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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 6

Queensland Timber

page 12

Queensland Timber.

The species of timber trees of New South Wales far exceed in number those of Victoria, while again those of Queensland surpass considerably the number of the trees of New South Wales. The wood collection formed in Queensland represents but a small share of the species obtainable from the rich vegetation of its wide colonial territory, and the specimens submitted to the jurors are again but a portion of the series originally transmitted; but as of many no duplicates were extant, the withdrawal of a full collection from the Victorian Exhibition for timely shipment to Paris left many species unrepresented; the jurors, therefore, can refer now only to such woods as are left. These consist of two principal collections, one formed by Walter Hill, Esq., on behalf of the Royal Commission of Brisbane, in the vicinity of that city; the other by A. Thozet, Esq., on behalf of the Local Exhibition Committee of Rock-hampton. The one collection presents, therefore, the southern species, the other the more northern kinds of woods. Some specimens of timber not occurring at either place have been contributed by Dr. Mueller, and these represent trees from Cooper's Creek and the Paroo, and others from the vicinity of Rockingham's Bay, in the far north. The collection is phyto-graphically named, with the exception of a small share of specimens of which no corresponding objects for botanical reference were available. The majority of woods represent jungle plants, and they are all in a certain measure indicative of the climate of the corresponding districts. They are, in the majority of cases, allied to those of trees which we are accustomed to see in the moist tropical jungles of India. These trees, while so manifold in variety, can thus likewise be applied to purposes equally manifold; but they are generally not so gregarious as many of our southern timber-trees. In the jungle, none ever predominantly constitutes the main bulk of the forest; and what in the more northern part of Australia is gained by the superb magnificence and extraordinary diversity of the trees, is recompensed in the south by the extreme copiousness of few species. Yet these also can be drawn into very many important uses, and by their vast preponderance afford great facilities for supplying material to factories on a most extensive scale. This observation to a certain extent holds good also to the open, and especially more interior parts of East Australia (whether Queensland or New South Wales), where from the rises of the coast ranges, westward chiefly, a monotony of tree-vegetation of eucalyptus, and in lesser degree of acacia, re-occurs. Many of the East Australian jungle-trees have been only of late drawn within the precincts of science—some even only on this occasion. On systematically scientific names sole reliance has therefore been placed; and it is to be hoped that, should ever special vernacular names be bestowed on these woods, the selection of appellations will be made with such care as will guard against any further extension of that ambiguity and confusion which renders true discrimination of the various Australian woods already, in most instances, by popular language an impossibility.