1 correction by anonymous - Show corrections
TTtS ITOETHERN TEERITOll?'.
The following is an absract of the very Interesting and voluminous 'quarterly report on the Norfcuern Territory by the Government resident:(Hon. J. L. Parsons) :—
Palmeraton, July 1, 1835. PASTORAL OCCUPATION, In previous reports during the past twelve months I have described from personal observation land from reliable sources the character of the North Coast; country, its stocking, and resources. I have this quarter only to add that this work of steady develop ment is being carried on by Messrs. Fisher and Lyons. The rains extended a little later than last year, the gauge registering 1 495 inches in April and a mere record for May. The general accounts are that the stock have kept in excellent condition, and each year marks a distinct advance in the process of acclimatization. They indicate also improve ment in the natural grasses and the assimilat ing of the animals. The quality and fatness of the meat supplied to the local market have been a decided improvement upon last year! For the Victoria River country Mr Stevens has sent away Seven luggers lade\ m% 8j?re3- rrThe launch whichhis firm has ordered from Hpn ?- kowt and *hich is shortly expected will be first employed in aiding 1= the development nf rtiecountiy to the westward. The tens of thousands of cattle coming for our territory and for Western Australia will force on cettlement on this river, and will give it a considerable trade importance, it 13 not necessary to discuss any further the rival claims of the Victoria River and Cambridge Gulf as the question must and will be decided. by -practical men from an economic point of view, I must, however, express my surprise at the somewhat depreciating remarks about the Victoria River made by my friend Staff Commander J. E. Coghlan, E.M., in Lia report, when comparing the Victoria, which he had not seen, with the Cambridge Gulf, which he had seen. The rough experiences of Mr. McMangh in his jonrney from the Vie at Hill Landing along the bed of the Ord River to tie Negri, and those of Messrs. Darauk and O'Donnell from Black Cliff Poins, and the fact that the only other landing-place mentioned ia at the foot of the Bastian Hills, ''where the foreshore consists of mangroves with the usual frontage of soft mud,' gives me no ground for altering my opinion, which is strongly in favour of the Victoria. Captain Carrie 'ton's statement that the Victoria ' is navigable for vessels of the largest clas3 for a distance of 50 miles from the sea, and further for a dis tance of 60 miles for a suitable river craft, drawing not more than 3 feet ;' the fact that he has no hesitation in affirming that the Victoria River as ' a commercial high way is superior to the Thames, the Meraey, or theHooghly;' and the further fact thai Mr. Stevens ia able to get his stores to Fiaherton, and from the landing-place ha3 a dray road to tbe back country, makes a. sufficiently satisfactory gronnd of confidence in the future fortunes of the Victoria Rive*. While I venture, however, to differ from co experienced an authority a3 Staff-Commander Coghlan, and this only because he ha3 not seen the Victoria, I beg to thank him for his courtesy, also for his recommendation. ' that; Port Darwin and not Fremantle should be the base from which a hydrographical survey of the extreme northern portion of Western Australia Bhould be made ;' and also for the expression of his belief 'that there can hardly be any reasonable doubt that Port Darwin cannot fail to become the dominant port of Northern Australia.' Of the country and stock around the Katherine and to the southward I have nothing to add to the full and valuable report of Mr. Alfred Giles given last quarter. The feed and cattle are both reported as excellent From the eastward the intelligence U still of successive moba of cattle en route from Queensland, to stock up the country provisionally held, and to in crease the herds where leases have been already obtained. Itia worthy of note, as an instance of the mistakes made by early ex plorers, that McKinlay Btated inlS62 : — ' He believed the migration mast come chiefly from the settled portion of North Australia, or from the same latitudes of New South Wales, the Queensland frontier being, barely practicable to cross stock with safety.'1' No w the great stock route ia from the Queensland frontier, and many parts of the Northern Territory now considered useless because unknown will when explored prove to be of equal value with the country on the Herbert and Macarthur Riven. Mr. Creaghe, who started from Cloncurry in April, 1834, with 1,080 cattle, reports that he de livered 1,030 on the station on Hodg son Downs a short time since. This country,whichb3langs toMessrs. Mason.S hep herd, & do., of Sydney, Mr. Creaghe (whoha3 had