A SHORT HISTORY OF AUSTRALIA

Part 3

           

GOLD
 
From the first discovery of gold down to 1916, Australia contributed nearly 600,000,000 pounds to the world's stock of this metal. The history of gold-mining presents three broadly marked phases. First, there were the occasional discoveries of fragments, and the more or less confident predictions that rich deposits would be found. Secondly, there were the exciting years of the gold 'rushes,' which the diggers flocked from the ends of the earth to pick up fortunes in yellow lumps or to wash it out of the gravel of streams. thirdly, as the surface alluvial deposits became exhausted, there was the period when gold-mining became an organized industry, to which science and capital were applied, liable to be flushed with unexpected successes or depressed by sudden collapses - speculative, spasmodic, perhaps incalculable, but a regular industry nevertheless.
 
 
Gold mining, Australia c.1910
 
 
In 1839 the Polish Count, Paul Strzelecki, during a scientific exploring expedition from Sydney across the mountains of the south-east and into the region of Victoria which he called Gippsland, observed particles of gold amongst decomposed ironstone. Sir Roderick Murchison, when he examined Strzeleck's maps and rock specimens in England, pointed out the resemblances between the geological formation and that of the gold-bearing rocks of the Ural Mountains. He wrote to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Lord Grey, stating his conclusions and the reasons for them; but no notion was taken of his letter. Several persons in New South Wales occasionally found small specimens of gold. As early as 1823 McBrian, a surveyor, picked u some specks while at work near the Fish River. A Sydney geologist, W. B. Clarke, from observations made in the Bathurst neighborhood, heralded the approach of important discoveries, and showed a sample to Sir George Gipps. But the governor did not view the discoveries with pleasure. Gipps, who dreaded the unrest which the lure of gold would cause among his horde of convicts, said to the geologist, 'Put it away, Mr. Clarke, or we shall all have our throats cut.' He requested Strzelecki to say nothing about his inferences, lest the convict population and labourers should become restless and go prospecting. The count, for this reason, refrained from alluding to the subject in his book on Australia. When, in 1848, a piece of gold found near Berrima was shown to the Government in Sydnmey8, they would not order a geological survey for fear of 'agitating the public mind.'
 
But the discovery of various nuggets and fragments continued, not only in New South Wales but in Victoria. In 1847 a Port Phillip shepherd found gold at the roots of a tree which the wind had blown down. In the two following years Melbourne goldsmiths purchased several specimens found in a similarly chance fashion. In 1849 a shepherd named Chapman, who was looking after his master's sheep at Mount Buninyong, near Ballarat, brought in twenty-two ounces of fine gold, and guaranteed to show a gully in the ranges where more would be found. A gold assayer accompanied him to the spot, and brought back twenty-four ounces. A labourer in Gippsland, in digging a hole for a fencing-post, struck a nugget with his spade, and his good luck made him the richer by a hundred sovereigns. Similar incidents became so frequent as to make men feel that they were on the eve of surprising changes.
 
 
Early framed photo postcard of Bunbury River boat, Australia
 
 
The period of systematic search did not begin till after 1850. Edward Hargreaves, who had had a sheep station on the Bathurst Plains, was attracted to the gold diggings of California in 1849. He roughed it there among the variegated society of Poker Flat and the Roaring Camp, and he noticed that the diggings which yielded the richest returns were in country very closely resembling Bathurst. He knew of the traces of gold which had been found there; so he hurried back to Australia and commenced to search. In May 1851 the Lands Commissioner wrote in alarm from Bathurst to Sydney that 'a Mr. Hargreaves' had been employing people to dig for gold on Summerhill Creek. They had found several ounces, and he considered that 'some stringent measures should be adopted to prevent the labouring classes from heaving their employment to search on the crown lands.' Sheep, to the Commissioner, were more important than gold; and so, indeed, the government were inclined to think. But Hargreaves had been in communication with governor Fitzroy, seeking a reward if he pointed out where gold would certainly be found. He did in the end receive a grant of 10,000 pounds, and was presented to Queen Victoria as the celebrated gold discoverer. But in fact Clarke's intimations were earlier and based upon a foundation of reasoned knowledge. 
 
 
As soon as the news of the Bathurst discoveries reached Melbourne the importance of the previous occasional findings of gold was realized. Here there were no misgivings. Victoria had been passing through a period of commercial depression. People were drifting away from the country. Prosperity was waning. Nothing was waning. Nothing could have been more opportune than the stimulus of rich gold discoveries at this juncture. A committee of wealthy citizens at once offered liberal rewards for discoveries and claimants were quick in coming forward. Gold was found in the Plenty Ranges, quite near to Melbourne. Prospectors on the upper Yarra brought back gravel sparkling with golden grains. Farther away, at Clunes, a coach-driver looking round in his spare time discovered valuable deposits. Pockets containing nuggets often weighing many ounces of pure gold were revealed at Mount Alexander. In August 1851 the beginnings of the fabulous richness of Ballarat were disclosed by Thomas Hiscock; and in November Henry Frenchman in golden Gully, Bendigo, tapped the first draught of the great yellow stream that was to flow from that amazing field. Before the end of 1852, 249,999 ounces had been taken from the soil of Victoria, worth nearly 900,000 pounds.
 
Wonderful finds were made by individuals. An aboriginal employed by Dr. Kerr, in the Bathurst district, cracked a block of quartz with his tomahawk and told his master that there was gold inside it. A hundred-weight of pure gold was at once taken from the spot, including one solid lump weighing sixty pounds. A digger at Golden Point, Ballarat, sunk a hole five feet deep, and at the bottom found that 'the gold was so thickly sprinkled that it looked like a jeweller's shop.' Another Ballarat digger took 1,800 pounds out of one hole in one day's easy work. A Bendigo miner obtained 3,000 pounds in six weeks. A party of eight mates, after taking 12,800 pounds from a Ballarat claim, sold it to a party of ten, who obtained from it 10,000 pounds between Saturday morning and Monday evening. Then they sold the right of working the mine for one week to a party of twelve, who scooped out 14,000 pounds; after which the ten proprietors resumed possession, made 9,000 pounds in the next week, and sold out to a party who won 5,000 pounds in the next week, and sold out to a party who won 5,000 within the following fortnight. The Welcome nugget weight 2,217 ounces, the Welcome Stranger 2,280. Lesser nuggets seemed to be nearly as profuse as pebbles on a beach. When Latrobe, the Lieutenant-Governor, paid a visit of inspection to Ballarat, a miner offered him a piece of pure gold as a souvenir, and when he protested that it was too much to take, the man simply answered that there were plenty more where that came from. 
 
 
Early postcard of Bourke Street, Melbourne, Australia
 
Naturally the news which flew round the globe emphasized the richness of the discoveries and created the impression that inexhaustible wealth lay scattered over these Australian gold-field waiting to be picked u. the stories which the newspaper in all languages had to tell were not exaggerations, and could hardly have been so, because the things which occurred were far more wonderful than any that could be imagined. From the fiords of Norway to the villages of China ran the golden tidings. Ibsen, writing his poetical play, Love's Comedy, in Christiania, figured 'a Ballarat beyond the desert sands' as an end worth leaping for. From Canton and Belgravia alike came the seekers. Thousands of Chinese poured in, packed in ships like cattle, so that already men began to say that the proximity of empty Australia to crowded Asia presented a grave problem which would have to be guarded against. Bathurst, Bendigo, and Ballarat homed the most mixed assembly of humanity on earth. to the last-named place came Lord Robert Cecil, afterwards, as Marquis of Salisbury, foreign Secretary and Prime Minister of Great Britain, but then, as a young son, keen to 'strike it rich' among the quartz veins. In the first year there were more foreigners than people of British blood among the procession of immigrants who thronged the roads from the wharves where the ships dropped them to the diggings where they all hoped to become immensely rich within an extremely short period. Before 1855 there were as many residents in Victoria alone as there were in all Australia previously to the gold discoveries.
 
