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fthtxal imnfcboofe 

l^octation, Cor tfie 
kiantement of ;enc.e. 

altan iStttino, 1914. 

The Commonwealth of Australia 








AUGUST, 1914. 



G. H. KNIBBS, C.M.G., F.R.A.S., F.S.S. 


By Authority : Albert J. MuIIett, Government Printer. Melbourne. 

% 7 



This Handbook, specially prepared for the use of members of the British 
Association for the Advancement of Science, at the Australian Meeting of 
1914, contains a series of articles written by persons selected for that 
purpose by the Federal Council in Australia. These articles set forth 
matters which, it is believed, will be found of interest, and the data of 
which are in most cases not readily accessible to general readers abroad, 
nor even to those in Australia. Much of the material also has not hitherto 
been published. 

The issue of the Handbook has been made possible by the generosity of 
the Federal Government of Australia in undertaking to defray the expense 
of publication. That Government also has very kindly placed all desired 
official sources of information in its possession at the disposal of the 

The articles were decided upon by the Federal Council in Australia of 
the British Association for the Advancement of Science, in whose name the 
invitation was made to each of the writers to contribute. Each author is 
alone responsible for all statements made or opinions expressed in his 

The closing chapter refers to miscellaneous matters worthy of mention 
which were not covered by the preceding chapters. 


Melbourne, March, 1914. 


Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2008 with funding from 

Microsoft Corporation 


Chapter I. — History of Australia . . . . . . . . 1 

By Ernest Scott, Professor of History in the University of Melbourne. 

Chapter II. — The Aboriginals of Australia • . . . . . . . . 33 

By W. Baldwin Spencer, CM. G., M.A., F.R.S., Professor of Biology in 
the University of Melbourne. 

Chapter III. — The Physical and General Geography of Australia .. 86 

By Griffith Taylor, B.Sc, B.E., B.A., F.G.S., Physiographer in the Com- 
monwealth Bureau of Meteorology. 

Chapter IV. — Climate of Australia . . . . . . . . . . 122 

By H. A. Hunt, F.R.Met.S., Commonwealth Meteorologist. 

Chapter V. — Australian Vegetation . . . . . . ... . . 163 

By J. H. Maiden, F.L.S., Government Botanist, New South Wales. 

Chapter VI. — The Animal Life of Australia .. .. .. ..210 

By W. A. Haswell, M.A., D.Sc., F.R.S., Professor of Biology in the 
University of Sydney. 

Chapter VII. — The Geology of the Commonwealth . . . . . . 241 

By T. W. Edgeworth David, C.M.G., D.Sc., F.R.S., Professor of Geology 
in the University of Sydney ; E. W. Skeats, D.Sc., A.R.C.S., F.G.S., 
Professor of Geology in the University of Melbourne ; T. S. Hall, M. A., 
D.Sc, Lecturer in Biology in the University of Melbourne ; W. S. Dun, 
Lecturer in Palaeontology in the University of Sydney ; and F. Chap- 
man, A.L.S., Palaeontologist to the National Museum, Melbourne . 

Chapter VIII. — Astronomy and Geodesy iN Australia . . . . . . 326 

By Pietro Baracchi, F.R.A.S., Government Astronomer of Victoria. 

Chapter IX. — The Pastoral and Agricultural Development of Australia 391 
By G. A. Sinclair, Agricultural Editor of the Australasian. 

Chapter X. — Mining Fields of Australia . . . . . . . . 416 

By E. F, Pittman, A.R.S.M., Government Geologist of New South Wales, 
and A. Gibb Maitland, F.G.S., Government Geologist of Western 

Chapter XL — Manufactures, Industrial and Commercial Development of 

Australia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 463 

By Gerald Lightfoot, M.A., Barrister-at-law. 

Chapter XII. — Educational Policy and Development . . . . . . 509 

By Francis Anderson, M.A., Professor of Logic and Mental Philosophy in 
the University of Sydney. 

Chapter XIII. — Political Systems of Australia . . . . . . 54 6 

By W. Harrison Moore, B.A., LL.D., Professor of Law in the University 
of Melbourne. 

Chapter XIV. — Miscellaneous Notes on Australia, its People, and their 

Activities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 581 

By G. H. Knibbs, C.M.G., F.S.S., F.R.A.S., etc., Commonwealth Statistician. 

C. 12154. 


Map of Australasia 

Map of New South Wales 

Map of Victoria 

Map of Queensland 

Map of South Australia 

Map of Western Australia 

Map of Tasmania 

Map of Northern Territory 

Aboriginal Types, Customs, etc. 

Tribal Map of Australia 

Physiographic Features in the Vicinity of Sydney 

The Federal Capital Territory 

The Topography of Melbourne and its Environs 

Map of Australia, showing Wet Bulb Isotherms 

Graph of Temperatures of Australian Cities 

Map of Australia, showing Yearly Temperature 

Frost Map of Australia . . . . 

Rainfall Map of Australia 

Graph of Rainfall of Australian Cities 

Map showing Average Rainfall for Wheat-growing Period 

Graph of Monthly Evaporation at Selected Stations 

Map of Australia showing Isobars 

Graph of Monthly Atmospheric Pressure at Principal Cities 

Relief Map of Australia 

Relief Model of Australia 

Tectonic Features of Australia 

Orographical Map of Australia 

Geological Map of Australia 

Geological Section of Australia, West to East 

Geological Section of Australia, North to South 

Map of New Guinea 

Geological Section of Papua 

Railway Systems of Australia 

Graphs of Total Trade, Exports and Imports of the Commonwealth 

Chart showing Scheme of Public Education in New South Wales 

* Besides the above, there are several small maps, diagrams, etc 










55 to 74 



























inserted in the 






Professor William Bateson, M.A., F.R.S. 

Immediate Past President. 
Sir Oliver Lodge, D.Sc, LL.D., F.R.S. 


His Excellency the G-overnor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia. 
Their Excellencies the Governors of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, 

South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania. 
The Honorable the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth. 
The Honorable the Premiers of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, 

South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania. 
The Right Honorable the Lord Mayors of Sydney and Melbourne. 
The Right Worshipful the Mayors of Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart. 
The Chancellors of the Universities of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Tasmania, 

Queensland, Western Australia. 

General Treasurer. 
Professor John Perry, D.Sc, LL.D., F.R.S. 

General Secretaries. 

Professor W. A. Herdman, D.Sc, F.R.S. 
Professor H. H. Turner, D.Sc, D.C.L., F.R.S. 

Assistant Secretary. 
0. J. R. Howarth, M.A., Burlington House, London, W. 

Chief Clerk and Assistant Treasurer, 
H. C. Stewardson, Burlington House, London, W. 

Federal Council tor the Australian Meeting. 

President. — The Honorable the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth. 
Chairman.— Professor Orme Masson, M.A., D.Sc., F.K.S., F.E.S.E. 
Secretary. — M. L. Shepherd, Prime Minister's Department, Melbourne. 

General Organizing Secretary for the Australian Meeting. 
A. C. D. Rivett, M.A., D.Sc., University of Melbourne, Victoria. 

Local Officers for the Australian Meeting 
New South Wales. 
Chaii man.— Professor T. W. Edgeworth David, C.M.G, B.A., D.Sc, F.R.S. 
Secretary.— J. H. Maiden, F.L.S. 
Treasurer. — H. G. Chapman, M.D., B.S. 

Chairman.— Professor Orme Masson, M.A., D.Sc, F.R.S., F.R.S.E. 
Secretary.— Professor Baldwin Spencer, C.M.G., M.A., D.Sc, F.R.S. 
Treasurer. — Charles Bage, M.A., M.D. 

Chairman, — Professor B. D. Steele, D.Sc 
Secretary. — T. E. Jones, B.A. 

South Australia. 
Chairman.— Professor E. C. Stirling, C.M.G., M.A., M.D., D.Sc, F.R.S. 

Secretary. — Professor Kerr Grant, M.Sc 
Treasurer.— Thomas Gill, I.S.O. 

Western Australia. 
Chairman.— Hon. Walter Kingsmill, B.A., M.L.C. 
Secretary.— James S. Battye, B.A., LL.B. (on leave). 
Acting Secretaries.— Professor W. J. Dakin, D.Sc; W. Catton Grasby, F.L.S. 

Chairman. — Hon. G. H. Butler. 
Secretary.— Professor T. Thomson Flynn, B.Sc 

Sectional Officers. 
Section A.— Mathematics and Physics. 
Presidents- Professor F. T. Trouton, M.A., ScD., F.R.S. (London). 
Vice-Presidents.— J. H. Jeans, M.A., F.R.S. (Cambridge) ; Professor A. W 

Porter, B.Sc, F.R.S. (London). 
Recorder.— Professor A. S. Eddington, M.A., M.Sc, (Cambridge). 
Secretaries.— A. 0. Rankine, D.Sc. (London) ; E. Gold, M.A. (London) ; 

Professor S. B. Maclaren, M.A. (Reading). 
Local Secretary for Sydney.— Professor J. A. Pollock, D.Sc. 
Local Secretary jor M elbourne.— Professor T. R. Lyle, M.A., D.Sc, F.R.S. 

Section B.— Chemistry. 
President.-— Professor W. J. Pope, M.A., LL.D., F.R.S. (Cambridge). 
Vice-Presidents. — Professor H. B. Dixon, M.A., Ph.D., F.K.S. (Manchester) ; 

F. Clowes, D.Sc, F.I.C. (London). 
Recorder. — A. Holt, M.A., D.Sc. (Liverpool). 
Secretary.— N. V. Sidgwick, M.A., D.Sc. (Oxford). 
Local Secretary for Sydney. — Professor C. Fawsitt, D.Sc, Ph.D. 
Local Secretary for Melbourne. — D. Avery, M.Sc. 

Section C. - Geology. 
President.— Sir T. H. Holland, K.C.I.E., D.Sc, F.R.S. (Manchester). 
Vice-Presidents. — 'Professor W. S. Boulton, D.Sc (Birmingham) ; Professor 

J. W. Sollas, Sc.D., Ph.D., LL.D., F.R.S. (Oxford). 
Recorder. — -A. R. Dwerryhouse, D.Sc (Belfast). 
Secretary. — -Professor S. H. Reynolds, M.A. (Bristol). 
Local Secretary for Sydney. — E. F. Pittman, A.R.S.M. 
Local Secretary for Melbourne. — Professor E. W. Skeats, D.Sc, A.R.C.S,, F.G.S. 

Section D-— Zoology. 
President. — Professor Arthur Dendy, D.Sc, F.R.S. (London). 
Vice-Presidents. —H. F. Gadow, Ph.D., F.R.S. (Cambridge) ; Professor 

E. A. Minchin, Ph.D., F.R.S. (London). 
Recorder. — -Marett Tims, M.A., M.D. (Cambridge). 
Secretaries. — R. D. Laurie, M.A. (Liverpool) ; J. H. Ashworth, D.Sc. 

Local Secretary for Sydney. — Professor W. A. Haswell, M.A., D.Sc, F.R.S. 
Local Secretary for Melbourne. — T. S. Hall, M.A., D.Sc. 

Section E— Geography. 

President.— Sir C. P. Lucas, K.C.B., K.C.M.G. (London). 

Vice-Presidents.— W. S. Bruce, LL.D., F.R.S.E. (Edinburgh) ; Sir Daniel 

Morris, K.C.M.G., D.Sc 
Recorder. — H. Yule Oldham, M.A. (Cambridge). 
Secretary. — J. McFarlane, M.A. (Manchester). 
Local Secretary for Sydney. — F. Poate. 
Local Secretary for Melbourne. — J. A. Leach, D.Sc. 

Section P.— Economic Science and Statistics. 

President. — Professor E. C. K. Gonner, M.A. (Liverpool). 
Vice-President. — Sir Henry Cunynghame, K.C.B. (Folkestone). 
Recorder. — Professor Kirkaldy, M.A., M.Comm., B.Litt. (Birmingham). 
Local Secretary for Sydney. — Professor R. F. Irvine, M.A. 
Local Secretary for Melbourne.— G. H. Knibbs, C.M.G., F.R.A.S., F.S.S. 

Section G— Engineering. 
President.— Professor E. G. Coker, M.A., D.Sc, F.R.S.E. (London). 
Vice-Presidents.— Professor Petavel, D.Sc, F.R.S. (Manchester) ; Professor 

George Forbes, M.A., F.R.S., M.Inst. C.E. (London). 
Recorder.— Professor G. W. 0. Howe, M.Sc. (London). 
Secretary.— Professor W. M. Thornton, D.Sc. (Newcastle). 
Local Secretary for Sydney.— Professor W. H. Warren, M.Inst. C.E. 
Local Secretary for Melbourne.— Professor H. Payne, M.Inst. C.E., M.I.Mech.E. 

Section H.— Anthropology. 
President.— Sir Everard im Thurn, C.B., K.C.M.G. (London). 
Vice-Presidents.— Sir Kichard Temple, Bart., C.I.E.; Henry Balfour, M.A. 

Recorder. — E. W. Martindell, M.A. (London). 
Secretary. — R. R. Marett, M.A., D.Sc. (Oxford). 

Local Secretary for Sydney.— Professor J. T. Wilson, M.B., Ch,M., F.R.S. 
Local Secretary for Melbourne. — Professor R. J. A. Berry, M.B., F.R.C.S., 


Section I —Physiology. 

President.— Dr. C. J. Martin, M.D., D.Sc., F.R.S. (London). 
Vice-Presidents.— Professor W. D. Halliburton, M.D., LL.D., F.R.S. (London) ; 

Professor C. S. Sherrington, M.A., M.D., D.Sc., LL.D., F.R.S. (Oxford). 
Recorder. — Professor P. T. Herring, M.D. (St. Andrews). 
Secretary.— Professor T. H. Milroy, M.D., B.Sc, F.R.S.E. (Belfast). 
Local Secretary f of Sydney. — Professor T. P. Anderson Stuart, M.D., Ch.M., 

LL.D., D.Sc. 
Local Secretary for Melbourne. — Professor W. A. Osborne, M.B., B.Ch., D.Sc. 

Section K.— Botany. 

President.— Professor F. 0. Bower, D.Sc, F.R.S. (Glasgow). 
Vice-Presidents. — Professor A. C. Seward, M.A., F.R.S. (Cambridge) ; Miss 

E. R. Saunders (Cambridge). 
Recorder. — C. E. Moss, D.Sc. (Cambridge). 
Secretary. — Miss E. N. Thomas, B.Sc. (London). 
Local Secretary for Sydney. — Professor A. A. Lawson, D.Sc, F.R.S.E. 
Local Secretary for Melbourne. — Professor A. J. Ewart, D.Sc, Ph.D., F.L.S. 

Section L.— Educational Science. 

President. — -Professor John Perry, D.Sc, LL.D., F.R.S. (London). 
Vice-Presidents. — Professor Henry E. Armstrong, Ph.D., LL.D., F.R.S. 

(London) ; G. T. Moody, D.Sc. (London). 
Recorder. — Professor J. A. Green, M.A. (Sheffield). 
Secretary. — C. A. Buckmaster, M.A. (London). 
Local Secretary for Sydney. — P. Board, M.A. 
Local Secretary for Melbourne. — J. Smyth, M.A., Ph.D. 

Section M-— Agriculture. 

President.— A. D. Hall, M.A., F.R.S. (London). 

Vice-Presidents. — Professor Wood, M.A. (Cambridge), E. S. Beaven (Cam- 
Recorder. — -J. Golding, F.I.C. (Reading). 
Secretary. — Alex. Lauder, D.Sc. (Edinburgh). 
Local Secretary for Sydney. — Professor R. D. Watt, M.A., B.Sc. 
Local Secretary for Melbourne. — Professor T. Cherry, M.D., M.S. 



The Honorable Joseph Cook, M.P., Prime Minister of the Common- 
wealth of Australia. 
The Right Honorable Andrew Fisher, M.P, P.C. 
The Honorable A. Deakin. 
J. A. Gilruth, D.V.Sc, M.R.C.V.S., F.R.S.B. 
Atlee Hunt, C.M.G. 
H. A. Hunt, F.R. Met. Soc. 
G. H. Knibbs, C.M.G., F.R.A.S, F.S.S. 
The Honorable Chas. McDonald, M.P. 
A. C. D. Rivett, M.A., D.Sc. 

Professor Baldwin Spencer, C.M.G., M.A., D.Sc, F.R.S. 
Senator the Honorable H. Turley. 

Members Ex Officio. 
President Associated Chambers of Manufactures. 
President Associated Chambers of Commerce. 
Chairman Associated Banks. 

President Commercial Travellers' Association of Australasia. 
Chief President Australian Natives' Association. 
Chairman Australian Steam-ship Owners' Federation. 

New South Wales— 

The Honorable Thomas Brown, M.P. 

R. H. Cambage, President Royal Society of New South Wales. 

H. G. Chapman, M.D., B.S. 

Professor T. W. Edgeworth David, C.M.G., B.A., D.Sc, F.R.S. 

J. H. Maiden, F.L.S. 

R. Teece, F.I.A., F.F.A., F.S.S. 


J. W. Barrett, C.M.G., M.D., M.S., F.R.C.S. 

Professor T. R. Lyle, M.A., D.Sc, F.R.S. 

J. H. MacFarland, M.A, LL.D. (Vice Chancellor of the University). 

W. Maloney, L.S.A, M.P. 

Professor Orme Masson, M.A, D.Sc, F.R.S, F.R.S.E. 

Professor H. Payne, M.l.C.E, M.I.M.E. 

C. C. Salmon, L.R.C.P, L.R.C.S, M.P. 


A. H. H. Feez, K.C 

W. F. Finlayson, M.P. 

Professor A. J. Gibson, A.M.I.C.E. 

The Honorable L. E. Groom, M.A, LL.M, M.P. 

Professor H. J. Priestly, M.A. 

Professor Bertram D. Steele, D.Sc 

The Honorable A. H. Whittingham, M.L.C. 

South Australia— 

W. 0. Archibald, M.P. 

The Honorable P. McM. Glynn, M.P., K.C. 

Professor Kerr Grant, M.Sc. 

H. Angas Parsons, M.H.A. 

Professor E. C. Stirling, C.M.G., M.A., M.D., D.Sc, F.R.S., F.R.C.S 

The Right Honorable Sir S. J. Way, Bart., P.O., LL.D. 

Western Australia— 

W. Catton Grasby, F.L.S. 

The Honorable J. M. Fowler, M.P. 

Senator the Honorable Hugh de Largie. 


L. Atkinson, M.P. 
Professor T. Thomson Flynn, B.Sc. 
Senator the Honorable J. J. Long. 
Fritz Noetling, M.A., Ph.D. 

New Zealand- 
Professor H. B. Kirk, M.A. 
Professor T. H. Laby, B.A. 





Statute Mi/es 


Statute M//es 






Statute Mi/es 


By Ernest Scott, Professor of History in^the tynwersity, of Melbourne. 


1. The Name of Australia. 

2. Coastal Exploration. 

3. The Foundation of Settlement. 

4. The Convict System. 

5. Inland Exploration. 

6. Extension of Colonization. 

7. Progress of Settlement. 

8. The Gold Discoveries. 

9. Constitutional Government. 

10. The Achievement of Federation. 

11. Bibliography. 

1. The Name of Australia. 

The name Australia was given to the great southern continent by 
Matthew Flinders, the navigator. Before his time, it was generally called 
New Holland ; but, as he pointed out, the Dutch had known nothing of the 
southern and eastern coasts, whilst the name New South Wales, which 
Cook gave to the eastern portion, could not be applied to the whole country, 
since Cook had known nothing of the west, north-west, and south. Flinders 
wanted a convenient name that would describe the entire area which his 
own researches had demonstrated to be one large island. He was writing 
his Voyage to Terra Australis while held a prisoner by the French in Ile-de- 
France (Mauritius), from 1803-1810, and it occurred to him that " Aus- 
tralia " would be a good, serviceable name. He did not invent the word. 
De Brosses, in his Histoire des Navigations aux Terres Australes (Paris, 1756), 
had coined the word " Australasia " as a name for a division of the globe, 
and Dalrymple, in the preface to his Historical Collection of Voyages and 
Discoveries in the South Pacific Ocean (London, 1770), suggested "Australia" 
as a name for the region east of South America. Shaw and Smith, in 
their Zoology and Botany of New Holland (1793), spoko of " the continent 
of Australia, Australasia or New Holland," but it is not probable that 
Flinders had ever seen their book. He sought to secure official sanction for 
the adoption of the name for this continent. He used it repeatedly 
in his correspondence after 1804, and first employed it publicly in a geo- 
graphical paper, written in French, and published by Malte-Brun, in the 
Annales des Voyages (Paris, 1810). But he was by no means sure that the 
innovation would be approved. " II reste a savoir," he wrote, "si ce nom 
sera adopte par des geographes europeens." When he was liberated and 
returned to England, he endeavoured to bring the name into official 
^e, but Sir Joseph Banks was not favorable, and Arrowsmith, the pub- 
lisher of Admiralty charts, " did not like the change " because his firm had 
always employed " New Holland " in their publications. The history of 
Flinders' explorations, which was semi-official, was therefore issued under 
the title A Voyage to Terra Australis, and the name Australia was merely 
suggested in a footnote " as being more agreeable to the ear and an assimi- 
lation to the names of the other great portions of the earth."* He was 
to some extent " tongue-tied by authority," and the name " New Holland " 

* .1 Voyage, to Terra Australia (London, 1814), Vol. I.; the history of the name is discussed in the 
writer's Life of Matthew Flinders (Sydney, 1913), chapter 30. 


Federal Handbook. 

was used in official despatches for 40 years after he had recommended the more 
convenient designation, though Governor Macquarie, in a despatch of April, 
1817, expressed the hppe;t>ha*t " Australia " would in future be employed, 
and Peter '.Qiirmingjiam; 'the" botanist, in his Two Years in New South 
Wales t (1.827)^ • referred '.W, "Australia, as we colonials say."* But 
Flinders* {&P&3 »has "Beeii •aburidantly justified, and there is some satis- 
faction in remembering that the name borne by Australia was given to her 
by one of the most intrepid and skilful of her maritime explorers, and one 
who was in the full sense a man of science. 

2. Coastal Exploration. 

There is no sound historical evidence to support the belief that any part 
of Australia was known to Europeans before the end of the sixteenth century. 
The Portuguese rounded the Cape of Good Hope in 1497, and their ships 
began to employ the Cape route to Calicut and the East Indies after 1498. 
The Spaniards rounded Cape Horn, crossed the Pacific, and reached the 
Philippines in 1521. But if either Portuguese or Spanish ships sighted 
Australia, west or east, before 1606, record of the fact has not yet come 
to light. Speculation points to the persistence of rumours about a southern 
Terra Incognita, or Terra Australis, and it may be considered probable that 
at a period when it was not unusual for a ship to be blown hundreds of miles 
out of her course, some part of the coast may have been seen. But proffered 
"proofs" of very early discoveries prove nothing except the existence of a 
vague sense of what proof is. That the Dutch knew of Australia before the 
dawn of the seventeenth century is clear. In 1598, Cornelius Wytfliet wrote 
of Terra Australis as the most southern of all lands, and as separated from 
New Guinea by a narrow strait. That is definite and true ; but the Dutch 
writer mentioned no particular ship that had sailed through the strait. We 
come in contact with an actual navigator who had some part in the story in 
connexion with the voyage of Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, in 1606. 

Quiros, in command of two Spanish ships, discovered the New Hebrides, 
and thought he had found the great continent which he believed to exist 
at the southern end of the globe. He called it Austrialia del Espiritu Santo. 
The first word in the name is supposed to contain a compliment to Philip 
III. of Spain, who also ruled Austria,f and is not the source whence " Aus- 
tralia " is derived. Quiros sailed east for Peru, but his second in command, 
Luis de Torres, took a western course, and found the strait lying between 
Papua and the northern extremity of Australia. In the same year the 
Dutch ship Duyfhen entered the Gulf of Carpentaria, and her captain reported 
on reaching Java that there was no passage through to the Pacific in that 

The Dutch became acquainted with the west coast partly through a 
series of accidents, partly in consequence of a change of route to the East 
Indies. Prior to 1611, their customary course after rounding the Cape of 
Good Hope was north to Madagascar, and then in a direct line east to Java 
or north-east to India. But it was discovered that by sailing about 3,000 miles 
due east from the Cape, ships met with favorable winds, and could then run 

* M. Phillips, A Colonial Autocracy, p. 2. 

t See Markham, Vryaqes of Quiros (Hakluyt Society), Vol. I., p. xxx. 

History of Australia. 

north to Java, and complete the voyage from Holland in several months less 
than by taking the route to Madagascar in the first instance. The consequence 
of this change of route, which was ordered by the directors of the East India 
Company, was that ships voyaging from the Cape to the East Indies frequently 
found themselves off a strange, desolate coast, which one captain after another 
marked down upon his charts, until the whole outline from the Gulf of Car- 
pentaria to the south-west corner, at Cape Leeuwin, was mapped. The best 
known of the Dutchmen who stumbled upon the western coast in this manner 
was Francis Pelsart, whose ship in 1628 ran aground on the Abrollos Reef. 
In 1642 the Governor of Java, Antony van Diemen, wishing to know more 
of these southern lands, despatched an experienced navigator, Abel Tasman, 
with two ships, the Heemskerk and the Zeehan, on a voyage of exploration. 
Tasman discovered the island which now bears his name, though he did not 
know that it was an island ; and he called it Van Diemen's Land, " in honour 
of the Governor-General, our master, who sent us out to make discoveries." 

The first Englishman to visit Australia was William Dampier, who, first in 
1686, on board a buccaneering ship, the Swan, and secondly, in 1699, in com- 
mand of the Roebuck, sailed along the western and north-western coasts. 
He was not impressed by what he saw of the country. " If it were not for 
that sort of pleasure which results from the discovery even of the barrenest 
spot upon the globe," he wrote, " this coast of New Holland would not have 
charmed me much." It was owing to the fact that the Dutch and Dampier 
always saw Australia from that aspect where it looks most forbidding, that 
attempts to ascertain the nature of the country, its possibilities of develop 
ment, and its capabilities for settlement, did not ensue for 190 years after 
its whereabouts were definitely known. 

The voyage of James Cook in 1768-70 brought the east coast of Australia 
for the first time to the knowledge of the English Government. The main 
object of Cook's Endeavour voyage was not to explore, but to observe a 
transit of Venus at Tahiti. The observation was made on 3rd June, 1769. 
After fulfilling the appointed duty, Cook ran down to New Zealand, and 
sailed round it, thus disposing of a theory entertained before his time that 
the country formed part of a great antarctic continent. He resolved to 
return to England by way of the East Indies, and to follow the east coast 
of New Holland wherever it might lead. The Endeavour sighted the Aus- 
tralian coast opposite Cape Everard at six in the morning on 20th April, 
1770. Cook named the point Cape Hicks, after Lieutenant Hicks, the 
officer on watch, who was " the first to discover this land." He followed 
the coast northward, discovered Botany Bay (at first called Stingray Bay) 
on 29th April, and anchored there. On 6th May, the Endeavour, pursuing 
her voyage, came abreast of Port Jackson, which was named after Sir George 
Jackson, one of the Secretaries to the Admiralty. Cook did not enter the 
harbor, which is now the glory of the largest city in Australia. He completed 
his northward voyage, cleared the reefs of Torres Strait, and "took 
possession of the whole eastern coast by the name of New South Wales."* 

* It has been said that Cook did not originate the name New South Wales, and it is true tlut 
th? name does not appear in his journals. Blaien, the editor of tin Historical Record of New South 
Wales (I., 170), goes so far as to say that " the name appaars to hive originated with Hawkesworth.' ' 
who edited Cook's voyage. But Kitson (Life of Cook, p. 149) cites a letter written by Cook, 1771 
wherein he uses the words : "the east coast of Now Holland, or what I call New South Wale?." 
Hawkesworth, it would therefore appear, obtained the name from Cook himself. 

A 2 

Federal Handbook. 

The exploration of the Australian coastline was not completed until 
after the British had commenced to colonize the country. In 1797 Surgeon 
George Bass, of H.M.S. Reliance, obtained from Governor Hunter the use 
of a whaleboat, a crew of six bluejackets, and provisions for six weeks. With 
this equipment, he left Port Jackson, voyaged southward, and discovered 
Westernport (January, 1798). He did not actually demonstrate the existence 
of a strait separating Australia from Tasmania, but the heavy sea rolling in 
from the westward gave him " much reason to conclude " that there was a 
passage through. In October, 1798, Bass, in company with his friend, 
Lieutenant Matthew Flinders, sailed through the strait in the Norfolk, 25 tons, 
and circumnavigated Tasmania. 

In 1802 Lieutenant John Murray discovered Port Phillip ; Grant, in the 
Lady Nelson, sailing from the Cape of Good Hope to Australia, came upon 
the coast near Cape Banks, and discovered the stretch eastward, round 
Cape Otway, to the Port Phillip opening ; and Flinders, in the Investigator, 
thoroughly explored the whole of the south coast from the head of the Great 
Australian Bight. He discovered Kangaroo Island and St. Vincent's and 
Spencer's Gulfs. In Encounter Bay he met Le Geographe, Captain Nicholas 
Baudin, a French exploring ship sent out by the Consular Government, 
Napoleon having acceded to a request submitted by the Institute of France 
that a scientific expedition should be despatched to examine the unknown 
coasts of New Holland, and to collect specimens for the Museum at Paris. 
Baudin died before his ships returned to France, and the maps published 
with the history of his voyage affixed the name Terre Napoleon to the whole 
southern coast from Wilson's Promontory to the head of the Bight. Some 
writers have attached a political significance to the Terre Napoleon maps, 
but in the present writer's opinion the name was a mere piece of courtiership, 
and there is no evidence to show that Napoleon ever designed to acquire 
territory in Australia, though at a later date (1810) he directed his fleet 
based upon Mauritius to " take Port Jackson," where much-needed pro- 
visions could be found.* 

Flinders circumnavigated the continent in 1803, and after his very re- 
markable voyages there was no more coastal exploratory work to do in 
Australia, except to fill in details. 

3. The Foundation of Settlement. 

In 1783, James Matra, who had been a midshipman with Cook, submitted 
to Lord Sydney a scheme for establishing in New South Wales a colony 
wherein Great Britain might afford an asylum to the American loyalists, 
who had been rendered homeless by the result of the War of Independence. 
The country, Matra urged, was bound by every tie of honour and gratitude 
to protect and support those who had risked everything in support of British 
rule in North America, and should provide a place where they might " repair 
their broken fortunes and again enjoy their former domestic felicity." The 
loyalists found homes in Canada, but Lord Sydney recognised that Matra 's 
plan afforded a means of overcoming another difficulty with which the Govern- 
ment was faced. It had been customary to ship convicts to America, where, 

* See the writer's Terre Napolion (London, 1910) 

History of Australia. 

especially in the southern States, there was a demand for labour. Contractors 
were willing to undertake to convey convicted persons across the Atlantic, 
and were able to dispose of them by " assignment " to purchasers, who 
would often give £8 or £10 for a strong male convict, especially if he were a 
mechanic. The prisoners were, in fact, sold into servitude. The establish- 
ment of the United States as an independent country put an end to this 
traffic. At the same time, the English prison system was discreditably bad. 
Gaols were too few, and too small ; were overcrowded, dirty, and centres of 
disease. Lord Sydney, discussing Matra's scheme with its author, pointed 
out that New South Wales appeared to be "a very proper region for the 
reception of criminals condemned to transportation." Matra accordingly 
amended his project, drawing up an addendum wherein he argued for the 
reformatory efficacy of a colony far removed from Great Britain, with a 
healthy climate, and an abundance of fertile soil, where persons who had been 
guilty of crimes might work out their own redemption. Sir Joseph Banks, 
who had been botanist with Cook, and was now (since 1778) President of the 
Royal Society, gave the scheme his hearty support ; and in 1786 the Govern- 
ment directed the equipment of a fleet to convey 750 convicts to Botany 

Arthur Phillip, a captain in the Navy, was chosen to command the expe- 
dition, which consisted of the Sirius, a sixth rater, the Supply, tender, six 
transports, and three store ships. There were about 1,100 people aboard, 
of whom 208 were marines to guard the convicts. 

The whole fleet had arrived at Botany Bay by 20th January, 1788, but 
Phillip was soon convinced that the situation was quite unfit for the purpose. 
He therefore judged it advisable to examine Port Jackson, which was marked 
on Cook's chart a few miles to the northward. There he " had the satisfac- 
tion of finding the finest harbor in the world, in which a thousand sail of the 
line may ride in the most perfect security." Returning to Botany Bay, 
he ordered the fleet to sail round to Port Jackson, and on the 26th January 
the flag was unfurled at Sydney Cove, where Phillip had decided to plant his 
new settlement. 

While the British vessels were lying at anchor in Botany Bay, two French 
ships under the command of Laperouse appeared. It has been by some 
writers surmised that the French navigator was endeavouring to forestall 
the English in the occupation of Australian soil. One historian puts it 
that " it is seizure, not discovery, which gives a title by the law of nations, 
and there is therefore some justification for saying that England won Aus- 
tralia by six days."* But it is quite certain that Laperouse had no such 
acquisitive design in view. His longboat had been destroyed, and some 
of his company were massacred by natives in Samoa. Consequently his 
strength was so seriously depleted that if he had lost any more men he would 
have been compelled to beach and destroy one of his ships. Wishing, there- 
fore, to put together a new longboat, the frame of which he had in the hold, 
he decided to sail to Botany Bay — knowing its whereabouts from Cook's 
Chart — where he thought his men would be able to work without interference. 
The French remained there from 27th January to 15th March, on excellent 

* Jenks, History of the Australasian Colonies (1895), p. 30. See the present writer's Laptrouse 
(Sydney, 1912). 

Federal Handbook. 

terms with the British officers who visited them. Phillip was too busy laying 
the foundation of Sydney to visit Laperouse personally, and the French navi- 
gator did not enter Port Jackson. 

The difficulties that Phillip had to encounter during the four years of his 
governorship were of the most serious kind. The officers quarrelled, the 
convicts were poor material for pioneering, skilled workmen were few, sup- 
plies were wholly insufficient, and provision ships were wrecked. Over a 
thousand more convicts were sent out, and an additional thousand were 
announced, before there was accommodation for them or food to feed them. 
The natives gave trouble, and the Home Government failed to appreciate 
the need for a steady supply of free agricultural and artisan settlers. But 
Phillip did at length get the colony on its feet, and for the wisely planned 
and energetically pursued administrative work that he did he is indeed 
memorable as one of the veritable builders of the British Empire. 

4. The Convict System. 

After the departure of Phillip, the colony was for three years adminis- 
tered by officers of the New South Wales corps : by Major Grose during 
1793 and 1794, and by Captain Paterson during 1795, when Governor Hunter 
succeeded. Phillip had ideas of extending development by means of free 
settlers aided by the use of convict labour ; but for over twenty years Sydney 
was little better than a prison compound, walled by mountains and fronted 
by the sea, wherein felons, political offenders, and many an unfortunate 
whose punishment was cruelly out of proportion to his offence, were 
" yarded " together under a discipline enforced by the lavish application of 
the lash. During the first seventeen years of settlement 12,290 persons 
were transported, and as late as 1810 it is calculated that there were not more 
than 700 settlers who had not been sent out " for their country's good." 
The prisoners included a considerable number of political prisoners who 
had been convicted for connexion with the Irish rebellion of 1798, and the 
Scottish revolution societies of 1793 ; just as at a later date working men 
concerned with the beginnings of English trade unionism were transported. 
During the governships of Hunter, King, and Bligh, from 1796 to 1809, no 
serious efforts were made to induce free settlement, which was, indeed, at 
times rather discouraged. 

The study of the historical material relating to these years of dark dawning 
is often painful and depressing. An atmosphere of hatred, violence, and sus- 
picion pervaded the colony. Every Governor was perplexed and hampered, 
not only by the refractory human material with which he had to work, 
but by the jealousy of his officers. King was a high-minded man, but he 
found no loyal spirit of co-operation among his subordinates. The officers 
of the New South Wales corps made large profits by trafficking in rum, and the 
endeavour to suppress the iniquities of the trade provoked resentment, 
followed, in Governor Bligh's case, by open mutiny. 

The quarrel between Bligh and John Macarthur, a bold, spirited, and hot- 
tempered officer, who founded sheep-farming in Australia, was pricked to 
a crisis in 1807, when the Governor confiscated a still which Macarthur had 
imported. Bligh, incensed by Macarthur's " inimicability of mind to Govern- 
ment," had him arrested and put on trial. But Macarthur had a large 

History of Australia. 

personal following, and Bligh's arbitrary methods had made him unpopular. 
Major Johnson, who commanded the military forces, refused to obey his 
orders, and followed up his act of insubordination by marching his troops 
to Government House and arresting the Governor. He took this revolu- 
tionary step (January, 1808) on a requisition signed by Macarthur and about 
100 of the inhabitants of Sydney, some of whom, Bligh declared, " are the 
worst class of life," but who at all events pledged themselves to support 
Johnson with their fortunes and their lives. Bligh was kept in confinement 
for a year, the affairs of the colony being administered by Lieutenant-Colonel 
Paterson, of the Van Diemen's Land settlement, who held a Lieutenant- 
Governor's commission. The end of this startling incident was that Johnson 
was tried by court-martial in England, and cashiered ; Macarthur, who 
went to England, was prohibited from returning to New South Wales for 
eight years ; and Bligh was superseded in the Governorship by Colonel 
Lachlan Macquarie. 

Macquarie was hardly less dictatorial than his predecessor had been ; 
and the long period of his rule is fairly described in the title of the book 
wherein it is most thoroughly explained, A Colonial Autocracy* He was 
vain, and could be quarrelsome and harsh. But he had a way of getting things 
done. He was a builder, a colonizer, a statesman, and as his obstinacy 
was exerted in a progressive direction, he managed to fight through prejudices 
and hindrances to merited popularity. One principle for which he fought 
hard was that when a convict had served his period of sentence, and was 
again a free man, he was entitled " to be considered on a footing with every 
other man in the colony according to his rank in life and character." He 
appointed to the commission of the peace a clergyman who had been trans- 
ported for suspected complicity in the Irish rebellion, and invited to his own 
table four or five " emancipists " who happened to be men of education and 
manners. But this policy gave deep offence to many settlers who had no 
black marks against their names, and who considered themselves as per- 
taining to a kind of moral aristocracy. The resentment was especially bitter 
among the old adherents of Bligh, who from the first had looked askance 
on his successor, and were not averse from fomenting a quarrel with him. 
In some instances the Governor's zeal for the liberal treatment of emancipists 
1 ed him too far, and incurred the disfavour of the Secretary of State ; and he 
became involved in quarrels with the judicial officers, who would not permit 
emancipist attorneys to practise before them. But there was so little that 
was liberal in spirit in these early days of New South Wales that, even when 
Macquarie's acts were marked by errors of discretion, it is good to recognise 
the sense of justice that prompted them. 

The convict system was in full force for just over fifty years. From first 
to last, about 120,000 men and women were transported to Australia and 
Van Diemen's Land, of whom, in 1836, nearly 50,000 were living in the 
country. Half of these were " assigned " people ; that is, they were living 
upon the properties of free settlers, to perform compulsory labour for them. 
The remainder were working for the Government in penal establishments or 
in " road gangs." The inhumane features of the system are exposed in 
the report of an English Parliamentary Committee of 1837-8 ; and they 

* A. Colonial Autocracy, by Marion Phillip's. (London, 1909.) 

Federal Handbook. 

are described with gaunt realism in a piece of fiction which has a backing of 
sober fidelity — Marcus Clarke's For the Term of his Natural Life. 

The Parliamentary Committee recommended that no more convicts 
should be sent to Australia, and an Order in Council issued in 1840 directed 
that transportation should cease. But Van Diemen's Land continued to be 
used for the purpose, with consequences that soon became alarming. The 
dumping of 3,000 convicts per annum in an island, where the means of coping 
with the influx were inadequate, brought about a crisis, which British Ministers 
sought to mitigate by re-instituting transportation to the mainland under 
another name. The " conditional pardon system " was devised. Under it, 
a convicted person who had served a preliminary term in an English prison 
might be shipped to Australia, where he would be free, subject to the " con- 
dition " that he did not return to England during the remainder of the term 
of his sentence. Some convicts were sent to Victoria, as well as to New South 
Wales, under this system. But a vigorous and vociferous public opinion 
had by this time grown up in these colonies. The period had passed when 
they were content to have the contents of English gaols emptied at their 
doors. The people of Melbourne, in 1849, organized to resist the incursion . 
and threatened to prevent by force the landing of the " exiles." An equally 
strong feeling of resistance manifested itself in Sydney ; and British Ministers 
were astonished to realize that, in a country originally colonized to carry 
out a transportation system, the first large question of public policy about 
which public opinion pronounced itself in emphatic terms was that trans- 
portation should cease. Governor Fitzroy yielded to the agitation, and the 
exiles — styled " Pentonvillains," after Pentonville prison wherein they served 
their probationary period — were sent on to Moreton Bay. Earl Grey, the 
responsible British Minister, very reluctantly gave way, and shortly afterwards 
the shipping of convicts to any part of the country except Van Diemen's 
Land and Western Australia ceased. The former colony was still used as a 
penal settlement until 1852, and signalized her deliverance (1856) by changing 
her name to Tasmania. Western Australia, being urgently in need of labour, 
gladly received convicts from 1843, and even protested against the discon- 
tinuance of the supply. She continued her policy long after the other Aus- 
tralian Colonies had freed themselves from what they termed " the convict 
taint." Her persistence, indeed, provoked much bitter feeling, and threats 
to boycott Western Australia were made by responsible statesmen in the 
eastern colonies. There is no doubt that the system did much to establish 
Western Australia, and her prosperity was well assured when, in 1868, trans- 
portation was finally discontinued. 

5. Inland Exploration. 

From the earliest period of settlement, the problem of the inland explora- 
tion of Australia obtruded itself as difficult and dangerous. For a quarter 
of a century after Sydney was founded, no practicable path was discovered 
across the mountain barrier that lay in the background. The Blue Moun- 
tains are not a very lofty range ; they do not rise beyond 4,500 feet ; but 
their tumbled formation made them a really formidable barricade, and they 
shut the little community at Port Jackson within an enclosure extending 
only about 40 miles from the sea. An escaped convict made his way inland 

History of Australia. 

during Hunter's governorship, and several explorers endeavoured to find 
a pass. But it was not till 1813 that Gregory Blaxland, accompanied by 
Lawson and Wentworth, discovered a practicable track, and opened to 
occupation the richly-grassed Bathurst Plains. 

Hardly any portion of the globe has presented so sullenly obstinate a 
face against the explorer as Australia has done ; and there are few countries 
wherein gloomy predictions concerning the prospects of settlement have been 
so completely falsified. Immense stretches of territory which to-day are 
yielding an abundance of wealth to industry were originally condemned as 
wholly unfit for human habitation. The price of investigation has often 
been paid in suffering and death ; and Australia is fully conscious of her 
obligation to a succession of hardy and courageous men who are as truly her 
heroes as are warriors to other peoples. 

The first achievement of note in the story, after Blaxland's, is that of 
John Oxley, who in 1817-8 led two expeditions west and north, and came in 
touch with the complicated river system that feeds the Murray. Five 
years later he penetrated Queensland territory as far as Port Curtis, and 
prepared the way for the settlement which has grown into the city of 

A very important inland journey was that of Hamilton Hume and William 
Hovell in 1824. They discovered and crossed the Biver Murray, the prin- 
cipal water-course in Australia, continued south, found the Ovens and the 
Goulburn, traversed a portion of the fertile western half of Victoria, and 
were the first Europeans to come upon Port Phillip from the landward. 
Allan Cunningham, the botanist, a protege of Sir Joseph Banks, between 
1817 and 1830 made a series of excursions into untraversed areas, discovering 
a practical pass to the Liverpool Plains (1818) and an easy route to the 
Darling Downs (1828). His botanical work was of the utmost importance, 
and his explorations won him a place among the most enterprising of 
Australian pioneers. 

One of the greatest names in the story is that of Charles Sturt, a captain 
of the 39 th regiment quartered in Sydney during the regime of Governor 
Darling. On his first journey, in 1828-9, he discovered the Darling Biver ; 
and on a second journey, commenced in 1829, he took with him the timbers 
of an old whaleboat, nailed them together on the banks of the Murrum- 
bidgee, descended the stream to its junction with the Murray, and floated 
down that great river until, after a voyage of 33 days, he heard " the distant 
thunder of the great Southern Ocean." He had floated into Lake Alexan- 
dria, wherein the waters of the Murray disembogue. Severe hardships 
were endured on the return journey. Sturt 's party had consumed their 
last morsel of food when relief came, and some of his men showed signs of 
insanity, from incessant toil and privations. Sturt himself was blinded 
for a time. This journey had more immediate consequences affecting the 
colony of South Australia than that of Hume and Hovell had upon the 
fortunes of Port Phillip ; for his reports led to the founding of Adelaide. 

Sturt 's genius for exploration led him in 1844 to start from Adelaide to 
penetrate the interior of the continent. This he did in a summer of excep- 
tional heat, maintaining a stubborn fight against thirst, hunger, scurvy, 
a pitiless sun, a blistered desert, and a pelting from blasts of hot fine sand. 

10 • Federal Handbook. 

He crossed Cooper's Creek, which he discovered and named, but broke down 
a few miles beyond it, and was carried back to Adelaide a stricken man. 
His work cost him his eye-sight, though he lived a quarter of a century 
after his last expedition. Sturt was described as being " brave as a paladin, 
gentle as a girl," and his achievements are, most worthily, ever " freshly 

Gippsland, the eastern wing of Victoria, was entered from New South 
Wales in 1839 by Angus McMillan, when searching for cattle pastures ; and 
in 1840, a Polish man of science, Strzelecki, accompanied by two stock- 
raisers, Macarthur and Kiley, also explored the same region. It was Strze- 
lecki who suggested the use of the name Gippsland, in compliment to the 
Governor of New South Wales, and Australia's loftiest mountain, Kosciusko, 
bears the name of a Polish hero as a consequence of the travels of this 

At about the same period, 1838, Edward John Eyre — a young cattle 
farmer of 25, who was afterwards (1865) to become Governor of Jamaica, 
and was unenviably famous in connexion with an insurrection there — indulged 
a taste for exploring by penetrating the unknown country beyond the limits 
of South Australian settlement. He found Lake Hindmarsh on one of these 
excursions. Ambitious to accomplish something memorable, Eyre led an 
expedition along the shores leading to the Great Australian Bight in 1839, 
and in 1840 decided to explore the interior of the continent to the north of 
Adelaide. He followed the line of the Flinders Eange to Lake Torrens, and 
found a stretch of country so impregnated with salt that even rain water 
became brackish after lying a short while on the ground. After discovering 
Lake Eyre, the explorer, dissatisfied with his results, travelled down to the 
coast at Fowlers' Bay, where he established a camp. From this point, he 
resolved to pursue the coastline as far as King George's Sound, and, as the 
enterprise was full of peril, ordered his men to return to Adelaide, while he 
went on alone. But his overseer, Baxter, refused to leave him, and with 
this companion, and three young blacks, Eyre set out in 1841. He had some 
sheep and flour for subsistence. The food did not last long, and before it 
was entirely exhausted, two of the blacks proved treacherous, shot Baxter, 
and plundered the flour bags. Eyre and his one faithful black servant 
continued the journey, living on horse-flesh and quenching their thirst with 
dew collected on a sponge and squeezed into a pot. When at the extremity 
of endurance they sighted a French whaling ship, the Mississippi ; but 
after receiving assistance the iron-willed explorer set out again, and reached 
his goal, King George's Sound, on 7th July, 1841. 

The explorations of Sturt and Eyre had started from Adelaide. We 
return to the Sydney side to mention those of Thomas Mitchell and Ludwig 
Leichhardt. Mitchell was the Surveyor-General of New South Wales, and 
from 1831 had explored the interior from Sydney in search of good country 
for settlement. Some of his journeys were full of adventure, notably that 
of 1835, when Kichard Cunningham, the brother of Allan Cunningham, 
was murdered by blacks. Mitchell's most memorable piece of work was his 
expedition to " Australia Felix," or Victoria, in 1836. He crossed the 
Murray and traversed the country westward of Hume and Ho veil's track 

* The Life of Charles Start .by Mrs. Napier Sturt (1839), is an excellent biography. 

History of Australia. n 

of twelve years before. To his surprise, on reaching Portland Bay, he found 
the huts of white men on its shores, for the Hentys of Tasmania had already 
established a whaling station there, and had become the pioneer settlers of 
Victoria. Mitchell's last of many journeys was undertaken in 1845, when he 
set out to explore a route to the Gulf of Carpentaria. He did not succeed in 
his main object ; but his glowing reports showed the value of the tableland 
of western Queensland, and had important consequences in stimulating 

Leichhardt was a German man of science who was attracted to the problems 
pertaining to Australian inland exploration. His first important journey 
was in 1844, when he travelled from Sydney to Port Essington, on the north 
coast, arriving there nearly naked, and with rations reduced almost to the 
last crumb. He and his companions had lived partly on the flesh of flying 
foxes, and had found water by observing the flight of bronze-wing pigeons 
towards it. A second expedition was to the far western interior, 1846, and 
from his third, 1848, he never returned. He aimed at crossing the continent 
from east to west, from Moreton Bay to the Swan River. He certainly 
reached the Barcoo, where the letter " L " was found cut on a tree twenty 
years later ; but exactly where he perished has never been ascertained. 
The fate of Ludwig Leichhardt is one of the unsolved mysteries of the history 
of Australian land exploration, as the fate of George Bass is an unsolved 
mystery pertaining to one of the country's maritime explorers. A. C. 
Gregory, who went out in search of Leichhardt, led expeditions in Northern 
Australia, and crossed the continent south-west to Adelaide in 1858. 

John Macdouall Stuart, who had been with Sturt in 1844, made impor- 
tant journeys to the interior in 1858 and 1859, discovering a fertile and well- 
watered area west of Lake Eyre. His work was so useful that the South 
Australian Government, to stimulate him or others to further efforts, offered 
a reward of £2,000 to the first man who should cross the continent from south 
to north. Stuart started in 1860, and on 22nd April of that year penetrated 
to the very centre of Australia. He was not now in desert country, but 
found the area surrounding his Central Mount Stuart to be well-grassed, 
plentifully watered, and pleasant. But further on he was beaten by thirst, 
thick scrub, and troublesome aboriginals, and was compelled to return to 
Adelaide. In 1861 Stuart started again, and turned back ; but in 1862 
he made his way right across, and on 24th July " was delighted and gratified 
to behold the waters of the Indian Ocean in Van Diemen's Gulf." Stuart's 
journeys were of the greatest value in demonstrating that the interior of 
Australia was conquerable, and in revealing the excellent pasturage to be 
found in portions of the country. 

Contemporary with Stuart's final journey, the sensational and dramatic 
expedition of Burke and Wills took place. It is perhaps the best remem- 
bered of all Australian inland explorations, because of the mystery and 
fatality attaching to it ; though in truth the explorers whose achievements 
have already been mentioned, Hume, Mitchell, Sturt, Eyre, and Stuart, 
did greater things, and faced equally severe hardships, but " won through " 
by a more perfect bushcraft and finer qualities of leadership. The Burke 
and Wills expedition was organized in 1858, when a sum of about £10,000 
was provided, partly by subscription, partly by the Victorian Parliament, 

12 Federal Handbook. 

for the purpose of promoting an endeavour to cross Australia through the 
centre, from south to north. The command was entrusted to Eichard 
O'Hara Burke, a police inspector well known to be a brave and intelligent 
man. The expedition was well equipped, and should have succeeded and 
returned in safety if Burke had exercised sound judgment. A depot was 
established at Cooper's Creek, and from that point, in December, 1861, 
Burke, with Wills and two other men, determined to make a dash for the 
Gulf of Carpentaria. The party did reach the Flinders Kiver, which flows 
into the Gulf, and were within two days' journey of the sea, but they were 
insufficiently provisioned, and had to return to Cooper's Creek. When they 
reached the depot, after four and a half months' absence, they found that 
Brahe, the man whom Burke had left in charge, had left just seven hours 
before. The time he had been instructed to wait had passed, and he had 
resolved to go to Menindie, on the Darling, where the reserves of the expe- 
dition were based. He left some provisions in a hole in the ground, and cut 
the word " Dig " on the bark of a neighbouring tree. When Burke, Wills, 
and King — the fourth man had died on the journey — staggered into the 
Cooper's Creek depot, their condition was desperate. They ate the pro- 
visions they found, and rested a couple of days, debating what course they 
should pursue. Burke, instead of following in Brahe's tracks, as Wills 
wanted to do, insisted on making for a cattle station at Mount Hopeless, 
150 miles away. It was a fatal resolve. They killed their camels for their 
flesh, and crept forward on foot. When within 50 miles of Mount Hopeless 
Burke, not knowing how near he was, gave the order to turn back to Cooper's 
Creek. The pitiful story of the last days of weary, famished life suffered 
by the three is as intensely pathetic as anything in the history of exploration. 
Wills died first, in the hut at Cooper's Creek. Burke and King tried to find 
the encampment of some blacks who had helped their dead companion 
some time before. Burke broke down and died by the way ; King lived 
with the blacks until he was rescued by A. W. Howitt, who had been sent 
out from Melbourne in charge of a relief expedition. He survived until 

The tragedy of Burke and Wills does not end the story of Australian 
inland exploration, but may be taken to be the last sensational event in it. 
In Western Australia, the brothers John and Alexander Forrest did brave 
work. The former, after having in 1869 led an expedition in search of 
remains of Leichhardt, set off (1870) to examine the country which had been 
explored by Eyre, along the shores of the Bight. He directed attention to 
the well-grassed areas lying a few miles from the coast. In 1874 John Forrest 
traversed the country intervening between Western Australia and the settled 
portions of South Australia. Alexander Forrest in 1879 explored from the 
De Guy River, on the north-west shoulder of the continent, across to the 
Fitzroy, which flows from the Leopold Range to King Sound ; followed the 
Fitzroy to its source, and then struck north-east to Port Darwin. His 
enterprise opened up 20,000,000 acres of good country, besides showing 
the way to the rich Kimberley Gold-fields. 

The journeys of Ernest Giles and of Warburton, 1875-6, must be men- 
tioned ; and it should also be said that the several scientific expeditions of 
Baldwin Spencer to the interior, though undertaken primarily for purposes 

History of Australia. 13 

of biological research, have been of the utmost value in a wider sense. They 
have enabled a trained observer to direct attention in a very striking way 
to aspects of the country not commonly indicated by explorers of the usual 

6. Extension of Colonization. 

Where the explorer pointed the way the pioneer colonist followed ; but 
there was also, for an interesting period, another motive for extending occu- 
pation beyond the original confines. That was the threat of French rivalry. 
The fierce animosity, generated between England and France as a consequence 
of the revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, was not without advantageous 
results in Australia. It made the governing authorities anxious to establish 
settlements in unoccupied territory, for fear that the French should plant 
colonies there. There are no facts to show that the French Government 
proposed annexing a portion of Australia.* But it was firmly believed that 
they contemplated such a policy ; and the belief was just as effectual in 
stimulating expansion as if positive evidence of aggression had been 

Immediately after the departure of Baudin's expedition from Port Jack- 
son, Governor King caused two settlements to be planted in Tasmania : 
at Kisdon, on the Derwent, in 1803, and at Port Dalrymple, on the Tamar, 
in 1804. The same fear of French occupation led the British Government to 
send out Lieutenant-Colonel Collins to establish a colony at Port Phillip in 
1803. Collins, unfortunately, landed his 300 convicts on the sandy penin- 
sula which divides the port from the ocean, and, quite naturally, formed 
an unfavorable opinion of its suitability. Consequently, the first Port 
Phillip settlement failed, and Collins' people were removed to the Derwent. 
Lieutenant Tuckey, who wrote an account of the experiment, observed, on 
leaving the port which is now the seat of the great city of Melbourne, " the 
kangaroo seems to reign undisturbed lord of the soil, a dominion which, 
by the evacuation of Port Phillip, he is likely to retain for ages." That was 
109 years ago. 

There were other French scares long after Napoleon had ceased from 
troubling. In 1825, it was rumoured that a French settlement was to be 
attempted at Westernport. Governor Darling despatched H.M.S. Fly and 
two brigs conveying troops with instructions to establish themselves. It 
was found that French ships had called at Westernport, then quite unoccu- 
pied, but no attempt whatever had been made to found a colony there, 
and, the fear of rivalry subsiding, the British packed up their apparatus 
and returned to Sydney. 

A similar desire to frustrate foreign occupation in Western Australia had 
more enduring consequences. The French were again supposed to be 
moving ; and in 1826 Major Lockyer, of the 39th regiment, was sent from 
Sydney in command of a detachment of troops and a party of convicts to 
occupy King George's Sound. This was the beginning of colonization in 
the western State ; and even when a more determined attempt was made to 
found a settlement upon the beautiful Swan River, the British Government, 

♦Lord John Russell recorded (Recollections and Suggestions, 1875, p. 203) that while he was Colonial 
Secretary in the Melbourne Government, 1839-41, " A gentleman attached to the French Government " 
called upon him and asked how much of Australia was claimed by Great Britain. He replied "the 
whole," and with that answer his visitor went away 

14 Fedekal Handbook. 

" being anxious to anticipate any such measure by France," offered land at 
the rate of one acre for every eighteen pence taken out in cash or goods by 
immigrants. The first Governor of the western colony was Captain Stirling, 
R.N. The English promoters of the colony secured the emigration of 4,000 
persons in the first four years (1829-31), with whom a fair start was made, 
Perth being chosen as the centre. 

The instructions to Governor Phillip, when the first colony was estab- 
lished at Port Jackson, directed him to occupy Norfolk Island, which lies in 
the latitude of the Queensland border, about 900 miles from the east coast, 
to " prevent it being occupied by the subjects of any other European power." 
Within a month, therefore, of the founding of Sydney, Phillip despatched 
Lieutenant King with a small party of officers and convicts to form a settle- 
ment. Two years later, Phillip, confronted by famine conditions, sent 
nearly 300 convicts to Norfolk Island, and by 1793 there were over a thousand 
people there. But the establishment was costly, and when it was determined 
to colonize Tasmania, the Norfolk Islanders were transferred to the Tamar 
and the Derwent. It was again used as a convict establishment at later 
dates, and has had an exciting and romantic history, compounded of insur- 
rection, piracy, and shipwreck, as well as of curious phases of more peaceful 
colonizing. Many of the present inhabitants are descendants of Pitcairn 
Islanders, whose forefathers were associated with the famous Bounty 

South Australia is the only one of the six States of Australia that had 
no direct connexion with convictism. Transportation, indeed, was expressly 
debarred in the constituting statute. The colony was originally established 
to carry out a theory. Edward Gibbon Wakefield, who spent three years in 
Newgate for abducting a ward in Chancery, had leisure there to meditate on 
problems of colonization. Though he had never been in Australia, he 
published in 1829 a little book directing attention to what he believed to 
be the defects of the system followed in New South Wales. His Letter from 
Sydney was so bright and clever that it was generally believed to be the 
result of observations made and impressions formed on the spot. It attracted 
all the more attention from the efforts then being exerted to settle Western 
Australia on a plan promulgated by Thomas Peel. Wakefield's main point 
was that it was a mistake in policy to grant land in a new colony in large areas 
on cheap terms, but that it should be sold at " a sufficient price," and the 
proceeds devoted to bringing out families of settlers. In 1830 the National 
Colonization Society was founded in London to carry out Wakefield's ideas, 
and in 1834 Parliament passed an Act establishing the colony of South Aus- 
tralia. A board of eight commissioners was appointed to manage affairs, 
a Resident Commissioner being on the spot, and his colleagues remaining in 
London ; but the Crown also appointed a Governor, Sir John Hindmarsh . 
Eight vessels laden with immigrants arrived during 1836 at Kangaroo Island, 
where it was at first proposed to locate the colony. The place was deemed 
unsuitable, and Colonel Light, the Surveyor-General, chose a site on the 
east side of St. Vincent's Gulf where the city of Adelaide has been built. 

The Wakefield theory did not work ; nor did the system of control. 
Hindmarsh quarrelled with the Resident Commissioner, and both were 
recalled. Colonel Gawler, who succeeded, plunged the settlement into 

History of Australia. 15 

financial embarrassments; and 'it remained for the third Governor, George 
Grey (1841-5), to apply good sense and strong statesmanship to the situation, 
and to place South Australia upon a sound, stable, and progressive footing. 

Queensland was originally occupied as an offshoot from Port Jackson. 
Governor Brisbane desired to relieve the pressure upon Sydney by extending 
settlement. Lord Hobart had said twenty years before, " if you continually 
send thieves to one place it must in time be supersaturated. Sydney now, 
I think, is completely saturated. We must let it rest and purify for a few 
years, till it begins to be in a condition again to receive." It had not been 
allowed to sweeten by rest, and Brisbane had instructed Oxley, the explorer, 
in 1822 to look for a good place for an overflow-settlement. Oxley considered 
the shores of Moreton Bay offered an excellent situation ; and in 1824 the 
foundations of the city of Brisbane were laid. The Governor intended that 
the new station should be reserved for offenders who committed crimes after 
transportation. " According to the nature of the offence are they punished," 
he explained. " Those guilty of the least are sent to Port Macquarie (on the 
west coast of Tasmania), those of a graver nature to Moreton Bay, and those 
of the deepest dye to Norfolk Island." In 1849, when both Victoria and 
New South Wales refused to receive any more " exiles," they were sent on 
to Brisbane ; but transportation to this settlement ceased when the rest of 
eastern Australia was freed from it. 

The colonization of Victoria arose from totally different causes than those 
which operated in any other State. It has been shown that Tasmania and 
Queensland were chosen as fields for the extension of tne convict system, 
that sites in Western and South Australia were selected to try the efficacy 
of theories, and that a jealous fear of French occupation prompted early 
settlements in Tasmania, Western Australia, and Victoria. The two attempts 
made to found colonies in the latter State, in 1803 and 1825, were total failures. 
When effective occupation did ensue, it occurred in quite a natural way. 
The explorations of Hume and Hovell, and of Mitchell, demonstrated that 
immense areas of valuable pasture land lay south of the Murray ; the Henty 
Brothers from Tasmania in 1836 settled at Portland, brought sheep and cattle 
with them, and commenced cultivation for the provisioning of their whalicg 
boats ; and the news of the kind of country they had found induced other 
Tasmanians to follow. The Government did not promote occupation ; 
enterprising men sought out lands for their own advantage. There was no 
theoretical scheme to test ; knowledge of good land and the pursuit of profit 
furnished the main motives. In May, 1835, John Batman, who had formed 
an association in Tasmania for the utilization of Port Phillip lands, sailed 
over and examined the country in the Geelong district. He was well satis- 
fied with what he saw. He took his boat up the bay, anchored at the mouth 
of the Kiver Yarra, and set off on foot to explore. On this journey he fell 
in with aboriginals, and made with their chiefs the famous bargain by which 
he supposed himself to have purchased about 600,000 acres of land, including 
the whole of the present site of Melbourne, for a trifling yearly tribute and a 
present of blankets, looking-glasses, knives, scissors, and handkerchiefs. 
The Government naturally declined to ratify a " treaty " so made with 
savages who had not the faintest notion of what they were doing ; but there 
is every reason to believe that Batman acted in good faith. The original 

16 Federal Handbook. 

document, which is drawn up in what a high authority allows to be " English 
legal form," and purports to bear the " marks " of the chiefs, is still pre- 
served, and is one of the curiosities of the history of colonization. 

Batman had a rival in John Pascoe Fawkner, who came over from Tas- 
mania in August, 1835, and whose activity did much to advance the progress 
of the little colony in its infant years. Early in 1836 many more pastoralists 
came over from Tasmania. In May of that year there were 177 people 
living on the site of Melbourne, 31 of whom petitioned Governor Sir Richard 
Bourke to send over a magistrate to regulate affairs. In September, Bourke 
despatched Captain William Lonsdale to take charge. Batman had chosen 
the site for a " village " on the banks of the Yarra. Lonsdale confirmed the 
choice, and in March, 1837, that village received from Bourke, who paid a 
visit of inspection to it, the name of Melbourne. 

7. Progress of Settlement. 

A thorough study of the history of land settlement in Australia has not 
yet been made. The student who will some day undertake the task will 
have to master a bewildering complication of experiments, administrative and 
legislative, and will have to elucidate a baffling variety of devices, theories, 
ingenious means of defeating virtuous intentions, and frequent changes of 
policy to adapt the law to rapid changes in social structure. He will 
have to begin with a study of the very first principles affecting the rights 
of the Crown to control the disposition of unoccupied land. The theory that 
the Crown is the absolute owner of all land is described by an indubitable 
authority as " the driest of legal fictions, a fiction, moreover, which, unlike 
most legal fictions, never corresponded with fact."* Yet except, for the 
practical application of this theory as a fundamental principle, the settlement 
of the colonies could not have been controlled. Without it, the first comers 
would have seized all the good land, and nothing short of revolution could 
have dispossessed them, " It may seem almost incredible," says the autho- 
rity cited, " that a question of such magnitude should be settled by the 
revival of a purely technical and antiquarian fiction." But if such a prin- 
ciple had not existed, in however shadowy a form, it would have been 
necessary to create one of the kind. Even as things occurred, many first- 
comers acquired enormous areas on such easy terms that the expansion of 
settlement has been hindered. 

The earliest settlements out of Sydney were established on the Parra- 
matta, Hawkesbury, and St. George's Rivers. These were founded within 
the first ten years, when endeavours were being made to render Port Jackson 
self-supporting. The land grants made were comparatively small, and 
terms were easy both to free men and emancipists. When the Blue Moun- 
tains were crossed in 1813, and the rich pastures beyond came within the 
scope of the settlers' enterprise, new problems arose. The prospect seemed 
boundless. There were millions and millions of acres stretching away to 
regions as yet unexplored. Governor Macquarie wished to restrain the 
limits of occupation, and would not make large grants. The British Govern- 
ment also considered that the dispersal of settlers over enormous stretches of 

* Jenks, History of the Australasian Colonies, page 59. 

History of Australia. 17 

country unwise. But the rapid development of the wool industry after 
Macarthur introduced the Merino sheep and demonstrated the peculiar 
adaptability of Australia for the production of fine fleeces, impelled men to 
go far afield, where their flocks could multiply. Hence arose the squatting 
system. An owner of sheep would set out with his sheep and his drovers, 
and would " squat " upon an area of unoccupied land, which, being an 
experienced man, he would choose with skilful discernment. Then he 
would erect huts, would live there with his assistants, and would endeavour 
to make a fortune out of wool as rapidly as possible. The early squatters 
had no title to the land they occupied. They took it because it was available, 
and it was for the Government to deal with them as it pleased. Legally, 
by the application of the " legal fiction " above mentioned, they were tres- 
passers. Actually they were men of courage and enterprise, who made the 
best use then possible of land which was lying idle. It remained for Governor 
Bourke, in 1836, to deal in a practical way with the problem created by 
extensive squatting. He divided the country which the squatters had occu- 
pied into pastoral districts, and issued grazing licences to occupiers for low 
fees. The licences created no ownership, but they gave the squatters security 
of tenure for defined areas, and for specified periods. 

It was Governor Bourke, too, who first (1832) adopted the measure of 
appropriating part of the proceeds from the sale of land to bring immigrants 
to Australia ; and this policy was in 1840 laid down as a sound one by a 
Board of Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners, appointed in London 
to advise the Secretary of State. By this time, the advantages that Aus- 
tralia offered to agriculturists were becoming well recognised in Great Britain. 
The opening up of Port Phillip and the establishment of colonies in South 
Australia and Western Australia likewise attracted settlement. One pound 
per acre was stipulated as a common price for the sale of land to settlers. 
A good number of young men possessed of capital sought avenues for fortune 
in the new country, and many founded families which to-day are, as Hamlet 
said of Osric, " spacious in the possession of dirt." During the thirties and 
the early forties, the flow of immigration — amounting to 10,000 persons per 
annum to New South Wales alone, in some years — effected a great change 
in the general character of the country. A policy of assisted immigration 
hastened expansion. It was during this period that there grew up that 
marked aversion to the continuation of convictism which has already been 
pointed out. The growth of the towns facilitated the consolidation and 
emphatic expression of opinion. The new-comers had changed their clime 
with a view to make homes for themselves and their posterity, and the 
spirit of nation-makers was within them. 

The process of parcelling out the land in large areas, principally for sheep- 
raising, continued till after the decline of the first prodigal gold yield, and the 
consequent diversion of the energies of some thousands of men from digging. 
Statesmen were now compelled to find means of settling farmers on smaller 
blocks. Cultivation on an extended scale became requisite. Hence arose 
a struggle with the powerful squatting interest which the conditions of pre- 
vious decades had created. The squatters did not want settlement. They 
were satisfied with convictism. Indeed, the representations of the squatters, 
who needed labour for their runs, were partly responsible for the creation 
C.12151 B 

18 Federal Handbook. 

of the " conditional pardon system," for Gladstone, who was Secretary of 
State for the Colonies when the system was inaugurated, was a partner in 
a Victorian station property, and was well aware of the opinion of the large 
land-owners. Some of them spoke contemptuously of free immigration. 
"We urgently need labour, and would rather have the pick of the gaols than 
the refuse of workhouses," said the squatters of Moreton Bay in a document 
in 1850. The free immigrants were not " the refuse of the workhouses," 
but they were largely farmers, and the squatters did not approve of the culti- 
vation of small areas. Kidicule was poured on the very idea of profitable 
cultivation in parts of the country — the Darling Downs for example — where 
to-day there are thousands of prosperous settlers. 

The methods employed to secure room for settlers have been various, 
and the enactments embodying them are much too complicated for exposi- 
tion within the limits of an historical summary. They began with the device 
of " selection before survey," under which a person desiring to settle and 
cultivate could enter upon a "run" leased from the Crown by a squatter, 
mark off an area for himself, erect a dwelling upon it, and make it his own 
by paying £1 per acre for it by easy instalments. The system produced a 
crop of evils, and was not very effectual in attaining the object in view. 
It led, on the one hand, to the " peacocking " of properties, often not for 
purposes of genuine occupation, but to induce the squatter to buy out the 
intruder — that is to say, it conduced to a species of blackmailing ; and, on 
the other hand, it led to " dummying," squatters arranging with persons 
acting in collusion with them to select the best parts of a leased run, and so 
keep out strangers. The Duffy Land Act, passed in Victoria in 1862, though 
designed to promote settlement, also led to the augmentation rather than the 
dividing of big estates. In the nineties the land settlement problem 
became more urgent. Improved methods of dairying, the development 
of a large butter export trade, the profitable extension of orchard 
culture, the application of machinery to wheat production — these factors, 
together with the desire of thousands of native-born farmers' sons to make 
homes for themselves, and the augmentation of the pressure of demand for 
land by immigrants, compelled new policies to be inaugurated. Governments, 
in order to settle a rural population, began to repurchase from owners at 
high prices large estates which had been acquired from the Crown at low 
prices. These areas were subdivided and re-sold to farmers on easy terms.. 
A more radical method of attaining the same end was a tax on the unimproved 
value of land, passed by the Federal Parliament, 1910. The tax, though 
an important revenue-producing agency, was primarily designed to compel 
large land-owners either to sell or to put their holdings to the most productive 

One of the beneficent results of Australian settlement, not only to this 
country, but to the colonization generally, was the devising of a cheap and 
simple system of land transfer. The Torrens Act was passed by the South 
Australian Parliament in 1858. Its author, Robert Torrens, was not a lawyer, 
and his efforts were discouraged by the profession, whose members clung 
fondly to the old complicated system which required each transfer of real 
property to be accompanied by title deeds recapitulating the previous owners. 
Torrens devised the method of registration of lands in a public office, where 

History op Australia. 19 

the ownership of any piece of property could be determined at a glance. 
His scheme met with ridicule and strenuous opposition. Experienced 
lawyers declared it to be unworkable. But the Keal Property Act of Torrens 
was carried, and he was appointed to superintend its working. It proved to 
be so safe and successful in South Australia that the other colonies soon 
adopted it ; and the distinguished French historian of modern colonization, 
Leroy-Beaulieu, declares that a system of the kind is essential to the 
well-being of any colony.* 

Two facts stand out, in connexion with the extension of settlement in 
recent years. One is the appreciation of the importance of irrigation in 
Australian development. The second is the discovery of means of profitably 
utilizing lands which were long considered to be of little or no cultivable 
value. Vast areas in South Australia and Victoria, once believed to be 
beyond subjugation by the plough, are now yielding millions of bushels of 
wheat per annum. American " dry farming " methods have been adapted 
to Australian conditions with eminently successful results. Only lately have 
the possibilities of irrigation been appreciated, and the country is hardly 
more than at the beginning of a new era in this regard. Mr. Deakin, in the 
late eighties, inaugurated an irrigation policy in Victoria, and it stands to the 
credit of his statesmanship that he saw, and strove to make his countrymen 
realize, the importance of the scientific application of water to the soil. 
When Mr. Deakin travelled in the irrigated areas of America and India, 
wrote his Irrigated India, and inaugurated his policy, farmers were not quick 
to remodel their methods. But a new generation, taught by zealous experts, 
shows a livelier sense of what is to be gained by the co-operation of the 
irrigation engineer. 

8. The Gold Discoveries. 

The great era of gold discovery in Australia dates from 1851, but nearly 
twenty years before that time particles had been found in the neighbourhood 
of Bathurst. In 1839, Count Strzelecki detected traces of gold amongst 
decomposed iron ore, and informed Governor Gipps, who was not gratified 
by the news, thinking that if it became generally known the difficulty of 
restraining the convict population would be great. But when Strzelecki 
reached England, his geological specimens and maps were examined by Sir 
Eoderick Murchison, who, in a paper read before the Koyal Geological 
Society, pointed out the resemblance between the mountain region where the 
Polish count had travelled, and the gold-bearing Ural mountains. Murchison 
even wrote to the Secretary of State, Earl Grey, predicting that valuable finds 
of gold would be made in Australia ; but no notice was taken of his letter. In 
1848, a man named Smith found a nugget embedded in quartz near Berrima, 
in the Blue Mountains, but the Government would not follow up the dis- 
covery, for fear " of agitating the public mind by ordering geological 

Just as an analogy with the Urals impelled Sir Eoderick Murchison to 
prophesy, so a resemblance between Australian conditions and those of the 
Californian gold-fields convinced Edward Hargreaves that gold would be 

* L roy-Beaulieu, DeJa Colonisation chez les Peuples Modemes, II., 539, where particular attention is 
devoted to the subject. 

B 2 

20 Federal Handbook. 

found in the Bathurst district of New South Wales. He had been a squatter 
there, and had gone to California to seek fortune when the news of the gold 
discoveries came in 1849. He soon convinced himself that the country with 
which he had been familiar in Australia was so like that which he saw in 
America that it ought to be similarly auriferous ; and he returned in 1850 
to investigate. His reasoning was justified. He washed gravel in the bed 
of the Summerhill Creek, and found a small nugget at the first trial. Each 
succeeding dish of earth dug out produced gold. When Hargreaves returned 
to Sydney and disclosed his news to the Government, the exciting gold-rushes 
of the fifties commenced, and Australia entered upon a new phase of her 

There was at the same time a belief that gold would be found in rich 
quantities in Victoria. As early as 1849, a shepherd youth named Chapman 
sold 22 ounces in Melbourne. He had found it in a gully in the hills of the 
western half of the colony, while looking after his sheep. Other bushmen 
occasionally brought small quantities of gold into the city, and there was a 
general expectation that important discoveries would be made. When the 
success of Hargreaves north of the Murray became known in Melbourne, 
interest in the subject quickened, and a reward was offered to any person 
who should be the means of making known a gold mine within 200 miles of 
the city. Valuable finds were made in several parts of the country at about 
the same time ; but the sensational development — that which was noised 
all over the world, and attracted thousands of the young and enterprising 
of all nations — was Hiscocks' discovery of gold at Buninyong, Ballarat, in 
August, 1851. Immediately after, in the same gully, a party of men washed 
out 4f ounces from the surface earth in two hours, and on the following day 
obtained 30 ounces. Startling successes of % this kind soon became common, 
and fabulous fortunes seemed to be within the grasp of those who could 
strike a good patch. The fame of Ballarat became world-wide. Ibsen, 
writing his poetical play Love's Comedy, in Norway, used the name in an 
image for vaulting ambition: an end "worth the leaping for" was "a 
Ballarat beyond the desert sands." 

Many fortunes were made ; many startling finds occurred. Dr. Kerr, 
guided by an aboriginal employe, found a huge block of gold weighing a 
hundredweight, embedded in a mass of quartz, on the Meroo Creek, in the 
Bathurst district. It was worth about £4,000. A Melbourne publican 
found a nugget weighing 7 lbs. while amusing himself by poking about with 
a pick at Black Hill. A ship's captain and seven sailors who tramped to 
Ballarat from Melbourne obtained nearly £3,500 worth of gold in three weeks , 
after which they went back to their ship and sailed in her home to England. 
In Canadian Gully, Ballarat, six nuggets were found in two months weighing 
in the aggregate about 390 lbs. Of Bendigo, a digger wrote, " You could 
see the gold shining in the heaps of dirt, and every man sat on his heap all 
night with a pistol or some weapon in his hand." It was a glittering period ; 
yet a thoughtful Australian statesman, the late Sir Henry Wrixon, on one 
occasion ventured the opinion that on the whole the Australian gold-fields 
had doubtfully been of economic advantage to the country. He argued 
that the capital and energy put into gold mining had probably exceeded the 
value of the product, and that the same capital and energy applied to other 

History of Australia. 21 

industries would have yielded a larger return. An historian whose opinions 
are always well weighed expresses the same view : " It is doubtful whether, 
on the whole, the gold mining industry was in itself profitable, whether as 
much money has not been spent, in the aggregate, on winning the gold, as 
has been made out of the yield."* There is probably much truth in the 
point ; but, on the other hand, the gold-fields served Australia well in attract- 
ing to the country many thousands of men in the prime of life, a large pro- 
portion of whom remained. The political consequences were also, as pointed 
out below, of very great importance. 

Much has been written of the wild life of the diggings, and some of the 
fiction intended to illustrate it is probably no more highly coloured than is 
justified by the facts. Stories like Rolf Boldrewood's Miner's Right and 
Nevermore, by an author who lived through the events whereof he writes, 
are full of the real atmosphere of a turbulent time. The administrative 
difficulties were so novel, the influx of population was so large, that authority 
was not a little bewildered. One serious struggle between law and disorder 
occurred. There was a threat of riot on the Turon, and an outbreak of bush- 
ranging originated from the presence of so many ex-convicts amongst so many 
opportunities for plunder. But the mass of the diggers were orderly, 
industrious men, whose inclination was to co-operate in maintaining good 
government. The tactless handling of questions at issue, rather than a 
lawless disposition on the part of the miners, produced the Eureka Stockade 

There was nothing unreasonable in the imposition by the Government 
of Victoria of a tax on the gold produced. The expenses of administration 
had to be defrayed from some source, and the many thousands of pounds 
worth of gold being obtained constituted a fund upon which Latrobe, the 
Lieutenant-Governor, deemed it equitable to levy. But the method chosen 
was unfortunate, and the means of collection proved to be irritating as a 
rule, and grossly unjust in many instances. Latrobe would have preferred 
a tax on gold exported. That would have ensured that only the successful 
diggers would pay, and that they would be taxed according to their good 
fortune. But his Legislative Council was not favorable to this mode, and the 
example of New South Wales was followed, in the imposition (1851) of a 
licence-fee of 30s. per month on every miner. It was inequitable, because 
it hit the miner with a poor claim as hard as the man who was obtaining 
plenty of gold. But it was made an instrument of gross tyranny in operation. 
A person could be arrested at the instance of an informer, if found upon 
the diggings without a licence actually in his possession, and the fact that 
the informer was entitled to one-half the penalty recovered, which might 
be £5 for a first offence; conduced to the arrest of wholly innocent persons, 
who had no direct connexion with mining, and to the constant irritation, 
and even persecution, of properly licensed men. Moreover, the miners 
protested that they had no representation in the Legislative Council, and 
that taxation without representation was un -British. 

Latrobe, severely harassed by inadequate revenues, proposed to increase 
the licence-fee to £3 per month, but the outcry was so strong that he desisted. 

* Jose, History of Australasia, page 232. 

22 Fedekal Handbook. 

In 1853 it was reduced to £1 per month, but the evils of the system of 
collection were not amended. In 1854 Sir Charles Hotham succeeded to the 
charge of the Government of Victoria, and the mining population hoped for 
reform. But they were severely disappointed. Hotham, faced by increasing 
gold-fields expenditure, and a depleted treasury, assumed a stiff attitude, 
and ordered the police to prosecute the collection of licence-fees with greater 
diligence. The extremely harsh conduct of the police, and the gravely 
defective administration of justice, aggravated the prevalent discontent. 
At Ballarat, the intense feeling was brushed up to a crisis by a riot which 
occurred in October, 1854, about the murder of a miner named Scobie, at 
an hotel of ill-repute, kept by one Bentley, an ex-convict. The latter 
was accused of the crime, but was acquitted at the instance of the magistrate, 
Dewes. There was good reason for suspecting the good faith of Dewes, 
and public indignation was strong. A public meeting was held, and while 
it was in progress a detachment of police was sent to protect Bentley's hotel. 
It was believed that the police intended to disperse the meeting. At once 
the anger of the crowd, about 8,000 strong, was directed against the very 
unpopular constabulary. Some stones were thrown, the windows of the 
hotel were smashed, and finally a fire was set to the building, and it was burnt 
to the ground. Three men were arrested, and the diggers subscribed bail 
money for them. Meanwhile a strong agitation against the licence-fees and 
the police policy was maintained. The movement was connected with that for 
the release of the alleged rioters and with the insistent demand of " no taxation 
without representation." The Eeform League which was formed promoted 
a meeting at which licences were publicly burnt. On 28th November/ a 
military detachment sent up from Melbourne was attacked on the road, 
when several troopers were wounded and a drummer boy killed. Some of the 
leaders of the league were foreigners ; many were fire-brands, who talked 
wildly of upsetting the Government and establishing a republic. They even 
produced a flag, bearing the device of the Southern Cross on a blue ground, 
which was to float over the seat of the new order they intended to establish. 
They constructed a stockade flanking the road to Melbourne, about a mile 
from Ballarat, intending by its means to block the advance of more troops 
who were understood to be on their way up. 

These preparations were rudely shattered by the prompt action of Captain 
Thomas, of the 40th regiment, who was in command of the military already 
on the field. On the morning of 3rd December he led an assault upon the 
stockade, attacking it from the rear with a force of not quite 300 troops and 
police. In about twenty minutes after his bugle rang out for the assault the 
" rebellion " was suppressed. An officer was killed, together with four 
privates, and about a dozen of the storming party were wounded. On the 
other side, fully 30 were killed, many were wounded, and about 130 prisoners 
were taken. Only one " rebel " was convicted, and he was the editor of the 
Ballarat Times, but he was' liberated on his own recognisances. A negro 
was tried for treason and acquitted ; and the Crown did not succeed in securing 
jsk conviction in any case. Peter Lalor, one of the ringleaders, afterwards 
(1880) became Speaker of the Victorian Legislative Assembly, and was a 
conspicuously able and conscientious man. The stockade incident effectually 
cleared the air, and brought about reforms which enabled gold mining to be 

History of Australia. 23 

conducted henceforth as an ordinary peaceful industry. It forms a dramatic 
climax to the roaring digging days.* 

Every State has had its gold rushes, but the opportunities for the making 
of many fortunes by men with little capital have never been so plentiful as 
in New South Wales and Victoria in the fifties. In Queensland, the most 
important discovery was the Mount Morgan mine, which made its purchasers 
millionaires. It was bought for £640 in 1886, and yielded £4,500,000 in ten 
years. In Western Australia the Kimberley Gold-field was opened up in 
1887, and in the early nineties came the amazing discoveries of the Coolgardie 
and Kalgoorlie district. Large cities sprang up where once had been desert, 
and an enormous influx of male population completely changed the political 
complexion of the country. The great silver mines of Broken Hill also made 
huge fortunes for their proprietors. An example is that of Mr. George 
McCulloch, who was a sheep-farmer in the neighbourhood of the hill, which 
was found to be a mass of ore. He was one of the original owners, and with 
the great fortune amassed from the mines became a prominent collector of 
works of art in England. He died in 1908. Scarcely less important than the 
mines of precious metals have been the copper mines of the Burra (South 
Australia) and Mount Lyell (Tasmania), and the tin mines of Mount Bischoff. 
Coal mining, dating from the last years of the eighteenth century in New 
South Wales, is now extended to Victoria, Queensland, and Western 

9. Constitutional Government. 

It was inevitable that political tendencies in Australia should develop 
in a democratic direction ; but the particular impetus given to the movement 
was affected in an important degree by the character of the population that 
flocked to the gold-fields in the fifties. Just before the great discoveries 
were made at Ballarat, Bendigo, on the Turon, and elsewhere, Europe had been 
seething with political discontent. The Chartist movement in England 
apparently collapsed in 1848, but the reforms demanded by the Chartists 
were still advocated by radical thinkers. The Irish evictions of 1847 and 
Smith O'Brien's " rebellion " of 1848 caused thousands of Irishmen to emi- 
grate. The French Kevolution of 1848, which overturned the Orleans 
monarchy, was flushed with the socialistic ideas of Louis Blanc. There 
were revolutionary outbreaks in Germany, a conference of Liberal leaders at 
Heidelberg demanded popular reforms, riots in Berlin frightened Frederich 
William IV., and a Radical party was clamorous in the Vorparlament of 
Frankfort. There was insurrection and a demand for manhood suffrage in 
Austria, the ideas of Mazzini evoked a national and democratic movement in 
Italy, and the same spirit was strongly manifested in Switzerland and Poland. 
The gold-fields populations of Australia were extraordinarily cosmopolitan ; 
and, from whatever country the immigrants came, their political opinions 
were bound to be coloured by the movements of 1848. Many were political 
refugees ; thousands shared the convictions of the English Chartists. 

* The Eureka Stockade incident is still regarded, especially by those connected with mining, as a 
phase in a struggle for liberty, and the association of a relative with it is considered a matter of pride. 
Thus, on 2nd October, 1913, we find Senator Bakhap (Tasmania), in a speech in the Senate (Commonwealth 
Parliamentary Debates, 1913, p. 1734) making it a proud boast that " I have a claim, by virtue of blood 
and lineal descent, to speak feelingly in regard to fighting for the defence of the liberties of Australia. 
A very close maternal relative of mine was the very first man to be killed at the fight at Eureka 

24 Federal Handbook. 

Now, the demand for constitutional government in Australia was not 
in itself necessarily of an ultra-democratic character. The most prominent 
name in the history of the movement is that of W. C. Wentworth, and he 
expressly disclaimed any leanings in the direction of democracy. The 
report of the Legislative Council of New South Wales drafted by him in 1854 
declared that the advocates of constitutional government had " no wish to 
sow the seeds of a future democracy." What they desired was the establish- 
ment in Australia of such free institutions as are most characteristic of British 
principles of government — trial by jury, no taxation without representation, 
freedom of the press, and so forth. There was even a proposition to form an 
hereditary order of Australian baronets who should be in the Legislative 
Councils very much what peers are in the House of Lords in England : a 
disaster from which the country was happily saved by sanity and a sense 
of humour. 

In the beginning the government of Australia was autocratic. The rule 
of the early administrators was subject only to the rather slack supervision 
of the Secretary of State. A Governor might consult his principal officials 
on matters of policy affecting their departments, but he need not. After 
about 1820, personal rule was modified. Governors were expected to take 
counsel with their officers. In 1825, a Legislative Council was established 
to assist in the making of ordinances. Its members were appointed by the 
Colonial Office ; but it was not permitted to enforce any ordinance unless 
the Chief Justice certified that it was consistent with the laws of England 
" so far as the circumstances of the Colony will admit." The powers and 
size of the Council were extended in 1828, when the veto of the Governor 
and the Chief Justice were removed, and financial control was intrusted to 
it. In 1842, a decisive step forward was taken, when a Legislative Council 
was established consisting of 36 members, only twelve of whom were nomi- 
nated by the Crown, the remainder being elected by those of the people who 
held freehold estate to the value of £200 or occupied premises with a rental 
of over £20 per annum. The Port Phillip District — for the separate Colony 
of Victoria had not yet been formed — was represented by six members upon 
this Council. Wentworth was also an elected member of it, and Robert 
Lowe was a nominated member — the Robert Lowe who was afterwards 
(1868) to become Chancellor of the Exchequer in the first Gladstone Cabinet 
and the Lord Sherbrooke of later days. 

The Constitution of 1842 provided a satisfactory system of government 
for the time, and enabled public opinion to be fairly well represented. Tas- 
mania (still known as Van Diemen's Land) had since 1823 been governed by 
a Lieutenant-Governor with a nominated Legislative Council of its own, 
and a similar system was in operation in South Australia and Western 

Evidence that this method of government was being outgrown became 
apparent when a demand for separation grew in Port Phillip. Dissatisfaction 
arose from the spending of the proceeds of Port Phillip lands outside the dis- 
trict. The rapid growth of Melbourne, and the inconvenience of having 
affairs regulated from a centre 600 miles away, at a time when there was, of 
course, no railway connexion, gave impetus to the movement. 

History of Australia. 25 

In order to call attention to the situation in a striking way, the Melbourne 
people in 1848 elected Earl Grey, the Secretary of State, as one of their 
representatives on the Council. The move was more than a jest. It was 
intended to stir the British Government to grant separation ; and it succeeded. 
In 1850 a new Australian Government Act was passed ; and on 1st July, 
1851, Victoria was proclaimed a separate Colony. The name was recom- 
mended by the Committee appointed by the Secretary of State for the con- 
sideration of matters "relating to trade and foreign plantations," in 1849, 
and who advised the Queen to " be graciously pleased to confer the name of 
Victoria " on the new province. Both its northern boundary, the line of 
the Murray, and its western boundary, dividing it from South Australia, 
have since been the subject of dispute, and, in the latter instance, of a law- 
suit. Under the new Act, the system of government which had for eight 
years prevailed in New South Wales was extended to Victoria, South Aus- 
tralia, and Tasmania. It is interesting to notice that, just as Kobert Lowe 
was a member of the first Council in New South Wales, so H. C. E. Childers 
became a member of the first Victorian Council ; both, at later dates, having 
been Chancellors of the Exchequer in England. Queensland did not become 
a separate Colony till 1859, when the form of government had been altered. 
Western Australia remained under the rule of a Governor and a Council of 
ten, none of them elected, till 1870, when the Council was enlarged. In 
1890 responsible government was instituted. 

A section of the Act of 1850 enabled the Legislative Councils of the Colonies 
to frame new Constitutions, which were not to be put in operation till the 
assent of the Imperial Government had been obtained. Public opinion 
on political concerns ripened very rapidly as the gold-lure attracted popula- 
tion, the towns grew, and newspapers were established. Political issues 
were keenly debated. Constitutional questions were discussed. People 
thought that the time had come to discard the old Legislative Council method, 
and to set up Parliaments modelled on the British pattern. Thus by 1854 
the four Colonies had devised new Constitutions for themselves. Each Colony 
chose to have a Legislature consisting of two Houses. With respect to the 
Lower House, the Legislative Assembly, South Australia gave the franchise 
to every male over the age of 21 whose name had been six months on an 
electoral roll. New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania stipulated a small 
property qualification. The constitution of the Upper Houses, or Legislative 
Councils, differed very much. New South Wales preferred a nominee Coun- 
cil. Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania chose to have elected Councils, 
insisting, however, on a relatively high property or educational or professional 
qualification. The Councils to-day remain substantially as they were con- 
stituted over half -a -century ago, except in the case of Victoria, where there 
has been a reduction of the property qualification of members. Queensland 
has followed the lead of New South Wales in having a nominee Council, but 
Western Australia decided for an elected body. To-day, payment of members 
of Legislative Assemblies prevails in all States ; women are enfranchised in 
all States ; the normal duration of a Legislative Assembly is three years in 
all States. The Executive in all States is framed on the British model. It is 
responsible to the Lower House of the Legislature, which, also, has paramount 
authority in matters of finance. 

26 Federal Handbook. 

The working of representative government in Australia has conduced 
to some peculiarly interesting crises. There was a dead-lock between the two 
Houses of the Legislature in New South Wales in 1861. The Government 
of the day succeeded in passing through the Legislative Assembly a Land 
Bill intended to promote the acquisition of farms by men of small means. 
The squatters, who were powerful in the Legislative Council, did not favour 
the proposal. They rejected the Bill. The Premier, Mr. Charles Cowper, 
thereupon advised the Governor, Sir John Young, to appoint 21 new members 
. to the Council. It was the device threatened in England in 1911 to overcome 
the reluctance of the House of Lords to pass the Parliament Bill. The 
Governor accepted the advice, and 21 supporters of the Land Bill were 
appointed. But when they attended to be sworn in, the President 
of the Council and a majority of the members rose from their seats 
and walked out, so that the sitting lapsed. A little later Wentworth 
— who had been in England — accepted the Presidency, a new Council 
was appointed, and the Bill was passed. It was the measure which 
introduced the " selection before survey " system. Sir John Young was 
blamed by the Colonial Office for appointing the " swamping " 21 

A crisis of extraordinary bitterness occurred in Victoria in 1865. A 
strong protectionist party had grown up, largely in consequence of the 
advocacy of David Syme and the Age newspaper. A Government headed by 
James McCulloch introduced a protective Tariff, which was passed by the 
Legislative Assembly. The Council, as was well-known, intended to reject 
the measure. Being an elected body, it was impossible to secure a majority 
by nominating fresh members. But the Council could not, under the Con- 
stitution, amend an Appropriation Bill. McCulloch therefore resorted to the 
expedient of " tacking " the Tariff on to the Bill providing for the ordinary 
annual services of government. The Council had either to accept the whole 
Bill, including the nauseous Tariff, or reject it, and thereby deprive the 
Government of the means of paying the salaries of the public service, 
the accounts of contractors, and other obligations awaiting discharge. 
The Council accepted the challenge and rejected the Bill. McCulloch, fertile 
in devices, went on collecting revenue under a Tariff which Parliament had 
not passed, borrowed money from the London Bank of Australia for meeting 
the immediate needs of the Government, and arranged with the bank to sue 
for the amount. Judgment was allowed to go without dispute, whereupon 
the Governor, Sir Charles Darling, issued a warrant for the payment of the 
money out of the revenue. This devious method was followed for four 
months, when McCulloch, to relieve the situation, persuaded the Assembly 
to send up a Tariff Bill to the Council free from " tacking" to an Appropria- 
tion Bill. But the Council rejected the measure even in this form. After a 
general election, which returned a powerful protectionist majority to the 
Lower House, they rejected it again. The Assembly pledged itself to support 
no Ministry that did not put forward a protectionist Tariff, and again 
there was a dead-lock. This time the Council gave way. The Tariff was 
sent up for the fourth time, there was a conference between the two Houses, 
a few concessions were made, and the protective policy became statutory 
in April, 1866. 

History of Australia. 27 

Immediately afterwards another crisis arose. Sir Charles Darling was recalled 
by the Colonial Office on account of the part he had played in the events 
just chronicled. The Legislative Assembly, holding that he had acted con- 
stitutionally in following the advice of his Ministers, voted a grant of £20,000 
to Lady Darling, and an address to Sir Charles thanking him for his services. 
The Council rejected the grant proposed. A dissolution ensued, and McCul- 
loch's party was returned by an overwhelming majority. But the new 
Governor, Manners-Sutton, acting on instructions from the Colonial Office, 
sought to impede the carrying out of the will of the popular party, and a 
period of excitement and complication followed, the like of which has no 
parallel in Australian history. The Governor kept in office a Ministry which 
had no majority in Parliament, and which could not even obtain supply. 
The extraordinary situation was ended by the Colonial Office deciding to 
grant Darling a pension of £1,000 a year, and by the intimation that in these 
circumstances Lady Darling could not accept the £20,000 which the 
Legislative Assembly desired to vote for her. 

Yet another constitutional crisis occurred in Victoria in 1877, over the 
question of the payment of members of Parliament. The Government of 
Graham Berry secured the passage of a Bill by the Assembly, but the Council 
rejected it. Thereupon the measure was " tacked " to the Appropriation 
Bill, which was laid aside by the Council. Berry dealt with the situation 
resolutely. Deprived of legal means of financing the operations of govern- 
ment, he dismissed hundreds of public servants. The Governor, Sir George 
Bowen, acting on the advice of Ministers, signed warrants enabling revenue 
to be expended without parliamentary sanction. Finally the Council yielded 
to the force of public opinion, and passed the Payment of Members Bill, 
which was sent up apart from the Appropriation Bill. Berry also induced 
the Council to pass a measure reforming itself, reducing the property quali- 
fication of its members from £5,000 to one of a clear annual value of £100, 
and the term of service from ten years to six. 

The memory of these prolonged and bitter struggles between branches 
of the Legislature was carefully regarded when the Commonwealth Constitu- 
tion was being drafted ; and provisions were expressly inserted therein for 
the prevention of " tacking," and prescribing a course of procedure to remedy 
dead-locks. There have been difficulties in other States than Victoria ; 
in South Australia disputes have frequently occurred ; but the instances 
described above are the " sad exemplars " of a Constitution strained to 
breaking point by a clashing of powers. 

10. The Achievement of Federation. 

Even at the time when separatist tendencies were most marked in Aus- 
tralian affairs, thoughtful men foresaw that a time would come when cohesive 
forces would assert themselves. The Committee on Trade and Foreign Plan- 
tations, which reported to the Queen in 1849 — Sir J. Stephen drafted the 
report — although recommending that the wishes of the Colonies respecting 
separate Governments should be carried out, nevertheless recommended that 
there should be a common Tariff. " So great indeed would be the evil, 
and such the obstruction of the inter-colonial trade, and so great the check 

28 Federal Handbook. 

to the development of the resources of each of these Colonies," from the 
operation of separate Tariffs, " that it seems to us necessary that there should 
be one Tariff common to them all, so that goods might be carried from the one 
into the other with the same absolute freedom as between any two adjacent 
counties in England." The Committee recommended further that there 
should be established a House of Delegates elected by the legislatures of the 
different Colonies, with power to make laws of general application on ten 
subjects, namely : duties on imports and exports ; postal affairs ; roads, 
canals, and railways ; beacons and lighthouses ; shipping dues ; weights 
and measures ; the establishment of a general Supreme Court of original 
jurisdiction and appeal ; the determining of the jurisdiction, forms, and 
manner of proceeding of such Court ; the enactment of laws affecting all 
the Colonies on any subject not specified in the preceding list but on which 
the House of Delegates should be desired by the separate Legislatures to 
legislate ; and the appropriation of revenue for the objects enumerated. 

It will be seen that this was a scheme of federation, formulated half-a- 
century before the Colonies themselves agreed upon a basis of union. The 
most important omission from it is a provision for common defence, but it 
must be remembered that at the time when the Committee deliberated British 
troops were stationed in Australia, and the power of the Colonies to make 
adequate provision for their own defence was hardly contemplated* But 
the Act of Parliament passed in 1850 did not embody the Committee's scheme, 
though the title of Governor-General was conferred upon the Governor of 
New South Wales, and was borne by him until 1861. 

The six Colonies of Australia, then, went on their own way. They had 
their separate Governors, Governments, and Parliaments. They legislated 
for their own internal requirements, without regard to the neighbours 
across their borders. They imposed Tariffs which operated against the 
goods of fellow Australians precisely as they operated against foreigners. 
A pair of boots imported to South Australia from Victoria paid just as much 
duty as a pair of boots imported from France or America. Not only were 
manufactured goods taxed. Victoria imposed a stock tax in the interests 
of graziers, so that even in a time of scarcity cattle brought over the border 
from New South Wales was taxed at so much per head. A Victorian states- 
men, Sir James Patterson, coined the phrase " the barbarism of borderism," 
but the system was maintained. 

Meanwhile, the ripening of political thought in the direction of federation 
was accelerated by extra-political forces. Kailways and telegraphs ab- 
breviated space and time, linked together previously isolated communities, 
made commercial intercourse facile, and emphasized the inconvenience of 
hindrances to its fluidity. It was not till 1883 that railway communication 
between Melbourne and Sydney was established ; not till 1887 that Adelaide 
was connected by rail with Melbourne ; not till 1889 that Sydney and Bris- 
bane were joined. A line giving southern and eastern Australia access to 
Perth in the extreme west is only now in process of construction. The 
telegraph assisted materially in the unifying process. In 1872 a work of 
magnitude was achieved when the overland line from Adelaide to Port 
Darwin was completed. By 1877 there was telegraphic connexion 
between all the State capitals. 

History of Australia. 29 

The ineffectiveness of the separate Colonies for dealing with questions 
affecting Australia as a whole likewise impelled thoughtful men to consider 
the necessity for union. Australians are of European, chiefly British, origin, 
and have kinship with the people of North America ; but their continent 
is neighboured by thickly-populated Asiatic countries, whose customs and 
standards of living are alien from those prevailing here. Soon after the 
establishment of representative government, New South Wales, Victoria, 
and South Australia found it desirable to legislate to exclude Chinese immi- 
gration. More stringent laws were passed in the eighties. But still it was 
felt that Australia required to act on this question through a strong central 
authority. The employment of South Sea islanders (Kanakas) on the sugar 
plantations of Queensland introduced another alien element deemed socially 
undesirable, and if the traffic was to cease, Queensland must have a free 
extended market for her sugar, and the industry must be an Australian 

Again, the defensive organization of the country was weak and inefficient 
as long as each of six States had its own little force, and acted without co- 
operation with its neighbours. There were also questions vitally affecting 
the future well-being of the country upon which it was desirable that Aus- 
tralia should speak authoritatively. One such occurred when Bismarck 
inaugurated a German colonial policy. There were grounds for believing 
that Germany intended to appropriate New Guinea. That territory lay so 
near to the northern shores of Australia that the prospect caused some 
excitement. The Queensland Premier, Mcllwraith (1883), telegraphed to 
London urging the Imperial Government to annex New Guinea, and offering 
to bear the cost of administration if that were done. New South Wales, 
Victoria, and South Australia agreed to co-operate. While Lord Derby, 
the Colonial Secretary, delayed, Mcllwraith acted. News of a German 
move came to hand, whereupon the Queensland Government sent up a 
force to take possession of the southern part of New Guinea and to hoist 
the British flag at Port Moresby (April, 1883). It was an audacious 
stroke, but it succeeded. The Imperial Government could not, in the face 
of strongly expressed Australian opinion, do more than disavow respon- 
sibility. In the following year Germany did annex northern New Guinea, 
which was named Kaiser Wilhelm's Land, and also marked out for herself a 
sphere of possession and influence in the Pacific. The raising of this 
question was of great value in enlarging the Australian political horizon, in 
making people realize that the well-being — the security even — of their own 
separate Colonies, in whose domestic affairs they had been so engrossed, 
was affected by considerations of which they had been too negligent. 
Questions relating to the French in the Pacific began to engage serious 
attention. But how could six Colonies acting separately speak decisively 
on such matters of world politics as these ? 

A move in the direction of union was made in 1885, when a Federal Council 
was established. It had no legislative authority and no source of revenue. 
It could draw up statutes on a few specified subjects, but had no power to 
enforce them. It was still more ineffective because New South Wales 
did not participate in its deliberations. Still, the Council did afford a means 
of ventilating periodically questions affecting Australia as a whole, and its 

30 Federal Handbook. 

proceedings were always watched with interest. Abortive attempts to frame 
an acceptable Federal Constitution were made at Conferences held in 1890 
and 1891. The provisions of the draft instrument of union prepared at the 
latter Convention were discussed far and wide, and were of the utmost value 
in crystalizing opinion, not only on points on which federation was desirable, 
but also on the hindrances to the achievement of it. There was an interval 
of a few years, during which the question matured in the public mind. 
Societies discussed it ; leagues were formed to advocate the cause ; public 
men pronounced on important phases of it ; thee was a considerable pamphlet 
literature. An extra-official Conference at Corowa gathered up the threads 
and formulated a practical plan of procedure. At length, in 1895-6, the 
movement brought federation within the range of practical politics. The 
Parliaments of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania 
passed Acts enabling a Convention to be elected by the people to prepare a 
Federal Constitution. The Western Australian Parliament did not trust 
the people of the State, but elected delegates itself. Queensland, for the time 
being, did not participate. The Convention held three sessions in 1897-8, 
and finally brought forth a Bill. The measure was almost at once accepted 
by the people of three States by referendum; but certain of its provisions 
created dissatisfaction in New South Wales, and had to be amended at a 
Conference of Premiers before it was made acceptable to that State. One 
of the amendments made insured the establishment of the federal capital 
in New South Wales, but with the condition that it should not be within 
100 miles of Sydney. In its amended form the Bill was accepted by the 
people of five States, and the sixth (Queensland), which had not been repre- 
sented at the Convention, determined to enter the Union. The Imperial 
Parliament made an amendment of some consequence, ensuring the right of 
Australian litigants to appeal from the High Court to the Privy Council, 
except in cas s affecting the constitutional powers of the Commonwealth or 
of States. But at length, in July, 1900, Queen Victoria gave her assent 
to the Act establishing a Government and Parliament for the Common- 
wealth of Australia, and in 1901 the present King — then Duke of York — 
formally opened the first Parliament, and set the machinery of the new 
Government in motion. 

It is not possible within the space prescribed to relate the history of 
Australia under Federation. The thirteen years have been crowded with 
incident, and have witnessed remarkable changes in political complexion. 
They have witnessed the achievement of power by a new party with a stock 
of ideas partly evolved from British Radicalism, and partly from European 
Socialism, but adapted to Australian conditions and requirements. In 1895, 
so keen a political observer as Jenks could write a History of the Australasian 
Colonies, without mentioning the existence of a Labour Party as a factor of 
serious consequence. In 1904, only nine years later, there was a Labour 
Government — the Watson Administration — in charge of the affairs of the 
Commonwealth. That political developments occurred on other lines than 
those foreseen by the framers of the Constitution should not have been 
surprising to any student of comparative and historical politics ; but few 
could have expected so rapid a demand for radical alterations in the Consti- 
tution itself as the leaders of the Labour Party are convinced is necessary 

History of Australia. 31 

to the carrying out of their policy. These changes have been twice sub- 
mitted to the electors, but have not been approved, though it is a fact of 
significance that the vote in favour of them at the last referendum (1913) 
showed a distinct advance upon the affirmative vote at the previous sub- 
mission in 1911. 

The creation of the Labour Party as a political power of first-class import- 
ance has, of course, caused prominence to be given to industrial legislation. 
Apart from this, the main matters of policy laid down, on the principles of 
which there is scarcely a difference between parties, relate to the exclusion 
of undesirable immigrants, including all coloured peoples ; the protection 
of Australian industries, by a tariff, against foreign competition ; the develop- 
ment of the defensive power of the country by a system of compulsory 
military training, and the establishment of an up-to-date fleet, to act in 
co-operation with British fleets. The Northern Territory, that is, the 
immense area extending from the northern border of South Australia to the 
Arafura Sea, was from 1863 administered by South Australia, and entailed 
heavy financial responsibilities. In 1907 the Federal Government assumed 
responsibility for it, and is now vigorously prosecuting a policy of develop- 
ment. The Commonwealth in 1906 took over the government of British 
New Guinea, which was re-named Papua, and here also there has been an 
application of capital and science. The choice of a site for a federal capital 
was the subject of prolonged investigations, negotiations, and parliamentary 
contention ; but at length, in 1908, a situation in the district of Yass-Canberra, 
was selected. Designs have been approved, and the work of construction 
is in progress. It was determined in 1913 that the name of the capital should 
be Canberra. The city when built will be connected by rail with a port at 
Jervis Bay. 

