1902 Encyclopedia > New South Wales

New South Wales

NEW SOUTH WALES. This was the name given by Captain Cook, in his exploratory voyage in 1770, to the southern portion of the eastern coast of Australia, from some imagined resemblance of its coast-line to that of South Wales. The name was afterwards extended to the eastern half of Australia, but by subsequent subtractions has gradually received a more limited meaning. It is still, however, three times the size of Great Britain and Ireland, and larger than any state in Europe except Russia. The present British colony of New South Wales is bounded by the Pacific Ocean on the E., by Queensland on the N., by South Australia on the W., and by Victoria on the S. It lies between 28° and 38° S. lat., and 141° and 154° E. long., extending over about nine degrees of latitude and about twelve and a half degrees of longitude. The coast-line, which is about 700 miles in length, extends from Cape Howe (37° 30') at the south-eastern corner of Australia to Point Danger in 28° 7' S. The colony is approximately rectangular in form, with an average depth from the coast of 650 miles and an average width from north to south of 500 miles. The superficial area is estimated at 310,000 square miles, or about one-tenth of the whole of Australia.

Along the seaboard are twenty-two well-defined head-lands or capes and about a score of bays or inlets, to mark which for navigators there are twenty-three lighthouses. There are four very fine natural harbours, viz., Jervis Bay, Port Jackson, Broken Bay, and Port Stephens, and several others of minor importance. Of these, only Port Jackson, on which is situated the city of Sydney, has attained as yet to commercial importance. The port second in com-mercial importance is Newcastle, at the mouth of the Hunter river, which is the great coal-shipping port of the colony. Secondary harbours, available for coasting steamers, south of Sydney are to be found at Port Hacking, Wollongong, Kiama, Shoalhaven, Bateman's Bay, Ulladulla, Merimbula, and Twofold Bay. To the north of Sydney the secondary ports are at the mouths of the Hawkesbury, the Manning, the Hastings, the Macleay, the Nambucca, the Bellinger, the Clarence, the Bichmond, and the Tweed rivers. These are mostly bar harbours, but the Clarence is a noble river, and when the entrance is im-proved will become a great port.

The characteristic natural feature of New South Wales is the great Cordillera range running north and south. The average elevation of this range is about 2500 feet. The highest point, Mount Kosciusko, reaches, however, a height of 7300 feet, about 700 feet below the theoretical line of perpetual snow, yet snow has never more than once wholly disappeared. None of the interior parts of the colony attain to a similar elevation. This range runs generally parallel to the coast, varying from 30 to 140 miles distant, being nearest at the south and receding the farthest at the sources of the Goulburn river, the main tributary of the Hunter. The crest of this range is in some places narrow; in others it spreads out into a wide table-land. The eastern slopes are somewhat rugged and precipitous, the sandstone especially being deeply fissured by the watercourses; but along the greater part of the coast there is a belt of flat land generally of high fertility. At the outlet of many of the streams descending from the range are large lagoons, sometimes closed against the sea by sandbars, and at other times opened by the force of the outrushing waters. The principal of these are Lake Illawarra and Lake Macquarie, Tuggarah Lake, Lake Myall, Wallis Lake, Watson Taylor Lake, and Queen's Lake. Lake Macquarie, however, is rather a magnificent estuary than a lake, and if the bar at the entrance could be removed would become a commercial port, as the hills at the back are rich in coal. The inland lakes are few and unimportant. They are mostly shallow and occasionally dry. On the western side of the main range the general slope of the country is towards the west, the drainage being into the Murray, the Murrumbidgee, the Lachlan, and the Darling; but the drainage of all of them unites in the Murray, at the town of Wentworth, near the south-western corner of the colony.

