1902 Encyclopedia > Queensland


QUEENSLAND, a British colony, the north-eastern portion of Australia, is situated between New South Wales and Torres Strait, and between the Pacific Ocean and the Northern Territory of South Australia. Its southern boundary is about 29° S. lat.; its western is 141° E. long, from 29° to 26° S. lat., and 138° E. thence to the Gulf of Carpentaria; its northern is about 9° S. including the Torres Straits islands. In extreme length it is 1400 miles; in breadth, 1000. Its area is 669,520 square miles, or about 5 J times that of the United Kingdom. The popula-tion is under 300,000.

With a seaboard of over 2500 miles, it is well favoured with ports on the Pacific side. Moreton Bay receives the Brisbane river, on whose banks Brisbane, the capital, stands. Maryborough port is on the Mary, which flows into Wide Bay; Bundaberg, on the Burnett; Gladstone^ on Port Curtis; Rockkampton, up the Fitzroy (Keppel Bay) ; Mackay, on the Pioneer ; Bowen, on Port Denison; Townsville, on Cleveland Bay. Cairns and Port Douglas are near Trinity Bay; Card well is on Rockingham Bay; Cooktown, on the Endeavour; Thursday Island port, near Cape York; and Normanton, near the Gulf of Car-pentaria. The new gulf port is at Point Parker. The quiet Inner Passage, between the shore and the Great Barrier Reef, 1200 miles long, favours the north-eastern Queensland ports. Ipswich, Toowoomba, Oxley, Beenleigh, Maryborough, and Mackay are farming centres; Warwick, Roma, Clermont, Blackall, Aramac, Hughenden, and Mitchell are pastoral ones. Gympie, Charters Towers, Ravenswood, and Palmerville are gold-mining towns; while Stanthorpe and Herberton have tin mines. Town-ships are laid out by Government as occasion requires. There are fifteen large districts, viz., Moreton, Darling Downs, Wide Bay, Burnett, Maranoa, Warrego, and South Gregory, southward; Port Curtis, Leichhardt, South Kennedy, Mitchell, and North Gregory, central; North Kennedy, Burke, and Cook, northward. Cape York Peninsula is the northern limit. A few persons were sent to the Brisbane in 1826; but the Moreton Bay dis-trict of New South Wales was thrown open to coloniza-tion in 1842. It was named " Queensland " on its separa-tion from the mother colony in 1859. A natural but unfounded prejudice against its supposed warmer position retarded its progress, or confined its few inhabitants to pastoral pursuits. The discovery of abundant wealth in minerals and sugar-lands, with the growing conviction of its singular salubrity, greatly advanced the immigration prospects of the colony. A broad plateau, of from 2000 to 5000 feet in height, extends from north to south, at from 20 to 100 miles from the coast, forming the Main Range. This region is the seat of mining, and will be of agriculture. The Coast Range is less elevated. A plateau goes westward from the Great Dividing Range, throwing most of its waters northward to the gulf. The Main Range sends numerous but short streams to the Pacific, and a few long ones south-westward, lost in earth or shallow lakes, unless feeding the river Darling. Going northward, the leading rivers, in order, are the Logan, Brisbane, Mary, Burnett, Fitzroy, Burdekin, Herbert, Johnstone, and Endeavour. The Fitzroy receives the Mackenzie and Dawson ; the Burdekin is supplied by the Cape, Belyando, and Suttor. The chief gulf streams are the Mitchell, Flinders, Leichhardt, and Albert. The great dry western plains have the Barcoo, Diamantina, Georgina, Warrego, Maranoa, and Condamine. There are few lakes. A succession of elevated and nearly treeless downs of remarkable fertility contrasts with the heavily timbered country favoured by the rains. Cape York Peninsula is an epitome of Queensland. There is good land alternating with bad. The hills are rich in gold, silver, copper, tin, and coal. The forests are valuable, and the scrub is dense. Flats near the mouths of the many streams are admirable for sugar-cane and rice, while rising slopes suit coffee trees. West of the range dividing the gulf waters from the Pacific is a sandy grassless region where the only vegetation is a poisonous pea. Suddenly the traveller passes from this desert to the glorious downs around Hughenden, a garden-land beside the Flinders. Farther north-west is the charming Leichhardt river district, and the marvellous mineral Cloncurry highland. Southward of that again is the country of the Diamantina and Georgina, with little rain, but having vast tracts of good black soil threaded by slight ridges of barren sandstone. Droughts are there followed by floods from thunder showers. The south-western portion is inferior to all, having heavy sand-rises between the grassy belts. Still the pastoral settlers are taking up areas there. All that dry warm west is remarkably healthy for man and beast. The productive and better-watered part between the Main Range and the Pacific has the principal population.

