the shepherd, and forms a test of his skill and industry. From eighty to ninety per cent, is a good crop. Premiums are frequently paid on the extra lambs above ninety. The number reared, sometimes, though seldom, equals the number of sheep. The lambs are weaned at five months old; males and females are formed into separate flocks; they begin to breed at the end of eighteen months. Shearing season in Victoria commences in October, and closes in the western districts about the end of December. Great pains are taken in washing; spouts are in general use; and by their aid the fleece is stripped of all filthy matter--a task which could not be accomplished by the old mode of hand-washing. After washing, the sheep are allowed three days to dry; they are then shorn in large sheds built for the purpose, where the wool is packed in bales and sent to the nearest seaport for sale, or consigned to agents in England.
The diseases sheep are most subject to in Australia are scab and catarrh. The latter is a kind of influenza, rapid in its spread and progress, and fearfully fatal. The best remedy is removal from
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place to place, and killing and burning those affected to prevent the contagion from spreading. A sheep attacked will shew symptoms of sturdy, become giddy, and cease to feed. In all cases this disease is brought on by too close breeding, sufficient attention not being paid to crossing. Scab is easily cured by a solution of tobacco and arsenic, prepared in large tanks. The mode in which this solution is applied is as follows: --About 30 sheep are driven upon a tilting platform resting on the side of the tank, and upset into it. They are then taken out, placed on a wooden grating, and allowed to drain over another tank, and then are driven into the field. This process goes on until the whole flock is similarly treated. On the whole, however, sheep farming is a profitable investment; the stock increases at a rate which beats compound interest, even at twelve per cent.
The first herd for a grazing farm should consist of cattle of all ages, in about equal proportions. Five hundred head of cattle is a good start. They are allowed to graze ad libitum, and are collected two or three times a year, to be inspected and branded. The process of mustering is a very exciting amusement, though, like other field sports, not unattended with danger. When the time comes, the cattle holder sends for his neighbours, who assemble at the summons, expecting similar aid in return. Ten or a dozen horsemen are then dispatched on their
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errand, armed with stock whips. These are very formidable weapons; having strong handles a foot long, and thongs from twelve to fifteen feet, made of green hide, tapered to the end by a cracker of silk, the report of which resounds through the forest, and spreads consternation among the cattle. Thus terrified, the scattered herds come pouring in from all directions, the stockmen following in hot pursuit. The whole herd is now in a state of the greatest excitement, and ready to dash at anything in its way. The air is filled with the most dissimilar noises--cows lowing for their calves, calves bellowing for their dams, horses prancing as if going to start for the Derby--on they rush at full speed, meditating mischief or escape, and checked only by the dread of the stock-whip, till at length they are enclosed in the stock-yard, from whence they are drafted for cutting and branding, and the fat ones selected for sale, or dispatched by the butcher on the spot. Cattle are subject to no diseases if proper attention be paid to crossing. A disorder called "the blackleg," sometimes proves fatal to degenerate herds. Since the gold discovery, cattle grazing has become a most lucrative employment; a fat bullock weighing about 8001b. is worth from £12 to £15 to the breeder; the butcher sells the meat at 6d. per lb.
The majority of cattle holders in Victoria buy lean animals in the north, and drive them south to
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the rich pastures of the gold country, where they soon fatten, and are disposed of at remunerative prices. A beast purchased in New England country for £4, when fat, will bring £12 in Victoria. The settlers in this colony prefer purchasing store cattle to breeding, for fattening purposes, the return for capital being much quicker. Cattle are very troublesome when first brought to a new run, having a strong predilection for returning to their old haunts; they require to be closely watched. They have frequently traveled hundreds of miles towards the country of their birth, and months elapse before they forget this patriotic propensity.
Horses are another source of profit to the bush farmer--they are in universal use--every man in the bush can keep his horse. The demand for good animals, both for colonial use and the Indian markets, is great. Good horses are selling at from £84 to £120, inferior sorts from £25 to £30. They are sure footed, remarkable for their endurance, and manifest high spirit. The climate of Australia is peculiarly favourable to the development of this noble quadruped.
The aborigines are employed by the squatter during the sheep-washing and shearing season. The young men are expert horsemen; they would astonish an English steeple chaser by their daring feats. I have known a New South Wales black boy exceed, in reality, all the feats we read of respecting
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Arab horsemen in the romances of travellers. The race, however, is becoming fast extinct. One remarkable instance of this may be mentioned -- out of a tribe of five or six hundred, known as the Western Port tribe, there has only been one birth within the last ten years. In the settled districts of Victoria, and in the vicinity of the gold fields, their appearance is revolting, reminding the European of the link between himself and the Ourang Outang. They impress the beholder with anything but the philanthrophic idea, "Am I not a man and a brother." They build no houses, nor would they inhabit them if built by others. They practice polygamy; and some of the tribes kill their old people when they are unfit to travel. Mr. Birkett once saw an old woman submit her head to the waddie with the greatest indifference. Their mode of marriage would hardly be approved of by his late reverence of Gretna. When the sable lover has made choice of his future spouse, (generally a young female of another tribe) he steals into their encampment, and knocks her senseless by a blow upon the head with his waddie; he then drags her off as a tiger would his prey. A fight between the tribes ensues, in which a few on both sides are wounded, and the loving couple are then declared married. The men are good shots, and hunt their prey by track or scent, hence, they are often employed to bring back runaway prisoners and stray cattle. Their
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religion is a puzzle--they worship no idol--but they have a great dread of the devil. Mr. Westgarth properly observes--"The untutored savage shines with a lustre of his own, which appears so much superior, as in others it is manifestly inferior in the comparison with civilized man." It is not fair to judge of the aborigines by ourselves. Their roving life--their love of freedom and fun--and the supply of their natural wants are antagonistic to their becoming civilized. Without the anxieties of our refined existence, they have no relish for our pleasures, any more than for our work. They have no need to cultivate the ground and build houses; like the Maories--who are obliged to settle together from the different character of their food, which with them is abundant, consisting of kangaroos,, opossums, emus and other birds, fruits, seeds, roots, turtles, eggs, shellfish, and grubs. They bake the turtle in the shell to save the gravy. Natural death is not believed in; an evil spirit, or one of another tribe is considered the murderer. This is a frequent cause of war. The name of the deceased is never mentioned. Mourning is manifested by loud wailings, plastering the head with pipe-clay, and the women shaving off their hair. The dead bodies are burnt or buried, though some in North Australia place the corpse in the paper bark of the tea-tree, and deposit it in a hollow tree. Instances occur of loving
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mothers carrying the remains of their children in a basket behind them for many weeks.
