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Channel and Keys Inlet. Passing the headlands of Cape Hay and Cape Scott, Anson Bay is entered, the Peron Islands lying at the northern entrance. After threading through several small islets, the entrance to Port Darwin opens out. This fine harbour was named after Dr. Darwin, who accompanied King on his surveys of the north coast (1818-1822), and is remarkable for its magnitude and security, as well as for the beauty of its scenery. Situated in latitude 12° 28' 22" south and longitude 130° 50' 26" east, the harbour has an entrance two miles in width, with a depth of water of about 15 fathoms. Within there is unlimited accommodation for all classes of vessels, the depth ranging from 4 to 15 fathoms, with good anchorage close up to the shore. The chief drawback to the many natural advantages of the port is the extraordinary rise and fall of the tide, the spring tides rising to from 16 to 24 feet, and the neaps from 2 to 12 feet. This disadvantage has, however, been combated by the erection of a splendid jetty, provided with every convenience for mooring. A peculiar feature of the harbour is the presence of a natural dock, formed by a sloping sand bank at the foot of Fort Hill, where vessels may be safely stranded at spring tides, repaired at low-water, and re-floated on the next recurring high tide. The town of Palmerston is situated on a plateau-like expanse 60 feet above the level of the sea, and occupies a commanding position near the entrance. Opposite Port Darwin, and to the westward of the large inlet of Van Diemen's Gulf, are the two large islands called Melville and Bathurst Islands. The former is 75 miles long and 38 broad, and is fertile and well watered. A military station at one time existed at Port Dundas, but since its abandonment in 1840 the island has been given over to the almost exclusive possession of the blacks. Between the Coburg Peninsula, enclosing the western portion of Van Diemen’s Gulf and Melville Islands, the passage is known as Dundas Strait. Rounding the peninsula numerous groups of islands are passed through, the chief of those which have received names being the Goulburn, Crocodile, Elcho, and Wessel Islands, but none of them has any commercial importance, and indeed they are rarely visited, except perhaps by the proas of the Malay traders. In the Gulf of Carpentaria, the principal inlet is Blue Mud Bay, off which there are numerous islands, the largest bearing the Dutch name of Groote Eylandt.
GENERAL PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS. As previously stated, the only river of importance discharging into the Southern Ocean is the Murray, which flows through South Australian territory from the 141st meridian of east longitude, and debouches into Lake Alexandrina, and thence into the sea at Encounter Bay. The entrance is dangerous during the prevalence of certain winds, but much has been done in the way of deepening and improving the channel. Proceeding westward from the Murray, two small rivers,
the Hindmarsh and the Inman, empty into the bay, but their mouths are obstructed by sand bars and reefs. The Torrens rises in the Mount Lofty Ranges, and, after many twists and turns in a westerly direction, reaches the Torrens Gorge, whence it emerges from the hills and drains the fertile Adelaide Plains. After separating North Adelaide from the southern portion of the city, it spreads its waters over a vast tract of swampy land at a short distance from the coast. Ten miles north of Port Adelaide, the Gawler flows into St. Vincent's Gulf at Port Gawler. Farther west there are no streams of importance, the country surrounding the Bight in particular being destitute of streams of any magnitude.
In the Northern Territory, however, there are several fine navigable rivers, and with the further development of this portion of South Australia they are certain to assume considerable importance. The McArthur flows into the Gulf of Carpentaria opposite the Sir Edward Pellew Islands, and is navigable for small vessels for a distance of 50 miles. Much of the basin drained by this stream consists of good pastoral lands. The Roper, which debouches into the Gulf at Limmen's Bight, is navigable for about 90 miles. This is the best known river on the northern coast, and much of the country surrounding it has been taken up for pastoral purposes.
