1902 Encyclopedia > Victoria, Australia

Victoria, Australia

VICTORIA, a .British colony occupying the south-eastern corner of Australia; its western boundary is the 141st meridian ; on the east it runs out to a point at Cape Howe, in 150° E. long., being thus rudely triangular in shape; the river Murray constitutes nearly the whole of the northern boundary, its most northerly point being in 34° S. lat.; the southern boundary is the coast-line of the Southern Ocean and of Bass Strait; the most southerly point is Wilson's Promontory in 39° S. lat. The greatest length east and west is about 480 miles; the greatest width, in the west, is about 250 miles. The area is offici-ally stated to be 87,884 square miles.
Coasts. The. coast line may be estimated at about 800 miles. I^begins at the 141st meridian with bold but not lofty sandstone cliffs, worn into deep caves and capped by grassy undulations, which extend inland to pleasant park-like lands. Capes Bridgewater and Nelson form a peninsula of forest lands, broken by patches of meadow. To the east of Cape Nelson lies the moderately sheltered inlet of Portland Bay, consisting of a sweep of sandy beach flanked by bold granite rocks. Then comes a long unbroken stretch of high cliffs, which owing to insetting currents have been the scene of many calamitous wrecks. Cape Otway is the termination of a wild mountain range that here abuts on the coast. Its brown cliffs rise vertically from the water; and the steep slopes above are covered with dense forests of exceedingly tall timber and tree ferns. Eastwards from this cape the line of cliffs gradually diminishes in height to about twenty to forty feet at the entrance to Port Phillip. Next comes Port Phillip Bay, a plan of which is given under MELBOURNE, vol. xv. p. 835. When the tide recedes from this bay through the narrow entrance it often encounters a strong current just outside ; the broken and somewhat dangerous sea thus caused is called " the Rip." East of Port Phillip Bay the shores consist for fifteen miles of a line of sandbanks; but at Cape Schanck they suddenly become high and bold. East of this comes Western Port, a deep inlet more than half occupied by French Island and Phillip Island. Its shores are flat and uninteresting, in some parts swampy; but all the land is owned and most of it occupied. The bay is * shallow and of little use for navigation. The coast con-tinues rocky round Cape Liptrap. Wilson's Promontory is a great rounded mass of granite hills, with wild and striking scenery, tree-fern gullies, and gigantic gum-trees, connected with the mainland by a narrow sandy isthmus. At its extremity lie a multitude of rocky islets, with steep granite edges. North of this cape, and opening to the east, lies Corner Inlet, which is dry at low water. The coast now continues low to the extremity of the colony. The slight bend northward forms a sort of bight called the Ninety Mile Beach, but it really exceeds that length. It is an unbroken line of sandy shore, backed by low sand hills, on which grows a sparse dwarf vegetation. Behind these hills come a succession of lakes, surrounded by excellent land, and beyond these rise the soft blue outlines of the mountain masses of the interior. The shores on the ex-treme east are somewhat higher, and occasionally rise in bold points. They terminate in Cape Howe, off which lies Gabo Island, of small extent but containing an import-ant lighthouse and signalling station.
