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in each State, the total expenditure and the deficiency in revenue would be as follow :

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With the progress of settlement and the increase of population, the expenditure on the postal and telegraphic services naturally expands year by year, and it is apparent that in order to keep pace with the growing needs of the community the department must be administered on ordinary business principles. Hitherto the application of such principles has not been obvious, and perhaps it has not been possible, but now that the affairs of the six states are centred under one control, much of past extravagant expenditure will be avoided, and there is every prospect of the service becoming self-supporting—that is, returning a revenue sufficient not only to meet current expenditure, but provide a surplus to cover maintenance of works and buildings, together with interest on capital cost.

938

MINERAL RESOURCES.

are Australasia, and many are common to several of the States. In dealing with the occurrence and value of mineral deposits, a classification has been made into noble and other metals, carbon minerals, salts, stones and clays, and diamonds and other gem stones.

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Gold. Gold, the most valuable of noble metals, is found throughout Australasia, and the important position at present occupied by these States is largely due to discoveries of this metal, the development of other industries being, in a country of varied resources, a natural sequence to the acquisition of mineral treasure. Settlement in Australia was still

young tongued rumour spoke of the existence of the precious metal, but it was not until the 16th February, 1823, that the Government was officially apprised of a discovery destined to be the precursor of a prosperity seldom surpassed in the history of nations. On the date mentioned Mr. AssistantSurveyor M'Brien reported that at a spot on the Fish River, about 15 miles east of Bathurst, he had discovered gold. Mention is made in the early records of New South Wales of several other. finds, but it remained for Count Strzelecki and the Rev. W. B. Clarke to demonstrate the existence of the precious metal in payable quantities, and to assert their belief in its abundance, an opinion strongly supported in England by several eminent authorities, and substantiated by Hargraves' discovery in the year 1851. The gold-fields of Lewis Ponds and Summer Hill Creek had hardly been opened up when, on the day that witnessed the severance of the Port Phillip district from the mother colony of New South Wales, Mr. J. M. Esmond discovered gold in Victoria. Shortly afterwards a rush set in for Ballarat, and the gold fever took possession of Australia. The following year (1852) saw gold found in South Australia and Tasmania ; the rush to Canoona, in what is now Queensland, took place in 1858 ; and gold was discovered in New Zealand in the same year, though it was not until 1861 that a large population was, by the prospect of rapidly obtaining wealth, attracted to the last-mentioned colony. The last of the States in which extensive deposits of the precious metal were found was Western Australia, and the mines there are now the richest in Australasia, and have proved an enormous source of wealth to the State.

From the date of its first discovery, gold to the value of nearly 460 million pounds sterling has been obtained in Australasia. Towards this total Victoria has contributed no less than 260 millions, and for many

years that State was the largest gold producer of Australasia. In the year 1897, however, for the first time, the production was surpassed by that of Western Australia, and the latter State has increased its advantage each year until in 1901 the output was valued at £7,235,653, as against £3,102,753 in Victoria. The yield of gold in Victoria has been well maintained for many years, and each successive year from 1893 to 1899 showed an increase. In 1900, however, the output fell considerably short of that in 1899, being only 807,407 oz. compared with 854,500 oz., and in 1901 there was a further reduction to 789,562 oz., valued at £3,102,753. In 1901 the Bendigo district, with 212,026 oz., supplied the largest portion of the gold yield of the State, followed by the Ballarat district with 169,433 oz., and Beech worth with 114,331 oz. The number of men engaged in gold-mining during 1901 was 27,777, of whom 12,886 were alluvial miners and 14,891 quartz miners, the total being 1,258 less than the number in 1900. The dredging operations carried on during the year were attended with fair success. The quantity of material treated was about 6,000,000 cubic yards, from which 28,717 oz. of gold were recovered. The number of men engaged was 919.

Queensland promised at one time to overtake Victoria in the annual production of gold, but so far the southern State has maintained its position, although the production of Queensland advanced steadily up to the year 1900. In 1889 the production was valued at £2,586,860, but it then diminished, and this amount was not again reached until 1998 when the value was £2,750,349. In 1899 it increased to £2,838,119, and in 1900 to £2,871,709, being the highest value yet recorded. In 1901 the gold won amounted to 835,553 oz. or 589,382 oz. fine, valued at £2,5+1,892, showing a decrease of £329,817 on the value of the preceding year. The decrease is not attributed to the waning productiveness of the mines, but to the exhaustion of the creek sands and the heaps of old tailings that have for some years past helped to swell the output. The scanty water supply on some of the fields, especially Mount Morgan, where partial closing of the mines was necessitated, also tended to diminish production. The attempt to recover gold by the process of dredging has so far proved a failure. During 1901 five dredges were at work, but not one was even moderately successful, the roughness of the ground and want of water being the causes of failure.

For many years the Charters Towers field has been the chief goldproducing centre, and the year 1901 was no exception, although the output was considerably less than in 1900. The production in 1901 amounted to 366,431 oz., valued at £999,745, being 88,248 oz. less than in 1900. The decrease is due to the extinction of the industry having for its object the recovery of gold which had lodged in the beds of those creeks which in times past had served as channels for the escape of residue from the mills. Charters Towers is a field of deep sinking, and a gold-bearing reef has been intersected at a depth of 1,815 feet, while operations are now in progress by which it is hoped to cut one of the largest reefs at depths of 2,500 and 3,000 feet respectively.

