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the frothy swirl of party politics, the title is not very highly esteemed. The woman who was estimable as the wife of a tradesman, remains estimable, though she call herself “Lady;" but the title does not increase our regard for the vain and selfseeking. Society there is, in every city and country town-society of a sort, where like attracts like, and where the wealthy and those who live in expensive suburbs meet their fellows, and perchance consider themselves somewhat above the common herd. But even there the one-time toiler may dwell in affluence, and his wife, in earlier days, a cook or dressmaker, may learn the manners of the better nurtured, and hold her own among them.

Education in our Public Schools, where the child of the rich man shares the free education which is given equally to all, tends to lessen differences of social position, and we may hope to see some day an Australia in whose clear sunshine the only aristocracy will be one of education and high worth.


By Professor Griffith Taylor.


Introduction. It has been stated that man is the product of his environment." The value of this generalisation depends largely on the meaning assigned to the word environment. If we include all phases of mental, moral, and physical environment, no doubt it is largely true. If we confine our study to physical factors, we find that their influence to some extent varies inversely with the degree of civilisation of the race

concerned. But the physical. aspect still remains of great importance even in the most cultured settlements, and this is especially true of the industrial phases of modern life. It is this physical and material aspect alone which will be studied in the present section.

In Australia the very great proportion of the people is directly concerned with the development of natural resources. There is practically no leisure class whose life might be considered to be unaffected by industrial matters. There is, moreover, very little settlement in outlying regions for purposes of defence. We find, in short, that the whole of our settlement has taken place along the natural lines of trade and industry, and this greatly simplifies our study--even if it makes the evolution of our Commonwealth appear somewhat tame beside that of the powers in other continents. Yet a study of the struggles of the settler with his environment shows that they have been as strenuous in Australia as elsewhere; and as they have occurred within the last 130 years, it is, perhaps, easier to obtain coherent picture of the whole.

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It will be of interest to review the course of exploration and settlement from the earliest days in the light of our present knowledge, and see how Nature has here thwarted and there assisted her greatest disturber. This heuristic method will show us that by 1870 almost all the economic regions of Australia were known, and, except in mining, Australia's resources could have been fairly estimated even at that early date.

Australia has inhospitably turned her back on the older centres of civilisation (see Fig. 1), as if to preserve herself from invasion by yellow or black races. She looks and will continue to look towards the Pole or, at any rate, to the South-east, rather than to Java and India. Hence, in spite of all inducements the bulk of the population will always remain in the South-east corner, which is bathed in the rains due to the cool Antarctic cyclones.

Discovery and Physiography.The least known portion of the Australian coast-line is probably along Cape York Peninsula in the vicinity of Cape Keerweer. Apart from one or two mission stations, there is no settlement to this day, and the charts still show by broken lines the nebulous state of our knowledge. Here, early in 1606, the first authentic survey of our coasts was made by Captain Jansz, of the Duyfken,” and there was nothing in the look of the place-the mangrove swamps, teatree thickets, and scattered eucalypts-to tempt the Dutch or any other nation to settle there. They had, in fact, struck perhaps the least attractive coast of all the winter-drought region," of which more anon.

The next great voyager was Hartogs, who was even more unfortunate. He discovered the only portion of the coast which receives a bare 10-inch rainfall. The name Dorre (i.e., barren) Island indicates the effect of the dry off-shore trade winds, which dessicate this coast for the greater part of

A little later, in 1619, Houtman named the reef off Geraldton Abrolhos (“Keep your eyes skinned”). In 1623, Carstens, in the “ Pera' and

the year.

eichhardt 1845 Warburton 1813

Arnhem," surveyed the coasts of Arnhem Land and Carpentaria. These can still be described as a region" of shallow waters, barren coasts, islands altogether thinly populated by divers cruel, poor and brutal natives, and of very little use."



· Durch

Dutch 1606


Dritch 1644


- Sport

Giles 75

Cook 1770



Flinders French


Durch 1627




BOO Bass



1799 GT.


Fig. 1.


Black Areas: Over one person per sq. mile.

4 sq. miles.

The first circumnavigator was Tasman, who, in 1642, sailed from Java to Mauritius; then he pushed southward, until he was caught by the Brave West winds, which carried him direct to Tasmania. He first sighted Mount Zeehan (later famed for its silver-lead), and landed in the south-east at- Marion Bay, north of Tasman's Peninsula. He was, perhaps, the first European who was justified in thinking Australia other than a region of barren wastes or stunted vegetation defended by shallow

reef-strewn waters or cliff-bound coasts. Thereafter, however, he left our shores, passing east and then north by New Guinea; and though he returned next year, it was to the same northern coasts already unfavourably known to the Dutch.

Perhaps Dampier's voyages are responsible for the early lack of British interest in the new southern continent. He spent three months near the site of Derby, W.A., in 1688, and in August, 1699, having been sent by William III., he explored northward from N.W. Cape. It was his misfortune to arrive at the end of the winter, which is always dry, and he could find no water. His comments on the barren appearance of the land and on the inhabitants-the miserablest people in the world-militated strongly against further investigations being made."(Favenc.)

The fertile portion of West Australia was partly explored by Vlaming in 1696, who first collected the black swans and named the Swan River. [The old name of the Swan River Colony for this well-defined region in the south-west has recently been revived in the name of Swanland, which will be used here.]

Cook, in 1770, was the first voyager to reach those portions of the continent which like all eastern coasts near the opics—are beneficially affected by the constant Trade winds, or by the rain-bearing systems known as the east-coast cyclones. It is noteworthy that his was a truly scientific expedition -and England has here reaped a rich reward from this but too rare example of her encouragement of science; for it was the authoritative reports of Banks and others which contributed largely to the founding of the first settlement in Australia.

Cook reached Cape Everard in Victoria in 1770 (see Fig. 1) and charted the whole east coast northward to Torres Straits. The First Fleet arrived in Botany Bay in 1778, and thereafter the struggle of man with his environment was the chief feature of Australian history for half a century or more,

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