Climate.-—The coast-lands, with an annual rainfall of from 40 to 130 inches, are favoured by the south-east trade-winds and the summer north-west monsoons. Dur-ing 1882 there fell at Johnstone river, 17° S., nearly 160 inches on one hundred and ninety-seven days. Northern Queensland, up to the ranges, is well watered. Central and southern districts are not so aided by the monsoons. The highlands have on their eastern side from 30 to 70 inches, but on their western only from 15 to 30. The gulf region has from 30 to 60. The southern hills have far less rain than the northern ones. The arid western area depends on occasional thunderstorms, though nature provides a grass that long resists the drought. The low south-west basin, trending to the depressed lake region of South Australia, has repeatedly seasons of intense dryness. In temperature, Brisbane has a mean of 69°—between 34° and 105°. The hilly districts, even in the tropics, have slight frosts in winter, but a high barometer in the dry warm weather. North Queensland has less heat than its latitude would seem to threaten. Tropical ports show a lower summer thermometer than may sometimes be seen in Sydney, Adelaide, and Melbourne. The western heat is stimulating in its dryness and electrical condition. The oppression on the northern coast is felt during the rainy season, though the showers cool the air. The prevalence of south-east winds off the sea mitigates the trials of summer. The dreaded "hot wind," brought southward by the usual course from central Australian deserts, descends upon the southern colonies, avoiding Queensland. Still the ordinary western breeze, passing over so great an expanse of land, while positively cold on winter nights, is sufficiently hot during the summer.

In a recent year the colonial registrar-general gave the death-rate of Brisbane municipality at 13 in the thousand, Toowoomba 17, and Rockhampton 15. In the tropics it was 12 at Charters Towers and Cooktown, 15 at Towns-ville; but 29 at Mackay, where the sickly Polynesians abound. The prevalent diseases are rather from disordered liver and bowels than lungs and throat. Low fevers, seldom fatal, continue for a time in all newly opened-up country throughout Australia, as in America. Female mortality, even in the tropical ports, is considerably less than that of males. Infants, as a rule, thrive better in the colony, according to numbers, than in England. Cooktown, in lat. 16° S., is regarded by some as the sana-torium of the future. Queensland can give invalids any climate they may desire—moist and equable, dry and exhilarating, warm days and cool nights, soft coast airs for bronchial affections, and more bracing ones for other consumptives.

