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THE SIX COLONIES.

A GENERAL VIEW.

NEW SOUTH WALES.

In a now almost forgotten document Sir George Young made a proposal in 1785 for a settlement on the coast of New South Wales. Amongst the advantages which he foreshadowed were "a very extensive commerce, and of consequence a great increase of our ship- ping and number of seamen; "the pro-     duction of "all kinds of spice; " and the   probable discovery of precious metals. A curious sign of the times is the further inducement he held forth - "Suppose we were again involved in a war with Spain, here are ports of shelter and re- freshment for our ships, should it be necessary to send any into the South Sea." For the popula-   tion he looked to people from the Friendly Islands and China, and to the loyal colonists from America. Public men were at the time much concerned about colonisation as calculated to de- populate the mother country, and to reassure them Sir George Young proposed to limit his emigrants from England to "a few that are pos- sessed of the useful arts and those comprised among the crews of the ships sent on that service."   But there was one class of her population that England was very anxious to export, and for this class Sir George makes full provision. "The   very heavy expense," he says, "Government is   annually put to for transporting and otherwise pun- ishing the felons, together with the facility of their   return, are evils long and much lamented, here is   an asylum open that will considerably reduce the first and wholly prevent the latter." He en- gaged to undertake charge of the expedition which should consist of a ship of war, a store ship, and schooner for exploring purpose, manned by 320 sailors and marines and their proper officers, and carrying 50 felons--and to conduct it successfully at an outside cost of £3000. The pro- posal had its merits, but it was killed by the opposition of the East India Company.  

In 1787 the settlement of New South Wales was however decided upon, and on May 13 Cap- tain Arthur Phillip sailed from England in com- mand of the First Fleet. This consisted of six transports, having on board 600 male and 200 female prisoners, and three store ships under the escort of H.M.S. Sirius, and the armed tender     Supply. After a voyage of over eight months, during which 32 of the prisoners died, the Fleet arrived in Botany Bay in January, 1788. The surroundings presented few advantages for tho establishment of the 1030 colonists, free, prisoners and military, whom Phillip had in charge ; but Sydney Harbour was discovered, and here in Syd- ney Cove on January 26, 1788, was formally laid

the foundation of what is now the Common- wealth of Australia. A few days later, on February 7, after his commission as Governor was read, Phillip addressed some words to the first settlers which read to-day as a sort of pro- phecy, but which must have sounded optimistic in the extreme in the ears of this small band, just landed on the fringe of a great unknown land-if they were indeed Phillip's words. " What Frobishon, Raleigh, Delaware, and Gates did for America, that," said the Governor, " we are this day met to do for Australia, but under happier auspices. Our enterprise was wisely con- ceived, deliberately devised, and efficiently orga- nised, the Sovereign, the Parliament, and the   people united to give it their authority, sanction, and encouragement. We are here to take pos- session of this fifth division of the globe on be- half of the British people, and to found a State which, we hope, will not only occupy and rule     this great country, but will als0 be the beneficent patroness of the entire southern hemisphere. How grand is the prospect which lies before this youthful nation !"

Before very long, however, as the early records   prove, the colonists had more reason to admire the grandeur of the prospect than the organisation of the settlement. Agriculture was attended with but little success, the soil chosen being unfavour-  

able for the purpose, and it was not until 1789 that the first harvest gathered in New South Wales was reaped near Wentworthville, in the district then called Rose Hill, and now known as Parramatta. This harvest consisted of 200 bushels of wheat, 35 bushels of barley, and a small quan- tity of oats and Indian corn. Meanwhile the settlers were dependent to a large extent on the stores which reached them fitfully from England in those days of long passages. This was a diffi- culty which would have been seriously felt even if the population had been exclusively composed of law-abiding persons who had come to the colony at their own will and to work out their own sal- vation ; it was aggravated by the fact that the colony was virtually a prison governed by force. The number of convicts was being constantly in- creased, five shiploads arriving in one month of 1790 alone. The sickness was very great. In this same month, June, the number of persons under medical treatment was 349, and in the fol- lowing July it had reached 488. Efforts were put forth to attract free immigrants, but the ad- vantages were not appreciated as fully as was ex- pected. During Phillip's term of office only 2660 acres were granted to free settlers, whilst emanci- pated prisoners were put in possession of 1520 acres. In June and August of 1791 two more convict ships arrived, of one of which it was re- corded that she had made " the extraordinary passage of four months and five days. " When Phillip retired in December, 1792, the population of the colony (including Norfolk Island) did not

exceed 3500. Nor is this to be wondered at when

it is remembered that the mortality for that year alone was 482, including 426 convicts.

