WESTERN AUSTRALIA, a British colonial state, forming part of the Commonwealth of Australia. (For Map, see AUS- TRALIA.) This portion of Australia lies to the west of 129 E. long., forming considerably more than one-third of the whole; it has an area of 1,060,000 sq. m., is 1400 m. in length and 850 in breadth, and has a coast-line of 3500 m. It is divided into five districts Central, Central Eastern, South-Eastern, North and Kimberley. The Central or settled district, in the southwest, is divided into twenty-six counties. Apart from the coast lands, the map presents almost a blank, as the major portion is practically a dry waste of stone and sand, relieved by a few shallow salt lakes. The rivers of the south are small the Blackwood being the most considerable. To the north of this are the Murray, the well-known Swan, the Moore, the Greenough and the Murchison. The last is 400 m. long. Shark's Bay receives the Gascoyne (200 m. long), with its tributary the Lyons.
1 See T. N. Dale, The Chief Commercial Granites of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island (Washington, 1908), Bulletin 354 of the United States Geological Survey.
Still farther north, where the coast trends eastward, the principal rivers are the Ashburton, the Fortescue and the De Grey. Kimberley district to the north-east has some fine streams the Fitzroy and Ord and their tributaries, on some of which (the Mary, Elvira, etc.) are the goldfields, 250 m. south of Cambridge Gulf. The Darling mountain range is in the south-west, Mount William reaching 3000 ft.; in the same quarter are Toolbrunup (3341 ft.), Ellen's Peak (3420), and the Stirling and Victoria ranges. Gardner and Moresby are flat-topped ranges. Mount Elizabeth rises behind Perth. Hampton tableland overlooks the Bight. In the north-west are Mount Bruce (4000 ft.), Augustus (3580), Dalgaranger (2100), Barlee, Pyrton and the Capricorn range. Kimberley has the King Leopold, M'Clintock, Albert Edward, Hardman, Geikie, Napier, Lubbock, Oscar, Mueller and St George ranges. The lake district of the interior is in the Gibson and Victoria deserts from 24 to 32 S. The lakes receive the trifling drainage of that low region. Almost all of them are salt from the presence of saline marl.
Geology. The main mass of Westralia consists of a vast block of Archean rocks, which forms the whole of the western half of the Australian continent. The rocks form a plateau, which faces the coast, in a series of scarps, usually a short distance inland. The edge of this plateau is separated from the Southern Ocean by the Nullarbor limestones, at the head of the Great Australian Bight; but they gradually become narrower to the west; and the Archean rocks reach the coast at Port Dempster and to the east of Esperance Bay. Thence the southern boundary of the Archean rocks extends due west, while the coast trends southward, and is separated by a belt of Lower Palaeozoic and Mesozoic deposits; but the reappearance of the granitic rocks at King George Sound and Albany may be due to an outlier of the Archean tableland. Along the western coast, the scarp of the Archean plateau forms the Darling Range behind Perth. Further north, behind Shark's Bay, the plateau recedes from the coast, and trends north-westward through the Hammersley Mountains and the highlands of Pilbarra. The Archean rocks underlie the Kimberley Goldfield; but they are separated from the main Archean plateau to the south by the Lower Palaeozoic rocks, which extend up the basin of the Fitzroy river and form the King Leopold and Oscar Ranges.
The Archean rocks are of most interest from the auriferous lodes which occur in them. The Archean rocks of the area between the Darling Range and the goldfield of Coolgardie were classified by H. P. Woodward into six parallel belts, running northward and southward, but with a slight trend to the west. The westernmost belt consists of clay slates, quartzites and schists, and is traversed by dykes of diorite and felstone; the belt forms the western foot of the Archean plateau, along the edge of the coastal plain. The second belt consists of gneisses and schists, and forms the western part of the Archean plateau. Its chief mineral deposit is tin, in the Green-bushes tin-field, and various other minerals, such as graphite and asbestos. Then follows a wide belt of granitic rocks; it has no permanent surface water and is bare of minerals, and, therefore, formed for a long time an effective barrier to the settlement or prospecting of the country to the east. This granitic band ends to the east in the first auriferous belt, which extends from the Phillips river, on the southern coast, to Southern Cross, on the Perth to Kalgoorlie railway; thence it goes through Mount Magnet, Lake Austin and the Murchison Goldfield at Nannine, and through the Peak Goldfield to the heads of the Gascoyne and Ashburton rivers. To the east of this belt is a barren band of granites and gneisses, succeeded again eastward by the second auruerous belt, including the chief goldfields of Westralia. They begin on the south with the Dundas Goldfield, and the mining centre of Norseman; then to the north follow the goldfields of Kalgoorlie, with its Golden Mile at Boulder, and the now less important field of Coolgardie. This line continues thence through the goldfields of Leonora and Mount Margaret, and reappears behind the western coast in the Pilbarra Goldfield. The rocks of the goldfields consist of amphobolite-schists and other basic schists, traversed by dykes of granite, diorite and porphyrite, with some peridotites. Some of the amphibolites have been crushed and then silicified into jasperoids, so that they much resemble altered sedimentary slates.