Climate.—The rainfall differs very much in different parts of the colony. It is heaviest on the eastern coast, where the easterly gales break against the main range. Here the average is 40 inches on the south to 65 inches on the north. Sydney, with forty-three years' observation, has a mean of 50 inches. In winter the temperature sometimes falls to the freezing point, and it rises in summer to 85° or 90° on very hot days. The mean temperature of Sydney is 62°-5. On the table-lands the rainfall is from 20 to 35 inches. In winter the temperature in extreme cases falls 10° or 15° below the freezing point, and in the height of summer it rises to 100° or 105°. The mean temperature may be found from 50° to 60°. On the great western plains the rainfall is much less, falling rapidly as the high land is left to 18 inches, and in the far west to 8 inches. Here the temperature seldom falls more than 6° or 8° below freezing, but in summer it often rises to 110°, and in extreme cases to 120°; and the mean temperatures range from 60° on the south to 68° on the north. Along the coast-line the air is moist and soft; the temperature is mild, the thermometer ranging from 78° in January to 59° in July, and the mean for the year being about 62^-°. The prevailing wind in summer is from the north-east, though occasionally hot, dry winds come from the north-western interior, which are generally followed by a sudden and violent reaction from the south, known as " southerly bursters." On such occasions the thermometer will some-times suddenly fall in a few hours 20 or 30 degrees. The violent rainstorms generally come from the east, shifting from north-east to south-east; but, as they are mostly accompanied with a high temperature, their origin is to be looked for towards the north. During the winter months the wind blows mostly from the west. It is a dry wind, and the weather is generally clear, bright, and invigorat-ing. On the table-land the air is much drier than on the coast, the winters are longer and colder, and the summer heat, except in the middle of hot days, much below the coast temperature; and this elevated region is much resorted to by the citizens of Sydney as a summer resort. As the country slopes down towards the west the dryness of the climate increases. Though the heat is sometimes oppressive, the climate is not unhealthy; while sheep and cattle are more free from disease here than in moister parts of the colony.

Geology.'—The main mountain chain, running north and south, with the eastern portion of the continent generally, must have been submerged during the early Miocene period to the extent of about 4000 feet below its present level, leaving the highest portions of the range standing out as islands, which have probably never wholly been submerged since the commencement of the Mesozoic era, and to this is attributable the survival of the cycads, araucarias, and other ancient vegetable forms which now abound in Australia; the living Ceratodus forsteri of Queensland, and the Marsupialia, also point to the same conclusion. To the westward it throws out many lateral spurs, diminishing gradually in elevation, and determining the basins of the tributaries of the rivers flowing westward. The most important of these lateral ranges runs north-westward towards the Darling and beyond to the Barrier Ranges in the north-western part of the colony. The summit of this lateral range hr.s been partly denuded, and it dips towards the plain of the Darling where that river cuts through it. This being the only water channel from all the north-western portion of the colony, all the tributaries of the Darling converge into this depression. This range divides the western portion of the colony into two main basins, the northern of which contains all the affluents of the Darling, and the southern is the Murrum-bidgee basin, with its affluents the Murray and the Lachlan. These basins consist of a large Cretaceous area, which extends away far beyond the western boundary of the colony. The basis of the mountain system of the colony is granite, and the oldest sedimentary deposit rest-ing on it is the Upper Silurian. In the neighbouring colony of Victoria, Lower Silurian fossils are found over a large area west of Melbourne, but in New South Wales nothing has been definitely determined older than the Upper Silurian. Granite has lifted the superincumbent deposits, penetrated them, and metamorphosed them in various degrees up to a close resemblance to igneous rocks. The great western plains of the interior are characterized by isolated rocks, or short ranges, mostly granite, but occasionally trap, long sand ridges, and clay basins. The sand and clay both result from the disintegration of granite and trap, the sand ridges having been wind-blown, and the clay washed into the lower levels. Many of the wells sunk into the yellow clay furnish an almost undrinkable brackish water, from the salts of soda and iron, and occasionally lime, potash, and magnesia, yielded by the felspars.

The Upper Silurian rocks occur frequently, but chiefly on the western watershed of the great dividing range. They consist of conglomerates, sandstones, slates, mud-stones, and limestones, and have a general meridional strike. Devonian rocks are displayed on the western flanks of the Blue Mountains. They include sandstones, con-glomerates, limestones, and shales, related by their fossils to the Silurian beds below and to the Carboniferous beds above. The Carboniferous series is very widely developed. The strata are probably not less than 10,000 feet thick, the lower beds containing both plants and marine fauna. The Upper Carboniferous series includes the lower Coal-measures of New South Wales. These are traceable along the coast from 31|-° to 35J° S. The coal-seams are visible above the sea-level from Coal Cliff, 20 miles south of Sydney, the seams rising to the southward, and from Lake Macquarie, north of Sydney, the seams rising to the north-ward. The great coal basin extends westward along what seems to have been a depression between the northern and southern elevated portions of the old main range, and, lying under what is now the Blue Mountains, passes up northwards along the western flank of the main range towards the boundary of Queensland. The western edge of the coal basin is not determined. Overlying the coal basin, to the westward of Sydney, is a Mesozoic sandstone formation, 1000 feet thick, while above this, and also inter-mixed with it, lies a shale deposit. All these series have been disturbed by dykes of basalt, diabase, and dolerite. Some of the coal-seams have been tilted by this intrusion; in other cases the dip has not been changed; and in some cases the adjacent coal has been charred into coke. Vol-canic disturbance seems to have been very active during the Tertiary epoch, and the igneous formations occupy about 40,000 square miles.