The mountain ranges of Australia are composed of slate, granite, and basalt. The plains are of recent sandstone and limestone. The highest mountains in Australia are from 5,000 to 6,000 feet above the level of the sea. At Moreton Bay, trachytic lava, quartz, porphyry, and red granite, constitute the rocks; in the vicinity of Sydney sandstone abounds; Melbourne stands on a slate formation; to the east and west of it, the rocks are dark basalt or bluestone; large blocks of magnetic iron are found at Cape Otway; soapstone and a valuable hematite iron are found near Flemington. Wilson's Promontory and the adjacent islands are of granite; Cape Patterson is of soft limestone. The recent limestone cliffs of the Great Bight are 500 feet high. On the coast of Western Australia, the basaltic rocks assume the appearance of the Giants' Causeway in Ireland. The south-eastern coast is of Murray limestone, forming cliffs of three or four hundred feet high along the shore, for hundreds of miles. Coral reefs abound on the coast of North Australia. In South Australia, the Murray runs for more than two hundred miles between cliffs of marine limestone, containing abundance of fossil remains of the recent tertiary period. The white marble country is fifteen miles across; on the western slope of Barossa are talc,
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crystals, soapstones, glauber salts, rock silk, agate, jasper, garnets, amethysts, topazes, diamonds, veins of opal, and fibres of asbestos; the precious stones are not of the most valuable description.
Hunter valley is the chief seat of bituminous coal; the mineral was observed to crop out at the mouth of the river, and convicts were sent to work it as early as 1804. The Newcastle mine was subsequently held by the Australian agricultural company. In 1855, the coal district was leased in small fields, subject to an annual rental, and a royalty charged on each ton raised. On the Kaura at Port Stephens, a seam is known of above thirty feet in thickness. In one of the Hunter pits, 200 feet deep, the following strata were penetrated: -- conglomerate 23 feet, coal 3, grit 44, coal 5, clay rock 43, coal 5, sandstone 50, coal 3. The presence of ferns and the lepidodendron fossil wood proved the coal to be of the true European character. At the Macquarrie may be seen an imperfect coal, with stumps of trees, not yet thoroughly changed. Bituminous coal is found in Doubtful Island bay, Western Australia. The Western Port coal measures, in Victoria, extend along the south-eastern side by Cape Patterson, to the Tarwin river. These are constantly interrupted by basaltic veins. As elsewhere, the coal which is highly bituminous rests on slate immediately below the tertiary series, A pit sunk in 1840 gave the following results:-- blue
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clay 3 feet, yellow stone 11, clay 16, coal 3, clay 9, coal 3, rotten stone 6, coal 5. Near Cape Patterson is a seam 6 feet thick, of first-rate mineral. The Queen seam, four feet thick, is below high water mark; some doubt, however, exists as to the permanent thickness and extent of these veins. In 1840, the coal was discovered twelve miles from any landing-place in that bay, and a fossil tree twenty feet long was found embedded in the coal. Seventeen years ago, a company sought to work this mine. Occasionally, there are found in the soft sandstone over the coal, silicious balls a foot in diameter.
Various are the opinions of Australian geologists as to what is the origin of gold. Some speak of a volcanic scattering of a shower of yellow crystals; others dilate on the potency of heat and the magic influence of chemical agency. Mr. Anstead, a geological writer, tells of the auriferous veins being first mechanically deposited, and then transmuted; their materials being derived from other gold-bearing rocks in gneiss. The Rev. W. B. Clarke, of Sydney, one of the first Australian savans, refers the gold and silicious impregnations to the steam of silex, forming quartz veins; and this action was beneath the surface of the ocean. He thinks that the gold and quartz were formed at the same time; and yet he finds evidence to show that some of the crystalline rocks must have been
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sedimentary in their character. He notices the passages of indefinite variety, from true granite to sienite, &c,, and declares the horneblendic rocks to be the source of transmutations associated with the occurrence of gold.
The question of the volcanic origin of gold-bearing slate rocks has been settled since the discovery of fossils in them, by the Victorian geologist, Mr. Selwyn, and others. In similar Silurian rocks, in Bohemia, 1,200 different species of fossil remains have been found. The thickness of the Australian Silurian formation is thought by Mr. Selwyn to be 35,000 feet. Gold is also found in the granite of New South Wales, &c. There is a barren as well as a fertile quartz. The burnt quartz of diggers is a chemical cement of iron and gravel, without a fiery origin. The pipe-clay differs from slate in having more alumina with its silica, and no iron and potash. Mr. Selwyn considers the vast deposits of pipe-clay in Bendigo White Hills to be in situ--not derived from the washings of other rooks. The presence of gold, as of other mineral veins, is accounted for on chemical grounds alone, by Mr. Evan Hopkins. This gentleman believes that metals are mineral trees, dependent for growth and transformations upon the acids and alkalies in solution. The alluvial gold deposits of the Australian valleys are frequently of immense depth. With reference to this subject, Sir T. L. Mitchell
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observes-- "Vast lapses of time have contributed most of the accumulations of the fluviatile gold." Fresh water currents, and not marine, have borne such deposits, as there have been found in them several specimens of fresh water mollusca, as well as the remains of extinct marsupial animals. This would suppose Australia at one time to have received much more rain than at present; and also involves the supposition that the mountain ranges of Australia occupied a loftier elevation, and thereby attracted the moist atmosphere of the tropical regions.
The gold does not appear to lie deeply embedded in the rock, although it may exist in very minute particles, or in another unmatured form, awaiting the polarising action of terrestrial magnetism near the earth's surface; for, as Mr. Hopkins says-- "Gold only becomes developed by crystallizing or efflorescing towards the surface." The operation of terrestrial magnetism is evidenced in the curious meridional direction of the auriferous bands. Humboldt, when among the Andes of America, in 1792, first noticed the parallelism of these crystalline rocks in the line of north-east and south-west. As the cleavage of slate has been artificially produced by the slowly continued action of the galvanic battery, we may yet live to see the production of metallic veins by a similar agency, and the dreams of alchymist gold-makers realised.
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Experiments on the red earth of the gold-fields may not be without important results. As to the extent of the auriferous deposits, we believe that not only in the quartz and slate mountain districts will the Search be made, but beneath the sandstone floor of the Murray and Darling rivers, and the basaltic bed of Australia's fertile plains.
Gold is now sought for on geological principles, with which the generality of diggers are now fully acquainted. Wherever the slate and quartz formations occur, there the precious metal is found, especially when the cleavage of these rocks is parallel with the magnetic meridian of the place, or north and south. It is also obtained in considerable quantities by pulverising the quartz, mixing the dust with water and quicksilver, and agitating the mixture in a cylindrical vessel. The gold and quicksilver unite, are drawn off, and placed in a retort, and submitted to a slight heat; the quicksilver evaporates, and leaves the gold behind. With careful handling, no part of the mercury is lost, and it may be used in the process ad infinitum.
