11 MARCH 1922, Page 23


[Notice in this column does ,wt necessarily preclude subsequent review.]

Northmost Australia. By Robert Logan Jack. (Simpkin Marshall. 2 vols. 63s. net.)—Mr. Jack, who was for many years the Government Geologist of Queensland, gives in these substantial volumes a full account of the exploration of the Cape York peninsula by sea and land, from the Spanish and Dutch voyages of the early seventeenth century to the present day. The book is illustrated with many portraits and with a valuable set of maps, on the first of which are laid down the tracks of the early voyagers—Torres (1605), the Dutch commanders of the Duyfken ' (1605) and the ' Pera ' (1623), Tasman (1644), Cook (1770), and so on. The part of the work dealing with these voyages will interest all students of Australian history. The gradual exploration of the interior of the peninsula is then described. The author himself, soon after he took up his post in Queensland, was sent to survey the peninsula in 1879-80, mainly because gold had been found. Since then a telegraph line has been laid to Somerset, near Cape York, and the author contends that a railway should follow it, mainly for strategical reasons. Probably Queensland needs railways far more urgently in other districts, for the peninsula is not greatly favoured by nature ; the strategical argument is unconvincing. However, Mr. Jack has done a very sound piece of work.