The Palaeozoic group is represented by the Cambrian rocks of the Kimberley Goldfield, which nave yielded Olentllus forresli. There appear to be no certain representatives of the Ordovician system; while the Silurian is represented in the King Leopold Range of Kimberley, and, according to H. P. Woodward, in the contorted, unfossilliferous quartzites and shales of the Stirling Range, north of Albany. The Upper Palaeozoic is well represented by an area of some 2000 sq. m. of Devonian sedimentary and volcanic rocks in the Kimberley district, and by the Carboniferous system, including both a lower, marine type, and an upper, terrestrial type. The Lower Carboniferous limestones occur in the Napier, Oscar and Geikie Ranges ol Kimberley, and in the basin of the Gascoyne river, where they contain the glacial deposits discovered by Gibb-Maitland, between the Wooramel and M inilya rivers. The upper and terrestrial type of the Carboniferous include sandstones with Stigmaria and Lepidodendron in the Kimberley district, and the coals of the Irwin coalfield, the age of which is proved by the interstratification of the coal seams with beds containing Productus subquadratus, Cyrtina carbonaria and Aviculopecten subquinquelineatus. The Mesozoic rocks were discovered in 1861, and their chief outcrop is along the western coast plains of Westralia between Geraldton and Perth. They have been pierced by many bores put down for artesian wells. The fossils indicate a Lower Jurassic age ; and , according to Etheridge, some of the fossils are Lower Cretaceous. The Collie coalfield, to the east of Bunbury, is generally regarded as Mesozoic. Its coal is inferior in quality to that of Eastern Australia, and contains on an average of 34 analyses 11-77% of moisture, and 8-62% of ash. According to Etheridge its age is Permo-Carboniferous. The Kainozoic rocks include the marine limestones in the Nullarbor Plains at the head of the Great Australian Bight, whence they extend inland for 150 m. They have no surface water, but the rainfall in this district nourishes artesian wells. The occurrence of marine Kainozoic beds under the western coastal plain is proved by the bores, as at Carnarvon, where they appear to be over 1000 ft. in thickness. The coastal region also includes sheets of clay and sandstone, with deposits of brown coal as on the Fitzgerald river on the southern coast, and in the basin of the Gascoyne. The Archean plateau of the interior is covered by wide sheets of subaerial and lacustrine deposits, which have accumulated in the basins and river valleys. They include mottled clays, lateritic ironstones and conglomerates. In places the materials have been roughly assorted by river action, as in the deep lead of Kanowna. The clays contain the bones of the Diprotodon, so that they are probably of Upper Pliocene or Pleistocene age. The Kainozoic volcanic period of Australia is represented by the basalts of Bunbury and Black Point, east of Flinders Bay.
A bibliography of Westralian geology has been issued by Maitland, Bulletin Geol. Survey, No. I, 1898. An excellent summary of the mineral wealth of the state has been given by Maitland, Bulletin 8, No. 4, 1900, pp. 7-23, also issued in the Year-book of Western Australia. The main literature of the geology of Westralia is in the Bulletins of the Geol. Survey, and in the reports of the Mines Department. A general account of the gold-mining has been given by A. G. Charleton, 1902; and also by Donald Clark, Australian Mining and Metallurgy (1904). (J. W. G.)