Geology.—Queensland is geologically connected with New South Wales and Victoria by the great chain of hills continued through the eastern portion of Australia, from Cape York to Bass's Strait. That immense range consists largely of Palaeozoic formations with igneous rocks. The granites, porphyries, and basalts have greatly tilted and metamorphosed the sedimentary deposits of Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, and Oolitic ages. The width of this elevated and mineral part of the colony varies from 50 to 400 miles. Ancient formations, however, rise in the broad western plains, and everywhere indicate metallic treasures. Nearer the eastern coast granite and porphy-rinic rocks appear in greater force than in the Dividing Range, and the voyager rarely loses sight of them all the way from Moreton Bay to Cape York. They add much to the attractiveness of the scenery, especially in Whit-sunday Passage. The old sedimentary strata consist of sandstones, limestones, conglomerates, and slates of vari-ous kinds. The Carboniferous beds are of great extent, occupying thousands of square miles (perhaps as many as 100,000), on the highlands, and on both sides of the Main Chain. It is in north and central Queensland that the mineral is found of the true Palfeozoic character, bearing the distinctive floral features of the English and New South Wales Newcastle formation. The Jurassic and Liassic rocks of the southern hilly districts are rich in cannel coal. The Wollumbilla beds are similar to the Upper Wiannamatta ones of New South Wales. The Mesozoic or Secondary formations prevail largely to the westward. Ammonites, belemnites, and ichthyosauri de-clare the same condition of things as once existed in the English midlands. The Cretaceous and Oolitic series on the western plains occupy nearly a third of Queensland, and their grassy surface is being rapidly covered with flocks of sheep. A descent below the ocean level produced the Tertiary beds. The so-called "desert sandstone" may have once covered nearly the whole of the colony, though suffering great denudation afterwards, to the decided satisfaction of settlers. It still stretches over much of the extensive plateau and both slopes. In some places it is hundreds of feet thick. The favourite Downs have got free from this arid incubus. Tertiary fresh-water beds, not marine ones, are seen towards the coast. The volcanic element is very distinguishable, and is a source of the large area of fertile soil. Throughout the ranges, and over many of the downs, basalts and lavas abound. Though no eruptive cone appears, there are hundreds of well-defined extinct craters, some being 4000 feet above sea-level, surrounded by sheets of lava and masses of volcanic ashes. The Great Barrier Reef, fol-lowing the line of the north-east coast for 1200 miles, preserves the memory of an ancient shore; the coral animalculae built on the gradually sinking cliffs. The reefs approach the coast-line within five miles northward and one hundred southward, having an area of 30,000 square miles, and protecting eastern Queensland from the violence of Pacific storms. A narrow deep trough in the sea-bottom extends from Moreton Bay to Fiji. Within 100 miles of Cape Moreton the water is 16,000 feet in depth. While the alluvial gold and tin-workings are among the Tertiary and post-Tertiary formations, the veins and lodes of gold, silver, copper, tin, and other metals are in the solid granite, or in the ancient sediment-ary rocks, particularly in association with dioritic and other igneous intrusions. Greenstone has there some of the richest of copper lodes. The celebrated tin mines of Tinaroo are in granite mountains 3000 feet high, where Englishmen work without discomfort within the tropics. Some of the tropical coal-fields are also at a considerable elevation, though nowhere are they situated in an insalu-brious locality. The more southern coal seams are in districts as healthful as they are beautiful. The Queens-land fossils greatly resemble those of other parts of the world. Those, however, of the more recent Tertiary times indicate the presence of animals akin to existing marsu-pials, though some of the kangaroo order stood a dozen feet in height, and had the bulk of a hippopotamus. The diprotodon, 16 feet in length, may have pulled down branches or young trees for its support. The rise of land would have diminished water-supply in the interior, and caused the gradual disappearance of the gigantic marsupials. A monster bird, like the New Zealand moa, twice as large as the existing emu, once strode over Queensland plains. An ichthyosaurus, computed nearly thirty feet in length, was found on the surface of the Flinders river downs. The Secondary fossils have less resemblance than those of Western Australia to the European species. Near the Condamine a fossil monitor twenty feet long was unearthed. The northern coal-fields display the Glos-sopteris, Sigillaria, and Lepidodendron. The northern beds exhibit the mesozoic Tlunnfeldia odontopterodes, Aletho-pteris australis, and Podozomites distans. Some existing Queensland fish, as the ceratodus, are allied to those of the Carboniferous age in Great Britain.

Minerals.—Gold is found in alluvial deposits and in quartz veins. The most important of the former were near the northern Palmer river, but auriferous quartz now almost monopolizes the digger's attention. The recognized gold workings are over 7000 square miles. While there were 3454 Europeans, early in 1883, engaged in quartz mining, only 280 were on alluvial ground ; in the same year 2046 Chinese worked alluvial claims. Charters Towers in the north and Gympie in the south are the chief gold centres ; but Mount Morgan, south of Rockhampton, is the richest mine yet discovered. The gold export realized £1,498,433 in 1875, but only £829,655 in 1882. The decrease is owing to the greater dependence of the miners on blasting rock.

