Slike strani
PDF
ePub

and then proceeded further westward until he discovered the harbour now known as Western Port. He had entered the channel which runs between Van Diemen's Land and Australia, though he was not certain of its continuity. In October, 1798, Flinders, associated with Bass, sailed from Sydney in a small decked vessel named the Norfolk, 25 tons; made for Van Diemen's Land; steered along its northern coast; discovered and entered Tamar heads and anchored in Port Dalrymple; rounded the north-west headland (Cape Grim) and eventuaily circumnavigated the island, for the first time determining its insularity. The name of Bass is immortalized in the Straits, to which, on the recommendation of Flinders, it was given. In 1799, Flinders was sent by Governor Hunter to explore the coastline north of Port Jackson. In the sloop Norfolk he proceeded along the coast, examined Moreton Bay and afterwards went as far as Hervey's Bay.

On 17th March, 1800, Lieutenant James Grant was sent from England, in command of the surveying ship Lady Nelson, 60 tons, for the purpose of exploring the southern coast of New Holland. On rounding the West Australian cape, he shaped his course to reach Sydney through the Straits discovered by Bass and Flinders, instead of proceeding via Van Diemen's Land. On 3rd December, 1800, Grant sighted a part of the coast of South Australia, to which he gave the name of Cape Northumberland. He also sighted and named other points, including Cape Bridgewater and Cape Otway. The Lady Nelson was the first ship to pass through Bass Straits from the westward. Afterwards Grant, in the Lady Nelson, surveyed the coast between Wilson's Promontory and Western Port. Lieutenant Murray succeeded Grant in command of the Lady Nelson. On 12th November, 1801, Murray started from Sydney for the purpose of prosecuting a more minute exploration along the south coast. This voyage resulted in the discovery of an opening between Western Port and Cape Otway; it was first seen on 5th January, 1802, but owing to unfavourable weather it could not be entered for several weeks. It was first inspected in a launch, by Mr. Bowen, the mate of the Lady Nelson, who entered it on 1st February. The Lady Nelson was then brought round from Western Port, and on 15th February passed through the narrow channel. This proved the gateway to what Murray described as "a noble harbour,” which he named Port King, but the name was afterwards changed to Port Phillip, in honour of the first Governor of New South Wales.

At about this time Flinders was on his way back from England in the flagship Investigator, 334 tons. He reached Cape Leeuwin on 7th December, 1801 ; entered King George's Sound; surveyed the coast eastward; discovered and named Fowler's Bay, Smoky Bay, Streaky Bay, Port Lincoln, Spenser's Gulf, Hardwick Bay, Point Marsden, Nepean Bay, the Gulf of St. Vincent, Yorke Peninsula, Mount Lofty, Kangaroo Island, and Backstairs Passage. At Encounter Bay he came across Commodore Baudin, in command of the French ship Geographe.

In 1801 a French expedition commenced an exploration of the

Australian coast which has left enduring traces of its investigations on the map of the continent. It consisted of three ships—the Geographe, the Naturaliste, and the Casurina. It was under the command of Commodore Baudin and his first lieutenant, M. Freycinet. They appeared to have examined a part of the west coast of the continent, and also the eastern coast of Van Diemen's Land, where they were engaged so long that Flinders, in the Investigator, had almost completed his survey of the southern coast when Baudin proceeded to explore from the east to westward. Referring to the meeting of Flinders and Baudin, Mr. David Blair wrote: “Flinders subsequently found that the French, by the orders of the Emperor Napoleon, claimed all the south coast as their discovery, and had nam the various points along it by the names of the emperor and his courtiers. They even gave the whole territory the name of Napoleon Land. The officers of the Geographe knew well that all this was done without warrant, for one of them—M. Freycinet, first lieutenant to Captain Baudin—said afterwards to Flinders at Sydney Government House: “Captain, if we had not been kept so long picking up shells and catching butterflies in Van Diemen's Land, you would not have discovered the south coast before us.' It is but justice to the French people to say that all idea of appropriating Flinders's discoveries has long since been abandoned by them.”. Blair's History of Australia, p. 115.