11. Bibliography. 

The limitations of this brief history of Australia have permitted the many 
phases to be indicated only in a summary manner ; and it is desirable to 
append a short list of books whence fuller information may be obtained. 
The best compendious history is that of A. W. Jose, History of Australasia. 
The latest edition (Sydney, 1913) is an admirable book. It is well illustrated. 
Jenks' History of the Australasian Colonies (Cambridge, 1895, and later 
editions) is especially valuable for its chapters (VII. and XI.) on constitu- 
tional matters. Rusden's History of Australia (2nd edition, 1897) is in three 
volumes. G. B. Barton's History of New South Wales (1889) is limited in 
scope, but very good. The eight volumes of the Historical Records of New 
South Wales, edited byF. M. Bladen (Sydney, 1893-8), contain valuable docu- 
mentary material up to the year 1813. Most of the early literature concerning 
New South Wales is rare, and some of it is very costly. One useful early 
book, Collins' History of New South Wales (1798), has been reprinted (1810). 
Collingridge, First Discovery of Australia (1906) and Favenc, History of Aus- 
tralian Exploration (1888) are useful books. Becke and Jeffery, Naval 
Pioneers of Australia (1899) is good. Scott's Terre Napoleon (1910) deals 
with the French explorations. Marion Phillips, A Colonial Autocracy (1909) 
is an excellent monograph on the regime of Governor Macquarie. The best 
history of a State since the spread of settlement irom Sydney is the History 

32 Federal Handbook. 

of the Colony of Victoria of Henry Gyles Turner (1904). The same author 
has written a volume on The First Decade of the Australian Commonwealth 
(1911), and (1913) a good little book on the Eureka Stockade incident. 
Hodder's History of South Australia (1893) is also a work of repute. The 
historical introduction to Quick and Garran's Annotated Constitution of the 
Australian Commonwealth (1901) relates the story of the federal movement 
authoritatively. On the Federal Constitution the principal work is that of 
Harrison Moore, The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia (latest 
edition, 1910). B. K. Wise's Commonwealth of Australia (1909) is written 
with a full knowledge of the currents of thought that shaped public opinion. 
The same author's Making of the Australian Commonwealth (1913) is an 
admirable " record by an eye-witness " of the critical period from 1889 to 
1900. Of biographical works, three of particular value may be mentioned : 
Henderson's Sir George Grey (1902), Lyne's Life of Sir Henry Parkes 
{1897), and Morris' Memoir of G. Higinbotham. Parkes' Fifty Years of the 
making of Australian History (1892) is autobiographical and of considerable 
value. There is a useful chronological table of the chief events since the 
establishment of settlement in Australia in the Commonwealth Official Year- 
Book, 1913. 

Aboriginals of Australia. 










Totemic Systems and Totemism. 





Beliefs in Reincarnation and 


Spirit Children. 




By W. Baldwin Spencer, C.M.G., M.A., F.R.S., Professor of Biology in the 

University of Melbourne, Special Commissioner for Aboriginals, 

Northern Territory. 

Beliefs in Superior Beings. 
Magic and Medicine Men. 
Ceremonies associated with Death 

and Burial. 
Weapons and Implements. 
Decorative Art. 

1. Introduction. 

In the short space available it is impossible to do more than touch upon 
certain of the more important features in regard to the aboriginals. It 
is probable that, with the exception of one or two isolated groups, they 
represent the most backward race extant and, in many respects, reveal 
to us the conditions under which the early ancestors of the present human 
race3 existed. It must, however, always be remembered, from the point 
of view of savage life, that conditions in Australia, during the time that it 
has been inhabited by human beings, have differed much from those in 
Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, in that first, Australia has never been 
stocked with wild animals dangerous to human beings or with any apparently 
suitable for domestication. Even supposing there had been animals suitable 
for domestication, it is quite possible that the aboriginal would have done 
nothing with them. There are plenty of grass seeds that he uses daily 
to grind up and make into crude cakes, but it never strikes him that it would 
be advantageous to sow the seed, and so insure a certain amount of safe 
food supply. In many tribes at least this is to be associated with the fact 
that he knows nothing of the relation between the seed and the adult plant 
and thinks that the latter grows because he makes it do so by means of 
magic. Secondly, and perhaps more important, the Australian aboriginal, 
since the present race has inhabited the continent, has never had to contend 
with any higher race. He has developed along his own lines without the 
impetus given by competition with other peoples. In Europe, early man 
had to contend with bisons, rhinoceros, tigers, lions, bears, and hyaenas, 
a condition of affairs which must have sharpened his wits ; in Australia 
he has had nothing more fearsome to meet than huge diprotodons and giant 
kangaroos, who were quite as anxious to get away from him as he was to 
capture and eat them. All that he has had to contend with have been men 
of his own, or a lower level, and, at times and in certain parts, climatic condi- 
tions that trained him to habits of keen observation. 

In writing this account I have relied principally on the following works for information with legard 
to the tribes inhabiting the different parts of the continent with which they respectively deal : — 

(1) A. W. Howitt. " Native Tribes of South-east Australia." 

(2) W. E. Roth. "Ethnological Studies amongst the North-west Queensland Aborigines " : 

also Bulletins published by the Queensland Government. 

(3) B. Spencer and F. J. Gillen. (1) " Native Tribes of Central Australia." (2) " Northern 

Tribes oi Centralia." 

(4) John Mathew. " Two Representative Tribes of Queensland." 

(5) Mrs. D. M. Bates. *' Social Organization of some Western Australian Tribes." Report 

A.A.A.S. Melbourne. Vol. XIV., 1913. 

C.12154. C 

34 Federal Handbook. 

There has been much speculation in regard to the origin of the present 
Australian race.* There can be no doubt but that in past times the whole 
of the continent, including Tasmania, was occupied by one race. This 
original, and probably Negritto population, at an early period was widely 
spread over Malayasia and Australia, including Tasmania, which at that 
time was not shut of! by Bass Strait. The Tasmanians had no boats capable 
of crossing the latter and must have gone over on land. Subsequently, there 
came a time when the land sank, leaving the higher parts above water in 
the form of King Island on the west, and the Kent, Furneaux, and Flinders 
Islands on the east. A remnant of the old Negritto population was thus 
left stranded in Tasmania, where Homo tasmanianus survived until he came 
in contact with Europeans and was exterminated. There seems to be no 
doubt about this; what happened next is not so clear. Homo tasmanianus 
had frizzly hair, characteristic of negroid races. His weapons and imple- 
ments were of the most primitive kind ; long, pointed, unbarbed spears, 
no spear thrower, no boomerang, simple throwing sticks and only the crudest 
form of chipped stone axes, knives and scrapers that were never hafted.f 
Unfortunately, of his organization, customs, and beliefs we know but little 
in detail. It is often, indeed usually, assumed that (1) at a later period 
an immigration of a higher race took place, and that (2) this race blended 
with the older inhabitants of the continent to produce the present Australian 
race. In regard to the first of these two assumptions every one is agreed, 
but in regard to the second there is room for grave doubt. 

Mr. J. Mathew suggests that " a superior race, akin perhaps to the 
Dravidian of India, the Veddahs of Ceylon, and the Toalas of Celebes, though 
not necessarily derived from one of these lands, migrated into Australia 

from the north-east They pressed forward gradually, 

absorbing or exterminating the lowlier earlier inhabitants 

The vestiges of the Tasmanian are more pronounced in Victoria, which is 
shown by the fact that the Victorian dialects contain a number of pure 
Tasmanian words. The Australians of historic times are, therefore, a 
hybrid race, constituted mainly of the Tasmanian and Asiatic elements." 
Mr. Mathew suggests that "the two races are represented by the two primary 
classes or phratries of Australian society, which were generally designated 
by names indicating a contrast of colour such as eaglehawk and crow. The 
crow, black cockatoo, etc., would represent the Tasmanian element ; the 
eaglehawk, white cockatoo, etc., the so-called Dravidian." I do not, 
however, think it can be said that the moiety names, except in a few cases, 
and these representing only a small part of the continent, lend any serious 
support to the theory of the mixture of two races differing in colour. 

Mr. Mathew also postulates a comparatively recent slight infusion of Malay 
blood in the northern half of Australia. There is, however, practically 
no evidence of Malay infusion. One of the most striking features of the 
Malay is his long, lank hair, and yet it is just in these north parts that the 
most frizzly hair is met with. Judging indeed by all accounts, the Malay 
had very little chance of intercourse with the aboriginal, who killed 

* For recent discussions on this subject reference may be made to Howitt. " Native Tribes of 
South-East Australia," and J. Mathew, " Two Representative Tribes of Queensland." 

t Such information as we have is collected in " The Aborigines of Tasmania," H. Ling Roth, 
2nd. Edit. 1899. 

Aboriginals of Australia. 


the intruder when he could. Mr. Sydney H. Ray,* the most com- 
petent authority, says : — " There is no evidence of an African, Andaman, 
Papuan, or Malay connexion with the Australian languages. There are 
reasons for regarding the Australian as in a similar morphological stage to 
the Dra vidian, but there is no genealogical relationship proved." 

Of one thing I think we may feel quite sure, and that is that if we have 
two savage races, whom we will call A and B, and if one is on a higher level 
of culture than the other, has better weapons and is generally more capable, 
there is not the slightest chance of any men of the lower level, say B, mating 
with women of the higher level A. Nor is there much likelihood of a man 
of the higher race mating with a woman of the lower. As a matter of fact 
it is most probable that the lower race would be exterminated, just as the 
Moriori was in New Zealand by the incoming Maori. Mr. Mathew's theory, 
on the other hand, requires the two races — a lower and a higher one — to 
combine on equal terms. In the case of an invading race occupying the 
country of another that is living in more or less settled communities, some 
such union might take place, but we must remember that, in the case of 
Australia, we are dealing with wild, savage nomads, and, judging by what 
we know of the feelings of the present day natives in regard to strangers, 

it is almost inconceivable that any such combination 
would take place. The same objection, to a large 
extent, applies to the theory put forward first by 
Messrs. Flower and Lydekker and adopted by Dr. 
Howitt, of the mixture of the original Negritto with a 
dark-coloured Caucasian. It is, at least, very doubtful 
if the present Australian race shows any trace of inter- 
mixture with the primitive Negritto that formerly 
inhabited the continent, and it is at all events very 
suggestive that we never meet amongst recent Aus- 
tralians with any indication of real frizzly hair, one 
of the chief characteristics of the Negritto. If there 
had been any such blending we might expect to find 
some such trace of it in the south of the continent 
where there is none. Some authors regard the 
Australian as a pure race, but it is much more probable 
that it is a blend, but between what races it is thus 
a blend is a matter of conjecture only. Careful 
anthropometric investigations carried on in Professor 
Berry's laboratory in the Melbourne University seem 
to have established the fact that, of the three races, 
Tasmanian, Papuan, and Australian, the first is the 
most pure, the second the least, and the third mid- 
way between them. The general position occupied 
by the Australian and Tasmanian aboriginals in 
regard to various prehistoric races is indicated 












on the accompanying chart (Fig. 1), drawn up g«*^ iS^aSfS 

as the result rtf a «atip.» of manian Aboriginals in rela 

by Mr. Holmes, as the 
skull measurements made 

on a 

of a Series of manian Aboriginals 

tion to extinct races. Drawn 
large number of by W.M. Holmes, M.A. B.Sc 

Reports Camb. Expd. to Torres Straits, 1907, p. 258. 
C 2 

36 Federal Handbook. 

aboriginals.* A certain value is allowed to selected important characters, 
and the whole results are then worked out mathematically, giving the 
relative positions of each of the specimens and groups indicated. The 
diagram is very interesting and yet, despite the results that it shows, 
there is no doubt at all that the present Australian aboriginal is considerably 
in advance of the Tasmanian. His weapons are notably superior to those 
of the latter, and it is quite certain that, if the two races came into contact, 
the Tasmanian would be exterminated, although as is shown in the chart, 
the Tasmanian, in skull measurements, is placed above the Australian. 
Very evidently skull measurements are liable, if taken alone, to give rise 
to misleading conclusions. 

The accompanying illustrations (Figs. 2-10) will serve to give a general 
idea of the physical features of the Australian native at different periods 
of his life. At birth he is copper coloured, but within a few days he assumes 
the usual dark chocolate tint characteristic of the adult. 

In the matter of personal appearance, while conforming generally to 
what is known as the Australian type, there is considerable variation. The 
man varies from, approximately, a maximum of 6 ft. 3 in. to a minimum 
of 5 ft. 2 in. There are, however, very few aboriginals indeed who reach 
the maximum height indicated. As a general rule, few of them are taller 
than 5 ft. 8 in. The women vary between 5 ft. 9 in. and 4 ft. 9 in. Their 
average height is not more than 5 ft. 2 in. The brow ridges are strongly 
marked, especially in men, and the forehead slopes back. The nose is broad, 
with the root deep set. In colour, the native is dark chocolate brown, not 
black. The hair in the men varies to a very great extent. It may be almost 
straight, decidedly wavy — its usual feature — or almost, but never really, 
frizzly. The figures will show this well. The beard also may be well 
developed or almost absent. In some parts, the elder men pull the hair 
out on the upper and lower lips, an extreme example of which is met with 
on Melville Island where, during initiation ceremonies, some of them pull 
out the whole of their beards. The women very seldom have hair of any 
length, which is due to the fact that it is periodically cut ; at all events, 
it is a common feature of drawings and photographs of women from all 
parts that the hair is never more than a few inches long and, in all the 
central and northern tribes, it is the duty of a woman to cut her hair and 
make it into string. 

In skull measurements the native is dolichocephalic or long headed. 
His hands are decidedly small, the average span being little more than 
6 inches. The hole cut for the hand in many of his shields is too small 
for an ordinary white man to use. Every native is marked by scars, the 
number and arrangement of which vary much (Fig. 5). It has been stated 
that these scars indicate either the tribe or the class of the individual. This 
may be so in some cases, but only very rarely. In all the central and northern 
tribes, amongst whom they are especially well developed, they have no 
relation whatever to any tribal, class, or totemic group, with the solitary 
exception of the Melville Islanders, who may always be recognised by their 
remarkable series of cicatrices, forming a " herring-bone " pattern. The 
cuts are made with a sharp stone, ashes, or birds' down being rubbed into 

* I am indebted to Professor Berry for permission to use this chart 

Aboriginals of Australia. 37 

the wound, which gives rise to a thick, rib-like mass of keloid tissue. They 
are present on women as well as men and are regarded as ornamental. 
In some cases, instead of lines there are dots made by searing the skin with 
the red hot end of a firestick. Various authors have referred to the scars 
on the women as evidence of harsh treatment. This is not so ; they are 

In regard to their manner of life it must be remembered that they are 
pure nomads, the members of a tribe hunting over the land that has belonged 
to their ancestors and not encroaching on that of other tribes. There 
are favorite hunting and camping grounds and here they will stay as long 
as food and water supplies are abundant, moving on to other places when these 
become scarce. During the day they are out in the scrub, the men hunting 
larger game, the women and children in search of smaller animals, grass 
seed and yams. Attention has often been drawn to their great power of 
tracking, a faculty which they must cultivate if they are to live. Their 
evenings are spent in the performance of the ordinary dances called corro- 
borees, in which, as a general rule, only men perform, while the rest of the camp 
makes the audience (Figs. 11 and 12). Each corroboree has its own decora- 
tions and songs and may occupy the evenings of two or three weeks. Apart 
from this ordinary camp life, there is, however, so far as the men are con- 
cerned, quite another side which may be spoken of as the ceremonial. It is 
difficult to say exactly how much time is occupied by this, but in many 
tribes at least half the life of a man is spent in attendance upon, or taking 
part in, ceremonies of a sacred nature that only initiated men may 
witness, and the older a man becomes the more time he spends in this 

Finally it must be remembered that owing to the vast area over which 
the tribes are scattered and the very different conditions under which they 
live, some exposed to the often fierce heat and, it may be, droughts of the 
interior, others living amongst the shady forests of the south-eastern ranges, 
and others again camped by the side of the rivers and waterpools in the far 
north, with a constant and plentiful food supply, there are, of necessity, 
great variations in customs, organization and beliefs. It may be said 
that, so far as we are now acquainted with them, the different tribes may 
be regarded as descended from ancestors who all observed certain customs 
and were regulated by a common social organization. In course of time, 
as they wandered over the continent and became divided into groups, locally 
isolated from one another, they developed along different lines ; and yet, 
amongst much that is divergent, it is, on the whole, surprising how much 
there is that is similar in their customs, beliefs, and organization. 

2. Organization. 

The first serious attempt to study Australian tribal organization io 
detail was made by Messrs. Howitt and Fison, who published their results 
from 1800 onward ; Kamilroi an I Kurnai may be regarded as having 
laid the foundation of our knowledge of Australian Anthropology. In this 
work they demonstrated the existence of (1) two primary exogamous moieties 
and (2) totemic groups. In the case of the Kamilroi tribe, the organization 
of a typical Australian tribe was set forth for the first time and it was shown 

38 Federal Handbook. 

that the so-called " terms of relationship " were fundamentally group and 
not individual terms. At a later period Dr. Roth dealt in detail with the 
organization of Queensland tribes, Dr. Howitt published his final results 
in regard to the tribes of south-eastern Australia, the central and northern 
tribes were dealt with by the late Mr. Gillen and myself, Eev. John Mathew 
published his results of investigations into two Queensland tribes, and Mrs. 
D. M. Bates is now publishing the results of her work on Western Australian 

As might be expected, there is great variation in regard to the organization 
of tribes inhabiting different parts of the continent. Speaking generally, 
we may say that every tribe is divided into two moieties ; this is the fun- 
damental feature.* Each of these is divided into two classes, and each 
of these into sub-classes, so that, in what may be regarded as the most 
highly developed normal tribes, we have two moieties with four sub-classes 
in each, and further the names applied to corresponding male and female 
sub -classes differ. This organization governs kinship and as, with its 
associated terms of relationship, it refers to the whole tribe and to every 
member of the tribe, so each individual has a kinship or relationship term 
that he applies to every member of his own tribe, and not only this, but to 
members of other tribes if they happen to visit his camp or if he goes to 
theirs, as may often happen during the performance of important ceremonies. 
These terms of relationship are quite different from those amongst ourselves 
and they might better be called group terms. In some, but very few cases, 
there are terms that are applied to individuals, but these are rarely met with, 
and it is only by realizing the fact that the group, and not the individual, 
lies at the basis of the organization of Australian tribes that, not only their 
organization, but their habits, customs, and beliefs can be understood. 
They have no terms corresponding precisely in meaning to our words mother, 
father, sister, brother, mother-in-law, father-in-law. In the Pitta Pitta 
tribe, for example, described by Roth in Queensland, a woman calls her 
actual mother " umma," but she applies the same name to each member 
of the group of women, any one of whom her father might have married. 
A man calls his actual wife or wives " nopa," but he applies the same term to 
each member of the group of women, any one of whom he might lawfully 
have married, and so on right through the whole series of terms. Not only is 
this so, but the group relationship shows out strongly during the performance 
of all their ceremonies and even in camp life. There are, for example, men 
of a certain group who may lawfully marry women of another group. If 
the father of one of his eligible wives dies, though the man may never have 
seen the father or his daughter, it is still his duty to cut himself in the same 
way as if his actual wife's father had died. So again, if he catches a wallaby, 
if there be any man in camp whose daughter he might lawfully marry, even 
if the man has no daughter, he must still present him with food. The affairs 
of any individual are, at bottom, mainly concerned with the group of which 
he is a member, the family enters to a slight, but only a very slight, extent. 
During the very large and by far the most important part of his life when 
he is associated with his fellow tribesmen, and often tribeswomen also, in 

* For suggestions with regard to this, cf. John Mathew, " Eaglehawk and Crow," also " Two Repre- 
sentative Queensland Tribes." 

Aboriginals of Australia. 


the performance of the multifarious ceremonies that occupy so much of his 
time and thoughts, it is the group that is all predominant, the family is 

In order to give some idea of the main features in regard to the organization 
of the tribes, we will take certain examples which may be regarded as repre- 
sentative of them, though, of course, only salient points can be noted in 
such a sketch as this. Taking Australian tribes as a whole, we may divide 
them into five groups : — 

(1) Those with two moieties and no class names. In all of these 

descent is counted io the maternal line. 

(2) Those in which the moieties are divided into two or four classes or 

sub-classes and in which descent is counted in the maternal 

(3) Those in which the moieties are each divided into two or four 

classes or sub-classes and in which descent is counted in the 
indirect paternal line. 

(4) Those in which the moieties are each divided into two classes 

and in which descent is counted in the direct paternal line. 

(5) Tribes that may probably be regarded as abnormal, inhabiting 

coastal areas in certain parts, such as Victoria and the 
Northern Territory, in which, if any class organization were 
ever present, it has been superseded by some form of local 

(1) Tribes with two moieties, but no classes. 

These are only met with in the interior of the continent, and probably 
represent the most primitive form of organization, but it must be remembered 
that, though there are no class names, yet there are groups of individuals, 
standing in definite relationships to one another, who correspond to the groups 
of individuals to whom class and sub-class names are given in other tribes. 
In some cases, the moiety names are Kararu and Matteri, or variants of 
these ; in others they are Mukwara and Kilpara. Of these tribes we may 
take the Dieri as an example. A Kararu man marries a Matteri woman 
and their children are Matteri ; a Matteri man marries a Kararu woman and 
their children are Kararu. 

(2) Tribes in which the moieties are divided into two classes, and descent is 
counted in the maternal line. 

"We may take two examples of these — (a) the Pitta Pitta, described by 
Roth, the organization of which is similar to that of many of the Central 
Queensland tribes. It may be represented thus : — 














Federal Handbook. 

The two moieties are Utaru and Pakuta, each of which has two classes. 
The system is, that men of column 1 marry women of column 2, and their 
children are shown in column 3. Men of column 2 marry women of column 
1, and their children are as shown in column 4. It will be seen that a woman's 
children belong to her moiety but to the class to which she does not ; in other 
words, we have direct maternal descent of the moiety and indirect of the 

The second example is the Kamilroi, described by Howitt and 
Fison, the organization of which is similar to that of many tribes in the 
interior of New South Wales and Queensland. It agrees fundamentally 
with the Pitta Pitta, but has distinct names for males and females, 
thus : — 









Ipai (Ipatha) 
Kumbo (Butha) 

Kubi (Kubitha) 
Murri (Matha) 

Murri (Matha) 
Kubi (Kubitha) 

Kumbo (Butha) 
Tpai (Ipatha) 

Descent is counted in the indirect female line, so far as the class is con- 
cerned, but, in addition to the ordinary marriage, it is permissible for a man 
to marry a woman belonging to the same moiety as himself, but to another 
totemic group. So far as the class name is concerned, the children take the 
one they would have taken had their mother married the correct man. 
It may be noted that in all tribes, when an irregular marriage is 
permitted, the children always take the class appropriate to the normal 
marriage of the woman. 

(3) Tribes in which the moieties are divided into two or four classes, and in which 
descent is counted in the indirect 'paternal line. 
These tribes occupy a very large area in the centre and northern parts 
of the continent, and probably extend right across into Western Australia ; 
at all events, we know they stretch beyond the far western end of the 
Macdonnell Kanges, and are met with again in the West. The Arunta, 
Karriara, and Warramunga may be taken as types. The Arunta organization 
in the southern part of the tribe is thus : — ■ 





Moiety 1. 

Moiety 2. 







Aboriginals of Australia. 


In the southern part of the tribe there are only four class names, but, as a 
matter of fact, each of these is divided into two groups. If we take for 
example the Panunga and Purula, two intermarrying groups, we find that 
we can arrange them as follows, using the letters a and /S to indicate the two 
groups : — 

Panunga a marries Purula «, children are Bulthara /?. 

Panunga /? marries Purula /?, children are Bulthara a. 

A Panunga a man calls Purula « women Unawa, Panunga ft men Ipmunna, 
and Purula /? women Unkulla. The Unawa women are eligible as wives, 
the Unkulla are not, under normal conditions. In the northern part of the 
tribe distinct names are given to the groups which now form what are called 
eight sub-classes, but, as said before, these are always functionally present. 

The names and marriage arrangements are as follows, the equivalent 
groups in the southern part of the tribe being placed in brackets : — 

Moiety 1. 

Moiety 2. 







(Panunga a) 

(Purula a) 

(Bulthara f5) 

(Kumara a) 





(Panunga /3) 

(Purula /3) 

(Bulthara /3) 

(Kumara j3) 





(Bulthara a) 

(Kumara a) 

(Panunga /3) 

(Purula a) 





(Bulthara /3) 

(Kumara /3) 

(Panunga a) 

(Purula /3) 

The organization of the Kaitish, Warramunga, and other tribes in the 
northern central area, as far as the Katharine River in the north, and east- 
wards towards the Gulf of Carpentaria, is fundamentally the same with, of 
course, different names for sub-classes and, in many, distinct names for the 
corresponding women's classes, giving thus sixteen class names in all, a feature* 
described also by Mrs. Bates in East Kimberley tribes in Western Australia. 
Thus, for example, in the Warramunga, the equivalent of the Uknaria, men 
are called Tjunguri, and the women of the same group Namigilli. In some 
tribes also the moiety names are retained. In the Warramunga, the equiva- 
lent of moiety 1 in the Arunta is called Uluuru, and that of moiety 2 Kingilli. 
In the Karriara tribe in Western Australia, as described by Mrs. Bates, the 
moiety names are lost, four classes are present, and the marriage arrangements 
are as follows : — 





Moiety 1. 

Moiety 2. 







It will be seen that, except for the class names, the arrangement is 
identical with what is met with in the southern Arunta, and a similar 
organization is evidently widely spread in Western Australia. 

* Mrs. D. M. Bates. " Social Organization of some Western Australian Tribes." Report, A.A.A.S., 
Vol. XIV., 1913. 


Federal Handbook. 

(4) Tribes in which the moieties are divided into four classes, and in which 
descent is counted in the direct paternal line, so far as the class name is 
The Mara tribe inhabiting country between the Eoper and Macarthur 

Rivers may be taken as a type. The arrangement is as follows : — ■ 









Murungun a 
Murungun ft 
Mumbali a 
Mumbali ft 

Purdal a 
Kuial ft 
Kuial a 
Purdal ft 

Murungun ft 
Murungun a 
Mumbali ft 
Mumbali a 

Purdal ft 
Kuial a 
Kuial ft 
Purdal a 

There are four classes, but each of these is again divided into two, dis- 
tinguished by the letters a and /5. The arrangement has the appearance 
of being very definitely thought out, and there is further a very definite 
scheme, by means of which the divisions (Murungun a, ft, etc.) are made to 
fit in with the corresponding sub-classes in other tribes with whom the Mara 
constantly come into contact. 

(5) Abnormal tribes in which class organization has apparently been superseded 
by some form of local organization. 

As an example of these, we may take the Kurnai tribe which, many years 
ago, occupied the mountains in eastern Victoria. It was divided into five 
groups named after the localities in which they lived. There was no class 
organization and a man could not marry a woman of his own local group. 
There were intermarrying local groups, marriage being by elopement. 

As a second example, we may mention the Kakadu and allied tribes 
living at the other extremity of the continent on the Coburg Peninsula and 
Alligator Rivers. They have apparently no class organization and the 
totem does not regulate marriage. The tribe is divided into local groups 
and a man of one local group takes a wife from another particular group. 
There are explicit traditions which purport to explain the origin of this 
local system. 

3. Totem ic Systems and Totem ism. 

In dealing with Australian tribes the word " totem " has been applied in 
at least three different senses. 

(1) The Group totem, that is the material object giving its name to a 
group of individuals who commonly believe themselves to be descended 
from it. The name of the totem usually passes by inheritance from 
generation to generation, sometimes in the maternal, sometimes in the 
paternal line. 

(2) The Sex totem, discovered by Dr. Howitt in the Kurnai and Wot- 
joballuk trbes in Victoria, where it exists side by side with the group totem. 
The women have one animal, such as the owlet night-jar, associated with 
them and the man another, such as the bat. This is of rare occurrence. 

Aboriginals of Australia. 43 

(3) The Individual totem, usually acquired by dreaming of some animal- 
This also is of rare occurrence and was first described by Dr. Howitt, but has 
been recently described by Mrs. Bates as occurring also in some Western 
Australian tribes. 

So far as Australia is concerned, it is advisable to restrict the term totem 
to the first of these and to define it as a material object that (1) gives its 
name to a group of individuals and (2) the name of which is usually 
hereditary either in the maternal or paternal line and the term totemism 
to a system based on the recognition of these two factors. It must be 
remembered that there are very considerable variations in regard to 
totemic customs and beliefs in different tribes. We will deal with totemism 
under three aspects. 

(1) The Social Aspect. 

By this is meant the division of the tribe into totem groups, their influence, 
if any, on marriage and the mode in which each individual becomes associated 
with any one of them. 

We have already seen that most tribes are divided into moieties and 
these into classes. As a general rule, the totemic groups are distributed 
between the two moieties in such a way that each group is confined to one or 
other of them. We will take a series of tribes from different parts of the 
continent as typical of the more important variations in regard to the social 

(1) The Died. — This is representative of tribes in which the moieties are 
not divided into classes. These moieties are called Kararu and Matteri 
and the totem groups are divided between them. Kararu has rain, carpet 
snake, crow, frog, etc. ; Matteri has a cormorant, emu, eagle, hawk, native 
cat, etc. A Kararu man must marry a Matteri woman and is not restricted 
in his choice to any one totem group. The children follow the mother's 

(2) The Kamilroi. — This is representative of a large number of tribes, 
such as the Whakelbura, occupying a vast area of country sweeping round 
inland of the coastal ranges, from the Gulf of Carpentaria in the north to the 
River Murray in the south. The totems are divided between the moieties. 
There are four classes and of these Ipai-Kumbo and Murri-Kubbo have totems 
in common. The children take the mother's totem. 

(3) The Arunta. — This is representative of an important group, including 
the Arunta, Ilpirra, Unmatjera, and Kaitish tribes. There are four classes 
or eight sub-classes and the totem groups are not restricted to the moieties. 
Each group is, however, always more largely represented in one moiety than 
the other. Marriage between individuals of the same totemic name is not 
forbidden, but rarely takes place. The country occupied by the Arunta is 
dotted over with special spots inhabited by the spirits of old totemic ancestors, 
who enter women and undergo reincarnation. The traditions are very 
precise in regard to these totemic centres, so that the natives knowing, or 
thinking they do, where any particular spirit child entered a woman, are 
able to assign its totem to it. In the Kaitish, the most northern of these 
tribes, the totemic groups are more nearly divided between the moieties 
than in the Arunta A man very rarely marries a woman of his own totem 

44 Federal Handbook. 

and there is a strong tendency for the descent of the totem to be in the male 
line, as is always the case in the class names. Each individual is normally 
associated with one totem group. 

(4) The Warramunga. — This is representative of the Warramunga, 
Tjingilli, and other tribes occupying a large area in the centre and extending 
across to the Queensland border. The totem groups are strictly divided 
between the moieties. A man may marry a woman of any totem in the 
moiety to which he does not belong, provided she belongs to the right class. 
Strict paternal descent of the totem is nearly, but not quite, the rule, but every 
child belongs to a totem group in its father's moiety. For example, a black 
snake man's children are almost always black snake, though rarely one may 
belong to another totem group such as rain. As the moieties are exogamous, 
it follows that the totems are the same. 

(5) The Binbinga. — This is representative of a group of tribes that 
occupy the country drained by the Macarthur Eiver flowing into the Gulf of 
Carpentaria. The organization is closely similar to that of the Warramunga, 
but in these tribes not only are the totem groups divided between the moieties, 
but the descent of the totem name is strictly in the father's line. 

(6) There remain certain tribes in which the descent is anomalous, such, 
for example, as the Kurnai, in the southern coastal district of Victoria, and the 
Kakadu nation in the far north, occupying the Coburg Peninsula and the 
the country drained by the Alligator Kivers. These tribes are evidently 
much modified. They have no class system and marriage is regulated by 
the existence of local intermarrying groups. In the Kakadu each spirit 
individual has a double nature, one part enters the woman, one part remains 
outside. It chooses its own totem and the spirit part that remains outside 
tells the father the totem name of the child. 

(2) The Ceremonial Aspect. 
This side of totemism has probably been very strongly developed through- 
out the whole of Australia, though it has only been much studied during 
recent years, when, unfortunately, in the whole of Victoria and New South 
Wales and in most parts of Queensland, the tribes have become decadent. 
It is interesting to note that one of the earliest accounts that we have of the 
natives — that given by Collins in 1804 — evidently describes one of these 
performances. Speaking generally, it may be said that every totemic group 
has certain ceremonies associated with it and that these refer to old totemic 
ancestors. In all tribes they form part of a secret ritual in which only 
initiated men take part. In most tribes a certain number are shown to the 
youths during the early stages of initiation, but at a later period he sees many 
more. In the Arunta, for example, the final stage is concerned with the 
Engwura and during the performance of this a long series is performed 
(Figs. 13 and 14). It may extend over a period of three months, during 
which totemic ceremonies are enacted daily. To start an Engwura, the leader 
of some totemic group, after consultation with those of others, sends out a 
messenger called Ilchinkinja, which means " the beckoning hand." He 
carries a Churinga and passes over the country delivering his message at 
different camps. Slowly the natives gather together at the chosen place, 
where a special ceremonial ground has been prepared. The Panunga- 
Bulthara camp together, and the Purula-Kumara, the division of the tribe 

Aboriginals of Australia. 45 

into two moieties being very marked during the Engwura. Large numbers 
of Churinga are brought in and stored on two platforms far from one another. 
These are associated with the old ancestors and their living representatives 
and at times the old men call some of the younger ones together, rub the sticks 
with red ochre and tell the former all about the ancestors. Each ceremony 
is concerned with an ancestor and is the property of some old man who either 
performs it himself or invites a younger man to do so. At the close of the 
Engwura the men have to pass through three fire ordeals. During the first 
the women throw burning bushes over them ; during the second they have 
to lie down on bushes placed above red hot faggots and, during the third, 
they have to kneel for a few moments on a smouldering fire made by the 
women. Apart from this, the women take no part whatever, in the 
ceremonies, after which are over the men are regarded as " ertwa mura 
oknira " — very good men. A characteristic feature of these ceremonies, the 
exact nature of which varies much in different parts of the continent, is that 
one or more men have their bodies decorated with a design which is especially 
associated with that ceremony and is usually drawn in coloured bird's down, 
always fixed on with human blood. Even more elaborate designs may 
sometimes be drawn on the ground (Figs. 29 and 30). 

(3) The Magical Aspect. 

In early days, Grey, who used the Western Australian word Kobong for 
totem, stated that " A certain mysterious connexion exists between a family 
and its kobong, so that a member of the family will never kill an animal of 
the species to which his kobong belongs, should he find it asleep ; indeed, he 
always kills it reluctantly, and never without affording it a chance to escape. 
This arises from the family belief that some one individual of the species is 
their nearest friend, to kill whom would be a great crime and carefully to be 
avoided." This idea of a close association between an individual and his 
totem is widely spread, but the exact beliefs and customs in regard to them 
differ very much in different parts. The general idea may be summed up 
in a remark made to us by a kangaroo man when we had taken his photograph. 
We were asking him about the matter and he said, pointing to the photograph, 
"That is just the same as me, so is a kangaroo." In some tribes there is a 
feeling of mutual protection between an individual and his totem, but this is 
not often met with. They are of the same flesh and the belief in the descent 
from the totemic animal is widespread. In some tribes the individual will not 
kill his totem ; but in most there is no objection to his doing so and handing it 
to others to eat. In some he will both kill and eat it. The exact nature of 
the relationship and the way in which the native is influenced by it varies 
much and, speaking generally, the magical aspect of totemism appears to be 
largely associated with climatic conditions, so far as they affect the supply of 
food and water. Three typical examples of ceremonies will serve to show 
the nature of the magical aspect. In the Urabunna tribe, which counts 
descent in the female line, the ceremony is called Pitjinta. In a snake group 
the decorated performer kneels down and extends his arms. The skin on 
each fore-arm is then pinched up and he pierces it with a pointed bone 
(Fig. 15). When snakes become plentiful, men who do not belong to the 
totem group go and bring some in to the old man and say, " Look, here are 

46 Federal Handbook. 

snakes." He smears a little fat over his arms and the bone and then tells 
the men to eat the rest. The bones are wrapped in the hair of a snake man 
and put away. In the Arunta, the ceremonies are called Intichiuma and are 
very suggestive. In that of a grub group the men of the totem, no one else 
being present, start from camp in the morning in silence, fasting and devoid 
of arms and ornaments. Each man has a mark characteristic of the totem 
on his face. They go to a rocky gorge where there is a cave and in this a 
large stone that represents the adult insect and smaller ones that are its 
eggs. The former is reverently stroked by all while they chant refrains, the 
burden of which is an invitation to the insect to come and lay eggs. This 
over, they return to the camp, near to which a long bough hut has been 
built, supposed to represent the chrysalis case. Into this they all go and 
once or twice the leader comes out and shambles round in imitation of the 
adult insect emerging from its chrysalis. All men and women who do not belong 
to the group have to lie down with their faces on the ground while the women 
of the group stand up peering round in all directions and keeping watch 
over them. Some time later, when the grub is plentiful, every one goes out ; 
they collect large numbers, return to camp and cook them. The head man 
sits by himself. First the men who do not belong to the group and then 
those who do bring their supplies to him. He eats a little, gives some to a 
few of the older men and then hands all the rest to those who do not belong 
to the group, telling them to eat it. The grub men are not absolutely 
forbidden to eat it but they only do so sparingly. The leader must at this 
time eat a little, so as to identify himself with it, or else he would not be able 
to perform the ceremony successfully. In the Kakadu tribe, far in the north, 
there is a ceremony called Muraian that is evidently of the same nature, 
though it is not so detailed, owing, doubtless, to the normal abundance of 
food in this part. The natives have a large number of sacred sticks and 
stones, each supposed to represent a totemic animal or plant (Fig. 16). They 
may only be seen by the elder men and, during the ceremony, are grasped 
in the hands of men who dance round and round a central figure, stretching 
out the symbolic objects and yelling " Brau, Brau," which means " Give, 
give." It sounds almost like a command to the totemic object. 

In Western Australia Mrs. Bates has recorded that, in the East Pilbaru 
tribe, there are certain special spots, or local totem centres, called Thalu, 
where ceremonies for the increase of the totemic object are held, in which, 
unlike most tribes, women and children take some share. The same author 
describes how in the West Kimberley tribes the totems are " dreamed " by the 
totemites. When a young man has passed through some stages of his initia- 
tion, he begins to " dream " the increase of his totem. He dreams he is on 
his ngargarula booro (that is, the ground on which his father first saw him 
in a dream when he was a spirit baby). If he be an edible bean man, for 
example, he dreams he picks up a branch of the bean, chews it and spits it 
all about. When the time of beans comes round, a plentiful supply will result 
from the dream. 

There is no doubt but that in many tribes, and the belief was probably 
at one time widely spread over Australia, the natives firmly believe that by 
means of magical ceremonies such as these they can control their food 

Aboriginals of Australia. 47 

4. Initiation. 

In all Australian tribes special ceremonies of an important nature, which 
vary much in their details, attend both the initiation of youths to the status 
of men and that of girls to the status of women. In the case of the youth, 
initiation is almost universally associated with showing him the " bull- 
roarer " for the first time. It has different names in different parts — Churinga, 
Tundun, Kunapippi, etc. — but always consists of a thin slab of wood, or, 
more rarely, stone. It is pierced at one end by a hole, through which the 
string is passed, and by this means it is whirled round and round, making the 
noise that is usually supposed by women and children to be the voice of a 
great spirit that takes the youth away and initiates him. It is very difficult 
to understand the wide divergence in regard to the actual ceremonies 
characteristic of different groups of tribes. We have, generally speaking, 
three main types — (1) the knocking out of an incisor tooth, as amongst the 
Kurnai in the south-east ; (2) circumcision, followed in many, but by no 
means all, cases by sub-incision, amongst tribes occupying a vast area in 
the interior of New South Wales and Queensland, the whole of the central 
area and probably a large part of Western Australia ; (3) special ceremonies, 
amongst groups of tribes such as those on Melville and Bathurst Islands and 
the Kakadu nation on the Alligator Rivers, amongst whom no mutilation 
of the body other than perhaps the pulling out of hairs takes place. We will 
briefly describe examples of each of these types. 

Of the first we will take the Kurnai as being of historic interest, because- 
it was in connexion with it that the first adequate account of initiation was 
given by the late Dr. Howitt, who then also drew attention, for the first time, 
to the importance of the bull-roarer. To begin with, a man is sent out with 
a Tundun to summon distant groups. This may take months. When they 
come in, ordinary corroborees are held which serve to fill in the time until 
all have arrived. A ceremonial ground, called Bunan, is prepared by clearing 
an open space 30 to 50 yards long, and piling earth round it to form a low 
mound. A path leads away for about 400 yards into the scrub, where a bush 
house is built. The serious part of the ceremonies begins by a recently initiated 
youth walking by a log placed near the Bunan, and saying "A snake, a snake." 
Other men come up, pretend to be frightened, and then they all run away in 
single file. At first the women and children gather together in the middle of 
the Bunan, the men on the outside. The latter then Jump over the mound 
and run round the women shouting out the names of the various contingents, 
that have come in. The women come out and the men go in. The novices 
are amongst the women and, like them, sit with their backs to the men. 
On the Bunan the tooth song is sung, after which most of the men go to the 
bush house where the medicine men show their " joias," or magic stones, to 
the possession of which they owe their powers. Here, also, there are figures, 
of animals, such as the spiny ant-eater, crow, snakes and especially one of 
Daramulun, who is regarded as the great father of the tribe. This over, they 
return to the Bunan, the youths are painted and fillets of grass bound round 
their foreheads by their mothers' brothers, who take charge of them and 
instruct them in tribal legends, laws and the power of medicine men, etc. 
A hot fire is made on the Bunan and the novices sit round on the mound 
each with a woman's digging stick between his feet, containing the waist 

48 Federal Handbook. 

belt, forehead band and nose bone that he will wear when initiated. Behind 
each boy, covered with bonghs, crouches his mother or her sister. Then the 
bull-roarer sounds, the women run away and the youths are taken to the 
bush house and covered with boughs. Once more they return to the Bunan 
and are told of Daramulun. Finally, a man, representing the latter, takes 
hold of each boy, applies his lower incisor to the left upper of the boy and 
presses it up. Then the loosened tooth is knocked out with a club and chisel. 
After this, the boys are shown a special image of Daramulun, instructed in 
their duties as men and told that the women must know nothing of what 
they have seen. Finally, they are taken and shown to the women, 
from whose charge they have now been removed, and then run off into 
the bush. 

In the second type, including those of Central Australia and the Queens- 
land tribes described by Roth, there are a successioD of initiation ceremonies 
taking place at various ages. The Arunta may be taken as a type. We 
have — (1) the painting of the young boys and throwing them in the air, 
(2) the ceremony of circumcision, (3) that of sub-incision, and (4) the Engwura. 
In connexion with the second, the youths are shown the bull-roarer for the 
first time, the noise made by which the women and children believe to be the 
voice of Twanyirika, a spirit that takes the boys away, provides them with a 
new set of insides and makes them into men. In connexion with both 
(2) and (3), they are shown sacred totemic ceremonies and instructed in the 
laws, totemic history of the tribe, food restrictions and their duties as men ; 
they are told that they must implicitly obey the old men, must not eat the 
forbidden foods, but supply other men with them, and on no account must 
they talk to lubras about what they have seen. Everything is made as 
impressive as possible and the fact that the main ceremonies take place 
during the night, or just at daybreak, adds to the feeling of mystery. They 
have special designs painted on them, may not speak to any one save the old 
men in charge of them, are given very little food to eat, and pass through 
sundry very unpleasant experiences. For example, at various stages during the 
performance of kangaroo ceremonies, from four to ten men lie down on the 
novice, who is expected to bear everything with stoicism. Finally, the 
men take about a dozen poles, each 8 feet high. Dry boughs are piled 
np to make a fire and, amidst the yells of the men, the women rush to their 
camp while bull-roarers sound all round. The novice is laid on his back 
and the poles placed above him and lifted up and down on him while the 
men sing. This over, he is carried, feet foremost, to where a man, kneeling 
in front of the operator, holds a shield on which he is placed and then, to the 
weird accompaniment of the bull-roarers, the Lartna song is thundered 
out and, in a moment or two, the operation is over. The initiated youth, 
•completely dazed, after being embraced in turn by each of the older men 
who has taken an official part in the ceremony, is handed a bundle of churinga, 
and told, " Here is Twanyirika, of whom you have heard so much, take them, 
they are churinga and will help to heal you quickly, guard them well, do not 
lose them, do not let your mother and sisters see you, obey your elder brother, 
who goes with you, do not eat forbidden food." 

The final ceremony of Engwura, to which we have referred under the 
heading of totemism, is not passed through until a man is perhaps 25 or 30 years 

Aboriginals of Australia. 49 

old. It is most impressive and, after a man has passed through it, he is 
spoken of as " ertwa mura oknira," which means " very good man." As a 
matter of fact, every man must pass through all the initiation ceremonies, 
so that, amongst the elder men, there is no one who is not " ertwa mura 
oknira," but, on the other hand, there are grades of " goodness." Some men 
take less interest than others in the sacred ceremonies, they are given to 
chattering, like women and children and are " irkun oknira," that is, light 
and frivolous. Others take matters seriously and will, as they grow older, 
become leaders or oknirabata — great teachers. 

Special status names are applied as follows, to the boy, youth and man at 
the times stated : — (1) Ambaquerka at the time of growing up, (2) Ulpmerka 
after this and until circumcision, (3) Wurtja during the ceremony, 
(4) Arakurta after the ceremony and until that of sub-incision, (5) Ertwakurka 
after this and until the Engwura, (6) Uliara after the latter. As in the 
Kurnai, so in all tribes, the women take an active part in the opening 
ceremonies but are rigidly excluded from the essential parts when a bull-roarer 
is used. There is usually some special ceremony symbolic of the fact that the 
boy is being withdrawn from the ranks of the women. It is not necessary 
here to refer to the initiation ceremonies of the women, but such exist in all 
central tribes and in those described by Both, and probably, at one time, 
existed universally. 

The third type includes various coastal tribes that are evidently much 
modified. A characteristic group of these inhabits the Coburg Peninsula, the 
Alligator River district and the coast as far as Darwin. A still more modified 
group inhabits Melville and Bathurst Islands. The former have a remarkable 
series of ceremonies associated with initiation, all of them totemic in 
character. There is no tooth knocking out nor any mutilation of the body. 
In the Kakadu, a special ground called " ober " is made, and on this totemic 
ceremonies are shown to the novices, who are given the usual instructions. 
Like the Arunta, there are various grades, the last of which is not passed 
through until a man is old, when he is allowed to take part in the Muraian 
ceremony, during which various objects symbolic of the totems are used. 
In the Kakadu there are apparently no bull-roarers shown ; but in the 
Larakia, at Darwin, they are shown to the young men at one stage, when 
three or four old men suddenly emerge from the bush and whirl them in front 
o£ the novices. The latter stand in a row, and the old men, coming right up 
to them, point the bull-roarers at them, then pull them through their own 
armpits, and insert them in those of the novices. At other stages the novices 
are subjected to rough treatment, such even as being kicked and hit hard, 
and during these unpleasant performances they must not grumble or find 
fault. On Melville Island, the novices are shown a special yam ceremony, 
during which all the men, women and children are gathered together in a 
camp, where ceremonies are performed and the yams cooked and eaten in a 
special way. The novices are also taken to a water-hole, where those who 
are passing through for the first time have their heads placed in bark baskets 
and dipped under water, while those who have reached the second stage 
are caught hold of by the arms and legs and pulled violently backwards and 
forwards through the water. Amongst these tribes girls of corresponding 
status to the youths are specially decorated and take part in the ceremonies v 
C. 12154. i) 

50 Federal Handbook. 

and there is, at all events, one special ceremony, not as yet understood, 
through which the older novices must pass. This is possibly the equivalent 
of the Muraian amongst the Kakadu. 

All the various types of initiation ceremonies for men agree in certain 
fundamental points : — 

(1) They begin at the age of puberty. 

(2) During the initial ceremonies the women play an important 

(3) During the essential parts the women are typically absent and the 
youths are shown the bull-roarer, have the secret beliefs explained to them 
and are instructed in the moral precepts and customs, including food 
restrictions, that they must henceforth observe under severe penalties. 

(4) At the close of the first part of the ceremonies, such as that of tooth 
knocking out or circumcision, a definite performance is enacted, emblematic 
of the fact that the youths have passed out of the control of the 

(5) The last grade is not passed through until a man is quite 

5. Beliefs in Reincarnation and Spirit Children. 

The belief in reincarnation is very firmly held by all the central tribes 
from the Urabunna in the south right across the continent to those inhabiting 
the Coburg Peninsula on the northern coast line. In the Arunta tribe, the 
natives believe that in the far past times their ancestors, who were endowed 
with powers much superior to those of their living representatives, wandered 
across the country. They were divided into groups, kangaroo men and 
women in one, witchetty grub people in another, emu people in another, 
and so on. The track followed by each group is well known and, when 
they halted at various places, some of them went into the ground, their 
spirit parts remaining above, each of them in company with a churinga. 
The whole Arunta country is thus dotted over with local centres — one 
haunted by kangaroo, another by grub spirits, and so on. At the present 
day it is these spirit children who are continually undergoing reincarnation. 
Each spirit has associated with it another, called Arumburinga, which is 
its double and always remains outside, living at the old camping ground 
of the spirit when the latter is reincarnated. Many of the more important 
of these old ancestors are known by name, and the old men decide the 
particular one of whom any child is the reincarnation. If the latter be 
known, the child bears the name of the ancestor. This name, however, 
is not used in public, it is secret, and known only to the old men of the 
totemic group. The individual himself only hears it when he is fully grown, 
and it is never mentioned except in whispers. When a child is born one or 
two of the old men actually go out in search of the churinga. Sometimes 
they find it, sometimes they do not, in which event they make a new one, 
so that each individual is represented by his churinga in the local storehouse 
called ertnatulunga. A woman going into the vicinity of one of these 
places is always liable to be entered by one of the spirit children. Whenever 
also a native dies, his spirit goes back to its old camping ground and remains 
there until it chooses to be reincarnated. 

Aboriginals of Australia. 51 

In Queensland, Both states that the Tully Eiver blacks believed that 
children result from one or other of four causes — (1) a woman sits over a 
fire on which she has roasted a piece of a fish (black bream) that has been 
given to her by her husband ; (2) she goes out hunting and catches a special 
bull frog ; (3) some man tells her to have a child ; or (4) she dreams that a 
child has gone inside her. The Cape Bedford blacks believe that spirit 
children enter the mother in the form of a curlew, if they be girls, and in 
that of a snake, if boys. If they hear the curlew whistling at night they say 
" Hallo, there is a child about." According to the Pennefather natives, 
a mythic being called Anjea makes children out of swamp mud and puts 
them in the mothers. He is never seen, but can be heard laughing in the 

In the Warramunga tribe, each totemic group is supposed to have had 
one great ancestor who wandered over the country, performing ceremonies 
at different spots, where he left spirit children behind, and it is these who are 
now born again. So again in the Gnanji tribe there is just the same belief, 
but, in addition, if a man travels, spirit children from his own place may 
follow him up and go inside his wife. 

In the Kadaku tribe on the northern coast, the beliefs are very precise 
and detailed. There are supposed to have been a limited number of ancestors 
who deposited spirit children at different places. These have been continually 
undergoing reincarnation. In these tribes the names of all these people 
are known, and every individual now bears the name of one of them. When 
a man dies, his spirit part stays with his bones, after the mourning ceremonies 
are over, forming what is called a Yalmuru. This gives off a double of 
itself somewhat like the Arumburinga in the Arunta, but here called Iwaiyu. 
It is the latter that enters a woman and undergoes reincarnation. Later 
on again, the original Yalmuru, who watches over the man or woman during 
his or her lifetime, is supposed to become worn out, so that when the man 
dies the old Iwaiyu becomes the new Yalmuru, which in course of time 
produces a new Iwaiyu, and so on, generation after generation. 

In the Broome district in Western Australia, according to Mrs. Bates, 
the natives believe that every child must be " dreamed " by its father, and 
the " dream-baby " is called Ngargarula. If the latter does not appear to 
the father, and his wife gives birth to a child, the father does not believe that 
the child belongs to him. If, on the other hand, a man is separated from 
his wife for a long time, and, while he is away, a Ngargarula comes to him 
and his wife has a child, he believes this belongs to him, no matter how 
long a time he may have been separated from his wife. These ideas in regard 
to reincarnation and the origin of children have now been shown to be very 
widely spread over Australia and were, doubtless, once held by tribes who 
are now much too decadent to retain beliefs of this nature, which are naturally 
amongst the first to be discarded when the aboriginal comes into contact 
with civilization. 

6. Beliefs in Superior Beings. 

All over Australia the natives appear to have beliefs in Beings who are 
endowed with powers superior to their own. The following is a very brief 
outline of the summary given by Dr. Howitt in regard to the tribes of the 

II 2 

52 Federal Handbook. 

south-eastern part of the continent. In the Narrinyeri Tribe there was 
a Being called Nurrundere, who was supposed to have made everything 
and to have instituted their rites and ceremonies. The Wotjoballuk spoke 
of Bunjil as " our father " and the Kulin people believed that he was an old 
man with two wives, taught them the arts of life and divided the tribe into 
intermarrying groups. In the Kurnai, Bunjil was a great Being, all knowledge 
of whom was confined to the men. The Kamilroi looked on Baiame as the 
Being who created all things. Amongst the Yuin people Daramulun is sup- 
posed to have instituted the ceremonies and made the bull-roarer. He 
lived in the sky, watching the men. His name is only used by the initiated. 
In parts of Queensland they believe in Kohin who lives in the Milky Way, 
roams about at night as a warrior, killing all natives he meets, and who is also 
offended if they do not keep the customs. According to Mr. Ma the w, the 
Kabi and Wakka tribes believed in Beings such as Biral, Jonjari and Dhakkan, 
who was identified with the rainbow and lived in deep water holes. He 
could shatter mountains, slaughter natives and was at times malignant. 
He substituted half-caste for pure-bred children, so he was called warang, 
that is, wicked. 

Dr. Howitt sums up the legends and teachings, so far as the south-eastern 
tribes are concerned, as follows : — " I see, as the embodied idea, a venerable, 
kindly, headman of a tribe, full of knowledge and tribal wisdom and all 
powerful in magic, of which he is the source, with virtues, failings and 
passions, such as the aborigines regard them." 

In the Central tribes there is everywhere a belief in the former existence 
of ancestors endowed with powers superior to those of living natives. In 
addition there are other Beings. The Arunta believe that long ago there 
were two, called Ungambikula, which means '* made out of nothing." They 
lived in the sky and came down and made men and women and then they 
turned into lizards. The Arunta also believed in the existence of mischievous 
spirits, called Oruncha, who are always ready to injure natives, but they 
have no great spirit such as Baiame. They have a mythical Being called 
Twanyirika, the equivalent of whom is" found in other tribes, who is supposed 
by the women and children to take the boys away at initiation and provide 
them with new " insides " and whose voice is heard when the bull-roarer 
sounds. The men, however, tell the youths that the sound is made by the 
roarers. There is a belief amongst the Kaitish tribe in a Being called Atnatu. 
He made himself, the stars are his wives and he has plenty of sons and 
daughters. Long ago he was angry with his children, so he dropped them 
down on earth and, with them, everything the natives now have. If he 
hears the bull -roarers sound he is pleased, but if not he is angry. The 
Binbinga on the Gulf of Carpentaria believe that there are two malignant 
spirits called Mundagadji, anxious to hurt them, and a friendly one, named 
Ulurkura, who lives in the woods and stops the Mundagadji. 

Speaking generally it may be said that every tribe has a belief of some 
kind in Superior Beings ; that, with rare exceptions, the latter are not sup- 
posed to take any personal interest in the natives or to be pleased or dis- 
pleased with what they do ; that no appeal for help is ever made to them, 
and that they have nothing whatever to do with the inculcation of moral 

Aboriginals of Australia. 53 

7. Magic and Medicine Men. 

It is difficult to overstate the extraordinary part that, in one way or 
another, magic plays in a native's life. From the moment that he is born 
until he dies he lives in an atmosphere of magic. There are two sides to 
magic, the evil and the good and, of the two, the former bulks more largely 
in the native mind. Of good magic we have, on the one hand, ceremonies 
such as those in which, for example, a man of the Yam totem will take one 
of his yam churinga, " sing" it and then deposit it on ground where yams are 
usually found, with the idea that he can thereby make them grow. On 
the other, we have magic called into existence to counteract evil magic. 
In some tribes any man, or even women, may perform evil magic, in others 
the power is confined to the medicine men, as is also, in all tribes, the exercise 
of curative magic. First of all, we will deal with the medicine men. There 
are various ways in which they are made. Sometimes an old medicine 
man will initiate a young man, but, more often, they are supposed to be 
made by supernatural beings of some kind and in most, if not all, cases 
the medicine man has in his body something in the form of small crystals 
which are the seat of his " virtues " and can be projected into the body of 
the patient in whom, as the case may be, they may either cause trouble or 
counteract evil magic implanted by some other individual. The medicine 
men also communicate with the spirits and it is they only who can withdraw 
" poison bones and sticks." They often fly into the sky during the night, 
visiting hostile camps, inserting bones and sticks into enemies and sometimes, 
by means of invisible ropes, can climb up and down between earth and sky. 
Some even are strong enough to ward off evil magic from a whole tribe. 
At the time of the 1901 comet, a powerful Kaitish medicine man saved the 
whole tribe from destruction by night after night " singing " the comet's 
tail, and preventing the spears, of which it was made, from being hurled 
on to the Kaitish country. 

The commonest form of evil magic is associated with pointing bones 
and sticks (Fig. 17). A typical form is described by Koth under the name 
of Munguni and may be taken as representative of this form of magic in 
Australia. The instrument used consists of a short pointed bone attached 
to a string that passes into and through a little hollow receptacle, made of 
bone or wood, and out at the opposite end which is closed. When in use 
the receptacle is held in one' hand and the bone pointed towards the victim, 
who may be miles away. A double action takes place, some of the victim's 
blood is drawn into the receptacle, where it is sealed up and, at the same 
time, evil magic passes out to the victim. To kill the latter, the receptacle 
with its contents may be burned, but, just to keep the victim ill, it may be 
warmed every now and then. He will never recover until it has been 
thoroughly well rinsed out. 

Another characteristic form is associated with an object called Tchintu. 
It is only a small lump of resin with two teeth in it, and a long string attached, 
but by being " sung " the heat of the sun can be drawn into it and then, 
if it be placed in the tracks of any one, the heat follows the victim up, enters 
his body and kills him. 

Some of the most potent forms of magic are associated with hair cut 
from the bodies of the dead. They are used on avenging parties (Fig. 17), 

54 Federal Handbook. 

and both endow the wearer with strength and accuracy of aim and, at the 
same time, render the victim powerless. Another favourite and wide-spread 
practice is that of " taking the kidney fat." This is usually done by hostile 
medicine men. In the Wotjoballuk tribe in Victoria, the latter sneaks on 
the sleeping victim. He carries a magic bone with a noose attached to it. 
He may either project the bone into his victim, which action compels him 
to come out to the medicine man, who then throws him over his # shoulder 
and carries him off, or, if the medicine man happens to be in camp with his 
victim, he passes the bone under the knees of the latter when he is asleep, 
round his neck and through the noose, rendering him helpless. In any 
case, the victim is oblivious of what takes place. The medicine man opens 
the right side of his victim just below the ribs and abstracts the fat, which 
may be eaten or rubbed on weapons. The wound is " sung" and the sides 
bitten together in such a way that no scar is left. The victim wanders back 
to camp but soon dies. No medicine man can cure one whose kidney fat 
has been extracted but he can determine, or even the patient himself may, 
who is the guilty one. Any medicine man can withdraw bones and objects 
of magic generally, and is always called in when a patient is ill. It must 
be remembered that no native believes in illness except as the result of evil 
magic, and magic from a distance is always potent. A pain is caused by 
some concrete thing that must be removed from the body and the method 
of procedure is very much the same in all tribes. The patient lies down, 
the medicine man comes up and gazes fixedly upon him, as often as not 
projecting some of his magic crystals into him to act as an antidote. Then, 
after prolonged sucking and massage, he will, perhaps, but only if he be a 
very gifted practitioner, withdraw the poison bone or stick whole ; in most 
cases it is removed bit by bit (Fig. 18). Then, unseen by any one, his magic 
crystals return to his body. 

It is difficult to estimate how far the medicine men believe in themselves. 
They must know that, to a certain extent, they are frauds, though it is 
wonderful what they can persuade themselves to believe, and the truth 
probably is that, while each individual knows that he himself cannot do 
everything that he pretends to, yet he firmly believes that other men can. 

8. Ceremonies Associated with Death and Burial. 

Death is always supposed to be due to evil magic and may be brought 
about in various ways. Very often a bone, or stick, is sung and pointed 
in the direction of the victim whom its evil magic then enters. In some 
tribes a ceremony is performed with the object of catching the double of 
the man's spirit, without whose friendly guidance he meets with an accident 
(Fig. 19). Death is always a source of fear to natives, because in many 
cases it means not only that there is some evil spirt or magic influence 
at work, but also the spirit of the dead person is hovering about. It is 
customary to shift camp the moment a death occurs and in all tribes there 
are special ceremonies that must be carried out. They vary much, and 
are regarded as of great importance. I will describe the main points of 
those in the Arunta tribe, and afterwards note important features in those 
of other tribes. First of all, the deceased's hair is cut off and made into 
a special girdle, to be subsequently worn by a man who avenges the death 

Aboriginals of Australia. 





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Fig. 16. — 1. Stone Churinga. 2. Wooden Churinga. 3. Opossum Lower Jaw 
with Incisor Teeth, used for Graving. 4. Opossum Jaw hafted to form 
a Graving Tool. 

Fig. 17. — Objects of Magic — 1,2,3,4,5. Various Forms of Pointing Bones and 
Sticks. 6, 7, 8. Necklets containing Hair cut from a dead Man. 9, Bret, 
a Dead Hand, which vibrates to indicate approaching danger — Kurnai Tribe. 
10. Dead Man's Arm Bone, used on Avenging Expedition. 11. Tikovina, worn 
during Fight by the Natives of the Herbert River, Queensland. 

Aboriginals of Australia. 



Federal Handbook. 


Aboriginals of Australia. 


Federal Handbook. 

Fig. 21. — Tree Burial 

Raking the Bones from the Platform — Warramunoa 
Tribe, Central Australia. 

Aboriginals of Australia. 


Fig. 22. — Flaked Knife with Resin and Wood Hafting, and Case Tipped with 

Inverted Emu Feathers. 

Fig. 23. — Flaked and Chipped Picks, Central Australia. 


Federal Handbook. 

Fig. 24. — Implements with Cutting Flakes — 1, 2, 3, 4. Gouges or Adzes. 
5, 6. Spear Throwers — Central Australia. 

Fig. 25. — Ground and Hafted Stone Axes — 1, 2. Warramunga Tribe, Northern 
Territory. 3, 4. Kakadu Tribe, Northern Territory. . New South Wales. 
6. Queensland. 

Aboriginals of Australia. 


Fig. 26. — Grinding Stone — New South Wales. 
(This stone has been used for grinding on both sides.) 


Fig. 27. — Shields — 1. West Australia. 2. Cardwell, Queensland. 3. Central 
Australia. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. Interior of New South Wales. 



Federal Handbook. 

Fig. 28. — Western Australian Shields and Spear Throwers. 

Aboriginals of Australia. 



Federal Handbook. 

Aboriginals of Australia. 75 

(Fig. 17). It is filled with magic. The body is buried in the ground in 
a sitting position with the knees doubled up against the chin, the earth being 
piled up to make a low mound with a depression on one side to allow of ingress 
and egress of the spirit. The camp is burnt down and in the case of a woman 
everything is destroyed. No person may mention the deceased's name during 
the period of mourning ; if any one does, the spirit hears, thinks they are 
not mourning properly and is angry. No elder brother, father, mother, 
elder sister, father's sister, wife's mother, wife's mother's brother, father's 
brother, mother's sister, husband's mother, or husband's mother's brother 
may ever mention the name. In the case of a man, those who might legally 
be his sons-in-law neither mention the name, attend the funeral, nor take 
part in the ceremonies, but they must cut their shoulders. The actual 
widow or widows paint themselves with pipe-clay, and are called Inpirta, 
which means " the whitened one." To remove the silence ban a widow 
gathers seed, places it in a vessel, summons the other women and with them 
goes to the centre of the encampment, where they all sit down and wail. 
The sons and younger brothers approach, take the vessel in their hands, 
and shout " wah, wah," the widow joining in. The vessel, after being 
held close to the widow's face, is taken away by the men, who strike their 
shields on the ground in front of the widow, who may now speak. The 
ceremony shows that she is about to resume her ordinary life. Later on 
she will become the wife of one of the younger brothers. At least a year 
after death the ceremony of Urpmilchima — " trampling the twigs on the 
grave " — is performed. The widow smears herself over with pipe-clay and, 
wearing a chaplet made of clusters of small bones that hang down over her 
face, accompanies the other men and women first to her late husband's 
camp and then to the grave, which they approach yelling, so as to drive the 
spirit ahead and into the ground. After much cutting and wailing, the 
chaplet is broken and buried in the grave, by the side of which the widow 
rubs the pipe-clay off and her mourning is over. The spirit sees that it 
has been properly mourned for and returns to its ancestral home, where 
it lives until it undergoes reincarnation. 

In the Warramunga, the body is placed on a platform of boughs in a 
tree (Fig. 21). "When the bones are clean they are all raked out, the skull 
is smashed and, with the exception of one arm bone, they are buried in an 
ant hill. The arm bone is brought into camp and handed over to a 
mother of the dead person. Finally it is broken in two at the close of 
a ceremony connected with the totem of the deceased and buried in the 

In the Boulia district in Queensland, the body is buried in the ground, 
placed lengthwise on its back. Logs are laid on it, the earth filled in, and a 
small circular mound, 3 or 4 feet high, of logs, earth, stones and leafy branches 
is built ; the ground around being cleared. The men and women cut them- 
selves and, on return to camp, plaster their heads over with pipe-clay and 
paint the upper part of their bodies. 

In the Mara, Binbinga, and other tribes on the west side of the Gulf of 
Carpentaria, the body is first of all placed in a tree. When clean, the bones 
are brought into camp and placed in a coffin made of a hollow log, ornamented 
with a design emblematic of the totem of the deceased. This is then 

76 Federal Handbook. 

deposited by the side of a lily pool and is supposed to make the lilies grow. 
In these, and many other tribes, the flesh of a dead person is eaten ; in 
most cases, probably by certain relatives. 

On Melville and Bathurst Islands the body is buried in the ground. 
At a later period, grave posts, to the number of twelve or more, are 
erected at intervals of time. The natives gather together and, after dancing 
round a fire at which they must singe themselves, they rush to the grave, 
throwing their spears ahead to drive the spirit on and down into the ground. 
Then they perform dances around the grave posts, in which men, women and 
children take part, after which the spirit is supposed to remain quiet. 

In every case there are certain individuals who must oaint themselves 
so as to be prominent, the idea evidently being that the spirit will see them 
and recognise that it has been properly mourned for. In most cases also 
the women, such as widows and sisters of the dead man, are not allowed 
to speak for a certain period after the death. 

9. Weapons and Implements. 
(a) Stone Implements. 

In 1891, Mr. R. Etheridge published the outline of a classification of 
stone implements,* and during recent years Mr. A. S. Kenyon has very 
largely extended the scope of the work.f It is not too much to say that 
at the present time we can parallel amongst Australian stone weapons all 
the types known in Europe under the names Chellean, Moustierian, Aurig- 
nacian, etc. We also have the great advantage that we can still, in some 
of the far back parts, though very rarely now, see the natives making and 
using their stone implements. The terms Eolithic, Paleolithic, and Neolithic, 
do not apply in Australia as indicating either time periods or levels of culture. 
Natives, not only in different parts of Australia, but in the same part, wil 
use contemporaneously implements that, if they were found in prehistoric 
deposits, would be regarded as belonging to different stages of culture. 
Everything is, in the main, a matter of the material available. If the 
native lives in quartzite country, he makes chipped or flaked implements, 
some coarsely manufactured for temporary use, others carefully and often 
beautifully shaped. If he lives where he can get diorite, then he grinds 
his tools ; and, if he lives where he can get material suitable both for grinding 
and flaking, then he makes tools which if found " fossil " would be called 
either Paleolithic or Neolithic ; the rougher ones, indeed, would be called 
Eolithic or rejected as non-human by those who have never seen a native 
using a pebble that he has very roughly flaked to serve some temporary 
purpose. When they are in camp, for example, performing their ceremonies, 
some of which require the cutting of a vein, a man will simply take from 
the ground any pebble that lies handy, and with another will strike off little 
flakes until he secures one with a sharp edge and with this will cut his vein 
open. If at the present day a European archaeologist were to search amongst 
the belongings of, say, a Warramunga man in Central Australia, he would, 
unless prepared for it, be astonished to find that the native possessed, and 
continually used, a ground stone axe, a flaked or perhaps chipped and flaked 

* Kenyon and {.Stirling. Proc. U.S. Vict., 1901, Pt. 2, p. 191. 

t E, Etheridge,[Jr. Proc. Linn. Soc, N.S.W. Vol. VI., Pt. 3. 1891. p. 1.57. 

Aboriginals of Australia. 77 

axe or pick, a flaked knife, hafted with resin or with resin and wood, and, at 
the same time, chipped stones quite as rude as, and indeed indistinguishable 
from, those of the old Tasmanians. It is this constant mixture of imple- 
ments, usually regarded as belonging to different levels of culture, that 
forms the most striking feature of the present stone age in Australia. The 
nature and form of the implements is not a question of the stage of culture, 
but depends primarily upon the material available. 

Without going into detail it may be said that the stone implements of 
the natives may be divided into three groups. 

(1) Cutting Implements. 

(a) Cutting edge produced by flaking or chipping, or both. 
(6) Cutting edge produced by grinding. 

These include axes, knives, adzes, and spear heads. On the one hand, 
they vary in form from the crudest chip or pebble, roughly flaked on one side 
so as to form an axe, to the delicate, leaf -like, jasper spear heads, indistin- 
guishable from those made by the most highly cultured Neolithic people 
in Europe. On the other, they may be roughly chipped pebbles or blocks 
of stone, just showing the faintest trace of grinding, or they may be beautifully 
ground and polished with a keen sharp-cutting edge. It is, however, only 
in very exceptional cases that the whole surface is ground. In some cases 
they may be held in the hand and show a well marked " finger grip," but 
in others they may be hafted with the aid of resin and wood in various ways 
too detailed to describe here (Figs. 22, 23, 24, 25). 

(2) Grinding Implements. 

These may take the form of large kerns or mills, the nether stone being 
formed of a slab of sandstone hollowed out, often on both sides, with con- 
tinuous grinding until the central crust becomes so thin that it breaks through ; 
in some cases, as for the purpose of grinding ochre, any flat stone may be 
used (Fig. 26). 

(3) Pounding Implements. 

These take the form of lower stones or pestles, always with a pounding 
or husking hole, and of upper stones used as hammers. 
In addition to these main groups we may add another — 

(4) Miscellaneous. 
These includes such objects as playing stones, sinkers attached to 
nets, etc. 

(b) Weapons and Implements other than Stone Ones. 

It would be futile to attempt more than the merest sketch of a description 
of these. They can be seen in the museum collections and attention is 
drawn here only to certain characteristic implements and features concerned 
with them. The most characteristic weapon is the boomerang, which does 
not appear to have been known to the Tasmanians. There are various 
forms of the implement, some, large and heavy, being used for fighting at close 
quarters, others for fighting and throwing at game, and others, often called 

78 Federal Handbook. 

play boomerangs, that possess the characteristic feature of returning to a 
skilled thrower. There is a remarkable resemblance in the general form 
between a boomerang and the long, thin, curved leaf of many Eucalyptus. 
The missile always consists of a flattened curved blade, usually flat on one 
side and slightly convex on the other. The property of returning appears 
to be associated with a very slight twist, the weapon rotating during its 
passage through the air. A skilful thrower can make one describe first a 
large circle and then one or two smaller ones before it falls at his feet. It 
must be remembered, however, that the return boomerang is only met with 
in very restricted areas in Australia. In many, the curve is a wide open one, 
but there are all grades between a very slight curve and one in which the 
blade is divided into two parts almost at right angles to one another. In 
some cases, one end of a boomerang is fashioned to serve as a handle. 
Starting with an ordinary round, straight, throwing stick, a series can be 
traced leading up through a curved throwing stick, circular in section, to one 
elliptical in section, then on to a throwing stick slightly flattened and so 
to the ordinary curved boomerang with one side flat, the other slightly 
convex. From this typical weapon we can branch off along three lines, 
one leading to the highly specialized " return " boomerang, a second 
to a boomerang with one end slightly enlarged, and so on to the curved 
club-like missile called " lil-lil" and to the "beaked boomerang," while 
a third line leads through one of ordinary size, with one end fashioned to 
form a handle, on to the unwieldy so-called " sword " met with in Queens- 

There are endless varieties of clubs and spears, all made of wood, with, in 
the case of the latter, barbs or blades of wood, bone, or stone. Most of them 
have a concavity at the handle end, into which fits the knob of a spear- 
thrower, but both the very light cane ones, with simple sharp wooden points, 
and the great javelins of the Melville Islanders, are thrown by the hand. 
The spear-thrower is a very characteristic Australian weapon. It may be only 
a rounded stick with a knob of resin at one end, 2 or 3 feet long, or it may be 
leaf-shaped and either flat or decidedly concave, and used for other 
purposes as well as throwing. The Arunta thrower has a small wooden 
knob at one end, tied on with sinew, and at the handle end a lump of resin, 
into which is fixed a sharp, cutting flint. During ceremonies, it serves to 
hold a supply of blood, down and ochre ; at other times it serves as an 
adze, gouge or chisel. Altogether it forms one of the most useful 
implements that the native has. 

Some of the most ingenious and useful implements are wooden troughs 
or pitchis and baskets that are used for carrying food and water. The 
former are fashioned out of solid logs cut from gum trees, or, when such is 
available, from soft wood, such as that of the bean tree. The perfect 
symmetry and shape of the hardwood troughs and the regularity with which 
the concave lines, made by the cutting flint, run parallel to one another 
along the length of the trough is wouderful. The simpler baskets may be 
made out of palm or pandanus leaves, or sheathing stalks ingeniously folded 
over. Others are made from sheets of stringybark, stripped from a gum tree 
during the wet season. Others, again, are made of plaited grass or of string, 
so closely netted that the bags will hold fluid. The most remarkable baskets 

Aboriginals of Australia. 79 

are undoubtedly those made from split cane, with the two lower ends pointed 
and upturned. The symmetry of these, which are only made in Queensland, 
is extraordinary. 

Shields vary much (Fig. 27). They may be made of soft or hard wood 
and the handle carved out of the solid or inserted separately. For the most 
part they are broad, but, in the south-east of the continent, a narrow one was 
used to ward off the blows of clubs. The surface of the shield lends itself to 
decoration. Sometimes this takes the form of incised patterns, but, more 
often, apart from the concave lines made by the flint, the design is due to 
pigment. Attention may be drawn to the massive shields with bold design, 
found only in parts of Queensland. 

The native is very clever in making siring, for which purpose he uses 
human hair, fur of different animals, shredded leaves, such as those of the 
pandanus, or bark of different trees. He may simply use one hand to " serve " 
the material and the other to rub it on his thigh, or he may employ a very 
simple spindle. So admirably is the string made, that, at a casual glance, 
it appears just the same as a white man's, but it can be distinguished by the 
fact that native twine is seldom more than two-ply, while the white man's 
is seldom less than three. It is used for various purposes, the most important 
being, perhaps, the making of nets and bags. Some of the larger fishing nets 
measure 70 feet in length by 7 in width. 

Clothing and ornament vary very much in different tribes. In the south- 
east and west of the continent kangaroo skins are used, sewn together and 
often decorated with coloured patterns on the inside (the fur being on the 
outside) to form very efficient rugs. In the central and northern parts, the 
only clothing consists of a more or less efficient apron, usually like a great 
tassel suspended from a waist girdle. In the very centre it degenerates in 
size and may, on the men, be more an ornament than a covering. It is 
remarkable that the central natives have not invented clothing, because 
kangaroos are often abundant and the nights in winter are bitterly cold. 
On Melville and Bathurst Islands the women wear an efficient apron made 
of paper bark, the men are stark naked. Ornaments in the form of head 
bands of flattened-out or netted strands of string, tufts of white cockatoo 
feathers, emu feathers, or waist girdles of gaily coloured parakeet feathers 
are often worn, and, speaking generally, it may be said that it is the men and 
not the women who usually decorate themselves. 

10. Decorative Art. 

The decorative art of Australian natives, so far as their weapons and 
implements rre concerned, is generally remarkable for the almost entire absence 
of design suggested by natural objects. In south-eastern Australia we meet 
with shields, etc., ornamented with conventionalized animal drawings, but 
they are so uncommon as to attract attention at once. In his rock and 
bark drawings the native will depict animals and plants, but, for the most 
part, the ornamentation of implements and sacred objects alike consists of 
conventional designs. The Australian aboriginal appears to have been but 
little influenced, artistically, by his natural surroundings. Owing to lack 
•of material, he is restricted to a few colours. Eed ochre that can be mixed 
with pipe-clay to produce varying shades, yellow ochre and charcoal are his 

80 Federal Handbook. 

three mainstays. Here and there he may have something like " wad," an 
oxide of manganese, that gives a pearl-grey colour when powdered. It is 
very doubtful if blue is ever used by the Australian in his native state, though 
he soon adopts it in contact with white men. 

A very striking feature of his decorative art is the use that he makes of 
down derived either from birds or from the involucral hairs of different plants. 
He mixes it with red ochre or pipe-clay, never, curiously, with yellow. With 
the aid of such materials he produces simple, bold designs of circles, spirals, 
and symmetrically curved lines, showing an appreciation of strong contrasts, 
such as are offered by black or red circles, spiral and curved bands outlined 
by white dots. So far as the nature of the designs is concerned, we can 
divide them into three series — zOomorphs, phytomorphs, and geometrical. 
From another point of view, they may be divided into two series — first, what 
we may call ordinary, and, secondly, sacred designs. We will deal with them 
under these two aspects. 

(a) Ordinary Designs. 

In regard to the method of production of these, there are three well- 
marked types. 

(1) Incision by means of a Sharp Stone, Tooth, Bone, or Shell. 

The simplest ornamentations have the form of finer or coarser groovings 
that run parallel to the length of implements, such as pitchis, shields, and 
boomerangs. These do not necessarily give rise to a pattern. In olden days 
the tribes on the Murray River and in various parts of the coastal districts 
of New South Wales and Victoria made very elaborate shields with incised 
designs representing animals. Their spear-throwers were ornamented in the 
same way. Very characteristic, indeed, is the zig-zag incised pattern on 
Western Australian shields and spear throwers (Fig. 28). In some cases 
concentric squares are cut on weapons and corroboree tablets. In some 
parts of Australia, more especially in New South Wales, trees near to a 
grave were ornamented on one side or all round, for many feet from the 
ground, with deeply cut designs, some of which may, perhaps, be totemic in 
significance. Occasionally incised drawings are made on rocks, as in the case 
of the large drawings of animals described by Mr. Etheridge on the coast 
near Sj^dney. 

(2) Burning the Surface with a Fire- stick. 

This is not a frequent form of ornamentation, and is only used in the 
case of " pointing sticks." In the central area it is very characteristic of 
these. It takes the form of a series of spiral lines, circles, notches, or dots. 

(3) Painting a Surface with Pigment. 

This is by far the most common method of ornamentation, and may 
be treated under three heads — (a) drawings on weapons and implements, 
(b) drawings on human bodies, and (c) drawings on the ground, rocks, and 

(a) In many cases it is customary to coat almost every weapon with ochre. 
In some cases, weapons, such as boomerangs, shields, spears, dilly-bags, 
knives, and fighting clubs have special designs. It would be tedious to go- 

Aboriginals of Australia. 


Fig. 31. 

Map of Australia showing approximately the Distribution of 
the various Groups of Tribes. 

1. Tribes with Maternal Descent and the moiety names Kirara and Matteri or their 


2. Tribes with Maternal Descent and the moiety names Mukwarra and Kulpara or their 


3. Tribes with Maternal Descent and the moiety names Utaru and Pakuta or their 


4. Tribes with Maternal Descent and the moiety names Utaru and Maieru or their 


5. Tribes with Maternal Descent and the Kamilroi organization. 

6. Tribes with Maternal Descent and the moiety names Gamutch and Krokitcb. 

7. Small group of Tribes with Maternal Descent and moiety names which were said 

to stand for Eaglehawk and Crow. Very little was known of them before they 
became extinct. 

8. Tribes with Paternal Descent and the Southern Arunta organization. They probably 

extend right across the centre and over a much larger area of West Australia 
than indicated. 

9. Tribes with Paternal Descent and the Warramunga organization. 

10. Tribes with dirsct Paternal Descent and the Mara organization. 

11. The Kulin group of Tribes with Paternal Descent and the two divisions Bunjil and 


12. The Kurnai Tribe with Paternal Descent. 

13. The Kakadu group of Tribes with no class organization. 

Aboriginals of Australia. 83 

into detail and the reader is referred to the works of Etheridge, Roth, 
Stirling, Spencer and Gillen, Brough Smyth, and others. Attention may, 
however, be drawn to the zig-zag designs of Western Australia, to the bold 
decorative schemes on the large Queensland shields, to the carefully drawn 
designs on Queensland dilly-bags. where conventional designs are sometimes 
associated with zoomorphs, and also to the very characteristic and effective 
designs on the spears, throwing sticks, grave posts and, more especially, the 
large bark baskets of the Melville and Bathurst Islanders. The latter are 
different from any on the mainland. The various designs indicate considerable 
variations in artistic skill, but they all show that the native has a very distinct 
feeling for decorative effect. 

(b) The drawings on human bodies are done in red and yellow ochre, 
pipe-clay, charcoal. In some cases the designs are merely what the natives 
call " play-about," but the more important are associated with the perform- 
ance of corroborees. In almost all cases these are purely conventional 
designs of circles and lines that often follow the contour of the body. Each 
corroboree has its own design (Figs. 11 and 12). 

(c) The drawings on rocks and bark are some of the most interesting 
and vary much. They may be zoomorphic, phytomorphic, or purely con- 
ventional designs, such, for example, as those from Central Australia described 
by Dr. Stirling, though the first two are more common than the third. 
In one of the zoomorphic ones, the spectator is supposed to be looking 
upwards from beneath an emu that is sitting on its eggs ; in others we have 
drawings of wild dogs, kangaroos, and various animals ; in others, of cycad 
fronds, while others are purely conventional, consisting of concentric circles 
of lines and dots. The " red hand," about which so much has been written, 
has no special significance. It is met with everywhere and is made by 
placing the hand on a rock or bark surface, and then silhouetting it by means 
of blowing red ochre on to the rock around it. Sometimes pipe-clay or 
charcoal is used, in which case we get, respectively, a white or black hand, 
but in no case, red, white, or black, has it any more significance than the 
outline of a fern made by a child squirting ink over the leaves. In some 
cases, and more especially on the northern coastline, fairly elaborate drawings 
of animals and mythical objects are made on rocks or sheets of bark. The 
walls of rock shelters are covered over with often very suggestive, though 
crude, representations of the animals the natives feed upon — crocodiles, 
lizards, snakes, fishes, etc. — and sometimes also with quaint drawings of 
gnomes that inhabit the mangrove swamps and rocky ranges. By far the 
most elaborate rock paintings, however, are those first described by Grey, 
and later by Brockman, in the Kimberley district. They are, apparently, 
made by natives, but, in regard to the presence of clothes, etc., clearly show 
outside influence. 

(b) Sacred Designs. 

In many cases, at first sight, these are not distinguishable from 
some of those already described, in fact, so far as conventional 
drawings such as concentric circles are concerned, as much depends 
on the location of the drawing as on its nature. In one spot a drawing 
will be sacred, in another it will not, but, whilst this is so, yet, on the 

84 Federal Handbook. 

whole, the sacred designs are well denned. They are best known in 
the central and northern tribes, amongst whom they are very well developed. 
In the Arunta, for example, every totem group has its Ilkinia, or totem 
design, which the men of the totem group may paint on themselves. In 
addition to this, right through the tribes, every separate totemic ceremony 
has a special design painted on the bodies of the performers, consisting of 
lines of red and white down that often closely cover the whole of the upper 
half of the body and face and extend upwards on to an elaborate headdress 
(Fig. 29). In every instance, the down is fixed on the body by blood drawn 
from the performers. The illustrations will give an idea of what these 
designs are like. In addition to them, some totemic groups have special 
designs drawn on rocks at places where churinga are stored and ceremonies 
performed. No women go there. Others have ground drawings of a very 
elaborate kind that can be best exemplified by the Wollunqua snake totem 
in the Warramunga tribe. Two of these will suffice. In one the sandy 
soil was smoothed down with water to make a firm flat surface, over which 
a coating of yellow ochre was spread. On this, five series of concentric 
circles were drawn, representing trees and water holes at the home of the 
Wollunqua. An 18-ft. long, sinuous band represented the snake itself, 
and footmarks by the side indicated those of an old man, its mate. The 
rest of the design consisted of white spots of pipe -clay that entirely 
surrounded the black bands. The main features were laid down by one 
old man, who drew the circles and sinuous line, using two of his fingers as 
a brush, without any mechanical aid. This done, he retired, and the 
drawing was completed by younger men (Fig. 30). In the other, a 
mound, 15 feet long and 18 inches high, was made. It was covered with 
dots of pipe-clay that surrounded and outlined a sinuous band of red ochre 
along each side, representing the snake. Ground designs similar in signi- 
ficance, associated with sacred ceremonies, now exist, or. once did, amongst 
many tribes on the eastern coast. 

Some of the more elaborate designs are those on objects worn or carried 
by men performing sacred ceremonies.* One such special object may be 
described, partly because it represents one of the most elaborate, and partly 
because the significance of its different constituents gives a good idea of one 
side of the native mind. It is called a Waninga, and is, or was, used in 
tribes round Lake Eyre, such as the Urabunna, and also in the southern 
Arunta. First of all, it is important to note that a Waninga used in a kangaroo 
ceremony, for example, represents a kangaroo, while a similar one used in a 
rain ceremony represents rain and things associated with it. To take a 
rain one : A strong spear, 10 feet long, forms a central shaft ; at right angles 
to its length and at a distance of 2 feet from either end, are two sticks, each 
3 feet long. Between the two, running parallel to the length of the spear, 
lines of human hair string are tightly strung. Each line takes a turn round 
the transverse bar at either end, then slants away to the spear, turns round 
this and then runs back to the bar, until the whole space between the bars 
is filled with close set bands of string with a triangular-shaped patch at each 
end. A band, 1 \ inches wide, running round about the same distance within 

* As colour forms a very important element in these it is impossible to describe them adequately in 
words. A coloured plate of some of them, now in the National Museum, Melbourne, is given in 
" Northern Tribes of Central Australia," p. 722. 

Aboriginals of Australia. 85 

the margin, is made of opossum fur string, whitened with pipe-clay, the 
same width of string on the inside of it being red-ochered. Tufts of the 
red-barred tail feathers of the black cockatoo are tied to the tip of the spear 
and the ends of the bars. A number of bands of white down run in parallel 
lines across the strings. The man carrying the Waninga wears wood- 
parings on his head, smeared in blood. The red string represents thunder ; 
the white band, lightning ; the ordinary black string, rain falling ; the 
white down, clouds. Black cockatoo feathers are used because the call of 
these birds is always taken as an indication that there is a waterhole near. 
The red of the feathers and the blood-smeared wood parings represent the 
masses of dirty brown froth that float on flood waters. This Waninga is 
used during rain-making ceremonies, and serves not only as a good example 
of decorative art, but of the exercise of sympathetic magic. 


Federal Handbook. 


By Griffith Taylor, B.Sc, B.E., B.A., F.G.S., Physiographer 
Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology* 




1. General Structure. 

(a) Regional Geography. 

2. The Eastern Cordillera. 

(a) The Queensland Highlands. 
(6) The South-eastern Highlands 
in New South Wales. 

(c) The Victorian Cordillera and 

its Coast Plains. 

(d) Tasmania. 

3. The Lowland Belt of Australia. 

4. The Murray-Darling Lowlands. 

(a) Cobar-Wagga Peneplain. 

(6) The Western Plains and the 

(c) The Ancient Murray Estuary. 

5. The Great Artesian Basin. 


(a) The Eastern or 
Artesian Basin. 

(6) The Lake Eyre or 
Artesian Basin. 


6. The South Australian Highlands 

and the Associated Trough 

7. The Great Plateau Region. 

(a) The Tropical Region. 

i. The Northern Territory 

ii. The Northern Territory 

iii. The North-west Region. 

(6) The Central or Desert Table- 
i. The Desert Proper. 
ii. The MacDonnell Ranges. 
iii. The Gold-fields Region. 

(c) The South-west Temperate 
i. The Eastern Pastoral 

ii. The Central Wheat Belt. 
iii. The South-west Timber 

8. Bibliography. 

1. — General Structure. 

Australia, the smallest continent, lies to the south-east of the chief land- 
mass of the globe, conveniently known as the Old World. Connected 
thereto by the partly submerged but high mountain ranges constituting 
the East Indian Archipelago it offers the strongest contrast to the latter in 
outline. In place of sporades of long narrow islands Australia presents 
perhaps the most unbroken outline of all the continents, and is certainly 
one of the lowest in elevation. 

Both these features are probably due to one factor — the presence of a 
huge dense unmoving block in the earth's crust in the form of the West 
Australian horst. Against this comparatively low, resistant area the folding 
forces affecting the earth's crust have again and again advanced the crustal 
ripples to which most elevated land is due. Nor is it improbable that the 
massif itself in reaching equilibrium has exerted an outward puckering 

* By kind permission of the Delegates of the Clarendon Press, University of Oxford, the writer 
has abridged this account from his article in the forthcoming " Oxford Survey of the British Empire " to 
be published by that body. Mr. Taylor held the position of Senior Geologist in Captain Scott's 

In the absence of Mr. Griffith Taylor in England, this chapter has been revised by Mr. D. J. Mahony 
MSc. F.G.S., Geological Survey of Victoria. 

Physical and General Geography op Australia. 87 

force on the less solid sediments to the east. To this may be attributed the 
dominating direction of the north and north-west folds which occur in 
Australia, and which tend to lie in concentric lines about a centre near Cape 
Leeuwin* (see Plate V. in Chap. VII., The Geology of the Commonwealth). 
But, on the whole, Australia has been remarkably free from great 
folding forces in later geological times. Ordinary normal erosion by 
rivers and wind has been at work and has succeeded in wearing the greater 
portion of Australia to a uniform height of some 1,000-1,500 feet above 
sea level. 

Broadly speaking, there are no large areas of Tertiary deposits in 
Australia except the ancient Murray estuary. Since Cretaceous times there 
can have been no very important alterations in the surface of Australia as 
we know it, though undoubtedly as regards outline it then extended very 
much further to the south-east and east than at present. 

In position it is more isolated than any other large land mass excepting 
Antarctica. Taking as a standard of length the distance from London 
to Algiers (about 1,000 miles), the journey from Perth to Colombo is more 
than three times this unit ; and the same huge distance lies between Hong 
Kong and Thursday Island in the north of Queensland. Indeed, Java is 
the only large civilized area which is within a thousand miles of any portion 
of Australia. 

But Australia itself is a country of vast distances. It is 1,600 miles 
from Perth to Adelaide, the capital of the next State ; while in New South 
Wales to reach its third town (Broken Hill) from the capital (Sydney) a 
railway journey of some 1,400 miles {via Melbourne and Adelaide) is 

Australia, including Tasmania, has an area of 2,974,600 square miles 
approximately ; and with the region of Papua (British New Guinea) which is 
administered by Australia, the total rises to about 3,065,100. 

The arrangement of the elevated areas in Australia is in close concordance 
with the structural principles indicated previously. 

Broadly speaking, Australia consists of three well-defined and contrasted 
areas — an ancient western plateau of 1,000-1,500 feet in height, and two 
eastern belts. The more central of these is a meridional belt of low-lying, 
level-bedded deposits (of Mesozoic age chiefly), while the eastern portion 
is a cordillera forming a fairly complete bulwark barring out the Pacific 
Ocean from the central plains. 

(a) Regional Geography. 

In Australia the political boundaries are pre-eminently artificial. With 
the exception of one or two natural lines of demarcation — such as the Eiver 
Murray — no natural inland features have been utilized. In these cir- 
cumstances it is felt to be preferable to consider the geography of Aus- 
tralia in terms of its chief natural regions, not in terms of the various 
States and Territories. Since the Commonwealth (with its unity of policy) 
was constituted, the various State railway systems are gradually being 
linked across the boundaries. For instance, note the delay in linking the 

* This aspect of Australian physiography is treated in a masterly fashion by Professor David in his 
presidential address to the Royal Society of New South Wales, 1911. This should certainly be 

C.12154. G 

Federal Handbook. 

Riverina to Melbourne. These have been hitherto perhaps the chief 
economic factors in maintaining State differences within the artificial 
boundaries determined by the Constitution. 

Although Australia is a continent characterized by the slow change in 
the nature of its surface, by monotony in the flora and by vast uniform 
expanses of rolling grass land or more arid steppe, yet the larger States are 
so extensive that several types of environment occur therein and react 
each in its own way on the life and industries of the inhabitants. 

The regions adopted in this account are the following : — 

A. Eastern Cordillera fringing the Pacific and extending from Cape 

York to the Victorian Grampians and Tasmania. 

B. The Murray-Darling Basin, a region chiefly below 1,000 feet, and 

extending from Bourke to the mouth of the Murray. 

Murray Dari/ng Basin 

South Aust ffighlands\ 
and Fau/t /a /leys )'" 

Great Artesian 8asm 

Great P/ateau Region 


Fig. 1. — The Relation between the political and natural divisions in Australia. 

C. The South Australian Highlands with their associated fault 

valleys, extending from Broken Hill to Port Lincoln. 

D. The Great Artesian Basin reaching from the Gulf of Carpentaria 

to Lake Eyre. 

E. The Great Plateau Region embracing the western half of the 


Physical and General Geography of Australia. 


The political areas are built up as follows : 







Eastern section of Artesian 

Northern section of Cordillera 

(670,500 sq. miles) 

Basin (D) 


New South Wales, in- 

South-east portion of Artesian 

Central section of Cordillera 

cluding Federal Capi- 

Basin (D) ; merging into 


tal Territory 

the Murray-Darling Basin 

(310,372 sq. miles) 



Southern portion of Murray- 

Southern section of Cordillera 

(87,884 sq. miles) 

Darling Basin (B) 



Isolated portion of Cordillera 

(26,215 sq. miles) 


South Australia 

Trough-faults to west of high- 

Highlands of Flinders Range, 

(380,070 sq. miles) 

lands (C). Western portion 

etc. (C). South-eastern por- 

of Artesian Basin (D) 

tion of Great Plateau 
Region (E) 

Western Australia 

Wholly comprised in the Great 

(975,920 sq. miles) 

Plateau Region (E) 

Northern Territory . . 

The Gulf country (E) 

Also provisionally classed with 

(523,620 sq. miles) 


(90,540 sq. miles) 

the Great Plateau Region 
An isolated northern portion of 
the Cordillera (A) 

2.— The Eastern Cordillera. 

Perhaps the dominant feature on most maps of Australia is the so-called 
Great Dividing Range. This belt of highland undoubtedly constitutes 
the divide between the coastal drainage and that flowing westward to Lake 
Eyre or the Murray Mouth. But if we examine it all closely it is seen to be 
in no sense a range, but is for the most part a series of disconnected elements 
of very diverse origin. 

In Queensland it is only an important feature where formed of basalt- 
flows of comparatively late date. Between these it is often a mere warp- 
ridge but a few hundred feet above the general level. 

In New South Wales in the north the Great Divide gets on solid ground 
for 100 miles, for here it runs along the great New England granite massif. 
But the Liverpool Ranges — quite a late geological formation — deviate it 
to the west. Here the Divide deteriorates to a mere water parting (at 
Cassilis) between the Goulburn and Talbragar Rivers, where the cutting 
action of the Goulburn has driven the Divide far to the west. The " range " 
is not 2,000 feet high hereabouts. 

The Divide returns along the southern rim of the Goulburn Valley towards 
the coast, and then is carried southwards by a series of indefinite ranges, 
consisting here of basalt flows — there of recent folds ; and again, as at Cooma, 
with no apparent elevation at all. Hereabouts we notice that Lake George 
is perched right on the Divide ; while Merigan Creek flows right through 
the so-called Divide ! Near Cooma it enters on an extraordinary zig-zag 
path, which points to recent interruptions in the drainage. These zig-zags 
around the heads of the Snowy and Tambo Rivers are the results of important 
river captures. Finally, in Victoria, the great area of Pliocene basalt in 

G 2 


Federal Handbook. 

the west of the State has certainly flooded pre-existing lowlands and valleys 
and converted portions of them into the modern Divide. 

Lying parallel to the modern Divide, and in the north considerably to 
the east of it, is another belt of highlands almost coincident with the coastline. 
These coast ranges are formed of an almost continuous series of granite masses 

Present Din tie 

Fig. 2. — The Granite Areas of Eastern 
Australia, showing the agreement with 
the ancient pre-uplift divide. The 
probable arrangement of early Tertiary 
drainage is indicated. 

Fig. 3. — 'The later Volcanics of Aus- 
tralia, chiefly late Tertiary basalts, 
showing their association with the 
present divide. 

which reach from Tasmania to Cape York. South of Queensland the modern 
basalt-capped Divide and the granitic masses are mingled to a greater degree. 
This broad " complex " of highlands of varying origin forms a fairly well- 
marked belt to which the name Eastern Cordillera is here applied. 

The following subdivisions of the Eastern Cordillera are convenient : — 

A. The Queensland Highlands. 

B. The South-eastern Highlands, in New South Wales. 

C. The Victorian Cordillera and its Coast Plains. 

D. Tasmania. 

(a) The Queensland Highlands. 
General Physiography. — This is a belt of country about 150 miles wide, 
extending from Cape York to the New South Wales border. It possesses 
a fairly homogeneous structure. In the east, along the coast, extends a 

Physical and General Geography of Australia. 


belt of ancient granite ranges often pierced by deep gorges whence the 
coastal streams now reach the sea. Within this bulwark is a belt of later 
Palaeozoic rocks (Devonian to Permian) which have been cut into by coastal 
rivers. Overlying these deposits on the west are later sediments of Meso- 
zoic age. They have been subjected to gentle warping accompanied by 
volcanic outbursts in Tertiary times. 

For some 1,200 miles the coast is flanked by the coral reefs of the Great 
Barrier. Its steep outer margin is some 30 to 75 miles from the coast. 
Within this wall (where each small living reef represents a battlement) is 


\tr soo Mf/es 

Fig. 4. — Section across North Queensland (after Prof. David). 

an inland sea averaging about 20 fathoms in depth. In these clear tropical 
waters are found the pearl-shell, turtle, and beche-de-mer, whose collection 
constitutes industries which centre at Cooktown and Thursday Island. 

Settlement has not radiated from the capital of the State to such an 
extent in Queensland as elsewhere in Australia. Mining led to the growth 
of coast towns such as Cooktown, Cairns, Townsville, and others in the far 
north. Short railways were pushed inland to reach the mines. The isolated 
sheep and cattle stations also made use of the railways, and the pastoral 
holdings soon increased in number and value. 

Towns and Industries. — -There are four important railways crossing the 
Cordillera in Queensland. The most northern line from Cooktown leads 
inland to the mining fields near Laura. At Cairns the Barron River is cutting 
back a 600-feet gorge (into the edge of the fault scarp) which heads in 
the famous Barron Falls. Up this gorge winds the railway to the Chillagoe 
mines. The country has been found suitable for dairying, and now the 
railway is prolonged a hundred miles south-west to Charleston, so that it 
reaches the lower country west of the highlands. 

Inland from Townsville runs one of the chief Queensland railways. This 
makes no use of the main river valley, that of the Burdekin, for the latter 
traverses the coast range through an impassable gorge. The railway originally 
extended- only to Charters Towers near the Upper Burdekin, but now 
reaches far inland almost to South Australia, and will perhaps link up with 
the projected transcontinental line to Port Darwin. Near Booroman it 
crosses the Main Divide, which is here barely noticeable though to the north 
basalt ranges form a striking feature. 

92 Federal Handbook. 

Further south along the coast is the port of Mackay, one of the most 
important sugar centres in Australia. It is connected by excellent steamer 
service to the other ports, but no railway yet links it to the capital. Wedged 
in by the granite range to the west, it has a network of local railways bringing 
cane to the central mills. 

Of far greater importance, however, is the area included in the basin of 
the Fitzroy Kiver, which exhibits the same features of ancient stream 
capture from the western system as does the Burdekin. 

Far inland along the Tropic of Capricorn runs the railway from Rock- 
hampton. It crosses the low divide at Jericho, and at present ends at 
Longreach, A rich pastoral and mining region is served by this line. To 
the south-west of Rockhampton lies Mount Morgan (25 miles), one of the 
best-known gold and copper mines ; and Dawson, destined perhaps to be one 
of the chief coal-fields of the southern hemisphere, is also in the Fitzroy 

The same general features as those described for the northern part of 
Queensland characterise its southern portion. Sugar ports, such as Bunda- 
berg and Maryborough, also serve as outlets to mining districts such as 
Gympie and Kilkivan. A very flourishing area of basalt country known as 
the Darling Downs is devoted chiefly to agriculture. The railway from its 
chief town (Toowoomba) descends the scarp of the Downs and reaches the 
coal basin of Ipswich ; thence proceeding down the valley of the Brisbane 
River it reaches the capital of the State. 

Although a coast railway is projected from Brisbane for 960 miles north 
to Cairns, yet at present only the section from Brisbane to Rockhampton 
is completed. This delay in linking to the capital is directly due to the 
presence of the granite ranges. Though now forming the coastline and 
preventing easy communication, these were in Tertiary times flanked on the 
east by a broad area of piedmont, which has now sunk beneath the Pacific. 
With this subsidence is correlated the growth of the coral reefs of the Great 

(b) The Southeastern Highlands in New South Wales. 

General Physiography. — The structure of the highland region of the 
Mother State differs somewhat from that of Queensland, and considerably 
more is known of its physiography, which may be summarized as 
follows : — 

There are three massifs of Palaeozoic rocks buttressed by granite bosses. 
In the north is the New England tableland (3,000 feet to 5,000 feet), extending 
from Queensland to the Liverpool Ranges. Then there is a well-marked 
broad gap where the divide sinks to 2,000 feet from heights of 4,000 feet 
north and south. To this gap — due to the erosion of the tributaries of the 
Hunter in the soft coal measures — -the name of the Hunter (or Cassilis) geocol 
has been given.* 

In the centre of the highland belt is another plateau of about 3,000-4,000 
feet elevation extending from the volcanics of the Canobolas (near Orange) 
to the great Blue Mountain scarp behind Sydney. It is bounded on the south 
by another broad gap — the Lake George geocol. 

* Geocol is a word coined to express a col or gap on so large a scale that it influences rainfall, 
vegetation, and communications. 

Physical and General Geography of Australia. 


In the south is a pair of massifs exceeding 7,000 feet in the south-west 
separated from each other by the long narrow valley of the middle 

But the most striking feature is the presence of the great coal-measure 
basin or geosyncline which centres at Sydney and extends north for 200 miles 
to the Liverpool Ranges, and south for 100 miles to Moruya. Two great 
beds of payable coal (the Newcastle and Greta seams) extend under a large 
portion of this area, like two black saucers whose eastern rim has been 
truncated by the faulted sea coast. 

l/Uora./ under /OOOFf-...J^y7U: 
/OOOf.t to 2000 Ft 
2000F* to JOOOFf 
over 3000F? 

Clarence R. 

Fkj. 5. — Map of the main orographical features in South-Eastern Australia, showing tne 
five geocols or breaks in the Cordillera at (1) Cassilis, (2) Lake George, (3) Cooma, 
(4) Omeo, and (5) Kilmore. The white western area is less than 1,000 ft. in elevation. 

The effect of this geosyncline on the topography is not, however, so 
marked as might have been expected. Not only the coal-measures (of 


Federal Handbook. 

Permo-Carboniferous age), but also earlier and later deposits have participated 
in the far-reaching coastal movements of Tertiary times. On the 
whole, we may describe the Cordillera region here as having a gentle slope 

8000'be/otr S&z Leve/ 

Fig. 6. — Section across the south of New South Wales (after David) showing 
the horst of Kosciusko and the block-faulted peneplain. 

to the west and an abrupt edge on the east, some 2,000 feet high, which^has 
been truncated by coastal subsidences. These, however, occurred so long 
ago that coastal erosion has gnawed away the sharp faulted edges. 

W. ! 

Sea /Lere/ 

Tnassic Rocks. 
Coat Measures 

Fig. 7. — Section from the Barrier Range to Sydney (after David) showing the 
Mt. Brown and Cobar peneplains separated by the alluvials of the Darling River, and 
the warped peneplain of the Main Divide with the coal basin lying to the east of it. 

Moreover, where the rocks are softer — as in the basins of the Clarence and 
Hunter Eivers, and in the soft marine shales of Illawarra — a comparatively 
wide coastal plain has resulted from the ordinary processes of erosion. 

Towns and Industries. — In the north-east the coastal plain, watered by 
the Clarence, Richmond, and Tweed, differs somewhat from the remainder 
of New South Wales. It is characterized by a " soft-wood brush," a relic 
of a Malay flora preserved here by suitable temperature and rainfall. Here 
also is grown all the sugar of the Mother State, for it has been found too cold 
for the canes south of the Clarence Basin. Grafton, Lismore, and Mur- 
willumbah are devoted to sugar growing and dairying, and are linked together 
by an isolated railway system of their own. 

The New England plateau is a resistant mass of Palaeozoic rocks (uplifted 
in late Tertiary times) whose eastern boundary appears to be determined 
largely by a series of grand fault-planes. The streams flowing to the sea 
cascade several thousand feet into deep narrow gorges, of which those at 
the head of the Macleay will undoubtedly be renowned beauty-spots 
in the near future. Pastoral industries and mining form the chief occupa- 
tions of the people in New England, and here English fruits thrive well. 
Armidale is the chief town, while Tenterfield and Glen Innes lie further to 
the north on the railway which runs along the plateau-like divide. 

Physical and General Geography of Australia. 

The Hunter geocol, drained by the Goulburn and Hunter Rivers, is marked 
by a lower rainfall than any other portion of the State east of the Divide. 
Accompanying this lack of moisture is a prevalence of some of the western 
flora (gidya trees, etc.), which is unknown elsewhere in the littoral province. 
The valley is very fertile in its lower portions, and grows great crops of lucerne 
and maize ; dairying is carried on also, but coal mining is the chief industry 
of the towns around Newcastle, while the upper portion (the Goulburn 
Valley) is occupied by sheep stations. 

