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is not required at all: meat is produced, and beasts of burden maintained by the pastoral class, with little or no effort. When so small a proportion as a tenth or a fifteenth of the people is required for the growth of human food, what an opportunity is opened to the remainder, of excelling in the pursuit of the arts, manufactures, and sciences!
It would be endless to speculate upon the eventual importance of a country possessing every climate in the habitable world; where the oat, which braves the inclement seasons of the north of Scotland, flourishes, and where the tropical plaintain is indigenous (as was discovered by the late Captain Stanley, while surveying the northern coast of New Holland); where we already foresee a trade in wine, oil, silk, coal, and metals, all which can easily be added, in course of time, to the wool and tallow, which at present form its wealth. In an ungenial northern clime, wool was the foundation of the commercial wealth of England, where the woolsack in the House of Lords to this day testifies. the value attached to it by our ancestors. Anglo-Saxon energy, applied under more favourable circumstances in this enlightened age, and
NATURE OF THE SOIL.
with so many additional means of advancement, will, in ages to come, leave posterity to wonder at the glory and power of that race which has already encircled the world within its grasp, diffusing its language, civilization, and religion from pole to pole.
However such visions may gratify a speculative mind, the present age must be regarded generally as of a utilitarian, practical character; it is more necessary, perhaps, to speak of the climate of this favoured land, and the nature of the soil. The most contradictory statements have been put forward: by some, the country is represented as an arid desert, parched with drought; by others, as exhibiting unrivalled luxuriance, abundantly watered by rain. Paradoxical as it may appear, both these statements are true. It is to be remembered that Sydney is distant from Perth about as far as Edinburgh from Constantinople. When a traveller, therefore, is asked "What sort of country is rather puzzled for an answer.
accounts for the diversified
Australia?" he is
This great extent statements above
The interior is as yet unexplored, but is supposed to consist of a desert like Sahara.
Much of the older settlement of New South Wales is absolutely sterile, or productive only of useless scrubs, which for centuries cannot repay the cost of clearance. In much of the country lately visited by the intrepid Liechhardt, at Moreton Bay, the Manning, the Hunter, Illawarra, and especially in the Port Phillip district, lands of the greatest fertility exist; and as it is impossible for any one traveller to have visited localities so widely separated, it can easily be imagined that the most conflicting statements should be made with perfect truth.
The same may be said with regard to drought. Port Phillip and South Australia are the only districts which have never suffered severely from its effects in the whole of Australia. The following results of meteorological observations may, in part, exemplify the amount of rain falling annually in different portions of Australia :
giving a probable mean of 26 inches. The quantity in average years, is
The complaints of farmers there of want of rain are not so doleful as of those of Great Britain, whose crops are destroyed every three months on an average, if these proverbial growlers are to be believed. In earlier days, when the colony of New South Wales was subjected to severe droughts, which reduced it almost to starvation, the whole settlement was confined to the immediate neighbourhood of Sydney. It has since been ascertained that these visitations are but partial. There is now, therefore, no fear of a recurrence of famine prices; the immense extent of the settlement from Moreton Bay to South Australia insures a harvest in one part, even if it should be totally cut off in another.
That the climate is generally dry is unquestionable; the absence of large rivers at once proves the fact; and it is to the dryness of the atmosphere that the salubrity of the climate and the trifling
inconvenience experienced from the solar heat is to be attributed. Its remarkable adaptation for the growth of the finest wool is probably to be thus accounted for.
No meteorological tables can convey to the reader, coughing perchance in a November fog, or shivering in the influenza, the exhilaration, the vigour, the energy which seems to pervade nature: "At home we exist, not live;" "Here we breathe champagne;" such is the language of writers on this subject. These statements are exaggerated; greater variations of heat or cold are scarcely to be met with in any part of the world. Thin ice is frequently seen in winter, and snow sometimes, but very rarely, falls, except in the mountains. Yet none can refrain from admiration of the general deliciousness of the climate, the refreshing sea breeze, the glorious thunder and vivid lightning, the brilliant calmy moonlight, the gorgeous sunset,
"Where the fruits of the earth, and the hues of the sky, In colour though varied, in beauty may vie."
True indeed it is that such is not always the case; that in the heat of summer sometimes a "hot wind," of a most enervating and distressing