Copper is frequently found in the mountain ranges of South Australia, from Cape Jervis to Mount Remarkable. In this neighbourhood a shepherd one day found an unusually heavy stone on his run; he shewed it to a Cornish miner, and afterwards inserted it in his chimney. The news spread rapidly; and after due investigation, the
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South Australian Mining Association was formed in April, 1845. The original capital invested was £12,320, raised in £5 shares. They purchased 10,000 acres of land at £1 per acre, and opened the wonderful Burra Burra mines on September 29th, 1845. For a time the dividends were at the rate of £800 per cent! In 1851, they raised 23,000 tons of ore, estimated at £350,000. From this mine was obtained a block of blue carbonate of copper, called "the punchbowl," thirty inches across, full of beautiful mineral crystals.
Australia has numerous natural curiosities. Near Mount Shank are several limestone caves, in which have been found the remains of gigantic emus and marsupial animals. The Devil's Punchbowl, in the same neighbourhood, is 260 yards in circumference, and contains a great depth of water. The country round Mount Gambier and Tatiara, although it has no rivers, is well supplied by subterranean streams, Descending one of the curious well shafts, by a rope, a person alights on a small island, around which there is water and room to sail a man-of-war. Several of these subterranean rivers run through this district; two of them fall into the sea south of Mount Gambier, Near Coombing, in New South Wales, are the Abercrombie caves, 200 feet long, 40 feet broad, and 80 feet high. At Burran Gilong creek, in Bathurst district, is a stalactitic limestone tunnel 700 feet long; the entrance is
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130 feet wide, and the egress 120. In some parts it is 100 feet high; and in the excavations is a splendid hall of alabaster. A mass of native copper, weighing 1101b. was discovered in a cave at Molong. Near Anguston, South Australia, is a dropping well, which possesses a petrifying power like the English Knaresborough.
The island of Tasmania, or Van Dieman's Land, was discovered by Tasman, a Dutchman, in 1642. It lies 200 miles south-east of Australia, and is separated from Victoria by Bass's Strait. It is 250 miles in extreme length, and 200 in its greatest width; containing 24,000 square miles, of 16,000,000 acres, of which 150,000 are in cultivation. The population is 100,000, of which Hobart Town, on Sullivan's Cove, near the mouth of the Derwent, contains 20,000. The aboriginal population consists of five males and ten females.
The island was colonised by Governor Collins from the deserted settlement of Port Phillip, in February, 1804. It became independent of New South Wales in 1825. Governor Collins died in 1810; Colonel Davey became governor in 1813; Colonel Sorell, in 1817; Colonel Arthur, in 1824; Sir John Franklin, in 1837; Sir J. E. Eardly Wilmot, in 1843; Sir W. T. Denison, in 1847; and Sir Henry Fox Young, in 1855.
The exports of the colony are wool, corn, timber, oil, potatoes, and fruits. The value of these in
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1854 was £1,483,002, and the imports £2,604,680. The revenue amounted to £275,554, and the expenditure £276,650. The acres in crop were 175,000. The revenue for 1855 was £295,760. At that period there were 17,000 horses, 100,000 cattle, and 2,100,000 sheep. In 1841, the land sold amounted to 62,183 acres; and in 1853, to 35,800 acres. In 1855, the ministers of the church of England were 49, Roman catholic 17, church of Scotland 11, independent 9, Wesleyan 7, free church 3, and baptist 2.
The highest mountain in Tasmania is about five thousand feet above the level of the sea. On the coast is the celebrated Tasman's arch, through which vessels may sail; the key-stone is forty feet thick, and the height 200 feet. There is a chasm about 200 yards inland, through which the sea rushes with great force, and the noise of the air through the blow-hole may be heard from a distance of five miles. Near Deloraine are extensive limestone caves, whose passages are two miles long. Several magnificent halls are found in these caves, the stalactites in which are magnificent. Excellent magnetic iron ore is brought from Deloraine. Anthracite coal is also found in abundance in Tasmania.
The three New Zealand islands are generally termed the colony of New Zealand, although on the southern island, there is no government settlement.
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The colony is divided into six provinces, viz. -- Auckland, Canterbury, Nelson, Otago, Taranaki, and Wellington. The islands lie about 1,500 miles eastward of New South Wales, and 5,000 miles west of Cape Horn. They cover an area of 100,000 square miles. The English population amounts to 50,000, and the native population to 100,000. A portion of the islands was seen by Tasman in 1642; but the entire group were not circumnavigated till the days of Cook, in 1769.
The colony of New Zealand was established in 1841, by Lieutenant Governor Hobson. Prior to this, it had been a dependency of New South Wales. Captain Fitzroy became governor in 1843; Sir George Grey in 1845; and Colonel Gore Browne, in 1855. In 1852, New Zealand was declared to be under a governor-general and six elected superintendents. In the elections, the Maories have equal rights with the British settlers. The first six superintendents were -- Lieutenant-colonel Wynyard, for Auckland; T. E. Featherstone, Esq., for Wellington; A. Stafford, Esq,, for Nelson; J. E. Fitzgerald, Esq., for Canterbury; Captain Cargill, for Otago; and W. Brown, Esq., for Taranaki. Each of the provinces has a separate legislature subject to the central legislature at Auckland. The revenue of Auckland province for the year ending June, 1855, was £15,000. The imports for last year were £38,320, and exports £30,166.
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The native produce, in 1854, came in 1533 canoes to Auckland, and was estimated at £12,417. The revenue of Nelson province exceeded the expenditure by £18,000. The acres in crop were 9,500 to a population of 6,000, Their exports for the last half-year were £19,700. In Wellington province the revenue for the last quarter, in 1854, was £18,023; and the expenditure, £10,329, Canterbury province exported wool, valued at £25,000, and the government funds are in a healthy state. Otago is flourishing. The colony imported from New South Wales, goods to the value of £872,100, and exported in return, to the value of £218,800. The public debt is £170,000.