The Blue Mountain area is typical of the topography of much of southern 
New South Wales. In place of steep ranges with broad valleys between, 
there are here rather broad undulating plateaux dissected by narrow deep 
gorges and bounded by fault scarps or huge monoclinal folds. The block 
diagram explains the origin of the wonderful Blue Mountain valleys. The 
rivers cut down their beds as the monocline rose in their path ; in the upper 

fypcr £nd of y<3//e/, 

Fig. 8. — Block diagram showing the relation between the resistant Triassic sandstone 
(black) and the "bottle-neck" valleys of the Blue Mountains. The effect of the 
monocline on the Nepean Valley is also indicated. 

portions the structure of the rocks was weak and as soon as the hard surface- 
layer (black) was cut away, the soft shales below were readily removed, 
and so a broad valley resulted. At the monocline slope, however, the river 
is still sawing its way through the hard sandstone ; and so these great valleys 
contract to very narrow " bottle-necks," where the rivers emerge on the 
coastal plain. The Nepean Gorge is due to the river keeping its old path 
in spite of the fold which slowly rose across part of its bed. The Blue 
Mountain plateau is some 80 miles in diameter, with an elevation of 2,000- 
4,000 feet. To the north is a barren expanse of Trias sandstone intersected 
by the Capertee Kiver and its tributaries. To the west it is capped by the 
ancient volcanic cones of the Canobolas Mountains. On the south-east it 
is drained by the tributaries of the Hawkesbury River. 

The Physiography of the Sydney District. — Sailing along the coast northward 
to Sydney one sees a long and almost precipitous scarp behind the narrow 
coastal plain of Illawarra. This scarp, which is about 1,000 feet high, is the 
truncated edge of a sandstone plateau and is not a ridge in any sense of the 


Federal Handbook 

word. North of Bulli the scarp is coincident with the coast, and the in- 
hospitable cliffs immediately south of Sydney are built of this Trias sand- 
stone. Northward the same features are found, until the lower coastline 

. • .-■•:: ■:'%--e -Si 

Softer Strata chiefly V.-:-::.y.: : y-:\ 
Coat Measures rr.-v.-.-V-."--.--"! 

O/d /o/canrc Plugs ig| 

Fig. 9. — The main physiographic features in the vicinity of Sydney. 

beyond Broken Bay is reached. This also is due to a change in the geological 
formation, softer shales or coal-measures outcropping all along the coast 
north of this point. 

Physical and General Geography of Australia. 97 

The most striking features, however, are the beautiful drowned river 
valleys. Sydney Harbor is the type example, and is renowned all over the 
world. It is especially valuable as a harbor, because no large river drains 
into it; hence there is no silting. Quite probably the Cox River once 
drained into the harbor, but owing to the drastic changes in the drainage 
in late Tertiary times, a river (the Nepean) running at the foot of the mono- 
cline (Fig. 9) has captured all the streams. Before dealing further 
with the monocline let us glance at the rivers near Sydney. 

Notice the manner in which the four rivers south of Sydney flow directly 
away from the coast. These are the Cataract, Cordeaux. Wingeecarribee, 
and Kangaroo Rivers. They rise on the coast and flow due west in ancient 
broad valleys for many miles. This implies a long-continued period of 
normal erosion, and obviously when these valleys were formed there could 
not have been coastal cliffs a thousand feet high immediately at their origin 
as at present. We are led to believe therefore that not far back in geological 
time there was an extensive area to the east of this divide — perhaps 100 or 
200 miles wide — which has lately subsided beneath the waves. 

There is not a single main river in the Sydney region which behaves 
normally, i.e., flows down the chief line of slope directly to the sea. The 
Upper Colo (or Capertee) is built up largely of streams which are directed 
upstream to the west. Some tributaries of the Cox River show the same 

In addition to this huge subsidence there is an even more striking feature 
in the shape of the Blue Mountain monocline (Fig. 8) up which the western 
railway climbs between Penrith and Katoomba. This is a simple fold in 
the crust whereby the western region has been raised 2,000 or 3,000 feet 
above the area lying to the east of the fold. It can be traced 60 or 70 
miles in a north and south direction. It has dammed rivers at Picton and 
Mountain Lagoon. At Mulgoa, Mittagong and other places it has given rise 
to rivers which flow from flat plains into mountain regions in a most 
amazing fashion. We have in fact a system of western drainage upset by 
a buckling of the crust, so that most of it is captured by the subsequent 
north-south Nepean River ; but other portions placidly pursue their old 
courses — cutting into the land as it rose athwart their beds, and still 
heading west in a vain endeavour to reach the vanished central 
Australian sea. 

Towns and Industries. — Around Sydney the coastal plain is about 40 miles 
broad, reaching to the River Nepean below the Blue Mountain monocline 
(Fig. 8). This plain is the centre of an old Triassic lake ; for a great 
portion of it consists of bluish shales (Fig. 9), raised but a hundred feet 
above sea-level. These shales furnish a clay soil much more suitable for 
agriculture than are the barren Trias sandstones underlying and surrounding 
them. The orange and apricot orchards to the west of Sydney occur on this 
type of soil. Northwards the railway to Newcastle passes over barren 
sandstone, of little use for aught but as residential sites, until the more fertile 
coal-measures are reached near Gosford. To the west runs the western 
railway, passing through orchard country until the Nepean River is reached. 
Here the flood-silts grow great crops of maize, lucerne, and pumpkins, etc. 
Then the railway climbs 3,000 feet up the monoclinal fold to the tourist centres 

98 Federal Handbook. 

of Katoomba and Mount Victoria. These are built on the same barren 
sandstone on the flat uplands between the deep valleys of the dissected 
plateau. Later it crosses the divide beyond the manufacturing town of 
Lithgow, and reaches the pastoral and mining region between Bathurst 
and Orange. These are situated on much older Silurian slates, which though 
not very fertile., are superior to the Trias soils. Only occasionally on this 
sandstone plateau where Tertiary volcanoes have enriched the soil (as at 
Mount Irvine and Mount Wilson, near Mount Victoria) are there areas 
suitable for close farming. 

The third railway radiating from Sydney runs to the south-west. It 
passes through the manufacturing centres of Clyde and Granville, and 
gradually climbs up the valley of the Nepean until Mittagong is reached. 
From this point it runs at a fairly constant level through poor agricultural 
country (except where enriched by basalt flows, as near Moss Vale) until the 
gap south of the Blue Mountain massif is reached near the town of Goulburn. 
To the west of the line lies a maze of rugged gorges carved out of the sand- 
stone plateau and containing few settlements except those at Yerranderie, 
where silver is mined, and Wombeyan, where the limestone caves attract 
many visitors. 

Finally, the South Coast railway runs due south over the deep valley 
of Georges River, and having passed the steep coast characteristic of the 
Trias sandstone, it descends to the Illawarra coastal plain which is cut in the 
softer coal measures. Here is a well-watered and fertile dairy country, rich 
also in easily-worked coal mines. Wollongong and Kiama are two important 
towns on small harbors formed by more resistant strata. Some 5 or 10 
miles back from the coast is the 1,000-ft. scarp of the Triassic sandstone 

The western (plateau) portion of the area we are now considering con- 
sists of a land surface exhibiting mature to senile features for the most part. 
It is a mining and sheep-raising country, the chief towns being Bathurst, 
Orange, Mudgee, Blayney, Molong, and Crookwell. 

South of this area is the Lake George geocol where the southern railway 
crosses the divide and commences its descent of the western slopes to the 
Murray River. The Main Divide hereabouts is somewhat indefinite. Some 
cartographers put it west of Lake George, others east of the same (through 
Tarago), while strictly a neighbouring region known as Duck Flat 
constitutes the Great Dividing Range ! A late Tertiary fault with a drop 
of 400 feet on the east has here blocked the head-waters of the Yass River, 
and has given rise to Lake George, the largest freshwater lake in Australia. 

The Yass River joins the main Murrumbidgee River a little above 
Burrinjuck. Here the latter river — as a consequence of the Tertiary up- 
lift — is flowing down a 1,500-ft. gorge cut in Palaeozoic slates and granites. 
Advantage of this has been taken to build a gigantic concrete dam 200 feet 
high which will hold the waters back for 40 miles. The water is to be taken 
some 200 miles west down the river bed and used to irrigate the western 
plains near Narrandera. 

The land rises to the south of Lake George into two great massifs 
culminating in Tindery (5,000 feet) and Kosciusko (7,300 feet), and between 
them is the long rift valley of the Murrumbidgee. 

Physical and General Geography of Australia. 


The northern portion of this valley with the adjacent highlands consti- 
tutes the Federal Capital Territory. This is an area of 900 square miles 
relinquished by New South Wales to the Commonwealth for the purpose 
of building a southern " Washington." The site of the city itself (9 square 
miles) is at Canberra on the Molonglo Kiver, about 36 miles south from 
Yass (on the main southern railway) and 8 miles west from Queanbeyan 
(on the Cooma railway). It is situated on a broad plain, which is overlooked 
by three isolated hills or monadnocks 800 feet high, and is traversed by 
the meandering shallow waters of the Molonglo Eiver. The latter is to be 
dammed to form a lake 4 miles long. 


'. Soi/ndary 

Fig. 10. — The Federal Capital Territory and its relation to the coast. 

To the south-west of the Territory is a great, granite horst,* rising 
at Bimberi Mountain to 6,000 feet, and connected directly with Mount 
Kosciusko. This is traversed by deep north-south valleys, one of which, 
the Cotter Valley, is to contain the water supply of the city. The Territory 
is occupied by about twenty sheep stations together with one or two cattle 

* A horst is a residual block of the earth's crust which has not participated in the widespread 
depression of the neighbouring country. . . 

100 Federal Handbook. 

stations in the rugged southern region. The city site is at an elevation of 
1,900 feet above sea-level, and has an average rainfall of about 20 inches. 
Some 30 miles to the south the rainfall has, however, increased to 50 inches, 
so that a good water supply is assured from the upper Cotter. 

The two mountain masses we have now to consider are undoubtedly 
relics of a uniform topography which has been cut in two by a system 
of rifts and senkungsf elder* (Fig. 5). The main depression thus formed 
is now occupied by the upper Murrumbidgee River and the middle Snowy 
River. There is a low gap near Cooma connecting the two valleys which 
his every appearance of having originally been the outlet of the upper 
Murrumbidgee. The eastern Tindery horst has its flanks washed by the 
Pacific Ocean. There is practically no coastal plain hereabouts, but 
flourishing dairying and mining settlements have been established at the 
numerous river mouths. Milton, Ulladulla, Moruya, Eden, and Bega are 
towns of this character. No railways have yet been built, and the coach 
road climbs some 2,000 feet to reach the horst and senkungsf eld country to 
the west. The latter in its southern half is called the Monaro, and is chiefly 
used for cattle-rearing. There are many sheep-stations, however, in the 
fault depressions between the horsts. Some mining is carried on, chiefly 
at Kiandra and Araluen. The Monaro culminates in the summit of Aus- 
tralia — -Mount Kosciusko (7,340 feet) — in the south-west. This is easily 
reached by a good motor road from Cooma, but on the west its slopes descend 
almost precipitously to the waters of the Upper Murray. 

(c) The Victorian Cordillera and its Coast Plains. 

Nowhere is the artificial nature of our State boundaries better shown 
than in the south-eastern corner of the continent. The massif of Kosciusko 
continues uninterruptedly across the border into Victoria, forming a large 
high-level plateau whose summit is second only to Kosciusko (Fig. 5). 
A favourite tourist resort is Mount Buffalo, another flat-topped granite 
horst between tributaries of the Ovens. Westward of the Omeo gap the 
plateaux are more dissected, and indeed become real ridges which dwindle 
to a level of about 1,200 feet at Kilmore Junction. Beyond this, to the 
west, there are more or less isolated mountain elements, such as the Pyrenees, 
a series of granite bosses, and the north-south sandstone ridges of the 

A mountain " range " of greater uniformity than the great Divide 
would seem to have once run along the present Victorian coast in the form 
of the uplifted Jurassic sediments of the Wannon Hills, Cape Otway 
Ranges, and South Gippsland Hills. Between these and the main Divide 
lies the Great Valley of Victoria. 

Towns and Industries. — The rugged east-central portion of Victoria is 
practically uninhabited. There are a few small mining townships (Omeo, 
Bright, etc.), and one or two tourist resorts such as Buffalo ; but, for the rest, 
it is more profitable to settle in the coastal plains to the south, or in the 
lower valleys of the Murray tributaries to the north. 

The Gippsland Lakes — really lagoons formed by dunes drifting across 
the mouths of the rivers — are favourite resorts of tourists and fishermen. 

* A senkungsfeld is an area depressed below the general level by trough-faulting. 

Physical and General Geography of Australia. 


Bairnsdale, on the Mitchell River, is an important town and railway terminus ; 
Sale, nearer Melbourne, at the western end of the Lake District, is the chief 
town in Gippsland. Farming, dairying, and pastoral >oocupa>tions support 
the people, while the foothills (as at Walhalla) harre yielded, ,a considerable 
quantity of gold 

Fig. 11. — The topography of Melbourne and its environs. 

The high rainfall (45 inches) of south-west Gippsland is accountable for 
the growth of the giant eucalypts. These are the largest hardwood trees 
in the world ; some over 320 feet in height have been measured. 

North of the mountains are small townships which in the east are chiefly 
devoted to mining (Beechworth and Yackandandah). Wangaratta, Benalla, 

102 Federal Handbook. 

and Seymour, on the Inter-State railway, are flourishing towns devoted to 
farming and pastoral industries generally. The rough country to the south 
of Benalla was' once- the haunt of numerous bushrangers, of whom Kelly 
was perha/ps the .most .notorious. 

• When the 'B^lmor^'-.geo'eol is passed in our traverse to the west, the 
character of the country changes considerably. A network of railways 
crosses without difficulty the so-called Dividing Range, and to the north- 
west sends out the six tentacles which have helped so greatly in developing 
the Wimmera and Mallee plains. Ballarat, Bendigo, Castlemaine, Ararat, 
Stawell all owe their origin to gold mining, and their present prosperity in no 
small degree to the less fluctuating profits of agriculture and sheep-farming. 

Melbourne has grown up around the mouth of the Yarra, and has spread 
southward along the flat tea-tree covered shores of Port Phillip for 15 miles 
or so. Williamstown and the large town of Geelong have been settled in 
suitable sheltered spots on the western shores of the Bay. The climate and 
soils of the surrounding districts are eminently suited to farming and fruit 

Melbourne is situated in the centre of a saucer-like plain of about 35 miles 
radius (Fig. 11). The rim is fairly complete to the north, but is interrupted by 
broad gaps to the south. The southern part of this plain has been drowned 
by the sea, and constitutes Port Phillip. The most prominent elevations near 
Melbourne are of volcanic origin. Thus Mount Macedon (3,324 feet) consists 
of dacites and trachytes, and is a conspicuous peak on the Divide; but just 
behind this the Divide separating the Campaspe (which joins the Murray 
River) and Saltwater Rivers is 1,200 feet lower and almost indistinguishable. 

On the north the " notch in the rim " at the Kilmore Gap is only 1,145 
feet high, so that Melbourne is peculiarly well suited to collect the products 
of the Upper Murray basin. The long narrow Hume Range culminating 
in Mount Disappointment bounds it on the north-east. South of this is the 
very interesting valley of the Yarra. Extensive trough-faulting has 
produced the Croydon senkungsf eld ; however, the Yarra has not taken 
advantage of this outlet, but has continued on its old course, cutting a deep 
gorge through the Mitcham-Eltham plateau as the latter rose in its path. 

Another gap, occupied by the Koo-wee-rup Swamp and the tea-tree 
flats behind CLrrum, occurs between the Dandenong volcanics (2,060 feet) 
and Arthur's Seat. A similar pair of elevations — Mount Bellarine and the 
You Yangs — define the circular plain on the south-west. 

Finally, in the west, is the low scarp of the Ballarat Plateau. This 
is very prominent near Bacchus Marsh, where a striking loop on the railway 
is due to this feature. Cutting through this scarp in a picturesque gorge is 
the Werribee River, famous for its sections of Permian glacial beds. 

West of Port Phillip is a basaltic lowland area known as the Western 
District. It is studded with ancient craters, of which that at Tower Hill 
may well have been the last active volcano in Australia. The basaltic 
plains extend from Melbourne to the Glenelg River, a distance of about 150 
miles, and are about 50 miles broad. With its ample rainfall and fertile 
volcanic soil, the Western District is one of the richest pastoral and 
agricultural areas in Australia. Its chief towns are Hamilton, Terang, 
Camperdown, and Colac. 

Physical and General Geography of Australia. 103 

In this region are several centres of closer settlement, served by the 
ports of Warrnambool and Portland. Railways connect these ports to 
Melbourne, but it is hoped that the capital city (which is twelve times 
larger than any other Victorian town) will be saved from further congestion 
by their greater independence. 

(d) Tasmania. 

Separated from the mainland by the late subsidence of Bass Straits, 
Tasmania forms a unit which has not foundered like much of Tertiary 
Australia. Two important trend lines associated with granite bosses running 
down each side of the island would seem to have buttressed and preserved 
the central sediments. The central plateau consists of coal-measures capped 
largely by basic lavas. These huge mesa-like massifs are known as " Tiers." 
Though they may have been isolated by block faults yet the protection from 
erosion by the hard cap of lava may account for their characteristic structure. 
Cradle Mount (5,069 feet), at the north-west of the plateau, presents 
to the sea a huge scarp, which is probably due to an extensive N.W.-S.E. 
fault plane. Large lakes, drained by rivers which have cut deep gorges in 
the edges of the Tiers, occur on the plateau. 

The south-west is uninhabited. It consists of series of strike ranges 
running north-west and south-east, which have been dissected into deep 
valleys by the Gordon and other rivers. A rainfall of 50-100 inches occurs 
in the west, and a dense scrub of interlocking trees and creepers almost 
wholly prohibits communication at present. However, in the north-west 
the extremely rich mining fields have led to the country being opened up by 
a narrow-gauge railway in spite of great natural obstacles. 

Towns and Industries. — With the exception of the mining region mentioned 
above, almost all settlement is confined to the eastern lowlands between the 
central plateau and the sea. Along the north coast, east of Table Cape, 
is a flourishing agricultural and pastoral region, the chief towns, Burnie, 
Devonport, and Latrobe, lying on the estuaries of the chief rivers. Wheat, 
dairying, and cattle are more important in the north than wool-growing, 
which centres rather in the Derwent and Macquarie Valleys. 

The chief railway connects Hobart (the capital) with Launceston (the 
second town) on the Tamar estuary. It passes through a country whose 
climate has often been compared to that of England, though its latitude is 
rather that of the Riviera. 

The eastern tributaries of the Tamar rise in the Ben Lomond massif — 
which reaches 5,000 feet. To the south-east of this highland are the coal 
mines of Fingal, situated on the South Esk River in one of the eastern valleys 
which are noted for their sudden floods. 

The environs of Hobart are devoted to the growth of English fruits, 
especially apples, but wheat and dairying are also important industries. 
New Norfolk, Hamilton, Bothwell, Sorrel, and Oatlands are the chief towns 
in the Derwent basin ; while Launceston, Deloraine, Longford, Westbury, 
and Campbelltown are the chief centres of settlement on the tributaries of 
the Tamar. 

3.— The Lowland Belt of Australia. 

Between the Eastern Cordillera and the Western Tableland lie the Central 
Lowlands. This area is conveniently divided into the Murray-Darling 
Lowland in the south, and the Artesian Lowlands in the centre and north. 

U. 121 54. h 


Federal Handbook. 

In Permian times there was a long and rather narrow depression extending 
from Cooktown (Queensland) to Cape Howe (New South Wales), while the 
central portion of Tasmania was also occupied by the Permian Sea. In these 
seas were deposited sediments conformable with our chief coal-measures. 
Since the coal seams in the latter are of freshwater origin, the sea 
was occasionally shut off from the ocean and presumably restricted in 

In Triassic times the region further to the west sank, and the main 
axis of submergence seems to have moved west also. Somewhat later, in 
Cretaceous times, a further depression took place, still to the west. The 
deposits now laid down constitute the greater part of the lowlands under 
consideration. There we see the present river systems initiated — for most 

Perm/ an. 


Cretaceous. PJe/ocene. 

Fig. 12. — Main drainage basins in post -Palaeozoic periods, showing the gradual 
movement of the trough axes to the west. 

of the inland rivers, e.g., Upper Lachlan, Castlereagh, Macquarie, Condamine, 
and Barcoo, are heading for this ancient sea. An elevation en masse has 
turned the Cretaceous sea into dry land, and also raised the cordillera higher. 
In later Tertiary times the gulfs which were relics of the Cretaceous sea 
(at Murray mouth and south of Carpentaria) were also elevated, and Australia 
arrived at its present shape. 

In the southern portion the Mesozoic marine sediments (here largely 
Triassic) have been covered by an extensive deposit of river silts and 
estuarine gravels. In the far south occur the upraised Tertiary marine 
beds which were deposited in the Murray gulf at a time when the tributaries 
of the Murray River entered the sea by separate mouths. 

4. — The Murray=Darling Lowlands. 

The southern portion constitutes the Murray-Darling Lowlands. 

This is an approximately square area of some 400 miles wide, which lies 
chiefly in New South Wales. The boundaries are fairly well denned on the 
south by the portion of the cordillera forming the Victorian highlands. 
On the west it is flanked by the inliers of very ancient slates and 
quartzites (of Cambrian age or earlier) which constitute the Flinders 
and Barrier Ranges. On the east it rises gradually to the three tablelands 
already considered. The foothills (below 2,000 feet) may be classed as 

Physical and General Geography of Australia. 


On the north the boundary between this division and the Great Artesian 
Basin is not apparent from surface features. It has been mapped from 
borings, and runs along the rivers Bogan and Darling to Bourke, and thence 
in a general westerly direction until the Cambrian highlands are met with 
beyond White Cliffs. 

(a) Cobar=Wagga Peneplain. 

It is impossible to define sharply the boundary to the east. If we accept 
the 2,000-ft. contour as a natural limit of the dry lowlands (which view is 
supported to some extent by the isohyetals and by the distribution of the 
plains vegetation), then considerable areas of folded Palaeozoic rocks are 
included in these lowlands. They may be grouped in one division, which has 

Artesian Basin 

Fig. 13. — The Murray-Darling Lowlands and their subdivisions: — 1. Cobar-Wagga 
Peneplain ; 2. Western Plains and the Riverina ; 3. Ancient Murray Estuary. 

been named the Cobar-Wagga Peneplain.* Unlike the Eastern Cordillera 
it has not participated to any great extent in the Tertiary uplift, and so it 
really very closely represents early Tertiary Australia. It is rich in minerals, 
especially gold and copper, and elsewhere has been named the " Gold-Copper 
Slope " for this reason. 

Towns and Industries. — The area is of an hour-glass pattern, the valley 
of the Lachlan almost separating th e two inliers of ancient mineralized rock. 

• A peneplain is an old land surface planed down by rivers and other erosive action nearly to sea 
level. It may afterwaids be elevated, but retains tbe same features, of course. 

106 Federal Handbook. 

In the Cobar moiety mining and sheep-grazing are universal, the chief towns 
on this " Palaeozoic island " being Cobar, Nymagee, Nyngan, and Narromine. 
In the southern and eastern portion of this peneplain the rainfall is greater 
(15-25 inches), and an important portion of the wheat belt is included within 
its area. Wagga, Young, and Albury, and, in the north, Parkes and Forbes, 
are wheat centres, and with dry farming and suitable wheat the belt is spread- 
ing to the west. Wyalong, Forbes, Parkes, Adelong, and Young are centres 
of gold and copper fields, and since sheep also graze here in large numbers 
it is seen that these southern foothills in New South Wales are usually rich 
in pastoral, mining, and agricultural resources. 

(b) The Western Plains and the Riverina. 

These plains lie along the course of the Darling (south of Bourke), and 
penetrate considerable distances into the Cobar- Wagga Peneplain. Their 
greatest breadth (200 miles) is in the Riverina — a name given to the Mesopo- 
tamia of the Lower Lachlan, Murrumbidgee, and Murray rivers. For several 
hundred miles no hill is met with ; indeed, no rock outcrop breaks the monotony 
of the plains. 

The great rivers for the most part flow in rather deep gullies through these 
plains. In times of drought, the Darling and Lachlan degenerate to a string 
of waterholes, but the Murrumbidgee rarely ceases to flow and the Murray 
never. During the floods which occasionally occur, the rivers spread for 
miles over the plains and re-occupy ancient channels. Later these are 
left as serpentine " billabongs," and large lakes may originate thus. There 
are said to be 70 of these lakes along the Lower Darling. 

More or less permanent distributaries are also common on the Lower 
Darling and Murrumbidgee, and are locally known as anabranches. 

Towns and Industries. — 'The plains country is devoted to the merino 
sheep. The rainfall is too low for wheat, except in the eastern Riverina, 
where the precipitation rises to 20 inches. Large holdings of land are 
necessary in the western plains, and single stations may have as many as 
100,000 sheep. In the west there are only one or two towns of any import- 
ance, which distribute stores to the sheep stations and receive wool for 
transport via rail or steamer to Melbourne or Sydney. Among those further 
east may be mentioned Deniliquin, Hay, Moulamein, Condobolin, Jerilderie, 
and Narrandera. 

An area of great economic interest is located on the Lower Murrumbidgee 
near Narrandera. Two hundred miles up the river is the Burrinjuck Dam, 
below the junction of the main stream with the Yass and Goodradigbee 
rivers. The retaining wall is to be 240 feet high, and will dam back the 
water for 40 miles up the main stream, with important additions in the Yass 
and Goodradigbee valleys. From the dam the conserved water flows at first 
via the river channel, and later by an artificial cut to the Yanco irrigation 
area. It is expected that about 200,000 acres of first class land and 360,000 
acres of second class land near Yanco can be subdivided for intense culture. 

The special feature of this region is, however, the important river system 
consisting of the River Murray and its tributaries. With its main tributary, 
the Darling, no less than 2,000 miles are navigable in favorable seasons, but 
internal navigation is decreasing in importance as the railways are extended. 

Physical and General Geography of Australia. 107 

With a high river the Murray is navigable practically to Albury, but there is 
very little traffic beyond Echuca (which is 666 miles from the South Australian 
Border). On the Darling steamers trade as far as Walgett, a distance of 
1,180 miles from Wentworth. The Murray is navigable for about seven 
months (July to January inclusive) in the year ; the Darling may be blocked 
for several years in a dry series of seasons. 

(c) The Ancient Murray Estuary. 

An approximately circular area in the south of the Australian Lowlands 
occupies an old bay or estuary into which the Darling, Murrumbidgee, and 
Murray probably entered by separate mouths. It extends from Menindie, 
on the Darling, to Glenelg Kiver (western Victoria), and is about 300 miles 
broad, its limits being Swan Hill (on the Murray) to the east, and the Mount 
Lofty Kanges (South Australia) to the west. In this region the rocks consist 
of marine sediments of late Tertiary age, which not long ago formed the floor 
of portion of the Southern Ocean. The rainfall is rather low (10-20 inches), 
the country being sheltered by hills from rain-bearing winds ; but large areas 
which were formerly deemed worthless are progressing rapidly since it has 
been discovered that wheat can be profitably grown here. The natural 
vegetation, especially in the southern portion, consists of a low shrub-like 
eucalypt called the " mallee," which forms very thick copse-like masses. 
This is being cleared to make way for the wheat. The Lower Murray passes 
through the middle of this tract, in which it receives no tributaries except in 
time of flood. 

In the south-east the rainfall increases, and the Wimmera District 
is supplied by the head waters of several streams which rarely reach the 
Murray. Here there are extensive irrigation and water supply works as at 
Glenorchy, Dooen, and Boort. Some of these enable large crops to be grown, 
others supply water for stock in the drier periods of the year. 

The irrigation centres of Renmark and Mildura on the Murray (near the 
Darling confluence) are of great interest. Here large fruit crops are obtained 
in a region with only a 10-in. rainfall, by water pumped from the Murray. 
The drainage of the whole Murray basin enters the sea by an insignificant 
outlet so shallow that none but the smallest steamers can cross its bar. 

The portion of this elevated Tertiary estuary which has been settled most 
successfully lies in the south-eastern corner of South Australia. With a 
good rainfall of 30 inches this corner of the State is noted for its crops and 
fruit, and it enjoys the most favorable climate of any part of the State of 
South Australia. This is largely due to the fact that it extends sufficiently 
far south to be influenced by the dominant rain-bearing westerly winds for 
a large part of the year. 

There is here, however, a sub-artesian water supply which is really dele- 
terious. A large area between the Mount Gambier Railway and the coast 
was originally a sour swamp land, being flooded by the outflow from the 
more elevated porous beds to the north and east. The crater lakes of Mount 
Gambier owe their water supply to this artesian flow. A very large drainage 
scheme now in progress has already cost £344,000 and will cost as much 
again. This will improve 2,000,000 acres of agricultural land. 


Federal Handbook. 

5. — The Great Artesian Basin. 

This region constitutes the northern portion of the Central Lowland belt 
of Australia. It includes about 576,000 square miles, comprising more than 
half of Queensland and important slices of territory in New South Wales 
and South Australia. 

During Mesozoic times a large gulf extended from the Gulf of Carpentaria 
to Lake Eyre. This covered much the same ground as the Artesian Basin, 
to which, indeed, it gave rise. In this basin were deposited thick beds of 

Diagrammatic Sect/on a/ong Line A. B. 

Fig. 14. — The Great Artesian Basin. 

sand, which ultimately became a permeable sandstone, and over these were 
laid down strata of an impermeable nature (blue clays, shales, etc.). Later, 
earth movements elevated this area, and the underlying peripheral porous 
sandstones were exposed by erosion. 

Rain falling on the upturned porous beds (which are perhaps Triassic 
in New South Wales, and Cretaceous in Queensland) is rapidly absorbed, 
and flows underground towards the lower portion of the basin, which probably 
occurs in the north. There is probably an outlet for this underground flow 

Physical and General Geography of Australia. 109 

into the Gulf of Carpentaria. Many mound springs to the west of Lake 
Eyre — -along the railway line — also represent a natural outlet to this basin. 
In New South Wales there are nearly a hundred Government bores and 
about 250 private bores. At Dolgelly (near Moree) a bore was sunk 4,806 
feet and gave 682,000 gallons per day. In Queensland there are about 
600 flowing bores and 168 sub-artesian where the water does not reach the 
surface without pumping. 

The Artesian Eegion may be divided into two parts, which may be 
termed the Lake Eyre Division (in the west) and the Eastern Division 
(which comprises western Queensland). The dividing line is somewhat 
arbitrary, but is not far from the 10-in. isohyet. Thus the western is 
practically desert country, and the eastern is a very important mining and 
pastoral region. 

(a) The Eastern or Pastoral Artesian Region. 

This belt lies to the west of the Cordillera and gradually changes from the 
uplands of the Great Divide, through rolling downs to the monotonous levels 
of the region around Lake Eyre. It extends about 1,200 miles from the Gulf 
of Carpentaria to Dubbo, on the Macquarie River {New South Wales), and 
is about 300 miles wide. 

The northern portion around the gulf consists of a low-lying country — 
probably the elevated bed of the gulf adjacent — with a rainfall of 20 to 30 
inches. It is watered by numerous rivers. Normanton, the chief town, 
is partly supplied with water by an artesian bore. Behind the mangrove 
swamps of the northern margin is an important cattle-grazing district. The 
chief industries are, however, connected with mining, much gold being 
obtained at Croydon and copper at Cloncurry. These ore-deposits occur 
in " islands " of older rock, projecting through the artesian water-bearing 

To the south of the gulf country the land rises considerably, and a strip 
about a thousand feet above the sea extends south to the headwaters of 
the Paroo and other northern tributaries of the Murray, whence it gradually 
slopes down to 500 feet along the southern boundary of the Artesian 

It is important to note that this portion of the Artesian Basin lies almost 
wholly in the 10 to 20 in. rainfall area, so that except in the extreme south, 
where some wheat is grown, there is nothing to compete with the pastoral 
industry. Hughenden, Winton, Barcaldine, Charleville, and Cunnamulla 
are all centres of sheep and cattle districts, connected by railways to one of 
the ports, Townsville, Rockhampton, or Brisbane. 

(b) The Lake Eyre Basin or Desert Artesian Region. 

The remaining division of the Artesian Basin comprises the lowlands 
drained by the rivers Diamantina, Barcoo, etc. The lowest portion of 
the area constitutes Lake Eyre. The southern arm of this lake usually 
contains salt water, while the remainder is a vast salty plain formed from 
alluvium carried down by the large rivers which now enter it only in 
flood time. It is situated within the 10-in. isohyet, yet many pastoral 
.areas have been occupied, especially along the beds of the Diamantina and 

110 Federal Handbook. 

6. — The South Australian Highlands and the Associated Trough 


This isolated region of elevation extends from Cape Jervis in a north-south 
line to Hergott Springs, near Lake Eyre. It consists of " numerous local 
ranges which in places reach an elevation of over 3,000 feet. The ranges 
are usually separated from each other by undulating or nearly level plains ; 
and as a result of these longitudinal valleys the northern railway has been 
carried through the hill country, reaching an elevation near Petersburg of 
over 2,000 feet, without the necessity of cutting a single tunnel."* 

The present topography of the highlands is determined chiefly by a series 
of faults on the western side of the Cambrian highlands. These faults 
run meridionally and appear to have taken place in almost every geological 
epoch. Running parallel to the highlands is a subsidence area which Pro- 
fessor Gregory has termed the " Rift Valley of Australia," which constitutes 
St. Vincent's G-ulf and Spencer's Gulf — York Peninsula being a horst between 
two subsidences. The Rift Valley extends north through Lake Torrens, 
and has probably contributed to the origin of Lake Eyre. The scarp faces 
on the west of the Mount Lofty Ranges are not yet in equilibrium, and slips 
on a large scale along the old fault lines make this corner of Australia perhaps 
the most active seismological region in the continent. (See Chapter VII., 
" Geology of the Commonwealth," Fig. 1.) 

To the east the ancient Cambrian and Pre-Cambrian rocks diminish in 
height and gradually merge in a low level peneplain of old rock which is 
bounded, and in part covered, by the Tertiary sediments of the Murray- 
Darling lowlands. In these ancient altered and folded rocks occur the chief 
mineral deposits of South Australia. Among these are the famous Wallaroo 
and Moonta copper mines, at the head of St. Vincent's Gulf; Burra and 
Kapunda, once equally important, have not been worked for many years, 
but just over the border in New South Wales is situated Broken Hill, the 
largest known ore deposits in Australia. The traffic of Broken Hill passes 
almost wholly through South Australia, either to Port Pirie, on Spencer's 
Gulf, or to the capital, Adelaide. The population is over 30,000, and since 
1882, when the lode was discovered, silver-lead-zinc ore to the value of 
£60,000,000 has been won. 

The main divide of these highlands lies somewhat to the west, culminating 
in Mount Lofty (near Adelaide, 2,334 feet), Mount Razorback (near Burra, 
2,834 feet), and Mount Brown (near Quorn, 3,100 feet). None of the 
rivers are of importance, and in the north the water supply is obtained 
chiefly from wells sunk in the beds of the intermittent rivers. The lakes 
are all shallow sheets of salt water, and are worthless from an industrial 
point of view. 

The Cambrian Highlands (including the Mount Lofty and Flinders Ranges) 
lie in the course of strong westerly winds in winter. They have at that season 
a rainfall which is found to be eminently suited to the needs of the 
wheat plant ; in fact, many districts with only 10 inches per year can grow 
an excellent hard wheat, because practically the whole of the precipitation 
takes place from April to October (inclusive). 

* The Geography of South Australia, including the Northern Territory, by Walter Howchin and J. W. 

Gregory (1909), p. 82. 

Physical and General Geography op Australia. Ill 

The main settlement in South Australia is therefore confined to a 
triangle included between Streaky Bay (west), Beltana (north), and Morgan 
(south-west). Mount Gambier and the Pinnaroo wheat area have already 
been described as likely to become areas of close settlement. 

The heaviest rainfall occurs near Adelaide, on the slopes of the Mount 
Lofty Ranges. On the lower slopes, where there is less moisture, are 
planted the vineyards whose wines are becoming favorably known all over 
the world. Clare and Tanunda are two of the most famous cellars, both 
being to the north-east of Adelaide. 

It is to wheat, however, that South Australia chiefly owes her prosperity. 
The wheat line coincides, for reasons stated, with the 10-in. (winter) isohyet. 
The three peninsulas, Eyre's, Yorke's, and Mounty Lofty, are included in 
this area which is one of the most important wheat producing districts in the 

Wool is grown throughout the State wherever the annual rainfall 
exceeds 9 or 10 inches, including all the Cambrian highlands. But a large 
area in the north-west, beyond a line joining Eucla to Oodnadatta, is still 
No Man's Land. However, just as pastoral industries have paid their way 
in the dry regions of Hergott and Oodnadatta, where railway transport is 
available in time of need, so we may hope that the new transcontinental 
railway from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie will lead to the settlement of the 
region in question. 

7. — The Great Plateau Region. 

To the west of the Australian Lowlands, i.e., beyond a line joining the 
two gulf regions (Spencer and Carpentaria), lies a vast extent of country 
forming the chief geographic unit in Australia and embracing two-thirds of 
the continent; it consists of an ancient peneplain composed chiefly of 
Palaeozoic or older rocks which have been planed down to a more or less 
uniform level. This now stands 1,000 to 1,500 feet above the sea, and for 
the most part does not seem to have been submerged since middle Palaeozoic 
times. However, fringing this massif all round the west coast, are lowlands 
of Tertiary age ; while there is a fairly continuous hinterland of Mesozoic 
and late Palaeozoic rocks which resemble the larger belt on the east of the 
continent. This obviously indicates that the margins of the West Australian 
massif have oscillated above and below sea-level many times in post- 
Cambrian times. 

Only in the south, at the head of the Bight, is there any large area of 
late rocks ; but here there appears to be a Cretaceous basin extending for a 
radius of 300 miles all round Eucla. 

In this region is comprised the whole of Western Australia and most of 
the Northern Territory and South Australia, except those portions of the 
latter which have already been described under the heads of the Lake Eyre 
Basin and the South Australian highlands. It is by no means so important 
economically as the Central Lowlands, and supports only about 6 per 
cent, of the Australian population (250,000 out of 4,000,000). 

It will be recognised that there are no dominating physical features to 
assist subdivision of this large area, except it be the Central Highlands in the 
east — which form one subdivision. 


Federal Handbook. 

Since this tableland extends through almost 25 degrees of latitude, it is 
obvious that it is subjected to very different meteorological conditions. 
Accordingly the most satisfactory primary divisions are — the Southern 
Temperate Region, the Northern Tropical Region, and the Central Desert 
with its enclave, the Central Highlands. 

(a) The Northern Tropical Region. 

The Tropical Region consists of a broad coastal strip from Sharks 
Bay to the Gulf of Carpentaria. In this region the rainfall occurs in summer, 
and increases in amount as the equator is approached. It is bounded on the 

Fig. 15. — Map showing the three divisions of the Westralian Plateau, 
and the 10-inch isohyet. 

south and east by the Desert Region. Unfortunately there are no rain 
stations between Nullagine and Barrow Creek, so that the division line 
(approximately the 10-in. isohyet) is only tentative. 
It may be described under the heads : — 

(1) Northern Territory Lowlands ; 

(2) Northern Territory Highlands ; 

(3) The North-west Coast, comprising the regions around Kimberley, 

Pilbarra, Sharks Bay, and the Murchison. 

Physical and General Geography of Australia. 113 

(i.) The Northern Territory Lowlands. 

The Northern Territory consists of two rather different provinces. The 
coastal portion is low-lying, rising only to 300 feet at 100 miles from the 
coast along the railway. This low country is still practically unknown except 
along the railway. It does not appear to be very good cattle country, and 
though the rainfall is very heavy in summer the soil is poor in plant food 
and the vegetation, on the whole, is scanty, except along the rivers. The 
hinterland, including Arnhem Land to the east, appears to be a dissected 
peneplain about 1,000 feet above sea-level. 

The rivers and creeks of the Northern Territory are in many cases dry 
gullies during the dry season ; but they become considerable streams in the 
wet season, from December to March. There are notable exceptions to this. 
Por instance, the Edith, Catherine, and Roper are large rivers, all of which 
flow at a constant rate all through the dry weather. The most important is 
the Roper, which rises near Bitter Springs — to which place it is proposed to 
transfer the capital — and flows perennially thence. It is a noble stream 100 
yards wide and occasionally 25 feet deep, though crossed by quartzite bars. 
Some of the reaches on the river are said to be 40 miles long. 

The capital is at Darwin, a small township consisting chiefly of 
Government buildings. From the capital a narrow-gauge railway runs to 
Pine Creek, 145 miles inland, and will shortly be extended to the Katherine. 
A British line of steamers maintains a monthly service, and there is a small 
local trade, a steam-ship running between Port Darwin, Port McArthur, 
Daly River, Victoria River, and Wyndham (Western Australia). 

The population of the Territory in 1911 comprised about 1,700 whites, 
1,300 Chinamen, and some 20,000 aboriginals. The following were the chief 
products in 1910 :— pearl-shell, £10,000 ; tin, £34,308 ; and gold, £21,632. 

(ii.) Northern Territory Uplands. 

These extend southward from the Roper River, and include the most 
promising portion of the Territory. Though the rainfall is less, gradually 
decreasing from 40 inches to 6 inches, yet the climate is more healthy, and the 
strip of country southward to Tennant's Creek is well adapted to carry cattle. 
The railway traverses fair pastoral country as far as Pine Creek, though 
practically unstocked. There are however, many cattle stations on 
the low eastern plateau known as the Barkly Tableland. These are linked 
to the more populous regions by a mail route via Camooweal just within the 
-Queensland borders. 

(hi.) v The North-west Region. 

This is wholly included in Western Australia, and consists of a strip of 
country between the desert and the sea about 400 miles wide, extending 
from the Ord River in the north to the Murchison River in the west. The 
rainfall decreases from 30 inches in the north to about 6 inches per year on the 

The towns in this vast territory of 500,000 square miles number about a 
dozen, being, with very few exceptions, either settlements around stamp 
batteries on a gold-field, or ports leading to them. The country, however, 
contains numerous sheep and cattle stations. 

114 Federal Handbook. 

The Kimberley region contains a one-time important gold-field, with its 
centre at Hall's Creek on the divide between the Ord and Fitzroy Rivers. 
Numerous cattle stations have been occupied along both these rivers ; but 
the rugged region between them is almost entirely uninhabited by white 
settlers. Wyndham, at the mouth of the Ord River, Derby, on the estuary 
of the Fitzroy, and Broome are the only towns. From the latter, which 
is an important pearling centre and cattle port, starts the cable to Java. 

Pearling extends northwards from Sharks Bay, where the pearl-shell is 
of a smaller and less valuable kind, to Broome — the commercial base of the 

The next centre of settlement is the Pilbarra region ; it is noted for 
its pearls, mining, heat, and cyclones. Hereabouts the average rainfall is 
15 inches per annum ; yet there are many records of 20 inches falling in a 
few hours. Cossack and Condon are situated where the tropical tornadoes 
recurve and strike the coast. The hinterland also holds an unenviable record 
for heat. 

The Pilbarra gold-fields, with centres at Marble Bar and Nullagine, and 
the Whim Creek Copper Mines have led to the development of the country. 
A railway is being built from Port Headland to Nullagine. Large areas can 
be supplied with water for stock by putting down shallow bores. Sheep 
are the principal stock depastured in this region. Many of the stations are 
worked almost entirely by aboriginal labour, so that the wages' bill is 

The southern portion of this belt, comprising the basins of the Ash- 
burton, Gascoyne, and Murchison, should logically be considered with the 
Desert Region, for the greater part of it has a rainfall of less than 10 inches- 
per year. However, numerous sheep and cattle stations have been taken 
up, the stock being shipped from Onslow and Carnarvon. 

Far inland from Geraldton are the gold-fields of Yalgoo, Murchison, and 
Peak Hill. A railway runs through Yalgoo, Mount Magnet, Cue, and Nannine, 
to Meekatharra. 

(b) The Central or Desert Tableland. 

The Desert Region includes most of the areas with a rainfall under 
10 inches. It may be described under the heads : — 

(1) The Desert Proper ; 

(2) The MacDonnell Ranges ; 

(3) The Gold-fields Region. 

(i.) The Desert Proper. 

This division of the Western Tableland is rectangular in shape, about 
1,200 miles from west to east, and 650 from north to south. The Lake 
Eyre Basin (included in the Artesian Lowlands, p. 109) is of the same arid 
character ; and, with this addition, the desert may be described as occupying 
the rectangle between Cossack and Boulia, on the north, and Southern Cross 
and Broken Hill, on the south. In fact, the proposed transcontinental rail- 
ways from Southern Cross to Port Augusta and from Camooweal to Bourke, 
form two of its boundaries. 

This region, with an area of 800,000 square miles, comprises more than 
one-quarter of the whole continent. It therefore merits study, in spite of 

Physical and General Geography of Australia. 115 

the fact that there are probably not a thousand white folk in it, excluding 
the miners in the south-western corner between Kalgoorlie and Laverton. 
Our knowledge is derived from explorers' records, such as those of Giles 
and Carnegie, and from later Government expeditions, such as that of 
Canning in 1906. 

In the north-eastern portion the MacDonnell Ranges have been well 
described by the Horn scientific expedition, and these highlands are now 
sparsely settled ; but the region extending from Oodnadatta to the Westralian 
gold-fields is still desolate. 

Great additions to our knowledge of the western portion of the desert 
have resulted from the recent work of Canning and Talbot. The former 
opened a stock route from Wiluna to the pastoral holdings near Hall's Creek. 
This distance of 700 miles is now supplied with permanent water by 50 
shallow wells. Mr. Talbot has lately made a geological traverse along the 
stock route. He describes the country generally as flat, but diversified by 
low ranges ; the prevailing south-west winds have banked sand ridges 
against the southern slopes of these ranges, but on the lee sides they are often 
flanked by a strip of flat country which in some places grows good feed for 

Although at some future time the lower portions of Sturt Creek may 
become settled, Mr. Talbot thinks that the country along the stock route 
south of that point is never likely to become occupied by pastoralists. 

The heart of the arid region has been described by Carnegie. In 1896 
he left the Coolgardie gold-field to strike across the continent in a N.N.E. 
direction in the hopes of finding gold-bearing or pastoral country in the 
great desert. Travelling over a long stretch of dry country in which 
the camels were without water for thirteen and a half days, they 
reached a soakage near Alexander Springs. Beyond this a few low sandstone 
ranges and hills were found, and occasionally in the valleys belts of bloodwood 
and a few shrubs edible by camels, but most of the country was a continuous 
waste of sand ridges. They reached Hall's Creek and returned south along 
the South Australian border. He thinks that a stock route from the 
MacDonnell Ranges to the Coolgardie railway is possible in winter. The 
route from the ranges to the south-west is excellent as far as the border; 
from there it would be necessary to hit oft* the small oases which are met 
with near Mount Squires, Warburton Ranges, Blyth Creek, and Alexander 
Springs. In conclusion, he says of the area traversed on his journey 
(Fig. 15) — " We have demonstrated the uselessness of any persons (either 
pastoralists or miners) wasting their time and money in further investigation 
of that desolate region."* 

(ii.) The MacDonnell Ranges. 

This area of elevated land lies in the middle of the continent, and owing 
to the Horn exploring expedition of 1894 we know more about it than about 
many more accessible regions. The Cretaceous area between Lake Eyre and 
the southern ranges of the group consists of stony ("■ gibber ") plains and of 
arid loamy tracts which support a sparse saltbush flora. Professor Spencer 
calls these the Lower Steppes. 

* D. W. Carnegie, Spinifex and Sand, 1898. 

116 Federal Handbook. 

As soon as the northern boundary of the Cretaceous area is passed (near 
Chamber's Pillar) a striking difference appears in the configuration of the 

The rocks consist of sandstones and limestones, which have been folded 
at some ancient period into series of ridges and valleys running east and west. 
These, after being worn down to a level surface, were elevated in quite 
recent geological times, and the rivers have cut out the extraordinary series 
of gorges and lateral valleys which form so striking a feature of the region. 

The northern portion of the MacDonnell area consists of much older rocks, 
such as gneisses and schists, probably allied to those covering a large part of 
Western Australia. Associated with them are certain dykes of granite, 
with white mica (Muscovite), the chief mines being near Mount Brassey, 
in the north-east of the ranges, where plates of mica 6 feet across have been 
obtained. They are sent by camel to Oodnadatta, and are exported for use 
in electrical works. In the same region is Arltunga, a gold-field which 
promised well some years ago, but it is heavily handicapped by its situation 
and surroundings. 

To the west, as soon as the ranges are left behind, the monotonous sand- 
hill, mulga, and spinifex country commences and extends through Western 
Australia to Coolgardie. 

It is to be feared that neither the cattle, mica, nor gold will lead to the 
prosperous settlement of Central Australia. The low rainfall (averaging only 
6 inches per year over a considerable portion of the area) makes extensive 
pastoral occupation impossible, while 200 miles of transport to the railway 
at Oodnadatta — and thence 600 miles to Adelaide — will prevent the working 
of any but very rich mineral fields. 

(iii.) The Gold-fields Region. 

In Western Australia, nearly 400 miles inland from the coast, in a region 
which 25 years ago had been crossed only by a few explorers and 
prospectors, and where the rainfall is only 8 inches, is clustered an important 
community of mining men. The chief town, Kalgoorlie, has a population 
of 30,000, and the other large centres (Coolgardie, Kanowna, etc.) have 
a total of about 35,000. Until 1887 it was an uninhabited desert, like 
that already described, but in that year was discovered the Southern Cross 
field and in 1892 the Coolgardie fields. 

At first the only water supply was obtained from small " soaks." Later 
portable condensers were used to separate the salt from water derived from 
holes dug in the salt lakes. Before the railway was opened the Government 
constructed along the route tanks which served as collecting grounds after 
occasional rains. Each of these held about a million gallons, and cost some 
£3,000. This uncertain supply is now superseded by wonderful waterworks 
which bring water from the wetter regions near the coast. Early in 1903 
the present supply-line was completed, connecting a reservoir near 
Perth with Kanowna, 387 miles east of that town. On the Darling Ranges, 
near Perth, there is a rainfall of over 20 inches, and a weir across the Helena 
River (at Mundaring) impounds 400,000,000 gallons. Nine pumping stations 
elevate the water 1,313 feet to the Coolgardie distributing reservoir. The 
pipe line (33 inches diameter) is laid on the surface close to the railway, and 

Physical and General Geography of Australia. 117 

at each of the pumping stations, roughly 40 miles apart, the water is elevated 
about 140 feet, whence it flows by gravity to the next station. 

In 1894 the railway line to Southern Cross was completed and gradually 
extended, as the value of the gold-fields became assured, to Kalgoorlie in 
1897, Menzies, 1899, and since then to Laverton (586 miles), in the north, 
and to Norseman, in the south. 

. The transcontinental railway from Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta (1,100 
miles) is now (1913) under construction. The gauge is the standard 
4 ft. 8J in. ; and the other links, Eremantle to Kalgoorlie and Port Augusta 
to Albury, will be altered to suit this gauge. The estimated cost of con- 
struction is £3,988,000. 

This railway will serve an area comprising about 90,000 square miles, 
which can be considered favorable for pastoral development ; but the main 
advantages accruing are due to the increased speed in mails between Europe, 
Western Australia, and Eastern Australia. The military aspect is also one of 

In Western Australia this new railway traverses auriferous country for 
65 miles to Cardinia. Thence it passes over granite for 100 miles, and 
further eastward it reaches the " saltbush " country, which is characteristic 
of the Tertiary limestones. 

This region has less than 10 inches rainfall, but in the limestones water 
can be reached by bores several hundred feet deep. Unfortunately, this 
water is usually brackish. 

Within the South Australian border (461 miles) similar limestone country 
is traversed until the ancient rocks around Tarcoola are met with. Here are 
valuable gold deposits, and outlying sheep stations are situated near the 
proposed line at Wilgena and Coondambo. Lake Hart promises to become 
an important source of salt. Near Oakden Hills station it descends from the 
tableland into the Torrens rift, and crosses the head of Spencer's Gulf at 
Yorkey's Crossing, which is only 5 miles from Port Augusta. 

(c) The South=west Temperate Region. 

The South-west Temperate Region is a belt extending from Geraldton 
to Eucla. It lies between the 10-in. isohyet and the sea, and is characterized 
by a winter rainfall increasing to the south-west. This portion of Western 
Australia contains the whole of the agricultural land in the State. It is 
estimated that there are 60,000,000 acres which are suitable for agricultural 
purposes. It carries, and will always carry, the bulk of the population of 
Western Australia. 

For descriptive purposes, the South-west Province may be subdivided 
into three belts, which are absolutely controlled by the rainfall. These are — 

(1) The Eastern Pastoral Belt ; 

(2) The Central Wheat Belt ; 

(3) The Western Timber Belt. 

(i.) The Eastern Pastoral Belt. 
This belt, extending from Sharks Bay through Southern Cross and Norse- 
man to the Bight, lies approximately between the 8 in. and 13 in. isohyets. 
It is eminently suited for sheep and cattle. Two great rabbit-proof fences- 


Federal Handbook. 

cross this area. One starting from the coast about 50 miles north of 
Geraldton runs east through Yalgoo and then due south to the coast about 
100 miles east of Albany. The other is further east and extends from 
near Hopetoun north towards Sandstone, and thence to the coast north of 
Pilbarra. These fences are kept efficient by Government maintenance men, 
and they enable the squatter to cope successfully with the rabbit invasion 
from the east. 

(ii.) The Central Wheat Belt. 

Tnis belt lies between the 13 in. and 20 in. isohyets. It extends from 
Ajana to Hopetoun. A strip of country to the east of Hopetoun will be 
found as suitable for wheat as Eyre's Peninsula in South Australia, but is not 
yet developed. 





Fig. 16. — The South- West Province of the Westralian Plateau. 

In the north are some rich river flats along the Greenough River. Here 
also are the Northampton copper mines. The belt of York gum (Eucalyptus 
roxophleba) and of white gum (E. redunca) is coincident with the wheat 
belt along its whole extent, though the timber is lighter in the north. 

Geraldton and Dongara are the chief settlements in the north. Thence 
the Midland Railway through Mingenew and Gingin traverses the belt to 
Perth ; while further east a new line through Wongan is under construction. 

South of Northam a really tremendous development has gone on of 
late years. The Great Southern Railway to Albany runs along the west of 

Physical and General Geography of Australia. 119 

the wheat belt through York, Brooktown, Narrogin, Wagin, Katanning, and 
Tambellup. From each of these centres branch lines running east are com- 
pleted or in progress ; so that this portion of the wheat belt is served by one 
of the best railway systems in Australia. 

(iii.) The South-west Timber Region. 

To the westward of the trunk line the rainfall increases as the south-west 
coast is approached ; the timber becomes heavier, until dense forests of 
commercial hardwoods are entered. Because of this, the wheat area does 
not extend very far westward, but the soil and rainfall are particularly well 
suited for oats ; in parts for potato growing and root crops ; and practically 
everywhere for fruit. This country is still to a great degree unoccupied, 
for farming in the wheat belt has yielded quicker returns than in these 
heavily-timbered districts. It is stated, however, that a farm of 160 acres 
in the west if wisely chosen and improved will provide as good a living as 
a 1,000- acre farm in the wheat belt. 

All this country is or can be brought within convenient reach of the ports 
of Albany, Bunbury, or Busselton. Railways already cross it from Bunbury 
to Narrogin, through the coal-field of Collie. Another links Busselton to 
Katanning. A third passes through the tin-field of Greenbushes and opens 
up the forests of Bridgetown. 

The whole of this western corner is clothed either in jarrah or karri, the 
latter occurring chiefly in a coastal belt 30 miles wide from Bridgetown to 
Albany. During 1910, timber to the value of £972,000 was exported. 

Perth, the capital of Western Australia, lies in the north of this belt. 
It is situated on the estuary of the Swan River, and the hilly slopes on 
its western bank have been reserved as the King's Park. The Darling 
scarp — produced by the faulting of the coastal strip — -is about 20 miles 
away to the east. 

Fremantle lies at the mouth of the Swan, and in the vicinity of these 
two towns it is estimated that there are 108,000 people. 

8. — Bibliography. 



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References to the Geography of the Queensland and New South Wales Plateau. 

Procs. Linn. Soc. N. S. Wales, 1902, XXVIL, pp. 146-185, figs. 
Notes on the Geography of the Blue Mountains and Sydney District. Procs. 

Linn. Soc. N. S. Wales, 1903, XXVIII., pp. 786-825, pis. 39-44. 
The Geology of the New England Plateau, with special reference to the Granites 

of Northern New England. Pt. I. — Physiography. Records Geol. Survey 

N. S. Wales, VII., 1904, pp. 281-300. 
An Introduction to the Physical Geography of New South Wales. (8vo. Sydney, 

The Ice-flood Hypothesis of the New Zealand Sound Basins. Journ. Geol., 1906, 

XIV., pp. 28-54. 

C.12154. I 

120 Federal Handbook. 

Andrews (E. C). The New Zealand Sound and Lake Basin, and the Canons of Eastern 

Australia, in the Bearing on the Theory of the Peneplain. Procs. Linn. Soc. 

N. S. Wales, 1906, XXXI., pp. 499-516, pis. 39-41. 

— - Corrosion by Gravity Streams with applications of the Ice-flood Hypothesis. 

Journ. R. Soc. N. S. Wales, 1909, XLIIL, pp. 204-330. 
Geographical Unity of Eastern Australia in Late and Post Tertiary Time, with 

applications to Biological Problems. Journ. R. Soc. N. S. Wales, 1910, 

XLIV., pp. 420-479. 
— • Erosion and its Significance. Journ. R. Soc. N. S. Wales, 1911, XLV., pp. 116— 

■ Notes on a Model of New England and the associated Topographical Forms. 

Journ. R. Soc. N. S. Wales, 1912, XL VI., pp. 143-155, pi. 3. 
Beach Formations at Botany Bay. Journ. R, Soc. N. S. Wales, 1912, XLVL, 

pp. 158-185, pi. 7. 
— Report on the Cobar Copper and Gold-field Part I. — Min. Res., Geol. Survey, 

N. S. Wales, No. 7. (8vo. Sydney, 1913.) 
Benson (W. N.). Notes descriptive of a Stereogram of the Mount Lofty Ranges, South 

Australia. Trans. R. Soc. S. Austr., pp. 108-111, pis. 20, 21. 
Danes (J. V.). Physiography of some Limestone Areas in Queensland. Procs. R. Soc. 

Q'land, 1911, XXIII., pp. 75-83, pis. 1, 2. 
On the Physiography of North-Eastern Australia. Procs. R. Bohemian Soc. Sci:, 

1911, XXIV. 
David (T. W. E.). An Important Geological Fault at Kurrajong Heights, New South 

Wales. Journ. R. Soc. N. S. Wales, 1902, XXXVI., pp. 359-370, pis. 16, 17. 
■ Geological Notes on Kosciusko, with special reference to evidences of Glacial 

Action. Procs. Linn. Soc. N. S. Wales, 1908, XXXIIL, pp. 657-668, pi. 23. 
Presidential Address. Notes on some of the Chief Tectonic Lines of Australia. 

Journ. R. Soc. N. S. Wales, 1911, XLV., pp. 4-60. 
David (T. W. E.) and Halligan (G. H.). Evidence of Recent Submergence of Coast at 

Narrabeen. Journ. R. Soc. N. S. Wales, 1908, XLII., pp. 229-237, pis. 38-39. 
David (T. W. E.), Pittman (E. F.), and Helms (R.). Geological Notes on Kosciusko, 

with special reference to evidences of Glacial Action. Procs. Linn. Soc. N. S. 

Wales, XXVI., 1901, pp. 26-74. 
Etheridge (R.), David (T. W. E.), and Grimshaw (J. W.). On the occurrence of a 

submerged forest with the remains of a Dugong at Shea's Creek, Sydney. 

Journ. R. Soc. N. S. Wales, 1896, XXX., pp. 158-185, pis. 8-11. 
Gregory (J. W.). Australasia — Stanford's Geography. (8vo. London.) 
■ Some Features in the Geography of North- Western Tasmania. Procs. R. Soc. 

Vict., 1903, XVI. (n.s.), pp. 176-183, pis. 

< The Geography of Victoria. (8vorf Melbourne, 1903.) 

Hall (T. S.). Victorian Hill and Dale. (8vo. Melbourne, 1909.) 

Halligan (G. H.). Sand Movement on the New South Wales Coast. Procs. Linn. Soc. 

N. S. Wales, 1906, XXXL, pp. 619-640. pis. 52-53. 
Harper (L. F.). Note3 on the Physiography and Geology of the North-Eastern Water- 
shed of the Macquarie River. Records Geol. Survey N. S. Wales, 1909, VIII., 

pp. 321-334, pis. 52, 53. 
Hart (T. S.). The Highlands and Main Divide of Western Victoria. Procs. R. Soc. 

Vict., 1907, XX. (n.s.), pp. 250-273, pis. 22-26. 
— — — On the Country between Melbourne and the Dandenong Creek. Procs. R. Soc. 

Vict., 1913, XXV., pp. 268-285. 
Hedley (C.) and Tay (T. G.). Coral Reef of the Great Barrier, Queensland : A Study 

of their Structure, Life Distribution, and Relation to Mainland Physiography. 

Rept. Austr. Assoc. Adv. Science, 1907, XL, pp. 397-413. 
Howchin (W). Description of an Old Lake Area in Pekina Creek and its Relation to 

Recent Geological Changes. Trans. R. Soc. S. Austr., 1909, XXXIIL, pp. 

253-261, pis. 17, 18. 

■ The Geography of South Australia. (8vo. Melbourne, 1909.) 

Notes on Recurrent Transgression of the Sea at Dry Creek. Trans. R. Soc. S. 

Austr., 1912, XXXVL, pp. 34-39. 
Jensen (H. I.). The Geology of the Glass House Mountains and District. Procs. Linn. 

Soc. N. S. Wales, 1903, XXVIII. , pp. 842-875, pis. 
■ Geology of the Volcanic Area of the East Moreton and Wide Bay Districts, Queens- 
land. Procs. Linn. Soc. N. S. Wales, 1906, XXXL pp. 73-173. 
— Preliminary Note on the Geological History of the Warrumbungle Mountains. 

Procs. Linn. Soc. N. S. Wales, pp. 228-235, pi. 19. 
Jose (A. W.), Taylor (T. G.), and Woolnough (W. G.). New South Wales : Historical, 

Physiographical and Economic. (8vo. Christchurch, 1911.) 

Physical and General Geography of Australia. 121 

Jutson (J. T.). A contribution to the Physical History of the Plenty River and of 
Anderson's Creek, Warrandyte, Victoria. Procs. R. Soc. Vict., 1910, XXII., 
pp. 153-171, pis. 31, 32. 

On the Age and Physiographic Relations of the Older Basalts of Greensborough 

and Kangaroo Ground, and of Certain Basalts at Bundoora and Ivanhoe. 

Procs. R. Soc. Vict., 1913, XXVI. (n.s.), pp. 45-56. 
Marks (E. 0.). Notes on Portion of the Burdekin Valley, with some Queries as to the 

Universal Applicability of certain Physiographicai Theories. Procs. R. Soc. 

Q'land., 1913, XXIV., pp. 93-102, pis. 6-8. 
Murray (R. A. F.). The Geology and Physical Geography of Victoria. (8vo. Mel- 
bourne, 1887.) 
Poole (W.). Physiography of North Queensland. Rept. Aust. Assoc. Adv. Sci., 1909 

[1910], XII., pp. 316-317. 
Selwyn (A. C). The Basin of the River Yarra and part of the Northern, North-Eastern, 

and Eastern Drainage of Westernport Bay. Notes and Procs. Leg. Council 

Vict. t 1855-6, Vol. II. 
Sussmilch (C. A.). Notes on the Physiography of the Southern Tableland of New South 

Wales. Journ. R. Soc. N. S. Wales, 1909, XLIIL, pp. 331-354, pis. 9-14. 

An Introduction to the Geology of New South Wales. (8vo. Sydney, 1911.) 

.Sussmilch (C. A.), and Jensen (H. T.). The Geology of the Canobolas Mountains. 

Procs. Linn. Soc. N. S. Wales, 1909, XXXIV., pp. 157-194, pis. 7-9. 
Taylor (T. G.). A Correlation of Contour, Climate, and Coal. A contribution to the 
Physiography of New South Wales. Procs. Linn. Soc. N. S. Wales, 1906, 
XXXI., pp. 517-529, pis. 45-48. 

The Physiography of Eastern Australia. Bulletin Commonwealth Meteorological 

Bureau, No. 8, 1911. 

■ The Physiography of the proposed Federal Territory at Canberra. Comm. 

Bureau Meteorology, Bull. 6, 1910. (4to. Melbourne, 1910.) 

Australia: Physiographic and Economic. (8vo. Oxford, 1911.) 

Taylor (T. G.) and Woolnough (W. G.). A Striking Example of River Capture in the 
Coastal Districts of New South Wales. Procs. Linn. Soc. N. S. Wales, 1906, 
XXXI., pp. 517-553, pis. 45-48. 

Wearne (R. A.) and Woolnough (W. G.). Notes on the Geology of West Moreton, 
Queensland. Journ. R. Soc. N. S. Wales, 1911, XLV., pp. 137-159. 

] 2 


Federal Handbook. 



By H. A. Hunt, F.R.Met.S., Commonwealth Meteorologist. 



8. Rainfall during t 


The Seasons. 

growing Period. 



9. Snow. 



10. Evaporation. 



11. Barometric Pressure 


Normal Monthly Distribution of 

12, Winds. 


13. Southerly Bursters. 


Wettest Months. 

14. Hurricanes. 

I. Introduction. 


Until recent years Australia was regarded by most people as a land 
especially subject to severe droughts, and by more generous critics as a 
land of a feast or a famine. 

Similar misconceptions of the true character of the country have to a 
greater or less extent been held in the developmental stages in the early 
histories of most lands, and in the colonization of newly discovered 

In Australia past failures and losses have been due to a variety of causes ; 
amongst them may be enumerated a non-appreciation of the absence of 
natural water-storage, an ignorance of the adaptability of local soils and 
climate, unsuitable methods of working, a want of knowledge of the existence 
of an unlimited supply of artesian and sub-artesian waters, inadequate means 
of transit — both internal and external — and an uncertain market for products. 

The staple product upon which Australia has developed is undoubtedly 
wool, and this item of commerce is still its chief export. We have not to go 
back many years to the time when the grower of wool was much in the dark 
as to the value of his crop. 

The mutton was of very little value to the producer, the demand for such 
being entirely confined to our own small population. The wool was sent to 
the home markets entirely at the grower's risk, and the price he obtained for 
it there was quite problematical. The conditions being such, there was little 
incentive to make extensive monetary outlays for the conservation of water 
and fodder for the preservation of an asset of varying and uncertain value. 
Consequently when our seasonal dry periods came round (which are un- 
doubtedly periods of soil rest), disaster was inevitable to a more or less extent. 

Australia's commercial enterprise is on a very different basis now. With 
the perfection of refrigerating appliances, the meat markets of the world 
are open to it. The wool buyers of the world in competition give the highest 
current prices and relieve the grower of all responsibilities of transport to 
foreign markets. The squatter knows within narrow limits the value of his 
crop before it leaves the sheep's back. He therefore makes provision for 
preserving his stock, and conducts his enterprise on a business footing, in 
contrast with what was regarded in times gone by as a more or less speculative 

Climate of Australia. 123 

The extension of railways enables the squatter to move his stock from 
seasonal dry areas to synchronous wet ones. The sinking of artesian and sub- 
artesian bores and the storage reservoirs, both national and private, have 
rendered vast areas immune from the more serious effects of droughts in 
what, formerly, was precarious territory. 

Finally it may be said that the demand for Australia's wool has become 
such a factor in the world's supply that if the clip is short the growers as a 
body reap compensation in the enhanced monetary value obtained. 

This fact was exemplified during the 1911-1912 clip, when a great falling 
off in quantity took place, as a result of the severest drought known in our 
climatological history over the greater part of Australian wool-producing 
areas, yet the value of the wool nearly aggregated that of the previous season, 
which had been a fairly good one. 

The vicissitudes of wheat growing tell much the same tale. The sowing 
of drought-resisting grain, dry farming methods, and scientific manuring 
have, however, brought the proposition of profitable wheat growing from the 
problematical to the actual stage. 

The output has been steadily growing from year to year, and considering that 
nearly 500,000 square miles of the continent receive a sufficient average rainfall, 
i.e., 10 inches and over during the wheat-growing period (April to October), 
the possibilities of future development in this direction are unlimited. 

The climatic history and prosperity of the last ten years or so contradict 
emphatically the preconceived notion that Australia was the particular 
drought-stricken and precarious area of the earth's surface. The truth of 
the matter about Australia's rainfall is that — (1) it is generally ample for 
pastoral and agricultural industries over two-thirds of its area; (2) 
different regions have distinct seasonal dry and wet periods , which must 
be more fully recognised and industrial operations adapted accordingly ; 
(3) it is subject in part, but never in the whole, to prolonged periods when 
the rainfall is short of the seasonal average. Australia is not peculiar in 
this respect. It follows, therefore, that as the so far undeveloped country 
becomes populated and put to profitable use, the general wealth of the 
community as a whole will steadily increase. 

Striking illustrations supporting the above statement have been 
furnished by both Victoria and New . South Wales since the beginning of this 
century. The losses due to shortage of rain in Gippsland during that period 
were largely mitigated by the returns from the newly-developed Mallee 
territory, and this wealth, be it said, was derived from a part of the State 
which was previously regarded as worthless. 

South-eastern New South Wales, which in earlier times largely comprised 
the developed portion of the State, suffered its greatest falling off in aggregate 
rainfall during the same period, and, had it not been for agricultural and 
pastoral enterprise in the west and dairying developments on the north coast, 
would have experienced the effects of its record drought, instead of attain- 
ing as it did the zenith of its prosperity. 

2. The Seasons. 

The months of December, January, and February, constitute summer ; 
March, April, and May, autumn ; June, July, and August, winter ; and 
September, October, and November, spring. 

124 Federal Handbook. 

January is generally the hottest month and July the coldest, but February 
is the hottest month in the coastal areas of Victoria and throughout Tasmania ; 
December the warmest month in Northern Queensland ; November at Port 
Darwin ; and January and December at Broome. 

These anomalies in the northern parts of Australia are probably due to 
the cooling effects of the monsoon rains, which seasonally occur there during 
the late summer months. 

3. Temperature. 

Australia possesses the most pacific and equable climate of all the conti- 
nents. This is due to its geographical position, the absence of physiographi- 
cal extremes, and its insularity. Its most northern limit is 11 degrees from 
the equator, and its southern about 50 from the South Pole, distances suffi- 
ciently remote from both to temper the severity of heat and cold, to which 
is added the modifying effects of the intervening oceans. 

Of its total area, 1,149,320 square miles are situated north of the tropic, 
and 1,825,261 square miles to the south of it. Thus it has a wide range of 
climate. In Queensland, the Northern Territory, and the northern portions 
of Western Australia, there is an unlimited opening for the growth of tropical 
products, such as rubber, cotton, sugar, etc. Suitable areas south of the 
tropic may be found for all temperate classes of vegetation, including fruit. 

January and February are the two hottest months, the mean temperatures 
ranging from 80 to 85 degrees over all the northern and central regions, 
and to 65 degrees and 70 degrees over the southern areas. Owing, however, 
to the declining angle of the sun's rays and the advent of the seasonal mon- 
soonal rains, these temperatures rapidly fall, until in July, the coldest month, 
a mean as high as 75 degrees is experienced only over a very narrow strip of 
the northern sea coast, that over the southern half being 55 degrees and under. 

During the hot months of the year the climate on the coast, except in the 
south, is invariably enervating. Inland, however, life is generally enjoyable, 
although the thermometer may, in extreme cases, reach as high as 120 degrees 
in the shade, the dryness of the air and consequent rapid cooling of the skin 
by evaporation preventing serious discomfort when protected from the 
direct rays of the sun. Nocturnal radiation, too, as contrasted with that of 
coastal districts, is very active, so that the nights are invariably cool, and an 
absence of monotony of temperature tends to a bracing of the system and to 
good sleep at night. 

During some seasons parts of the continent are subject to prolonged heat 
spells, as for example, at Marble Bar, a mining township in the north-west of 
Western Australia, where the maximum thermometer reached 100 degrees Fah. 
and over for 64 consecutive days in the year 1902. Nullagine, in the same 
region, recorded 100 degrees Fah. for 57 days in the year 1900 ; Boulia, in 
Western Queensland, 53 in 1902 ; Charlotte Waters, in the neighbourhood 
of Lake Eyre, 25 days in 1893 ; and Charleville, in Central Queensland, 20 
days in 1893. Heat of this description is, however, confined to the interior. 
The figures of the State capitals will serve for confirmation of this point. 
Perth has only experienced a maximum temperature of 90 degrees and over 
on 20 consecutive days ; Adelaide, 14 ; Melbourne and Brisbane, 8 ; Sydney, 
4 ; and Hobart, 3 ; and it may fairly be assumed that extremes of climate 
in this respect have practically been reached, as records have been kept 

Climate op Australia. 



Federal Handbook. 

Graph showing Mean Monthly Temperatures of Principal 
Cities in Australia. 

Note. —Each vertical space represents 2° Fahrenheit or IV Ceatigrad«, 

Fig. 2. 

Climate of Australia. 127 

at all the Observatories at these places, with the exception of Perth, for over 
half -a -century, a period sufficiently long for the establishment of temperature 

The foregoing remarks indicate that shade temperatures alone give only 
actual temperature as experienced by dry inorganic substances and not the 
sensible temperature as felt by organic bodies. This difference is due, as 
already stated, to cooling by the evaporation of moisture from the skin by 
wind and heat, but more especially by the action of wind. In order, there- 
fore, to gauge the appreciable temperature of a country, it is necessary to use 
other instruments than the ordinary maximum and minimum thermometers. 
The principal additional instrument requisitioned for the desired end is the 
wet bulb thermometer. 

A number of these have been distributed throughout Australia for the 
purpose of showing the disposition and trend of the wet bulb isotherms. 
Although the period over which observations have extended is not long 
enough to determine definite normals, yet sufficient records have been 
obtained to fairly establish the influence of this climatic element. At the 
outset it may be said that in no part of Australia is the wet bulb temperature 
maintained at a reading sufficiently high to be detrimental to the health and 
physique of those engaged in outdoor labour. 

Investigations so far carried out confine the 80-degree Fah. wet bulb 
isotherm to a very narrow track of country on the north-west coast of Western 
Australia, during the months of December, January, and February. 

The 70-degree Fah. isotherm only extends to sub-tropical latitudes over 
comparative small areas in Queensland and Western Australia during the 
same months and March, while in southern Australia the readings are 
from 50 degrees to 70 degrees. 

The accompanying table and graph show the average monthly and annual 
temperatures at a number of representative centres of the Commonwealth. 

Broome, Port Darwin, and Thursday Island are the hottest of these, 
and have an annual average range of 16*6 degrees, 8*3 degrees, and 5 '5 
degrees respectively. The last-named is undoubtedly the most monotonously 
warm place of the continent. 

Of the capital cities Brisbane is the hottest and Hobart the coldest, the 
others taking order between them as follows : — Perth, Sydney, Adelaide, 
and Melbourne. The annual average range between the hottest and coldest 
months is about 20 degrees in all these places. 

Taking Kalgoorlie and Broken Hill to represent conditions in the interior, 
we naturally find the extremes are much greater — Broken Hill's maximum 
of 78*4 degrees in January falls to a minimum of 49 ■ 2 degrees in July, a 
range of 29*2 degrees; and Kalgoorlie's 77*5 degrees in January to 50*8 
degrees in July, a range of 26*7 degrees. 

In sub-tropical areas insolation is more active over the eastern half than 
over the western during the early summer months, and more active over 
parts of the western coastal districts during the late summer months. 

In eastern Australia, too, the temperatures in the sub-tropics are about 
1 degree higher than in corresponding latitudes in the west. North of the 
tropic these conditions are reversed, and between latitudes 17 degrees to 20 
degrees the difference in excess is as much as 10 degrees in favour of the west 


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Federal Handbook. 

Climate of Australia. 131 

4. Frosts. 

Although observations have been taken continuously for a great number 
of years, no notes of appreciable frosts have been recorded over all the northern 
coastal regions extending from Geraldton on the west coast right round 
the north and east coasts to Brisbane. The same remark applies to Northern 

In all other parts of Australia, however, night frosts are severe and 
frequent, although of considerably varying periods. 

On the highlands in New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania, frosts of 
a more or less damaging nature have occurred in every month of the year. 
Over a stretch of country largely comprising the wheat areas of South Aus- 
tralia, Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland, they have been recorded 
between April and October. 

Over north-central and north-east Victoria, the south and central 
western slopes of New South Wales, from April to November ; over the 
Gascoyne and north-eastern parts of Western Australia and Central Australia 
from June to August.* 

In central and western Queensland from June to July, June to August, 
or May to August. 

Over the southern portion of Western Australia from April to October, 
or May to September. 

For details of frost periods and distribution, see Fig. 4. 

5. Rainfall. 
Sources of Rainfall. 

The two main sources of Australian rainfall are the southern depressions 
which skirt the southern shores of the continent mainly during the winter 
months, and the tropical low pressure which operates chiefly in the 
summer months. 

A secondary but important source of supply is the anticyclone, which 
by inducing a flow of moist air from the adjacent ocean waters at any time 
during the year may bring about copious rains over the eastern littoral. 

The minor sources of rain are those of cyclones and tornadoes, but although 
these storms are characteristic of the country and result in heavy downpours, 
they cannot be regarded as staple or widespread givers of rain. 

Physical Causes of Rain. 

The condensation of water vapour into visible cloud form in the 
atmosphere is brought about generally by cooling. There are several 
known processes by which condensation results, and there may be 
other physical causes which give rise to the same effect, notably atmospheric 
electricity, but which are not at present properly understood. 

These may be enumerated as follows : — 

(1) The meeting of cold and warm currents of air forming conden- 

sation known as fog. 

(2) Condensation by ascending currents due to convection. 

(3) Condensation by forced ascending current, i.e., air forced from 

the sea to the rising sea shore and up the sides of hills and 

* These data were largely gathered from explorers' diaries. 

132 Fedeeal Handbook. 

(4) Condensation by falling barometric pressure. 

(5) Condensation by atmospheric wave 

(6) Condensation by radiation. 

(7) Condensation due to conduction. 

(8) Condensation by diffusion of water vapour. 

These processes have only to be continued sufficiently long for precipi- 
tation to take place either in the form of rain, snow, or hail. 

The above definitions may be found in most meteorological text-books, 
and are only repeated here to emphasize the fact that one of the most 
important processes, at all events as far as it applies to Australian 
Meteorology, has hitherto been generally overlooked, and that is the move- 
ment of air from warm to cool latitudes and zones causing condensation and 
finally bounteous precipitation over vast areas, with more or less disregard to 
the influence of land elevation or of barometric fluctuations. 

During the present year, 1913, many examples of this phenomenon 
have occurred, and the break up of the dry spell over eastern Australia in 
June, 1912, was a conspicuous one. 

The characteristic isobaric conditions which precede or accompany this 
form of rain production are anticyclones of great dimensions and of consider- 
able intensity, covering the eastern half of Australia, and perhaps an equal 
area of the ocean to the east. Their western isobars are comparatively 
straight, extending from the Indian Ocean east from the meridian of Port 
Darwin to the Southern Ocean east of Spencer's Gulf. The following and 
attending areas of the low pressure generally take the form of a shallow 
trough or valley in the atmosphere extending through the centre of Australia 
from the northern to the southern seaboards. It will thus be seen that a 
direct and rapid wind circulation control extends from the equatorial zone to 
temperate latitudes resulting in conditions particularly favorable for wide- 
spread and heavy downpours. 

The rainy season in Western Australia may be said to result almost 
solely from this physical action. 

The rain-bearing winds are northerly, precipitation becoming heavier as 
higher latitudes are reached. 

Over Papua the reverse action takes place; during the dry season the 
winds are strong and persistent from the south-east quarter, blowing from 
cool to warmer latitudes. The water vapour carried by these winds is there- 
fore expanded instead of precipitated. 

On the occasion of the rain storm of June, 1912, it is estimated from this 
cause of precipitation that an inch of rain on the average fell over an area 
approximating 1,000,000 square miles of eastern Australia, or a weight 
of water roughly equivalent to 1,000,000 x 640 x 100 = 64,000,000,000 

The knowledge that rain visitations of this character are not infrequent 
completely dispels the preconceived notion of Australia being a particularly 
dry area of the earth's surface, and shews that although our rain seasons 
may be irregular, yet relief from dry spells may occur, as in the case quoted , 

Climate of Australia. 


at times long after the normal period for rain has passed. This peculiarity is 
a great advantage and a happy feature of Australian climate ; and very 

different from conditions, say, for 
example, that obtain in India — where, if 
the monsoon season fails to bring rain, 
very little hope of relief can be looked for. 

Before finally leaving this point, it 
may definitely be accepted that any 
isobaric distribution that controls a 
strong wind circulation from warm to 
cool areas, more especially from warm 
to cool latitudes, will bring about good 
rains, and, moreover, that the recur- 
rence of such isobaric distributions are 
typical events of good seasons. (See 
Fig. 5.) 

On the other hand, extensive 
isobaric distributions that control a 
wind circulation from cool to warm 
zones or latitudes, or that control a 
wind circulation along parallels of 
latitude, will bring little or no rain 
except in opposing coastal areas. 
These distributions predominate during 
and are typical of a dry season. (See 
Pig. 6.) 


Fig. 5. — Isobaric Distribution 
(wet type). 



27%/yl900 ps 

Fig. 6. — Isobaric Distribution 
(dry type). 

6. The Normal Monthly Distribution of Rain. 

A set of charts illustrating the monthly progress of rainfall in Australia has 
recently been published. Those of January and July, together with one for 
the whole year, are here reproduced. They were compiled from data extending 
over a considerable period, generally from 20 to 40 years (there being 
only a few stations with a minimum of fifteen years' record), so that the 
isohyets are likely to suffer little modification in the future. 

A casual glance at the series reveals three marked facts — (1) that during 
the hotter months, viz., November to April inclusive, the northern parts of 
Australia are wet and the southern dry ; (2) that during the colder months 
viz., May to October inclusive, the southern parts are wet, and the northern 
dry ; (3) that the rainfall is distributed fairly generally throughout the 
year over the eastern areas of Australia. 

During January and February fully three-fourths of the continent, com- 
prising the whole of the northern and eastern areas, are wet, while the central, 
southern, and south-western portions are distinctly dry. In March, there 
is a general retreat northward of the rainfall area to the extent of 200 miles 
in Western Australia, a slight extension westward in the south-east quarter 
of the continent, and in Western Australia the 1-in. isohyetal appears on the 
•extreme south-west coast. 

134 Federal Handbook. 

In April the northern rain area retreats in central Australia from the tropic 
to within 300 miles of the north coast, although still lagging over the north- 
west coast of Western Australia and the Murchison gold-fields. 

In the south a decided westerly extension takes place from the south- 
eastern States to South Australia and Western Australia, the 1-in. isohyetal 
sweeping continuously around the southern shores with the exception of a 
short break at the head of the Great Bight. 

The northern rain entirely disappears in May, and the southern extends 
up the west coast of Western Australia to within a few miles of Cossack, 
and the quantities increase as compared with those of the previous month by 
4 inches in the extreme south-west corner. 

June, the wettest month of the year for southern Australia, shows a com- 
plete reversal of January rain conditions. In Western Australia precipita- 
tion is general during this month west of a line joining Derby and Eyre. 
and in South Australia the 1-in. isohyet reaches its furthest northern limit 
in close proximity to Farina. 

From July to December it may be remarked that the rain area as a whole 
swings back in the opposite direction to its march during the first six months. 

On the west coast the 1-in. line steps back to Onslow in July ; to Hamelin 
Pool in August ; to Geraldton in September ; still farther south in October ; 
and all but disappears in the extreme south-west in November ; so that 
little or nothing is left in December. While this retreating process is taking 
place in the west, a corresponding advance movement is going on in the 
east. Between the end of June and the end of August there is little change, 
but from September to the end of the year the expansion of area and quantity 
of rain increases rapidly. October shows the return of the monsoon rain in 
Northern Territory. In November it has penetrated 450 miles further into 
the interior and connected up with the permanent rain area over eastern 

In December, the monsoon rain covers practically the whole of the conti- 
nent north of the Tropic, and east of the 144th meridian. 

We find, therefore, that there exists apparently an oscillatory movement 
of the seasonal rains of Australia about a centre in the vicinity of Forbes, 
in New South Wales. It is perhaps a natural coincidence that this apparent 
centre of oscillation is approximately the centre of gravity of Australia's 
population, and is not far from the Federal capital site ; another interesting 
point is that the amplitude of oscillation exactly equals 72 degrees of arc or 
one-fifth of a circle. 

7. Wettest Months. 

Roughly speaking, June is the wettest month over that portion of Aus- 
tralia lying to the south of a line joining Onslow on the north-west coast 
of Western Australia and Sydney on the east coast. 

To the north of that line, January commands the greatest claim as the 
wettest month, although February runs it very closely over a wide belt of 
country extending from the lower Northern Territory through south-west 
Queensland to northern parts of New South Wales. March also is the 

Climate of Australia. 



Federal Handbook. 

Graph showing Mean Monthly Rainfall of Principal Cities 





































J 5 
















s ; z: 

Note. — Each vertical space represents '5 of an inch or 12* 7 millimetres. 

Fig. 8. 

Climate of Australia. 


wettest month in parts of central Queensland, parts of central New South 
Wales, and over a comparatively small area on the north-west coast of Western 

As would naturally be expected, at the junction of the summer and winter 
rains, which is represented by the line above mentioned crossing the conti- 
nent from north-west to south-east, the wettest month is somewhat inde- 
terminate. This point is particularly noticeable in the State of New South 
Wales, through which the line centrally passes, for within its boundaries 
every month with the exception of September is represented as the wettest 
month in some part or other, with a preponderance, as before stated, for 
June in the southern half, and January, February, and March in the northern 
half, as the months of heaviest total falls. 

Heavy Rainfalls, 

Western Australia. 

Name of Town or 



Name of Town or 








Ascott . . 

8 Feb., 1912.. 


La (Strange 

21 Dec, 1905 


,, . . 

9 Feb., 1912.. 



5 Mar., 1900 


Balla Balla 

20 Mar., 1899 



16 Feb., 1896 


n . . 

21 Mar., 1899 


>> . . 

17 Feb., 1896 


Bamboo Creek 

22 Mar., 1899 


»» • • 

18 Feb., 1896 



3 Jan., 1894.. 


>> • • 

28 Feb., 1910 


»» • • 

4 Jan., 1894.. 


Point Cloates 

20 Jan., 1909 



21 Mar., 1899 


Point Torment . . 

17 Dec, 1906 



6 Feb., 1901 . . 


Port Hedland 

7 Feb., 1901 . . 


»> • * 

7 Feb., 1901.. 


■ f 

8 Feb., 1901.. 


Carlton . . 

11 Jan., 1903 



29 Apr., 1910 


,, . . 

8 Feb., 1912.. 


»j • • 

30 Apr., 1910 


9 Feb., 1912.. 



3 Apr., 1898.. 



28 Apr., 1910 


»> • • 

6 Mar., 1900 


>> • • 

29 Apr., 1910 



,, ,, 


Cocos Island 

29 Nov., 1903 



3 Mar., 1903 


t * . . 

26 Dec., 1907 



17-19 . Feb., 


>» • • 

27 Dec, 1907 



M • • 

8 July, 1908.. 



28 Dec, 1898 



9 July, 1908.. 



20 Nov., 1910 



23 July, 1908 


j» • • 

21 Nov., 1910 


,, . . 

24 July, 1908 


Whim Creek 

2 Apr., 1898.. 



25 July, 1908 


j> • • 

3 Apr., 1898.. 


>» • ■ 

6 Oct., 1910 . . 


20 Mar., 1899 



3 Apr., 1898.. 



21 Mar., 1899 


n , . 

15 Apr., 1900 


., • « 

6 Mar., 1900 


,, . . 

16 Apr., 1900 



3 Mar., 1903 



3 Mar., 1903 



21 Mar., 1913 


De Grey 

3 Jan., 1894.. 



27 Jan., 1890 


Derby . . 

29 Dec, 1898 



11 Jan., 1903 


' » 

30 Dec, 1898 


>> . . 

12 Jan., 1903 



3 May, 1890 


>» • • 

13 Jan., 1903 



22 Mar., 1890 


Yeeda . . 

28 Dec, 1898 



23 Mar., 1890 



29 Dec, 1898 



7 Feb., 1901 . . 


30 Dec, 1898 


La Grange 

20 Dec, 1905 



Federal Handbook. 

Heavy Kainfalls, South Australia. 

Name of Town or 





Name of Town or 








1 Mar., 1910 


Port Darwin 

. 7 Jan., 1897.. 


2 Mar., 1910 



. 26 Dec., 1911 


3 Mar., 1910 



. 27 Dec, 1911 


M • • 

4 Mar., 1910 



. 28 Dec., 1911 


>> • * 

5 Mar., 1910 


Powell's Creek 

. 25 Feb., 1910 



14 Mar., 1899 


. 26 Feb., 1910 


Lake Nash 

21 Mar., 1901 


. 27 Feb., 1910 


Pine Creek 

8 Jan., 1897.. 


Tennant's Creek 

. 26 Feb., 1910 


Point Charles 

30 Jan., 1913 



. 27 Feb., 1910 


)> • • 

31 Jan., 1913 



. 28 Feb., 1910 


Heavy Eainfalls, Queensland. 

Name of Town or 






Boggo-road Junc- 

Botanic Gardens, 

Bowen . . 

Bowen Park 


Bromby Park 

Buderim Mountain 

Bulimba (Brisbane) 



Bustard Head 


Cairns . . 




26 Dec. 
14 Mar. 

20 Sept 

25 Mar. 

26 Jan. 
17 Mar. 

21 Jan. 
14 Mar. 
14 Feb., 1893 

27 Jan., 1896 
10 Jan., 1901 
4 Mar., 1906 
9 Jan., 1908. 
14 Mar., 1908 

13 Feb., 1893 

20 Jan., 1894 
16 Feb., 1893 

14 Mar., 1908 

21 Jan., 1887 
14 Mar., 1908 
14 Feb., 1893 

20 Jan. 

14 Mar. 

11 Jan. 

9 Mar., 
16 Feb. 
31 Jan. 

15 Jan. 

12 Mar. 
18 Feb. 
30 Jan. 

21 Jan. 

10 Jan. 

11 Feb. 
21 Apr. 

, 1894 
, 1908 
, 1898 
, 1893 
, 1893 
, 1891 
, 1903 
, 1888 
, 1893 
, 1887 
, 1898 
, 1889 
, 1889 




in -00 

Name of Town or 


Cape Capricorn 
Cape Grafton 
Card well 

Cedar Pocket 
Central Kin Kin 
Childers. . 


>> • • 
Collar oy 





5 Apr., 1891. 
9 Jan., 1892. 

4 Jan., 1909. 
3 Jan., 1911. 
11 Feb., 1911 
17 Mar. : 

1 Apr., 

2 Apr., 
21 Jan. : 

17 Jan. 

5 Mar., 

18 Mar. 
30 Dec. ; 
2 Jan., 
23 Mar. 

, 1911 

, 1905 
, 1887 
, 1889 
, 1890 

18 Mar., 1904 
3 Apr., 1911.. 
7 Apr., 1912.. 
26 Dec, 1909 

14 Mar. 
6 Mar., 
26 Jan. 
13 Jan. 
2 June, 
20 Apr. 
1 Apr., 
30 Jan. 
30 Jan. : 
22 Jan. 
19 Jan. 
1 Apr., 
1 Feb., 
9 June, 
26 Dec. 

9 June, 

10 Jan. 
6 Mar., 
16 Feb. 

, 1896 
, 1910 

, 1903 
, 1896 
, 1910 
, 1903 
, 1907 
, 1908 
, 1898 
, 1893 

Climate of Australia. 


Heavy Rainfalls, Queensland — continued. 

Name of Town or 


(Blackall Range) 

Crow's Nest 


Cryna (Beaudesert) 






Emu Park 
Enoggera Railway 
Enoggera Reservoir 
Ernest Junction 

>> • • 

Flat Top Island 
Flora ville 

Flying Fish Point 
Geraldton (now In- 

Gin Gin.. 

Glass Mountains . . 
Glen Broughton . . 
Glen Prairie 
Gold Creek Reser- 


31 Jan., 1893 

2 Feb., 1893. 
9 June, 1893 
9 Jan., 1898 
6 Mar., 
26 Dec. 
2 Aug., 
29 Jan. 
21 Jan. 

16 Mar. 
19 Jan. 

17 Apr. 
9 Jan., 1898.. 
6 Mar., 1898 
23 Jan., 1891 

31 Jan., 1893 
14 Mar., 1908 



21 Jan. 
14 Mar. 

21 Jan. 

22 Dec. 

6 Jan., 
11 Mar. 

7 Apr., 
11 Feb. 

31 Dec. 

25 Jan. 

6 Apr., 
3 Mar., 

7 Mar., 
18 Apr. 
24 Jan. 

6 Jan., 

29 Dec. 

17 Mar. 

30 Jan. 
14 Jan. 
11 Feb. 

1 Apr., 

2 Apr., 

3 Apr., 

7 Apr., 

8 Apr., 
16 Jan. 

18 Feb. 

31 Jan. 

4 Feb., 

26 Dec. 

5 Apr., 
18 Apr. 
16 Feb. 

, 1908 
, 1887 
, 1909 
, 1903 
, 1889 

, 1889 
, 1892 
, 1899 
, 1900 
1901 . . 
, 1903 
, 1904 
, 1908 
, 1909 
, 1911 
, 1905 
, 1888 
, 1893 
, 1909 
, 1904 
, 1893 

14 Mar., 1908 
21 Jan., 1887 
14 Mar., 1908 






Name of Town or 

Goondi Mill (near 

Granada (late 




25 Jan., 1892 

6 Apr., 

7 Mar., 
18 Apr. 
24 Jan. 
6 Jan., 
2 Mar., 
29 Dec. 
17 Mar. 
21 Mar. 
10 Feb. 
31 Mar. 
1 Apr., 
6 Apr., 
27 Jan. 

, 1899 
, 1900 
, 1903 
, 1904 
, 1910 
, 1911 
, 1911 
, 1891 

Hambledon Mill 

Harvey Creek 

Haughton Valley 
Hillcrest (Mooloo- 

Holm wood (Wood- 


i 8 Jan., 
i 9 Jan., 
1 9 Mar.. 

5 Feb., 
8 Mar.. 

6 Jan., 1901 . , 
8 Feb., 1901 . . 
26 Mar., 1903 
30 Jan., 1906 
8 Apr., 1912.. 

7 Jan., 1908.. 

13 Jan., 1909 
16 Feb., 1910 

2 Jan., 1911.. 

10 Feb., 1911 

30 Mar., 1911 

31 Mar. 

I Apr., 

8 Mar., 
25 Jan. 
25 May, 1901 

14 Mar., 1903 
21 Apr., 

11 Jan., 
28 Jan., 
20 Jan., 1907 
8 Jan., 1908.. 

30 Jan., 1908 

25 Mar., 1908 
14 Jan., 1909 

16 Feb., 1910 

3 Jan., 1911.. 

II Feb., 1911 

31 Mar., 1911 

1 Apr., 1911.. 

2 Apr., 1911.. 

17 Mar., 1912 

26 Jan., 1896 
26 Dec, 1909 

2 Feb., 1893.. 

10 Jan., 1898 

. 1900 



13 -30 





Federal Handbook. 

Heavy Rainfalls, Queensland — continued. 

Name of Town or 





Innesho wen (John 

tone River) 

Inskip Point 

Isis Junction 



Kilkivan Junction 
Kululu, Mackay 


Lake Nash 

Low Island 

Lytton . . 


3 Feb., 
21 Mar. 
11 Jan. 
15 Jan. 
14 Mar. 
18 Jan. 
7 Apr., 
6 Jan., 
25 Dec. 
21 Sept. 
30 Dec. 

, 1898 


, 1908 


, 1890 


7 Apr. 1912. . 

8 Ap . 1912 . 
13 Mar., 1892 
6 Mar., 1898 
20 Jan., 1892 

23 Feb. 
6 Apr., 
5 Apr., 

5 Mar., 

8 Mar., 
21 Apr. 

2 Jan., 

3 Jan., 
11 Feb. 
17 Mar. 

1 Apr., 

2 Apr., 

10 Jan. 

11 Jan. 

12 Jan. 

6 Mar., 
20 Apr. 
14 Jan. 

27 Jan. 

28 Jan. 

3 Jan., 
11 Feb. 
17 Mar. 
31 Mar. 

1 Apr., 

2 Apr., 
10 Jan. 

20 Mar. 
2 Feb., 

9 June, 

9 Jan., 

7 Mar., 
26 Dec. 

10 Mar. 

16 Mar. 
31 Mar. 
1 Apr., 

4 Feb., 

17 Feb. 
10 Mar. 

21 Jan. 

13 Mar. 

, 1894 
, 1903 
, 1911 
, 1911 
, 1898 
, 1901 
, 1905 
, 1903 
, 1909 
, 1910 
, 1910 
, 1911 
, 1911 
, 1911 
, 1895 
, 1901 
, 1909 
, 1904 
, 1911 
, 1911 
, 1906 
, 1906 
, 1887 




Name of Town or 


Sugar Experimen 
tal Farm, Mac 

Macnade Mill 


Maleny . . 



Mayne Junction 






Mount Crosby 
Mount Cuthbert 
Mount Gravatt 
Mount Perry 

Mungar Junction 


16 Feb. 
20 Mar. 

17 Feb. 
15 Feb. 
3 F-b., 
5 Jan., 
23 Dec. 
12 Mar. 
23 Dec. 




28 Mar., 1891 

15 Mar., 1893 
18 Jan., 1894 
17 Apr., 1894 

5 Feb., 1899.. 

6 Jan., 1901.. 
14 Mar., 1908 
26 Dec, 1909 
14 Mar., 1908 
14 Mar., 1908 

26 Dec, 1909 
4 Feb., 1911.. 
31 Mar., 1911 

17 Feb., 1888 

29 Jan., 1896 
14 Mar., 1908 
4 Apr., 1895.. 
14 Mar., 1908 

12 Jan.. 
28 Mar. 

16 Mar. 

30 Mar. 

31 Mar. 

1 Apr., 

2 Apr., 

1 Feb., 

13 Mar. 

2 Feb., 1893.. 

9 June, 1893 

6 Mar., 1898 

14 Mar., 1908 
14 Mar. 1908 

18 Jan., 1911 
14 Mar., 1908 
24 Feb., 1887 
14 Jan., 1909 

3 Jan., 1911.. 
11 Feb. 

1 Apr., 

2 Mar., 1911.. 

7 Apr., 1912.. 
21 Jan., 1887 

10 Mar., 1901 
14 Mar., 1908 

6 Apr., 1894.. 
9 Jan., 1898.. 

7 Mar., 1898 

27 Dec, 1909 

, 1911 
, 1911 
, 1911 

, 1911 

Climate of Australia. 


Heavy Kainpalls, Queensland — continued. 

Name of Town or 





Name of Town or 







9 June, 1893 



21 Jan., 1887 



15 June, 1892 



14 Mar., 1908 


>> • • 

14 Mar., 1908 


Tambourine Moun- 

17 July, 1889 


Netley (Rockhamp- 

29 Jan., 1898 





14 Mar., 1908 



14 Jan., 1905 



10 Jan., 1898 


North Pine 

11 Jan., 1887 


>» . . 

30 Mar., 1904 


>> • • 

16 Feb., 1893 

14-97 i 


14 Apr., 1904 



14 Mar., 1908 

12-00 i 

The Hollow (Mac- 

23 Feb., 1888 


One Mile, Gympie 

10 Mar., 1901 



Oxenf ord 

14 Mar., 1908 


— Mar., 1891 



4 Feb., 1893.. 



20 Apr., 1903 



10 Jan , 1898 



2 Feb., 1898.. 


»> • • 

7 Mar., 1898 



29 Jan., 1896 


>> * • 

25 Dec., 1909 



14 Mar., 1908 


3 Mar,. 1912 



24 Jan., 1892 



26 Dec, 1909 



28 Dec, 1903 



14 Mar., 1908 


Victoiia Mill 

6 Jan., 1901 . . 



11 Mar., 1890 



12 Jan., 1905 


Port Douglas 

15 Mar., 1887 


Walsh River 

12 Jan., 1903 


>> • • 

12 Feb., 1888 


»5 • * 

1 Apr., 1911.. 


20 Jan., 1892 



2 Feb., 1893.. 


23 F b., 1894 



10 Jan., 1898 


»> * * 

7 Apr., 1894 


Woodlands (Yep- 

10 Jan., 1889 


J> * * 

10 Mar., 1904 



29 Dec, 1904 


>» 5> 

26 Jan, 1890 



11 Jan., 1905 


>> J» 

25 Mar., 1890 


»> * • 

2 Jan., 1911.. 


J> »> 

31 Jan., 1893 


»> * * 

11 Feb., 1911 


30 Jan., 1896 


7 Mar., 1911 



9 Feb., 1896.. 


>> * ' 

1 April, 1911 


M M 

7 Jan., 1898.. 



24 Mar., 1890 



4 Nov., 1903 


»» • • 

27 Jan., 1896 



14 Mar., 1908 



21 Jan., 1887 



26 Dec, 1909 


»> • • 

16 Feb., 1893 



14 Mar., 1908 


>> • • 

10 Jan., 1898 



1 Feb., 1893.. 



14 Mar., 1908 



9 June, 1893 



17 Feb., 1888 



9 Jan., 1898.. 


-j . . 

29 Jan., 1896 


>» * • 

7 Mar., 1898 



6 Mar., 1898 


28 Dec, 1909 



21 Jan.. 1887 



14 Jan., 1909 



16 Feb., 1893 



3 Jan., 1911.. 



14 Mar., 1908 



11 Feb., 1911 



28 Jan., 1903 


»> • • 

2 Apr., 1911 



14 Mar., 1908 



31 Jan., 1893 


St. Helena 

16 Feb., 1893 



30 Jan., 1896 


St. Helens (Mackay) 

24 Feb., 1888 


>» • • 

8 Jan., 1898.. 


j> >> 

22 Mar., 1898 



8 Apr., 1904.. 


St. Lawrence 

17 Feb., 1888 


3 Feb., 1906.. 



30 Jan., 1896 



3 Feb., 1911.. 



14 Mar., 1908 



14 Mar., 1908 


C. 12154. 


Federal Handbook. 

Heavy Rainfalls, New South Wales. 

Name of Town or 



Name of Town or 










Albion Park 

8 Feb., 1895.. 



9 Mar., 1893 



14 Feb., 1898 



23 Feb., 1874 


Alme Dorrigo 

22 Jan., 1893 



23 Feb., 1908 



28 Mar., 1887 


Madden's Creek . . 

2 Feb., 1908.. 


»> • • 

15 Jan., 1890 


55 * ' 

13 Jan., 1911 


Arnold Grove 

28 May, 1889 


Maitland West . . 

9 Mar., 1893 


>> • • 

20 Mar., 1892 


Major's Creek 

14 Feb., 1898 



14 Feb., 1898 



9 Mar., 1913 


55 • • 

15 Feb., 1898 



13 Jan., 1911 



13 Jan., 1911 



6 Mar., 1893 



55 5 5 



9 Mar., 1893 



14 Mar., 1894 


Mount Kembla . . 

14 Feb., 1898 



13 Jan., 1911 


55 • • 

2 Feb., 1908.. 



6 Mar., 1893 


55 • • 

13 Jan., 1911 



22 June, 1898 


Mount Pleasant . . 

14 Jan., 1911 

in -40 

Broger's Creek 

14 Feb., 1898 


Myra Vale 

14 Feb., 1898 



19 July, 1910 


Nambucca Heads 

3 Apr., 1905.. 


Broger's Creek 

13 Jan., 1911 


Nepean Tunnel . . 

14 Feb., 1898 




14 Jan., 1911 


Bulli Mountain . . 

19 Mar., 1894 



19 Mar., 1871 



13 Feb., 1898 


55 " • 

9 Mar., 1893 



28 May, 1889 


55 • • 

24 Feb., 1908 



11 July, 1904 



11 July, 1904 


Camden Haven . . 

22 Jan,. 1895 


Nowra T.O. 

13 Jan., 1911 


Canley Vale 

28 May, 1889 


Padstow Park 

9 Mar., 1913 



20 Mar., 1892 



28 May, 1889 


Castle Hill 

28 May, 1889 


55 • • 

20 Mar., 1892 


Cockle Creek 

23 Feb., 1908 


Port Macquarie . . 

9 Nov., 1887 


Colombo Lyttleton 

5 Mar., 1893 


Port Stephens 

9 Feb., 1889.. 



27 Mar., 1887 



28 May, 1889 


55 • • 

15 Jan., 1890 


Raymond Terrace 

28 Sept., 1903 



1 Apr., 1892.. 



28 May, 1889 



11 June, 1893 



14 Feb., 1898 


Cordeaux River . . 

26 Feb., 1873 



10 July, 1904 


»5 55 

3 Feb., 1890.. 


Robertson P.O. 

13 Jan., 1911 


55 55 • • 

14 Feb , 1898 


Rooty Hill 

27 May, 1889 


55 ,5 

31 Aug., 1906 



28 May, 1889 


55 55 

13 Jan., 1911 


Seven Oaks 

22 June, 1898 



15 Mar., 1894 


South Head (near 

29 Apr., 1841 


Dapto West 

14 Feb., 1898 




13 Jan., 1911 


55 55 

16 Oct., 1844 


Darkes' Forest 

8 Feb., 1895.. 



7 Mar., 1894 



28 May, 1889 


Stockyard Mount 

13 Jan., 1911 



4 May, 1875 



28 Feb., 1892 



2 Feb., 1890.. 



26 Feb., 1873 



2 June, 1903 



9 Mar., 1893 



9 Mar., 1893 



9 July, 1904.. 


Guy Fawkes 

2 June, 1903 


Tongarra Farm . . 

14 Feb., 1898 



13 Jan., 1911 



5 Mar., 1893 



28 May, 1889 


Tweed Heads 

14 Jan., 1890 


Holy Flat 

12 Mar., 1887 


55 • ' 

14 Mar. 1894 



28 Feb., 1892 


Trial Bay 

9 Mar., 1893 



14 Feb., 1898 


White Swamp 

12 Jan., 1911 


55 • • 

13 Feb., 1911 



26 Feb., 1873 



20 Oct., 1902 



5 Apr., 1882.. 



7 Apr., 1913.. 



11 June, 1893 


Kembla Heights . . 

13 Jan., 1911 


Yellow Rock 

14 Feb., 1898 



10 Mar., 1893 


* 6* 50 inches fell in 2 hours. 

Climate of Australia. 











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Federal Handbook. 

agricultural areas, falling during the growing period, April to October. From 
the coast for about 80 to 100 inland miles the rainfall decreases rather 
rapidly, but the area in the south-west over which 15 or more inches fall 
amounts to 74,206 square miles. 