The Goyder flows into Castlereagh Bay, and is navigable for 13 miles, but the lower course of the stream is lined by dense and impenetrable mangrove jungles. The Blyth enters Boucaut Bay, and is navigable for a distance of 18 miles. Into Van Diemen’s Gulf flow the three Alligator Rivers, discovered by King in 1820, and named respectively the East, West, and South Alligator. They are all navigable for some distance from their mouths. The Adelaide discharges into Adam Bay, after draining a large extent of good pastoral country, It is accessible to vessels drawing from 10 to 12 feet, and has been navigated for a distance of 80 miles. The Daly River debouches into Anson Bay, and is navigable for vessels of light draught for 60 miles. In spite of the fact that there is only about 3 feet of water on the bar at low tide, the rise of tide, being from 18 to 24 feet, permits the largest vessels to negotiate the entrance with safety. Good agricultural land is found on its banks, and deposits of copper also occur within its basin. The Victoria, discovered by Stokes in 1839, is the finest river on the northen coast. Between Turtle and Pierce Points the entrance is 20 miles wide, and the stream is navigable by vessels of the heaviest burthen for 50 miles from its mouth. The area of the basin of the Victoria has been computed as, approximately, 90,000 square miles. Little is known of the major portion of its watershed, but extensive tracts have been occupied for pastoral purposes.
Many watercourses are found in the interior, and some of them extend for hundreds of miles, but their volume varies with the season. Cooper's Creek, the Diamantina, and other streams from South-Western Queensland at times inundate the country for thousands of square
miles, at others dwindle to mere chains of pools. The Todd, the Finke, and the Macumba either sink into the plains or, in favourable seasons, reach the inland lakes.
A reference to the map will make it appear as if South Australia were well
provided with lakes, some of them being of considerable extent. These expanses of water are, however, mostly salt and useless for purposes of navigation.
The largest group of salt lakes is found to the north of Spencer's Gulf, and includes Lake Eyre, the surface of which is 39 feet below sea-level, Lake Torrens, Lake Gairdner and Lake Frome. The largest of these occasionally exceed 100 miles in length, but in periods of drought they dwindle into comparative insignificance and at times become quite dry. Their sites are then marked by expanses of black mud with saline incrustations, and the earlier explorers who attempted to cross these hideous bogs had to turn back repeatedly in despair. Farther to the north, and towards the centre of the continent, is the salt morass called Lake Amadeus.
Several lakes are situated close to the south coast between Cape Banks and Guichen Bay. Lake Bonney is fresh and has a length of 25 miles by a breadth of 2 miles in its widest part. Its waters are, however, shallow, although it is surrounded by fairly high banks. Luke George is about 10 miles long by 5 in width at the broadest part. Lake St. Clair is a much smaller expanse, and is salt and shallow. The morass called Lake Hawdon lies north and east of Lake Eliza, and is 40 miles long by 8 wide. The Coorong, 40 miles west of Lake Hawdon, has an opening to the sea near the mouth of the Murray. It is about 70 miles long and 4 wide. Lakes Alexandrina and Albert are situated at the mouth of the Murray and are joined by a narrow channel. From their appearance, it seems a likely assumption that they were originally arms of the sea, and that their coastal banks have resulted from upheaval. Lake Alexandrina is 24 miles long and 14 miles wide, and is generally shallow. Lake Albert is 14 miles long by about 8 in breadth at its widest part.
In the Mount Gambier region several remarkable lakes are found occupying the craters of extinct volcanoes. The most celebrated of these is the Blue Lake, which is irregularly circular in shape and about a mile in diameter. The sides of the lakes which are several hundreds of feet in height, descend precipitously to the water and are agreeably diversified by charming verdure. Soundings have proved the depth of the principal lake to be about 240 feet, and on clear days its waters are of a most beautiful deep blue.
The general physical contour of the surface of South Australia in no way resembles that of the eastern states already described. In those States the general trend of the mountains is parallel to the shore, and there are the three more or less well-defined zones of coastal district, tableland, and interior plain. But in South Australia the mountains pierce the interior and end abruptly amongst the inland salt lakes and swamps.
