Australasian Democracy Part 10

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(5) A large proportion of the workmen of Australasia are convinced believers in Protection in the widest sense of the word. As far as their opinion can be ascertained from the representation of Labour in Parliament, it is unanimous in Victoria, South Australia, and New Zealand. In New South Wales, as has been seen, the Labour Members have, for the sake of solidarity, sunk the fiscal issue; but the majority are Protectionists, and have proposed that the question of the tariff should be settled for a fixed period by a plebiscite. Thereby they believe that they will secure Protection and continue to be unfettered in their support of the more advanced party. In Queensland, also, the Labour programme states that the fiscal issue is not to be regarded as a party question.

Protection, the Labour Members admit, raises prices to the consumer; but they contend that, if prices are high, employers can afford to pay high {293} wages, and that the strength of Trades Unionism should be sufficient to enforce them. To put their argument, such as it is, in a nutsh.e.l.l, it is better to have high prices and high wages than low prices combined with low wages and uncertain employment. Then, as combination is expected to keep wages at a high point, it is obvious that it can be exercised most effectually over a small area, and we find the South Australian Labour Members voting against a resolution in favour of inter-provincial Free Trade, and Labour Members generally imbued with an actual, if not avowed, opposition to Federation, the first result of which would, it is believed, be the removal of fiscal barriers. They profess, indeed, a desire for Federation on a democratic basis, but are, as far as their material interests are concerned, under the influence of a patriotism which is intensely provincial and does not take account of national, much less of imperial, considerations.

If he lives under a protective tariff, the workman asks himself of what use is it to exclude the products of cheap labour if the cheap labourer be allowed to enter the country and compete with him on the spot. The agitation against Asiatic immigrants has, I am prepared to admit, a wider basis, and rests largely upon physical repugnance and the fear that they might enter in such large numbers as to swamp the white population. To that extent it appeals to the Free Traders of New South Wales, who have not been backward in their support of anti-Chinese {294} legislation, and meets with the general support of Australians, as was shown by the unanimity with which the Premiers, a.s.sembled in Conference early in 1896, decided against partic.i.p.ation in the Anglo-j.a.panese treaty and in favour of the extension to other coloured races of the restrictions placed upon the influx of the Chinese. But, from the point of view of the working cla.s.ses, antipathy is felt, princ.i.p.ally, towards compet.i.tors who have a lower standard of comfort, and the difficulties placed in the way of Imperial statesmanship are persistently ignored.

Thence, by an easy transition of thought, the objection is extended to all labourers whose compet.i.tion, through the stress of necessity, may tend to reduce wages. The indigent Italian or German is equally undesirable, as are indigent Englishmen, who alone, among Europeans, are likely to arrive in large numbers. Some of them, it is known, have been a.s.sisted to emigrate, by philanthropic agencies or otherwise, because they were unable to earn a livelihood at home. South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, and New Zealand seek to exclude paupers by the provision that the owner or master of a ship bringing persons who are likely to become a charge upon the public or any charitable inst.i.tution, may be called upon to execute a bond to pay all expenses incurred within five years for the maintenance or support of such persons. But the workman reserves his strongest condemnation for the proposal {295} that he should be compelled to contribute, through taxation or Custom duties, to State-aided immigration, which increases the number of his compet.i.tors. Herein is seen the cloven foot of the capitalist, which must be concealed, except in Queensland, where capital and labour are in open antagonism and the former is at present in the ascendant.

The ultimate development of protective ideas is found in the annual tax levied on foreign commercial travellers in New Zealand and in the desire to subject immigrants to physical as well as pecuniary and racial tests. In New Zealand the Undesirable Immigrants Exclusion Bill, and the equally unsuccessful Public Health Bill of 1896, forbade masters of ships, under a heavy penalty, to introduce persons who are consumptive into the Provinces. Consumption, it is known, has proved deadly to the Maoris, and, to an even greater extent, to half-castes.

It is not my intention to discuss the wisdom of the measures by which Australians seek to keep out Asiatics, indigent Europeans, criminals, and persons in ill-health. The Imperial Government, of course, can have no objection to the imposition of pecuniary disqualifications which, being of general application, do not conflict with treaty obligations, though the policy is diametrically opposed to that which has prevailed hitherto in England. I merely wish to point out the strength of Australasian opposition to unrestricted compet.i.tion, and to express {296} considerable sympathy with workmen who, having seen, or having learnt from their parents, how much misery and pauperism are to be found in older countries, are inhospitable to strangers and will do all in their power to prevent a fall to a similar level. Many of them have noted the existence of dest.i.tution in Sydney and Melbourne, and dread the operation of any cause which would be likely to intensify it.