over twenty years' experience) describes as unsurpassed both for both cattle and sheep. It is well watered by tpermament billabonga and springs ; and as a proof of its fattening capabilities, 100 cattle, which were put on the ran last November as stores, have been sold as 'fats,' at a satisfactory figure, to Messrs. Armstrong & Co. Mr. Creaghe reports the blacks as very defiant and aggres sive on the Hodgson — in fact the worst tribs he has encountered. This agrees with the general testimony from these districts. The native police are now on their way to the Soper, and will patrol the whole of the country, and further to the east. The fol lowing particulars of travelling stock have been received since last report: — 'Mr. Macartney has arrived on River Roper with 4,500 head of cattle for stocking country near Blue Mud Bay. Mr. Chisholm's cattle for Macarthur River have been delivered. Mr. N. Buchanan's cattle are back on Queensland road, about five weeks' journey from River Katherine. Mr. N. Buchanan has arrived at River Katherine with 60 horses, half draught and half saddle. Moba of cattle for Western Australia, under charge of Mr. Durack, Messrn. Hayes andKilfoyle, and Mr. McDonald, have crossed telegraph line at Bitter Springs, and have gone westward to follow down the head waters of the River Victoria and River Ord i nto Western Australia. Mr. Traine's stock are at present on Cherub Creek, about 80 miles east cf Powell's Creek Telegraph Station. There is some probability of a cattle station being formed at Cherub Creek. Messrs. Douglas and Hemphill's stock are running near Helen's Springs, near Tomkinson Creek, on the telegraph line, about 33 miles south of PoweU'B Creek Telegraph Station. Mr. McGregor's team came from Macarthur River to Anthony Lagoon by new road, bat no particulars received yet about nature of tha load. One thousand five hundred head o? -»ttie belonging to Messrs. Coopar aad Stackey have arrived on the Victoria River to btock country there.' THE COUNTRY SOUTH OF THE COAST COUNTRY. The reports furnished to me by Me33rs. Stevens and Giles have fully decribed what is known as the ' coast country.' Mr. Giles's report, indeed, covered country stretching fm ther south. It appeared to me, however, thai an account oE the country alone the telegraph line from the present standpoint would be a valuable contribution to the general knowledge of the route of the proposed transcontinental railway. That that railway will be the means of opening up immense areas for settlement, which without the railway must remain unoccupied, 13 now universally admitted. The cost of the car riage of stares, with the uncertainty a3 tc dates of arrival, render teams impossible a: a means of transport. I have therefore asked Mr. J. A. G. Little, the senior anc superintending officer of the Post and Tele graph Department, whose duties annuall] take him as far south as Attack Creek, t- give me the result of his observations :— ' '. have the honour to forward for your infor mation a .few particulars of the nature of thi interior of the Northern Territory. Yoa ar- perhaps aware that part of. my dutie every year consists of inspecting the Over land Telegraph line from Port Darwir to Attack Creek. The latter place is situate- on the 15th parallel of latitude, and ia distan from Port iDarwin 590 miles by wire, or abou 650 miles by road. lean therefore speak 0 the portion of the Northern Territory fron Port Darwin to Attack Creek from my owi personal observation, as well as the couotr on the Roper River, which has also beei visited 'by roe. After the watershed of tin coaat- country is pas&ed the conniry graduall; rises to an open undulating plateau or table laud, apparently .about 1,000 feet above se; level. m Any:Burface drainage from the table land either Bpreads out and loses itself 01 open plains, or makes its way to the south ward by a low depression which seems to rui nght through the centre of Australia to Lak- .tyre in South. Australia proper. For in stance, the water .of the Herbert River an- other roars xise at no great distance inlam from the Gulf of CarpenLaria, but they al inn to the southward. After the con country has been left behind the whole natur of the country seems to cuange. The foiea country disappears, and is replaced by ope plains or bdta of scrub, orbyli?htlytimberei country. The long grass also disappears an is replaced by a. variety of grasses, such a Mitchell Igraae, blue grass, Flinders or re grass, kangaroo ferase, also several othe varieties of grasses, the names of whish I d not know. Herba .aad bnshes of which Btoc are very fond also abound. The grasse3 0 the inland. tablsLiad or plateau do not r« quire to be burnt every year in the Sc.m manner as the long gras3 aear the coasi The grasses inland are very fattenicg an amtritious when in either a green or la a dr /eondition. Stock of all kinds, incladin afeeep, thrive and do remarkably well -on th inland plateau and tableland tbroaghont in year. Surface water i3 very scarce, ba could easily be collected and stored by mean of tanlta or dams, as the conntry ia full 0 good day flats, which offer every facility fo tankainkLig or daaimaking; The annna i/yafaJJ ss fer south as Barrow's Creek i
