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in Sydney and Brisbane were superior to those in Melbourne ; but in the iron trade, such as blacksmithing, boilermaking, and the like, the wages in Melbourne were higher than in any of the other cities. Throughout the whole of this period the wages paid in South Australia were distinctly lower than in the other States, except navvies' wages, which were very nearly equal to those paid in New South Wales.

From 1880 to 1891 the average wages in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane were fairly uniform, but in Adelaide the ruling rates were some 10 per cent. below those of the neighbouring States. Navvies and others employed on public works in New Soath Wales received on an average about 8s. per day throughout the whole period of thirteen years extending from 1879 to 1891. Considering the cost of living, this is the highest wage ever paid in Australia for this description of labour. In Victoria and Queensland the rates touched 7s.6d. ; in South Australia, 7s. The following represent the average wages from 1880 to 1891:

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From 1892 to 1896, which was a period of great disturbance, wages remained higher in South Australia than in any of the other States, the reduction from the average of the previous years in the case of this State not being very great; whereas in Victoria, in New South Wales, and in Queensland the reduction in some cases was as much as 25 per cent., and work was much more difficult to procure. The iron trades in Victoria, in spite of the general fall, maintained a strong position during this period, but the building trades generally reached a very low level. Carpenters in Melbourne received 7s. 5d., compared with 8s. lld, in New South Wales and 8s. 4d. in Queensland. Bricklayers received 7s. 6d. in Victoria, 9s. 5d. in New South Wales, 9s. in South Australia, and 9s. 3d. in Queensland ; blacksmiths, however, were paid 10s. 6d. in Victoria, 8s. 6d. in New South Wales, and about the same in South Australia and Queensland. Navvies were paid at the rate of 6s. a day in all the States.

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The approach of the crisis of 1893 was heralded by many signs. Deposits were shifted from bank to bank ; there was a run on the Savings Bank at Sydney, an institution guaranteed by the State ; mortgagees required additional security from their debtors ; bankruptcies became frequent; and some of the banks began to accumulate gold against the evil day. The building societies and financial institutions in receipt of deposits, or so many of them as were on an unsound footing, failed at an early period of the depression; so also did the weaker banks. There was distrust in the minds of the depositors, especially those whose holdings were small; and the banks, even long before the crisis arrived, were subjected to the strain of repaying a large proportion of their deposits as they fell due. The crisis, however, was by no means a sudden crash ; even when the failures began to take place they were spread over some considerable period, the time between the failure of the first bank and that of the last being sixteen weeks.

The first noticeable effect of the crisis was a great scareity of employment. Wages fell precipitously, as also did rents. There was almost a complete cessation of building, and large numbers of houses in the chief cities remained untenanted, the occupants apparently moving to lodgings, or more than one family living in a single house. Credit became greatly restricted, with the result that all descriptions of speculative enterprise came to an end; and by reason of the lowering of wages and decline in profits, the demand for most articles of domestic consumption declined also. This is seen in the fact that in 1894 there was a reduction in the imports into Australia of £4,300,000. The manufacturing industry was the first to feel the effects of the crisis,

and there was a reduction in the average number of persons employed in the two leading States which may be set down at not less than 25,000. This reduction, however, was spread over four years. The closing of the factories was not general ; the establishments were kept open, but there was a dismissal of workmen and a restriction of output. Lack of employment in the factories had an immediate effect on the coal-mining industry, the output of coal being about one-fourth less in 1893 than in the previous year.

The crisis was felt in the large cities more keenly than in the country districts, and in Melbourne more severely than in any other capital. The change of fortune proved disastrous to many families, previously, to all appearances, in opulent circumstances; but by all classes alike their reverses were borne with the greatest bravery. In its ultimate effects the crisis was by no means evil; on the contrary, its true meaning was not lost upon a business community that required the chastening of adversity to teach it a salutary lesson, and a few years after its first effects had passed away business was on a much sounder footing than had been the case for very many years.

The banks of issue showed large withdrawals of deposits, practically the whole of the money received from the United Kingdom being withdrawn as it became due; so that in 1898 the Australian banks had on deposit £17,175,000 less than in 1891, their highest point before the crisis occur:ed There were also large withdrawals of local deposits, but the bulk of these found their way into the Post Office and other Government Savings Banks.

The compensations which followed the crisis were many, and the country would have recovered with surprising quickness from the blow which the credit of the community and of all its financial institutions had received, were it not for the adverse seasons which afflicted the great pastoral industry.