The New Zealanders, though heathens, were never worshippers of idols. Their "atua," or gods, were the heavens, light, spirits of the dead, &c. These were the authors of diseases. The New Zealanders believed in witchcraft. Light and darkness they regarded as the first-parents of man. The spirits of the dead passed to the Reinga, near North Cape, and thence into the sea to the region of the blest. The "Tapu," or sacred prohibition of the use or injury of certain objects, exists amongst them, as amongst the other tribes of the Malay race found in the islands of the South Seas. One curious effect of this custom occurs in the arbitrary "tapuing," or forbidding the use, of certain words. The New Zealanders appear always to have been
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slave owners; their slaves were for the most part captives taken in war. Like the ancient Jews, the natives shaved their heads and wounded their bodies when they mourned for deceased friends and relatives. According to their traditions, it would seem that about five hundred years ago, three canoes, belonging to a mighty fleet from Hawaii, were driven ashore on the coast of New Zealand, which had previously been fished up from the bottom of the sea by one of their gods. Some persons have considered that there are two races among them; one the bona fide Maorie, and the other an inferior, dark-skinned people, supposed to be the true aborigines of the New Zealand isles. Prior to the introduction of Christianity the different tribes were always at war with each other, and thousands have been thus exterminated. On one occasion, the Waikato Maories, under Te Whero, invaded Taranaki, and cooked two thousand people. Since their conversion to Christianity, a great change has taken place; cannibalism no longer exists, and the Maories are rapidly progressing in civilization.
When the Maories were first visited by Captain Cook, they were found living in well constructed houses, amply provided with food and mat clothing, and their canoes were splendidly finished. They were cannibals. Their knowledge was remarkable. They were acquainted with eight points of the
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compass; reckoned thirteen months to the year; and to a certain extent understood numerical notation. At that period, the population is thought to have been at least half a million; but exterminating wars and raging epidemic diseases have reduced them to one fourth of that number. Up to a recent period, their intercourse with white men proved as destructive to their morals as their health. Now, however, being converted to Christianity, through the praiseworthy agency of self-denying missionaries, and under the care of protectors appointed by government, brought into contact with a better class of British settlers, they are comfortable and happy. On the part of the colonists generally, there is a great desire to treat this intelligent and high spirited people with kindness. As aborigines they certainly are superior to their fellows, and perhaps more advanced than any in the uncivilized portion of the world. Their pahs, or villages, are generally fortified. The readiness with which they acquire the habits of civilized life, is very striking; in a very limited space of time they become excellent seamen, mechanics, or agriculturists. Many of them possess extensive farms, tidy trading vessels, and considerable sums invested in the savings' banks. Their language is very comprehensive, and is divided into six dialects.
New Zealand possesses several high mountain ranges, some peaks of which are from 12,000 to
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13,000 feet high. It is not so rich in minerals as Australia, although gold, copper, iron, and coal, have been discovered. Anthracite coal abounds; in the valley of the Waikatoo river, in the northern island of New Zealand, there is an area of 100 square miles of this mineral.
Many gigantic fossil remains have been exhumed in New Zealand. About fifty miles south-east of Cape Egmont, several remarkable specimens have been found. There were discovered the bones of the moa, a large apteryx, or wingless bird, measuring from four to twelve feet high, and whose upper jaw was indicative of great power in grubbing up roots. Along with these were also found fossil seals, nocturnal parrots, bones of dogs and existing birds. But more curious than all, there were the calcined bones of men, and spear heads and whalebone weapons, thus proving that the moa was in existence during the time when cannibalism degraded the land. Several moa eggs were discovered, which measured a yard in circumference.
The ornithology of the colonies is extensive and attractive. Australia possesses forty-five genera of birds, thirty-five of which are purely its own. Of 600 species, 300 are found in Victoria. Parrots, honey-eaters, and nocturnal birds, are numerous. There is also a number of fine singing birds and others of most gorgeous plumage. The largest birds are the emu and ardea; the males of which
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attend to the eggs. Honey-eating paroquets are more numerous than the grass-feeders. The black and white cockatoos are gregarious; the pheasant cockatoo skips about like a monkey, The brush turkey has a wattle, or fleshy pendent from the neck, and its eggs are usually deposited in a heap of sand or vegetable matter; the mound thus made by the mountain pheasant of North Australia is often fifty feet in circumference. The bower bird is either satin or spotted, and makes a bower or play-ground of shells, that is not a nest, but through which the male and female chase each other. Large wedge-tailed and white-bellied sea eagles, and falcons or hawks are numerous. The black swan has a melodious note; and is not found north of the Mackenzie. The Cape Barren island goose is a fine bird. The porphyrio is a diver, with red bill, blue breast, and black tail. The crow is the bushman's path-finder; and those acquainted with its habits will never be lost amid the labyrinths of the bush. When the colonists have missed their way, they generally kindle a fire, which attracts the crows from a great distance in search of prey; special attention is paid to the direction from whence they come and to which they return; the wanderer directs his course accordingly, and is sure to reach a settlement or a supply of water. The laughing jackass has a heart-shaped tongue, and gives out a merry laughing note, it is brown
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and green, and feeds on fish, snakes, &c. The morepork is an owl. Among the honey-eaters, the regent bird has a golden head and black body. The bell-bird, or miner, has a splendid note; other honey-eaters have brush tongues, and tails fringed with gold. The wattle-bird makes a noise like a person vomiting. The lyre-bird of Victoria has a magnificent tail like the bird of paradise; after pairing, the male lyre loses his fine colours. There are penguins, pelicans, rails, ferns, shags, albatrosses, grebes, musk-ducks, herons, cranes, water hens, snipes, stilts, dotterels, and turned up billed avosettas. In North Australia are found barking birds, grass-singing larks, banded thickheads, white eye-browed robins, whistling ducks, and clucking night-birds. Pigeons are generally found in large flocks, Mr. Strut in his wanderings found ground doves in the desert, sitting on the burning rock. Ventriloquist and harlequin doves are found in the north. The cuckoo arrives in New South Wales in October, and leaves in January. Magpies, swallows, and crows are common. The piping crow is the musical organ bird. There are day owls in South Australia. No two cat-birds can meet without fighting. A flock of tribonix in one night destroyed whole fields of corn near Adelaide.
In Tasmania are the superb warbler, black-caps, cobbler's awls, robins, quails, nocturnal goat-suckers, fire-tailed finches, emu wrens, and elegant
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diamond-birds; the last build their nests under ground. The little emu wren has seven feathers to its tail, like the feathers of the emu. The ground dove makes a loud whirring noise; the friar imitates the sound four o'clock. The coach-whip of New South Wales, called so from its note, has a black head and breast. The rifle-bird is gorgeously clothed in green, velvet-black, and lilac. There are twenty species of finches; the splendid fire-tail is a finch; and the painted finch of North Australia has a plain upper part, but black and red underneath. The wattled peewit alarms by a scream. The mutton-bird is the petrel of the islands in Bass's straits, and their flocks are so numerous as frequently to darken the air.
New Zealand has sixty genera of birds--and only one species of mammalia--a fruit-eating rat. The kiwi, is an apteryx, or wingless bird. It is nocturnal, and runs quickly; it has sharp claws, black and tasteless flesh, a hook at the end of the stump of its wing, and a snout at the end of the beak to enable it to search for worms. Its bones are not hollow, and its height is two feet. The fireman, a sort of kiwi, stands three feet in height. The uia, of the size of the magpie, has a beautiful tail of twelve feathers. A nocturnal parrot feeds on fern root. The poll is a honey-eater. The crow is dark green. The kukupa is a wood-pigeon. The oyster catcher is a species of duck. The crested
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cormorant, or king shag, is peculiar. The moa is a kind of ostrich, two feet high, having red legs, green and gold back, and purple breast.
