3 SEPTEMBER 1898, Page 24

A Flower - hunter in Queensland and New Zealand. By Mrs. Rowan.

(John Murray. 14s.)—This volume consists of letters written from North Queensland during a winter spent in that splendid climate, and from New Zealand. The title is rather misleading, as there is not so much about flowers as one would expect ; it is rather a journal of travels. Mrs. Rowan went to Queensland for her health, but she accomplished many perilous journeys and came successfully out of troubles and anxieties which would have taxed the patience of many a man. The climate of Queensland is tropical, its trees are magnificent—a Eucalyptus regnant near Cape Otway is nearly 500 ft. high, another has a circumference of 69 ft. at its base—and it claims five hundred of the seven hundred species of birds in Australia. On the other hand, it has fifty species of snakes, many of which are venomous, its roads are often infamous, the one leading from Herberton to Muldiva having the reputation of being• the worst in Australia. The author describes many places thoroughly well, but in speaking of the Chillagoe caves she is unaware of the particular uses of the words stalagmite and stalactite. The extent of these caves is unknown, but about thirty miles have been explored. The Aus- tralian natives, we are told, are of an extremely bad type ; they have an inordinate desire to kill somebody, so much so that the author's father was asked by a servant of his not to walk alone in front of him, as the temptation to knock him on the head was too great. They have a curious custom of doubling a dead baby, provided they do not eat it, between two pieces of bark ; they then carry it about, using it as a pillow. They can follow a trail at full gallop where an ordinary person would fail to per- ceive any mark of tracks. Among the stories told is one of a German missionary, who, not having mastered the language, for a year exhorted the natives to give up their " lovers " to God. The second part of the volume, consisting of letters written from New Zealand, contains many clever descriptions of interesting places and customs. Among the former we notice that of Rotoma, a sulphurous lake, and of the many mud and steam geysers near; among the latter we learn much about the Maoris, their folk-lore and the wars waged against them. The whole narrative affords pleasant reading, for the description of scenery is good, and Mrs. Rowan has keenly observed the inhabitants and their customs. The illustrations, mostly of scenery and a few of flowers, are well executed; there is also a map showing the route in North Queensland.