 
The government claimed that gold Found 'in its natural place of deposit' belonged to the Crown, but granted licenses to diggers. In New South Wales the fee fixed in May 1851 was 30s. per month, and in Victoria the same rate was proclaimed in August. Gold- fields commissioners were appointed to issue licences and prevent digging by those who had not paid the fees. In 1852 the Imperial government notified that the revenue derived from this source was to be used to defray the cost of local administration. the Legislative Councils of both New South Wales and Victoria, being composed principally of landowners, many of whom regarded the gold-fields as unblessed things because they attracted labour from the sheep-runs and farms, were resolved to make the miners ay for the privilege of gold-getting. Some of the squatters, alarmed for the welfare of their flocks, advocated that gold-digging should be peremptorily prohibited 'in order that the industrial pursuits of the country should not be interfered with.' Such a policy would have been manifestly absurd; but it was considered that at least the Government should benefit from the finds made by the miners. Besides, the gold-fields entailed much additional expenditure. More roads, more wharves, more officials, more police, were required. Should not these be paid for out of the proceeds of the mines? The squatters and rulers certainly thought so. 
 
 
The operation of the licence system, however, was so inequitable that it was bound to cause dissatisfaction. It extracted 30s. per month alike from the miner who had a rich claim and from him who toiled all day and got nothing. After the first flush of easily won oplence, nuggets were no longer as plentiful as coconuts on a tropic isle. and in the lottery of gold-fields life, while many still drew prizes, there were also plenty of blanks. In New South Wales there was a riot on the Turon diggings, in protest against the exaction; but there the number of miners was not very large, they were tactfully handled, and the trouble was soon at an end. But in Victoria there were more serious disturbances. The gold fields population there comprised a number of foreign diggers - continental revolutionaries who had been in the habit of nourishing grievances and defying authority. Sir Charles Hotham attributed the disturbances chiefly to 'active, designing, intriguing foreigners whose aim is disorder and confusion'; and if the exaggerated this influence, it certainly was present. Moreover, the principal Victorian gold-fields were contained within a fairly compact area. Bendigo, Castlemaine, Creswick, Ballarat, Maryborough, and a cluster of other mining centres were not far apart; and there was always amongst the miners that feeling of mateship which made the troubles of some the concern of the entire community. But, above all, the police, who collected the fees, carried out their duties arrogantly and caused much exasperation. Undoubtedly many diggers who could afford the fee evaded payment, and it was no easy task to collect money from them. There were so many opportunities of hiding when the troopers came upon the scene; in the scrub, down  a shaft, among the tents. Trades-people, who did business principally with the miners, were disposed to be on their side against the police. The revenue was always very far short of the amount that should have been received from the number of diggers on the various fields; and the Victorian Government was in urgent need of all the money it could collect. The police, frequently baffled and constantly urged to be more vigilant, became at enmity with the mining population, and a tension of feeling dangerous to the public peace was the consequence.
 
 
Early image of Parramatta River, Sydney, New South Wales
 
Latrobe admitted that the licence system was inequitable, and favoured the imposition of an export duty on gold as a better means of enabling the Government to obtain a reasonable portion of the product of the mines. But his Legislative Council rejected that plan, and proposed to reduce the fee. An Act passed in 1853 did diminish it to a minimum of 1 pound per month, or 8 pounds per annum. But the police still continued to act as collectors. They probed and hunted and hustled amid scowls and curses and threats; and amongst the miners avoidance of payment was elevated into a virtue. The ill-feeling blazed into open rioting and rebellion at Ballarat in October, November, and December 1831, and culminated in the incident of the "Eureka Stockade. In October a mob had burnt down a disreputable drinking shanty known as the Eureka Hotel, kept by one Bentley who had been a Van Diemen's Land convict. A digger had been murdered in a scuffle at the door of the hotel, and Bentley was believed to have committed the crime. But he was a friend of the magistrate, and was acquitted. The diggers, nearly 10,000 strong, held an indignation meeting, which the police endeavoured to disperse. The infuriated crowd overwhelmed them, rushed at the hotel, and burnt it down. Later Bentley was rearrested, and with three accomplices, convicted of manslaughter, whilst the magistrate who had previously acquitted him was dismissed from office. 
 
 
Early postcard of Bendigo Street, Melbourne, Australia,1914
 
So far the quarrel between the diggers and the authorities was little better than a vulgar squabble involving a tragedy. But out of the passions aroused by it arose a movement which had in it a tinge of political idealism. An Association called the Ballarat Reform League was organized, which in addition to championing the cause of the diggers in reference to the licence fee and the intimidating conduct of the police, put forward a programme demanding parliamentary representation on the basis of manhood suffrage, the payment of members of Parliament, the abolition of the property qualification for members of Parliament, and the settlement of disputes between the miners and the authorities by arbitrators chosen from each side. The programme of the League was, in short, substantially that of English Chartism adapted to local circumstances. Hundreds of licences were publicly burnt, and the League pledged its members to support those who refused to pay the obnoxious fees. Several exciting incidents occurred before the climax at the Eureka Stockade was reached. The Governor (Hotham) considered it to be necessary to send up troops, and on the appearance of a detachment of the 40th regiment on November 28, two diggers approached the officer in command, Captain Wise, and asked him whether it was true that the wagons which had had with him contained guns. Wise replied contemptuously that he had no information to give to a parcel of rebels. Thereupon the crowd of angry men hurled themselves upon the military convoy, overpowered the soldiers, captured one wagon, overturned another, and scattered the troops in flight to the military camp. the mounted police dashed forth to disperse the crowd and rescue the wagons, the contents of which, consisting partly of ammunition, had by this time been destroyed or distributed among the rioters. The troopers rode slashing with their swords among the people, and many were wounded.
 
 
Circular Quay, Sydney, New South Wales, 1906
 
It was now evident that the Government would have to take stern measures, and the miners had to make up their minds to defend themselves or tamely submit. In the excited condition of Ballarat there was no doubt about the decision. they elected as their leader Peter Lalor, a tall Irishman with some facility of speech and command over men. Under this direction an acre of land on an area known as the Eureka Lead was fenced off as a drill ground, and hastily fortified with earth, rock, and logs. A lanky German named Vern superintended the construction of this fortress, which, like himself, was not so formidable as it looked. Meanwhile the military had been reinforced, and the officer in command, Captain Thomas, was fully informed as to what was happening. He determined to make an early morning attack on the stockade. Lalor and his four lieutenants, two of them foreigners, had proclaimed 'the Republic of Victoria,' and hoisted a blue flat with the southern cross in white stars upon it as the symbol of their revolution,
 
At four o'clock on the morning of Sunday, December 3, Captain Thomas, at the head of his little force of 276 soldiers and police - of whom only 182 were trained troops - attached the Eureka Stockade. The assault was quite unexpected. But the alarm was given, and the redcoats were met with a volley which killed Captain Wise, the second in command, and a couple of privates. Two volleys from the troops swept the log parapet of the stockade, and then Thomas gave the order to charge. Ina few seconds the troops were over the top and in among the defenders. For about a quarter of an hour there was a brisk hand-to-hand fight, but in twenty-five minutes the struggle was over, the flag was down, Vern had fled. Peter Lalor was lying unconscious with a shattered arm, and the Eureka Stockade was in the hands of the Queen's forces. Four soldiers and an officer were killed, and a dozen men were wounded; whilst probably thirty of the rebels lost their lives. The solders fought chivalrously, but the police, animated by revenge, got out of hand and were censured by the coroner's jury for 'brutal conduct in firing at and cutting down unarmed and innocent persons of both sexes at a distance from the scene of disturbance.'
 
