Handbook to the colony of Victoria / prepared under the direction of the Victorian Government by Henry Heylyn Hayter Hayter, Henry Heylyn, 1821-1895

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Hayter, Henry Heylyn, 1821-1895
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Handbook to the colony of Victoria
Subjects
Victoria - Description and travel - 1851-1900.; Victoria--Statistics.; Victoria--Description and travel--1851-1900.
Summary
pm a r /■£> / THE COLON Y OF TICTOEIA, PREPARED UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT, HENEY HEYLYN HAYTEE, C.M.G., Statist. THIRD EDITION, REVISED AND CORRECTED. MELBOURNE. BY authority: robt. s. brain, government printer. MDCCCXCI. HANDBOOK 7 ' ' ft-s-rr CONTENTS. Page Preface ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 5 Introduction ... ... ... ... ... ... 7 Position and Area ... ... ... ... ... ... 9 Discovery and History ... ... ... ... ... 9 Physical Features ... ... ... ... ... ... 13 Constitution and Government ... ... ... ... 15 Population ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 16 Immigration ... ... ... ... ... ... 19 Marriages, Births, and Deaths ... ... ... ... 20 Mineral Wealth... ... ... ... ... ... 21 Agriculture and Grazing ... ... ... ... ... 22 Water Supply ... ... ... ... ... ... 26 Manufactures... ... ... ... ... ... ... 28 Victorian Trees ... ... ... ... ... ... 29 Animal Life ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 31 Finance ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 33 Monetary Institutions ... ... ... ... ... 34 Trade and Commerce ... ... ... ~. ... 36 Post and Telegraphs ... ... ... ... ... 37 Education... ... ... ... ... ... ... 38 Provident, Charitarle, Literary, Scientific, and Social Institutions ... ... ... ... ... ... 41 Clergy and Churches ... ... ... ... ... 46 Defences ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 47 House Rent ... ... ... ... ... ... 47 Rates of Labour ... ... ... ... ... ... 48 Prices ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 52 Index ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 54 ft I i 5o If /o3AS VvV v * f&i PREFACE It having been considered desirable by the Government that a work descriptive of the Colony, of a less bulky character than the Victorian Year-Book, should be available for distribution in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, the following Handbook has been prepared. In selecting the facts for embodiment in its pages, whilst giving information on as many subjects as the limits of the work would allow, it has been my study to give undue prominence to nothing, and to keep back nothing, but to present, as far as possible, a fair view of the Colony. My opinion is that Victoria can well afford to stand upon her own merits, and that nothing is to be gained either by exaggeration or by reticence. The facts and figures in the work have been carefully examined and checked by officers in this Department, and I do not think it probable that any important error can have escaped observation. Should extended information be desired on points merely touched upon, and on others not even mentioned, in the following pages, I would refer the reader to the Victorian Year-Book, published annually. Copies of that work can be obtained from all booksellers in Victoria ; from Triibner and Co., 57 and 59 Ludgate Hill, London ; and from the Agent-General of Victoria, 8 Victoria Chambers, Westminster, S.W. HENRY HEYLYN HAYTER, Government Statist. Office of the Government Statist, Melbourne, 11th December, 1890. INTRODUCTION. There is probably no country in the world that offers such attractions to the working man as Victoria. There, especially during the spring and summer months, it has hitherto been not unusual usual for the agricultural labourer, the artisan, the mechanic, to find several masters competing for his services, and outbidding each other in order to obtain them. What is called the eight hours system, founded upon the division of the day into three parts of eight hours each—one to be devoted to labour, one to recreation, and one to rest —has been in existence for the last 35 years, and no employer would venture to ask his men to work longer than the recognised time. Wages are so high and work so constant —the weather being habitually so fine that there is scarcely any broken time that an industrious man is often able not only to maintain his family in comfort, but by the exercise of economy to lay by as much as the whole sum of his wages would amount to in England. Free instruction to his children is provided by the State, and, as his boys and girls grow up, plenty of employment offers for them, so that instead of being an expense they soon bring in money. To women and girls desirous of engaging in domestic service the colony presents even greater attractions. Wages have been going up steadily for years past, notwithstanding which it is now difficult to get good servants at any wages. Besides the satisfaction faction of obtaining high remuneration, servants feel that their privileges are greater and the restrictions placed upon them are fewer than in England, whilst, from