tnaca lighter than the^rainfall experienced 1 in the coaat country* but sufficient .rain falls every year to provide an ample supply of grass and water. Droughts of two or three years' duration similar to droughts experienced in pastoral districts in the southern colonies are quite unknown. The ranges and ridge3 in the interior are mostly covered with spinifix, bat the plains are nearly all well grassed, being composed oi undulating downs, or conntry locally known by the name of Bay of Biscay cr crabhole conntry. ,A great deal of the scrub country in the interior is intermixed with good grass country. The scrub exists in belts or patches with good grass country between. Between the telegraph line and the Queensland Border the conntry i3 de scribed as being mostly large open plains well grassed, but generally without water. £a u M m nave E?en' the interior of the Northern Territory is by no means a desert sountry, as sometimes represented. The in terior simply wants to . be opened up by rail way communication in order to make it a rery. large and valuable pastoral country, lhe. interior, like nearly every part of Aus tralia, contains some very good country, also 1 great deal of medium and bad country. At the present time the bnlk of the country in the interior is not stocked, owing to cost and iitSculty of sending men and material so far inland for the purpose of making waterholes md dams, also for fencing and forming stations. Such work could only be carried out at the present time at a loss, but railway communication will alter all this, and w.Hl probably lead to very large sheep stations being formed in the ulterior of the Northern Territory. AftertheRiverKatherineis passed there are no natural obstacles of any conse quence to the formation of a cheap line of railway. The proposed overland railway line will probably follow the large open plains between the telegraph line and the Queensland Border. Sheep, cattle, and horie3 have been tried at the Overland Telegraph stations as far north as Daly Waters, and have been found to breed and thrive ex ceedingly well.' HERBERT RIVER DISTRICT. Mr. J. S. Little, of Austral Downs Station, writes that-^' Since my last letter we have had a splendid season, the Herbert, Ranked, James, Piayford, Buchanan, Milne Rivera, and all creeks have been running for months. Thia country is now equal (pastorally) to anything I have ever seen in the colonies for either sheep, cattle, or horses. Improve ments have been^carried on vigorously, and everything promises a good lambing.' THE L1JJMEN RIVER COUNTRY. My companions in the journey from Pal merston to Pine Creek in 18S2 will remember that when we reached Yam Creek on the return trip we met there Mr. Harris and party, who had just returned from an ex ploring expedition for the present holders to tbe Limmen River country. They will ako remember that the explorers gave a poor ac count of the conntry there, and also of that through which they passed. At the time their description conveyed to me the impres sion that the country from the Katherine to the eastward was almost useless. The inter vening years, with their progress and settle ment, have shown how rich is the public estate which stretches to the Queensland Border, and which then waa ao imperfectly known. J have very great satisfaction in acknowledging the report of Mr. A. K. Holden, who ha3 now resided for some time on the Limmen River. Mr. Holden ia well known to the Hon. G. C. Hawker, M. A., M.P., to the Hon. the Treasurer, and the leading pastoralists of Australia, and his re port is exceedingly satisfactory. : ROPES AND MACARTHUR RIVERS AND CRESWELL AND POWELL'S CREEKS. Mr. Giles states ' that while the Macarthur River is an outlet for the tableland country explored by Mr. havenc, so also will the Roper be the nearest and be3t outlet for the conntry along the Upper Roper, the Elsey, and the Hodgson, and also for the rich inland country around and south of Powell's Creek.' Since this was written two important dis coveries have been made by which a good dray route has been discovered by Mr. W . R. Creswell, from Anthony's Lagoon, in Creswell Creek, by way of Cattle Creek and the South Australian Valley (so named by Mr. Favenc) through a gorge in the rough ridgy country further north down to the Macarthnr River township, and . also another route by Mr. McGregor, in the employment of Mr. Walter Douglas, who started from the Macarthur