Flinders proceeded on his voyage eastward, and on reaching Cape Otway he proceeded to explore the great indentation which Grant had reported. Flinders then discovered the opening within which was situated Port Phillip, which he entered on 27th April, 1802, without having any knowledge of its having been previously (15th February, 1802) entered by Lieutenant Murray. "Strangely enough," wrote Dr. Lang, “Port Phillip was afterwards discovered, on 30th March of the same year, by Captain Baudin, of the French expedition; and again, on the 27th April following-all independently—by Captain Flinders; but the honour of the discovery is unquestionably due to Lieutenant Murray, who had preceded Captain Baudin six weeks and Captain Flinders ten.”—History of New South Wales, p. 82. After quitting Port Phillip, Flinders proceeded on his journey to Sydney, which he reached on 9th May, 1 802. On his arrival there, he found the French ship Naturaliste in the harbour, to the commander of which, Captain Hamlin, he showed his charts of the coast between Cape Nuyts and Encounter Bay.—Blair's History of Australia, p. 116.

In 1802, Governor King despatched Surveyor-general Grimes in the Cumberland to examine Port Phillip and to warn off Commodore Baudin, who was known to be in the neighbourhood, with the Geographe and the Naturaliste, and meditating annexation of the south coast for the French Government. Grimes fell in with Baudin on 8th December at King's Island. Grimes delivered his despatches to Baudin, and after exploring King's Island he entered Port Phillip and proceeded to examine its coast line. On 2nd February, 1803, he ascended the Yarra. He was the first white man who trod the destined site of the city of Melbourne.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

c.

THE NAME “ AUSTRALIA.”_The continent of Australia was not yet known by that name. It was usually described, either by the old name, "Terra Australis,” given by the geographers, or by the Dutch designation of “New Holland." In 1606 de Quiros gave to an island in the New Hebrides, which he believed to be part of the Great Southern Continent, the name of “La Austrialia del Espiritu Santo” (see p. 24 supra). De Brosses, in his Histoire des Navigations aux Terres Australes (1756), coined the name Austral-Asia to describe the islands in a part of the South Pacific. The word “ Australia” seems to have been first used by Dalrymple, in his Collection of Voyages in the South Pacific, published in 1770, when Cook was actually in Australian waters. Dalrymple, however, applied the name, not to New Holland alone, but to all the lands and islands to the westward of South America.” The application of the word “ Australia” to the Continent seems to have been first suggested by Matthew Flinders in 1814, and in about 1820 it came into general use.—Barton, History of N.S.W., vol. 1, pp. 86-93. In 1829 it first appeared in the Imperial Statute Book in the Act 10 Geo. IV. 22, which made legal provision for the settlement of “Western Australia, on the western coast of New Holland."

GREATER BRITAIN.—The limits of our space will not permit us to trace the progress of exploration and settlement along the shores and through the interior of Australia during the first century of its history. We can only present a brief sketch of the beginning and gradual development of Provincial Government in each colony leading up to the movement in favour of federal union. We bring to a close our review of the progress of British colonization with a few general observations on the relations of British colonies to the empire of which they form a part. The people of Australia are in the undisputed enjoyment and possession of one of the fairest countries beneath the sun, with all the rights and privileges of free institutions, political equality and local self-government. They are now entering upon that higher act of political union, at all times contemplated, with the inestimable advantage of forming an integral part of the British Empire. That Empire is much vaster in dominion, much richer and more populous than when Great Britain lost the United States. “ The sun of England” has not set for ever. It shines brighter than ever; brighter by reason of the passing away of political darkness, misgovernment, corruption, and despotism; brighter by reason of the enlightened views of her statesmen and the enfranchisement of her toiling masses; brighter by reason of the democratic constitutions which have been granted to her colonies and dependencies in all parts of the earth. The red line of British frontier has been creeping in advance of all the other national colours on the map; stretching into distant “regions Caesar never knew." But in all this the policy of the nation has been colonization, not conquest; the planting of people on the soil, and enabling them to build homes for themselves and reclaim the wilderness from the savage for their own benefit and the comforts and delights of existence; not for the glorification of princes, or

a

the enrichment of families in Europe, as was the case in the Spanish and French systems.