the value placed upon their services in consequence of the smallness of the supply, they are naturally treated with a kindness and consideration to which many of them had been strangers before coming to Victoria. To professional men, clerks, shopmen, and shopwomen the certainty of remunerative employment is not so absolute as it is to the operative classes. Many succeed beyond their warmest aspirations, whilst others fail utterly. Industry, perseverance, and, it may be added, versatility, will in time conquer many difficulties. The colony presents a large field for male and female instructors, but in this there is already no dearth of competitors, petitors, and much will depend upon the qualifications of the individual. The failures of society—the dissipated, the drunken, and the idle—had far better not come to the colony. If they do, they will assuredly soon fall into destitution. Those desirous of entering into farming pursuits can either get land in fee-simple direct from the Crown at a cost of £1 per acre, payment of which may extend over twenty years, without interest, the right being at the same time given to occupy under lease, for grazing purposes, an allotment twice the size of the farm holding; or, if they prefer it, can purchase improved farms from private individuals. Farming has, upon the whole, paid fairly well in the past, although the precarious nature of the seasons has occasionally subjected the farmer to disappointments. Irrigation, however, is now being successfully practised, and several measures have been enacted for its better promotion and regulation. Many of the driest districts are those which, from their position, can be most easily irrigated, and for these elaborate irrigation schemes have been devised, some of which are already being carried out. Probably no better field for the employment of capital exists than Victoria, where, if anywhere, money makes money. Judgment ment in its use is, of course, necessary, and new comers should be especially careful. Safe and profitable investments are plentiful, and if proper caution be exercised no risk need be run. An important consideration to all classes is that the rate of mortality at every period of life is much lower in Victoria than in the United Kingdom ; therefore persons from the latter settling in the former have a greater prospect of rearing their children and themselves living to old age than they would have had if they had remained in the country from which they took their departure. A word of advice to those who are about to emigrate to Victoria with the view of making it their home: Do not condemn the colony if you do not succeed in it immediately. Land of plenty though it be, it is not sufficient merely to set your foot in it to become a partaker of that plenty to its fullest extent. On landing you will probably know no one and be known of none ; consequently it may be some time before you obtain exactly the kind of employment which suits you, but every fresh job you get will gain you acquaintances, both amongst employers and workmen, and will also afford you the opportunity of looking about you. Your qualifications will gradually become known, and you will drop into the fitting groove at last. Remember member that, even in the most palmy days of gold-getting, the precious metal was not to be picked up in the streets, but had to be wrung from the soil by hard and persevering toil. ‘‘Work, honest work ! ” must still be the watchword of him who desires success. Sandbooli Jo the (Eolonir of fiiijoiiiii. POSITION AND AREA. 1. Victoria, so named after Her Most Gracious Majesty, Position, although the smallest, is probably the richest and most prosperous of the various colonies situated on the Australian Continent, of which it occupies the south-eastern portion. It is bounded on the north and north-east by the colony of New South Wales, and on the west by the colony of South Australia. On the south and south-east its shores are washed by the ocean. It lies between the 34th and 39th parallels of south latitude, and the 141st and 150th meridians of east longitude. Its extreme length from east to west is about 420, its greatest breadth about 250, and its extent of coast-line nearly 600 geographical miles. Its area is Area. 87,884 square miles, or 56,245,760 acres. The whole continent of Australia is estimated to contain 2,944,628 square miles, and therefore Victoria occupies about a thirty-fourth part of its surface. Great Britain, exclusive of the islands in the British seas, contains 89,644 square miles, and is therefore somewhat larger than Victoria. DISCOVERY AND HISTORY. 