"BRITAIN'S AUSTRAL EMPIRE."
Among the many publications, good, bad, and indifferent, which the establishment of the Australian Commonwealth inspired, is one, issued by Messrs. Sampson, Low, Mar-
tin, and Co., entitled "Britain's Austral Empire," which should take the palm for ornament if not for utility. The publication consists of a large portfolio containing two separate volumes. The smaller of these is a folio of some fifty pages, devoted to a short historical sketch of the Federal move- ment in Australia from the early days of Wentworth's abortive attempt to inaugurate a Federal Union to the time when the Commonwealth Enabling Act passed the Imperial Parliament, and Federation was an accomplished fact. The letterpress is the work of Mr. G. Firth Scott, at one time a Brisbane journalist, who since his expatriation has published several novels with Australian backgrounds, and also an historical volume, "The Romance of Aus- tralian Exploring." That the work has been well done in this direction goes without saying, and though the review of the dif- ferent developments is necessarily brief, it is comprehensive enough to form a valuable addition to the literature on the subject. The other volume in the portfolio comprises a collection of portraits of the statesmen and officials concerned in the work of establishing the Commonwealth. These have been drawn from life by Percy F. S. Spence, an artist well known on this side of the world, who has won his way to a recognised position in the old country by sheer merit. Most of those who had even the remotest connection with the consum- mation of Federation have been included, and the portraits, generally speaking, are well done, displaying good draftsmanship, while the characteristics of some of the subjects have been cleverly caught and " crystallised." The portraits have ap- parently been executed in wash drawings, and the reproductions have been printed in sepia tones. The mechanical work in the publication has been admirably carried out. The paper and printing are above reproach, and the arrangement and display altogether could not be improved upon. The portfolio itself Is of white boards, embossed with gold scrollwork and lettering, and bearing on its title page a figure in light blue, emblematic of "the young Queen." As a memento of an occasion which must live long in the recollections of all lovers of Australia, " Britain's Austral Empire" should serve its purpose excellently.