It cannot be denied that, as England is the princ.i.p.al compet.i.tor with native manufactures, and the only European country from which immigration on a large scale is likely to arise, some of the working men entertain a feeling of hostility towards the Mother Country.

Ill-feeling is also promoted by the condition of financial dependence.

Australians are inclined to complain, however unreasonably, that, had it not been for the temptations to which they were exposed by British capitalists, their Provinces could not have incurred the extravagant expenditure under which they are suffering and must continue to suffer.

Australia, it has been said, owes to England merely the grat.i.tude of the poor man toward his p.a.w.nbroker. I should not have mentioned the existence of these views, which are confined to a small section of the community, were it not that they seem ominous for the future, when we remember the princ.i.p.al cause of the estrangement between the Eastern and Western States of America. In spite of inquiries and {297} observation, I have been unable to form an opinion as to the general att.i.tude, which is being modified year by year by the increase in the proportion of native-born Australians. At one extreme of the social scale are those who bask in the sunshine of t.i.tled vice-royalty, at the other those in whom the continual struggle for existence precludes the possibility of national, not to mention Imperial, ideals. The large intermediate cla.s.ses, which will control the future, appear to be animated by great sympathy with the English people. I am led to believe that the boisterous loyalty of the past has been replaced by a deeper feeling of kinship, which was displayed in marked fashion on the occasion of the German Emperor's telegram after the Transvaal raid. On the other hand, the growing independence of a young nation and the sentimental, but none the less real, objection to the term "Colonial,"

which is regarded as a mark of inferiority, have convinced some Imperialistic Australians that the shortest road to Federation lies through separation. Others, I have been surprised to note, do not consider that permanence of friendly relations necessarily implies continuance under one flag. Englishmen will be disappointed to learn that there is little general appreciation, especially among native-born Australians, of the benefits accruing from the protection of the British fleet. Never having known the horrors of war and removed from the area of great armaments, they are not aware of the dangers {298} against which they are guarded. In fact, many of them grudge the "contributions without representation" that are given towards the maintenance of the Australian squadron. In foreign politics Australians are strongly Imperialistic, and will respect Great Britain as long as she maintains the dignity of her position. In domestic affairs they resent the interference of the Colonial Office, rarely though it be exercised, and do not take sufficient account of international difficulties. They are satisfied, moreover, with existing conditions, and do not manifest any desire for closer union with Great Britain at present, though any proposals emanating from the Imperial Government will be received with respectful attention and may meet with theoretical approval; and, while the recent Presidential election in the United States convinced them of the disadvantages of Republican inst.i.tutions, they are prepared to wait upon the natural evolution of events, and believe that, in the meanwhile, we should strive, through the press, travel, and otherwise, to become better acquainted with each other's ideas and aspirations, and to correct many of the wrong impressions which prevail both in Australia and Great Britain. This policy is not heroic but practical, especially if it could be accompanied by a greater identification of Australia with the Empire. If a few hundred Australians could be recruited, in spite of the lowness of the pay, for service in the Army and Navy, they would, I am convinced, upon {299} their return, do much to broaden the minds of their countrymen. Australia and New Zealand, it must be remembered, are isolated from the rest of the world. Again, some of the vacancies in the Indian Civil Service might be filled by examinations held in Australia simultaneously with those in England. These suggestions, which could be amplified and extended by men of greater experience, may be regarded as trivial and unimportant, but I am confident that they indicate the direction in which Englishmen can most effectually seek to retain the affections of their Australasian kinsfolk. The problems of Australian Federation will tax all the resources of statesmanship, and must, in my opinion, be solved before there can be any profitable discussion of modified and closer relations with the Mother Country.

It seems to me that the Victorian or Queenslander must realise that he is an Australian before he can be expected to appreciate the meaning of the words, "Civis Britannicus Sum."

The subject of Australian Federation has been discussed at length in a preceding chapter. I need only point out that politicians are bound to recognise three lines of severance: the artificial boundaries between one Province and another, the diversity of opinions engendered by differences of climate, as exemplified princ.i.p.ally in the att.i.tude in regard to Polynesian labour, and the divergence of development between the denizens of towns and {300} the more settled areas and those who are struggling against the inclemencies of nature in the back country.

