Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
This article displays in one automatically-generated column. View the full page to see article in its original form.

LECTURE ON AUSTRALIA.

Mr D. H. Brown delivered a very interesting lecture, under the title of " A Slimmer holiday m the Colonies of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania, 1888," \ last evening m the Wesleyan Church. The chair was taken by the Mayor-elect, David Thomas, Esq., and there was a Terr largo attendance. Mr Brown, who was well received, •aid :— Mr Chairman, Ladieß and Gentlemen, I do not stand here by my own wish this evening, but at the request of many friends who said it was not fair that I should have enjoyed SHch a long holiday m the various colonies of Australasia, and not tell them something more about it than I could do m more conversations individually. To saj that I have spent two months or more m Australia, and come back better pleased with New Zealand, is putting it very mildly indeed, and before going any farther let me here say, that having travelled over a considerable portion of the earth at various times, I have arrived at the conclusion that New Zealand, taking it all m all, is the best part of the whole creation of God. Perhaps the chairman will ©bjeot to this strong statement, but he may do so after I have done and given you the reasons for my strong belief m this country. I will not trouble you with any description of my sea voyage, but simply say that I sailed from Timaru to Brisbane and landed there on one of th< wettest days I wane to be out m foi gome time to come, but as you wil expect to hear about the great drough I may say that this rain was only loca and did not extend many miles m an; direotion. The Brisbane river is a very winding one ; if it is true that " Curved is the line of beauty" then this river ought to be a very beautiful one, for to go half a doaen miles you have to sail or steam twenty. As you get towards the city the banks are studded with many beautiful residences on both sides and what strikes a stranger most is the profusion of bananas and pine apples growing along the banks and the waving bamboos hanging over the river, as the willows hang m Christchurch. Brisbane is as fine a city for its age as any m the colonies with a population of about 80,000 people and is bound to be an important centre m the not far distant future. After spending a few days there I went up north as far as Bundaberg, the sugar district of Queensland and visited several sugar refineries, and plantations, one especially where they do everything from planting the cane to the putting the Sugar into the tea cup on the estate,and I cannot Bay that after seeing the whole operation my love for sugar has increased. One thing I was assured, m Queens land, vis., that the manufacture of sugar m that colony depends on the continuation of black labor from the South Sea Islands. The wholecry was " Drought, drought, nothing but drought, and if we dont get rain soon nothing will be saved." Do any of you know what drought really is ? Let me give you a very faint illustration of the little I know of it — on September 20th I was drinking water which fell as rain on 21st February last —seven months old — and glad to get it. How I did long for a drink of Ashburton water, and a taste of Ashburton butter. Up there when they do buy butter the housekeeper sends a basin for it and it is filled m with a saucer or shell with a flop. I jokingly asked more than once how much a quart it was ? I must admit that being able to use it m that state is an acquired taste which I did not care to cultivate and for some time I did not taste butterfof any sort. Back to Brisbane again by rail and Steamer, thence by rail to Toowoomba on the Darling Downs, the high table \ands of Queensland, where there is some of the finest land m the world if they tould only be sure of a little water from the clouds. Sunshine is a very fine thing but it is possible to get too much of even a good thing. It is the most genial climate of Queensland and many of the richer people of the colony ha ye summer residences there, as they do not get the very extreme heat of many other places. They can grow Maize to perfection most years and sometimes a Little oats, but too often have to turn stock into the paddock to save an utter loss of the crop. Wheat, they could grow well if they could get even a few days rain at the proper time, but the peculiarity of all the Australian climate is that the rain nearly always comes at the wrong time, and then it comes m a sweeping flood. There is some beautiful scenery on the way to this town from Brisbane and it is an enjoyable ride when not too hot. Here I met a gentleman who finds .water for the settlers by the use of the divining rod. He drove me for many miles m various directions and assured me that the use of this divining rod was not a hoax, but a real thing and he could find water where it existed. Ido not attempt .to explain this, but from ' questions put to other people I found it to be perfectly true, and the gentleman I refer to was very often engaged m the work of finding water, but it is at such depths at- times that the cost of boring would be more than the water is worth I am afraid I was cruel to some of the farmers, for when I told them of having five good rivers m a distance of 100 miles between Christchurch and Timaru and that m this county alone we had 700 miles of water courses, and that very few paddocks m the "whole county were without water, more than once it was broadly hinted that I was net sticking to the exact truth, and one man swore that we had not 700 miles m the whole of the little blooming •ountry. To make lure that I had not overstated the water supply of this county I asked Mr Baxter when I came home and find that we have more than 1000 miles of courses, so that I was well within the mark when I only put it at 700milea, From Toowoomba to Alaroa and Warwick a day each, nothing particular about either of them only the state of the roads, if roads they could be called, m dry weather up to the axle m earth of a reddish color, as it was on my visit, but if a shower of rain falls it will turn into almost glie, so sticky does it become. In Warwick I heard a merchant ask a firmer to come m to an important meeting next evening. The farmer said he would if it did not rain, and on my asking him if a shower of rain would stop him, he smiled at my utter ignorance of their roads, for, said he, it would take a team of horses to pull an empty Jtaggy after an hour'p rain, fff6*TOi^«o<?9das§l9fmOß^

