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This term has been proposed by geographers to in- | It may be said to extend from latitude 50° south to 30° clude the numerous islands scattered over the great north, and from longitude 96° east onward to 115° ocean which extends from the south-eastern shores of west in the opposite hemisphere. It naturally divides Asia to the western coast of America. Oceania is sepa- itself into three great sections—Malaysia, Australasia, rated from Asia by the Straits of Malacca, the Chinese and Polynesia-whose aggregate area has been vaguely Sea, and the Channel of Formosa; and from America estimated at 4,132,000 square miles, and population at by a broad belt of ocean, comparatively free of islands. from 14,000,000 to 16,000,000.
The natural products may be gathered from a detail
of the chief exports, which are, in the vegetable kingThis division takes its name from the Malays, who dom-nutmegs, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, coffee, rice, are the principal inhabitants, and includes the archi. sago, indigo, cotton, sugar, flax, tobacco, camphor, caspelago immediately adjoining the south-eastern coasts sava, maize, gums, gutta - percha, turpentine, betel, of Asia, perhaps more generally known as the East cocoa, ginger, canes, rattans, areca nuts, bamboo, breadIndia Islands." It lies between "latitude 12° 40' south fruit, teak, sandalwood, and other timber for buildand 20° north, and longitude 95° and 134° east; and ing and cabinet - making; in the animal—ivory, wool, consists of minor clusters and chains, intersected by hides, horses, furs, pearls, edible birds’-nests, tortoisestraits and channels, the intricacy of which would shell, whale oil, sharks’-fins, ambergris, &c.; and in render the navigation dangerous, were not the seas dis- the mineral-gold-dust, tin, antimony, copper, iron, tinguished beyond all others by their pacific character, coal, diamonds, and other precious stones. Thus and by the uniformity of the prevailing winds and Malaysia is rich in every species of tropical produce, currents. The whole of Malaysia lies within the tropics; and, under a better system of rule, might be made and there is, accordingly, a great uniformity of climate, one of the finest and most desirable regions in the of animal and vegetable productions, and in the cha- globe. racter of the people. The islands are, throughout, of a The inhabitants belong to the Malay variety of the mountainous nature—the highest point being Mount human species, but break into two or three races, havOphir in Sumatra, 13,050 feet; and the Archipelago is ing different depths of colour, straight, crisp, or woolly traversed by several lines of volcanic action, which hair, and features less or more approaching those of exhibits itself in the burning craters of Luzon, Java, the negro. They are generally arranged, according to &c. There are few extensive plains, abundance of their languages, into–Malays Proper, Javanese, Batjungle and unhealthy swamp, but no arid deserts ; ( taks, Bugis, Dyaks, Macassars, Sooloos, and other minor and where not cultivated, the better land is generally tribes. The foreigners or non-aborigines are chiefly covered with forests of stupendous trees.
Chinese, with a few Siamese, Hindoos, &c. from the
mainland of Asia. The religion professed by the Ma- delightful -- but liable to somewhat sudden changes,
amazingly, and the settlements now enjoy every species
copper--the latter metal in particular-seem to be
varying from 5 to 200, is also the seat of a British
colony planted in 1840. The soil is fertile, and capable
of yielding every species of cultivated produce; the cli-
NEW SOUTH WALES.
