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The general plan adopted in previous issues has been followed on the present occasion, but the scope of several chapters has been greatly enlarged. Owing to the necessity for printing off the chapters as they were compiled, no attempt has been made to arrange them in their natural order of sequence, but the voluminous index provided will save the reader inconvenience on this score.
In all cases the figures have been revised to accord with the latest information, and as a rule they refer either to the year 1903 or to the year 1904; in some instances, however, owing to the undue delay in publishing the official statistics, I have been compelled to use figures relating to 1902, but the instances where this was necessary were neither many nor important.
Care has been taken to correct errors which have escaped notice in previous editions, and to keep this edition free from them. Should any such have remained undetected, as in the multitude of references is quite possible, it would be deemed a favour if their nature and position were pointed out.
I desire to return thanks to the Statisticians of the States and New Zealand, and to the various officers of the Commonwealth and of the States who have on all occasions so readily supplied me with information asked for.
In the editions published in the year 1900-1 and 1901-2 there appeared short historical sketches of each state and of New Zealand; these have not been reprinted, as space was required for new matter.
T. A. COGHLAN.
Sydney, 1st December, 1904.
AREA AND PHYSICAL CONFIGURATION.
HE Australasian colonies comprise the continent of Australia,
The group was formerly subdivided politically into seven colonies ; but on the 1st January, 1901, the five mainland states and Tasmania became the Commonwealth of Australia, New Zealand retaining its position as a separate colony. The respective areas of the six states and New Zealand are as follow :
To the area of the Commonwealth shown in the table might be added that of New Guinea, comprising 90,000 square miles. This would bring the area of territory controlled by the Commonwealth to 3,062,906 square miles, and the total area of British Australasia to 3,167,377 square miles.
The British Empire, exclusive of territories under protectorates and spheres of influence, extends over an area of 8,856,000 square miles, so that about 35 per cent. of its area lies within the limits of Australia and New Zealand. Australasia is more than twenty-six times as large as the United Kingdom; more than fifteen times as large as France; more than half as large again as Russia in Europe; and almost equal in extent to the continent of Europe or to the United States of America.