Of ninety species of quadrupeds, seventy are marsupial or pouch-bearing. The kangaroos have twenty-eight teeth, of which six are cutting above, and two below. Of these there are forty species. There is the grey of Tasmania, and the red of North Australia. The five toes, on the fore feet, have nails. One species in the north, has a nail at the end of its tail. The euro, by Lake Torrens, reaches the height of six or seven feet; there are none north of latitude 28 deg. in Strut's Desert. The kangaroo rat has dog teeth. The little rat of the Darling builds a pretty nest of twigs. The rabbit rat, of New South Wales, likes sugar. The kangaroo mouse has thick fur. The nocturnal wallaby is a kangaroo. The opossum has fifty teeth, including eighteen cutting teeth. Of the flying opossum there are five species, the smallest is the flying mouse, two inches long. In North Australia it is the flying fox. The kaeola has fifty teeth and no tail. The native sloth is nocturnal, with small ears, and no regular pouch; it barks, and smells badly. The bandicoot is the link between the opossum and kangaroo. The rabbit-like talpero of the desert, has a long snout, or rabbit-like gait, and forty-eight teeth. The wombat, or pig, is a stupid, flat-headed, thick-haired, root-gathering burrower.
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The burrowing porcupine ant-eater is a foot long, has a long snout, short thick legs, no teeth, small eyes, a waddling gait, and yellow spines, tipped with black. The mother sits on the shell-less eggs; when hatched, the little one attaches itself to the nipple of the pouch. The duck-billed platypus, or ornithorhynchus, is amphibious; its home is a hole, by a stream. It has two horny teeth, without root, a membrane and five toes, flat tail, short hind feet turned backwards, small eyes, and no external ear. It lays two shell-less eggs, and suckles its young. It is eighteen inches long; the male has a spur.: Like the porcupine, it rolls itself up. The dasyurns, or hairy-tailed family, is carnivorous. Of these are the Tasmanian tiger, five feet long, with short legs, and stripped body; the Tasmanian devil, with short fur, thick tail, black body, and white bands on the chest and haunches. The tiger cat, with its weasel-legs, brown skin, and white spots. All the dasyurni are fierce, blood-thirsty, cowardly, and nocturnal. The dingo, or wild dog, is not found in Tasmania; it is half fox and half wolf, of a reddish brown colour, bushy red tail, long thick hair, and white in .the tail. The insectivorous shrew is the native mole. Lizards and snakes abound. The king lizard, of North Australia, has an expanding tippet round its neck. The moloch lizard has horns on its head, and spines on the back. The harmless guana feeds on insects, &c.; it can expand its pouch. The
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coorong snake is twelve feet long; and like the black and diamond snakes is very poisonous. There are alligators in the northern rivers, fifteen feet long; and vampire bats, three feet across the wings. The tarantula is the bushmans' flycatcher. The little native-bee has no sting. The noisy cicada springs from a grub, which lives many years. Kangaroo-flies, sand-flies, and mosquitoes trouble the north. The locust is a honey-eater. The grasshopper differs from it, having longer and more slender legs and antennae. The white ants, of North Australia, build hills twenty feet high. The pearl oysters of Shark's bay, West Australia, are valued at £50 a ton. Pearls as large as peas have been extracted from the mother of pearls.
The botany of the colonies is peculiar; and plants of one colony closely resemble those of another. Of course, North Australia possesses plants which could neither grow in Tasmania nor New Zealand, The number of species in the entire colonies is conjectured to be about 7,000. The leaf-stalks of the Australian trees are dilated, and set edge-wise on the stems; the glands are on both sides of the leaf. There are 100 species of great forest trees. Of these there are the blue, red, flooded, white spotted manna, stringy-bark, poplar, and mountain gum-trees. The Yarra box, West Australian mahogany, and the iron-bark are heavy and durable, and well adapted to ship-building. The stringy-bark strips in fibres,
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the gum-bark in ribbands, and the iron-bark in masses. There are sixty species of great timber trees. The manna, dropping chiefly from dwarf peppermints, is condensed by the cicada or colonial locusts. The malle scrub rises from a knotted root, in shoots of ten or twelve feet long. Of this there are three varieties; one with bright green leaves, the wood of which is used for spears; another with leaves of a darker shade; and the red, or water malle, from the cut rootlets of which water may bo produced. On one occasion five pints were got in ten minutes. There are 120 species of acacia, some of which are 150 feet high. The he-oak and she-oak have no leaves, but instead, have long knotted twigs at the extremities of the branches; the male is upright and the female bending. The cherry-tree, with the stone outside the fruit, is also leafless. The pines are various; the Norfolk island pine reaches 200 feet; the Murray pine is often 40 feet high; and in addition to these are the mountain, desert, coast, and dwarf pines, The huon pine of Tasmania is valuable for cabinet work. The palms extend down to the mouth of the Snowy River, latitude 37 1/2 deg.. The corypha palm of New South Wales is 80 feet high. The head of the cabbage palm is an excellent vegetable. The pandanus, or screw palm grows near the sea, and has clusters of red pulpy fruit. The splendid tree ferns, from twelve to thirteen feet high, are
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found in the gullies of the Illawarra, Latrobe, and Snowy rivers, and the mountain streams of Tasmania. The ocanthorrhoea, or grass-tree throws up a spike of flowers from five to eight feet high, which contains both resin and balsam. The grass-tree of North Australia has scarlet centre flowers. Extensive grass tree plains exist in the Capo Otway district. The banksia has rigid leaves and bottle-brushflowers. The tea-tree has also rigid leaves, and many snowy flowers. The cedar of New South Wales will not thrive when removed from associate native plants. The sassafras is a tall pyramidal tree, whose bark is medicinal. The beech of Cunningham reaches 1OO feet. The New South Wales nettle-tree is 20 feet high. The corryong, 40 feet high, has the form of an oak with the foliage of a poplar, and bears waxy flowers; its tenacious bark is wrought into native nets. The dogwood has fragrant orange coloured blossoms. Mr. Bunce found a flower, the bottom part of which was dead, while the top was fresh. The gorgeous waratah is a mountain laurel, from 20 to 30 feet high, with heads of brilliant scarlet wiry flowers, four inches across. The blue berries of the dianella hang in gorgeous festoons. The trailing kennedia is a beautiful crimson creeper. The pink lotus of the Campaspe, has a fragrant smell. The white star of Bethlehem abounds in the vicinity of Melbourne. Everlasting flowers are very common. There are 150 species
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of the orchis. The three grasses are the kangaroo, the north barley grass, and the broad-leafed panicum or millet. The native bread is a fungus found in large lumps. The bottle-tree of North Australia, 40 feet high, tastes like a turnip. The bunya, a pine 150 feet high, bears a scented nut. The nebumbium, found near the lagoons of the Mackenzie, has one large leaf, on a leaf stalk, eight feet high, and a flower stalk of ten feet; the blossom is pink, and the seeds of the cone nearly an inch long. The Mackenzie river bean has a pod six inches long. The grass of the Isaacs river is fifteen feet high. There is a salt bush on the northern plains, which when dried, rolls about like a floating balloon. The zomatia, three feet high, has clusters of fragrant white blossoms. Van Dieman's Land vegetation is very dense. A gum-tree, near Brown's river, measures 104 feet in circumference. One near Hobart town is 86 feet round, at six feet from the ground, and 330 feet high, without the top. In 1853, a hollow tree of this species formed the dwelling of a solitary old man, in the neighbourhood of New Town, Sydney. There are myrtles 150 feet high. The richea, or broad-leafed grass-tree, 15 feet, has spike-like panicles of white flowers, which before opening have the appearance of grains of rice. There are sixty species of the pea family in Tasmania. The native rose, 12 feet, has white blossoms, which appear like snow, when falling.