Minerals.—Commercial mining is at present limited to gold, silver, copper, tin, coal, and oil shales. The greater portion of the gold hitherto raised has been from alluvial deposits. These are of Permian, Cretaceous, Tertiary, and Quaternary ages, and are derived from the degradation of the older sedimentary rocks of Upper Silurian, Devonian, and Lower Carboniferous ages. The formations in association with which gold has been found are widely scattered over the colony, and are estimated to occupy nearly one-fourth of its area. In the reefs, gold seldom occurs without one or more of the following sulphides :—iron pyrites, galena, mispickel, blende, and copper pyrites. The gold is always more or less alloyed with silver, and there are occasionally traces of copper, iron, osmiridium, and other metals. The greatest depth at which auriferous reefs have been worked is 940 feet at Adelong. The value of the gold raised in the colony up to the end of 1882 was ¡£34,839,847. Silver has been found in several places, but has only been profitably worked at Boorook. The lodes vary in width rom 1 to 3 feet, and are situated in belts of felspar porphyry, alternated with beds of fossiliferous shales of the Devonian forma-tion. The value of silver raised to the end of 1882 was £187,429. Copper ore is traceable on the surface in very many places, and the cupriferous formations are already estimated to cover an area equal to 4,300,000 acres. The value of copper exported to the end of 1882 was £3,538,285. Tin has been profitably worked since 1872, and the value exported to the end of 1882 was £5,173,038. It is nearly all taken from alluvial deposits—in the first instance from the beds of existing creeks, but more recently from the beds of old rivers, sometimes covered by basalt. It is all obtained from the Tertiary and Quaternary drifts, composed of the detritus from the stanniferous granite. The area of stanniferous deposits is estimated at 5,440,000 acres, the principal tin-bearing localities being in the high lands of the great dividing chain in the northern and southern districts. The known Coal-measures embrace an area of about 24,000 square miles, the seams varying from 3 feet to 25 feet in thickness. The seams are mostly horizontal. The dip is usually under 5°. The principal collieries are near Newcastle, anil on the Illawarra coast, and at the western foot of the Blue Mountains. The seams worked to the south of Sydney are more anthracitic than those worked to the north. The value of the coal raised during 1882 was£944,405. Whatis called, though erroneously, "kerosene shale " is worked in the west at Hartley and in the south at Joadja Creek. It is really a species of cannel coal. A good illuminating oil is distilled from it, and it is largely shipped for use in gas-works, a moderate percentage of it greatly improving the quality of the gas. The value of this cannel coal raised up to the end of 1882 was £665,160. Iron exists in abundance, and has been worked at Mittagong and Lithgow Valley, but the colonial cost of labour has made it difficult to compete with English imports. Red and brown ore exists in abundance in the sandstone formation. It contains 55 per cent, of metallic iron. Beds of clayband iron ore are found in the Coal-measures, both on the west of the Blue Mountains and on the Illawarra coast. Antimony has been found in several places, and has been slightly worked in the Macleay and Armidale districts, where the lodes traverse sedimentary rocks of the Devonian age. Argentiferous lead is found in many places in the Silurian, Devonian, and granite formations, but hitherto the attempts to work it at a profit have been a failure. Bismuth has been found in the tin-bearing rocks, and asbestos in veins in serpentines ; chromic iron and manganese ore have also been found in consider-able quantities. The tin-bearing drifts in the river gravels con-tain precious stones, —the diamond, sapphire, emerald, ruby, opal, amethyst, garnet, chrysolite, topaz, cairngorm, and onyx having all been found. The colony is well supplied with building stone, granite, sandstone, flagging, marble, limestone, slate, and fire-clay ; and brick and pottery clays occur in abundance.