 
Court House, Cootamundra, NSW, Australia
 
Amongst Australian miners the Eureka Stockade incident has always been regarded as in some sense a 'fight for freedom,' and the fact that a liberalizing of the governing institutions occurred afterwards was connected with the event itself. but the rebellious features were contrary to the saner judgement of the miners, especially of those of British origin. How much of it was really due to foreigners who had no respect for British methods of securing reforms, it is difficult to determine. The influence of the foreign element has been questioned, and Hotham's assertion that the mass of the miners were urged on by non-British agitators had been attributed to his anxiety to find an excuse for the mishandling of the situation by the Government. But Vern was a German; so was Thonen, another ringleader who was killed; and Raffaelo, who was arrested and brought to trial, was a red-headed Italian who seemed to hate all authority because he had been brought up to hate the Austrians.
 
there was much more wild talk before Victoria settled down to ordinary ways of life, but the bottom was knocked out of the rebellion at Eureka. thirteen insurgents were selected for prosecution. The first two cases tried resulted in acquittals in circumstances contemptible for the Crown case, and the Government would have been wise not to face a judge and jury with the remainder. They persisted, however, and again were defeated. Lalor, who lost his right arm, evaded the police, and was never prosecuted. Nor was Vern, who ought to have been. But two unhappy spectators in court whose enthusiasm exploded in cheers when the jury brought in a verdict of not guilty were sent to jail for a week by the Chief Justice. A 'Beckett, for contempt of court. A Commission appointed to inquire into the gold-fields grievances recommended the abolition of the licence fee and the issue to diggers of a Miner's Right, for which 1 pound per annum should be paid, and which should be the miner's title-deed to his claim and to the gold derived from it.
 
 
Exhibition building, Melbourne, 1906
 
The wild freedom and lavish gains of the digging days were rapidly passing during the occurrence of these vehement events. The first-comers scraped off the golden crust of that rich auriferous area which centred around Ballarat and Bendigo; and here, as also on the Bathurst Plains, in the Plenty Ranges and elsewhere, gold-mining passed from the alluvial into the organized industrial stage. rarer and rarer became the instances where small groups of mates, 'kept going' by a trustful store-keeper till the 'struck it,' worked at their own little claim beside a creek. The tin dish wherein the red-shirted digger washed the gold out of the gravel vanished from the picture; and poppet-heads of the bit mines rose, and the stampers of powerful batteries pounded gold-bearing rock brought up from a depth which (as at the Victoria Quarts shaft at Bendigo) might reach down to 4,600 feet. Companies, many of whose shareholders had never seen a mine, found (and often lost) the capital for exploiting good mining 'shows/' and the miner worked for wages, or wandered afar 'prospecting' for new reefs. There have been many 'rushes' since, but none like those of the fifties. But all around Castlemaine and many another old gold-field may be seen innumerable holes in the earth, like gaping graves, dug by the picks and shovels of the miners of the days of the rushes, holes which once yielded the reward of eager hopes or swallowed up fruitless energies.
 
 
Family hut, Australia, 1909
 
In all the Australian States gold has been found. Queensland provided some sensational yields after the discovery of the metal by the prospector Nash at Gympie in 1867. A single thousand-ounce nugget was one of the choice products of that field. The most remarkable mine was Mount Morgan. Situated on a hill-top, bought by the three Morgan brothers in 1882 for 1 pound per acre from a selector who has no idea of what was below the surface. It was found to contain crumbling ironstone wherein lay gold of unexampled purity to the quantity of thirty or forty ounces per ton. It paid 1,000,000 pounds in dividends in a single year, and in about a quarter of a century gold to the value of about 14,000,000 was taken out of this very wonderful square mile of ground.
 
 
St Andrews Cathedral, Sydney, New South Wales
 
The historical importance of the discovery of the Western Australian gold-fields between 1882 and 1900 was very great. From the foundation of colonization in the west, it had been an agricultural community, cut off from the other Australian colonises by thousands of leagues of sea and sand. It was an English settlement, but perhaps less of an Australian colony than any other within the group. But the gold discoveries brought in crowds of miners and speculators, especially from Victoria, who changed the social and political complexion of the country. The Kimberley, Pilbara and Yilgarn gold-fields occasioned 'rushes' during 1886-8, though the results were not sensational. It was not until Messrs. Bayley and Ford struck a rock at Coogardie with a tomahawk one Sunday afternoon in August 1892, and obtained five hundred ounces, that the world turned with astonishment to 3what it had regarded as desert country, and entered upon the exploitation of the 'Gooden Mile' at Boulder. The city of Kalgoorlie sprang up with magical swiftness and miners flocked to the west from every part of Australia. Between 1892 and 1900 Western Australia produced gold to the value of 22,2000,000 pounds.
 
 
Vintage early Australia wattle, Australiana postcard
 
The old--settled landowning oligarchy viewed the inrush of the mining population with scarcely concealed suspicion and dislike. They resisted the conferring of political rights upon the miners, whom they spoke of as 't'other siders,' and, in order to keep the power in their own hands, maintained a system whereby fifty-seven votes in one pastoral district (Ashburton) had the same representation as 1,500 votes in East Coolgardie. The Great political value of the new mining influence was that it compelled western Australia to enter the federation movement. The miners, bred in the eastern states, and having political affinities with them, were federalists, to a man, and their insistence, more than any other factor, carried Western Australia into the federal union in 1900.
 
 
Vintage South Australia postcard-- Lubra and Child
 
Australia is rich in every kind of mineral, and in some its produce has been phenomenal. The Burra copper mine, in South Australia, discovered in 1845, yielded to the company which bought it for 10,000 pounds a profit of over 400,000 pounds in six years, and over 800,000 pounds in twenty years. The discovery in 1883 that Broken Hill - a 'considerable protuberance,' as Dr. Johnson might have called it, in the far west of New South Wales - was a vast heap of silver converted a little group of shepherds and miners who composed the original syndicate of owners into millionaires, and from first to last had yielded metal - silver, lead and zinc - to the value of more than 100,000,000 pounds. The west coast of Tasmania has given out great wealth in tin, copper, silver and lead; whilst Cobar (New South Wales ) and Queensland have produced fortunes in copper. An all these riches have been found in a country which the Dutch did not think it worth while to examine when it might have been theirs for the taking, and which was a no-man's land to Europeans for nearly two centuries after its existence had become known to them.
 
THE NORTHERN TERRITORY
 
The mode of the foundation of the six States of Australia has now been related; but there remained an area of over half a million square miles, wedged between three but belonging to no one of them, nor yet having a separate political existence of its own. The Northern Territory is, notwithstanding its misleading name, the very central region. It includes Central Mount Sturt and the Macdonnell Ranges. But when the boundaries of South Australia, Western Australia, and Queensland were defined, this pieced of land, as large as France and Germany combined, was left outside the limits of all of them. It occurred in this way. When the western boundary of New South Wales was extended from the 135th to the 129th meridian the intention was to bring within the scope of British possessions Melville Island, which was occupied in 1824. The whole of the Northern Territory was thus, at that time, within the jurisdiction of New South Wales. When Western Australia was founded, the inland boundary was naturally drawn at the 129th parallel, which thus became the eastern boundary of Western Australia and the western boundary of New South Wales. These two colonise therefore, absorbed the whole continent. 
 
Then South Australia was founded, on a large tract of country carved out of New South Wales, and having its northern boundary at the 26th degree of south latitude. Still the Northern Territ9ory remained technically part of New South Wales. Next Queensland was formed, in 1859, with its southern boundary at the 28th parallel of south latitude, whilst the western boundary, under the somewhat ambiguous terms of the letters patent, was interpreted to be the 141st meridian of east longitude, which was also the eastern boundary of South Australia. So that now the Northern Territory, though still technically part of New South Wales, was no longer contiguous to any portion of the country over which that colony exercised governing functions.
 
The question therefore arose, - What was to be done with this vast central slice of Australia?
 
Queensland very soon formed the shrewd conclusion that it would be to her advantage to secure more of the Gulf country than she already had. A. C. Gregory, the explorer, who was Surveyor-General of the young colony, pointed out that the 141st meridian would cut off Queensland from 'the Plains of Promise,' s he called the fertile tropical flats at the head of the Gulf. So in 1860 the Parliament of Queensland requested the Imperial Government to allow the western boundary to be defined, not at the 141st degree, which was mentioned in the letters patent constituting the colony, but at the 138th degree. The granting of the request in 1862, by shifting the boundary westward, enabled Queensland to annex 120,000 square miles, including the Barklay Tableland and a fine belt of fat pastures which in good seasons formed a very valuable possession.
 
