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wild beasts threaten or affright the timid—the aborigines are few, and quick to learn submission.
The hard work of colonization has been done; the road has been smoothed and made ready; yet there is ample verge and room enough for millions to follow in the track of the thousands who have conquered and subdued the earth, and planted and reared, not only corn and cattle, but an English race, imbued with English traditions, taught by English literature, enjoying English institutions, and practising English love of order and obedience to law while cherishing the firmest attachment to liberty.
With these elements of social and political prosperity, only needing for full development a tide of population which this country can well spare, it cannot be doubted that a very few years will transform what our fathers considered the meanest, into the greatest of Britain's dependencies ; and that, at a period when Continental Europe seems retrograding into deeper than mediæval darkness and despotism, side by side in friendly rivalry with the great American republic, we shall realize the threat of the baffled statesman (when the rising liberties of Spain were crushed under the armies of the soon-tobe-exiled Bourbon), and “call a new world into existence to redress the balance of the old”#—a new field for the employment of ablebodied industry, which, overflowing from the crowded competition of Europe, may there help on the march of unrestricted commerce by digging capital out of the soil, or, at less exercise of strength, produce choice raw material for the triumphs of machinery.
For some fifteen years armies of emigrants have annually proceeded in greater or less numbers to the Australian colonies, yet it is but recently that the general public have cared to inquire more than how bread was to be earned or how capital invested. Late discoveries have invested these dependencies with new importance in the eyes of all who follow with interest the progress of the Anglo-Saxon race. The time seems propitious for attempting not only to describe the features, the resources, and the prospects of these colonies, but to trace the series of political, social, and commercial events by which an insignificant penal settlement in the most distant quarter of the globe, supported at great cost by the parent state, has given birth to a cluster of prosperous self-supporting colonies, largely contributing, directly and indirectly, to the imperial revenues, by the production of valuable raw materials, by the consumption of British manufactures, and by the employment of any amount of labour that can be landed on their shores,
• George Canning.
This work will be divided into three principal sections :-
The Historical section will include an account of the discovery of the island by Spanish, Dutch, English, and French mariners; of the foundation of the first settlement at Botany Bay, the early government and the gradual changes which have converted a kind of transmarine gaol into a community of free men, claiming, and at the present time, to a great extent, enjoying, free institutions; of the beginning and progress of the great pastoral interest from the eight merinos imported by M'Arthur to the fourteen million fine-woolled sheep which now graze over the three colonies of New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia ; of the progress of emigration from the few scattered traders, farmers, and officials who, for more than a quarter of a century, formed only the free additions to the population, except by births, to the time when colonists were shipped by thousands, on a colonizing crusade; of the progress of the value of land from the period when the bribe of free rations and the gift of slave labour was needed to induce any one to accept it, until the time when lots in an unbuilt, unpeopled city were sold by the yard, at the rate of thousands of pounds per acre ; of the progress of trade from the mere barter of the year 1800, dependent on the expenditure of the colonial government, to a steady export, in 1851, of millions sterling in wool, tallow, and copper ore, and lastly gold; of the progress of colonization by which the despised Botany Bay has called into existence “ Three Colonies” in which labour is better rewarded, and life more easily sustained, than in any country in the world.
The time has not arrived—the public is not prepared to reward the labour required for the execution of a complete historical work on Australia. The author has contented himself with sketching from authentic, and in many instances unpublished, documents the series of events which influence the present, and are likely to influence the future, moral, social, and commercial condition of Australia.
The Descriptive section will contain a popular account of the principal districts colonized, their ports, their pastoral, their agricultural, their mining resources ; of the aborigines, and of the natural history of Australia ; of the present condition of the “Three Colonies " as fields for the exercise of trade, agriculture, stock-farming, and mining pursuits ; of the legislative, religious, and educational institutions which those colonies enjoy. It will, in fact, be an attempt to draw a picture of the present, as the first section is of the past, condition of Australia.
The Practical section will be a hand-book, in which the subjects of emigration, from the hour when the idea of leaving this country for a
colony has first occurred, to a final settlement at the antipodes, in some one of the several pursuits there open to the enterprising and industrious of all ranks, if mentally and physically qualified, will be treated in a plain, practical manner, with copious extracts from original letters from intending emigrants and successful colonists, and from the MS. journal of the brother of the author-an Australian bushman.
FIRST DISCOVERERS - SPANIARDS – DUTCH - ENGLISH – FRENCH — 1520 -- 1605 —
QUIROS -- TORRES -- TASMAN - DAMPIER — COOK — LANDING AT BOTANY BAY -NAMED NEW SOUTH WALES, A.D. 1770.
T HE name “ Australia,” now universally adopted to designate the
whole island-continent, was suggested by the gallant, unfortunate, and ill-requited Flinders, in his “ Account of a Voyage of Discovery to Terra Australis.” From this work almost all writers on Australian geography have copied their accounts of the progress of discovery previous to the voyage of Captain Cook.
