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“ The men are shepherds ; for their trade hath been to feed
cattle.”—Genesis xlvi. 32.
The vast territory of New South Wales has evidently been designed by the Great Architect of the universe to form three separate and independent Colonies or States; and it has accordingly been of late years regarded as comprising the three following Districts :1st, New South Wales Proper, or the Middle District ; 2d, Port Phillip, or the Southern District ; and 3d, Moreton Bay, or the Northern District—which we have taken the liberty, with the kind permission of the People of Great Britain and Ireland, to designate COOKSLAND.
The Southern or Port Phillip District is bounded on the west by the hundred-and-forty-first meridian of east longitude, which, by Act of Parliament, forms the boundary line between the Colonies of New South Wales and South Australia, from the Great Southern Ocean to the Tropic of Capricorn. From that meridian it extends eastward to Cape Howe-the south-eastern extremity of the Australian land-presenting a coast-line of upwards of 500 miles to Bass' Straits and the Southern Ocean, without taking into account the sinuosities of the land. Its northern and north-eastern boundaries are not yet definitively fixed, but in all probability they will be a line drawn from Cape Howe to Mount Kosciuszko, in the Snowy Mountains or Great Warragong Chain, commonly called the Australian Alps ; from thence to the nearest sources of the Tumut River and along that river to where it falls into the Murrumbidgee; from the junction of the Tumut along the Murrumbidgee to where the junction of the latter river with the Hume forms the Murray; and from the head of the Murray River along that stream to the 141st degree of east longitude, if not to the Lake Alexandrina and the Ocean at Encounter Bay. With this boundary, the Territory of Port Phillip would have a superficial extent of 130,000 square miles, and would thus be considerably larger than Great Britain and Ireland together. Its present population, to the southward of the Hume River, exceeds 32,000 souls.
The Middle District, or New South Wales Proper, extends from Cape Howe to the Solitary Isles, in the 30th parallel of south latitude, and presents a coastline to the Southern Pacific of about 500 miles. Its northern and western boundaries are the 30th parallel of south latitude and the 141st degree of east longitude, respectively, and its superficial extent must be somewhere about 250,000 square miles. The population of this District is at present upwards of 150,000 souls.
The boundary of New South Wales to the northward has doubtless been fixed for the present by Act of Parliament 5 and 6 Victoria, cap. 76, at the 26th parallel of south latitude; but this can only be regarded as a temporary arrangement, to continue in force till the progressive settlement of the country shall have developed its capabilities and shown where the permanent boundary should be definitively fixed; for it is alike the interest of the mother-country and the colonies that in these distant settlements of the empire society should be bound up in such volumes as to form, each for itself, a complete, compact, and united whole. The 30th parallel of south latitude has been fixed by the Local Government as the boundary to the southward of the recently-erected Custom-House District of Moreton Bay—an admission, on the part of the Colonial Executive, that such a boundary is convenient for commercial purposes; and it will appear abundantly in the sequel, that as soon as the Moreton Bay country shall be occupied and settled by a comparatively numerous free emigrant population, that parallel of latitude will require to be fixed as the common boundary, not only of two conterminous Custom-House Districts, but of two separate and independent Colonies. Indeed, the same indication of a remarkable change of climate which is observable in travelling northward from Port Phillip, at the Murrumbidgee River, is equally observable at the 30th parallel of south latitude in travelling still farther north towards Moreton Bay; for as the beautiful Swamp Oak, which is found everywhere in the
Middle District or New South Wales Proper, * is first seen on the banks of the Murrumbidgee, so the beautiful Araucaria Cunninghami, or Moreton Bay Pine, which abounds throughout the Northern District, is first seen (as has been observed by Clement Hodgkinson, Esq., the Government Surveyor of the M-Leay District) on the banks of the Cowhallie Creek- a small stream that falls into the Pacific about the 30th parallel of south latitude, between the Bellinger and Clarence Rivers.
The Northern or Moreton Bay District, which we shall henceforth designate Cooksland, extends from the 30th parallel of south latitude to the Tropic of Capricorn, or to whatever point within the Southern Tropic may be found eventually the most suitable for the common boundary of two conterminous Colonies. It will therefore present a coast-line of 500 miles, or thereby, to the Southern Pacific, while its superficial extent will be nearly equal to that of New South Wales Proper, or the Middle District. Its present population, however, does not exceed 5000 souls.
Of these three Districts the great majority of the population are engaged, either directly or indirectly, in the rearing of sheep and cattle; and the staple production of all the three is fine wool. They have each a
* The Swamp Oak, a variety of the Casuarinae family, presents, in its general contour, an aspect somewhat intermediate between that of the Scotch and the Spruce Fir, being more graceful than the former, but less formal and Dutch-like than the latter.
grand central point, distinctly marked by nature, for commerce and government, for civilization and refinement, for morals and religion—the splendid inlet of Port Phillip for the Southern District, the magnificent harbour of Port Jackson for the Middle District, and Moreton Bay, a sort of Mediterranean Sea, into whose comparatively still waters several navigable rivers disembogue, for the Northern—and when their vast territories come to be better settled than they are at present, and their vast resources developed by an industrious and virtuous free emigrant population of British origin, they will unquestionably be universally recognised as three of the noblest Colonies that Great Britain has ever planted in any part of the world.
The climate of Port Phillip is perhaps the most congenial on the whole to an English constitution, and a large portion of the territory of that District, particularly the country designated by its discoverer, Sir Thomas Mitchell, Australia Felix, and the tract called Gippsland, towards the south-eastern angle of the continent, are quite as capable of sustaining a dense population as any part of Great Britain. But the high lands of New South Wales Proper—the Maneroo country, the Argyle country, the Bathurst country, and the New England country—are all equally congenial to a European constitution with any part of the territory of Port Phillip; while the alluvial lands on the banks of its rivers—the Clyde, the Shoalhaven, the Hawkesbury, the Hunter, the Manning, the Hastings, the M-Leay,