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The Boomerang and Karrakatta are classed as torpedo gun-boats; all the other vessels are third-class screw cruisers. The hull of each vessel is of steel. The deck armour over machinery space is 2-in. and l-in., and the conning-towers are protected by 3-inch armour, except in the case of the torpedo gun-boats, the towers of which have l-in. armour. Each of the cruisers carries four, and each of the torpedo gun-boats three torpedo tubes. In the event of any of the squadron being lost, the vessel is to be replaced by the British Government.

Under the terms of the proposed new agreement with the Admiralty, the Federal Government will be asked to provide for an annual subsidy of £200,000 per annum, instead of £106,000, or £2,000,000 for the period of ten years. In consideration of this concession the Admiralty will add about 8,000 tons to the displacement of the fleet and engage to keep it up-to-date, while the Australian Naval Station will be raised in status by the appointment of a Vico-Admiral, instead of a RearAdmiral, to the Command.

The only war vessels which the State of New South Wales possesses are two small torpedo boats, the Acheron and the Avernus, which were manned by the Naval Artillery Volunteers; but the vessels are now out of Commission.

Victoria has the following vessels available for harbour defence :

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In addition to the vessels mentioned, Victoria formerly had in commission two steel gunboats, the Victoria and the Albert, the wooden frigate Nelson, and the armed steamer Gannet. In consequence of the promulgation of an opinion by the Colonial Defence Committee that where there are complete fixed defences foating defences do not add to the strength of a place, but in most cases even tend to weaken it, by interfering with and limiting the arcs of tire of the battery guns, it was decided to dispose of the vessels named, and to give up the use of the Melbourne Harbour Trust's hopper barges, the Batman and the Fawkner. In 1896 the Government of Western Australia purchased the gunboat Victoria, with the intention of employing it in surveying service; and the frigate Nelson was sold in 1898 to be broken up.

Queensland has two gunboats, one of which, the Paluma, was formerly employed on survey service on the coast of Queensland at the joint expense of the Queensland and British authorities. Afterwards, the Paluma was lent to the Imperial Government; and, since handed back to Queensland in April, 1895, has been placed in reserve. The other gunboat, the Gayundah, was paid off and placed in reserve on the 30th September, 1892, and recommissioned on the 1st December, 1898. Particulars of the vessels available for the defence of Queensland ports are given below:

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South Australia maintains one twin-screw steel cruiser, the Protector, of 920 tons. The armament of the Protector consists of one 8-in. 12-ton B.L., five 6-in. 4-ton B.L., and four 3-pdr. Q.F. The state also possesses two 6-in. 5-ton B.L. guns, intended for use in an auxiliary gun.vessel, and five Gatling machine guns for boat or land service. Tasmania owns one torpedo boat with dropping year for Whitehead torpedoes.. New Zealand possesses three Thorneycroft torpedo boats and two steam launches fitted for torpedo work.

Cost OF DEFENCE. The following table shows the expenditure by the Commonwealth Government on naval and military defence for the year ended 30th June, 1902 :

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In all the states, with the exception of Western Australia, a certain amount of money has been spent out of loans for purposes of defence. Victoria, however, from 1872 to 1899 did not expend loan moneys on this service. The amounts thus spent during 1900-01 were as follow :

£ New South Wales .......

65,218 Victoria

4,080 Queensland

49,462 South Australia .....

16,255 Tasmania

1,827

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The total loan expenditure by each state for defence purposes to the end of the financial year 1900-1 was as follows :

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There were probably small additional amounts spent from loans by each state during the financial year 1901–2, but the details are not at present available.

This does not represent the whole cost of the fortifications, as large sums have from time to time been experded from the general revenues of the states in the construction of works of defence; the amount of such payments, however, it is now impossible to determine.

In 1890 a military commission was appointed by the Imperial and the different Australian Governments to take evidence and report on the question of fortifying King George's Sound, Hobart, Thursday Island, and Port Darwin, at the joint expense of the states. The commission visited the points mentioned during 1891, and as a result of the evidence taken fortifications were erected at King George's Sound and Thursday Island, and it is probable that similar works will be begun at Hobart and Port Darwin in the near future. On 11th March, 1892, the four states New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, and South Australia entered into a contract with Western Australia, to contribute to the cost of the defence of Albany. The agreement provided for onefourth of the total expense to be defrayed by Western Australia, and three-fourths by the other states, the proportion to be paid by each to be calculated on the basis of its population. Western Australia was to provide the garrison and exercise general superintendence. A similar agreement was made on the 1st January, 1893, between the same five states for the defence of Thursday Island. In this instance each state contributed towards the total expense of maintaining the garrison in proportion to its population. The general management of all defence works is now in the hands of the Federal Government.

746

PRIVATE PROPERTY AND INCOMES.

THE 'HE first century of Australasian history closed on the 26th January,

1888, and though it is impossible to trace step by step the progress made during that period, as the data for the purpose are for the most part wanting, sufficient material is, however, available from which a comparative statement of the wealth of the States at different periods may be deduced. In the following figures the private property of the people has alone been considered, the value of the unsold lands of the State, as well as the value of public works, having been omitted. The table shows the value of private property for the whole of Australasia, and the increase thereof at intervals of twenty-five years from the date when this territory was first colonised :

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Though Australasia has but the population of a province of some of the great European powers, in the wealth and earnings of its people it stands before most of the secondary States, and as regards wealth and income per head of population it compares very favourably with any country.

The plan adopted in valuing the elements of private wealth is given in detail in previous issues of this work, and has not been greatly varied on this occasion. Land, houses, and other improvements thereon, represent more than two-thirds of the private wealth. There are now

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