Gold is often found mixed with silver, copper, or lead. One lode had to the ton 75 to 120 ounces of silver and from 4 oz. to 44 oz. of gold. Silver ore is being worked to great advantage now near Ravenswood, Star river, and Sellheim river. Copper has been long so low-priced in England that its extraction in the colony, with high-rated labour, has been seriously checked. The cupriferous area is very large there. Mount Perry, Peak Downs, Herberton, and Cloncurry are the leading copper sites. The " Aus-tralian " mine of Cloncurry, 200 miles south of the gulf, is very rich. In one place a lode, 80 to 120 feet wide, showed 30 per cent, of bismuth and 40 of copper to the ton. Tin streams were first opened at Stanthorpe, near the southern border. Tin lodes of astonishing richness exist in the Wild river district about 19° S. lat. There are single claims of tin stream, or on tin lodes, besides tin land leases, at Tate river, Wild river, and other localities. The Tinaroo yield in the five years has been £383,350. Called the Cornwall of Australia, this tin district shows gold, silver, copper, and antimony. The tin export of the colony during 1883 was £298,845. Iron ores abound, but with no present prospect of being utilized. Bismuth, graphite, antimony, nickel, cinnabar, and other metals are known. Precious stones are gathered from gold and tin workings. Building stones are plentiful in variety, and good in quality. Granite, porphyry, basalt, sandstone, and marbles are wrought. The coal is, after all, the most important and useful of the minerals. Already steamers, foundries, and railways are being supplied from Queensland pits. Several beds are known near Moreton Bay. About Ipswich and Darling Downs the coal is clean to the touch. Some specimens cake, others do not. All are good for gas and steam purposes. The Darling Downs beds are in an ancient lake, and are valuable for fuel and oil. On 100 H> of that coal being burnt, 529 lb of water were evaporated to 505 from Newcastle coal, leaving 16 tt> of ash to 7 for the other. That cannel is of Lias age. Much rests under the Eolian sandstone and basalt of the west. The Burrum mineral, between Maryborough and Bundaberg, is true coal, yielding, at the first opening, 3000 tons a month. One seam would give 5,000,000 tons. The Dawson, Bowen, and Mackenzie river basins, of vast extent, are Palaeozoic, as in the Drummond range, and westward over the main chain. Coal is found in the York peninsula. On the coal of Queensland the distinguished Australian geologist, the Rev. J. Tenison Woods, expresses himself thus :—" The fact that the coal formations cover so vast an extent of the territory, and so many valuable coal-fields having been discovered, makes me con-fident in predicting that its resources in coal are enormous, are equal, if not superior, to any other colony, and will raise her shores to be in the end the grand coal emporium of the southern hemisphere."

Agriculture.—Until the last few years little cultivation was to be seen, and only 180,000 acres yet receive such attention. Labour was supposed to pay better in other employments. Still there can be grown in Queensland corn of all varieties, hay, English vegetables, sweet potatoes, melons, cassava, cocoa, indigo, arrowroot, ginger, coffee, lice, tobacco, cotton, spices, cinchona, cocoa-nut, bread-fruit, and sugar-cane, with the fruits of England, India, and China. Lucerne is much grown for stud stock, where winter food is needed. Bananas, oranges, grapes, pine-apples, mangoes, guavas, tamarinds, and dates thrive well. Coffee is being extensively pro-duced. Many Ceylon planters have recently settled in the colony. Cotton pods, tended mostly in Moreton district, are now a paying crop. The mulberry success is paving the way for silk culture. The Roma grapes and oranges are much esteemed. Bananas grow on any coast-lands. Arrowroot and tobacco are profitable. Sweet potatoes are extensively used. Rice will bo a crop of the future. Farmers in the southern hills raise corn and English fruits. Dairy farming belongs more to a cooler latitude. Wheat can be success-fully produced, when labour is cheaper, over an area of 60,000 square miles. Stanthorpe wheat gave 67 lb to the bushel. Maize is a more certain crop. But sugar-cane is now the Queensland farmer's chief resource. From the southern border up to Cape York, if near the coast, it can be raised. All round Moreton Bay, and in the Maryborough and Bundaberg neighbourhood, it does well; but in the more northern parts, as at the Mackay, Cairns, Burdekin, Johnstone, and Herbert fields, the yield is greater, and the plant comes earlier to maturity. In the Jlackay sugar district, during 1884, there were 22,000 acres in cane. Coast Queensland has not only warmth, and rich alluvial or scrub soil, but abundance of rain when growth requires it, with fine weather at cane ripening for manufacturing sugar. Some planters have their own appliances for the extraction of juice and the manufacture of sugar, but the small farmers combine to have machinery in their district, or else dispose of cane or juice for cash to the neighbouring sugar-maker. Polynesians or Kanakas have been used for the sugar-house, though Europeans do all the work of growth and manufacture in South Queensland. Chinese merchants are establishing cane grounds, worked by their own countrymen ; and Germans and Scandinavians have extensively embarked in this industry.