Surface. The western half of Victoria is level or slightly undulat-ing, and as a rule tame in its scenery, exhibiting only thinly timbered grassy lands, with all the appearance of open parks. It is here that the merino sheep are de-pastured whose wool secures the highest price in the markets of Europe. The north-west corner of the colony, equally flat, is dry and sometimes sandy, and frequently bare of vegetation, though in one part some seven or eight millions of acres are covered with the dense brushwood known as "mallee scrub." This wide western plain is slightly broken in two places. In the south the wild ranges of Cape Otway are covered over a considerable area with richly luxurious but almost impassable forests. This district has been reserved as a state forest and its coast forms a favourite holiday resort, the scenery being very attractive. The middle of the plain is crossed by a thin line of mountains, known as the Australian Pyrenees, at the western extremity of which there are several irregu-larly placed transverse ranges, the chief being the Gram-pians, the Victoria Range, and the Sierra Range. Their highest point is Mount Williams (3600 feet). The eastern half of the colony is wholly different. Though there is plenty of level land, it occurs in small patches, and chiefly in the south, in Gippsland, which extends from Corner Inlet to Cape Howe. But a great part of this eastern half is occupied with the complicated mass of ranges known collectively as the Australian Alps. The whole forms a plateau averaging from 1000 to 2000 feet high, with many smaller tablelands ranging from 3000 to 5000 feet in height. The highest peak, Bogong, is 6508 feet in altitude. The raiges are so densely covered with vege-tation that it is extremely difficult to penetrate them; only two tracks, impassable for vehicles, intersect them from north to south. But several thousand square Aides of this country are still unexplored. About fifteen peaks over 5000 feet in height have been measured, but there are probably many more. Along the ranges grow the giant trees for which Victoria is famous. The narrow valleys and gullies contain exquisite scenery, the rocky streams being overshadowed by groves of graceful tree-ferns, from amid whose waving fronds rise the tall smooth stems of the white gums. Over ten millions of acres are thus covered with forest-clad mountains too wild for settle-ment. The Australian Alps are connected with the Pyrenees by a long ridge called the Dividing Range (1500 to 3000 feet high).
Victoria is fairly well watered, but its streams are Rivers, generally too small to admit of navigation. This, how-ever, is not the case with the MURRAY RIVER (q.v.). Echuca is the chief port of the river traffic, and about 250 vessels enter it every year, bringing down from 80,000 to 120,000 bales of wool from the interior. In the lower portion of its course the stream occupies only a narrow wincting channel in the midst of its old bed, which now seems like a fertile valley hemmed in on either hand by high cliffs of clay or red earth, or sometimes of beds of oyster shells of vast extent. The navigation of the Murray is greatly impeded by " snags," or trees that have stuck fast in the bed of the river and project a little above or below the surface. But the removal of these obstacles is constantly going on, and consequently the navigation is becoming easier. Of the total length of the Murray 670 miles flow conterminous with Victoria. The Murray re-ceives a number of tributaries from the Victorian side The Mitta Mitta, which rises in the heart of the Australian Alps, is 150 miles long. The Ovens, rising among the same mountains, is slightly shorter. The Goulburn (340 miles) flows almost entirely through well-settled agricul-tural country, and is deep enough to bo used in its lower part for navigation. The valley of this river is a fertile grain-producing district. The] Campaspe (150 miles) has too little volume of water to be of use for navigation ; its valley is also agricultural, and along its banks there lie a close succession of thriving townships. The Loddon (over

200 miles) rises in the Pyrenees. The upper part flows through a plain, to the right agricultural and to the left auriferous, containing nearly forty thriving towns, includ-ing Sandhurst and Castlemaine. In the lower part of the valley the rainfall is small and droughts are frequent, but farmers are steadily pushing out into it, as the land is very fertile. Recent legislation has provided for the formation of irrigation trusts in these districts of rich soil but small rainfall. To the west of the Loddon is the Avoca river (140 miles). It is of slight volume, and though it flows to-wards the Murray it loses itself in marshes and salt lagoons before reaching that river.