Flora. Judged by its vegetable forms, Western Australia would seem to be older than eastern Australia, South Australia being of intermediate age. Indian relations appear on the northern side, and South African on the western. There are fewer Antarctic and Polynesian representatives than in the eastern colonies. European forms are extremely scarce. Compared with the other side of Australia, a third of the genera on the south-west is almost wanting in the south-east. In the latter, 55, having more than ten species each, have 1260 species; but the former has as many in 55 of its 80 genera. Of those 55, 36 are wanting in the south-east, and 17 are absolutely peculiar. There are fewer natural orders and genera westward, but more species. Baron von Miiller declared that " nearly half of the whole vegetation of the Australian continent has been traced to within the boundaries of the Western Australian territory." He includes 9 Malvaceae, 6 Euphorbiaceae, 2 Rubiaceae, 9 Proteaceae, 47 Leguminosae, 10 Myrtaceae, 12 Compositae, 5 Labiatae, 6 Cyperaceae, 13 Convolvulaceae, 16 Gramineae, 3 Filices, 10 Amaranthaceae. Yet over 500 of its tropical species are identified with those of India or Indian islands. While seventenths of the orders reach their maximum south-west, three-tenths do so south-east. Cypress pines abound in the north, and ordinary pines in Rottnest Island. Sandalwood (Santalum cygnorum) is exported. The gouty stem baobab (Adansonia) is in the tropics. Xanlhorrhoea,the grass tree, abounds in sandy districts. Mangrove bark yields a purple tan. Palms and zamias begin in the northwest. The Melaleuca Leucadendron is the paperbark tree of settlers. The rigid-leafed Banksia is known as the honeysuckle. Casuarinae are the he and she oaks of colonists, and the Exocarpus is their cherry tree. Beautiful flowering shrubs distinguish the south-west; and the deserts are all ablaze with flowers after a fall of rain. Poison plants are generally showy Leguminosae, Sida and the Gastrolooium.
The timber trees of the south-west are almost unequalled. Of the Eucalypts, the jarrah or mahogany, E. tnarginala, is first for value. It runs over five degrees of latitude, and its wood resists the teredo and the ant. Sir Malcolm Fraser assigns 14,000 sq. m. to the jarrah, 10,000 to E. viminalis, 2300 to the karri (E. colossea or E. diver sicolor), 2400 to York gum (E. loxophleba), 800 to the red gum (E. calophylla) and 500 to tuart or native pear (E. gomphocephala). Not much good wood is got within 20 m. of the coast. The coachbuilder's coorup rises over 300 ft. Morrel furnishes good timber and rich oil. An ever-increasing trade is done in the timber of the south-western forests.
Fauna. Among the mammals are the Macropus giganteus, M. irma, M. dama, M. brachyurus, Lagorchestes fasciatus, Beltongia penicillata, Phalangista vulpecula, Pseudochirus cooki, Dasyurus eoffroyi, Tarsipes rostratus, Antechinus apicalis, Perameles obesula, erameles myosurus, Myrmecobius fasciatus. Fossil forms partake ge P of the existing marsupial character, Diprotodon being allied to the wombat and kangaroo. Nail-bearing kangaroos are in the northwest ; the banded one, size of a rabbit, is on Shark's Bay. Nocturnal phalangers live in holes of trees or in the ground. Carnivorous Phascogalae are found in south-west. There are three kinds of wombat. The rock-loving marsupial Osphranter is only in the north-east, and Perameles bougainvillei at Shark's Bay. The dalgyte or Petrogale lagotis is at Swan river and Hypsiprymnus in the south. The colony has only two species of wallabies to five in New South Wales. The Halmaturus of the Abrolhos is a sort of wallaby; a very elegant species is 18 in. long. The pretty Dromicia, 6 in. long, lives on stamens and nectar, like the Tarsipes, bavins a brush at the tip of its tongue; its tail is prehensile. The hare-like Lagorchestes'fasciatus is a great leaper. The Hapalotis of the interior has nests in trees. Beaver rats and other small rodents are troublesome, and bats are numerous. The dingo is the wild dog. The platypus (Ornithorhynchus) and the Echidna are the only forms of the Monotremata. The seal, whale and dugong occur in the adjacent seas.
The west is not so rich as the east of Australia in birds. Many forms are absent and others but poorly represented, though some are peculiar to the west. The timbered south-west has the greatest variety of birds, which are scarce enough in the dry and treeless interior. Of lizards the west has 12 genera not found in eastern Australia. Of snakes there are but 15 species to 3 in Tasmania and 31 in New South Wales. While the poisonous sorts are 2 to I in the east, they are 3 to I in the west. The turtle is obtained as an article of food. The freshwater fishes are not all like those of the east. They include the mullet, snapper, ring fish, guard fish, bonita, rock cod, shark, saw fish, parrot fish and cobbler. Under the head of fisheries may be mentioned the pearl oyster, which is dived for by natives at Shark's Bay; the trepang or be"che-de-mer is also met with in the north. Insects are well represented, especially Coleoptera, Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera, Hemiptera and Diptera.
