Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/605

This page needs to be proofread.


The cost of the admiuistration, estimated at 15,000Z. a year, is guaranteed, primarily by the Government of Queensland, for ten years, but this sum is contributed in equal proportions by the Governments of New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland, and these Colonies have a voice in the general administration of the affairs of the country.

Lieut. -Governor. — George Ruthven Le Hunte, C.M.G.

Many large districts have been reduced to order and the tribes have in large areas settled down to peaceful habits. Four missionary bodies are at work — the Loudon Missionary Society on the South Coast, the Sacred Heart Society in the Mekeo district, the Wesleyans in the Islands, the Anglican Mission on the North-East Coast — and many thousands of natives are being taught. At the same time trading relations with Europeans are being established, and the groves of cocoa-nut trees are being extended. Land is offered to settlers at 2s. Qd. an aci'e. Considerable areas, comprising varieties of soil and climate are available for systematic planting by Europeans. Local labour is obtainable. The climate is very fairly good for its latitude. There is little disease save fever, and it is rarely of a malignant type. The country seems to offer very favourable conditions for the planting of tobacco, rice sugar, tea, coffee, and other tropical products, more especially rubber produc- ing trees.

With a view to the development of the Territory by the exploration and opening up of Crown lands, the cultivation of the rubber plant and other tropical produce, the discovery of mineral deposits, and the working of mines, an Ordinance was enacted by the Administrator and Legislative Council, March, 1898, to enable a company called the British New Guinea Syndicate to acquire and occupy Crown lands not exceeding 250,000 acres in area. The land is to be granted as it becomes available, the purchase money to be at the rate of 2s. per acre, one-fourth to be paid on application for available lands, and the remainder in eight annual instalments ; and the company must within eight years from the date of each grant expend 2s. per acre on improvements. The company is to have the sole proi)erty in the products of the lands granted, and the exclusive right to the mineral deposits therein, but must pay to the Crown a royalty of 2-^- per cent, on the net value of all gold and metals of the platinum group taken from the lands.

The Territory is divided into 4 magisterial districts. There is a Central Court at Port Moresby, but it holds sittings wherever necessary. For native government some simple laws have been passed in the form of regulations, and a commencement has been made in the training of native magistrates. There are noAv many village policemen, and a trained force of constabulary of about 124 men, almost exclusively natives, now exists. Revenue from the colony in 1897, 10,600/. ; in 1898, 10,300Z., mostly from customs dues. The possession is believed to contain valuable timbers, the coco and sago palm are plentiful, sandal-wood, ebony, gums, rattans, and other products are found. Gold is found in the Louisiade Islands, on the mainland, and on Woodlark Island. There are about three hundred miners engaged in it, and many natives. The trade of the possession is confined to Queensland and New South Wales. Imports for 1897-8, 46,971Z. ; exports, 49,859/. including gold and pearls. The chief imports are food stuffs, tobacco, drapery and hardware ; exports, trepang, copra, pearl shell, gold, pearls, sandal -wood.

In 1897-98, 397 vessels of 20,702 tons entered, and 302 of 20,360 tons cleared. There is good water communication to some parts of the interior.