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Recollections of Travel in New Zealand and Australia

A Journey from New Zealand to Tasmania and Australia

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A Journey from New Zealand to Tasmania and Australia.

In the middle of the year 1877 the doctors ordered me away from Wellington for a change of air and scene, and in consequence I embarked in the steamer "Claude Hamilton" on September 15th of that year. I took my second son with me; and Dr. Hector, Director-General of the Geological Survey of New Zealand, determined to come also. We sailed at 4 p.m. and next morning reached Lyttelton. Here I found great improvements had been effected at the port since my last visit in 1865. An inner harbour had been enclosed, and instead of landing in boats, we went comfortably on shore on a wharf. We got the 10 a.m. train to Christchurch, and established ourselves in the Club. This was the first time also that I had passed through the tunnel. It is a splendid work—one and three-quarter miles long. Be it noted that I made the first tunnel in New Zealand, to drain Burnham water. This was made as far back as the year 1849, and enlarged in the year 1858. Its dimensions, however, are not so great as those of the Lyttelton and Christchurch page 265railway tunnel, being only about 240 feet in length and 6 feet by 4 in height and breadth.

We had time to inspect the Government gardens and fish ponds. In the latter we found that the trout were infested with a fungus, and we were told that this was the case with exotic fish in ponds elsewhere. It is to be hoped the fungus will not attack the fish when turned out. The weather was cold, and but few fish were visible. I was disappointed with the gardens. They are very good, but I had heard them praised so much that they did not answer the expectations I had formed. The museum is fine. Canterbury has had the advantage of an immense revenue from land sales while under Provincial Government, and one consequence has been the erection of many fine Government and other buildings in Christchurch. Large endowments were also made for college, museum, and other educational establishments. A heavy southwester had set in which detained us till the 19th, and even then, after we got well round Banks' Peninsula, the wind and sea proved too much for us, and after battling against it all day we put the helm up to run into Akaroa. The captain, however, did not like the look of the sea at the entrance, so he ran round under the lee of the Peninsula until we sighted the light on Godley Head, and then, the wind having further moderated, we turned round again to pursue our voyage. The "Claude Hamilton" was a good sea boat, but weak in engine power, and consequently made little way page 266against a head wind. The "Rotorua" passed us. We reached Port Chalmers at midnight. The next morning we took the early train to Dunedin and breakfasted at the Club, a house built by the late Mr. Jones (called Fern Hill) in a beautiful situation, commanding a fine view of the bay. It was an immense improvement on the old Dunedin Club, which I had known previously. I found Dunedin much improved, vacant spaces filled up, and small wooden buildings replaced by large ones of stone or brick. Dunedin, while retaining much of its original Scotch and Presbyterian character, has in many respects a strong resemblance to Melbourne. It has a similar ambition to assert itself, it has a strong tendency to erect solid and substantial buildings, and it has an inclination, I think, like Melbourne, towards commercial fallacies. There appears to be a similar mixture of good and bad qualities in both places, and Melbourne has the Scotch element very strong as well as Dunedin. Captain Hutton showed us over the Museum. It is a fine building of three stories,. and admirably planned for its purposes. As yet it is very empty, but I suppose a few years will show a great change in that respect.

We returned to Port Chalmers by the 2.30 p.m. train, and sailed at 4 p.m. for the Bluff with fine weather, light wind, and many planets in sight, and the next morning we steamed into the Bluff harbour at 7.30. We took the train to Invercar-gill, the city of broad streets, hired a cab and drove page 267about the town, afterwards visiting the reading-room and museum.

The great plain of Southland alone was visible, the mountains being hidden by clouds. The day was beautiful, and on remarking this fact to an inhabitant we were told it was the first fine day they had had for six weeks. The main streets of Inver-cargill are, as previously stated, of immense width. Here, however, the thing is rather overdone. A broad street is a fine thing in a large city, but for a sparse and poor population it involves a great expanse of roadway to metal and keep in repair. The best thing that could be done would be to plant rows of trees over the greater part of it. There is a harbour-master at the Bluff (Captain Thomson), who is very ingenious. On our return there he showed us his boat-lowering plan and other inventions. The former seemed simple and good, and I think would stand the test of experience.

We sailed at 4 p.m. after loading oats and flax. The weather was clear, and we had fine views of Dog Island, Ruapuke, and Stewart's Island. Rua-puke is a favourite residence of the Maoris. We passed Stewart's Island pretty close; it is high and mountainous, with still some snow on the higher peaks, and looked weird in the evening light. Before dark we got a distant view of the Solander, a high, solitary rock which makes a good landmark for approaching Foveaux Straits. We passed it at 10 p.m., by which time I was asleep. We had light winds and cold weather with a south-west swell page 268until we sighted Tasmania in five days from the Bluff, averaging about ten knots.

On September 25th we passed Cape Pillar at 9 a.m., a fine bluff of basaltic rocks, which, if in Europe, would be visited by crowds, like Staffa or the Giant's Causeway. Passing onwards we found other outcrops of basaltic columns on the capes, the intervening spaces apparently filled up by sandstones lying horizontally. A conspicuous basaltic headland was Cape Raoul.

Storm Bay, the entrance to the estuary of the Derwent, is very fine. The land gradually slopes in on either hand, and as it narrows, pretty farms and houses become visible. At last the estuary acquires the aspect of a river, and on turning a bend of this, Hobart Town comes into view, well built and beautifully situated on undulating ground. We landed at 2 p.m. and took up our quarters at Webb's Hotel, a very comfortable house. On our way from the wharf we saw the governor's carriage drive up to the Parliament House, and his Excellency with his aide-de-camp alight, and proceed in full uniform to open Parliament. We might have wished to be present at the ceremony, had it not been that a bath and a change of garments were then the chief object of our ambition.

Governor Weld had been known to me for many years as an old and highly-valued New Zealand settler, and we called at Government House in the afternoon, which is a building remarkable for its beauty both of architecture and of situation. It is page 269built upon a promontory of the Derwent, and there are magnificent views both up the valley of that river and southwards towards the sea. The grounds are well laid out and planted, and the fine gardens of the Royal Society of Tasmania are adjoining, and seem to form part of the establishment.

Government House is built of a sandstone found in the vicinity, and many of the principal buildings of Hobart Town are built of the same stone. It seems to stand the weather well, is finer grained than the Sydney sandstone, and belongs to the coal-measures of Tasmania, of triassic age. We walked round the gardens of the Royal Society and found New Zealand trees and shrubs; but as a general rule these did not seem very much to like the locality. Of course, coming from New Zealand, we had reached a totally different botanical kingdom. The vegetation was thoroughly Australian—eucalypti of various kinds, mimosas, casuarinas, &c. The Australian trees seem, when planted in New Zealand, to grow there more vigorously and rapidly than in their native country, whereas New Zealand plants in Australia and Tasmania look as if they suffered from want of moisture. There is also this point to be considered, that New Zealand trees and shrubs generally grow in a dense forest, giving shade and shelter to each other, and do not like to stand apart, open to sun and air.