Climate. With little or no cold anywhere, the heat of summer over the whole area is considerable. Western Australia differs from the country to the east in having no extensive ranges to collect vapour, while the trade winds blow off the dry land instead of from the ocean ; for these two reasons the climate is very dry. Thunderstorms often supply almost the only rainfall in the interior. The south-western corner, the seat of settlements, is the only portion where rains can be depended on for cultivation ; but even there few places have a rainfall of 40 in. As one goes northward the moisture lessens. The north-west and all the coast along to Kimberley, with most of that district, suffer much from dryness. The north-east comes in summer within the Sphere of the north-west monsoons, though just over the low coast-range few showers are known. The south coast, exposed to polar breezes, with uninterrupted sea, has to endure lengthened droughts. In the Swan river quarter the rainfall is in winter, being brought by north-west winds, and summer days have little moisture. While the south wind cools the settled region, it comes over the parched interior to the northern lands. The hot wind of Swan river is from the east and north-east; but it is from the south in summer to Kimberley and the north-west. In one season the land breeze is hot, in another cool, but always dry.
The climate of Perth is typical of the south-western districts. There are two distinct seasons, the winter and the summer. The winter commences somewhat abruptly, being ushered in by heavy rains; it begins usually not earlier than the middle of April or later than the middle of May, and continues until towards the end of October. The winters are, as a rule, very mild, but there is some cold weather in July and August, and though there is little at the coast, frost is not uncommon inland. The summer is heralded by an occasional hot day in October, in November the weather becomes settled and continues warn* until the end of March. In the four montha, December to March, the maximum temperature in the shade exceeds 90 on an average on 37 days, but as a rule the heat does not last long, the evenings and nights being tempered by a cool breeze.
In the interior the climate resembles that of the south-west in regard to the occurrence of two seasons only. The winter, however, has much less rain than on the coast, and is cold, clear and bracing. The summer is, as a rule, hot, but is tempered in the south by occasional cool changes, though unrelieved as the tropic is approached. Within the tropics there are two seasons, the wet and the dry. The wet season is most unpleasant, the temperature rarely falling below 100; the dry season, which lasts from April to November, is usually fine, clear and calm. The average rainfall at Perth is 33 in. falling on lio days; the mean maximum temperature is 74-9 and the minimum 54-8; at Coolgardie the mean maximum is 77-8 and the mean minimum 52^4 ; at Wyndham, on the north-west coast, the mean maximum is 93-9 and the minimum 75-4.
Population. Population made very slow increase under the old conditions of settlement, and even when gold was discovered in 1882 at Kimberley, and five years later at Yilgarn, no great impetus was given to the colony, and at the census of 1891 the population was still under 50,000. The sensational gold finds at Coolgardie in 1892, however, had a most important influence in drawing population, and in three and a half years the population was doubled: during a portion of this time the rush of miners to the gold-fields was so great as to be reminiscent of the experience of the eastern colonies during the 'fifties. At the end of 1905 the population was 254,779, comprising 150,495 males and 104,284 females. The slowness of the early growth and the more rapid strides of later years will be gathered from the followfigures: pop. (1860) 15,227, (1870) 25,084, (1880) 29,019, (1890) 46,290, (1895) 101,238, (1001) 194,889. The chief towns of Western Australia are: Perth the capital 56,000, Fremantle 23,008, Kalgoorlie 6780, Boulder 5658. The number of people in all gold-field towns fluctuates very greatly. Coolgardie, for example, was returned in July 1894 as having within its municipal boundaries 12,000 people; in 1905 it had only 3830.
The births during 1905 numbered 7582 and the deaths 2709, the rates per thousand of population being respectively 30-30 and 10-83, showing a net increment of 19-47 per 1000. In the period 1861- 1865 the birth-rate was 39-07 per lopo. Between 1886 and 1890 it stood at 36-88; then came a rapid decline, and in 1896 was reached the low level of 22-67 P 61 " iooo. In 1904 the rate was 30-34 per 1000. The decline in the birth-rates has been a common experience of all the Australian states; in Western Australia it was due in a large degree to the decline in the proportion of females to males. In 1870 the females numbered 62% of the males, and in 1880 75%, while in 1895 the proportion was only 45%. The illegitimate births during 1905 were 4-19% of the total births. The death-rate, which in 1897 was 16-09 per 1000, has steadily declined in recent years. The large influx of young unmarried men in the years 1894-1898 was followed by the arrival of a large number of single women, and the marriage-rates increased from 7 per 1000 in the five years 1891-1895 to 10-7 per 1000 in 1897. In 1905 the rate stood at the more normal level of 8-48. Except for a slight influx of population in the three years 1885-1887, due to the gold discoveries at Kimberley, there was very little immigration to Western Australia prior to 1891 ; in that year, however, there was a considerable in pouring of population from the eastern colonies, notably from Victoria and South Australia, and in the seven years which closed with 1897 the population of the colony gained nearly 110,000 by immigration alone. In 1898 there was still a large inflow of population, but the outflow was also great, and in 1898 and the following year the two streams balanced one another; but 1900 showed an excess of 6000, and 1905 of 7617 gained by immigration.