m this colony on roads, and we have got something to show for it m the best roads of any of the colonies with the exception of Tasmania, and parts of New South Wales, but their roads were made by convict labor m the olden days. I would like to say here that allthe towns m Australia are ahead of us m the matter of public buildings, snch as Public , Libraries, Mechanics Institutes, Museums, I etc., and they are also far ahead of us j m the number of dirty public houses and j drinking dens ; I saw more drunkenness m two months than I have here for as many years. Started very early m the morning for New South Wales border, where I fouud the drought even more felt than m I Queensland, for here they do try to grow breadstuffs,' and they have the largest number of sheep m any of the colonies. I will not say how many dead sheep I saw, for I doubt if you would believe me, but I will say that a man told me that for thirty miles he could jump from beasb to beast lying dead on the track. He started to bring 1200 sheep a distance ot 300 miles to try and keep them alive, and [ when he got to the end of his journey he had less than 300 alive. New Zealand ' farmers cannot realize what this means, they do not know what farming under difficulties means yet, and I should like to see some of the grumblers at this country try their hand over there for a a few years. They talk about rivers m | New South Wales, but I am free to confess I saw very few worthy of the lame of a river, we would call them jreeks over here, and dirty oneß at that, tor most of them were dried up, One peculiarity I noticed about the rivers over there ; they are all very much lower than the land surrounding, and it is impossible to run any water courses,, as we do here, without pumping up the water to a higher level, and you may calculate the expense of that if you wish, for I could not. Neither would it be allowed, as the farmer lower down would object co taking the water out and co diminishing his supply such as it is. Murrindi to Newcastle : The memory haunts me still ; 110 miles m about 11 hours I think, I am near enough to it anyway, and may I never do it on that same train again. I feel inclined to confess to our Minister for Public Works my shortcomings for sometimes grumbling at the slow pace of our mixed trains m this country, but I wont do it again, ours is a lightning express compared to that journey at anyrate. I had twc other journeys which I am not anxious to repeat, but more of them again, Newcastle, the coal city of the southern hemisphere, was m the full enjoyment o: a first-class strike, and the public houses were reapiDg the benefit of idle men hanging about with nothing to do, find ing relief m the drink shops, and thei were doing a roaring trade. I will no enter into the merits of the strike further than to say that it was a foolisi one, and one which should not have take) place, but it has cost the miners man; thousand pounds, diverted a larg amount of trade to other coal field which Newcastle will not get back fur life time, caused hardships m man; families: ruin to some storekeepers, am good to no one, for after more than tw months of it the men went to work n better off than when they went out, bu very much worse, as they had lighte pockets and heavier hearts. I entered Sydney harbor on a ver beautiful morning, and if, as somo peopl tell us, the harbor of Rio is a finer on than that of Sydney, it must be very fin indeed. The many bays and nooks m am about the harbor, lend a charm t< Sydney, without which life would be ver miserable there I think. I will not attempt to describe the cit itself, but if they have many dust storm such as one I experienced one day, giv me a dozen howling nor'-westers instead The wind tore along at the rate of ove 80 miles an hour, and the dust carriei with it was something to see, that is i you could, but you could'nt. Otherwis Sydney was pleasant enough to me al the time I was there, but my greates enjoyment was m the Blue Mountains where a friend and I spent a few dayi rambling about. From Sydney to Lith gow, the future Birmingham of Ne\ South Wales, is about 100 miles, am of you want to see the grandes scenery on earth, let me advise you t< take a trip there when you can. Man; of you have heard no doubt, of th! famous zig-zag railway of that colony but you xsan form no idea of what goin^ over that is, unless you do it m person not by proxy. We run along gentl 1 rising ground for many miles, anc gradually notice the engine getting slower and slower as we climb the hil getting higher and higher till we rui into a siding and look up what altnosi looks like the side of a house. How an <re going to get up there ? a strangei would ask if he did not know. One of the grandest feats of moderi engineering skill has solved the problem and up we go-Zig-Zag Zig, forward backward, forward again, up and ur. higher still, and then along alike a snake m the grass creeping round curves winding m and out amongst the hills! every now and then getting a beautiful vista of more distant ones still, running now to one side of the carriage, then the other to catch the view of some grand scene like a panorama spread before us ; now we almost form a circle, the head and tail of the train coming very near each other, then running along alike a corkscrew, still always rising higher, till at lastjthe engine comes to a stand on the very mountain top, And if the ascent was grand the descent was grander still, We got into the guard's van before starting down hill, and he told us when to look on either side tc [jet the best views, and one place we aajno to ho called us to look where, away down hundreds of feet below, we could 3ee the railway like the faint lines of a copy book, right down under us. where half an hour hence we would be running along, but now we could have jumped down to the very spot. We spent some hours m Lithgow, and I am bound to confess that the most remarkable thing I noticed was the great number of public houses. I should say from the appearance of the place one For every hundred people or thereabout. Owing to the strike m Newcastlo they have opened coal mines here and were getting good coal too, so no more will be wanted for that district for some time to come. As we wanted to spend most of our time on top of the mountains we lost no time m getting back to a station called Blackheath, where we slept that night, and very early m the morning before others were astir, we got to one of the most famous spots on all the mountains. I wish I could find words to describe those two days on the mountains but I cannot. Standing on what is, so far as known, the highest perpendicular drop m the world, I cannot do better than ascribe ty m language not my — j