some thinly-scattered stunted shrubs and dwarf under-the vineyards of the colony, excellent wine might be wood. At this distance inward a marked change begins produced, if anything like good management were exerto take place; the soil improves, and begins now to be cised. From the peaches of New South Wales the finest encumbered with tall and stately trees, which soon brandy is distilled : 80 superior is this article that, if it again thicken into a dense but magnificent forest, indi- were allowed to be imported into Great Britain, it would cating, indeed, a more luxuriant soil than that passed, speedily supersede the use of the brandies of France but scarcely less discouraging to the settler. Advancing and other high-priced spirits. Silk (from the abundance inwards, however, from six to nine miles farther, an- of the mulberry) and dried fruits, with other useful and other change takes place. You have cleared the forest, valuable articles, as opium and indigo, for the growth and the promised land lies before you, improving with of which the climate is favourable, will doubtless by every step you advance; now presenting an endless degrees be produced. At a short distance from Sydney, variety of hill and dale, covered with the most luxu- a large orange grove has been formed, from which' upriant vegetation; now extensive plains, resembling the wards of 100,000 dozens of oranges have been sent into finest parks in England-a resemblance which is made the market there in a year; and an immense quantity the more striking from their being similarly inter- of fine grapes are sent by a steamer from Hunter's spersed with magnificent trees, just numerous enough River every day in the season to the Sydney market. to add beauty to the land without encumbering it. The only articles of food in general use not produced The Port Philip district-the Australia Felix of Major in the colony, are tea and sugar; but these are largely Mitchell, who explored it in 1836—is altogether a finer imported, and sold at perhaps not the third of their country, less arid, more varied, and better wooded, but price in this country. In the advertisements in the not so much so as materially to impede cultivation. Sydney newspapers, we see the same kinds of articles
The government of New South Wales is conducted announced for sale by tradesmen as are seen everyby a governor and a legislative and executive council: where in the wealthiest establishments in Britain. both of the two last, as well as the governor, are ap- The production of wool has for some time back been pointed by the ministry at home. The legislative coun- a primary consideration with the settlers, and they have cil is composed principally of persons holding official of late begun to pay more attention to the quality than situations, and these chiefly residing in the government they did formerly, quantity alone having been at one towns. The executive council, again, is composed of time all they aimed at. From the improvement which persons filling the highest government appointments. has taken place in the breed of sheep, as well as in the There are, besides, a class of functionaries called police mode of preparing the wool for the market, Australian magistrates, distributed throughout the colony, and wool has now become an object of much interest to the who take especial cognisance of offences committed by dealers and woollen manufacturers in England, where convicts, whom they have a power to punish by flogging it is greatly prized for the peculiar softness of the cloth or condemning to work in irons. Sydney is the chief produced from it, and which, if combined with a little seat of the colonial government, comprehending the higher degree of fineness—a result that must soon folsupreme court, and the heads of all the civil and mili-low the care and attention that is now bestowed on it tary establishments of the country. Being a colony ---would place it on a level with the best growths of of Great Britain, the laws by which New South Wales other countries, and consequently direct an inexhausis governed are the same in their leading features with tible stream of wealth into the colony; and there are those of England, differing only in instances where such two important considerations at this moment operating difference was found necessary to adapt them to the to produce this effect. The first of these is the readipeculiarities of the country. Population, 190,000. ness of the market, and the remunerating price which
The external and domestic trade of New South Wales the settler obtains for his wool; the next, the necessity has scarcely yet emerged from a state of infancy; but which the distance of the interior settlements from it is fast gaining strength; and if no unforeseen circum- towns imposes on their occupants, of directing their stances should arise to check its prosperity, it will one whole attention to the rearing of cattle and sheep in day become, if it is not so even now, one of the most preference to agricultural produce, for which there is important of British settlements. Its leading export neither facility of conveyance nor market. articles are wool, and seal and whale-oils; a great part The state of society in New South Wales has been of the latter is of that valuable kind called sperm-oil, to a considerable extent affected by the transportation produced by a description of whale found in the South thither of convicts from the United Kingdom, and on Seas only. (See No. 44, Vol. I.) In the article of oil, that account is less agreeable than that of colonies free which has only very lately become an object of serious from this moral stain. The most unhappy circumconsideration to the colonists, the improvement has stance connected with the state of general society is, been remarkably rapid, there being recently upwards that the emancipated convicts and their descendants, of forty vessels, averaging a tonnage of nearly 10,000, however well behaved, are held as a degraded or infebelonging to, and sailing out of, Port Jackson alone, rior class by the free settlers; and thus two factions exclusively engaged in the whale-fishing. A striking have sprung up in the colony, who virulently persecute evidence of the increasing prosperity of the colony, is each other, and cause dispeace in what would be otherthe circumstance of its having in four years in some wise an agreeable condition of affairs. As the settleinstances nearly, and in others more than doubled, the ment of convicts as labourers is abandoned as a practice annount of its property in cattle and sheep, and also unworthy of an enlightened government, it is to be in the extent of its cultivated land.
