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sequence, he sees 7,000 sheep under the charge of but one shepherd, sustaining most serious injury; when catarrh*, scab, or foot-rot have broken out in his own flocks, or in his neighbourhood, his anxieties and cares are not to be envied. Nor is his patience untried at lambing time--one grand epoch of the year, when a storm of sleet may destroy hundreds of lambs; nor yet at the shearing season, when the changes of the weather or the insubordination of his men may frustrate in a great measure the labours of the year.
At this season hundreds of men leave the towns and their other pursuits to reap the greater gains of the shearing—the Australian harvest. Each settler hires from 10 to 20 of them who can shear well 50 sheep each per diem; for which they are paid 12s. per 100. Meanwhile a gang of washers, under an overseer, are washing sheep, to keep ahead of the shearers. The shearing, which lasts six weeks or two months, is the most anxious time for the squatter : at
* Catarrh has been named as one of the sources of anxiety to the sheep-owner, as it well may be, from the fearful ravages has made in the Sydney strict of New South Wales. As yet it is comparatively unknown in Port Phillip.
the end of it the shearers too frequently dissipate their gains at the nearest publican's, and the squatter joyfully mounts his horse to pay his annual visit to the town to dispose of his wool, and lay in his stores for the ensuing year. Accustomed as he is to severe exercise, and to the choice of 20 or 30 horses all the year round, distance never is taken into account by him. A journey of 200 miles to town, at every stage of which he is acquainted with some friend, and in which, if he is so minded, he may rest himself and his horse at an inn every night, is traversed in four or five days, and he reaches the town, where he finds 100 others eagerly canvassing the prices and comparative excellence of their wools. Here many of them remain too long for their own interest, but the greater number soon return to their homes, and indulge themselves with a second visit to the metropolis in the idle time
of the year.
Having given several instances of mercantile adventure and success in town pursuits, it is necessary to add some in pastoral occupations, which have come under our own observation. The first is that of a family who, in 1838, came over to Port Phillip with 3,000 sheep from Van
Diemen's Land: they are now possessed of stock equivalent to 75,000 sheep. A man, formerly an overseer of theirs, now has one of the best stations in the land, on which he has 15,000 sheep.
Another, one of the earliest settlers, commenced with 100 ewes ; he is now said to be in the receipt of £4,000 per annum.
An overseer of his, who saved a little money, has at present a station and 7,000 sheep. A third, who also commenced with 100 sheep, is now a very wealthy man, with many thousands of sheep and cattle, and considerable landed property. A fourth, who invested £1,200 about twelve years ago, lately, during his absence in England, had £3,000 per annum remitted from his agents in the colony, who at the same time increased his stock. A fifth, who commenced with £300, sold his stock in four years for £2,300.
It is needless to recount all the instances of lesser success. Suffice it to say, that in no country of an equal population do so many incomes exist of from £500 to £3,000 a year ; and these chiefly in the possession of persons who commenced their pursuits with a capital less than their present annual income.
But are there still the means of obtaining
PRESENT PROSPECTS FOR EMIGRANTS.
results so satisfactory? Is this El Dorado still in existence? Doubtless the golden opportunity has in a great measure passed. As the land has been occupied, settlers have been obliged to go further back to find vacant country. Perhaps all the district which is available is now occupied, or rather claimed by the first comers, who have secured to themselves room enough for the increase of their flocks and herds, and who thus preclude others from preferring fresh claims. Although little hope can be held out to an intending emigrant of being able to find any unclaimed land, there is every reason to believe that a great increase of national wealth may still be obtained from Australia. The country is at present very much understocked ; and the exports are capable, not only of great increase in quantity, but also in quality.
If emigrants cannot now expect to find a new country open for their immediate use at a very low charge, they may on the other hand be assured that "runs," with the stock on them, are always in the market, at prices which, with diligence and care, will yield very large returns. If they have to pay higher for their establishment in the first instance, yet they have escaped all the
roughing of a first settlement, and all danger from the aborigines has passed away: they can enter on a station, the capabilities of which have been tested, and they can with greater certainty calculate the probable returns of their investment than could their predecessors, whose all was too often entrusted to some old convict, or was subject to the caprice of the aborigines, who sometimes caressed, and afterwards murdered the shepherds. No apprehension need now exist of outrages by the aborigines.
It is to be lamented that this does not proceed from any improvement in their civilization ; they are still the same wanderers as at first, with no clothing but their opossum cloaks, or old blankets given to them by the settlers; not cultivating a sod of land, but grubbing up a few wild roots, living in the same “mai mais,” consisting of a sheet of bark stripped from a tree, and laid to windward against a forked stick, opposite to which they light a fire, and under the shelter of which they sleep very rarely two nights in succession.
It is a great error on the part of some to suppose that these, even although the lowest order of human beings, are incapable of improvement :