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Of the Colony of New South Wales.

There is no country in which labour appears to be more required to render it available to, and habitable


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by, civilised men, than New South Wales or Australia. Without labour, the inhabitants must be savages, or, at least, such helpless people as we find the aborigines. The squatters' condition is intermediate, temporary, and one of necessity. That country without navigable rivers, intersected by rocky ranges, and subject to uncertain seasons, is unfavourable to agriculture and trade; to social intercourse, and to the moral and physical prosperity of civilised man.

With equal truth, it may be observed, that there is no region of earth susceptible of so much improvement, solely by the labour and ingenuity of man. If there be no navigable rivers, there are no unwholesome savannas; if there are rocky ranges, they afford, at least, the means of forming reservoirs of water; and, although it is there uncertain when rain may fall, it is certain that an abundant supply does fall; and the hand of man alone is wanting to preserve that supply and regulate its use. In such a clime, and under such a sun, that most important of elements in cultivation, water, could thus be rendered much more subservient to man's use than it is in other warm regions, where, if the general vegetation be more luxuriant, the air is less salubrious. Sufficient water for all purposes of cultivation, health, and enjoyment, is quite at the command of art and industry in this most luxuriant of climates. Thus, the peculiar disadvantages Australia presents in her wild state, are such as would greatly enhance the value of such a country under the operation of human industry. In such a climate, for instance, an abundance of water would be found a much greater luxury when retained, distributed, and adjusted, by such means, to man's uses, than where an abundance is but


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the natural product of cloudy skies and frequent rains. Where natural resources exist, but require art and industry for their development, the field is open for the combination of science and skill, the profitable investment of capital, and the useful employment of labour. Such is New South Wales.

But the age of such adaptations there is still to come. The future is too much speculated upon; hence no system of agriculture has been yet adjusted to the peculiarities of climate and soil. Instead of studying and adopting the agriculture of similar climates, and the arts by which deficiencies in similar latitudes have from time immemorial been corrected: irrigation, for instance, has not been yet attempted; the natural fertility of the soil has alone been relied on, to compensate, in favourable, seasons, for the deficiencies of others, not favourable, perhaps, for the growth of wheat or barley, but the best imaginable for that of other kinds of productions. So generally available is the structure of the country for the reservation of water by dams, that a small number of these might be made to retain as much of the surface water as might even impart humidity to the atmosphere. This is because the channels of rivers are in general confined by high banks, within which many, or indeed most of them, might be converted by a few dams into canals. To such great purposes convict labour ought to have been applied, had it been possible to have allowed colonization and transportation to work together. But the undulations of the land present everywhere facilities for constructing reservoirs, which heavy showers would fill, and thus afford means sufficient for the purposes of irrigation, were not labour now too scarce there, to admit


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of the progress of colonization in a manner suitable to the spirit of the age, and character of the nation.

The rich lands along the eastern coast, under a lofty range which supplies abundance of water for the purposes of irrigation, are well adapted for the cultivation of cotton and sugar, and, with labour, nothing could prevent these regions from being made extensively productive of both articles. Of the vine and the olivenote, it remains to be ascertained whether some parts of the country may not be made as productive as Andalusia, for instance, is, in the same parallel of latitude, in the opposite hemisphere. The want of hands alone retards the development of every branch of production derivable from industry in these regions.

Settled districts, back from the coast, at elevations of 1000 feet and upwards, have produced abundant crops of wheat of very superior quality; and, but for the non-completion of the roads between these districts and the capital, in consequence of the withdrawal of convict labour, the progress of agriculture in its adaptation to the soil and climate, and, as a field for the employment of British immigrants, had been much more advanced than it is there.

The roads which were opened by the above means, or proposed to be opened, have become almost impassable, or remain wholly so; and it is, therefore, the less surprising that the colonists look to the possible introduction of railways with much interest.


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In a country like that around Sydney, where extensive tracts of inferior land must be traversed by roads in order to arrive at lands which are productive and settled, the value and importance of a railway would be greatly enhanced; and calculations have been made to show that a railway between Sydney and the southern districts would pay, even from the traffic at present along that line. The town of Goulburn, 124 miles from Sydney, in an open undulating country, at a considerable height above the sea, is rapidly growing into importance; and, by making either a good road or a railway, between that town and Sydney, access would be gained to very extensive tracts of valuable territory, easily traversed, and to which Goulburn is a sort of centre.

On the whole, it may be said that the difficulty of access to the best lands, from the want of good roads to them from the principal port, has, of late years, greatly impeded the introduction of immigrants to the rural districts, and added to the population of Sydney many individuals who had been brought to the colony at the public expense, for the assistance of settlers in the country.

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