Another slight change of boundaries was made in 1861k when the strip of country between South Australia and the Western Australian border, that is, between the 132nd meridian and the 129th - about 70,000 square miles - was transferred to the first-named province. But the Northern Territory was still unappropriated. New South Wales could not administer it, and the Imperial Government did not wish to undertake the control of it. Sir Charles Nicholson, the Speaker of the Queensland Parliament, writing in July 1862, suggested that it should be temporarily annexed to Queensland. But that colony was not prepared to undertake financial responsibility on account of the Territory, and it did not suit the colonial Office that there should be control without responsibility. The Permanent Secretary, writing in August 1862, observed that it would be necessary that some measures should be adopted for conferring protection and enforcing order among the squatters, who were already examining parts of it with a view of depasturing their stock upon its grass lands. The Government desired 'to avoid expense, risk, and inconvenience,' such as would be entailed in founding a tropical colony. They did not mind whether Queensland or South Australia assumed control, as long as the Territory was provided for in some way.
 
While the matter was under consideration, in the second half of 1862, Macdouall Stuart was making his successful overland journey from Adelaide to Port Darwin, and south Australia was eagerly awaiting his return. If he came back and reported that the Territory contained valuable pasture land or mineral deposits, South Australia wanted to get control. Very much depended upon his report. In September 1862 the Colonial Secretary, the Duke of Newcastle, had intimated that he was willing to annex to South Australia all that portion lying south of the tropic of Capricorn, leaving the remainder to Queensland. but South Australia did not want that. She desired to get control of the whole Territory if she assumed any responsibilities at all on account of it. Macdouall Stuart returned to Adelaide on December 17, 1862, and his report whetted the appetite of the colony. South Australia was now eager to annex the Territory. The real value for pastoral and other purposes of the region through which the exploring expedition had passed was now fully made known, and Sir Dominick Daly, the Governor of South Australia, reported to the Imperial government that its importance was so well recognized that 'applications have been forwarded to my government by stockholders of this province with a view to secure the earliest claims to parts of the pastoral lands which have thus recently been made known on the Victoria River and Arnhem's Land.'

The Imperial government was very glad to have the Territory taken off its hands, and promptly announced to the south Australian Government (May 26, 1863), that their wishes would be acceded to. Letters patent were accordingly issued in July, annexing the Territory to South Australia 'until we think fit to make other disposition thereof.' That is to say, the Territory was not actually added to South Australia, but that province was entrusted with the administration of it. The Government Resident, B. T. Finnie, who was sent up by the South Australian Government, selected as the seat of administration a site at Escape Cliffs, Adams Bay. The choice was adversely criticises, and the dissatisfaction led to the recall of Finnis. the opposition party wished the capital to be located on the Vicxtoria River. But a place at Port Darwin was preferred, and the township was named Palmerston, after the Prime Minister. That name, however, did not come into general use. People p9referred to speak of the place as Port Darwin, and when the Territory passed under the control of the Commonwealth the name of the town was formally changed to Darwin. When Dilke was in Australia collecting material for his book Greater Britain, he was invited by the commander of a British ship to make a voyage with him in the Northern Territory. If he would go he was promised that a cape or a town should be named after him; but he was advised to prefer a cape, as that would remain, though whether the town would retain the name, or even its existence, the officer could not guarantee. The case of Escape Cliffs was probably in the mind.

The burthen of the administration of the Northern Territory continued to be borne by South Australia for close upon half a centuryh. There was one dangerous period, in 1876-7, when the South Australian Government was in negotiation with the Government of Japan for the introduction of Japanese setterlsrs. But the scheme broke down owing to political disturbances in Japan in 1877, and it was not revived after order was restored. In 1911 the Territory became a dependency of the commonwealth. No less than 3,431,000 pounds of debt was incurred on account of its development, responsibility for which was taken over by the commonwealth.

The history of the Territory has been uneventful. The most important piece of work done in it was the construction of the overland telegraphs line in 1872. Macdouall Stuart had pointed out that his own route 'could be made a straight line for telegraph purposes,' and this idea was taken up by the electrician, Charles Todd, who superintended the erection of the line from Adelaide to Port Darwin, connecting with the submarine cable to Singapore and the East.

Brief mention should be made here of the abortive settlement made by the British Government at Port Easington, on the extreme north-central tip of the continent, in 1938. A small station had been established at a convenient harbour for ships. /but it was very little used. When Bathurst Island was abandoned, troops were stationed at Port Easington. The Government kept up the station from 1838 to 1849. but settlement was not attracted to the spot, and the troops did not find the climate to be healthy or agreeable. An old aboriginal was still living near Port Easington, in 1915, who remembered the soldiers, with whom, as a little black boy, he had been a pet seventy years before; and a traveller (Miss E. Masson, in An Untamed Territory, 1915, p. 127) who saw him relates how, at the mention of the old settlement, 'his back straightens, a curious change comes into his voice, and he feebly attempts to shout the old words of command -"Shon! eyes right!" So do the tones of some long-forgotten Cockney Sergeant-Major linger ghostlike by the shores of the Aratura Sea, and recall a failure of the long ago. 

THE PORT PHILLIP DISTRICT

When Major Mitchell came upon Portland Bay during his overland journey in 1836, he found that the Henty brothers had formed a settlement there. Their father, an English farmer, had emigrated with his whole family from Sussex eight years before, attracted by the prospect of becoming possessed of a great estate on the Swan River. But the Hentys were amongst those who discovered that the reality fell far short of the fancy picture drawn by the promoters of Thomas Peel's colony; and the family, after prospecting for hundreds of miles and finding no piece of land upon which they would care to settle, transferred their capital to Van Diemen's Land Thomas Henty was a man of seventy and was possessed of about 10,000 pounds, after realising his former property in Sussex. His main reason for leaving England was not to better himself, but to establish his seven strong and enterprising sons on properties of their own in Australia. three of them had wrestled with the Swan River disappointment for some months after their brothers had departed; a fourth, Edward whilst on a cruise examining the southern shores of Australia, ran into Portland Bay, where not a should then lived. He saw there the prospect of establishing a profitable farm. there was abundance of rich grass land, and there was nobody to dispute his right to build a house. Thomas Henty went to look at the place, and appeared of Edward's choice; so, in November 1834, they chartered the schooner Thistle of Launceston, loaded her with livestock, agricultural implements, tools, plants, and fishing tackle, engaged labourers, and with those Edward Henty commenced the first Victorian settlement. A little later he was joined by his brothers Francis, Stephen, and John; and the four entered upon a partnership in whaling, sheep-farming, and cattle-raising. Their father, mother, and three brothers remained in the southern island. The Hentys had their houses built, their stock at grass, their gardens under cultivation, long before the Government in Sydney know that a single rood of land south of the Murray was occupied.
 
Seven years before these sturdy Sussex yeomen fixed upon Portland Bay two Launceston men, J. T. Gellibrand and John Batman, had proposed to Governor Darling that they should be allowed grants of land as Westernport, where they wished to pasture sheep, cattle, and horses to the value of 4,000 pounds. But in 1827 Darling was not eager to encourage settlement there. The Westernport settlement which had been started lest the French should select a site, was abandoned at the end of 1826, and the Governor was not disposed to allow private persons to try to succeed where an official settlement had failed. So he minuted the application; 'Acknowledge, and inform them that, no determination having been come to with respect to the settlement of Westernport, it is not in my power to comply with the request.' But John Batman, a man of dogged perseverance, fond of adventure, fixed his gaze steadily on the mainland to the north of Bass Strait, interest in which was increased when the story of Messrs. Hume and Hovell's overland journey was published. In 1834 he joined a syndicate of fifteen Launceston men who found the money for sending out a small expedition to examine Port Phillip. In a thirty-ton schooner, the Rebecca, Batman put forth in May of 1835, landed, and traversed country which made his eyes sparkle. 'I never saw anything equal to the land; I never was so astonished in my life,' he wrote in his journal.
 