The Dutch, who first explored the whole northern coast, called it New Holland in their own language. Captain Cook, after sailing round the south-eastern coast, gave it the name of of New South Wales, from a supposed resemblance to that part of Great Britain, and by that name the whole island was known in English works until other settlements were formed. But colloquially, until very recently, Botany Bay, the first landing-place of Captain Cook, was vulgarly and popularly the designation given to Australia, although no settlement was ever formed there; and it remains to this day a swampy suburb, at an hour's ride from Sydney, to which idlers resort, to drink, smoke, play quoits, and from which part of the water for the supply of that city is obtained.
Port Phillip, the name first given to the great bay on which are the ports of Geelong and Melbourne,* after Captain Phillip, first governor of New South Wales, has been applied to the whole province; and, although by the act of Parliament which created it a separate colony the name of Victoria has been affixed to this region, it will be long before the old inhabitants will remember or consent to give any other name than Port Phillip to the district which Sir Thomas Mitchell endeavoured to designate as Australia Felix, and Dr. Lang, Phillipsland.
* Melbourne stands on the Yarra Yarra River, navigable by steamers of two hundred tons.
Larger vessels lie off its mouth in Hobson's Bay.
DISCOVERED BY SPANIARDS AND DUTCH.
The act of Parliament that created the third colony fixed the name of South Australia.
Official and parliamentary documents have superseded the old name of Swan River by Western Australia. Van Diemen's Land retains its old Dutch name, although also occasionally more conveniently known as Tasmania.
Dutch, Spanish, and English have succeeded in affixing nominal marks of their discoveries on Australia, which is almost the last country peopled by an European race; but the French, in spite of efforts of great pains and cost, have been generally superseded, although at one time they had appropriated all the discoveries of Matthew Flinders.
The earliest authentic records of the discovery of any part of Australia are Spanish. The traces supposed to be found by some geographers in ancient charts of “ Jave le Grand,” and in a copy of Marco Polo's travels, with a map, are too obscure to deserve serious consideration.
That Chinese navigators knew of the existence of Northern Australia at a very remote period is, looking at the unchanging habits of that people, more than probable. They have formed a settlement on the Island of Timor, distant only 250 miles from Cape York, and are in the habit of resorting to the coast near the abandoned settlement of Port Essington to collect a Chinese dainty, the trepang or seaslug.
Between 1520 and 1600 the Spaniards, in the course of their voyages from their South American possessions, discovered several islands of the Australian group; and, in 1605, Pedro Fernandez de Quiros and Luis Vaez de Torres made a voyage of discovery in two ships. After finding land, which they named Terra del Esperito Santo, now known as the New Hebrides, the ships parted company in a gale of wind : Torres, the second in command, coasted along New Guinea, and sailed through the dangerous straits which are still the dread of the mariner in stormy seasons, and still bear his name. He passed two months in this difficult navigation, mistaking the portions of the coast of Australia which he sighted for islands. Of this voyage he transmitted a full account in a letter to the King of Spain ; but, in accordance with the jealous policy of the age, the record was suppressed, and the existence of the straits remained unknown until they were re-discovered by Captain Cook in 1770.
But in 1762, during our war with Spain, we captured Manilla by storm, and in the archives of that city Mr. Alexander Dalrymple, the historiographer of the British Admiralty, discovered a copy of the letter to the King of Spain, which had been deposited there by Torres.
Dalrymple, with that sense of justice and right feeling which should inspire all men of science, did justice to the discoverer by inscribing on the official maps issued from his department, against the intricate passage between Australia and New Guinea, “Torres Straits.”
About the same time that Quiros and Torres were pursuing their investigations, the Dutch, then in the height of their maritime power, were prosecuting voyages of discovery in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
From the instructions prepared for the guidance of Abel Janz Tasman previous to his voyages in 1642 and 1644 (instructions which were signed by the Governor-General Antonia Van Diemen, and four members of the council, at Batavia), in which the previous discoveries of the Dutch in New Guinea and the “Great South Land” were recited, it appears that a Dutch yacht, on a voyage of discovery in 1605–6, discovered the “South Land,” mistaking it for the west side of New Guinea ; that a second expedition, in 1617, met with no success; and that, in 1623, a third, consisting of the yachts Pera and Arnhem, was despatched from Amboyna, by which were discovered the great islands of Arnhem and Spult,” being, in fact, the north of Australia, which still bears the name of Arnhem's Land. Other records show that, up to 1626, the Dutch had either accidentally, or by voyages of exploration, discovered and given names to about half the coast of Australia.
Many of these names are preserved to this day, for we have not the passion which afflicts some nations of re-naming after the standard of our own language—we can afford to be generous in peace
The Gulf of Carpentaria is still called after General Peter Carpenter, who explored it: at that period military titles were indifferently applied to commanders at sea as on land; and captains of ships then, as at present in the Russian navy, wore spurs. The names of Arnhem, Tasman, De Witt, Endrachts, and Edel, cover the whole of the coast of Northern Australia as far as Sharks' Bay.
It is curious that none of these explorations led to any permanent settlement; and that in this instance, as in many others—in America, at the Cape, and in India—England has reaped the fruits of Dutch industry and enterprise. They have scarcely been more fortunate than the indolent, anti-commercial Spaniard. The Dutch, of all their rich colonial possessions, retain only Java, and the Spaniards Cuba. And the two new gold-fields discovered by Dutch and Spaniards, Australia and California, have fallen into the hands of an English-speaking race.