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9. Forest-Oak.—“ Known also by the name of Beef-wood; suitable for tool-handles, bullock-yokes, &c. It is used principally for fire-wood.”
10. Tulip-Wood.—“This wood is suitable for fancy, cabinet and turning-work. It grows in the scrub. The tree appears like a cluster of Gothic columns.”
" There are a great many other species of valuable timber in this district,” observes Mr. Petrie, “ that I have not described, not having specimens to give you. Logwood and Fustic have been procured here. The timber-trade will form one of the principal branches of commerce.” I have already mentioned the cypresspine as an ornamental timber, peculiar to the district. Satin-wood and yellow-wood are the names of two other species of timber that are used in the same way; but this department of the future wealth of the territory of Cooksland has as yet been but very imperfectly investigated.
“ I have sent you,” adds Mr. Petrie in the communication from which I have just been quoting pretty freely, “ a small sample of the native gums. Gums could be procured in this District in considerable quantities.” In addition to the sample sent me by Mr. Petrie, I had picked up a few specimens in the District myself, and I have no doubt that the export of this article will be very considerable as soon as there shall be a sufficient amount of disposable labour in the district to procure it. There are several species of gumyielding trees in the forests of Moreton Bay, and as far as I could judge from appearances, the gums of the most valuable description are the produce of trees growing on the poorest land. In passing rapidly by the Railway through North Carolina in the United States of America in the year 1840, I observed that millions of the pine-trees along the line of the Railway, growing on the sterile tract constituting what the Americans call the sea-board, had been tapped for turpentine or rosin. Now if the collecton of these inferior gums constitutes a remunerating employment for industry, and a lucrative branch of national commerce
in America, I am quite confident that one or other of the various gums procurable in comparatively large quantities at Moreton Bay would well repay all the labour that might be expended in collecting it, and would form a valuable export for the Colony. None of these gums, so far as I know, have as yet been tested or analyzed; but it cannot be supposed for one moment that some, at least, of the numerous varieties of gum produced in so low a latitude would not be found highly useful, and consequently highly valuable either in pharmacy, or in the arts and manufactures. The Moreton Bay Pine yields a gum which is frequently found in hard masses, wherever the tree has been accidentally wounded, as large as a child's head; and in other varieties of the gum-yielding trees of the district, if a gimlet-hole is made in the wood when the sap is up, the gum issues abundantly and quite transparent, hardening gradually on exposure to the air. The collection of whatever variety or varieties of the native gum might be found worth at least the trouble of procuring it, besides paying the cost of its transmission to England, would form a species of light labour by no means disagreeable, and in all probability highly remunerative to the future colonists of Cooksland.
There is one other article of production, which certainly does not require the intervention of cultivation of any kind to ensure its being obtainable in any conceivable quantity by careful and industrious people, in the district of Moreton Bay, and for the raising of which the climate and indigenous vegetation are admirably adapted—I mean honey. Honey from the labours of the small, native, stingless bee of the colony is procured in great quantities by the Aborigines, and forms a frequent and favourite article of their food. But the European bee has of late years been introduced in New South Wales, and propagated with remarkable success; the number of swarms which a hive in working and breeding order throws off in a given time, and the quantity of honey realized from the stock, with scarcely any trouble whatever, being perfectly incredible to any person acquainted merely with the management of bees, and the results of that management in England. A settler at Illawarra in New South Wales, who very recently directed his attention to this branch of rural economy, had not less than 25 cwt. of honey to dispose of last season to a brewery in his neighbourhood at threepence a-pound. The climate and vegetation of Moreton Bay are, in my opinion, still better adapted to the bee than those of Illawarra, and the circumstance suggests a source of comfort and wealth to industrious emigrants of the humbler classes of society that ought neither to be neglected nor despised.
ARTIFICIAL PRODUCTIONS SUITED TO THE SOIL AND CLIMATE OF
“ Be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff. And they brought of the pomegranates and of the figs.”—NUMBERS xiii. 20-23.
It has long been the general impression in New South Wales, that Moreton Bay is too far to the northward for the production of wheat or any other European grain; and I confess, that until I had visited the district myself, and ascertained the fact to be otherwise, I was under that impression also. Two circumstances had concurred in producing and maintaining this impression : on the one hand, the wheat of Hunter's River, situated about a hundred miles to the northward, was known to be considerably lighter than the wheat grown to the southward of Sydney, as well as of inferior quality and more liable to be attacked and destroyed by the weevil; and it was natural to suppose that so much farther to the northward as the district of Moreton Bay, the soil and climate would be still less suited to the production of that grain. On the other hand, the Government had attempted the cultivation of wheat at a place called Eagle Farm, a few miles down the river from Brisbane Town, during the continuance of the Penal Settlement at Moreton Bay, and as it had proved a complete failure, the experiment was not repeated elsewhere for a long time thereafter. Besides, when the Settlement was at length thrown open to free immigration towards the close of the year 1841, the whole of the available labour of the district being employed exclusively in tending the rapidly increasing flocks and herds of the Squatters, there was no leisure in any quarter for the cultivation of grain, and the whole of the flour required in the district was imported from Sydney. The uncertainty of this supply, however, especially before a regular steam communication was established with Sydney, and the great cost of the article, over and above its price in the capital, induced various parties in the Settlement to attempt to grow wheat for themselves, and the gratifying result has been the complete establishment of the fact, that the Moreton Bay country is admirably adapted for the growth of wheat, as well as of various other descriptions of European grain; the failure at Eagle Farm having been owing entirely to the ineligibility of the situation.
The slightest reference to the history of the ancient world might indeed have led any person to anticipate such a result. Egypt, and the Roman Province of Africa were for ages the granary of Rome, and we learn from Holy Scripture that wheat, and barley, and flax were the principal agricultural products of Egypt from the highest antiquity. Now the limits of the land of Egypt_5 from Migdol,” at the mouths of the Nile, to “ the Tower of Syene," under the tropic of Cancercorrespond exactly in the Northern Hemisphere with those of Cooksland, extending, as it does, from the 30th parallel of South latitude to the Tropic of Capricorn, in the Southern. Making allowances, therefore, for the difference between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres—and on the common supposition that the Southern is the coldest, that difference will be all in favour of the suitableness of the soil and climate of Moreton Bay for the production of European grain