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Our Australian Cousins
By James Inglis (1880)


Why was this book written? Principally to satisfy the questionings of many friends in India and the old country, who continually write me such queries as these:—How do you like Australia? "Would you advise me to come out? Is it healthy? Is there any sport to be had? Are the people really nice? Could a man, with a small income and a large family do any­thing out there? and so on. I have honestly tried to detail my own experiences in such a way, that they shall be usefully suggestive to my friendly catechists and others like them, and yet be sufficiently interesting to command the suffrages of the general reader.

I do not profess to be a polished writer. The graces of my style are perhaps conspicuous by absence, yet I would have the critic know, that I have no opportunity of correcting proofs. Add to this that my book has .been written mostly on holidays, and late into the night, after an active day's duty in the city, when both hand and brain are somewhat jaded. It has required no slight sense of duty, and a desire to do some public good to keep me up to my self-appointed task.

I have incorporated letters that I wrote to The Pioneer when acting as special correspondent for that paper, and I have tried to write naturally, truthfully, and as I felt; where I have made extracts from news­papers and books, I have acknowledged the obligation, and here again thankfully do so to my unknown friends in council.

It may be asked what acquaintance I have with my text, and whether I am competent to speak as a critic, when I refer to colonial social manners and customs, politics, institutions and peoples. I can only say that I have been a colonist since I was about eighteen years of age. In New Zealand, I was by turns cadet on a sheep-run, gold-digger, travelling agent and general utility-man, turning my hand to what first presented itself, for I was young and ardent, and willing to work and did work hard. In India I was for twelve years Indigo planter and manager of large estates. Since I returned to the antipodes, I have been journalist, traveller, special correspondent, newspaper manager, and am now secretary of an insurance company. I claim therefore as a traveller, and an observant man, to know something about the colonies. The success of a former book, and the very favourable criticisms it received, has emboldened me to commit this present volume to the winds and waves of public opinion.

I honestly love Australia. It has become a healthy, happy home to me, after I had been given up by my medical friends as almost a hopeless case. I like the Australian people—the young people especially— and I want my book, if they read it, to do more than merely amuse, I want it to awaken thought. They will find here, written by no unfriendly hand, with no bias or prejudice, the opinions of a cosmopolitan. I have spoken strongly on colonial public life, and public men, and public measures, but not more so than the subject deserves.

The future of Australia lies in the hands of her young men. If they use the mighty power they possess, and send the right men to their parliaments and councils, and purge them of corrupt government, and look on things with a wider and more compre­hensive vision; say less, and act more, in fact: act righteously and honestly and loyally, and if my pages of sporting recollection, scenic description, and straightforward criticism, shall conduce in the least degree to this result, I shall think my night oil has burned to good purpose.

I am under great obligations to Mr. R. Scott of Newcastle, for fishing and shooting notes, and to Dr. S. T. Knaggs of the same city for much kind assistance, and to Mr. Gr. Ranken, "Capricornus," for much counsel and kindly help.

Strathfield, Sydney, N.S.W.,

August, 1879.


Chapter I.
A retrospect—I start from Calcutta
Our steamer and cargo—Down the Bay—Penang—The Cowree Festival.

Chapter II.
Singapore—My impressions of the island—Start for Australia—
Among the islands—Torres Straits—Our Captain—Passen­gers and Chinese doctor—Somerset—Looking back—Colo­nial evidences—A bush dandy—The pearl-shell Fishery— The divers' boats and details of the Fishery—The pearl oyster—Incidents of the Fishing—Curious facts in natural history—Sharks.

Chapter III.
The missionary—New Guinea—Early discoveries—Recent Expe­ditions
General description of the island—Animals— Natives — Curious customs—Deadly climate—Legends— General remarks.

Chapter IV.
We leave Somerset—The Australian coast—The "Black Fellows"
—A wreck—Brisbane—Aspect from the river—Signs of pro­gress—Hotels—Loungers at the bars—The streets—Houses of Parliament—View of the city—Queensland a fine "poor man's" country.

Chapter V.
Regaining health—An Easter trip up the coast—My travelling
companion—We travel steerage—Experience of a colonial coasting trip—Ration tea—General discomforts of colonial travel—Across the bar—Our reception by our host—The fishing station—The dugong—Mode of capture—Its uses— The black fellow assistants—A domestic squabble—Customs of the black fellows—A native battle.

Chapter VI.
A corroborree—Discomforts of camp life—Treatment of the
natives—The native police—British pluck and Christian courage—How the blacks are dealt with.

Chapter VII.
Start for Maryborough—A colonial conveyance—A drive through, the bush—Mosquitoes—A bush inn—We reach Maryborough—The sugar-cane country—Alford sugar estate— Method of cultivation—Yengarrie Factory—Mode of manu­facture—The cheap labour question—Kanaka recruiting— Burning questions of the day—Class antagonism.