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New Zealand is a land of ferns; 150 species art known to exist, besides three of the tree ferns, which are found 40 feet in height. There are more than 80 species of mosses. There is a species of palm, about 50 feet high. Myrtles are common. The juice of the berries of the tupakihi is made into a mild agreeable drink, by the natives; but the seeds are of a highly intoxicating maddening nature. The phormium tenase, or native flax, makes excellent rope. The honey is delicious. There are several good native fruits. The kauri is the only cone bearing pine: the others have berries. The totara is a good timber tree. The rata, or native oak, has been found nearly 60 feet in circumference. This wonderful tree, first runs up and embraces the trunk of some large tree, which it afterwards supplants, and becomes in its stead a tree of immense size.
The annual mean temperature of Melbourne is 60 deg., that of London being 50 deg.. The mean temperature of Port Albert, according to Lt. Slade, is 54 deg. having its heat modified by the sea and mountains. Dr. Davy records a singular coincidence on Jan. 28th and 29th, 1855; when the thermometer was 112 deg. on each day at one o'clock; and 66 deg. at the same hour of the night. Sydney has a higher temperature than Melbourne; being 4 deg. nearer the equator; the mean temperature being 64 deg., that of Adelaide is 65 deg.. It is repeatedly 120 deg. in the shade,
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in a hot wind. Captain Strut endured 157 deg. in the sun, and 134 deg. in the shade. Hobart Town experienced in a hot wind 134 deg. in the sun, in 1823; the mean temperature of that place has been 53 1/2 deg. for the last eight years; the same as New York. The longest day in Hobart Town is 15 1/4 hours; the shortest 8 3/4.
The mean annual quantity of rain at Melbourne for the last seven years is 31 inches, that of London being 24. The mean quantity at Sydney is 56 inches; the average for Adelaide 19 inches; Hobart Town 20 inches. As a contrast to the Australian rains, the following may be of interest: ---Tahiti 150 inches; Cayenne 250. Near Cape Horn, 150 inches fell in 40 days. In the Khassa Hills, north of Calcutta, during the rainy half-year, there fell 550 inches, of which, 25 came down in one day. In Siberia, only 10 inches fell in the year.
The westerly breezes are very prominent during the summer months in Melbourne, Dr. Davy found the south winds to be by far the most frequent. The north wind prevails there in winter. Those at Bendigo, were noticed by Mr. Ludwig Becker, to be from the north-west. The most common wind at Launceston, is that from the north-west. Lieut. Slade gives the following courses of currents of air at Alberton, in 325 days, viz.: --west, 154 days; south-west, 28; east, 29; north-east, 16; northwest, 14; south, 10; south-east, 6; north, 3 days.
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The mercury falls when the wind is from north-east, and rises with south-west.
The tides are peculiar, though the tidal wave rises hut a few feet, yet local causes produce different elevations. At Cape Palmerston, the tide is 24 feet; Port Essington, 16; Port Stephens, 14; Western Port, 14; Port Macquarie, 8; Brisbane, 8; Lewis's Channel, Corner Inlet, 8; Port Dalrymple, 6 to 8; Kangaroo Island, 6 to 8; Newcastle, 7; Twofold Bay, 6; Sydney, 4 to 7; Port Lincoln, 4 to 6; Port Phillip, entrance, 3 to 6. On the north-west coast, the tide rises 37 feet. There is no tide running at Rockingham Bay. At Port Phillip Heads, the tides are seven hours and a half earlier, and Moreton, one hour and a half later than Sydney. The night tides are higher than the day tides at Sydney. The New South Wales alternating current is dependent on the Monsoons. It tends south-west in summer, within 20 miles of the coast, and then turns north-west; the contrary takes place in winter. The current often runs two miles an hour. Two tides, of eight feet, run 54 hours in Spencer's Gulf; one of four feet in Port Lincoln.
The storms are described by Mr. Dobson, of Hobart Town, as cyclones, immense whirling eddies in the air, extending vertically from, the space of the atmosphere, down to the earth, and moving bodily over its surface. In the Southern Hemisphere,
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the eddy turns north-east, round to south-west; while in the north it is from north-west to southeast. The W. N. E. S. cyclonic points correspond to N. E. S. W. of the compass. These hurricanes travel rapidly. That of October 13th 1850, --in which the Grecian was lost at Adelaide--was felt the next day at Sydney. The cyclone of Swan River, July 8th, reached Launceston July 10th. That of August, 1843, moved 40 miles an hour. The storms begin with a north wind, and end with a south one. One on May 12th, 1851, produced the waterspout of the Burra Burra, which drove 1,500 persons houseless, from their creek warrens. The great cyclone of June, 1851, proceeded from Swan River, to Tasmania and New Zealand. The violent wind on Black Thursday, February 6th, 1851, was not a cyclone. Its effects were remarkable. There were desolating fires, immense heat, and alarming darkness. Ships at sea were covered with burnt wood and dust. Some of the burnt leaves, &c, from Port Phillip, were carried as far as Port Otago, New Zealand, the day following.