Two very memorable things occurred during this expedition. The first was Batman's encounter with a party of aboriginals with whom he made what he supposed to be a legitimate bargain for the sale of two tracts of land, having a total area of about 600,000 acres - rather more than the whole of Warwickshire. The black-bellows are friendly, and he distributed knives, scissors, mirrors, and blankets among hem. He then produced two portentous pieces of parchment, previously prepared by lawyer Gellibrand. Upon each of them was inserted a rigmarole setting forth that he 'chiefs' granted this huge territory to him 'with livery of selsin.' They had, he solemnly wrote afterwards in an official letter, marked the trees at the boundaries of the territory assigned to him, 'and they also gave me their own private mark, which is kept sacred by them, even so much that the women are not allowed to see it.' He averred that the 'chiefs' quite knew what they were doing, though in truth the aboriginals understood nothing of private land ownership. These untutored children of the bush were supposed to know what 'livery of selsin' meant; and they even put mystical marks against what Batman alleged to be their names. The names were such sweet-sounding strings of syllables as Jagajaga, Cooloolook, and Mommarmalar, and may really have stood for such noises as the blacks made when Batman asked them what their names were; but the alleged 'marks,' as an examination of the original parchment shows, were made by a hand accustomed to use a pen, which could have been none other than that of Batman himself. Yet on the strength of these weird documents - copies of which were formally banded to the 'chiefs' - Batman expressed the hope that 'the British Government will duly appreciate the treaty which I have made with these tribes, and will not in any manner molest arrangements which I have mad.' governor Bourke's reply, when Batman's diplomacy was brought under this notice, was the issue of a proclamation warning of him and his syndicate as trespassers on crown land. 
 
The second notable thing done by Batman on this expedition was to take the Rebecca's boat up the river Yarra to a place where a ridge of rocks blocked the inrush of the tide, and where therefore he could obtain fresh water. He scrutinized the slope on the north bank of the stream, and pencilled in the notebook these words: 'The boat went up the large river I have spoken of which comes from the east, and I am glad to state about six miles up found the river all good water and very deep. this will be the place for a village.' Batman did not discover the Yarra, nor was he the first European to look upon this site. That had been done in 1802. but he was the man to indicate where Melbourne would be built; and he actually marked upon his sketch-map the words 'reserved for a township and other purposes.' It is very remarkable that, of the six state capitals of Australia, the only one which stands to-day precisely in the place where it was in the first instance intended to build it, is Melbourne. three of the states were originally colonized from England, and in not one of those instances was any survey made, before shiploads of people were sent 16,000 miles, to ascertain where it would be most desirable to put them. A sensible man would not start to build a house without making a preliminary examination of the ground available, in order that he might lay his foundations in the best situation. But no such forethought was shown in determining the proper localities for three colonies which were to be the homes of hundreds of thousands of people, New South Wales was originally intended to be centred at Botany Bay, and had Arthur Phillip followed the letter of his instructions he would have commenced his work with misfortune and failure. His own promptitude and initiative saved the situation there. In the Western Australian instance the first colonists were left shivering in misery on the white sand-dunes of Garden Island until the site of Perth was found. South Australia was intended to be established on Kangaroo Island, which was lauded in glowing descriptions written by those who had never been there; but colonel Light recognised at a glance that a blunder had been perpetrated, and insisted on the site of Adelaide. The cases of Hobart and Brisbane are not so serious, though there also the situations originally chosen were afterwards found to be undesirable. but John Batman's 'place for a village' was an excellent choice, which had not to be altered afterwards, and the village - rather large for its name, however - stands in justification of his judgement.
 
Batman hurried back to Launceston to report what he had done, and to advance the claims of his syndicate, the Port Phillip Association, to the territory which he professed to have acquired by treaty. He left behind him three of his servants, with three months' rations, to guard the estate against intruders. The latter move was not so absurd as it may seem. Batman knew that there were other Launceston adventurers who had designs upon Port Phillip. In fact, his rivals were on the move while he was engaged in writing voluminous letters in support of the claims. The leader of the opposition party was John Pascoe Fawkner, who, as a lad of eleven, had, in company with his father, been one of Colonel Collin's party in the Calcutta when that officer's abortive colony at Port Phillip was founded and abandoned in 1803. Fawkner had purchased the Enterprise, and was making preparations for an expedition of his own when Batman returned with his astonishing tale. On July 29 the schooner sailed. Fawkner himself went on board, but became so ill that he had to be put ashore. Hardly had the Enterprise entered Port Phillip than Batman's representatives, in a whaleboat, stopped her and warned her company that 'trespassers would be prosecuted.' Gut thee was no quarrel, and the Enterprise worked her way up the bay and the river, landing Fawkner's people on the very site which Batman had selected or his village.
 
Three days later appeared J. H. Wedge, Assistant Surveyor-General of Van Diemen's Lane and one of Batman's syndicate, who informed the invaders that they were encamped upon the tract of land obtained by Batman 'by a treaty with the natives.' But both parties remained, and both were alike trespassers in the view of Governor Bourke. The solemn proclamation issued by him commenced: 'Whereas it hath been represented to me that divers of His Majesty's subjects have taken possession of lands of the Crown'; it admonished them that they were liable to be dealt with 'as other invaders upon the vacant lands of the Crown'; and it ended with the customary flourish, 'God save the King.' But it was useless to issue prohibitions. Batman's party and Fawkner's were alike eager discoverers of good pastures, and at Port Phillip they found great areas of grass-land upon which thousands of sheep and cattle would fatten. to permit this great stretch of rich country to remain unoccupied was absurd. Even before either of the rival syndicates could bring their sheep across Bass Strait, a third claimant, John Adam, landed a flock on the east side of Port Phillip - near Arthur's Seal - and became the first squatter in this part of Australia; and there was quite a rush of land-seekers to the new territory before any of them knew of Governor Bourke's proclamation. 'All I see I claim,' was the rule of the new-comers as they ascended hills overlooking desirable territory.
 
It is clear from the official correspondence - that Port Phillip was not settled with the countenance of the British Government but in spite of its disapproval. The colonial Office did not conceal its vexation. The Under-Secretary (R. W. Hay), wrote in December 1835, with reerence to Batman's case, 'all schemes of this kind have been of late years discountenanced as leading continually to the establishment of fresh settlements and fresh expense; and if every one were allowed to follow his own inclination by selecting a fit place of residence on the coast of New Holland, all hope of restricting the limits of our settlements in that quarter must be at once abandoned.' The limitation of settlement was, then, the policy of the Colonial Office. The expansion of settlement was the policy which the colonists themselves enforced. To eject the settlers was out of the question. they had entered into occupation of vacant land and could not be got out of it by issuing proclamations, and writing letters from Downing Street. Governor Bourke reported to the Secretary of State that he 'simply could not prevent' settlers from pasturing their flocks and herds outside the official boundaries. Something would have to be done to regulate the settlement and adjust the claims. The Crown asserted a right over the whole of the territory comprised within the governor's commission, and that certainly included Port Phillip. By an Act passed by the Governor and council of New South Wales earlier in 1835, the occupation of crown lands without authority, by residing or erecting any hut or tent upon them, was made an offence punishable by fine; but when that Act was passed the spontaneous rush of settlers into Port Phillip wa not contemplated. Still, the lands there came within the purview of the Act. Even the learned counsel in London, whose opinion Batman's Association obtained, advised that 'the Crown can legally outst the Association from their possession.' The law need not respect the claims of either Batman or Fawkner, which were mutually asserted with much energy that there ws talk of using force. Each party resented the intrusion of the other and of independent groups of squatters. some of Batman's supporters advocated 'at once setting on the blacks to eat them out or drive them out'; but Batman himself would have no violence. 'I should think a long time,' he wrote, 'before I would cause the natives to use anything like violence towards any whites, as I fully agree as to the consequences that might occur hereafter towards ourselves.' So the rivals lived on unto uncontrolled by authority, disregarding Bourke's proclamation, frowning upon each other, and brandishing their fictitious claims, until, in May 1836, Bourke sent over a police magistrate to report upon the situation.
 