Speaking of this place, Mr Coghlan the Government statistician says. " Narrow valleys and deep gorges everywhere break the continuity of the Dividing Range. Such is especially the case m the Blue Mountains where the i scenery is of striking and characteristic grandeur. The table land everywhere presents one strange peculiarity. The level land snddenly terminates and many hundred feet below sferetch, as far as the eye can reach, wooded valleys, whose undulating floors are walled m by sand stone cliffs of a height so enormous as to be without parallel elsewhere iv the world. The mountain scenery of this part of New South Wales produces on the traveller an entirely new impression. 'I here are no snow-capped peaks upon which tho rising and setting sun produces strange and magnificent color effects ; nor does the peculiar shape of the summits strike the imagination as the Alps and Pyrenees of the Old World. On the contrary, from the plains the mountains of New South Wales look rather insignificant. But gazing from the edges of the high table land into the deep valleys below the mind is awed by the realization of the magnificent scale on which Nature has worked m these solitudes. In many places the cliffs rise 2000 feet perpendicularly from the valley beneath." Looking over one of those cliffs my friend and I held each other m turn as we lay flat along the top, afraid almost to breathe, and as we looked down on the tall trees below waving m the morning breeze and sunshine, they seemed to us like a carpet of moss — so great was the distance. I was going to say, after enjoying the scene, but that is hardly the word to use, you,,~ould not enjoy yourself m the common' meaning of the word enjoy, the mind was too dazed by the awful surroundings of heights and depths — but after drinking m the scene to our hearts, content, we stood back from the cliff and sang as well as we were able. Before Jehovah's awful throne. Ye nations bow with saored joy ; Know that the Lord is God alone; He oanoreate and he destroy. And verily it was a throne before which an infidel would hardly dare to call m question the power of the Creator who called it into shape. Tae man who could stand on those cliffs and look down,and down into the valleys, and look up, and then deny that they were made by an Almighty power, is more to be pitied than the most superstitious derotee, whom the so-called free thinker pretends to pity for his bo believing. The whole of the mountain system oi New South Wales lies below the limil of perpetual snow, and this will be the drawback to the irrigation scheme no\i bo much talked of, as I mentioned thai otherwise water would have to be raised from the rivers (when there was water} by mechanical means. The waterfalls of New South Wales hardly deserve the name,as the quantity of water (unless m flood times) is verj little, but it is the great height of th< falls which makes them of interest. Sc great are some of them that the watei never reaches the bottom m any othei form than that of spray, carried hithei and thither by the passing breeae We next explored what the Ameri cans call a " canyon," a deep gorge we scrambled down over novae rougl places, holding on to any friendly shrub We could not get within hundreds o feet of the bottom, but descended lo\^ enough to feel the awful solitude of thai almost cave. We could see that then ivas a sky above us and that was aboul ■all. Giant tree ferns were there it abundance, and spindle-shanked blue gums trying to get up to the sun-light but it will take them years yet to reach the top, if they over do. Back to Sydney again for a few more days, then train to the city of Goulburnj the milling centre of New South Wales, but the millers there knew so much they let no one m to see the mills, and I had to content myself with seeing them from the outside. I was warned not to go to Goulburn by the train I' did go by, that I would not like it as it was shakey, and shakey was no name for it, if there had been no rails laid at all it could not be much worse. The only journey I ever took to compare to it, was once a long coach ride m northern California, over what is known as a corduroy road, trees laid across the road close together, and as the coach rattles along you have to brace yourself for sudden plunges into ruts, and out again. In the train I do not believe there was a motion that the body could make or a muscle that was not brought into play. One would think that the engine driver took a fiendish delight m jerking the train so as to knock the passengers off the seats (there were only two of us, and the other fellow could not help coming or he would not.) After that 100 mile journey m seven hours I was more tired than if I had been doing exceedingly hard work. Goulburn is the best wheat-growing district of New South Wales, but it was the old story,getting stale now, the crops are destroyed by the drought, and the faces of the storekeepers and others were growing long, and not without reason, I can assure you, for it means ruin to many of them, In this town, or rather little city, is to be found the finest Protestant Cathedral m the whole d Australia, so says Cardinal Moran, and- also the best Methodist Church of the colony. In ordinary years it is a thriving busy little city and being on high plains (over 2000 feet) it is counted a healthy place to live m. The shops are well built and the public buildings worthy of the city, and as m all other places the public-house element is very strong. From Goulburn to Melbourne there is little of interest, especially after we pass the Victorian border where the whole energy seems to be centred m Melbourne, of which I shall have something to say later on. I only stayed two days on my way through to Adelaide m South Australia, which is by far tho most beautiful city on the continent, and also the quietest, for the harvest prospects m that colony are worse than depressing, and one of the members of the Houbo made the statement when I was there that more than half the farmers of the colony would be ruined this year, and that they would not be able to buy seed wheat for next year, and that he was sure the Government would have to supply them, a thing which occurred once or twice before m the history of that place, and this is enough to depress any community. It was not my intention to touch on any political matter as between the Protectionist and the Freetrader; but I cannot pass on without giving you an incident m the South Australian Proteotionigfc policy, ?bQ gOTWBttW&t required a certain

