THE NORTHERN TERRITORY.
To the Editor
Sir— Ivol withstanding the commonsonsj displayed, not only by iriany AiistralLmg whose competency to (orm and express 'opi nions upon the subject cannot be challcn '.
ed, but also home iitigljsli writers, eciuis tently and persistently opposing the Alien Immigration Act; it was by a majority of the Legislature allowed to be placed ii] on the statute book; and 1 consider a tacit, injustice, as well in'a tactical error, ' vas committed. It is obviously an almost insur mountable ban-id- lo tho -development, of our Northern Territory, as well a.s to the fietllemeut in it by certain th fifty aii.l in dustrious coloured people, whose linowlcd?o and stall regarding the production ui our tam plants and cereals indigenous to a. tropical climate are universally adm.tted, U hilst conceding that, respecting the con struction of railways and tho fullov.-.U' of pastoral pursuits, coloured labour does 'tint equal the white, and m not absolute-)- no cur-sari-, T contend that in the cultivatiim of the soil, growing suaar caue rice, coif, e tapioca, ginger, pepper, cotton, &c tc, anil working in the mines' in a trouicil le gion, coloured labour excels tlie white; and Jt is scarcely a question if such imlustiit's can be profitably conducted unless tho coloutcd workman mainly is employed. Is it not reasonable to aflinu that, while this Act remains a blot on the statute book, no beneficial results can possibly vecuo either to tins state or the Commonwealth as regards this vast territory with -U un told wealth, which is tin- most valuable of South Australia's possessions; but it must and will it-main a ''white elephant' a 'bug. bear, ' and a 'burden.' Is it not, there Jore, quite time that such an absurd and inhuman Act precluding the iiitrodiu-tjcn of coloured labour into the Northern Tti nfnry was abolished? This view Ins b^ii repeatedly emphasized by many prominent writers, first among whom I 'wotiM men. titm the late lamented Hon. J. L. Parsons, who was recognised as an authority ii|K-n, aud a thoughtful exponent of, tlie great re sources of this portion of our count rv, in winch he often earnestly advocated tho granting of facilities to tlie Japane-c lio vernment for tlie purpose of inducing com petent labourers from Japan to permanent ly settle. Among many of the forcible remarks about its development, Mr. Parsons lelt en record the following impressive st.nement respecting its pastoral capabilities, in which he instanced Melville Island, which t-e as serts to be a most fertile portion of tho ierntorj-:— ']t may be regarded as a natu rally fenced cattle station, and the various inlets which occur on the coast should make the subdivision ca.sy and inexpensive. On each of my visits to the island I s,iw i number of buffalo, all of which antiwuv\l
to me to be rolling fat; and as experienco lias proved that cattle tlirive well on the Daly and Adelaide Rivers, they wouM uu doiibtedly do well on tlie island, which al-o has great capacity for cultivation much su. penor results from which can jirobably be obtained to those ou the mainland.' 'The Northern Territory contains an area cf about i534,000 square miles, equal lo France Germany, Holland, iielguim, Italy, aud Swit zerland combined, and is wonderfully pro. ductive, and can be made even mueli iikdo so. It hxs a coastline indented with hu prior bays and dotted with fertile is lands, and has 2,000 miles of seabaird. along which there is a succession of secure natural harbours, affording safe nnchiraj-e for vessels of considerable tonnage, and its many advantages cannot be over-estimated. It is. therefore, high time they were twos. nised and appreciated at something ap proaching their true value, and the illu sion that the Territory is a bar: en drscit dispelled. Moreover, it is phcnoiuetialK rieh in minerals, particularly gold wi tin; but such a vital fact appears to have tiecn overlooked by the majority. As a jiasr jral country it is unsurpassed in Australasia, and this has been confirmed by the su— cess with wliicii a few i-nterprjsiiu cattle breeder* have been favoured. As an in stance of the facilities it. offers as a atx'o brceding country; I would acain refe'to the portion mentioned:— Melville Is.nvl consisting of 2,100 square miles and only 33 miles fiom Port Darwin It is ova vim with Jierds ot buffalo, estimated at not. less than 30,000 head, all in good condlif.;i. This estimate of the number of buff.i o k fully confirmed by Mr. Joseph ' BmilsiM-v. of Victoria River, who has penetnlcl it considerable distance into tlie inter jf of the island. He says:— 'If tho whole of the island is stocked with buffalo to tin- simu extent tint 1 saw. there must be ovr 30,000 head there. My many year's expo nence on cattle stations enables me .to- de- duce from the appearance of the sward an approximate idea of the number of Imrncd cattle depasturing on each square m.Ie. This grass and herbage which naturally j-iv.ws to a height of 3 ft. in viifiin soil is .at tl.e end of the dry season cropped down to within a few inches. of the ground, and I have no hesitation in stating that the coun try is carrying from 13 to 16 head ,f «ili?e to the square mile. Further, I may sUtc