The rivers which flow southwards into the ocean are numerous. The Snowy river rises in New South Wales and in Victoria flows entirely through wild and almost wholly unoccupied territory. The Tambo (120 miles long), which rises in the heart of the Australian Alps, crosses the Gippsland plains where the land is good, but only a small portion is occupied. The Mitchell river, rising also antong the Australian Alps, is navigable to a limited ex-tent. Its lower valley is being rapidly occupied by thriv-ing hop plantations. The Latrobe is a deep clear stream flowing through level country. The Yarra rises in the "Black Spur" of the Australian Alps. Emerging in a deep valley from the ranges, it follows a sinuous course through the undulating plains called the "YTarra Flats," which are wholly enclosed by hills, on whose slopes are some of the best vineyards of Australia; it finds its way out of the Flats between high and precipitous but well-wooded banks, and finally reaches Port Phillip Bay below Melbourne. Owing to its numerous windings its course through that city and its suburbs is at least thirty miles. Nearer to the sea its waterway, formerly available for vessels drawing 16 feet, has now been deepened so as to be available for vessels drawing 20 feet. The Barwon, farther west, is a river of considerable length but little volume, flowing chiefly through pastoral lands. The Hop-kins and Glenelg (280 miles) both water the splendid pas-toral lands of the west, the lower course of the former passing through the fertile district of Warrnambool, well known throughout Australia as a potato-growing region. Lakes. In the west there are Lakes Corangamite and Colac, due north of Cape Otway. The former is intensely salt; the latter is fresh, having an outlet for its waters. Lakes Tyrrel and Hindmarsh lie in the plains of the north-west. In summer they are dried up, and in winter are again formed by the waters of rivers that have no outlet. In the east are the Gippsland lakes, formed by the waters of the Latrobe, Mitchell, and Tambo being dammed back by the sandhills of the Ninety Mile Beach. They are connected with Bass Strait by a narrow and shifting channel through a shallow bar; the Government of Victoria has done a great deal of late years to deepen the entrance and make it safer. The upper lake is called Lake Wellington; a narrow passage leads into Lake Victoria, which is joined to a wider expanse called Lake King. These are all fresh-water lakes, and are visited by tourists for the sake of their scenery, which, though monotonous, has a certain impressiveness. The surrounding country is being rapidly settled and utilized.
Climate. Victoria enjoys an exceptionally fine climate. Roughly speaking, about one-half of the days in the year present a bright cloudless sky, with a bracing and dry atmosphere, pleasantly warm but not relaxing. These days are mainly in the autumn and spring. Dur-ing the last twenty years there have been on an average 131 days annually on which rain has fallen more or less (chiefly in winter), but rainy days do not exceed thirty in the year. The average yearly rainfall is about 26 inches. The disagreeable feature of the Yictorian climate is the occurrence of north winds, which blow on an average about sixty days in the year. In winter they are cold and dry, and have a slightly depressing effect. But in summer they are hot and dry, and generally bring with them disagreeable clouds of dust. The winds themselves blow for periods of two or three days at a time, and if the summer has six or eight such periods it becomes relaxing and produces languor. These winds cease with extraordinary suddenness, being replaced in a minute or two by a cool and bracing breeze from the south. The temperature often falls 40° or 50° Fahr. in an hour. The maximum temperature occurs in February, averaging 105°'6 Fahr. in the shade. The mini-mum is in July, when the thermometer registers as low as 30°. The mean for the whole year is 57°'3. The temperature never falls lie-low freezing-point, except for an hour or two before sunrise in the coldest month. Snow has twice been known to fall in Melbourne for a few minutes, in 1849 and 1882. It is common enough, how-ever, on the plateau : Ballarat, which is over 1000 feet high, always has a few snow storms, and the roads to Omeo among the Australian Alps lie under several feet of snow in the winter. The general healthiness of the climate is shown by the fact that the average death-rate for the last five years has been only 14'37 per thousand of the population. The rainfall of the colony varies considerably. On the table-land it averages about 40 inches, at Melbourne 25'44 inches, along the Murray basin 20 inches, and in the "Wim-mera" or north-west corner not more than 15 inches.