The rapid decrease from the west coast inland is partly accounted for 
by the range of hills which runs parallel to the coast from the extreme south 
to beyond the Murchison Eiver, although they are not of sufficient elevation 
to serve as a natural store for precipitation in the form of snow. At some 
places on the southern portions of these hills, the annual rainfall exceeds 42 
inches, about 10 more than on the coast. Inland, owing to the vast extent 
of land between the gold-fields and the South Australian boundary, over 
which the easterly winds pass, the evaporation is very great, amounting 
to about 87 inches annually at Coolgardie, while on the coast, at Perth, it is 
66 inches. 

The full effects of the westerly winds of southern latitudes are apparently 
not felt beyond lat. 27 degrees, just reached by the 15-in. isohyet, and from 
there to the tropic the rainfall is scanty and occasionally amounts to only 
3 or 4 inches in the year. 

F'.om that isohyetal inland, towards the Murchison and North Coolgardie 
gold-fields, the records only extend back some ten or fifteen years, but it 
is not likely that longer records will show a much larger annual rainfall. 
The 10-in. isohyet which skirts Peak Hill and Wiluna is probably doubtful, 
and may ultimately have to be modified, as the record used in obtaining the 
average rainfall at these two stations was very largely inflated by the abnormal 
fails in March and April, 1900, and January and February, 1902, when Peak 
Hill registered 18*13 and 14-56 respectively, and Wiluna 22*82 and 9*69 

North of the Tropic, the Kimberley district receives good tropical rains 
during the summer months, from November to March or April, but the 
De Grey and Fortescue districts are dependent for their rainfall partly on 
the tropical storms, commencing about December, and partly on the winter 
rains from the Indian Ocean, but the total amounts are smaller than those 
in the Kimberley district, and very variable, as sometim3S both the tropical 
and southern winter rains fail, and at other times phenomenal falls occur 
during the "willy willy" season, e.g., Whim Creek registered 36*53 inches 
on three days in April in 1898. 

The areas in Western Australia receiving varying quantities of rainfall, 
as shown on the map, are as follows :— 

Area in Square Miles. 

Rest of 

Tropical, North 


The Whole 

of Tropic. 

Australia, South 
of Tropic. 


Over 40 inches 


From 30 to 40 inches 



„ 25 „ 30 „ 



„ 20 „ 25 ■ „ 



„ 15 „ 20 „ 



„ 10 „ 15 „ 



Under 10 inches 







Climate of Australia. 


South Australia. 

The main factors which determine the rainfall distribution of South 
Australia are the proximity of the Southern Ocean and the long extent of 
coast line exposed to the free and unrestricted sweep of the westerly winds 
nautically known as the roaring forties ; the rainfall over all the coastal 
areas is essentially a winter one, and practically all available for agricultural 
purposes, as from 70 to 90 per cent, of the annual totals in the more settled 
areas, falls during the growing period, April to October. 

Though physiographic influence is less apparent than in south-eastern 
Australia, the effect of elevation is marked by the heavier rainfalls on the 
eastern sides of Spencer's Gulf and Gulf St. Vincent, and by the northerly 
extension of the 10-in. isohyetal from Port Augusta to beyond Blinman. 
The abundant rain on the Mount Lofty ranges to the east of Adelaide are a 
conspicuous example of this, the annual total on the crest of the range reaching 
to nearly 47 inches. 

A rapid decrease of the rainfall takes place from the agricultural areas 
northwards to the interior, where, in the Lake Eyre basin, which is below sea- 
level, the average annual fall — largely made up of capricious summer storms — 
is under 5 inches, this district being probably the driest part of the 

In the Northern Territory the chief factor in the distribution of the rain- 
fall, which is almost entirely confined to the six summer months, is latitude 
or distance from the north coast — the rains being abundant on the coast, 
but rapidly decreasing towards the interior. 

The areas in South Australia and the Territory enjoying varying quantities 
of rainfall, as shown on the map, are as follow : — 

Area in Square Miles. 


South Australia. 

Northern Territory. 

Over 40 inches 
From 30 to 40 inches 

„ 25 „ 30 „ 

„ 20 „ 25 „ 

„ 15 „ 20 „ 

„ 10 „ 15 „ 
Under 10 inches . . . . 













The eastern littoral of Queensland from Cape York to the Tweed receives 
an annual average rainfall of about 60 inches. On parts of the north coast, 
between Cooktown and Townsville, this increases to 150 and 165 inches per 
annum. The main source of supply is the south-east trade wind, and local 
variations in totals are solely due to differences in elevations of the shore 

On the Peninsula the rainfall ranges from 69 inches at Cape York to 32 
inches at Georgetown ; in lower Carpentaria, it averages about 25 inches. 


Federal Handbook. 

In the central districts the average varies from 30 inches on the eastern 
boundary to 20 inches on the western. 

In the Maranoa it averages about 23 inches, and over the Darling Downs 
from 25 to 30 inches. In the Warrego, it varies from 15 to 20 inches, and in 
the far western districts from 15 inches down to 6 inches at Birdsville, in the 
extreme south-west corner. 

During the wettest months of the year, viz., January, February, and 
March, very heavy daily falls over the eastern areas are not by any means 
infrequent. A fall of 10 inches and over in the 24 hours has been recorded 
on many occasions. On 2nd February, 1893, 35*71 inches were measured 
at Crohamhurst ; this constitutes one of the world's records for heavy 
rainfall. On that occasion the total measurement for the four days ending 3rd 
February was 77*305 inches, or nearly 6J feet. 

The following table shows the areas in square miles of varying quantities 
of rainfall : — 


Area in 
Square Miles. 

Over 80 inches . . 




70 to 80 inches 



60 „ 

70 „ 



50 „ 

60 „ 



40 „ 

50 , 



30 „ 

40 , 



25 „ 

30 , 



20 „ 

25 , 



15 m 

10 „ 

20 , 
15 , 


Under 10 ir 

iches . 





New South Wales. 

Proximity to the ocean, with prevailing winds of favorable direction, 
is, in all countries, the chief factor accounting for the greatest totals being 
generally recorded along the coast line. New South Wales shows no excep- 
tion to this law, but it is noticeable that nearly all the districts near the 
coastal rivers show a depressed rainfall in comparison with surrounding and 
naturally higher country. 

Starting from the northern border, the 50-in. isohyetal line at Casino, 
on the Richmond River, deviates slightly towards the sea line ; acd the same 
feature may be noted, in a more or less marked degree, on the Clarence, 
Macleay, Manning, Hunter, and Shoalhaven Rivers ; while the Nepean 
Valley can be traced right through from Picton to the Hawkesbury by its 
relatively light rainfall. 

On the northern tablelands the higher levels enjoy falls well over 30 inches. 
The extension of that isohyet encloses a narrow tongue-shaped area, reaching 
in a south-westerly direction from Inverell to Lindsay, owing to the 
elevation of this area being higher than that of the country on its west and 
south boundaries. 

The series of short ranges, reaching from Murrurundi to the Warrum- 
bungle, can be readily followed by the relatively higher rainfall figures. 

Climate of Australia. 


Further south, the Blue Mountains are particularly conspicuous, 
also the Canobolas. The extension of the Australian Alps, which almost 
entirely feed the Murrumbidgee, and contribute largely to the constant flow 
of the Murray, stands out in clear relief. Although a considerable distance 
from the coast, the elevation is such as to modify the disadvantage resulting 
therefrom ; and not only is abundant moisture extracted from the winds 
from off the east coast, but considerable condensation takes place on the 
western aspect from the south-west winter winds after they have swept 
across nearly the whole length and breadth of Victoria. 

The comparatively light rainfall in the district extending from Delegate 
to Yass, and conspicuously so between Bobundra and Michelago, is one 
of the most remarkable features of the rainfall map of Australia. 
Although the greater part of this district is considerably over 2,000 feet high, 
it is enclosed by ranges of mountains rising to 3,000 and 5,000 feet, which 
condense from all directions moisture that would otherwise benefit it. 

It may be added that, although the falls over this area do not exceed 25 
inches, yet it is remarkably productive, for the reason that evaporation is 
relatively small, and that a vast quantity of soakage must find its way there 
from' the encompassing ranges. 

The Sydney and Burrinjuck water supply catchment areas receive 
annual totals ranging from 30 to 60, and from 20 to 60 inches respectively. 

The areas in New South Wales, enjoying varying quantities of rainfall, 
are shown in the following table : — 


Area in 
Square Milee. 

Over 70 inches 

From 60 to 70 inches 
„ 50 „ 60 „ 
„ 40 „ 50 „ 
„ 30 „ 40 „ 
„ 20 „ 30 „ 
„ 15 „ 20 „ 
„ 10 „ 15 „ 

Under 10 inches . . 





! 30,700 








A casual glance at the rainfall map of Victoria will again indicate the great 
control exercised in rainfall distribution over the earth's surface by the 
mountains and proximity to the seashore. In regard to the latter factor, 
it will be noticed that the isohyets generally follow the contour of the coast 
line, and in the former the heaviest records are coincident with the highest 
mountains of the State. 

The abundant rains on the Australian Alps, the Cape Otway ranges, 
and the Gippsland ranges are particularly conspicuous. In a less striking 
manner is shown the precipitating effect of the Central Dividing Range and the 
Grampians. The relatively depressed areas to the north and west of Mel- 
bourne suffer in regard to the comparative smallness of their rainfall through 
the effect of the higher surrounding country on rain-bearing winds. A 
similar effect is noticeable in the Latrobe, Thomson, Tambo, and Mitta 
Mitta Valleys. 


Federal Handbook. 

While contending that the rainfall over the eastern portion of Australia 
is in no wise short of that experienced in other continents, we must not lose 
sight of the fact that our mountain chains are not sufficiently high, nor have 
they the extent of area, to compensate for Australia's deficiency of rainfall 
in the areas far removed from the coast, i.e., they are not of sufficient eleva- 
tion to serve as a natural store for precipitation in the form of snow, and also 
that the loss of moisture by evaporation is abnormal. It is, therefore, 
imperative, if equalizing results are to be obtained from the capriciousness of 
our rainfall seasons, that artificial storage in reservoirs at the catchments 
be resorted to, and all rivers, particularly those inland, dammed and 
locked as a national policy of paramount importance, and, further, that the 
waters in rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, be protected from desiccating winds by 
the liberal planting of trees. 

In studying the distribution of rainfall, as depicted on the map, we find 
that the areas in Victoria enjoying varying quantities of rainfall per annum 
are as follow : — 


Area in 
Square Miles. 

Over 60 inches 


From 50 to 60 inches 


„ 40 „ 50 „ 


„ 30 „ 40 „ 

14,029 * 

„ 25 „ 30 „ 


„ 20 „ 25 „ 


„ 15 „ 20 „ 


Under 15 inches 





In the West Coastal district and the north-east, the rainfall varies so 
very much that until records are available for a long series of years, the 
isohyets are bound to be considerably altered at the end of each year. 

The extremes and means are shown in the following table, viz. : — 





North-east district, Springfield 
Western district — ■ 


Mount Read 







The most striking feature in these parts of the island is the great variation 
shown for such a comparatively small area between the greatest and least 
average falls, viz., from 17*93 inches at Beaufront (Ross), to 115*82 at Mount 
Lyell on the West Coast, showing a range of 97*89 inches. This accentuates 
the great control exercised upon the rainfall by the physiographic conditions 
and proximity to the seashore. 

The West Coast, being exposed to the full sweep of the moisture-laden 
westerly winds, and condensation being assisted by altitudes of between 

Climate of Australia. 


3,000 and 5,000 feet, experiences frequent rains, and, as may be seen by a 
glance at the map, high annual averages, over 100 inches in places, are the 

The effect of altitude is again noticeable in the south-east, where Hobart, 
at an elevation of 160 feet, has an annual rainfall of 23*57 inches, while 
Mount Wellington, at the 2,500-ft. level, totals 60*34 inches. 

The heavy rairs experienced in the north-east are similar in character to 
those on the coast of New South Wales and eastern Victoria, and the south- 
east winds exercise a certain amount of control over the rainfall of this portion 
of the island. 

The areas in Tasmania enjoying varying quantities of rainfall, as shown 
on the map, are as follow : — 

Area in 


Square Miles. 

Over 100 inches 


From 80 to 100 inches 


„ 60 „ 80 „ 


„ 50 „ 60 „ 


„ 40 „ 50 „ 


„ 30 „ 40 „ 


i' Mainland . . 


„ 20 „ 30 „ 'King, Flinders, and 

( other Islands 


Under 20 inches 


Total .. 


No records available — 

In south-west of Mainland 


On Islands of North-west Group 


Grand Total Area 


Bruni Island has been included with the Mainland. 

8. Rainfall During the Wheat=growing Period. 

In Australia wheat-growing under ordinary conditions is generally con- 
sidered a safe and payable proposition when 10 inches of rain and over falls 
from the month of April to that of October inclusive. 

The accompanying map (Fig. 9) has been compiled for the purpose of showing 
what portions of the continent are favoured with the above requirements. 

There are in all 484,330 square miles of country with 10 inches of rainfall 
and over during the wheat-growing period, distributed as follows : — 93,500 
square miles in Western Australia, 46,980 square miles in South Australia, 
79,247 square miles in Queensland, 163,772 square miles in New 
South Wales, 74,616 square miles in Victoria, and 26,215 square miles in 

Much of these areas, however, is unsuitable, probably half the total, 
by reason of excessive rains, early summer rain, topography and soil, but 
as compensation there are vast tracts of interior land possible for cereal 
growth by the adoption of drought resisting seed and dry farming methods, 
which, in all probability, may still give the estimated 500,000 square miles 
or even more for wheat cultivation. 

150 Federal Handbook. 

During the year 1912-13 there were only 11,247 square miles, less than 
half the area of Tasmania, under wheat, yielding 88,554,738 bushels. This 
is approximately only one-third of the area at present used for this purpose, 
allowing for land under fallow and rotation of crops. Estimating, therefore, 
that only a third of the 500,000 would be available each year for wheat 
cultivation, the possible output from Australia could reach 900 to 1,000 
million bushels. 

From the trend of developments during the last few years it would appear 
that the greatest scope for expansion in wheat production is in New South 
Wales and Western Australia. 

The boundary of the 10-in. wheat period isohyet starts on the west coast 
of Western Australia, a few miles to the south of Hamelin Pool, thence passes 
inland in a south-easterly direction towards Southern Cross, from there 
almost due east, entering the Great Bight to the north of Israelite Bay. It 
again enters the mainland between Fowler's Bay and Streaky Bay, in South 
Australia, curving south-eastwards from Yardea to Spencer's Gulf to the 
north of Cowell, and crossing the Gulf it strikes the Peninsula near Port 
Pirie, forming a loop over the country well to the north of Port Augusta, 
whence it takes a sinuous course southwards through the lower Mallee to the 
north-east Wimmera, crossing the Murray in a north-easterly direction to the 
west of Deniliquin in Riverina, then over the Murrumbidgee at Darlington 
Point, from there bending northwards and passing successively near Mount 
Hope, Nymagee, Coonamble, Walgett, to Munigindi, whence it extends 
almost in a direct line northwards, finally leaving the Queensland coast at 

It will be noticed how remarkably closely the 10-in. and Goyder's line 
follow one another in South Australia. 

In New South Wales, however, there are considerable deviations 
between Coghlan's and the 10-in. wheat lines. 

Goyder's line was determined in 1865 by Mr. G. W. Goyder, the Surveyor- 
General of the then colony, based upon the estimated average rainfall and 
native flora. 

Coghlan's line was determined by Mr. T. Coghlan, State Statistician, in 
1903, based upon rainfall data and the actual experience of growers. 

The percentage lines of the wheat-growing period in relation to the annual 
average rainfall are of considerable interest, and emphasize the alternating 
distinct wet and dry season in Australia already referred to. 

Roughly speaking, from 60 to 70 per cent, of the annual total precipitation 
falls over southern Australia during the seven coldest months, and from 30 
to 40 per cent, during the hottest months. North of the tropic the quan- 
titative distribution is reversed, only 10 to 40 per cent, falling during the 
cold months and from 60 to 90 per cent, during the hot months. 

In the south-western portion of Western Australia, it will be observed 
that 90 per cent, of the annual average rainfall is precipitated in the winter 
and 10 per cent, only during the summer months. 

On the south-eastern shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria we have the other 
extreme — only 5 per cent, of the year's rainfall total falls within the seven 
cold months mentioned, and 95 per cent, during the remaining five. 

Climate op Australia. 


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Federal Handbook. 

Graph showing Mean Monthly Evaporation at Selected 


Note. — Each vertical space represents 1 inch or 25 '4 millimetres. 
Fig, 12. 

Climate of Australia. 153 

9. Snow. 

Perennial snow occurs only over the sheltered crevices in the highest 
portions of the Australian Alps, where, however, during the winter months 
it accumulates to a depth of many feet, and by gradual thawing maintains 
a constant flow of water to the Murray and Snowy Rivers throughout the 

During the winter period snow can always be expected along the mountain 
ranges in New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania, and occasionally on 
the Mount Lofty ranges, in South Australia. On rare occasions also it has 
reached as far north as Toowoomba, in Queensland, latitude 27° 28' S. 

Over the plain country it has been known to fall as far west as Louth, 
on the Darling River, over the whole of eastern and southern Victoria, except 
the immediate coast line. In South Australia it has been recorded over a 
belt of country lying to the east of Spencer's Gulf, about 200 miles long, 
running from north to south and 75 miles wide. It has only been noted at 
one place to the west of the Gulf, viz., at Yardea, near Lake Gardner. 

In Western Australia it has been 
recorded on the hills in the extreme 
south-west, and at a few places on the 
southern gold-fields. 

The heaviest snowstorm on record 
in New South Wales occurred between 
3rd and 7th July, 1900, extending from 
Congewar in the Hunter district to 
Condobolin and Warrumbungle, in the 
west. Railway traffic became para- tithed portion, sa « 

i ' i . *her* <5w ^«s Men. 

lyzed, passengers being shut up in 

carriages and unable to reach hotels. In 

places the snow was 8 feet deep on the rails. At Bathurst, many roofs, 

verandahs, etc., collapsed under its weight, while telegraph lines were levelled 


In 1901, on 28th July, the most widespread snowstorm occurred over 
south-eastern Australia, being practically general east of the 145th meridian. 
Anotner remarkable storm on the 29th and 30th August, 1905, extended 
from South Australia through southern Victoria along the highlands of 
New South Wales to within 30 miles of the Queensland border. 

On the mainland Sydney and Melbourne are the only two capital cities 
that possess authenticated records of appreciable snow falls. In Sydney on 
June 30th, 1836, snow fell for half-an-hour, sufficient being on the ground 
to enable boys to make snowballs. 

Melbourne was covered with snow 7 to 12 inches deep on the morning of 
the 31st August, 1849. Another remarkable fall took place on the 7th 
August, 1899, between 1 and 2pm., when snow fell heavily in the Fitzroy 
Gardens, and snowballing was indulged in at the Scotch College. A light to 
heavy fall also occurred over the north-eastern suburbs of Melbourne between 
7 and 8 a.m. on the 25th September, 1905. Flakes of snow were observed 
in, or close to, Melbourne on 14th July, 1840, 27th June, 1845, 26th July, 
1882, 28th June, 1900, 18th April, 1910, and 21st June, 1911. 


Federal Handbook. 

10. Evaporation. 

The problems which inevitably face the engineering work of water conser- 
vation for the development and expansion of Australia's as yet unused 
territory demand that the fullest knowledge possible respecting the rate 
and distribution of evaporation (a climatic element second in importance 
to rainfall only) should be available. 

For the purpose of obtaining data on this subject a number of iron jacketed 
tanks 3 feet in diameter have been distributed to several selected centres. 

The tops of the tanks are sunk to within an inch of the surface level of 
the ground. They contain about 130 gallons of water, which is replenished 
when or before a fall of 6 inches from the top of the tank takes place, in 
order that the exposed level may be fairly constant and also that the added 
water may not materially affect the temperature of the main body. 

Information collected up to the present is not very extensive, nor do the 
observations in some cases extend over many years, but sufficient has been 
obtained to approximate roughly the times of equal evaporation and the 
aggregate annual amounts in different parts of the continent. 

The results deduced from observations carried out at the capital cities 
over a great number of years establish the rate and total evaporation taking 
place over coastal regions south of the tropic. At coastal stations north of 
the tropic, viz., Rockhampton, Cooktown, Thursday Island, Port Darwin, 
the annual totals have been computed with Fitgzerald's formula : — 

E = [-014 (V - v) + -0012 (V - v)2] [1 + .67w*]. 

Marble Bar, Alice Springs, Boulia, and Broken Hil] furnish results for 
the interior. Those. at Broken Hill were undertaken at the Stephen's Creek 
Reservoir by Mr. Whitehead, the engineer of the silver city, and give the 
actual loss of water from the extensive artificial lake. It is satisfactory to 
note that the record from the standard tank at the Umberumberka site 
but a few miles away gives only a difference of 3 • 399 inches for the twelve 

It will be seen by reference to the 
accompanying table and chart that 
about a third of the continent, almost 
coincident with that portion having 
but an average annual rainfall of 10 
inches and under, loses from exposed 
water 100 inches and over per annum. 


The daily rate of evaporation during 
the summer months is considerable, 
more especially inland, where from J to 
f of an inch daily is a common occur- 
rence, and at times up to an inch and 
over, hence, if it is desired to receive any benefit from showers, any possible 
means that can be adopted to break the surface soil, and so let the rain 
through, must be resorted to, even on grazing land. 

Evaporation Map 

showing amount of evaporation 
and /sofmics. 

Fig. 11. 

Climate of Australia. 





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Federal Handbook. 

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Fig. 14. 

an inch or 126 millimetres. 

Climate of Australia. 159 

12. Winds. 

The most conspicuous winds of Australia are the south-east trades which 
blow almost continuously over the northern half of the continent, and the 
westerly winds, or " roaring forties," which, during the winter months, extend 
northwards over the whole of the southern areas. Both these winds, however, 
are strongly deflected by continental or monsoonal influences, so much so 
that in summing up the average prevailing direction of wind in different 
parts of Australia, particularly over the southern portions, these two great 
systems of wind circulation are almost obscured. 

On the south coastal areas, for example, we find that the average prevail- 
ing direction has a strong southerly component during the summer months 
and northerly component during the winter months ; to the north of the 
continent a strong northerly component during the summer months and 
southerly during winter months. On the New South Wales coast the mean 
direction in summer is from the north-east, and in winter from the west. 

On the Western Australian coast the mean direction during the summer 
months is from south-west to south-east, and during the winter from north- 
north-west to north-north-east. 

Inland the mean direction of wind is largely dominated by the seasonal 
distribution of pressure, thus, during the winter months, when anticyclones 
are constantly building up pressure in the interior, there is a decided spiral 
contra clockwise circulation from the centre towards the coast line of the 

During the summer time, owing to the strong convectional action in the 
interior and consequently lowered pressure, the circulation is reversed and a 
clockwise spiral circulation obtains from the ocean to the centre of the con- 
tinent. Minor factors of wind control are occasional cyclones chiefly on the 
east and north-west coast lines, and tornadoes which may occur in any part 
of Australia during the summer months, but most frequently over inland 
areas. These tornadoes generally develop in extensive barometric col areas 
or over zones where the pressure is uniform and without isobaric control, 
or in the north-eastern or northern gradients of cyclonic depressions moving 
across the southern interior of the continent, the gradients again being very 
slight. They generally travel on a north-north-west to south-south-east 
course, and at times are so strong as to level strips of country forest and 
destroy townships. 

A north-east sea-breeze (black north-easter) is a notable feature of Sydney 
Harbor weather. It starts to blow about 10 a.m. on bright summer mornings, 
gradually increasing in force until 3 p.m., when it often reaches a velocity 
of 30 or 40 miles per hour ; from that hour it gradually moderates, and gener- 
ally ceases with sundown. The depth of this wind is comparatively slight, 
and, moreover, it does not ordinarily penetrate inland beyond a distance of 
10 to 20 miles. 

13. Southerly Bursters. 

Southerly bursters are a distinctive feature of summer weather on the 
coast of New South Wales, Recurring most frequently between the months of 
September and February inclusive, and between the hours of 7 p.m. and mid- 

160 Federal Handbook. 

As the name implies, the wind comes suddenly from the southerly quarter, 
causing a fall in temperature of from 20 to 40 degrees in the 24 hours, the most 
rapid decline taking place during the first hour of the blow. The mean 
velocity is about 32 miles per hour, and many of the gusts may reach a rate 
of 80 miles and over per hour. The blows may last for a few hours only or 
for several days, the duration being dependent upon the extent of the anti- 
cyclone to the west. 

Thunderstorms frequently accompany the bursts, but useful rains only 
occur when the centres of the high pressure are travelling in high latitudes. 

The rate of translation of a burster along the coast is about 20 miles per 
hour, but has no relation to the velocity of the prevailing wind. A mild 
burster may be translated at a rate of 60 miles per hour from point to point 
on the coast or may occur simultaneously. On the other hand, a violent 
burster may be translated from place to place under a rate of 20 miles per 

The explanation is as follows : — 

Bursters, while being undoubtedly deflected sea-breezes, occur generally 
with the passage of the axis of V-shaped depressions backed up by anti- 
cyclones to the west of them. The change of wind takes place from a northerly 
to a southerly component at the moment when the axis happens to coincide 
with or cross any point, but as the axes of these depressions are constantly 
varying in their angular relation to the coastline, it follows that the rate of 
translation must vary accordingly. If the axis takes the same angle as the 
coastline the burster occurs almost coincidently on all parts of the coast. 
If the axis is vertical or runs from north-west to south-east, translation is from 
south to north ; this is the general experience, but it has happened that 
the bursters have worked down the coast, owing to the axes of the depres- 
sion on such rare occasions running from a south-west to a north-east 

Southerly bursters are most frequent during seasons of sporadic rains 
in the interior, and least frequent during exceptionally rainy seasons in the 
interior, which is strong evidence that they are a response to intense heat 
convectional action inland. 

The average number of visitations in a season is 32, the greatest number, 
58, was recorded in the year 1896, and the least, 16, in the year 1890, when 
vast areas of western New South Wales were under the flood waters of the 
Darling River. 

They can always be looked for on hot days, but the most reliable attending 
indications are, first, the proximity of a V depression or relatively low baro- 
meters in comparison with those over Victoria. A foggy morning following 
a hot day is also a sure sign, and the local barometer invariably starts to rise 
slowly several hours before their advent. With these known facts they now 
rarely arrive without ample warning being given. 

They are analogous to the Pamperos of Argentina. 

The term " Brickfielder " now applied to hot dusty northerly winds on 

he gold-fields of Victoria was the first name given to southerly bursters in 

Sydney. They were then called brickfielders because brickfields in the 

early days were worked to the south of the infant city, and with the arrival 

of southerlies clouds of dust from these fields were brought to the northern 

Climate of Australia. 161 

end of the town. With the migration of citizens of Sydney to the gold- 
fields of Victoria half-a-century ago these miners transferred the name to 
the hot dusty northerlies prevailing there. 

The Fremantle doctor is the name given to the local sea-breeze at the 
chief Western Australian port. It is a cool wind from the south-west, 
generally starting soon after midday during the summer months, and, of 
course, moderating with the declining sun. 

The name of " Cock Eye Bob " is the name given to thunder squalls which 
occur frequently on the north-west coast of Western Australia during the 
summer months. 

14. Hurricanes. 

The two zones of Australia subject to visitations of hurricanes are the 
north-west coast of Western Australia and the north coast of Queensland. 
The hurricanes on the former aire known as " willy willies," and are, perhaps, 
the more violent of the two. The storms occur between the months of 
November and April inclusive, but more frequently during January and 

They appear to originate in the vicinity of Cambridge Gulf, or even as 
far east as Darwin. They then start on a parabolic course along the north- 
west coast line, gradually intensifying until they reach the latitudes of Condon 
and Cossack, where they generally reach their greatest energy and cause 
considerable damage to the pearling fleets as well as to property on shore. 
From this position on the north-west coast they then usually recurve inland, 
gradually expanding in dimensions, and, travelling through the Murchison 
and Coolgardie gold-fields, where they precipitate at times torrential rains, 
finally pass into the Great Bight, thence following the course of the 
southern depressions. 

Whim Creek on the north-west coast has frequently received 10 inches 
of rain from the passage inland of these hurricanes. On 3rd April, 1898, 
29 • 41 inches were registered for the 24 hours, together with a fall of 7 • 08 
on the previous day, a total of 36 49 inches within 48 hours. 

The isobaric indications are a high-pressure system over sub-tropical 
areas, and an incipient low on the north-west coast. When local barometers 
show signs of falling with an easterly wind, conditions are conducive to the 
development or approach of " willy willies," and precautions should be 
taken accordingly. 

A rapid fall with increasing force of wind from the east may be regarded 
as a definite indication of a heavy blow. 

The pearl divers affirm that 24 hours' notice is always given of the approach 
of these storms by a sub -ocean swell, and mariners further say that the sky 
assumes a pale-green aspect for a day or so before the hurricane arrives. 

The hurricanes on the north-east coast occur most frequently between 
January and April, but occasionally they may appear as late as June. l 1 he 
embryo stage begins generally in the South Seas in latitude 8° or 10° S.; 
they follow the same parabolic course as the western hurricanes, and 
almost invariably strike the coast between 15° and 20° S. latitude, in 
which zone they exhibit their most violent phases, but they not infrequently 
first present themselves as far south as Brisbane, travelling thence down the 
C.12154 l 

162 Federal Handbook. 

east coast as far as Sydney, and finally passing off into the Tasman Sea. 
The rain from these hurricanes is in all cases very heavy over coastal and 
highland areas, over which their influence extends. 

One of these hurricanes struck Port Douglas on 16th March, 1911. 
Besides the loss of two lives it practically destroyed the township, together 
with all the meteorological equipment, so that no local rain was recorded, 
but at South Mosman, 8 miles distant, the total rain registered in 24 hours 
was 16-10 inches, while during a similar visitation towards the end of the 
month, over 63 inches fell at the same place in five days, distributed as 
follows :— 344 on 30th ; 9 00 on 31st ; 31-53 on 1st April ; 13 74 on 7th ; 
and 5-64 on the 3rd. During the fall of the 31-53 inches the following 
measurements were recorded :— 8 ■ 28 inches in 7 J hours, 9 • 70 in 3 hours, 
3 93 in 2 hours, and 9 -62 in 11 J hours. 

The Admiralty Hydrographic Office, in , 1897, published the following 
remarks and advice concerning tropical hurricanes on the Queensland 
coast : — 

Tropical hurricanes on the coast of Queensland may be expected during 
the summer months, namely, December, January, February, March, and the 
early part of April. These storms appear to originate between latitudes 
8° to 12° S., and between the meridians of 155° E. and 170° W. On reaching 
the Queensland coast they may strike the land at any point between lati- 
tudes 12° and 26° — that is, between Cape Grenville and Wide Bay. To the 
southward of latitude 26° S. these storms break up into heavy gales. If, 
during the summer months, and the early part of April, a heavy swell sets 
in from north-east, and there is little or no wind at the time, bad weather 
is certain, for the sea always is in advance of a cyclone. With the glass 
steadily falling, heavy rains, and murky sky, winds between south-south- 
east and east a cyclone may be expected. These storms may extend some 
distance inland, but their centres do not often pass the coastal ranges, which 
appear to repel them, and they usually emerge from the coast between 
Broadsound and Cape Moreton. If the barometer is high over a considerable 
portion of the coast, the storm will recurve some distance off the land, and 
the wind will be from south-east to south. If, on the contrary, the barometer 
is low in front of the storm, it will blow home on the land as far as the coast 
range, and cause floods. When this happens the first of the gale will be 
southerly, the latter part northerly. The bearing of the storm centre will 
be at right angles with the waves line. Thus, on a fine day if there is a 
heavier sea than usual breaking on the beach, and it is coming from the 
north-east, if the direction remains the same or nearly so, and the barometer 
is not above 30 inches, the gale will blow home on the land, and the first 
signs of bad weather will not precede the gale by more than 12 hours, but 
if the direction of the swell changes to the eastward the storm is recurving, 
and the body of it will not reach the land. When the swell is from the east 
the storm centre is past ; when there is anything southing in the line of the 
swell the storm has passed. No matter how threatening the weather signs 
may be, if the line of swell comes first from the southward, there will be only 
an ordinary south polar storm, with a low temperature. 

Australian Vegetation. 




By J. H. Maiden, F.L.S., Government Botanist of New South Wales, and 
Director of the Botanic Gardens, Sydney. 


1. Introductory ; Area ; the Geocol. 

2. Botanical Statistics. 

3. Vernacular Names for Australian 


4. Some Problems of the Pastoral 

5 Weed Legislation. 


7. Destruction of Forests. 

8. Scrub and Brush. 
9 Natural Hybrids. 

10. Use of the Term " Desert " in 

Australia. Adaptation to En- 

11. Origin of the Australian Flora. 
(a) The Original Australian Ele- 

(6) The Austro-Malayan (includ- 
ing Papuan) Element. 

(c) The Antarctic Element (so 

12. Affinities with the South African 


13. The Australian Flora as a Whole. 

14. The Flora of the Individual 

States — 
(a) Western Australia. 
(&) South Australia (including 

Part of the Northern 


(c) Victoria. 

(d) Tasmania. 

(e) New South Wales. 
(/) Queensland. 

1. Introductory; Area; the Geocol. 

The first impression of Australia is the vastness of its area — it covers about 
3 millions (2,974,600) of square miles, the area of the United States being 
2,973,890, while that of Europe is 3,860,368 square miles. 

The population of Europe is approximately 452 millions ; that of Aus- 
tralia being 4J millions ; while our island continent is infinitely less inter- 
sected by gulfs, rivers, roads, and other means of communication. It is, 
therefore, not to be surprised at that much country is imperfectly explored 
botanically, and generalizations have often to take the place of the statements 
of fact which are available in older and comparatively densely populated 

A glance at a map of Australia will show that, with the exception of Tas- 
mania, the boundaries of the States are almost entirely artificial and not 
physical ones. If we contemplate the central State, South Australia, its 
boundaries between Western Australia on the one hand, and Queensland, 
New South Wales, and Victoria on the other, consist entirely of straight 
lines, while most of the dividing line between New South Wales and Queens- 
land is similarly artificial. 

Nevertheless, it is found convenient in practice to register the records of 
species according to the political divisions, and later on, vague as these records 
are, and must be, as the interior boundaries are approached, it will be found 
that they will facilitate the definition of truly scientific botanical areas, on 
ecological and other lines. Much more attention requires to be paid to the 
work of defining the range of individual plants, and it would be desirable 
to see established throughout the continent agencies or outposts in touch 
with organizations for the record of official or unofficial botanical surveys. 

L 2 

164 Federal Handbook. 

Australia has been divided by Gregory* into three main divisions. 

1. The Western Plateau. — A vast plateau which comprises more than the 
western half of the continent, formed of very ancient rocks, and which does 
not appear to have been below sea-level during recent geological times, 
except in the north-western part. On the north-west and south of the 
Australia coast, plains skirt the foot of the plateau, containing marine rocks of 
several distinct periods. Owing to the arid nature of the climate in the 
interior, the surface of the remains of the plateau is generally level. 

2. The Great Plains, extending from the Gulf of Carpentaria across the 
continent to the Southern Ocean, between the mouth of the Murray and the 
coast of Western Victoria. 

3. The Eastern Highlands which occur between the Great Plains and the 
eastern coast ; they extend from Cape York Peninsula on the north, to Bass' 
Straits on the south, and are continued still farther by the island of Tasmania. 
A smaller highland area joins the western plateau in the vicinity of Spencer's 
and St. Vincent's Gulfs as far as Lake Torrens, the Flinders' Kange being the 
highest land. 

Griffith Taylor has put the classification into a somewhat different form — 

(a) The Eastern Highlands. 

(b) Murray-Darling Lowlands. 

(c) South Australian Highlands and Eifts or the Cambrian Divide. 

(d) The Great Artesian Basin. 

(e) The Great Tableland or Plateau Kegion. 

The Geocol. — Taylorf has applied the term Geocol to gaps in the Main 
Divide of Eastern Australia. Thus there are northern, central, and southern 
highlands or plateaus in New South Wales, which form " land massifs " and 
which are separated from each other by broad relatively depressed areas 
(geocols). He has given further particulars in regard to five geocols of south 
east Australia and their influences on intercommunication. J 

E. C. Andrews has also worked at the eastern Geocols, which are as 
follows : — 

1. The Kilmore, Victoria, Gap or Geocol is about 1,200 feet above 

sea-level and a few miles wide. The Melbourne express passes 
it about 60 miles from Melbourne. 

2. The Cooma or Monaro Geocol, New South Wales, (or Australian 

Eift, as Taylor has it), is about 2,000-2,600-3,000 feet above 
sea-level, is of fair width, and stretches from Omeo through 
Bombala to Cooma. 

3. The Lake George Geocol, New South Wales, is about 2,000 feet 

above sea-level. 

4. The Cassilis or Hunter Geocol, New South Wales, is about 20-30 

miles broad and 1,700 feet above sea-level, and is responsible for 
the long dry loop extending from Gilgandra almost to Newcastle. 
New England from the head of the Allyn, the Chichester, and the 
Paterson, to Cunningham's Gap (2,000 feet), in South Queens- 
land, presents an excessively rough and high plateau front to 
the coast. 

* ■ Geography, structural, physical, and comparative," p. 258 and plate XXIX. 

t Proc. Mnn. Soc, N.S.W., XXXI., 517 ; " Australia, physiographic and economic," p. 225. 

t ' Physiog. of Eastern Australia," Bulletin No. 8, Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology. 

Australian Vegetation. 


5. Another broad gap occurs near Toowoomba, Queensland, and is 

traversed by the Brisbane train from Toowoomba to Warwick. 
Greatest height, 2,000 feet. 

6. The Rockhampton-Longreach Railway, Queensland, also traverses 

a gap about 1,500 feet in height. Its width is not known to the 

7. The Cairns-Chillagoe Line, Queensland, rises on to the Kuranda 

Gap (1,100 feet), which is in the form of a broad valley lying 
between plateaus on each side. Heights from 4,000-5,000 

8. The Townsville-Charters Towers Railway, Queensland, also passes 

in a deep wide valley of low height between high ranges. 

The number of gaps or geocols existent has not yet been determined, but 
it is desirable to draw attention to their importance in regard to the distribu- 
tion of plants. The writer has specially worked at the Cassilis geocol in 
this connexion, and has a considerable list of western New South Wales 
plants which have used this gap for the purpose of migrating towards the 

2. Botanical Statistics. 

Seven thousand eight hundred and thirty-seven species were described in 
Bentham's Flora Australiensis. In 1889, at page 8 of his fourth supplement 
to his Systematic Census of Australian Plants, Mueller gave the number of 
vascular plants as 8,909 ; genera, 1,394 ; families, 149. 

Divided into States, he gave — 

Western Australia . . . . . . 3,559 

South Australia 






New South Wales 




North Australia 


Based on the work of the Government Botanists of the various States, 
the following estimates of described species may be submitted as approxi- 
mately true to-day ; if the present activity continues during the next few 
years the numbers will be much increased. 

Western Australia 

South Australia 






New South Wales 


Queensland . . 


North Australia 


Mueller includes the floras of Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands, which 
should be deducted from the total of 8,909 to the extent of about 92 species 
peculiar to those islands ; we thus have 8,817 as Mueller's real total of Aus- 
tralian plants irrespective of the numbers of plants found in individual 


Federal Handbook. 

To this total may be added 1,856, the number of additional species of which 
the present writer has record since the date of Mueller's Second Census. The 
number is undoubtedly understated, since this record must be imperfect, 
in spite of the fact that it is carefully kept. This makes the number of 
phanerogams and vascular cryptogams recorded for Australia as 10,673. 

Time has not been available to separate the additions into their various 
States, nor to add to Mueller's totals of species for the various States, the 
additions recorded by the writer to the States' localities of those species 
as given in the Second Census. 

Of this number (8,909) Mueller stated that 7,501 are endemic, and, of 
the remaining 1,338, or 15*1 per cent., there are found in Europe 160; Asia, 
1,032; Africa, 515; America, 315; Polynesia, 558; New Zealand, 291. These 
figures have not been brought up to date. 

Mueller gave the following families with species as under (all after the 
plus marks are the writer's) : — 

1. Leguminosae 

2. Myrtaceae 

3. Proteaceae 

4. Composite 
: 5. Cyperaceae 

6. Gramineae 

7. Orchideae 

8. Epacridaceae 

9. Euphorbiaceae 

10. Goodeniaceae 

11. Filices . . 

12. Eutaceae 

13. Liliaceae 

14. Eubiaceae 

15. Sterculiaceae 

16. Labiatae 

17. Chenopodiaceae (Salsolaceae) 

18. Malvaceae 

19. Umbelliferae 

20. Sapindaceae 

21. Amarantaceae 

1,084 + 

192 = 

1,276 (1) 

666 + 

150 = 

816 (2) 

599 + 

68 = 

667 (3) 

541 + 

94 = 

635 (4) 

379 + 

42 = 

421 (7) 

352 + 

81 = 

433 (6) 

287 + 

152 = 

439 (5) 

275 + 

26 = 

301 (8) 

226 + 

25 = 

251 (11) 

219 + 

75 = 

294 (9) 

212 + 

43 = 

255 (10) 

190 + 

42 = 

232 (12) 

163 + 

26 = 

189 (13) 

127 + 

20 = 

147 (16) 

125 + 

30 = 

155 (14) 

125 + 

23 = 

148 (15) 

113 + 

33 <4 

146 (17) 

110 + 

13 = 

123 (20) 

107 + 

38 = 

145 (18) 

101 + 

25 = 

126 (19) 

100 + 

19 = 

119 (21) 

Below this there is no great break, the list ending with fourteen families, 
with, so far, only one species each. * 

It will be observed that these additional numbers of species since 
described alter the sequence somewhat. Thus the activity of botanists 
dealing with the Orchideae raises that family above both the Gramineae and 
the Cyperaceae, its position and that of the Cyperaceae being transposed. 
Thus Orchidaceae now should have fifth place, Cyperaceae seventh. Goodeni- 
aceae now comes ninth, Filices tenth, Euphorbiaceae eleventh. Sterculiaceae 
now occupies the fourteenth place, Labiatae fifteenth, Eubiaceae sixteenth, 
Chenopodiaceae seventeenth, Umbelliferae eighteenth, Sapindaceae nineteenth, 
Malvaceae twentieth, Amarantaceae twenty-first. 

Australian Vegetation. 167 

Some of the largest genera comprise the following species (in some cases 
the numbers are approximations, the writer having been unable to critically 
examine them) : — 

Acacia, 412 ; Eucalyptus, 230 ; Grevillea, 193 ; Styphelia (in the 
Muellerian sense), 193 ; Melaleuca, 112 ; Candollea (Stylidium), 
112 ; Goodenia, 112 ; Hakea, 107 ; Hibbertia, 104 ; Pultencea, 
93 ; Eremophila, 91 ; Schoenus, 77 ; Pimelea, 76 ; Ptilotus, 76 ; 
Panicum, 75 ; Boronia, 72 ; Eriostemon (in the Muellerian sense), 
72 ; Cyperus, 72 ; Aster, 71 ; Helichrysum, 70 ; Sccevola, 68 ; 
Bceckea, 66 ; Daviesia, 64 ; Cryptandra, 63 ; Drosera, 62 ; Per- 
soonia, 62 ; Ficus, 62 ; Fimbristylis, 58 ; Haloragis, 56 ; Solanum, 
55 ; Helipterum, 53 ; Dodoncea, 51 ; Prostanthera, 50 ; P%£- 
lanthus, 50 ; Dryandra, 49 ; Banksia, 48 ; Dendrobium, 45 ; 
Jacksonia, 44 ; Brachycome, 41 ; Bossicea, 41 ; Hibiscus, 39 ; 
Gastrolobium, 37 ; Lasiopetalum, 35. 

Approximately 700 species have been recorded in lists of species recorded 
under States, as common to western and eastern Australia, but because of 
the vagueness of the State boundaries already referred to, and because of 
the imperfection of the record, especially as the interior is reached, such 
statistics are very imperfect, and certainly of limited value unless recorded 
for definite plant-zones. 

The genera (taking cognisance only of those represented in the 700 by 4 
or more species) include Sida, Abutilon, Dodoncea, Claytonia, Ptilotus, Atriplex, 
Rhagodia, Kochia, Bassia, Salicornia, Pimelea, Swainsona, Cassia, Acacia, 
Haloragis, Melaleuca, Eucalyptus, Hydrocotyle, Loranthus, Brachycome, Aster, 
Helipterum, Helichrysum, Angianthus, Senecio, Goodenia, Eremophila, Myo- 
porum, Styphelia, Pterostylis, Xerotes, Triglochin, J uncus, Centrolepis, Cyperus, 
Scirpus, Gahnia, Car ex, Panicum, Andropogon, Stipa, Poa, Eragrostis. 

Few of the genera are confined to country of low rainfall, but the species 
contained in the 700 and comprised in the above genera are preponderatingly 
those of country of low rainfall, and it would be interesting to endeavour to 
ascertain how far west from the South Australian border the species extend 
into Western Australia, and how far east from the South Australian border 
the same species extend into Queensland and New South Wales. 

3. Vernacular Names for Australian Plants. 

The person who complains (without qualification) of the confusion of 
common names applied to Australian plants, sometimes loses sight of the 
fact that Australia is as large as Europe, and that even in Europe the appli- 
cation of vernacular names to plants is often profuse and bewildering. The 
Briton, Greek, and Scandinavian have different languages of course, but their 
plant names are (like those of Australians) often uncertain and difficult of 
interchange. Our difficulties have arisen partly because the continent only 
began to be settled about a century and a third ago, and then by a handful 
of people, very few of whom were educated ; they came to a continent whose 
flora was unknown, even to botanists, and, as they spread into new areas 
they gave similar names to trees which appeared to them to be similar, and 
which, in most cases, have only recently been shown to be different, 

168 Federal Handbook. 

The predominant vegetation (Eucalyptus) has a very similar facies, and 
it is not to be wondered at that the ordinary citizen has shown no greater 
knowledge of it than the botanist. 

Then again the early colonists had a limited vernacular, because they could 
only use comparative terms, and the trouble was that the plants of their 
native countries were about as unlike those of their new homes as it was 
possible for them to be. 

Even the aboriginal owners of the soil were split up into tribes with 
different languages, and in the comparatively few cases in which they had 
names for plants at all, these names did not pass current over large areas. 

In some cases the aboriginal names have been adopted by the white 
population. Some attempt has been made to standardize the vernaculars 
for Australian plants, but the chief difficulty arises from the fact that all over 
the world experience shows that most plant names are restricted to small 
areas. However, with the spread of education, it is confidently expected 
that the use of botanical names, at least as to genus, will present fewer 
difficulties. Of course, it must be borne in mind that the study of natural 
history has an attraction for only a limited portion of the population, while 
of the naturalists but few take special interest in plants, and fewer still 
in their vernacular nomenclature. 

4. Some Problems of the Pastoral Industry. 

Australia is a great pastoral country, and, as in other countries, a small 
percentage of sheep and cattle is lost every year through their feeding on 
certain plants. Further investigations are being carried out on this subject, 
but the following facts may be stated : — 

1. Certain forage plants (grasses and others) contain cyanogenetic 

glucosides. Poisonous results take place at certain seasons of 
the year (though perhaps not every year), as regards the same 
plant in a given area. 

2. A few plants contain saponins and even more virulent poisons, 

e.g., certain Leguminosse (Gastrolobium, Isotropis, Oxylobium), 
particularly in Western Australia. 

3. Some succulent plants, e.g., Euphorbia Drummondii., Boiss, are 

apparently responsible for many deaths among stock, but it 
has been shown that the cause of death is hoven, and that 
only tired and hungry animals, which eat immoderately, are 
affected by them. 

4. Certain Leguminosae (Swainsona) derange the nervous systems of 

stock eating them ; the animals develop an inordinate 
appetite for the plants, eventually becoming so-called Pea-eaters, 
or Indigo-eaters, and absolutely useless to the owner, death 
finally supervening. The symptoms are analogous to those 
known as Lathyrism, Nenta, Loco disease, in other parts of the 

The United States, South America, and South Africa have problems of 
a like nature before them, and the difficulty is not solved when the plant- 
culprit, be it poisonous or not, is detected. The problem to be solved is how 


to prevent the deaths of stock by applying either a preventative or an antidote. 
With large flocks and herds spread over large areas, individual treatment 
has special practical difficulties of its own. 

It is a very common and empirical practice to attribute the deaths of stock 
to poison plants. As a matter of fact, Australia appears to possess singularly 
few poison plants which are injurious to stock, or which contain active 
principles which may be utilized as drugs. 

5. Weed Legislation. 

As Australia becomes developed, there is an increasing tendency in all 
the States to increase local self-government, and coping with weeds becomes 
usually one of the functions of local bodies. The underlying idea is that 
local people know what plants are most noxious to them, and the function 
of the State Governments is indorsement of their recommendations for 
proscription of specific weeds, subject to power of veto. This affords the 
necessary Government control, preventing local bodies, which may not have 
special knowledge, taking action prejudicial to their own interests. 

The Prickly Pear (Opuntia) is dealt with by special legislation, both in 
New South Wales and Queensland. What has been stated so far refers to 
weeds after they have got a footing in Australia. 

To prevent the entry of undesirable plants into the Commonwealth, the 
Federal Government in 1908 passed " An Act relating to Quarantine." An 
Appendix to this Act forbids the entry of plants affected by certain diseases 
(chiefly caused by fungi), and mostly affecting economic plants. Another 
Appendix prohibits certain weeds. These weeds have, however, already 
got a firm hold in the Commonwealth, and some are very widely diffused ; 
the object is to put difficulties in the way of the importation of known pests 
into clean areas, leaving the circulation of weed-pests already in the Common- 
wealth the business of the State Governments. 

Many of the Australian weeds were introduced into the country in the very 
first years of settlement. They came from Britain in the packing of goods 
sent in the first fleet, from Bio de Janeiro, the Cape, and Calcutta, the two 
former being ports of call on the outward voyage, and the two latter being 
visited from Sydney for food supplies. Later on a trade in horses with Chilian 
ports was responsible for the introduction of such pi mts as Xanthium 

As time went by, no restriction of any kind was placed on the introduction 
of plants, and gradually the varieties of weeds increased to the present for- 
midable total, and, being let loose on a virgin continent, brought about 
unexpected results. 

The importation of enormous fodder supplies during periods of drought 
has been a prolific source of introduction of weed seeds, not only from various 
parts of the continent enjoying a good season, but also from beyond seas. 
All the States contain large areas of unalienated lands, and these are sometimes 
an Alsatia for weeds, to the prejudice of the adjoining private owner. With 
the increase of population, this difficulty will largely disappear. 

Prickly Pear. — Members who visit the valley of the Hunter and north- 
western New South Wales and Queensland can scarcely avoid seeing the pest 
known as Prickly Pear, for its spread is one of the most remarkable instances 

170 Federal Handbook. 

of plant-aggressiveness known in any part of the world. A form of Opuntia 
inermis, P. DC, has already devastated these two States to such an extent 
as to cause both Governments real anxiety, for the efforts of man have not 
stemmed the rapidity of spread to any considerable extent. In New South 
Wales there are about 2,500,000 acres of pear-infested country, and two years 
ago a Minister of the Crown estimated the cost of eradicating the pear in 
that State to be ten or twelve millions sterling. In Queensland, it is stated 
that 30,000,000 acres are affected, and further, that the spread is one million 
acres per year. This never-ending advance of the pest is its most serious 

What has given pear its chance is the fact that in Australia it has practi- 
cally a virgin continent in which to spread. It does not attain its best 
development in the coastal districts, which have a comparatively high rain- 
fall, and a fairly dense population. In the regions climatically suited to it, 
there are but few people, and in broken country it gets a practically impreg- 
nable hold. So tenacious of life is it, and so adapted to its environment, 
that so far no economical method of destruction has been discovered, and the 
difficulty of the problem is enormously increased by the fact that the sides 
and tops of hills, gullies, country fissured and difficult of access, have to 
be left as breeding-places for the pest. 

Less than a dozen species of Opuntia have escaped from cultivation and 
spread to any extent, but all the others put together have not spread a 
millionth as much as the species designated by the writer as Pest-pear. 

Prickly Pear was introduced to Australia (the number of species is 
unknown) from Kio de Janeiro, when Governor Philip touched at that port 
of his outward voyage in 1789 ; being brought as food for the cochineal insect 
he desired to introduce with the object of founding an industry. 

0. aurantiaca, Gillies, is a small spiny species with brittle joints, which 
is spreading both in New South Wales and Queensland, and is a pest also. 
Its brittleness and spininess combine to make it a plant to be dreaded. Under 
the name of " Jointed Cactus " it is a pest in South Africa. 

0. imbricala, P. DC, a cylindrical species with pink flowers, is confined 
to moderately cool districts in New South Wales ; while 0. Dillenii, P. DC, 
a formidable species, and Opuntia (Nopalea) dejecta, Salm-Dyck, are confined 
to Queensland so f?r. 

0. nigricans, Haw., and 0. monacaniha, Haw., coarse spiny species, occur 
both in New South Wales and Queensland. 

0. tomentosa, Salm-Dyck, a tall, dark-looking species covered with a 
velvety tomentum, is wild in Queensland and northern Squth Australia, 
but is not looked upon as a pest. 0. ficus-indica, Mill., the " Barbary Fig," 
is well acclimatised and yields an edible fruit. There are a few other species 
of less importance. 

It is not easy to understand why one species or other of Opuntia has not 
spread in one of the other States, but such is the fact, 0. monacantha being 
the only formidable species which is acclimatised in Victoria, South and 
Western Australia, and only to a very limited extent. 

The Pest-pear has a partiality for good soil, and is far less formidable 
in appearance than some of the species just enumerated. It is not tall, 
for the tall species have distinct and separate stems, while this species has 

Australian Vegetation. 171 

ramifying stems hard to disentangle and get at ; it has comparatively few 
spines, but what are really feared are its barbed spinules, which are produced 
abundantly, and cause severe irritation in man and beast. Added to these 
it has a fatal facility for reproduction, being propagated by birds and stock 
which eat the seeds, while every joint or portion of one forms a new plant. 

Eichhornia speciosa, Kunth., the so-called " Water Hyacinth," originally 
imported from Europe as an ornamental plant, has shown itself very adapted 
to Australian conditions, and from northern New South Wales to central 
Queensland is rilling lagoons and clogging water-courses, inflicting very 
severe damage where fresh water for drinking purposes in lagoons and creeks 
is especially valuable, to say nothing of the interference it is causing to navi- 
gation in even moderately large rivers. 

Some of our worst weeds include Bathurst Burr (Xanthium spinosum, L.), 
Noogoora Burr (X. strumarium), Sweet Briar (Rosa rubiginosa, L.), Black- 
berry (Rubus fruticosus, L.), Lantana (Lantana Camara, L.), Prickly Pear 
(Opuntia spp.), Star Thistle (Centaurea calcitrapa, L.), and other species* of 
Centaurea, Black Thistle (Carduus lanceolatus, L.), Cape Weed (Crypto- 
stemma calendulaceum, B-. Br.), Stinkwort (Inula graveolens, Desf.), Sorrel 
(Rumex acetosella, L.), Dock (Rumex crispus, L.), and other species, Purple- 
top (Verbena bonariensis, L.), and others, Corn Gromwell (Lithospermum 
arvense, L.), Yellow Poppy (Argemone.mexicana,!^.), Tree Tobacco (Nicotiana 
glauca, Grah.), Mallow Weed (Modiola caroliniana, L.), Thorn Apple (Datura 
stramonium, L.), Nut Grass (Cyperus rotundus, L.), Wild Oats (Avena fatua, 

6. Ringbarking. 

Visitors to Australia will be interested to see the enormous areas of forest 
land which have been subjected to the process of ringbarking or girdling. 
In the utilization of land for arable purposes the trees are usually removed 
altogether, but over large pastoral areas the lives of the trees have been 
sacrificed simply in order that the grass may grow ; in many cases not because 
of the injury caused to the grass by the shade of the canopy, which is oftei* 
small, but because the trees compete with the herbage for the plant food 
and moisture. 

Most of the trees being durable hardwoods, they die as they stand, and 
may expose their gaunt arms and grey trunks for up to half-a-century and 
even more, littering the pasture until such time as fungi, beetles, and the 
elements combine to reduce them again to mother earth. 

7. Destruction of Forests. 

The deliberate destruction has arisen from two causes — (1) the destruction 
of trees to convert them into timber ; and (2) the destruction of trees and 
shrubs in the formation or improvement of pastoral and arable land. 

In (1) the requirements of engineering and mining works, building, fencing, 
furniture, etc., have to be provided for. Under (2) the burning off has been 
incessant, but a fair percentage of dead timber has been converted into 
household fuel in the vicinity of towns. In Western Australia the cutting 
of green timber for fuel purposes in the vicinity of the gold-fields is, because 
of the local scarcity of coal, carried out to an extent unknown in eastern 

172 Federal Handbook. 

Australia. Since the removal of all large timber in the vicinity 01 the gold- 
fields areas is complete, data should be obtainable in regard to the rate of 
growth of many species in definite areas, natural re-afforestation being usually 
allowed to proceed. In South Australia alone there are large forest planta- 
tions, this being largely a treeless State. Victoria and New South Wales 
are doing some planting. 

The compensating extent of natural re-afforestation is considerable, 
although sometimes lost sight of. Some species, e.g., Eucalyptus pilularis, 
Sm., re-afforest rapidly in forest land, and it is believed that the seeds of 
forest trees, which pass through sheep and cattle, and which are trampled 
into the soil, are responsible for the conversion of large areas of grass land 
into forest in the eastern States. 

The removal of the trees of a forest destroys the plant equilibrium, and 
interesting changes, which, however, cannot be discussed at this point, take 
place, particularly in the brush. 

8. Scrub and Brush. 

The term scrub has something of inferiority in its meaning, referring 
primarily to small or stunted vegetation, whether of trees or shrubs ; in 
Queensland, it has become applied to the luxuriant vegetation of the jungle. In 
New South Wales it is applied more generally to the comparatively sparse 
vegetation of the more sterile areas, such as those of the sandstone and 
granite. It is also applied to the open forest, in which the species are more 
gregarious as a rule than those of the brush. 

The Brush. — The brush corresponds to what in India is called jungle, 
and consists of well-watered rich-soil areas, chiefly in the coast belt and coast 
table- lands of eastern Australia, which support not only rich arboreal vege- 
tation, but also creepers and climbers of various kinds, and shrubby under- 
growth. The tree vegetation is of the most varied character (e.g., Meliaceae, 
Sapindaceae, Saxifragacese, Cunoniaceae, Lauraceae, Monimiaceae, Coniferae 
(Podocarpus), Taxaceae (Araucaria and Callitris), but rarely includes Euca- 
lypts. The term brush is almost entirely confined to New South Wales 
and Queensland ; in New South Wales it is used largely ; in Queensland 
the term scrub is often substituted. 

In the brush forests of the northern coastal districts of New South Wales 
and coastal Queensland generally, the buttress-stem is often seen. Frequently 
these buttresses are of considerable size ; nearly vertical and quite thin, almost 
like stalls in a stable. They are commonly seen in Figs (Ficus), and also 
Yellow Carabeen (Sloanea Woollsii, F. v. M.), Booyong (Tarrietia argyro- 
dendron, Benth.), Ked Cedar (Cedrela Toona), She Beech (Cryptocarya spp.), 
Marara (Weinmannia Benthami, F. v. M.), and many others. Sometimes these 
buttresses extend in fantastic shapes along the ground and, in the case of the 
Yellow Carabeen, they may be so delicate as to be not more than an inch 
thick where they enter the ground. 

They form natural struts to the trees in areas of well-watered good soil 
and warm temperature, where the competition amongst tree individuals is 
very keen. Very long trunks run up towards the light and, even with their 
diminished crowns, the leverage of such long stems renders the buttress 
essential to the stability of the tree. 

Australian Vegetation. 173 

Lianes are not unusual in the brushes, being generally the stems of a species 
of Vitis ; these contain water, and the bushman cuts them into lengths and 
more suo obtains drinking-water from them. They grow in the warmer 
coastal brushes, where the rainfall is good ; at the same time, running water 
may be as much as a few miles away. 

In moderately dry and very dry country the aborigines, and the white 
men on occasion, dig up the roots of certain trees, and obtain sufficient 
drinking water therefrom. The trees usually employed are certain Mallees 
or dwarf Eucalypts, particularly E. incrassata, Labill., var. dumosa, and 
E. oleosa, F. v. M., also Hakea leucoptera, F. v. M. (one of the needle-bushes), 
Casuarina Decaisneana, F. v. M. (a Desert Oak). 

9. Natural Hybrids. 

. Bentham (B. Fl.) wrote that little as we know of the influence of natural 
hybridism in Europe, it has been still less, if ever, observed in Australia. 

This statement is not as true to-day, as regards either Europe or Australia, 
as when it was written, and some observations are now available, particularly 
in connexion with Eucalyptus. Care must of course be taken that the 
attribution of natural hybridization is not a too hurried jumping to con- 
clusions without adequate evidence. 

The subject demands careful field knowledge, and it would appear that 
the phenomenon has already been proved, without reasonable doubt, in a 
number of cases, chiefly Eucalyptus, and attention is briefly drawn to the 
matter because of its very great importance. 

10. Use of the Term «« Desert " in Australia. 

The underlying meaning of this word is absence of vegetation, and 
classical examples are those of the Sahara of North Afrjca, and the Gobi 
desert of Central Asia. 

In Central Australia there are extensive regions of low or intermittent 
rainfall, some of moving sandhills and, especially towards the centre and west, 
of saline depressions, but very much of the country referred to as desert 
in the old maps is not desert in the strict sense, since it sustains a more or 
less sparse vegetation, with trees here and there, while immediately after rain 
innumerable plants spring up, carpeting the country side with individuals 
of Graminese, Composite, (e.g., Helipterum, Helichrysum, etc., white, pink, 
yellow, and even other colours), Salsolacese, Goodeniacese (e.g., Velleia rosea, 
S. le M. Moore, and Goodenia spp.), Amarantaceae (purple and pink Ptilotus), 
Cruciferse, etc. 

The truly riverless area is chiefly comprised in eastern Western Australia 
and the southern portion of the Northern Territory, while the Salt-lake 
system, in which a large number of rivers do not find their way to the coast, 
but terminate in Lake Eyre, is a considerable area a little east of the centre 
of the continent. 

These areas support a most interesting xerophytic vegetation, and strips 
throughout the so-called desert are pastoral country, supporting both grass 
and edible shrubs. It is interesting to note how year by year the " wheat 
line " in all the mainland States has been pushed into the " desert," and 
man is getting remunerative crops from regions of low rainfall and light sandy 
soil which would have been looked upon as chimerical a decade ago. In 

174 Federal Handbook. 

other words, the " desert " land is shrinking year by year, and a factor to aid 
this shrinkage will be the Port Augusta-Kalgoorlie railway line, which will 
link Western Australia with the eastern States. It is not possible, however, 
that any considerable number of visiting botanists can find time to study 
our " desert " on the spot, and the subject cannot be dealt with at all 
fully in this general article. 

The permanent plants of the arid country are dependent on subterranean 
water, the catchment and storage of some of these supplies being both very 
small and purely local. In addition to these local supplies, dependent on 
the very intermittent rainfall, there are the vast artesian accumulations, 
the relation of which to the vegetation they support will furnish the student 
with an interesting subject for investigation. In Western Australia local 
natural water supplies, very circumscribed in area, are known as " soaks," 
and frequently form oases around which there is a specially interesting 

Vast areas of Australia have only, as regards the vegetation, two kinds 
of season, the dry and the rainy. The rainy season may be only a few days 
in the whole year, or, it may be, as it usually is, intercalated with dry 
periods. When these showers come, the surface of the ground is changed 
as if by magic, bright carpets of the small plants already referred to covering 
the ground with uniformity over large areas ; these quickly mature, develop 
seeds, and perish, being represented by the seeds alone, until the next period 
of their life-cycle arrives with a further supply of rain. In many of these 
regions of small and intermittent rainfall it is obvious that no recorders of 
rainfall are present, and the only practicable method a student has, is to 
arrange with some one living in the vicinity to notify him by telegraph of a 
local rainfall, in order that he may hasten to the spot without delay. 

Adaptation to Environment. — The adaptation to environment of desert 
plants in Australia, and particularly those of Western Australia, has been 
ably dealt with by Mr. S. le M. Moore, and doubtless our visitors will specially 
examine the characters of xerophilous plants in all parts of the continent 
conveniently accessible to them. Space only allows the briefest reference 
to the subject here. Henslow quotes Volkens as stating that certain xerophil- 
ous plants covered with a resinous substance, which prevents a too energetic 
transpiration, are peculiar to the Southern Hemisphere. Examples out of 
very many are Beyeria viscosa, Eucryphia Billardieri (Pinkwood of Tasmania), 
Dodonaea and Acacia of various species ; the roots of various G-ramineae. 

The young shoots of Angophoras and of the Corymbosse section of Euca- 
lypts are protected by a covering which contains caoutchouc. 

The Blanket plants (Lachnostachys) of Western Australia are especially 
woolly, and so are the allied genera Newcastlia and Dicrastylis. Many 
Composites and Malvaceous plants are, with many others, very hirsute. 
These non-conducting coverings hinder the transpiration of moisture. 

Instances of aphylly are very numerous, and are afforded by such plants 
as — 

Native Cherry (Exocarpus), Cypress Pine (Callitris), She Oaks 
(Casuarina), Apophyllum anomalum, Tetratheca juncea, Comes- 
perma of various species, Daviesia alata, Sphcerolobium vimineum, 
■ ' Viminaria denudata, Ampercea spartioides, and many others. 

Australian 1 Vegetation. 175 

There are also many succulent plants belonging to the families Zygo- 
phylleae, Portulacaceaa, Ficoideae, Crassulacese, Salsolacese, Euphorbiaceae 
(Euphorbia, &c), Asclepiadacese (Dcemia, Sarcostemma). 

Some plants have water-storing cells in stems or in roots, or in both. 
Notable examples are the Kurrajong (Brachychiton populneus, R. Br.), widely 
distributed, and the Bottle Tree (B. Delabechii, F. v. M., or Sterculia rupestris, 
Benth.), found in Queensland, and so called from its ludicrous resemblance 
to a gigantic lemonade bottle. These are not only water bearing as regards 
their stems, but also have succulent roots, which are sometimes eaten by 
the aborigines. In North-western Australia the Gouty Stem (Adansonia 
Gregorii, F. v. M.) is to be found, a characteristic feature of the landscape, 
while a second species (A. Hanburyana, Hochr.) has recently been described. 
Reference has already been made to the so-called water-bearing trees. 

11. Origin of the Australian Flora. 
(a) The Original Australian Element. 

Wallace observes that South-western Australia is the remnant of the 
more extensive and more isolated portion of the continent in which the 
peculiar Australian flora was principally developed. He suggests that the 
existence there of a very large area of granite (800 miles in length by nearly 
500 in maximum width, with detached masses 200 miles to the north and 500 
miles to the east), indicates such an extension ; for these granitic masses 
were certainly once buried under piles of stratified rock, since denuded, 
and then formed the nucleus of the old Western Australian continent.* 

He further states that while this rich and peculiar flora was in process of 
formation, the eastern portion of the continent must either have been widely 
separated from the western, or had perhaps not yet risen from the ocean. 

In Cretaceous times and far into the Tertiary, there was no Australian 
continent in existence, but instead, a crescentic wide belt of sea forming 
an archipelago, consisting of two main islands to the north, one large island, 
and some smaller ones to the south, and another to the north-east.f 

The distribution of land and sea in the Cretaceous period is shown by 
Jensen, { based on David's maps, and during that period the Rolling Downs 
formations were laid down. The sea extended from Cape York from south 
to north of Queensland, extending over most of its area, except in the east, and 
covering a considerable portion of northern South Australia and north- 
western New South Wales. 

This later map differs from Wallace's chiefly as regards his continuous 
eastern land area (almost the Torresian and Bassian sub-regions of Spencer, 
see below), and the deflection of Wallace's sea to the north-west. Jensen 
remarks that the Cretaceous sea was probably connected with the ocean, 
both to the south and to the north ; thus an aqueous barrier between west and 
east is understood, which is what Wallace postulated. 

Speaking of the disappearance of the Cretaceous basin, which caused a 
migration of the hardy plants (Eucalyptus, Proteacese, etc.), which had 
developed on the barren soils of Western Australia into eastern parts, where 

* " Island Life," 2nd Ed., 494. 

t See Wallace's map at p. 497, op. cit. 

% Proc. R.S., Q., xxiii., Fig. 9. 

176 Federal Handbook. 

they expelled and subdued the Indo-Malaysian type of flora, Jensen* points 
out that there is evidence that the plants they drove back were largely 
Lauracese in the fossil leaves of the older deep leads and the trachytic tuffs 
of the Warrumbungles of New South Wales. 

Tate, in 1888, f divided the Australian endemic flora into three types — 

1. Euronotian, occupying the coastal area of the north-east and south- 

east, its internal boundary coinciding with the rainfall limit 
of 25-50 inches per annum. 

The type flora of this is dominant in the south and east 
part of the continent. 

2. Autochihonian, a small region restricted to the south-west corner 

of the continent, its internal boundary also coinciding with the 
same rainfall limit in this part. 

3. Eremian, occupying a large stretch of country, centering in Lake 

Eyre, but extending right across the continent to the shores 
of Western Australia and over which the average rainfall is over 
10 inches per annum. 
Besides this endemic flora, what he styles an " immigrant " flora has 
two constituents — 

(a) Oriental, dominant in the littoral tracts, but mixed there with 

typical Australian genera. 

(b) Andean, restricted for the most part to the highlands of New South 

Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania, and with this he includes north 
temperate forms, i.e., species characteristic of north temperate 

Mr. C. HedleyJ pointed out that the regions suggested by Tate as suitable 
in the case of plants were not equally suitable in the case of animals. Accept- 
ing (1) and (2), he suggested that (3) should be divided into two, and suggests 
that for Tasmania, Victoria, and southern New South Wales the name 
Euronotian should be retained, whilst for the second portion of the division, 
including Queensland and northern New South Wales, he suggested the name 

Baldwin Spencer (also on zoological grounds) modifies Tate's proposals, 
suggesting § a high Eyresian sub-region, including the greater part of the 
continent, with a Torresian (Papuan) sub-region, including Papua, North 
Australia, and eastern Queensland as far south as the Clarence River (near 
the Queensland New South Wales boundary), while his Bassian sub-region 
includes Tasmania, Victoria, and eastern New South Wales. 

To whatever extent some of Wallace's conclusions in regard to the relations 
of the Australian flora in the present and past epochs may have been 
defective, owing to the imperfection of our geological knowledge at the time, 
(and both Messrs. C. Hedley|| and S. le M. Moore^f have ably criticised them), 
the point of most importance is, as Professor Baldwin Spencer has pointed 
out, demonstration of the fact that for a long period of time the east and 
west parts of the continent were separated from each other by an 

* Op. cit., p. 189. 

T Proc. Aust. Ausn. Adv. Sci., i. 312, &c. 
t Proc. Aust. Assoc. Adv. Sci., V. 444. 
§ Horn Exped. Rep. Pt. i., 197. 
|| " Loc. cit.'' 
If " Natural Science," XV., 198 (1899). 

Australian Vegetation. 177 

impenetrable barrier of some description. The original division of the 
continent into a western and eastern half, the former containing the 
Autochthonian constituent, is generally admitted, and most authors agree 
that the separation took place in Cretaceous times. 

Tate says the Eremian flora was developed in Central Australia in Pliocene 
times from Autochthonian and Euronotian elements, and was largely modified 
by Oriental immigrants. 

Tertiary Flora.— von Ettingshausen recorded Eucalyptus and Metro- 
sideros in the Eocene beds of Sheppey, England, and Pimelea, Leptomeria, 
and four genera of Proteacese were recorded by Heer in the Miocene of 
Switzerland. Further, Ettingshausen believed he found 55 Australian forms 
in the Eocene beds of Haring (? Belgium). Hooker wrote to Wallace that 
he considered these determinations worthless, and Bentham disapproves of 
similar identifications by Heer and Unger. Indeed it was for some time 
held that the European Tertiary flora contained Alnus, Betula, Quercus, 
Sequoia, Acer, Pinus, and other genera peculiar to the Northern Hemisphere, 
together with Casuarina, Grevillea, Banksia, Dryandra, Leptomeria, Eucalyp- 
tus, and other genera peculiar to the Southern Hemisphere. 

Turning to the Antipodes, Ettingshausen* records many European forms 
in the Tertiary of Australia, but Deanef firmly disputes the accuracy of 
certain of the determinations, while, referring to the European ones, Hemsley J 
says that until more conclusive testimony is forthcoming of the former 
existence of Proteacese, Eucalypti, etc., in Europe, we cannot avoid the 
conviction that they originated in the south. 

In the opinion of the most experienced botanists in Australia the botanical 
determinations and deductions built by some palseo-botanists upon mere 
leaf impressions are to be regretted. Except in the case of very characteris- 
tic material, botanists who deal with the existing flora usually ask to be 
excused from determining a plant on a leaf only. 

(b) The Austro=Malayan (including Papuan) Element. 

Bentham§ observes that the predominant portion of our vegetation 
appears to be strictly indigenous, and that the great mass of purely Australian 
species and endemic genera must have originated or been differentiated in 
Australia, and adds that it never spread far out of it. 

He also states that the only exceptions observed by him are a few Aus- 
tralian types {e.g., Eucalypti, Epacrideae, phyllodineous Acacias, etc.) appear- 
ing in the Malayan Archipelago, especially Timor, New Guinea, and Borneo, 
where they have established distinct, though in most cases, nearly repre- 
sentative species, sometimes, however, preserving absolute identity, and a 
very few, chiefly annual or herbaceous plants of various Australian genera, 
found as far as South China, mostly in identical or very closely representative 
species. But little was known comparatively of the Chinese flora in Ben- 
tham's time, but through the publication of Forbes' and Hemsley's Enumera- 
tion and other works, we are now in a far better position to indicate the pre- 
cise relationships of the Australian and Chinese floras. The flora of the Malay 
Archipelago is also now much more readily available to students. And 

* t; Contrib. Tertiary Flora of Australia," Mem. Geol. Surv., N.S.W., Pal. No. 2. 
t Proc. Linn. Soc., N.S.W.. XX., 648 el aeq. 
% Challenger Reports, Botany, Vol. I. (Hemsley's Introd., p. 51). 
§ Pref. to B. FL, VII., p. vi. 
0.1215-1. J* 

178 Federal Handbook. 

here it may be mentioned that there are two aspects of every mutual relation ; 
we require to accumulate additional data not only in regard to the incursions 
of the purely Australian element into regions beyond, but also in regard to 
the " foreign " element into Australia. A bridge carries passengers both 

In another place Bentham* observes that the principal flora showing 
an ancient connexion between Australia and other countries is the Indo- 
Australian. A number of genera whose main station is in tropical Asia 
extend more or less into tropical or eastern sub-tropical Asia, sometimes in 
identical, sometimes in more or less differentiated species. Those of coastal 
Queensland have generally an east Asiatic character. A few Ceylonese and 
Indian types are more specially represented in Arnhem's Land, but scarcely 
any Indian forms are found westward of that peninsula. 

The whole of the islands east of Wallace's line, called the Austro-Malayan 
Region, essentially form part of a former Australian or Pacific continent, 
although some of them may never have been actually joined to it. These 
islands of course include Celebes, G-ilolo, Ceram, and Papua. A shallow sea 
(under 100 fathoms) at the present time connects Papua and northern Aus- 
tralia as far as the " north-west " on the one side, and Queensland on the 

Wallace remarks - )- that when we consider the wonderful dissimilarity of 
the two (Papuan and Australian) regions in all those physical conditions 
which were once supposed to determine the forms of life — Australia, with 
its open plains, stony deserts, dried-up rivers, and changeable temperate 
climate ; Papua, with its luxuriant forests, uniformly hot, moist, and ever- 
green — this great similarity in their productions is almost astounding, and 
unmistakably points to a common origin. In this passage he, however, 
omits to note the fact that northern Queensland, east of the Divide, may be 
described in terms precisely similar to those employed by him in regard to 

It is not difficult to understand how a migration of plants from Papua to 
northern Queensland (omitting for the moment reference to other parts of 
northern Australia further west) can have taken place via the land connexion 
or the stepping stones of Torres Straits, while the climatic conditions, although 
a little cooler in northern Queensland, at all events as compared with coastal 
Papua, are nearly similar in the two land areas. Then acclimatisation comes 
into play, and plants, having once bridged the gap, progress on their south- 
ward journey. 

The Austro-Malayan element is common in the coastal " scrubs " (brushes) 
of Queensland, and is marked even in the same formations in New South Wales, 
but the writer is not able to submit a useful statistical account of this 
element in Australia at the present moment. 

In 1892 above 2,000 species of Phanerogams were known from Papua, 
i.e., from the Dutch, English, and German possessions; in 1911, the number 
of species described must be nearly 3,000, chiefly through botanical activity 
in the German possessions. Dr. R. Schlechter alone has contributed nearly 

* Pref. to B. Fl., VII. 

t " Malay Archipelago," p. 580 (1886). 

Australian Vegetation. 179 

100 terrestrial orchids, a considerable number of which are new, the others 
being Malayan. 

The whole of Papua is a region of tropical forests only occasionally in- 
terrupted by savannas, i.e., grassland interspersed by trees. What Wallace 
says as regards Borneo, that an Orang-utang could cross the island from tree 
to tree, without putting foot to the ground, pretty well applies to Papua. 

The chief savannas are at the mouth of the Fly River, and the grasses 
are chiefly composed of Imperata arundinacea (our Blady Grass), and the 
genera Anihistiria (Themeda, our Kangaroo Grass), Rottboellia, Andropogon, 
Apluda, Pennisetum, etc., all tall grasses ; while the interspersed groups of 
trees contain to a great extent the genera Eucalyptus (E. tereticornis, Sm., 
alba, Reinw., clavigera, A. Cunn., terminalis, F. v. M., and perhaps others) 
and other Myrtacese, Acacia [A. Simsii, A. Cunn., A. holosericea, A. Cunn, 
and another), and Proteacese. The character of the savannas on the Fly 
River is almost, or quite, identical with the character of York Peninsula, 
the northernmost point of which is only about 100 miles distant from the 
mouth of the Fly River, but this is the only part of Papua in which strong 
affinities to the flora of Australia are shown. It seems strange that the Aus- 
tralian flora has not taken greater possession of New Guinea, but it would 
appear that collections show that Australian plants are strangers in Papua, 
the types of the flora being South Asiatic, Australian plants being very 
scantily sprinkled in Papua with the single exception of the Fly River 
savannas. This statement is made with some reservation, on account of the 
incompleteness of the data. 

Prof. Warburg remarks that if Papua were connected with Australia 
through the York Peninsula at one time, which is very probable, it must 
have been before the time that Eucalyptus became such a prominent feature 
in the flora of Australia. At the same time, Eucalyptus is common in the 
savannas of the Fly River. 

By far the majority of the genera of Papuan plants are those of the 
Malayan Archipelago, those genera which have the most species in the eastern 
part of Malaya having the most species in Papua ; but it would be wrong tc 
consider the flora of Papua identical with the flora of Malaya, the number of 
endemic genera and species being too great. 

Epiphytic Rhododendrons are common in high elevations in German 
Papua, connecting the flora with the Himalaya ; a Rhododendron is also 
found on the highest mountain in Queensland, the Bellenden-Ker Range. 
Prof. Warburg states that Rhododendrons, mostly beautifully large- 
flowered species, are common on the Papuan mountain ranges at high 
elevations, and that there are two Coniferge (Phyllocladus hypophylla and 
Libocedrus papuana) both closely allied with species he met in mountain 
regions of Borneo. These genera are also found in New Zealand, the former 
genus being found in Tasmania also. Several species of Quercus (Oak) are 
found in high mountain regions in Papua, connecting the flora with the 
Himalaya ; no Quercus has yet been found in Australia. 

As far as is known of the floras of Papua, New Zealand, and the Melanesian 
Islands, endemism is greatest in Papua, though New Caledonia may be found 
to equal it when the flora is better known. 

M 2 

180 Federal Handbook. 

The following genera are recorded from the summit of the Bellenden-Ker 
(Queensland) Kange : — 

Hibbertia (Dilleniaceae) ; Melicope (Rutaceae) ; Leptospermum, Myrtus, 
Rhodamnia (Myrtaceae) ; Pentapanax (Araliaceae) ; Scwvola 
(Goodeniaceae) ; Agapetes (Vacciniacese) ; Trochocarpa, Dracro- 
phyllum (Epacrideae) ; Rhododendron (Ericaceae) ; Orites (Pro- 
The only genera of special interest to the student of the Papuan flora are 
Agapetes and Rhododendron. Agapetes is closely allied to Vaccinium ; it 
contains about 30 species, chiefly from the southern Himalaya, and a small 
number from Fiji, Borneo, and Papua ; the two species from Papua 
have been found at high elevations on the Mount Owen Stanley Range. 
Rhododendron has been already alluded to. Dracophyllum is so far interesting 
in that it connects the Bellenden-Ker flora with the Antarctic ; the genus 
is common in the Antarctic Islands and Tasmania, while one species is found 
in New South Wales, in Lord Howe Island, in New Zealand, and New Cale- 
donia, being found chiefly in mountainous regions. It is not found in Papua, 
as far as the author knows, nor in Malaya and Asia. 

Bentham* remarks that an exchange has evidently taken place in plants 
not strictly maritime between north-eastern Australia and New Caledonia 
and other islands of the South Pacific, but not to any great extent. More 
Australian types appear to be represented in New Caledonia than New 
Caledonian ones in Australia. 

(c) The Antarctic Element (so called). 
Hooker, f following Forster, used the expression " Antarctic plants of 
Australia," which are not so called because they really inhabit the country 
of that name beyond the polar circle, but because, in a botanical point of 
view, no less in a position relative to the south temperate flora, they repre- 
sent the Arctic flora. He adds that they might indeed almost be called alpine 
plants, for many, which are found at the level of the sea in the so-called 
Antarctic islands, also ascend the mountains of more genial latitudes. 
Bentham J then speaks of the connexion of the alpine flora of Tasmania, 
Victoria, and New South Wales with the general southern extra-tropical 
and mountain region, extending through New Zealand to the southern end 
of the American continent and thence up the Andes. Many of the Australian 
species of this type are identical with or closely representative of New Zealand 
ones, and some have a much wider range. He adds tha£ it is probably 
through this connexion that a few species belonging to the temperate or 
cooler floras of the northern hemisphere have evidently, in very remote 
times, become represented in Australia. 

Hooker noted the following genera as most characteristic of the Antarc- 
tic regions : — -Colobanthus, Accena, Donatia, Nertera, Forstera, Leptinella 
(Cotula), Ourisia, Drapetes, Fagus, Oreobolus, Lomatia, Carpha. 

Hemsley§ discusses the Antarctic flora, and using the plants enumerated 
by Engler,|| adds very extensively to the list given by Hooker, and makes 
interesting deductions. 

* Pref. to B. Fl. VII. 

t " Introd. Essay to Flora of Tasmania," p. LXXXIX. 

% Pref. to B. Fl. VII. 

§ " Introd. to Rep. on Insular Floras " (Challnger Rep. Bol., 1. 50). 

|| Versuch einer Entwicklungs geschichte der Pflanzenwelt. 

Australian Vegetation. 181 

The tabular view of the distribution of the Phanerogams of the islands 
south of New Zealand by T. F. Cheeseman,* together with the notes on the 
affinities of the flora, are most suggestive. See also valuable botanical con- 
tributions by Dr. L. Cockayne, E. M. Laing, and D. Petrie in the same work r 
to which I can only invite the attention of workers in this condensed sketch. 

These Antarctic representatives are chiefly to be found in Tasmania ; 
the Tasmanian flora has a surprising number of plants in common with the 
flora of the Australian Alps of Victoria and New South Wales, but the genera 
represented in northern New South Wales {e.g., Fagus) and Queensland 
{e.g., a Dracophyllum on Mt. Bellender-Ker) are much fewer, as are also 
those of Kangaroo Island and South Australia. 

12. Affinities with the South African Flora. 

The flora of South Africa and Australia have a great many species in 
common, but hardly any that are confined to the two regions ; all, or nearly 
all, the species found in South Africa and in Australia are cosmopolitan 
plants, or plants of a wide geographical distribution, therefore without any 
value in regard to the development of the flora. Even the genera the two 
countries have in common are not numerous. Still there are many affinities 
between them, but the connexion that once probably existed, via the Ant- 
arctic, must have been separated so long ago that their common ancestors 
had time to develop into distinct species and genera. For instance : Aus- 
tralia has 34 genera of Proteaceae, mostly endemic, but some are also found 
in New Zealand, New Caledonia, and Malaya. South Africa has eleven 
genera, mostly endemic. Not a single genus of Proteaceae is common to Aus- 
tralia and South Africa. 

Hooker points out that by far the greater number of the known species 
of Proteacese and Restiaceae are confined to these two countries. Of our 
Australian Restiaceae, the genera Restio, Leptocarpus, and Hypolcena are 
common to both. 

The enormous time that must have passed since the separation of the 
two floras by some geological changes is still better expressed by the Epacrideae 
and Ericaceae. The common ancestors of the two families probably lived in 
both continents, and, as in Proteaceae, the descendants developed along 
different lines ; for some reason genera with anthers opening in terminal 
pores (Ericaceae) prevailed in South Africa, and genera with anthers opening 
in parallel slits prevailed in Australia (Epacrideae). The same characteristic 
goes through most families, though it is most pronounced in Proteaceae, 
Epacrideae, and Ericaceae. 

Benthamf discusses the connexions of the Australian and South African 
floras from the point of view of Compositae. 

Setting aside the cosmopolitan genera Senecio and Gnaphalium, the 
following genera are common to the two regions : — 

Brachycome . . . . 41 Australian, 1 South African sp. 











.. 7 



.. 8 


* " Sub-antarctic Islands of New Zealand," ed. Dr. C. Chilton, Vol. II., Systematic Botany, p. 389. 
f Journ. Linn. Soc. XIII., 552. 

182 Federal Handbook. 

Bolus and Woolley-Dod* remark that the following families, characteristic 
of Australian vegetation, abound most, after Australia, in South Africa, 
viz., Thymelaceae, Hsemodoraceae, Droseracese ; and another point of 
approach is found in the remarkable deficiency in both countries of the widely 
diffused families Rubiaceae, Lauraceae, Araceae. 

Hooker, who first discussed the subject,")" offered the hypothesis of a common 
origin of the Australian and South West African flora, derived from ancestors 
inhabiting a vast Antarctic continent of which the greater part has been 
submerged. He thought Western Australia was connected with the Cape 
district by land at a time when it was severed from eastern Australia. In 
this connexion, MoseleyJ asks how it is that marsupials are not found at the 
Cape, being nevertheless found in the Great Oolite in England ? It would 
seem necessary almost that they must have been present at the Cape and have 
died out, unless it is possible that Proteaceae and Restiaceae are very much 
older than marsupials, in which case they would have been very old indeed. 

13. The Australian Flora as a Whole. 

Australia has three grand types of flora- — the brilliant inflorescences of 
the dry sandy plains of Western Australia ; the luxurious vegetation of 
eastern Queensland and New South Wales and the alpine plants of Tas- 
mania. South Australia, the north-west of Victoria, and the vast western 
plains of New South Wales and Queensland approximate to the botanical 
conditions of the western State. Many Tasmanian or allied plants extend 
to south-eastern Australia generally, viz., most of Victoria and the south- 
eastern portion of New South Wales, the flora of Victoria being intermediate 
in character. The rain forests of western Tasmania are unique, and on the 
mainland are most closely approached by those of the Cape Otway district 
of Victoria. 

Bentham remarks that maritime plants, ranging at least from the Mas- 
carene Islands to those of the Pacific, are also to be found on the Australian 
coasts, mostly in identical species, with the addition of a few representative 

The following families are entirely confined to Australia or almost so, 
e.g., Tremandreae, Stackhousiaceae, Candolleaceae, Goodeniaceae, Casuarinaceae, 
Phillhydreae, together with the phyllodineous Acacias, which form an enormous 
majority of the genus, and Eucalyptus. * 

It is sometimes stated that the Australian flora is of a primitive character, 
but Moore strongly asserts that this is the result of bias imparted by the 
zoological data. " In what respect, it may be asked, is the flora of Australia 
less highly specialized ? Are not most of the great natural orders 
strong constituents of it — trees, some of them of gigantic size, shrubs, 
undershrubs, and herbs, parasites and saprophytes, climbing and carnivorous 
species, flowers adapted to profit by the visits of insects, and sometimes 
provided with a complex mechanism to insure such profit — all these are met 
with in Australia. In addition, the adaptability to the dry climate is 
wonderful, and in this respect, taking into account the variety of ways in 
which the destructive effects of a scorching sun and parched soil are guarded 

* Trans. South Africa Philos. Soc, XIV., 229. 

t Op. cit., p. XCII. 

X " Notes by a Naturalist" (Challenger), Chap. VI. 

Australian Vegetation. 183 

against, the Australian flora is without a parallel the world over. And if 
these be not evidences of high specialization, it is difficult to know where 
one must look for such."* 

Reference will first be made to some families of wide Australian distri- 
bution, each State then being discussed in turn, and its physical features 
briefly described, with especial reference to the flora, and, finally, such families 
as are mainly represented in any particular State, will be enumerated under 
that State. 

The Rutace^e are widely diffused in Australia, extending from the coast 
to the interior. The family mostly consists of floriferous shrubs, very deco- 
rative for gardens, and also including a number of trees, belonging to Evodia, 
Acronychia, and allied genera, chieffy found in the brushes of New South 
Wales and Queensland. The genus Boronia now consists of 72 species, 
and 44 of them are Western Australian, most of them being peculiar to that 
State, New South Wales coming next with 25. Eriostemon, as defined by 
Mueller, includes such genera as Crowea, Phebalium, Asterolasia, and Micro- 
cybe, and most botanists do not follow him in this. In this larger grouping 
we have a second genus of 72 species, and no genus of Rutacese is more evenly 
diffused throughout the continent. The genera Nematolepis, Chorilama, 
Diplolcena are confined to Western Australia, while Brombya, Pagetia, 
Glycosmis, Murraya, Clausena, have not been found out of Queensland. 
Acradenia is purely Tasmanian. 

The Stackhousiace^e form an almost entirely Australian family of herbs 
usually quite small, and with Stackhousia by far the most important genus. 
Twenty-two species have been described so far, well distributed throughout 
the States. 

Of the Hbamn acem, Alphitonia excelsa, Reiss., is a moderately abundant 
tree of the brushes of New South Wales and Queensland, with conspicu- 
ously pale undersides to the leaves and bluish black fruits with reddish-brown 
seeds embedded in a brown powdery substance, and a remarkable timber 
of a pale colour which, on exposure to the light, very gradually assumes a 
rich red tint. The really important genera are two, Pomaderris and Cryp- 
tandra, the latter including (according to Mueller) the genera Trymalium, 
Spyridium, and Stenanthemum. Bentham, however, disagrees with such 
inclusion. Pomaderris is more eastern than western, and the reverse is the 
case as regards Gryptandra ; the former is especially well developed in 
Victoria and New South Wales. 

Sapindace^e are fairly well developed in Australia, and almost every 
species is endemic. The genus Dodoncea (Hopbushes) occurs in every State, 
and extends from the coast to the interior. Most of the species are shrubs, 
and the Pinnatse section comprises many beautiful ones. The genera 
Atalaya, Alectryon, Cupaniopsis, &c. (Cupania, Nephelium), are chiefly 
trees of the coastal brushes of Queensland and New South Wales ; Atalaya 
hemiglauca, F. v. M., the Whitewood, is an important inland tree. 

The Leguminos^: stands at the head of Australian families, with 1,276 
species, and the number is steadily being added to. The family includes a 
very large number of species with ornamental flowers, which make gay the 
Australian bush. 

* Spencer Moore, " Suggestions upon the origin of the Australian Flora." Nat. Sci. XV., 1899, p. 207. 

184 Federal Handbook. 

In the section Papilionace^: the genera Brachysema, Chorizema, Gastro- 
lobum, Isotropis, Burtonia, Jacksonia, Sphcerolobium, Latrobea, Eutaxia are 
practically Western Australian, as are mainly so many other genera. The 
genera Lamprolobium, Tephrosia, Desmodium, Cajanus, Rhynchosia, Flemingia, 
belong to the other side of the continent. Not many trees are included in 
this section ; one of them is the gorgeous Erythrina vespertilio, Benth., the 
Batswing Coral, with beautiful crimson flowers and cuneate leaves, and which 
is found in the warmer parts of the continent. 

Of the section Csesalpinese the most important genus is Cassia (30 species), 
for the greater part yellow flowering, and mostly shrubs, an exception being 
the moderate-sized tree (C. Brewsteri, F. v. M.), which bears trusses of most 
beautiful colour varying from yellow to orange and red. Most of the species 
prefer the dry country, only a few being found on the coast. 

The section Mimosese is almost entirely taken up with the genus Acacia, 
by far the largest genus in Australia, 412 species having been described to 
date. It is divided into two grand sections, the Phyllodinese, the leaves mostly 
phyllodinous without leaflets, and the Bipinnatse, with bipinnate leaves. 
The latter section has under 30 species, about 380 thus falling into the 
Phyllodinese, which is almost entirely Australian, a few other species belonging 
to this section occurring in India, Malaysia, and the Pacific Islands. 

Acacias are universally known in Australia as Wattle, or prefaced by 
adjectives, such as Silver, Golden, Black, Green ; they also bear such names 
as Myall, Boree, Mulga, Brigalow, Cooba, Dead Finish, Gidgee, Hickory, 
Umbrella Bush, Wait-a-while and Yarran, some of which are distinctive 
for species. The wattle has been adopted as the unofficial floral emblem 
of Australia ; it is represented on the national coat of arms and on postal 
notes ; will be on postage stamps, and is used for decorative purposes in 
a variety of ways. The genus is found in every State, from the coast to 
the arid interior, in swamps c.nd on tLe dry sides of mountains, by the 
banks of rivers, and on the dry plains. They vary in size from 3 or 4 
inches in height ; most are shrubs of a few feet, while many are small trees, 
and some may be trees of great size, i.e., 100 or 150 feet. Some are of 
economic importance for tan-bark or timber. 

The family Halorrhagide^e is mainly represented by the genus Haloragis y 
which is chiefly Australian, but a few species are also found fn New Zealand , 
in eastern Asia, in South Africa, and extra-tropical South America. There 
are 36 Australian species, and Bent ham states that one species extends to 
New Zealand and the island of Juan Fernandez, 2 to New Zealand and eastern 
Asia, 1 to New Zealand only, the remaining 32 being endemic. They are 
mostly herbs and small shrubs with not showy flowers. 

The Myrtace^: come second in point of number of species, 816 having 
been described so far ; the family includes two very large genera, Eucalyptus, 
with 230 species, and Melaleuca, with 112. These belong to the tribe Lep- 
tospermse (capsular, and entirely or chiefly Australian). The tribe Chamae- 
laucise has a dry, indehiscent one-seeded fruit, while the third tribe, the 
Myrteae, has an indehiscent berry or drupe. The vast majority of plants 
belonging to the family are worthy of cultivation on account of the beauty 
of their flowers, or of the neatness of the foliage or the shapeliness of the tree 
or shrub, or for their timber or essential oil. 

Australian Vegetation. 185 

Tribe Chamcelauciece. — It is of course quite impossible to be more than 
exceedingly brief with such an all -pervading family. Darwinia, Calycothrix 
(Fringed Myrtle), Verticordia, and Lhotzhja are almost exclusively Western 
Australian, though the first two are represented by very numerous individuals 
which extend to the eastern States. Thryptomene, though predominantly 
western, is more widely diffused in the other States than the remaining 
genera. All are shrubs. Chamcelaucium uncinatum, Schau., the " Gerald- 
ton Wax-flower," of Western Australia, is a shrub with large persistent pink 
flowers, and is one of the best shrubs ever introduced into cultivation. 

Tribe Leptospermce. — The genus BcecJcia is mostly Western Australian, 
the sections Oxymyrrhine and Babingtonia exclusively so. In New South 
Wales this genus is much less frequently met with, and particularly so as the 
Queensland and Victorian borders are approached. Hypocalymma, Calo- 
thamnus, and Eremcea are exclusively western, and Beaufortia just extends 
to the Northern Territory. Agonis is western, with two eastern species. 
The important genera Leptospermum, Kunzea, and Melaleuca (all called Tea- 
trees, though often shrubs) are well diffused throughout the States, and 
Callistemon (one of the groups of plants called Bottle-brushes) is mainly 
eastern. The genus Eucalyptus will be referred to separately. The important 
genera Tristania (Brush Box), Syncarpia (Turpentine), Bachhousia are 
notable if only from the fact that they are exclusively eastern, and mostly 
denizens of the brushes. 

The genus Eucalyptus, which comprises about 230 species, comes 
second only to Acacia in point of number amongst Australian genera, but it 
is so widespread and so abundant, that it is doubtless the most numerous 
in individuals of any. It is easily recognised by the operculum of the 

The vast majority of flowers of Eucalyptus have white or cream-coloured 
filaments ; those with very showy crimson or scarlet or yellow filaments 
are mostly entirely confined to western and tropical Australia. In eastern 
Australia E. sideroxylon, A. Cunn., an Ironbark, very commonly has indi- 
vidual trees with pink or crimson filaments, while in a number of species 
such variation in coloration has also been observed but only rarely. In 
Western Australia there are E. erythrocorys, F. v. M., and E. Preissiana, 
Schauer, with bright yellow filaments, and E. ficifolia, F. v. M., E. macro- 
carpa, Hook., E. pyriformis, Turcz., E. phcenicea, F. v. M., and a few others 
have beautiful red filaments, while those of E. miniata, A. Cunn., are orange- 

The formation of adventitious shoots or " suckers," as they are invariably 
called in Australia, is well known to most people in Europe because of the 
difference in their appearance and that of the normal foliage. In Australian 
forests the phenomenon is forced upon the average man to an extent quite 
unknown in Europe, partly because there is so much primaeval forest, partly 
because the extensive destruction of forest for arable or pastoral land is a 
matter of every-day occurrence, and partly because the contrast between 
sucker-leaves and normal-leaves is, as a very general rule, greater than it is 
in Europe. 

These suckers are the curse of the pastoralist, who destroys the trees by 
ringbarking, to be followed by clearing or not, and who, as a rule, treats every 

186 Federal Handbook. 

species of Eucalyptus (the predominant arboreal vegetation) indiscriminately, 
and without regard for the season of the year. This empiricism often results 
in vigorous second growths. Of late years, some attention has been given, 
by the most intelligent land-owners, to physiological principles, the ringing 
being done when the tree is in full flush of leaves or in flower. The poisoning 
of trees by treating the rung surface by arsenic is being experimented upon 
in different parts of Australia. 

The barks of Eucalyptus trees vary greatly, but, being so easily seen from 
a distance, afford a ready diagnostic aid to classification of groups and even 
determination of species. The variation being so very great, these field 
observations require care in application. The usual or most elementary 
kind of bark is the smooth one, called the " G-um," and more or less glaucous, 
and more or less thick ; we find this bark from the sandy coastal flats to the 
bleak swamps and mountain areas and away to the arid interior, e.g., White 
Gum (E. hcemastoma, Sm.), Red gum (E. rostrata, Schlecht.). In the interior 
this is the prevalent kind of bark, with more or less (generally not very much) 
blackish or hard scaly or flaky-fibrous bark at the butt. Often the roughness 
is mere bulls' wool. Barks with smooth surfaces (e.g., Grey Gum, E. punctata, 
DC, E. teretieornis, Sm.), however, exfoliate, usually in patches, and the newly 
exposed surface later on becomes harder, and exfoliates in its turn. Thus 
there is constant renewal of the bark of a smooth tree always in progress. 
In this way the bark grows and provides for the gradually increasing diameter 
of the stem. In some cases the patches are long and the older bark contains 
more fibre, with sufficient tenacity to form long ribbons (e.g., Ribbony Gums, 
E. viminalis, Labill.). These are commonly found in the cooler tablelands 
of the southern and eastern States, and, when rendered supple by the rain 
and blown about by a strong wind, they stand out like the arms of a sema- 

There is also that form of bark which is scaly all over the trunk, a form 
usually associated with the so-called Bloodwoods, e.g., E. corymbosa, Sm. 
(heavy red-kino producers), which are usually found in sterile sandstone 
areas from the coast to the interior. 

The bark may develop along two directions, one, such as is found in the 
Stringybark, which has a thick fibrous covering, with the fibres set longi- 
tudinally ; the other, as in the case of the Box or Apple-batk, in which the 
fibre may be more compact or felted (e.g., E. hemiphloia, F. v. M., E. 
Stuartiana, F. v. M.). If the fibrous bark be thinner and looser, it is often 
termed Peppermint (e.g., E. piperita, Sm., E. amygdalina, Labill.), and here 
there are transitions on the other hand, to the Ribbony Gums. 

Then there is a very hard furrowed bark, often black from age, known 
as Ironbark, the evolution of which Augustus Oldfield many years ago 
attributed to the longitudinal cracking of the bark accompanied by the 
matting caused by the discharge of a large amount of astringent exuda- 

Amongst the types briefly defined there are all sorts of intermediate 
forms. Nor is the nomenclature of the different kinds of trees uniform ; 
for example, the term Box, arising primarily from a tough interlocked timber, 
is often applied to a timber of such a class, irrespective as to whether it has 
the E. hemiphloia, F. v. M. (the original Australian Box), type of bark. It 

Australian Vegetation. 187 

may have an almost ribbony bark. Very few barks are entirely smooth, 
and these are inclined to be thick and juicy ; the character of the bark is 
probably a protective adaption against bush-fires. As the tropics are 
approached, the tendency of all Eucalypts is to have a smooth bark, or with 
a little scaly bark at the butt. 

The timbers as regards colour may be roughly divided into red, brown, 
and pale. Red timbers may be found both in the interior {e.g., E. rostrata, 
Schlecht., E. microtheca, F. v. M., E. salmonophloia, F. v. M.), or in the com- 
paratively well-watered coastal districts (E. marginata, Sm., E. resinifera, 
Sm., E. saligna, Sm.) ; but in the dry districts of eastern Western Australia 
the timber is nearly always cigar-brown in colour. The pale timber {e.g., 
E. pilularis, Sm., E. microcorys, F. v. M., E. gomphocephala, DC.) is mainly 
found in well-watered districts. 

Most timbers are more or less interlocked, the Ironbarks affording an 
extreme case, but a few are fissile, of which the G-ippsland Mountain Ash. 
{E. regnans, F. v. M.) is a type. 

Mallee is the term formerly employed to denote shrubby Eucalypts 
with a thickened root-stock from which many stems spring ; the term now 
often includes species without the thickened root-stock. Marlock is the 
Western Australian equivalent to Mallee, and includes all gum scrub 
on a sand-plain. Gum scrub species never (or very exceptionally) attain 
the dignity of a tree from which timber may be cut. 

E. rostrata, Schlecht., is probably the most widely diffused of all species. 
It is moisture-loving, and follows the course of streams, or may be 
found in depressions in which, on the rare occasions on which rain does 
fall, it may find its way to the subjacent strata. 

Tribe Myrtece. — This group is entirely eastern, and with one solitary 
exception {Eugenia Smithii, Poir., the " Lilly Pilly "), which extends to 
Victoria, belongs to New South Wales and Queensland, and chiefly to the 
latter. With hardly an exception, the whole tribe is found in brushes, 
and the members of it usually go by the name of Myrtles, very much oftener 
than the remainder of the Myrtacese. Eugenia is by far the most important 
genus, and it includes a number of medium-sized or large trees, often planted 
for ornament, on account of their symmetry, the dainty colouring of their 
young foliage, the beauty of their abundant fruit, and the neatness of their 
(usually) white flowers. Myrtus is a beautiful and important genus of 
shrubs and trees, belonging even more to Queensland than to New South 
Wales. Rhodomyrtus is of less importance, while the handsome Barring- 
tonias are mainly tropical. 

Umbellifer^e form a valuable constituent of the vegetation of Aus- 
tralia. Hydrocotyle is the largest genus (32 species), and all are endemic 
but two ; it is widely diffused, but mainly Western Australian. Didiscus 
(26 species) is exclusively Australian and well diffused throughout the States. 
Trachymene {Siebera) is practically endemic, and has 30 Australian species, 
mainly western, but with a noticeable eastern (New South Wales and Queens- 
land) representation. Xanthosia is an endemic genus of not specially orna- 
mental herbs, mainly, but by no means exclusively, occurring in Western 
Australia. Actinotus is also endemic ; New South Wales has 5, Western 
Australia 4, and Tasmania 3 species. A. Helianihi, Labill., is the well-known 

188 Federal Handbook. 

" Flannel Flower " of New South Wales, and A. rotundifolia, DC, the 
" Southern Cross " of Western Australia. 

The Composite take the fourth place in the flora of Australia, with 
635 species. In the Flora Australiensis, Bentham gave the number at nearly 
500, arranged under 88 genera, 39 (of which 18 were then monotypic) being 
endemic to Australia. I compute that there are at present 101 indigenous 
genera, 56 of which are endemic, and of these 25 monotypic. 

The principal genera are Aster, 71 species ; Helichrysum, 70 ; Helipterum, 
54 ; Brachycome, 41 ; Calotis, 18 ; Podolepis, 17 ; Angianthus, 25; Gnephosis, 
18 ; Senecio, 30. 

It is not surprising, considering the facility (e.g., by means of pappuses), 
with which so many species are distributed, that there is less local distribu- 
tion of Composites than in any other large family. 

Some species, e.g., Helichrysum, Helipterum, Waitzia, Cephalipterum 
are cultivated as " Everlastings " .; others, e.g., Aster, Humea, Ammobium, 
Senecio, Brachycome, are herbs and shrubs capable of adorning the garden ; 
while some are mere weeds. 

The G-oodeniaceje are almost entirely Australian. The family contains 
here 294 species, divided into Goodenia, 112 ; Sccevola, 68 ; Dampiera, 54 ; 
Leschenaultia, 22 ; Velleia, 19 ; and representatives are to be found nearly 
all over the continent, Goodenia being most widely diffused. Sccevola is found 
to a comparatively small extent near the coasts of other continents. The 
family is remarkable for a cup-shaped or two lipped dilatation at the top, 
called the indusium, and which encloses the stigma. The colour of the 
flowers of Goodenia and Velleia are yellow, Sccevola generally purple, Dam- 
piera blue, and Leschenaultia, the most brilliant blue it is possible to imagine, 
and because of the profusion of the flowers, a sight of Leschenaultia country 
in the spring is a memorable recollection. 

Goodenia is, by majority, Western Australian (48), but there is a strong 
South Australian element (25), while Victoria has 10 species. Queensland 
(18) and Northern Australia (21) are even better represented. The genus 
has 16 species in New South Wales, nor is it absent from Tasmania (6). 
Scwvola is mainly Western Australian, with a good sprinkling in the other 
States, and the same may be said of Dampiera. Leschenaultia is the heritage 
of the western State, no Western Australian representatives being found in 
the other States ; two species are found in South Australia, one is found 
in Northern Australia, Queensland, and New South Wales, and two others in 
Northern Australia, of which one belongs also to Queensland. 