Agriculture.—The fertile soils consist chiefly of the alluvial deposits on the banks of the rivers and the detritus of the igneous rocks. On the rich flats on the banks of the river Hunter, mostly devoted to the growing of lucerne for hay, six cuttings are generally taken off in the year. To the southward of Sydney the coast land is very largely devoted to dairy-farming, the herbage being rich and sweet, especially in localities where there has been any basaltic overflow. The principal supply of butter and cheese for the Sydney market comes from this district. Along the coast to the north-ward of Port Stephens maize is very largely cultivated for horse-food. The yield in an average season is about 50 bushels per acre. Sugar has not been commercially successful south of Clarence. But on that river, and on the Richmond, and all the way to the border of Queensland, it has proved profitable, and is rapidly extending. Oranges are not cultivated to advantage south of Sydney, but any-where to the northward along the eastern slopes they grow freely. Nearly every description of European fruit is cultivated without difficulty. Tobacco is increasingly grown both on the coast and on the alluvial flats of the western waters. In earlier days wheat was very largely grown upon the coast, but in consequence of the rust this crop has been driven inland on to basaltic areas. The produc-tion of wine is limited only by the demand. Hitherto the principal seats of this industry have been in the Hunter river district, where many varieties of light wine are produced, and in the district round Albury, where, in a dry, warm climate, and from a rich volcanic soil, a strong, full-bodied wine is obtained.

Grazing was the beginning of the industrial life of Australia, and it is still the great source of its wealth. The mildness of the winter allows stock to be pastured out of doors all the year round, and supersedes the necessity of artificial food. The consequence is that the country has been easily and rapidly overspread with sheep and cattle farms, the only natural check being the want of water in the remote parts and the occasional discouragement of poor markets. The speciality of the Australian wool is its fineness, and the small merino sheep are found to be the best-suited to the pasture and the climate. The stock which is now most appre-ciated is that of Australian breeders who have kept their flocks free from intermixture for a long period. The Australian merino has established for itself a separate type. Sheep as a rule are remarkably healthy in the Australian climate. In wet seasons and on stiff land they are liable to fluke and to foot-rot. Scab has occasionally appeared ; but the precautions taken against it now are very strict, and it has not prevailed in the colony since it was stamped out in 1866. Cattle are liable to pleuro-pneumonia, which is sometimes very destructive.

Flora.—The flora of New South Wales, which comprises about 3000 species of plants, exclusive of mosses, lichens, fungi, and sea-weeds, is characterized by many peculiar forms. The great orders of dicotyledonous plants on the eastern side of the dividing range are respectively Leguminosse, Composites, Myrtaceae, Proteaceae, Epacridem, and Entaceae, three of which (the Myrtaceae, Proteaeem, and Epacridcae) include the great majority of the trees and shrubs which differ so essentially from the ordinary European types.