2. From the period of the expedition into India of Alexander Discovery, the Great (b.c. 330 to 325), allusions to a Great South Land begin to he met with in the contemporary writings, and later on Strabo (b.c. 50), Pliny (a.d. 77), and Ptolemy (a.d. 150) distinctly tinctly mention such a land, although the accounts they give of it and its inhabitants are wide of the truth. It seems clear at least that the existence of Australia was known to the Greeks and Romans, although its position and extent remained uncertain long after their times; and it scarcely admits of a doubt that in the seven or eight centuries during which the Mahomedan power dominated in the Malay Peninsula and Indian Archipelago the northern coasts of Australia were often visited by their navigators, the results of these visits being plainly perceptible both in the persons and languages of the aborigines. The Chinese trepang fishery on the northern shores of Australia dates from very remote times, and traces of Chinese intercourse with the aboriginal inhabitants about Cape York and the Gulf of Carpentaria are said to be yet preceptible in the features of the latter. Marco Polo, the celebrated navigator (a.d. 1293), makes allusions to the Great South Land, and there is no doubt its existence was known to him, although it is not probable he ever visited its shores. The honour of being the first European to behold the Great South Land has been awarded with some confidence by Sir Robert Rawlinson* to a Provencal navigator named Guillaume le Testu, a native of the city of Grasse. The evidence relied upon is furnished nished by certain French maps and relative documents found in the British Museum and the War Office at Paris of dates respectively tively 1542 and 1555, and from these it would appear that the original discovery was made as early as 1531. Three-quarters of a century after this (about the end of 1605), Fernandez de Quiros, a Spanish navigator, started from Lima with three ships to try and discover the Great South Land ; and on the 26th April of the following year he sighted land he believed to be the continent of which he was in search, which he named “ Tierra Austral del Espiritu Santo.” It is generally thought, however, that this was not Australia, but one of the islands of the New Hebrides. His crew shortly afterwards mutinied and would proceed no further; but two of the ships of the expedition, under the command of Torres, continued their course, and passed through the straits dividing Australia from New Guinea. In March, 1606, a few days before this, the Dutch landed on the shores of Australia in a small vessel called the Duyffhen.\ She proceeded as far as Cape Turnagain (lat. 13|° S.), situated in the Gulf of Carpentaria, where some of the crew landed, and several were killed by the aborigines. The statements brought to Holland by the survivors awakened a desire for further information, and an expedition was sent out to found a colony. It is uncertain where the landing was effected, hut the territory was soon abandoned in consequence of the hostility of the natives. On their return, the members of the expedition reported that the land was rich with gold, but this was not generally believed. After this, repeated attempts to obtain particulars of the land were made by the Dutch. Dirk Hartog, in 1616, fell in with the north-west coast, and examined it from lat 19° to lat. 25° S. Jan Edels, in 1619, coasted along the shore as far as 29° S., and gave his name to portion of the present colony of Western Australia. In 1622 the south-western extremity of Australia was discovered by a Dutch ship named the Leeuwin;\ and in the same year Francis Pelsart, in a ship called the Batavia , was wrecked on a reef of rocks about 200 miles north of Swan River. In 1642, Abel Jansen Tasman discovered Van Diemen’s Land, now called Tasmania, which for a long time afterwards was believed to he part of the Australian main-land. In 1688, and again in 1699, Dampier, a noted English buccaneer, visited and examined a considerable portion of the north-western coast of Australia, Dampier Bay, Roebuck Bay, and the Buccaneer Islands being named by him. * See Westminster Review for October 1885, article “ Australia and New Zealand.” tOr “small pigeon.” The word would now be spelt Duifken. {Or “lioness.” Other English and Dutch navigators followed. They seem, however, ever, to have confined their examinations to the western and northern coasts, and it was not until 1770 that the south-eastern and eastern shores were visited, the discoverer of these portions being the celebrated English navigator, Captain Cook, He made the land at that part of Australia now called Victoria, the point first sighted being apparently identical with the present Cape Everard, in Gippsland, situated between Cape Howe and the mouth of the Snowy River. He then sailed along the east coast, and carefully examined portions of it, especially Botany Bay, near which Sydney, the capital of the present colony of New South Wales, is situated. 