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THE PARK ROUND ADELAIDE.
South Adelaide is considered the commercial quarter of the town, and contains the principal streets, one of which is 130 feet wide, and Government House, in the centre of a domain of ten açres.
Hindley-street is the Regent-street of Adelaide, and has the distinction of being paved. For want of this luxury of civilization, coupled with the nature of the soil, Adelaide is terribly afflicted with dust, at all times a nuisance, which is indeed common to all Australian towns. Sydney has at certain times of the year its brickfielders. In addition to the park lands, which occupy a breadth of half a mile round the two divisions of the city, a cemetery and a racecourse are among its out-ofdoor ornaments.
In the surrounding suburbs many pretty villages have been founded, both inland and on the shore. The system of selling land regularly in eighty-acre lots has in some degree neutralized the disadvantage of the large absentee proprietorships and the special surveys, which have monopolized so much of the limited extent of agricultural land.
There is one point in which the South Australians possess an unquestionable superiority over the other two colonies, and that is their local literature. With the exception of the Sydney Morning Herald, which is the Times of the southern hemisphere, the newspapers and periodicals are very superior in style of getting up and in matter to those of New South Wales and Port Phillip.
This superiority is especially marked in the South Australian Almanacs, which contain a fund of useful information on the statistics, the agriculture, the horticulture, and the mining progress of the colony.
Before the check occasioned by the gold discoveries, sheep stations had been formed as far north as Mount Brown, toward the Darling, near the eastern boundary. The whole of York Peninsula had been occupied, and, in the country westward of Spencer's Gulf, flockmasters had penetrated to Anxious Bay, on the Australian Bight; and townships had been founded at Rivoli Bay, in the county of Grey, and Guichen Bay, in the county of Robe, whence a coasting trade had been opened.
Ever since 1843 South Australia has been a corn-exporting country, although with great fluctuations: in that year 38,480 bushels were exported; in the following year the quantity increased to 132,000 bushels; but the low price, 2s. 9d. a bushel, reduced the cultivation by ten thousand acres. In 1845 the price continued low, and cultivation was further reduced ; but high prices at the end of the year increased cultivation to 36,000 aeres in 1847. And thus, according to price, cultivation ebbed and flowed, constantly making more progress as small settlers became landholders, and became more steady. As a general rule it may be asserted that miners are situated in barren districts, and obliged to draw their grain and vegetables from some considerable distance. The system of eighty-acre lots enables colonists of the cultivating class to plant themselves upon land in the most convenient distance for supplying the mines. These same cottage farmers also derived great advantage from contracts for conveying ore from the mine to the port, and coals and wood to the smelting establishments, in their bullock-drays.
In 1850 the whole original scheme of the colony had disappeared : cultivation was entirely in the hands of the working classes ; the capitalists and educated were engaged either as squatters, in commerce, or in mining speculations. The remains of the old ideas were only to be found in a little grandiloquent speechmaking, and, better still, in some very beautiful gardens. There were a few fortunate purchasers of town lots in the main streets who made and retained very handsome fortunes.
Mining speculations were carried to a length as extreme as in Cornwall itself. Yet in all the numerous works on South Australia it is difficult to discover, for it is never plainly stated, that only one public mine, the Burra Burra, ever paid a dividend. The Kapunda has never been
in the market, having been retained by Captain Bagot, Mr. Dutton, and a few friends. It is extremely rich in yield, but, the ground being tender, the expenses in propping it up are great, as timber is scarce and labour dear.
In Cornwall there are always a certain number of mines for sale to strangers. It was the same in South Australia. Mines were manufactured for the benefit of green emigrants. For this reason the recent crisis, in which the emigration of many thousands destroyed all fictitious credit, will do good, by directing the attention of South Australians to the true resources of their noble province.
In 1850 not less than thirty-nine mining schemes, in various stages of progress, were before the British and South Australian public, none of which paid a dividend. Most of them depended on English capital for their working, and nearly all, according to colonial accounts, only required a little more money to become most flourishing. The following mines were all at a discount before the gold discoveries stopped the working of all but those which were really solid undertakings :
The Wheal Gawler silver-lead mine was opened in 1841, being the first mine worked in the province. After being abandoned it was reopened by a company without success, although with “good
prospects,” in 1850. Then, among other non-paying mines, there are the Adelaide Mining Company, near Montacute, with a capital of £1,000; the Australian Mining Company, with an English capital of £400,000, and a special survey of Reedy Creek, forty-six miles from Adelaide, other lots at Tunghillo and at Kapunda, founded in 1845—the outlay has been enormous—no dividends; the Barossa Mining Company, with a capital of £30,000, formed in England, with a view of prosecuting mineral explorations on the property of G. T. Angas, Esq.; the Glen Ormond, another English company, with a capital of £30,000, founded in 1845; the Port Lincoln, with a capital of £10,000; the Mount Remarkable, with a capital of £25,000, in 1846; the North Kapunda, a capital of £22,200, in 1846 ; the Paringa, capital £20,000, in 1845; the Port Lincoln, capital £4,000, in 1848; the Princess Royal, capital £20,000, in 1845 : this was the unlucky half of the Burra.
There were two gold companies established in 1846, the workings of one of which were suspended in 1850,“ pending an anticipated sale of the sett in England."
Two conclusions may be drawn from an examination of the reports of these mines—first, that South Australia is extremely rich in minerals ; and secondly, that parties who do not understand mining should be cautious in taking the advice of South Australian friends as to mining investments.
The following statement of the results of the Burra Burra mine will show that the South Australians have some reasonable excuse for the gambling mining spirit with which they are afflicted, and which succeeded to the town-lot roulette of 1839-40 :
The Burra proprietary divided their purchase into 2,464 shares of £5 each, with liberty to increase their capital to £20,000, which they have since done.
In the first year, from 29th September, 1845, to 29th September, 1846, at a cost of £16,624, they raised 7,200 tons of ore. As the depth of the workings increased a great improvement in the quality of the ore took place; instead of the blue carbonate, the red oxide, malachite, and the richest description of ore became predominant. The highest price realized for the first 800 tons was £31 9s., and the lowest £10 16s., per ton. At a considerable distance from the principal workings eighty tons of blue and green carbonate of copper were raised in the month of March, 1847.
In the months of June and July, 1847, the first and second dividends of fifty shillings each per share were paid to the shareholders. These dividends were paid out of the net proceeds of 2,959 tons of ore, amounting to £35,678, out of which also were paid the expenses of the