Earthquakes--though occasionally slightly felt in Australia--are almost confined to New Zealand. On the morning of the 17th of September, 1855, a smart shock was felt in Melbourne, which split several walls of houses. Earthquakes have been repeatedly felt in New Zealand. One occurred at Wellington, on Sunday night, October 16th, 1848,
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in the midst of a violent storm of rain. Houses and chapels reeled and fell. The hills rocked to and fro. The ground quivered like jelly. The noise was compared to the crushing of ten thousand forests at once. The shock lasted but one minute. The next great shocks came after intervals of 38 hours each. Smaller ones followed, for months after. Another considerable earthquake happened on January 23rd, 1853; which was simultaneously felt at Wellington, Nelson, New Plymouth and Canterbury, occasioning some loss of life.
The South Magnetic Pole is in lat. 75 deg. south, by 154 deg. east. At 160 miles distance the magnet dips 88 deg.. The dip at Hobart Town is 70 deg.; at Wellington and Melbourne, 67 deg.; at King George's Sound, 64 deg.; at Adelaide, 62 deg.; at Sydney, 61 deg.; at Port Essington, 35 deg.. One line of no variation passes very irregularly through Japan, Canton, Bombay, Java and Australia to the South Pole. In the South Pacific, Captain Ross observed the variation change from 114 deg. to 40 deg. in only 360 miles. The needle is progressing eastward. The variation of New Zealand, in 1643, was 9 deg. east; it is now 14 deg. east. Storm Bay was 3 deg. in 1642; now it is 11 deg.. The variation of Port Essington is 2 1/2 deg. east. King George's Sound, 3 deg. west; Adelaide, 7 deg. cast, Portland Bay, 7 deg. east. King's Island, 9 deg. cast. Melbourne, 9 1/4 deg. east. In London, the variation was east before 1660; it is now 24 deg. west;
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the dip was formerly 73 1/2 deg.; it is now 69 1/2 deg. A great magnetic storm was observed at the same time, on September 25th, 1841, at China, Canada, Swan River, Sydney, and Hobart Town. A simultaneous disturbance of the needle was observed for thirteen days, in Germany, Canada, and Hobart Town.
The principal explorers of Australia have been Cunningham, Mitchell, Kennedy, Bunce, Strut, Grey, Eyre and Gawler. In March, 1833, Allan Cunningham, the botanist, and twenty men reached the Began, on the banks of which Cunningham was lost; he was killed by the blacks. Sir T. L. Mitchell, the fortunate explorer of Australia Felix, in 1836, left Sydney on December 6th, 1845, to survey the country north of the Darling. He had a party of thirty, with eight drays, three carts, thirteen horses, and two hundred and fifty sheep. In his progress to that river he suffered much from thirst. For forty miles he sought in vain for water in the river Bogan. The heat killed his kangaroo dogs. After passing the Darling, he encountered few hardships. River after river appeared, with a large extent of excellent pasture land. From the Balome depot, he went ahead with ten men and light carts. In June he left the beautiful Maronoa, and discovered new realms of fertility. Well might he exclaim-- "These beautiful recesses of unpeopled earth, could no longer remain unknown." The Claude, the Salvator, the Nogoa, the Nive, the
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Warrego, the Belyando, the Maranoa and the Victoria were the principal waters he passed. The last named river, he concluded from its size and direction, would lead to the Gulf of Carpentaria; or, as he himself observed-- "the country is open, and well watered, for a direct route thereto." They forsook the Victoria, with its perfume of lilies and waving grass, because their provisions were failing, and with the enumerated rivers the traveller complains of contending a whole year with scarcity of water. Observing no extensive or lofty ranges, he beheld lines of volcanic cones. The Claude, from its soft rich scenery, was named after a French landscape painter; and another picturesque looking stream, was called after the romantic painter, Salvator Rosa. The pastoral Mantuan downs, were named from the Mantuan pastoral poet Virgil; the Nive, from a battle in Spain; Hope's Table Land, after an officer, under whom Sir T. Mitchell served in the peninsula, thirty years before.
The enterprising Kennedy was sent in 1848, to explore York Peninsula. He had a party of twelve. They were provided with 27 horses, 250 sheep, and 4 tons of flour. They were landed at Rockingham Bay, and were to proceed to Port Albany, near Cape York. For four months they struggled over a frightful country, through which they could carry neither their flour nor their sheep. They killed their horses to sustain life. Leaving eight
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of the party at Weymouth, Kennedy pushed on with the native Jackey Jackey, and three others, to gain the ship waiting with stores. An accident obliged him to leave the three -whites, and hasten on with the aborigine, to get medical assistance. The natives beset them at Escape River, Dec. 13th; when near Port Albany, Kennedy was mortally wounded, by several spears. His last moments are thus described by his faithful servant. "He said, 'Jackey, give me paper, and I will write.' I gave him paper and pencil, and he tried to write, but he fell back and died; I caught him as he fell back and held him: and I then turned myself round and cried. I was crying a good while until I got well." The good fellow buried his master, and succeeded, faint and wounded, after thirteen days struggling with blacks and scrub, in getting to the vessel. The crew hastened to those left at the bay and in the bush. Two living skeletons alone remained, the others had perished from fever and hunger. Governor Fitzroy afterwards presented the faithful Jackey with an engraved silver plate, to be worn on his breast.