3. On his return to England, Cook reported Botany Bay to be History, a suitable place for colonization, and this led to a party of convicts victs being despatched there in 1788, under Captain Arthur Phillip, R.N. On the shores of Port Jackson, a few miles to the north of Botany Bay, Phillip established a permanent settlement, but for nearly ten years afterwards nothing was done towards the exploration of the southern shores of Australia. At length George Bass, a surgeon in the Royal Navy, started in a whaleboat, boat, manned by six seamen, and, passing Cape Howe, coasted along that part of Victoria now called Gippsland, and, rounding Wilson’s Promontory—the southernmost point on the Australian Continent—entered Western Port on the 4th June, 1798. Pie, however, returned to Sydney without discovering Port Phillip Bay, which was first entered on the oth January, 1802, by acting-Lieutenant John Murray, in command of the armed brig Lady Nelson. In the month of October, in the following year, an attempt was made to colonize the territory by Lieutenant- Colonel David Collins, of the Royal Marines, in command of a party of convicts. Collins, however, after the expiration of three months, abandoned Port Phillip as unfit for settlement, and for the next twenty years the district attracted but little attention, wdien two explorers—Hume and Hovell —made their way overland land from Sydney, and, on their return, gave a satisfactory report of the country, the result being that a convict establishment was soon afterwards founded on Western Port Bay, which, however, was in a short time abandoned, apparently on economic grounds. The first permanent settlement in Victoria was formed at Portland Bay, by Mr. Edward Plenty, from Van Diemen’s Land—as Tasmania mania was then called —who landed on the 19th November, 1834, and soon commenced to till the soil, run and breed stock, and carry on whaling operations. Others followed, but the absence of good land in the immediate vicinity of the port, and the openness of the bay, which rendered it unsafe for shipping during the prevalence valence of certain winds, caused it to be considered an unsuitable site for a capital, which was eventually founded at the northern end of Port Phillip Bay by two parties—one led by John Batman, who lauded on the 29th May, 1835, and the other by John Pascoe Fawkner, whose party arrived at the site of Melbourne on the 28th August of the same year. Both of these were from Van Diemen’s Land, and they were soon followed by others from the same island, and from Sydney, who brought stock with them, and commenced to push their way into the interior. These were met by Major (afterwards Lieutenant-Colonel Sir) Thomas Mitchell, who, entering from New South Wales on the north, and traversing a considerable portion of the, as yet, unknown territory, was so struck with its wondrous capabilities that he named it Australia Felix —a title the aptness of which a subsequent knowledge of the geniality of its climate, the excellence of its soil, and the then unsuspected richness of its mineral treasures, has proved to be fully justified. The reports of Sir Thomas Mitchell, and the success of the first settlers, caused great excitement, not only in Australian settlements but in the mother-country. Herds of sheep and cattle, driven overland from New South Wales, speedily occupied the best parts of the new territory. Every available craft capable of floating was put into requisition to bring passengers gers and stock from Van Diemen’s Land, and after a time shiploads loads of emigrants began to arrive from the United Kingdom. Regular government was first established under Captain William Lonsdale, who, having been sent from Sydney to take charge of the district, landed on the 29th September, 1836 ; and on the 2nd of March of the following year Sir Richard Bourke, the Governor of New South Wales, visited it, and named the metropolis Melbourne. bourne. Mr. Charles Joseph La Trobe arrived on the 30th September, tember, 1839, having been appointed to the principal official position in the settlement under the title of Superintendent, which was changed to that of Lieutenant-Governor, when on the Ist July, 1851, it was separated from New South Wales, and created into a separate colony under the name of Victoria. Shortly afterwards wards rich deposits of gold were discovered, the fame of which soon spread throughout the world, and led to a great influx of population. After a time some discontent arose amongst the diggers in consequence of the oppressive character of the mining regulations, which culminated in riots, which occurred on the Ballarat gold-field towards the end of 1854. The disturbance was soon quelled, with some bloodshed on both sides, and the grievances complained of were afterwards redressed. A new constitution, giving responsible Government to the colony, was proclaimed on the 23rd November, 1855, and since then, although political struggles have been frequent and party feeling has at times run high, these circumstances have had no permanent effect in setting class against class, or in any way lessening the good feeling which exists between all sections of the community. At times commerce has been depressed, but this has soon revived, and the material prosperity the colony has, upon the whole, enjoyed is, perhaps, without a parallel in the history of any country. PHYSICAL FEATURES. 4. Victoria is traversed, with more or less regularity, through- General out its entire length from east to west by a chain of mountains descni’llonand and lesser hills, completely dividing it into two parts, and known as the Dividing Range. The summit of this range runs generally at a distance of 60 or 70 miles from the coast. The streams to the north of it flow towards the River
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