I felt, and others have chronicled a similar impression, that I had entered into a different country when I travelled in the Western Downs of Queensland. I found myself, if I may generalise from a limited experience of shearers, among a cla.s.s of men who are thoroughly honest but absolutely narrow-minded and interested only in matters which concern their means of livelihood. They form their opinions from an advanced organ of labour, which is their princ.i.p.al, if not only, literature, and even such of them as are emigrants from Great Britain have little knowledge of the leading events of recent years.

The urban population, of course, is in a different position, and is kept by the newspapers in touch with local and Imperial affairs. Apart from the causes of the aggregation of large centres which have been discussed in the opening pages of this chapter, and may be supplemented by the observations of Sir Charles Dilke,[12] it may be noted, as a subsidiary influence, that a high standard of comfort makes people unwilling to face the hardship of the bush, that squatters are inclined to place their sons in urban professions, and that education turns out clerks rather than manual labourers. But the dwellers in towns are, on the whole, comfortably situated; even Melbourne and Sydney do not {301} show an average of more than 2.73 and 4.87 persons to the acre; but these figures include the suburbs, and must be amended if the metropolis proper is solely regarded.

But, in spite of this consideration, the working cla.s.ses of Australasia have little to complain of. Dest.i.tution exists, as is inevitable under present conditions, but many workers, especially in Victoria, are owners of their homes, and all the younger men have had the benefit of a general system of national education and of the favourable situation of their cla.s.s. This is due partly to the position attained, and not subsequently lost, when the rush of men to the goldfields produced a scarcity of labour; partly to the fact which has already been noted, that the men who emigrated from Great Britain were imbued with the spirit which qualified them to a.s.sert themselves. Hitherto they have not proved themselves unworthy of their nationality. They are uniformly courteous, in my experience, to those who are civil to them, and do not expect the servility of older countries, and are the most law-abiding people in the world. On a Sat.u.r.day night in Coolgardie I found things to be as quiet as in a small country town in England. The larrikinism of Melbourne and Sydney has been much exaggerated, and does not extend beyond the capitals; in the former city, at the annual festival which marks the recurrence of the Melbourne Cup, the behaviour of the crowd is such {302} as would be a credit to any country. But Australians and New Zealanders, as any visitor cannot but note, take their pleasures sadly, and have transplanted the seriousness of a Northern land to a climate which should lend itself to merriment and laughter. How far their character has been modified I am not prepared to say: on the one hand, employment is not subject to seasonal interruptions; on the other, the pressure of cold upon industry is entirely wanting. The climate has, however, in spite of the denunciations of the Prohibitionists, undoubtedly conduced to temperate habits. Time after time did I notice, during my travels, that all the company were drinking tea, and I have been a.s.sured that shearers and other labourers no longer waste their earnings upon drink. The temperance of the younger generation has also been promoted by the spread of education and by the love of athletics; which necessitates physical soundness. Speaking generally and responsibly, the working cla.s.ses, which form the backbone of every country, though they pay high rent, earn high wages, and, as they do not pay high prices for their food or clothing, are enabled to become self-respecting members of a self-respecting community.

[1] August 8, 1896.

[2] 1893, vol. ii. pp. 456, 457.

[3] July 25, 1896.

[4] "A Statistical Account of the Seven Colonies of Australasia, 1895-6," by T. A. Coghlan, p. 345.

[5] _Ibid._, p. 359.

[6] "A Statistical Account of the Seven Colonies of Australasia, 1895-6," p. 357.

[7] Victorian Year Book, 1894, p. 648.

[8] Parliamentary Debates of New Zealand, vol. 96, p. 901.

[9] _New Zealand Times_, January I, 1897.

[10] _Australasian Review of Reviews_, September, 1896.

[11] _Australasian Review of Reviews_, August 20, 1894.

[12] "Problems of Greater Britain," vol. ii. pp. 246-8.




I sailed from Ma.r.s.eilles for Australia by one of the large steamers of the Messageries Maritimes Company. Among my fellow travellers was a mining expert, bound for the Western Australian goldfields, who proposed that I should accompany him, and said that, as he knew the leading people on the fields, he would be able to render my trip agreeable. I gladly accepted his offer, and have since had cause to consider that I was most fortunate, as I believe that some such introduction as mine is indispensable.