Chapter VIII.
Return to Brisbane—A ride by rail to Ipswich—Scenery on the
line—Venality of legislators—The Bathurst burr—Grass seeds—The sida retusa—Ipswich—The Grange Stud Farm —The horse trade with India—An Indo-Australian trading company—Excellence of Australian stock.

Chapter IX.
Natural wealth of Australia—Neglect of agriculture—Proposals
to establish experimental farms—Apathy, indolence, and ignorance prevalent—My own experiments with Indian seeds—Indian products for Australia—Resume of the salient points of indigo culture—Probable result of its introduction into Australia—Mustard and rape seeds—How grown— Linseed — Sesamum — Castor plant —Hemp—Safflower— Millets—General remarks.

Chapter X.
The marsupial plague—Young of the marsupiata born—What is a marsupial?—Able account by a "Bush Naturalist".

Chapter XI.
A kangaroo battue—Mr. Bracker of Warroo—The Darling
Downs—Warwick and Stanthorpe—Varieties of marsupials —Pikedale Station—The scene of operations—The line— The beaters—Old wombat—The beat—Fierce excitement— Incidents of the sport—A Spartan meal—Camping out—A monster bag—Waste of skins—How these might be utilized —A letter from the Globe on the subject—Pikedale Wash Pool—Tin mining—The present and future of Queensland.

Chapter XII.
Sydney—Her magnificent harbour—Its unrivalled beauties—
The city—General charge of dirtiness—Not so bad as it is generally painted—Comparison of Sydney with other towns —Sydney for her age a wonderful city—Eapid extension— General aspect of the city—The suburbs—Suburban villas— Sydney freestone—Small allotments and undue subdivision of land—Absence of cottage gardens—Want of sanitation— The term "Cornstalk"—Sydney streets—Public buildings —Causes of her chronic indebtedness—Unfitness of her aldermen—Testimony of one of their number—Summary.

Chapter XIII.
Sydney shop-fronts—Verandahs—Hitching horses to the side- posts—Wonderful docility of the horses—How they are trained—Cabs and cabmen—The hotels—Drinking habits— The licensing system—Need of reform—Hotels and boarding-houses—The parks—Municipal incompetence—Loun­gers on the pavements—Shop-runners—The streets on Saturday night—The Sydney Larrikin—Selfishness of the wealthier classes—Honour to whom honour is due.

Chapter XIV.
Workmen's combinations—Fear of strikes retards industry—
Condition of the Australian workmen—Swagsmen and Loafers—Friendly Benefit Societies—Rules, working, and objects—The Club doctor—Abuses in the system—Acci­dent Assurance—Comparison—Life Assurance—The Mutual Provident Society—The Mutual Life Association—Insur­ance agents—Insurance returns—Australian prosperity— Building Societies—Workmen's wages—Labour—Summary.

Chapter XV.
The railway terminus two miles from the sea—Amazing red-
tapism—How not to do it in Australia—The railway— Paramatta—Views along the line—John Chinaman—Beauty of the scenery—The great Zigzag—Govett's Leap—The Blue Mountains—Hartley Vale—Dargan's Creek—Mineral wealth y of the district—Kerosine shale deposits—The sugar-loaf estate—Reports by Professor Dawkins and Professor Tate— Openings for capitalists.

Chapter XVI.
Sporting proclivities—Gambling and betting—Lord Harris and
the Cricketing Association of New South Wales—Colonial crowds—A public holiday—Bookmakers the vultures of society—Their influence subversive of true sport—A water party on the harbour—Our host and hostess—Australian ladies—Less constraint and conventionality than in England—Precocity of the girls—Beauty of the harbour—Monman's Bay—A merry party—The eight-oar race between the rival colonies—Account of the race between Trickett and Rush for the championship of the world

Chapter XVII.
An Easter outing in the Antipodes—Arrangements for the party
—Our comrades and their appearance—The start—We steam round to Port Hacking—Our camp—A damper—A bad night—Dawn in Australia—After wallaby—A gem in the forest—A pull up the river—Splendid scenery—The lyre bird—A camp feast—Hooked through the hand— Disembarkation.

Chapter XVIII.
I become manager of a newspaper—Australian journalism— Editors in the Antipodes—Characteristics of the Australian Press—General high tone of same—The Sydney Morning Herald—Literary talent plentiful, but ill-remunerated—The Australian Magazine—Sydney PunchIllustrated Sydney News—Newspaper correspondents—The Miners' Advocate— General estimate of the colonial press.

Chapter XIX.
The city of Newcastle, New South Wales—Buildings, wharfs,
cranes, &c.—Badly laid out—The sand-drift—Subordina­tion of great national works to petty local wants—Negli­gence of sanitary principles—Want of public spirit—Want of a proper water supply—The filth and squalor of a colonial town—How contagion spreads—The shipping—Pall of smoke—Port defences—The coal trade—Devices for keeping up the price of coal—Short history of the relations between the masters and miners—The Yend Scheme—Both sides— The miners—Their sports and general characteristics— Chinese gardeners—Miners' houses.