Amongst the Myrtaceae (containing some 140 species) there are plants ranging from the minute Bseclcia to the gigantic Eucalyptus. These, for the most part, have valuable resins and oils, and possess astringent and antiscorbutic properties; the foliage is evergreen, and the flowers vary from white and yellow to purple and crimson. The forests are principally myrtaceous, some species yielding esculent fruits, while the wood and bark of many are becoming known throughout the world. While in point of utility the Myrtaceae stand unrivalled, the Proteaceee, by their various flowers, curiously shaped fruits, and harsh foliage, arrest the attention of the observer. The far-famed "wooden pear" (Xylo-melnm,pyriforme), the gorgeous "waratah" (Telopeaspeciosissima), and species of the hard-fruited Halcea and the variously coloured Grevillea represent this order in the vicinity of Port Jackson. In New South Wales there is only one heath correctly so termed (Gaultheria hispida), and that only on the summits of snowy mountains near the Bellinger, or on the Australian Alps ; but the lovely epacrids, which are abundant near Sydney, take the place of heaths, and two of them (E. purpurasceiis and E. microphylla), as if to increase the beauty of their inflorescence, are sometimes found double even in a wild state. In each region, whether alpine, littoral, or beyond the dividing range, epacrids occur in a greater or less degree. The Lcguminosee and Compositm, though nearly cosmo-politan, attain a comparative maximum in New South Wales, the species of the former being over 300 and of the latter 250. Of legu-minous plants, the species of Acacia are the most numerous (about 100), scattered in some places amongst the trees of the forest, and in others forming dense scrubs. Those remarkable for their scented and useful wood (such as A. pendula and A. homalophylla—the "myalls" of the natives) are highly valued. Start's desert pea (Clianthus Dampieri), the Moreton Bay chestnut (Gastanospermum australe), and the genus Swainsona have acquired a reputation amongst horticulturists. Many of the composites, the largest of which is the musk-tree (Aster argophyllus), are found not only near the coast but on the arid plains of the interior. Although from the frequent occurrence of certain orders, the flora of New South Wales is somewhat monotonous, yet the vegetation of the southern mountains, of the north-east portion of the colony, and of moist gullies is wonderfully diversified. The alpine plants of the south, occurring at an elevation of from 4000 to 6000 feet above the level of the sea, show an affinity for the flora of Tasmania, many plants being common to both colonies, whilst ten species at least are identical with those of Europe. In the northern parts of the colony the character of the vegetation is semi-tropical, similar in some respects to that of India. And then, again, in moist and shady gullies, or on the ranges of the mountains, tree-ferns rising to 50 feet, large climbers of the Vitis or Lyonsia genus, orchids of singular forms and various habits, and mosses, lichens, and fungi may be found in great profusion. In good seasons the interior is well supplied with splendid grasses, but when droughts prevail, and the usual pasture fails, sheep aud cattle find sustenance in salsolaceous bushes, the hardy composites, and plants of the geranium or umbelliferous kind. The Casuarinas, which prevail more or less from the coast to the far interior, are almost exclusively Australasian, some rising to be lofty trees, and others forming brushes on the mountains. Here there is a genus differing from others in the strangely-jointed stems of the species, their minute whorled leaves, and the peculiar growth of their wood; and there, again, is the perplexing tree Alchornea ilici-folia, celebrated as having reproduced itself for many genera-tions from female plants alone. In the northern specimens male flowers have been found, but not so in those near Sydney. Exocarpus civpressiformis, or the "native cherry," is another anomalous shrub, having, as it is said, its fruit outside, or more properly raised on an obconical pedicel, which becomes thick, red, and esculent. In most countries the labiates are herbs or under-shrubs, but in New South Wales there is a large genus of the order (Prostanthera) which has species of considerable size, abound-ing in scented and volatile oils, and adorned with a profusion of elegant flowers. The Stylideae are not largely represented in Eastern Australia, but the species are very singular. The column in which the stamens and style are blended is remarkable for its irritability, and is scarcely like anything in the vegetable kingdom, excepting perhaps some of the orchids. So also in the Goodeniacex, which number nearly 50 species, there is a peculiar covering on the stigma, the object of which is yet a mystery. The monocoty-ledonous plants are between 600 and 700, and of these the Cyperaceee, Graminacese, and Orchidacex are the most abundant. Some of the orchids are highly prized for the singularity of their structure and the elegance of their flowers, whilst the gigantic lily (Doryanthes excelsa) has been an object of interest from the earliest days of the colony. Of the palms, five species extend to New South Wales. The walking-stick palm (Kentia monostachya) occurs in the north, and Ptychospcrma Cunninghami and Livistona australis extend to Illawarra.

Fauna.—As New South Wales has no natural boundary except the Pacific, there are no organic types which characterize this colony in the same degree as the marsupials, proteads, eucalypts, and acacias distinguish the Australian region as a whole. In this respect neither do its northern districts differ from South Queens-land nor its southern from north-east Victoria, while its west is uniform with the rest of the great continental plain. With this proviso, New South Wales may be justly regarded as the typical region of East Australia. It is made up of three strips, each a subregion in itself—the coast, the dividing range and its plateaus, and the lower western plains. The coast ranges, bathed by a heated oceanic current, shelter a warm and moist sea margin, in which as far as 34° 40' S. lat. we find jungles of palms, figs, nettle-trees, and a host of other sub-tropical plants, haunted by taiegallas, fruit pigeons, flying foxes, &c.; the table-lands enjoy an essenti-ally temperate climate; and in the plains of the interior the scanty rainfall imposes further restrictions on animal and vegetable life.