The large mail steamers all touch Western Australia at Albany, distant 340 miles from Perth and 570 miles from Coolgardie. The Government are carrying out very extensive harbour works at Fremantle, the port of Perth, in the hope of inducing the mail steamers to call there, and they believe that, when a railway line has been constructed between {304} Perth and Adelaide, a line which must eventually be built, though perhaps not for many years, Fremantle will become a place of great importance, as, beyond being the shipping port for the produce of the Coolgardie goldfields, it will be the point of arrival and departure of the mails between Great Britain and all the Australian Provinces.

We reached Albany, which is 200 miles further from Coolgardie than Fremantle, late in the evening, and, having missed by a few hours the direct train which runs three times a week to Perth, we spent the night at a third-rate hotel, unable to sleep owing to the attacks of the mosquitoes, and left by train the next morning after a breakfast consisting of coa.r.s.e meat and impossible eggs. We soon lost sight of the bay of Albany, and, plunging into the bush, travelled through it the whole day. The heat was overpowering, as we were still almost at the height of summer. In the afternoon a stranger came into the compartment and enlivened us with anecdotes of his experiences at an outlying station. In several stories he referred to actions which showed him to have behaved in the most ruthlessly cruel manner towards the aborigines. To quote one among many: A young native servant in his employment came to believe that, owing to some unintentional contravention of the religious observances of his people, he was doomed to die within three days; so he lay on his back and refused to take food. As he was a good workman, {305} his master first tried to induce him to rise, then thrashed him with all his might, and afterwards had him dragged along the ground by his hair until he was so exhausted that he came unconscious. It is needless to add that, on his recovery, the man had been cured of his obstinacy. Such conduct, I am convinced, is most exceptional. All the Australasian Governments are actuated by a sincere desire to protect the aborigines, as are the vast majority of the inhabitants. But, as long as many districts are spa.r.s.ely settled, isolated cases of barbarous cruelty must continue to occur.

After thirteen hours of travel we reached Beverley, where we were obliged to spend the night, and again suffered from bad accommodation, indifferent food, and mosquitoes. A journey of five hours on the following morning took us to Perth, where we proposed to spend a few days. My companion noticed a great difference in the appearance of the town; a few years ago, he told me, it was lifeless and dull, strangers rarely arrived, trade was stagnant, and the whole place wore an air of listlessness. The rapid change must be put down entirely to the success of the goldfields, even allowing full credit to the Government for their efforts to develop all the resources of the country. The population of the Province has doubled during the last five years; the population of Perth has more than doubled, and large business firms have established branches there. But great though its progress has been, it is hard to {306} realise that this place, which is not larger than an English country town, is the capital and seat of government of a Province of nearly a million square miles, which possesses 1,200 miles of railway and goldfields of enormous extent, which seem likely to take rank among the most productive of the world. Perth is picturesquely situated on the Swan River, and should increase largely beyond its present dimensions. Handsome brick buildings alternate even in the princ.i.p.al thoroughfares with miserable shanties which are bound soon to disappear. In the evening the streets present a scene of great animation, as hundreds of people may be seen walking up and down, eagerly discussing the mining news, which always presents some feature of interest. Men gather together in small groups, whispering weighty secrets which may or may not be intended for the benefit of their hearers, for in Perth, as elsewhere, we hear that large fortunes have been made through the credulity and folly of the too eager investor.

At Perth I made several purchases, all of which were of use to me: a pair of dark blue spectacles with perforated sides, as a protection against the dust and sun, a fly-net and a water-bag. The latter, made of canvas, in order that its contents may be cooled by evaporation, is carried by all travellers who distrust the quality of the water which they are likely to obtain at wayside stations.

At the time of my visit to the goldfields, the {307} railway terminated at Bullabulling, some eighteen miles from Coolgardie. The journey from Perth to Coolgardie was a matter of twenty-eight hours. Leaving in the afternoon, we arrived the next morning at Southern Cross, the centre of a mining district which has been eclipsed by those further east. We had breakfast at an unpretentious little hotel, the landlady of which harrowed us by accounts of the amount of typhoid fever prevalent in the place. Her own servant was ill, several deaths had recently occurred, and she had heard the undertaker in the early morning again at work upon a coffin. We continued our journey by the contractor's train, covering one hundred miles in seven hours and pa.s.sing through scenery which became terribly wearisome from its dreary monotony. So far we had travelled comfortably enough, but the last eighteen miles by coach were more tiring than the whole of the rest of the journey. The road was inches deep in dust and full of holes, and we ploughed our way along it at the rate of five miles an hour, a pace which was not maintained when darkness set in and the driver could no longer pick his way in the best track, but continually jolted us in the deep ruts and b.u.mped the coach against tree stumps. Upon our arrival at Coolgardie, we found a difficulty in obtaining rooms; at the princ.i.p.al hotel no accommodation of any kind was to be had; at another all the rooms were occupied, but we were offered a shake-down which we thought {308} it wise to accept. We learnt the next day that twenty-three extra beds had been made up, in the drawing-room, on the balcony, in fact at every available spot, and that the rush had continued for more than a year.