Pastoral farming is still the leading industry of the colony, and is rapidly extending overall districts. An occasional check to its prosperity comes by drought in the dry western interior. But a few good seasons, in that healthy wilderness, enable the sheepmaster to recoup himself,—especially as, in the remoter parts, he has a securer tenure and a very small rental. In "settled districts," and within 30 miles of the coast, a " run " is subject to resumption by the state, at six months' notice, should any part be required to be cut up for farms. In the more distant " unsettled district" a lease of twenty-one years is fairly secure. The rent advances every seven years of the term from about half a farthing to a penny an acre. In the dry parts, where grass is insufficient, cattle and sheep thrive well on the salt bush and other shrubs. The only really unavailable pas-toral region is that portion of the north-western slope of the Main Range already referred to. The spear-grass sometimes sends its barbed tufts into the flesli of sheep. Wild dogs, floods, and droughts have to be encountered, though the animals to be tended are unaffected by ailments plaguing flocks and herds in Britain. The western plains, dry but fertile, are best for sheep ; the hills and moist coast-lands for cattle and horses. The merino sheep yields excellent wool on tropical pastures, contrary to former expectations. The sheep had increased from 3,000,000 to 12,000,000 between 1860 and 1883 ; and cattle, from 430,000 to 4,320,000. To meet future droughts, subterranean streams have been found by artesian wells in the most arid wastes, and the storage of water after floods will furnish a supply in dry weather.

Flora.—The Queensland flora comprehends most of the forms peculiar to Australia, with the addition of about five hundred species belonging to the Indian and Malayan regions. The eastern por-tion of New Holland may have a vegetation of a somewhat different type from that of the western, but both have older representatives than those found in the central zone from the gulf to the Southern Ocean. The trees in the north-east of Queensland include the Cycas and the screw or Pandanus. The pines take an important position in the colony,—as the Moreton Bay pine (Araucaria Cunninghamii), the Burnett bunya bunya (Araucaria Bidwelli), the kauri or dundathu (Dammara robusta), and the she pine (Podocarpus elata). The Callitris or cypress family like poor soil. The cedar forests are buried in scrub towards the mouths of eastern rivers. Coast-lands are crowded with trees, though brigalow-scrnb, with the silver-leaved tops, prevails far inland. There are trees rising above 300 feet. One monster, near the Johnstone river, was seen 88 feet in girth at 55 feet from the ground, and 150 at the base. The Moreton Bay fig-tree has immense wall-like abutments. The bottle or gouty stem tree of the north, Delabeclua Gregori, is allied to the African baobab. Flowers are numerous, yielding often a powerful fragrance, though most commonly exhibited 011 shrubs. Queensland is notably a timber region, having both hard and soft woods. Above three hundred useful woods, many taking a fine polish, were sent to a recent exhibition. An active export of some, particularly cedar and pine, is conducted at Maryborough and Port Curtis. Woods there are in use for building purposes, furniture, dyeing, shipbuilding, coaehbuilding, hoops and staves, turnery, gunstoeks, veneering, &c. Among the Eucalypti are those known as Moreton Bay ash, mahogany, yellow box, blackbutt, ironbark, turpentine, bloodwood, messmate, with the blue, red, grey, forest, swamp, scented, and spotted gum trees. Theironwood, brigalow, and myall are of the Acacia genera. Among the Casu-arinx are the he, she, swamp, forest, and river oaks. Names are found oddly given by colonists. Their red cedar is the Cedrcla Goona ; white cedar, the Mclia cemvposita ; pencil cedar, the Dysoxy-lon Muelleri; white wood, the Alstonia ; light yellow wood, the Flinclersia orleyana; dark yellow wood, the Rhus; beech, the Gmelina Leichhardtii; ooachwood, the Geratopetalum ; ebony, the Malba ; musk, the Marlea ; Leichhardt's tree, the Sarcocephalus cordatus ; mahogany, the Tristania; tulip, the Stenocarpus sinuatus; honeysuckle, the Banksia; pea-tree, the Melaleuca ; bottlebrush, the Callistcmon lanceoiatus ; beefwood, the Banksia ; satinwood, the Xanthoxylum brachyacanthum; coral tree, the Erythrina; apple, the Angophora subvelutina; teak, the Dissilaria balo-ghioides; feverbark, the Alstonia constricta; sandalwood, the Eremophila Mitchelli ; lignum vita, the Vitcx ; silky oak, the Grevillea robusta. Among the so-called native fruits, the plum and apple are the Owenia ; orange and lime are the Citrus; cum-quatis is the Atalantia ; cherry, the Exocarpus ; pomegranate, the Capparis nobilis ; olive, the Olea ; chestnut, the Cantharospermum australe ; pear, the Xylomelum pyriforme; quandong, the Fusanus; nut, theMacadamia ternifolia; tamarind, theDiploglottis Cunning-hamii. The nonda, a native fruit, grows up to 60 feet. The nut of the bunya bunya, so prized by the blacks, is reserved over a district 30 miles by 12. Other trees are also protected by Govern-ment. The native grasses are nearly a hundred in number. The desert drought-resisting Mitchell grass is Danthonia pectinata ; the weeping Polly is Poa cmspitosa ; the dogtooth, Clitoris divaricata ; the blue star, Chloris ventricosa ; the barcoo or Landesborough, Anthistiria incmbranacea ; the kangaroo, Anthistiria australis ; another kangaroo, Andropogon refractus ; the rat-tail, Andropogon nervosus; the oat, Anthistiria venaeea ; another perennial oat, Microlsena stipoides ; the umbrella, Aristida eramosa and Panieum virgatum. The native carrot is Daucus brachiatus ; the native plantain, Plantago varia ; the sorghum or rice, Aryza saliva ; and the bamboo, Stipa ramosissima. The salt-bush (Atriplcx, Rhago-dia, Chenopodium, &e.) is found useful in the absence of grasses. The danthonia and sporobolus strike deep roots. The Burdekin cane is relished by stock. The seeds of Panieum Isevinode are used as food by the natives. Among plants poisonous to animals are the poison pea, fuchsia, scab-lily, indigo, thorn-apple, box, mistletoe, and nutgrass. Many English and foreign varieties of fodder are being now introduced. Useful fibres are of a number of kinds. Ferns are plentiful on the eastern side. Climbing ferns abound. Grammitis ampla has leaves a yard long. A Rockingham Bay fern, one foot high, has the habit of a tree fern. The epiphytes, growing on trees, are often very beautiful in tropical scrubs. Elk's horn, Platycerium alcicorne, as well as the large stag's horn, are in much esteem. Forest ferns are similar to those in neighbouring colonies, excepting some tufted Lindssea. The Australian bracken is peculiar to the southern hemisphere. Rock ferns are very grace-ful. The North Queensland Asplenium laserpitiifolium is greatly admired. A tropical Aspidium, with leaves 6 feet long, throws out runners. The Grammitis Muelleri, with scaly hairs, is peculiar to North Queensland. Swamp ferns are mostly seen to the north-east. Tree ferns attain magnificent proportions, rising 20 and 30 feet.