Mr. Allport, a lawyer of Hobart Town, and a page 270zealous follower of science, soon found out Dr. Hector, and escorted him to various points where fossils were to be found, and where the sandstone rocks and the greenstones and basalts met. The chief point for argument was the age of the Tas-manian coal-seams. A sandstone underlying these contains palæozoic fossils. It had been held that the sandstones of the coal measures were conformable to this formation, and, practically, of the same age. I think I may say that Dr. Hector made out that they were unconformable and of different ages. At the junction of the greenstones with the sandstones the latter did not appear to be altered.

Governor Weld drove us in his four-in-hand to the racecourse at Elwick, perhaps the most beautifully situated course in the world, besides being excellent for racing purposes. The view from the grand stand looks up the valley of the Derwent, and the foreground slopes gently to a lake-like expansion of the estuary. The course is well appointed, with other buildings besides the grand stand. On our return the Governor drove us round to see a fine view near a brewery to the westward in Hobart Town. The brewery itself was built of excellent taste, and with artistic and appropriate ornaments.

Our next excursion with the Governor was to the salmon ponds near New Norfolk. We started early by railway, got out at Bridgewater and drove to New Norfolk and thence to the fish ponds. At page 271New Norfolk I had an opportunity of seeing a specimen of Tasmanian irrigation in the beautiful gardens of Sir Robert Officer. Here the water was brought into the garden by gravitation, and simply led from point to point to saturate the soil. There was no expense in laying off the ground. In other places steam-power was employed to pump the water from the river. The watering seems to be chiefly applied to crops of lucerne, to hops, gardens, and orchards. I was told that irrigation increased the produce of the orchards, but had a bad effect upon the keeping qualities of the fruit.

The valley of the Derwent is narrow, bounded by steep hills rather closely timbered. The hills are poor enough. At New Norfolk there is an expansion of the valley, and a neat town and productive farms. Hop planting seems to be increasing in Tasmania. This country has long been celebrated for its fruit, and we heard of one person who had last season made five hundred tons of jam. The mind is lost in amazement at the quantity. Imagine the number of small children required to consume this amount, and this five hundred tons represents, I suppose, only a portion of the whole produce. At New Norfolk we observed the usual number of churches, for which Tasmania is remarkable. I never saw such a country for churches, at all events, in Protestant regions. Many of them are handsome Gothic buildings in good taste.

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Arrived at the fish ponds, we were introduced to Mr. and Mrs. Read, on whose grounds the ponds are situated. Here there are two remarkable weeping willows, unfortunately in close proximity to the house, so that I fear one or both may have to be sacrificed for the safety of the building. The water for the fish ponds is brought from the river Plenty, a tributary of the Derwent. We saw a good many trout and sea-trout, enticed by small pieces of liver thrown into the ponds. It is strange that the question of the acclimatisation of the salmon should still be a disputed point, although there is no doubt about the trout and sea-trout. It strikes me, however, that salmon can never be of much importance to Tasmania. The rivers are not big enough to give room for any large quantity. The Derwent is, I suppose, the biggest river in the colony, and it would only make a third or fourth class river in New Zealand. I doubt if it brings down much more water than the Hutt near Wellington, certainly not twice as much. New Zealand has also adopted a plan of introducing salmon likely to be far more successful than the Tasmanian experiment: the ova have been brought from California instead of from Europe. The American fish lives and breeds in a much higher temperature than the Scotch salmon; the expense of bringing the ova is much less, indeed is trifling; and the ova arrive in good condition, and almost every egg is hatched out. The elements of success are much stronger. Some people say that the American page 273salmon are inferior to the European, but those who have been in America, and are therefore best able to judge, state that this is not the case. Certainly, in the tinned salmon one cannot observe any difference in taste. We had a pleasant day at the ponds. Among the party were Mr. Allport, Judge Dobson, and Lieutenant-Colonel and Mrs. St. Hill. Colonel St. Hill was for many years in New Zealand. The weather was beautiful, and indeed we found the Tasmanian climate delightful; bright and clear, with, however, sometimes a coldish wind in the afternoon. The climate is less boisterous than that of New Zealand, but not, I should think, so warm as that of Cook's Strait. New Zealand climate is a wide word, however, ranging from that of Portugal to that of England.

The Museum authorities at Hobart Town were liberal to Dr. Hector, giving him what he wanted in the way of exchanges, and every facility for acquiring knowledge of the locality. To the southward we drove as far as the half-way house on the Huon road, passing under Mount Wellington. This mountain is the pride of the denizens of Hobart Town, and every stranger is expected to ascend it; I did not do so, as I was far too weak to make the attempt. It is a table-topped mountain, and appears to be made of columnar basalt and sandstone. It is of considerable elevation, being, I think, about 4000 feet high, but to a traveller from New Zealand, neither its height nor its other features are particularly striking. The road to the page 274Huon is a side-cutting on steep hills, the forest dense, and some of the timber of large dimensions. The country, as far as we went, was poor, and but little brought under cultivation. We saw many beautiful shrubs and flowers, and in the damp gullies were many tree-ferns. The geology of the district was similar to that prevailing round Hobart Town, viz., greenstones and basalts, separated by sandstones, and calcareous sandstones with moderate dip.

On Sunday I attended the Cathedral, a substantial Gothic building of freestone. The service was well conducted, although it did not go beyond the parish church style. I was struck with the comparative number of young females both in church and in the streets, and with the absence of persons of the same age of the male sex. I was informed that most of the young men had left Tasmania to seek their fortune in Victoria and elsewhere. This may, perhaps, account for what struck me as the inferior stamp of the population in general. The men looked to me as a class to be old, undersized, and wanting in intelligence; and it seemed to me that the country wants fresh blood. I may be mistaken in this for want of sufficient time for observation, and of course there were numerous exceptions to the rule, but such was the impression left upon my mind. It is rather hard upon the girls that all the young men should leave the country. Perhaps an immigration from Europe of males only would meet the difficulty of providing mates for the deserted fair ones, and of bringing in fresh blood.