For some years after the retirement of Captain Phillip the settlement was governed in turn by Captain Grose and Captain Paterson, of the New South Wales Corps, as Lieutenant- Governor. The term was chiefly memor- able for the arrival in January, 1793, of the first batch of free settlers, who were granted land in the district therefore called Liberty Plains. In the same year Captain Paterson and Quartermarster Hocking, of the Sirius, made an attempt to cross the Blue Mountains ; but their attempt was no more successful than that of Lieutenant Dawes in 1789, or than that of Bass subsequently.

Captain John Hunter, R.N. (1795-1800), the   second Governor, contributed largely to the growth of the settlement. During his term of office the first school and the first place of worship were erected. Much time was devoted to explo- ration, with good results. Coal was discovered near Newcastle and Bulli, sheep were introduced from the Cape, the area devoted to agriculture was largely increased, and convicts instead of being kept together in the towns, were assigned as       labourers to the free settlers who now immi-

grated in larger numbers. Captain Hunter retired in September, 1800, and was succeeded by Captain Philip Gidley King.

The third Governor had come out with Phillip, and had been entrusted by him with the estab- lishment of the settlement at Norfolk Island. He might be assumed therefor, to be well acquainted   with the wants of the colony, but his efforts were hampered by the influence of the New South Wales Corps, who had the monopoly of every article of merchandise. Payments were made in rum, with a result which was soon felt all over the colony. Men sold their freeholds for bottles of rum ; and many took to the bush and created a reign of terror in the less populated portions of the country. Encouragement, however, was given to the sheepbreeding industry by a grant of 5000 acres to Mr. John Macarthur. Settlements

were made at Newcastle, Hobart Town, and Fort Dalrymple.

Captain William Bligh, R.N., who had already     achieved notoriety by the affair of the Bounty, was to add to his record whilst Governor of New   South Wales (1806-1800). He fell foul of the New South Wales Corps and was imprisoned, the Government being undertaken by Major G. Johnston, Lieutenant-Colonel Foveaux, and   Colonel Paterson. Captain Bligh was given com- mand of H.M.S. Porpoise, and he did not return     to the colony until Lieutenant-Colonel Macquarie was in power. Major Johnston, recalled to England, was tried by court-martial, and cashiered for his action, and Bligh was promoted Rear-Admiral. With him ended the regime of naval governors.

Lieutenant-Colonel Lachlan Macquarie (1810- 1821), the fifth Governor, came just when a man of energy and enterprise was badly wanted. The position of affairs was sufficiently serious. " I find the colony," he says, " barely emerging from infantile imbecility, suffering from various priva- tions and disabilities ; the country im- penetrable beyond 40 miles from Sydney ; agriculture in a yet languishing state, commerce in its early dawn, revenue un- known, threatened with famine, distracted by faction, the public buildings dilapi- dated, the few roads and bridges almost im- passable, the population in general depressed by poverty ; no credit, public or private ; the morals of the great mass of the people in the lowest state of debasement, and religious worship almost wholly neglected. " Perhaps this was a somewhat exaggerated description ; but, anyway, Macquarie set to work to put things right so far as he could. He constructed 276 miles of roads, one of which was across the Blue Mountains, which were suc- cessfully crossed in 1813 by Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson, and William Charles Went- worth. He established townships at Bathurst, Windsor, Wilberforce, Castlereagh, and Liver- pool. He constructed a great number of public buildings, and settled emancipists on small farms. Generally he opened up the country, and did a useful work at a critical stage in the history of

New South Wales.

Major-General Sir Thomas Brisbane (1821- 1825) did not take the active personal interest in the government that Macquarie had taken. During his regime free immigrants were encouraged by grants of land and convict labour. The power of the New South Wales Corps as an institution was destroyed by its supersession by the 3rd Regiment. Trial by jury in civil cases was established ; freedom of the press was conceded ; a nominee Legislative Council was formed ; the Monaro plains were discovered ; and Hovell and Hume travelled from Lake George to Bass Straits. Allan Cunningham found his way from the upper part of the Hunter district to the Liverpool Plains, and the Brisbane River was traced to its   source. It was during Brisbane's reign that the first separation took place, Van Diemen's Land - Tasmania-being granted an independent Govern-

ment.

On the recall of General Brisbane there was a short interregnum, after which Lieutenant-Gene-   ral Sir Ralph Darling became Governor (1825- 1831). He carried on Macquare's road-building enterprise, and he committed the business of granting land to a special board. The grow- ing prosperity of the colony was checked by a three years' drought following a general over-purchase of stock. Darling made himself personally unpopular by his attacks on the liberty of the press, but he was a good adminis- trator. The Australian College and the Sydney College were founded during his rule the post- office was regulated, and a water supply was established. The first steamer was built in the colony, and the export of horses to India was

begun. In 1826 the first attempt was made at colonising New Zealand, and in 1827 troops were sent to Western Australia. The census of 1828 showed that the population was 36,598.