The Ericaceae are but poorly represented, three species of Gaultheria 
being found in Tasmania, one of which extends to Victoria and New South 
Wales, while a Pernettya and a Wittsteinia occur in Tasmania and Victoria 
respectively. A Rhododendron and an Agapetes occur on the summit of 
Mount Bellenden-Ker, in Queensland. 

But we have our compensation in the profusion of Epacridace^e, both 
as regards species (301) and individuals. The two grand divisions into 
Stypheliese, with indehiscent, usually drupaceous fruit, and the Epacrese, 
with loculicidally dehiscent capsule, are sharply defined. Taking the genus 
Styphelia, it is a question of one large genus (193 species at present) or a 
number of genera as defined by Kobert Brown and others, and approved 

Australian Vegetation. 189 

by Bentham. It is admitted at once that these are species with intermediate 
characters, but the genera or sub-genera, to which I have referred, have 
mostly such characteristic facies that it seems regrettable to abandon them. 
The position is admirably summed up by Bentham in the Flora Australiensis, 
V., 145, and most field botanists will agree with him. 

The genus Leucopogon, readily known by its small white flowers with 
bearded corolla lobes, has 133 species, and it is almost exclusively Australian. 
Most of the species are Western Australian, New South Wales coming next 
in order of number, but the genus is represented in all the States. The mono- 
typic genera Needhamia and Oligarrhena are Western Australian, as are also 
the small genera Coleanthera and Conostephium, while Melichrus is east 

The original genus Styphelia (" Five Corners ") has eleven species, chiefly 
New South Wales and then Western Australian, while Astroloma is mainly 
Western Australian, with three species that extend to New South Wales. 
Space does not permit detailed reference to the remaining genera, except to 
say that when in fruit many of the shrubs look very beautiful, and that 
Tasmania is the State in which to see them at their best. Some of the 
Stypheliese in flower are very pretty. 

The beauty of the section Epacrese rests mainly in its flowers, and the 
genus Epacris (30 species) stands out pre-eminent in that respect. The genus 
is mostly east Australian, New South Wales having 19 species, although 
those of Tasmania and Victoria are glorious. Then there are the orna- 
mental genera Andersonia (20 species) and Sphenotoma (6), both peculiar to 
Western Australia and allied to Sprengelia. The genera Richea (8) and 
Dracophyllum (4) are herbs or small shrubs with a monocotyledonous aspect, 
as pointed out by Bentham. They are mostly Tasmanian, and the genus 
Richea is there known as " Grass-tree." R. Gunnii, Hook., extends to the 
Australian Alps of Victoria and New South Wales. Dracophyllum is smaller 
(the giant D. Fitzgeraldi, F. v. M., occurs in Lord Howe Island) ; two species 
are Tasmanian, and New South Wales and Queensland have one each. 

The Solanace^e are chiefly represented in Australia by the genera 
Solanum (56 species), Anthocercis, 18 ; while the principal masticatory of the 
aborigines is Duboisia Hopwoodii, F. v. M., a shrub found only in the interior ; 
there are three other species, two belonging to the brushes of the east coast. 
The genus Solanum is best developed in New South Wales and Queensland, 
but South Australia is well represented, and Western Australia only a little 
less. Anthocercis is endemic and differs only from Duboisia in having a 
capsular fruit. The genus is mainly Western Australian, but has many 
representatives in New South Wales and Victoria. 

The Myoporace^ form an almost entirely Australian family, the genus 
Myoporum being represented only to a small extent in the Indian Archi- 
pelago and the Pacific Islands, and by one species in tropical Africa. One 
Australian species (M. tenuifolium, G. Forst.) extends to New Caledonia. 
There are in all fifteen species, and they are well distributed throughout 
the States, M. platycarpum, E. Br., the " Sugar Tree," which often 
exudes a saccharine substance, being a well-known tree of the interior. 

But the glory of the family is the genus Eremophila (including Pholidia), 
of which there are no less than 91 species. They are mainly Western and 

190 Federal Handbook. 

South Australian, with a very strong New South Wales contingent. From 
the other States (except Tasmania) they are by no means absent. They are 
essentially dry country species, and are mostly of an ornamental character, 
bearing a profusion of flowers, varied and dainty in tint, but the colour is 
unfortunately lost in drying. They are shrubs varying in size. 

The Verbenace^e will be found very interesting. The whole of the 
genera of the Chloantheae are endemic. Of the other sections the Lantana 
(L. Camara, L.) is an introduced species, and its aggressiveness has caused 
great devastation in eastern New South Wales and Queensland. Gmelina 
has three species, and includes G. Leichhardtii, F. v. M., a beautiful tree of 
the brushes of New South Wales and Queensland, which yields the especially 
valuable timber known as " Native Beech." Avicennia officinalis, L., widely 
distributed in other parts of the world, is known here as "White Mangrove," 
and encircles the Australian coast ; it is absent from Tasmania. 

Of the endemic genera, Lachnostachys is confined to Western Australia, 
and its nine species are more or less densely hairy, which has obtained for 
them the name of " Blanket Plants." Newcastlia is also a woolly genus 
with six Western and five South Australian species. Physopsis and Mallo- 
phora are closely allied genera, alike woolly and western. Dicrastylis is an 
allied genus of six Western and five South Australian species, and two have 
recently been described from Queensland. 

The most important genus is Ghloanthes (including Pityrodia, the amal- 
gamation of which is not concurred in by all botanists), which now comprise 
26 species almost exclusively Western Australian, only one extending to 
Victoria, 2 to New South Wales, 2 to Queensland, and 4 to northern Aus- 
tralia. Hemiphora and Denisonia are monotypic, the former from Western 
and the latter from Northern Australia. Cyanostegia has two species from 
Western and one from Northern Australia. 

Of the Labiate, the genera of the well-marked tribe Prostantherese are 
alone endemic of the five genera which compose it. Prostanthera is by far 
the most important (50 species), followed by Hemigenia (including Hemi- 
andra), 37 ; Microcorys, 16 ; and Westringia, 10. As regards Prostanthera, 
the preponderance of species (33) is in New South Wales, but there is a strong 
Victorian and South Australian element, only seven species occurring in 
Western Australia. With the prevailing colour of the ftowers purple or 
purplish, some of the species are singularly floriferous and beautiful, and would 
adorn any garden. The lovely P. Sieberi, Benth., of eastern New South 
Wales, and P. lasianthos, Labill., "Mint Bush," a tall shrub winch lines 
water-courses in most of the States, may be cited. 

Hemigenia is mainly Western Australian, though New South Wales 
and Queensland each have two species. Microcorys is Western Australian 
except as regards one species, which spreads into South Australia. West- 
ringia is more evenly distributed, Western and South Australia each having 3 
species ; Tasmania, 4 ; Queensland, 5 ; Victoria and New South Wales, 6. 

The family Chenopodiace^ is so widely diffused, and of such high 
economic importance to pastoralists, that we are apt to look upon it as more 
Australian than it really is. Some of the principal genera are not endemic 
in Australia, e.g., Chenopodium, Atriplex, Kochia, but they are richly repre- 
sented by endemic species, while the number of individuals is legion. " 

Australian Vegetation. 191 

bush " being the characteristic vegetation of enormous areas. While the 
genera are well distributed throughout the States, they are indicative of 
salinity, and are most commonly found in regions of low rainfall or in proximity 
to the sea. Atriplex is represented by 32 species ; Rkagodia, 13 ; Chenopo- 
dium, 11 ; Kochia (Cotton-bush), 30 ; Bassia, 37. 

The genus Philotus (Trichinium) is an extensive and purely Australian 
genus (76 species) of Amarantace^e, usually, but not exclusively, occurring 
in regions of low rainfall. The flowers are in dense cylindroid spikes, usually 
pink, purple, or yellowish, and often known as " Silky-heads." The indi- 
viduals are often gregarious, covering large areas with a bright colouring. 

The Proteace^e form the third in order of abundance of species in Aus- 
tralia, having 667 distributed over 34 genera, some of the principal being 
Grevillea (193), Hakea (107), Persoonia (62), Dryandra (49), Banksia (48). 
Australia is the chief seat of the family, although it is well represented in 
South Africa. Every tribe is represented in Australia. 

The distribution of the species within the States is as follows : — Western 
Australia is far ahead of any other State with 431 ; then follow in order 
New South Wales, 137 ; Queensland, 96 ; Victoria, 58 ; South Australia, 
41 ; North Australia, 36 ; Tasmania, 23. 

Very few genera do not occur in Western Australia, while Adenanthos, 
Simsia, Synaphia, and Dryandra are found there alone ; the monotypic 
genera Bellendena, Agastachys, and Cenarrhenes are confined to Tasmania ; 
Symphonema occurs only in New South Wales ; the monotypic genera 
Roupala, Musgravia, Carnarvonia, Buckinghamia, Darlingia, Cardwellia in 
Queensland, together with Hollandicea (two species). Hicksbeachia, Helicia, 
Macadamia, Strangea, Stenocarpus, Embothrium are confined to the brushes 
of New South Wales and Queensland. 

The genera Isopogon, Persoonia, Grevillea, Hakea, Banhsia occur in every 
State, while Grevillea and Persoonia are the only genera in which any State 
has more species than Western Australia ; the numbers being Grevillea — 
New South Wales, 77 ; Western Australia, 70 ; and Persoonia — New South 
Wales, 32 ; and Western Australia, 25. Lambertia shows the peculiar 
distribution of Western Australia, 7 ; and New South Wales, 1. 

The copious woodiness of the follicle is observed in many genera of Pro- 
teaceae, e.g., Hakea and Xylomelum ; in the latter genus it is so pronounced 
as to earn for it the name of " Wooden Pear " ; this protection to the seeds 
is doubtless a protective adaption in view of the frequent burning off which 
falls to the lot of Proteaceous shrubs. 

It is only in the brushes of New South Wales and Queensland that the 
Proteaceae attain their largest development, Macadamia ternifolia, F. v. M. 
(yielding an excellent edible nut) ; Orites excelsa, R. Br., and Grevillea robusta, 
A. Cunn. (both ' ; Silky Oaks ") ; Stenocarpus sinuatus, Endl. (the " Fire- 
tree ") and S. salignus, R. Br. (Red Silky Oak) ; Embothrium Wickhami, 
Hill and F. v. M. ; Buckinghamia celsissima, F. v. M., Cardwellia sublimis, 
F. v. M., and a few others attaining the magnitude of first-class trees. 

Hundreds of species of Proteaceae are well worthy of cultivation. Amongst 
the very great number of beautiful shrubs, the gorgeous Telopea speciosissima, 
R. Br., or " Waratah," stands pre-eminent. Of the trees, Grevillea robusta, 
A. Cunn., and Stenocarpus sinuatus, Endl., are, perhaps, oftenest seen in 

192 Federal Handbook. 

gardens, but there is a wonderful and beautiful collection to choose from. 
Many of the shrubs have charming " cut leaved " foliage, and are worthy 
of attention for that characteristic alone. Many of the Banhsias (" Bottle- 
brushes ") and Dryandras are delightful plants, often bizarre. In Western 
Australia some species of Conospermum, e.g., C. stcechadis, Endl., and C. 
floribundum, Benth. (Dwarf Smoke Bush), have such a copious tomentose 
white or greyish inflorescence as to give the appearance of smoking bushes, 
and in some districts they are in such abundance, to the local exclusion of 
almost every herbage, as to remind one of a heavy snow-fall, just thawing 
so as to show a little of the other herbage. 

The Thymelaceje are almost exclusively represented by the Australian 
genus Pimelea, of which we have 76 species, fairly well distributed throughout 
the States, with the exception of the sections Heterolcena and Calyptrostegia 
(sub section Calyptridium), which are all confined to Western Australia. 
They are usually small plants and not particularly ornamental, but some may 
be classed as such, expecially the showy Queensland P. hcematostachya, 
F. v. M. The bark of all is fibrous and very tough, and that obtained from 
the larger species was formerly used by the aborigines for making their 
little bags. 

Turning to the Santalace^e, Exocarpus includes the " Native Cherry," 
which has won so much renown through having " the stone outside the 
fruit," E. cupressiformis, Labill., being the best known. The genus is widely 
distributed throughout Australia. It is root-parasitic like so many of its 
congeners, the family in this respect, as well as in floral characters, showing 
close affinity to the Loranthacese. Leptomeria (" Native Currant ") and 
Choretrum are genera of erect leafless shrubs, the former more western and 
the latter more eastern in its distribution. The genus of most economic 
importance is Santalum, and includes species which furnish the Sandalwood 
of India and Polynesia. S. cygnorum, Miq., is the small tree which yields 
the Sandalwood of Western Australia, which has hitherto defied all attempts 
at reproduction on a commercial scale. It is in such demand that it is 
pulled up by the roots wherever seen, and visitors will observe pale- 
coloured, irregularly-shaped stems of it a few inches in diameter on trucks on 
the railways and on the wharf at Fremantle, for export to Singapore. The 
well-known Quindong is Fusanus acuminatus, R. Br. Botji genera extend 
to eastern Australia, but they are essentially plants of low rainfall. 

The Casuarinace^e, universally known as Oaks or She-oaks in Australia, 
consists of 29 species. Thirteen of them are confined to Western Australia, 
some are widely diffused, while a few are mostly eastern. Some are shrubs ; 
in the dry country there are trees of medium size ; in eastern Australia some 
species become very large. They occur in the desert, in dry rocky country, 
in saline soils both near the coast and inland, and the largest trees, River 
Oak (C. Cunninghamiana, Miq.), mark the courses of our eastern rivers. 

The family Taxace^e has five genera, Podocarpus (Nageia), Pherosphwra, 
Microcachrys, Dacrydium, and Phyllocladus. This family chiefly occurs in 
Tasmania, the Australian representatives of the genera Microcachrys, 
Dacrydium, and Phyllocladus being confined to that State. M. tetragona, 
Hook, f., is a small creeping wiry shrub, confined to mountain-tops ; D. 
Hook, f., a tall tree known as the " Huon Pine," found in the 

Australian Vegetation. 193 

south-west, and P. rhomboidalis, Rich., the " Celery Top Pine," is common 
on mountains chiefly to the south and west (of Tasmania). 

The genus Phcerophcera has two species, both shrubs, P. HooJcerianu,, 
Archer, found in Tasmania on the tops of mountains, and P. Fitzgeraldi, 
F. v. M., in a few localities in the higher parts of the Blue Mountains, New 
South Wales. 

The genus Podocarpus, called " Damsons " by the boys because of the 
enlarged succulent peduncle, comprises six species found in Australia, although 
the genus also occurs in South America and Eastern Asia. Five of our 
species are endemic, while one extends to Malaya. P. elata, R. Br., is the 
" She or Brown Pine," a large tree of New South Wales and Queensland, 
and P. Ladei, Bail., the so-called "Mt. Sturgeon Black Pine," is also a large 
tree, and occurs in northern Queensland. P. spinulosa, R. Br., is a bulky 
shrub of eastern New South Wales, and P. alpina, R. Br., is a straggling 
appressed shrub found on mountain tops in Tasmania and the Australian 
Alps. P. Drouyniana, F. v. M., is the only species found in Western Aus- 
tralia ; it grows in the south-west, and is looked upon as an indication of poor 
sandy land. It grows in dense clumps 3 ft. 6 in. in diameter, and bears the 
local name of " Emu-berry." 

Of the family Pinace^: there are two handsome Kauri Pines, Agathis 
{Dammar a) robusta, C. Moore, and A. P aimer stoni, F. v. M., both peculiar 
to coastal Queensland. The genus Araucaria has also two fine commercial 
trees, viz., A. Cunninghamii, Ait., the " Hoop or White Pine," of the brush 
forests of northern New South Wales and Queensland, and A. Bidwilli, Hook, f., 
the " Bunya Bunya," peculiar to southern Queensland, and bearing cones 
as large as a cmld's head, which furnish the large seeds used as food by the 
aborigines. A. excelsa, R. Br., so often seen planted in Australia, is the " Nor- 
folk Island Pine," and is not indigenous to Australia. Adventitious leaf 
or branch buds in the form of woody nodules, and which are really abortive 
branches, are found in the bark of some trees, particularly those of certain 

Arthrotaxis is confined to Tasmania, where there are three species found 
in the western mountains. All are small or medium-sized trees, valued, 
like all the Pinaceae, for their timber. A. cupressoides, D. Don, is the 
original " King William Pine," a designation now also often given to A. 
selaginoides, D. Don ; the third species is A. laxifolia, Hook. f.. and all three 
are sometimes called " Red Pine," because of the colour of the timber. 

The genus Callitris is the most abundant pine in Australia. It contains 
fifteen species, and is found from Tasmania to the tropics, and from the sea 
coast to the arid interior. Sometimes these trees, called "Cypress Pine," 
are so abundant as to be looked upon as a pest. They are usually beautiful 
trees, sometimes bright-green, and sometimes glaucous, and the species are 
largely determined on the shape of the cone. They chiefly occur in New 
South Wales and Queensland, but are common in Western Australia. 

Fitzroya has two species, one confined to Tasmania, the other to temperate 
South America. The Tasmanian species, F. Archeri, Benth. and Hook, f., 
is a small shrub, and is found on mountain tops in the southern part of the 

C.12154. n 

IM Federal Handbook. 

The Gycadace^; are represented in Australia by three genera, Macro- 
zamia, Cycas, and Bowenia. The first is by far the most abundant, and is 
chiefly developed in eastern New South Wales and Queensland, and, to a 
less extent, in south-western Australia. There are sixteen species, M. spiralis, 
Miq., occurring extensively both in southern and northern New South Wales ; 
a number of forms, M. Fawcetti, heteromera, cylindrica, secunda, flexuosa, 
all named by C. Moore, were first brought under notice as horticultural 
varieties, but I look upon them as good species. All are less robust than 
M. spiralis. M. Perowskiana, Miq., is a taller species, and occurs in northern 
New South Wales and southern Queensland, while M. Moorei, F. v. M., 
of Springsure, Queensland, is a larger species. M. Hopei, W. Hill, of north 
Queensland, is the largest of all, and is stated to attain a height of 60 feet. 
M. Miquelli, F. v. M., extends from near Brisbane to Rockhampton, Queens- 
land, but M. platyrachis, Bail, M. Paulo-Gulielmi, F. v. M. (an especially 
graceful species), M. Mountperriensis, Bail., M. Douglasi, Hill and F. v. M., 
are more restricted in their habitats. M. Macdonnelli, F. v. M., is found in 
the Macdonnell Kanges of northern South Australia, technically in the 
Northern Territory, while M. Fraseri, Miq., and M. Dyeri, F. v. M., are 
peculiar to Western Australia. Macrozamias in New South Wales go under 
the name of " Burrawang." 

The four species of Cycas are confined to northern Queensland, and our 
two species of Bowenia, B. spectabilis, Hook., and B. serrulata (Andre), Chamb., 
have a somewhat similar range. All our Cycads, apart from their very great 
botanical interest, are of special horticultural value. 

The interest of the small family Amaryllide^e (26 Australian species) 
will be in four out of its seven genera, Doryanthes, Crinum, Calostemma, and 

Of Doryanthes we have two species, D. excelsa, Correa, and D. Palmeri, 
W. Hill ; both are very large plants, with large sword-shaped leaves and 
with very tall flowering stems and massive inflorescence. The former is 
from coastal New South Wales and Queensland ; the latter, which is some- 
what variable, is confined to southern Queensland. The flowers are crimson 
in colour. Our Crinums are eleven in number, all found in Queensland, 
and several extending to northern Australia. One also occurs in New South 
Wales, as does also a small and beautiful species (C. flaccidum, Herb.), which 
is found in the interior of all the States except Tasmania. The two 
species of Calostemma, C. purpureum, R. Br., and C. luteum, Sims, are also 
from the drier country. Eurycles Cunninghamii, Ait., is found in north 
coastal New South Wales and coastal Queensland ; E. amboinensis, Loud., 
occurs in Queensland and northern Australia, and extends to the Indian 

The Australian Liliace^e amount to 189 species in 45 genera. Only 
some of the more prominent genera can be taken notice of. Blandfordia 
known as " Christmas Bells," comprises four species, three of which are 
found in coastal New South Wales, one extending to Queensland, while one 
is confined to Tasmania. The flowers are reddish or reddish-brown or 
yellow, and very ornamental. 

Thysanotus is the "Fringed Violet, "because the flowers are of a violet 
colour, and fringed at the edges. They are small plants, with grass-like 

Australian Vegetation. 195 

leaves. There are 21 species, of which fourteen are found in Western Aus- 
tralia. South Australia has six, and Victoria and New South Wales four each. 

The genu? Xerotes consists of 37 species, rush -like plants, with small 
flowers usually dull-yellow, dioecious. Xanthorrhosas are the " grass trees " 
of eastern Australia, the " Black-boys " of Western Australia, and the 
" Yuccas " of Kangaroo Island and part of South Australia. They have 
usually a caudex, showing the charred bases of the grass-like leaves, which 
form a tuft at the top. Each caudex is surmounted by a spear-like flowering 
spike. They exude a yellowish or reddish resin which was formerly known 
as " Gum accroides," and now as " Grass-tree Gum " or " Black-boy Gum." 
There are 13 species, only 2 being found in Western Australia, while 5 are 
found in South Australia, including 1, X. Thornloni, Tate, in the Macdonnell 
Eanges. Two species are found in Tasmama, 3 in Victoria, 4 in Queensland 
(including the tiny X. pumilio, R. Br., from Port Curtis), and 5 in New South 

The monotypic genus Kingia (australis, R. Br.) reminds one a good deal 
of a Xanthorrhosa with a long caudex, but it has several scapes, and the 
flowers are arranged in a globular terminal head so that it becomes a many- 
headed grass tree. It is accordingly known as " Drum-head Grass-tree," 
and because of the silvery appearance of its foliage " Silver-leaf Grass-tree." 
It is often a conspicuous feature of the landscape from Albany to Perth, 
Western Australia. 

Cyperace,e are well developed in Australia, numbering 421 species so 
far. The cosmopolitan genus Cyperus is strongly developed (72 species) 
and well diffused in Australia, with predominance in Queensland and New 
South Wales, but most species are non-endemic. Schosnus is even more 
largely represented (77 species), and is widely diffused, with, however, a 
strong Western Australian preponderance. All Australian genera of 
Cyperacese are more or less common, with the exception of a few of the small 
ones. Fimbristylis, with its 58 species, is chiefly North Australian and then 
Queensland. Of the remaining genera the principal, Heleocharis (13), Scirpus 
(26), Carex (43), are alike well diffused in Australia and in other parts of the 
world. Scleria (13) is chiefly Queensland and northern Australia, and 
Lepidosperma (36) and Gahnia (29) are characteristic constituents of the 
vegetation ; the former genus is almost endemic, while species of the latter 
freely occur in New Zealand. 

Of Gramine^e, 433 species have been described to date, and, as with so 
many of our families, many additional ones will doubtless be brought under 
notice. From the economic point of view they are very important, for they 
are the stand-by of the countless flocks and herds of this continent. It is 
not possible to do justice to them in a brief sketch, nor is it possible to refer 
to the rich crop of aliens, purposely or accidentally introduced. There are 
78 indigenous genera ; but only fourteen, comparatively small, are endemic. 
Many of the species are endemic, and, taking them as a whole, the species 
are well diffused throughout the States. 

Of Panicum there are 75 species ; they are useful almost without excep- 
tion. The long trailing Spinifex is not to be confused with the " Spinifex " 
of bushmen, which is the name given to Triodia, mostly dense, hummocky, 
prickly species of the dry country. Neurachne is " Mulga Grass," because 

196 Fedekal Handbook. 

it is often found under Mulga (Acacia aneura, F. v. M.). Of Andropogon 
we have 27 species, including some of the best fodder plants, such as " Blue 
Grass," e.g., A. sericeus, R. Br., and its allies. Anthistiria ciliata, L. f., is 
the well-known " Kangaroo Grass," A. membranacea, Lindl., " Flinders 
Grass," while A. imberbis, Retz., is called " Bundle Bundle " in Western 
Australia. Aristida with its characteristic trifid awn, has ten species, and 
is often called " Wire Grass." The inflorescence of Stipa is sometimes 
elegantly plumose (particularly S. elegantissima, LabilL), while the hardened 
tip of the flowering glume enclosing the grain, bores, aided by the twisted 
awn, into the flesh ot animals, and hence they are called " Spear Grasses." 
Certain species become obnoxious to the pastoralist, but all yield useful 
feed when young. 

Only eight species of Danihonia are found, but D. penicillata, F. v. M., 
the widely diffused " Silver Grass," or " Wallaby Grass," is one of the best 
of fodder grasses, and D. robusta, F. v. M., a coarse species, is the best fatten- 
ing grass on the Mount Kosciusko Plateau. Astrebla is a small genus, but 
its triticoid species are valuable dry-country grasses and are called " Mitchell 
Grasses." Gynodon dactylon, L. C. Rich., is the " Couch Grass " of coastal 
New South Wales and Queensland, one of our most valuable grasses for pas- 
tures and for lawns ; it is identical with the " Doub " of India and the 
" Bermuda Grass " of the United States. 

There are thirteen species of Poa, some harsh and some succulent fodder 
grasses. The introduced P. annua, L., is complementary to Gynodon dactylon, 
since it takes its place every winter. Eragroslis claims 28 species, some 
with an ornamental inflorescence, some capable of great drought resistance, 
even bulbous, and all more or less valuable for sheep. 

Two species of Bambusa (Bamboo) are found, one in Queensland, and the 
other in north Australia. 

Stenotaphrum americanum, Sch., is an American grass acclimatised in 
the coastal districts, and invariably known as " Buffalo Grass," from the 
circumstance that, in the very early days, it was first observed near Sydney 
after the visit of an American ship The Buffalo. It is, however, not to be 
confused with the grass known in America as Buffalo (Bouteloua). 

The Brazilian Paspalum dilatatum, Poir., and the South African Chloris 
Gayana, Kunth, have proved themselves valuable fodder grasses for dairy 
cattle. Ammophila arundinacea, Host., " Marram Grass," has, particularly 
in southern Victoria, proved an admirable sand-stay. 

14. The Flora of the Individual States. 
(a) Western Australia. 

Western Australia is the largest State of the Commonwealth, practically 
comprising the western third of it. It contains many varieties of soils, light 
and sandy prevailing. The south-western portion is the best watered, and 
here the chief timber-wealth is to be found. 

The northern portion of the State approaches the tropics, and has many 
plants in common with the Northern Territory, which adjoins it. It is not 
remarkable for the height of its mountains, but all of its mountain country is 
full of interest to the botanist. For example, the Kimberley country is much 
indented by fiords ; it is also mountainous, consisting of alternating high 

Australian Vegetation. 197 

and lower lying plateaux, the highest country being principally sandstone. 
In this district we have the Princess May Range, south-east from York Sound, 
and probably reaching an altitude of over 3,000 feet, while the King Leopold 
Range, south-east from Collier Bay, although attaining a little less elevation, 
also promises rich rewards to the botanical investigator. 

In the Hammersley Range in the north-western district (much of which 
is mountainous), and between the Fortescue and the Ashburton Rivers, is 
Mt. Bruce (3,800 feet), reputed to be the highest point in the State. 

In the south-west district, the important range is the Darling, running 
nearly due north and south from Yatheroo, in the north, to Point D'Entre- 
casteaux, on the south coast. This range lies parallel to and from 18-20 
miles distant from the western sea-board, and is the most important range 
in the State by reason of its effect on the climatic conditions of the most 
closely settled areas. The highest point, Mt. William, in the Murray district, 
is 1,700 feet. 

Stirling Range, 40 miles north-east of Albany, the loftiest range in the 
southern portion of the State, is perfectly isolated and, rising abruptly from 
a low-lying coastal plain, is visible for a great distance. Mt. Tulbrunup, 
over 3,000 feet, is the highest peak, and the whole range is of fascinating 
interest to the botanist. 

A large proportion of the south-west and south sea-boards, is of a flat 
and sand} r character, with indications of a recent geological formation, and 
may be described as a vast forest, principally timbered with Jarrah (Eucalyp- 
tus marginata, Sm.), Red Gums (E. calophylla, R. Br.), Karri (E. diversicolor, 
F. v. M.). The Tuart (E. gomphocephala, DC.) is confined to the coastal 
limestone strip south of Perth, while further north is the beautiful yellow 
flowered E. erythrocorys, F. v. M. 

In the south-west, not only is there a very good rainfall, but subterranean 
water is not far from the surface. The Esperance district on the south coast 
has an especially rich flora. In the drier parts, Western Australia is remark- 
able for the number and extent of its salt lakes, which support a true saline 
flora. They often give the impression of a mirage. 

Between the 30th parallel of latitude and of the Great Australian Bight, 
much of the country is of limestone formation, and here there are immense 
areas of grassland which only wait the discovery of subterranean water to 
make them amongst the most productive areas of the State. The author is 
indebted for most of his notes on the physical features to the report of Mr. 
F. S. Brockman in Fraser's Year-book of Western Australia. 

No considerable portion of the interior lying between the 19th and 31st 
parallels of latitude, and between 121st and 129th meridians of longitude, 
is suitable for any class of settlement except in connexion with mineral 
resources (chiefly gold). This area may be described as a great tableland 
with an altitude of 1,000-2,000 feet above sea-level, the surface of which con- 
sists largely of sand-dunes, though in many parts of it there are large areas 
of clayey soils. It would be a contradiction of terms to call it desert, for it 
supports a copious and beautiful flora. 

Mr. Henry Deane says that the soil of the country from Kalgoorlie, in 
Western Australia, to Spencer's Gulf, in South Australia, is for the most part 

198 Federal Handbook. 

good, and covered with vegetation consisting of various saltbushes (Atri- 
plex), blue bush (Kochia, etc.), grass, and other shrubs, mostly edible, and 
trees of various kinds, such as Mulga (Acacia aneura, F. v. M.), Myall (A. 
pendula, A. Cunn.), Mallee (Eucalyptus oleosa, uncinata, etc.), and Myoporum, 
with frequent bushes of Sandalwood (Santalum cygnorum, Miq.), and Quan- 
dong (Fusanus acuminatus, R. Br.). 

In the western State, one will hear much of the term " sand-plain," and 
it is wonderful how these light sandy areas, usually devoid of trees, maintain 
very gardens of flowers. 

The physical features (mountains chiefly) have been referred to in a little 
detail, as they are of especial interest to the visiting botanist, who will 
probably endeavour to explore the Darling Range, and perhaps the Stirling 
Range, if he makes an extended stay. Here it may be at once said that 
Western Australia is the State which will probably have most fascination for 
him, for its pre-eminence as a botanist's paradise is without question. The 
work of most of the visitors will, however, on this occasion, be entirely 
devoted to that truncated portion between the mouth of the Murchison on 
the west and Esperance on the south coast, while the true south-west, a more 
truncated area still, covers more ground than most can even skim over. 
In giving the palm to this area, it may be mentioned that a journey in the 
express to Kalgoorlie will rapidly give some impression of the beauty and 
variety of the desert flora, while the alpine floras of Tasmania, Victoria, and 
New South Wales, and the rich brush vegetation of eastern New South 
Wales and Queensland, come only second in botanical interest to the more 
obvious botanical glories of the western State. 

The yellow-flowered genus Hibbertia (Dilleniace^e) is widely diffused, 
and contains about 105 species, more than half of which are peculiar to 
Western Australia. 

The floriferous and beautiful pink-flowering genus Tetratheca, of the 
purely Australian family Tremandrace^:, is almost entirely confined to 
Western Australia, the exceptions being the protean and widely diffused 
T. ericifolia, Sm. (forms of which have been described under no less than 
seven names), and two others. 

The beautiful genus of shrubs Thomasia (Sterculiace^e), with 23 species, 
is confined to Western Australia, with the exception of T. petalocalyx, which 
extends as far east as Victoria. 

The Western Australian Pitcher-plant, Cephalotus follicularis, Labill. 
(Cephalotace^)), in which the radical leaves are converted into pitchers, 
is peculiar to that State, and is found around Albany, in rich peaty bogs 
of considerable depth, with the pitchers close to the ground, sheltering under 
the shadow of long tussocks, say, 3 ft. 6 in. high, of rushes, sedges, Legu- 
minosae, yellow Sundews, &c. It can hardly be seen except by pulling the 
tussocks aside. 

The Droseras (Droserace^), which are covered with glandular hairs 
which entangle insects, are found in all the States, but Western Australia 
is especially rich in them, where they form an important and interesting, if 
frequently a humble, constituent of the vegetation, for in that State are to 
be found about 45 out oi about 62 Australian species, most of which are 
very rich in individuals. 

Australian Vegetation. • 199 

The Candolleace^e are practically taken up with the genus Candollea 
(Stylidium), which, with some difference of opinion as to the limits of a 
species, has 107 species almost exclusively Australian. It has mostly rosettes 
of radical leaves, and is remarkable for the elasticity of the column which 
is formed by the filaments, which are connate with the style. This column 
is bent back normally, but when touched it suddenly straightens, and hence 
these plants are known as Trigger Plants. No less than 84 are Western 
Australian, and the genus is sparingly distributed over the rest of the conti- 
nent, Queensland and northern Australia being best represented after the 
western State. 

Coming to the Loranthaceje, Nuytsia floribunda, R. Br., the gorgeous 
Tree Mistletoe or Cabbage Tree, is a distinctly wonderful plant. It is a 
medium-sized tree, which grows on sandy land from King George's Sound 
to the Murchison, in Western Australia, and the whole of the tree, when in 
bloom, is one mass of beautiful orange-coloured flowers. It is one of the 
most gorgeous trees in the world. It is root-parasitic, and hence the very 
great difficulty of successfully transplanting it. Seedlings are raised without 
difficulty, but they usually do not attain maturity. The same remarks 
apply to that allied shrub with sweet-scented flowers, AtJcinsonia ligustrina, 
F. v. M., which is sparingly found in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. 
The other Mistletoes are chiefly represented by the genus Loranthus, which, 
though not endemic, is so abundant and so conspicuous that visitors cannot 
fail to observe it. Huge pendant masses will be observed attached to 
the Eucalypts, whose leaves it somewhat resembles ; other species likewise 
simulate the leaves of various other trees and shrubs to which they are 
attached. Nothothixos is parasitic on Loranthus, which contains 26 Aus- 
tralian species. 

The ILemodorace^e are almost exclusively Western Australian, the genus 
Hcemodorum alone being found out of that State. Of 17 species, 7 belong to 
Western Australia, 1 is peculiar to Tasmania, 4 to Northern Australia, 
2 to New South Wales, and 1 to Queensland, while 2 are found in both New 
South Wales and Queensland. The genus Conostylis has 38 species ; the 
flowers are dull yellow, and the individuals very numerous. The greatest 
interest, however, will be given to the so-called " Kangaroo Paws " (Anigo- 
zanihus), some of which have very brilliant and bizarre colouring. Eleven 
species have been described. 

The Iridace^e are in Australia practically synonymous with Pater sonia 
(17 species), largely developed in the western State (12 species), while 4 
are in Victoria, 3 in New South Wales, and South Australia, Tasmania, and 
Queensland having 2 each. The conspicuous but delicate perianth is usually 
bluish or purplish in colour. 

The Restionaceje are closely allied in habit and inflorescence to the 
Cyperacese, and are noteworthy from the great dissimilarity in habit and in- 
florescence between the males and females of some species. The family is 
almost limited to Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand, but our species 
(rather more than 100) are all endemic. The genera Restio, Leptocarpus, 
and Hypolcena are also South African, and Australia has 25, 12, and 7 species 
respectively. These genera, together with Lepyrodia (15 species) are dif- 
fused throughout Australia, though they have a strong Western Australian 

200 Federal Handbook. 

element. Loxocarya (9), Lepidobolus (4), and some smaller genera are 
Western Australian. 

To here give more than a sketchy account of the flora of Western Aus- 
tralia is out of the question. It is remarkable for its showy and abundant 
Leguminosae, for its abundance of endemic beautiful and remarkable Pro- 
teaceae, including the genus Dryandra (allied to Banksia), for the profusion 
of its Goodeniaceae, including the blue Leschenaultias, and so on. Its 
Eucalyptus flora is most interesting. It is, however, not a land of ferns, 
the number of species found there being under twenty. 

(b) South Australia (including part of the Northern Territory). 

South Australia and the Northern Territory form a slice taken through 
the middle of Australia from the Indian Ocean to the Southern Ocean, the 
western boundary being 129° E. longitude. They are separated from each 
other by the 26° of S. latitude, while on the east the South Australian boundary 
is 141° E. longitude, and that of the Northern Territory is 138°. 

South Australia is for the greater part of its area, with the important 
exception of the south-east, comparatively treeless. The sub-tropical por- 
tion is for the most part of low elevation, and much of it is sparse open forest 
and steppes. It is a country of comparatively low rainfall, and the indigenous 
species are admirably dealt with in Tate's Flora, and the introduced plants 
in J. M. Black's Naturalized Flora. 

Australian Steppes (Lake Eyre Basin). — Baldwin Spencer writes,* " There 
is a vast tract of country comprising the great Lake Eyre Basin, stretching 
from this eastwards and northwards, into the interior of New South Wales 
and Queensland, and up to and beyond the Macdonnell Eanges, across which 
run such intermittent streams as the Cooper, the Warburton, the Macumba, 
the Finke, and the Todd, dry for the greater part of the year, but every now 
and then at varying intervals of time swollen with heavy floods, which 
spread out over wide tracts, and for a time transform the whole country 
into a land covered with a luxuriant growth of vegetation. To this part 
of the continent the name of the ' Australian Steppes '„ may be suitably 

Favenc speaks of the mystery of the Lake Eyre system of drainage, which 
lies in the final exit of its waters. The lake is a sink for the rivers flowing 
into it, and is mostly a dry bed, the southern portion alone holding water. 
In spite of its army of affluents, it is never full nor visibly affected as a whole, 
and it has no outlet to the ocean. It is estimated that its watershed is over 
400,000 square miles. 

Spencer divides the Steppes into Lower Steppes, Higher Steppes, and 
Desert Country. 

Lower Steppes. — From Oodnadatta to Charlotte Waters (here the 
Northern Territory begins) and the Finke River to the James Range. 

These include the Cretaceous table-topped hills and tablelands ; these 
elevated plains slope gradually towards Lake Eyre from an altitude of 1,000 
feet above sea-level to 39 feet below sea-level at Lake Eyre. The great 
Cretaceous formation with its alternating stony or gibber plains, loamy flats, 
and low-lying terraced hills, is capped with desert sandstone. 

* Horn Exped. Rep. i. 

Australian Vegetation. 201 

On the loamy flats, and even gibber plains, the most noticeable plain, is 
Salsola Kali, L., commonly known as the Eoly Poly, detaching itself from the 
ground, and forming spherical masses perhaps a yard or more in diameter, 
It is a constant feature of the Cretaceous area. The lines of the water-courses 
are marked with belts of gum trees and Acacias, chiefly Eucalyptus rostrata, 
Schlect., the River Gum ; E. microiheca, F. v. M., the Swamp Gum or Box ; 
Acacia aneura, F. v. M., the Mulga ; A. cyperophylla, the Red Mulga ; and 
A. Cambagei, R. T. Baker, the Gidgee. 

The Higher Steppes comprise the southern part of the James Range and 
the George Gill and Levi Ranges. 

These include — 

(a) The great central group of the Macdonnell Ranges, trending in a 

nearly east and west direction for a distance of about 400 miles, 
and with a width varying from 20 to 50 miles, thus covering an 
area of more than 10,000 square miles. Several peaks are over 
4,000 feet high, while the surrounding country is over 2,000 feet. 

(b) The James, Waterhouse, George Gill, and Levi Ranges. These 

have a mean combined width, if we include the intervening 
plains and valleys, of from 60 to 70 miles. The area occupied 
by them, therefore, must be more than 15,000 square miles. 
The highest points are situated in the most northern ridge, as 
in the case of Mt. Gillen, which is nearly 3,000 feet above sea- 
level. There is a gradual decrease in elevation in the ranges 
from north to south, each range to the south constituting as it 
were a step in the descent from the Macdonnell Ranges to the 
On the Higher Steppes are an interesting Cycad and only one (Macro- 
zamia (Encephalartos) MacDonnelli, F. v. M.), one Palm (Livistona Marice, 
F. v. M., known in one colony of a hundred individuals only), a Grass Tree 
(Xanthorrhcea Thorntoni, Tate), one Epacrid (Leucopogon Mitchelli, Benth.), 
while there are representatives of the genera Capparis, Hibbertia, Melaleuca, 
Grevillea, Loranthus, Cassia, Eremophila, and trees up to 40 or 50 feet in 
height of Acacia salicina, Lindl. ; Eucalyptus oleosa, F. v. M., in the form 
of a Mallee, and a Bloodwood (E. terminalis, F. v. M.) are also found. 

Speaking of the saxatile vegetation, Professor Tate, in his report on the 
botany of the Horn Expedition, says that the number of actual species on 
the tablelands and high level tracts is absolutely few, but that it was in the 
gorges of the tablelands and on the basal part of the craggy escarpments and 
their taluses that a varied flora occurs. 

What he terms the Larapintine Flora, the flora of the Finke River and the 
other districts the Horn Expedition traversed, he classifies as follows : — 

(1) Exotic species, chiefly oriental. 

(2) Endemic species of exotic genera. 

(3) Endemic species of Australian genera. 

Under (1) he uses the term " exotic " in its derivative sense, for most of 
the species are ordinarily classed as Australian natives. 

202 Federal Handbook. 

Of the " Australasian " genera, he records the following, with five or 
more species : — 

Ptilotus (11), Swainsona (7), Cassia (10), phyllodineous Acacias (24), 
Eucalyptus (10), Loranihus (5), Grevillea (9), Calotis (10), Helipterum 
(10), Goodenia (15), Dicrastylis (5), Eremophila (17). 

The Desert Country. — From the George Grill Eange to Ayers' Eock and 
Mt. Olga. This is one of the areas which may be fitly termed desert. 

Ayers' Rock and Mt. Olga. — In addition to the mountain ranges referred 
to under " Higher Steppes," there are some isolated mountains. Kising 
like an enormous waterworn boulder is that remarkable isolated monolith 
known as Ayers' Eock. It is situated 32 miles S.S.W. of Lake Amadeus. 
The rock is quite bare, with the exception that a few fig-trees (Ficus platy- 
poda, A. Cunn.) maintain a precarious footing in the few crevices on its bare 
sides. Mount Olga, which from a distance presents a most remarkable 
outline, is 15 miles west of Ayers' Eock. 

Professor Tate divided intra-tropical South Australia into the Eremian 
or Desert Flora which occupies the arid region of central Australia, and 
corresponds with the " salt-bush country " of the pastoralist. This is con- 
tinuous with much country in eastern Western Australia, and western 
Queensland and New South Wales. The region is approximately limited 
by the rainfall line of 10 inches. 

His second division was the Euronotian Flora, which is dominant in the 
more humid parts of temperate Australia, excepting the extreme south- 

To speak of the whole interior of Australia as a Desert or Eremian Country 
is very misleading. Over wide areas, especially across the western half oi 
the interior, extend sand-hills and flats covered with Mulga scrub {Acacia 
aneura, F. v. M.) and Porcupine Grass (Triodia), which may be justly described 
as desert, e.g., some country stretching from the George Gill Eange to Ayers' 
Eock and Mt. Olga, where no creeks run and uncertain water supplies may 
be found in rock-holes, but the Australian Steppes country of the interior 
is by no means desert. 

Kangaroo Island is the second Australian island in point of size ; it is 
of an oblong shape about 90 miles by 25, and is situated just off the coast 
of South Australia. The country is hilly and undulating, the highest eleva- 
tion being under 1,000 feet. There is but little permanent water on the island, 
and its vegetation is grouped by Tate as heathy, sylvan, and savannah. 
The flora is not rich, consisting of less than 400 species of phanerogams 
and vascular cryptogams. Very few species are endemic. Its flora bears 
strong affinity to that of the mainland, and is remarkable for the strong 
Tasmanian element it contains. 

South Australia, taken as a whole, is not remarkable for the number of 
its endemic plants ; most of them are in common with the indefinitely-zoned 
dry areas of the contiguous States. 

(c) Victoria. 

Victoria is a State which in its eastern portion (Gippsland) has conditions 
which strongly resemble those of the southern coastal belt of New South 
Wales. It is the home of the tallest trees of the Australian continent, 

Australian Vegetation. 203 

probably second only in this respect to those of California. In the south- 
west we have a basaltic plain which is remarkably fertile. This has scattered 
forests, and is pastoral and agricultural country. North of these areas are 
the western and eastern highlands, the latter higher and moister, and both 
containing rich open forests consisting almost entirely of Eucalyptus. In 
the Wimmera, in the north-western portion, we have a region of comparatively 
low rainfall, similar to much of the South Australian territory adjacent 
and to the western plains of New South Wales. 

No State of the Commonwealth has had its flora more fully examined 
than Victoria, since the late Baron von Mueller was for so many years Govern- 
ment Botanist of that State ; indeed he took unofficial botanical charge of 
the whole of Australia. For purposes of botanical-geography he divided 
the State into five parts, chiefly based on the river systems : — 

(a) The north-western region, from the sources of the water-courses 

in the north-west to the Murray River. This is the driest area. 

(b) The south-west region, from the sources of the water-courses in 

the south-west, to the coast west of Cape Otway and to the vicinity 
of the Glenelg River. This includes much rich plains country. 

(c) The southern region, from the sources of the water-courses in the 

south to the vicinity of Cape Otway to Port Phillip (Melbourne 
district), and to the western boundary of Gippsland. 

(d) The north-eastern region, from the sources of the water-courses 

in the north-east to the Hume River, including the Victorian 
Alps. Here we have the alpine vegetation contiguous to that of 
New South Wales, and with a strong Tasmanian and Antarctic 

(e) The eastern region, comprising Gippsland, exclusive of the Alps* 

This is an especially well-watered area, and a celebrated forest 
region, including the habitat of the tallest trees of Australia. 

The Otway district is a well-known forest region, e.g., for its magnificent 
Blue Gum (Eucalyptus globulus, Labill.) areas, and for the Beech forests 
(Fagus Cunninghamii, Hook. f.). 

Admirable general accounts of the flora of Victoria have been given by 
C. A. Topp,* G. Weindorfer,f and Professor A. J. Ewart.J 

Topp characterizes the prevailing botanical features, first of the shores of 
Port Phillip and of the district in its immediate vicinity, then the flora of 
the fern- tree gullies (in which Victoria is rich), such as may be found in the 
Dandenong Range and on the Main Divide, running into the Watts' River and 
other mountain streams, and., thirdly, he gives a brief account of the interesting 
alpine flora of the north-eastern mountain system, between Omeo and Har- 
rietville, on the peaks and spurs of Mts. Feathertop, Bogong, and Hotham. 

Weindorfer divides the State into three, the first and largest of which 
forms part of the south-eastern Australian forest flora, and is looked upon 
as an intermediate link between the Antarctic flora and that of the tropical 
east and north of the continent. The second division is formed by a part of 
the central Australian desert flora, which penetrates to the north-west corner 

* Handbook Aust. Assoc. Adv. Sci., Melbourne, 1900, p. 170. 
t Victorian Year-Book. 1904, Part i., p. 19. 
X Vict. Nat. xxv., 78 (1908). 

204 Federal Handbook. 

of the State, constituting the " Mallee " (Mueller's north-west region). The 
third and smallest division is the alpine flora, which is restricted to the highest 
points of the alpine mountains in the north-eastern corner of the State 
(Mueller's north-eastern region). Weindorfer's first large division therefore 
includes the divisions (b), (c), (e) of Mueller. 

He points out that Victoria's endemic flora is 7 "6 per cent. (46 species 
in all) less than that of the floras of any of the other States, and is to be 
accounted for by the comparatively regular and heavy rainfall over a large 
area, and which caused Sir Thomas Mitchell, Surveyor-General of New South 
Wales, to designate the central portion of it " Australia Felix." 

The Grampians form what have been termed the natural garden of 
Victoria, for the flora of this range is alike varied and beautiful. 

Ewart's paper is more ecological in character, being written less from the 
taxonomic side. He deals with the factors which influence a flora, and briefly 
applies them to Victoria in the form of notes. Thus he touches upon geo- 
logical history, present climate, the effect of settlement on the native flora, 
and cognate subjects in pregnant paragraphs. 

Under Eucalyptus regnans, F. v. M., which the author has recommended 
to be known as " Giant Gum," there is given* a full account of the Giant Trees 
of Australia, together with a record of the controversies which took place 
nearly 30 years ago. The tallest trees in Australia, so far proved, are those 
of Gippsland, Victoria, and are E. regnans, F. v. M. Claimants for this 
distinction are the giant Karris (E. diversicolor, F. v. M.), of south-western 
Australia, but the heights assigned to this species require confirmation by 
surveyors. The " King-trees " of eastern New South Wales, viz., the Black- 
butts (E. pilularis, Sm.), of the Illawarra, and the Tallow-woods (E. micro- 
corys, F. v. M.) of the Lansdowne Biver, may be as bulky (though not so 
high) as the Gippsland trees, but this requires to be proved. 

The official size of the tallest Gippsland tree is given as — height, 
326 ft. 1 in. ; girth, 25 ft. 7 in., measured 6 feet from ground ; locality, 
spur of Mt. Baw Baw, 91 miles from Melbourne. "Phis is enormous, but 
different from the alleged heights of from 400 to 525 feet foisted on Mueller, 
and which will probably not be eradicated from the newspapers for another 

As regards the Calif ornian trees brought into comparison, Prof. Sargent, 
an eminent authority, may be quoted, and in view of the actual measure- 
ments that he presents, viz., 340 feet in height for a Eedwood and a girth 
round the trunk of 107 feet for its congener the " Big Tree," an opinion 
may be expressed that, so far as is known at present, California is the home 
both of the tallest and of the broadest trees in the world. The difference 
(under 14 feet) against the Gippsland tree is not large, and it would not be 
surprising if additional investigations should cause this friendly competition 
between Australia and the United States to end differently. 

(d) Tasmania. 

This is by far the smallest of the Australian States, but by reason of its 
generous rainfall, comparatively high latitude, and great range of elevation, 
it is a paradise of " antarctic " plants for the botanist. 

• " Forest Flora of New South Wales," Part XVIII., p. 161. 

Australian Vegetation. 205 

It has a climate which greatly resembles that of Britain. It is well 
wooded, not only with Eucalypts, but with Beeches (Fagus Cunninghmnii, 
Hook, f.), and with valuable Conifers, Huon Pine (Dacrydiu)n Franklinii, 
Hook, f.), King William Pine (Arthrotaxis selaginoides, Don, and cup>essoides, 
Don), Celery Top Pine (Phyllocladus rhomboidalis, Rich.), Oys'er Bay Pine 
(Callitris rhomboidea, R. Br.), now seriously diminishing. The western 
portion is a region of high rainfall, and the Beech forests are almost 

A singular plant is the endemic Anodopetalum biglandulosum, A. Cunn. 
(Saxifragaceae), a tree common in the forests of the south and west, and which 
grows in a remarkable horizontal position, hence the name " Horizontal 

The flora of Tasmania and its relations are very well known, originally 
through the classical work of Hooker,* and, later, through an admirable 
" Flora,"| the work of the present Government Botanist. 

Hooker refers to the strong east Australian character of the flora, the 
island having been formerly joined to the mainland, and of the non -Australian 
element he points out the greater proportion of New Zealand, South American, 
Antarctic, and even European plants not found on the Australian continent. 

The strong affinity of the Tasmanian and Australian alpine flora is obvious 
to any student who examines the two lists, and in most cases the isolation 
of the two areas has not been continued for a sufficiently long period to 
bring about any obvious difference in the facies of the plants. The Tasmanian 
affinities in the Australian floras can be traced, in diminishing abundance, 
over distant regions of the mainland. 

In view of the distribution of the true Beeches (Fagus), it may be noted 
that there are three species, F. Gunnii, Hook. f. (Fagaceae), a small shrub 
confined to a few mountain summits in Tasmania, F. Cunninghamii, Hook, f., 
the so-called Myrtle, a large and beautiful tree found in Tasmania and Vic- 
toria, and F. Moorei, F. v. M., " Negro-head Beech," also a beautiful tree, 
occurring on some of the coastal tablelands of central New South Wales, 
far removed geographically from its congeners. 

Reference may be made to a suggestive paper by Rod way J in which he 
discusses the origin of the flora of his State, e.g., the Tasmanian and Fuegian 
Fagi, and notes the presence of almost identical parasitic Gyttarias in both 

(e) New South Wales. 

New South Wales is a State whose botanical conditions are largely com- 
parable to those of Queensland. The climatic factors vary from temperate 
to sub-tropical. 

She has the rich coastal belt, then the elevated tablelands which fall 
away to the western plains, which are only barren when no rain falls. Her 
coastal belt, and gullies running into the ranges and tablelands, produce 
many " brush " timbers, at the same time supporting various types of open 
forest, while the western slopes and plains produce valuable small trees 
acclimatised to regions of low rainfall. 

* Flora Tasmaniece. 

t The Tasmanian Flora, by Leonard Rodway (1903). 

% Proc. A.A.A.S., xiii. 250. 

206 Federal Handbook. 

New South Wales joins with Queensland in her brush vegetation ; with 
Victoria and Tasmania as regards alpine plants ; in her western slopes and 
wide western plains with Western Australia, and the rest of the continent in a 
share of the true Australian indigenous flora. 

Many distinctive New South Wales plants will, therefore, be found referred 
to under Queensland ; a very brief statement may be made in regard to the 
endemic flora of the parent State. Endemism must be usually spoken of with 
a qualification, for every year are found important additions to the reputed 
restricted habitats of plants. 

They include two species of Streptothamus (Flacourtiaceae), both climbing 
plants from the northern rivers, a few bipinnate Acacias, and a few 

In the Saxifgrageae is the important genus Ceratopetalum, comprising 
two handsome coastal trees, the flowers of " Christmas-tree or Bush " (C. 
gummiferum, Sm.) being especially beautiful ; also Acrophyllum venosum, 
Benth., a charming shrub of the Blue Mountains. 

Amongst the Proteaceae are the small genus Symphyonema, the only 
Lambertia out of Western Australia, and a number of Grevilleas, the hand- 
somest of the Telopeas (T. speciosissima, E. Br., the Waratah) ; a few 
Goodeniaceae and Composite, some Prostantheras, a few Styphelias, Leuco- 
pogons, and Epacris ; some of the smaller species of Macrozamia, amongst 
orchids, one or two each of Dendrobium, Sarcochilus, Diuris, Prasophyllum, 
and Pterostylis. 

Further, a Hcemodorum (Haemadoraceae). In the Liliaceae, a couple 
of Blandfordias, an Allania, a Xerotis, and a Xanthorrhcea. Amongst the 
Restionaceae, a Lepyrodia and a Restio ; and in the Cyperaceae, a very 
few species of Cyperus, Scirpus, Schoenus, and Gahnia ; also a very few 

There are two regions of abundant and large arboreal vegetation, 
namely, south-western and eastern Australia. Allusion has already been 
made to Gippsland, and there is also the coastal strip running along New 
South Wales and Queensland to Cape York. In both the latter States the 
Great Divide plays an important part in consideration of the distribution 
of the vegetation, but it is a common error to confuse it with the coastal 
ranges, or, indeed, to call it a range at all. It is, as Favenc has pointed out, 
the true edge of the interior plateau. 

In the south coast district are arborescent Rubiaceae (Coprosma and 
Canthium), arborescent Compositae (Aster argophyllus, Labill., Bedfordia 
salicina, DC, etc.). 

In the north coast, also a branch of the coastal strip, are found arborescent 
baccate Myrtaceae (Eugenia, &c), arborescent Proteaceae, Br achy chitons, 
Laporteas, &c, with Dipiloglottis Cunninghami, Hook, f., Panax elegans, 
F. v. M., and Archontophcenix Cunninghami (Bangalow), lifting their graceful 
heads amongst the surrounding vegetation. 

The coastal strip has or had trees which, although not the highest, may be 
the bulkiest of all Australian trees, Eucalyptus pilularis, Sm., and E. micro- 
corys, F. v. M., already referred to. 

The Cypress Pine forests of the western plains, and the Ironbark forests 
from Dubbo and north-eastward, are examples of pure gregarious forest. 

Australian Vegetation. 207 

(f) Queensland. 

Queensland is a region of rich coastal vine brushes (scrubs), tropical 
and sub-tropical, with rich basaltic or at least alluvial soils, and ample rain- 
fall. It contains a marvellous variety of trees, some of them very large, 
and some of ascertained economic value. Westerly there are broken elevated 
tablelands with rolling country beyond, much of it covered with open forest, 
of which Eucalyptus is an important constituent, and then, sloping away to 
the centre of Australia, are found conditions rarely favorable to tree life. 

The best general account of the vegetation of Queensland is by Domin.* 

It is in this State that the Austro-Malayan element is most developed, 
and it is very important, particularly in the Cape York Peninsula. The 
Antarctic element is of very much less importance, and chiefly in evidence 
on the tops of the Bellenden-Ker Kange, the highest land in the State. The 
true endemic flora is seen chiefly in the rolling downs and western plains, 
also in southern Queensland. 

The botano-geographical conditions are much the same as those already 
indicated for New South Wales, an outstanding feature being the greater 
extent of the rich soil of the coastal districts, together with a higher rainfall 
and of course a warmer climate, for the territory extends into the tropics. 
The result is a rich " brush " vegetation, far exceeding that to be found in 
any other part of Australia, and systematists will not exhaust the treasures 
for very many years. 

Mr. F. M. Bailey has already described very many species, and the diffi- 
culty of botanizing in the brushes is only known to those who have had 
experience of it. The tall trees grow lofty and near together like cathedral 
columns, exhibiting their commingled canopies to the sky, and much of the 
botanical material available is owing to windfalls and the breaking down by 
animals. Owing to the loftiness and the darkness, one often cannot see 
either flower or fruit, and if one shoots off a twig, it is often not recovered, 
and, even if obtained, it frequently cannot be matched with the tree which 
produced it. The tall creepers which run to the tops of the loftiest trees are 
even more difficult to examine. 

The numerous ranges and isolated mountains of Queensland afford rich 
collecting grounds to the botanists, who can be certain of harvests of such 
plants as orchids, palms, and ferns. To some extent Queensland is the 
antithesis of Western Australia, but her total of recorded plants already 
exceeds that of Western Australia. These two States, partly because of 
their size, have been least botanically explored. Queensland's boundless 
prairies are rich in natural grasses and forage plants, which render her one of 
the greatest cattle and sheep-raising countries in the world. 

Most of the Anonaceaa are confined to Queensland (brushes), though 
five species come as far south as New South Wales and one {Ewpomatia laurina, 
R. Br.) to Victoria. 

The Meliacese are another family of trees almost entirely restricted to 
the brushes of coastal New South Wales and Queensland, the exceptions 
being confined — (a) to the genus Owenia, the inland " Colane," 0. acidula, 
F. v. M., extending to South Australia, while 0. reticulata, F. v. M., is the 
only representative of the family in Western Australia, in which State it is 

* " Queensland's Plant Associations," Proc. Rov. Soc, Q. xxiii., 57. 

208 Fedekal Handbook. 

endemic ; (b) to Flindersia maculosa, the " Leopard Wood " of the drier 
portions of both States. The genus Flindersia, or " Kasp-pod," is so called 
because of its usually large, muricate, septicidally-opening capsules, and 
fifteen species have now been described. Engler proposes to place it with 
the Kutacese. There is abundance of Dysoxylon, and Cedrela australis, 
F. v. M., is the well-known " Eed Cedar." 

There are about twenty species of Vitis (Viticese), all confined to the 
brushes of Queensland and New South Wales, with the exception that two 
extend to Victoria, on the south, and one species (V. augustissima, F. v. M.) 
is peculiar to Western Australia. Some form lianes of great size, and are 
water yielders ; some have been tried as Phylloxera-resistant stocks, but 
with no commercial success so far. 

Very extraordinary are the bladder-like organs of Vtricularia (Lenti- 
bularinese), dainty little plants found in damp sandy land, which are modified 
leaflets. They have a valve-like arrangement, which enables them to catch 
minute water animals. There are 24 species, seven of them extending to 
Asia. Most have been described from Queensland, but they are not rare 
in New South Wales and Western Australia. 

Pitcher-plants, Nepenthes (Nepenthaceae), in which the blade expands 
into a pitcher or ascidium, and the prolongation of the midrib into a lid-like 
process, are practically confined (in Australia) to the Cape York Peninsula. 
Mr. F. M. Bailey has described no less than ten new species from this district, 
all believed to be endemic. Only one non-endemic species (N. phyllamphora, 
Willd.) is recorded from Australia and the Pacific Islands. 

Amongst parasitic plants the leafless Cassytha of the Laurr.cese, which 
covers shrubs with a tangled mass of twine, will be certainly seen by the 
visitor. There are also some native Dodders (Cuscuta), but an imported 
species (C. Epithymum, Murr.) is a serious pest, particularly to lucerne, 
and is, as a general rule, treated with severity. With the exception of 
Cassytha, which occurs more or less all over the States, the Lauracese are tall 
trees of the coastal brushes, confined to New South Wales and Queensland, 
particularly the latter, four species extending to Asia. Sixteen species of 
Cryptocarya and fifteen of Endiandra have been described. 

Many of the species of Euphorbiaceae are widely diffused, but some 
genera, particularly those of Tribe Crotoneae, are predominantly eastern, 
being found in Queensland or extending to New South Wales. The family 
includes some doubtful poison plants. 

The genus Ficus (Moraceae) is almost entirely confined to the brushes 
of eastern Australia, largely preponderating in Queensland, with many 
species extending northerly into the Northern Territory, two (F. platypoda, 
A. Cunn., and orbicularis, A. Cunn.) finding their way into the centre of the 
continent. Southward a number of species are found in New South 
Wales. Some of the species are hemi-epiphytes, completely obliterating 
even large trees and fences unless controlled. The whole family has 
the same general distribution in Australia, being fond of moisture, deep 
soil, and warmth. There are three species of Laportea (Nettle Tree). 

Turning to the Orchidaceee, of which Australia has 439 species, there are not 
many Australian orchids which especially attract the orchid grower. Den- 
drobium bigibbum, Lindl., D. superbiens, Eeichb., D. phalamopsis, Fitzg. 

Australian Vegetation. 209 

(resembling superbiens), and D. undulatum var. Broomfieldi (a handsome 
north Australian variety with yellow flowers), D. speciosum, Sm., the "Bock 
Lily," with lemon yellow flowers, and D. falcorostrum, Fitzg., are certainly 
meritorious. Sarcochilus Fitzgeraldi, F. v. M., is the most beautiful of the 
genus, and worthy of cultivation. 

Caladenia Patersoni, B. Br., is reckoned by some to be the most charming 
of Australian terrestrial orchids. The Epiphytes are most developed in 
the brush forests of New South Wales and Queensland ; the terrestrial ones 
are diffused throughout the States. 

Calanthe veratrifolia, B. Br., with white flowers, Phaius grandifolius, 
Lour., var. Bernaysi, with yellow flowers, and Spathoglottis Paulinece, with 
reddish-brown ones, are handsome large terrestrials. Interesting leafless 
orchids are Galeola cassythioides, A. Cunn., not rare about Sydney ; G. Ledgeri, 
F. v. M., a very handsome denizen of the brush forests ; and Gastrodia sesa- 
moides, Lindl. 

The approximate number of the Australian species is given as follows : — 
Caladenia, 56 ; Prasophyllum, 47 ; Dendrobium, 45 ; Pterostylis (Green - 
hoods), 40 ; Thelymitra, 30 (T. grandiflora, Fitzg., with blue flowers is very 
handsome) ; Diuris, 25 ; Sarcochilus, 24. Orchids are pre-eminently a 
family to be studied in the fresh state, with a flora available for reference, 
and justice cannot be done to these beautiful and interesting plants in the 
brief space available on the present occasion. 

Balm^e. — The Balms of Australia are confined to the brush forests of 
Eastern Australia, and are mainly found in Queensland. New South Wales 
has Calamus Muelleri, Wendl. (a " Lawyer Balm "), Linospadix monostachyus, 
Wendl. and Drude (Walking Stick Balm), Archonotophcenix Cunninghamiana, 
Wendl. and Drude (Bangalow), and Livistona australis, Mart. (Cabbage 
Balm), the last extending into eastern Victoria, while L. Maries, F. v. M., 
the only palm of the interior, is found in the Macdonnell Banges of South 

Queensland has six species of Calamus, six of Livistona, two of Bacularia, 
two of Gulubia, one each of Calyptrocalyx^ Drymophlaeus, Areca, Cocos (the 
Ooco-nut), Caryota, Licuala, Corypha, and Borassus. The student of palms 
will be charmed with Queensland, and he will also find several Pandam and 
Freycinetias in the same State, only one Pandanus (pedunculatus, B. Br.) 
extending south down the New South Wales coast. 

C. 12154. 

210 Federal Handbook. 



By W. A. Haswell, M.A., D.Sc, F.R.S., Professor of Biology in the University 

of Sydney. 


1. Introduction. j 4. Reptiles. 

2. The Mammals. 5. Amphibia. 

(a) The Monotbemes. 6. Fresh- Wateb Fishes. 

(b) The Marsupials— 7. Mollusca of the Land and the 
The Question of Degenera- Fresh-Water. 

tion; The Families of Aus- 8. Crustaceans. 

tralian Marsupials ; Rela- 9. Insects, 


(c) Non-Marsupial Mammals. 

3. Birds- 
Peculiar and Characteristic 


10. Scorpions and Spiders. 

11. Centipedes and Millepedes. 

12. Worms, Leeches, etc. 

1. Introduction. 

In view of the narrow limits necessarily imposed, I have considered it best 
not only to restrict the following statements to the animals of the land and 
fresh water, leaving the marine fauna untouched, but also to leave out of 
account a number of terrestrial and aquatic groups, which, however important 
and interesting, are not known to contribute any characteristic features to 
the Australian fauna. Thus the Protozoa, the Parasitic Worms, the Kotifers, 
certain orders of Insects and Arachnida, and certain orders of Birds, though 
quite as extensively developed in this region as in others, are not referred to 
in the following survey. 

The features distinguishing the fauna of Australia* from that of the other 
main divisions of the earth's surface are by no means confined to the larger 
and more conspicuous animals. Many of the lower groups, in spite of the 
presence throughout most of them of cosmopolitan or widely-distributed 
forms, have their characteristic Australian facies. 

2. The Mammals. 

It is the Mammals, however, that constitute, on the whole, the most in- 
teresting part of the Australian fauna — interesting not only on account of 
their peculiarities of structure and mode of life, but also on account of the 
fact that in their case more than in that of any of the other groups, it is 
possible through fossil remains to trace their history in past geological 
periods, and from this, together with their present distribution, to draw 
deductions of importance regarding changes in the arrangement of the land- 
surfaces of the globe in the less remote geological periods. 

The entire Australian mammalian fauna, with the exception of the Dingo 
or Native Dog, a few Eodents, a number of Bats, including Fruit-eating 
Bats or Flying Foxes, and in the sea the Seals and Whales and Dugongs, is 
composed of Marsupials and Monotremes. 

Animal Life "of Australia. 21$ 

(a) The Monotremes. 

The most primitive of all the orders of Mammals — the Monotremes — are 
entirely confined to Australia, including Tasmania, and New Guinea. Not 
only is this the case, but there is no evidence of any members of this primitive 
group having existed in other parts of the world later than, at the latest, the 
oldest division (Lower Eocene) of the Tertiary period. It is possible, as held 
by some, that all the Mammals, remains of which, chiefly in the shape of lower 
jaws with teeth, have been found in Mesozoic strata in Europe, were near allies 
of the existing Australian Monotremes. But, be this as it may, there is good 
evidence from the resemblance in their tooth-structure to the living Omitho- 
rhynchus that the small European Mesozoic Mammals known as the Multi- 
tuberculata were the ancestors of the Australian Monotremes. It is somewhat 
remarkable that no remains capable of being referred to the Monotremes 
or their supposed ancestors have up to the present been found in any 
part of the world but Europe and North America on the one hand, and 
Australia on the other. 

Little is known with regard to the structure of the long-extinct Multi- 
tuberculates, but what is known does not point to any high degree of 
specialization, except in so far as the* teeth are concerned. The living Mono- 
tremes — the Platypus or Duck-bill (Orniihorhynchus) and the Spiny Ant- 
eater (Echidna) — on the other hand, are extremely specialized, and must 
differ very widely from their supposed ancestors. Both are very remarkable 
creatures, and remarkable in very different ways, for, though their relationship 
in essentials — in the structure of their shoulder-girdle, for example, and in 
their oviparity with all that goes with it — is indisputable, their divergence 
in more superficial points is extreme. The resemblances are confined super- 
ficially to the general shape of the trunk, to the presence of short thick limbs, 
all provided (except in the Papuan Pro-Echidna) with the full complement 
of five digits, which are sub-equal and have strong claws, with a horny spur 
on the inner side of the hind foot, in addition to the elongation of the snout 
region into a kind of beak. In other respects the differences are very marked. 

The Platypus is covered with a fine close fur. The upper jaw is not unlike 
the beak of a Duck in general appearance, and is covered with a hairless, 
leathery -looking integument, which is developed into a free flap at the base 
in front of the eyes. Both fore and hind limbs are short, and each comprises 
five digits connected by a web of skin, but provided with strong claws, 
so that they are adapted both for swimming and for burrowing. In the 
male there is a sharp horny spur, provided with a gland, on the inner side 
of the foot. The tail is long and furry. 

The Spiny Ant-eater (Echidna), on the other hand, has the upper surface 
of the body covered with strong pointed spines like those of a Hedgehog, 
but larger, with coarse hairs in between. The snout is very narrow and the 
tail is rudimentary. The digits, which are specially powerful in the fore feet, 
are not connected by webs. 

Echidna and Ornithorhynchus are both animals the study of which in 
their native haunts is difficult. Their habits are nocturnal, and they remain 
for the most part securely concealed during the day. The food of Echidna 
under natural conditions consists of ants, for the capture of which its long 
and narrow tongue is specially adapted. It possesses no trace of teeth at any 

212 Federal Handbook. 

stage. During the day it is rarely seen in the open, hiding away in holes 
among rocks or about the roots of trees. If alarmed during its rare 
wanderings abroad in the day-time it rapidly buries itself by burrowing 

The Platypus spends most of its active life in fresh-water pools and 
streams, swimming and diving with dexterity, and seeking its food, in the 
shape of molluscs, insect-larvae, and the like, among the water-weeds, using 
its beak as a Duck uses its bill for seeking out such objects, which are then 
stored in cheek-pouches, to be afterwards crushed between the broad horny 
plates that do duty for teeth in the adult. The Platypus, like Echidna, 
is hard to find even in districts where it is abundant, since it retires during 
the day to a burrow excavated in the banks of the stream, and, when in the 
water, shows very little above the surface. 

Though the adult Platypus has no teeth, well-developed teeth are formed 
in the young, and persist for a considerable time. The peculiar structure of 
these teeth has led to the conclusion, already referred to, that the nearest 
known relatives of the Monotremes are the extinct Mesozoic and Lower 
Eocene Multituberculata. 

Ornitlwrhynchus and Echidna are oviparous. Echidna produces usually 
only one egg in a season ; this it carries about and incubates in a temporarily- 
formed pouch into which the ducts of the mammary glands open, and, after 
the young Echidna is hatched, it is carried about in the pouch for a considerable 

The Platypus has no pouch, and the two eggs usually produced are 
deposited in the interior of the burrow, where the young are hatched. 

Both Platypus and Echidna are still fairly abundant in some parts of the 
Commonwealth, though the numbers of the former have been reduced owing 
to the demand for their pelts, which are highly valued. Both are, nominally 
at least, protected by legislative enactment. Neither can be said to be in 
any immediate danger of extinction ; and, owing to the disappearance of 
the aboriginals, formerly their chief enemies, in most districts, the Echidnas 
are probably rather increasing than diminishing in numbers in some parts. 
Echidna ranges over all parts of the Continent, Tasmania, and parts of New 

(b) The Marsupials. 

The Australian region is peculiarly the home of the Marsupials at the 
present day, and in it, as has been frequently pointed out, owing to their 
having remained for a long period practically undisturbed by aggression 
or competition at the hands of the higher orders, they have been able to adapt 
themselves to a great variety of widely differing modes of life. These adapta- 
tions have resulted in the evolution of a number of families which show a 
distinct parallelism to certain of the groups of the Eutheria or higher Mammals. 
Thus the Kangaroos and Wallabies, herbivorous Mammals with the limbs 
adapted for swift locomotion on the ground, are the Marsupial parallels 
of the Deer and other Kuminants. The arboreal Phalangers and Koalas 
may be compared to the arboreal Lemurs and Monkeys. The Flying Pha- 
langers are comparable to the Flying Squirrels. The Bandicoots, on the one 
hand, and the Wombats on the other, mimic some of the families of Rodents. 
The carnivorous Native Cats, Tasmanian Devil, and Thylacine parallel some 

Animal Life of Australia. 213 

of the groups of the true Carnivora, while the Moles among the Insectivora 
find an analogue among the Marsupials in the Notoryctes or Marsupial Mole 
of the Australian desert. 

When we take this high degree of specialization into account, it is difficult 
to believe that the Marsupials are a degenerate race. Yet some of the 
zoologists who have given most attention to the subject are of the opinion 
that the existing members of the order have been derived from ancestors more 
highly organized than themselves in certain important respects. One part of 
the evidence on which this view is founded is concerned with the dentition. 
Germs of three sets of teeth are developed in young Marsupials ; but of these 
three sets of germs only one gives rise to a set of fully-formed teeth — the teeth 
of the adult. If the latter are the persistent milk-teeth, as some com- 
parative anatomists suppose, then one of the sets that remain undeveloped 
may be regarded as corresponding to the permanent teeth of higher Mammals ; 
and, should this be correct, then degeneration, as regards the teeth, has 
certainly taken place in the Marsupials. But the presence of the two 
abortive sets of tooth-germs does not necessarily point to such a conclusion ; 
it may very well be interpreted as pointing not to degeneration from higher 
Mammals, but to progressive development from, lower forms in which three, 
or more, sets of teeth succeeded one another during the life of the animal. 

Another fact that has been looked upon as favouring the theory of de- 
generation is the singular one that only one Marsupial, so far as known, 
— the Bandicoot, Perameles, as discovered by J. P. Hill — has a true or allantoic 
placenta, such as is universally present, as the organ for the absorption of 
nutriment by the unborn young, in all higher Mammals without exception. 
The explanation of this anomaly afforded by a theory of degeneration — 
viz., that Marsupials in general once possessed a placenta, and that it has 
become degenerated and lost in all except Perameles is, however, not the 
only one that might be given. Almost as well might one argue that since 
among the Lizards one form, viz., Seps, has an allantoic placenta, all the 
others have previously possessed this structure, but have lost it as a result 
of degeneration. It is perhaps quite as probable that the placenta has been 
independently evolved in the Marsupials and in the ancestors of the higher 

A third fact that has been supposed to point to degeneration is that the oldest 
known extinct Australian Marsupial, Wynyardia, described by Baldwin Spencer 
from deposits of Eocene age in Tasmania, has a cranial cavity, and presumably 
possessed a brain, larger in proportion than those of the living forms. 

The Marsupials are divisible into two main sections or sub-orders — the 
Diprotodontia and the Polyprotodontia. The Diprotodontia have two large 
incisor teeth in the lower jaw, and usually six (three on each side) in the 
upper ; and they all have the second and third toes (usually much smaller 
than the others) united by a web of skin (syndactylous) ; while the Polypro- 
todontia, which are carnivorous or insectivorous for the most part, have 
numerous incisors (four or five pairs) in the upper jaw, and rather fewer in 
the lower, and, with the exception of the Bandicoots, are not syndactylous. 

If we leave out of account the doubtful case of the South American 
Ccenolestes and allied extinct forms from the Santa Cruz beds of Patagonia, 
the Diprotodonts are exclusively Australian at the present time, and there 

214 Federal TTandbook, 

is no evidence that they ever existed in any other region. There are three 
families of Diprotodonts — the Kangaroo family (Macropodidce), the Wombat 
family (Phascolomyidce) and the Phalanger family (Phalangeridce). The 
first includes, in addition to the Kangaroos, the Tree Kangaroos, the Wallabies, 
the Kock Wallabies, Hare-Wallabies, and Kat-Kangaroos, ranging in length 
of head and body from 5 ft. 5 in. in the case of the large Kangaroos, down to 
10 inches in the case of the Musk Rat (Hypsiprymnodon moschatus). There 
are at least four species of Kangaroos (i.e., of the large species of Macropus) 
inhabiting chiefly the more central parts of the various States, and two of 
them also occurring in small numbers in the arid Central Australia. The 
commonest is the Giant Kangaroo (Macropus gigas) which does not extend 
to Central Australia, but is found all over the rest of the Continent, except 
the far north, a variety of the species, now very rare, occurring also in 

The Wombats (Phascolomyidce), thick-set in body, short in legs, practi- 
cally tailless, and clumsy in movement, contrast strongly with the agile and 
graceful Kangaroos and Wallabies. Their front teeth are very rodent-like, 
and they have been not inaptly described as resembling Beavers in general 
appearance without the well-developed tails of the latter animals. The 
short and very stout limbs are provided with powerful claws, which enable 
the animal to excavate large burrows in which it usually lies hidden during 
the day-time. It employs its burrowing powers also in procuring the roots 
of ferns and other plants which form the staple of its food. The most widely 
distributed species is Phascolomys mitchelli, which is found in New South 
Wales, Victoria, and South Australia. A second species (P. ur sinus) is 
confined to Tasmania and the islands of Bass Strait, while a third (P. latifrons) 
occurs in South Australia. 

The family Phalangeridce includes, in addition to the Phalangers, almost 
universally known as " Opossums " in Australia, the # Koala or Native Bear. 
Of the latter there is only a single species (Phascolarctus cinereus) which is 
common all over Eastern Australia. It is almost as completely arboreal 
in its habits as the Sloth, which it resembles also in its slow and deliberate 
movements. Both hand and foot are prehensile, and the digits are provided 
with strong curved claws ; the tail is vestigial. The food of the Koala is 
composed almost exclusively of leaves of Eucalypti. During the day it 
usually rests asleep in a forked branch. 

The Phalangers are slighter in the body than the Koala, and have similar 
prehensile limbs, but are provided with a long tail which is usually prehensile. 
The commonest species is Trichosurus vulpecula, which is found over all 
Australia with the exception of the Cape York District. The common Tas- 
manian Opossum is a somewhat larger variety of the same species with darker 
and thicker fur. A second species — the Short-eared Opossum — T. caninus 
— is not so widely distributed, being found in Southern Queensland, New 
South Wales, parts of Victoria, Tasmania, and the islands of Bass Straits. 

The Ring-tailed Opossums (Pseudochirus) are similar to the Opossums, 
but smaller. The Flying Opossums (" Flying Squirrels ") differ from the 
Opossums in the possession, like the true Flying Squirrels, of a fold of skin 
extending on each side of the body from fore limb to hind limb, and forming 
a parachute enabling the animal to glide through the air from one branch 

Animal Life op Australia. 215 

of a tree to another. Of these the largest is the Greater Flying Opossum 
(Petauroides volans), which occurs throughout Eastern Australia. The 
smallest is the Pigmy Flying Opossum (Acrobates pygmceus), of about the 
size of a mouse. 

Also mouse-like in size and general appearance is the Long-snouted 
Pouched Mouse (Tarsipes rostratus) which is peculiar among the Marsupials 
in feeding with the aid of its long tongue on the honey of flowers as well as 
on insects. Tarsipes has only been found in Western Australia. 

One of the rarest and most interesting of the Australian Polyprotodonts 
is the little Banded Ant-eater (Myrmecobius fasciatus) of South and Western 
Australia. Of the size of a large Eat, the Banded Ant-eater has a slender 
squirrel-like body, a pointed snout with a long narrow tongue, well- developed 
claws on the five digits of the fore foot and the four of the hind foot, and a 
long bushy tail. The coarse, reddish fur of the upper surface is crossed by 
eight or nine light transverse bands. The teeth are remarkable on account 
both of their great number — 52 altogether, a larger number than in any 
other living land Mammal — and of the close resemblance between them and the 
teeth of certain of the oldest known fossil Mammals, the remains of which have 
been found in European Jurassic beds. Though a Marsupial in all other 
essential respects, Myrmecobius is devoid of the characteristic pouch or 
marsupium which occurs in all the rest of the Australian members of the 

Of the family Dasyuridce the Native Cats (genus Dasyurus) comprise 
five species of carnivorous, marten-like, partly terrestrial, partly arboreal 
Marsupials, the largest of which, the Tiger-cat (Dasyurus maculatus) is 
about 3J feet in total length. They have all brownish or yellowish-grey fur 
with white spots. The most widely-distributed of the Native Cats is 
Dasyurus viverrinus, which occurs in New South Wales, Victoria, South 
Australia, and Tasmania. A number of smaller, rat-like or mouse-like 
forms are also comprised in the family. 

To the same family are also referred the Tasmanian Devil and the Thyla- 
cine. The Tasmania Devil (Sarcophilus ursinus), now confined to Tasmania, 
but formerly — probably at a period when Tasmania was a peninsula — living 
also in continental Australia, is a fierce little animal which in general appear- 
ance, with its thick snout and thick-set body, has been compared to a small 
Bear. The limbs are like those of the Native Cats, but stronger, with five 
clawed digits in the fore and four in the hind foot. The fur is black, with 
sundry patches of white. 

The Thylacine or Tasmanian Wolf (Thylacinus cynocephalus), like Sarco- 
philus, is now confined to Tasmania, though formerly occurring on the 
mainland. Thylacinus is a large dog-like carnivorous Marsupial of a grey 
colour, with a number of transverse blackish stripes on the hinder part of 
the body. It is said to find its nearest relatives in certain fossil forms (Pro- 
thylacinus and others), in the Santa Cruz beds of Patagonia. Both the Devil 
and the Wolf have been driven back to the very wildest and roughest parts 
of Tasmania, and are becoming very scarce. 

The Bandicoot family (Peramelidce) are Polyprotodonts which resemble 
the Diprotodonts in having the second and third toes of the hind foot syn- 
dactylous, i.e., united together by a web of skin. They are rabbit-like, 

216 Federal Handbook. 

burrowing, omnivorous, with two or three of the middle digits of the fore 
foot long and clawed, the others rudimentary ; with the first toe (hallux) 
of the hind foot absent or rudimentary, the second and third slender and 
united, the fourth the largest, with a large claw, and the fifth smaller ; the 
tail narrow and sometimes bare like that of a Rat, sometimes scantily haired, 
sometimes provided with a brush of long hairs. 

The common Bandicoots belong to the genus Perameles, of which there 
are six species, the most widely distributed being P. obesula, occurring all over 
Australia south of the Tropics and in Tasmania. Bandicoots are extremely 
common in some parts of the country, even in the neighbourhood of large 
towns. They are not frequently seen, as they hide away during the day ; 
but traces of their presence in localities where they abound are usually to be 
observed in the shape of the numerous shallow burrows which they excavate 
in search of the roots and the earthworms and grubs which constitute their 
chief food. 

The Rabbit Bandicoot (Peragale lagotis) occurs in South and Western 
Australia and in the Centre. The name is derived from the long ears, which 
are not unlike those of a rabbit or a hare. Still rarer is the Pig-footed Bandi- 
coot (Chceropus castanotis), also with prominent ears and with very slender 
feet ; it is confined to the far-inland parts of the continent. 

Of all the Polyprotodonts the most remarkably modified is the little 
Marsupial Mole (Notoryctes typhlops) of Central Australia. The head and 
trunk together are about 6 inches long, the head passing into the trunk 
without definite neck : the trunk is flattened, the surface covered with a soft 
silky fur. The snout is protected above by a hard horny shield, and the 
tail, which is short, is enclosed in a hardened integument marked with a 
number of rings. The eyes are quite vestigial and functionless ; the ear has 
no pinna. The limbs are short and powerful, with five digits in each, all 
provided with claws, those of the third and fourth, digits of the fore foot 
being enormously developed. Notoryctes does not seem to form per- 
manent burrows, but moves along under the surface through loose sand 
with marvellous speed. Its food consists mainly of ants captured under- 

The only Marsupials now living outside the Australian region are the 
Marsupials of America ; and these belong, with only one exception, to a 
family of Polyprotodonts, the Didelphyidce, or Opossums, which are not 
represented in Australia either in the living or the fossil condition. The one 
exception is a small rat-like animal — Ccenolestes — found in Bolivia and 
Ecuador. This has some claims to be regarded as a Diprotodont of the same 
type as the Diprotodonts of Australia : but the resemblances may perhaps 
be ascribable rather to convergent evolution than to near relationship. The 
upper teeth of Ccenolestes are Polyprotodont, while the lower are Diprotodont, 
and the skull does not show special Diprotodont features. There is no 

The Cretaceous mammalian remains known as Triconodonts and Tri- 
tuberculates may have been Marsupials ; but the evidence for such a con- 
clusion is not complete, and, in any case, it is impossible to connect them 
definitely with any of the living Marsupial families. The only family of recent 
Marsupials which has a history traceable with any degree of certainty back 

Animal Life of Australia. 217 

to the Mesozoic period is the Didelphyidce of America. Remains of Marsupials 
belonging to this family, or of forms regarded on good evidence as having 
been its precursors, occur in Cretaceous beds in North America. In the Ter- 
tiary of Europe and of North America the Didelphyidce were represented 
by many species scarcely, if at all, to be distinguished from the living genus 
Didelphys. The European Didelphyidce ranged from the Eocene through 
the Oligocene to the beginning of the Miocene, where they completely dis- 
appeared. In North America they became extinct in the Oligocene— those 
living in that country at the present day being evidently comparatively 
recent immigrants from the south. 

In South America the Didelphyid stock appears to have been abundantly 
represented by small forms (Microbiotheridce) in the Miocene of the Santa 
Cruz beds of Patagonia ; but is probably to be traced much further back, 
to the Upper Cretaceous or lowest Eocene, on the evidence of a single fossil 
(Proteodidelphys) . 

In the Santa Cruz beds, in addition to a number of forms of small Mar- 
supials (Epanorthidce, Abderitidce, Ccenolestidce), more or less nearly allied 
to the living Ccenolestes, is a family of Polyprotodonts (Sparassodontidce, 
including Prothylacinus), which seem to find their nearest allies in the living 
Tasmanian Thylacine. 

In Pleistocene times Australia was populated with Marsupials, many of 
which belonged to genera that still survive, others to extinct genera referable 
to existing families. Many of both types were of gigantic size, the largest of 
the extinct genera being Diprotodon, Nototherium, and Thylacoleo. Dipro- 
todon, the largest Marsupial known, was intermediate in its structure between 
the Phalangers and Kangaroos. All these Pleistocene forms were definitely 
Diprotodont or definitely Polyprotodont. Wynyardia, from an older horizon, 
seems to have resembled the South American Csenolestoids in combining 
Diprotodont and Polyprotodont features. 

South America and Australia have thus been, so far as known, the sole 
centres of Marsupial evolution since the primitive Didelphyid stock became 
extinct in Europe and North America. And it seems to be clearly established, 
in view of the relationships between the Marsupial fauna, living and extinct, 
of South America and that of Australia, that at some period antecedent 
to the Pliocene, Australia and South America were in much closer connection 
than they are at the present day. If we leave the case of Thylacinus and the 
Sparassodonts out of account as at present undetermined, the main body 
of the evidence seems to point not to any direct derivation of the one fauna 
rrom the other, but rather to their origination in a common centre, the 
spreading out from this, east and west, of the two sets of primitive forms 
destined to give rise respectively to the American and to Australian Marsupial 
fauna, the eventual complete geographical separation of the two with the 
disappearance of the centre of origin, their arrival in South America and 
Australia respectively, and their further evolution there since Miocene times. 
Whether the primitive forms reached the original, now long submerged, 
centre of dispersal through South America or through Australia remains an 
open question. The absence of Marsupials and Marsupial remains in Asia, 
and the absence of any trace of Didelphyoid forms in Australian deposits 
would seem to point rather to the former conclusion. 

218 Federal Handbook. 

(c) Non=MarsupiaI Mammals. 

The Dingo or Native Dog (Canis dingo) is one of the few indigenous 
Mammals of Australia that are not Marsupials. The Dingo is a wild dog of 
about the size of a collie, which ranges all over continental Australia in the 
less frequented districts, and, hunting singly, or in twos and threes, or small 
bands of five or six, works much devastation among the flocks and herds 
and in the poultry runs. The Dingo is frequently reared from puppyhood 
by the aborigines, but never becomes really tamed or fully domesticated, 
and, though clever in finding and tracking game of all kinds, is not of much 
direct use to its masters. 

Remains of the Dingo have been found mixed with the bones of extinct 
Marsupials — Diprotodon, Notoiheriwm, and Thylacoleo — so that it is an ancient 
inhabitant of the country — much more ancient than Man, so far as existing 
evidence shows. 

It is a remarkable fact that the Dingo does not occur in Tasmania, and 
never seems to have reached that country, since no remains of it have been 
found there, though it flourished on the mainland perhaps even at the time 
when Tasmania was not an island, but a peninsula. The survival of the 
Thylacine and Sarcophilus in Tasmania is doubtless due to this circumstance, 
since on the mainland these carnivorous Marsupials became extinct in 
Pleistocene times. 

Other non-marsupial Mammals are a number of species of Rats and Mice 
(genus Mus of the order Rodentia) and other rat-like Rodents. The largest 
of these is a Water-rat (Hydromys chrysogaster), which reaches a length of 
some 20 inches. Very curious in their adoption of an attitude and mode 
of progression similar to those of the Kangaroos and Wallabies are the so- 
called " Jerboa " Rats. The genus to which these belong (Gonilurus) is 
peculiar to Australia, though other Rodent genera — the original Jer- 
boas — presenting a parallel modification, are *distributed in Asia and 

Australia also contains a considerable number of Bats of various kinds 
(order Chiroptera). The largest of these are the widely-distributed Fruit- 
eating Bats or Flying Foxes (Pteropodidm), a family which also occurs in 
Africa and Southern Asia, as well as in Fiji and Samoa. These large Bats, 
(popularly known as " Flying Foxes " on account of their Fox-like heads and 
reddish fur), with a spread of wings of about 3 to 5 feet, are capable of swift 
and prolonged flight, and travel long distances from their diurnal haunts 
in remote gorges in the mountains to their feeding grounds in districts where 
fruit is to be obtained. During the day they rest suspended by their claws 
from branches of trees with the head downwards, congregating together 
in " camps "or " rookeries " sometimes containing thousands of individuals. 
At dusk they fly abroad in search of food, and often work great havoc in 

Of the Insectivorous Bats some twenty -five species are represented in 
Australia, a few being forms of wide distribution, while the rest are confined to 
Australia, and in many cases to particular parts of the Commonwealth. 
One genus, Rhinonycteris, represented by a single species, seems to be 
confined to North and North-west Australia. 

Animal Life op Australia. 219 

3. Birds. 

The Bird fauna of Australia is exceedingly rich both in regard to the 
total number of species (about 800), the high proportion of endemic forms, 
and the number of interesting and peculiar groups. Here Alfred Russell 
Wallace may be quoted. He writes {Geographical Distribution of Animals, 
vol. I., p. 391), " The typical Australian region is almost as well defined by 
its birds as by its mammalia ; but in this case the deficiencies are less con- 
spicuous, while the peculiar and characteristic families are numerous and 
important. The most marked deficiency as regards widespread families, 
is the total absence of Fringillidae (True Finches), Picidse (Woodpeckers), 
Vulturidse (Vultures), and Phasianidse* (Pheasants), and among prevalent 
Oriental groups, Pycnonotidse (Bulbuls), Phyllornithidae (Green Bulbuls), 
and Megalsemidse (Barbets), are families whose absence is significant." 

No fewer than five families of birds are to all intents and purposes con- 
fined to the Australian region ; and a number of others, though not so 
restricted, are so specially developed in it as to constitute striking features 
of the fauna. Of the families practically restricted to the region two of the 
most interesting are those of the Cassowaries (Casuariidce) and Emus 
(Dromceidce). The Australian Cassowary (Gasuarius australis) is confined 
to Northern Queensland, while the Emu (Dromceus novcB hollandice) is of 
wide distribution in continental Australia, but the Tasmanian form (D. 
diemenensis) became extinct about half-a-century ago. Another species 
of Emu (D. farvulus) lived on Kangaroo Island, off St. Vincent's Gulf, and 
the bones of yet another (D. minor) have been found on King Island in 
Bass Strait. Emus have been driven back by settlement and cultivation, 
and have become extirpated in many districts in which they were once 
abundant. But they are still numerous enough in the plains and open 
forest country in many parts of the continent, though in order to see them 
in any abundance it is necessary to travel far back from the more populous 

This characteristic bird is almost too well known to require description. 
Though larger than the Cassowary, it is much smaller than the African 
Ostrich, the full-grown bird reaching a height of about 5 feet. The Emu and 
the Cassowary both differ from the Ostrich in the possession of three toes 
instead of only two, and in the absence of the characteristic large plumes 
on the wings and tail, all the contour-feathers being long, narrow, and forked. 
The Emus do not possess the prominent helmet-like excrescence present on 
the head of the Cassowary, and also are devoid of the wattles and brightly- 
coloured naked spaces on the neck. Emus go in pairs except after the breeding 
season, when a number may congregate together. They feed largely on 
grasses and herbage, and on roots and fruits. In spring the eggs are laid 
to the number of as many as forty in a hollow made in the ground or in a 
loosely-constructed nest. The dark-green eggs are familiar objects in the 
shops of dealers in curiosities. 

Another peculiar family of birds almost confined to the Australian region 
is that of the Mound Birds or Megapodes (Megapodiidce). These are birds 
not unlike the domestic turkey in size and general appearance, with very 

* The Phasianidce, as the family is now defined, are, however, represented by certain Quails (Coturnix 
and others). 

220 Federal Handbook. 

strong and large feet. Unlike other birds, the Megapodes do not sit on their 
eggs in order to maintain the temperature necessary for incubation ; but 
scrape together masses of earth or sand mingled with decaying vegetable 
matter, deposit the eggs as they are laid in depressions excavated in this 
mass, cover them over and leave them to be hatched by the agency of the 
heat generated by the decomposition of the organic matter. The young 
birds, as soon as they are hatched, are able to scramble out of the mound and 
shift for themselves. The Brush-Turkey (Gatheturus lathami) and the Mallee 
Hen (Lipoa ocellata) represent this family, the former in the east and north- 
east, the latter in the south and west of the continent. Another species, 
the Scrub Fowl (Megapodius tumulus), occurs in Northern Queensland, 
but is found also distributed through New Guinea and a part of the Malay 
Archipelago. Another (Catheturus purpureicollis) occurs in the Cape York 
Peninsula. The family is not represented in Tasmania. Though characteris- 
tic of Australia, the Mound-Birds are not confined to it, extending to the east 
as far as Samoa, to the west as far as the Nicobar Islands, and to the north 
as far as the Philippines and Ladrones. The nearest known relatives of the 
Megapodes — structurally closely allied to them — are the Curassows (Cracidce) 
of Central and South America. 

The Pigeon family (Columbidce), though not numerous when compared 
with their representatives in certain other regions, yet form an important 
element of the bird-fauna. Conspicuous among them for brightness and 
beauty of colouration, in which they almost rival the Parrot tribe, are the 
Fruit Pigeons (Ptilopus), mostly denizens of the tropical districts of the 
north. Other typical forms are the Top-knot Pigeon (Lopholcemus ant- 
arcticus), the little Doves of the genus Geopelia, the Bronze-wings (Phaps 
chalcoptera and P. elegans) and the Wonga (Leucosarcia picata). 

The great development of the Parrot group constitutes one of the most 
striking and characteristic features of the Australian avi-fauna. Three 
families (or sub-families) are peculiar to the Australian region, and are for 
the most part confined to Australia itself. Conspicuous among these is the 
family of the Cockatoos (Cacatuidce), which occurs outside Australia only 
in the Philippine and Sulu Islands. Of these, the White Cockatoo (Cacatua 
galerita), with yellow crest and ear-coverts, is found practically all over 
Australia and Tasmania, but does not penetrate to the far interior of the 
continent. Leadbeater's, or the Pink Cockatoo (G. leadbeateri), which has a 
red crest banded with yellow and with a white tip, and has a flush of rose 
colour over the head and breast, is confined to far inland districts of the 
continent. The widely distributed Galah or Rose-breasted Cockatoo (C. 
roseicapilla) is rose-coloured below and grey above. 

Several species of the genus Calyptorhynchus, of varying distribution, are 
popularly known as Black Cockatoos on account of the prevailing blackness 
of their plumage. Of these, the commonest are G. banksii, with a red band 
across the tail, and C. funereus, with a yellow band in the same place and a 
yellow tuft on the ears. 

The largest of the Cockatoo tribe is the Great Black Cockatoo (Microglossus 
aterrimus), which extends from Northern Queensland to New Guinea and the 
Aru Islands, the uniform greyish-black of whose colouring is only relieved 
by the red and yellow of naked patches on the cheeks. The smallest, the 

Animal Life of Australia. 22] 

Cockatoo Parakeet (Calopsittacus novce hollandice), which is of a dark-grey 
with a grey and yellow crest, occurs over Australia generally, but is rare in 
the coastal districts. A little larger is the Gang-gang (Callocephalon galeatum), 
a grey bird with a thick crest, which is scarlet in the male, grey in the female. 

The Brush-tongued Lories (Trichoglossidce) are a second peculiar family 
of Australian Parrots extending to New Guinea, Celebes, Timor, and the 
New Hebrides. Of these, the best known is the gorgeously-coloured Blue- 
bellied Lorikeet (Trichoglossus novce hollandice), which is of common occur- 
rence in Eastern Australia and Tasmania, where it is often to be seen flying 
about in flocks and feeding on the honey of the flowers of the Eucalypts 
and of other trees and shrubs, and on various seeds. The prevailing colours 
of this brilliantly-coloured bird are blue and red, with the head and the centre 
of the under surface green and with a yellow band round the neck. 

Belonging to a more widely distributed family is the " Budgeraga " 
(Melopsittacus undulatus), very familiar as a cage bird, little larger than a 
Sparrow, with green and yellow feathers bearing black markings, a yellow 
head, with three black spots and a band of blue on the cheek and a streak 
of blue in the middle of the tail. The King Parrot (Aprosmictus cyanopygius), 
which ranges over Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria, is a large 
handsome Parrot with the head, neck, and under-surface brilliant scarlet, 
and the back and wings green. 

Probably the commonest of the Australian Parrots, as well as among 
the most beautiful in colouration, are certain species of the genus Platy- 
cercus and its allies, commonly known as Parrakeets. Conspicuous among 
these are the Kosella (Platycercus eximius) and Pennant's Parakeet (P. 

The Lyre-birds (Menuridce) are restricted to the Australian continent. 
The Superb Lyre-bird (Menura superba), of New South Wales and Southern 
Queensland, and M. Victoria of Eastern Victoria and South-eastern New 
South Wales have in the adult male the ornamental lyre-like tail to which these 
birds owe their popular name. They are large birds of about the size of a 
pheasant, which, though well able to fly, live largely on the ground. They are 
exceedingly shy and difficult to approach, running away rapidly when ap- 
proached, but if greatly startled, as by the bark of a dog, they will spring 
up into a low branch of a tree. The Lyre-birds are wonderful mimics, 
imitating very cleverly the cries of other birds, as well as any other sounds 
that come within their hearing. 

The Honey-eaters (Meliphagidce) are, perhaps, on the whole, the most 
interesting of all the peculiar families of Australian birds on account of then- 
great abundance, their grace of form and movement, and the variety of their 
notes and cries. The Meliphagidce are represented as far north as Bali, 
and as far south as New Zealand, but they have their head-quarters in Aus- 
tralia, where they find abundance of food in the honey-producing blossoms 
of the Myrtaceous trees (such as Eucalypts and Ti-trees), the prevalence of 
which is so characteristic of the vegetation. The food of the Honey-eaters 
does not, however, consist exclusively of honey ; the small insects that 
frequently abound about the flowers are also devoured, and are often found 
to constitute a large proportion of the bulk of the contents of the crop, and 
in many cases various fruits also contribute to the bird's diet. The largest 

222 Federal Handbook. 

members of the family, such as the Friar-bird (Philemon corniculatus), with 
its bare leathery-skinned head, and the Gill-bird (Acanthochcera carunculata), 
with its pair of appendages (•" wattles " or " gills ") at the sides of the head, 
are of about the size of a thrush ; the smallest, such as the scarlet and black 
Blood-stained Honey-eater (Myzomela sanguinolenta) and the Spine-bill 
(Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris) are no larger than the largest humming-birds, 
which they resemble in their habit of inserting the long slender bill into the 
tube of a flower while hovering in the air. 

The Scrub-birds (Atrichornithidce) are also a family of birds peculiar to 
Australia, remarkable, like the Lyre-birds, for their power of mimicking the 
notes of other birds. 

The Birds of Paradise (Paradiseidce) are represented by their most 
characteristic and beautiful forms in New Guinea and the Aru Islands. In 
Australia they have for their representatives the Bine-birds, for the most 
part restricted to Northern Queensland, and the Bower-birds, Begent-birds, 
Satin-birds, and Cat-birds. All of these except the Bine-birds have the 
curious habit of constructing '' bowers " or play-grounds, which they orna- 
ment in various ways with feathers, bones, shells, berries, lichens, and mosses. 
Structurally the Bower-birds are most nearly related to the sombre-plumaged 
Crows ; but the male attire of all of them, though much less gorgeous than 
that of the true Birds of Paradise, shows some tendency to brilliancy. This 
in the Bower-bird (Chlamydodera nuchalis) is limited to a band of lilac 
on the neck relieving the quiet brown and grey of the rest of the surface. 
The male Satin-bird (Ptilorhynchus violaceus) has a uniform coat of glistening 
purplish-black. The Begent-bird (Sericulus melinus) has its black plumage 
ornamented with bright orange on the head, neck, and wings. The Cat- 
bird (Aeluredus viridis) is bright green diversified by white markings, with 
a dash of blue on the back. 

Of families (or sub-families) of birds not strictly confined to Australia, 
though forming important characteristic constituents of its fauna, mention 
should be made of the Thick-heads (Pachycephalidce), the Caterpillar-shrikes 
(Campephagidce), the Wood-swallows (Artamidce), and the Weaver-finches 
(Ploceidce). The Thick-heads, which are Polynesian as well as Australian 
(also Tenasserim and the Sunda Islands), are active Shrike-like birds which 
feed chiefly on insects. Various species of Pachycephala are very common 
birds over nearly all Australia, and are distinguished by the black band 
round the neck and the yellow or red breast. Falcunculus frontatus, the 
Crested Shrike, of the same family, which has also a black neck-band with a 
yellow breast, has a crest or tuft of feathers on the black head. 

In connexion with the Shrikes mention must be made of two members 
of that group which are among the commonest and most conspicuous birds 
in all parts of Australia. These are the so-called " Magpies " (Gymnorhina) 
and " Magpie Larks " (Grallina). Of the Magpies there are five species, of 
which the most widely distributed is the Black-backed Magpie (G. tibicen). 
Protected by law on account of the good work they do in the destruction 
of grubs and caterpillars, which, with small lizards, form their principal food — 
though by no means immaculate as regards fruit and cereal crops — 'these 
handsome birds, with their striking black-and-white plumage, are very 
abundant even in the most closely-settled parts. Their natural song is very 

Animal Life of Australia. 223 

musical, clear, and flute-like ; they are excellent mimics, and when tamed 
they can easily be taught to whistle a bar or two of a simple air. 

The Magpie Lark (Grallina picata), distributed all over Australia, except 
in the most arid parts, is a much smaller bird than the Magpie, which it 
resembles in its black-and-white plumage. It utters a monotonous sharp 
cry in two longish notes, from the sound of which it is in many districts 
known as the " Pee-wee." 

Another family of Shrike-like birds specially developed in Australia is 
that of the Campephagidce (Cuckoo Shrikes or Caterpillar Shrikes). The 
various species of the genus Graucalus belonging to this family are very 
common bhds in the bush in most parts of Australia. They are recognisable 
as large birds with broad bills, with the plumage of french grey, marked 
about the head and throat with black, and with variously distributed white 

The family of the Wood-swallows (Artamidce) are not by any means 
confined to Australia, having representatives both in India and in West 
Africa. The genus Artamus comprises half-a-dozen species, of which the 
most widely distributed is the common Wood-swallow (A. tenebrosus or 
sordidus), birds of sombre colouration, not unlike true Swallows — from 
which they differ widely in essentials — in general appearance and mode of 
flight, but with the bill long and curved instead of short and wide, and with 
the wings less elongated. 

Mention may here be made of the Shrike-Robins or Yellow-breasted 
Robins of the genus Eopsaltria, which is peculiar to Australia, New Guinea, 
the Aru Islands, and New Caledonia. E. australis, a very tame bird, frequently 
seen in town gardens, is very common in New South Wales and Victoria, 
and allied species take its place in other parts. The Yellow-breasted Robins 
are usually classed with the Fly-catchers (Muscicapidce). 

Also familiarly known as " Robins " are a number of other small birds, 
notably the various species of Petrceca, a genus which is mainly Australian 
in its distribution, though occurring also in New Zealand, the New Hebrides, 
Fiji, and Samoa. Most of the common species of Petrceca have bright 
scarlet breasts. P. goodenovii has also a patch of scarlet on the top of the 

The " Wrens " or " Warblers " of the genus Malurus (classed, like the 
Yellow-breasted Robins, with the Flycatchers, and confined to Australia 
and New Guinea) are very attractive, tame little birds, common in gardens — 
the adult males with brilliant plumage of blue and black, or red and 

Though true Finches (Fringillidce) are entirely wanting in Australia, 
there are great numbers of the nearly related family of the Weaver Finches 
(Ploceidce), which are numerous also in Africa, Southern Asia, the Malay 
Archipelago, and the islands of the West Pacific. Many of these little birds 
are strikingly and brilliantly coloured, and, being easily captured, they are 
extensively kept as cage-birds. Of the eleven genera represented seven are 
confined to Australia. 

The Kingfisher family (AlcedinidcB), though abundant all over the world, 
have their head-quarters in Australia. Those gigantic members of the group, 
the " Kookaburras " or " Laughing Jackasses " (Dacelo gigas and other 

224 Federal Handbook. 

species), range all over Australia, except over the more arid parts of the 
interior, where there is little bird-life of any kind. Outside Australia they 
occur only in Southern New G-uinea. The common Kookaburra (Dacelo 
gigas) extends over Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and South 
Australia. It is one of the largest of the Kingfisher tribe, with a total length 
of about 17 inches. A second species, Dacelo leachii, occurs in Queensland 
and in the Northern Territory ; while a third, D. cervina, inhabits Western 
Australia, the Northern Territory, and the northern parts of Queensland. 
Kookaburras are not frequenters of streams like typical Kingfishers, and do 
not feed on fish. They are to be found in all parts of the bush — more especi- 
ally in the prevailing open forest country — and their food consists of lizards 
and snakes, small mammals and birds, and large insects, such as cicadas 
and locusts. Their most remarkable peculiarity is their extraordinary 
laughing cry, usually uttered in a duet or chorus, especially frequent 
and noisy at sunrise and sunset. Half-a-dozen Kingfishers of smaller size 
also occur. The commonest of these, the Sacred Kingfisher (Halcyon sanctus) 
is to be found all over Australia, and extends to New Guinea, Sumatra, and 
the New Hebrides. Like the Kookaburras, it is by no means confined 
to the neighbourhood of water, and it does not dive into water after fish, 
but feeds on insects and crustaceans, small lizards, and snakes. Some of the 
other species are typical Kingfishers in appearance and habits, and are 
seldom to be seen except along the course of streams. 