quantity of water pipes to bring water to the city, and the cry was raised, Why not make them m the colony ? Very good so far, but no one could be got to make them at a price at which they could be laid down at from England i even adding 25 per cent duty. That, however, did not frighten the Protectionists, and they were clamorous for a bounty to be paid to some one foundry < to enable them to be made. The result was that a sum of £30,000 wag paid to a firm of iron founders to import machinery and plant to make the pipes at the higher price of cost freight and all charges as well as 25 per cent added. The pipes were made and the money paid, and the workmen wakened up to the fact that they had not got any increase of wages on the strength of this £30,000, and they went out on strike. After this job was done, they locked the door after the horse had been stolen. The net result of that job is that the country has paid £30,000 more for the pipes than they could be got for from home, it gave very little extra work and no increased pay. The foundry is now a dead horse, as it is sufficient to make pipes for all Australia, but then all Australia wont buy from them, the workmen are on strike, and the whole iron trade of that colony is m a state of disorganisation. Nobody is benefited but the foundry owners who laugh m their sleeves, but pocket the money. This is no fancy picture, you can see all about it m the Adelaide papers for October. (I was talking to one of the partners of that foundry who quietly shrugged his shoulders on my hinting at the stupidity of the whole job. Yes, he said, we would like another such one. Of course they would, it benefits a few individual?, but impoverishes the multitude.) From Adelaide to Ballarat is about as uninteresting a country as anyone could wish to' travel, after the first hundred miles or so from the city ; parched up looking dry land full of scrub and weeds which will grow even m dry weather. We passed through many miles oi desert a square mile of which would hardly feed a rabbit, let alone a sheep, and how ths South Australian farmer can exist is more than I can tell. It is existing, not living as we understand ii m this colony I can assure you, for il the farmer there had a crop of 20 bushels to the acre he would go beside himseli with joy, and be envied by his neighbor for miles round about as a lucky felloe for having such land as that. If the Plains farmer had the average crop o; South Australia he would not cut it but turn m his own or some othe: , person's sheep into the paddock, or put i match to it and burn every blade. Th< average of fifteen years past has onb been 8 bushels to the acre. What d< you think of that you New Zealam 1 farmers, who think if you dont get 2( at least that you are ruined. English grasses dont seem to do any good there either, and it is very costly to renew so often as they have to do, and there are tens of thousands of acres worn completely out for all practical purposes, and the wheat growing has been moved back and back for scores of miles, thus making the cost of transit to the seaport very expensive indeed, and when you see Adelaide and Victorian wheat quoted at so much higher than New Zealand, you are not to conclude that the farmer gets a higher price SuuHjkeNew Zealand one, . as the cost of bringing- . i *JjgsS««S£S of shipment — cuvcrs~ more thantini? difference, and I doubt very much if the farmers at the other side average as much on the farm, which is of course the only test of actual price to the farmer I will have more to say later on about the various average yields of crops, if I do not tire you, to show the position New Zealand holds amongst the grain growing countries of the world. Ballarat. — One of the great gold mining centres of past days, and a considerable amount of it is done even yet, but the glory has departed, and it is a quiet respectable city, well built, and its public buildings would do no discredit to the city of Melbourne itself. It is called the Garden city of Victoria, and the people are very proud of it, and justly so I think. The streets are wide, well formed, and trees are planted along the footpaths m most of them, making a beautiful shade from the heat of the sun] The district round Ballarat ia the best land m Victoria, and sells readily at £40 to £50 an acre some miles from the city. The waterworks are very fine and the supply good m all but very dry seasons like the present, when the authorities look out for preventing waste. There is a pretty lake a short dig tance from the city, and the Botanical Gardens are situated on the shores of it The lake is said to be well stocked with fish of various sorts, and there are some small pleasure steamers and boats on the little lake. Oreswick, a mining town about 11 miles from Ballarat, seemed to me to have passed its best days, and now looks deserted, with many shops with the shutters up and the town generally going to decay. I drove through it with a friend who knew the whole district, and we only saw three people a3 we passed through the main street of the town which is as large as Ashburton. It seemed to me as if the people were all taking their afternoon sleep The aboriginal meaning of the word Ballarat is a resting place, and m the olden days of the flush diggings, the people called it " The Golden City of the South." The city is all undermined, and I believe that even houses were knocked clown to dig under the foundations, so great was the rush at one time. Geelong. — A slow-going town which the residents say should have been Melbourne, as it is on a good bay, but they have missed the chanco of ever being a city, and some of you who complain of dull times ought to go there,^and see the town. The people are to lazy to yawn, let alone to work, but there is a reason for it ; every one goes to Melbourne for what he wants, as there is a daily steamer to the city, and several trains a day, and Melbourne seems to absorb all that oomes within reach. It is the London of the fSouthern Pacific, and like London is growing m size and population faster than any other city south of the equator. It is undoubtedly • a live city ' as the Yankees say, but to my mind no city on earth could stand the strain of such a mad land fever as has been going on fo some years, and it requires no prophet to foretell a period of lassitude and depression after such an attack q{ tkff