The following morning I looked out upon a sandy track which represents the main street of Coolgardie. It was already a scene of some animation; camels, driven by Afghans, were carrying their heavy burdens in and out of the town; aborigines, with their wives and children, in all their degraded ugliness, were pa.s.sing to and fro; and bustling merchants and clerks were hurrying past on bicycles to their various occupations. The houses of Coolgardie are built of a framework of wood, covered with a sheeting of galvanised iron. The town is entirely dependent for all its supplies on the outside world, as the country, within a radius of at least one hundred miles, will produce food for neither man nor beast. The question of water supply, even for domestic purposes, was until recently a great difficulty; but several fresh water wells have been sunk which, together with the output of numerous condensers, give an ample supply for the town. The rainfall is very small, and too irregular to be depended upon. The sky is often overcast for weeks and rain threatens daily, but the clouds gradually disperse and leave the land as parched as before.

Strolling out of the town we found ourselves {309} on the outskirts of a mining district. As far as the eye could see, the country was studded with tents, mining shafts, and condensers, and the soil was everywhere raised in irregular heaps. For miles around every sod of earth has been turned over and put through a blower in the search for the alluvial gold which has been found there in great quant.i.ties. We came upon an old man who said that the land upon which he was working had not been thoroughly sifted, and showed us a few grains of gold which he had obtained as the result of his labours. A little further on we came to some mines, and my companion pointed out and explained to me the machinery by which the gold is separated from the stone. A return of an ounce of gold to a ton of quartz is, speaking generally, regarded as satisfactory, but many other factors have to be weighed in the consideration of the question whether a mine is likely to repay the outlay upon it, such as the width and probable extent of the reef, and the possibility of obtaining an adequate amount of water for working the machinery. I gathered that there could be no doubt as to the richness of the reefs on several of the goldfields of Western Australia, but that, on most of them, the great difficulty has been, and still is, the inadequacy of the water supply.

We did not remain long at Coolgardie, but continued our journey to Kalgoorlie, a small township twenty-four miles from Coolgardie and {310} the centre of the field where my companion had to do most of his work as a mining expert. We travelled by coach in the early morning and had a further experience of the discomforts of a rough and heavy track. Kalgoorlie was a repet.i.tion of Coolgardie, on a smaller scale.

Both are the creation of the last few years and must not be judged by too high a standard. The town authorities have done their best to procure good sanitary conditions and have been aided by the Government, who give, as a subsidy to munic.i.p.alities, one pound for every pound raised from general rates, and have also a.s.sisted them in the erection and maintenance of hospitals; but the lack of funds has r.e.t.a.r.ded improvements which the authorities have been anxious to carry out. We arrived at Kalgoorlie on a Sunday, and noticed that the inhabitants, most of whom are adults, bachelors or married men separated from their wives and families, were loitering about with every appearance of utter boredom.

From the town we walked to one of the neighbouring camps where my companion had acquaintances. These camps offer a much pleasanter life than that in the towns. Each forms in itself a small settlement of large canvas tents fitted up by the residents, who have a common mess and every opportunity of leading a sociable life. At the camp which we visited we found several of the men disporting themselves in hammocks in an arbour made of {311} closely plaited branches of trees, which kept off the heat of the sun and admitted a cool current of air. In the course of conversation it was arranged that we should visit several of the mines on the following day.