and has arrived at Powell's Creek. From Mr. Creswell I have received a letter, in which he asks for sojtie compensation or reward for the enterprise shown and the expense incurred. There is no doubt if the route be as Mr. Creswell describes it will be, as the senior surveyor, Mr. G. R. McMinn, points out in a memorandum, not only of immense value to the settlers in the interior, but will make the Macarthnr River the nearest port tor upwards of 100,000 square mile3 of pastoral country. The carriage of stores at present to Tennant'a Creek Telegraph Station from Port Darwin Station is nearly 600 miles, the distance from the Macaithur by any near ap proach to a direct road is about 300. Even Barrow's Creek Station could probably be more cheaply supplied from the Macarthur than from the south. The following is Mr. Surveyor Hingston's report:— 'I left Palmerston in the s.s. Palmerston on Satur day, the 17th January, proceeding thence to the Roper River and reaching the Upper township on January 29. After fixing the position of the town from Todd'a Bluff I in spected the site of the settlement. At its north east corner, taking approximately the pegs numbered 1,003, 995, S97, and 890, 1 ionnd the land enclosed thereby to be inun dated. A small watercourse lined with gutta-percha shrubs running through the centro was overflowed at the time of my visit. Most of the other allotments were fairly dry, though the land is very soft and abounds with large gilgi holes (small claypans) fall of water. I may mention that it is impossible to trace the greater portion of the allotments. The land being subject to floods has washed away all signs of trenches, and being a favourite spot for cattle camps the pega are few and far between, and on those left standing the numbers are obliterated by age. Lsaviag here on iebruary 3 we arrived at the lower township on the 5th. The Trignometrical station on Gulnare Bluff I found standing and in good repair. You instructed me to take a latitude in connection with this place, and if possible to tie the Gulnave Bluff to the known geographical point of Maria Island, but the island was not visible from the trig. After obtaining a good view of t'.ie surround ing country from the mount I decided on taking the latitude of this station. . As all below appeared one huge sea and alive with mosquitoes and aandfliea, I regret to say that these fearful insects compelled me to resign my position and return to the net. To ran a direct line from the Bluff to the township is impossible at this season of the year on account of the large mangrove swamps inter vening. I therefore had to adopt Captain Douglas's mode of fixing the position by run-, ning. a baseline on the plain, spent one diy in picking up his old line, but could obtain no reliable chainage, aa his selected line ia now very swampy. The present base that I have used is on a dry open plain, and the chainage returned to office is the mean 0! t -va chainings. The Bluff can only ba seen from the eastern side of the town. On comple tion of the survey I examined the township. The pegs here are mostly all standing and in first-class repair. Taking the ground enclosed between pegs numbered 1, 12, 685, and 693, you have the only country Buitable. for a town site, and a large portion of this is but medium, the remainder is a large melaleuca swamp in the wet season and at present is covered with about 6 inches of water. The road to the town from the wharf I think would be impassable for a horsateam for six months in the year. The suburbans are all inundated, and with no country to back it up I fail to see that the Lower Roper township can be of any use. It ia too far from the river, is very low, and being surrounded by mangrove swampi would be exceedingly unhealthy. Your sug gestion to fix the two Lown8hip3 by traversing the river would be a long season's work for one party, as the banks above the township for miles are lined with dense mangroves. Leaving the Lower Roper township on Feb ruary 7, we arrived at the Macarthur Bar on the morning of Monday, the 9th, and em ployed the remainder of the day in fitting our camp. Starting from the ship on Tuesday morning at 6 a.m., we reached the site of the present proposed Government Wharf on the Macarthur River at 5.30 p.m. The river resembles the Daly River very much in ap : pearance, having occasional low shores : heavily timbered, alternated with long reaches and high open banks. The general course of the river from 12 miles above the mouth to the present town : is more westerly than south-westerly, and i the distance does not exceed. 