hoped that the line of distinction between the two We need not particularise the great and miscellaneous classes of inhabitants will gradually disappear. In import and export trade of the colony, but confine our. Sydney, where society both bad and good equally selves to a few leading facts as an evidence of general flourishes, there are many hundreds of families of the prosperity. The imports, which amounted to £280,000 highest respectability, enjoying all the elegancies of in 1826, had increased to £2,462,858 in 1841; whilst refined life, exchanging its courtesies, and cultivating the exports from the colony, including the produce of its amusements and pleasures; splendid equipages are the fisheries, had increased from £106,600 in the for- to be seen rolling along its streets; its public dancing mer year, to £2,004,385 in 1840. In 1824 the exports and assembly rooms blazing with light, and filled, as of wool amounted to 275,560 lbs.; in 1840 they were our newspapers would say, with beauty and fashion; 9,668,960 lbs. In the Savings' Bank of New South music parties and theatricals filling up the measure Wales, the deposits increased from £24,469 in Decem- of the happiness of a Sydney life. The population ber 1835 to £127,000 in August 1840. In 1837 the re- of Sydney in 1841 was about 30,000; and, as a comTenue was £226,000; in 1841 it exceeded £270,000. mercial port, the exports exceeded £1,250,000. Next
A large and profitable trade cannot fail to be ulti- to Sydney, Bathurst has probably the highest pretenmately established in wine, from vines which have been sions to a superiority in the general character of its introduced as exotics. Already, from grapes grown in society. Melbourne, a few miles from Port Philip, is
also rapidly rising into importance. In 1842 its ex- | abound with good pasturage, and the country around ports exceeded £140,000 (including about 2,000,000 lbs. is well adapted for agricultural operations. wool), and its imports £336,000.
Much has been written upon the soil of South AusIn New South Wales there are several infant schools, tralia. On the one hand, it has been lauded as the and about forty parochial schools; and also two govern- finest spot in the world, and on the other decried as 'ment schools. An orphan hospital has been established not worth the trouble of cultivation. From the best at Sydney, capable of rearing and educating 125 children. authorities we have been able to consult, there appears The male children of this institution are apprenticed to be very little of what can be called really barren out as they come of age, and the females receive a land. The principal part of it is fit for grazing sheep small sum when married. The Australian College and cattle, and there are many parts which would yield was established in 1831, and is now in a flourishing an abundant return of grain if subjected to the plough. condition. By means of a large and regular import From the want of mountains, the country is very free of English literature, the tone of feeling and general from rains; even the rivers become comparatively dry intellect of the colony cannot fail to advance in a during summer. These deficiencies are, in fact, the yearly increasing ratio. With respect to the means grand drawbacks upon this otherwise fine colony, which adopted for sustaining religious and moral culture, we is directed by a governor and council, much in the same may mention that there is no lack of churches and way as New South Wales. The usual course of trade chapels where they are required.
is similar to that at Port Philip; the population in 1842 was estimated at 16,000; the imports from Britain
at £23,000; and the exports at £34,000. The whole of South Australia is a large district of country, lying the purchase-money of public and waste lands being on the southern shore of the Australian continent, be expended on the immigration of free labourers, and no tween the Swan River settlement or Western Australia convict labour permitted, South Australia offers certain on the west, and New South Wales on the east. It is advantages above New South Wales. contained within the 26th and 36th degrees of south latitude, and forms a territory of nearly 300,000 square miles, or 192,000,000 acres, being nearly double the This colony, which is entirely distinct from New dimensions of the British isles. It is penetrated from South Wales, includes the settlements at Swan River, the sea by Spencer's Gulf and Gulf St Vincent, at the King George's Sound, and Port Grey. Swan River entrance of which lies Kangaroo Island. The country settlement takes its name, as is obvious, from the river from the eastern side of Gulf St Vincent is very pic- in whose vicinity it is. This river is situated on the turesque; being in general well wooded, with consider- south-west coast of Australia, a little way north of the able spaces of open country. This renders it admirably most extreme southern point, on the west side of the adapted for sheep-farming, and in many places the island. Its neighbourhood was first proposed as a place land is ready for the plough. About ten or twelve of settlement in the year 1828, when Captain Stirling miles inland runs a range of hills, most of which are was appointed lieutenant-governor. good soil to the top, and afford abundance of food for The soil appears, and really is, until you have gone cattle. The highest of these is Mount Lofty, about about fifteen or twenty miles inland, extremely poor 2400 feet above the level of the sea.