Prior to the crisis the extent of credit given to storekeepers and esther tradespeople was the whole much greater than sound experience warranted, and one of the first results was to put trade on a sound basis, and to abolish most of the abuses of the credit system. Attention was almost immediately attracted to productive pursuits, and the recovery made by the country as a whole, though slow at first, owing to the depression in the pastoral industry, was steady. Renewed attention was given to agriculture, especially in New South Wales, where, in 1901, 1,450,000 acres were devoted to the plough in excess of the arca cultivated in 1893. In Victoria there was an increase of 870,000 acres, in Queensland 210,000 acres, and some slight extensions in the other States.

There was also a complete revival in the mining industry. The production of gold in New South Wales was almost doubled, and was largely increased in Victoria, Queensland, and Tasmania. In Western Australia the great gold discoveries which have placed that State at the head of Australian gold-mining, and amongst the leading gold

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producers of the world, were made subsequent to the crisis. Taking Australia as a whole, the output of gold in 1893 was £6,215,472; in 1901 it reached a total of £14,190,000.

It was unfortunate that this time of financial distress should have been succeeded by a period of low prices for articles of local production, and that the great pastoral industry should have suffered from untoward seasons. The sheep depastured in Australia in 1893 numbered 99,800,000 ; in 1899 the total was reduced to 74,300,000; and it is more than probable that when the losses of the disastrous season of 1902 come to be counted up, the number will be found to have still further decreased.

During the years 1894 and 1895 prices reached their lowest level, but a slight recovery took place in the following two years, and this was succeeded by still further improvement, so that at the present time the average level is about equal to that of 1891.

In 1894 the total value of the imports into Australia was £41,930,720, equivalent to £12 6s. 8d. per inhabitant. These figures are far below those recorded in previous years. The imports in 1889, for example, were valued at £62,551,992, or at the rate of £20 13s. 7d. per inhabitant. It must be borne in mind, however, that extensive borrowing took place during 1889, and a considerable proportion of the imports was due to loan money brought to the country by the States, and to deposits in the banks, which were subsequently withdrawn during the financial crisis. From 1895 onward a material expansion took place in the trade of the States, and in 1900 the value of the exports was higher than at any previous period, thus showing that the country had completely recovered from the financial paralysis of 1893. It must be conceded that from every point of view sound industrial progress has been made during the last few years, and this is all the more gratifying when consideration has been given to the fact that, in some part or other of the Continent, the main industries—those of sheep and cattle raising-were during the greater portion of the period seriously hampered by adverse weather conditions. The

progress of the manufacturing industries is dealt with at some length in another portion of this volume, and need not be further referred to here. It may be stated, however, that the ground lost «luring the financial crisis has been more than recov

overed, and the amount of employment afforded is now greater than ever before in the history of these States.

The movement in wages from 1896 to 1901 was distinctly upward. Carpenters, for example, were in 1896 paid 8s. per day in Sydney, while in 1900 their wages were 9s. 6d., and in 1901, 10s. Though wages in Melbourne at these periods were lower than in Sydney, their upward movement has been even greater, for in 1896 carpenters' wages in Melbourne ranged between 6s. and 7s. per day, the greater number being employed at the lower figures, while in 1900 the accepted rate was 8s. 3d., and in 1901 10s. As regards other trades connected with

building, there has also been a marked improvement, and the rates of 1901 approach very closely those paid in 1891—that is to say, before the changes accompanying the financial crisis began to be felt.

The building trades suffered more heavily than any others during the period of financial disaster, and their recovery was also more protracted. Over speculation in the business was in part responsible for the crisis ; and even after its immediate effects had passed from sight, there was still great reluctance to embark capital in this form of investment, although a reasonable return seemed to be fairly assured. Building operations being therefore carried on only in cases of necessity, and when exceptional profits were looked for, the wages of the artisans employed were less affected by the return of better times than might otherwise have been expected. In other branches of industry there was a marked revival, and wages shared in the upward movement.

Federation undoubtedly is a strong force in the direction of increased production and larger employment of capital, and an expansion of industrial activity should follow in its train ; but the pastoral industry, which is the key to the industrial condition of Australia, was seriously affected during 1902 by the adverse climatic conditions which prevailed over a great part of the Continent. The numbers of sheep and cattle have greatly decreased, and a poor return is looked for during the coming season. The finances of the States invariably suffer when there is a falling off in pastoral production. Already the Treasuries of some of the States are depleted, and it is probable that the upward tendeney of wages, which has been going on uninterruptedly since 1896, will be arrested.

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