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Tasmania has not hitherto shown itself rich in minerals. The coal is of inferior quality, and the seams are not thick. Gold has been found, but not to any extent. Tin seems more likely. I believe a considerable quantity of this is exported, and there was great talk of the rich deposits at Mount Bischoff. I hope none of the speculators will burn their fingers; I think some of them were in danger of doing so. For a country so long settled, the progress of Tasmania has been small. It is, I think, about the same size as the provincial district of Otago; but the exports, imports, and general advancement of the latter are infinitely greater than those of Tasmania. The wool export of Tasmania is very small; far less than I expected. Either the country must be poor, or it has not been opened up with energy. The valleys appeared to me to be narrow, and the good country of limited extent; anyhow, I am quite sure that very much requires yet to be done to open the country by roads, and to settle industrious farmers on every available spot.

After a pleasant stay of eight days at Hobart Town, we took the train for Launceston at 8 a.m. The Hobart Town and Launceston Railway is the one line of Tasmania, and was only lately completed. The Tasmanians had been very proud of the road between these places, on which the coaches were said to have been got up and horsed in true English style, but the rail had now run the coaches off the road. The railway had been constructed by an English page 276company on the guarantee principle; but it appeared that it was so badly made that it was pronounced dangerous, and the Government refused to meet the guarantee until the line was put in good order. I made some inquiry as to an Accident Insurance Company, but being unable to find one, was obliged to take the risk of the journey. We found that the line was constructed with numerous sharp curves, but while in the carriage could not see anything bearing upon the instability of the line. One thing, however, was patent, viz., that the rolling stock was too heavy for the line, and the wheels and axles not being fitted as "bogies," the frequent curves caused a constant grind, and of course a corresponding tear and wear.

We passed through greenstones and coal sandstones. I do not think I observed any other rocks the whole way to Launceston. After passing the summit level the country opens, and there are fine plains and an open rolling country covered with fine farms. A branch line goes to the westward to Deloraine, said to pass through a finely cultivated district. Altogether, the country on the Launceston side seems richer, more open, and more available than that near Hobart Town. We reached Launceston at 1.45 p.m., and put up at the Brisbane Hotel. Launceston is a pretty, low-lying town at the head of navigation of the estuary of the Tamar. It is embowered in trees, and is the centre and port of a very extensive district. The buildings are mostly of brick, and the general aspect of page 277the place is that of a town on the south coast of England. The public buildings are large and handsome, and the churches, as usual in Tasmania, numerous. Fruit trees and orchards abound, and the place has an appearance of quiet respectability.

We took our passages to Melbourne in a fine and fast steamer called the "Mangana,"—after the native name for a species of sea-bird. We embarked at 9 a.m. on October 2nd, and proceeded down the river-like estuary, for the length of which I was quite unprepared. We anchored at a place called Roseville, twelve miles down, and waited there till 1 p.m. for the English mail, after which we weighed. We did not clear the river and reach the open sea before 4 p.m. The banks of the river are generally low and wooded. We had fine views over the interior country, the high bluffs to the westward showing out well. Apparently the most of the country we were passing through was greenstone or basalt of some kind. The igneous rocks appear to have performed a great part of the play in the formation of Tasmania. From Hobart Town to the mouth of the estuary of the Tamar we saw little else than the igneous rocks and the sand-stones which I have already mentioned. The schists and granites must lie to the east and west of this basin.

Not far from the mouth of the Tamar and on the left bank, we passed large iron works, which we were told had stopped or were about to stop working. There is said to be plenty of rich ore, but page 278it does not pay. A town of some extent called Georgetown lies near the Heads on the right bank. It is, in fact, the outer port. The night was fine, and we enjoyed the view over the north coast of Tasmania and the waters of the inland sea of Bass Strait. There was still an unusual number of planets visible. At 8.30 a.m. next morning we were entering the Heads of Port Phillip. Arrived at Hobson's Bay we observed the Victorian war-ships "Cerberus" and "Nelson." We steamed up the Yarra through smells of the most overpowering kind, arising from fellmongering and bone-crushing establishments; having passed through the ordeal of which, we reached the wharf at Melbourne at noon. Melbourne has a fine metropolitan position. Situated upon gently sloping ground, it looks over the inland sea of Port Phillip, and is so placed geographically as to be the undoubted centre of the colony of which it is the capital—a colony occupying one of the richest parts of Australia. In some respects the Australian capitals have a great advantage over New Zealand in the centralising of their institutions. While all the roads and railways of Victoria converge to Melbourne, and those of New South Wales to Sydney, New Zealand has numerous centres in the capitals of the provincial districts. The consequence is, that instead of one large town in that colony, there are Auckland, Napier, Wellington, New Plymouth, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin, and Invercargill. Put all these towns into one, we should find a city of some 90,000 or 100,000 page 279inhabitants, making a great show, and with institutions on a large scale; but as the matter stands, colleges, schools, hospitals, lunatic asylums, libraries, and so on, are on a comparatively small scale in each place. Possibly the division of force in New Zealand has its advantages in giving a greater variety of life and manners, but in the way of institutions there is a drawback.

I had been in Melbourne for a month in the year 1840, when it was but a small place, and for a few hours in 1858, when it had attained great magnitude, but I was struck with the progress made since then. The vacant spaces were filled up, and there was great expansion in the suburbs.

We put up at Scott's Hotel in Collins Street, an extensive and well-conducted establishment. I was told that they kept two French and two English cooks, and certainly the cookery was extremely good. There is much to be seen in Melbourne, and during our short stay we did not see half that there is to be seen. The public buildings are on a grand scale, and built most solidly of stone, as if meant to last for all time. There are none of the makeshifts of a new country about them. The building materials are granite, greenstone (locally called bluestone), sandstone, and the soft limestone of Oamaru in New Zealand, which seems to be now much used. Probably the facility with which it is worked more than counterbalances the extra for freight. Gothic and Palladian seem to be the chief styles of architecture. Many of the churches are very page 280large and handsome, and Presbyterians, Methodists, and Congregationalists vie with the Anglican and Romish churches in size of building and elegance of Gothic architecture. The Public Library, National Gallery, and Industrial Museum are housed in a splendid building. The Library, in the size and arrangement of the reading-room, and in the number and value of the books, may, I should think, vie with many of the best libraries of the Old World. The National Gallery is in its infancy, but it possesses a good nucleus of pictures and casts of ancient statues, and the Industrial Museum has a fine room and well-selected specimens.