Victoria rests throughout on a bed of coarse granite, which is Geolory. exposed in many parts by the denudation of the overlying strata. Above this lies a bed of Silurian rocks, which seems to have at one time extended over the whole area, and still forms the surface of a great portion of the colony, especially in the north-east. Other Palaeozoic strata are represented by only one small patch of Devonian at Mount Tambo in the Australian Alps, and by small isolated beds of Carboniferous strata along the valley of the Mitchell river. The Mesozoic strata overlie the Silurian along the coast, being represented by beds of Upper New Red Sandstone of considerable thickness. These extend from Cape Otway as far east as Corner Inlet, and sections of them are prominent features where the coasts are rocky. The other Mesozoic strata are absent. Miocene beds occur in patches near Ballarat, near Warrnambool, and in some parts of Gippsland. These are unimportant, however, compared with the Pliocene formations, which cover a very large part of the colony, notably the great plains of the Wimmera and the Murray valley. They also occur in smaller areas over the Silurian rock, either as cappings of prominences, that were left as islands when the waves of Post-Tertiary seas washed away the rest of the beds or else as "leads," i.e., the beds carved out of Silurian strata by rivers of Mesozoic periods, but filled in during Pliocene times by deposits of debris from the mountains. These have been protected by their sunken position when the great bulk of the Pliocene beds were washed away. It is from these old river beds that the alluvial gold of Victoria is got. This gold was evidently at one time contained in veins of auriferous quartz which were worn down and carried into the streams. There the heavy particles of gold gathered in the hollows, forming those collections known to miners as pockets. In some parts of Victoria vast sheets of lava overlie the Pliocene beds. These are most prominent in the south-western corner. The district round Warrnambool possesses eighty-three extinct volcanoes, and there were probably many more whose craters have been completely denuded. The volcanoes were of no great height, but from them issued sheets of glowing lava, covering the plains for hundreds of square miles. At Ballarat the mining shafts descend through four beds of basalt divided from one another by deposits of clay. These represent four distinct outflows of lava in comparatively recent geologic times.
During 1886 665,196 oz, of gold were obtained of the value of Minerals. £2,660,780. The total yield from 1851 to 1886 was 54,393,182 oz. of the value of about £217,570,000. The number of miners is about 26,000, of whom nearly 5000 are Chinese. These devote themselves in nearly equal proportions to alluvial mining and quartz mining. But little is now done in the way of merely surface alluvial digging. The shafts are carried down to the beds of ancient rivers, where the layers of what are called "wash dirt" vary in thickness from 1 to 12 feet, yielding from \ to 3 oz. per cubic yard. Quartz mining is rapidly increasing in extent, though the total quantity of gold ob-tained is steadily decreasing and the expense of getting it is increas-ing, for the shafts are becoming of excessive depth. One at Stawell penetrates 2409 feet below the surface ; two others exceed 2000 ; and there are in all 17 shafts each over 1000 feet in depth. The average yield of this quartz has been of late about 10 dwts. to the ton. About one-third of the area of Victoria is supposed to be auri-ferous, but only 1300 square miles have as yet been worked. Be-sides gold, Victoria produces a little tin, copper, and antimony, and, in still smaller quantities, zinc, lead, cobalt, bismuth, and manga-nese. Iron ore is being smelted, but the industry has not yet reached a paying condition. Great- efforts are being made to dis-cover coalfields or to open up those that are known to exist. The total value of the coal raised in the colony up to date (1888) is only £17,000. A promising 5-foot seam is, however, now being worked in Gippsland.
The native trees belong chiefly to the Myrtaceee, being largely Flora, composed of Eucalypti or gum trees. There are several hundred

species, the most notable being Eucalyptus amygdalina, a tree with tall white stem, smooth as a marble column, and without branches for 60 or 70 feet from the ground. It is singularly beautiful when seen in groves, for these have all the appearance of lofty pillared cathedrals. These trees are among the tallest in the world, averag-ing in some districts about 300 feet. The longest ever measured was found prostrate on the Black Spur; it measured 470 feet in length ; it was 81 feet in girth near the root. Eucalyptus globulus or blue gum has broad green leaves, which yield the eucalyptus oil of the pharmacopoeia. Eucalyptus rostrata is extensively used in the colony as a timber, being popularly known as red gum or hard wood. It is quite unaffected by weather, and almost indestructible when used as piles for piers or wharves. Smaller species of euca-lyptus form the common "bush." Melaleucas, also of Myrtacea kind, are prominent objects along all the coasts, where they grow densely on the sandhills, forming "ti-tree" scrub. Eucalyptus dumosa is a species which grows only 6 to 12 feet high, but with a straight stem ; the trees grow so close together that it is difficult to penetrate the scrub formed by them. Eleven and a half million acres of the AVimmera district are covered with this " mallee scrub," as it is called. Recent legislation has made this land easy of acquisi-tion, and the whole of it has been taken up on pastoral leases. Five hundred thousand acres have recently been taken up as an irriga-tion colony on Californian principles and laid out in 40-acre farms and orchards. The Leguminosee. are chiefly represented by acacias, of which the wattle is the commonest. The black wattle is of con-siderable value, its gum being marketable and its bark worth from £5 to £10 a ton for tanning purposes. The golden wattle is a beautiful tree, whose rich yellow blossoms fill the river-valleys in early spring with delicious scent. The Casuarinsc or she-oaks are gloom}7 trees, of little use, but of frequent occurrence. Heaths, grass-trees, and magnificent ferns and fern-trees are also notable features in Victorian forests. But European and subtropical vegetation has been introduced into the colony to such an extent as to have largely altered the characters of the flora in many districts. Fauna. The indigenous animals belong almost wholly to the Marsupialia.
