A SHORT ACCOUNT OF AUSTRALIA
ON THE EVE OF FEDERATION
WILLIAM JOHNSON GALLOWAY, M.P.
METHUEN & CO.
36 SUSSEX STREET, W.C.
BEFORE giving to the publishers these notes of my journeyings during the early part of this year in Australia and New Zealand, the greater part of which appeared, during the months of March and April, in the hospitable columns of the Manchester Courier I have taken some trouble in revising and correcting them, to the best of my ability, from the latest available official returns. I am therefore indebted for many of my facts, and for most of my figures, to a class of documents available to all, but probably, in this country, perused by few—the publications of the several Colonial Governments. But, in putting together, as it were, the leaves of my notebook, I have not intended to write either a work of reference or a volume of travels; and my book makes as little claim to literary merit as to statistical completeness. To deal with the agriculture, as yet only in its early stages, of Bunbury and the Mallee, of Gippsland and the Darling Downs, of Colac and Tasmania, would require all the knowledge of another Arthur Young; while who should treat fully, as well as intelligibly to the general, of the mining industries of Ballarat and New Zealand, Mount Morgan, "the Towers," Broken Hill, Mount Lyall, Kalgoorlie, and Chillagoe, must have the silver tongue of a mining expert, as well as the treasures of his wisdom. The provincial peculiarities of "Tassies" and cornstalks, gum-suckers, crow-eaters, sand-gropers, and "wait-a-whiles," might furnish many jests to your globe-trotting philosopher, or to a witty reporter. But as I am neither a journalist nor a philosopher, I have attempted no more than to convey to the reader how Australia, on the eve of Federation, impressed a chance traveller; as an exporter, especially, of raw produce, as a possible home and outlet for our surplus population, as a field for the observation of political experiments, and as a member, generally, of the Imperial body-politic. Much may be learnt from Colonial legislation: if we only learn, sometimes, what to avoid. Local option, old-age pensions, payment of members, the referendum, all the panaceas of the demagogue, are in full operation in one or another of these practically republican (but very English) States. One and a half millions they spend by the year on education, as against our ten millions in England. Yet the output of their State schools, as we shall see, is not a whit more satisfactory than that of our Board schools, perhaps in some ways even less. Pensions ranging as high as 26s. 3d. weekly are proposed in at least one colony for persons over 55, to be provided by a tax on bread. (See Appendix E: Old-age Pensions, N.S.W.) On the whole, Australia offers, perhaps intentionally, but small encouragement to our emigrants now. Of the fourteen thousand visitors who arrive annually from Europe, barely the lesser half remain as settlers. Yet Queensland and New Zealand have reverted of late to assisted immigration; and there are openings everywhere and at all times for the suitable newcomer—lawyer, farmer, doctor, artizan, or domestic servant. But it must be remembered that all trades profess themselves over-manned; that the producer has the only real certainty; that production in a new country is a very rough business; and that unskilled energy can only command a success which is likely to be moderate, at the price of unmitigated hardship. The best craftsman, in agriculture as in other trades, has particular advantages in a community where the level of technical knowledge is low. But the best craftsman, in any trade, will probably not wish (unless it be for reasons unconnected with business) to leave England. Few of our middle-class families are guilty, nowadays, of the cruel folly of sending their youngsters off to Australia as "jackeroos" or "remittance-men," to find their level in an environment which gives them no fair chance. We prefer to send them to South Africa instead. But there are still always men and women in every social rank to whom Australasia appeals as offering an opening, which they fail to see at home, for the free exercise of their faculties. And if, in my attempt, however obscurely, to estimate these colonies from this point of view, I have sometimes been guilty of more frankness, perhaps, than would be altogether discreet if it were my fortune to be domiciled there myself, it will surely be allowed in my excuse that to do otherwise were to darken counsel.
For the rest, I enjoyed great hospitality throughout the colonies: and I shall always feel towards them, as a result of my tour, the increased amity which, amongst men of the same blood, is the natural result of a better understanding. To Mr Kingston, the Premier of South Australia, Sir George Turner, the Premier of Victoria, Mr Reid, the late Premier of New South Wales, and Mr Seddon, the Premier of New Zealand, as well as to a host of other leaders of political and social thought, I have to express my most heartfelt thanks for the untiring courtesy with which they assisted my natural desire for information.
The Friendly Societies spared themselves no expense nor trouble to make my visit both pleasant and instructive.
Nor can I forget the kindness with which the several Governors received me; a reception partly due in some cases to a previous personal friendship, but in all mainly, as I could perceive, to my humble connection with the Imperial Parliament.
Finally, I have laid particular, but not, I think, unnecessary emphasis, in the last chapter of the book, on a point which I regard as of vital importance to the future of the Empire; the necessity, I mean, under the coming Federal Constitution of Australia, of maintaining unimpaired the judicial prerogative of Her Majesty the Queen, and the right of every subject, whether at home or in the colonies, to appeal, in the last resort, to the Privy Council of the realm. This is a question less striking, indeed, but perhaps, ultimately, of not less constitutional importance, than that which is now finding its solution in South Africa.
|||The Long Trail—The Australian Atmosphere—Albany—Perth—Hunt's Dams—The rush to Bayley's Find—The noble army of prospectors—The City shark—Output and dividends—Timber—History—Politics—Federation improbable.|
|The Bight—The City of Churches—Democratic experiments—Orange v. Green—The Cabinet—Wakefield—Wheat—Wine—Copper—Prospects.|
|Free passes—The Murray snag—Ballarat—Breeding gondolas—Dimdamnboolah—Melbourne—Cable trams—The Yan Yean—Lord Brassey—Politics—Protection—Factories Act—The first flock—Bendigo—Mining—Agriculture—Education.|
|The Garden Island—Potatoes, contentment, and jam—Unmarried females—Sleepy Hollow—Land-settlement—Land-values—Economic Federation.|
|New South Wales||70|
|The Harbour—The Queen City of the Pacific—Steam trams—Colonial shirt-sleeves—Art—Journalism—Architecture—The pastoral industry—The troubles of Job—Land-settlement—Mining—Australian gems—Light railways—Politics—Future.|
|Owls to Athens—The Darling Downs—An Australian Manitoba—A hill of gold—A home industry—Chilled meat—Artesian bores—Sugar-bounties—Liberian coffee—Population—Land-settlement—Agrarian outrages—Free emigration—The reverse of the medal—Finance. |
|The economical Anglo-Saxon—Wellington—Auckland—Past and Present—The Vogelian policy—The Fjords—Sulphur baths—The Governor and the Cabinet—The Land-system—Frozen meat—Mining—Revenue—The Labour Laws—Divorce—Local Option as a fact—The Native-born—Assisted Emigration—The Maories, the Normans of the Pacific—Gold-dredging on the jugular.|
|Old Age Pensions in Practice||134|
|The Act of 1891—An income of £18—Infamia—10,000 Pensioners—No alien need apply.|
|The New Commonwealth||146|
|Inducements to federate—Service's Council—Parke's Convention—The awakening of the Native-Born—Reid's Conference—The Convention of 1897-8—The reference to the people—The check—Amendments—Success at last—Western Australia stands out—Imperial Federation—Colonial contingents—The Privy Council.|
|A Point in the Commonwealth Bill||175|
|The silken bonds—Hegemony and the Royal prerogative—Canadian loyalty—Australian difficulties—The Colonial Kingdoms—Democracy and the old Kings—The subordination of the Bench—A saving clause required.|
|Appendix (Appendices A to J)||181|