The chief Museum is at the University, a building situated in a fine park. No expense has been spared upon the collection, which is very complete. If I may be allowed a criticism, however, it appeared to me to have the same fault as the Museum at Christchurch, viz., to be more arranged for show than for teaching; a little too much of Barnum perhaps. The new Treasury and Government Buildings are very fine; and the Law Courts, of which the commencement is only now made, will be a magnificent pile of buildings. Perhaps, however, the most distinguishing feature of Melbourne is the numerous and spacious public parks. Several of these lie within the city, are well planted and laid out, and one of them contains a good collection of animals. Pines and cypresses prevail among the planted trees, deciduous trees being comparatively rare. The cupressus macro-page 281carpa is common here, as in New Zealand. In Sydney I found that these trees had all died out. Crossing the river Yarra from Melbourne, we find an enormous Government House in the middle of an extensive park, part of which is laid off for Botanical Gardens. No expense is spared upon these gardens. What with artificial water and islands and exotic trees, they are very beautiful; although, wanting a sea frontage, they are not so well situated as the gardens in Sydney and elsewhere. Government House is an immense pile in an Italian style, I suppose it would be called Palladian. It is dominated by a fine tower, from which an extensive view is obtained. Near it is the Observatory, a most complete establishment, with powerful equatorial and transit instruments (the reflecting telescope is said to be the biggest in the world), and presided over by Mr. Ellery, a distinguished astronomer. Parks extend to the eastward for, I should say, nearly nine miles from Melbourne, and several first-class cricket grounds, with excellent appointments, are among the reserves. Whoever laid off these extensive reserves deserves the greatest credit. I found it difficult to ascertain to whom the honour was due, but I believe that the chief praise should be awarded to Mr. Latrobe, who administered the government before Victoria was finally separated from New South Wales.

On October 6th we went to the Melbourne Hunt races, and here again we saw an establishment thoroughly well appointed. The racecourse is page 282excellent, and the grand stand and other necessary buildings are first-rate. An immense concourse of people was assembled, come mostly by train, but there were many carriages, some of them with four horses. The racing was chiefly hurdle racing and steeple-chasing. It was very good. The fences in the steeple-chases were stiff, and there were some bad falls, but I heard of no one being killed, or of any bones broken. The trains do not run on the main lines of rail on Sundays, but the short suburban lines to St. Kilda, Brighton, &c., are in full play, and convey crowds of passengers to the seaside. From these places, and indeed everywhere round Melbourne, the towers and spires of the city show out well; they appear to have got accidentally well grouped, and produce a very metropolitan aspect.

The institutions in Melbourne in the way of hospitals, lunatic asylums, house for deaf and dumb, &c., are all on the first scale. The Town Hall is a splendid building, and the great room or hall in it contains an enormous organ; I was told it was the biggest in the world. I went there one night to a concert, but was not struck with the performance. It seemed to me that I had heard better singing in the towns of New Zealand; but I am no judge of music, and might be mistaken. We were unfortunate as to theatrical performances while in Melbourne. The theatres are good, and one of them, the Academy of Music, is a perfect gem, but the performances were chiefly the modern opera buffa, in which the performers jump about page 283and sing at the same time, and make grimaces. Once in a way is quite enough to see that sort of thing. There was, however, some good acting at one of the theatres. In a climate such as that of Australia music ought to flourish both indoors and out of doors, but Melbourne retains the marks of its English origin in the rarity of bands of music, or even of hurdy-gurdies. I would rather have them than nothing.

The Governor was Sir George Bowen, who had come from New Zealand to Melbourne. From him and Lady Bowen we received every attention. They always seem glad to welcome old New Zealand friends. On the 10th of October we took the train for Ballaarat. The line passes over a level country, which we found beautifully green (and skirting the shores of Port Phillip, the waters of which are seen at a long distance to the left), arrives at the western head of navigation at Geefong. This is a considerable city, and was formerly ambitious and wished to contend for the palm with Melbourne. It has a more sheltered harbour than the latter place, but unfortunately there is a bar or shallow channel to get through to reach it, and this has proved a fatal obstacle to its greatness. The name of the township, when I was there in 1840, was Corio, or, more properly, Koraio. Why it was changed to the far less euphonious name of Geelong, I cannot say. In 1840, I think, the bay was called Geelong, or shall we say Jilong? The country is rich in the vicinity, and there are many vineyards.

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From Geelong the railway strikes inland to Ballaarat, which we reached in the afternoon. This is the most remarkable inland city of Australia, and has arisen upon the site of the tents and shanties of the gold diggings. It is a handsome, well-built city, of 60,000 inhabitants, with really splendid public buildings. It is substantially built of stone or brick, has a beautiful and extensive park and gardens, and adjoining it an artificial lake, big enough for numerous boats and small steamers to disport on holidays. The chief feature of the city, however, is, that not only are all the streets planted with double rows of trees, but every available spot is so also, so that the town looks like a grove. In the evening we went to the theatre and heard Mrs. Scott Siddons in "Our Boys." On the following morning Dr. Hudson drove us round the city to see the sights. Among other places we visited the Hospital, which was about the best-conducted establishment of the kind I ever saw. The building is large, handsome, and substantial; the ventilation perfect; and the cleanliness could not be exceeded. The view from the tower over a champagne country is very fine. The grounds are well planted and kept in good order, and everything about the establishment is well appointed.

It is said that the palmy days of Ballaarat have departed. The yield of gold has fallen off, and the chief source of wealth has gone. Ballaarat is, however, the centre of a rich and productive district, and may still be a thriving place. There are, I page 285believe, some manufactories there, which I hope will survive the vicious system of protection adopted by Victoria, If fresh products of the soil were encouraged, such as the growth of wine, silk, &c., the industry of the province would be on a safer basis than it now is.

From Ballaarat we went by a cross railway to the great quartz-crushing establishment at Clunes. We passed the watershed near Cresswell, and were then in the basin of the Murray. Mr. Bland, the manager of the Clunes Company, took us over the works. I believe this is the greatest quartz-crushing establishment in the world. I made no memorandum of particulars, but the engine is of great power, the batteries are numerous, and the noise when in the building is overpowering. Mr. Bland seemed quite accustomed to the latter, but I could not hear a word that was said until we emerged into the open air. A tremor of extreme force and tension seemed to pervade the building. An immense quantity of quartz from the surrounding mines is crushed at these batteries, and although much of it only contains a few pennyweights to the ton, the dividends of the Company have been satisfactory. From Clunes we took train to Castlemaine, passing through some rich country with much casuarina, and thence we proceeded to Sandhurst.

The natural vegetation in Australia is said to mark the geological formation, and I have heard that a good deal of the geological mapping of the country is done on this basis. Box-tree marks one formation, stringy page 286bark another, casuarina another, and so on. Box-tree, apple-tree, stringy bark, &c., are merely different forms of eucalyptus.

We found Sandhurst a fine town, with good public buildings, markets, churches, parks, &c., and, like all the Victorian towns, with its streets planted with shade trees. It is, however, inferior to Ballaarat. The country is poorer and more arid, and a larger space has been reduced to a rubbish or "spoil" heap by the gold diggers. This ground will no doubt in course of time form soil again. A good deal of it might be planted with trees to advantage. All these inland towns appear to have good gas and water supply. We took train to Echuca on the Murray, and soon ran from the high ground into the great plain of the big river. A good deal of land was under wheat cultivation, and the crops looked well.