Kangaroos are tolerably abundant on the grassy plains, but the process of settlement is causing their extermination. A smaller species of almost identical appearance called the wallaby is still numerous in the forest lands. Kangaroo rats, opossums, wombats, native bears, bandicoots, and native cats all belong to the same class. The wombat forms extensive burrows in some districts. The native bear is a frugivorous little animal, and very harmless. Bats are numerous, the largest species being the flying fox, very abundant in some districts. Eagles, hawks, turkeys, pigeons, ducks, quail, snipe, and plover are common ; but the characteristic denizens of the forest are vast flocks of parrots, parakeets, and cockatoos, with sulphur-coloured or crimson crests. The laughing jackass (giant kingfisher) is heard in all the country parts, and magpies are numerous everywhere. Snakes are numerous; but less than one-fourth of the species are venomous, and they are all very shy. The deaths from snake-bite do not average 2 per annum. A great change is rapidly taking place in the fauna of the country, owing to cultivation and acclimatization. Dingoes have nearly disappeared, and rabbits, which were introduced only a few years ago, now abound in such numbers as to be a positive nuisance. Deer are also rapidly becoming numerous. Sparrows and swallows are as common as in England. The trout, which has also been acclimatized, is taking full possession of some of the streams.
Live In 1878 Victoria possessed nearly eleven millions of sheep. Vic-
stock, torian sheep give an exceptionally large yield of wool, and their fleeces obtain a higher price (on the average 6s. 2d.) than any other grown in Australia. The colony has one and a quarter millions of cattle, three hundred and eight thousand horses, and about a quarter of a million of pigs. Agricul- There were in 1887 about 38,000 farms in the colony, containing *ure. over 2,417,157 acres of land actually cultivated; in almost all farms there is much land that is not actually tilled. Every year, however, a larger and larger proportion is brought under the plough. In the year ending March 1887 the crops were as follows :—wheat, 12,100,036 bushels; oats, 4,256,079 bushels; barley, 827,852 bushels; potatoes, 170,661 tons; and hay, 483,049 tons. The aver-age produce per acre of wheat crop was 11J bushels; the average per acre of oats, 23 bushels; of barley, 22 bushels; of potatoes, 3J tons. There are 10,300 acres of vineyards, producing 986;04i gallons of wine, and this industry is fast increasing. The hop plantations in 1887 yielded 5023 cwts. of hops. The following crops are being more or less experimented with :—'arrowroot, beetroot, flax, mangel wurzel, mustard, olives, poppies, oranges, and some other fruits. In the same year there were produced 12,008 cwts. of tobacco. Almost every fruit is grown more or less, but the banana and orange cannot be considered commercially successful. Apples, pears, peaches, grapes, loquats, mulberries, plums, gooseberries, strawberries, melons, apricots,raspberries, cherries, currants,quinces, almonds, figs, walnuts, all grow well and are in common use. thnanas, pine-apples, oranges, and passion fruit are cheap, but
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they come from the northern colonies. Tomatoes are plentiful and cheap, being easily grown in all parts of the colony.