The indigenous mammals are all marsupial, with the exception, of a few bats and rodents, and even among these Hydromys is peculiar. This indicates permanent isolation since Mesozoic time. The dingo was doubtless introduced by man, while whales and seals belong to no coast in particular. The dugong (Salicore) is not found south of Moreton Bay. Many extinct marsupials, be-longing to Australian types, but of gigantic size, as Eiprotodon, Nototherium, Thylacoleo, with huge kangaroos, are found in Pleistocene deposits. With them are associated Thylacinus and SarcopMlus, now restricted to Tasmania. No Didelphys occurs, fossil or recent. Cuscus is tropical only. Nor is the singular Dejidrolagus, akin to the phalangers rather than the kangaroos, found in Australia. All other genera of marsupials are represented in New South Wales. The flying 'possum (Petaurista), tiger eat (Dasyurus maculatus), wallaroo (Macropus robustus), &c, are con-fined to the eastern, and Myrmccobius, Chceropus, and Peragalea to the western districts. Of these Thylacoleo is related to the Jurassic Plagiaulax, Myrmecobius to Amphitheriuni, &c., the oldest mammals known to paleontology.—Among birds, woodpeckers, vultures, and many other families are unknown ; while honeysuckers (Melli-phaga), lyre birds (Menura), cockatoos, rosellas (Platycercus), brush-tongued lories (Trichoglossus), brush turkeys (Megapodius), emus, jackasses (Dacelo), moreporks (Podargus), magpies (Gymno-rhina), wood swallows (Artamus), crested pigeons, bower birds, and plain turkeys (bustards) give a most distinct character to the avifauna. —Of reptiles, the luth (Dermatochelys) is not uncommon on the coast, while long-necked tortoises (Chdodina) frequent all inland waters. Lizards of the skink, gecko, and agama families are numerous, as Sinulia, sleeping lizards (Gyclodus), rock scorpions (Phyllurus), Jew lizards (Grammatophora), and, in the west, stump-tails (Tracliydosaums), which Damjner declared the ugliest animals on earth. The monitors are represented by the (so-called) iguanas (Hydrosaurus). Crocodiles are absent. Of snakes, the Crotalidx are unknown. The Viperidac appear by the death adder (Acan-thophis). Sea snakes, as Platurus and Pelamis, occur upon the coast. The harmless colubrines—1'ropidonotus, Dendrophis, Dipsas —are known by single species ; but the Elapidse, as Diemenia, the black snake (Pseudechis), and several species of Hoplocephalus, are common and dangerous. Morelia spilotes, the diamond snake, peculiar to the coast, and M. variegata, the carpet snake, belong to the pythons. No tailed batrachians occur, but there are a few species of frogs, mainly of the genera Limnodynastes, Pseudophrytie, Pelodryas, and Hyla (tree-frog). —As to marine fishes and inverte-brates, the region is naturally intermediate between the Indo-Pacific and South Australian districts, partly limited indeed on the south by the cold waters of Bass's Straits, but quite open to the north; hence the fauna is rich and various.—The number and variety of the insects of New South Wales is well known. The most distinct types are probably in the Coleóptera, where Carcnum, Anoplognathxts, Stigmodera, and Amycterus form very important groups in the Carabidee,Lamellicornes, Bupresiidge, and Curculionidm respectively. So also Thynnus among the Hymcnoptera. Lepidoptera alone are comparatively few, restricted to the coast, and of Indian types. In like manner the land and freshwater molluscs, numerous to the north and east, become rarer towards the south and west.

Fisheries.—Up to the present time but little enterprise has been displayed in developing the extensive sea-fisheries of the colony. The fish as a rule are shore-fish, and are not commonly met at a greater distance from the coast than 3 or 4 leagues, or in a greater depth of water than 40 fathoms. The line-fish, such as schnappers, teraglin, king-fish, rock cod, morwong, and other forms, are generally found in the neighbourhood of reefs, or rocky patches off headlands and in offings ; while the net-fish, such as mullet (of various kinds), black and silver bream (or tarwhine), whiting, black-fish, gar-fish, flounders, flathead, tailors, and travally, are obtained on inshore beaches or flats of the many inlets and rivers which break the coast-line. No gadoids or codfish have as yet been found, nor any larger flat fish than flounders and soles. The chief freshwater fish are the Murray cod and the golden and common river perch. Freshwater herrings abound in the eastern rivers, also eels, but they are not much sought after. Oysters abound in all tidal waters. There appear to be three varieties, the mud oyster, the drift, and the rock or foreshore oyster. The drift and rock oyster are in season all the year round in some fisheries, and in quality almost, if not quite, equal the '' natives " of Whitstable. Lobsters also abound on the coast, espe-cially where there is good cover afforded by kelpy rocks. Shrimps are not found, but prawns of large size and excellent quality are abundant.

