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TRANSPORTATION

hitherto been regarded as drags and dead weights upon its body politic, of which it has sometimes even been represented as inexpedient to retain possession, useful and unexpensive outlets for its superabundant population, and sources of employment and wealth to all classes of its inhabitants, to an extent never dreamt of even by the most sanguine speculators.

At the time when the granting system was superseded by that of selling Crown land by public auction in the Australian colonies, the colony of New South Wales was slowly recovering from the effects of a severe and protracted drought, as well as from an unprecedented depreciation of property of all kinds, induced by extensive and ruinous speculations in sheep and cattle during the years 1826 and 1827. From these unforeseen and calamitous circumstances many of the colonists were deeply involved in debt, and many estates of great extent and value were, from time to time, disposed of at Sheriffs' sales for much less than the minimum price of Crown land established by government. In such circumstances, it was not to be expected that a large extent of such land could be disposed of for some time, even at the minimum price; and accordingly the purchases were at first very limited. In proportion, however, as the colonists began to recover their ground, and especially