Yellow Devil of mad speculation, that has been running its course m Melbourne for some time. In one day I gathered as many as sixty sensational posters, handbills, cards of invitation, free railway passes, orders for free lunch, pencils to enter the purchases, memorandum books to j enter them m, foot rules to measure the purchase, and a box of matches to light my pipe if I felt so inclined, while the sale — otherwise the swindle— was going on. I do not use too harsh a word when I say swindle, for you can see for yourselves m the daily papers how the [thing is worked. A few men of capital or no capital, as it turns out m many cases, arrange to buy a certain bit of land and form a syndicate for the purpose — they pay the owner of the land, or promise to pay, a certain sum down and trust to luck and a good swindling sale to pay the balance. The bit of land is given a high sounding name m some district, papers are published by tens of thousands, and distributed to the multitude as they come into the city by the morning trains, or go about the streets (I have some of those papers and posters here to show you), the interest is worked up and the day of sale comes on, when, as I said, free railway and tram passes are issued to all and sundry, as well as a free lunch, and m many cases more money is spent m this way than the total value of tha piece of land is worth m the ordinary way of purchase, but working it up to fever heat m this way the swindle is done. If the prices are hanging fire, bogus bids are made, and many of the allotments are knocked down at big ■ prices to members of the syndicate who do not appear on the scene as owners at all, and sold and resold a dozen times over till some pigeon is got m at a satisfactory price, and he is kindly allowed to keep it, till m turn he may run a little swindle on his own account, by telling a friend (m strict confidence, you know) what a chance it is to buy an allotment m such a place and district, it is sure to double m value inside a month, and he ought to be "m it," and so the friend gets m at the expense of his friend, and so the thing goes on. But even this sort of thing must have an ending some day, and the end is not far off. So mad and furious was the speculation a few months ago that one lawyer told me that he had m his office instructions to prepare transfers of the same bit of real estate or land from A, B, C, D, E, F, and G before A was able to give the title to B. He told me that he had not time to be m the boom himself but would make more money than those m it, as he was paid cash for his work while most of the other was paper. Notwithstanding all this, Melbourne is a mighty city for its age. Sixty years ago it was only a hamlet with sixteen mud cabins, and when a few years later it was called by its present name m honor of Lord Melbourne, an English statesman, I do not fancy he : was much flattered, but it is to-day the ■ seventh city of the British Empire. 1 When the Queen began her reign it j was only a little village on the banks : of a dirty little stream, to-day it has a ! pupulation of not far from half .a • million, and has a dirty little stream 1 yet. Its system of tramways is not ; excelled, if approached, by any other > city m the world. Neither do "I suppose its House of Representatives can igj^. equalled m the world, for a more I foul-mouthed lot of men than are to be : found amongst them cannot be found ( m any similar community on earth. 1 It is no uncommon thing for one mem--1 ber to accuse another of committing all or nearly all the crimes m the Decalogue. It cannot certainly be called • i " the first assembly of gentlemen " of 1 the colony, When Melbourne gets over the yellow fever and settles down to honest work it will continue to wield a vast influence over the Australian Continent, but it is lamentable to see it as it is now, almost wholly given up to land speculation. A good advertising agent, who can get some sensational novelty, is well paid by the auctioneers. Would-be poets break out into doggerel rhyme m parodies of the writings of well known authors, such as "Come into the garden, Maud," "The charge of the Light Brigade," "The May Queen" and several others after Tennyson — " a long way," [extracts read.] Political economists say that wealth is procured solely by diligence, carefulness, and attention to business. Munro and Baillieu, Auctioneers, say : "That the purchase of one allotment m the BayvieAv estate, Coburg, on Saturday, 27th October will procure wealth without the cares and worry of business. A deposit of ,£lO will secure an allotment. The constant repetition of such like pernicious literature has induced thousands of people, young and old, to buy these allotments, and the army of Land and Estate Agents which has sprung up m and around Melbourne within the past twelve months is beyond belief. The Ministers of the Gospel are not free from the spirit of gambling m allotments, and some of them are m as deep as they can wade, I heard children not ten years old ask their fathers what land ' fetched ' m such and such a sale ' to-day V and if he bought any ; on the answer given m the affirmative, the child said : "oh ! I am glad, I hope it will go up before you sell again." Boys of under twenty club together and buy an allotment, hoping to make what they call " a rise." But I will say no more on this subject at present. If any of yon care to examine the sensational bills and posters at the close you can do so. And, now, Mr Chairman, I will ask you to allow me to go to a better subject than land speculation, and contrast this little country of ours with the other colonies of Australia. It is constantly dinned m to our ears ' by men of a Protectionist turn of mind, that Victoria is going ahead by " leaps and bounds," and leaving New South Wales and us far behind m the race. I will try and show you that this is not the case. The shipping of New South Wales last year, was 4,322,758 tons, and "Victoria's was only 3,858,243 tons, leaving the latter 464,515 tons behind New South Wales. The total exports of the five great colonies for last year were : — New South Wales .... £15,472,361 Victoria „«, ... 8,502,979 New Zealand ... M . 6,551,081 Queensland 6,338,205 South Australia ... 3,348,561 By which you see that New Zealand stands a good third, and it is a fact that the Victorian exports show larger than they otight to do, on account of much of the New South Wales wool coming over the border uite Victoria