The magistrate, George Stewart, found 177 people settled upon or near the site of Melbourne, and they had 26,000 sheep. there were about 800 aboriginals in the vicinity. Already conflict between the whites and the blacks had occurred. the aboriginals had no notion of law or property. They spared and ate the settlers' sheep, and the settlers felt it to be necessary to 'teach them a lesson.' The Government at Sydney was compelled to take notice of these outrages, and it was also necessary to have a magistrate permanently on the spot, invested with administrative powers.
 
In August 1836, therefore, Bourke sent over Captain William Lonsdale of the 4th (King's Own) regiment to take charge. He was not only to exercise the ordinary functions of a magistrate, but was also to take 'the general superintendence in the new settlement of all such matters as require the immediate exercise of the authority of the government.' He was to protect the natives, endeavourng 'to conciliate them by kind treatment and presents,' and to 'improve by all practical means their moral and social condition.' Lonsdale arrived upon the scene on September 29 in the Rattlesnake, Captain Hobson, and from that time the career of the Port Phillip district, hereafter to become the state of Victoria, commenced. the first important piece of business which Lonsdale had to undertake was to determine where the settlement was to be permanently fixed. Batman's and Fawkner's people had both erected their huts on the slope on the north side of the Yarra. But from some aspects a situation closer to the sea seemed more desirable. There was a good site near to the anchorage, named Gellibrand's Point, But there was an inadequate water supply there, whereas Batman's 'place for a village' offered an abundant supply. 'I examined several places for location previously to coming to any determination,' wrote Lonsdale to the Governor, ' and have finally fixed upon the place already chosen as the settlement, and where the greatest number of persons reside'; this 'being the most convenient place for the performance of my civil duties, I have selected it.'
 
Robert Russell, the surveyor, commenced to plot out a township; and in March 1837 Sir Richard Bourke himself came from Sydney to inspect and name the settlement. His perception of the probable trend of development was less clear than that of Lonsdale, for he thought that Gellibrand's Point was the more important position, and named it Williamstown, after the sovereign, whilst he gave to the 'village' the name of the Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne. Bourke was only just in time to connect this new province with the pre-Victorian era by giving the name of the last male sovereign of the Hanoverian dynasty to one of its towns. Three months later William IV was dead. Lonsdale continued to administer the Port Phillip district till 1839, when G. J. Latrobe was appointed Superintendent, or Lieutenant-Governor. In the meantime the settlement had spread so rapidly and the mass of business requiring attention was so large and complex, that it was no longer possible to govern the district from Sydney. to Latrobe was therefore entrusted a wide margin of discretion, and, as he proved himself to be an energetic and capable officer, the control of affairs was left in the hands, subject only to the general supervision of the Governor, to whom he was subordinate. 
 
The claims based by Batman on his 'treaty' with the eight 'chiefs'  were of course not recognized. The lands at Port Phillip were placed under the same regulations as affected the remainder of the territory of New South Wales. The Port Phillip Association pressed its case very pertinaciously, and at length the Government of New South Wales agreed to recognize its pioneering work to the value of 7,000 pounds, to be paid in land. Accordingly, in February 1838, an agent of the company attended a land sale, and bought 9,500 acres near Geelong for 7,919, of which 7,000 pounds was remitted by the Government. Batman himself did not live long in the country to which he had come in such strange circumstances. He died in 1839. It cannot be said that he was generously treated. Even his little house and garden of twenty acres close to the Melbourne township were taken away from his widow, the government merely allowing the building material to be removed from the ground 'as an indulgence.' The day of free land grants was gone. but Batman, whatever amusement may be derived from his treaty, had done enterprising and courageous work, and he was personally an estimate man. there were ex-convicts across the Murray enjoying enormous incomes through the mere good luck that they had come to the country at a time when land was easily obtained, and had grown rich in consequence of the rise in value created by the growth of population. by contrast the genuine pioneer of settlement was shabbily handled. He did not happen to be one of fortune's favourites, and the haughty frown of authority was tuned more severely on him, p0erhaps, because he had forced the road for advancing settlement in spite of official disapproval.
 
In pursuance of the same policy, the Hentys of Portland were not permitted to hold unquestioned the land upon which they had settled in 1834; though after much correspondence they were awarded compensation to the value of 1,750 pounds. The pioneers were certainly not treated liberally by the Government.
 

FROM VAN DIEMEN'S LAND TO TASMANIA

 
The reasons why settlements were made at Hobart in 18-3, and at Port Dalrymple (Launceston) in 1804, have been explained previously... Colonel David Collins, the founder of Hobart and the Lieutenant-Governor during the remainder of his life, died there in 1810, and his second in command, Lieutenant-Governor during the remainder of his life, died there in 1810, and his second in command, Lieutenant Lord, incurred the censure of governor Macquarie by spending 500 pounds on his funeral. the undertaker's bill, which is extant, is surely one of the most curious documents of the kind of record. It included 120 yards of material for the pall, 11 black gowns for marines' wives, 11 pairs of stockings for ditto, 11 petticoats for ditto, a large number of handkerchiefs, and two gallons of the best vinegar! Collins wrote the first History of New South Wales, and his work endures as an authentic and interesting contemporary record of the establishment of British rule in Australia. In the same year died, on his way home to England, Colonel Paterson, the founder and Lieutenant-Governor of Launceston, and one of the principal officers in the service of Australia since the days of Phillip.
 
The history of Van Diemen's Land while it remained a dependency of New South Wales is that of a penal settlement whose system of control presented no remarkable difference from that of the parent colony. After the death of Collins and the departure of Paterson the dual lieutenant-governorships of Hobart and Launceston gave place to a single Lieutenant-Governor, appointed from England. The first was Colonel Davey (1813-17), a marine officer who had fought under Nelson at Trafalgar. A jovial but eccentric man, who made his official entry into Hobart in his shirt-sleeves, with his coat over his arm, because the weather was hot, Davey secured popularity by means which were not calculated, to maintain either a fair standard of discipline or respect for his office. He would frequently carouse with boon companions, including convicts, and he revelled in rough, horseplay frolics. With those who pleased him he would drink deep; those who offended him he would flog or hang. He required plenty of rum and rope. This rollicking Toby Belch resigned under pressure from governor Macquarie, who sternly disapproved of his manners and methods.
 
Davey was succeeded by Colonel William Sorell, of the 48th regiment, and excellent man and an admirable administrator. He was the last of the Lieutenant-governors who ruled in subordination to the 'Governor-in-Chief' in New south Wales.
 
Colonel George Arthur inaugurated the new system of rule in 1825, a year after he assumed office. Under an Act passed by the Imperial Parliament, power was taken to separate the government of Van Diemen's Land from that of New South Wales. A Legislative Council was appointed consisting of seven members, with powers and functions similar to those exercised by the corresponding body in the older colony; and the Lieutenant-Governor was given an Executive Council to advise him. The administration of justice was purified and strengthened. The island was divided into police districts, each under a paid magistrate. A Supreme Court was established. Arthur showed that he meant to keep a tight rein over the execution of the law by peremptorily dismissing the Attorney-General, Gellibrand, for having taken fees from a client for drawing the pleadings in his case and afterwards appearing against him in court.
 