Commerce.—Sydney, the capital, seated on the magnificent har-bour of Port Jackson, is well posted to gather the commerce of the Southern Pacific, its position corresponding with that of San Francisco on the opposite coast of the Northern Pacific. The fiscal policy of the colony has been generally, though not rigidly, one of free trade, and this has greatly helped to make Sydney the chief emporium of Australasia. The total value of the trade in 1882 was very nearly £38,000,000, the imports exceeding the exports by £4,500,000. The intercolonial trade accounts for about one-third of the imports, and that with the United Kingdom for nearly one-half, the import from foreign states being about one-tenth. The export trade with foreign states is below one-thirteenth of the whole. The great items of export consist of wool, skins, leather, hides, and tallow. To the neighbouring colony of Victoria there is a very large export of sheep and cattle. Next to the produce of the pastoral industry comes the produce of the mining industry, con-sisting of gold, coin, tin, copper, and coal. Other articles are of minor importance.

Railways.—These, with one small and detached exception, are entirely in the hands of the Government, and nearly all the capital has been raised in England. They are under the management of a commissioner, subject to the general superintendence of the minis-ter for public works. The whole system is divided into three groups, the southern, the western, and the northern, with their respective branches.

Telegraph and Postal Service.—The telegraph and postal systems are entirely in the hands of the Government. Every important place in the colony is within the range of both services, and New South Wales unites with New Zealand in subsidizing the mail route between Sydney and San Francisco.

Banks.—There are thirteen joint-stock banks, five of them being Anglo-Australian, four intercolonial, with their headquarters in Sydney, three branches of intercolonial banks, having their head-quarters elsewhere, and two belonging exclusively to the colony. In 1882 the average note circulation was about £1,500,000, and the coin and bullion held about £3,000,000. There is a savings bank with its branches, under Government management, besides a savings bank department attached to the post-office, and the total deposits in 1882 amounted to £2,600,000, the depositors numbering over 70,000.

Shipping.—The coasting and intercolonial trade sustains a dozen steamship companies, and the trade of nearly all the great ocean lines of steamers converges at Sydney, where the convenience for coaling is greatest. Mort's Dock is capable of accommodating most of the large steamers that visit the port. The Government possesses another dock of equal size at Biloela, and is constructing another capable of taking in the largest ironclad. There are several private slips, and repairs of any kind can be executed. The headquarters of the imperial navy are in Port Jackson, where the admiralty has a depôt.

Administration.—-The political constitution of New South Wales is that of a self-governing British colony, and rests on the provisions of the Constitution Act. The governor is appointed by the crown, the term of office being generally for five years, and the salary £7000. The governor is the official medium of communication between the colonial Government and the secretary for the colonies, but at the same time the colony maintains its own agent-general in London, who not only sees to all its commercial business, but communi-cates with the colonial office. In the legislative assembly there are more than one hundred members. The number is not fixed, because the Electoral Act provides that electorates in which the votes have increased beyond a stipulated number shall be per-manently entitled to additional representation. The principle adopted in distributing the representation is that of equal electoral districts, modified, however, by a preference given to the distant and rural constituencies at the cost of the metropolitan electorates. The suffrage qualification is a residence of six months, or the pos-session of a small landed property. The upper house or legislative council consists exclusively of persons nominated for life by the governor, with the advice of the executive council. The number is not fixed, but it is understood that, except in cases of emergency, the number shall not exceed one-half of that of the legislative assembly, and that no appointments shall be made during the sitting of ] larliament. The parliaments are triennial.