40 miles. For navigation the river is superior to the Daly ; it has not the shifting quicksand banks, and ? is free from tidal bores. The township ia at 1 the head of the narigation, and had I stopped on account of the rocky bars, there being three in the river, would have been obliged to select a site about 15 mile3 from the : moutn. As the last bai is no worse than the ? first I rant as far as boats drawing 6 feet high tides and S feet at springs cau 1 go. This places the town about 4 miles above the last bar and l'i miles north by west by the river from the Port Darwin and Queensland track and the main cattle ; crossing of the Macarthur River. Fresh 1 water seems to be very scarce on both sides of the river between the township and the i month. Residents and drovers who have followed down the river say there are no per manent waters between the springs on present site of town aad a creek named 'Battams,' about 20 mile? north of same ; tbig being subject to tidal influence is like tue river,
-rackish., for about six months of the year, I riz., from' June.until the rainy aeaion. aets in .bout December. The site chosen for the klLcarthur township has been surveyed on a lorth- westerly bearing, and aftercarefulob3er ?ations taken by sextant I find to be in latitude 6° 3' 36'. The general formation of the pot ion surveyed for township on the northern ide of Rocky Creek is a yellowish-red tratified sandstone, brittle and unsuitable or building purposes. The timber b mostly | ioolibah (ironwood), few stunted bushes, and lense triodia. There is reserved on thi3 side if Rocky Creek 204 acres, and should you approve of my proposed plan, will cut up nto 320 half-acre allotments. For immediate ale twenty blocks have been surveyed on he main overland track, adjacent to perma lent waters, and the nearer point within 16 :hains of the site selected for a Government vharf. I can safely vouch that this por ion of the town is never inundated. I'he sandstone ridge running in a north md south direction from the southern 0 western boundaries has some large joulders on its slope, and roads in this iorner of the town will require making. . took two rough levels of this rise, and found hat from the gully to the top wa3 from 50 eet to 60 feet, or an average rise of about .5 cet to the chain. The remaining portion is m slightly undulating country, and the whole veil drained by a gutter running through the sentre of the town. The small patch of paper )ark and pandanns on the eastern boundary v&a during my visit free from bog. The )lock reserved on southern side of Rocky 3reek for township purposes consiata of 61$ icres. The land on the Bide ia a light sandy oam, and very similar to the Upper Roper :own selection. So long as you keep in the brest countiy the ground ia fairly firm, ;housh gilgi holes full of water are numerous. Stockmen who have had experience in North Queensland, which they describe to be very ike this portion of the town, say that when ;his land becomes consolidated uy cattle it ia rery firm and compact. After seeing the [Jpper Roper township, which for the last :our or five years has been a main cattle camping depot, and is now far from being firm, I went by my own judg ment, and Burveyed the town on what I felt would always be free from inundations, but, in the event of my having been mistaken, I have left the land adjoining this block as open Crown lands, so that the town can be eventually extended towards the crossing of the Macarthur River. Running parallel with this the southern boundary we nave the Macarthur Downs. This is the best pastoral country I have seen in the Northern Territory. Aa there are so many varied opinions regarding the soils adapted for the jultivation of Bugar and other tropical pro 3ucta, I beg to call your attention to the specimens of grasses I brought back with me. The finest of these is the 'old man Mitchell,' which grows abundantly on these extensive plains, consisting of a thin top ;rost of sand, with a deep-blue clay, subsoil, lhe herbage growing on the downs ia plenti ful, and very fattening for stock. The old man Mitchell, barley, Flinders, and flood grasses are so well known that nothing I may say can add to the estimation in which they ire held. The ground is covered by nume rous vines and creepers, which I am informed last long after the grasses become seared, and constitute the dry seison's feed. During the rains these plains are boggy, but with the [east fine weather they become passable for all kinds of stock. On the western boundary of the park lands there is a atrip of about 2 miles of inferior country, being sandy and covered with stunted timber and triodia. On the eastern side, adjacent to the river, the country is broken sandhills, very rich in vegetation, and abundantly supplied with medicinal grasses, viz , the dysentery, scurvy, and rosella. The white currant-bush is- also very prolific. Most of the timber is coolibah and floodgums, both poor for building pur poses. On the banks of the river and on the creeks there is a fair sprinkling ef paperbark, blackoak, and Leichardt pine, and I waa in formed that about 2 miles above the crossing there was a forest of cypress pine. The native name of the township is ' Borroloola.' 