Throughout its history as a convict settlement, Van Diemen's Land was the scene of such a degree of callous brutality as can hardly have been equalled in any other country within civilized times. Statesmen like Russell and Grey said that the assignment system really meant slavery; but, in truth, slavery as practised in America and elsewhere was usually conducted with less cruelty than was the assignment system in this beautiful island. that it was accompanied here by a degree of degradation and torture surpassing what prevailed in New South Wales is to be explained by several circumstances. From the beginning the convicts were to a large extent a worse class than those who were detained in New South Wales. Hobart was originally peopled with drafts from Norfolk Island, and that station had been used (though not exclusively so) as a place of intensified punishment for those who committed offences after transportation. Consequently it was thought necessary to make the discipline harsh. the class of convicts available for assignment to settlers being generally less dependable than was the case at Sydney, a custom of desperately severe punishment became established. The magistrates ordered the application of the lash on the more complaint of an angry master. There are recorded instances of assigned servants being mercilessly whipped for the 'insolence' of smiling when given an order. Magistrates would flog a man to the point of collapse on his master's request by letter. No evidence of wrong-doing was required; the mere application was sufficient. Semblance of justice there was none. Governor Arthur stated in evidence that, of 17,000 convicts in Van Diemen's Land in 1833, 5,000 had never had any complaints made against them, and he regarded this as a favourable circumstance. But obviously his own figures showed that 12,000 had had complaints made against them - and the simple making of a complaint entailed flogging.
 
So much was Van Diemen's land regarded as a place for the reception of desperate characters that in 1821 Macquarie Harbour, on the west coast of the island, was especially chosen as a place of punishment for the very worst class of criminals. Situated on a lonely, bleak, rugged, and rain-drenched coast, frowned over by huge mountain masses of such desolate aspect that the navigator Flinders looked upon their peaks 'with astonishment and horror,' fronted by a sea constantly subject to the fury of Antarctic gales, Macquarie Harbour became a place of wrath and groans for untamed desperadoes. Here, covered by the muskets of their jailers, prisoners were clad in the coarse, ugly, yellow dress, marked in black with broad arrows, which was the distinctive and detested garb of the incorrigible class of offenders. Ordinary convicts wore grey or glue. Gangs of them laboured at felling the huge trees of the forests and dragging the timber to the shore, or were loaded with chains, left cold and hungry on storm-swept rocks, and exposed to privations that made life an agony and fastened upon many of them diseases which afflicted them till death. The narrow entrance to Macquarie Harbour was called Hell's Gate, and the name was not inaptly chose. It was used for its dreadful purpose until Governor Arthur reared a new prison on the Tasman Peninsula and set a guard of armed constables and a complete chain of trained ferocious dogs to patrol the narrow neck connecting the convict area with the mainland. The walls and turrets of Port Arthur, standing in picturesque ruin in a scene of solitary grandeur, remind later generations of a grim and terrible past.
 
One of the reasons for the abandonment of Macquarie Harbour was that it aggravated the trouble with bushrangers, which became acute during the governorships of Davey, Sorell, and Arthur. Bushranging grew naturally out of the conditions of the violent and profligate society which coined this convenient word for it. We read of 'William Page, the bushranger,' in the Sydney Gazette as early as 1806, and Bligh, writing of the state of Van Diemen's Land in 1809, referred to 'a set of freebooters, bushrangers as they are called.' Both in Van Diemen's Land and New South Wales great, unoccupied spaces at the back of the settled portions offered unrivalled opportunities to men inclined to a lawless, predatory life. Convicts who had served their sentences or escaped from servitude would often 'take to the bush,' steal a horse, roam around plundering, and lead a life of wild excitement until they were shot or caught. More dangerous were banes of armed bandits who lived by outrage and spoliation. Van Diemen's Land was the scene of wild bushranging escapades for about a score of years, the worst cases being those who had fled from custody, and, knowing that they would be hanged if they were caught, united cunning and bush-craft to the daring required by the life they led. There were mountain fastnesses hiding deep glens where a man could conceal himself with little risk of discovery. Kangaroo meat was abundant. A raid upon a country station, the robbery of a mail, the plunder of a store, would furnish other requirements.
 
Macaquarie Harbour proved to be very difficult to manage. Its stormy approaches made it inaccessible at certain seasons. To escape from the secluded and desolate place, either by boat, or by land across trackless mountains and through thick tangles of the peculiar horizontal scrub which grows in the western part of the island, was indeed a desperate adventure. About a hundred tried, but most of them perished in the attempt or were shot. A party who got away to the bush were driven by hunger to murder each other, and ten were known to have been killed and eaten by their companions. Two of the wretched survivors were captured with portions of human flesh still in their possession. A few escaped and joined others of their class in plundering raids. Many assigned servants, there is no doubt, were driven to consort with the outlaws by the cruelty with which they were treated by their inhuman masters, and it is not strange that these took a terrible revenge on their former oppressors. The bushranging evil was at the height when Arthur became Lieutenant-Governor. An army of as many as a hundred resolute ruffians, well mounted and fully armed, roamed over the country in 1825, imposing a reign of terror upon settlers. They murdered, burnt, and pillaged. Brady, a Macquarie Harbour escapee, led a band which captured the town of Sorell, surprised and locked up the military force sent to arrest them, and liberated the prisoners in the jail. In Launceston the same brigand chief conducted a raid with the organised skill of a military operation. Michaell Howe, the most notorious of the bushrangers of this period, called himself 'Governor of the Rangers,' and the head of the Government 'Governor of the Town,' and so largely did this foul rascal terrorize the country that there was a smack of truth in the saying.
 
Governor Arthur was compelled to take the suppression of bushranging in hand in an organized fashion. Farms were barricaded against attack and loopholed for defence. A law was enacted enabling any settler to shoot at sight a convict in arms. Companies of soldiers, strengthened by armed settlers, swept over the country in search of the malefactors. Arthur himself took part in the hunt, which was so thoroughly pursued that thirty-seven bushrangers were tried and sentenced to death at one sitting of the court. More than a hundred were hanged in the two years 1825-6. if these vigorous measures did not eradicate bushranging - and they did not because it was an inevitable consequence of depositing thousands of criminals in a rough and sparsely populated country - at all events they suppressed the most serious aspect of the evil, the ravaging of the colony by organized companies.
 
Some popular fiction of a later date has cast a kind of glamour over bushranging, just as in England poetry and romance have gilded the deeds of the highwayman. But in sober truth there was no chivalry in the escapades of these men. They were simply ferocious criminals, dangerously at large. There was some bushranging on the mainland, and in 1834 Dr. Wardell Wentworth's friend, was shot dead by a bushranger in the grounds of his own house in New South Wales. The depredations and capture of the Kelly Gant in Victoria (1880) made a very exciting story of crime and adventure. But the trouble in the mainland colonies never attained the proportions that it did in Van Diemen's Land. The bushrangers were only partly responsible for the 'Black War,' which led to the extermination, with half a century, of one of the races of mankind - homo tasmanianus. The aboriginals of Van Diemen's Land were different from those of the mainland. At some remote geological period there was land connection between the island and Australia. But a subsidence of the ocean bed broke the bridge, and left the negrito stock isolated and unaffected by the fresh blends which changed the characteristics of the mainland blacks. these natives were disposed to be a harmless and peaceable people. English and French explorers who had met with them had found them unaggresive and good-humoured. Had they received decent treatment they would not have been likely to cause trouble. But neither the settlers nor their assigned servants would allow the natives to live in peace. As settlement spread, cases of murder and outrage were frequently reported. The evidence is conducive that the wrong-doing was on the side of the whites. 'The resentment of these poor, uncultivated blacks,' wrote Davey in a proclamation of 1813, 'has been justly provoked by a most barbarous and inhuman mode of proceeding, viz. the robbing of their children. Let any man put his hand to his heart and ask, which is the savage, the white man who robs the parent of his children, or the black man who boldly steps forward to resent the injury and recover his stoloen offspring.' During Sorell's term of office the outrages continued, aggravated now by the fiendish depredations of the bushrangers. No form of physical torture and moral wrong was spared to these hapless children of nature by the decadent outcasts of civilization who were thus thrust among them.
 