Chapter XX.
A trip to Lake Macquarrie—Beauty of the forest—First view of
the lake—Boating and fishing—Our Charon—Destructive fishing—Pot-shooting—Want of a close season—Musk ducks —Black swans—The Heads at the lake—Chinaman colo­nists—Scenery—Oysters—Their excellence and abundance —Present system of oyster culture crude and wasteful— Importance of the -industry—Plans in vogue elsewhere— What might be done in Australia—Present apathy and neglect.

Chapter XXI.
Deep-sea fishing in Australia—Schnapper fishing—Acclimatiza­tion making progress—The fishing grounds—My friend
Bob—Rock fishing—Growing scarcity of fish—Bait— U Lines—Black bream—Best time for fishing—Best localities —Groper and rock cod—Flat-head and tailor fish—Gar fish—Sting ray-sharks—Fishing incidents—Leather jackets and green eels—Anecdotes.

Chapter XXII.
Fresh-water and fly-fishing in Australia—Varieties—Native
modes of fishing—The fresh-water tortoise—Spearing fish— The fish of the Western waters—The platypus—The fresh i/ water eel—Perch and herring—Fly-fishing on the Hunter— Fishing notes by Bob—Shooting—Sport on the Lachlan— Varieties of wild fowl—Pigeons—Character of the countryIncidents of duck-shooting—Deterioration of the sport— Pot shooting—Necessity for conservation—Snipe in Hexham swamps—Anecdotes—The wood duck—Its cunning and sagacity—The Australian crow—Anecdotes—The shrike or butcherbirdSparrowhawk—Magpie—Future prospects of sport—The Acclimatization Society—The Animals Protec­tion Act.

Chapter XXIII.
Climate of Australia—Sites for a sanitorium—Start for Mount
"Wilson—My host—The road-side publican—Types of colo­nial character—The parvenu—Vulgarity and boorishness— "Young Australia" in the bush—Domestic servants— Argument on the subject—The beauty of Mount Wilson— General description—Luxuriance of the vegetation—The tree ferns and scrub—Sassafras and Messmate—Wild fruits, mosses, and plants—Clearing—A bush store—Cascade— Opinion on the climate by one of the leading Sydney phy­sicians— Prospecting for a section—Forest scenery and . denizens—Wild indigo—Plants that might be introduced— Casting about for water—Lunch in the bush—The awful silence—Forest leeches—Wynn's Rocks—Grandeur and sublimity of the desolation—A magnificent panorama— What a country for game!—The mountain land—Timber clearing—A field for labour—False ideas of speedily acquir­ing riches—A bush interior—Prodigality—The kind of labour we want—How men can rise—Advice to the newcomer.

Chapter XXIV.
The functions of Government—Estimate of colonial Parliaments
—Rallying cries—Many of our legislators unfit for their position—At war with "Society"—Parliament degraded into a court of petty causes—Sir Henry Parkes on the sub­ject—Extract from the Sydney Daily Telegraph—Muni­cipal councils—Difficulty of finding good men—Consti­tuencies to blame—The qualities they appreciate in their representatives—Beggarly dependence on the State—Good men disinclined to enter public life—Necessity for a Cobden Club—An overgrown Civil Service—Selfishness and apathy in high places—My opinions corroborated by a well-known writer—"Capricornus" on Australian statesmanship—Dete­rioration of the Civil Service—The same writer on this subject—Jealousy of outside criticism—Deep-seated diseases require strong remedies.

Chapter XXV.
The land question—The burning question of the day—The land
settlement—The early policy—Free selection—Objects of the Act of 1861—Abuses that have arisen—Repudiation looming in the distance—Feuds between squatter and selector—How the case now stands—Reasoning by analogy —The land system of. India—Its broad and leading prin­ciples—How the revenues are raised—The Cornwallis Settlement—The Punjaub system—Periodical assessments —"Waste lands reclamation in Oudh and the North-West— The present problem in Australia—No more alienation— Rotten legislation—Recent legislation—The new proposals —General summary.

Chapter XXVI.
Argument continued by illustration and from personal expe­riences in land settlement—The work of settlement in Oudh
—Fixity of tenure and easy conditions—Surveys and im­provements—Village settlements—Importation of labour— The labour question—Misstatements and false views—Coolie labour—More labour wanted—Anti-immigrationists—Pro­tectionists in disguise—More abundant labour the. talisman of Australia's development—The reign of the carpet-baggers —No progress without population—Words of an Australian poet

Chapter XXVII.
Scheme of land reform by "Capricornus"—Commutation of
existing rights—Survey before settlement—Demarcation of agricultural and pastoral areas—Land operations in New Zealand—Railways and public works—Imported labour— Fixity of tenure—Employment of capital—Rents and cesses —Title direct from the State—Local land boards—A model land tax—Objections—The right of the State to a moiety of the unearned increment—Centralization—A nomadic race the result of the present system—Tenant-right—Low-cost railways—Foreign capital—Inducements to capitalists— Results of a wise and liberal land reform—Conclusion— Advance, Australia.


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