North of Lake Torrens no well-defined system ci mountains exists. The first group of mountains is that of the Adelaide Chain, which commences at Cape Jervis and penetrates in a northerly direction to Lake Frome, a distance of 350 miles, The range attains its greatest elevation in the Mount Lofty and Barossa districts, the highest points being Mount Lofty, 2,334 feet, and Razorback, 2,834 feet. Its course is interrupted here and there by a few narrow gorges, through which flow the small streams discharging into St. Vincent's Gulf. The Flinders Range commences in the conspicuous landmarks called the Hummocks, at the head of St. Vincent's Gulf, and pursues a northerly direction to the head of Lake Torrens. The highest points in this range are the Bluff, 2,404 feet, and Mount Remarkable and Mount Brown, each about 3,000 feet On the west side of the Adelaide Chain are the fertile and extensive Adelaide Plains, one of the finest wheat-growing districts in the world. Plains of similar fertility, but of less extent, are found between the longitudinal ridges of the Flinders Range and the northern prolongation of the Adelaide Range. On the eastern side of the Adelaide chain stretches the plain of the south-east, towards the western boundary of which the Murray flows. From north to south this plain is 290 miles in width, and about 100 miles from east to west. A vast plain district also stretches north and west from Lake Torrens. The Gawler Range originates in Eyre Peninsula, on the western side of Spencer Gulf, and, reaching an elevation of 2000 feet, extends to the southern shores of Lakes Everard and Gairdner. The Warburton and Stewart Ranges lie west and north of these ranges, and where the province adjoins the boundary of the northern territory the country rises to the McDonnell Ranges, the highest elevation between the northern and southern watersheds. Respecting the mountains in the Northern Territory, little can be said, as they have not, up to the present, received any detailed examination.
In the south-eastern portion of the province are situated Mount Gambier, Mount Schanck, Mount Terrible, and several other isolated peaks, which were formerly volcanoes, the craters being now occupied by fresh-water lakes. The best known of these, the Blue Lake of Mount Gambier, has already been alluded to.
For a long time it was supposed that the interior of South Australia was a barren desert, the home of the hot blasts that periodically visit the south. Although a large portion of the territory is admittedly arid and inhospitable, in many places near perennial waters the soil is of surprising richness. With the further exploitation of the large stores of artesian water underlying the country, much of the seemingly hopeless wilderness will, in time to come, be made to “blossom as the rose.”
AREA AND BOUNDARIES.
of western portion of the Australian continent, and is by far the largest of the states, containing within its confines an area of no less than 975,920 square miles. On its eastern boundary it is separated from South Australia by the 129th meridian; the Indian Ocean washes its northern and western shores ; and the southern boundary is formed by the Great Southern Ocean. The greatest length of the territory, from Cape Londonderry on the north to Peak Head on the south, is 1,480 miles, and the greatest breadth, from Steep Point on the west to the meridian on the east, is about 1,000 miles.
With the exception of that portion to the northward of the 18th parallel, the coast line of Western Australia is singularly regular and unbroken, so that the total estimated length, 5,200 miles, is small when compared with the area of the state. On the southern coast, a long unbroken rampart of limestone cliffs stretches from Eucla, on the eastern boundary, round the western horn of the Great Australian Bight to Cape Arid. No river or creek pierces these frowning precipices, nor is there refuge of any kind for the storm-beaten vessel. Westward from Cape Arid, Esperance Bay and Doubtful Island Bay afford safe anchorage, but they are difficult of access during the prevalence of certain winds. King George's Sound is one of the most important inlets on the south coast. The entrance is between two bluff headlands, named respectively Cape Vancouver and Bald Head, and the harbour, which extends inland for some 10 miles, is well sheltered from all but south-westerly gales. An inner sheet of water, called Oyster Bay, is connected by a narrow channel with the Sound. Three miles southward another break in the shore line of the Sound leads into Princess Royal Harbour, on the northern shore of which the town of Albany is located-once an important place of call for the mail steamers. Situated as it is, the Sound is an important strategic naval position, and this fact has been recognised by the authorities, who have taken steps to fortify it. The country round the shores of the Sound is celebrated for the variety and profusion of the