It was but natural that the aboriginals should at length turn upon their oppressors; and this they were doing when Arthur became Lieutenant-Governor in 1824. The revenges which they took did but increase the number of those who shed their blood. Black hated white, and white thirsted for the blood of black. But the whites had the better weapons. Waddies and spears were no match for muskets. Blacks were shot in groups, as they bathed or sat round their camp-fires at night. John West, the author of a History of Tasmania, who wrote near enough to those times to get his facts from living witnesses, tells the story in one vivid sentence: 'The wounded were brined; the infant cast into the flames; the bayonet was driven into the quivering flesh; the social fire around which the natives gathered to slumber became before morning their funeral pile.'
 
Arthur was well informed as to the treatment which the aboriginals had received, and made an honest effort to protect them. An Aborigines Protection Committee, formed under his direction, pointed out that the instances of savage vengeance which the native people had taken were the result of injuries they had received. But he could not, as a responsible administrator, permit a state of anarchy to prevail. The blacks no longer made any distinction between friends and foes. They killed all whites who came within range of their spears. Arthur tried to abate the evil by offering rewards for the capture of aboriginals uninjured - five pounds for every adult and 2 pounds for every child - and this led to the formation of capture parties, who hunted them like game. John Batman, the Port Phillip pioneer, distinguished himself by the employment of kinder methods to secure the surrender of blacks. As, however, the efforts of these independent parties did not sufficiently abate the trouble Arthur determined to organize a great 'drive', with the object of sweeping the whole of the blacks in the centre and south of the island into the Tasman peninsula. A complete chain of soldiers, police, and armed settlers stretched right across the country from the Great Lake to St. Patrick's Head on the east coast. Nearly five thousand men shared in command. The forces were marshalled under military officers, each of whom superintended the scouring of an allotted area. Great stores of cartridges, guns, and handcuffs, were gathered.
 
The line commenced the advance southward on October 7, 1830, and every man in it believed that he was helping to push the natives into a compound where they would be held as captives. But at the conclusion of the operations only one man and a boy had been caught. With these exceptions the whole of the aboriginals had quietly slipped through the line. Arthur's Black Drive cost 30,000 pounds, and was as futile as trying to catch sunbeams with a butterfly net. After this failure George Robinson, a Methodist bricklayer, who had already had a little experience among the aboriginals, had learnt their language, and had a warm-hearted sympathy with them, made a proposition which seemed to his contemporaries to mark him out either as a lunatic or an impostor. He actually reposed to go among them unarmed, as a friend, to reason with them, and explain to them that, however some settlers and convicts might treat them, the object of the Government was to better their condition. His one stipulation was that the hunting of the blacks should cease and that it should be prohibited even to carry firearms in their presence. And this little obscure man did wonderful things. He tramped hundreds of miles, he endured extraordinary hardships, he dared anything to accomplish his mission; and the most wonderful of all the things he did was to show that these hunted black people had the souls of human beings, and to bring heir souls into grateful communion with his own. He took a few blacks whom he knew well as companions, and, guided by them, visited the far-off hiding-places where the tribes had taken refuge. Often he was in grave danger, but his cool confidence always saved him. He would walk up to a group of warriors who had their spears poised to hurl at him, and shake hands with them. He led the remnant of one of the most savage tribes to Government House in Hobart, where Arthur, to welcome them, ordered the brass band to play. The natives screamed with terror, and clustered round Robinson for protection.    
 
It was evident, however, that there could be no settlement of the difficulty so long as aboriginals, settlers, and convicts lived together in the same country. Robinson could not be everywhere at once. He could make the tribesmen do anything by sheer force of persuasion, but where he was not trouble recurred. It was, therefore, resolved in 1832 that Robinson should gather together all the surviving blacks and should take them to Flinders Island in Bass Strait. This policy was carried out in 1835, though the total number removed was only 203, the survivors of a race of whom several thousands were living when Van Diemen's Land was first colonized by Europeans. This small community was tended by Robinson and others with every kindness. But all efforts to keep the race alive failed. They sickened and pined and died. some half-castes still remain, but the last pure-blooded homo tasmanianus died in 1860.
 
While the Van Diemen's Land was devoted to penal purposes it was the place of exile of some remarkable men. Thomas Wainewright, forger and poisoner, artist and man of letters, the friend of Charles Lamb and the painter of royal Academy pictures, was one of these. The Chartist leaders Frost, Jones, and Williams were transported in 1839 on account of their share in a riot at Newport, Wales. In an earlier age the punishment for high treason, of which they were convicted, would have been death; but these three led very comfortable lives in Van Diemen's Land, and lived to see nearly all the 'points' of the English chartists adopted as part of the political system of Australia. The Irish Rebellion of 1848 brought a distinguished group of political prisoners to the country, including Smith O'Brien, Thomas Meagher, and John Mitchel, men of ability and education, who, as Meagher quite frankly wrote, had 'played for a high stake and lost the game. They were marked out for especially considerable treatment, and were allowed a large measure of freedom on parole. One of the, O'Donahue, started a newspaper in Hobart, called the Irish Exile. They were indeed regarded as belonging to what Arthur described in an official paper as 'that class of offenders denominated in familiar language gentlemen convicts.' 'With a willing heart and ready hand we ought like honourable men to pay the forfeit and say no more about it,' wrote Meagher in his friend, Gavan Duffy. Smith O'Brien fretted in exile and brought upon himself more restrain than he need have done. Mitchel brought his wife and children from Ireland to live with him. After nearly five years in the island he made his escape to America, and half a dozen of his companions, aided by Irish American sympathizers, managed to do the same.
 
Another little group of prisoners were the victims (1834) of the antipathy of the English Government to the beginnings of the Trade Union movement. George Loveless and four other Dorsetshire labourers were transported for seven years for their connection with the Friendly 'Society of Agricultural Labourers, which pledged its members not to work for less than 10s. per week. They were liberated in response to public agitation to 1836. Loveless, a sincere and honest man, who worked with a simple desire to improve the lot of his fellows, wrote after the conclusion of his term of servitude a little book called Victims of Whiggery, where in he said some interesting things about the convict system as he saw it in operation.
 
One of the most singular characters who inhabited Van Diemen's Land during these wild, bad years was a tall, blue-eyed Dane named Jorgensen, a rascal touched with genius, whose life had been crowded with romance and adventure. He had made discovery voyage under the command of Flinders, and had been mate on board the Lady Nelson. He was an officer on the ship which conveyed the first company to Risdon Cove, and therefore witnessed the establishment of the colony which he was afterwards to inhabit as a convict himself. On returning to Europe he had served on a Danish privateer during the Napoleonic wars, and been taken prisoner by the British. Being sent on a ship to Iceland to carry provisions to the inhabitants, he most audaciously captured the Danish governor and announced to the people by proclamation that he had been sent by the Brit8ish Government to annex the island. He established trial by jury, improved the educational system, set himself up as Governor, and sent a despatch to London announcing that he had taken possession of Iceland as a part of the British Empire. His unauthorized raid was of course disowned. On his return to England he was sent to the Continent on a secret Foreign Office mission. After this he gave free play to his gambling propensities, and, being pressed for money, stole some articles of furniture from his lodgings. For this offence he was convicted and served our years of a sentence of seven in Newgate, where he made himself useful as an apothecary's dispenser. Liberated from prison upon his promise to leave the country, he failed to do so, was re-arrested as an alien at large, and transported for life. In Van Diemen's Land he had a strange career as explorer, hunter of blacks, and author. He impressed those who met him as a man of unusual ability. He certainly was versatile, for he had written books on travel, theology, and political economy.
 
The old name of the island whose coasts had been explored by Dutch, French, and English navigators, and which had witnessed so much agony and remorse, went with a change of system. Even before transportation ceased, but when the hope of ending it had taken possession of the inhabitants, they began to use the name Tasmania; and when self-governing institutions were conferred upon the island in 1853 that name was adopted by statute.
 
Orr Street, Queenstown Tasmania, 1907
 
 
Post Office, Hobart, Tasmania c.1900
 
 
Queenstown, Tasmania, c.1907
 
 
Old photo postcard of Hobart, Tasmania
 
 
A SHORT HISTORY OF AUSTRALIA - PART 4
 
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