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The price of land in New South Wales is £1 per acre, which is generally found too high to leave a gain to the purchaser: how then can a settler afford to pay £3 at Canterbury? or £2 at Otago, or £1 at Wellington? Are these widely varied prices purely fanciful? or which is correct?
New Zealand possesses little, if any, pastoral wealth;* the nature of the land forbids it in most localities in consequence, meat is three times the price there that it is in New South Wales. The exports of other colonies, on which their rapid growth was founded, consist of wool and tallow. We have often inquired, and would be delighted to learn, of what the immediate exports of New Zealand are to consist. Let us recur again to figures. From a Return computed from 1840 to 1846, both inclusive, it appears that their Imports were £921,074, Exports £284,158; leaving a balance against the colony of £635,876: that the Revenue at the
* Canterbury seems, in many respects, to be an exception to these remarks, which were intended for New Zealand in general. At Canterbury there seems to be some extent of pastoral land, and agricultural land, naturally clear of timber.
same period was £159,719; the Expenditure £289,069.
It is much to be regretted that the statistics from New Zealand are less accurate than from the other colonies. In 1848 the European population is stated at 17,700; Imports £222,077; Exports £45,215.*
It is true that many obstacles to the progress of this colony have heretofore existed-wars with the natives, as well as quarrels with the Imperial Government. Hopes may therefore be entertained that hereafter a better state of things may arise, which doubtless will be the case when the energy which has carried its colonists half round the globe is directed into a right channel, to produce not only corn and potatoes, but exportable articles. When such are discovered, that settlement, like others, will exhibit a progress hitherto unknown to mankind; and ultimately will, probably, exceed in strength and power any of the neighbouring nations.
The progress of South Australia has been surprising: formed in 1830, ten years afterwards
*There is reason to think that these Returns have understated the amount of exports.
Adelaide contained 7,413 inhabitants; and the whole district 22,320. In 1847 there were 42,000 acres in cultivation. The sheep were in number 784,000; the Imports £410,825; Exports £310,348: of these Exports £174,000 consisted of mineral ores, the property of only a few individuals, and therefore less beneficial to the community at large than other products, the value of which would be more equally distributed. Of the remainder, £40,000 was for corn, shipped chiefly to England. The abolition of protective duties will destroy this branch of colonial trade. In 1848 the population had increased to 38,660; and the Exports reached £485,950, of which £320,000 was produced by the mines.
The mineral wealth of South Australia is prodigious. The Burra Burra mine consists of perhaps the richest copper ore known in the world, and the shares in the company formed for working it are at an enormous premium. Some of the other mining companies are thriving, but present nothing at all to be compared with this. The shares in some others are at a discount. What treasures remain as yet undiscovered none can conjecture; silver, lead, and gold have been
found. If smelting were carried on in the colony instead of at Swansea, as at present, a great saving would be effected; as the Indian and Chinese markets would be supplied direct from the mines instead of from England, as is now the case. This colony is generally admitted to be the most prosperous of the Australian group, next to Port Phillip, of which many particulars have been already given more at length than with regard to others, for the reasons stated at the commencement, that they had been more immediately under the writer's observation. Although he believes Port Phillip to be incomparably the most prosperous, and that eventually it will be the most important of the Australian colonies, he has endeavoured to abstain from any comments of his own, which some might suppose to be biassed. His readers may draw their own conclusions from figures which are condensed in a short tabular form below.
The only settlement of the group remaining to be noticed is that of Western Australia, or the Swan River, as it is more commonly called : colonised in the first instance on erroneous principles, it has made little progress; latterly, however, it has attracted more attention. Now
that means are taken for forming a penal establishment there, and that even a small emigration has commenced, it is to be hoped that some impulse may be given to it. If a coaling station for steamers to Australia, viâ the Cape of Good Hope, should be formed at King George's Sound, or Perth, it would be of incalculable advantage to the colony.
Some good land is said to have been recently discovered to the northward, and also some promising mines; but these reports are so common in all new countries that time is requisite to test their truth.
Little, if any, communication is maintained between this and the other Australian colonies. Its position for a trade with India and the Mauritius is superior to that of any other. Its past progress, in comparison with them, may be estimated by the following Table, derived from Official Returns, but which it is believed underestimates the population in every instance.
The Return is made for the year 1848.