Consider for moment the vast magnitude, the enormous wealth, and the surprising population of the British Empire at the present time.

There are about 56 colonies and dependencies recognizing the sovereignty of the Queen. The area at home and abroad amounts to 11,712,171 square miles; the coast line of this area exceeds in length the entire circumference of the earth, being 28,500 miles; the total annual public revenue of Great Britain and her colonies and her dependencies for the year 1897-8

1897-8 was £256,452,167; the annual value of exports £515,730,000, and imports £746,407,484 ; the population was 385,280,140. Such is the majestic fabric of the British Empire of to-day, of which Daniel Webster, the American orator, said so long ago as May, 1834, that she was the "power which dotted the surface of the whole globe with her possessions and military posts, whose morning drum-beat, following the sun and keeping company with the hours, circles the earth with one continuous and unbroken strain of the martial airs of England.”

From the contemplation of these facts we can, to some extent, realise the greatness of the birth-right which has descended to us through the labours, the enterprise, the patriotism, and the sacrifices of the pioneers of British colonization, and the builders of the British Empire.

PART III.

COLONIAL GOVERNMENT IN AUSTRALIA,

(1) NEW SOUTH WALES.

EARLIEST STATUTORY AUTHORITY.-In 1784 the Imperial Parliament passed the statute, 24 Geo. III. c. 56, intituled “ An Act for the effectual transportation of felons and other offenders, and to authorize the removal of prisoners in certain cases, and for other purposes therein mentioned.” This law empowered the King, with the advice of the Privy Council, to appoint places to which felons might be transferred. By an Order in Council bearing date 6th December, 1786, His Majesty's “territory of New South Wales situated on the east part of New Holland” was appointed a place for the reception of persons within the meaning of the Act.

By letters patent and commission dated 2nd April, 1787, Captain Arthur Phillip was appointed Governor and Vice-Admiral of the territory. It was declared that the limits of his authority extended “From the north cape or northern extremity of the coast called Cape York, in latitude of 10° 37' south, to the south cape or southern extremity of the coast in latitude of 43° 39' south, and inland to the westward as far as 135° east longitude, reckoning from the meridian of Greenwich; including all the islands adjacent in the Pacific Ocean within the latitudes aforesaid.” The western or inland boundary was afterwards (1827) extended to the 129th meridian. The Governor was empowered to make orders for the good government of the settlement. In the shape of ordinances, he created offences and crimes previously unknown to the law; he made regulations; he modified the application of the law of England in matters relating to police, tolls, and convict labour. His legislative powers were assumed to be founded on and justified by the prerogatives of the Crown. There is now reasonable ground for entertaining a doubt whether the Crown had authority to delegate such a power to the Governor.-Mr. Commissioner Bigge's Report (1823), p. 10; Bentham's Plea for the Constitution, IV., p. 255-60; Webb’s Imperial Law, p. 25.

The Judicial authority necessary for the government of the new settlement was derived partly from statute and partly from prerogative, similarly assumed to exist. The Act 27 Geo. III. c. 2, intituled "An Act to enable His Majesty to establish a Court of Criminal Jurisdiction on the eastern coast of New South Wales and the parts adjacent thereto," authorized the Crown by letters patent to erect a criminal court for the trial and punishment of treasons, felonies, and misdemeanours. This court, which was similar in its constitution to a court of Admiralty in its criminal jurisdiction, was composed of a Judge-Advocate and six naval or military officers to be selected by the Governor. There was thus ample statutory authority for

« PrejšnjaNaprej »