Dr. Ludwig Leichhardt, a German naturalist, in 1844, organised an expedition with the aid of public subscription. To those who contributed money or stock towards the expedition, he showed his gratitude by naming rivers after them, --as Isaacs, Mackenzie, Cape, Suttor, Burdekin, Lynd, Macarthur, &c. In
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their long journey of 1500 miles, the party's provisions were exhausted, and they fed on opossums, iguanas, and birds, until they fell in with wild buffaloes, towards the gulf. When they killed a beast, they dried the flesh in the sun. They were once fifty hours without water. On the Queen's birthday, they sweetened their tea by putting their last empty sugar-bag into the boiling water. Losing three horses in crossing the Roper, they were obliged to leave their botanical collection behind. Approaching the Alligator river, they found plenty of ducks and geese. They reached a home at Port Essington, Dec. 17th, 1845; and arrived by a vessel at Sydney, March 29th, 1846, having been long given up for lost. Assisted by government and private subscriptions, Leichhardt began a new journey, December, 1846, with a party of eight, and Mr. Daniel Bunce, as naturalist. They were provided with fourteen horses, sixteen mules, ninety sheep, forty cattle, and two hundred and seventy Cashmere goats. The object of this journey, was to discover the mountain source of the gulf rivers, to skirt Strut's Desert, and reach Swan River, Western Australia. This was an unfortunate expedition. The animals were often missing. The weather was unusually wet. Fever and ague constantly hindered their progress; the goats, and most of the cattle and mules were lost. The party subsisted upon sun-dried bullock's flesh, with birds,
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occasionally, iguanas, snakes, &c. Want of nourishment and medicine prevented their recovering strength. They reached Strut's Desert, near Peak range, but were forced, at last, by sickness and weakness to return. Well might Leichhardt remark, that nothing but a continued chain of misfortunes attended them. Mr. Bunce in the homeward route, reaped the benefit of his benevolence and thoughtfulness, in unexpectedly eating of fruits and vegetables springing from his own sowing, months before. After a few months rest, Dr. Leichhardt courageously departed for Swan River. He took with him only three white men, Hentig, Glassen, Jack, a Bushman; and Mr. Bunce's Black Jemmy. He left Darling Downs, in March, 1848, and has not been heard of since. Mr. Haly went afterwards upon his track, and was told by some native women that the white men had been murdered, Mr. Bunce marked a good track 300 miles long, from the Darling, to Mount Abundance. Mr. Gregory--late Surveyor of Western Australia-- left on his North Australian tour in 1855, for the Victoria River of Stokes, the Plains of Promise, &c. Captain Grey was the chief explorer of Western Australia by land. In 1837-8, travelling inland, he discovered Glenelg River and some excellent land. He entered a cave, on the sides of which were many rude drawings of men and animals. The Red hand was there, and the figures had bandages on their
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heads, and garments to their ancles. Being wounded by the blacks, he was obliged to retire. He then explored the country of Sharks Bay, observing the Gascoigne River and Colaina, or Deceitful Plains, from the Mirage. On his way back to Swan River he was shipwrecked at Gantheaume Bay, and had to walk 300 miles southward, to reach the first settlement. Several rivers, as the Murchison, Hutt, Irwin, Chapman, &c., were passed, and some good country. The party endured much from sickness, hunger and thirst, and nothing but, the courageous conduct of Grey sustained the others. He sought strength from the scriptures. He very properly observes:-- "In all my sufferings, I never lost the consolation derived from a firm reliance upon the goodness of Providence." One of the party-- Mr. Smith--wandered from the rest, and perished from thirst. Falling in at last with some friendly blacks, they were feasted with roast frogs and by-yu nuts. Mr. Eyre, in 1840, proposed an overland trip to Swan River. Leaving Adelaide in June, he explored the shore of Lake Terrene. Unable to proceed westward, through the frightful desert, scrub and barren rocks, he came to Port Lincoln, with the intention of following the sea coast, to King George's Sound; a distance of twelve hundred miles. The danger was so obvious, that at Fowler Bay--the western limit of Australia --he sent back all but three black lads, and one
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white man, the overseer. They journeyed over the Biscuit Cake Stones, and rounded the Great Bight, after three attempts. The poor horses were soon, so reduced, that they could only carry twenty pounds each. All other things were then abandoned. The want of water was a great trouble to the wanderers, horseflesh supplying food. On two occasions they travelled for seven days without water. They found some by digging in white sand near the sea. One day Mr. Eyre returned to the camp, after seeking for his lost horses,, and found his companion murdered, most of his provisions stolen, and his natives gone. Driving onward two or three horses, he set off on his journey through the desert alone. The lad Wylie, afterwards returned to him. When nearly perishing, the two walking skeletons fell in with a French whaler, by the coast of Rossiter Bay. There they were kindly treated. Pursuing their journey, they arrived at King George's Sound, in July, 1841. In 1831, Captain Barker was sent to survey the hill country west of the Murray. Landing on the shore of the Gulf of St. Vincent, he walked over the spot where Adelaide was afterwards built; passed over the Lofty Range--named a mountain after himself--and arrived overland at the mouth of the Murray. He swam over the river, with his instruments, to make observations, and was never seen again. The poor man was pierced
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by the spears of the alarmed natives. Six years after, Captain Pullen and the Adelaide Judge were drowned, in trying to enter the Murray from the sea. Governor Gawler, in 1841, explored the country to the west of the Great Murray Bend. The party killed horses for blood to drink. Mr. Bryan, one of the number, was lost near the site of the Burra Mines, and was supposed to have perished for want of water. Mr. Drake surveyed the country north of Port Lincoln, in 1844, and discovered the barren Gawler range. He was mortally wounded by the natives, and died in great agony on his way back to the settlement. Mr. Horrocks--after whom a mountain is called--left Adelaide with a camel, on an exploring trip, believing this conveyance the best for so dry a region. On his journey he accidentally shot himself.
Captain Strut, Surveyor General of South Australia, in 1844, made an attempt in August 15th of that year, to penetrate the unknown interior. He followed the Murray to the Darling; striking off to the north west, he came to the Barrier and Grey Ranges. Approaching a rocky glen--in which there was water--the party formed a depot. Surrounded by deserts, they were completely shut in during the dry season, for 160 days; the heat on one occasion was 157 deg. in the sun, and 134 deg. in the shade. There Mr. Poole, the assistant, died of scurvy. Again and again did Captain Strut try to
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discover water elsewhere. On one trip he reached the north eastern salt shore of Lake Torrens. At last they were permitted to move onward through the desert. A few channels of creeks were seen as O'Halloran and Strzlecki; also some salt lakes. Very few natives came near. Waterfowl passed in flocks towards the north west, as if some inland sea were still in that direction. No great mountain dividing range was observed. The rivers flowing inward from other hills, may he supposed to form a vast lake in winter, though the hot winds may pass over its dried surface in summer.
In lat. 27 deg., Strut entered the curious Stony Desert, one hundred miles long. Crossing this, the sand ridges reappeared. The dry channel of the Eyre Creek was passed, and the same dreary sand hills were spread out before him. so far were the party now from water, that they feared to go further. Their position was long. 138 deg. east, by lat. 24 1/2 deg. south. They hastened back just in time to get a drink, by straining mud through a handkerchief. Changing their course to the south east, they discovered a creek containing water, named after Judge Cooper, of Adelaide. The natives behaved kindly to the Englishmen, bringing them millet cake, baked fish and roast duck. Cooper's Creek is doubtless the continuation of Mitchell's Victoria River, and the outlet of the water is towards Lake Torrens. Loud cheers of welcome
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saluted the worthy traveller, from the Darling and Murray tribes on his return. Captain Strut gained his happy home, January 19th, 1846. No discovery of importance has followed this expedition in that direction.
Sir John Franklin and his lady suffered much in a journey through Tasmania, from the capital to Macquarie Harbour. They ate wild greens for want of provisions. He was Governor of that island in 1837.
A few years ago, Mr. Brunner left Nelson, New Zealand, with two natives and their wives; he passed eighteen months in one of the most desolate countries in the world. They chiefly subsisted upon eels and birds. It rained almost continually. Water rose in one night twenty feet in a river. No good land was seen. The London Geographical Society rewarded Brunner's sufferings with a gold medal. His farthest point was lat. 43 1/2 deg. south, near Mount Cook, New Zealand.