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AUSTIN—AUSTRALIA

and beauty are found in the Red Cedar river. The city owns and operates its own water-supply system and electric-lighting plant. Austin was settled in 1855, was incorporated as a village in 1868, and was chartered as a city in 1873.

AUSTIN, the capital of Texas, U.S.A., and the county-seat of Travis county, on the N. bank of the Colorado river, near the centre of the state and about 145 m. W.N.W. of Houston. Pop. (1890) 14,575; (1900) 22,258, of whom 5822 were negroes; (1910 census) 29,860. Austin is served by the Houston & Texas Central, the International & Great Northern, and the Missouri, Kansas & Texas railways. The city is built on high bluffs 40-120 ft. above the river, which is spanned here by a bridge, built in 1874. The Texas State Capitol, a handsome building of red Texas granite, with a dome 318 ft. high, cost more than $3,500,000, and stands in a square in the centre of the city. It was built (1881–1888) by Chicago capitalists in exchange for a land grant of 3,000,000 acres. It is in the form of a Greek cross, with an extreme length of 556.5 ft. and an extreme width of 288.8 ft. Next to the National Capitol at Washington, it is the largest capitol building in the United States, and it is said to be one of the ten largest buildings in the world. Austin is the seat of the University of Texas (opened in 1883; co-educational); the medical department of the state university is at Galveston, and the departments in Austin are the college of arts, department of education, department of engineering, department of law, school of pharmacy, and school of nursing. The government of the university is vested in a board of eight regents nominated by the governor and appointed with the advice and consent of the state senate. At Austin are also state institutions and asylums for the insane, the blind, the coloured deaf and blind; the state school for the deaf and dumb; the state Confederate home; the Confederate woman’s home (1907; for wives and widows of Confederate soldiers and sailors), maintained by the Daughters of the Confederacy; St Mary’s Academy (Roman Catholic, under the supervision of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, founded 1875, chartered 1886); St Edward’s College (Roman Catholic, chartered 1885); the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary (Presbyterian Church, South), opened in 1902 by the Synod of Texas, and after 1905 partly controlled by the Synod of Arkansas; Tillotson College (a negro school under Congregational control, founded by the American Missionary Association, chartered in 1877, and opened in 1881), and Samuel Huston College (for negroes; Methodist Episcopal; opened in 1900 and named in honour of an Iowan benefactor). The principal newspapers of Austin are the Statesman (Democratic, established in 1871), a morning paper, and the Tribune (Democratic, established in 1891), an evening paper. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Society is published here. Austin is the principal trade and jobbing centre for central and western Texas, is an important market for livestock, cotton, grain and wool, and has extensive manufactories of flour, cotton-seed oil, leather goods, lumber and wooden ware; the value of the factory product in 1905 was $1,569,353, being 105.2% more than in 1900. The city owns and operates its water-supply system. In 1890–1893 one of the largest dams in the world, an immense structure of granite masonry, 1200 ft. long. 60-70 ft. high, and 18 to 66 ft. thick, was constructed across the Colorado river 2 m. above the city for the purpose of supplying water and power, creating a reservoir (Lake M‘Donald) about 30 m. long. Freshets in the spring of 1900, however, undermined the wall, and on the 7th of April the dam broke with a resulting loss of several lives and about $1,000,000 worth of property. The rebuilding of the dam was projected in 1907. Austin was first settled in 1838 and was named Waterloo, but in 1839, when it was chosen as the site of the capital of the Republic of Texas, it was renamed in honour of Stephen F. Austin, one of its founders. Under the influence of General Sam Houston the capital was for a time in 1842–1845 removed from Austin to Houston, but in 1845 an ordinance was passed making Austin the capital, and it remained the state capital after Texas entered the Union, although Huntsville and Tehuacana Springs in 1850 and Houston in 1872 attempted in popular elections to be chosen in its place. The first Anglo-American settlement in Texas, established on the Brazos river in 1823 by members of the Austin colony, was San Felipe de Austin now San Felipe. In 1909 Austin adopted a commission form of government.

AUSTRALASIA, a term used by English geographers in a sense nearly synonymous with the Oceania of continental writers. It thus comprises all the insular groups which extend almost continuously from the south-eastern extremity of Asia to more than half-way across the Pacific. Its chief divisions are Malaysia with the Philippines; Australia with Tasmania and New Zealand; Melanesia, that is, New Guinea, New Britain, New Ireland, Admiralty, the Solomons, New Hebrides, Santa Cruz, Fiji, Loyalties and New Caledonia; Micronesia, that is, the Ladrones, Pelew and Carolines, with the Marshall and Gilbert groups; lastly, Polynesia, that is, Samoa, Tonga, Cook, Tahiti, the Marquesas, Ellice, Hawaii and all intervening clusters. The term is so far justified in that it harmonizes better than Oceania did with the names of the other continents, and also embodies the two essential facts that it is a south-eastern extension of Asia, and that its central and most important division is the great island-continent of Australia. In a more restricted sense the term Australasia corresponds to the large division including Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand.

See Australasia, 2 vols. Stanford Compendium Series, new issue (London, 1907–1908).

AUSTRALIA, the only continent entirely in the southern hemisphere. It lies between 10° 39′ and 39° 111/2′ S., and between 113° 5′ and 153° 16′ E. Its greatest length is 2400 m. from east to west, and the greatest breadth 1971 m. from north to south. The area is, approximately, 2,946,691 sq. m., with a coast line measuring about 8850 m. This is equal to 1 m. to each 333 sq. m. of land, the smallest proportion of coast shown by any of the continents.


Physical Geography

Physiography.—The salient features of the Australian continent are its compact outline, the absence of navigable rivers communicating with the interior, the absence of active volcanoes or snow-capped mountains, its isolation from other lands, and its antiquity. Some of General
character.
the most profound changes that have taken place on this globe occurred in Mesozoic times, and a great portion of Australia was already dry land when vast tracts of Europe and Asia were submerged; in this sense, therefore, Australia has been rightly referred to as one of the oldest existing land surfaces. It has been described as at once the largest island and the smallest continent on the globe. The general contours exemplify the law of geographers in regard to continents, viz. as to their having a high border around a depressed interior, and the highest mountains on the side of the greatest ocean. On the N. Australia is bounded by the Timor Sea, the Arafura Sea and Torres Strait; on the E. by the Pacific Ocean; on the S. by Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean; and on the W. by the Indian Ocean. It stands up from the ocean depths in three fairly well-marked terraces. The basal plain of these terraces is the bed of the ocean, which on the Pacific side has an average depth of 15,000 ft. From this profound foundation rise Australia, New Guinea and Melanesia, in varying slopes. The first ledge rising from the ocean floor has a depth averaging 8000 ft. below sea-level. The outer edge of this ledge is roughly parallel to the coast of Western Australia, and more than 150 m. from the land. Round the Australian Bight it continues parallel to the coast, until south of Spencer Gulf (the basal ledge still averaging 8000 ft. in depth) it sweeps southwards to lat. 55°, and forms a submarine promontory 1000 m. long. The edge of the abysmal area comes close to the eastern coasts of Tasmania and New South Wales, approaching to within 60 m. of Cape Howe. The terrace closest to the land, known as the continental shelf, has an average depth of 600 ft., and connects Australia, New Guinea, and Tasmania in one unbroken sweep. Compared with other continents, the Australian continental shelf is extremely narrow, and there are points on the eastern coast where