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The yield of the Mount Morgan field in 1901 amounted to 155,888 oz., valued at £615,679, and of this quantity no less than 155,421 oz. were obtained from the celebrated Mount Morgan mine. This mine continues to yield payable ore as fast as the treatment works can deal with it, notwithstanding the fact that up to 30th June, 1901, no less than 2,333,105 oz. of gold, valued at £9,516,694, had been obtained. The output for 1901 was 39,617 oz. less than in the preceding year, but this was caused by the scanty supply of water. The machinery employed in the Mount Morgan mine on the 31st December, 1901, was valued at £517,228, while about 2,000 men were employed in the mine and works. The total number of men engaged in gold-mining in Queensland at the end of 1901 was 9,438, of whom 7,340 were quartz miners and 2,098 alluvial miners, 465 of the latter being Chinese. As in Victoria, the number of Chinese engaged in gold-mining is decreasing.

In New South Wales the greatest annual production of gold occurred in 1852, soon after the first discovery of the precious metal, when it was valued at £2,660,946. The only other year which saw a production in excess of two millions sterling was 1862, the amount reaching £2,467,780. In 1874 the yield had fallen to 271,166 oz., valued at £1,041,614, and thenceforth the industry declined considerably in importance, reaching its lowest point in 1888, when only 87,541 oz., valued at £317,241, were produced. From that date a steady improvement took place, and in 1894 the Government took the step of furnishing large numbers of the unemployed with miners' rights and free railway passes, and sending them to the abandoned alluvial fields as fossickers. This action, with the increasel attention paid to quartzmining, nearly doubled the production, the quantity obtained during the year being set down at 324,787 oz., valued at £1,156,717; while in 1895 the yield reached 360,165 oz., of a value of £1,315,929—the highest since 1873. In 1896, however, this yield was not maintained, the production amounting to 296,072 oz., valued at £1,073,360. From 1897 to 1899 the yield showed a decided improvement, and in 1899 the production was 496,196 oz., valued at £1,751,815, being, with the exception of five years, the highest total recorded. In 1900 it fell to 345,650 oz., valued at £1,194,521, while in 1901 the production declined still further, and showed a total of only 267,061 oz., valued at £921,282. The total quantity of gold won up to the end of 1901 was 13,475,633 oz., valued at £49,661,815. The yield for 1901 is the lowest since 1893, and this may be accounted for by the dry season and the reduced number of gold-seekers. Owing to the scarcity of labour in the country districts and, consequently, the higher rate of wages prevailing many prospectors were induced to abandon their claims in favour of employment less precarious and more remunerative. In the Western district most of the mines, including Cobar, the chief goldproducing centre, were hampered in their operations by the want of water, while others were compelled to close altogether during part of the year. The great hopes entertained as to the future of gold-dredging

have only been partly realised, and until more care is exercised in the selection of suitable sites, a large measure of success cannot be looked for. The quantity of gold saved by dredges during 1901 was 23,585 oz., valued at £89,628. The number of plants erected or in process of erection at the end of the year was 43, and the value £273,333. The principal seats of alluvial mining in the State are the Bathurst and Mudgee districts, and the country watered by the various feeders of the Upper Lachlan, and also the Tumut and Adelong and Braidwood districts; while the principal quartz-veins are situated near Adelong, Armidale, Bathurst, Cobar, Hill End, Orange, Parkes, and Wyalong. Of the mines recently developed, that at Mount Boppy, near Cobar, is by far the most promising. The lode is of good depth and has already been traced over 1,000 feet on its course, and the mine now ranks as one of the foremost in the State. Cobar again maintained the position occupied in the preceding year as the chief gold-producing centre, the output for 1901 being 42,299 oz. The next fields in importance were--Wyalong, 21,717 oz. ; Hillgrove, 14,749 oz. ; and Araluen, 12,380 oz. The estimated value of the machinery on the gold-fields, including dredging plant, at the end of 1901 was £1,080,065, and the men engaged in the industry numbered 12,064.

Until a comparatively recent date, Western Australia was considered to be destitute of mineral deposits of any value, but it is now known that a rich belt of mineral country extends from north to south. The first important discovery was made in 1882, when gold was found in the Kimberley district, but it was not until a few years later that this rich and extensive area was developed. In 1887 gold was found at Yilgarn, about 200 miles east of Perth, the find possessing importance as the precursor of the discovery of the immense tracts of gold-bearing country, the knowledge of the existence of which has drawn population from all parts of Australasia and brought the State into the prominent position which it occupies at the present time. General attention was first attracted to these fields by further 'discoveries at Southern Cross, to the east of Yilgarn ; and the sensational finds at Coolgardie, wbich followed in 1892, resulted in a rush to Western Australia which was reminiscent of the experiences of the fifties in the older-settled portions of the continent. Thereafter, before the march of the prospector, the known gold-bearing area was rapidly extended, and in 1894 the country was divided into separate gold-fields, so extensive were the preparations for its exploitation. At the present time, there are nineteen gold-fields in the State, the most important, from the point of production in 1901, being East Coolgardie, Mount Margaret, and North Coolgardie, in the eastern district ; and Murchison, in the central district. For the past. four years Western Australia has held the premier position among the Australasian States for its gold production, and the wonderful progress of the industry in preceding years has not only been fully maintained during 1901, but has surpassed anticipations. The total production for the year amounted to 1,879,391 oz., valued at £7,235,653, as

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