The central half of Victoria is well supplied with a close network Com-of railways, whilst several long lines branch out into the less settled muniea-districts east and west. A line parallel to the coast, joining Mel- tion. bourne to Bairnsdale, is sufficient for the Gippsland traffic. From Sale a number of short lines are being constructed for the con-venience of the surrounding district. To the west there is a line 270 miles long joining Melbourne to Portland, giving off short branches on both sides. Three lines are being steadily pushed forward to the north-west into the Wimmera district. In 1887 there was a total length of 1880 miles open for traffic. The average cost of the lines now in operation has been £11,748 per mile, but all the more recently constructed lines have not ex-ceeded £5000 per mile. The receipts for the year 1886-87 were £2,453,078, and the working expenses £1,427,116. All the lines are on a uniform gauge of 5 feet 3 inches, and they all belong to the state, being managed by a special board of three commissioners. Communication with Sydney, 573 miles distant, is effected by rail in 19 to 25 hours, and with Adelaide in about 20 hours.
The well-settled parts of the colony are excellently supplied with macadamized roads, which are constructed and repaired by shire councils, whose chief function it is to raise revenues, each from its own district, to support the roads in that district. The less settled districts have tracks on which riding or driving is ex-cellent after fine weather, but not after much rain.
Victoria has 420 telegraph stations, connected by 4096 miles of line. Melbourne is connected with every town or borough in Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. It is also joined with London, the length of line being 13,695 miles. The shortest re-corded time for the transmission of a message along this line is 32 minutes ; the average time is about three hours. There are about 1300 telephone wires in use in the colony, chiefly in Melbourne.
In 1886 the colony had 1429 post-offices, through which there passed 38,392,414 letters and post-cards, 17,482,490 newspapers, and 6,926,525 packets.
Victoria is fully committed to the system of '' protection to native Trade, industry." In 1886 the value of its manufactures was £13,370,000, of which over £2,250,000 worth was exported. The number of establishments was 2770, and the number of hands employed 45,770. The total value of the exports for 1886 was £11,795,321, the chief items of which were wool, £5,028,061 ; gold, £4,309,535 ; live stock, £898,000 ; wheat, £408,000 : flour, £318,000 ; sugar (brought to Vic-toria to be refined), £266,779 ; tea (brought to Melbourne to be re-exported), £395,000 ; machinery, £184,135. The imports in 1886 amounted to £18,530,575 in value, of which £8,741,275 were from the United Kingdom, £6,567,403 from other British colonies, and £3,221,897 from foreign countries, the United States heading the list with over half a million, chiefly manufactured goods.
In 1886 2307 vessels entered at Victorian ports (chiefly Mel- Shipping, bourne) and 2324 cleared, the tonnages being 1,848,058 and 1,887,329 respectively. Of the vessels that entered 1684 and of those that cleared 1721 were colonial, their respective tonnages being 958,833 and 983,295. Of British vessels there entered 407 (648,026 tons) and cleared 382 (661,833 tons). There is no shipbuilding of importance carried on in Victoria, only 4 small vessels having been built in 1886, with a total tonnage of 420. But there is a brisk trade in repairs, there being several good yards, and the Govern-ment possesses at Williamstown a graving dock which admits vessels 500 feet long, the depth of water being 27 feet.
Eleven banks of issue in Victoria had in 1886 notes to the extent Banks, of £1,399,208 in circulation; their deposits bearing interest amounted to £23,999,791, not bearing interest (current accounts), £7,239,681. The total liabilities amounted to £33,085,989, the assets to £41,170,989. The average rate of annual dividends is 124. There are, besides, six banking companies which do not issue notes, and two distinct systems of savings banks. The ordinary savings banks had in 1886 15 branches with 111,031 depositors, who owned £2,322,959 of deposits. There were 264 branches of the post-office savings banks, with 78,328 depositors, owning £1,266,957. But perhaps the most popular institution for the investment of money among persons of moderate means is the building societies, of which 60 were returned in 1886, with 19,907 members, holding £2,910,792 as deposits. These societies act as banks, and members have their current accounts with them. The total sums deposited in banks and building societies in 1888 amounted to forty millions.