and barren. At this distance from the coast, however, Gulf St Vincent is described as without an island, it greatly improves, exhibiting many beautiful and ferrock, reef, or sandbank, and almost any part of it is tile tracts, and bearing some of the most magnificent perfectly safe anchorage all the year round. Spencer's trees in the world. Here, also, is the same profusion Gulf runs nearly 300 miles into the interior, becoming of those gorgeous flowers which form so remarkable a quite narrow and shallow at the top. It abounds with feature of the natural vegetable productions of New tlat fish ; but the country around is deficient in fresh South Wales and Van Diemen's Land. Its animal water, and but a small portion of the soil is capable of productions are entirely similar to those of the two cultivation. The great want of this colony is rivers, by former colonies, and it is equally free from any that which an intercourse with the interior could be effected. are dangerous to man. The heat, however, would The largest river is the Murray, which is described by appear to be more oppressive than in either of the Mr James as being, for the last 200 miles of its course, places just named. The climate, however, is exceednearly as broad as the Thaines at London Bridge. On ingly salubrious. Not only have no complaints of any the banks of this river are several fine alluvial flats, kind whatever, attributable to the country, appeared at present covered with reeds, but which are capable amongst the colonists, but they are enabled to hear exof being made to yield abundant crops of grain. These posures with impunity, which, in most other climates, flats are nearly on a level with the river, and could be might be attended with the most serious consequences. irrigated at any season. The Murray delivers its waters The best land, indeed the only land, yet discovered into Lake Alexandrina, which also receives the waters sufficiently near the settlement worth cultivating, is on of the Hindmarsh, and from thence to the sea the river the banks of the Swan River, and on those of an adis broad and deep. The next river is the Torrens, on joining river called the Canning; but even there it the banks of which stands the town of Adelaide, the rarely extends on either side more than two miles from capital of the colony. The site of the town is well the stream, and not often so far, and all this land has chosen as to the healthiness of the situation, but labours been already located. There is, however, reason to beunder the disadvantage of being six miles from the har- lieve that good tracts of country are to be found in the bour, betwixt which and the town the carriage of goods interior. The pressure of emigration, and more leisure is very expensive. The harbour is perfectly safe for on the part of those already there, will no doubt very shipping, but there is a bar at the entrance which pre- soon extend the dependencies of the settlement, and vents very large ships from entering. The great ob- lead to some valuable acquisitions of country. jection to the site of the town is the want of good water, There are already several thriving little towns in the which can only be obtained by boring to the depth of colony, amongst these Freemantle and Perth; the forabout forty feet, or taking it from the Torrens, which mer the port, being built at the niouth of the Swan degenerates into almost stagnant pools in the dry season. River, and the latter the capital. The site of Perth is The town of Adelaide has several good stone and brick represented as happily chosen. It is situated on a houses, and the churches and public offices are de- picturesque spot on the north bank of the river, about scribed as handsome buildings. The river Glenelg, at twelve or fifteen miles above Freemantle. At King the eastern boundary of the colony, is of considerable George's Sound on the south coast are the lesser townsize during the winter months, but is almost dry in ships of Albany and Augusta. Latest statistics give summer. Lake Victoria is a sheet of water about 20 the population at 4500; live-stock, 46,000 ; official miles long and 7 broad, communicating with the Mur- value of imports about £1500; of exports, £24,000; ray River by a stream called the Rufus. Its banks / revenue upwards of £10,000.
As to North Australia, whose only settlement is in turage. The extent of really available land throughout the neighbourhood of Port Essington, too little has as the island has been estimated at one-third of the whole, yet been accomplished to afford ground for any definite and this is again divided into four parts, giving one opinion. As already remarked, the northern section of for the plough, and the other three for pasture: thus Australia is almost strictly tropical, thus presenting out of 1000 acres of land, about 100 will be found fit products and capabilities totally different from those for cultivation, and from 300 to 400 for grazing. to which our countrymen have been accustomed either The climate of Van Diemen's Land is exceedingly at home or in the other colonies of the niother country. pleasant and salubrious, and is especially adapted to
the constitutions of the natives of Great Britain: the VAN DIEMEN'S LAND.
heat in summer is not so intense as that of Australia, Van Diemen's Land, as already stated, is an island not often much surpassing that of London or the lying off the southern extremity of the mainland of southern parts of England; while the mornings and Australia, from which it is separated by a channel 120 evenings, even at the hottest periods of the year, are miles broad, called Bass's Strait. Its situation is be- always cool and agreeable. The cold in winter, howtween latitude 41 and 44° south, and between longi- ever, though mild when compared to what we expetude 144° 40' and 148° 20' east. The length of the rience at that season, is more intense and of longer island is about 210 miles, and its breadth 150. It was duration than that of Australia, snow lying frequently first discovered in the year 1642 by Abel Jansen Tas- on the higher mountains throughout the greater part man, a celebrated Dutch navigator, and was by him of the year; but in the valleys and lower districts it called Van Diemen's Land, in honour of Anthony Van seldom remains more than a few hours. There have not Diemen, at that time governor-general of the Dutch yet appeared any diseases which can be said to be possessions in the East Indies. Nothing, however, im- peculiar either to the climate or to the island; and, on mediately resulted from this discovery, and for upwards the whole, the chances of life are estimated to be conof a hundred years the island was lost sight of. In siderably more in favour of Van Diemen’s Land than 1773 it was visited by Captain Furneau, the first of Britain, or any other of the most healthy parts of English navigator who had ever touched at it; after Europe. It is not subject to any extremes of heat or this it was visited from time to time by several cele- cold: the seasons are regular, mild, and agreeable; the brated navigators, and amongst these by Captain Cook, atmosphere constantly pure and elastic; and the sky in the year 1777. It was not, however, until 1803 clear, unclouded, and brilliant. that any settlement was made upon the island; in that The island possesses a considerable variety of trees year it was formally taken possession of by Lieutenant and shrubs. The gum-tree is the largest; and there Bowers, as a receptacle for convicts, with a party from are numerous others well adapted for ship and house Port Jackson, in New South Wales, where a penal estab- building. The trees are all tall and straight, branchlishment had been already fixed; and to this purpose ing only at the top, and they are nearly all evergreens. Van Diemen's Land was exclusively devoted until 1819, All the vegetables and fruits known and cultivated in when it was thrown open to free settlers.