In the morning we visited a mine upon which little had, so far, been done. We were placed at the top of the shaft in a small cage, by which we were let down to a depth of a hundred feet. Then we were led along a labyrinth of pa.s.sages from which my companions gathered the direction and extent of the reef, and we were shown various points at which the gold, which was of a coa.r.s.e character, could clearly be seen in the stone. In the afternoon we visited another mine which was of more interest to me. A shaft had been sunk to a depth of two hundred feet, at which level water had been struck, and the miners were busily at work. Again we were let down in a cage, and wandered through seemingly endless pa.s.sages, which reminded me, in my ignorance, of parts of the catacombs at Rome, as nothing appeared to the unsophisticated eye but the bare rock. The gold was very fine, and only visible to us when the foreman struck off a flake and pointed it out to us glistening in minute particles in the quartz. He told me that ordinary miners earned 3 10s. a week, those working in the water at the low level 4, but that they could not live on less than 2, and, even so, only in the roughest way. The life is, however, not an unhealthy one, {312} as the mines are, to judge from those that I visited, well ventilated. The mine and other surrounding properties have created a thriving settlement; well-built offices have been erected, hundreds of men are employed, and the ear is continually greeted by the din of machinery.

In the evening we returned to Kalgoorlie and heard, near our hotel, a service held by the Salvation Army in the centre of the street. A large group of loungers stood around, moved neither to ribaldry nor attention, but apparently listening in complete indifference to the pa.s.sionate pleadings of the preachers. Some yards away a mining agent was doing a brisk business in shares.

A few days later I retraced my steps to Coolgardie, and thence to Perth. On the homeward journey I had experiences of much discomfort.

On the coach between Coolgardie and Bullabulling, I managed, as on the previous occasion, by a private arrangement with the driver, to secure the box-seat, in order to be at an elevation from the dust. But the wind was behind us, and we were soon enveloped in such a cloud of dust that it was often impossible to see the leaders, and, as there is no rule of the road, we had narrow escapes of colliding with teams travelling in the opposite direction. Upon our arrival at Bullabulling, we found that the contractor's train contained only one pa.s.senger carriage, which was already crowded; so several of us climbed on an open luggage truck and made ourselves tolerably {313} comfortable, though we suffered from the blazing heat of the mid-day sun. My neighbour was a man who had had a most varied career. In his youth he had managed a small hosiery shop in an English Midland town; then, as his health was bad, he had emigrated to Victoria, where he had unsuccessfully carried on grazing operations. He had been attracted to Western Australia by the discoveries of gold, and had bought a waggon and team of horses, with which he had carried goods between Southern Cross and Coolgardie before the construction of the railway. He told me that the life had been very hard, and pointed out to me portions of the road which were so heavy that a progress of ten miles was regarded as a satisfactory day's work. He was then on his way to revisit the "old country," after an absence of five years. At Southern Cross we changed into the Government train, and I travelled through the night in a compartment with four others, two of whom were ill, one of them suffering from some form of ophthalmia which caused him excruciating pain and kept him the whole time awake. None of us obtained much sleep, and we were glad to reach Perth early next morning.

Thus ended my trip to the goldfields, upon which I look back with considerable satisfaction in spite of the obvious discomforts which it entailed. I found that all with whom I came in contact in Western Australia, and, I might add, in Australasia, whether they were custom-house officials, railway employes, {314} hotel proprietors or servants, had done their best to be obliging. Of the kindly hospitality of all whom I met on the goldfields I cannot speak in sufficiently high terms. They were uniformly straightforward, generous, energetic men, who gave me the impression of a good moral standard. I do not speak of the adventurers who congregate in any place where money can be made rapidly by unscrupulous methods, but of the managers, foremen and others, who are directly engaged in the development of the mines. The great curse of the mining districts, and also, to some extent, of Perth, is the absence of sufficient means of recreation. This state of things may be inevitable in the case of towns of very recent growth, but its result is, that men who have worked all day, requiring some form of diversion, find it in drink.

But, in spite of the large consumption of liquor, drunkenness is rare and rowdiness almost unknown. At Coolgardie on a Sat.u.r.day evening the streets were perfectly quiet; beyond some discordant strains of music, scarcely a sound was to be heard. In spite of one or two recent burglaries, life and property are scarcely less safe than in England.

A bank manager who travelled with me from Kalgoorlie told me that, in starting a new branch of his bank at an outlying township, he had been obliged at first to live in, and keep his money in, a tent, but that on no occasion had he been menaced by the slightest attempt at robbery. I shall long remember {315} the sight of townships which have sprung up where a few years ago was nothing but bush, and promise to become the scene of great industrial activity, and my intercourse with some of the pioneers of the mining movement, men who have penetrated hundreds of miles into the interior of the country, have endured for years the terrible hardships of life in the bush, and have, by their untiring exertions, seconded by the influx of capital following upon their success, done much to raise Western Australia to a prominent position among the Provinces of the Southern Hemisphere.

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Australasian Democracy Part 10 summary

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