Victoria enjoys almost absolute autonomy. The practical govern- Adminis-ment of the country rests with the parliament, consisting of two tration. houses. The legislative council contains 42 members elected by 14 electoral provinces. Each member holds his seat for six years, a third of them retiring every two years but being eligible for re-election. To bo eligible for election a candidate must be over thirty years of age and possessed of freehold property to the extent of £100 per annum. The electoral body consists of all citizens over twenty-one years of age, either possessing property of the yearly value of £10 or paying rates on property of not less than £25 annual value. To these are added all graduates of universities and

all members of the learned professions. Members of the legislative council receive no payment. They form a sort of court of revision of the work done in the lower house. The legislative assembly consists of 86 members elected by 55 electoral districts ; they are paid at the rate of £300 a year. A general election must take place every three years. In all other respects it resembles very closely the British House of Commons. Every man of the full age of twenty-one years who has taken out his elector's right has a vote for the election of a member for the district in which he resides. All voting is by ballot. The governor is appointed by the sovereign of the British empire. He has the power of assent-ing to or rejecting bills sent up to him from parliament, except eight classes, which he is bound to refer to the sovereign, who can disallow all bills by signifying disapproval of them within two years of their being passed by the legislature. The governor is assisted by an executive council consisting of the ministers and ex-ministers of the crown. The cabinet consists of treasurer, chief secretary, minister of public instruction, commissioner of trade and customs, minister of mines, postmaster-general, minister of lands, minister of public works, minister of agriculture, solicitor-general, attorney-general, and minister of defence. The civil service of Victoria is under the control of three commissioners, who are ap-pointed for a term of three years by Government, but are then wholly independent. Their business is to make all appointments, determine all promotions, and watch over the administration of the Civil Service Act. Their existence has effectually abolished the evils of political patronage. Finance. During the financial year 1885-86 the total receipts of the colony from all sources amounted to £6,945,099 and the expenditure to £6,513,539. On 30th June 1887 the public debt amounted to £33,119,164, more than twenty-three millions of which have been borrowed for the construction of railways. Educa- Victoria possesses a most efficiently organized system of state tion. schools, where the education given is free, secular, and compulsory.
The schools number 1826, with 4050 teachers, and 189,637 scholars. The average attendance is 119,488. The state awards each year for competition among boys and girls of the state schools eleven exhibitions of the yearly value of £35 each, tenable for six years, and two hundred of the value of £10 each for three years. The successful candidates of the former must go for two years to a college or grammar school and then enter the university of Melbourne ; those of the latter class attend the nearest grammar school. The Roman Catholic Church supports 130 primary schools with 18,000 scholars. Secondary education is quite unconnected with the state and wholly unsupported by it; but the churches and private enterprise provide all that is needed. The Church of Eng-land has large grammar schools in Melbourne and Geelong. The Presbyterians have colleges in Melbourne, Geelong, and fiallarat, and a ladies' college in Melbourne. The Wesleyans have colleges for males and females respectively in Melbourne. The Catholics liave also two institutions. Private grammar schools exist in all important towns. The university has four faculties—arts, law, engineering, and medicine—in which in 1886 the students num-bered respectively 166, 61, 9, 'and 212. There are 14 professors and 10 lecturers. About one thousand candidates present themselves every year for matriculation, but only about 160 actually enter the university each year. A considerable number of ladies have matriculated and are pursuing their studies in the university. In 1886 the number of persons who graduated was 124 and the total from the beginning of the university (founded in 1853) has been 1169. The compulsory clause has not been in force more than ten years, and it has not yet produced its full result in raising the general standard of education. At present 94 per cent, of the children between the ages of six and fifteen attend school, but nearly a fourth of these fail to make up 40 days in the quarter. Still of persons above fifteen years of age 96 per cent, can read and 92 per cent, can both read and write. These results would be even more favourable but for the presence of 13,000 Chinese in the colony nearly all of whom are returned as illiterate, neither reading nor writing English. Popula- The population in 1886 was 1,003,043 (531,452 males and 471,591 tion. females), of whom about one-haif were born in the colony and rather less than a third in the British Isles. The estimated population at the end of 1887 was 1,035,900. In religion a third are Episco-palians, a fourth Catholics, a sixth Presbyterians, and an eighth ' Wesleyans.