1 could not make the natives understand that I wanted to know the meaning of the word. . I have been requested by the resi dents in this district to petition in my report that the town be named 'Broad Town,' after A. Broad, Esq., the pionser squatter of the Macarthur River ; and I beg to ask that streets be named after Messrs. Lynott and McLeod for their kindness in placing horses at my disposal and affording me much useful information. In concluding this report I maat cally our attention to the outcry that stockmen are making with regard to the Government not fully opening up the main track to thi3 town, which i3 the. principal artery from the Gulf of Carpentaria to our inland country. All whom I have conferred with fully recog nise the importance of the township being on the Macarthur River; but to make it a flourishing port, a track must be explored trom the Barclay and Austral tablelands. At present the residents on the Herbert River are obliged to transact all their business with Burke Town, a distance of 400 miles ; whilst if a track was opened up to the Macarthur township it would bring all their trade to this port, saving a distance of about 2C0 miles, and opening up a vast extent of undeveloped country. I cannot a&y if the suggested work would be difficult to carry out, either on account of ranges or want of water, as I could not hear of any one having been tempted to try such a route. I &se no reason why the course above indicated should not be laid out at a moderate expense, and if that were done the squatters on the central telegraph line would also make the Macarthur their port of trade instead of having to come right through to Palmerston. THE BOPEB AND JIACABTHTTR BIVEHS. Captain Carrington's report on these rivers gives information which may be of great value to navigators. ' The Roper River is by far the best that i3 known to fall into the Gulf of Carpentaria. There do not appear to be many obstructions in the river; a survey is, however, needed, if only to see what could be made of it. The greatest difficulty lies at the entrance, the land in the vicinity being very low and totally destitute of marks. The bar is very difiicult for a stranger to find. Were the entrance marked with beacons vessels drawing up to 12 feet or 14 feet might safely ascend the Roper for 80 miles, by taking advantage of spring tides. The present chart of the river that was supplied from the Land Office here is totally unreliable, both as to distances and depth of water, and as the general features of the banks and neighbouring country have been altogether omitted it is almost worth less. I have been informed by Captak Marsh, the Harbourmaster here, that the survey was completed in seventeen, days, which statement sufficiently explains its shortcomings. On February 11 we were ofi Cane Beatrice. There is a supposed camping place for Malays in the south-west corner ol the large bay on the east coast of Groote Island. We proceeded to thia place and found a splendid land-iocked harbour, -vith apparently plenty of water in it. This harbour is from 3Jrto 4 miles deep and abaal 2 miles broad. We went about a mileintc it, finding nothing less than 7 fathoms ; bai finding that if any proas had been there thej had shifted their ground, we again put U sea without anchoring— wind freah.northerl] gale, and heavy rains. Our intention waa t- have skirted the northern coast of Grooie Island on our way to Bickerton Island, anc with that end in view, the weather being to- thick to attempt an unknown passage, w- came to anchor under one of the North- Easi Islands. The anchorage was not a gooc one. Our position waa half a mu- from the south-west extreme of th- Noith-East Isles ; depth, 4 fathoms ; shelter indifferent; and bottom rocks and sand My experience at the Macarthur River thu visit has not added very much to m: previous knowledge of that river. I nnt that the estimated distances on my rougl plan of Ia8t!year are 'some miles in excess There is also another mouth to the river, bu timeldid not permit of an examination. 1 survey of this river as well as some, others oj our coast in the Gulf is, in my opinion, necea sary. From information received. from tn- Msrmcrpr nf *-i-» Mapjirthnr Station it appear