Echuca is a pretty town on the south bank of the Murray, the country a dead level. We walked across a bridge of boats into New South Wales, and found that the breadth of the river was 106 yards. I was shocked to see what used to be a beautiful clear river now converted into a muddy stream, of course by the work of gold-digging and the ploughing of steamers. A fine railway bridge was in course of erection on cylinder piles. Red gum is sawn to a large extent in the district, and is one of the chief branches of industry, being much in demand for piles for wharves and works of a similar kind. I suppose its presence page 287marks "alluvium" as the geological formation. The Ministry proposed to put a duty upon export of it. I am not sure if this measure was carried.

We remained for a night at Echuca, and the following morning took train for Melbourne. We found Castlemaine to be a handsome town. Granite comes in here, and continues for a considerable distance to the southward. At Kyneton there is fine land and good farms. Mount Alexander marks the divide, and is composed of granite. Afterwards our journey was mostly through trap. The Keillor plains are extensive, but bare, and the soil is said to be rather poor. We reached Melbourne in time to go to a grand concert at the City Hall in aid of the Indian Famine Fund. I had thus an opportunity of hearing the big organ, which appeared to be very fine. The rest of the performance did not appear to me to be first-rate. The hall itself is magnificent.

On the following day we went over Government House. I have already mentioned that it is a building of large proportions, and the interior we found arranged on the most ambitious scale. There are two complete suites of apartments, one for public, the other for private service. The public dining-room, ball-room, &c., are on a great scale of magnificence. I also visited the Mint, a very complete establishment, but no coining was then going on.

On October 16th we left Melbourne in the direction of Sydney, and took the train for Beechworth, a mining-town which lies to the right of the main page 288north-east line of railway. The line diverges at Wangaratta, and runs up hill to Beechworth. Some of the gradients are very steep. Beechworth is a considerable town, and as it lies high, the air was cool. As usual the streets were planted, and the public building slarge and costly. The gaol, it appears, cost £120,000, and the lunatic asylum a very large sum. The latter was said to contain but few inmates. We returned to Wangaratta, running down hill at a tremendous pace. This is a pretty, low-lying town on the banks of the Ovens, and at the junction of this stream with the Goulburn. We were informed that a large, quantity of tobacco was grown in the vicinity. After dining at Wangaratta, and receiving much kind attention from the inspector of constabulary, we took the train to Wodonga, the last town of Victoria, situated on the left bank of the Murray; whence we were conveyed in an omnibus to Albury, situated near the right bank of the river, and in the colony of New South Wales. Although it was nearly midnight, we found supper on the table of the Globe Hotel ready for the passengers, and the young ladies of the establishment in attendance. The following day we stayed at Albury. The town and the locality are extremely pretty, situated in a basin of gently sloping hills, and having a resemblance to some scenes near the Rhine. Albury is celebrated for its vineyards. I was told there were about 5000 acres under vines, but I doubt it. The vineyards took their origin in the fact of German colonists having settled at Albury. English page 289colonists might probably be there till doomsday without starting this industry. This fact shows the desirability of encouraging the settlement of colonists from many countries. I am sorry to say that I do not like the Albury wine. It is too strong and luscious to suit my taste, and it has a twang which is not agreeable. When kept longer in the cellar, it may improve. However, many people appear to like it, and it seems to have a ready sale.

Our hotel was a good one, and had a balcony or verandah extending through both storeys, eighteen feet wide. This was also fitted with bamboo screens after the fashion of the tropics. It made a splendid lounge, and was a great relief from the heat of the sun. We had rain, however, in the afternoon.

The great man of the vineyards, he who bought the grapes and made the wine, and had vineyards and cellars of his own, was staying at the hotel, and gave us much information on the subject. Tobacco is also grown hereabouts. I observed a Chinaman carrying a pretty, half-bred child on his shoulder, and was informed that the Celestials readily get wives of European origin; indeed, that the wives of Europeans often ran away to marry Chinese. They, the Chinese, are said to be most devoted husbands, are good-tempered, willing to expend money in dressing their wives, and they never get drunk. There is no accounting for tastes! They seem here, as elsewhere, to take possession of the market-garden business. There are some handsome buildings in Albury, such as the Anglican and the Roman page 290Catholic churches. We walked to the Murray and crossed the bridge into Victoria. The bridge is handsome and strong.

This valley of the Murray is, I think, destined to support a large population, and to turn out a great quantity of produce, but water must be the fertilising force. It will never do to trust to the irregular supply of Nature, and have one year plenty and the next year famine. What may be the best mode of irrigating the district is a question to be solved—whether by irrigating canals from the river, or by Artesian wells. I should suppose that in the soft, flat country, water will always be found by boring, but to what height it will rise requires to be proved.* A man with a well and a few acres of ground might raise an immense produce in this district. The river overflows its banks at times, and the farmer must take account of this, both to guard against losing his crops and for the placing of his homestead.

Albury lies to the eastward of the dead level country of Riverina. The country is still hilly and undulating, and rock, in contradistinction to alluvium, is plentiful. Farther to the westward there are no hills and no hard rock until the high lands of South Australia are reached.

We had arrived at a break in the railway system, and had to travel about 168 miles by coach before we reached the railways of New South Wales.

We might have travelled by night by the Gun-

* It has lately been found that water is met with in Artesian bores at moderate depths. The importance of this discovery is enormous.

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road, but as we wished to see the country, we took the road by Wagga-Wagga. We started at 5.30 a.m. The coach was small, and there were five passengers inside. I was squeezed between two ladies in such a position that I could hardly move hand or foot. Dr. Hector was outside. He got wet and cold; I got stiff and smothered. It was difficult to say which was in the most uncomfortable position. On Dr. Hector remarking to a man that it was a nice rain, he was told it was the first time they had had any for fourteen years! There had been rain enough to make the country look beautifully green. We passed first through vineyards and then over a fine rolling country, but the signs of the long drought were evident enough from the number of skeletons of sheep which were visible on the sides of the road. We heard of stations on which the loss had been as much as 100,000 sheep—a terrible destruction of property, to say nothing of the sufferings of the poor animals. A good deal of land has been enclosed by the free selectors, and the gum-trees ringed; this causes the trees to die, and the pasture consequently improves, the nourishment from the soil formerly given to the gum-tree going to the grass. As we approached Wagga - Wagga, we passed much granite.