The Australian Birds of Prey, though numerous, present few characteristic 
features. The Australian Harriers, Goshawks, Sparrow Hawks, Eagles, 
Sea Eagles, Kites, Falcons, Kestrels, Ospreys, and Owls are not, save in small 
particulars, different from the corresponding birds of other regions, and 
belong to the same or to nearly related genera. Vultures are not represented. 
The largest Australian Bird of Prey is the Wedgg-tailed Eagle, or " Eagle- 
hawk " (Aquila or Urocetus audax), which is rather larger than the European 
Golden Eagle. This is by no means a rare bird ; in fact, its numbers some- 
times render it so formidable to the young lambs in pastoral districts that 
poisoning is resorted to, and large numbers are destroyed. On the other hand, 
the Wedge-tailed Eagle does a good work in destroying many rabbits. 
Unlike the Golden Eagle the Wedge-tailed Eagle is by no means averse to 
feeding on dead animals which are in a well-advanced stage of putridity. 

4. Reptiles. 

Of the Reptiles Australia possesses but a poor fauna so far as the Tor- 
toises (Chelonia) and Crocodiles (Crocodilia) are concerned, while the Lizards 
(Lacertilia) and Snakes (Ophidia) are much more numerous. The Tortoises 
all belong to a family, the Chelydidce, occurring elsewhere only in South 
America. The genus Chelodina comprises three species in Australia and one 
in New Guinea. Of the Australian species G. longicollis, the Long-necked 
Tortoise, inhabits the fresh waters of all the southern part of continental 

There are two species of Crocodile, both confined to the Tropics (Northern 
Queensland). One of these (Crocodilus porosus) which lives in estuaries and 
readily ventures out to sea, is a widely distributed Indian and Malayan 

Animal Life of Australia. 225 

species, which reaches an immense size in some of the rivers of North Queens- 
land. The other (C. johnstoni), which does not reach a greater length than 
6 or 7 feet, is also confined to rivers of the tropical north, but does not go 
down into salt water. 

The Lizards of Australia are very numerous, but present few marked 
characters. Geckos and Skinks, generally distributed in other regions, are 
represented by a number of genera and species. Of the Skinks one charac- 
teristic form, which is distributed over the Australian continent, is the Shingle- 
back or Stump -tailed Lizard (Trachysaurus rugosus), the only species of a 
genus which does not occur outside Australia. This was one of the few 
Australian animals noticed by Dampier in his famous visit to Western Aus- 
tralia in 1699. Another much commoner member of the Skink family is 
the large sluggish smooth-scaled Blue-tongue (Tiliqua scincoides). The 
commonest, small, long-tailed Lizards, with habits like those of the European 
species of Lacerta, are also members of the Skink family (various species of 
Lygosoma or Hinulia). 

Allied to the Skink tribe is a family of snake-like Lizards, the Pygopidw, 
entirely confined to Australia and Tasmania with, perhaps, New Guinea. 
They are limbless, or practically limbless, Lizards often mistaken for Snakes, 
and found in all parts, living in holes in the ground or under stones, and coming 
out to feed usually in the evenings. The largest of these snake-like forms are 
about 2 feet long. 

One of the families of Lizards best represented in the Australian fauna 
is that of the Agamidce, which contains a number of characteristic forms. 
One of its most remarkable members is the Frill Lizard (Chlamydosaurus 
Kingi), of Queensland and northern and north-western Australia. The most 
striking feature of this Lizard, which grows to 3 feet in length, is the wide 
frill-like flap of skin on either side of the neck, which the animal erects when 
alarmed, by means of long rib-like extensions of the hyoid apparatus. The 
Frill-lizard when pursued runs in a semi-erect position on the hind limbs 
with the fore limbs clear of the ground ; but soon turns at bay, spreading 
out the frill to its full extent, and opening its mouth widely, at the same time 
emitting a peculiar hissing sound which adds to the alarming effect of its 

Belonging to the same family are the various species of Amphibolurus or 
" Dragons," a genus confined to Australia. These are small-scaled Lizards 
with extremely long narrow tail, and frequently with crests or rows of spines 
along the back. One of the largest is the widely-distributed Jew Lizard 
(A. barbatus), which reaches 21 inches in length, and owes its specific name to 
the possession of a fringe of spines (" beard ") behind the ears and on the 
lower jaw. A striking ally of these is the Water Dragon (Physignathus 
lesueuri), which may be 3 feet in length, and has an elongated compressed tail, 
and a prominent crest along the neck and back. The Water Dragon is very 
common along the banks of creeks in the whole of Eastern Australia. The 
genus occurs also in New Guinea and neighbouring islands, in Siam, and in 
Cochin China. 

The most grotesque of all the Agamidse is Moloch horridus of Western 
Australia, which, with its spiny head and body, has a curious superficial 
C. 12154. p 

226 Federal Handbook. 

resemblance to the misleadingly-named " Horned Toads " of North America, 
members of a family of Lizards, the Iguanidse, not represented at all in Aus- 

The largest of all the Australian Lizards, and one of the best known and 
most widely distributed, is Varanus gouldi, the Lace Lizard, often termed 
" Iguana " or " Goana," which sometimes reaches a length of 5 feet. This 
Lizard has nothing to do with the true Iguanas, which are an essentially 
American group ; but belongs to the family of the Monitors (Varanidce), 
which are of very wide occurrence. It is a long-tailed, long-necked Lizard, 
blackish brown above, with yellow spots on the body and yellow rings round 
the tail, yellow below. The Lace Lizard lives much in trees, which it climbs 
in search of the eggs and nestlings of birds. It frequently raids fowl-runs 
for the eggs and young chicks. But it will devour any animal, living or dead, 
that comes in its way. 

Australia possesses numerous Snakes, some venomous, some non-venomous. 
Among the venomous kinds none belong to the Viper family, all being members 
of the Elapine section of the family Colubridce, a group of snakes of wide 
distribution, occurring not only in Australia, but over Africa, Southern 
Asia and the islands of the Malay Archipelago, and Central and South 
America. One of the commonest of these is the Black Snake (Pseudechis 
porphyriacus), which occurs all over Australia, except in the north and in 
Tasmania. The Black Snake, which may reach a length of upwards of 6 feet, 
is commonly found in swampy districts or along the banks of creeks and 
rivers. It is readily recognised by the red under surface. The Copper- 
headed Snake (Denisonia superba) (the popular name of which is derived 
from the colour of the head in the young animal) chiefly frequents swamps 
in Tasmania, Gippsland, and the Alps of Southern New South Wales. The 
Tiger Snake (Notechis scutatus), of about the same size as the Black Snake 
or rather smaller on the average, is also widely distributed on the mainland 
in comparatively dry country, and occurs also in Tasmania. This, the 
deadliest of the Australian venomous snakes, derives its popular name from 
the numerous dark bands crossing the back. The Brown Snake (Diemenia 
textilis), also very venomous, is also of widespread occurrence. It is uni- 
formly brown above in the adult condition, whitish below. The so-called 
Death Adder (Acanthophis antarcticus) is found in sandy localities nearly 
all over Australia, and occurs also in New Guinea. It is a small thick snake, 
rarely as much as 3 feet long, with fine mottling of brown, reddish, and 
yellow on the upper surface, with darker cross bands. The horny spine 
at the end of the tail, which gives its name to the genus and is often supposed 
to be of the nature of a sting, is perhaps used as a fulcrum in locomotion. 

Of the non-venomous snakes the largest by far are the Variegated 
Pythons (Python variegatus), commonly known as Carpet Snake and Diamond 
Snake. Of the two varieties of this species the Carpet Snake is the larger, 
not infrequently reaching a length of 12 feet, while even larger specimens 
are occasionally met with. Its popular name is derived from the irregular 
pattern of dark markings on the pale-brownish ground colour of the upper 
surface. The Diamond variety is darker, almost black, with a yellow spot 
on each scale and diamond-shaped groups of yellow spots at irregular intervals. 
The Carpet Snake occurs over Australia generally, but is absent in the south 

Animal Life Of Australia. 227 

of Victoria and in Tasmania. The Diamond Snake occurs only in parts of 
New South Wales and Queensland. The food in both cases consists of the 
smaller mammals and of birds. 

Among the other non-venomous snakes are the Fresh-water Snakes 
(Tropidonotus picturatus) of Eastern Australia, and the Green Tree Snakes, of 
which there are two species — Dendrophis calligaster, of Northern Queens- 
land, and the widely distributed D. punctulatus. The harmless little 
burrowing Blind Snakes of the family Typhlopidce are numerous. The 
family is of wide distribution in tropical and semi-tropical countries. 

5. Amphibia. 

The Amphibian fauna of Australia is characterized by an abundance of 
Frogs and Toads, and by a somewhat singular absence of the tailed Newts 
and Salamanders, represented abundantly in other regions, and of the snake- 
like Caecilians (Gymnophiona, Apoda), which occur in other warm countries. 
None of the many species of Frogs belong to the genus Rana, to which the 
common English frog belongs, with the exception of a single species found in 
the Cape York Peninsula in the extreme north of Queensland — a district 
which shows many other anomalies in its fauna due to migration from the 
north. The majority of the Australian Frogs are either Tree-frogs (Hylidce), 
or belong to a family, the Cystignathidce, which has no European represen- 
tatives, but contains many South American forms. Thirteen out of the 
sixteen genera that occur in Australia are peculiar to it. The family Engy- 
stomatidce, well represented in America, Africa, Madagascar, India, the Malay 
Archipelago, and New Guinea, has been recently recorded from the Cape 
York District. Not only are Frogs very abundant in all the habitable parts 
of Australia, but they extend also into Central Australia, a region which for 
long periods is quite rainless. Here Spencer found several. species, all similar 
to those occurring in regions of higher rainfall, but showing in their habits 
and mode of life a special adaptation to the dry conditions under which they 
live for the greater part of the year. 

The frog most commonly seen in most parts of Australia is the web-footed, 
brilliantly-coloured, green and golden Bell Frog (Hyla aurea), which, though 
a tree-frog in structure, is rarely found in trees or even bushes, but lives in 
or about swamps, water-holes, and streams. Equally common in many 
parts, though not so frequently seen except at the breeding season owing to 
its nocturnal and burrowing habits, is a cystignathid frog Limnodynastes 
peronii. Another species of Hyla, the large bright-green Hyla caerulea, is 
not uncommon in many parts. The largest Australian frog of all is the 
Barred River Frog (Mixophyes fasciatus), which occurs along rivers and 
creeks in Eastern Australia. 

Perhaps the most interesting of the Amphibia are the small cystignathid 
frogs and toadlets, such as Grinia signifera, Hyperolia marmorata, and 
others, which are to be found lurking under stones in moist places or in holes 
and crannies in soil or rock. The most brilliantly-coloured of these, as of 
all the Australian Amphibia, is the little Notaden bennetti, with its rich 
pattern of bright yellow, red, green, black, and white. 

The spawn of Australian frogs is, in most cases, very similar to that of the 
English frog (Rana temporaria), except that in some forms it is not deposited 


Federal Handbook. 

in large masses in water, but is laid in small clumps under stones or tufts 
of herbage in the neighbourhood of water. The stages of the development 
are also closely similar to the corresponding stages in Rana temporaria, except 
that, at least in the common species of Hyla and Limnodynastes , there is a 
great reduction in the system of external gills. 

6. Fresh=Water Fishes. 

The " Burnett Salmon " (Neoceratodus forsteri) is, from an evolutionary 
point of view, the most interesting and important of the fresh-water Fishes 
of Australia. Extremely restricted in its range, it occurs only in the Burnett 
and Mary Eivers of Queensland. But, though found living in no other part 
of the world, Neoceratodus is represented by teeth closely similar to those of 
the living form in Triassic and Jurassic beds of Europe, in the Trias of India, 
in the " Karoo " (Upper Trias) of South Africa, in the " Cretaceous " of 
Patagonia, in the Permian of Texas and in the Upper Jurassic of Colorado. 
The fossil teeth in question were known and had been given the name of 
Ceratodus long before the living fish was discovered. Ceratodus (or Neocera- 
todus) is thus an animal of great geological antiquity, and has had in past 
times a very wide, well-nigh cosmopolitan, geographical range. 

Though not unlike an ordinary typical fish, such as a salmon, in general 
shape, Ceratodus is at once seen to present some marked peculiarities. The 
paired fins are of a peculiar leaf-like shape, and are supported by a limb- 
skeleton which is unlike that of any other living animal, and has been sup- 
posed by some comparative anatomists to be the most primitive known form 
of limb-support. The general surface is covered with large scales, and there 
is an operculum or gill-cover like that of an ordinary bony fish. But, though 
Neoceratodus has gills like those of fishes in general, it also has a lung and 
breathes air ; and its heart and system of blood-vessels are very specially 
modified in comparison with those of other fishes in connexion with this 
double mode of respiration. 

Often popularly confused with the Burnett Salmon (on account perhaps 
of the same native name being sometimes applied to both) is a very different, 
but also interesting, Queensland fish, the " Barramunda " (Scleropages 
leichardti). The chief interest of the Barramunda is connected with the 
peculiar distribution of the family (the Osteoglossidce) to which it belongs. 
Of the four living genera of this family Scleropages extends from the rivers 
of Northern Queensland to Sumatra, Banka, and Borneo : Arapaima (one 
of the largest of fresh-water fishes) inhabits South America (Brazil, the 
Guianas) : Osteoglossum has a similar range : while Heterotis is African, 
inhabiting the Niger, the Nile, the Senegal, and the Gambia. Since, how- 
ever, fossil representatives have been found from the Eocene both of the 
United States and of England, the Osteoglossidce are not exclusively southern 
forms, but are to be regarded as forming one of the many groups which, 
formerly more widespread, have in recent times become more or less com- 
pletely restricted to the great southern land-masses. 

The little fishes commonly called " Minnows," and, when larger, " Native 
Trout " (species of Galaxias), common in nearly all fresh-water streams 
in extra-tropical Australia, also belong to a family (the Galaxiidce) with a 
remarkable distribution. There are only two genera — Galaxias and 

Animal Life op Australia. 229 

Neochanna. Neochanna is a marine fish confined to New Zealand. Of Galaxias, 
some 22 species occur in Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, and the Auck- 
land and Chatham Islands : seven species occur in southern South America, 
Tierra del Fuego and the Falklands : one inhabits the streams of Cape 
Colony : one (G. attenuatus) is found not only in the southern extremity 
of South America, with Tierra del Fuego and the Falkland Islands, but also 
in Tasmania, New Zealand, and the Chatham Islands. These facts relating 
to the distribution of the genus Galaxias in general, and in particular the last- 
mentioned fact of the occurrence of the same species on opposite sides of the 
Pacific, have often been adduced as strong evidence in favour of the view that 
a land connexion existed between South America, Australia, and New Zealand 
at a not very remote period. But this view has had to be modified since it 
has been pointed out that, as was stated as long ago as 1872 by Captain 
F. W. Hutton, G. attenuatus goes down to the sea to spawn, and since it has 
been found to occur in large numbers in the sea at the Falkland Islands. 
Moreover, another species, which would seem to be a marine one, has been 
found at the Chatham Islands in the stomach of a Merganser. 

A fresh-water fish very common in the rivers of Tasmania, where it is 
commonly known as the " Cucumber-mullet," and an allied species, the 
" Grayling," occurring sparingly in Victoria, New South Wales, and 
Queensland, belong to another family, the Haplochitonido3, forming a link 
between Australia, New Zealand, and South America. Of the Haplochitoni- 
do3, which is an exclusively fresh- water family, there are only two genera — 
Haplochiton and Prototroctes. The former contains two species occurring 
in Chili, the southernmost extremity of South America, Tierra del Fuego, and 
the Falkland Islands, and a third in Tasmania. Prototroctes, including the 
Cucumber-mullet and Grayling above mentioned, has three species altogether, 
one in New Zealand, one in Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria. 

English Brown Trout and American Eainbow Trout have been introduced 
into a number of the rivers, and have done very well ; but the only indigenous 
member of the Trout family (Salmonidce) is a little fish called Smelt (Retro- 
pinna retropinna), which is widely distributed in Australia, and occurs also 
in New Zealand. 

Among other less remarkable Australian fresh-water fishes a number of 
families are represented. Several members of the Herring family live habitu- 
ually in the rivers, or ascend them occasionally. Such is the Fresh-water 
Herring (Potamalosa novce-hollandice), which occurs plentifully in the 
Hawkesbury, the Clarence, the Richmond, and other rivers of the east coast. 
Several fresh-water members of the Catfish family (Siluridai) also occurs 
and are remarkable, like many allied forms, for the care taken of the eggs, 
The common fresh-water Catfish (Copidoglanis tandanus), which occurs 
throughout the far-spreading Murray River system, and is valued for food, 
belongs to a genus which extends into Asia. Eels (Anguilla reinhardtii) 
are common in all the eastern waters. Of the members of the Perch-like 
family Serranidce, the best known is the so-called Murray Cod (Oligorus 
macquariensis), a valuable food-fish which grows to a large size, and is common 
in the Murray River system, as well as in the Clarence and Richmond. 

The only Lamprey occurring in Australian rivers is a species of Geotria — > 
a genus that is found also in New Zealand and in Chili. 

230 Federal Handbook. 

7. Mollusca of the Land and the Fresh Water. 

The terrestrial and fresh-water Mollusca* of Australia are numerous 
and varied. In the dense and moist forests of tropical Queensland the 
greatest development is obtained. Here the typical Australian genus Ther- 
sites presents about 50 species, most being large and showy shells, usually 
banded and globose. In the family Acavidce are included the giants of the 
fauna. Panda falconeri is an ovate shell about 3 J inches long, while the 
coils of the flatter Pedinogyra cunninghami are almost 3 inches in diameter. 
The carnivorous snails are represented by a handsome brown Rhytida, with 
fine thread-like ribs above and smooth beneath. 

Approaching Torres Strait the influence of New Guinea appears in Papuina, 
a genus of arboreal habits. Here, too, the operculate division assume im- 
portance. To this belong Pupina, a glossy shell with transverse slits to the 
aperture, living among drifts of dead leaves, and Helicina, a genus of almost 
world-wide distribution. Among the hills of Central Australia occurs a 
desert fauna of modified Xanthomelon and Ther sites. Like environment has 
moulded these to a superficial resemblance to the snail shells in arid regions 
of Africa or America. 

Slugs are not abundant, but in Tasmania and Victoria is the small hump- 
backed Cystopelta petterdi, on the east coast Aneitea graeffei, a large cream- 
coloured slug, with a pink diamond on its back ; and in the Queensland 
tropics, the prismatic Atopos. 

Widespread over all the continent are several genera of Endodontidce, 
small discoidal shells with delicate radiating riblets. 

The fresh-water mollusca are less peculiar than the terrestrial. Familiar 
forms which reappear are Sphcerium, Pisidium, Corbicula, Limncea, Planorbis, 
Ancylus, Bythinia, Vivipara, and Melania. Widespread through every pool 
and creek is the genus Isidora. At first this was mistaken for Physa, bm. 
is now found to be really related to Planorbis despite its unlike shell. More 
than 60 species of this very variable genus have been named, but this probably 
exaggerates the number of forms. 

About a score of river mussels are referred to Diplodon, a southern genus 
extending to New Zealand and South America. D. novce-hollandice, from 
the coastal streams between Brisbane and Newcastle, has a peculiar ornament 
of radiating nodules. 

Tasmania has an interesting series of flu via tile shells. In the lakes 
occur Ancylastrum, the largest known fresh-water limpet. Another limpet, 
(rundlachia, whose shell develops a second chamber, is of sporadic occurrence. 
Some small gasteropods, Petterdiana and Littoridina, which live in running 
streams, appear to be of southern origin and akin to South American types. 

In Solenaia rugatus and Physopsis jukesi, the Northern Territory possesses 
two exceptionally isolated forms, the first of an Asiatic, the second of an 
African genus. 

8. Crustaceans. 

The largest and most conspicuous of the fresh-water Crustacea of Aus- 
tralia are the Crayfishes. There are few streams or stationary bodies of 
fresh water, however small, in extra-tropical regions, that do not contain 

* For the following brief account of the Mollusca I am indebted to Mr. Chas. Hedley. 

Animal Life of Australia. 231 

Crayfishes ; and they are found to occur even in arid Central Australia 
wherever there is a creek bed that occasionally contains running water. 
By far the most widely-distributed Crayfish in continental Australia is one, 
the Two-keeled Crayfish (Cheraps bicarinatus), which in general appearance 
is not very unlike the common European Crayfish (Astacus or Potamobius 
fluviatilis or astacus), differing chiefly in the character of the rostrum and the 
chelae. The Australian form, however, reaches larger dimensions, though 
in this respect there is a wide difference between specimens from different 
localities. Cheraps bicarinatus is more especially an inhabitant of dams and 
waterholes or of pools in the more sluggish streams, and excavates innumerable 
burrows in the banks, often doing serious damage in this way to mud or clay 
embankments of storage dams and reservoirs. 

In clear-running streams the prevailing Crayfish is the common Serrated 
or Spiny Crayfish (Astacopsis serratus), with numerous varieties, some of which 
may prove to be of specific rank. In the larger rivers, such as the Murrum- 
bidgee and the Murray, these Crayfishes reach a large size, assuming dimen- 
sions as great as those of the largest of the European Sea-lobsters ; and even 
in very small creeks specimens of great size are occasionally met with. The 
Spiny Crayfish, like the two-keeled form, is an active burrower, and is able 
by taking refuge in deep burrows with a little water at the bottom to survive 
periods of prolonged drought. 

In Tasmania the Crayfishes are represented by two species, which are 
nearly allied to Astacopsis serratus of the mainland. One of these (A.franlc- 
linii), which occurs in the northern rivers of the island State, is the largest 
Crayfish known, even exceeding in size the largest of the Spiny Crayfishes 
of continental Australia. 

Quite peculiar to Australia is a group of Crayfishes belonging to the 
genus Engceus, which do not ordinarily live in streams or pools, but inhabit 
during the day-time the interior of burrows excavated sometimes along the 
banks of streams, sometimes merely in swampy ground which may be at 
some distance from any running stream. These small Crustaceans, with 
their feeble powers of locomotion and their reduced abdomen, seem to have 
taken a short step in the direction of the modification undergone by the 

In Western Australia three species of Crayfishes are known — Chceraps 
quinque-carinatus, C. tenuimanus, and C. preissii, all very distinct from those 
of Eastern Australia. 

The Australian Crayfishes all belong to a family, the Parastacidos, which 
is exclusively southern in its distribution, taking the place in the south 
occupied by the family Astacidce (or Potamobiidce) in the north. Their 
nearest allies are thus not the English Crayfishes, but other members of the 
Parastacido3 — the Crayfishes of South America (Parastacus), New Zealand 
(Paranephrops), and Madagascar (Astacoides). 

Extremely common in creeks, at least in Eastern Australia, are minute 
transparent shrimp-like Crustaceans, which, so far as they have been 
examined, have been found to belong to a species, Xiphocaris compressa, 
originally described from Japan, and since found in Norfolk Island. 

If we leave Engwus, the Land-crabs, and Phreatoicopsis out of account, 
the only terrestrial Crustaceans are the Wood-lice and Pill-bugs (Isopoda), 

232 Federal Handbook. 

and the Hoppers (Amphipoda). The latter (Talitrus sylvaticus) occur from 
near the sea-level to a high elevation on the Southern Alps. 

Land-crabs, in the strict sense of the term, are confined in Australia to 
the far north and the islands of Torres Straits. But River-crabs of the genus 
Geothelphusa occur far up the Darling River and its tributaries, and were 
found by the Horn Expedition in waterholes along the creeks in Central 
Australia. When the creeks and rivers dry up, the River-crabs, like the 
Crayfishes, burrow into the banks, and by burying themselves in moist clay 
may escape desiccation. 

A little fresh-water Lake-crab (Hymenosoma lacustris) occurs in Lake 
Colac, in Victoria. The same species is found in the North Island of New 
Zealand, and also in Norfolk Island. 

An order of the higher Crustacea — the Anaspidacea — fossil (marine) 
representatives of which are known from Permian and Carboniferous strata 
in Europe and North America, is confined at the present day to Tasmania 
(Anaspides and Paranaspides) and Victoria (Koonunga). The Anaspids are 
little Crustaceans of a Shrimp-like appearance, which inhabit fresh-water, 
the Tasmanian forms occurring only at high elevations (2,000 feet and 
upwards). Though in many respects resembling the Shrimps and Crayfishes, 
the Anaspidacea differ from them in the complete absence of the cephalo- 
thoracic shield or carapace, and in the series of plate-like gills attached to 
the legs. 

A family of fresh-water Isopoda — the Phreatoicidce — was, until recently, 
regarded as peculiar to Australia, including Tasmania, and New Zealand. 
Very recently a species of the type-genus, Phreatiocus, has been found in South 
Africa. Most of the Australian and Tasmanian forms occur at high eleva- 
tions. One genus, Phreatoicopsis, is terrestrial and not aquatic. 

Of fresh-water Amphipods there are several species of Gammarus occurring 
both in Victoria and New South Wales ; two species of Chiltonia have been 
described from Lake Hindmarsh, Victoria, and species of Hyalella and 
Neoniphargus also occur. 

While the higher Crustacea (Malacostraca) of Australian fresh-waters 
contain such a number of interesting characteristic forms — the Crayfishes and 
Antispidacea in particular — the lower Crustacea (sub-class Entomostraca of 
the older classification) are not, so far as known, in any way specially remark- 
able. The giants of the group, the Phyllopods, Apus, Lepidurus, and 
Triops, occur, under favorable conditions, in enormous numbers in the 
inland districts. The Brine-shrimp (Artemia) has been found both in New 
South Wales (neighbourhood of Sydney) and in Victoria, and a peculiar 
Australian genus, Branchinella, of the same family, is represented by three 
species occurring in fresh or brackish water in most parts of Australia. The 
Bivalved Phyllopoda (Limnadida) occur very abundantly in Australia, 
and are represented by several genera, including Eulimnadia, Limnadopsis, 
Paralimnadia, and Cyzicus (Estheria). 

The much smaller Cladocera or " Water Fleas " are represented by species 
of the cosmopolitan genus Daphnia, also by species of Moina, Macrothrix, 
Lynceus, and others. 

The Australian fresh-water Copepoda and Ostracoda have not received 
so much attention as the Phyllopoda. But, of the former order, species 

Animal Life of Australia. 233 

of the genera Cyclops and Diaptomus have been described, and of the 
latter a number of species of Cypris, and also species of Candona and 

9. Insects. 

The Insecta of Australia are too vast an assemblage to be dealt with in 
a brief summary ; but the following are a few leading points : — 

Among the Orthoptera the Cockroaches (Blattidce) are represented by 
both native and introduced forms. Of those which occur habitually in houses, 
the indigenous Periplaneta australasice has become largely replaced by the 
American Periplaneta americana. There are a number of " wild " species, 
wingless for the most part, and usually of large size, to be found most 
frequently lurking in crevices in rotten timber and under fallen logs and 
stones. Most of these when molested discharge a foul-smelling secretion 
from glands at the end of the abdomen. One of the commonest is Poly- 
zosteria limbata, a wingless dark-brown Cockroach with yellow lines round 
the terga. 

The Mantidce, or " Praying Insects," with their innocent appearance 
and predaceous habits, form an important element of the Australian 
insect fauna. The most conspicuous of these are species of the genera 
Archimantis, Orthodera, and Tenodera, some over 4 inches in length. 

The Phasmidce or Leaf- and Stick- Insects are probably more numerous 
in Australia than in any other region of the earth's surface. The protective 
mimetic features, which in many cases cause these curiously modified insects 
to resemble their usual surroundings so closely as to render difficult detection 
by insect-eating birds or lizards, consist mainly in the form of the body 
itself being in many cases narrow and elongated so as to resemble the appear- 
ance of a twig of the plant on which they feed, and in the presence of 
foliaceous green appendages on the limbs and body, bearing a close 
resemblance to the leaves. Some of the Australian Phasmidce are the largest 
of existing insects, with a length of as much as 12 inches. 

Of the Grasshoppers and Locusts there are many genera and species, 
some winged, some wingless, some with long feelers, some with short. The 
term " Locust " is applied to any member of the Grasshopper family that has 
the peculiarity of occasionally increasing enormously in numbers, so as to 
give rise to great swarms which move about the country destroying the 
vegetation as they go. Several of the Australian species swarm in this way 
and assume for the time the character of " Plague Locusts." One of these 
is the Lesser Plain Locust (Chortoicetes pusilla), a comparatively small insect 
about an inch in length. Another is the Larger Plain Locust (C. terminifera) . 
A third is the Yellow-winged Grasshopper (Locusta danica), very common 
everywhere, which sometimes causes devastation in Queensland. 

The most remarkable-looking member of the family is the so-called 
Mountain Grasshopper (Acridopeza reticulata), which is very unlike a normal 
Grasshopper in appearance, with its short, rounded, blue, white, and red 
body, and its peculiar oval concavo-convex elytra. 

Of the Crickets (Gryllidce) there are a number of species of Field Crickets 
— sometimes occurring in swarms — and a Mole Cricket {Gryllotalpa coarctata), 
found practically all over Australia. 

234 Federal Handbook. 

Among the Neuroptera special mention may be made of the Ant-lions 
(Myrmeleonidce) and the Dragon-flies (Odonata). The Ant-lions are numerous, 
most of the described species being referred to the genus Glenurus. G. pul- 
chellus is the commonest species along the coast. The largest is G. fundatus, 
which is found along the coast of Queensland. 

The Australian Odonata* are as remarkable in their way as most of the 
animal groups of the same continent. There is a rich autochthonous fauna, 
chiefly located in the south-western corner, along the eastern coast and ranges, 
and in Tasmania. A tropical invasion, mainly of Libellulince, descends 
along the Queensland coast into New South Wales. The remarkable sub- 
family Corduliince is represented in Australia by about forty species, roughly 
one-fifth of the world's total ! Of these, Hemicordulia tau and H. australice, 
are common nearly everywhere, and the former may possibly be taken in 
August. The peculiar species of Synthenies must be sought for later in the 
season, mostly at high elevations. On the Blue Mountains two very archaic 
species are to be obtained, viz., Petalura gigantea and Austropetalia patricia. 
The larva of the former tunnels in mud. The latter is very closely allied to 
a group of Chilian species, and has no other close relatives at all. In 
August a few common Dragon-flies begin to appear, and the following may 
be met with : — At Perth, Austrolestes annulosus, A. analis, Xanthagrion 
erythroneurum, Anax papuensis, and Mschna brevistyla ; the same species at 
Adelaide ; at Melbourne, the same except A. annulosus, which is replaced by 
A.cingulatus and A. leda ; at Sydney, the same together with Argiolestes ictero- 
melas, Austroagrion cyane, Ischnura heterosticta, Ischnura aurora, Austrolestes 
psyche, Orihetrum caledonicum, Diplacodes bipunctata, and D. hcematodes. 
Full-fed larvae of most of these species can be easily obtained during August. 

Termites, or White Ants, as they are popularly called, abound in all parts 
of Australia, and some of them, such as the little Tefmes (Coptotermes) lacteus, 
do much damage to wooden structures. Many of the species build mounds 
or termitaria of comminuted wood with, in some cases, an investment of clay, 
constructed usually over an original tree-stump. These, in the case of some 
of the tropical species, are of great size — as much as 18 feet in height in the 
case of Eutermes pyriformis of tropical Queensland. 

Of the Hymenoptera, one of the families specially developed in Australia 
is that of the Saw-flies (Tenthredinidce), of which there are a large number, 
all belonging to genera — Perga, Pterygophorus, and others — peculiar to Aus- 
tralia. The blackish larvae of Perga are frequently to be seen clinging in 
great masses to branches of Eucalypti, on the leaves of which they feed. 

Another largely-represented family is that of the Chalcididce, or Parasitic 
Wasps, minute forms, most of which deposit their eggs in the eggs, larvae or 
pupae of other insects, or in the galls produced by Coccids. 

Of similar habits are the still smaller Proctotrypidce, some of which appear 
to be of economic value owing to the fact that they are destructive to various 
scale and other insects injurious to fruit-trees. 

Also destructive, and on a larger scale, to other forms of insect life, such 
as caterpillars of moths and butterflies, in which they deposit their eggs, are 
the Ichneumons (Ichneumonidce), of which there are many in Australia, 
though comparatively few have been described. 

* For the information on the Odonata I am indebted to Mr. It. J. Tillyard. 

Animal Life of Australia. 235 

The Flower Wasps (Thynnidce), which are only represented outside Aus- 
tralia on the west coast of South America, and, by a few species, in Asia and 
the Pacific Islands, are very numerous on such flowering shrubs as the Ti- 
trees (Melaleuca, Leptospermum) . About three-fourths of the described 
species of Thynnidce are Australian. 

The well-known Mason Wasps (Eumenidce), which are solitary forms 
with the habit of constructing nests of clay, often on a verandah, or even 
in the interior of a house, and storing them with caterpillars, are common 
in all parts of Australia. 

The true (social) Wasps (Vespidw), which construct nests of a parchment- 
like material, are represented in Australia by two genera, Ocaria and Polistes, 
the genus Vespa, though of wide distribution and occurring as near as Java, 
being absent. 

Of the true Bees (Apidce) there are a large number, but the genera Apis 
and Bombus do not occur. The Carpenter Bees of the genus Lestis, some 
of which make their nests in the interior of dead flower-stems of grass trees 
(Xanthorrhcea), are peculiar to Australia. The stingless native Honey- 
bees of the genus Trigona, which are widely distributed over Australia, con- 
struct irregular wax combs in cavities in Eucalypts and other trees, and store 
them with a dark-coloured honey. The Leaf-cutting Bees, which construct 
the cells of their nests out of pieces cut from the leaves of plants, are repre- 
sented by a number of species of Megachile — a genus found in most parts 
of the world. 

The Ant Family (Formicidce) is represented by an immense number of 
genera and species. Of these the most characteristic are the large Ants of 
the genus Myrmecia, commonly known as Bull-dog Ants, which are sometimes 
as much as an inch or more in length and have a very poisonous sting ; these 
are confined to Australia. Honey-pot Ants in which, as in a North American 
and an African species, certain of the workers of the community serve as 
store-houses for honey, occur in Central Australia. 

The House-flies which swarm about dwellings in the cities of Australia 
in summer are identical with the common House-fly of England (Musca 
domestica), a species almost universal in its distribution. A somewhat 
smaller fly (Musca vetustissima) is the pest fly of the bush. A fly (Stomoxis 
calcitrans) very like the House-fly, common out of doors and sometimes 
coming into houses, inflicts a sharp bite when it settles on the Skin, and is 
extremely troublesome to horses and cattle. This, like the House-fly, is of 
almost world-wide distribution. Of the Blow-flies, the commonest species 
are Anastellorhina augur, with a brown abdomen having a blue stripe down 
the centre, and Calliphora villosa, which has the abdomen covered with 
yellowish or brownish hairs, and a somewhat smaller species of the same 
genus, C. oceanice, with a steely-blue abdomen, is also very common. Several 
of the species of Blow-flies have become very formidable pests, which have 
assumed the character of a yearly-increasing menace to the pastoral industry, 
their maggots, bred in the wool of the sheep, producing sores which often 
eventually cause death. 

Australia is particularly rich in Gall-gnats (Cecidomyidce), the larvae of 
most of which burrow in leaves and other parts of plants, producing frequently 
definite galls or other malformations. 

236 Federal Handbook. 

Over 50 species of Mosquitoes have been recorded from Australia, most of 
them species of Culex. Several of them are of cosmopolitan range, or have 
been introduced from other countries. The Mosquitoes commonest in houses 
are Culex albo-annulatus, C. fatigans, and C. marinus, the last able to breed 
in salt water. The genus Anopheles, to which belong the Mosquitoes that 
transmit malarial fever, is represented by several species ; and at least 
one species occurs of the genus Stegomya — the yellow-fever transmitting 

Though not so rich in Butterflies as South America, Australia yet holds 
a high place in that respect among the zoological regions. Thus, while only 
68 species occur in Great Britain, a recent catalogue of the Australian species 
gave a total of 330. The largest and most brilliantly-coloured forms are 
tropical. Fritillaries, Emperors, Admirals, Blues, Whites, Yellows, Skippers, 
and Swallow-tails are all well represented. Belenois Java, one of the whites, 
in some seasons comes down from the interior to the coast in such enormous 
swarms as to constitute a veritable plague. 

Of the many families of Moths perhaps two of the most characteristic 
are the Case-moths and the Cup-moths, the former on account of the peculiar 
sheath of tough silky material which the larva weaves about itself, with 
fragments of leaves or sticks woven in, and the latter because of the vase- 
shaped cocoons of a parchment-like substance in which the eggs are enclosed. 
Included among the other families are Butterfly Moths (Uraniidce), Day 
Moths (Agaristidce), Einged Moths (Syntomidce), Burnet Moths {Zygcenidce), 
Hawk Moths (Sphingidce), Wood Moths (Hepialidce), Tiger Moths (Arctiidaj), 
Brown Tails (Liparidce), Silkworm Moths (Bombycidce), Loopers (Geo?netridce), 
Cutworm Moths (Noctuidce), Leaf Rollers (Pyralidw), and Bell Moths 

The Cutworm Moths are of economic importance, owing to the damage 
frequently done by their larvae (" Plague Caterpillars," "Army Worms") 
to crops of all kinds. The Bugong Moth (Agrotis infusa) occasionally appears 
in enormous swarms in the coastal districts. 

Of the Coleoptera, or Beetles, some 10,000 Australian species have been 
described, and, as there are a number of families which have not been fully 
investigated, there can be no doubt that this seemingly immense multitude 
falls far short of the total. One of the best developed and most characteristic 
of the families is that of the Bwprestidw, or Jewel Beetles, of which only ten 
species occur in Great Britain. These large and often brilliantly-coloured 
metallic Beetles are most abundant on flowering shrubs in the coastal districts 
of extra-tropical Australia. Stigmodera is the most characteristic genus. 
It is peculiar to Australia, and some 240 species have been described. 
The Stigmoderce are large Beetles, some as much as 2£ inches in length, 
of rich and varied metallic colouration. 

Of the Hemiptera perhaps the most characteristically developed, and 
certainly the most conspicuous, family is that of the Cicadas (Cicadidce), the 
chorus of whose shrill cries rings out during summer from every shrub and 
tree. Of the many Australian species of Cicadas some — more particularly 
those inhabiting the coastal districts — are large and handsome insects. 
Thopha saccata has a reddish-brown body about 2 inches long with a stretch 
of wings of 5 inches ; it is common in all the southern coastal districts and 

Animal Life of Australia. 237 

along the east coast as far north as Brisbane. The bright green Cyclochila 
australasice is even commoner in New South Wales ; and a third common 
form is the Black Cicada, Psaltoda moerens, belonging to a genus peculiar to 
Australia. Another large Cicada very common in Eastern Australia is 
Abricta curvicosta, a reddish-brown form, with a silvery down over the 

Another characteristic family of Hemiptera is the Psyllidce, or " Lerp " 
insects, the larvae of many of which secrete a shell-like protective covering 
of lerp scales, or of soft woolly matter, while others produce galls on 

Of the Australian Coccids the most remarkable group is the Brachyscelince, 
or Gall-making Coccids, the larvae of which form galls on the twigs and leaves 
of many native plants. These are practically confined to Australia, the only 
instance of a Gall-making Coccid occurring elsewhere being a single species 
found in Mexico. 

10. Scorpions and Spiders. 

Of the Arachnida the Scorpionida, or Scorpions, are not uncommon in 
Australia ; but none of them are large, and the number of species is small, 
and all of them belong to three of the six recognised families — the Buthidce, 
the Scorpionidce, and the Bothriuridce. Of the last-named family, Cerco- 
phonius is a genus confined to Australia. 

The Spiders* of Australia are very numerous, and belong to a great 
number of families. Reference can be made here to only a few of the most 
interesting forms. One of the best-represented groups is that of the Trap- 
door Spiders, of the family Avicularidce, of which upwards of sixty Australian 
species have already been described. Of the family Hypochilidce, which 
comprises only three species, one species (Ectatosticta troglodytes) occurs in 
caves in Tasmania, a second in North America, and a third in China. Of the 
Argiopidce, one of the most interesting and beautiful is Argiope cetherea 
{A. regalis), which occurs not only all over Australia, but in New Guinea 
and many of the islands of Torres Straits. This brightly-coloured Spider 
is popularly known as the " St. Andrew's cross Spider " on account of the 
cross-shaped stabilimentum which it weaves into the middle of its orbicular 

Also included in the Argiopidce are two widely distributed species, Poeci- 
lopachys bispinosa and Celcenia excavata, both of which closely resemble 
the droppings of birds. Another striking member of the same group is 
Dicrostichus magnijicus, which is a large and brilliantly-coloured Spider 
with a peculiar branched crest or protuberance on which the eyes are 

The family Thomisidce, or " Crab Spiders," comprises a number of in- 
teresting species, one of which — Saccodomus formivorus — lives in trees and 
preys on tree-haunting ants. The Salticidce, or " Jumping Spiders," are 
very numerous, and comprise some remarkable forms, among which may be 
mentioned the brilliantly coloured Saitis volans and S. splendidus, both of 
which have an extended lateral flattened abdominal integument which is 
folded round the spider when at rest and thrown open when it leaps. 

* For information on the Spiders I am indebted to Mr. W. J. Rainbow. 

238 Federal Handbook. 

11. Centipedes and Millepedes. 

The Australian Myriopoda are extremely numerous, and all, or nearly 
all, of the known families are represented, though some of the smaller and 
more obscure groups have not been fully investigated. Of the Diplopoda 
the largest and most conspicuous are the Millepedes of the family lulidce — 
cylindrical, vegetable-feeding Myriopods with numerous segments, each seg- 
ment bearing two pairs of legs. These are very common about rotten timber, 
under fallen logs, and under stones, the elongated body coiled up into a spiral 
when at rest. 

The family Cambalidce, which in regions outside Australia are chiefly 
distributed in Polynesia, in India, and Madagascar, is represented in Western 
Australia by four peculiar genera — Dinocambala, Podyhipus, Atelomastix, 
and Samichus. 

The Polydesmidce, also with a cylindrical body, but with comparatively 
few segments, each with a lobe or keel on its upper surface, is represented 
by several peculiar genera (Antichiropus and others), and a number of species. 

The Polyzoniidce, small worm-like forms with reduced appendages and 
sucking mouth, has several representatives of the genera Orsilochus and 

Of the Chilopoda the Centipedes of the family Scolopendridce comprise 
the largest of the Myriopods, with flattened bodies and 21 or 23 pairs of 
legs. Of these, a considerable number of species have been described from 
all parts of Australia. Among the commoner and more widely-distributed 
forms are the very variable Scolopendra morsicans, which is common all over 
Australia, and is almost cosmopolitan in its range, >S. (Rhombocephalus) Iceta, 
and Ethmostigmus rubripes, the largest of the Australian Centipedes, which 
occurs also in the South Sea Islands. 

The Lithobiidce, which are comparatively short, with only fifteen segments, 
are represented by several genera ; and the greatly elongated many-seg- 
mented Notophilidce are also represented, though perhaps only by introduced 

The long-limbed, short-bodied Scutigeridce, which differ from the rest of 
the Myriopoda in the possession of compound eyes and the presence of air- 
sacs, are represented by at least one species, Allothereua maculata, which 
not infrequently comes into town houses. 

The order Symphyla is represented by at least one species of Scutigerella t 
a small insect-like Myriopod with twelve segments, with a pair of parapodia 
on each in addition to the legs, and with only one pair of breathing pores, 
which are situated on the head. 

Of the aberrant order Pauropoda there is no record. 

The Onychophora are well represented in Australia by about five species 
distributed over all the States, with the apparent exception of South Aus- 
tralia and the Northern Territory ; but they do not seem to be in abundance 
anywhere. The five described species are referred to the two genera, Ooperi- 
patus and Peripatoides. 

12. Earthworms, Leeches, etc. 

Of the Earthworms the family Cryptodrilidce is so specially well repre- 
sented in Australia that it might be said to have its head-quarters there, 

Animal Life of Australia. 239 

five genera of the family out of a total of about sixteen being peculiar to 
Australia, or only slightly represented elsewhere. Some of the Crypto- 
drilids, such as Megascolides, are of gigantic size — up to 5 feet in length. 

The fresh-water allies of the Earthworms are very numerous, and almost 
all the families are represented, though only a few have been studied. Enchy- 
trceids are common both in water and damp earth. Chcetonotus, Dero, Nais, 
Aeolosoma, and Tubifex also occur — the last-named present sometimes in 
enormous numbers in muddy creeks. The Phreodrilidce is the most charac- 
teristic Australian family. It is represented elsewhere in South America, 
in Kerguelen, and in New Zealand and South Africa. In Australia there 
are at least two peculiar genera, Phreodriloides, found in the Blue Lake on 
Mount Kosciusko, and Astacopsidrilus, two species of which constantly 
live on the surface of fresh-water Crayfishes. 

Australia possesses two peculiar genera of Land Leeches — Philcemon, 
confined to Australia and Tasmania, and Geobdella, to Australia and New 
Guinea. Of fresh-water Leeches the commonest and the largest is Limnob- 
della australis, the common Australian Medicinal Leech. Other fresh-water 
Leeches are species of the widely distributed genera Glossiphonia (or Clepsine) 
and Herpobdella (or Nephelis), and one each of the genera Dineta and Semi- 
lageneta, which are peculiar to Australia. 

Of fresh-water Polyzoa the commonest — abundant in Queensland, 
New South Wales, and South Australia — is the familiar European species 
Plumatella repens. Plumatella princeps, which has also been found in these 
three States, is a cosmopolitan form. Another species of the same genus — 
P. aplinii — which occurs in New South Wales and Victoria, appears to be 
peculiar to Australia ; and the same holds good of a species of Lophopus — 
L. lendenfeldi — which has only been found at Parramatta, and of Fredericella 
australiensis, which occurs abundantly at the Pott's Hill Eeservoir, of the 
Sydney Water Supply. A species of Alcyonella and one of Fredericella 
have also been found in the neighbourhood of Sydney. 

Land Planarians are particularly abundant in Australia, though, since 
the genera represented are all pretty widely distributed in the other zoological 
regions, they do not present any peculiarly Australian features. The com- 
monest of them about the towns is an introduced species, Placocephalus 
kewensis, which also occurs in England, in Germany, and Cape Colony, 
as well as in Samoa. Of the others, about 50 species have been described, 
including 35 of Geoplana, 4 of Rhynchodemus, 5 of Artioposthia, and 4 
of Platydemus. Very little is known of the allied Fresh-water Triclads, 
though they are abundant enough — the only described forms being a few 
Western Australian species of Planaria. And the same has to be said of the 
fresh-water Rhabdocoeles, though superficial descriptions have been published 
of a few of them, and a still more limited number have been more thoroughly 

Mention may here be made of an order of Planarian-like Flat-worms, the 
Temnocephaloidea (usually placed with the Trematodes), since they are 
specially numerous and varied in Australia. These live on the outer surfaces 
and sometimes in the branchial cavities of Crayfishes and other fresh-water 
Crustaceans. Though Temnocephoids occur in other regions (New Zealand, 
the Malay Archipelago, South America, India, Madagascar), they apparently 

240 Federal Handbook. 

reach their maximum development in Australia as regards numbers and 

Only one species of Land Nemertine (Geonemertes australis) has so far 
been found in Australia ; it occurs in Victoria, New South Wales, and 

No fresh-water Medusae are known to occur. There seems to be only 
one species of fresh-water Polype described (Hydra hexactinella or H. oligactis), 
and only one fresh-water Zoophyte of the colonial type (Cordylophora white- 
leggei). About ten species of fresh-water Sponges, belonging to seveial 
genera, have been described. They have been found in all parts, with the 
exception of the Northern Territory and the northern parts of Queensland 
and of Western Australia. 


Page 256, line 52, for " Aechna " read " Aeschna " 

,, 257, ,, 21, for " Tremanotus " read " Trematonotus " 

,, 257, ,, 41, for " Fenestallidce " read " Fenestellidce " 

,-, 258, ,, 10, for " Rhachopteris " read " Rhacopteris " 

„ 262, „ 29, for " trilolites " read " trilobites " 

„ 266, „ 32, for " Rhachopteris " read " Rhacopteris " 

,, 266, „ 43, for " Streptorhyncuhs " read " Streptorhynchus v 

,, 270, ,, 45, for " Glossoptris " read " Glossopteris " 

,, 275, „ 41, for " Macrotcenipteris " read " Macrotceniopteris 

„ 275, „ 43, for " Cladophebis " read " Cladophlebis " 

„ 276, ,, 26, for " Tremanotus " read " Trematonotus " 

,, 277, ,, 9, for " Beyrichia endothyra " read " Beyrichia. 

,, 277, „ 32, for " Tremanotus " read " Trematonotus " 

„ 277, „ 42, for " Cladophebis " read " Cladophlebis " 

„ 282, „ 10, for " gregarious " read " gregarius " 

„ 282, „ 11, for " Archosomene " read " Archwomoene n 

„ 282, „ 27, for " Killak " read " Kirrak " 

,, 282, „ 37, for " Maerotozinopteris " read " Macrotoeniopteris " 

„ 286, „ 47, for " Pentrune " read " Penteune " 

„ 287, „ 41, for " Meiolonia " read " Meiolania " 

,, 291, „ 31 and 35, for " Olenollus " read " Olenellus " 

,, 291, „ 34, for " Huenolla " read " Huenella " 

,, 294, „ 34, for " Spiriferina dielasma " read " Spiriferina, Dielasma 

„ 294, „ 36, for " senilia " read " senilis " 

„ 294, „ 40, for " Cyttina syringothyris " read " Cyrtina, Syringothyris ' 

,, 295, „ 12, for " Ptycomphalina " read " Ptychomphalina " 

,, 295, „ 39, for " spirifeidae " read " spiriferidse " 

,, 296, ,, 9, for " Plagiophyllum " read " Pagiophyllum " 

„ 296, „ 39, for " Cladophebis " read " Cladophlebis " 

„ 297, ,, 3, for " Cladophebis " read " Cladophlebis " 

„ 297, „ 21, for " Alithopteris " read " Alethopteris " 

„ 298, „ 4, for the table as given, read : — 

McCoy and Chapman. 

Hall and Pritchard. 

Tate and Dennant. 




Upper Pliocene 


Werrikooien (Pleio- 

Pleistocene (Tate) 



Pliocene (Dennant) 


Lower Pleistocene . . 


Kalimnan (Miocene) 
('Janjukian (Eocene). . 


r? Oligocene (Tate) 
^Eocene (Tate and Den- 





lAldingan (Eocene in 
\ part) 

l nant) 
Eocene in part 




Balcombian (Eocene) 


Page 298, line 30, for " Carcharodon, Megalodon n read " Carcharodon megalo- 
„ 301, ,, 24, for " antiaustralia " read " antiaustralis " 
,, 306, last sentence should come after first sentence on page 305 
,, 307, line 26, for " osmiridian " read " osmiridium " 
,, 309, „ 43, for " melanite-hauy-syenite " read " melanite-hauyn- 
C. 121 54. 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 241 



By T. W. Edgeworth David, C.M.G., D.Sc., F.R.S., Professor of Geology 
in the University of Sydney. 


1. Introduction. 8. The Australian Cainozoic System, 

2. Coastal Physiography. by F. Chapman, A.L.S. 

3. Paleogeography and Present Re- 9. Igneous Rocks, by T. W. E. David, 

lief. and E. W. Skeats, D.Sc, A.R.C.S. 

4. Stratigraphical Features. 10. Metamorphic Rocks, by T. W. E. 

5. Pre -Historic Man. David, and E. W. Skeats, D.Sc, 

6. Australian Graptolites, by T. S. A.R.C.S. 

Hall, M.A., D.Sc 11. Papua. 

7. Notes on the Paleontology of 

Australia, by W. S. Dun. 

1. Introduction. 

An observer taking a bird's-eye view of Australia and Tasmania would 
see tbe great island continent carpeted nearest the coast with strips of 
dark-green gum forest on the east, south-east, and north, and again in the 
south-west of Western Australia, with an outlying strip upon the Flinders 
Range, of South Australia. The remainder would present a curious patch- 
work, partly of the dull green sage bush, salt bush, and other salsolacious 
herbs of the steppes, the grasses of the savannahs, and the dark-green mulga 
scrubs, partly of patches of red and brown sands of desert areas dotted with 
oases which fringe the worn-down stumps of ancient inland mountains. 

White specks in numbers would be conspicuous in this patchwork of 
green and red and brown wherever the saline surfaces of dead lakes, or 
" playas," reflect the sunlight, or where the highlands of New South Wales 
and Victoria are white with snow, except in late summer. To the south-east 
the emerald isle of Tasmania, the south coast of South Australia, the south- 
east coast of Victoria, and in places, the inland uplands of tropical Queensland 
would appear jewelled with live lakes. To the north the great island of 
New Guinea would loom large with its alpine ranges whitened with snow ; 
its mountain uplands, where visible through breaks in the mist, showing 
verdant grassy slopes encircled by sombre pines and cypress. Lower still 
would be seen the dense dark-green jungle of the coastal plains. 

Australia is well known as the home of the eucalypt, and this most charac- 
teristic tree is in itself an epitome of the climatic conditions of Australia in 
late geological time. 

The most primitive types of our eucalypts develop their leaves with the 
broad surfaces horizontal, pointing to a time when there was no need to take 
special precautions to conserve moisture. On the other hand, in the vast 
majority of eucalypts, the leaves hang with their broad surface vertical, so 
as to offer as little evaporating surface as possible to the sun's rays. These 
eucalypts in their early stages of growth show the atavistic tendency to 
develop their leaves with the broad surfaces horizontal. 

C. 12154. Q 

242 Federal Handbook. 

This adaptation of plant to climate in such a way as to enable the plant 
to resist drought connotes a former better rainfall, and this in turn suggests 
a former higher relief for the Australian land surface inducing a more abun- 
dant convectional rain, and thus the eucalypts record the most recent climatic 
changes of Australia, and prepare us for those evidences of peneplained and 
downward warped mountain chains with recently uplifted coast lines, which 
harmonize with its large disintegrated drainage system. This disintegration 
of the drainage is again in harmony with the shallow wide-bottomed valleys 
choked with the rock debris, with the vast red soil plains, and with the kunkars, 
laterites, " pindan, ironstones," and porcellanites, so characteristic of the 
interior of Australia, as of all countries where the rainfall is scant and the 
evaporation great. But that these inland areas of low rainfall are not without 
those blessings of aridity, the rich plant foods which have accumulated during 
the sabbatical periods of drought, is proved by the extension inland, through 
methods of dry farming, of the wheat belt, and the consequent contraction 
of the central waste areas. 

Australia, including Tasmania, has an area of 2,974,600 square miles ; 
it is just a trifle larger than the United States of America, and twenty-five 
times as large as the United Kingdom. As it extends over 33° of latitude, 
its climate varies from tropical to cool temperate. 

2. Coastal Physiography. 

A glance at the map (PL III.) explains some of the chief reasons for the 
shape of the Australian coast. 

The chief coastal indent — the Gulf of Carpentaria — is to be correlated 
with strong tectonic lines, approximating to a meridional direction which 
determined the position of the northern end of the Cretaceous Basin. The 
dominant folds in Arnhem Land, on the west side of the Gulf, are parallel 
to its shore line, the folds in the Palaeozoic rocks of the Cape York Peninsula 
are approximately meridional, with a very heavy downthrow at the trough 
of the Little Eiver coal-field. The southern shore of the Gulf seems related 
to the W.N.W., E.S.E. fold axes which run through the Etheridge and Gilbert 

The Great Australian Bight again appears to be of tectonic origin, lying 
between the old fold mountains (recently block-faulted) of the Mount Lofty 
and Flinders Eanges, near Adelaide, and the vast peneplain of Western Aus- 
tralia, with its worn-down folds, shaped in plan like an inverted S. (See 
PL III.). 

The two deep indents — Spencer Gulf and St. Vincent Gulf — are clearly 
" Senkungsf elder," the southern end of the Great Eift Valley which ex- 
tends by way of Lake Torrens (92 feet above sea level) to Lake Eyre (about 
60 feet below sea level). (See Fig. 1.) 

FlG 1 - SKETCH SECTION. (Suggested by works of Walter Howchih) 
Across the Rift Valley of South Australia 

Vertical Scale 10.000 feet to an inch. MLO n fe 

ft^t Lincoln SPENCERS GULF Yo*e*ninsula SW.ncent 


Geology op the Commonwealth. 


Relief Map of 


Shewing Trend Lines. 

Constructed by 


Based on Maps and Contours 

by H.E.C. Robinson. 

Plate I 

U. 12154. 

Federal Handbook. 

Plate II. 

Relief Model of Australia and Tasmania, by W. K. Mclntyro, 

showing the horst of Tasmania, with its high peaks of diabase sills, to left of the fault 
trough of Bass Strait, Mt. Kosciusko, 7,300 feet, is just to the right of the right hand 
of the two small black shadows on the north side of Bass Strait, at the knotting point 
between the east and west trend lines of the southern coast of Victoria, and the more 
of less meridional trend lines of the east coast of Australia. To right of Kosciusko* 
the Hunter Geocol is seen in front of and midway between the sharp peaks of the Warrum- 
bungle Mountains on the left, and the Nandewar Range* on the right. Further to the 
right the dark patch crossing the range represents a narrow tongue of Jurassic sediments 
joining the large dark area of the main artesian basin to the plain of Jurassic and Cre- 
taceous rock, also showing dark, lying along the middle area of the east Australian 
coast line. Further to the north-east is the steep-to ruckland coast of north-eastern 
Queensland, rising in the Bellenden-ker Range to 5,428 feet. To the left of the main 
dark patch, showing the Central Artesian Basin, and between it and Tasmania the smaller 
dark patch indicates the Cainozoic plains of the Darling-Murray Rivers. Beyond the 
mouth of the Murray River is the long horst of the Mt. Lofty and Flinders Ranges, with 
Kangaroo Island at the extreme left, and the rift valley of Spencer's Gulf just above it. 
Above Spencer's Gulf is shown a narrow ridge, assumed to be formed of Paleozoic, or 
older rock, separating the Central Artesian Basin from the crescent-shaped dark area to 
the left, the Bight coastal plain, occupied by Older Tertiary marine limestones overlying 
Cretaceous glauconite sandstones. It is possible that there is a narrow gap in this ridge 
making the main Cretaceous basin continuous with this coastal sub-artesian basin. To 
the right of and above the ridge is the sharp peak of Pre- Cambrian rock of Mt. Woodroffe, 
in the Musgrave Ranges. 

The rest of the continent, chiefly Pre-Cambrian, is a vast peneplain, from 1,000 
to 3,000 feet above sea-level. In the extreme south-west are block-faulted mountains, 
the Stirling Range, &c. Along the extreme western coast is a narrow coastal plain, 
scarcely visible on the model, from its present point of view, with the two dark promon- 
tories of Sharks Bay, near its northern end. Further to the right is the deeply dissected 
region of Pilbara, much block-faulted. Still further to the right, and immediately above 
the eastern half of the Tertiary basin of the Great Bight, near the north-west coast, is 
the depressed area of the Great Desert Artesian Basin, of Permo- Carboniferous age. 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 245 

Bass Strait, as shown by the geological evidence, is another rift valley 
crossing the older " grain " of the country, and so is Torres Strait. 

A positive movement of the strand line by about 200 feet would re-unite 
Tasmania and Australia, and a positive movement of only about 100 feet 
would re-unite Australia and Papua. The latter might easily result from a 
negative movement of the ocean of about the above amount, such as probably 
occurred towards the culmination of the latest Ice Age, when the sea level 
in temperate and sub -tropical latitudes was probably 100 feet lower than 
at present, owing to the locking up of water to form the great ice sheets. 

The features of Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste are certainly due to 
a heavy coastal trough fault just to their east, which in that south-west part 
of "Western Australia has determined for a great distance the trend of the 
western coast line. (See Fig. 2.) 

Fig. 2. — Section across the Great Trough Fault of Western Australia (vertical scale 
8,000 feet to an inch) from data suggested by A. Gibb-Maitland, F.G.S. 

FremanUe Perth Darling Range 

w Indian Ocean 1 e . ^ »-=r ~\ ' 

Hobson's Bay, or Port Phillip, south of Melbourne, is probably on a 
meridional rift valley. 

The Hunter Valley and port of Newcastle are situated on a N.W. to 
S.E. rift valley. 

The whole of the Queensland coast coincident with the Great Barrier 
Keef for 1,200 miles N.N.W. from Kockhampton, owes its trend to powerful 
downthrows to the east, perhaps compensating for the epeirogenic move- 
ment of land to the west. 

The trend of the east and west shores of Tasmania is parallel to axes 
of folding. 

It is obvious that the south coast of Australia, as well as the whole of 
its north and north-west coast, is of an Atlantic type. On the contrary, the 
south-west coast of Western Australia, the east and west coast of Tasmania, 
and the north-east coast of Queensland are as regards their trends of a Pacific 
type. The south-east coast of Australia does not appear to be either wholly 
Atlantic o.r wholly Pacific. The term sub-Pacific has been suggested for it. 
As regards its geological structure, the Australian coast at Fremantle, near 
Perth, consists of a recent dune rock cemented by lime derived chiefly from 
remains of mollusca and Lithothamnion. Numbers of artesian wells sunk 
in this rock near Perth yield copious supplies of artesian water. Cretaceous 
rocks have been penetrated there at about 1,000 feet below sea-level. Similar 
calcareous dune rock forms the coast at Cape Northumberland, in South 
Australia, at Warrnambool, in Western Victoria, and at Sorrento, on 
the east side of the entrance to Port Phillip, but so far has not been proved 
to carry artesian water. 


246 Federal Handbook. 

From Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin the coast is formed of recent 
dunes resting on granite, while towards Albany a deeply indented coast of 
granite makes its appearance with dunes lodging in the hollows. Further 
eastwards, near Cape Kiche, is a small basin of marine Jurassic rocks, while 
near Cape Arid, the coast is marked by the Eecherchc Archipelago, mostly 
formed of ancient crystalline rocks. East of Cape Arid to Fowler's Bay, 
in the direction of Eyre's Peninsula, the coast line is formed of nearly per- 
pendicular cliffs, up to 250 feet in height, with a further gentle rise inland 
towards the Nullarbor Plains, of about 290 feet. At the base they are formed 
of white chalky rock with Gryphcea and layers of flints, the whole capped 
by polyzoal and molluscan limestones. At present the whole of this series 
is attributed to some time between Eocene and Lower Miocene. At about 
900 feet below sea level, at the Madura bore,- to the west of Eucla, the Tertiary 
limestone rests on a thick series of Cretaceous greensands with a well preserved 
marine fauna. No rivers exist anywhere along this 500 miles of unbroken 
coast line, nor indeed along the further eastward extension of the coast for 
another 500 miles from Fowler's Bay to the head of Spencer's Gulf. As the 
rocks inland are mostly almost horizontal porous Tertiary limestones, there is 
no surface run-off of the rain water, but it sinks in swallow-holes to tortuous 
subterranean tunnels, by which it is discharged at the foot of the sea cliffs, 
or between tide marks or out at sea, as in the case of the catavothra of Greece. 
From Fowler's Bay around the headlands of Eyre's Peninsula and lower end 
of Spencer's Gulf, the coast line is formed partly of Tertiary sediments, partly 
of pre-Cambrian schists, gneiss and granite. The last-mentioned is well 
seen in the north and south Nep tunes at the entrance to St. Vincent's Gulf. 
A plain of erosion along the coast, part of a block faulted peneplain, crosses 
Yorke's Peninsula to the east side of St. Vincent's Gulf, and extends to the 
western side of the Mount Lofty Kanges. This coast is formed partly of 
Post Pliocene flood loams, containing remains of Pallimnarchus pollens, partly 
of richly fossiliferous Tertiary marine limestones, partly of Permo-Carbo- 
niferous glacial beds, and partly of the highly folded Cambrian series with 
their glacial beds. For general interest and variety this part of the coast 
line is probably unequalled elsewhere in Australia. The strand line has 
here recently undergone an emergence of 12 feet, and Port Adelaide and 
Port Wakefield are built on the land thus naturally reclaimed. This evidence 
of recent 12 feet emergence can be traced around the greater part of Aus- 
tralia, and is probably due to a eustatic negative movement of the ocean. 
Kangaroo Island is formed of Cambrian rocks, capped by Tertiaries and 
basalt at its east end. The Cambrian rocks continue along the coast east of 
Backstairs Passage to the mouth of the Murray Kiver at Port Elliott. In 
the reclaiming, as the result of positive movement of the strand line, of the 
Tertiary basin which extends far inland from this part of the coast, the rivers 
Murray and Darling have become engrafted. 

From the mouth of the Murray to Cape Northumberland, the coast line 
is mostly formed of loose dune sand or consolidated dune sand like that of 
Cape Northumberland. The dune rock rests either on marine Tertiaries, 
or on recent alluvials of the Murray basin, or on small inliers of granite. 

Inland from Cape Northumberland are the recently extinct volcanoes of 
Mount Schanck, Mount Gambier, etc. From Cape Northumberland to east 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 


AT V 3 J O 

AT w 'a r o o 

Geology op the Commonwealth. 249 

of AVarrnambool the coast is similar with occasional outcrops of Tertiary- 
sediments capped by basaltic lava, until the Otway coast is reached. This 
is formed of freshwater Jurassic strata, in places containing small seams of 

East of the dune rock of Sorrento, the Victorian coast is formed of Ter- 
tiary rocks and older basalt ; then of the Gippsland coal measures in which 
the claw of a dinosaur and teeth and scales of ceratodus have lately been 
discovered ; then at Cape Liptrap the cliffs are partly Silurian and partly 
Ordovician slaty rocks, while at Wilson's Promontory they are of granite. 
Beyond Corner Inlet there follows to the north-east the long stretch of sands 
deposited in the slack water between the southerly flowing East Australian 
current, and the current flowing easterly out of Bass Strait. This sand 
has engrafted many of the rivers, and formed the G-ippsland Lakes. Probably 
the reclamation has been helped by a positive movement of the strand line. 
At Gabo Island and Cape Howe granites form a ruck-land coast, which 
continues with the addition of Ordovician, Silurian, and Devonian sediments to 
Moruya and Milton. 

To the north of Milton, the coast partakes more of the nature of a forland 
coast and a distinct coastal plain is developed, formed of the sediments of 
the Permo-Carboniferous and Triassic basins. This continues north for 
over 200 miles to Port Stephens. In its deeply indented estuaries, harbors, 
and drowned valleys, such as those of Jervis Bay, Port Hacking, Botany 
Bay, Port Jackson, Broken Bay, Port Stephens, etc., and in the entire absence 
of marine Tertiary deposits, this part of the strand line shows evidence of 
recent negative movement. From Jervis Bay to Wollongong, the strata 
in the sea-clifls are rich in Permo-Carboniferous marine fossils, while those 
of Bulli and the cliffs 100 miles north, extending to Newcastle, show frequent 
coal seams, and abound especially near Newcastle in Permo-Carboniferous 
fossil plants. 

From Port Stephens to near Grafton, the coast is mostly of an indented 
type, with drowned valleys between hills coming close to the coast, with 
numerous bar harbors, and with a narrow coastal plain fringing Carboni- 
ferous, Devonian, and probably Ordovician strata. An outlying part of an 
immense belt of serpentine, intrusive into Middle Devonian radiolarian 
rocks, touches the coast at Port Macquarie. From the Clarence River to 
the Richmond there is a forland coast of Jurassic coal measures, the Clarence 
basin. A low indented riickland coast, again of Ordovician strata, cherts, 
tufis, and quartzites, and capped by alkaline basalts and acid pitchstones 
stretches from Ballina to near the mouth of the Brisbane River. A for- 
land coast in part Jurassic, stretches from the Brisbane River to Gladstone. 
The interesting volcanic rocks, comendites, riebeckite trachytes together 
with alkaline andesites and basalts form conspicuous domes and sugarloaves 
a short distance inland from the coast, which is there fringed with dunes, the 
largest in Australia, up to 800 feet high. At Maryborough and Great Sandy 
Island marine Cretaceous rocks outcrop with a basin of productive coal (the 
Burrum Basin, the only basin of Cretaceous coal worked within the Com- 
monwealth) immediately overlying them. From Gladstone to Cape York 
there is a remarkable coast, chiefly of the ruck-land type, with mountain 
ranges from 2,000 feet up to over 5,000 feet high (Bellendenker, 5,428 feet) 

250 Federal Handbook. 

coming mostly close to the coast line, and having high islands like Hinchin- 
brook, which rises to an altitude of 3,560 feet, close inshore. This part of 
the coast and coastal shelf is so heavily faulted and studded with small 
islands, which have survived the block faulting, as to deserve Suess' title 
of " panzer-horst." In places there is a coastal plain, as at the Jurassic (or 
Cretaceous (?) coal-basin of Broadsound, at Port Mackay, and to north- 
west and south-east of Townsville North), in others the old rocks, chiefly 
Carboniferous strata, with Lepidodendron and Phillipsia, or Devonian rocks 
with massive coral and stromatoporoid limestones, both systems intruded 
by granites, form bold cliffs and headlands. This remarkable part of the 
coast line is opposite to the Grand Canal of Australia which runs between 
the Great Barrier Reef and the main land. These high coastal hills are 
obviously part of the Old Main Divide, its eastern slope with nearly all the 
easterly flowing rivers being faulted eastwards under the Barrier. This 
coast terminates in granite capped with the horizontal Upper Cretaceous 
desert sandstone, which forms Cape York. Throughout this great stretch 
of coast from Cape Howe to Cape York, a distance of 2,150 miles, marine 
Tertiary deposits are wholly unknown. From Cape York around the rocks 
of the Gulf of Carpentaria, the coast is of a low forland type, formed of Desert 
Sandstone at first then of late Tertiary and Post Tertiary freshwater deposits, 
with an inner zone of marine Cretaceous rocks. 

It is thought by some that the main submarine outlet of the Great Arte- 
sian Basin lies somewhere towards the southern shore of the Gulf of Car- 

On the west side of the Gulf are numerous islands, formed of Permo- 
Carboniferous rock. A short distance inland from the mouth of the Roper 
River, the late Cainozoic sediments give place to Cambrian sandstones and 
limestones, the latter on the Daly River being largely formed of Salterella 
hardmani. These limestones are many thousands of feet thick, and rest 
on an older volcanic series. From here around to Darwin, the coast is formed 
chiefly of Cretaceo-Tertiaryand Permo-Carboniferous rocks, with an occasional 
low-lying outcrop of older Palseozoic or Pre-Cambrian rocks. Proofs of 
recent positive movement of the strand line are everywhere evident except 
between Arnhem Bay, the English Company's Islands, and Cape Arnhem, 
where there appears to have been recent negative movement. Elsewhere 
upraised Post Tertiary muds with echinoderms and crayfish and banks of 
dead coral are clear proofs of recent positive movement of the strand. One 
of the most beautiful parts of the whole Australian coast is that at 
the north-east extremity of Arnhem Land. Tectonic disturbances are 
present as major faults running N.E. and S.W. These are crossed by 
minor faults throwing to north-east. At Point Charles lighthouse, near 
Darwin, rolled specimens of Ammonites and Scaphites occur in great 

At Port Darwin the coast is composed of whitish shales and sandstones 
containing numerous casts of Belemnites, and in places consisting almost 
entirely of radiolaria. These were originally deposited at a considerable 
depth, which suggests a positive movement of this part of the coast of 
that amount since Upper Cretaceous time, the epoch to which these rocks 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 251 

The remainder of the coast line is described in less detail in 
Chapter III., by T. Griffith Taylor. Headers are referred to that 
chapter for an account of the other physiographic features of the Common- 

3. Palaeogeography and Present Relief. 

Reference to the photograph of the relief model of Australia and Tas- 
mania (Pis. I. and II.) shows the broad physical features of the Common- 
wealth, while the orographic map (PL IV.) gives the actual contour lines, 
and the tectonic map (PI. III.) the chief trend lines. These maps, together 
with the sections (Plates VI. and VII.), show that Australia is essentially 
a vast peneplain. This has been in part abandoned by the ocean, in part 
warped upward or downward in arches and compensating troughs, and this 
warping has been accompanied by heavy fractures. The latest of the true 
fold mountains of Australia dates back to Carboniferous time, for although 
in the Gympie region of Queensland the Permo-Carboniferous rocks are 
steeply tilted, they are never closely folded as the Carboniferous rocks often 
are. Great peneplanation took place in Permo-Carboniferous (Permian) 
time, followed by a considerable transgression of the sea in a wide belt sweeping 
inland on either side of Sydney, then swinging northwards through Queens- 
land at least as far as Townsville. In Triassic and Jurassic time Tasmania 
with Bass Strait and Southern Victoria were covered by great lakes and 
swamps, in which the coal measures of that age were formed. Contem 
poraneously a vast lake stretched from at least as far east as Brisbane mor 
or less continuously to Lake Eyre, a distance of nearly 1,000 miles. It is 
not known yet how far this great lake stretched in a meridional direction, 
but it must have been of the order of at least 500 miles. Gondwana Land 
was probably still in existence as far as can be judged from the Australian, 
Indian, New Zealand, South American, and Antarctic evidence. Now in 
late Jurassic or Post Jurassic time supervened those gigantic intrusions of 
diabase (dolerite) on a scale perhaps unprecedented in geological history. 
These intrusions took the form of sills which dominate the whole physical 
features of Tasmania, the Karroo, Antarctica, and British Guiana. That 
these intrusions were connected with the sinking in of the Gondwana Land 
and consequent compensating warping up of the sea floor, and probably 
a further shallowing of the sea floor through submarine extrusions 
of the dolerite seems highly probable, and it may account for 
those world-wide transgressions of the oceans in Cretaceous time which 
Suess considers one of the most conclusive pieces of evidence in 
favour of the ocean surface at times undergoing an eustatic positive 

Australia was no exception to the general rule of transgressing epicon 
tinental seas of vast size in Cretaceous time. During the older Cretaceous 
(" Rolling Downs ") series, Australia was perhaps severed, so far as the 
portion of the continent which is still preserved is concerned, by a sea stretch- 
ing from the Gulf of Carpentaria to the Great Australian Bight. The marine 
fauna of this sea is essentially that of a local Mediterranean. On the other 
hand, the Cretaceous rocks of the west coast of Western Australia have a 
cosmopolitan Cretaceous marine fauna closely resembling that of India. 

252 . Federal Handbook. 

Thus the old land barrier which united East Australia and India in Permo- 
Carboniferous (Permian) time does not seem to have been wholly broken 
down in early Cretaceous time. 

In Upper Cretaceous time, marine conditions were largely replaced by 
lacustrine, the lake surfaces with small marine basins here and there covering 
about one-half of the whole area of Australia. During this period was deposited 
the so-called Desert Sandstone which at one time probably covered about 
three-quarters of the whole area of Queensland, one-third that of South 
Australia, and at least one-fifth of the total area of New South Wales. 

In early Miocene time a considerable portion of southern and north- 
western Victoria, part of north-western Tasmania, the extreme south-west 
corner of New South Wales, a large area around St. Vincent and Spencer's 
Gulfs, and a still larger area at the head of the Great Australian Bight were 
submerged. It is important to note that the submergence crept inland as 
far as the surface of the peneplain at Lake Cowan, near Norseman, in Western 
Australia. Deposits of marine sponge spicules occur there superimposed 
on the peneplain. Some marine molluscan remains have also been found 
resting on the old peneplain on the shores of Lake Cowan, but unfortunately 
the geological age of these shells has not yet been determined. The date 
of the vast peneplain of Western Australia, Northern Territory, and probably 
that of East Australia as well, depends largely on the determination of the 
age of these fossils. 

It has been argued that the Australian and Tasmanian peneplain survived 
without serious warping into Pliocene time. This provisional conclusion 
is based on the uniform character of the Pliocene flora as far as the few frag- 
ments of it preserved allow us to judge. This is thought to be due to the 
Australian land at this time over large areas being nearly reduced to sea 
level. That some warping of the peneplain had commenced probably as 
far back as the Oligocene, is proved by the fact that in Victoria the so-called 
" older basalts," of perhaps Eocene or Oligocene Age, are capped by the 
Lower Miocene marine beds, and there is evidence to show that Tasmania 
after being joined to Australia in early Tertiary times, was divided from 
the mainland by a strait in Middle Tertiary or early Pliocene time, then 
reunited or nearly reunited in late Pliocene or Pleistocene time, allowing 
the Tasmanian aborigines, ignorant of the building of sea-going canoes to 
migrate into Tasmania from the mainland. That the warping of the Aus- 
tralian and Tasmania peneplain was chiefly Post Miocene is proved by the 
locally folded and uplifted Lower Miocene beds in the Mount Lofty Ranges, 
near Adelaide. Also the latest great outburst of volcanic energy in all the 
States of the Commonwealth (except Northern Territory) took place in Post 
Miocene time. Moreover the glaciation of the Tasmanian highlands and 
those of south-east Australia, took place in late Pliocene or Pleistocene 
time, and these glaciations were almost certainly contemporaneous with 
accentuated crust warping, though it is not intended to suggest that there 
was necessarily a causal connexion between the two phenomena, though 
there possibly may have been. Next the existence of abundant remains 
of large herds of Pliocene or Pleistocene marsupials, some of elephantine 
proportions, in what are now low-lying arid regions, with the discovery of 
remains of the late Pliocene or Pleistocene crocodile Pallimnarchus pollens, 



Geology of the Commonwealth: 


as far south as the valley of the Torrens, near Adelaide, demands a higher 
rainfall, warmer climate, and probably higher relief for the interior of Aus- 
tralia than it at present possesses. Then too, the canyons of the Upper 
Flinders, of the eastward-flowing New England rivers, like the Macleay, the 
Hastings, etc., and the canyons of the Blue Mountain rivers, the Shoalhaven 
Eiver, etc., imply that no very great time has elapsed since the warping, 
otherwise the valley walls would be flared down and reduced to gentle slopes. 

All over the highlands of Tasmania, as well as over the Kosciusko plateau, 
there is evidence of a succession of Glacial Epochs. These were probably 
synchronous with the recent maximum glaciation in Antarctica and in South 
America, possibly with the phases of the Great Ice Age in the Northern 

Amongst the newest of the tectonic movements has been the development 
of the great tensional faults, which have so strongly block faulted the Flinders 
Kange (see fig. 1) and the main Eastern Divide, especially along the Barrier 
Keef area, where as in the neighbourhood of Cairns, the upper end of the 
Barron River is left hanging on the upthrow side of the fault block (fig. 3). 
The fault which bounds the Darling Ranges of Western Australia (fig. 2) 
on the west, probably is a development of very late Pleistocene or early 
Recent time. 

Fig. 3. — Sections across Queensland. 


Gulf of 

Post ■ Tertiary 





Main Divide 
M? Battle Frere 

5I58FT Cairns 

Foundered and fractured East slope 
of the Old Divide £. 

Holmes Reef 
Crear Barrier ; » 
Reef ! 

Diane Reef 

Sam l»"»i 

SOO - Granite - mi tea. - - Carboniferous ■ 

4. Stratigraphical Features, 
(a) The Geological Succession in the Commonwealth of Australia. 



in Feet. 

Representative Formations. 

Post- Recent 



1. River alluvium and sand dunes, with hard 

calcareous dune rock. Aboriginal kitchen 
middens. Laterites ("pindan" gravels and 
nodular ironstone). Nodular tufaceous 
limestone (" kunkar "). Salt deposits and 
muds of the " playas." Active crater of 
Mount Victory in Papua ; recent craters 
of Mount Gambier (South Australia), Tower 
Hill, near Warrnambool (Victoria). The 
Great Barrier Reef of Queensland. 
= maximum thickness of dune rock. 

2. Raised beaches, mostly 15 feet above sea 

around Australian coast. In Papua recent 
coral rock extends up to 2,000 feet above sea- 
level. Submerged peat beds about 100 to 200 
feet below sea to north of Sydney. 

3. Helicidce sandstone of Bass Strait Islands, and 

Helicidce limestone to west of Cloncurry, 


Federal Handbook. 

Stratigraphical Features — Geological Succession — continued. 


in Feet. 

Representative Formation?. 

Tertiary — 




Pliocene . 


Lower Plio- 
cene or 

Miocene . . 

1,000 (?) 


100 (?) 

80 to 

of feet 
200 to 

Mesozoic . . 

Cretaceous — 
Upper . . 


100 to 


4. Mammaliferous drift and old lake muds, with 

remains of Diprotodon, Nototherium thylacoleo, 
Thylacinus, Sarcophilus, Sus papuensis (in 
Queensland), together with Pallimnarchus 
pollens, Megalania prisca, Genyornis, Canis 
dingo, etc. In places these deposits may 
date back to late Pliocene. 

5. Glacial deposits of western Tasmania and of 

the Kosciusko plateau. 

6. Basalt sheets of the fissure eruptions in east 

and sonth-east Australia and Tasmania, 
Kangaroo Island (South Australia), and Bun- 
bury (Western Australia). These range from 
Pliocene through Pleistocene to Recent. 
Newer " deep leads " of alluvial gold and 
tin in eastern Australia and Tasmania. 

7. Older Marine Pliocene beds of Adelaide. 

Possibly Launceston Lake beds belong here. 
Port Moresby radiolarian cherts, etc. 

8. Belt of alkaline lavas and tuffs from Coleraine 

to Springsure, about 1,500 miles. Melilite 
and nepheline basalts of Tasmania. 

9. Ostrea sturti beds of the Lower Murray River. 

Lithothamnion limestone of Hallett's Cove, 
10. Cellepora gambierensi* limestones passing into 
chalk with flints, around the Bight. At 
Table Cape, Tasmania, the oldest Australian 
marsupial, Wyrtyardia bassiana, occurs in this 
formation. Lepidocyclina occurs in places. 
Purari lignitic and oil-bearing series, Papua, 
with abundant Lepidocyclina. 

11. Older basalts and tuffs, and the older, "deep 

leads " of Gippsland (Victoria), New South 
Wales, and southern Queensland. Much 
laterite and bauxite is associated with this 

12. Important brown coal series of Victoria, with 

fossil plants and lignites. At Morwell, in 
Gippsland, these lignites are 888 feet thick. 

13. Desert sandstone, mostly of freshwater origin, 

with thin seams of coal in places, passes 
downwards into radiolarian shales with 
belemnites. Ichthyosaurus occurs in the 
remarkable opal beds in this series. The 
sandstone is occasionally marine, with 
Rhynchonella croydonensis. 

14. Rolling downs formation, chiefly glauconitic 

sands and clays, with abundant foraminifera, 
Maccoyella, Cytherea, Crioceras, Lamna, 
Belonostomus, Notochelone, Ichthyosaurus, 
Plesiosaurus, Mchna flindersensis, Ammon- 
ite beds (Scaphites) of Darwin. The 
Alveolina limestones of New Guinea perhaps 
may be referred to this horizon. At Mary- 
borough, Queensland, the Burrum coal seams 
are interstratified in the marine series. 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 


Stratigraphical Features — Geological Succession — continued. 


in Feet. 

Representative Formations. 

Mesozoic — 

Jurassic — 
Upper . . 

500 to 

1,000 to 

Triassic . . 


Paleozoic . . 

Permo-C car- 



500 to 



100 to 


15. Diabase sills of Tasmania. 

16. Sandstones of the great artesian basin, with 

lignitic coal in places. At Leigh's Creek, 
south of Lake Eyre, a 47 -ft. seam of brown 
coal in this series. Coal measures of Won- 
thaggi and Cape Otway Clarence Series, 
Clifton, Ipswich, Callide, and Broadsound. 
Quartz-trachyte tuffs of Brisbane. Tceniop- 
te.ris daintreei is specially characteristic, 
and cycadaceous forms like Otozamites, 
Pterophyllum, and Alethopteris also abundant. 
Vnio eyrensis numerous. Claw of dinosaur 
in Victoria, also fossil ceratodus. In 
Western Australia and Papua marine 
Jurassic rocks occur with abundant ammon- 

17. Productive coal measures of Tasmania. 

Phyllotheca present, with Thinnfeldia, Ale- 
thopteris, etc. Hawkesbury series of New 
South Wales, with abundant fossil fish, and 
large undescribed labyrinthodonts. Con- 
tains Beyrichia, abundant Estheria, Tre- 
manotus (? in situ). Much red and green 
tuff at base of series. 

18. Acid granites of New England. Alkaline series 

of Port Cygnet, Tasmania, and of Kiama, 
New South Wales. 

19. Upper or Newcastle coal measures, with 35 to 

40 feet workable coal. Olossopteris pre- 
dominates over Gangamopteris. Dadoxylon 
abundant. The Upper Bowen coal 
measures of Queensland, and Collie coal- 
field, Western Australia, probably are on 
this horizon. 

Dempsey Series. Barren freshwater strata. 

Middle coal measures (Tomago or East Mait- 
land), about 1,800 feet workable coal. 

Upper Marine Series, mudstones and sand- 
stones, with abundant Productus brachy- 
thcerus, Crinoids, " glendonite " pseudo- 
morphs, occasional glacial erratics in shales, 
with abundant Fenestallidce. 

Lower or Greta coal measures, with about 
20 feet of workable coal. Gangamopteris 
predominates over Glossopteris. The Daw- 
son coal measures probably belong here, 
in Queensland, and the Mersey coal measures 
of Tasmania. 

Lower Marine Series, with Eurydesma cor- 
datum specially characteristic. Sodic basalts 
and andesite tuffs are interstratified. The 
series ends in glacial beds 300 feet thick. 
In Victoria there are the Bacchus Marsh 
beds, over 2,000 feet thick, with at least 
four beds of true tillite. At Wynyard, in 
Tasmania, and Hallett's Cove, near 
Adelaide, these tillites are very well 
developed. In Victoria and South Australia 
the tillites rest on beautifully striated 


Federal Handbook. 

Stratigraphical Features — Geological Succession — continued. 


in Feet. 

Representative Formations. 

Paleozoic — 




Devonian — 
Upper . . 




Lower . 


Silurian . 

3,000 to 



The Gympie beds of Queensland are Lower 

20. Sphene-granites of New England. 

21. Blue-granites of New England. 

22. Star Series of Queensland, with Lepidodendron 

australe, Aneimites, and Phillipsia. 
The marine and freshwater beds in New South 
Wales, with Phillipsia, Produclus semi- 
reticulatus, Lepidodendron australe, L. vollc- 
mannianum, L. veltheimianitm, Rhacho- 
pteris, etc. A thick series of acid, to inter- 
mediate lavas and tuffs, occur in this system. 
In Victoria the Mansfield beds and the 
Grampians sandstones may be included 
here, together with the felsites and basalts 
of Mount Wellington, Victoria. 

23. Serpentine belt of New England, New South 


24. Spirifera disjuncta quartzites of Mount 

Lambie, New South Wales, with Lepido- 
dendron australe. The Archceopteris sand- 
stones of Victoria may belong here. 

Radiolarian cherts, reef limestones, and spilites 
of Tamworth, New South Wales. Burdekin 
series of Queensland, with reef limestone up 
to 7,000 feet thick, an ancestor of the Barrier 
Reef. Buchan and Bindi limestones of 
Victoria, with andesites. Devonian rocks 
of Kimberley, Western Australia. 

Murrumbidgee series, New South Wales, with 
Receptaculites and bony- plated fish like 
Aster olepis, also a thick series of acid to 
intermediate lavas. In Victoria are the 
series of acid lavas and tuffs, the Snowy 
River porphyries. Dacites, quartz-porphy- 
ries, and granodiorites of this age occur in 
Victoria. Most of the granites of Tasmania 
are thought to be Devonian. Devonian 
rocks occur in Papua. 

25. Shales, sandstones, limestones, contemporan- 

eous tuffs. The type area is Yass, New 
South Wales. Hausmannia and Encri- 
nurus, with the corals Rhizophyllum and 
Mucophyllum and Pentamerus knightii 
are characteristic. At the base of series is 
Halysites in great abundance. At Lilydale 
in Victoria, Chudleigh in Tasmania, Chil- 
lagoe in Queensland, limestones of this age 
are well developed. They are frequently 
associated with radiolarian cherts. 

26. These rocks are either littoral, like the Tempe 
Downs beds, south of the Macdonnell Range, 
with Asaphus and Endoceras abundant, or 
are of the Victorian type, black shales, sand- 
stones, graptolitic shales, with some sponge 
spicules, phosphatic slates, and cherts. They 
are also developed in New South Wales 
at Tallong, Mandurama, etc. The rich grapto- 
lite fauna is described later in this article. 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 


Stratioraphical Features — Geological Succession — continued. 



in Feet. 

Representative Formations. 


cian (?) 





(Great Un- 


27. These rocks consist of the diabases and tuffs, 

probably spilitic, of Heathcote and other 
areas in Victoria. Probably the porphy- 
roid series with breccias, tuffs, etc., of 
western Tasmania also belong here. 

28. This system is chiefly developed in South 

Australia and Northern Territory. In Nor- 
thern Territory thick sandstones overlie 
massive Archceocyathince limestones, perhaps 
7,000 feet in thickness, another forerunner 
of the Barrier Reef. Beneath the richly 
fossiliferous limestones (Salter ella limestones 
of Northern Territory) is a vast thickness of 
basalts and basic tuffs. About half-way up 
in the series in South Australia are tillites 
up to about 1,000 feet in thickness. 

29. The Mosquito Series of the Pilbara gold- 

field, Western Australia, is a schistose group 
unconformably underlying the Cambrian(?) 
Nullagine Series. This in turn rests on an 
older series, the Warrawoona. Both may 
be considered Algonkian, as the rocks can 
be recognised as Sediments. 

At Kalgoorlie the conglomerates are Algon- 
kian, as are those of Goat Island, Tasmania, 
with mica schists and garnet-zoizite- 
amphibolites ; in the Mount Lofty and 
Flinders Ranges the rocks of the Houghton 
magma, so rich in titaniferous iron and 
diopside, and connected with radium 
deposits are also probably Algonkian. 

The Glenelg River schists and Mitta Mitta 
schists of Victoria may also be Algonkian, 
as well as most of the mica and quartz 
schists of Northern Territory. 

30. Archaean rocks are widely spread in Western 

Australia in the Musgrave and Macdonnell 
Ranges, and at Port Lincoln, in South Aus- 
tralia, and between Camooweal and Borra- 
loola, in Northern Territory. The Aguilar 
Range in Queensland, north of Brisbane, con- 
taining glaucophane schists may also be 
Archaean, as well as the main axis of British 
and German New Guinea. 

(b) Pre=Cambrian System. 

The rocks of this age, comprising both Algonkian and Archaean formations, 
are developed on a particularly grand scale in Western Australia and Central 
Australia, in fact, about one-third of the whole area of Australia, namely 
approximately 800,000 square miles, is occupied by this vast crystalline com- 
plex. Pre-Cambrian rocks are also developed in the Kimberley gold-field 
of Western Australia, as well as at Darwin, extending from the latter at 
intervals to Camooweal in Queensland. In New South Wales, they are 
represented by a belt of Garnetiferous mica-schist with amphibolites and 


Federal Handbook. 

gneiss in the Barrier Eanges of the Broken Hill silver-field. They are repre- 
sented by schists near the Cobar Copper Mines of New South Wales, and 

Fig 4. Diagrammatic Sections across Collie- Stirling Trough 

Vertical Scale 8000 feet to an inch 

M'Toolbrunup. 3341* 

Collie Coal Field 

^Looking W.N.W Fau.t 



\ \ 

by a thick series of crystalline schists in a broad belt of country stretching 
S.S.E. from Wodonga and Tallangatta, through Omeo and Tongio West in 
North-east Victoria. Other areas occur in Victoria south of Mount Stavely 
and in the basin of the Grlenelg River. In Tasmania, a well-marked belt 
of mica-schist and white saccharoidal quartzite, and a very interesting belt 
of zoisite-amphibolite, are ascribed to this group. With the exception of 
the last-mentioned rock, all the Pre-Cambrian rocks of Tasmania appear 
to have been of sedimentary origin, and should therefore be referred to the 
Algonkian system. In Western Australia, the group is divisible into two 
portions, or we may say that two groups are present : Firstly, an older 
form of gneisses and acidic schists with intrusive granite and pegmatite 
veins with numerous dykes of diorite, norite, dolerite, etc. Secondly, Algon- 
kian rocks formed of coarse conglomerates together with, in places, altered 
volcanic tuffs and amygdaloidal dolerites, the latter evidently being of 
contemporaneous origin. The principal gold-fields o,f Western Australia, 
one of which alone (Kalgoorlie) has produced to date over £100,000,000 
worth of gold, are situated in rocks, probably of this group, occupying deeply 
infolded basins, partly of Pre-Cambrian basic lavas and tuffs, in the older 
crystalline complex. As shown on the Section, Fig. 4, these Pre-Cambrian 
rocks have been intensely folded, the trend of the folds being nearly meri- 
dional, but on the whole having the form as shown on the PI. Ill: of a 
very open inverted letter " S." One can distinguish at least four of these 
great gold-bearing basins from east to west in the following order : — Kanowna, 
Boulder and Kalgoorlie, Coolgardie, and Southern Cross. In the Pilbara 
district of Western Australia, there is a considerable development of minerals 
of the rare earths associated with veins of pegmatite traversing Pre-Cam- 

F | G 5 Sketch roughly diagrammatic from Perth to Kalgoorlie. 

„ ^ Suggested b^obseo/ations of A Gibb-Maitland,FGS 

Southern Cross j&f \ 8 / "># , - 

Perth DARLIN G RANGE \ 1 ; PENEPLAIN £$ ; & / /J/ 

l\ W VrM«4cX<-'-* ■'^CNF^?- ^iMNE^S^ A^-' ^VIm^ ~/9 \ ^ X ^GNEISS ' 
< — ■ 390 miles 

.granite X£(\ 

brian rocks. For example, associated with tin-stone are found in this region 
tantalite in sufficient quantity to control the whole of the tantalum market 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 261 

of the world. The mineral gadolinite, associated with well-crystallized 
monazite, and occasionally the rare radio-active mineral pilbarite, a lead- 
bearing uranium ore, are also met with within this area. At Mount Painter 
between the head of Spencer's Gulf and Lake Eyre, the Pre-Cambrian rocks 
comprise remarkably massive deposits with coarse mica-schists, containing 
an abundance of sapphire. These rocks are traversed by a huge lode con- 
taining radio-active minerals, such as monazite, torbenite, autunite, etc., 
together with a considerable amount of fluorspar. This lode has been traced 
along a continuous outcrop of over a mile, and in places is said to be over 
20 yards in width — in places as much as 50 yards. At present the lode is 
only being prospected. At the Eadium Hill, at Olary, on the railway line 
from Adelaide to Broken Hill, there is a considerable deposit of uranium- 
bearing titaniferous iron ore. At the surface outcrop this is stained lemon- 
yellow to orange by carnotite. The ore from this mine is at present being 
successfully treated at Woolwich, Sydney, and it is expected that it will soon 
be possible to produce not less than a gramme of radium bromide annually 
from this mine alone. In the MacDonnell Ranges, associated with the 
pegmatite dykes are large crystals of muscovite mica, from 1 foot up to 18 
inches or more in diameter. Beryls in large crystals, but not of commercial 
value, occur in the same region. A remarkable rock in the Pre-Cambrian 
group is that known as the ribbon jasper. This rock, often many hundreds 
of yards in width, is typically a beautifully banded haematitic quartz rock. 
It can be traced for hundreds of miles along the gold-bearing belts of Western 
Australia. From its southern gold-fields, as far north as Kimberley gold-field, 
wherever reefs of quartz intersect it they are usually gold-bearing. Recent 
petrological research proves that this ribbon jasper is actually a mylonized 
quartz-dolerite, subsequently altered by silicification. It is singular that 
in other places as at Boulder, near Kalgoorlie, a similar mylonized quartz- 
dolerite has been converted into a graphite schist, probably as the result 
of long-continued emanations of methane. This gas is still being evolved 
from the gold telluride-bearing graphite-schists at the Great Boulder Pro- 
prietary Mine. At Bimbowrie, in South Australia, magnificent crystals of 
chiastolite, used for jewellery are abundantly developed in the Pre-Cambrian 
rocks. To the east of the Mount Lofty Ranges, in South Australia, there 
is a considerable development of andalusite-bearing schists, with which 
are associated schistose diopside-diorite. The latter rock is very rich in 
ilmenite, and black sands derived from this ilmenite are plentifully dis- 
tributed throughout the basalt rocks of the succeeding Cambrian formation. 
Reference has already been made to the considerable development of Pre- 
Cambrian rocks in the neighbourhood of the Broken Hill silver mines. No 
attempt has as yet been made to form even a rough approximation of the 
thickness of the Pre-Cambrians, but it certainly must be very vast. 

(c) Cambrian System. 

Rocks of this age are developed on a grand scale in the northern part 
of Northern Territory, as well as between Lake Eyre and Kangaroo Island, 
to the south of Adelaide. They are also probably represented by the Nulla- 
gine series in the Pilbara region. At that gold-field, conglomerates perhaps 
of Cambrian age overlie quite uncomformably the older schists. These 

262 Federal Handbook. 

conglomerates contain gold and small diamonds, and are the oldest diamond- 
bearing horizon as yet proved within the Commonwealth. In the Northern 
Territory, in Arnhem Land, and in the Barclay Tableland, the Cambrian 
rocks there, largely formed of limestones, have proved invaluable as a source 
of supply of sub-artesian water. These limestones in the Northern Territory, 
at the Daly Kiver, as well as at Mount Panton, in the Kimberley gold-field, 
are rich in the fossil pteropod — Salterella hardmani. Their thickness is cer- 
tainly several thousands of feet, possibly 7,000 feet. In Arnhem Land and 
at Kimberley, these limestones overlie thick sheets of basic lavas, apparently 
contemporaneous in these Cambrian deposits. The two salient points of 
scientific interest about the system as developed in the Commonwealth are : — 
First, the development on a grand scale of glacial tillite. It has now been 
demonstrated that these glacial beds are in places fully 1,000 feet in thickness 
and extend from the Sturt Gorge, east of Adelaide, at least as far north as 
Pekina, to the north of Port Augusta, and may extend almost to the tropic 
of Capricorn, near Lake Eyre. The glacial beds of South Australia cross 
into New South Wales in the Barrier Ranges, about 20 miles north of Broken 
Hill. These glacial beds are met with about half-way up in the great thick- 
ness of Cambrian strata, and are many thousands of feet below the second 
feature about to be described, namely, the Archaeocyathinae limestones. 
These rocks are developed on a large scale at Yorke's Peninsula, to the west 
of Adelaide, as well as near Normanville and the Onkaparinga Valley, whence 
they extend at least as far north as the Blinnman and Ajax Mines, near Lake 
Eyre. They contain a rich and exquisitely preserved fossil marine fauna. 
It may be mentioned that small pieces of similar limestone were discovered 
by Sir Ernest Shackleton near Mount Darwin, about 360 miles from the 
South Pole. 

The Heathcotian Series. 
Shales and mudstones containing the trilolites Dinesus and Notasaphus, 
Protospongia .and other sponge spicules, brachiopods and radiolaria occur 
about 3 miles north of Heathcote. These were originally referred to the 
Cambrian and later to the Ordovician. Recent evidence tends to reinforce 
their Cambrian age. Immediately underlying these beds to the east, come 
a mixed series of black cherts, cherty shales, and igneous rocks, principally 
basic lavas, described as diabases, tuffs, and agglomerates, with a few minor 
dioritic intrusions and a larger intrusive mass of micro-granite. To these 
rocks the term Heathcotian has been applied, and they have been described 
as underlying the Dinesus beds with a marked unconformity, and have been 
referred to the Pre-Ordovician and even to the Pre-Cambrian series. Others 
have pointed out that there is no evidence of unconformity between them 
and the overlying Ordovicians, but a gradual passage, and that therefore 
they cannot be older than Cambrian and may be Cambro- Ordovician 
in age. Similar rocks, with similar stratigraphical relations, and 
containing black cherts with Protospongia and radiolaria interbedded 
with diabases occur to the north-east of Lancefield. Probably the 
diabases and cherts of Mount Major, near Dookie ; of Mount Stavely, and 
of the Hummocks, in the west of Victoria, are also referable to the 
Heathcotian series. 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 


In Tasmania, Cambrian rocks of the nature of yellow rusty friable sand- 
stones and quartzites occur at Caroline Creek, between Kail ton and Latrobe, 
as well as on the Humboldt Divide, and in the Florentine Valley. These 
rocks, which contain well preserved casts of Dikellocephalus, are considered 
to be of Upper Cambrian age. 



Fig. 6. — Diagrammatic Sections across Victoria. 

in ui'i ■ i n'l i"m'i:iii/iii'H';"TTt)rwi * t irMMiMM'i'iwiiU'Miiri+m'n 

vJeathcotfanfCambrian) ^Serpentine 
_ 450 Mi/ts 

I E. 


/> MMMU^ s 4-/ 


In Tasmania the Porphyroid Series of schistose quartz-porphyries, 
felsite tuffs and breccias, and spilitic basic rocks, of the Leven Gorge, 
Dundas, is presumably of Heathcotian, and therefore perhaps of Cambrian 

(d) Ordovician System. 

Two well-marked types, the one littoral, the other probably pelagic, 
are referred to this system. Shallow water strata of the former type have 
been described from the Tempe Downs Station and the Levi Kange, to the 
south of the MacDonnell Eanges. These rocks show ripple marks and sun 
cracks, as well as cubical pseudomorphs in quartzite after rock-salt. Abun- 
dant well-preserved fossils, of which the commonest forms are Orthis hviensis, 
Endoceras warburtoni, Asaphus illarensis, are to be found in this neighbour- 
hood in sandy calcareous shales. The other type of Ordovician rock, the 
dominant type in fact, consists of black carbonaceous shales and slates, 
with bands of fine-grained sandstones and quartzites and occasional con- 
glomerates. They are best developed in Victoria where they are closely 
folded and strike generally in a N.N.W. direction. They are divided into 
a lower series, in which the black shales and slates on the whole predominate, 
and an upper series in which sandstones are more prominent, and containing 
C.12154. s 

264 Federal Handbook. 

basal conglomerates as at Kerrie, east of Mount Macedon. The lower member 
has been divided by its graptolite zones into the following divisions from 
above downward : — 

Darriwil series, 

Castlemaine series, 

Bendigo series, 

Lancefield series. 
The most productive gold-fields of Victoria, such as those of Bendigo, Bal- 
larat, Daylesford, Maldon, Dunolly, Poseidon, and Steiglitz occur in Lower 
Ordovician rocks, near intrusions of granodiorite. It has been suggested 
that the quartz reefs are generally most productive where traversing black 
shales of the Bendigo series. The Lower Ordovician rocks have so far only 
been found in Victoria, and with the exception of the Mornington Peninsula, 
only to the west of a line running north from Melbourne and stretching to 
the western boundary of the State. The Upper Ordovician rocks are, on 
the whole, less closely folded than the lower series, are less auriferous, but 
have a generally similar N.N.W. strike, and occur only to the east of a line 
running north from Melbourne. Near Melbourne they occur at Diggers Rest, 
and further north at Kerrie, east of Mount Macedon. Inliers of Upper 
Ordovician rocks occur near the Woods Point gold-field, and also further 
east, surrounded by the broad belt of Silurian rocks, while very extensive 
areas in Eastern Victoria have yielded only Upper Ordovician graptolites. 

Northwards from Victoria the Upper Ordovician rocks extend into New 
South Wales, sweeping in abroad belt to the east of Mount Kosciusko, between 
the Snowy River and Cooma. A belt of the same rock has been identi- 
fied at Tallong, near Marulan, where it has been shown there is a great uncon- 
formity between this system and the overlying Silurian system. At Cadia, 
near Orange, there is a great belt of these rocks containing contemporaneous 
andesite lava, with large deposits of iron ore. Though extensive, these 
are not as large by any means as the great ironstone mountain deposits — 
the Iron Knob and the Iron Monarch — to the west of Port Augusta, from 
which the ore is to be obtained in the near future to supply the large steel 
works about to be erected at Newcastle. In Tasmania, strata of Ordovician 
age are represented at the Beaconsfield gold-field, near Launceston. 

(e) Silurian System. 

Strata of this age appear to be wholly restricted in the Commonwealth 
to the eastern portion of Australia and to Tasmania. In Tasmania they 
are well developed in the neighbourhood of the Mount Lyell Mine, where 
they contain the trilobite Homalonotus. The strata in Victoria are divided into 
the Upper or Yeringian and the Lower or Melbournian series. At Lilydale,in 
Victoria, there is a well preserved marine fauna in the limestones of that 
locality. These strata are not so strongly folded as those of the Ordovician 
System. Perhaps the richest fossil-bearing locality for the Silurians is to be 
found in the Yass district of New South Wales. The rocks there consist of 
contemporaneous dacite tuffs with sandy shales, olive coloured to yellowish 
brown shales and numerous beds of limestone. The limestones are built up of a 
rich coral fauna. In fact, they are obviously old fringing coral reefs. One 
of the most common and characteristic corals is the mushroom shaped form, 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 265 

Mucophyllum. Pentamerus is very plentiful near the limestones in the middle 
system. Halysites is very common and characteristic in the lower lime- 
stones of the system, being so abundant at Spring Creek, near Orange, and 
at Molong, as to constitute by itself coral reefs. In the upper strata the 
trilobites Hausmannia and Encrinurus occur plentifully. The famous 
Jenolan caves of New South Wales have been hollowed out of limestones 
rich in Pentamerus. These are capped by massive black cherts, chiefly 
composed of radiolaria. At the limestone reefs at Wellington, New South 
Wales, beautifully preserved siliceous sponges allied to Astylospongia may 
be collected, weathered out of the surface of the limestone. Silurian rocks 
so far have been identified in Queensland only in the neighbourhood of Chillagoe, 
where limestones containing Halysites are developed. At the same time 
it is considered probable that a belt of Silurian extends through Queensland, 
from the south of Boulia to the extreme north-west, and from 20 miles east 
of Cloncurry to the western boundary of the State. The Stirling Range, 
in the south-western portion of Western Australia, has been doubtfully re- 
ferred to this period. 

(f) Devonian System. 