There are now only about 780 of the aborigines left; but they never were numerous. When white men first settled in the colony, there probably were not 15,000 ; some estimates plase them as low as 5000. Those who now remain live on stations maintained by the Government. They are allowed great freedom, with plenty of land to roam over, but each station is under the paternal care of a superintendent. Nevertheless they are steadily diminishing in numbers.
History. The eastern shore of Victoria was first explored by Surgeon Bass, who in January 1798 rounded Cape Howe from Sydney in a whale-boat. The western half was first examined in 1800-1 by Lieutenant Grant, when he discovered Port Phillip. In 1802 Flinders in charge of a British exploring expedition and Baudin at the head of one sent out by Napoleon did exploring work in the same waters.
The colony was at first known as Port Phillip, settlement being
confined to the shores of that inlet. The earliest attempt to
colonize this part of Australia was made in 1803, when Collins
was sent out with a number of convicts and landed on the sandy
peninsula to the east of the entrance to the bay. But, water being
scarce, he went across to Tasmania. In 1835 John Bateman and
John Pascoe Fawkner brought over from Tasmania rival pastoral
companies. Previous to this the brothers Heuty had formed a
whaling station at Portland, and had resided there for two years.
But, as this was a purely private enterprise, and not publicly
known, the founding of the colony is rightly ascribed to Bateman
and Fawkner. Before a year had passed about 200 persons had
followed in their wake. At the end of 1839 there were 3000 persons
on the banks of the Yarra ; in 1841 these had increased to 11,000.
In 1842 the small community began to agitate for separation from
New South Wales, and in 1851, when its desires were realized, it
numbered 97,000 persons. In this same year (1851) some of the
Australian colonies received constitutions which rendered them
self-governing, and among these the new colony of Victoria at-
tained to the dignity of representative institutions. It was also in
this year that the discovery of gold totally altered the character
and prospects of Victoria. The discovery was first made in New
South Wales in February 1851 by Edward Hargraves ; but a month
or two elapsed before it became generally known. So great was the
exodus to New South Wales that a committee of leading Melbourne
citizens offered a reward for the first discovery of gold in Victoria.
Numerous parties scoured the colony, with the result of finding
gold at Clunes. Six weeks later the wonderful field of Ballarat
was discovered, and attention was drawn to Victoria as a gold-
producing country. In 1852 there were 70,000 arrivals in the
colony, nearly all men. In 1853 there were 54,000, in 1854 there
were 90,000, and so on, the population in 1861 being six times that
of 1851. In 1854 the severity with which the liconcc-fcc of thirty
shillings a month was exacted from miners, whether successful or
not, led to a serious riot. A number of the ringleaders were
brought to trial, but the juries acquitted them. In 1860 the ill-
fated expedition of Burke and Wills left Melbourne on its bold
dash across the continent. In 1863 the colony was thrown into
much excitement over a constitutional struggle generally known
as the "deadlock." The democratic party wished to introduce
the fiscal system of protection to native industry, but, after the
bill had passed the lower house, the upper rejected it. It was then
tacked to an Appropriation BUI, which the upper house resolutely
refused to pass. For a year all supplies were stopped, and the
business of the colony was carried on without funds. In 1866 a
compromise was effected ; but then the struggle commenced anew.
The English Government recalled the governor, Sir Charles Dar-
ling, for siding with the democracy ; the lower house, thinking
him ill-used, placed on the estimates a grant of £20,000 for Lady
Darling, which the upper house threw out. In 1868 Sir Charles
received a lucrative position elsewhere, with £5000 from the colony
as arrears of salary. The later history of the colony tells only of
quiet, orderly, and unbroken prosperity. (A. SU.)

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