Fauna. —The Queensland fauna is much like that described under NEW SOUTH WALES. But forms are now living there whose allies are elsewhere recognized as Tertiary Fossils. The marsupials consti-tute a prominent family. The platypus or water mole is duck-billed and web-footed. The dingo is a howling, nocturnal dog. Queens-land birds are very beautiful. One is something like the New Guinea bird of paradise. Other species of the feathered order are kindred to some in the Asiatic islands. Bower birds have a satin plumage, and indulge in play-bowers, adorned with shells and stones. The regent bird and rifle bird are peculiarly attractive in colours. Mound builders lay their eggs in sand heaps. The wild turkey and other game may be easily obtained. North Queensland has a fine cassowary. Reptiles consist of alligators, lizards, and snakes ; few of the last, particularly of larger species, are hurtful to man.

Fisheries.—The sperm whale has become rare of late in North Australian seas. Deep-sea fishing is unknown in Queensland. About the coasts are the usual edible Australian forms, as whiting, rock cod, bream, flathead, schnapper, guardfish, &c. Sharks and alligators are there. The shell-grinder, Cestracion, is similar to a shark found as fossil in Europe. Sword fish grow to a great size. Some Queensland fish resemble varieties in Indian seas. The Chinese are the best fishermen in Australian waters. The huge dugong, or sea cow, feeding on bay grasses, has a delicate flesh, of the flavour of veal, and furnishes an oil with the qualities of cod-liver oil. The fishery of the trepang, beche-de-mer, or sea slug employs a considerable number of boats about the coral reefs.

Boiled, smoke-dried, and packed in bags, the trepang sells for exportation to China, though its agreeable and most nourishing soup is relished by Australian invalids. At Cooktovvn and Port Douglas more than £100 per ton may be had for the produce. The pearl fishery is a prosperous and progressive one in or near Torres Straits. A licence is paid, and the traffic is under Government supervision. Thursday Island is the chief seat of this industry. The shells are procured by diving, and fetch from £120 to £200 a ton. Mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell constitute important exports of the colony, capable of great expansion. Oysters are as fine fla-voured as they are abundant. Turtles are caught to the northward.

