12 OCTOBER 1850, Page 13


FIFTEEN years ago the site of the present colony of South Austra- lia was an uninhabited wilderness. The founders of the settle- ment, wishing to try an experiment in colonization, selected a spot for their operations far removed from the disturbihg influence of any neighbouring colony. The nearest human beings, except a few miserable savages, were many hundred miles distant. The country was but little known, had never been properly explored, and had never probably been inhabited by a White man. The first European inhabitants were the first settlers, who landed in 1836. The new settlement was regarded with jealousy by tie older colonies of Van Diemen's Land and New South Wales, which have never afforded it any assistance. It owes nothing to the Government of the mother-country, but was deeply injured by its two first Governors, whom its friends at home managed to get recalled for misconduct. The second Governor made the colony insolvent by his wild extravagance, and brought it into great dis- credit at home as an emigration-field. It is a colony which was founded and has been sustained by its own people and their friends in England, without any sort of help. The distance from England is about fifteen thousand miles, and the voyage thither occupies about four months. The soil is far from being remarkably fertile; and the climate, though dry and fresh, and very wholesome, like that of the Southern hemisphere in general, is too dry and too hot for the perfect comfort of emigrants from these islands. The go- vernment has been always a perfect despotism, subject to orders from distant Downing Street ; the colonists have had no lawful voice in the management of their own affairs; and when those affairs have not been grossly mismanaged, the favourable circum- stance was produced, as is the case just now, by the accidental ap- pointment of a clever and public-spirited man as sole ruler of the country. On the whole, it would appear rather surprising than natural that the career of this settlement should have been re- markably prosperous.

Yet South Australia has been more and much more prosperous than any other colony that proceeded from modern Europe : its ad- vance in population and wealth has been more rapid. This is shown by a very interesting document which was printed at length in the Morning Chronicle of Tuesday last; being a " Finance Mi- nute " published in the colony by the Governor, Sir Henry Young. It appears that in March last, the wilderness of fifteen years ago had 54,175 inhabitants of the European race. The number of immigrants in 1849 was 13,824. The customs revenue in the year ending April 5, 1850, had increased, as compared with 1849, from 62,6401. to 75,3791. The imports in 1849 were 632,6891., the ex- ports 483,4791. The tallow exported last year was 5571 owts. against 3867 (nets. in the previous year ; the wool 2,841,131 lbs. against 2,243,086 lbs. The wheat, meal, and flour exported to Great Britain and elsewhere, was 14,497 quarters of wheat, and 1924 tons of meal and flour. The tonnage inwards and outwards was 160,497 tons. The schools were 64 in number. The number of places of worship was 76. The whole estimated revenue for 1851 is 185,8921. ; the total expenditure 183,2821. The inhabitants of the capital town, Adelaide, about 15,000 in number, pay 8,5481. a year for a bad supply of bad water. In order to supply them with

ure water in abundance, it is proposed to levy a water-rate of one shulhng in the pound on the rental of the town. The estimated pro- duce of this rate is 5000/. a year : the estimated rental therefore of the town is 100,0001. a year ! Fifteen years ago the site had not been trodden by White man's foot; the whole country was a howl- ing wilderness. Let the progress of South Australia be compared with that of the most successful of the colonies of modern Europe, including those which were nearest to the mother-country, and those on which the mother-country expended vast sums of public money; and it will be seen that this self-founded self-supporting settlement of England wins the race hollow.

The moral may be found partly in the self-relying nature of the plan on which the colony was founded : it is well that the emi- grant founders of colonies should have to depend on themselves alone. But the South Australians, though nobody has helped Ahem, have not been permitted to carry out their plan of coloniza- tion in their own way. That plan has been a good deal mauled and weakened by the interference of the Colonial Office ; and the document to which we have referred shows that Downing Street has put its veto on a very important part of that plan, by refusing to let the colonists raise loans for immigration on the security of future sales of waste land. Still the point on which South Aus- tralia differs from all preceding colonies, whilst she differs from them all in nothing else, is the sale of waste land at a considerable price, and the employment of the purchase-money in paying for the immigration of labour. Until Downing Street interfered and took away half of it, the whole of the purchase-money was so employed. Last year the sale of land paid for the immigration of 7055 people. But the main point is the price of the land. This, having been one pound per acre, has had the effect of rendering the whole quantity of land in South Australia, which has become the property of 55,000 people, less than half of the quantity that was granted among 2000 people at the foundation of Western Australia ; whose population has grown in twenty-one years to only 5000. Western Australia, after twenty-one years of coloniza- tion, contains but a handful of half-Tartar settlers, who defray hardly any of the cost of their own government, and who pray for convict immigration as the only means by which they can obtain labour and some prosperity : South Australia, teeming with prosperity, defrays the whole cost of her own government, imports labour on a great scale at her own cost, has credit enough to raise loans for immigration if she were but permitted to do so, and even proposes to pay with her own funds for the maintenance of the Queens troops that may be within her bounds. The con- trast is most striking. Though it will be thrown away upon the Government and Parliament of England, it should serve to guide the emigrating classes, and especially those of the richer order, in their choice of a future home. The safest colony to go to, for those who wish to increase their store by emigrating, and to emigrate without losing the attributes of civilization, is probably that in which waste land is rendered most difficult of acquisition by means of the highest price.