inaii mere are oiaer «veia « a-«6w «~ —- ? Macarthnr, and it is possible they may have a better entrance when found. It seems pro bable that one of these rivers falls into the sea somewhere south of Varderlia Island. From the character of this large tract of newly settled conntry it seems certain that a large trade will arise in the immediate future, and we should at least know the best way into it. MINING. The quantity of gold exported during the quarter is 4,315 oz , and the declared value £15,74L The enormous cost of living, labour, cartage, and everything on the reef and alluvial countiv continues to exercise a most depressing influence upon mining. Only claims of a certain average richness can be worked to pay expenses, and in many ca3ea owners hold off from energetio operations until the railway is constructed. I will only premise that Warden Nash, assisted by the. police, and acting under my urgent instruc tions that Chinese diggers must be made to pay for miners' rights, has succeeded in greatly increasing the revenue, and has by his zealous efforts compelled a much larger number than ever before to take out minera' rights. In 1S80-81 the receipts were £dl5 3?. 6d., and in 1SS4 85 £S35 7s., from Wardens7 returns, and the miners' rights issued were as follows:— 18S0-81— European, 264; Chinese, 725. 16&4 85— European, 144; Chinese, 1,205. The Port Darwin Tia-mining Company are pushing on their work at Mount Weils. Mr. Matthews, the manager, in his reports refers to the progress of the arives and tunnel, and apeakB of the prospects of the property in terms of complete confidence. Mr. Baker writes me from Melbourne that the Directors have appointed him Superintendent, and that
ie is now superintending the making of the I necessary dressing appliances at Lang land's Foundry, and when complete it Rill be the most efficient set in Aus tralia. This machinery will be shipped to Port Darwin this month, and be ready for iull work during the next wet season. He informs me that the prospects at Mount Wells, good as they are, have much im proved since he left, and that the Directors *re very pleased with their venture. Of the sther tin properties there is nothing to report; they are being held for more favourable times. Messrs. Cruikshank & Barrett's claim was Dot sold in London by Mr. Hillson. The Daly River Copper Mina is turning out far beyond expectations. Tbe ore is improving in quality as the depth of sinking increases. Already tons have been brought up in the schooner Annie, and have been transhipped into steamers for Newcastle. When the stage now being erected at Quadrant Point is completed the contractor expects to be able to send up 100 tons per week. It ia an indisputable proof of the richness of the deposit that tenders are now being called for the delivery of from 2,000 to 4,000 additional tons of ore at Port Darwin. The silver claims purchased by Mr. O'Connor have been suc cessfully floated into a Company by that gentleman in Sydney ; and it is confidently Btated that operations will be commenced at an early date. Some very satisfactory assays from adjoining claims have been received, and there is little doubt that when tha rail way reaches Pine Creek there will be ex tensive mining operations carried on in the district where these silver deposits have been discovered. AGBICULTUBE. The cloud of misfortune has not lifted yet from this industry, about which I, for one, however, have an unshaken confidence of ita ultim&te prosperity, and of the settlement here of hundreds of happy families engaged in the cultivation of tropical products. It ia, no doubt, disheartening to see failure after failure, and delay succeed delay, for which not the climate nor the soil are responsible, but the want of prudent fore3ight and of business management. Even liberal expendi ture will not make amends for the want of timely preparation and readiness, when everything depends upon the season. Two strong survey parties, under Messrs. Hingston and Cuthhertson, have gone to the Daly. By the close of the present dry season it is expected that the whole of the suitable land on both banks will have been surveyed, and the Government will then be in a position to place agriculturists upon a laige area of conntry. Letters continue to reach me from Queensland, Fiji, Mauritius, and elsewhere, containing enquiries respecting our land laws, climate, soil, and other particulars, with re ference to tropical agriculture. THE BAIIAVAY. The relief men have cleared and grubbed the first portion of the line. They are re ceiving 6s. per day, and are provided with tents and tools. By the Catterthun, due next week, representatives of large con tracting firms are expected, who will go over the line up to Pine Creek. Should the tender be accepted on November 30, aa adver tised, the contractor could get all his ar rangements made and have the work well in hand at the beginning of the year. I do not think there will be anything more than temporary interruption from heavy showers during the wet season on the first section of the line. It will be nearly two years between the passing of the Bill and the acceptance of the tender for .its construction, and twelve months' interest has been lost. The