Commerce.—So extensive a coast-line, and so much of that pro-tected by the Barrier Reef, cannot but be favourable to commerce. The Torres Strait mail service has opened up increased opportunities for trade with China, India, Java, &c. Contiguity to New Cale-donia and the Pacific Isles will conduce to mercantile relations. There are several lines of coasting steamers. The great develop-ment of the mining, pastoral, and sugar industries, the rapid growth of railways, an easy tariff, and the settlements of York Peninsula are giving a great impetus to commerce. The exports for 1882 were £3,534,452; of which wool brought £1,329,019; gold £829,655 ; tin £269,904; stock £280,466; sugar £153,188; tallow £129,549 ; preserved meats £119,343 ; pearls £105,869 ; hides £88,359 ; beche-de-mer £25,032. The imports for that year were £6,318,463. Among these imports some items may be cited:' —for manufactured cotton, silk, and woollen goods £839,352, un-manufactured £194,489 ; for metal goods and hardware £910,029 ; flour and grain, £453,307 ; oilman's stores, £376,987 ; spirits, wines, and beer, £320,925 ; books and stationery, £113,798; tea, £109,286. Few of these articles are yet re-exported. The ex-ports for 1883 advanced to £4,652,880, to which wool contributed £2,277,878, and sugar £538,785. The shipping exceeds 1,500,000 tons. Dock conveniences, ships, and colonial-made steam dredgers exercise the state care. The development of coal mines is aiding both shipping and railway extension. With the establishment of British rule in New Guinea, a serious danger to Queensland interests will be averted, and a happy opportunity offered for the enlarge-ment of its commerce.

Manufactures.—The colony is too young, its population too scattered, its resources in raw material too extensive, for any great advance at present in the industrial stage. Yet already large foundries are established, in which agricultural instruments, mining machinery, sugar appliances, steam engines, and locomotives are constructed. Tanneries, breweries, sugar-mills, distilleries, tobacco-factories, cotton-ginning, woollen factories, wine-making, meat-preserving, boot-factories, &c, are being carried on. The sawmills near Maryborough are, perhaps, equal to anything in the southern hemisphere, relays of men working at night by electric light.

Roads and Railways.—Nearly ninety divisional boards, through-out the colony, raise means by rates for highway improvements, Government supplementing their revenue, as in the case of muni-cipalities, by special grants in aid. Coaches travel inland 700 miles from the capital. At the end of 1884, besides several hundreds of miles of railway in process of construction, the lines opened to traffic were 1201 miles. The western line is from Brisbane, over Darling Downs, through Roma. The south-west will be reached by Cun-namnulla. From Rockhampton westward the railway has gone 350 miles on towards the downs of the Barcoo. The line from Townsville, parallel to the last, after passing Charters Towers, will go on to Hughenden and the Flinders river region. The three great lines will be hereafter connected, and the Cloncurry and gulf country united with the western ports. Maryborough is thus con-nected with Gympie and Burrum, Bundaberg with Mount Perry, Brisbane with Warwick, and Brisbane with several suburbs. The heavy loans of the colony are mainly devoted to the construction of railways.

Administration.—The governor is appointed by the Queen. The executive council has 8 members, the legislative council 33, and the assembly 55. The term of parliament is five years. There were in January 1884 42 electorates, 18 municipalities, 4 boroughs, 85 divisional boards, 49 police districts. Excepting very occasional difficulties with blacks in remote and scrubby districts, order is thoroughly observed. Numerous religious and temperance organizations are of assistance in securing respect for law. Among official departments are those of the colonial secretary, treasurer, auditor-general, public works and mines, public lands, customs, administration of justice, post office, police, immigration, and medical board.

Revenue.—Of a revenue of £2,102,095 in 1881-2, £806,719 came from taxation. For the year ending June 30, 1884, the total was £2,566,358. Of this, the customs gave £866,475 ; excise, £34,441 ; land sales, £365,536 ; pastoral rents, £246,103 ; railways, £581,642 ; post and telegraph, £155,996. The expenditure was £2,317,674. In the settled districts, during 1883, 304 runs had an area of 11,162 square miles, at a rental of £21,419. In the unsettled districts 8939 runs had 475,601 square miles, paying £216,638, averaging less than a farthing an acre. Expired and renewed leases realize increasing rates. The absolute public debt in 1884 was £16,570,850. Of that amount the outlay on railways was about 12 millions ; immigration, 2 ; harbours, 1L Koads and telegraph lines took other sums.