and she gets the credit of this. The value per head of the population m exports is more startling still, it is : £. s. d. Queensland 16 14 10 New South Wales ... 16 10 6 South Australia 15 6 7 New Zealand 12 14 10 Victoria 12 13 9 Victoria stands at the foot of the class and poor little New Zealand is ahead of it m its exports per head, man, woman, and child, m the colony. New South Wales of all the colonies is our best customer, and one we should treat well, for she has practically thrown open her doors to us to send her what we can, and the list for last year is a respectable one, and for the ! coming one it will be very much i heavier, owing to the drought spoken \ about. Last year we sent N.S.W, Oats to the value of ... £143,604 Wheat and flour 12,093 Bran and Pollard 18,826 Other grain 14,529 Oatmeal 8,849 Malt and hops ... ..'. 10,423 Horses 13,627 Bacon, butter and cheese 50,434 Amounting to considerably more than a, quarter of a million of money, not to mention gold which was over another quarter million ; and not counting timber and many other things amounting to as much more. With all its protection the. Customs revenue of Victoria last year was only £180,443 more than that of New South Wales. The Customs revenue wa3 : — Victoria.. £2,192,390 New South Wales ... 2,011,947 New Zealand 1,251,651 And, now. Sir, I come to what svould be of more interest to a company >f fsrmers, as I want to contrast this jolony with the others as a graingrowing country. According to the Chairman of the Dhamber of Commerce m his speech .ast week the yield of the wheat-grow-ing colonies for the past fifteen years was follows .• — South Australia, B*o4 bushels per acre Victoria ... 11 64 „ New South "W ales 14*55 „ New Zealand ... 26-16 „ New South Wales comes next to us m her average yield, but the highest she ever had was 17*37 bushels per acre m the year 1871, a yield which would almost disgust a Seafield farmer. I may say that New South Wales prides herself on coming next to us m the matter of grain growing. Mr Kaye was wrong when he said we were the next highest to England, for we are a shade above England with all her high farming and expensive manuring, but we are below Denmark, which is the highest m the world m wheat growing. The average of America is only 11*7 bushels per acre, and the famous Manitoba is only 20*3 bushels. Taking an average of many years past New South Wales wants from some grain growing country a shade over two bushels of wheat for every man woman and child of her population, and is there any reason why we should not give it to her ? Last year she had a deficiency of 2,482,960 bushels which she had to get from outside sources, but when South Australia has plenty to, export New South Wales can draw cheaper from there. Denmark stands the highest average of all the wheat growing countries of the world, New Zealand comes next, then England, Norway, Belgium, Holland, Manitoba, down to 20 bushels, then follows all the rest of the world down to South Australia and Russia, which stands at the very bottom of the list. Again, if we take oats, we stand at the head of all the colonies, but are beaten by Holland, Belgium, Norway and England, m the order named, but we beat all the rest of the world, Denmark only coming near us. The average yield of oats m the four colonies for some years past has been, South Australia .„ ... 12*55 Victoria ... .„ „ 21*42 New South Wales ... 20*72 New Zealand 32*16 Now sir, may I speak of the great staple wool, which is king m these colonies, for of all the wool manufactured m the world to-day Australasia supplies 44*06 per cent, or very nearly half, and there is no reason why it should not yet be quite the half. The sheep m the various colonies last year were as follows ;— • New South Wales ... 46,965,152 New Zealand ... 15,254,198 Queensland „. ... 12,926,158 Victoria 10,623,985 South Australia 7,254,000 You see that New South Wales stands ahead a long way with as many sheep as all the other colonies put together, but then she has an immense area, and is adapted to grow wool, while some of the younger colonies are not half developed yet. The money value of laat year's wool clip w.as :— New South Wales ... £9,496,019 New Zealand „. ... 3,313,734 Queensland ... ... 2,297,625 Victoria ... w.. ... 2,772,860 South Australia *♦. ... 1,184,820 You again see that New Zealand stands second m wool and the value thereof, and when you take into account the enormous cost of making large tanks to hold rain water when it comes, and boring deep wells none under 70 feet, and many running into hundreds of feet, which they have to do m all parts of Australia, while we, Sir, have a clear running stream almost m every paddock, there is no reason why we should be limited m our wool growing by anything but area, as while all Australia talks of how many acres it takes to carry a sheep, we ask how many sheep will one acre carry, which makes a vast difference. I will not weary you by giving any figures relating to horses, cows, pigs, or rabbits, only to say m the latter we can show a good front as compared with any of the other colonies. . I am happy to say that we stand the lowest m the matter of drinking, as we average 2 18 galls, of proof spirits, taking all drink on this basis, as against 3-23 m N.S.W., 3*32 m South Australia, 3*39 m Queensland, and 3*Bo m Victoria, the highest of the lot. We stand next to New South Wales m what goes to make up a perfect colony — that is compared to our population, we have a larger number of able bodied men between the ages of I 20 and 50. We stand ahead of Victoria m the number of marriages per thousand of the population, and we stand ahead of , all thecolonieain regard to thebirth rate j per marriage, we are 5*40, while Vic- 1 tone, is only 4/48. tfjild.ren per marriage, *