This is the oldest system in the Commonwealth in which definite fossil 
plants have been discovered, and such give evidence of a great extension 
of the land surface of Australia in an easterly direction since the close of 
Pre-Cambrian time. They occur at intervals all the way round from Kim- 
berley to Cloncurry, the Burdekin basin, the Tamworth area, the region 
west of the Blue Mountains between Mudgee and Bowenfels, as well as in a 
parallel strip near Wellington, Spring Creek, near Orange, and Canowindra. 
They are also represented at the Yalwal gold-field, to the south of the Illa- 
warra District, as well as on a large scale at Burrinjuck, and also in the 
Pambula regions. In addition, outlying patches of Devonian rock occur 
at Cobar, Oxley's Tableland, Ghmdabooka Mountain, and White Cliffs, 
beyond Wellington. Southwards they can be traced into Victoria, as the 
Snowy River porphyries and the Buchan and Bindi limestones and the 
Tabberabbera shales. No undoubted Devonian rocks have as yet been 
proved in Tasmania, in South Australia, or in Western Australia south of 
Kimberley. The system is divisible into three series. The lower is often 
chiefly volcanic, consisting of banded rhyolites and tuffs. These are asso- 
ciated with reddish-purple to chocolate coloured shales. In places the 
volcanic rocks become basic. In the neighbourhood of Burrinjuck and 
higher up the Murrumbidgee River, near Taemas, there is a splendid develop- 
ment of folded Lower Devonian limestones. A conspicuous and charac- 
teristic large fossil in these rocks is the form Receptaculites. Remains of 
large bony-plated fish, such as Coccosteus and Asterolepis, have been found 
in these limestones. In Victoria, the Buchan and Bindi limestones occupy 
eroded hollows in the surface of the Snowy River porphyries. The Gram- 
pian Range of white, grey, red, and purple sandstones and conglomerates 
perhaps belongs to the Upper Devonian beds. The conglomerates, sand- 
stones, and shales of Mansfield, Victoria, are perhaps of Upper Devonian 
age. In New South Wales, Middle Devonian rocks are well represented 
in the Tamworth region by massive coralline limestone, in which the curious 

S 2 

266 Federal Handbook. 

type Sanidophyllum is a dominant form. Associated with the limestones 
is a vast thickness, about 9,000 feet, of tufaceous cherty shales, with con- 
cretions of radiolarian limestones. In some of these the radiolaria are 
exquisitely preserved. Interbedded in the shales are numerous casts of 
Lepidodendron australe. In Queensland the chief development of Devonian 
rocks is in the Burdekin basin. There they consist of very massive con- 
glomerates at the base, passing upwards into coral reef limestones of vast 
thickness. On the Manning Kiver they are no less than 7,000 feet thick. 
The most characteristic fossils are Pachypora meridionalis and Stromatoporella. 
With these are associated fossil plants such as Dicranophyllum, as well as a 
remarkable undescribed form. Upper Devonian rocks are mostly represented 
by reddish to grey quartzites, sandstones, and red shales. They are typically 
developed at Mount Lambie, Mount Walker, and Spring Creek, near Orange, 
New South Wales. These strata are very rich in Spirifera disjuncta and 
Rhynchonella pleurodon. Lastly, at Kimberley, in Western Australia, there 
is a belt of marine Devonian rocks containing a fauna which suggests that 
it may be of Middle Devonian age. 

(g) Carboniferous System. 

With perhaps the exception of a small belt of rocks at Kimberley, which 
is rumoured to contain Lepidodendron, and the Grampians sandstones in 
Western Victoria, which have recently yielded forms of Lingula and fish 
remains similar to those of the Mansfield rocks, no rocks of this age are known 
to be developed in Australia, to the west of a line joining Cape York with 
Melbourne. No trace of Lepidodendron has as yet been found in Tasmania. 
The genus is widely represented in Queensland, where much of the folded 
highlands of the north-eastern coast ranges are built up of these rocks. 

The latest folding to which the earth's crust in Australia has been sub- 
jected belongs to late Carboniferous time. So far no marked unconformity 
has been traced between the Devonian and Carboniferous rocks. Kocks of 
true Carboniferous age in the Commonwealth are characterized by the pre- 
sence in their lower strata of Lepidodendron volkmannianum, L. veltheimianum 
and L. dichotomum, and in their upper portion by several species of Rhachop- 
teris and Aneimites. So far no single example of a Lepidodendron has been 
found anywhere in the Commonwealth in rocks of so-called Permo-Car- 
boniferous age. A marine fauna is associated with this system particularly 
in its lower and middle portions. An important form to distinguish the 
Carboniferous rocks from the Devonian on the one hand, and the Permo- 
Carboniferous on the other, is Phillipsia. So far no trace of trilobites has 
ever been observed in any of the true Permo-Carboniferous rocks. Michelinia 
and Liihostrotion found in New England are essentially Carboniferous forms 
which never ascend into the Permo-Carboniferous systems. Less reliance 
can be placed on the brachiopods, many of which, such as Productus semireticu- 
latus, Orthis, and Streptorhyncuhs, &c, ascend into the Permo-Carboniferous 

The upper series of the Carboniferous system is characterized by a vast 
thickness of lavas and tuffs, mostly acidic, such as rhyolites and ceratophyres 
associated with hypersthene andesites and hornblende andesites and magne- 
tite-sandstones. Intrusions of granites and quartz-porphyries occur on a 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 267 

grand scale in this system, and it may be assumed that the rhyolites and 
other acid lavas are the volcanic representatives of the granite batholiths. 
As regards local development, Carboniferous strata formed of reddish shales 
and sandstones are most typically developed in Victoria, near Mansfield. 
They there contain Lepidodendron australe with an abundance of fossil 
fish such as Gyracanthides murrayi, Acanthodes australis, Eupleurogmus 
cresswelli, Strepsodus decipiens, Ctenodus breviceps, Elonichthys sweeti, 
E. gibbus. It may be mentioned that it has been proposed to place these 
beds in the Upper Devonian, the occurrence of Lepidodendron australe, the 
the most characteristic of our Devonian plants, suggesting this possibility ; 
but at present the Victorian geologists prefer to class these strata as Lower 
Carboniferous. The occurrence of Lepidodendron australe in beds of un- 
doubted Carboniferous age in the Star series of Queensland seems to justify 
this classification. 

In New South Wales the Carboniferous system is about 20,000 feet 
in thickness, and extends in a wide folded belt from Port Stephens 
northwards into New England, reaching the Queensland border near the 
Horton River. 

(h) Permo-Carboniferous (Permian) System. 

Of all the sedimentary formations developed in the Commonwealth this 
system is perhaps the most interesting by reason, in the first place, of the 
wonderful evidence of past ice action ; in the second place, on account of 
the remarkable development of the Glossopteris and Gangamopteris flora 
which replaced everywhere within the Commonwealth the Lepidodendron 
flora of the preceding system ; and, in the third place, this system is specially 
interesting on account of its marine fauna, which belongs to two sharply 
differentiated types — the western, allied to the Permo-Carboniferous fauna 
of India ; and the eastern, a distinct fauna unlike, in many respects, any 
developed in other parts of the world. It is also interesting on account of 
the fact that probably nowhere else in the world are the strata of the Permo- 
Carboniferous system of such thickness, or so rich in diversified forms of 
animal life. It is not proposed to discuss the Palaeontology of this system 
here, as Mr. W. S. Dun has given a summary of it at the end of this article, 
and details are given in the handbooks for the various States. 

In regard to the upward passage from the Carboniferous strata into the 
Permo-Carboniferous, it may be said that, while there. is little evidence of 
unconformity in some places, in others the unconformity is fairly strongly 
marked ; as, for example, near Lochinvar in the Hunter Valley of New 
South Wales. At the same time, the unconformity is not nearly as strong 
as that developed in the British Isles, between the dolomitic breccias of the 
Permian system, and the Carboniferous rocks. 

It has already been stated that the Carboniferous strata in the Common- 
wealth are mostly disposed in fairly close folds. On the other hand, the 
strata in the Permo-Carboniferous system are either perfectly horizontal 
or disposed in broad open troughs and arches. Only in the case of the strata 
at Drake and UnderclifE in New England and of the Ashford areas in New 
South Wales, and the Gympie area in Queensland, are the strata of this 
system highly disturbed near granitic intrusions. 

268 Federal Handbook. 

In regard to the term " Permo-Carboniferous," in view of the present 
state of our knowledge it is somewhat of a misnomer. The term was applied, 
in the first case, by Messrs. R. L. Jack and R. Etheridge, jun., to certain 
strata in Queensland, which undoubtedly did unite between themselves forms 
of life, chiefly marine, partly characteristic of the Carboniferous, partly of 
the Permian. It is now known that in Queensland these rocks can be sharply 
divided into two groups, viz. : an older group, in which Lepidodendron and 
Phillipsia are present ; and a younger group, in which neither of the above 
fossils ever occur, but which contains a marine fauna distinctly comparable 
with that of the Hunter River region of New South Wales. In spite of the 
fact that some of the brachiopods of this Permo-Carboniferous system show 
affinities with those of the Carboniferous, it appears to the writer that there 
is no longer need for the retention of the term Permo-Carboniferous, but 
that the strata of this system should be considered to be Permian for the 
following reasons : — 

(1) At the very base of the system is a thick and widely developed 
series of beds of glacial origin, which can be certainly cor- 
related with the Dwyka beds of South Africa in the Karroo 
system, also with the Talchir beds in India, as well as with the 
glacial strata known as the Orleans Conglomerate of the Santa 
Catharina system of South Brazil and of the Argentine. 
Now, in South Africa the marine reptile Mesosaurus is found in strata 
conformably overlying the gracial beds of the Dwyka series, so that, pre- 
sumably, this reptile was more or less contemporaneous with the Dwyka 
ice age. Similarly, in Southern Brazil, we meet with remains of Mesosaurus in 
strata conformably overlying the Orleans conglomerate. Still further north 
we encounter the well-marked Permian fossil Schizodus, and other marine 
forms, in shaly strata apparently on the same geological horizon as that 
containing the above reptile. 

If, therefore, Mesosaurus, a powerful marine swimmer and therefore a 
rapid migrator, is really Permian, then the Orleans conglomerate and the 
Dwyka conglomerate are also of approximately this age. 

(2) We find that in Russia, in the neighbourhood of Moscow, a flora 
rich in Glossopteris and Gangamopteris, as shown by Amalitzky, 
overlies sandstones, marls, &c, which at Brasnoborsk contain 
Bakewellia ceratophaga, Schl., and Schizodus rossicus, Vern. 
All the above strata in Northern Dwina are considered by 
Kohen to be referable to the Zechstein. 
But while the term Permian might probably be substituted with advan- 
tage for the term Permo-Carboniferous in Eastern Australia, it is doubtful 
whether it is equally applicable to the so-called Carboniferous rocks of Western 
Australia, in the Kimberley District In other parts of Western Australia, 
where so-called Permo-Carboniferous rocks are developed, as at the Gascoyne, 
Wooramel, and Minilya Rivers, a well-marked glacial horizon the " Lyons 
conglomerate, " underlies the bulk of the so-called Carboniferous strata. 
There is now little doubt that this glacial horizon is identical with that of 
Bacchus Marsh, in Victoria, Hallett's Cove, in South Australia, Wynyard, 
in Tasmania, and Lochinvar, and Kempsey in New South Wales. All the 
strata above this glacial horizon might fairly be termed Permo-Carboniferous 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 269 

at any rate, if not Permian. In the Kimberley District of Western Aus- 
tralia, the glacial horizon has not been identified definitely, and perhaps 
does not exist there, but the fossils are essentially similar to those above the 
glacial horizon of the Lyons conglomerate, and may therefore provisionally 
be classed as Permo-Carboniferous and even Permian. 

While therefore considering that there is much to justify the term 
* Permian " being substituted for that of "Permo-Carboniferous," the writer 
proposes to retain temporarily for the purposes of this article the old term 
" Permo-Carboniferous," chiefly because it has been so widely used, and 
generally accepted. 

As regards geographical distribution, rocks of this system are very widely 
spread throughout the Commonwealth. In Tasmania about one-half of 
the island, which is rather bigger than Ceylon but smaller than Ireland, is 
covered with rocks of this age. They commence with an important series of 
glacial beds, having a total thickness of about 800 feet. Splendid sections 
of this can be seen between tide marks on the beach to the east of Wynyard. 
Several striated pavements occur in the tillite, which show that the ice moved 
from about S.S.W. to N.N.E. An interesting fact which has lately come to 
light is that there are at least three, perhaps four distinct tillite horizons, 
and these are separated from one another by strata perhaps representing 
inter-glacial epochs. Each tillite horizon can be correlated certainly with 
those of Victoria, and almost certainly with those of South Africa, and these 
are succeeded by marine strata belonging to the Lower Marine series, over 
600 feet thick at this locality. This series is followed by one of the most 
important coal-bearing horizons in Australia, viz., the Greta series. In 
Tasmania, however, the series is represented by only a few seams of coal, 
from 20 inches up to 3 J feet in thickness. In places this coal passes into 
kerosene shale, formed largely of the problematical plant considered to be 
an alga, Reinschia australis. Above the Greta series is a considerable de- 
velopment in Tasmania of rocks of the Upper Marine series. In Tasmania 
the great series of freshwater coal measures developed in New South Wales 
and Queensland above the Upper Marine series are wanting, and in Tasmaina 
rocks of Trias-Jura or Jurassic age rest conformably on the topmost Marine 
beds of the Permo-Carboniferous system. 

In Victoria there is a wonderful development of glacial beds of the nature 
of tillites associated with contemporaneous conglomerates and ripple-marked 
sandstones, together with fine clay shales. The whole series passes upwards 
into sandstones containing Gangamopteris, and is over 2,000 feet in thickness. 
Hitherto no marine strata nor coal seams have been discovered in Victoria 
in this system. These glacial beds lie on a surface of low relief, though in 
places, as at the Werribee Gorge, the tillite fills an old U-shaped valley, 
perhaps an overdeepened valley. The rocks on which the tillite 
rests, mostly of Ordovician age, with Post Ordovician granites are very 
strongly striated and grooved by ice coming from a southerly direction. 
The sandstone beds between the tillites show strong evidence in places of 
contemporaneous contortion. As the matrix of the tillite varies with that 
of the subjacent rock, there can be no doubt that the tillite was formed by 
an immense sheet of land ice, the main mass of which lay to the south. These 
glacial deposits can be traced at intervals across Victoria, northwards by 

270 Federal Handbook. 

way of Heathcote to Beechworth, close to the southern border of New South 
Wales, and fine striated pavements can be seen at Derrinal, near Heathcote, 
together with erratics up to 30 tons in weight. Westwards they extend 
under the level plains of Tertiary rock, having been proved to underlie Nhill. 
To the south of Adelaide, between that city and the mouth of the Murray 
River, there are magnificent clifi sections showing the junction of these old 
glacial beds with the Lower Cambrian strata. Beautiful striated pavements 
are to be seen in the Inman Valley, Hallett's Cove, etc., which prove that 
the ice came from a south by east direction. The glacial beds are there, 
with their associated conglomerates, sandstones, and shales, fully 900 feet 
in thickness, but so far in South Australia, as in Victoria, no productive coal 
of this age nor marine fossils have as yet been found. In fact there are 
considerable patches there of Permo-Carboniferous glacial landscape re- 
discovered by modern denudation. Still further west, in the south-west 
corner of Western Australia, there is a small basin, preserved in a deep trough 
fault, known as the Collie coal-field. This coal-field contains the fossil plant 
Gangamopteris, associated with numerous seams of coal up to over 10 feet in 
thickness, but the strata are so very porous, that when shafts, bores or tunnels 
are made in these measures they become veritable artesian wells. The 
coal itself, contrary to usual experience in strata of this age, is distinctly 
hydrous. Northwards from Perth the Irwin River region has preserved 
a small patch of glacial beds immediately underlying richly fossiliferous 
marine strata including limestones, and conformably overlying brown clay 
shales. Two seams of coal conformably overlie the marine strata, the main 
seam 5 feet thick and though not so proved by fossils, presumably of Permo- 
Carboniferous age. Still further north in Western Australia, the glacial 
conglomerate has been traced from near the Carnarvon bore at the mouth of 
the Gascoyne River to the Wooramel River, and almost up to the latitude 
of North-west Cape. Thus in Western Australia these Permo-Carboniferous 
glacial beds actually touch the region of the tropics. As evidenced by the 
nature of the contained boulders, when compared with their nearest parent 
rocks, it is clear that the ice sheets, which produced this glaciation, moved, 
on the whole, from the inland plateau westwards or northwards, probably in 
a north-westerly direction, inasmuch as the glacial boulders become pro- 
gressively larger the further south they are traced. These glacial beds are 
known as the " Lyons conglomerate." So far no striated floor has been dis- 
covered beneath them. In the Kimberley district of Western Australia 
there is a considerable development of marine Permo-Carboniferous calcareous 
sandstones and limestones, and it has been proved that these Carboniferous 
strata from the G-ascoyne River to the Kimberley District contain invaluable 
supplies of artesian water, though strange to say they are quite wanting in 
productive coal seams as far as they have yet been tested. Strata of 
this age extend further east around the Australian coast to the Victoria 
River. The marine strata at the Victoria River are associated with fresh- 
water shales containing Glossopteris. This Glossoptris underlies strata which 
contains Orthotetes and Aulosteges. This formation has been traced across 
into Arnhem Land (to the north-east of Darwin), and to the islands of the 
north-east extremity of Arnhem Land. Groote Island is thought to belong 
to this system. A remarkable feature is that from the Gulf of Carpentaria 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 271 

around to the Irwin River region the whole assemblage of marine Permo- 
Carboniferous fossils is distinctly of Indian type. S.S.E. of Cape York is 
a deep indent in the coast line, marking a prolongation of the trough valley 
in which lies the Permo-Carbonifeious coal-field of the Little River. As 
the result of heavy downthrows, the strata have been forced into rather sharp 
zigzag folds, a rare structure in rocks of this age in Australia. Near Towns- 
ville is a small development of Permo-Carboniferous strata, which there 
underlie the coastal plain, and extend out to sea beneath the coral reefs of 
the Great Barrier. Next we reach the classical coal-field of the Bowen River. 
There evidence of glacial action, in the form probably of floating ice, is to be 
found in the shape of numerous small boulders of granite and other rocks 
foreign to the district embedded in the clay shales of the Permo-Carboniferous 
system, but nothing approaching a true tillite has ever been observed in 
this area. Next, on the south, come the extensive and thick coal seams of 
the Dawson River basin. The thickest seam known in Australia in rocks 
of this system occurs near Comet, where it is 80 feet thick. Anthracite of 
excellent quality occurs in a seam 11 feet thick on the Dawson River, about 
30 miles south of Duaringa, but unfortunately the coal-field in that area 
is much broken up by faults. The Permo-Carboniferous system in this im- 
portant coal-field can be divided up into the following groups arranged in 
ascending order : — 

'At the base, marine beds such as those of Gympie, 

with boulders presumably transported by ice. 
Next, Lower Marine strata followed by a volcanic 

Lower Bowen<! Above this follow sedimentary rocks, with the 11-ft. 

seam of anthracite already described. 
This is followed by the marine shell beds of Oakey 

Creek and St. Marys, in turn capped by the Glossop- 
i, teris beds of Oakey Creek and St. Marys. 
All these strata are grouped together as Lower Bowen. There follows a 
slight unconformity and above it are developed the marine shell beds of 
Claremont and Capella. Above these again, and slightly unconformable 
to them, are the Tolmie's coal measures. The latter are capped by the old 
auriferous conglomerates of Claremont. The whole of this last series is grouped 
together as Upper Bowen. No estimate has, as yet, been formed of the 
available quantity of Permo-Carboniferous coal in Queensland, but it must 
be very vast, perhaps, approximating to the 100,000,000,000 of tons roughly 
estimated to be present in the form of exploitable coal in New South Wales. 
South-east of the Dawson field the Permo-Carboniferous strata are repre- 
sented by the basal marine beds of the Gympie gold-field. It has been the 
experience there that wherever the quartz reefs, which traverse these strata, 
come in contact with the occasionally intercalated beds of black carbonaceous 
shale, they are payably gold-bearing. The Dawson coal-field, traced in a 
southerly direction, reaches the borders of New South Wales, near Bonshaw 
and Ashford. At the latter locality a fine seam of anthracite coal, 27 feet in 
thickness, is to be seen in the left bank of the Severn River. As Gangamop- 
teris is the only fossil known to occur in association with this seam, it may 
provisionally be considered to be of Greta age. This field occupies a narrow 

272 Federal Handbook. 

fault trough. About 100 miles east of this spot at Underdid, there are beds 
of graphite associated with intrusive acid granites. These graphite beds 
are considered to represent intensely metamorphosed coal seams of Permo- 
Oarboniferous age. These graphitic strata are to be connected with marine 
beds of undoubted Permo-Carboniferous origin as at the gold-field of Drake, 
where contemporaneous acid and basic lavas are inter-stratified with the 
lower beds. 

South from Ashford, the region of Gunnedah is reached, from which the 
principal coal-field of New South Wales extends without a break for fully 
300 miles, as far south as the head of the Clyde River, near Ulladulla. The 
type district in this field is that of Maitland, in the Hunter Valley. The 
system is there ushered in, at Lochinvar, by reddish-brown clays with numerous 
glacial boulders, but hardly deserving of the name of a true tillite. These 
beds are about 300 feet in thickness. They are followed by nearly 4,800 
feet of strata, mostly of marine origin, with an exceptionally rich Permo- 
Carboniferous fauna. The fossil Eurydesma cordata is especially charac- 
teristic of these Lower Maiine rocks. Its frequent association with coarse 
conglomerates shows that it was littoral in habit. The fine state of preserva- 
tion of the marine shells at the classic spot — Harper's Hill — is due to the fact 
that they were suddenly overwhelmed in showers of contemporaneous vol- 
canic ash, which has effectually preserved them to the present day. Large 
Aviculopectens and vast numbers of polyzoa, belonging to the family of the 
Fenestellidae also abound, and may possibly have some relation to cold water 
conditions, just as at the present time one sees the icy seas of the Antarctic 
swarming in polyzoa and pectens. The Greta coal measures, from 100 to 
300 feet thick, which conformably overlie the Lower Marine series, are not 
relatively rich in fossil plants. It is significant that in these measures Gan- 
(famopteris predominates over Glossopteris, whereas in the higher coal mea- 
sures of this system the reverse is the case. It should here be mentioned 
that the Gangamopteris has been found as low down as 2,000 feet below the 
Greta coal measures in the middle of the Lower Marine series. The Greta 
coal measures usually contain about 20 feet of workable coal, and, excep- 
tionally as much as 40 feet. The Upper Marine strata, which follow the 
Greta, attain their maximum thickness yet proved in the Hunter River 
region, viz., 5,000 to 6,400 feet. About half-way up in the series erratics, 
certainly of glacial origin, are very numerous in places, occurring usually 
in groups. Many of these blocks of rock are one to two tons in weight, and 
appear to have been derived from the region of Mount Lambie, near Rydal 
or Bathurst, about 200 miles to the south-west. It is significant, probably, 
of glacial conditions, that we find an almost total absence of reef-forming 
corals in the Permo-Carboniferous strata. Such corals as do occur are slender 
types like Zaphrentis and Trachypora. Near the top of the Upper Marine 
series, as well as on certain horizons lower down, are remarkably large pseudo- 
morphs known as glendonite. These crystals attain a length of from 2 ins. 
to 1 foot. They are best seen on the beach between tide marks at Huskisson, 
Jervis Bay, about 100 miles southerly from Sydney. The shore here presents 
the appearance of a medieval battlefield, strewn with spear heads and caltrops. 
They are pseudomorphs after the double sulphate of sodium and calcium, 
glauberite. As deposits of sodium sulphate are very common and 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 273 

characteristic in Antarctica, these glendonites may have some climatological 
significance. They have also been found in Tasmania, close to the horizon of 
the oil shale known as Tasmanite, in part of the Mersey coal-basin. Above 
the Upper Marine follow the strata of the Middle Coal measures, known as 
the East Maitland or Tomago measures. These are from 500 to 1,800 feet 
thick and contain in the aggregate about 40 feet of coal, which, being more 
friable than that of the Greta, is not so suitable for export, though 
useful for household, gas, and blacksmith purposes. A total thickness of 
about 18 feet of coal is worked. In parts of the Hunter Eiver coal-field, 
there follows a considerable thickness, in places about 2,000 feet thick, of 
fresh water strata, with abundant plant remains, but devoid of any coal 
seams of workable thickness. These beds belong to the Dempsey series. 
Next, above the Dempsey, comes the Newcastle series, 12,000 to 14,000 feet 
in thickness, with about 120 feet of coal. The thickness of the seams varies 
from 1 foot up to about 27 feet. The aggregate thickness of workable coal 
in this series is from 35 to 40 feet. On the shores of Lake Macquarie, at 
Awaba, as well as at the southern entrance to Lake Macquarie, known as 
Keid's Mistake, are fossil forests of coniferous trees. At the latter locality 
it can be seen that the trees sprang directly from the upper portion of a 
coal seam being actually in position of growth. The lower parts of the stem 
are of carbon, but upwards they pass into chalcedony, where they have 
been buried under showers of very fine volcanic tuff. The tuff has evidently 
broken down branches of the trees, and resin has exuded from the fractures, 
and is preserved now in the form of black drops in the tuff, the latter being 
converted into chert. Some of these coniferous trees can be seen to 
be over 100 feet in length. 

It may be said that, on the whole, the evidence points to the coal seams 
in the whole of the Permo-Carboniferous system, having formed, for the most 
part, at the spot where seams are now found. For example, in the under clay, 
only thin rootlets have been observed. In the clay bands higher up, in the 
seam numerous specimens of Vertebraria can be frequently seen in position 
of growth. It is only in the actual roofs of the seams that forest trees like 
the conifer Dadoxylon have been proved to exist. In places, but rarely, 
remains of fossil fish, and of labyrinthodonts have been discovered in the 
coal measures, from those of Greta age up to those of Newcastle age. For 
example, a small labryrinthodont has been recorded from the Mersey coal 
measures (Greta horizon) near Railton, and another was found in the kero- 
sene shale at Airlie, in the western coal-field of New South Wales. Palaeoniscus 
has been obtained from the marine (probably lower marine) Permo-car- 
boniferous rocks of Tasmania, and Urosthenes from the Newcastle coal 
measures of New South Wales. The total amount of exploitable coal in 
seams not less than 3 feet thick and not more than 4,000 feet in depth in these 
measures in New South Wales, is estimated to be roughly about 100,000,000,000 

Summary — (1) In regard to Palseogeography the ice which glaciated 
Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia, came from the south from a land 
probably a local extension southwards into the Southern Ocean, of the Aus- 
tralian continent. The glaciation of Cambrian time, in Australia, came 
from the same quarter. In Western Australia, the glaciation is thought to 

274 Federal Handbook. 

have come from the south-east, from local highlands, near the southern end 
of Western Australia. In Eastern Australia, the region affected by the 
glaciation was a landscape apparently of low relief, but we know nothing 
of the height of the gathering ground of the ice sheets on the now sunken 
part of the continent, where the eastern end of Jeffrey's Deep shows a depth 
of 3,000 fathoms. Possibly the great bank recently discovered which lies 
about 200 miles south of Tasmania, and which rises from great ocean depths 
to within 500 to 600 fathoms of the surface formed part of a high south- 
eastern margin to Australia, extending from this bank to Kangaroo Island 
in Permo-Carboniferous time. This was no doubt in part a gathering ground 
for the inland ice. In New South Wales, there seem to have been local 
alpine glaciers. In south-western Western Australia, there seems to have 
been a local ice sheet. 

(2) There were at least three interglacial phases in Australia, probably 
to be correlated with those of Africa. (3) The fauna especially in disappear- 
ance of Carboniferous reef-forming corals suggests general refrigeration of 
the seas, while the flora of the coal seams is not inconsistent with that of a 
climate like that of Macquarie Island. (4) Snow line touched sea level 
probably near 40 degrees S. latitude in Permo-Carboniferous time, and glaciers 
came down to sea level at about 34 degrees S. latitude. (5) This may demand 
a fall of temperature as compared with the present of about 10 degrees C. 

(i) Trias System. 

Kocks of this age are at present known to be developed chiefly in the 
Sydney and Blue Mountain areas of New South Wales. In Tasmania, 
however, the Knocklofty Series, variegated sandstones, 1,000 feet thick, 
which, in the neighbourhood of Hobart, overlie the Permo-Carboniferous 
strata, have been doubtfully referred to some part of Triassic time. They 
contain remains of Acrolepis hamiltoni and A. tasmani-cus, and bones of, 
probably, a labyrinthodont. The occurrence in the sandstones of Vertebraria 
indica, Royle, suggests affinities with the Permo-Carboniferous system. 
The Ida Bay Series containing Zeugophyllites and Pecopteris lunensis are 
perhaps Triassic. In regard to the Fingal Series in the Tasmanian coal- 
measures, as some doubt exists as to whether they belong to the top of the 
Trias, or to the base of the Jurassic, they will be described later. 

The Triassic strata of New South Wales extend along the coast from 
the Cambewarra Ranges in the south to Lake Macquarie, near Newcastle, 
in the north, thence they stretch inland to beyond Gunnedah, on the north- 
west, and westwards to a little beyond Lithgow. 

The rocks in this area have been divided, chiefly lithologically, into three 
stages which, in descending order, are as follows : — 

Wiannamatta shales. — Thickness about 600 feet. 
Hawkesbury sandstone. — Thickness about 300 to 1,000 feet. 
Narrabeen beds. — Thickness about 200 to 2,000 feet. 

The strata of the Narrabeen Stage are largely tufaceous, but the true 
tuffs do not constitute more than about one-tenth part of the whole thickness of 
the Stage. In their lower portion they are mostly grey to greenish-grey sand- 
stones, with greenish conglomerates and grey-green and reddish to chocolate- 
coloured shales. Five hundred feet above the Bulli coal seam (the top of 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 275 

the Permo-Carboniferous System), tufaceous red shales and green tuffs 
contain innumerable small scales of metallic copper, together with 
microscopic veins of the same metal. These strata are known as the 
Cupriferous Tuffs. Over 1,000 feet above these tuffs is a second series of 
green tuffs and chocolate-red shales. In the latter, at Long Reef, 12 miles 
north-east of Sydney, beautiful examples occur of plants resembling 
Phyllotheca, with their stems of brittle bituminous coal, held together in 
a delicate filigree-like network of metallic copper. Where the strata 
have been much weathered, the metallic copper passes into green and 
blue carbonates. The copper has obviously been derived from the decom- 
position of the basic tuffs. The tuffs are traversed in places by small 
veins of barytes. 

The Hawkesbury sandstone, which is typically developed at Sydney and 
in the Blue Mountains, is chiefly formed of white to yellowish-grey sandstones, 
very regularly and evenly bedded, diagonal bedding being very conspicious. 
South of the Hawkesbury River, in the area where this diagonal bedding 
dips to the north-east, primary graphite is scattered in scales or small pellets 
through the sandstone. To the north of the Hawkesbury River, the diagonal 
bedding dips in almost the opposite direction, that is from off the New 
England tableland, and this part of the formation does not contain graphite. 
Small garnets are not infrequent in the southern type of the Hawkesbury 
sandstone. Certain beds in this Stage form a valuable building stone, largely 
worked in Sydney and suburbs. It weathers, as the result of chemical changes 
in the iron carbonates, to a pleasiug tint of warm sepia. A few bands of 
dark clay shale are interstratined with the sandstone. These often show 
evidence of having been disrupted contemporaneously, the fragments being 
up-ended so that their lamination planes are now vertical. Meanwhile, neither 
the sandstones above nor those below show any sign of disturbance. This 
phenomenon, together with that of contemporaneously contorted current- 
bedding, has been ascribed to the action of ice ; but other explanations, 
such as that of undercutting of the clay shales by stream action are possible. 
These sandstones weather into picturesque shelter caves, as the result of 
the removal by capillarity of soluble mineral cement from the inner portion 
of the sandstone and its transference to the exterior. The Wiannamatta 
Stage is mostly formed of black carbonaceous shales, with at least one seam 
of coal, which, with clay bands, is about 4 feet thick. At the top of this 
stage the beds become sandy and calcareous, ending in a calcareous tufaceous 
rock, 100 feet thick, containing a very interesting foramini feral and 
ostracodan fauna. 

As regards fossil plants, Thinnfeldia odontopteroides is specially charac- 
teristic and abundant throughout the whole series. Macrotcenipteris and 
Phyllotheca are also typical. Sphenopteris is also common, and in places is 
associated with Alethopteris (Cladophebis), but this last genus is much more 
characteristic, in Australia, of the Jurassic rocks than of the Triassic. Near 
the base of the Narrabeen Stage beautifully preserved specimens of Schizo- 
neura are fairly common, and the genus not only extends downwards into 
the strata which form the roof over the Bulli coal seam, at the top of the 
Permo-Carboniferous System, but, at the Sydney Harbor collieries shaft 
at Balmain, Sydney, it has been found associated, in the same bed of clay 

276 Federal Handbook. 

shale, with Glossopteris. Schizoneura has never been found in either the 
Hawkesbury or in the Wiannamatta Stages, but it occurs in Victoria in 
strata conformably overlying the Gangamopteris sandstones and glacial 
beds at Bacchus Marsh, to the west of Melbourne. 

Stems of trees are numerous in the tuff beds near the top of the Stage, as 
well as forms allied to Baiera. Fossil fruit are plentiful in these beds at Long 
Reef and Narrabeen, to the north of Sydney. Reference has already been 
made to the abundance of Phyllotheca, some stems of which are partly encrusted 
with metallic copper. The lower part of the Narrabeen Stage, for about 
500 feet above the top of the Permo-Carboniferous System, is swarming in 
small black valves of several species of Estheria. Just at the top of the 
Narrabeen Stage, or possibly a few feet up into the Hawkesbury Sandstone 
Stage, is a bed of shale at Gosford, which has proved exceptionally rich 
in remains of fossil fish, together with remains of small labyrinthodonts. The 
principal forms found are Palceoniscus, Myriolepis, Gleithrolepis, Apateolepis, 
Dictyopyge, Belonorhynchus, Semionotus, Pristisomus, Pholidophorus, etc. 

In the Hawkesbury Sandstone Stage a problematical fossil plant, Ottelia 
proeterita, occurs sparingly. In the occasional intercalated shale beds 
Oleandridium has been recorded, while Thinnfeldia odontopteroides is very 
abundant. The leaves are so well preserved that they are sufficiently coherent 
and flexible to be lifted off the surface of the shale, and when subsequently 
examined under the microscope, are seen to have preserved much original 

At Biloela (Cockatoo Island), near Sydney, a thoracic plate of Masto- 
donsaurus was found, and also, strange to say, at the same spot, a specimen 
of Tremanotus. This Silurian genus on a Triassic horizon may represent 
either a remarkable survival, or it is possible that the fossil may be an erratic 
in this formation. It is preserved in ironstone, which may have replaced 
a small fragment of limestone. In the shales of the Wiannamatta series, most 
of the fossils are either at the base or near the top of the Stage. Just as the 
Hawkesbury sandstone usually rests on an eroded surface of Narrabeen 
beds, so in the case of the junction line of the Wiannamatta shales, with the 
Hawkesbury sandstone there is in many cases evidence of contemporaneous 
erosion. A good deal of concretionary clay ironstone has formed in the 
basal beds of the Wiannamatta shales, and these are mostly fossiliferous. 
In addition to Thinnfeldia and Phyllotheca, the Cycadopleris scolopendrica has 
been recorded from these beds. True cycads appear on the whole to be 
wanting throughout the whole of the Australian Triassic rocks. 

In the ironstone concretions referred to above, shells of Mollnsca are often 
very abundant, belonging to the genera TJnio and Unionella. The dwarf 
character of these shells suggests that the strata containing them were 
deposited in brackish water. In the brick-pits of Newtown and Enmore, 
in Sydney, numerous well-preserved specimens of fossil fish have been 
obtained. These range in size from a few inches up to specimens 6 feet in 

Labyrinthodont remains have been found on this horizon, both at Enmore 
and at the Gib Rock Tunnel, near Bowral. 

The specimen discovered at the former locality measures about 10 feet 
in length. Its immense jaws are furnished with three rows of powerful 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 277 

conical teeth. The original specimen, preserved in clay ironstone, has 
never yet been described. It is now at Brisbane, in the possession of the 
Government Geologist of Queensland, who also has several as yet undescribed 
fossil insects, discovered by him in these shales. The Wiannamatta Stage 
closes with a bed of greenish tufaceous and calcareous sandstone, passing 
into sandy limestone. This is largely formed of foramir>i feral andostracodan 
shells. Comment has been made on the fact that, in this horizon of the 
Wiannamatta- Stage, we have a remarkable example of the survival of a 
Silurian type of ostracod in the genus Beyrichia endothyra; also on this 
horizon is an interesting survivor from the carboniferous fauna. On the 
other hand, the genus Haplophragmium, which also occurs on this horizon, 
is not known elsewhere to descend so low stratigraphically. 

The geographical conditions under which the strata of the Hawkesbury 
series were accumulated appear to be those of a large shallow lake close to 
the sea, with which possibly there was intermittent communication. The 
Gangamopteris-Glossopteris Flora of the Permo-Carboniferous Ice Age had, 
with the exception of Phyllotheca, Sphenopteris, and perhaps Alethopteris, 
completely disappeared before the earliest strata were deposited in this 
great lake basin. The eruptions, perhaps of the Kiama-Cambewarra region, 
or at all events of that zone, were prolonged into Triassic time, as proved 
by the frequent beds of basic tuff in the Nairabeen Stage. The evidence 
of ripple-marks and suncracks on many horizons all through the series points 
obviously to shallow water conditions. The foraminiferal ostracodan sandy 
limestone and calcareous sandstone at the top of the whole series prove 
that after a subsidence near the centre of the basin of about 3,500 feet, marine, 
or at least estuarine, conditions supervened. The flora of these Triassic 
rocks differs from the Jurassic in the presence in the former of Phyllotheca in 
vast numbers and of Oleandridium, while the Tceniopteris daintreei and varieties 
of cycads so common in the Australian Jurassic rocks are wanting in the 
Trias. Triassic types of Estheria do not ascend into the Jurassic, neither 
do the labyrinthodonts. 

Endothyra, Beyrichia, Tremanotus (/), and Palceoniscus all represent 
Palaeozoic forms of life surviving into Mesozoic time in the Trias of Australia. 

In reference to the Fingal Series, and other representatives of the upper 
coal measures of Tasmania, some doubt exists as to whether they are to be 
classed as Upper Trias, perhaps Rhsetic, or Lower Jurassic. As Tcenio- 
pteris daintreei (T. spathulata) regarded as a critical form in Australia for 
differentiating the Jurassic from the Trias has never yet been found in 
Tasmania, and the genus Phyllotheca is of common occurrence in these 
Tasmanian coal measures, it is proposed to class them provisionally as 
Upper Trias, or Passage Beds into the Jurassic proper. Thinnfeldia odon- 
topteroides, Alethopteris (Cladophebis denticulata) australis, Tceniopteris 
tasmanica, T. morrisiana, Phyllotheca, and ZeugophylUtes (Phcenicopsis, or 
Podozamites) elongatus are most characteristic. Other forms present are 
Ptilophyllum oligoneurum, Sphenopteris lobifolia, Pterophyllum, Baiera 
tenuifolia, Ginkgophyllum australe, etc. It may be stated generally that these 
Fingal coal measures are not as rich in fossil cycadaceous forms as are the 
true Jurassic rocks of the mainland. These measures, about 1,200 feet in 
thickness, are formed chiefly of yellow, brown, greenish, and bluish- grey 

278 Federal Handbook. 

sandstones, with coal seams from 4 feet up to 20 feet in thickness. The coal 
is of fair quality, containing from 1 per cent, up to 4 per cent, of moisture, 
and from 9 per cent, up to 15 per cent, of ash. 

(j) Jurassic System. 

Rocks referable to this period belong to what was probably the greatest 
lake epoch through which the Australasian continent has passed. The 
principal lake extended from some point south of Dubbo to at least as far 
north as the far extremity of the Bunya Bunya Ranges of Queensland to the 
north-west of Dalby. It is probable that the lake extended still further up 
to the Cloncurry area. Westwards they stretch more or less continuously to 
Lake Eyre, and still further westwards to Lake Phillipson. The lake would 
thus have had a total length of 1,200 miles from east to west, with a width 
from north to south of 700 to 800 miles. 

The strata deposited in this lake, or chain of lakes, are the main source 
of supply of the artesian water in the great artesian basin. 

They vary in thickness from 300 to 400 feet up to, at Lake Phillipson, 
about 3,000 feet. Eastwards the basin extends through a narrow neck near 
Brisbane (vide Plate III.) to the coast at the mouth of the Brisbane River, 
and also by a wider passage to the east coast, along the basin of the Clarence 
River, between Ballina and Woolgoolga. That there is no outlet of conse- 
quence, if any, for the artesian basin in this direction is proved by the fact 
that a bore has been put down to a depth of over 3,000 feet at Grafton, and 
only a feeble trickle of artesian water has been tapped. The same remark 
applies to the bore at the race-course at Brisbane. As details of this artesian 
basin are given by Mr. E. F. Pittman in his chapter in this volume, only 
very brief references will be made to the subject here. The section (Plate 
VI.) shows somewhat arbitrarily the line of junction between the Jurassic 
and the Cretaceous rocks, and is to be regarded as provisional only, as, on 
account of most of the bores being carried out by percussion, the fossils in the 
strata passed through are usually in such a fragmental state that identifica- 
tion is often very difficult. 

The section (Plate VII.) shows the hydraulic grade descending from 
Charleville as a centre northwards to the Gulf of Carpentaria, and 
south-westwards to Lake Eyre. This fall in the hydraulic grade is 
difficult of explanation. The difficulties are obvious from the section, 
which shows that at its south-western end the basin is apparently 
blocked by impervious Pre-Cambrian or older Palaeozoic rocks, so that 
apparently it has no outlet in that direction. Then, too, towards the 
north, a sill of older rock rises so high above the general floor of the basin 
that it would seem to go far towards checking any important underflow 
and outflow to the sea in this direction also. The explanation of the fall 
of the hydraulic grade seawards from Charleville, in Queensland, would 
seem to be either (a) that there are narrow subterranean outlets (which have 
not yet been tapped in the bores), both in the direction of the Bight and in 
that of the Gulf of Carpentaria ; or (b) that before the bores were sunk the chief 
outlet for the artesian water was through those natural artesian wells — the 
Mound Springs. These are very numerous on the Lower Flinders River in 
the north, and near Lake Eyre towards the south-west end of the basin. 




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Geology of the Commonwealth. 281 

That springs connected with faults supply part of the artesian water is 
obvious ; but it is probable that by far the larger proportion has a 
meteoric origin, being derived from rain falling direct on to the outcrop 
of the porous beds, or leaking into them from the channels of rivers. 

This supposition receives some confirmation from the Cainozoic analogue 
of the artesian basin at Perth, in Western Australia, where the inter- 
dependence between rainfall and the outflow of artesian water has been 
distinctly proved ; but the conditions in the Perth artesian basin are not 
in every respect analogous to those in the central Jurassic basin. For example, 
in the latter the factor of gas pressure is very important in helping to force 
the artesian supply to the surface. Over 90 per cent, of the gas concerned 
in producing this pressure is nitrogen ; gases like CH 4 , C0 2 , H 2 S, etc., are 
present in far smaller proportion. This nitrogen is almost certainly not of 
plutonic origin, but is probably derived from the alteration of organic 
material, such as lignite or coal, by the action of anaerobic bacteria. As, 
however, the temperature of the artesian water is in some cases up to 204 
degrees Fahr., even when the water arrives at the surface, it is difficult to 
understand how bacteria can live under such conditions. But, so far, the 
waters from the chief bores which evolve nitrogen have much lower tem- 
peratures than the above. This interesting problem, as indeed that of 
the whole physics, chemistry, and geology of the great artesian basin, still 
awaits solution. The total depth of all the artesian bores of Australia, 
according to the latest figures available to the writer, is almost exactly 
500 miles, and the potential daily yield about 680 millions of gallons. 

Strata of Jurassic age are also found on the eastern periphery of Australia 
and in Tasmania, as well as in the coastal regions of Western Australia. 

In Queensland the principal localties are Ipswich, Clifton, Callide Creek 
west of Gladstone, Stanwell, and Eosewood west of Rockhampton, and 
Broadsound to its north. The strata are there from 2,000 to at least 3,000 
feet in thickness, and consist of sandstones, conglomerates, and shales, 
with massive beds of quartz-trachyte tuff at the base of the Series at Brisbane. 
Basic lavas are present on a higher horizon and contemporaneous trachyte 
lavas. These are found between Brisbane and the Macpherson Ranges, 
on the borders of New South Wales and Queensland. The seams of coal 
in the Queensland Jurassic rocks range from a few feet up to a maximum 
of 30 feet in thickness. In the Ipswich basin the seams vary from about 
6 feet up to 8 or 10 feet in thickness. The principal fossils are Tceniopteris 
daintreei, Thinnfeldia odontopteroides, Alethopteris australis, Sagenopteris, 
Ptilophyllum, Podozamites Jcidstoni, Otozamites, Brachyphyllum, etc. The 
fossil fauna comprises Esiheria mangaliensis, Unio ipsviciensis, Unio eyrensis, 
while insects are represented by Mesostigmodera typica and several as yet 
undescribed forms. 

In the Clarence Basin of northern New South Wales, strata of this age 
are probably at least 4,000 feet in thickness. They are divided into Upper 
Middle, and Lower Clarence Stages respectively. The Lower Clarence Stage 
contains several seams of coal, up to a maximum thickness of about 37 feet, 
but the seams are so full of clay bands that they are not at present worked 
commercially. The Middle Clarence Stage is a strongly marked horizon of 
massive diagonal-bedded sandstone. The Upper Clarence consists of clay, 
C.12154. T 

282 Federal Handbook. 

shales, and clayey sandstones. A rich flora is contained in the Lower Clarence 
Stage, but it has not yet been described. Tceniopteris daintreei and 
Thinnfeldia odontopteroides are the most characteristic fossils. 

A small isolated patch of Jurassic rock also occurs at Talbragan, between 
Mudgee and Dubbo, in New South Wales. These strata, which rest on an 
eroded surface of Hawkesbury sandstone, contain the following fossils : — 
Tceniopteris daintreei, Alethopteris australis, Thinnfeldia falcata, Podoza- 
mites lanceolatus, and Baiera bidens. Insects were represented by an ancestor 
of the true locust, the fossil form being described as Cicada lowei. 

Amongst the fish, which are very numerous, are Leptolepis gregarious, 
Archceomene robustus, Coccolepis, etc. 

In Victoria there are three considerable areas of Jurassic rocks — those of 
South Gippsland, the Cape Otway District, and the neighbourhood of Merino, 
in the west. 

The strata consist of felspathic sandstones, with abundant fresh frag- 
mental felspar, perhaps of tufaceous origin, besides shales, mudstones, and 
seams of coal. The seams are worked commercially in the Cape Paterson 
District, as at the State-owned colliery at Wonthaggi. The coal is of fairly 
good quality, and the thickness of the seams varies from 2 to 9 feet. The 
following are among the most characteristic fossils : — Coniopteris hymeno- 
phylloides var. australica, Cladophlebis denticulata var. australis, Sphenopteris 
ampla, Thinnfeldia odontopteroides, T. maccoyi, Tceniopteris spatulata and 
vars. daintreei and carruthersi, Podozamites barklyi, Ginkgo robusta, Baiera 
subgracilis, Palissya australis, Brachyphyllum gippslandicum, Unio stirlingi. 
The interesting discovery has been made of a tooth of Ceratodus from Cape 
Paterson, C. avus. Scales of Ceratodus have also been described from the 
parish of Killak, South Gippsland. Ceratodus has of course been recorded 
from the Stormberg series of South Africa, as well as from the Trias of Europe. 
Another recent very interesting discovery has been that of a claw of a dinosaur 
also in the Cape Paterson beds. 

In South Australia, to the south of Lake Eyre, there is a small Jurassic 
coal basin, an outlier of the main Jurassic artesian basin, and preserved in 
a deep trough fault. This is the Leigh's Creek coal basin. Its strata of sand- 
stone and carbonaceous shales are over 2,000 feet in thickness, and comprise 
several seams of coal, one of which is 47 feet in thickness. This coal is a 
hydrous brown coal. The chief fossils are Thinnfeldia odontopteroides, 
T. media, Macrotceinopteris wianamattce, Podozamites lanceolatus, and an 
immense number of the fossil pelecypod Unio eyrensis. This occurred in 
almost every foot of the core from the bore for coal, from the surface to a 
depth of over 1,500 feet. The only marine equivalents of strata of Jurassic 
age within the Commonwealth are found on the wes+ and south-west coasts 
of Western Australia. They are chiefly developed in the Northampton 
District, extending thence by way of the Greenough Eiver to Gingin, about 
40 miles north of Perth, in Western Australia. The strata consist of white 
sandstones, ferruginous sandstones, light-coloured claystones, grits, lime- 
stones, and shales, with lignites. Their maximum thickness is quite 3,000 
feet. In places phosphatic green-coloured patches in the ferruginous sand- 
stone contain the phosphatic mineral dufrenite. Artesian water has been 
struck in this formation at Dongara and at Yardarino ; but after flowing for 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 283 

a few years, the flow has ceased at the former locality through the bore 
becoming choked, and at the latter through failure of the supply. The 
following are the most typical fossils in this area : — Otozamites feistrmnteli, 
Zigno, Pagiophyllum (?), Pentacrinus australis, Trigonia moorei, Teredo 
found in its own bores in fossil wood, several varieties of Jurassic ammonites, 
and remains of large enaliosaurians. The second area commences at Cape 
Riche, and extends to beyond the Phillips Kiver. The strata, in almost 
horizontal beds, rise to about 700 feet above sea-level. Perfect specimens 
of fossil sponges are weathered out from some of the caves in this formation. 

A very important unit in the geology of Tasmania is the huge sills of 
diabase (granophyric dolerite and enstatite-augite dolerite), often over 500 
feet thick, which have been intruded into these coal measures. They are 
almost certainly Pre-Cainozoic. If they are of the same age as the great 
dolerite sills of the Karroo System of South Africa, and the Antarctic dolerites, 
which intrude the Beacon sandstone formation of the Boss Sea Eegion, they 
should probably be placed at the top of the Jurassic, and perhaps be 
connected with the breaking up of Gondwana Land, at the close of Jurassic 

(k) Cretaceous System. 

This system is divided at present into the Rolling Downs formation 
below, and the Desert Sandstone above. The lower formation is almost 
wholly marine, except in the case of the Burrum coal-field of Queensland 
with the adjacent Frazer Island, or Great Sandy Island, and intermediate 
islands, which consist partly of fresh-water beds. The Desert Sandstone 
is mostly of fresh-water origin ; but in places, as at Croydon, in Queensland, 
it contains in abundance Rhynchonella croydonensis, and at Fanny Bay 
and adjacent areas at Darwin is represented by a radiolarian shale, and by 
cherts containing casts of small Belemnites. As regards thickness, the 
Desert Sandstones vary from about 150 feet up to a maximum of 500 feet, 
while the Rolling Downs beds are known to be in places about 2,000 feet in 
thickness, perhaps more. The exact thickness is not always easy to deter- 
mine, on account of a nearly conformable downward passage from the 
Rolling Downs beds into the Jurassic strata. The vast extent, about one- 
third, of the whole area of Australia, formerly covered by the rocks of the 
Cretaceous system, shows that an enormous transgression of the ocean took 
place at this time, so as to develop a distinct epicontinental sea over the whole 
of the east central portion of Australia. Cretaceous rocks are also known 
to be developed on the north-west side of the Victoria Desert in Western 
Australia, as well as under the Tertiary limestones of the Nullarbor Plains 
fronting the Great Australian Bight, as lately proved in the Madura artesian 
bore. They are also represented by a narrow strip, some thousand feet below 
sea level, at Perth, as shown by the Clermont Bore as well as by a similar 
strip extending along the coast from north of Geraldton towards North-west 

Mr. W. S. Dun, in his palaeontological notes in this article, comments on 
the fact that the marine fauna from this west coast belt of Western Australia 
is closely allied to the Pondicherry Cretaceous fauna of India, whereas that of 
the great artesian basin represents a peculiar type locally developed within 
this Australian Mediterranean. Lithologically the Desert Sandstone rocks 

T 2 

284 Federal Handbook. 

consist mostly of coarse sandstone, passing in the arid regions into 
quartzite, as well as of very siliceous white shales graduating superficially 
into porcellanite, and in places containing valuable deposits of precious 
opal. The latter are associated with remarkable large forms, known to the 
miners as " pineapples," formed of common opal pseudomorphous after 
glauberite, together with concretions locally known as buns of barytes. 
Near Port Mackay, in Queensland, trachytic tuffs are said to be associated 
with the lower beds of the Desert Sandstone. This is the only record of 
contemporaneous volcanic activity in the whole Cretaceous System in Aus- 
tralia. Small seams of coal, too thin to be workable, and numerous silicified 
trees occur in places in this formation. The Boiling Downs strata are mostly 
friable sandstones rich in foraminifera, and rendered green by glauconite. 
In addition, at the Burrum coal-field and at Maryborough and Frazer Island, 
sandstones and shales, with fossil plants and seams of productive coal, are 
now considered to be of Cretaceous age. The whole series is approximately 
3,000 feet thick. The Burrum coal seams, of which about four are of workable 
thickness — that is,from 3 feet to 4 feet thick — contain coal of a brittle, bright, 
black, bituminous character, and remarkably free from ash, but too friable 
for export. The fossil plants recently recorded from this Cretaceous coal-field 
show that forms like Trichomanites laxum, Thinnfeldia media, and Tcenio- 
pteris daintreei survived over from Jurassic time. Corbula burrumensis and 
Rocellaria terrce regince are associated with the Burrum coal measures. This 
recent discovery of the survival of part of the Australian Jurassic fauna and 
flora into Cretaceous time is obviously of considerable importance. As regards 
the fossil fauna in the Rolling Downs beds, well preserved remains of 
infusoria belonging to the Tintinnoidce associated with diatoms and radio- 
laria have been found in fine-grained limestones at Mitchell, on the Maranoa 
River. The following is a list of specially characteristic fossils : — Fora- 
minifera, in which the Lituolidae are strongly represented, Purisiphonia 
clarkei, Pseudavicula australis, Maccoyella barklyi, Nucula quadrata, Cytherea 
clarkei, Belemnites australis, Crioceras australe, Lamna daviesii, Aspido- 
rhynchus sp., Belonostomus sweeti, Notochelone costata, Ichthyosaurus australis, 
Plesiosaurus macrospondylus, Mschna flindersensis, etc.* 

The general evidence points to a progressive submergence of the Australian 
Continent in Cretaceous time leading to an encroachment of the sea south- 
wards through the direction of the Gulf of Carpentaria across to the Australian 
Bight. It is just possible that there may have been a narrow neck of land 
joining east Australia to Western Australia to the south of Lake Eyre. At 
all events the isolation, when the submergence was at its maximum, of east 
Australia from Western Australia, must have been nearly complete. The 
wide spread of the comparatively thin beds of the Desert Sandstone, mostly 
of fresh-water origin, indicate that, in Upper Cretaceous time, the Cretaceous 
seas were retiring from the Continental area, and lacustrine conditions were 
taking their place everywhere, except locally, as at Croydon and Darwin. 
It may be added that Melville Island and Bathurst Island, to the north of 
Darwin, are formed of Cretaceous rocks, apparently of Rolling Downs type, 

* This insect is probably an Mschnidium. Mention may here be made of an extraordinary fossil 
perhaps allied to Mschnidium now to be eeen at the. Geological and Mining Museum ^Syd^ Itwa 
well preserved wing in the heart of an immense selenite crystal found at over 600 feet underground in 
the Mt. Elliott copper mine, near Cloncurry, Queensland. 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 285> 

but little is as yet known of their fossil contents. The fact that Lower 
Cretaceous fossils, especially small specimens of Scaphites, are being con- 
stantly washed up on the beach at the Point Charles lighthouse, Darwin, shows 
that Lower Cretaceous rocks underlie the strait which separates Melville 
Island from the mainland. It may be suggested here, very tentatively, 
that the vast transgression of the Cretaceous sea was perhaps causally con- 
nected with two other impoitant geological events, viz.: — Firstly with the 
sinking in of Gondwana land leading to compensating uplifts of the sea 
floor, and secondly with the wholesale injection of the vast dolerite sills, 
which probably further contributed towards shoaling the ocean basins. 

(1) Cainozoic Era. 

The classification and correlation of the rocks of the Commonwealth 
belonging to this era present many difficulties. 

It is harder in Australia than in Northern Europe to separate the Post 
Tertiary from the Tertiary rocks, as whereas in Northern Europe glacial 
deposits, chiefly of Pleistocene time, are widespread, in Australia such glacial 
evidences are wholly restricted to an area of less than 500 square miles, 
which has its centre at Mount Kosciusko. Only in Tasmania can evidences of 
Pleistocene ice action be traced over a large area. Then in regard to the 
correlation of the Australian Tertiaries with those of Europe, the statement 
of an Australian palaeontologist still applies : — " Many attempts have been 
made to fit the Tertiaries of Southern Australia into the British Procrustean 
subdivisions, and I do not know that the results are any more satisfactory 
to the strata than they were to the guests of Procrustes himself." 

Direct comparison of Australian Tertiary forms with those of Europe 
may prove fallaceous, unless supplemented by other evidence, for there is 
no direct proof of the existence of any highway for migration of marine 
organisms from the seas of' the Southern Hemisphere into the Tethys 
area in early Tertiary time. 

Tested by the Lyellian method — the determination of the percentage of 
recent Mollusca in the series — the Tertiary marine faunas of Australia can be 
compared with the recent fauna of Australian seas, but it is now clear that 
some Australian palaeontologists who worked on these lines did not recognise 
the fact that in many of the older Tertiary deposits of Australia the marine 
molluscan fauna is not, as was originally supposed, littoral in habit, but belongs 
to a moderate depth ; and recent dredging operations have demonstrated 
the fact that many forms in the older Australian Tertiaries, formerly thought 
to belong to extinct species, are now living at some depths off the Australian 
coasts. If one relies for correlation on the evidence of wide-ranging and 
rapid-moving types, like sharks and whales, it may be noted that Carcharodon 
angustidens and C. megalodon, of the older Australian Tertiaries, are charac- 
teristically Miocene in the Northern Hemisphere. Then, too, the toothless 
whales of the Victorian older Tertiaries belong to a group which in the northern 
hemisphere appears to be chiefly Pliocene. 

On the whole the tendency of late has been to refer the so-called Eocene 
strata of Southern Australia to some part of Miocene time. Recently it has 
been proposed to divide the Tertiary rocks of Victoria into three systems, 
details of which are given in this article. It will be ^een that reliance is 

286 Federal Handbook. 

largely placed for purposes of correlation on various species of Lepidocyclina. 
Meanwhile the sequence of events in Cainozoic time in Southern Australia 
and Tasmania, from the close of Cretaceous time, may be briefly stated 
as follows : — 

1. Accumulation of plant-bearing strata, developing in places into thick 
beds of lignite. These plants have been considered to be Eocene, but may 
be Oligocene or Lower Miocene. A primitive marsupial fauna was probably 
already in occupation of Tasmania, as a nearly complete skeleton of 
Wynyardia has been found in the marine strata of No. 3, which conformably 
iollows No. 2, No. 2 being conformable to No. 1, and all being separated from 
one another by no great time interval. Wynyardia bassiana was a generalized 
form neither distinctly polyprotodont nor distinctly diprotodont. (The 
original is now in the Hobart Museum.) The older " deep leads " of Eastern 
Australia belong here. 

2. Extensive flows of the so-called " older basalts," and development 
of basic tuffs passing into laterite and covering the older deep leads. 

3. The Pre-Miocene Bassian landbridge between Tasmania and the main- 
land became broken down, the old bridge becoming involved in a general 
submergence, which affected the whole of the southern shores of Australia. 
In the Nullarbor Plains area of the Great Australian Bight, strata of white 
chalky limestones, with flints, and often rich in Gryphaea, were developed 
over a large area. Similar strata occur at intervals all along the southern 
shores of Australia. In the Lower Murray area, as well as in Victoria and 
Tasmania, the polyzoon Cellepora gambierensis is extremely characteristic, 
and in the ciiffs of the Lower Murray forms sub-spherical masses, each of the 
size of a man's head. These strata attain a thickness of #bout 80 feet at Table 
Cape, Tasmania, and on the coastal plains of Southern Australia are usually 
200 to 400 feet thick, with a maximum thickness of about 1,000 feet under 
the Nuilarbor Plains. The Purari series and the oil-bearing strata of British 
New Guinea probably are of this age. 

4. The Ostrea sturti beds, which overlie the Cellepora limestones of the 
Lower Murray, perhaps Upper Miocene. 

5. The immense belt of alkaline lavas and tuffs, which extend from 
Casterton, in Victoria, through Mount Macedon to Clermont and Springsure, 
in Queensland, perhaps belongs to this horizon. 

Possibly the nepheline-basanite of Table Cape, the melilite basait 
at Sandy Bay, near Hobart, and the nepheline melilite basalt and 
nepheline eudialyte basalt of Shannon Tier, in Tasmania, were erupted about 
this time. 

6. In British Papua the Port Moresby series probably belongs to the 
older Pliocene. In Australia Marine Pliocene strata, to a thickness of about 
1,000 feet, were deposited in the neighbourhood of Adelaide, as proved by 
the Croydon bore (2,296 feet deep). In all other areas in Australia and 
Tasmania, strata of this age are of freshwater or of volcanic origin. Possibly 
the lake beds of the Launceston Tertiary Basin, 1,000 feet thick, are of 
Pliocene age, as they contain fossil fruits, such as Spotidylostrobus 
smythii, Plesiocapparis leptocelyphis, Pentrune allporti, etc., fossils more 
characteristic of the Kalimnan than of either the Janjukian or of the 
Balcombian age. 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 287 

7. Vast sheets of basalts, proceeding from dyke eruptions, flooded the 
nearly even surfaces of the east and south-east Australian and Tasmanian 
peneplains. In South Australia they are represented at Kangaroo Island, 
and in Western Australia at Bunbury, the Lower Blackwood River, and at 
Black Point upon the coast. The fact that the flora of this period shows 
scarcely any trace of differentiation suggests that the land had a low relief. 
These extensive basaltic outflows appear to date near to the close of Pliocene 

8. (a) In either very late Pliocene, or early Pleistocene time, the earth's 
crust, in the Australian and New Guinea region, was subjected to considerable 
diastrophism. The eastern periphery of Australia, including Tasmania, was 
warped up to altitudes of over 3,000 feet above the sea. The movement 
being differential carried an area, such as Kosciusko, to a height of 7,000 feet 
above sea level. In New Guinea the Cretaceous to Pliocene strata underwent 
intense orogenic movements, mountains being produced up to and over 
15,000 feet in height. 

(b) A glacial age supervened, which had many phase© Kosciusko was 
capped by an ice calotte from its summit to about 5,000 feet above 
sea level. In Tasmania the glaciation was naturally very heavy on the 
west coast and western highlands, the modern heavy rainfall, coming 
from the west, being at that time largely replaced by snowfall. Not 
only were the Western Tiers of Tasmania and the highlands of the 
west coast covered with nrn-fields and glacier ice, but at the town- 
ship of Gorman ston glacial boulder clays were formed only a few 
hundred feet above sea level, and on the west side of the Craycroft 
Range the moraine material descends to within 250 feet of sea level. This 
glaciation affected, probably synchronously, New Guinea, and it was 
probably during a phase of this glacial age that the rhododendron migrated 
from Papua to the Bellenden-Ker Range, of Queensland (over 5,000 feet 
high), where it has since become isolated through the amelioration of the 
climate. The phenomena of the maximum glaciation seem to call for a 
lowering of temperature of approximately 9 degrees JFahr., as compared 
with that of the present day. 

(c) Partly synchronous, if not wholly synchronous, with this Ice Age, or 
possibly its interglacial phases (if there were any such), was an epoch when 
the central plains of Australia had a good rainfall, and the present area of 
internal drainage was only beginning to come into existence. Great herds of 
herbivores, of much larger size than their nearest modern allies, roamed over 
what are now the arid legions of the lower steppes of Australia, near Lakes 
Eyre, Frome, and Callabonna. This fauna comprised Geratodus, Megalania 
prisca, Meiolonia, Pallimnarchus pollens, Diprotodon, Nototherium, Macropus, 
.and Sceparnodon, with the probably carnivorous form Thylacoleo, and the 
carnivorous Thylacinus, Sarcophilus, and Cants dingo, while Sus papuensis 
found its way southwards from Papua, as far as the Darling Downs, of 
•Queensland. Thus during this Kosciusko epoch Papua was still united to 
Australia, and the recent discovery of a Nototherium (N. tasmanicum, Scott) 
at Mowbray Swamp, in the north-western part of Tasmania, taken in con- 
junction with other evidence, suggests that Tasmania was once more united 
to Australia by way of the Bassian Bridge. At least one gigantic ancestor 

288 Federal Handbook. 

of the emu Genyornis was associated with this fauna. This bird was pro- 
bably about 13 feet in height. A fine collection of this fauna is in the Adelaide 

(d) Subsidences complementary to the uplift no doubt commenced with 
the uplift, but became much more pronounced after the uplift ceased. The 
rift valleys, Torres Strait, Port Curtis, of Cairns, of Cooma, of Bass Strait, 
Hobart, Port Phillip, St. Vincent and Spencer's Gulfs, and Lake Torrens, 
and of the west coast of Western Australia gradually developed, together 
with those many faults traversing the highlands of the warped peneplains 
of Australia and Tasmania, whose unreduced scarps attest their comparatively 
recent origin. The recent volcanic craters of Mount Gambier, Tower Hill, 
etc., may be referred to this epoch. Possibly negritoid man entered Tasmania 
by way of the Pleistocene Bassian Bridge before its final collapse. Ever since 
the Kosciusko epoch canyon cutting has been proceeding down to the present 
day in the elevated peripheral portions of Australia and Tasmania, this process 
tending to push the divides further inland. 

Amongst recent formations may be mentioned the dune rock, partly 
cemented by lime, of Fremantle, and the south-western coast of Western Aus- 
tralia, of Cape Northumberland, near the border of South Australia and Vic- 
toria, and the dune rock of Warrnambool, Sorrento, etc. At Sorrento this dune 
rock is about 1,000 feet in thickness, and near Perth, in Western Australia, is at 
least as thick. The heavy silting along the Victorian coast, which has pro- 
duced the Gippsland Lakes, as well as silting off the Maryborough coast, 
where the dunes are 800 feet high, and the silting between Sharks Bay and 
North-west Cape, in Western Australia, are all connected with the cusps of 
slack water formed next the shore, where great ocean currents meet. Mention 
may also be made here of the sand dunes of the lower steppes of Australia, 
and of the Victoria Desert. The latter are only superficially formed of 
loose sand, to a depth of a foot or so, and then the formation passes into a 
tough calcareous rock. The Transcontinental railway from Perth, by way 
of Kalgoorlie to Adelaide, will have to be cut through a vast number of 
these dune ridges, which are from 30 feet up to 80 feet high in places. 
In the Lake Eyre region the sand dunes again are only superficially 
loose sand. Inside they are formed of a certain amount of loamy 
material, especially near the old deltas of Cooper's Creek, and of the 
Diamantina River. In most parts of Central Australia these dunes derive 
their sand from the breaking up of the Upper Cretaceous desert 

In addition to the alluvial plains and rivers, mention may be made of the 
laterites (pindan gravels) of Western Australia, the nodular tufaceous lime- 
stone (" kunkar ") of South Australia, the saline deposits of the inland plains, 
and the coastal salinas. Subsidence has evidently been recently in progress 
at the southern end of Tasmania, and the large " bank " recently 
discovered 200 miies further south, is obviously an immense sunken 
segment of a once greater Australia. Submergence has also taken 
place for a great distance along the east coast of Australia. As already 
stated, this is partly due to the recent melting of ice and snow in Antarctica, 
bringing about a eustatic positive movement of sea level ; but it cannot 
be entirely due to this, as the recent submergence is in places of the order 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 289 

of fully 200 feet, and it is doubtful whether the ice of Antarctica, from the great 
ice age down to the present time, can have affected sea-level to the extent 
of more than about 100 feet. 

The so-called raised beach of about 15 feet is so general around Australia, 
that it is probably due to a recent eustatic negative movement of the sea 
surface. The 50 feet raised beach near Darwin is probably connected with 
recent orogenic movements in Papua. These recent movements have caused 
a local emergence of the coral reefs in south-eastern Papua of 1,000 up to 
2.000 feet. The Great Barrier Eeef of Queensland, some 1,200 miles in length, 
represents, in its uppermost portion, a marvellous area of growing reef The 
bulk of the reef appears to be formed of coral. 

Earthquake shocks, most frequent in the area between the gulfs of South 
Australia, Bass Strait, and Kosciusko, show that coastal readjustment is still 
in slow progress in those regions. In New Guinea sharp shocks proceed from 
near the active volcanic zone, near Mount Victory. Most of the earthquake 
shocks which reach the eastern side of Australia emanate from the deep trench 
to the east of the Tongan and Kermadec Islands. Western Australia is 
practically free from earthquakes. 

5. — Pre=Historic Man. 

As is well known, the aboriginal inhabitants, now unfortunately extinct, of 
Tasmania belonged to the negrito and were in a paleolithic state of civiliza- 
tion. They had no knowledge of producing a cutting edge on stone by 
grinding it down on a hone stone, all their instruments being of the rudest 
possible type, and roughly chipped. Neither had they any knowledge of 
building canoes of the sea-going type, being satisfied to construct them from 
the bark of trees stripped off in long sheets, then sewn up at the ends and 
plugged with clay. In this frail craft they navigated their own rivers and 
lakes. No trace has been found in Tasmania of aboriginal man considerably 
antedating the coming of the white man. On the mainland of Australia the 
aboriginal attained to neolithic stage of civilization as far back as we have 
any traces of him. Up to the present the following appear to be the only 
evidences of man in Australia attaining to anything approaching high 
geological antiquity : — 

1. The Tasmanian aborigines probably crossed Bass Strait (as they were 
ignorant of the art of making sea-going canoes) by an almost continuous, if 
not continuous, land bridge. 

2. On the mainland of Australia there is possible evidence near Warrnam- 
bool of impressions attributable to human bodies and feet in some of the old 
cemented sand dunes. Many have doubted the genuineness of these 
imprints. In New South Wales several stone tomahawks were dug up a 
few years ago in cutting a canal at Shea's Creek, between Botany Bay and 
Redfern. These tomahawks were embedded in peat many feet in thickness 
underlying marine estuarine beds at a total depth of 15 feet below the high 
water. It may be concluded that the whole of our coast-line has subsided 
by 15 feet, or else, as the result of the melting of ice and snow in the 
Antarctic regions, sea level has risen by that amount since the time when the 
aborigines lost their tomahawks in this swamp. In either case a 

290 Federal Handbook. 

considerable lapse of time, perhaps of the order of several thousands of 
years, would be needed to account for this change in the relative level of 
land and sea. 

3. Statements have frequently been made that stone tomahawks have 
been discovered in the deep leads of Victoria. The following, as far as is 
known, is the only case where the stone tomahawk may possibly be considered 
as the same age as a deep lead : — Near Maryborough, Victoria, in 1855, a 
basalt axe head was found at a depth of 4 feet from the surface in one of the 
tributaries of the main Bet Bet lead. The main lead is covered by basalt 
believed to be of Pleistocene age, but, as the tributary lead in which 
the axe head was found is not covered by basalt, the finding of an axe 
head at a depth of only 4 feet does not necessarily imply any great 
antiquity for it. 

6. Australian Graptolites. 

By T. S. Hall, M.A., D.Sc, Lecturer in Biology in the University 
of Melbourne. 

Graptolites are found at innumerable localities in Victoria where Silurian 
or Ordovician rocks occur, but so far none have been found west of the 
meridian of Ballarat. The belt of old rocks is continued from eastern Vic- 
toria along tne inland slopes of the Divide far into New South Wales, and 
during the last few years have yielded graptolites from a few places. Tas- 
manian records are vague, but some identifiable forms have been obtained 
from boulders in the Permo-Carboniferous glacial beds at Wynyard. There 
are no records from the other States, but Lower Ordovician species have 
been found in New Zealand. 

Apparently the whole range of the fauna can be illustrated from Victoria, 
with perhaps the exception of Devonian and Cambrian forms. We can 
recognise the following subdivision of the rocks : — 

| Darriwillian 
Ordovician << Lower ! Castlemanian 
[ Bendigonian 

Silurian. — Retiolites australis McCoy and two or three species of Diplo- 
graptidce and Monograptus, including M. turriculatus, have been found in 
Victoria, and Monograptus occurs in New South Wales. 

Ordovician. — It has not been found convenient as yet to recognise 
the three usual subdivisions accepted in Europe, and we need only consider 
an upper and lower division. 

The Upper division is characterised by Dicranograptus, Dicellograptus, 
Leptograptus, Nemagraptus, Didymograptus, Diplograptus, Climacograptus, 
Oryptograptus, Glossograptus, Lasiograptus, Retiograptus, and Retiolites. The 
series is well represented in the eastern part of the State, and passes north 
into New South Wales, where Lower Ordovician is not as yet known to be 
represented. A large number of the species are new, but many northern 
hemisphere forms have been recognised. No detailed stratigraphical work 
has been done in these rocks. 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 291 

The Lower division has had more attention given to it, as it is displayed 
on many of our goldfields. 

Darriwillian. — No good exposures are known and specific records are 
few. Dicranograptidae are absent. Tne following genera are represented : — 
Didymograptus, Tetragraptus, Loganograptus, Diplograptus, Climacograptus, 
Trigonograptus, Glossograptus, Lasiograptus, and others not determined. 

Castlemanian — The fauna is rich. Didymograptidae are well repre- 
sented. D. caduceus Salter (= D. gibberulus) is abundant throughout, and 
passes up. 1). bifidus and its allies are found only in the lowest beds, and 
pass down into the top of the next division. The relative position of these 
two species is peculiar and well proved in various localities. 

Bendigonian. — The most abundant fossil is Tetragraptus fruticosus. 
Bryograptus occurs in the lowest beds, though it is generally regarded as 
Cambrian in Europe. Tetragraptus approximatus Nicholson is also found 
at the base, and is in one locality associated with Lancefieldian forms. It 
is thus of strati graphical importance. The Bendigonian fauna is rich in 

Lancefieldian. — Bryograptus, several species of Clonograptus and 
Dictyonema occur. Lithologically similar rocks with the same fauna have 
been recognised by me from the south-west corner of New Zealand, more 
than 1,000 miles away. 

There are several apparent inversions of the European sequence of species, 
and Kuedmann has shown that the Australian sequence is practically that 
of New York, and both agree in differing slightly from the European. 

7. Notes on the Palaeontology of Australia. 

By W. S. Dun, Lecturer in Palaeontology in the University of Sydney. 

The general character of the fauna of the Palaeozoic of Australia as a 
whole, is its cosmopolitan nature, no definite Australian fauna being pre- 
sented until the Permo-Carboniferous. 

Cambrian. — Fossiliferous limestones and shales of Cambrian age occur 
in Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory, Victoria, and 
Tasmania. Olenollus beds wth Salter eUa occur in the Kimberley District 
(W.A.). In Yorke's Peninsula (S.A.), Archseocyathinse limestones are well 
developed, also beds containing Micromitra, Kutorgina, Obolella, Nisusia, 
Eoorthis, Huenolla, Stenoiheca, Ophileta, Salterella, Hyolithes, Dolichometopus, 
Conocephalites, Olenollus, Microdiscus, Ptychoparia. At Beltana occurs 
the most important horizon of Archseocyathinse so far discovered ; eight 
genera and thirty-two species have already been described. 

In the Northern Territory, from Ekeldra, Agnostus, Paradoxides, Micro- 
discus, and Ptychoparia have been recorded. 

In Victoria, in north-eastern Gippsland, near Mount Wellington, occur 
limestones with Plectorthis, Lingulella, Scenella, Agnostus, Ptychoparia, and 

The Heathcotian beds containing Dinesus and Notasaphns may prove to 
be either Cambrian or Cambro-Ordovician. In Tasmania Archseocyathinse 
occur and quartzites yielding Dikelocephalus and Concephalites. 

292 Federal Handbook. 


In Central Australia Ordovician limestones contain Endoceras, Orthoceras, 
Asaphus spp., Ctenodonta, Raphistoma, and Ophileta. 

In Tasmania the Gordon Kiver limestones with Cyrtodonta, Ctenodonta, 
Tellinomya, Bellerophon, Helicotoyna, Hormotoma, Raphistoma may prove to 
be of Silurian age. Ordovician brachiopods and trilobites are also found in 
the Florentine Valley. 


The Silurian of Australia occurs entirely in the eastern States, and is of a 
true cosmopolitan type, and the fossiliferous limestones and shales of New 
South Wales and Victoria may be correlated with the Wenlock and Ludlow 
in part. There is an abundant molluscan, brachiopod, trilobite, and ccelen- 
terate fauna, the main characteristics being the great variety of Halysites in 
New South Wales ; of Try plasma, Spongophyllum, and Rhizophyllum, and 
the presence of endemic rugosa such as Mucophyllum, Mictocystis, Arachno- 
phyllum, Vepresiphyllum, etc.; Conchidium and Barrandella horizons are 
well developed in New South Wales. 


Devonian strata occur in Western Australia and the eastern States. 
In Western Australia, the Kimberley, Napier Eange, and Gascoyne river 
beds contained a Lower or Middle Devonian fauna — Stromatoporoids, Gyatho- 
phyllum, Phillipsastrea, tabulate corals, Atrypa reticularis. Certain of the 
fossils recorded from these beds, however, belong to, adjacent Permo-Car- 
bonifeious areas. 

In Victoria, in Gippsland, Middle Devonian limestone with Spirifera 
yassensis and Receptaculites are well developed. Freshwater Upper 
Devonian or Lower Carboniferous beds contain Archceopteris, Sphenopteris, 
and Cordaites — these beds also occur in southern New South Wales. 

In New South Wales the Lower Devonians are well developed in the 
Murrumbidgee District and are characterized by a great development of 
Receptaculites, one species attaining a diameter of at least a foot. Tabulate 
corals are abundant. The typical fossils are species of Actinocystis, Diphy- 
phyllum, and Spirifera yassensis. 

The Middle Devonian are developed in the Western Districts, and contain 
varieties of Spirifera cristata and pterinoid bivalves, etc. 

The Upper Devonian sediments of New South Wales are of two types, 
the arenaceous of the Western Districts containing Rhynchonella pleurodon, 
Spirifera disjuncta, and Lepidodendron, Lepidodondron australe, and that of 
the New England District composed of coralline limestones, claystones, and 

The limestones contain such corals as Favosites, Heliolites, Sanidophyllum, 
Spongophyllum, Diphyphyllum, and Syringopora — all species distinct from 
the Silurian and little in common with the Lower Devonian series. The 
limestones and cherts comprise a great development of interbedded 
Radiolarian rocks. The upper mudstones contain Lepidodondron australe 
in abundance. 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 293- 

In Queensland the Fanning River and Burdekin limestones are corralline 
and contain abundance of Alveolites, Arceopora, Campophyllum. Stringo- 
cephalus, Atrypa, etc. 


Beds of this age occur in New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland. 

The Mansfield beds of Victoria, regarded as Lower Carboniferous, contain 
Lepidodendron australe and fish — Gyracanlhides, Acanthodes, Strepsodus, 
Elonichthys, etc. — it is possible these beds may prove to be in part Upper 

In New South Wales, marine and freshwater Carboniferous beds occur. 
The marine fauna is of the mountain limestone type, and consists mostly of 
cosmopolitan types of brachiopoda, Productus semireticulatus, Orihis resupi- 
nata, Spirifera striata, Phillipsia, Griffithides, and Brachymetopus. 

The coral fauna is typical — Zaphrentis, Cyathophyllum, Lithostrotion, 
Michelinia, etc. 

Mesoblastus and Tricoelocriuus occur in Queensland. 

The freshwater beds have a Middle Carboniferous facies with Aneimites 
ovata, Cardiopteris, and Lepidodendron veltheimianum. 

In Queensland the Star beds, well developed around Rock- 
hampton, have a fauna very similar to that of the New South Wales 

Doubtful Carboniferous beds containing Lepidodendron occur in Western 

A fact of importance in Eastern Australia is that no Carboniferous species 
extend into the overlying Permo-Carboniferous, and that there is a well- 
marked unconformity between the two systems. 

Permo-Carboniferous . 

Of the Australian Palaeozoic faunas that which attracts most attention 
is the Marine Permo-Carboniferous, and the interest is twofold, due in the 
first place to the change which without doubt in great part effected the 
glacial phase which occurred at the initiation of sedimentation, and the 
effect of land barriers hindering migration between the eastern and western 
Permo-Carboniferous shores. 

The Eastern Australian Permo-Carboniferous fauna may be regarded 
as exhibiting the typical Australian facies, containing as it does the develop- 
ment of many purely Australian types. The two main divisions of the 
marine sediments — the Lower and Upper Marine series (separated in typical 
localities by a freshwater phase — the Greta coal measures) vary little in 
character in New South Wales, Queensland, and Tasmania. 
The principal elements of the fauna are — 
Foraminifera. — Nubecularia, Pelosina, Hyperammina, Haplophrag- 
mium, Lituola, Endothyra, Lagena, Nodosaria, Genitzina, etc., etc. 
Nubecularia is in great abundance and the arenaceous and sub- 
arenaceous types preponderate. Horizons occur in both Lower 
and Upper Marines and in association with the Pokolbin (Lower 
Marines) horizon, and also in the Wollong (Upper Marine) are 
glacial beds, indicating the cooling of the water. 

294 Federal Handbook. 

Spongida. — Sponges are rare, the anchoring spicules of 
Hyalostelia, Lasiocladia, and certain burrowing sponges {Clio- 
nolithus) are found in the Lower and Upper Marines of New 
South Wales. 

CffiLENTERATA. — One of the noticeable features of the Penno- 
Carboniferous of eastern Australia is the impoverished 
Coelenterata fauna, due without doubt to the glacial conditions 
at the initiation of sedimentation. A few species of Zaphrentoid 
corals, close to Hinde's genus Plerophyllum, occur showing 
an extravagant development of stereoplasma. The tabulate 
Trachypora forms a well-marked zone fossil in the Upper 

Echinodermata. — This phyllum is of particular interest. Blastoids 
and cystoids are absent ; the Crinoidea are represented by the 
giant Phialocrinus princeps of the Upper Marines, 4J inches in 
diameter. Tribrachiocrinus, a dicyclic form with large radianal 
and " X " plate, three double branchia and two single — this genus 
is peculiar to Eastern Australia. A large Archceocidaris and several 
species of Palasterids (Etheridgeaster, Monaster, and Palaeaester) 
occur in the Lower Marines, one, Etheridgeaster giganteus, having 
a span of 7 inches. 

Bryozoa. — The great development of the trepostomatous Stenopora 
is a characteristic of this period in Eastern Australia. The massive 
S. crinita forms irregular polyzoaria of from 1 to 2 feet in size. 
Dendroid and flabellate types are also common and present many 
species as yet undescribed. • 

The Fenestellidse are also well developed. Fenestella is rare, 
but such types as Phyllopora, Polypora, and Protoretepora being 
extremely abundant, and in some cases form distinct limestones 
in the Lower Marines. Fenestellidse are equally developed in the 
Lower and Upper Marines and in all provinces. 

Brachiopoda. — This may be regarded as a Martiniopsis fauna. This 
protean genus is extremely abundant in all suitable sediments. 
Associated with it are winged Spiriferce, all strongly ridged, Spiri- 
ferina dielasma, Chonetes, Productus, Strophalosia, Aulosteges, 
Lingula, and Orbicula. In Queensland, in the Bowen beds, we 
get as well Derbyia senilia. It must be noted in contradistinction 
to the Permo-Carboniferous Brachiopod fauna of Western 
Australia and the Northern Territory that Carboniferous 
species are entirely absent and that there is an absence of the 
Orthidae and Leptcena group, Athyris, Gyrtina syringothyris, and 
Reticular ict,. 

Pelecypoda. — It is in this group of the Mollusca that what may be 
termed the Pacific facies of the Australian Permo-Carboniferous 
asserts itself with purely endemic genera as Cleobis, Mceonia, 
Astartila, Pachydomus, Notomya, Aphanaia, Merismopteria, Clarkia, 
Deltopecten — a giant form, a transition between Aviculopecten and 
Pecten-Stutchburia, an edentulous variant of Pleurophorus. Chamo- 
nomya (Meek) of the Nebraska-Permian is very characteristic 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 295 

of certain estuarine deposits. The most interesting type is Eury- 
desma, mainly characteristic of the Lower Marines, noteworthy 
for its absence from Western Australia and its presence in the olive 
shales of the Himalayas, and the Marine Karoo of German West 
Africa. The fauna is noteworthy for the preponderance of eden- 
tulous gaping types. Cosmopolitan genera, such as Nuculana, 
Scaldia, Cardiomorpha (?), Solecurtus, Aviculopecten, Solenopsis, 
Modiolopsis also occur. The fauna is evenly distributed along the 
east coast. 

Gasteropoda. — There is nothing distinctive in the eastern Gasteropod 
fauna which includes Platyschisma, Straparollus, and various Pleuro- 
tomarioids — Keeneia, Ptycomphalina, Mourlonia, and a Naticoid 
type, together with a patelloid genus and Orihonychia. 

Pteropoda and Conularid^. — Hyolithes is common, and a giant 
Conularia reaching a length of 20 inches, occurs in the eastern 

Cephalopoda are uncommon, Orthoceras and Agathiceras (Gonia- 
tites) being abundant in the Kavensfield sandstone of New South 

The Western Australia Fauna. 

In Western Australia it has been customary to class certain formations 
as Carboniferous and certain as Permo-Carboniferous, but there is good 
reason to believe that the entire series, developed in the Irwin, Gascoyne, 
Mingenew, Minilya, Lyons River Districts, and Kimberley is more properly 
Permo-Carboniferous as regards the mingling of the faunas. 

One of the prominent features of the Eastern Australian Permo-Car- 
boniferous fauna is the absolute absence of any Carboniferous species, whereas 
in the west, together with Indian species and local varieties, there are Car- 
boniferous types such as Orthis resupinata, Rhipidomella, Productus semire- 
ticulatus, Leptcena analoga, Phillipsia, etc. — forms which in Eastern Aus- 
tralia are confined to the Star beds of Queensland and New South Wales, 
beds separated from the Permo-Carboniferous of that region by a well-marked 
unconformity. Taking into consideration the fact that the so-called Permo- 
Carboniferous sedimentation of both eastern and western Australia was 
initiated by glacial stages which must be regarded as synchronous, this 
mingling of faunas in Western Australia points to a direct communication 
with the Permo-Carboniferous coast line of the Himalayan and Salt Range 
Region. The fact that certain Producti, Pectinidse, Terebratulidae, and 
Spirifeidae of the West have a close resemblance to Eastern Australian types 
may, perhaps, be regarded as instances of parallel development, rather than 
of specific identity. 

The Permo-Carboniferous of the Northern Territory has western 

As regards the flora of the Permo-Carboniferous, nothing need be 
said other than that a Lower Gondwana flora is preserved in both 
Western and Eastern Australia. The earlier beds are characterized by 
Gangamopteroid types, the upper by Glossopteris and Phyllotheca, more 

296 Federal Handbook. 


The Mesozoic rocks of Australia, fresh water and marine, range from 
Trias to Cretaceous. 

The freshwater beds present in all the States are of Trias and Jurassic 
age, and in Eastern Australia there is good reason to regard the so-called 
Jurassic (Ipswich) system as being the freshwater series directly succeeded 
by the Marine Cretaceous. 

In Western Australia fresh water beds of Jurassic age occur atMingenew 
with Otozamites and Plagiophyllum. At Champion Bay Belemnites, Dor- 
setensia, Stephanoceras, Trigonia, etc., occur. At the Greenough River are 
Oolites yielding Alectryonia Marshii, Ctenostreon pectiniformis, Radula dupli- 
cata, Trigonia, etc. It is possible that the Gingin chalk is of Cretaceous age. 
The fauna of the Marine Mesozoic of Western Australia exhibit marked 
affinities (and identity) with European and Asiatic species. 

In the Northern Territory, at Point Charles, there is evidence of an abun- 
dant Cretaceous fauna Aucella, Scaphites, Histrichoceras, etc., dwarfed forms 
in almost every case, and having Gault affinities. 

Almost as marked as the difference between the eastern and western 
Permo-Carboniferous fauna is the lack of community between the Marine 
Mesozoic fauna of the east and west. Stratigraphical evidence points to 
the fact that there is a continuity of sedimentation from at latest Jurassic 
to the end of Cretaceous time, and this has led to an apparent mingling of 
faunas. The Cretaceous Mediterranean occupied portions of the States of 
Queensland, New South Wales, and South Australia, and is characterized by 
numerous species peculiar to the region and many endemic genera among 
the Mollusca. The most typical forms are Maccoyella, Pseudavicula, and Fis- 
silunula, all endemic types occurring in both Lower and Upper Cretaceous. 
The cephalopodan fauna is not larger, but is noteworthy for the great size 
of the Crioceras and Ancyloceras group. Icthyosaurus, Plesiosaurus, and 
Cimoliosaurus are represented by several species. The nature of the fauna 
points to the fact that the barrier which prevented the mingling of the Eastern 
and Western Permo-Carboniferous faunas persisted into late Mesozoic time. 

The Mesozoic flora of Eastern Australia may be divided into three groups 
— (1) the Ipswich flora of Queensland, the Clarence basin of New South Wales, 
the South Gippsland basin of Victoria, and the Lake Eyre basin of South 
Australia ; (2) the Tasmanian Upper coal measures ; and (3) the Hawkes- 
bury series of the Sydney-Blue Mountain District. 

(1) The Ipswich, etc., series. — These beds possess the cosmopolitan Jurassic 
vegetation with Cladophebis denticulata, various species of Thinnfeldia, 
Tamiopteris daintreei, Podozamites, Baiera, etc., etc. They occupy the 
lower portion of the great artesian basin and are succeeded conformably 
by the Marine Cretaceous shales and sandstones. The rather scanty evidence 
at present available points to the fact that the sagging of the Mediterranean 
region was associated in its early stages with lacustrine conditions leading 
up to an invasion of the sea and marine sedimentation. These conditions 
on the coastal district ceased at the close of fresh water sedimentation, except 
in the Maryborough district, Queensland, where both fresh water and marine 
sedimentation took place. 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 297 

(2) The Upper coal measures of Tasmania maybe correlated with the Gipps- 
land measures of Jurassic age. Tceniopteris daintreei is wanting, but Clado- 
phebis denticulata is abundant with Thinnfeldia, Phyllotheca, etc. 

(3) In the Sydney area occurs the Hawkesbury series, made up of the 
Narrabeen, Hawkesbury, and Wiannamatta Stages. The Narrabeen shales 
succeed directly after the Upper coal measures (Permo-Carboniferous) with 
no break in sedimentation, and a mingling of the Glossopteris and Lower 
Mesozoic flora — Glossopteris and Schizoneura. 

The Narrabeen, Hawkesbury, and Wiannamatta Stages have a well 
developed flora with Thinnfeldia odontopteroides, in several varieties, Macro- 
tcenopteris, Alethopteris, conifers, and Phyllotheca ; there are distinct 
differences from the flora of the Ipswich Series, which are possibly due to 
more arid conditions. The Hawkesbury sandstones and Wiannamatta shalea 
have a well-developed fish fauna — Cleithrolepis, Gosfordia, Semionotus, Dic- 
tyopyge, Belonorhynchus, etc., together with Labyrinthodonta, Platyceps, 
Bothriceps, Mastodonsaurus in part of Palaeozoic and of Khsetic affinities. 
A depauperate foraminiferal horizon occurs in the Wiannamatta shales. 
It is usual to regard these beds of Triassic age in part, possibly slightly older 
than the Ipswich. 

At Talbragar, New South Wales, beds with Tceniopteris daintreei, Podoza- 
mites, Palissya, Alithopteris, contain a distinctive fish fauna — Leptolepis, 
Coccolepis, Aphnelepis, etc., etc. 

Tertiary. — Terrestrial beds containing plant remains occur in the 
various States — the oldest series occur in the deep leads which may date 
back to late Eocene or early Miocene time. The vegetation of these deposits 
in Eastern Australia bears considerable resemblance to that of the modern 
" brushes " and afford evidence of more humid conditions. 

In the late Tertiary and Pleistocene time, the inland plains supported a 
giant marsupial fauna, together with Ratite birds- — Diprotodon, Nototherium, 
members of the Phascolomidae, Thylacoleo, Macropodidse, Monotremes, 
such as Proechidna and Omithorhynchus ; Birds — Dromomis, Genyornis, etc. ; 
Reptilia — Megalama, Crocodilus, Meiolania, etc. 

The giant members of this fauna have been found in all the states, but 
are most abundant in the great central plains of Queensland, New South 
Wales, and South Australia, where their remains are found in old lake basins, 
mud springs, and river beds. Their destruction was due to great diminution 
of rainfall which took place in late Pleistocene time. 

8. Australian Cainozoic System. 

By F. Chapman, A.L.S., Palaeontologist to the National Museum, Melbourne. 

The Australian Cainozoic system is remarkable for its great development 
of Miocene sediments. These are interposed between an important but 
locally developed Oligocene series below, and a more widely extended Pliocene 
series above. 

In Victoria and South Australia, where the Cainozoic system is 
best developed, the beds can be subdivided into four principal series, 
for they are really more than stages, as time and further research 
may show. Local terms to denote these series have been suggested, as 

C. 121 54. U 


Federal Handbook. 

shown in the following table, which also gives the probable equivalent to 
the corresponding European formations, according to the several authors 

McCoy and Chapman. 

Hall and Pritchard. 

Tate and Dennant. 


Upper Pliocene 


Werrikooian (Pliocene) 

Pleistocene (Tate) 


Pliocene (Dennant) 

Lower Pliocene 

Kaiimnan (Miocene) 



Balcombian (Eocene) . . 


Janjukian (Eocene) 

? Oligocene (Tate) 
Eocene (Tate and Den- 




Aldingan (Eocene in 

Eocene in part 

Balcombian Series. 

General Characters. — Commencing with the Balcombian, these beds for 
the most part consist of sands and shelly marls, largely foraminiferal in places, 
and containing in the shallower deposits a very rich molluscan fauna, together 
with the remains of fishes, Crustacea, especially ostracoda, polyzoa, echino- 
derms, gorgonids, corals, sponges, and the foraminifera aforesaid. Inter- 
calated with the sandy clays and marls are beds of brown coal, which at 
Altona Bay and Newport, in Victoria, have been proved of considerable 
thickness. At one bore near Laverton (parish of Truganina, Section VII.), 
a bed of brown coal was struck at 347 feet, having a thickness of 74 feet. 
A bore at Morwell, in Gippsland, 1,000 feet deep, passed through 888 feet of 
brown coal. Although the actual age of the latter occurrence has 
not been proved, it is probably similar to the brown coal of the Port Phillip 

Chief Fossils. — (B. = Balcombian ; J. = Janjukian ; K. = Kaiimnan). 
Lamna apiculata, Carcharodon, Megalodon, Aturia australis (B. — K.), 
Ancilla pseudaustralis (B. — K.), Voluta hamiltonensis, Fasciolaria lamellifera, 
Eburnopsis aulaccessa, Cyprcea ampullacea, C. eximia (B. and J.), Turbo 
hamiltonensis, Pecten murrayanus (B. — K.), Barbatia cetteporacea (B. — K.), 
Crassatellites dennanti (B. and J.), Chama lamellifera (B. and J.), 
Magellania coriwnsis (B. and J.), Clypeaster gippslandicus (B. — K.), 
Echinolampas gambierensis (B. and J.), Placotrochus deltoideus (B. — K.), 
Platytrochus vacuus, Bactronella parvula, Amphistegina lessoni (B. — K, most 
abundant in J.). 

Localities. — The number of outcrops and exposures of the Balcombian 
series is seen to be very limited when the faunas have been carefully examined. 
The best-known and most accessible localities are Balcombe's Bay, near 
Mornington and Grice's Creek, near Frankston, both in Port Phillip. The 
gash made through superficial beds by the Muddy Creek, near Hamilton, 
reveals the lowest beds of the district at Clifton Bank, where they are brought 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 299 

up by a slight monoclinal fold in the otherwise nearly horizontal strata. 
The beds here have their basement in blue clay containing a rich gasteropod 
fauna, the clay sometimes containing much glauconite and rolled fragments 
of polyzoa and cetacean remains. The presence of glauconite points to a 
fairly deep water origin for this bed. This dark clay bed passes rather 
rapidly into a brownish sandy marl with a rich molluscan fauna, gradually 
becoming more polyzoal in character towards the top, where, as recently 
found at 20 chains up stream in the Muddy Creek, it passes into the pink 
and yellow polyzoal limestone of true Janjukian character, and with foramini- 
fera of a Burdigalian type. 

The important bore at Sorrento, near the eastern head of Port Phillip, 
did not at its greatest depth, of 1,693 feet, reach the bottom of the Balcombian 
Series, which is here between 300 and 400 feet thick, so far as proved. On 
the other hand, bores at Altona Bay and Williamstown have proved the 
basement bed as a gritty quartz sand passing up into typical shell marls 
and blue clays with brown coal. The intercalated terrigenous and estuarine 
beds of the Balcombian, entitle it to be classed as a fluviomarine series in 
the areas just named, as much as those beds of similar age in Europe as in 
the Isle of Wight and Belgian Oligocene ; whilst the North German Oligocene, 
being largely marine, may be classed with that of the lower beds at Muddy 
Creek and Sorrento. The Balcombian Series appears to be confined to the 
State of Victoria. 

Janjukian Series. 

General Characters. — This is by far the most important group in the 
Australian Cainozoic system, and presents some remarkable and variable 
phases. On the terrestrial side, the leaf-beds with Cinnamomum, Laurus, 
and Sterculia probably come within this series, since stratigraphically the 
Maddingley leaf-beds seem to graduate into the limestones and marls of the 
Moorabool Biver area, finding their place in the Janjukian Series. So that 
in one area alone, the Geelong — Ballarat gulf and valley, we have fairly 
deep and clear water deposits, terrigenous shell-bearing beds formed closer 
inshore, and lacustrine accumulations. 

The Corio Bay, Bairnsdale, and Fyansford fossiliferous deposits probably 
represent the basal part of the Miocene, to the middle of which period I 
have referred the Janjukian of Torquay and Batesford where, at the former- 
place Spirulirostra occurs, and at the latter, Burdigalian foraminifera as 
Lepidocyclina tournoueri and L. marginata. In all probability, the general 
polyzoal facies properly belongs to the Middle Miocene. 

At Bird Rock, Torquay, a magnificent cliff section is exposed, showing a 
vertical succession of 273 feet. The beds form a dome-shaped anticline, 
the centre of which is at Bird Rock. Forming the lowest of the series in 
this area, they can be traced either way along the shore where they pass up 
into a polyzoal and echinoid limestone with Heteropora, Selenaria, Cellepora 
(with large ramose and rod-like zoaria), and with Echinocyamus (Scutellina) 

In other localities enormous deposits of both hard and friable limestone 
are developed, which point to deposition in a rapidly subsiding marine basin 
at moderate depths, as witnessed by the presence of the larger shelled 

u 2 

300 Federal Handbook. 

foraminifera. These local foraminiferal deposits, as compared with those in 
coral reef areas at the present day, seem to indicate any depth between 20 
and 60 fathoms, whilst the polyzoal rock must have accumulated at a depth 
averaging 100 fathoms, as borne out by recent dredgings in the Southern 
Ocean by the Federal Trawler Endeavour. 

As was seen from the previous list of Balcombian fossils, many species 
range throughout the Cainozoic. Other species are peculiar to that series, 
but they are very rare. In the Janjukian Series, however, a great accession 
to the number of new forms takes place ; although where the argillaceous 
conditions of the underlying Balcombian have continued, those older species 
persist into the newer strata. The limestone facies brings in quite a new 
population, for that condition of deposition was markedly absent from the 
Balcombian. The rule which governed the maximum development, gene- 
rally in the Miocene, of certain fossil types in Europe, as Clypeaster for example, 
obtains here, since in one species, C. gippslandicus, the test is of medium- 
size in the Balcombian, gigantic in the Janjukian at Bairnsdale, and small 
again in the Kalimnan. Many other examples could be added, as those of 
Linthia and Spondylus. 

Chief Fossils. — Cetacea — Ziphius geelongensis, Parasqualodon wilhinsoni. 
Fishes — Carcharodon auriculatus, Caroharoides totuserratus. Mollusca — Spiruli- 
rostra curta (only two other species known, and both from the Miocene, viz., 
S. bellardii and S. hcsrnesi), Voluta macroptera, Volutilithes anticingulatus, 
Eburnopsis tessehtus, Morio wilsoni, Cyprcea consobrina., C. platyrhyncha, 
Cerithium pritchardi, Turritella septifraga, Turbo eiheridgei, Pleurotomaria 
tertiaria, Spondylus gcederopoides, Pecten eyrei, Dlmopsis insolita, Crassatellites 
oblonga. Brachiopods — Terebratu'la aldingce, Acanthothyris squamosa. 
Crustacea — Lepas pritchardi. Vermes — Ditrupa cornea var. wormbetiensis, 
Serpula ouyenensis. Echinoids — Cidaris australice, Cassidulus australice, 
Brissopsis archeri, Eupatagus rotundus. Corals — Flabellum distinctum, 
Deltocyathus subviola, Stephanotrochus tatei, Graphularia senescens (J. and K.). 
Sponges — Ecionema newberyi, Plectroninia halli, Tretocalia pezica. Fora- 
minifera — Gypsina howchini, Rotalia calcar, Amphistegina lessonii, Cyclo- 
clypeus pustulosus, Lepidocyclina tournoueri, L. marginata. 

Localities. — In Victoria — Spring Creek Series, Torquay (glauconitic and 
yellow marls, and polyzoal limestone) ; Waurn Ponds (polyzoal limestone and 
marls) ; Moorabool Kiver and Batesford (Lepidocyclina and polyzoal lime- 
stone) ; Curlewis (polyzoal limestone and marls with calcareous sponges) ; 
Grange Burn, Hamilton (polyzoal limestone with Lepidocyclina an&Amphis- 
tegina) ; Flinders (polyzoal limestone with calcareous sponges) ; Flemington, 
lower beds (fossiliferous ironstone) ; Keilor (foraminiferal limestone) ; Aire 
coastal series (marls and lignitic clays) ; Birregurra (grey and yellow marls) ; 
Bairnsdale (Amphistegina limestone and yellow fossiliferous marls) ; Corio 
Bay and Fyansford (yellow marls) ; bores in Mallee (white, polyzoal lime- 
stone and glauconitic marls). 

In South Australia — Mount Gambier (white polyzoal limestone) ; Aldinga, 
lower beds (clays, glauconite marls, and limestones) ; banks of Murray River 
(polyzoal limestone) ; Murray desert. 

Tasmania — Table Cape, near Wynyard, includes Crassatellites bed and 
overlying Turritella bed. 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 301 

Probably the New South Wales leaf-beds (Dalton and Gunning) belong 
here. Their flora is largely that of Bacchus Marsh, Narracan, Berwick, 
Pitfield, Cobungra, Dargo, and Bogong. 

Kalimnan Series. 

General Characters. — In the Sorrento bore the Janjukian marls pas3 in- 
sensibly upwards into the Kalimnan, without much lithological change ; 
and by their containing a considerable amount of glauconite, denote that they 
were formed in moderately deep water. At Beaumaris, however, where these 
beds are well exposed in the cliff face, the rock is a yellow sandy marl, with 
numerous shells and sharks' teeth and occasional bands of fossils. The beds 
at Beaumaris are shallower in character, and evidence of current action is 
afforded by a nodule bed with numerous fish-teeth and rolled fossils at the 
base of the series. This nodule bed exactly corresponds in stratigraphical 
position with that at Muddy Creek and Grange Burn. The Kalimnan series 
at the latter localities consist of quite shallow water deposits, with Mytilus, 
Natica, Nassa, and Barnea ; whilst the thick-shelled Trigonia howitti is 
further evidence in support of its shallow water origin. By the presence of 
Scaldicetus and other cetacean remains, the Lower Pliocene age of this series 
as stated originally by McCoy, is substantiated. 

Chief Fossils. — Cetacea — Scaldicetus macgeei, Physetodon baileyi. Fishes 
- — Oxyrhina hastalis, Galeocerdo aduncus, Cestracion cainozoicus, Diodon for- 
mosus. Mollusca — Ancilla papillata, Voluta fulgetroides, V. masoni, Fusus 
gippslandicus, Natica cunninghamensis, Eglisia triplicate, Dentalium largi- 
crescens, Pecten antiaustralia, Perna percrassa, Glycimeris halli, Trigonia 
margaritacea var. acuticostata, Sunetta gibberula, Mactra hamiltonensis. 
Corals — Trematotrochus clarkei, Notophyllia gracilis. 

Localities. — Upper beds, Muddy Creek ; upper series at Shelford ; lower 
Glenelg River ; Beaumaris ; Gippsland lakes ; bores in Mallee, at 100 to 
250 feet ; Sorrento bore, at 585 to 741 feet (circ.) ; upper Murray cliffs ; 
Adelaide ; Haddon, Vict, (deep leads with plant remains). 

Werrikooian Series. 

In Upper Pliocene times the southern part of the continent had risen 
considerably, and corresponding denudation took place. The country must 
have supported a rich fauna, largely marsupial, of which we have evidence in 
Phascolomys pliocenus, of the Dunolly Gold Drift. The type locality of the 
Werrikooian is Limestone Creek, Glenelg River, where a rich marine molluscan 
fauna, with a large percentage of living species is found. The Upper beds of 
Moorabool Viaduct appear to belong here. 

The inland and coastal deposits such as cave floors, volcanic tuffs, and 
consolidated dunes afford evidence of many extinct and living marsupial 
genera, among the former being Notoiherium, Diprotodon, Procoptodon, and 
Palorchestes ; while the giant emu — Genyornis — occurs in the Diprotodon 
swamps of Lake Callabonna, South Australia, and also at Mount Gambier, 
and in Queensland. Remains of Dromornis, a struthious bird as large as 
the moa, occurs in the Pliocene of Queensland, New South Wales, and South 

302 Federal Handbook. 

Australia. The volcanic tuffs of Tower Hill, Victoria, must be very late 
Pleistocene, for they overlie beds of marine shells identical in species with 
those now found living a short distance away on the sea-coast. 

The physiographical results of a study of the Cainozoics show that 
in Oligocene times the land suffered much oscillation, subsidence being 
sometimes in evidence, at others elevation. The climate was then 
warm-temperate to sub-tropical. With the Miocene was ushered in a great 
steady movement of subsidence, as shown by the great limestone series, 
with only occasional elevation, when the dynamical movements expressed 
themselves in volcanic outbursts, the older basalt filling up the valleys both 
inland and coastal, as at Dargo and Flinders respectively. The climate 
was probably warm-temperate. In the Lower Pliocene or Kalimnan times, 
elevation re-commenced, and gave rise to the shell-banks and shallow-water 
marls. The molluscan genera at this time indicate a climate similar to that 
now enjoyed. In Upper Pliocene and Pleistocene times, there i3 evidence 
for the belief that the climate became even colder than now, due probably 
to uplift, for estuarine sands found in the Mallee borings, perhaps 300 feet 
above sea level indicate a sub-temperate faunal character. 

9. Igneous Rocks. 

By T. W. Edgeworth David, G.M.G., D.Sc., F.R.S., and Ernest W. Skeats, 
D.Sc., A.R.C.S., F.G.S., Professor of Geology in the University of Melbourne. 