I had formed a very poor opinion of Wagga-Wagga from Home views of it given in the "Illustrated London News," showing the former residence and butcher's shopof the "Claimant" to the Tichborne estates and title. I was agreeably surprised to find page 292it a particularly pretty town, well built, with nice gardens, a place of considerable importance and of civilised aspect. The hotel was good, and from the balcony we could hear the local Musical Society performing "Moses in Egypt," which seemed to be well rendered, and when the performance was finished there emerged streams of well-dressed and nice-looking young ladies—so they appeared, at all events, by the light of the street-lamps. Among the chief beauties of Wagga were the masses of cluster roses hanging over the fences. In New South Wales, however, we began to miss the street planting and the general smart order of the Victorian towns. There is not the same energy in New South Wales as in Victoria; the people are what is called more conservative, which seems to mean more sleepy. New South Wales is ahead of Victoria in political economy, a matter settled probably by the influence of a few leading minds, but far behind in energy, an attribute of the mass of the people. However, Victoria is somewhat exceptional in the latter respect, for New South Wales would compare favourably with many other communities. I inquired for the "Claimant's" house, and was told that the old shanty had been pulled down and replaced by a brick building.

We left Wagga at 6 a.m., and crossed the Mur-rumbidgee by a fine bridge, the river casuarina, or oak, as it is absurdly called, appearing as a graceful feature on the banks. As we advanced, the country became gradually more hilly. We passed over page 293granite until we reached Junee, when we came to slates and quartz reefs, and quartz porphyry at Bethunga. We reached Kootamundra at 3.30 p.m., and found there a large rich plain and a busy town. Murrumbura was reached at 8 p.m., after dark; this was then the terminus of the railway, although the line was opened to Kootamundra a few weeks afterwards. We took the railway at 9 p.m., and travelled all night without seeing anything. Up we went by Yass and Gunong and down by Goulburn and Picton. At length the day dawned, and we saw the farms and green fields of Campbeltown. Paramatta was passed, the steeples of Sydney came in sight, and we reached the railway station of the New South Wales capital at 10 a.m.

I was one of the oldest members of the Australian Club, and we proceeded to take up our quarters there. I had not been in Sydney for more than twenty-seven years, so that I appeared as Rip Van Winkle among the members. Not many of my old friends were left. Many had died, many had returned to Europe. The Club itself, however, was thoroughly conservative, and had hardly changed at all. A slight alteration in the smoking-room was all that I found different.

We found Sydney in the midst of a political crisis, which, as far as I could make out, resolved itself into the question of whether Parkes or Robertson was the best man. They both seemed to profess the same principles, and both were knights; so I did not see much to choose between them.

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Robertson was tall and thin and had grey hair, Parkes was tall and stout, and used to have dark hair, if I remember aright. One, I suppose, was a Scotchman, the other an Englishman. To my astonishment one of the members of the Club, who was looking over the electoral roll, informed me that my name was on the roll, and that I was a free and independent elector for Sydnev West. I was also requested to vote. I did not much like interfering; however, I did vote. Who I voted for is hid among the secrets of the ballot. My vote was not of much consequence, because the election went by considerable majorities, making one vote more or less of no consequence. Both knights lost their election, but were afterwards returned for country constituencies.

I found immense changes in Sydney and its environs. In the principal streets small houses had been pulled down and replaced by handsome buildings. Sydney has the very great advantage of an unlimited supply of sandstone belonging to the Australian coal measures. In this respect it resembles Edinburgh. The art of cutting and carving stone is consequently now largely practised, and there is scope for the art of the decorative mason in the ornamental parts of the cathedrals, churches, the Town Hall, the University, the Post-office, as well as the banks, insurance offices, stores, and private buildings of a more pretentious kind. Our first visit was to the Museum, which is a fine page 295building, with a good collection, well arranged for scientific purposes, although not so showy as that in Melbourne. For reasons connected with a previous management, the collection is perhaps not so good as it otherwise might have been. From the Museum we went to the Botanical Gardens, one of the chief beauties of Sydney. I found these gardens to be uncommonly like what they were twenty-seven years before, although they had been enlarged by reclamation of a shallow foreshore and by taking in more ground from the domain. The situation is superb, washed by the shores of the harbour, but the soil is poor and sandy, and must have cost a great deal in making up with earth and manure. The director of the gardens is a man of ability, and a worthy successor to the celebrated botanist, Allan Cunningham. The flora of the gardens is a study, as we find plants of temperate and almost tropical growth growing side by side. Among the rest there were five or six species of dammara, including the New Zealand kauri. Others came from New Caledonia, Fiji, &c. I don't think the New Zealand plants generally look at home in Australian gardens. They grow pretty well, but have not the vigorous look they have in their native country. Probably there is too much light and heat, with too little moisture.

We visited Mr. William M'Leay's museum at Elizabeth Bay, which is a splendid private museum, and of great practical value, and went to the North Shore to see the venerable geologist, the Rev. W. B. page 296Clarke.* Of course he had a long discussion with Dr. Hector on the disputed point of the age of the New South Wales coal, and an afternoon was devoted to an examination of the fossils.

I have no doubt that Dr. Hector will some day give his views as to the age of these coal measures; but I think I may say that New Zealand geology is likely to throw some light on the matter, because some of the fossils depended upon for the argument are found in New Zealand to have a far greater range than was originally supposed.

The number of small steamers plying in Sydney harbour is very great. They are found most convenient for picnics. Mr. William M'Leay invited us to a picnic in one of them, for the double purpose of enjoying the trip and catching fish for Dr. Hector. We started early, but having to remain for some time on the circular quay before breakfast, waiting for the steamer, we were forced to endure the discharge of sewage into the harbour. Bubbles of gas were constantly rising and bursting; the smell was abominable, and the effect produced was headachy. We had a pleasant day in the middle harbour, hauling the seine in the vicinity of Clontarf, where the Duke of Edinburgh was wounded. We did not get many fish, but enough for Dr. Hector's purposes and our own dinner. A considerable township has sprung up at a place called Manly Beach, lying to the north of the quarantine station, and is much frequented for bathing and for sea-air.

* Since dead.

This he has done.

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On Sunday I went to service at the Cathedral. I expected here, as in Melbourne, to have found some approach to a cathedral service, but it was only of the ordinary parish-church type. The building is handsome, but not very large; the architecture is Gothic, and the material Sydney sandstone.

On October 30th I saw a son off by the S.S. "City of Melbourne," to proceed to England by the S.S. "Chimborazo," then at Melbourne, and then I took train to Campbeltown and coach to Wollongong, picking up Dr. Hector at Paramatta Junction. We had intended sleeping at Campbeltown and travelling the rest of the road by daylight, but we found that no conveyance was available, so had to proceed at night, and in consequence could only form an idea of the celebrated view from the plateau over the low country of Illawarra, or of the fine vegetation in descending the pass. After leaving Appin we were astonished with the glare of a very bright light and by the coachman calling out to us to look at the meteor. Being inside the coach and half asleep, we were too late in putting out our heads to see the meteor itself, but the coachman described it as a great globe of fire, and from the strong light given out the size must have been considerable. We reached Wollongong in the dark at 2 a.m., and put up at the "Harp of Erin."