We stand at the bottom of the list a long way m the death rate, and can give the whole world a challenge to show anything like it or half like it. Beginning with Austria which stands at the top of the death rate m European countries, with 30 8 per thousand, . and following on with Italy 29, Germany 27, Holland 24> France 23, Belgium 22, and Great Britain 21 deaths per thousand, showing an average of 25*63, while our death rate is only 11-22, South Australia 1444,' Victoria 15 -05, New South Wales 15-40, arid ovr death rate of children under 1 year is only as 98 m New Zealand to 123 m Victoria and 114 m New South Pales, while even the little Tasmania i 104, England and Wales 146, nd France 157 per thousand of all the hildren born m those countries. The net annual increase to the popuition by reason of the excess of births ver deaths, will, as you may suppose, tand the highest m New Zealand of all he colonies, and Victoria stands at the >ottom, The figures are :-— • tf ew Zealand ... ... 2 -85 per CBnt. South Australia ... 2*32 "„ STew South Wales ... 2-25 „ Queensland ... ... I#B91 # 89 „ Victoria ... ... 1-64 „ I will not trouble you with the death :ate of the principal cities of the world, out simply say that m the United Kingdom, Manchester stands the liighest with 29 9, Portsmouth the lowest with 29-2, while on Continental Europe, St Petersburg heads the list with 35*2 per thousand, ranging down to Christiania with 18-4, and our chief city is only 15*8. In the matter of suicides Victoria is 11*5 per 100,000 of mean population, which is the same as the other colonies within a fraction, while we stand only 8-8. In the matter of insanity, Victoria again heads the list with 3-29 per thousand of population; New South Wales, 2-76 ; Queensland, 274 j South Australia and New Zealand the same, only 2-29. There is a general impression that Victoria is the only manufacturing colony worthy the name, but it is quite a mistake, as New South Wales em ploys a few more hands (only a very few I must admit), and New Zealand em ploys about half as many as either oi 'them, small and unimportant as we are It is admitted on all hands that the manufacturing industries of Victoria are not m a flourishing position, anc notwithstanding the strong protectiv< duties on most things, yet as you se« by the papers, the manufacturers an crying out for more protection still and what is an absurd thing for then to do m the face of their position, thej have passed resolutions at a conferenci of manufacturers that it is desirable t( increase the duties on certain things but also that all bread-stuffs shoul< come m free. The latter resolution is right enoug] by itself, but when taken together witl others it is very absurd. It is saying t the farmer : "We will make you pay a much as ever we can for all you use h the way of machinery, but you mus not expetet that we can allow anythin "which tends to raise wages pass. The Victorian farmers however ar wakening npHo the fact that howeve good a thing protection may be for th Melbourne manufacturer, it ia doinj them no good whatever, for they groi all they require or mostly so, and a ta: of 68 or 6A a bushel on wheat would b alljihe Bame to them, as they impor none, and so with many other articles the protectionists try to gull the farme by telling him that he gets a better pria for his wheat, etc., while they leave ou of view the fact that an exporting country only can get as the price fo surplus bread Btuffs, the value m th London market, if no nearer one can b found, euch as will be the coming yea m New South Wales and Queensland It may be asked by some of you why '. have gone so much into figures about th colonies ; I will tell you why. Because m many quarters it has beei the custom of late years to cry dowi this colony and uphold Victoria as th only oue of all the lot doing any good We have been crying * stinking fish ' b< long that we have almost come to be lieve that we are not going to have anj more fresh ones. We have been telling the worlc through some of our newspapers whicl should have known better, that we ar< almost dead and that there is hardly « kick left m us. Sir, it is a lie. There never was a time m the historj of New Zealand when she was mor< olive than she is at the preseni moment. When she was borrowing and spending money by tens of thousands, it was then she waß m dangei of dying, but she is wide awake now, and the men at the helm will not go m for any more borrowing, for the present, They talk of the good old times m thie country when every person got money for doing almost nothing, they were the bad old times, and engendered a spirit of reckless expenditure, so long as the money was there to spend, bat now when a certain class of people have to work for what they get they are bad times, if they said for them, it would be all right. When at the other side I met dozens of people who would be only too glad to get back to New Zealand if they could, and were sorry they had ever left it. One man told me he left a situation where he had £2 2s a week, and came to Melbourne where he was then getting £3 3s, but he added than he would sooner take 5s a day m New Zealand then double as much m Melbourne, as the working man was being driven out of the city miles away to get a house at anything like a fair rent, and he had to travel morning and night by tram and rail to get to and from his work, and m many cases walked a mile or two at aach end into the bargain. House rents are more then three times what they are In New Zealand, and then there is not room to swing a cat m the yard of those houses where they are built m terraces as at home. I talked with all sorti and conditions of men, and I fearlessly say that m none of the colonies, not even New South Wales, is the working man so well off as he is m this country, and those who go away hoping to better themselves soon find it out. If one or two leave a town and find a billet soon we hear all about it, but we do not hear so soon of the failures. Mr John Grigg is no mean authority on farming as all of you will admit, and he is responsible for the statement that the net px*ofit on growing wheat m this colony is more than the total value of the crop of the other colonies, and when you can see that we grow to the acre three times as much as South Australia, two and a-half times as much as Victoria, and nearly double as much as that of New South Wales, >you will admit that, startling as the ' statement tei%U borne outi by foots^