Sir Richard Bourke (1831-1837), the eighth Governor, distinguished himself by his measures for the promotion of education, by his introduc- tion of the system of selling Crown lands by auction, and by placing the names of emancipists on the jury lists. Port Phillip, afterwards Vic- toria, was discovered, and in 1836 a regular Government was established there. The New Zealand colony was entrusted to the administration of a Resident. During Bourke's time the imports averaged £1,114,805 and the exports £682,193 per annum, while the estimated population was 76,793, including 27,831 convicts.

Sir George Gipps (1838-1846), the ninth Governor, arrived in the colony with instructions to carry out the Wakefield system with regard to public lands. This involved the raising of the price of land from 5s to 12s an acre, and the innovation was therefore not popular. A financial crisis in 1843 increased the public depression. On January 1   of this year the Constitution Act came into force, under which the Legislative Council was composed of one-third nominee and two-third   elected members ; and it was during this period that New Zealand separated from the mother colony. Explorations were made in the region of the Gulf of Carpentaria, and the Clarence River and Gippsland were discovered. The boiling- down of sheep for tallow was introduced by Henry O'Brien, of Yass.

Sir Charles Augustas Fitzroy, the first of our

civilian Governors (1846-1855), had hardly arrived in the colony when the anti-transportation agita- tion was fanned to a flame by the arrival of a letter from Mr. Gladstone, then Colonial Secre-   tary, intimating that more convicts would shortly be sent. The mother colony, supported by South Australia, Victoria, and Tasmania, entered a strong protest, and when the ship Hashemy

arrived in 1849 with 212 convicts on board the landing was successfully re- sisted. Thus ended the history of New South Wales as a penal colony. Gold was discovered in 1851, and in the same year Victoria became a separate colony. Two years later the Constitution was liberalised. The first Australian railway-Sydney to Parramatta-was begun ; the Sydney branch of the Royal Mint was estab- lished ; the first stone of the Fitzroy Dry Dock (Cockatoo Island) was laid ; and the Sydney University was inaugurated.

Sir William Denison, Governor-General under the new Constitution (1855-1861), was there- fore the first to call upon a member of a responsible Parliament to form a Ministry. Tele- graphic communication was established between Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide. In 1859 the Moreton Bay settlement became a separate colony under the name of Queensland. With the advent of responsible Government the personal interest attaching to the doings of individual Governors

became at once small.

The eleventh Governor was Sir John Young, afterwards Lord Lisgar (1861-1867), whose tenure of office was mainly remarkable for Sir John Robertson's Land Act, Sir Henry Parkes's Public  

Schools Act, and the strong measures that were taken to repress bushranging.

The Earl of Belmore (1868-1872) was the first   peer to act as Governor. The late Duke of Saxe- Coburg Gotha, then Duke of Edinburgh, visited the colony in 1868, and in 1871 the Governor opened the first Intercolonial Exhibition in Prince

Alfred Park.

Lord Bulmore was succeeded by Sir Hercules Robinson (1872-1879), who died a few years ago as Lord Rosmead. During his rule Fiji was annexed to Great Britain, the colonies agreed on the organisation of the ocean mail service, and in 1876 New South Wales was for the first time officially represented at an international exhibi- tion-the Centennial Exhibition of Philadelphia.

Lord Augustus Loftus (1873-1885), who had   earned a high reputation in the diplomatic world, was the fourteenth Governor. His term of service

here was memorable for the holding in Sydney of

the first International Exhibition ever held in

Australia, for the holding of an Intercolonial

Conference which has borne fruit in the federation

of Australia, for the opening of the Sydney- Melbourne railway, and for the despatch of the Soudan Contingent.

Lord Carrington, now the first Earl Carring- ton, succeeded Lord Augustus Loftus. His reign (1885-1890) saw the gradual growth of the federal sentiment, which he warmly supported. Lord Carrington made himself popular with all classes of society by his interest in the social and political advancement of the colony.

The Earl of Jersey (1890-93) showed himself as keen a federalist as his predecessor. It was during  

his term that the conference met in Sydney from which the Federal Council proceeded.

Sir Robert Duff (1893-95) is the only New South Wales Governor who died in harness. His remains were accorded a public funeral.

Lord Hampden (1895-1899) distinguished him- self by his support of federation, and it was during his rule that final touches were put to the constitution by conventions which sat in turn at Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney.

Earl Beauchamp was the last of the Governors of an independent New South Wales (1899-1900). The Imperial Parliament passed the Common- wealth Enabling Act in 1900, the new constitution which comes into force on this first day of the 20th century. Lord Beauchamp resignod in order to leave the way clear for the Governor-General elect, the Earl of Hopetoun. During the interim the Government was administered by the Chief Justice, Sir Frederick Darley, who has frequently acted in the capacity of Lieutenant Governor.

Digitisation generously supported by
Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation
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