The oldest known volcanic rocks in the Commonwealth are those of the 
Norseman and other regions of the great gold-bearing belts in the southern 
part of Western Australia. These are of the nature of amygdaloidal dole- 
rites associated with contemporaneous tuff. Further north, as at Kalgoorlie 
and Coolgardie, these volcanic rocks have been altered into hornblende and 
chlorite schists, commonly spoken of as the " greenstone " schists, and it is 
in them that most of the payable gold-bearing belts occur. In the Pilbara 
district, rocks of this type belong to a lower division of the Algonkian group, 
known as the Warrawoona series. This is followed by a later Algonkian 
series — the Mosquito series — in which the Pre-Cambrian group terminates in 
that district. Plutonic rocks are also widely represented in the Pre-Cam- 
brian group. For example, in Western Australia there are huge belts of 
granite passing into gneiss and traversed by veins of pegmatite. In places 
the granite intersects older diorite rocks. In other places, as at Kalgoorlie, 
serpentine occurs in the same group. The interesting observation has been 
made, at the Phillips River gold-field, on the south coast of Western Aus- 
tralia, that the local granite is of a very marked albite type, in fact it is almost 
devoid of any potash, but relatively high in soda. In the same region a 
quartz-ceratophyre has been identified, and the interesting question here 
suggests itself as to whether we may not have representatives of the third 
great division of igneous rocks — third in relation to the well recognised alkali 
and calcic types, namely the spilitic suite. From the Blyth Range, a myrme- 
kite granite has been described, showing gridiron structure of quartz-felspar 
intergrowth, not original, and like that of similar granites, probably Archaean, 
in Sweden and Finland. It may be added that in the Phillips River 

Geology op the Commonwealth. 303 

gold-field albite-pegmatite is of common occurrence, in which coarsely- 
crystalline spodumene is associated with the albite. All these rocks are of 
Pre-Cambrian age. 

In reference to its Pre-Cambrian igneous rocks, the State of South Aus- 
tralia is considered to be a petrographical province, the characteristic feature 
of which is the high percentage of titanium oxide, and, to a less degree, the 
abundance of soda. The rock which has given rise to these Pre-Cambrian 
igneous rocks may be termed the Houghton magma. From it have been 
produced ilmenite-diopside-diorite, ilmenite-diopside-syenite, ilmenite-sphene- 
actinolite-pegmatites, and ilmenite-felspar-quartz pegmatites with ilmenite 

The rocks of this Houghton magma are traversed by veins of " yatalite," 
a pegmatite formed of uralitic actinolite (after diopside) albite containing 
microcline, titaniferous magnetite, sphene and quartz. The actinolite is in 
large subidimorphic paramorphs after diopside. Gneissic normal granite 
pegmatite is associated with the " yatalite." 

At Olary, a highly-titaniferous uranium-bearing mineral, davidite, occurs 
in a pegmatite vein, intruding Pre-Cambrian quartzite. 

In addition there are present in this area epi-granites, diopside-diorites, 
granodiorites, hornblende-diorites approaching monzonite, mica-diorite, bio- 
tite-syenite, epi-syenite, and diopside-quartz-syenite with epidote. 

The most typical rock of this series — the diopside- diorite — is interesting 
in view of its high content of soda (5 '34 per cent.), and titanium oxide (3 '11 
per cent.) 

The magmatic name is tonalose. 

In the Pre-Cambrian rocks of Tasmania, it is a singular fact that as far as 
is at present known, there is an entire absence of any kind of igneous rock 
whatsoever, with the single exception, perhaps, of the garnet-zoisite-amphi- 
bolite, which occurs just above Hamilton, on the left bank of the River Forth 
in the north-west of Tasmania. In Victoria, gneisses intruded by granitic 
rocks occur near the western border of the State, in the county Dundas, as 
well as in Gippsland, in north-eastern Victoria. At Broken Hill, on the 
south-western border of New South Wales, the augen-gneisses are Pre- 
Cambrian. In the Macdonnell Ranges, augen-gneisses traversed by very 
coarse pegmatites, with mica crystals in places up to 2 feet or more in 
diameter, are widely distributed. Large crystals of beryl, and occasionally 
tinstone, are associated with the pegmatite. These rocks are traversed by 
micropegmatites, granulitic pyroxene diorites, diorites, gabbros, dolerites, 
and amphibolites — all are probably Pre-Cambrian. 

Perhaps the most extensive lava flows as yet recorded from the Common- 
wealth belong to this system. They are represented at Nullagine, in the 
Pilbara gold-field, where they occur a short distance above the basal gold- 
bearing and diamond-bearing conglomerates. They are partly acid rocks, 
and partly dolerites. In the Kimberley district, there are very large areas 
covered by what is called the great Antrim plateau basalt. At Mount 
Panton, this series of basic lavas and tuffs is capped by beds of somewhat 
phosphatic Salterella limestone. In Northern Territory there is a great series 

304 Federal Handbook. 

of basalts and dacites associated with beds of volcanic tuff and agglomerate, 
the blocks of which are up to 4 feet in diameter. The thickness and full 
extent of this vast series and its petrological character is as yet almost wholly- 
unknown, but there is little doubt that it is part of the great Antrim plateau 

In the account of Cambrian rocks, reference has been made to the Heath- 
cotian series of igneous rocks in Victoria. In the type locality altered basic 
submarine lavas or diabases predominate and are associated with altered 
submarine diabase tuffs, schalsteins, agglomerates, and minor diorite intru- 

Interbedded with the diabases are black cherts, some containing radiolaria 
and at any rate in part derived by metasomatic alteration of diabase ash, 
while the diabase is in places silicified to jasper. At Heathcote, these rocks 
are invaded by micro granite, which may be genetically related to the diabase 
series. Near Heathcote, the diabase at its margin passes into " selwynite," 
a green alteration product containing a green chrome-bearing micaceous 
mineral, chromite, pyroxene, together with corundum. Corundum also 
occurs with chromite in the serpentine area, near Mount Wellington in North 
Gippsland, which is pre-Upper Ordovician, and may be Heathcotian in age. 
The quarries on Mount William, north of Lancefield, from which the aborigines 
manufactured tomahawks, occur in a similar diabase with interbedded black 
cherts and cherty shales, containing protospongia and radiolaria. Similar 
associations of diabase and cherts occur at Mount Major, near Dookie, and 
at Mount Stavely, while serpentinous diabase occurs at the Hum- 
mocks, north of Casterton, in Western Victoria. The whole assemblage of 
these Heathcotian series is strongly suggestive of a spilite suite, but chemical 
analyses of the rocks are not yet available. In Tasmania, probable equiva- 
lents of the Heathcotian volcanic series of Victoria are developed at North 
Dundas, Zeehan, the Leven gorge, etc., in the north-west and west of the 
island. These are known as the porphyroid series, and consist of dynamically 
altered quartz and felspar porphyries, amygdaloidal diabase (spilite ?), breccias 
tuffs, and tufaceous slates, together with intrusive syenites and granites. 


Igneous rocks possibly of this age have been described in South Australia 
from the Blinman mining field as melaphyres, oli vine-diabase, granulitic- 
diabase, gabbro-diabase. These are perhaps related to the dykes of amphi- 
bolite with scapolitised felspar from the New Era mine, near Woodside. In 
Victoria, if the Heathcotian series is of Cambrian age, there are no 
known igneous rocks of Ordovician age. Basic agglomerates from Mount 
Arrowsmith, in New South Wales may also be Ordovician. At the Lynd- 
hurst gold-field, near Mandurama, in New South Wales, there is an immense 
development of contemporaneous basic tuff in the Upper Ordovician black 
cherty graptolitic and radiolarian rocks. In the same state, at Cadia, near 
Orange, two sheets of andesite lava, 30 feet thick, interbedded in the upper 
Ordovician graptolite slates give evidence of contemporaneous volcanic 
activity. They are associated with a deposit of iron ore, estimated to contain 
about 40,000,000 tons of ore. At Forest Reefs, near Orange, this group of lavas 
and tuffs attains a great thickness. 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 305 

In Victoria no definite evidence of contemporaneous igneous rocks of 
Silurian age has yet been forthcoming. It is possible that the alkali granites 
of Victoria, which as far as is known intrude the Ordovician and older rocks 
but not the Silurian series, may be of Silurian age. 

Lower Devonian. 
In Victoria there occurs a wonderful development of igneous rocks, which 
have been referred to this period. It was a time of great earth movement in 
Victoria, when the older Palaeozoic rocks were much folded, and it is probable 
that the intrusion and extrusion of igneous magma accompanied the move- 
ment of folding while the gold deposits appear also to be genetically related 
to the igneous intrusions and the gold quartz veins filled fissures which 
resulted from the folding movements or igneous invasions. Volcanic, dyke, 
and plutonic rocks are abundantly represented. 

The Volcanic Rocks. — These include the following series : — 

The Snowy River Porphyries. — These are acid lavas, mostly rhyolites 
and tuffs, in places over 2,000 feet in thickness. They were erupted 
from a chain of volcanoes, perhaps comparable to the Andes, and 
situated on a probable line of fissure trending nearly north and south 
through Eastern Victoria, near and along the Snowy River. Their 
worn-down stumps are now preserved in mountains like the Cobberas, 
Wombargo, Mount Hotham, etc., while the granite porphyries of 
Mount Taylor, Mount Alfred, etc., near Bairnsdale may represent 
the plugs of some of the volcanoes of this series. Probably of 
similar age are the rocks of Noyang, on the Tambo River, in Eastern 
Gippsland. These include intrusive as well as volcanic types, and 
consist of quartz porphyrites and quartz granophyrites. These 
rocks show a great preponderance of soda over potash and may 
be described as ceratophyres and quartz-ceratophyres 
The Dacite, Quartz-porphyrite Series. — This series is developed in Central 
Victoria from sporadic centres. Fragmental rocks are scarce, except 
in the Lilydale district, and no volcanic necks have been located. 
The rocks consist of thousands of feet of rocks, mainly volcanic, 
but probably in part intrusive. The chief areas are Mount 
Macedon, the Dandenong Hills, Healesville, and Warburton. 
the Cerberean Range, the northern part of the Strathbogies, and 
near Whitfield, in Deiatite. At Mount Macedon, the Dandenongs, 
Healesville, and Warburton, the rocks consist of hypersthene-biotite 
dacites, biotite dacites, and quartz-porphyrites. In the Strath- 
bogies and in Deiatite, garnet accompanies the quartz porphyrites, 
and here they are overlain by Lower Carboniferous sandstones. 
Probably the most complete sequence occurs near Lilydale, where 
fragmental rocks are abundant, and the earlier eruptions consisted 
of alkali dacites or toscanites, with about 7 per cent, of alkalies 
equally divided between potash and soda, quartz porphyrites 
followed, and the volcanic activity concluded with the eruption of 
normal hypersthene biotite dacites. 

306 Federal Handbook. 

Hypabyssal Rocks. — Many of the granites and grano-diorites have 
marginal apophyses of quartz porphyry, pegmatites, etc., penetrating 
the invaded sediments. Of more economic importance are the altered 
types of dykes, some of which carry gold-quartz veins which have 
proved highly auriferous. Among these are the propyitised horn- 
blende porphyrite of Woods Point and Gaffney's Creek, and the 
sericitic quartz-porphyry of the Diamond Creek mine, near Mel- 
bourne. The periodotites of Aberfeldy, the cupriferous 
hornblende amphibolites of the Thomson River, and the horn- 
blende picrite of Sheep Station creek, near Omeo, may belong to 
this period. 
Plutonic Rocks. — As stated in the stratigraphical part, the alkali granites, 
so far as is known, do not penetrate Silurian rocks, and may be of 
Silurian age, but there are petrographic grounds for associating 
them with the grano-diorites and adamellites, many of which are 
Post Silurian, and some of which, possibly all, are Pre-Lower Car- 
The alkali granites, in which orthoclase predominates over plagioclase 
and potash generally over soda, include the masses of Mount 
Buffalo, Cape Woolamai, Gabo Island, and certain masses near 
Geelong, such as the You Yangs, the Dog Rocks, and an area near 
Certain diabases or epidiorites occur at Ceres and the Dog Rocks, which 
were formerly referred to the Heathcotian, but since they are probably 
genetically related to the alkali granites of these areas are now 
included with them in this place. Adamellites are known to occur 
near Violet Town and Nillahcootie, in north-eastern Victoria ; at 
Trawool, Ingliston, north of Bacchus Marsh, and at Broadmeadows, 
near Melbourne. 
The grano-diorite masses, with which many of the gold-fields appear 
to be genetically related are represented among other areas by the 
big mass south of Bendigo, including Harcourt, from which the rock 
is quarried for building stone, by an area near Pyalong, Bulla, 
Macedon, south of Mount Dandenong, and south of Warburton. 
In the three latter areas the grano-diorite is genetically related to 
the dacites, but is intrusive into them. 
In New South Wales in the type district for Silurian rocks, that of Yass, 
dacitic tuffs containing contemporaneous corals and siliceous sponges are 
developed on a large scale. Individual beds aggregate several hundreds 
of feet in thickness. They are intruded by sills of porphyrite and granodiorite. 
Again, at Jenolan Caves, there is a considerable development of basic and 
intermediate tuffs with lavas, immediately underlying the Pentamerus lime- 
stone in which the caves are situated. Corals and crinoids are scattered 
through these tuffs. Most of these limestones of Jenolan, Yass, etc., repre- 
sent old fringing coral reefs, and it is clear that these grew partly over banks 
of volcanic tuff and lava, The granites of the southern tableland of New 
South Wales, like that of Cooma, which are Post Ordovician and Pre-Devonian, 
probably belong here, as do the miarolitic granites of Parkes, which are 
Post Ordovician, and capped by Devonian rocks. 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 307 

Middle Devonian. 

In the Buchan series of Victoria there is a considerable development of 
felsite lavas called felsitic tuffs and breccias, which pass upwards into the 
Buchan limestone series. These vary from 750 up to 1,000 feet in thickness. 
Diabases and andesites also occur. In New South Wales, in radiolarian rocks 
of this age, there is a great thickness of tuff now proved to be of spilitic origin, 
like the pillow-lava of the British Isles. These Tamworth rocks also contain 
basic spilites. The whole series, including some marine beds of coral reef 
limestone, is estimated to be about 9,000 feet in thickness. 

Upper Devonian. 

In Victoria, at Mount Wellington, a great thickness, up to 2,000 feet, of 
acid lavas, rhyolites, and quartz-porphyrites, extend north-westward towards 
Mansfield. These lavas are proved to be probably Upper Devonian by the 
presence of the fossil Lepidodendron australe. Melaphyres, quite subordinate 
in importance to the rhyolites, are also met with in this series. 

In New South Wales, rhyolites and basalts of this age occur at Yalwal. 

Devonian Plutonic. 

In Tasmania large masses of serpentine and granite were intruded, perhaps 
in Devonian time. 

The serpentine is generally a peripheral mantle of serpentinised gabbroid 
and ultrabasic rocks surrounding the granite masses on the west coast. 
Occasionally between the granite and serpentine is an aureole of actinolitic 
rock. There is the clearest evidence that the ultra-basic rock consolidated 
before the granite. 

This granite, unlike that of the porphyroid series, is uncrushed. 

This granite is mostly tin-bearing. A remarkable feature about the 
serpentine is that it not only contains nickel and osmiridian, but, at Dundas, 
has tin ores associated with it. 


In Victoria, the granodiorites and granodiorite-porphyrites of Mount 
William, in the Grampians, have recently been shown to be intrusions into 
the Grampians sandstones. In addition, sills, dykes, and possibly lava flows 
of quartz porphyry occur in the sandstone. These igneous rocks there are 
post Lower Carboniferous in age, and include the youngest series of plutonic 
rocks known in Victoria. Possibly the quartz-porphyries of Grangeburn, 
near Hamilton, and other localities in Western Victoria, may belong to the 
same period of intrusion. 

In New South Wales there is a wonderful development of lavas and tuffs, 
all through this massive system which aggregates at least 20,000 feet in thick- 
ness. Its upper portion is formed very largely of rhyolite lavas and coarse 
acid tuffs, passing in places into hypersthene andesite. Immense sills of 
quartz-porphyry intersect this bedded series. Beds of arkose-like tuffs of 
great thickness, which at first sight appear to be granite but which are really 
acid tuffs, contribute considerably to the thickness of the system. It would 
appear that acid eruptions were in progress on a very grand scale in New 
South Wales during this period. Mount Spiriby, the highest point of Mount 

308 Federal Handbook. 

Capoompeta in New England, is formed of rhyolite of this age. The andesites 
and rhyolites of the Drake gold-field are possibly Carboniferous, but may 
belong to the base of the Permo-Carboniferous system. In Queensland, 
lavas of the nature of amygdaloidal dolerites and agglomerates, in places 
containing metallic copper and carbonate of copper in the steam holes, are 
interstratified with sedimentary rocks at Mount Toussaint, in the Bowen 


In New England, the immense belt of serpentine which stretches in a 
nearly continuous belt for fully 150 miles from Bingara to Nundle, is either 
of very late Devonian, or of Carboniferous age, and forms a mantle curving 
sympathetically with the huge intrusive batholiths and sills of granite of 
the New England tableland. On the eastern margins of the New England 
granites are large outlying masses of serpentine, on the Manning, Hastings, 
and Clarence Kivers. There is clear evidence here, as in Tasmania, that the 
granite has consolidated within a discontinuous ring of serpentine. In New 
England, there are three varieties of granite belonging perhaps to this period, 
the oldest being a bluish-grey biotite-hornblende-pyroxene granite-porphyry. 
This occurs perhaps as a huge sill : it was followed by widespread intrusions 
of sphene granite, full of dark, basic segregations. This in turn was intruded, 
probably in Permo-Carboniferous time, by an acid granite, containing up 
to 80 per cent, of Si0 2 . The silica percentage in this group ranges from 
about 65 to 80. Most of the granites of Queensland may belong to this 

Permo-Carboniferous (Permian). 

Plutonic and Hypabyssal. 

The intrusion of the acid granites, as already stated, had taken place 
in Permo-Carboniferous time. Possibly some of the Queensland tin-bearing 
granites belong to this age, as well as the diorite dykes which have intruded 
the Lower Permo-Carboniferous rocks of the Gympie gold-field, also in Queens- 


In New South Wales, the great coal basin which separates the New England 
massif from the Bathurst-Monaro massif was the scene of eruptions of lavas 
and tuffs in Permo-Carboniferous time. At Harper's Hill, 7 miles west of 
West Maitland, coarse andesite tuffs and agglomerates are interstratified in 
the Lower Marine Series, and hyperstheneandesite, as well as natrolite basalt 
with datolite are intercalated in the upper part of this series below the horizon 
of the Greta coal measures. 

An important group of alkaline eruptives occurs in the Cambewarra- 
Kiama districts, to the south of Sydney. This is partly contemporaneous 
with the top of the Upper Marine Series (shells of Cleobis grandis and Chenomya 
occurring abundantly in the basal tuffs, and partly with the Bulli coal 
measures. The series of lavas and tuffs, about 1,000 feet thick, shows the 
following sequence, the oldest being mentioned first : — orthoclase-basalts, 
or latites, the total alkalies ranging up to over 9 per cent., of which from 2 per 
cent, to nearly 5 per cent, are potash. These lavas range in composition 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 309 

from shoshonose to monzonose, having points of resemblance to the rocks 
of the Yellowstone region, United States of America, the trachydolerites in 
part, and also being comparable with the "Ciminites" and " Vulsinites " of 
Italy. These earlier eruptions of alkaline, not very basic rocks, were asso- 
ciated with sills of monzonite, and possibly as the result of progressive dif- 
ferentiation) produced later, perhaps in Triassic time, peralkaline rocks like 
nepheline-syenite and tinguaite, as sills (the alkalies being 10 per cent, to 
15 per cent.) on the one hand, and monchiquite dykes (alkalies under 4 per 
cent.) on the other. Both these types intrude the Permo-Carboniferous and 
Triassic rocks, and may be related to the Mittagong Post- Triassic Series, to 
be described later. 

Still later basalts were erupted of a much less alkaline type. At Mur- 
rurundi, in New South Wales, there were extensive eruptions of basic tuff and 
lavas near the horizon probably of the Newcastle coal measures, the latter 
containing much chert formed by the alteration of powdered felspar and 
volcanic glass. 


Volcanic. — In New South Wales there is a considerable development of 
more or less fine volcanic tuff in the lower division of the Trias, known as the 
Narrabeen stage. These tuffs are distinctly basic in character, and like the 
lavas of the Permo-Carboniferous, contain metallic copper. Through re- 
distribution in water the tuffs have passed into the characteristic chocolate 
shale, so well seen at Long Keef and Narrabeen, etc., to the north of Manly. 


At Brisbane there is a considerable development of coarse rhyolite tuff, 
in the heart of the city itself, as at the Leichhardt quarries. Fossil trees 
completely carbonized are found embedded in the tuff. The tuffs are followed 
by basic lavas. It is as yet uncertain whether the Brisbane tuffs belong to 
the Trias or to the Jura system. To the south of Brisbane, in the direction of 
Mount Flinders and the Macpherson Eanges, trachytes are interbedded in 
the Jurassic rocks and are associated with Tceniopteris daintreei. 

In Victoria, the Jurassic rocks were penetrated in a bore to a depth of 
over 3,000 feet, 60 miles easterly from Melbourne. The Jurassic strata, 
chiefly felspathic sandstones, are uniform in character over the state and 
have been shown to contain abundant fragments of undecomposed felspar, 
presumably of tufaceous origin. The source of all this tuff has not yet been 

Jurassic (?) (possibly Triassic). 

Tasmania. — Eocks of foyaitic magma are represented by the Port Cygnet 
series. These rocks are considered to be perhaps of Lower Mesozoic age. 

At Regatta Point, Port Cygnet, the following occur : — Augite syenite, poor 
in quartz; nepheline syenite, essexite, jacupirangite facies of nepheline 
syenite, melanite-hauy-syenite porphyry, garnet-bearing mica solvsbergite, 
tinguaite, garnet tinguaite porphyry, nephelinite, etc. These rocks are all 
strongly intrusive into the Permo-Carboniferous series, but their relations 
to the Jurassic sedimentary rocks and to the diabase have not yet been clearly 

310 Federal Handbook. 

Hypabyssal. — The close of Jurassic time was marked by one of the most 
wonderful manifestations of eruptive force of which we have evidence any- 
where in the Commonwealth. The vast sills of dolerite, partly hunne- 
diabase, that is an enstatite-augite diabase, partly konga-diabase, the latter 
containing normal pyroxene and granophyric intergrowths, probably may 
be referred here. These rocks have disrupted the Jurassic strata of Tasmania 
on a grand scale, and as individual sills are in some cases fully 500 
feet in thickness and of immense lateral extent, portions of the Jurassic 
sandstones overlying them must have floated on this heavy magma like 
icebergs in a polar sea. As already suggested, these intrusions may 
have accompanied the breaking in of the big land bridges of G-ondwana Land, 
which formerly joined Australia to India, South Africa, South America, and 

Cretaceous. — No volcanic rocks of this age are known anywhere in the 
Commonwealth, with perhaps the single exception of the so-called Desert 
sandstones, like those of Port Mackay, in Queensland. It has been stated 
that part of these sandstones is built up of trachytic tuff. 


A great variety of volcanic rocks belong to this era, especially in Eastern 
Australia and Tasmania. In lower Cainozoic time there were extensive out- 
flows of basalts and eruptions of basic tuff. These are spoken of by the Vic- 
torian geologists as the older basalts. Probably the older basalts of New 
South Wales, and perhaps Queensland belong to this series. It is doubtful 
whether the series is represented either in South Australia, Tasmania, or 
Western Australia. In Victoria, where they have been most fully described 
they are developed at Melbourne itself at Koyal Park, Essendon, Broad- 
meadows, and Keilor, where they occur underneath the lower Cainozoic f os- 
siferous sediments. They occur also near Geelong, as at Curlewis, at French 
Island and Phillip Island. At Cape Schanck, a bore penetrated them for 
over 800 feet, while at Flinders another bore was discontinued after passing 
through no less than 1,300 ft. of older basalt. They are widespread in south- 
east Gippsland, as at Buln Buln, Leongatha, Neerim, Mirboo, etc., while in 
north Gippsland they cap the plateau sometimes at elevations of 5,000 feet 
as at Mount Feathertop and Dargo high plains. Their chemical composi- 
tion, so far as is known is normal, but occasionally crystals of anorthoclase 
are present. In texture, they range from tachylyte to coarse dolerites and 
their decomposition provides rich soils. In the fresh state they are quarried 
in places for road metal. Although in part apparently sub-marine, they do 
not, as far as is yet observed show affinities with the spilites. In New South 
Wales, there is a considerable development of older basalts overlying leaf 
beds first considered to be of Eocene age, though later there have been adduced 
strong reasons for considering that these leaf beds may be of somewhat newer 
age. They are typically developed in the New England district of New 
South Wales, where for the most part they consist of reddish decomposed 
amygdaloidal basic lavas, passing in places into dense columnar basalts. 
Frequently these New England lavas are capped by beds of laterite passing 
into bauxite and in places into pisolitic iron ore. These laterites mostly 
represent basalt tuffs. 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 311 

Middle Cainozoic. 

This is a most remarkable group of volcanic rocks which, in eastern Aus- 
tralia and Tasmania, is distinctly of alkali characters. Eocks of this age 
and character extend at intervals from Casterton and Coleraine in western 
Victoria, through Mount Macedon and Omeo. In New South Wales they are 
met at Bowral, the Canobolas, Warrumbungle Mountains, Nandewar Ranges, 
the MacPherson Ranges. In Queensland they trend through Mount Flinders, 
the Fassifern districts, East Moreton, Wide Bay, the Glass House mountains. 
Mount Larcombe, Yeppoon to Clermont and Springsure, in North Queens- 
land. The total distance over which they have been traced is over 1,200 

Victoria. — In the Western District anorthoclase-aegirine-trachytes occur 
in a number of areas, including the neighbourhood of Carapook, Coleraine, 
Mount Koroite, Koolomert, and " the Giant Rock," at Wotong Vale. The 
hills of Adam and Eve, near Coleraine consist of anorthoclase olivine basalt 
traversed by a trachyte dyke, but at Mount Koroite and at Koolomert, the 
basic lavas appear to rest upon the trachytes. 

The Mount Macedon alkali province in Central Victoria has been more 
closely studied than any similar area in Australia. Fragmental rocks are 
practically absent and the lava flows and intrusives were poured out over or 
intruded into a Palaeozoic complex of Ordovician sediments, and Devonian 
dacites and grano-diorites. The sequence from below upwards appears to 
be as follows : — Anorthoclase aegirine trachyte, volcanic plugs or mamelons 
of solvsbergite, anorthoclase basalt and two new rock types, macedonite and 
woodendite, followed by anorthoclase-olivine trachyte, olivine anorthoclase 
trachyte and limburgite, the volcanic history of the area terminating with 
the pouring out of calcic newer basalts of probably Pleistocene age. The 
new types, macedonite and woodendite, present similarities to the orthoclase 
basalts, and closer resemblance to the mugearites. They contain alkali 
felspars associated with biotite and olivine, and have a high content of phos- 
phorus and titanium. 

Possibly the monchiquite dykes which come up the axes of the anticlines 
in the mining fields of Bendigo and Castlemaine, etc., may be genetically 
related to these alkali rocks. 

In north-eastern Victoria alkali rocks probably of similar age to those of 
Mount Macedon, occur near Mansfield, Omeo, and Mount Leinster, in Benambra. 

About 15 miles north-east from Mansfield, in the Tolmie highlands, 
Gallows Hill has recently been shown to consist of a volcanic hill with lava 
flows of nepheline phonolite. At Barwite, east of Mansfield, a similar nepheline 
phonolite appears to occur as a dyke, but its field relations have not yet been 

At Frenchman's Hill, just north of Omeo, a volcanic hill with central 
core of solvsbergite has on its flanks flows of anorthoclase trachyte, and a 
more or less radial system of dykes, including pegmatites, quartz veins, 
bostonites, diabase, trachytes, and nepheline phonolite. They have been 
described as of Palaeozoic age, but are almost certainly Cainozoic. The phono- 
lites of Omeo, Gallows Hill, and Barwite are the only ones as yet known in 

312 Federal Handbook. 

In Benambra at Mount Leinster, another volcanic hill includes solvsbergites 
anorthoclase trachytes, and interesting dyke rocks, some allied to variolite,' 
and as in the case of Frenchman's Hill, this series has been regarded as of 
Palaeozoic age, but is probably Oainozoic. 

In the Mittagong-Bowral district of New South Wales, there is an impor- 
tant suite of eruptive alkaline rocks, all of which are intrusive into the Triassic 
sediments. They are chiefly developed at Gib Rock, and Mount Jellore 
respectively, 2,830 feet, and 2,734 feet high, both of which represent pro- 
bably the denuded plugs of old volcanoes or dome eruptions, probably the 
latter. The sequence has been as follows : the oldest rocks being mentioned 
first :— 

1. Alkaline rocks of intermediate composition — (a) Syenite, allied to 

bostonite, magmatic name boxanolose, containing fluorspar and 
occasional hydro -carbons, in addition to orthoclase, arfvedsonite 
aegirine, magnetite and ilmenite ; (b) iEgirine -arfvedsonite -quartz 
trachytes. The total alkalies in the above two rocks range from 
10 per cent, to 12 per cent. 

2. Basic sub-alkaline rocks, with 46 per cent. Si0 2 , total alkalies 

about 5 per cent. These rocks are essexites, with primary analcite. 

3. Basic rocks — ■ 

(a) Basalts and dolerites, Si0 2 , 43 per cent., alkalies 3 per cent. 

(b) Picrites Si0 2 , 40 per cent, alkalies 2 per cent. 

Next on the western side of the Blue Mountains there lies a series of very 
perfect laccolites in the form of dome-shaped hills, like Mount Stormy and 
others, which are formed largely of nepheline, aegirine, a little anorthoclase, 
and a considerable amount of analcite. These have been described as syenitic 
tinguaites. Still further west, in the locality of the Canobolas, near Orange, 
there is a great development of alkaline lavas and tuffs, extending in a general 
northerly direction to the Warrumbungle Mountains, between Dubbo and 
Coonabarabran, and thence trending in a north by east direction into the 
Nandewar Ranges. From thence at intervals, the alkaline volcanic belt 
can be traced further into the McPherson Ranges dividing Queensland from 
New South Wales, through the Mount Flinders and Fassifern districts to 
East Moreton and Wide Bay ; thence the belt trends northerly through the 
Glass House Mountains, near Maryborough. Still further north it has been 
identified at Mount Larcombe to the south of Rockhampton, as well as in the 
hills at Yeppoon, to the north-east of Rockhampton. Though this immense 
belt has been proved to extend in a north and south direction for a distance 
of about 800 miles, the belt is characterized physiographically by a number 
of dome-shaped or cylindrical hills, in many cases over 4,000 feet high, and 
very abrupt, marking the sites of old volcanic necks. In the Warrumbungle 
Mountains, at Wantialable Creek, the alkaline trachytic tuffs are inter- 
stratified with diatomaceous earths, the latter containing fossil leaves. 
These tuffs are formed of snow white, often perfect, crystals, of anorthoclase - 
felspar. The frequent association of diatom aceous earth with these volcanic 
rocks suggests a causal connexion. Meteoric waters, with their temperature 
raised through contact with heated volcanic rocks, and therefore capable of 
dissolving a relatively large amount of silica, together with the water of hot 
springs, probably favour the development locally of the diatoms. The 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 313 

usual sequence seems to have been first, leucocratic trachytes (sometimes 
preceded by rhyolites) commencing with riebeckite arfvedsonite comendites 
passing upwards into pantella rites, followed by solvsbergites, phonolitic 
trachytes, and melanocratic trachytes. These are followed by alkaline 
andesites, and these in turn by basalts, either olivine basalts or olivine 
fayalite-melilite basalts. The sequence in most cases has been from acid to 

These volcanic rocks are associated with intrusive hypabyssal rocks of 
the nature of porphyrite, tonalite monzonite, soda andesite, etc. The whole 
group shows Eastern Australia to be an alkaline and titanium-rich petro- 
graphical province. 

The melilite fayalite basalts and tuffs (alnoites), which break through the 
konga-diabase at One-Tree Point, Hobart, and the melilite-eudialite basalts 
of Shannon Tier, and the nepheline basanites of Table Cape, Tasmania, 
are perhaps to be grouped here. Their occurrence recalls that of the 
alnoites which have intruded the diabase of South Africa. Perhaps to 
the closing phases of these alkaline eruptions belong the leucite lavas of 
Byrock, Capitan, Harden, and Lake Cudjellico, the essexites of Prospect, 
near Parramatta, the nepheline basalts of Capertee, Mount Royal, etc., in 
New South Wales, the nepheline basalts of Mount Beardmore, and the 
leucite-basalts of the Normanby Reefs in the Cooktown district in 

It is possible, however, that the above lavas are Newer Cainozoic. 

Newer Cainozoic to Recent Newer Basalts. 

These rocks form physiographically very extensive plains, stretching 
from Mount Gambier in South Australia, through the western district of 
Victoria to Melbourne, in several places, as in the Loddon Valley, running 
long distances to the north of the main divide. These basalt plains are 
diversified by hundreds of small volcanic cones or " puys," in various stages 
of preservation or dissection, and probably the most recent cone is the com- 
pound one of Tower Hill, west of Warrnambool. Much of the lava forming 
the plains probably proceeded from fissures now concealed beneath the 
lava flows. In places shallow broad depressions of the lava surface have led 
to the formation of extensive lakes over these plains, while in places the present 
streams have trenched deep and sometimes wide valleys through them. 
The rocks are mainly normal calcic olivine basalts, but in places, as at Ballarat 
and Melbourne, occasionally contain a few crystals of anorthoclase, while 
analcite has been recorded from a coarse type of olivine -augite dolerite or 
essexite, occurring as boulders in the tuffs at the base of the volcanic series 
at Lake Bullenmerri, near Camperdown. The eruptions appear to be con- 
nected with extensive movements of subsidence and of faulting which affected 
Victoria at intervals from post Pliocene to recent times, and in some places 
the sequence of rocks was first tuffs, then lava flows, while the later volcanic 
cones, many with perfectly preserved craters, consist mainly of scoria and 
tuffs. The texture of the basalts varies from coarse dolerites, through finer 
varieties to the glassy form — tachylyte, such as is found at the Lai Lai Falls 
and the Merri Creek, near Melbourne. The rock is extensively quarried 
as a building stone, and constitutes the road metal of Melbourne 

C. 12154. X 

314 Federal Handbook. 

and many other localities. These newer basalts in Victoria frequently- 
sealed up old river valleys, the deep leads which contained rich deposits 
of gold-bearing sands and gravels, as at Ballarat, Ararat, and the Loddon 

In South Australia, Mount G-ambier, Mount Reid, Mount Leah, etc., 
represent recent olivine basalt cones and craters. The basalt flows of Kan- 
garoo Island probably belong here, as may those of Bunbury, in the south- 
eastern part of Western Australia. Probably most of the basalts of Northern 
Tasmania, including at Sheffield the tachylytic variety, belong here. In 
New South Wales, the newer basalts are widely distributed and in places 
form the cappings of deep leads. Basalts are abundant in the New England 
district, and on the border of Queensland occur at Tweed Heads. In Queens- 
land, there are some nearly perfect craters, enclosing crater lakes, preserved 
on the flanks of the Bellenden-Ker Ranges. From their perfect state of 
preservation, it is probable that they too belong to a late stage of newer 
basalt series. 

In Papua, basalts and agglomerates, some 3,000 feet in thickness, overlie 
a peneplain cut out of the highly-folded Pliocene Port Moresby beds. Mount 
Victory, in British Papua, over 6,000 feet high, is the only lava producing 
volcano at present known within the territory of the Commonwealth. This 
has not yet been explored. 

10. MetamQrphic Rocks. 

By Prof. T. W. Edgeworth David, C.M.G., D.Sc, F.R.S., and Prof. Ernest 
W. Skeats, D.Sc, A.R.C.S., F.G.S. 

Contact Metamorphism. — Apart from the normal developments of hornfels, 
andalusite mica schist, cordierite mica rocks, etc., where granitic rocks have 
invaded shales, rocks such as garnet-rock, wollastonite rock, epidote rock 
occur at the contact, chiefly between acid eruptives and limestones, and 
ophicalcites where the latter have been intruded by ultrabasic pyroxene rocks 
belonging to the perido totes or picrites. Contact metamorphic rocks of 
special interest occur at the Mount Bischofi tin mine in the north-west part 
of Tasmania. There a quartz-porphyry, which has broken through slaty 
rocks, probably of Ordovician age, has had the whole of its felspar converted 
by pneumatolysis into fibrous radial topaz (pycnite). The rock at the same 
time has been tourmalinised, with a development in places in a massive form 
of tourmaline veins and irregular lumps, of the dark-green ferriferous variety 
zeuxite. An interesting type of contact alteration is produced by the in- 
trusion of granodiorite into dacite, near Selby, in the Dandenong hills, at 
Warburton, and Mount Mace don, in Victoria. The dacite becomes slightly 
schistose. Hypersthene is converted into secondary biotite, ilmenite reacting 
with felspar forms fringes of secondary biotite, the ground mass is re -crystal- 
lized on a larger scale and some secondary blue tourmaline is developed. 
Near Selby, local development of crystalline biotite gneisses from the hypers- 
thene dacite occur near the granodiorite contact. In this case it is possible 
that dynamic metamorphism reinforced the contact effects. Adinoles have 
been recorded amongst the cherts in the Heathcotian series of Victoria, but 
the analysis suggests that they do not vary much from the normal cherts in 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 315: 

spite of the fact that their association with albite-diabase flows, schalsteins, 
tuffs, and radiolarian rocks suggests a local development of the spilite suite, 
with which adinoles are often associated. 

Dynamic Metamorphism. — -Under this heading may be included the 
phyllites and the crystalline schists. 

Phyllites. — Argillaceous sediments altered to phyllites occur in the districts 
of Kosciusko 5 Cooma, and Cobar, in New South Wales, and in Victoria are 
represented near Yackandandah, and in several other localities in the meta- 
morphic belt of north-eastern Victoria, and in Dundas in western Victoria. 
The precise age of many of these rocks is undetermined, but some have 
been referred to the Pre-Cambrian Series. 

Crystalline Schists. — Very little work has as yet been done in the way of 
classifying these rocks on the principles of Grubenmann. There is here an 
enormous fieldfor research, more than a third of Australia, including large parts 
of Western and South Australia, western New South Wales, and areas in 
western and eastern Victoria, and a large portion of Tasmania being formed 
of these rocks. Rocks of Grubenmann's upper, middle, and lower (deep) zone 
are well represented. Typical of the upper zones are chloritoid schist, talc 
schist, chlorite schist, talc schist, the schistose amphibolites and serpentinized 
areas of the Broken Hill area in New South Wales, the epidiorite, the glauco- 
phane rock and glaucophane-epidote rock, albite -chlorite -sillimanite schist 
of Leahy's Creek, in the D'Aguilar Range area, north of Brisbane, in Queens- 
land ; the sericitic quartzites, magnetitic quartzite, conglomerates, talcose 
slates, and epi-magnetite slates of Northern Territory, the Algonkian (?) 
quartz-schists of Tasmania, and crushed quartzite conglomerates of Goat 
Island, near Ulverstone, in Tasmania, muscovite schists, quartz schists, 
chlorite schists of the Mount Lofty to Murray Bridge region to the east of 
Adelaide, chlorite, amphibolite graphite schists, siliceous mylonites (ribbon 
jasper), and crush conglomerates of felspar porphyry of Kalgoorlie, in Western 

Amongst rocks which characterize the middle zone are the staurolite 
gneisses, staurolite mica schists, zoisite schists, and tremolite schists of the 
Broken Hill area, the tremolite schists, actinolite schists, muscovite -biotite 
schists, andalusite schists, and " paringite "* schists of the Mount Lofty to 
Murray Bridge area, the muscovite and biotite schists of western and north- 
eastern Victoria ; the muscovite -biotite schists, garnet-zoisite amphibolite 
rock of Forth River, Tasmania ; cyanite-rutile granulite, epidote-actinolite 
topaz schist, anthophyllite schist from D'Aguilar Range area, Queensland. 

Possibly to this middle group may be referred the remarkable sapphire 
schists of Mount Painter. At Mount Painter, 300 miles north-west of Broken 
Hill, there occurs a rock formed of corundum, often as sapphire, cordierite 
sillimanite, pleonaste, magnetite, and abundant apatite, monazite and 

These schists are traversed by an immense lode containing radio-active 
minerals such as autunite, torbernite, monazite radio-active fluorspar, etc. 
To the lowest or middle zone may belong the epidote-cordierite-chlorite 

* A moderately coarse friable silvery muscovite-biotite schist with very wavy lamination, and with 
very prominent "knots'* or "eyes" of impure andalusite, which may be upwards of an Inch in 

X 2 

316 Federal Handbook. 

schist, the cyanite-rutile granulite, the granulitic mica schist, and the musco- 
vite granulite of the D'Aguilar Range area, and the muscovite-sillimanite 
chiastolite schist, with andalusite schist, of the Mount Lofty to Murray 
Bridge area. 

The following types, perhaps belonging to the deepest zone, have been 
identified in Australia : — Kata-biotite orthoclase gneisses, sillimanite gneiss, 
garnet-sillimanite schist, cordierite -granulite, scapolite-gneiss and plagioclase 
pyroxene rocks, from the Broken Hill area, and scapolite-amphibolite rocks 
and amphibolites, with sphene and vesuvianites from the Mount Lofty 
Ranges, to east of Mount Lofty. The sillimanite schists and gneisses near 
Tallangatta, and elsewhere in north-eastern Victoria, may belong here. 

The following metamorphic rocks seem of special interest : — 

(1) The mylonized granophyric quartz-dolerifces of Western Australia, 
passing at one end of the series by introduction of silica and for- 
mation of haematite into red ribbon jaspers and haematite schists, 
and at the other end, as the result of the introduction of plutonic 
carbon, as methane, etc., passing into graphite schists, as at the 
Great Boulder mine at Boulder, adjacent to Kalgoorlie, where 
methane is still being given off in the deep levels of the mine, at 
2,000 feet below the surface. The ribbon jaspers and haematite 
schists can be traced for fully a thousand miles, at intervals from 
the extreme south to the extreme north of Western Australia. 
Where quartz reefs traverse these metamorphosed mylonized rocks 
they are generally gold-bearing. 

(2) The remarkable belt of sapphire schists adjacent to the great 
radium-bearing lode of Mount Painter. 

(3) The glaucophane schists of Mount Mee in the D'Aguilar Range area 
of Queensland, to the north of Brisbane. 

(4) The important belt of the Broken Hill area, with its sillimanite 
gneiss, scapolite gneiss, pyroxene -amphibole rocks, etc., charac- 
teristic of Grubenmann's deepest zone. 

(5) The wonderful chiastolite belt of Bimbowrie to the west of Broken 
Hill. These chiastolites, often 5 to 6 inches in length, and over 
an inch in diameter, have in some cases suffered paramorphism, 
and pass into aggregates of pinite, with occasional grains of corundum. 
The important " paringite " belt of Mount Lofty may also belong 
to this horizon. 

1 1. Papua. 

New Guinea, 1,500 miles long, with an extreme width of 380 miles, and 
an area of 306,000 square miles, is one of the biggest islands in the world. 

Apart from Polar regions, perhaps, no portion of the world has been so 
little explored, and yet it probably yields to no other part in scientific interest. 
If it were possible to travel from the coast inland in a bee line for from 30 to 
100 miles,* one could pass from the dense, steaming, tropical atmosphere of 
the lowlands, with its rattan-tangled jungles and bright scarlet creepers to the 
bracing air of the open forest glades, where the pink rhododendron forms a 

* So dense is the growth of the jungle that it took the Goodenough-Rawling expedition no less 
than five weeks to travel inland five miles. 

Geology op the Commonwealth. 


i iJ 









Fedebal Handbook. 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 









= ° 

o o 3 

° °^ 

o o o 

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ueuquiej-ajj-jsoy //e A/qeQcuj 

320 Federal Handbook. 

glowing fringe to the sombre mantle of pine and cypress which clothes the 
higher slopes. In British New Guinea, one may climb above the tree line 
to the Alpine grasses and flowers, and extinct glacial lakes of the great horst, 
where, even in midsummer, in early morning the grass and wild strawberries 
are white with frost, and all the shallow pools are crusted with ice. Higher 
still, bare peaks and pinnacles of dark schists pierce the clouds. Among their 
sharp serrated ridges and spurs the mountain torrents gather for their leap 
down steep ravines into the valleys far below. In Dutch New Guinea there 
are even perennial snows and glaciers in the Nassau and Orange Ranges, the 
latter reached in 1905 by Dr. Lorentz and his comrades. 

The association in New Guinea of Dendrolagus and Prcechidna with the 
cloven-footed Sus papuensis, of eucalyptus and casuarina with the oak and 
rhododendron, are typical of that commingling of Indo-Malayan with Aus- 
tralian forms which makes New Guinea so happy a hunting ground for the 
botanist and zoologist. The aborigines, including the pygmies, with their 
primitive pile dwellings recall the lake dwellers of Europe, and present a most 
fascinating study for the anthropologist. Geologically as well as biologically 
New Guinea shows a commingling of Oriental with Australian elements. 

Papua tectonically and palseontologically is an oriental element in the 
Australian region. It is part of the Himalayan- Burmese arc, prolonged 
through the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Java, and Timor.* It is specially 
linked up with the Burmese arc, by the great oil belt lately found in Dutch 
New Guinea and British New Guinea. The limestones, so rich in Orbitoides 
(Lepidocyclina), recently discovered at Bootless Inlet, to the east of Port 
Moresby, are probably of Lower Miocene age, and appear to be close to the 
horizon of the Papuan oil belt. Its trend lines are continuous with those of 
the Malay Peninsula ; and the direction and age of the folding, extending 
as it does into late Pliocene time, agree with those of the Burmese arc. In 
Australia, on the other hand, the latest strong orogenic movements, though 
prolonged in places into the Lower Permo-Carboniferous age, ceased for the 
most part in Carboniferous time. The trend of the main folds in New Guinea 
is in a west to east direction from the Charles Louis Range and Mount Leonard 
Darwin to the north-west end of the Finisterre Mountains. Thence the trend 
is nearly south-east, to near Mount Suckling, and thence to the Louisiade 
Archipelago east-south-east. A probable virgation of the main trend line 
is indicated by the great promontory of New Guinea, opposite New Pomerania, 
and by the long axis of that island. 

This strongly marked Burmese trend line is crossed by minor trend lines, 
subordinate folds and faults, more or less meridional, coming from Australia. 
These manifest themselves where the strong faults at the north-east end of 
Arnhem Land, running north by east, pass over into Frederick Henry Island, 
and also in the faults and small cross folds inland from the Gulf of Papua, 
in the neighbourhood of Port Moresby, and at Ware (Teste) Island, etc. On 
the Purari River there is evidence of minor overthrust faults with the over- 
thrusting coming from west-south-west, as well as of the dominant north-west 
to south-east trend lines. On the whole, evidence up to the present suggests 
that the overfolding of New Guinea has been directed in the western half of 

* The Timor trend line marks a N.E. trend of the arc of new folded rocks bending away from its 
E.W. direction owing to the resistance set up by the great crystalline massif of Darwin and Arnhem 
Land, whose trend lines are directed to the N.W. or N. 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 321 

the island from north to south, and- in the eastern half, from north-east to 
south-west. In other words, New Guinea has been overfolded towards 

The physiographic geology of New Guinea is unique. The backbone of 
New Guinea appears to be a horst mostly part of an old peneplain. This, 
from the south-east extremity of the island as far as to, and including, the 
Finisterre mountains is formed of crystalline schists and gneisses, probably 
Pre-Cambrian. At some spot, not yet explored, to west of the Finisterre 
mountains, and between them and Mount Wilhelmina Peak (15,420 feet), 
the divide is formed of Cretaceous Alveolina limestone. Further west, and 
south of Carstensz Top and Mount Leonard Darwin, Rawlings has described 
perhaps the most stupendous precipice known anywhere in the world, recalling 
the fractures of the lunar Apennines. He estimates its height at 10,500 feet, 
and considers that it is of tectonic origin. The precipice faces the south, 
and is no doubt evidence of a powerful inthrow in that direction. Possibly 
folding has contributed to this gigantic displacement, but to what extent, if at 
all, is not at present known, but from the evidence further east, on the Purari 
River, it may be inferred that the disturbance is in part, at any rate, due to 

On the northern slopes of Mount Suckling, at an altitude of 8,000 feet, 
an immense sheer cliff of quartz schist faces the north-east, and perhaps 
indicates a downthrow in that direction. 

The nearly uniform height of the main Divide in the eastern part of the 
island, rising to from 11,000 to 13,000 feet above sea level, as well as the 
profile of the ranges, strongly suggests an old peneplain, which has been 
block-faulted and subsequently deeply dissected. 

This peneplain has been carved partly out of Pre-Cambrian schists, partly 
out of Devonian, Upper Oolitic and Cretaceous rocks. As the Cretaceous 
transgression probably covered nearly the whole of the island, the peneplain 
composed partly of steeply dipping Cretaceous rocks must obviously be 
Post Cretaceous, though it is possible that the schist portion of the peneplain 
belongs to a Pre-Cretaceous peneplain re-discovered in Post Cretaceous 

The coastal region and foot hills inland from the Gulf of Papua for a 
distance of 50 or 60 miles belongs to a second peneplain, carved out of Miocene 
to Pliocene estuarine and marine strata. The Miocene transgression was 
far less extensive than the Cretaceous, and the Pliocene less extensive than 
the Miocene. Even the Pliocene beds (Port Moresby beds) have been intensely 
folded, and these folded rocks have subsequently been reduced to the level 
of this second peneplain. This lower peneplain has been covered in Post 
Pliocene time partly with basalitc and andesitic tuffs and lavas to a depth of 
from 1,000 to 2,000 feet. A recent transgression has carried horizontally 
bedded coral reefs over the top of some of the Post Tertiary volcanic rocks, 
while in other places the coral rock rests directly on the Pliocene beds. These 
recent coral-reef limestones are now found up to altitudes of 1,000 feet, and 
exceptionally up to 2,000 feet, above sea level, on the south-east side of Papua. 
This proves that a negative movement of the strand line of the order of 1,000 
to 2,000 feet took place in south-eastern New Guinea in recent geological 

322 Federal Handbook. 

This recent emergence of the land has been the cause of modern 
canyon cutting like that of the canyon of the Laloki River, near Port 

Another alternative explanation of the physiographic geology is that the 
whole country from sea to sea, up to the top of the divide, belongs to one and 
the same peneplain, which has been heavily block-faulted in late Pliocene 
or even Pleistocene time. 

Against this interpretation may be adduced the facts — (1) that so far 
no rocks newer than Cretaceous have been encountered in the region of the 
divide or anywhere above a level of about 4,000 feet. (2) The main divide 
portion of the peneplain is so deeply dissected that Post Pliocene time alone 
may not have sufficed for the work. 

Probably connected with the lines of block faulting was the manifestation 
of volcanic energy, which produced basaltic lavas and tuffs like those of 
Mount Favenc, and built the volcanic cones and craters respectively of Mount 
Dayman, 9,305 feet, and of the active volcano, Mount Victory, about 6,000 
feet high — the only lava producing volcano within the Commonwealth — 
as well as the cones of the solfataric volcanoes of the D'Entrecasteaux Group 
such as that of Dobu, etc. The sharp shocks of earthquake occasionally 
experienced in British Papua obviously have relation to crustal readjustments 
connected with the volcanic zones, or movements along fault planes. That 
New Guinea was not exempt from the great Ice Age of Pleistocene and in 
part Recent time, which affected south-eastern Australia at Mount Kosciusko, 
the highlands of Tasmania, and the Cordilleras of New Zealand, 
Patagonia, and Tierra del Fuego, is proved by the evidences of past glacial 
action observed by Dr. Lorentz, below Wilhelmina Peak, extending 
downwards to at least 13,200 feet, where glacial lakes with striated 
rock surfaces were observed. The numerous small lakes and tarns on 
Mount Albert Edward and Mount Victoria, both of which are over 13,000 
feet high, make it nearly certain that these peaks were also at one time 

One of the latest phases in the evolution of the Papuan landscape has 
been the reclamation of shallow portions of the continental shelf by river 
deltas. This is specially to be noticed in the Gulf of Papua, where vast 
amounts of silt are washed into the sea annually by the Fly, Kikori, and other 

The sequence and character of the formations represented are shown on 
the diagrammatic section. This section shows that there is a large area in 
Central Papua as yet mostly unexplored.* 

Little is as yet known of the crystalline schists and gneisses, which form 
the backbone of most of the island, beyond the fact that quartz mica-schists, 
talc schists, and chlorite schists are represented. These are intruded in 
places by granites, diorites, and gabbros. Gold-bearing quartz-reefs are 
associated with these intrusive rocks, and copper deposits are developed 

* Not only is the geological structure unknown, but even the zoology has been only very partially 
studied, as is evident from the following facts : — It has been recorded by Mr. C. G. W. Monckton that 
near the lakes of Mount Albert Edward he observed, at over 12,000 feet above sea level, footprints of an 
unknown animal with cloven hoof, the footprints measuring about four inches by four and a half inches 
— the imprints were quite unlike those of the Sw papuensis. He adds that the description given by the 
natives of the creature that leaves these footprints suggests an animal like the hog-deer (Sus babirussa} 
of the Indian islands. 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 323 

in connexion with the gabbros. So far the existence of Devonian rock has 
been proved only on the Tauri river, to the east of Purari river, and 29 
miles from the coast. The Upper Oolites are represented by calcareous shales, 
75 miles up the Strickland river, above its confluence with the Fly river. 
These contain Stephanoceras blagdeni, S. lamellosum, and an ammonite, of 
A. lingulalus, from the White Jura, together with an Aucella or 

The Cretaceous strata, mostly dark-green calcareous and glauconitic (?) 
sandstones and limestones, contain Alveolina, Orbitolites (Flosculinella Schu.) 
Inoceramus, Gryphcea, Modiola, Aviculopecten, Protocardium, Gidaris, Belem- 
nites, etc. 

The oil belt, without doubt a continuation of the Burmese oil belt, is part 
of a vast delta or estuarine deposit, consisting of freshwater beds alternating 
with marine limestones. The limestone of Bootless Inlet to the east of Port 
Moresby, formed chiefly of beautiful shells of Orbitoides (Lepidocyclina), 
probably belongs to the oil belt. 

In places the Miocene limestones are formed chiefly of Globigerina, 
like the well-known Globigerina limestone of Noumea. Some of 
the friable sandstones are extremely rich in mollusca, of which 32 
genera have been identified by Mr. W. S. Dun and Mr. C. Hedley, 
the latter being of the opinion that the greater proportion are species new 
to science. 

Seams of brown coal occur at intervals, the thickest seam so far proved 
being 2 feet 9 inches. The brown coals from British Papua have approximately 
the following composition : — 

Hygroscopic moisture . . 

Volatile hydrocarbon . . 

Fixed carbon 



13 per cent, to 21 per cent. 
37 „ „ 42 „ 
34 „ „ 41 „ 
3 9 

M 55 55 u 33 

3 51 ,, Z ,, 

The whole series has been strongly folded along E.S.E. to W.N.W. lines 
or north-west to south-east lines, crossed by north and south lines. 

The oil is associated with anticlinal arches in a bluish-grey mudstone 
and clayey sandstone, in which it occurs as yellowish-brown globules. This 
is found in the neighbourhood of the Vailala and Purari Rivers, a short dis- 
tance above their mouths, to the west of Port Moresby. 

Crude petroleum oil collected by Mr. J. E. Carne, F.G.S., was 
analysed by Mr. J. C. H. Mingaye, F.C.S., with the following 
results : — 

P. in 100 parts. Sp Gr. 

Petroleum spirit below 150° C 

Burning oils distilled below 300° C. . . 
Intermediate and lubricating oils with solid 



. . 







324 Federal Handbook. 


P. in 

er gallon. 

100 parts. 







That the petroleum spirit had evaporated from these superficial strata 
as the result of weathering is proved by the fact that light volatile oils have 
lately been obtained in a bore 300 feet deep on the west side of the Vailala 
River near its mouth. 

The water associated with the rock oil was found to have the following 
composition : — 

Total solid matter (dried at 220° F.) 
Chlorine as chlorides 
Sulphur trioxide as sulphates 

The solid matter was chiefly sodium chloride with some sodium carbonate, 
magnesium carbonates, silica, etc. Calcium carbonate, 9*64 grains per 
gallon; magnesium carbonate, 1*60 grains per gallon; silica, 1*80 grains 
per gallon. A strong reaction was obtained for the presence of iodine and 
boric acid in the water. It is thought possible that this iodine water may 
later prove of value for the extraction of iodine from it, like that of Golnosk 
Soerabaia Island, Java. 

Port Moresby Beds. — These strata, radiolarian in places, and marked by 
large onion-like concretions of chalcedony up to several feet in diameter, are 
as strongly folded, mostly overfolded, as are the lower Cambrian rocks of 
the Mount Lofty Range, near Adelaide, and yet these Port Moresby beds 
are probably not older than Pliocene. Thus the orogenic movements which 
have produced the cordillera of Papua must have been acute down to as late 
in geological time as the Pliocene period. 

Post Pliocene. — These are largely composed of volcanic rocks. The 
volcanic rocks of this age in British Papua have as yet been very little studied. 
They are known to consist of hornblende andesites and basalts. In the 
island of Misima (St. Aigan) are thin flows of trachyte. The Papuan lavas 
appear to belong to two volcanic zones as shown on the section, in which 
the Aird Hills (about 200 miles north-west from Port Moresby) belong to 
the southern zone facing Torres Strait and the Arafura Sea, and the other 
parallel and adjacent to the northern coast of British Papua. The great 
extinct crater of the unexplored volcano, Dayman, 9,305 feet high, belongs 
to the northern belt, as does Mount Victory, 6,000 feet high, which still 
produces lava. 

That incandescent lava is present in the crater of Mount Victory is proved 
by the fact that Mr. A. Gibb Maitland observed on two occasions that the 
steam clouds hovering over that mountain were seen, after nightfall, to be 
brilliantly illuminated. 

Mount Victory, as far as is known, is the only lava-producing volcano 
in the territory of the Commonwealth. It has never been geologically examined. 
The small island of Dobu (Goulvain) in the D'Entrecasteaux Group is a 
volcanic cone, from which steam is still emitted. This is also situated on 
the northern volcanic belt. In regard to the broad tectonic features of Papua 
it may be suggested, very tentatively, that the mainland of Australia has 
functioned as a " forland massif," Torres Strait, the Gulf of Carpentaria, 
the Arafura Sea, and the deep Mesozoic and Tertiary basins, with their thick 
strata as a senkungsfeld. Possibly the crystalline schists forming a great part 

Geology of the Commonwealth. 325 

of the backbone of the island have played the part of an inner, or "nick- land 
massif," which has helped to roll np the Mesozoic and Tertiary sediments. 
The chief fracture zones, on which the present active volcanoes of Mount 
Victory and Dobu are situated, appear to lie on the inner limb of the fold 
region, just the portions which have been put in tension as the result of 
the southerly creep of the Papuan area towards Australia.* 

The latest crust movements have caused an emergence of the land to 
the amount of 1,000 feet on the northern coast, and over 2,000 feet on the 
southern coast in Post Pliocene time. 

* If this interpretation is correct their situation would be analogous to that of the Vesuvian volcanic 
zone in regard to the folds of the Apennines, the lavas of Hungary in reference to the folds of the 
Carpathians, the lavas of the Great Basin region of the United States of America in regard to the folds 
of the Rockies and Sierra Nevada, etc. 

326 Federal Handbook. 


By Pietro Baracchi, F.R.A.S., Government Astronomer of Victoria. 



Astronomical Work done in 
Australia — 

(a) By Navigators, Surveyors 
and Explorers, for Geo- 
graphical Purposes. 

(6) By the Permanent Govern 
ment Observatories. 

(d) By Australian Expeditions 

on Special Astronomical 

(e) For the Determination of 

Australian Longitudes. 

2. Geodesy. 

(a) Trigonometrical Surveys 

of High Precision. 
(6) Pendulum Observations. 

3. Appendix A. — List of References. 

4. Appendix B. — Some Astronomical 
Papers by Australians. 

(c) By Amateur Astronomers. 


(a) Astronomical work done by Navigators, Surveyors, etc., for 

Geographical Purposes. 


Sir Thomas Brisbane laid the foundation of Australian astronomy in 
1821, but the record of astronomical observations made on Australian 
soil commences half a century earlier ; as is well known, Captain Cook 
was selected by the British Admiralty, chiefly for his astronomical 
qualifications, " to conduct his famous expedition to the islands of the 
Pacific for the purpose of observing the transit of Venus of 1769, 
which he successfully accomplished at Otaheite, after which ho discovered 
and visited several islands in the Pacific, and eventually re -discovered 
New Zealand on the 6th October, 1769, and observed the transit of 
Mercury on 9th November, at a place on the north-east coast, now called 
Mercury Bay, and sailing north, on 31st March, 1770, he discovered New 
Holland, landed at Botany Bay, and (on 22nd August, 1770) took possession 
of the eastern coast of Australia in the name of Great Britain" (1). * 

In regard to longitudes obtained by lunar distances, Cook wrote " This 
method of finding the longitude at sea can be depended upon to within half 
a degree. Which is a degree of accuracy more than sufficient for all nautical 

From Captain Cook's astronomical observations made on Australian 
soil in 1770 was derived the first value on record of the longitude of Fort 
Macquarie, Sydney, viz., 151° 11' 32" east of Greenwich, which is almost 
identical with that determined by Flinders 33 years after (151° 11' 49"). 

Captain John Hunter and Lieutenant Bradley determined the longitude 
cf Port Jackson by a series of lunar distances, observed between 14th March 
and 28th April, 1788 (Hunter's Historical Journal, pp. 87-88). On 17th 
August, 1788 " we began at this time to take equal altitudes for ascertaining 
the exact rate of the time keeper." 

* A list of the authorities referred to in these pages is given in Appendix A. 

Astronomy and Geodesy. 327 

In June, 1792, Oaptain Hunter, in a letter to the Admiralty said " The 
advantage of being able to ascertain the ship's place in longitude by obser- 
vations of the moon will be ever satisfactory, but more particularly through 
so vast a tract of sea, in which the error of the log may considerably 

(2) The " first fleet," commanded by Oaptain Phillip, which brought 
out from Great Britain the colonists who formed the first permanent settle- 
ment upon the Australian continent, arrived at Port Jackson in 1788. 
Colonel Collins tells us, " Among the buildings that were undertaken shortly 
after our arrival must be mentioned an observatory, which was marked 
out on the western point of the cove, to receive the astronomical instruments 
which had been sent out by the Board of Longitude, for the purpose of 
observing the comet which was expected to be seen about the end of this 
year (1788). The construction of this building was placed under the direc- 
tion of Lieutenant Dawes, of the Marines who, having made this branch of 
science his peculiar study, was appointed by the Board of Longitude to 
make astronomical observations in this country." 

The locality where this observatory is built is known as Dawes Point, 
and the structure is still there, though not used for astronomical purposes. 
This may be regarded as the first substantial observatory erected in Australia 
purely in the interests of astronomy. 

The expected comet, however, was not seen, and nothing is known about 
Dawes' astronomical work at this Observatory, except the determination 
of its geographical co-ordinates, which are latitude 33° 52' 30" S., longitude 
151° 19' 30". A transit instrument was sent to him by Maskelyne, the 
Astronomer Royal, in 1791. 

In regard to this comet, Russell wrote (6) " The comet, for which all 
these preparations were made, was that which had been observed in 1532 
and 1661, and which was generally expected to return about the end of 
1788 or the beginning of 1789. It was one of the twenty-four which Dr. 
Halley had used in his celebrated investigations, in which he proved that 
comets were subject to the then law of gravitation, and like all other astro- 
nomical bodies, revolved about some centre. In 1776, Maskelyne pointed 
out that this comet would be affected by the major planets, and that for 
the investigation of this important matter, it was very desirable that it 
should be observed in the southern hemisphere where it would first be visible ; 
hence the establishment of the Dawes Point Observatory." 

In one of the papers by Captain P. P. King (2) is given, amongst the 
longitude results of several navigators, the value of the longitude found 
by Admiral Don Jose D'Espinosa while at Sydney on the Gorbetas Descubierta 
y Atrevida. This value reduced to Fort Macquarie, is shown as lOh. 4m. 51.91s., 
which is within a fraction of a second of time of the latest accepted value, 
and is very probably nearer to the true value than that found by any other 

For more than 30 years after Dawes' watches for the comet, the astro- 
nomical record rests entirely on navigators and explorers. 

It was during this period that French expeditions were moving about 
in Australian waters, while surveys of the coast and explorations inland 
were being conducted by such nautical men as Bass, Flinders, Murray, and 

328 Federal Handbook. 

King, and the first explorers inland — Gregory, Blaxland, Evans, Oxley, 
Cunningham, Frazer, Hume, and others. Skilled astronomical observers, 
and even accomplished astronomers were to be found among these explorers, 
and the sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars were, no doubt, closely 
watched and employed by them for the determination of their geographical 

Flinders, who first oircumnavigated Australia in 1801 on the Investigator, 
was indeed an enthusiastic and most accurate observer of the heavenly 
bodies. It was he who trained Sir John Franklin, then a midshipman on 
the Investigator, in astronomical work. John Crossley, of Greenwich Obser- 
vatory, was appointed by the Admiralty as the astronomer of the expedition, 
but left the ship at the Cape of Good Hope, to return home invalided, and 
Flinders wrote to the authorities offering to undertake the astronomical 
work himself, with the help of his brother Lieutenant Sam W. Flinders, 
but the Admiralty sent out to him another astronomer — Inman — who 
accompanied Flinders during the latter part of the voyage (3). Inman, 
on his return to England, became Professor of Astronomy, at the Royal 
Naval College of Portsmouth. 

The amount of Flinders' lunar observations is remarkable, both for its 
fine quality and its large quantity. His value of the longitude of Fort 
Macquarie (Sydney), "151° IT 49""' east of Greenwich, is probably within 
one mile of the true value which, considering the instrumental limitations 
and the inaccuracy of the lunar tables in his day, may well be accepted 
as a result of the highest accuracy attainable at the time. In his Voyage 
to Terra Australia, are given the geographical co-ordinates of many places 
on the south coast of Australia (Vol. I., 1814), App., page 259. 

(2) Lieutenant (afterwards Admiral) P. P. King, son of Governor King, 
arrived at Port Jackson in September, 1817. He had been sent by the 
British Government to complete the surveys of the coast of New South 
Wales, which, then, extended from South Cape in Tasmania, latitude 43° 39' 
S. to Cape York, 10° 37' S. 

He made four voyages, extending over four years, from 1817 to 1822, 
during which he determined the longitude and latitude of a large number 
of points on the coast. 

The results of the survey were published in his work A Narrative of a 
Survey of the Inter-tropical and Western Coasts of Australia (2 Vols., 8vo., 
London, 1847). 

From 1826 to 1830 he was in command of two ships — Adventure and 
Beagle — conducting surveys on the southern coasts of South America. Shortly 
after, he retired from active service and settled in New South Wales, where for 
the rest of his life he continued to devote himself to scientific work, " during 
his residence at Dunhered, from 1832 to 1839, and at Tahlee, Port Stephens, 
to 1848, kept his observatory in full work with the transit and other instru- 
ments" (2). 

The results of his astronomical work are contained in two papers which 
were printed " at his own private printing press, apparently for private 
distribution, a copy of each of which is in the possession of his family." and 
in another paper, containing the first five years observations at Tahlee, 
which was published in the Tasmanian Journal, No. 6, a copy of which is 

Astronomy and Geodesy. 329 

in the Sydney Observatory, with the remainder of the observations in MSS. 
In one of the two papers first mentioned are recorded " the observed transits 
of the moon and moon culminating stars over the meridian of Tahlee, Port 
Stephens, New South Wales, from 1843 to 1849, and the resulting longitudes 
from them. Also observations of eclipses of the sun and occultations of 
the fixed stars by the moon at the same place." The derived longitude of 
the station is lOh. 8m. lis. 

" The second paper gives a description of the instruments in the obser- 
vatory and the observations for determining the latitude of Tahlee, 1841 to 
1848. These observations were made with an altazimuth. Nearly 300 
separate star observations for latitude are recorded, from which the latitude 
32° 40' 17* 74" is derived. Also a list of about one thousand places for which 
the geographical co-ordinates are given." 

Admiral King published in addition eight papers in the Monthly Notices 
of the Royal Astronomical Society, " Four refer to comets, amongst others 
the great comet of 1843 ; one to an occultation of Jupiter and his Satellites ; 
another to a lunar eclipse ; another to a transit of Mercury ; and the last 
to a solar eclipse" (2). 

Sir James Ross' antarctic expedition arrived at Hobart (Tasmania), 
in August, 1840, in the ships Erebus and Terror, Sir John Franklin was 
then Governor of that Colony. 

A vigorous campaign for the acquisition of data in regard to the magnetic 
conditions of the globe was in course at the time, under the influence of 
Gauss and Sabine, and Sir James Ross established a magnetic station at 
Hobart, and also an astronomical observatory, where a transit instrument, 
an altazimuth, and astronomical clocks were permanently mounted. This 
station was placed in charge of Lieutenant Kay. Although terrestrial 
magnetism was the principal object, astronomical observations were syste- 
matically made and continued till 1854. 

An elaborate investigation of the difference of longitude between Hobart 
and Port Macquarie (Sydney), Parramatta, and Cape of Good Hope, is in- 
cluded in the work of this observatory. 

(b) Astronomical Work done in Australia by the Permanent 
Government Observatories. 

The Parramatta Observatory, though originally a private establishment, 
became the property of the New South Wales Government, and is for this 
reason placed under this heading. 

The Parramatta Observatory. 

In 1821, Major-General Sir Thomas Macdougall Brisbane was 
appointed Governor of the colony of New South Wales. Throughout 
his career as a soldier he had always been devoted to astronomy, 
and as the southern heavens offered him almost a virgin field for 
exploration, he urged the British Government to supply him with means 
for establishing an observatory in the country he was being sent to govern, 
but having failed, he undertook to carry out the idea at his own cost. 
Accordingly he purchased instruments, books, and appliances, engaged 
two assistants, and immediately after their arrival in the colony, in November, 

330 Federal Handbook. 

1821, a site was selected in close vicinity to his official residence at Parramatta, 
upon which a suitable building was quickly erected for the installation of 
the instruments, and by the following April the Parramatta Observatory 
was already in full working order. 

The assistants were Carl Rumker, an accomplished astronomer who later 
became Director of the Hamburg Observatory, and James Dunlop, whose 
great natural abilities, especially mechanical, rendered his services particu- 
larly valuable in a place where no skilled instrument makers were available. 

The instruments (4) " were a transit instrument by Troughton, of 
3|-inch aperture and 64-inch focal length ; a 2-foot mural circle, with tele- 
scope of the same length, by the same maker ; a 16-inch repeating circle, 
by Reichenbach ; a 46 -inch achromatic telescope, with equatorial motion 
and wire micrometer, by Banks ; a clock, by Hardy, set to sidereal time ; and 
another, by Breguet, showing mean time." Also two other clocks, by Grimaldi 
and Barraud ; a box chronometer, by Dent ; and a pocket chronometer. 

The programme of the Parramatta Observatory was principally the 
determination " of the position of stars down to the eighth magnitude, 
between the zenith of the observatory and the South Pole "(4). 

The regular series of observations was commenced on 2nd May, 1822. 
At first, Sir Thomas Brisbane and his two assistants worked together har- 
monious]y and with great assiduity, but on 16th June, 1823, Rumker left 
the observatory, and from that date till December, 1825, the greater part 
of the observations were made by Dunlop. 

In December, 1825, Sir Thomas Brisbane returned to England, and 
Dunlop followed him towards the end of the following year, after having 
oontinued the work at Parramatta Observatory till 2nd March, 1826, and 
completed a series of observations of 621 nebulae and clusters, at his private 
house, with a reflecting telescope, 9 inches aperture and 9-feet focal length 
{2) made by himself (5), and a catalogue of 253 double and triple stars which 
he observed during the same period (5). 

The records of the observations made at Parramatta with the transit 
instrument and the mural circle, from 2nd May, 1822, to 2nd March, 1826, 
were placed in the hands of Mr. Richardson, of the Greenwich Observatory, 
in 1830 " by order of the Honorable the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, 
who directed him to reduce the observations and construct a catalogue of 
the positions of the stars " the result being the well-known Parramatta 
Catalogue of 7,385 Stars for the Epoch 1825, published in 1835. 

The re-discovery of Encke's comet at its first predicted return may be 
justly regarded as one of the brilliant records in the history of the Parramatta 
Observatory. The comet was re-discovered by Rumker on 2nd June, 1822. 

After the departure of Sir Thomas Brisbane, the observatory was taken 
over by the Colonial Government, on payment of the full cost of its equip- 
ment, to the owner, and placed in charge of Rumker, who became the official 
astronomer, and resumed work in May, 1826, after having, on 15th July, 
1824, discovered a new comet — I 1824 — which bears his name (10). 
He made many observations for latitude and longitude, and observations 
of the moon, the planets, and comets. The results are published in the 
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 1829, Part III., and in the 
Memoirs of the R.A.S., Vol. III. ; also in Vol. I. of the Monthly Notices. 

Astronomy and Geodesy. 331 

At the end of the year 1828, he went to Europe, and some time after 
became Director of the Hamburg Observatory. 

The Parramatta Observatory remained inoperative for nearly three years. 
In 1831, Dunlop returned to Australia, and was appointed Superintendent 
of the Parramatta Observatory, which position he held till 1847. 

Most of the work done by Dunlop during this period still remains un- 
published. It is contained in eight books MSS., which were transferred to 
the present Sydney Observatory (2). 

(7) On 30th September, 1833, Dunlop discovered a comet, and on the 
19th of March, 1834, he independently discovered another, which had been 
first seen by Gambart, at Marseilles, twelve days before (8). 

The observations of these comets are published in Memoirs of the Royal 
Astronomical Society, Vol. 8, page 251 et sea. 

The Catalogue of 629 Southern Nebulae and Clusters, observed by Dunlop, 
in 1828, with a 9 -inch reflecting telescope of his own make, as previously 
mentioned, was presented to the Eoyal Society, and printed in the 
Transactions of 1828, pp. 113 and 152, and the Catalogue of 253 Double 
Stars, observed in the same year, was published in the Memoirs of the 
R.A.S., Vol. III. 

After Dunlop's resignation, the observatory was dismantled, the instru- 
ments packed and stored, and Australia remained without an astronomical 
observatory for several years. 

In 1880, when the building which had once been the Parramatta 
Observatory was reduced to ruin, fast disappearing, the Government 
was induced to erect a permanent monument to indicate the site of the 

Exactly in the position occupied by the transit instrument, a marble 
obelisk now stands, with the following inscription : — •" An Astronomical 
Observatory was founded here May 2nd, 1822, by Sir Thomas Macdougall 
Brisbane, K.C.B., F.R.S., Governor of New South Wales" (6). 

The geographical co-ordinates of this historical point, assigned to it by 
Rumker, are Latitude 33° 48' 50*68", Longitude 101° 4' 6'25" 

Although the admitted imperfections of Sir Thomas Brisbane's astrono- 
mical equipment, and his desire to accumulate data from direct observation 
at very high speed must be recognised as the concurring causes which pre- 
vented a degree of accuracy equal to modern needs to be attained in the 
Parramatta Catalogue — which represents the main results of Sir Thomas 
Brisbane's enterprise — thus reducing to some extent the value of the work 
done by him and his assistants, we must nevertheless regard that enterprise 
with profound admiration and look upon the obelisk now standing on 
the spot where Sir Thomas Brisbane, Rumker, and Dunlop observed 
the stars crossing the meridian of Parramatta, as the monument raised by 
an appreciative generation to commemorate the foundation of Australian 

The founder of the Parramatta Observatory and its successive directors 
were indeed held in high estimation in England. 

The Royal Astronomical Society presented its gold medal to Sir Thomas 
Brisbane and James Dunlop on 8th February, 1828, and to Carl Rumker on 
10th February, 1854. 

C.12154. v 

332 Federal Handbook. 

The Sydney Observatory. 

This observatory is situated on one of the headlands projecting into 
the Harbor, on the western side of Sydney Cove, less than half a mile from 
Dawes Point, where Lieutenant Dawes erected the first Australian observa- 
tory, in the year 1788. The locality is now called Flagstaff Hill. 

Through the persistent recommendations of Sir William Denison, Governor 
of New South Wales, soon after his arrival in Australia, on 20th January, 
1855 (6), the Colonial Government voted a sum of £7,000 for the erection 
of an observatory in Sydney, and made provisions for the salary of an 
astronomer and a computer. 

The Reverend W. Scott, M.A., was selected by the Astronomer Royal, 
Sir George Airy, to fill the position of first director of the proposed 
Sydney Observatory. 

The first duty of Mr. Scott after his arrival was, as he relates himself, 
"to fix on a site for the proposed observatory. For purely astronomical 
purposes I should have preferred a position further inland, but as it 
appeared desirable for various reasons that the observatory should be 
in the immediate neighbourhood of Sydney, I could find no spot more 
suitable than that recommended by the Governor on which the observatory 
now stands." 

The building was commenced in May, 1857 and was so far advanced as 
to admit of meridian observations being made in June, 1858." 

The first astronomical equipment of the Sydney Observatory consisted 
of the instruments purchased by the Government from Sir Thomas Brisbane. 
In addition, a complete time-ball apparatus was installed. By means 
of this apparatus the ball on the tower was automatically dropped, at first 
at the instant of local noon, and later at the instant of 1 p.m. It was 
chiefly the practical value of this service which gave the Government 
sufficient inducement to establish the observatory and, at the same time, 
imposed the essential conditions in the selection of the site. 

The work of the observatory was confined in the first instance to the 
approximate determination of the sidereal and thence the mean time by a 
number of nightly observations of clock stars (9). 

The transit circle by Jones, with which Dunlop had in his later years 
made a few observations at Parramatta, had been sent to England to be 
remodelled and improved by Troughton, and did not arrive back till 
December, 1858. This instrument has an object glass of 3f inches aperture 
and 62 inches focal length. Its circle is 42 inches in diameter, divided to 
every 5' and read by four microscopes 90° apart. It was completely set 
up and ready for use in June, 1859. 

Mr. Scott complains that this instrument was not entirely satis- 
factory. He says (9), " The instrumental errors are such that although 
the circle may be regarded for some purposes as an useful instrument yet 
it cannot be classed amongst instruments of the highest order." 

(6) " It was a fortunate circumstance that just then, in October, 1858, 
the great comet of Donati, one of the finest in the century appeared in our 
southern sky," for it served the purpose of drawing the attention of the 
authorities to the want of a suitable instrument at the Official Observatory 
for the observations of the comet and of obtaining from Parliament a sum 

Astronomy and Geodesy. 333 

of £800 with which an achromatic telescope, 7 J-inch aperture and 124 inches 
focal length, made by the celebrated firm of Merz and Sod, of Munich, was 
purchased, which was mounted and ready for use in June, 1861. 

Mr. Scott remained in office for four years, and resigned his position on 
30th September, 1862. 

The astronomical work done at the Sydney Observatory in Mr. Scott's 
time was fully published by him in the four official volumes issued for the 
years 1859, 1860, 1861, and 1862. These contain the results of upward of 
6,600 meridian observations in both co-ordinates, about 100 transits of 
the moon and moon culminating stars, a large number of observations of 
zenith stars for latitude, and some observation of comets. 

The 7|-inch Merz equatorial was at his disposal only fifteen months, 
during which some attention was given to double stars. 

Mr. Scott published some of his other astronomical work in the Monthly 
Notices of the R.A.S., Vols. 19, 20, 21, and 22, as follows : — Observations of 
the Solar Eclipse of the Sun, 11th January, 1861; Comet III., 1860; 
Comet II., 1861 ; Encke's II., 1862; Transit of Mercury N 4, 1861. 

The instrumental faults never permitted Mr. Scott to assign to his 
meridian observations a degree of accuracy equal to that of the best 

"It must therefore be borne in mind" he tells us "that determination 
of right ascension with the Sydney transit circle are liable to errors varying 
from 3*3 to - 4 '2 seconds of arc, or 0*22 to - 0*28 seconds of time for a 
equatorial star." " An examination of the North Polar distances leads 
to a very similar result " (9). 

From September, 1862 to January, 1864, the Observatory was in charge 
of Mr. Henry Russell, B.A., who had joined the Observatory as Mr. Scott's 
assistant in 1859. 

Mr. Russell confined his astronomical duties to the time service and to 
the observation of transits of the moon and moon culminating stars. He 
also made a series of micrometric measurements for the comparison of Mars 
with neighbouring stars, at the opposition of 1862. This series, however, 
was not published (6). 

Mr. George Robert Smalley, B.A., succeeded Mr. Scott as the second 
Director of the Sydney Observatory, in 1864, being selected by the Astro- 
nomer Royal — Sir George Airy — at the request of the colonial authorities. 

It seems that the imperfection of the meridian instruments as reported 
by Mr. Scott discouraged Mr. Smalley from undertaking any serious and 
systematic work with them, and he resolved to employ them only for the 
ordinary requirements of the time service. He devoted the rest of his 
time to magnetic and meteorological investigations and to the initiation 
of a trigonometrical survey of the colony, which was then urgently required. 
Eventually the Government intrusted him with that work, and opera- 
tions were commenced in due course for the measurement of a base line 
at the south end of Lake George. 

Difficulties and delays were encountered in these operations and the worry 
" told seriously on Mr. Smalley's health, and during the latter part of 1869 
and all 1870 till his death in July of that year, be was not able to do much 
of the work which he had determined to carry out" (6). 

Y 2 

334 . Federal Handbook. 

The only astronomical work done during these years, in addition to the 
observation of clock stars, were some observations of Comet I., 1864, made 
by Mr. Smalley with the Merz 7J-inch equatorial, and published in the 
Monthly Notices of the R.A.S., Vol. 25, p. 171 ; and observations of Comet I., 
1865, and of Encke's Comet at its return in 1865, which were published in 
Monthly Notices, Vol. 26, p. 63. 

Mr. Kussell succeeded Smalley as third Director of the Sydney 
Observatory and Government Astronomer of the colony of New South 

" Having had a share in all the work done with the meridian circle, and 
knowing its imperfections, he determined to confine the observations with 
it to those required for time and longitude, and at once urged the necessity 
for a new meridian instrument" (6). 

The approaching transit of Venus gave him the opportunity of obtaining 
the sympathy of the Government for the acquisition of more instruments. 

The astronomical operations which figure more prominently in the 
history of the Sydney Observatory during the first seven years of Russell's 
regime are the preparations made for observing the total eclipse of the sun 
in December, 1871, in the extreme north of Australia, and the transit of 
Venus in 1874, of which a brief account will be given in another part of this 
article. t 

To the ordinary routine of observations of clock stars were added 
observations of the transit of the moon and moon culminating stars for 
longitude, and the observations of Herschel's Cape Catalogue of Double 

A remarkable feature of this period is the increase of instrumental power 
which Russell, by continuous effort and determination, succeeded in securing 
for his observatory. 

In 1872, with the assistance of the Royal Society of New South Wales, he 
obtained from the Government a sum of £1,000 for instruments, the greater 
part of which he used in procuring an achromatic object glass, 11.4 inches 
aperture, and 12J feet focal length, by Schroeder, of Hamburg, for which he 
designed and had constructed in the colony under his supervision an equa- 
torial mounting provided with all the requisites of a modern instrument. 
This instrument was installed in 1874. 

In the same year the necessity having arisen for the determination of star 
positions with the greatest possible accuracy to serve the purposes of the 
trigonometrical survey of the colony of New South Wales then in course 
a sum of £1,000 was granted by the Government for the purchase of a 
high-class transit circle for the observatory ; Mr. Russell ordered the instru- 
ment from the firm of Troughton and Simms, and procured also a large 
eighteen-prism spectroscope, by Hilger, and other apparatus. 

The new transit circle has an object glass of 6 inches clear aperture and 
85 inches focal length. It has two circles graduated to every 5' read 
by four microscopes ; regular observations with it were commenced in 
February, 1877. 

The instrument was employed for observations of stars required in the 
operations of the trigonometrical survey, and of other stars near the zenith, 
of which it was intended to make a special catalogue. 

Astronomy and Geodesy. 335 

" In fact, since 1870, the observatory has been entirely refurnished with 
instruments of the most modern and perfect forms, and, although they are 
not equal in size to some of the, giant telescopes which have been recently 
erected in Europe at enormous cost, they are quite equal in quality to those 
in the best European observatories, as is proved by the observations now 
made with them." Thus Russell wrote in 1882 (6). 

An important series of meridian observations of Mars at its opposition 
in 1877 and comparison stars had been obtained by Russell with the 
new transit circle " for the purpose of determining the solar parallax. 
A long series of observations was made which, combined with obser- 
vations made at Washington, gave 8*885 inches as the value of the solar 
parallax " (6). 

The results of the work done with the transit circle up to the end of the 
year 1881 are published in two volumes, " Sydney Observatory — Astronomical 
results for the years 1877-78 and 1879-1881." These results were used by 
A. Stichtenoth to form a catalogue of 1,543 stars for the epoch 1880, published 
in Veroffentlichungen des Koniglichen Astronomischen Rechen-Instituts 
zu Berlin, No. 20. 

The results of observations on double stars are published in a separate 
volume, Sydney Observatory — Double Star Results, 1871-1881. 

In the first volume of astronomical results is shown a summary of the 
observations of transits of the moon and moon culminating stars made by 
Russell in the years 1863, 1871, 1872, 1873, and 1874, from which is derived 
the value of the longitude of Sydney (according to Russell), lOh. 4m. 50* 81s., 
which was adopted till 1883. 

During the eight years after 1881, the same routine of meridian observa- 
tions and observations of double stars were continued. 

The double-star work of the years 1882-1889 was published in Memoirs 
R.A.S., Vol. 50. 

In 1887 Mr. Russell went to Europe to attend the Astrophotographic 
Congress at Paris, and on behalf of his Government and the Government of 
the colony of Victoria, pledged the Sydney and Melbourne Observatories to 
undertake a share in the astrophotographic programme which was decided 
upon by that Congress. 

The part of the sky allotted to Sydney ranged from 57° to 64° of south 
declination, and that of the Melbourne Observatory from declination -65° 
to the South Pole. 

Russell obtained his photographic object glass from Steinheil, of Munich, 
and had the mounting, with all requisite accessories, made in the colony 
on his own design, and under his personal supervision. He had a circular 
wooden observatory detached from the main building, built for the special 
purpose of housing this astrophotographic telescope. 

The mounting of the astrograph was ready in 1890, but the object glass 
did not arrive till later. Russell, in the meantime, mounted a Dallmeyer 
portrait lens 32 inches focal length and 6 inches aperture, and, fixing this 
star camera to the tube of the astrograph, employed it in taking a series of 
highly successful photographs of the Milky Way. These photographs, 
seventeen in number, accompanied by a description of each, form an album 
which was published in 1890. 

336 Federal Handbook. 

The installation of the new object-glass was completed in 1891, and the 
work reached the end of the preliminary experimental stage in 1892, from 
which time it proceeded regularly in succeeding years till 1898. 

In 1889 powerful street lamps and electric lights were placed in the vicinity 
of the Observatory, the effect of which was to interfere so seriously with the 
work of the astrograph that it became necessary to remove the instrument 
to some better locality. 

Accordingly, the Government, having granted a piece of land for this 
purpose at Pennant Hill, some llf miles to the north-west of Sydney, and 
615 feet above sea-level, a suitable building was erected, and the instrument 
installed there in 1899, where the astrophotographic work has since been 
carried out by Mr. Short, as a branch of the Sydney Observatory. 

For the last 22 years the determination of the places of reference stars 
to be employed for the reduction of the plates of the Photographic Catalogue, 
and actual photographing of the regions comprised in the Sydney zones, 
constituted the greater part, if not the whole, of the astronomical programme 
of tne Sydney Observatory, the results of which have not yet appeared. 

During this long period observations of double stars were continued, the 
results of which have been published in various lists in the A.N., Nos. 3154, 
3240, 3303, 3369, 3423. 

Many other observations pi an occasional character were made, and other 
astronomical duties performed, which come within the scope of a national 
observatory, but it would be impracticable to give here a detailed account 
of them. 

Russell, who died in 1907, may be regarded as one of the principal factors 
in the advancement of Australian astronomy during the last half century. 
In estimating the value of his work, it must be remembered that by far the 
greater part of his energies were expended on the development of Australian 

He was the inventor of no less than 23 instruments, and the contributor 
of some 130 papers to various scientific societies. He was made F.R.A.S. 
in 1871, F.R.S. in 1886, C.M.G. in 1891, also, in the same year, Vice-Chancellor 
of the Sydney University, where he graduated in 1858, and President of the 
R. S. of New South Wales for some years. 

After Russell's death, Mr. Alfred Henry Lenehan was appointed Govern- 
ment Astronomer. Under him the astronomical work of the Observatory was 
a continuation of the routine programme of previous years, which he was 
bound to accept and to advance as speedily as he could, under the adminis- 
trative difficulties of the time, till completion might be reached. 

He died on 2nd May, 1908 ; and till August, 1912, Mr. W. E. Raymond 
remained in temporary charge of the institution. 

In August, 1912, Mr. W. E. Cooke, M.A., formerly Director of the Perth 
Observatory, was appointed Government Astronomer of New South Wales, 
and Professor of Astronomy in the Sydney University. 

In his report to the R.A.S., M.N., February, 1913, No. 4, Vol. LXXIIL, 
we read — 

" Owing to the rapid growth of Sydney, the present site of the Observatory 
has become unfit, and the instruments are not suited for the exacting 
requirements of modern astronomy. It has therefore been determined to 

Astronomy and Geodesy. 337 

move the entire institution to a new site, and to provide some new instruments 
and remount others. In particular, a new meridian instrument of modern 
design, suitable for fundamental work of the highest precision, will be provided 
in accordance with the recommendation of the Paris Astrographic Congress 
of April, 1909. 

" Meanwhile the routine work has been almost stopped for the present, 
and preparations for the reorganization have been commenced." 

The Williamstown Observatory. 

K. L. J. Ellery was appointed, in 1853, by the Government of the Colony 
of Victoria to establish a small observatory at Williamstown, chiefly for the 
purpose of determining time and supplying a daily time signal for the service 
of ship masters. 

On taking up his position, Ellery found the following preliminary arrange- 
ments already made : — 

A time ball apparatus already installed on a tower at Point Gelli- 
brand, with the requisite apparatus and machinery for hoisting 
and dropping the ball. 
Some astronomical instruments, including a transit instrument on 

order in England. 
A site for the Observatory selected. 

A sum of £2,800 voted by Parliament for the erection of a suitable 
Under these conditions he set to work in a wooden hut, using a 
sextant and a chronometer, and the first time signal was issued in 
August, 1853. 

Such was the beginning of the Williamstown Observatory. 
The geographical position of the place had been determined some years 
previously by Captain Stokes, of H.M.S. Beagle, his values being — 
Latitude 37° 52' 52" S. Longitude 9h. 39m. 42s. E. 
In 1854, the instruments on order in England arrived. They were a 
25 -inch transit instrument and a high-class astronomical clock, by Frodsham. 
A more ambitious transit instrument, which had been ordered from the 
firm of Troughton and Simms, arrived in 1855. This was an excellent 
instrument, with an object glass of 3 J inches clear aperture and 45 inches 
focal length. 

In 1858, the geodetic survey of the colony was decided upon, and placed 
in charge of the astronomer. The proposed scheme was to divide the country 
for purposes of land settlement by meridians and parallels, the primary lines 
being first located at distances of 1°. 

The Observatory having by this time acquired national importance, 
on account of its public duties in connexion with the geodetic survey 
and time service, the Legislature passed a resolution on 8th December, 1859, 
according to which a Board of Visitors to the Observatory was appointed 
by the Governor in Council on 30th January, 1860, the Governor (Sir Henry 
Barkly) becoming himself chairman of the first Board. 

A new circle arrived in August, 1861. It was constructed by Trough- 
ton and Simms. Its object glass has a clear aperture of 5 inches and a focal 
length of 72 inches. The circle is of gun metal, 4 feet in diameter, divided 

338 Federal Handbook. 

to every 5 minutes, and read by four microscopes attached to one of the 
two stone piers which support the instrument. Observations with this 
instrument commenced in October, 1861. 

A new clock, also by Frodsham, had arrived a year before, and still 
more instruments were acquired in this and in the following year. These 
were a chronographic apparatus, by Siemens and Halske, of Berlin ; an 
Airy zenith sector ; and an achromatic telescope, equatorially mounted. 
This latter instrument, by Troughton and Simms, has an object glass of 
4J inches clear aperture and a focal length of 5 feet ; with it a valuable 
series of observations of Mars at its opposition of 1862 was obtained for 
determining the parallax of the sun in connexion with other observatories. 

In 1853 the site occupied by the Williamstown Observatory seemed 
quite suitable for an observatory, but the rapid growth of the community, 
the construction of a railway terminus and large railway workshops near 
it, had in 1862 rendered its position unfavorable, in consequence of which 
it was decided to remove it to Melbourne. 

Since 1857, there had been in existence a meteorological and magnetical 
observatory, which was established and conducted by Professor George 
Neumayer. This observatory was situated at Flagstaff Hill, at the west 
end of the city of Melbourne. In 1863, Professor Neumayer, having decided to 
leave Australia, it was arranged that his observatory should be amalgamated 
with the new Astronomical Observatory. 

The building for the new Observatory was commenced in 1861 and com- 
pleted in 1863. 

In June of that year the Williamstown Observatory was dismantled, 
and " the whole of the instruments and appliances removed to the new 
building now known as the Melbourne Observatory " (11). 

The results of the work done at the Williamstown Observatory are pub- 
lished in the volume entitled — Melbourne Observatory. Astronomical 
Eesults. 1861-62-63. 

This volume contains the Williamstown catalogue of 546 Stars for the 
epoch 1860, which at the time it appeared received warm appreciation from 
European and American astronomers. Also a series of right ascensions 
and north polar distances of the moon, extending from January, 1861, to 
7th October, 1862, upon which rested the longitude of the Williamstown 
Observatory ; and finally, the series of observations of Mars and comparison 
stars during the opposition of the planet of 1862. 

The Melbourne Observatory. 

This Observatory is situated at a distance of 4 miles north-east from 
the site of the old Williamstown Observatory, and about 1 mile south- 
east from the centre of the city of Melbourne, within an enclosure of 
4J acres of land permanently reserved for observatory purposes in the 
Domain Park. 

In addition to the main building, which provided ample accommodation 
for the astronomical instruments of the Williamstown Observatory, special 
structures were erected for the magnetic and meteorological instru- 
ments which were taken over from Professor Neumayer 's Flagstaff Hill 

Astronomy and Geodesy. 339 

The Melbourne Observatory was ready to commence work at the end 
of June, 1863, its astronomical equipment consisting of the instruments 
removed from the former Observatory at Williamstown. 

For nearly three years the work consisted almost entirely of meridian 
observations of the fixed stars which were employed in the operations of 
the geodetic surveys then in course in Australia and South America. A 
catalogue of these stars was prepared each year and printed in due course. 

In 1862 the Royal Astronomical Society initiated a movement for carry- 
ing out by British effort a southern durchmusterung on the same basis 
and the same scale as that which Argelander was conducting for the northern 
hemisphere. The idea was to obtain the co-operation of the three southern 
observatories — Madras, Cape of Good Hope, and Melbourne. 

The Melbourne Observatory offered to join in the work, and was eventually 
allotted the zone from 60 degrees to 80 degrees of south declination. 

The undertaking involved the determination of the positions of all the 
stars comprised in this southern belt down to the tenth order of magnitude. 

This work was commenced on 11th April, 1866, and continued for about 
six years, when it had perforce to be discontinued. Its results comprise the 
mean places for the epoch 1875 of 48,672 stars down to the 9th, and in many 
instances the 10th order of magnitude, in the zone from 65 degrees to 69 
degrees of south declination. These places are roughly arranged in the MS. 
in order of right ascension, the right ascensions being given to the nearest 
tenth of a second of time, and the north polar distances to the nearest 
second of arc, showing that the work aimed at a somewhat higher 
accuracy than that of other works of this class, such as Argelander zones or 
the C.PD. 

With very little labour the work can be arranged and prepared for printing 
if means be provided for the purpose. 

In the year 1850 a memorial was presented to Lord Russell, the object 
of which was a request to Her Majesty's Government to establish " a powerful 
reflecting telescope (not less than 3-feet aperture) in some fitting part of Her 
Majesty's Dominions, and for the appointment of an observer charged with 
the duty of employing it in a review of the nebulae of the southern 

The opportunity of enhancing the importance of the Observatory by 
the acquisition of a great reflecting telescope was quickly recognised by 
the Board of Visitors, and His Excellency the Governor (Sir Henry Barkly) 
was requested to obtain " an expression of opinion from scientific men in 
England as to the importance of the results to be expected from it, the 
most suitable construction of telescope for the purpose, both as to the 
optical part and the mounting, its probable cost, and the time requisite for 
its completion." 

" An application was made through the Secretary of State for the Colonies 
to the Royal Society of London for their opinion, and the President and 
Council of that body, after a very full consideration and a long correspondence 
with the most eminent practical astronomers of the day, recommended — 

(a) That the telescope be a reflector, with an aperture of not less than 4 feet ; 

(b) That the large mirror be of speculum metal ; (c) That the tube be 
constructed of open work and of metal " (12). 

340 Federal Handbook. 

The instrument was completed in 1868 and was sent to Australia, 
reaching Melbourne in November of that year ; it was ready for work by 
the end of June, 1869, and the observations commenced in August of the 
same year. 

Grubb's 4-feet reflector has, since its installation, been styled " The 
Great Melbourne Telescope." An admirable description of it by the late Dr. 
T. Eomney Kobinson, D.D., F.E.S., appears in the Philosophical Transactions 
of the Royal Society of London, 1869, page 127 (13). 

The telescope itself is of the Cassegrainian type, and is mounted equa- 
torially in a somewhat similar form to the Sisson ; "its declination axis 
being placed between the upper and lower pivots of the polar axis, which 
run in large bearings, supported by two distinct massive stone pillars rising 
from a solid bed of masonry. The K.A. circle clamps and slow motion 
apparatus are between the declination axis and the lower pivot. The decli- 
nation circle is fixed to the bearings of the declination axis on the side of 
the polar axis, opposite to that of the telescope " (13). 

The dimensions of the optical parts are as follow : — Aperture of primary 
speculum, 48 inches ; focal length of primary speculum, 360 inches ; 
aperture of secondary speculum, 8 inches ; focal length of secondary 
speculum, 74.7 inches; equivalent focal length, 1,994 inches. 

There are two large 4-feet mirrors, each mounted in its cell ready for 
attachment to the telescope, floating on a complicated support of 48 cups 
and balls connected to the ends of arms which form a series of triangular 
levers, and upon hanging rings around its circumference. These mirrors 
have a central circular opening of 8 inches in diameter to admit the passage 
of the cone of rays from the convex secondary mirror to the ocular. The 
mirrors, both primary and secondary, are of speculum metal. 

The tube of the telescope consists of three portions. The lower, or " eye 
end " portion consists of the cell carrying the large speculum ; the central 
portion is a cylinder of boiler plate, about 93 inches long, to which is at- 
tached the declination axis by means of a massive cast-iron cradle and strong 
iron bands embracing the cylinder. The speculum cell fits to the end of 
this cylinder on turned surfaces, and is held to it by three strong screw-bolts. 
The upper portion of the telescope tube is made of open steel lattice- work, 
about 20J feet long, fixed by turned flanges to the boiler plate cylinder by 
bolts and nuts. 

The secondary mirror, in its cell, is mounted in the centre of the lattice 
tube, about 300 inches from the surface of the primary speculum and 39 
inches within the object end of the tube, and means are provided to enable 
the observer while at the eye end to alter this distance for focussing. 

The polar axis is 123 inches long, and its two pivots are 12 inches in 
diameter. The declination axis has a diameter of 22 inches at the bearing 
near to the telescope, and 9J inches at the counterpoise end. The circles 
are divided on silver bands, and have a diameter of 30 inches. 

The driving clock is governed by a double conical pendulum of the well- 
known " Grubb " form. The direct driving weight is 260 lbs., and the 
total weight of the moving parts is approximately 18,000 lbs. 

The instrument is provided with an achromatic telescope finder, 4 inches 
aperture, seven negative or Huygenian eye pieces ranging in power from 

Astronomy and Geodesy 341 

234 to 1,000, a parallel wire micrometer, a spectroscope, and a camera for 
photographing telescopic images at the focus of the primary mirror, the 
secondary mirror being removed when the camera is used. 

In 1910, a Voigtlander portrait lens of 6 inches aperture and 40 inches 
focal length, for which a metallic mounting was made at the Observatory, 
was attached to this telescope. 

The great Melbourne telescope was for many years after 1869 employed 
in the revision of the nebulae and clusters which were observed by Sir 
John Herschel at the Cape of Good Hope in the years 1834-38, and the 
results obtained are as satisfactory as the committee of the Eoyal Society of 
London, on whose recommendation, supervision, and approval the 4-feet 
Cassegrain was constructed, could have expected. 

Most of Sir John Herschel's southern nebulae have been examined, and 
many hundreds of drawings of these objects, with notes and micrometric 
measurements, exist at present in the observer's note books and registers ; 
but there has been no opportunity since 1891 of arranging this material 
for publication. 

In 1871, an expedition to the extreme north of Australia was organized 
for the observation of the total eclipse of the sun in December of that year, 
in which the Melbourne Observatory took part. This expedition is referred 
to in another division of this paper. 

In 1874, the occasion of the transit of Venus, which occurred in that 
year, gave Ellery the opportunity to add to his observatory equipment a 
photoheliograph, by Dallmeyer, with object glass 4 inches aperture and 
60 inches focal length ; an achromatic telescope, 8 inches aperture, 110 
inches focal length, by Troughton and Simms, mounted equatorially and 
provided with all requisites for micrometric measurements and work of the 
highest precision ; also another equatorial telescope, 4J inches aperture 
and 60 inches focal length, by Cooke and Sons, of York. 

The preparations for observing the transit of Venus included the dis- 
mantling of the east transit telescope of 6j-inch aperture, with which the 
Melbourne zones had been observed till 1872. For this telescope an equa- 
torial mounting was constructed at the Observatory, and the instrument 
has since been used for expeditions as a portable equatorial. 

Two new barrel chronographs were also constructed at the Observatory. 

After the transit of Venus, it became a part of the daily routine to take 
a photograph of the sun in the forenoon, which was done on all available 
opportunities for more than 20 years. 

In the time which elapsed between the two transits of Venus of 1874 
and 1882, the routine astronomical work of the Observatory did not suffer 
any marked changes or interruptions. 

Stellar photography was tried with the great telescope, but unsuccessfully. 
It was not found practicable to guide the telescope steadily enough during 
exposure. Photographs of the moon with the great telescope, which only 
required an exposure varying from 1 second to 3 seconds (with wet plates) 
were^ however, successful, and they were even considered at the time amongst 
the best that had ever been obtained. 

The photographs of the moon obtained at the focus of the primary mirror 
were 3} inches in diameter. 

342 Federal Handbook. 

The pictures of the sun obtained with the photoheliograph were 4 inches 
in diameter. One thousand seven hundred and twelve of these pictures 
on glass were sent to the Greenwich Observatory and the Solar Physics 
Committee in England, for measurement and tabulation (14). 

The preparations for the transit of Venus of 1882 and the observations 
of that astronomical event in this State will be dealt with under another 

The determination of the difference of longitude between Port Darwin 
and Singapore, and between Port Darwin and the Australian observatories, 
which were undertaken in 1883, will also be dealt with separately. 

In the year 1883, a " Central Bureau for the Telegraphic Exchange of 
Astronomical Information " was established at Kiel. It was arranged among 
the principal Observatories that all urgent astronomical intelligence and 
discoveries should be communicated to the Central Bureau at Kiel, which 
would at once transmit the news to various secondary centres to be 
established for the purpose in every part of the world, and thence to all 
astronomers concerned. The Melbourne Observatory was requested to act 
as the secondary centre for Australia, and it has since been its duty to com- 
municate to the other Observatories of Australasia any astronomical news 
cabled from Kiel, and to* receive announcements of astronomical discoveries 
or other important astronomical intelligence from any part of Australasia 
for telegraphic transmission to the Central Bureau at Kiel. 

Until August, 1884, all meridian observations were made with the 5-inch 
transit circle, and the results were published in seven volumes, the first of 
which contained the work done at Williamstown as already mentioned. 
The six subsequent volumes contain all the separate results from each obser- 
vation and the annual Catalogues of concluded Right Ascensions and North 
Polar distances for each year. 

The first general Catalogue for the Epoch 1860, containing the positions 
of 546 stars, is that printed in Volume I. A second general Catalogue for 
the Epoch 1870 was prepared and printed in 1874. This contains the 
positions of 1,227 stars. A third general Catalogue for the Epoch 1880, 
containing 1,211 star places was published in 1889. 

In May, 1884, a larger transit circle arrived from England, constructed 
by Troughton and Simms, and is of somewhat similar dimensions and 
design to those constructed by the same firm for the Observatories of 
Cambridge, England, and Harvard College, United States of America. Its 
object glass has an aperture of 8 inches and a focal length of 108 inches. 
Its two circles are 3 feet in diameter, being divided to every 5 feet, 
and each read by four microscopes. 

The two circles are at opposite ends of the axis, which is 52 inches in 
length, and has pivots 4J inches in diameter. The pivot bearings rest on 
two short iron pillars, which stand on massive stone piers. 

The reading microscopes are carried on gun metal circles attached to the 
short iron pillars. 

From August, 1884, to the present time all meridian observations have 
been made almost exclusively with this instrument. 

During the period 1884-1891, the astronomical work of the Observatory 
was similar in character to that of preceding years. 

Astronomy and Geodesy. 343 

The meridian observations made with the new transit circle comprised 
the usual clock stars, a special list of circumpolar stars, which were assiduously 
observed year after year, stars employed for comparison with comets, stars 
selected by Dr. Auwers for the formation of a " fundamental Catalogue of 
Southern Stars," and others in connexion with the reduction of the Melbourne 
zones and transit of Venus observations ; also a list of stars required by the 
Bureau des Longitudes for insertion in the Connaissance des Temps, and 
another list of stars used by Dr. Gill in some of his heliometer work. 

The observations of the southern nebulae with the great telescope, and 
observations made with the smaller equatorials, comprising extended series 
of observations of all the comets which were visible from Melbourne, and a 
preliminary spectroscopic survey of the southern stars brighter than the 
5th magnitude, form the bulk of the extrameridional work of this period. 
It has been stated in a previous page that the share allotted to the Mel- 
bourne Observatory in the Astrophotographic Programme, which was agreed 
upon at the Paris Congress of 1887, covered the south polar area of the heavens 
limited by the 65th parallel of south declination. 

Some description of the instrument required for this work has been already 
given. The one for this Observatory arrived in Melbourne at the end of 
December, 1890. 

It was constructed by Sir Howard Grubb, of Dublin, and is similar in 
all respects to those constructed by the same makers for the same purpose 
for the Observatories of Greenwich and Cape of Good Hope. 

It consists of a double telescope, mounted equatorially on a massive 
cast-iron stand in what is known as the German model. 

The two telescopes are roughly of the same length, but of different aperture. 
The larger, which is employed for photographing, has an object glass of 
13 inches aperture and 135§ inches focal length, and is corrected for spherical 
and chromatic aberration for rays close to Fraunhofer's spectral line G. 

The smaller telescope is used for guiding the instrument by visual obser- 
vation dur