Revenue.—The revenue is officially classed under three principal heads, as derived from taxation, from public services, and from land, of which the first yields the least. This is nearly all derived from the custom-house, and principally from the duties on alcoholic liquors, tobacco in its various forms, and groceries. Stamps and licences are the only form of direct taxation. The municipal sys-tem, being of voluntary adoption, has been only partially applied, a very large proportion of works of improvement being executed by the general Government. The receipts from land are large; the policy which should regulate the alienation of land is a standing subject of political controversy. At the end of 1882 nearly 36,000,000 acres had been alienated, the unsold portion being leased by the Government to graziers.

Education. —The educational system was originally that of subsi-dizing the four principal churches, to which were made grants of land for school purposes, as well as annual endowments. Subsequently a national system in imitation of the Irish system was established, and the two were separately worked by a national board and a de-nominational board respectively. These two boards were abolished in 1866, and a public school board appointed to superintend all schools, both national and denominational. Finally this board was abolished, and in 1880 all primary schools were placed under the immediate control of a minister for education, and it was arranged that grants to denominational schools should cease at the end of the year 1882. There is one grammar school for boys only in Sydney, sustained by the state, but by a recent Act high schools for both sexes are to be established all over the colony. The university, which was built by the state, and which receives an endowment of £10,000 a year, gives lectures and confers degrees in arts, laws, medicine, and science. Adjoining the university is the Prince Alfred Hospital, the medical teaching in which is partly under the control of the university senate. Attached to the university are three affiliated colleges, one belonging to the Church of England, one to the Church of Borne, and one to the Presbyterian Church. In addition to the examinations for degrees, the senate holds a senior and a junior examination each year for the use of schools for both sexes. Private munificence has supplied many bursaries and scholarships. Mechanics' institutes and schools of art receive an annual subsidy in proportion to their subscriptions, and an extensive scheme for technical classes is being organized.

Population.—The official estimate of the population at the close of 1882 was 817,000. The previous census was taken on April 3, 1881, and the population was then 751,468 (411,149 males and 340,319 females),—an increase since 1871 of 247,487, or 48 per cent. The persons born in the colony numbered 465,559, while 208,512 had come from Great Britain, Ireland, and other British possessions. The Catholics were about two-sevenths of the population, being 207,606 as against 516,512 Protestants. Nearly every religious sect is represented, and the estimated attendance at public worship on Sunday was 221,031. There is no state church.

History.—The early history of New South Wales was for many years that of Australasia, and it has little more interest than what pertains to the philosophy of penal settlements. It was a distant prison maintained at the imperial cost. The commercial epoch began when Captain Macarthur found that the climate was suited to the growth of fine wool. The first sheep came from the Cape mixed with a few from India. He got together a flock of 1000, and noticed that even in his mongrel flock careful culling and breeding led to a great improvement in the wool, and this set him on considering the importance of having good rams. The fortunate arrival in the colony from the Cape of some fine-woolled sheep of the Escurial breed gave him the opportunity of adding three rams and five ewes to his flock, which he subsequently further improved on a visit to England, by purchasing some of King George Ill.'s stock at Kew. The stad flock he thus formed, and which was kept at Camden for fifty years, laid the basis of an expansive industry. From that time the colony had an export. The growth of live stock quickly overtook the demands of the local population for meat, and then another colonist, Mr O'Brien, made the discovery that if sheep were worth nothing for meat they were worth something for tallow, and boiling down became the destiny of all the surplus stock. This waste of meat was suddenly stopped when the next great epoch in the history of the colony was opened up by the discovery of gold. Victoria soon outstripped the mother-colony by its superior attractions in this respect, but New South Wales gained the enormous advantage of having its pastoral industry stimulated and made more profitable. The unoccupied country became worth taking up, till every portion of the territory that was at all occupiable was leased. The political government was at first necessarily a strictly military one, but as the number of the freed men and their children increased, and the number of free settlers increased also, the demand for some form of representative government arose, and became irresistible. A legislative council was established, partly nominative and partly elective. Coincidently with this grew up a demand that transportation should cease, and the agitation on this question has been the only serious conflict between the colony and the mother-country. It was ended by the mother-cjountry yielding, and transportation was somewhat reluctantly abolished in 1853. At about the same time the mixed legislative council was superseded by the existing parliamentary system of two houses and responsible government, under which the colony has prospered contentedly ever since. (A. GA.)

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