Education.—Queensland led the way among the Australian colo-nies, in the establishment of a system of public instruction free, unsectarian, and compulsory. At the same time, however, the parliament declined to grant further state aid to the clergy and religious edifices of Protestant Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Wes-leyans, and Roman Catholics, formerly drawing from the treasury. State or provisional schools are formed wherever there is a suffi-cient gathering of children. The annual public cost was £2, 17s. per scholar. There are, however, self-supporting private schools. Masters and mistresses of state schools are paid by the Government according to their own educational status, the number of children, and the proficiency of instruction. Excellent training schools for teachers are established. Five superior grammar schools are partly supported by the state ; the municipal councils have voluntarily aided those institutions, and offered scholarships to their pupils. The Government gives free education in grammar schools to suc-cessful scholars in state schools, besides three years' exhibitions to universities to a certain number passing a high examination. State aid is also rendered to schools of art, schools of design, free libraries, and technical schools.

Population.—The estimated population in January 1884 was 290,000, of whom three-fifths were males. Polynesian labourers, imported for three years, are about 8000. The Chinese, now restricted by a heavy poll tax, may be 18,000. The Aborigines, very fast dying out, mainly by contact with civilization, may be from 10,000 to 12,000.

History.—The Portuguese may have known the northern shore nearly a century before Torres, in 1605, sailed through the strait since called after him, or before the Dutch landed in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Captain Cook passed along the eastern coast in 1770, taking possession of the country as New South Wales. Flinders visited Moreton Bay in 1802. Oxley was on the Brisbane in 1823, and Allan Cunningham on Darling Downs in 1827. Sir T. L. Mitchell in 1846-7 made known the Maranoa, Warrego, and Barcoo districts. Leichhardt in 1845-47 traversed the coast country, going round the gulf to Port Essington, but was lost in his third great journey. Kennedy followed down the Barcoo, but was killed by the blacks while exploring York Peninsula. Burke and Wills crossed western Queensland in 1860. Landesborough, Walker, M'Kinlay, Hann, Jack, Hodgkinson, and Favence continued the researches. Squatters and miners have opened new regions. Before its separa- tion in 1859 the country was known as the Moreton Bay district of New South Wales. A desire to form fresh penal depots led to the discovery of Brisbane river in December 1823, and the proclamation of a penal settlement there in August 1826. The convict popula- tion was gradually withdrawn again to Sydney, and the place was declared open to free persons only in 1842. The first land sale in Brisbane was on August 9, 1843. An attempt was made in 1846, under the ministry of Sir James Graham and Mr Gladstone, to establish at Gladstone on Port Curtis the colony of North Australia for ticket-of-leave men from Britain and Van Diemen's Land. Earl Grey's Government under strong colonial appeals arrested this policy, and broke up the convict settlement. In 1841 there were 176 males and 24 females; in 1844, 540 in all; in 1846, 1867. In 1834 the governor and the English rulers thought it necessary to abandon Moreton Bay altogether, but the order was withheld. The first stock belonged wholly to the colonial Government, but flocks and herds of settlers came on the Darling Downs in 1841. In 1844 there were 17 squatting stations round Moreton Bay and 26 in Darling Downs, having 13,295 cattle and 184,651 sheep. In 1849 there were 2812 horses, 72,096 cattle, and 1,077,983 sheep. But there were few persons in Brisbane and Ipswich. The Rev. Dr Lang then began his agitation in England on behalf of this northern district. Some settlers, who sought a separation from New South Wales, offered to accept British convicts if the ministry granted independence. In answer to their memorial a shipload of ticket-of-leave men was sent in 1850. In spite of the objection of Sydney, the Moreton Bay district was proclaimed the colony of Queensland on December 10, 1859. The population was then about 20,000, and the revenue £6475. Little trade, no manu- factures, wretched roads, defective wharfage, struggling townships, and poor schools marked that epoch. Political liberty occasioned a general advance. The first parliament, with the ministry of Mr (now Sir R. G. W.) Herbert, organized a good school system, carried an effective land bill, and established real religious equality. While the pastoral interest rapidly grew, the agricultural and trad- ing classes got firm footing. The revelation of gold and copper treasures increased the prosperity. But a reaction followed ; wool prices fell, cotton-growing ceased, early sugar-cane efforts failed, and trouble succeeded excessive speculation in land and mines. A steady application to legitimate pursuits, however, soon restored confidence ; and the colony, as its resources have gradually de- veloped, has continued to advance and prosper. (J. BO.)

The above article was written by: James Bonwick, author of The Lost Tasmanian Race.

About this EncyclopediaTop ContributorsAll ContributorsToday in History
Terms of UsePrivacyContact Us

© 2005-23 1902 Encyclopedia. All Rights Reserved.

This website is the free online Encyclopedia Britannica (9th Edition and 10th Edition) with added expert translations and commentaries