I need not go into the frozen mutton trade, or what the butter trade is likely to ba When the frozen mutton trade was started first there were not wanting those who cried it down as foolish and silly m the extreme— it would do no good, we would only drain the country of sheep, etc., — what do those croakers think of the trade now ? When the temporary stoppage of the Belfast freezing works takes one shilling per head off the value of every sheep m Canterbury as I heard a farmer say who can exactly calculate the value of this trade and what it may grow to yet. I would like, Sir, to change th« reading a little of Gerald Massey's poem on England and apply it to our own little country, and I think it fits it as well as it does England. Here we Bit m onr island home. Peerless amongst oar peers ; And liberty oft to oar arms doth come, To ease ita poor heart of tears. This country still throbs with a muffled fin, Of a past she oan never forget ; And again shall she lift the world np higher, For there's life m oar fair land jet The young parsing mother is vigorous yet, There is sap m the Saxon tree ; Lo 1 She lifteth a bosom of glory yet, Through the mists to the Ban and eta. Fair as a queen of love, fresh from the foftm, Like a Btar m a dark cloud set ; Ye may blazon her shame, ye may laogb [at her name, Bat there's life m onr fair land yet. You will often find, Mr Chairman, that the people who complain the most are those who take the smallest amount of interest m the welfare of the country, they complain of being badly governed, but seldom trouble themselves about the person who represents them m Parliament. I asked a man once to come and vote one way or the other, but he told me m a tone of voice which I could not imitate if I would that "he left that sort of thing to the Lord." lam not given to profane swearing, Sir, but if I had had a Church Prayer Book handy I think I could have read tha Athanasian Creed, with some gusto, as it is, as I once heard an Irishman say, "as purty a bit of cursin* as you could find m a month of Sundays." In this country, where we have practically manhood suffrage, every man should be obliged to vote one way or the other under penalty of some sort. It is too cheap, and what we get for nothing we too often value accordingly. If we were obliged to register ourselves every year and pay, say a shilling or so, for the privilege of voting, I think more people would vote at tha general elections, and greater interest would be taken m our members. I would vote against my mother's son if there was & better man to be had, and until we give up voting for people simply because they are good fellows we need not expect to get the best men to represent us. It may be asked Mr Chairman, if a run of less than three months through such an extent of country entitles a person to give an opinion* on those countries ? If he goes about with his eyes shut, certainly not, but I took occasion to gather information m every possible way I could while travelling. I made it my business to get up early and travel m the trams with the workmen going to their work m the various cities, and I hold sir, that yon oan get better information about a country from men at work than from those called the unemployed. I talked with the miners on strike m Newcastle, and I talked with their employers. I talked with farmers and sqnatters, and compared notes with all sorts and conditions of men. I did not leave home merely to enjoy myself, but to gain information about the various colonies I had heard so much of, and comparing the advantages which we have undoubtedly ore* any of the others, I believe I am justified m coming to the conclusion with which I started. I will admit without any argument whatever that this is not the country to make rapid and large fortunes, and what is more, I hope it never will be, for the men who make money rapidly as they do m America and other places hare to draw it as rapidly from some one else, or from a great number of others, and so make them poorer: I do maintain, however, that for those who are content to go along smoothly and live m moderate com* fort, without the dash and flash which is becoming much too fast and furious m some places, there is not a country on earth equal to our own, and for tha working man and the middle class of which there are puch large numbers m this country, I would like to know where they are better off? I have not seen it and I have been m a good many conn* tries of Europe, and have travelled m more than thirty States and territories of Amerioa, from New York to California and from Northern Oregon to Virginia through the famous plains of Arizona and Texas, New Mexico and Colorado, from the New England states to Maryland, and I repeat that the working man is better off m this country than m any of them all. To quote Shakeßpere, Mr Chairman, " I have a plain unvarnished tale unfolded, nor aaght set down m malice," The Ashburton « Gunrdian " at the close of an article on New Zealand tha other evening, quoted a few words from the Bible, m describing this country and I do not know that I can clone this lecture better than to give it to yon m full. Moses m his exhortation to the chil. dren of Israel, just before they entered the promised land, said to them:— " For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks and water, of fountains and depths, spring* ing forth m valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates ; a land of oil, olives and honey ; a land wherein them shalt eat bread without scarce* ness, thou shalt not lack anything m it ; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills thou mayest dig braes. And thou shalt eat and bo full, and thou shalt bless the Lord thy God for the good land which He hath given thee." All this and much more have we, Mr Chairman, for we are heirs of all the ages since then until now, and it is for us and our children to make or mar this land of plenty. Is it to fulfil its high destiny and become the land known as " The Brighter Britain of tha South ?" It lies with ourselves whether or not it is to become " First flower of the earth, first gem of the sea." At the close, a vote of thanks to Mr *> Brown for his interesting lecture, was carried by acclamation, and a similar compliment to the chair closed tha proceedings.

This article text was automatically generated and may include errors. View the full page to see article in its original form.
Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18881211.2.30.2

Bibliographic details

LECTURE ON AUSTRALIA., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2010, 11 December 1888, Supplement

Word Count
9,823

LECTURE ON AUSTRALIA. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2010, 11 December 1888, Supplement

  1. New formats

    Papers Past now contains more than just newspapers. Use these links to navigate to other kinds of materials.

  2. Hierarchy

    These links will always show you how deep you are in the collection. Click them to get a broader view of the items you're currently viewing.

  3. Search

    Enter names, places, or other keywords that you're curious about here. We'll look for them in the fulltext of millions of articles.

  4. Search

    Browsed to an interesting page? Click here to search within the item you're currently viewing, or start a new search.

  5. Search facets

    Use these buttons to limit your searches to particular dates, titles, and more.

  6. View selection

    Switch between images of the original document and text transcriptions and outlines you can cut and paste.

  7. Tools

    Print, save, zoom in and more.

  8. Explore

    If you'd rather just browse through documents, click here to find titles and issues from particular dates and geographic regions.

  9. Need more help?

    The "Help" link will show you different tips for each page on the site, so click here often as you explore the site.

Working