Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

15 articles on this Page



[No title]







AN INVITING COLONY. As the question of Emigration is now engressing public attention, and as so many are leaving the mother country to seek their fortunes in far-ofl lands, the following brief sketch of the Colony of Victoria, irom the Melbourne Argus, may afford information to intending emigrants, which may be the means of inducing them to select this Colony—a climate seemingly all that could be desired—for their future home:— The colony of Victoria covers an area nearly as large as that of Great Britain, and contains a popula- tion of only 700,000 persons. The climate resembles that of the south of Spain and the south of Italy, the mean temperature being about 58 degrees. Frosts are of rare occurrence, and snow never falls except upon table lands or the mountains. Of the 55,500,000 acres of land comprised within the limits of the colony, nearly 49,000,000 acres remain in the possession of the Crown; and under the Land Act just passed any person can select not exceeding 320 acres of this land in any part of the colony, under extremely favourable conditions—that is to say, by residing upon and im- proving the allotment selected the occupant will be called upon to pay no more than 2s. per acre rental for three years, at the expiration of which time he will be allowed to become the owner of it on payment of 14s. per acre. The products of the soil in this colony are wheat, oats, barley, hops, tobacco, and the usual root crops. All the fruits and vegetables which flourish in Great Britain arrive at great perfection in Victoria, with the addition of oranges, lemons, and loquats. The vine- yards of the colony produce wines resembling in cha- racter those of Germany, France, Spain, Hungary, Italy, and Madeira. In time, when both the vines and the wines shall have attained greater maturity, there is every probability that they will meet with an active demand in England and India. As it is, they are rapidly superseding imported wine, beer, and spirits in general consumption among the population. According to the census of 1861, 25 per cent. of the people were engaged in mining, 10 per cent. in agri- culture, 10 per cent. as artisans and mechanics, 10 per cent. in trade, 3 per cent. as labourers, and 10 per cent. receiving instruction. On education the State annually expends £133,000; there is no township or village of any importance without its school-house. According to the latest returns, there were 834 schools in opera- tion, and 119,645 children had attended them during the year. A trunk line of railway runs from Melbourne to the northern boundary of the colony at Echuca another proceeds vid Geelong to Ballarat, the second town of importance a third is about to be constructed to Beechworth, near the north-eastern boundary of Vic- toria a fourth is being surveyed to Hamilton, the centre of an agricultural district in the west; and a fifth has been projected to Gipps Land, which may be called the garden of the colony, in the south-east. When these lines are completed ready access will be obtained to the most fertile districts of the country, as well as to those which abound in mineral treasures. For skilled labour-as, for example, that of artisans engaged in the building trade—the rates of wages range from 8?. to 10s. per diem, the working day con- sisting of eight hours. Occupations such as those of mechanical engineers, demanding higher qualifications and special aptitude, are still more liberally remune- rated. Working miners are paid 50s. per week, and day labourers receive 6s. a day. Farm labourers earn from 10s. to 40s. per week, besides their board and lodging. Domestic servants obtain from £20 to jE40 per annum. The necessaries of life are cheaper in Victoria than in England. Meat is from l.Jd. to 4d. per pound; bread, 6d. to 7 d. the 41b. loaf butter, ls. Id. to Is. 3d. per pound; cheese, 8d. to 10cL per pound; milk, 6d. per quart; groceries of all kinds as reasonable as in the mother country, and articles of wearing apparel at much the same prices as those current in London. Many working men own the houses they occupy, while the fact that the revenue of the 300 and odd friendly societies in Victoria exceeds j680,000, and that the available assets amount to something like £120,000, is a striking testimony to the prosperity and the prudence of a large section of the population. Pro- digious as is thfe sum total of the gold exported from the colony between the years 1851 and 1870, it would fall far short of the value of the real and chattel pro- perty held by the handful of people constituting the population of Victoria, and created by their industry and skill, co-operating with the bounty of nature. The mere enumeration of the live stock on farms and stations will probably convey to English readers a tolerably vivid idea of the colony's provisional re- sources. They consist of 143.934 horses, 181,854 milch cows, 571,828 other cattle, 9,756.819 sheep, and 137,206 pigs. There are upwards of 1,700 churches or school- rooms used for divine worship in Victoria, and the members of all religious denominations are equal in the eye of the law. At present the State assists them in building churches and maintaining their ministers to the extent of £50,000 per annum, but this subsidy will most likely be commuted or generally withdrawn. The avenues to political power are open to all, and v/f f Secretaries have been men who were the architects of their own fortunes, and made their way to the front by force of character. The principle of self-government is interwoven with the whole frame. work o.f ,Tiety' and political, municipal, social and industrial life is rapidly becoming assimilated to the best aspects of life in Old England.



[No title]