Wollongong is a pretty township, charmingly situated near a small port, where a rocky point has been made the base for a small artificial harbour, well suited for steamers and small craft engaged in page 298the coal trade. The township has none of the stirring elements about it which are characteristic of the Victorian towns, and is, on the contrary, very quiet, with almost an appearance of decay. Our first visit after breakfast was to the port, where we geologised the rocky point, and there found numerous fossils of pachydomus, teeth of fish, &c. I observed that the piles of the port were capped with iron—a good idea, which might be advantageously adopted elsewhere. In company with Mr. Clark of Liverpool Plains we drove to the coal mines at Mount Keera, belonging to the Osborne family. These lie on the slope of the scarp a few miles inland from Wollongong, and the steep part of the descent is managed by a tramway worked by a wire rope, the full trucks pulling up the empty ones. The drive at the mine is in 800 yards, and the seam is six to seven feet thick. The views were very fine—a bright sunny scene, with the Illawarra Lake lying beneath, and a sparkling sea studded with the Five Islands. The country is also nicely broken, and the vegetation far richer in colour than on the plateau, although many of the fine trees and shrubs of the district have been destroyed, and the ground where they grew converted into grass.

On our return to the hotel we found that Dr. Hector's arrival had got wind, and several persons were in attendance to ask his opinion about specimens of coal and shale. One of these had been interested in working petroleum shale in Linlithgow-page 299shire, and I was able to talk to him about the people in that part of Scotland.

In the afternoon we drove to Bulai, passing through a beautiful country—the residence and grounds of Mr. M'Cabe being remarkable for care and neatness. As a specimen of the climate, we observed that gentleman in the midst of his haymakers with an umbrella over his head, not to keep off the rain, but the rays of the sun.

At Bulai we found a jetty for shipping coal run out directly into the ocean and connected by a railway with the coal mines inland. There are not many countries where a wharf of this kind would stand. I am afraid the plan would seldom answer in New Zealand. Dr. Hector and Mr. Clark went up to the coal mines. I was not well, and was obliged to wait for their return. By the following day Dr. Hector and Mr. Clark started to visit a new mine farther to the north. I still felt unwell, and therefore passed the forenoon in getting fossils from the rocks at the port. I smashed the handle of a borrowed hammer in trying to get out a pachydomus, but for all that got some fossils of interest. My friends not turning up at 3 p.m., I started in the "Hunter" steamer for Sydney, getting a good deal of information from some of the passengers as to the position of the gold-mining interest farther south, and of the produce which was shipped for Sydney from the various small ports along the coast. One thing I observed page 300with disgust among the cargo. It was a freight of about fifty wild ducks, and this in the midst of the breeding season—a good example of the laissez aller of New South Wales legislation. In New Zealand this would not have been permitted. The wind was from the northward when we left Wollongong, but a southerly "burster" overtook us off Botany Bay. We passed near the shore, and could study the dip and strike of the coal sandstones, which extend the whole distance.

It is a pretty sight to steam up Sydney harbour in the dark. After passing the lighthouse, the lights on the Sow-and-Pigs are seen, numerous small lights in the style of an illumination, mixed with those of the small steamers rushing about. Great care is required to avoid a collision.

The impressions of the Illawarra district left on my mind are that it is very beautiful, but that much of it has been farmed in a slovenly way and the ground worn out, and that new blood is wanted to introduce a better style of farming. The aspect of the district is semi-tropical, and in striking contrast with the poor plateau above. Dr. Hector was detained at the coal mine and missed returning with me in the steamer. He therefore returned by land, and had an opportunity of seeing the mountain road by daylight. He described the vegetation in the gap as being very rich.

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Our next excursion was to the westward, over the Blue Mountains, and the line of country passed over may be well described by an outline sketch. We left Sydney by train at 8 a.m., the height of the Sydney station being 64 feet above the sea; thence to Emu Plains, the distance is 36 miles, and the height attained in that distance is only 23 feet, the height of Emu Plains being 87 feet. The scarp of the Blue Mountains is now ascended by a zigzag, a splendid engineering work, the gullies being crossed by substantial sandstone bridges or viaducts. I had been told that the working of this part of the line was attended with great expense and wear and tear, but I could not see it, all the extra expense being that of a pointsman to attend the train. The train seemed to work easily up the different inclines, backing and filling, to use a nautical term. Fine views are obtained over the valley of the Hawkesbury and the plains towards Paramatta and Sydney. In a few minutes a height of 766 feet is attained, and in fifty minutes a height of 1216 feet. The ascent is then gradual to the "Weatherboard," where the railway reaches the extreme height of 3494 feet. Another zigzag effects a drop to the westward. Taking the Macquarie Plains as the point where the mountains are fairly cleared, then the length of the mountain road from Emu Plains to the Macquarie Plains is 99 miles. The latter station stands at a height of 2154 feet above the sea, and it must page 302be borne in mind that the country stands at as high or a greater elevation for a long way to the westward—Bathurst at a height of 2153, George's Plains 2260, and Blayney of 2841 feet. The country, however, opens out into gentle sloping vales at Macquarie Plains and loses its mountainous character.

Notwithstanding the considerable elevation which the Blue Mountains attain, they produce but little mountain effect to the eye. This is doubtless caused by the peculiar nature and arrangement of the geological formations of which these mountains are formed. All the eastern side of the range, as far, shall we say, as Rydal station, 111 miles from Sydney and 75 from Emu Plains, is composed of the coal sandstone, generally lying more or less horizontal. The valleys are great areas of denudation, and bounded by scarps of great height or depth at right angles to the stratification. Anything like fine scenery within the mountains is simply a view of these scarps and the valleys beneath. If covered by a rich vegetation, with a good supply of ferns, and perhaps palms, this style of scenery would be very fine; but the soil is poor and the eucalypti which clothe both plateau and valley are dull and uninteresting, and hardly redeem the scene from positive ugliness. At Rydal station the sandstone gives way to granite, which is found all the way to Bathurst and beyond. It is a very pleasant relief, after nearly a hundred miles of mountain travel, to emerge upon the open country at page 303 Macquarie Plains and see country-houses and large fields of wheat. It being a granite country, however, I do not suppose the land can long continue to grow wheat without manure.