mat uie island is tree from tick.' The buffalo on tlie island arc owned by Uie lef. sec, who is consequently the lnrgcsi mvuca of buffalo in the world.' He has wisely al lowed those on the island to incrons-j, whilst, for several years lie was cngige 1 in shootina th'o.se. on the mainland, whic'i are now nearly exterminated.' And he still remains the owner of this enormous herd of live stock, which cannot be estimated at a less value than the comnarativ'ly low average of 50/ per head. Something like 40,000 to 50,000 hides have been expj.voil lo London with most satisfactory results; but on account of not having the fac'li ties, the carcases, bones, offai, &c, were not utilized. If one email portinn of iho Northern Territory is so remarkabb'y pro ductive, what may not bo reasonably ex pected of the whole, which undoubtci'l'v s so abundantly endowed by Nature, and nrt one acre of which can be said to be iisi-less. Yet it is allowed to remain a sort of natural unearned increment,' chiefly in con EpqiieiK-e of the Alien Immigration Act and ptejudice. To allow such a irromisiiiir land to lie waste and remain an encum brance appears unfa-eoiintable, and Iho pacing cf the Act rcfeiTcd to seems a most distressing enigma. Though the climate of the Northern Territory may not be all that can be dc-ircd for the residence of Euro peans, many well-known personages, in cluding Mr. J. A. G.- ? Little, Inspector Foelsche, and others have resided there for over 30 years. Mr. Gilbert. R. Me Minn was connected with tlie place in tlie
capacity ot senior surveyor to rue s.A, Government for over 20 years, besidesi hold ing many other prominent positions, in cluding that of Government Resident, and lm informs me that with regard to agricul ture the Territory has large areas capable of producing any cf the many tropical fruit* and plants of commerce, notably tho cocoanut, immense quantities of which could be p-own along tne semi-saline coast. Flax and copra are always in increasing: demand, and tlicpc alone xvould prove a large industry. Cotton, coffee, indiarubber, cinchona, and tobacco can be produced, and indigo and rice are indigenous to the roil. Most useful timbers are also to be found 'in considerable quantities, inclnding the . Cypress pine, which is particularly valuable, as it is quite immune from tho attacks of white ants. Mr. McMinn states that he used large quantities in the public ivories erected at Tort Darwin. Then there is the lignum vitne, which h largely dis tributed, is very dense and' heavy, and a splendid timber for foundations. There an: ilso several kinds of cedars, Borne of which, have been worked into handsome furni ture, and many varieties of the eucalyptus:
and the Victorian wattle also flourishes ia many parts of the country. Mr. Holtze, the curator of our. beautiful Botanic Gar dens, states that tlie country is capaWe' of growing aU kinds of tropical irroduce in great abundance, and that he has grown there with great success , the same lii'mli' of products that are grown in Java, Do not such facts as I have, submitted Minw that this splendid ' country would rapidlyi advance as the outcome of fertilization by thrifty and enercetie coloured people?,,. In conclusion I beg to quote from an ex cellent pamphlet by Mr. E. W. Cole, wW has lately returned from Japan, entitled 'A White Australia Impossible.' lie states that the population of the Northijrn Territory during 3S years has increased to under 1,200 Europeans -and about 3,000 other raws, principally Chinese, while Jr.va, which is only-three or four days' straming distance from it, has increased during that period^ more than 12,000,000, and is now increasing at the rale of ncarl-r 1,000 a day; so that Java is increasing: in population every two days more than wo have increased in our Northern Territoryi (an arni of 10 times its size) in 38 years: and this country is lying wa^e for want of suitable inhabitants to utilize it. Why should not. happy colonies of out coloured brethren, influenced by our advanced civi lization, language, and religion, increase nnd exfend in the extensive eunny lands of Australia, where now reign only profit less solitudes? Surely this would be one of the most humane and best developments for progressive advancement. I am, Sir. &c. AUTHUR BATE BEAN. Glcnelg, February 20.
The New York representative of . the Lancet discloses the rough outlines of a grave plot against the peace of mind of eli gible bachelors. An American society far tbe suppression of degenwacy has prepared aBill prohibiting marriage unless a prospec tive bridegroom is prepared, among other things, , to pass an examination as to hia mental capacity. AQ^rf*''