Silverton fiailwaylwas only^authorized last year, and already miles of it are made. It is hoped here that every effort will be made to secure a large percentage of European labour for the work of construction, so that the building of the railway may be made the means of settling the country with a domesticated European population. BEVEITOE, &C. I hoped with this report to have been able to present the balance-sheet between the Northern Territory and South Australia. The adjustment of accounts, however, has proved a larger work than was anticipated. I also expected that for the financial year 1885-6 the accounts of the Northern Terri tory would be shown on precisely the same lines as those of South Australia. Hitherto it has been the custom for the expenditure year to date from May 1 to April 30, and the revenue jear from July 1 to June 30. Aa this waa the cause of confusion I suggested that the expenditure should be carried on this year to J une 30, and the extra two months be covered by excess warrants. The subject having been referred to the Commissioners of Audit, they expressed their approval, pro vided our June schedules could reach Ade laide in time for the Audit Office's requirements. It has been decided, however, that the May and June expenditure this year shall be provided out of the revenue from July 1, 1885, to June 30, 1886. The expendi ture estimates, therefore, will be loaded with fourteen months' spendings against twelve months' revenue. This must be clearly stated and understood when the Estimates come before Parliament. If 1 had only the level financial year to deal with I should have been able to show this year a con siderable decrease in the cost of establish ments and a large increase in revenue. I may, perhaps, atate here that when the railway commences the Customs revenue must largely advance. We estimate to re ceive £30,000 this year, as against £25,243 19s. lid. (including duty-paid goods from Ade laide and produce of South Australia) re ceived last year. So also the pastoral rents must show a considerable increase year, by year, as the seven years' period, at 6d. per square mile rent, pasaes into the remaining term of the leaee at 2s. 6d. rent. Th3 senior surveyor calculate;) on the basis of land at present held that in 1888 the revenue frcm Crown lands will reach £45,000 at least. But aa there ia an immense area — over 70,000 square miles — which has either been thrown np or forfeited the amount will be much larger, as the Transcontinental Railway will give a value to country which withoat it would be practically useless. While, how ever, the revenue must go on rapidly in creasing, the cost of establishments will show no; serious advanee. Extra surveys, clerks, police constables, additional postal facilities, comprise all that will be required, and year by year the relation of expenditure to revenue will be more and more satisfactory. It ought also, I think, to be remembered that up to 1881 nearly the whole coat of Government was paid by successive loans, and although now the charge for interest on borrowed money overweighs the account the cost of government ia more than met by the annual revenue. Instead, therefore, of complaints that the finances are not in a better condi tion, I think there ia ground for much satis faction that they show a marked improve ment during the past few years, and give ground for assured confidence of their im provement in the future. I now give the usual quarterly statement of imports, exports, revenue, immigration, &c, and also a return giving the total Customs revenue for the twelve montha ending June 30, 1885, with a detailed statement of the duty-Daid goods and produce- imDor ted from South Australia, for which as yet the revenue has not re ceived an actual credit, and which makes the total £243 19a. Ud. over the£25,000 estimated. Total value of imports for quarter ended June 30, 1885.— Port Darwin, £36.583 ; Port Maearthur, £458; total value of imports, £37,04L Total value of exporta for quarter Gold, 4,315 oz., £15,741; pearl shell, 5 tons, £700; trepang, 73 cwt., £165; sundries, £1,356; total, £17,962. Staple produce, £15,906; British and foreign, £2,056; total, £17,962. Total Customs revenue for quarter ended June 30, 1885— April, £1,744 83. 7d.; May, £1,977 18a.; June— Port Darwin, £1,489 10s. 8d.; Port Macarthur, £143 4s. 8d.; total grops revenue, £5,355 Is. lid.; less re payment, £39 3a. 6d.; total net revenue, £5,315 18s. 5d. Immigration and Emigration Arrived — Europeans, 93 ; Chinese, 177 \ total 270. Departed — Europeans, 59 ; Chinese, 52 ; total, 11L Customs revenue for financial year ended June 30, 1885, £22,915 4a. 4d. ; less repayments and drawbacks, £211 153. 8d.= £22,703 8s. 8d. ; dtie by South Australia proper an duties paid in Adelaide, £2,540 Us. ad. f total. £25.243 19a. lid.