We reached Bathurst at 5.3.0 p.m., which I found much improved in the way of buildings. As usual, there was a liberal allowance of fine churches. Bathurst is finely situated on the left bank of the Macquarie, and will probably rise to a very important position. All the produce of the West must pass through it, and besides agricultural and pastoral produce, the country is full of minerals. The advantages of a railway to this district are enormous, and the changes which it will produce must be very striking. I can remember when wheat was 10s. to 12s. a bushel in Sydney and 2s. 6d. at Bathurst, and when, during the drought of 1838-39, freight was £80 per ton from the former to the latter town. This was in the old days of bullock teams, when the bullocks had to find their feed at the camping-places; the feed having disappeared in consequence of the long drought, the teams were worked at the risk of losing all their beasts. Horse carriage was then introduced, which was an improvement, as corn for the horses was carried in the dray, but still freight was very expensive. The railway has changed all that. The New South Wales railways are models of good substantial work. Possibly it might have been better to have constructed them less substantially and with more economy, but on the mountain road good work was essential.

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At Bathurst we slept for a few hours and then took train at 1.40 a.m. for Blayney, which we reached at 3.20. Thence we took the mail-coach to Carcoar, and from there to Mr. Rothery's house, Cliefden. We had left the granite and got among clay slates and quartz porphyries, with plenty of quartz lying about, showing mineral land. Mr. Rothery was an old friend of mine and a large land and sheep owner. Dr. Hector was delighted with this country and its geology. We rode to the old Belubula mine and the banks of the Belubula river, and traced a copper lode for some miles. Large outcrops of limestone are found here, and at one place we came upon a very interesting section containing Devonian fossils. The banks of the Belubula are very pretty, with river oaks growing on them, and here we saw a strong hot spring. I passed a pleasant day or two at Cliefden among old friends, and then Mr. Rothery drove us over to Carcoar to meet the coach. The great feature of this district is the Conobolas range, which lies between Cliefden and Orange. It is a fine bold range, and, I fancy, reaches a height of some 4000 feet. The country here must be a considerable way down on the western slope and much below Bathurst, but I do not know the exact height. The climate was evidently much warmer than that at Bathurst. Strawberries were in season, and very fine. Carcoar is a prettily situated little town, with some handsome churches. It is situated in a hollow, and has some resemblance to Albury, although more shut in by hills. We took the coach to page 305Blayney and slept there, going by train next morning to Sydney. Coal is worked to some extent in the Blue Mountains near Hartley and Bowenfels, and copper ore is taken from the Bathurst country to be smelted there. Shale is also worked to obtain petroleum.

Country-houses are springing up near some of the high stations, and resorted to for change of air from Sydney. This change may be of advantage to those enervated by the climate of the coast, but the situation of these houses looked to me very dismal. Certainly the weather was bad, blowing a gale from the west, and very chilly, and I might have been more favourably impressed in fine weather. If it were a good shooting or fishing country, it would make all the difference; but it is not.

It is wonderful how little has been done in the way of the acclimatisation of animals in Australia. Victoria has done the most, and has, I believe, plenty of hares and a good many deer, to say nothing of myriads of rabbits and millions of sparrows. I heard that one proprietor had spent £40,000 in putting down the rabbit nuisance. It seems an incredible sum for such a purpose.

Australia, however, seems to have no pheasants or partridges, whereas the former swarm in many parts of New Zealand, and the latter are getting ahead. The cover being so short in Australia, birds which breed on the ground may be unable to defend their nests from snakes, native cats, &c.; although the Australian quail and other native birds get on very page 306well, and therefore this argument may be of no weight. New South Wales seems to have taken no trouble in the way of acclimatisation, and has no Bird Protection Act. The people in that colony have got into the habit of expecting the Government to do everything for them, and, in consequence, do little for themselves.

After returning to Sydney I visited Mr. Blox-some's house on the North Shore, to renew my acquaintance with a spirited fresco drawing by Mr. Brierly, the well-known marine painter, executed with charcoal and white chalk on the wall of Mr. Bloxsome's dining-room. The subject is H.M.S. "Rattlesnake" caught in a squall off the island of Timor, where she had been surveying. The rendering of the ship shortening sail, the sea-birds, the curl of the waves, and the rain squall passing over the high land of Timor in the background, are all admirable. The work was executed about the year 1850, and has stood well on the plaster.

I dined with a gentleman on Sunday in Elizabeth Bay, in a house overlooking the harbour, and saw how the Sydney youth amuse themselves, and how well they handle their boats. The sons of the host started for a sail after early dinner, ran down past the "Sow and Pigs," and beat back again. They managed the boat to perfection. I may say hundreds of boats were disporting in the harbour.

Dr. Hector set off for Newcastle, to visit the coal mines in the district, and examine certain fossili-page 307ferous sections which were supposed to prove the age of the coal. I had some business to attend to in Sydney, and was unable to go with him, which I much regretted.

At length the time for our departure came. We embarked in the fine steamer "Wakatipu" at 2 p.m. on November 16, left the wharf at 3 p.m., passed the "Sow and Pigs," passed the North Head, and emerged into the ocean. After dark the most vivid lightning appeared to the southward, and we expected a storm, but it did not come. We had not very favourable weather, but we made the passage to the wharf at Wellington in exactly five days, not allowing for difference of time. The "Wakatipu" is a wonderfully steady boat, and she was deeply laden with coal. We found what is quite sufficient to account for a great difference of climate between Australia and New Zealand: from Sydney, for perhaps two-thirds of the way down, the temperature of the sea was about 74°; but it suddenly dropped to about 54 on approaching New Zealand, thus showing the presence of an equatorial current on the Australian, and of a polar current on the New Zealand coast.

I was not sorry to get back to New Zealand. The Australian climate is pleasant for a short time and for a change from that of New Zealand, but for a continuance the latter is far preferable, notwithstanding the storms, which are frequent. There is a freshness in the air of New Zealand over that of Australia, although for a warm climate Australia page 308has a decidedly fresh air also. I returned to New Zealand with my health quite restored, which I attribute not only to the change of air and scene, but to a liberal consumption of oranges. I commend this practical remark to the doctors.

There is among Australians a remarkable ignorance of New Zealand, almost equal to that which the French display of England. Of course many Australians have been in New Zealand, and know all about it, but to the general mind it is a small colony of no great importance. One is often asked about its kangaroos and gum-trees. Any New Zealand boy would know that Australia was the sole home of kangaroos and gum-trees. An intelligent lad was a fellow-passenger from Sydney. He asked me, "Have you any box-tree gums in New Zealand?" I said, "No." "Any apple-tree gums?" "No;" and so on. He then said, "What have you got there?" I replied, "Rimu, kahikatea, totara, matai, kauri" &c. He said, "That will do!"

There is not an inkling of the idea that in another ten or twenty years New Zealand will be ahead, not of Australia, for that is a very large country, but of any single colony of Australia, such as Victoria.