England and Scotland are raised without difficultyThe continent of Australia and Van Diemen's Land apples, pears, plums, gooseberries, &c. to which the are totally different in character, the one being flat and warmer temperature of Australia is unfavourable, are ill-watered, so as to be suitable chiefly for pasturing, produced here in great abundance, and of excellent while the other is mountainous, and more resembling quality. Both the climate and the soil are sufficiently Ireland or Scotland. The appearance of Van Diemen's favourable to the production of most descriptions of Land from the sea is exceedingly picturesque, present- grain ; wheat is found to thrive remarkably well ; ing an endless succession of lofty mountains, covered potatoes are in general a good crop, and of excellent to their summits with wood; while tall rocks and pre- quality. The island is altogether, in short, fit for all cipices, glens and hills, contribute to increase the the purposes of agriculture aimed at in this country, interest of this romantic island. Nor does a nearer being neither more nor less favourable to them, but in inspection materially alter this general character of the all respects nearly the same; its climate being ours, scene. On traversing the island, it is found to present only somewhat modified, and its soil in general not a constant alternation of hill and dale, with occasional materially differing in quality. In July, August, and flats or plains ; but these are comparatively few in September, which are the spring months, the farmer number, though some of them are of great extent, con- sows his grain; in October he prepares the land for sisting in several instances of not less than froni 8000 Swedish turnips; in November he gets in his potato to 10,000 acres, and one in particular is said to be 6 and turnip crops; December is the height of his hay miles in length, and from 2 to 3 in breadth. These harvest; at about the middle of January his wheat plains are in general exceedingly fertile, and being harvest commences, and continues through February; often but thinly interspersed with trees, present å in March he pays attention to his fallowing and husmost delightful appearance. There are some of them, bandry; in April he gathers his second crop of potatoes; again, very poor, presenting a cold thin soil of little in May he lays down his grasses; and in June he convalue. Van Diemen’s Land, though it cannot be called tinues his ploughing and harrowing. He has thus a a well-watered country, is yet much superior in this continual round of pleasurable occupation in his fields. respect to New South Wales.
Till the year 1825, Van Diemen's Land was a depenIn another important particular this island is pecu- dency of the colony of New South Wales, but in that liarly fortunate--that is, in the number and capacity year it received a government of its own. The internal of its harbours, no place of similar extent in the world policy of the island is now conducted by a lieutenantprobably being equal to it in this respect. The prin- governor, and an executive and legislative council. cipal harbours are—the Derwent on its southern side, There are also here a chief-justice, attorney-general, Port Davey and Macquarrie Harbour on the western, and all the other appendages of a supreme court of Port Sorrel and Port Dalrymple on the northern, and judicature, courts of requests, attorneys, barristers, soliOyster Bay and Great Swan Port on the eastern coast. "citors, proctors, sheriffs, justices of the peace, and the Besides these, there are many other harbours, bays, whole paraphernalia of civil and criminal jurispruand creeks, distributed all alongst its shores. The dence known in this country. There are, besides, as coast is in general high and rocky, particularly on the in New South Wales, a number of police magistrates, south, east, and western sides of the island : on the each having a separate district under his judicial aunorth, however, it presents a line of low alternate sandy thority ; these are, as in the former case, stipendiary. beaches, on which the surf rolls with
great impetuosity The laws are the same with those in England, in as during the prevalence of northerly winds. From the far as the circumstances of the colony will admit
. extremely hilly nature of the country, there is but a Society in Van Diemen's Land, like that of New comparatively small proportion of it adapted for the South Wales, is made up of free settlers who have plough, though presenting abundance of excellent pas. I emigrated from this country, and of convicts. There