Western Australia is the most sparsely populated of all the states; only the coastal fringe and the gold-fields show any evidences of settlement, and if the area were divided amongst the population there would be but ten persons to 52 sq. m. The population is almost exclusively of British origin, and only differs from that of the other states in that there is a larger body of Australian-born, who are not natives of the colony itself. About 45% of the population are members of the Church of England; one-fourth belong to other Protestant denominations, and one-fourth are Roman Catholics.
Administration. In 1890 Western Australia, up to that time a crown colony administered by a governor, was granted responsible government. The legislative authority is vested in a parliament composed of two Houses a Legislative Council, whose thirty members are elected for six years, and a Legislative Assembly of fifty members, elected by adult suffrage (men and women). As a portion of the Commonwealth, Western Australia . sends six senators and five representatives to the federal parliament. In a country so sparsely settled municipal government has little scope for operation.
So far forty-four municipalities have been gazetted. Besides the municipalities there are district roads boards, elected by the ratepayers of their respective districts to take charge of the formation, construction and maintenance of the public roads throughout their districts. There were in 1905 ninety-four such boards in existence. Some of the districts are of enormous size: Pilbarra, for example, has an area of 14,356 sq. m.; Coolgardie North has 75,968 sq. m.; Nullagine has 90,438 sq. m., and the Upper Gascoyne has 136,000 sq. m. Over areas so vast little effective work can be accomplished, but where the districts are small the administration is much the same as in the municipalities. The receipts from rates of all local districts in 1905 was 104,760, and the grants by the government 80,938, making a total of 185,698.
Education. Attendance at school is compulsory upon all children over six years and under fourteen years of age. Instruction is imparted only in secular subjects, but the law allows special religious teaching to be given during half an hour each day by clergymen to children of their own denomination. Children can claim free education on account of inability to pay fees, of living more than a mile from school, or of having attended school for more than 400 half-days during the preceding year. The state expended in 1905 '3! 1585 on public instruction, the great bulk of which was devoted to primary schools. The number of schools supported by the sta^e in that year was 335, the teachers numbered 888, the net enrolment of scholars was 27,978, and the average attendance 23,703. There were in 1905 99 private schools with 350 teachers an d 7353 scholars, the average attendance being 6128.
Judged by the number of persons arrested, crime is more prevalent than in any other part of Australia. The gold-fields have attracted some of the best and most enterprising of the Australian population ; at the same time many undesirable persons flocked to the state expecting to reap a harvest in the movement and confusion of the gold diggings. These latter form a large part of the criminal population of the state. The arrests in 1905 numbered 14,646, of which 2104 were for serious offences; so that for every thousand of the population 49 were arrested for trivial and 8 for serious crimes.
Finance. The discovery of gold and the settlement on the goldfields of a large population, for the most part consumers of dutiable goods, has entirely revolutionized the public finances of the state. In 1891 the revenue was 497,670, that is, 10, 155. per inhabitant; in 1895 it rose to 1.125,941, or 12, los. per inhabitant; and in 1897 to 2,842,751, or 20, I2s. 2d. per inhabitant. For 1905 the figures were 3,615,340, or 14, l8s. 5d. per inhabitant. The chief sources of revenue in 1905 were: customs and excise, 1,027,898; other taxation, 221,738; railways, 1,629,956; pumic lands (including mining), 207,905; all other sources, 527,843. The expenditure has risen with the revenue, the figures Tor 1905 being 3,745,224, equal to 15, 95. 2d. per head of population. The chief items of expenditure in 1905 were: railway working expenses, 1,297,499; public works, 337,927; interest and charges upon debt, 578,704; mines, 248,496; education, 149,552. The public debt is of comparatively recent creation. In August 1872 an act was passed authorizing the raising of certain sums for the construction of public works; in 1881 the amount owing was not more than 511,000, and in 1891 only 1,613,000 or 30, 53. 8d. per inhabitant; from the year last named the indebtedness has increased by leaps and bounds, and in 1905 had mounted up to 16,642,773, a sum equal to 66, los. 4d. per inhabitant, involving an interest charge of 574,406 or 2, 53. id. per inhabitant. The proceeds of the loans were used largely for the purpose of railway extension the expenditure on this service at the middle of 1906 was 9,618,970; on water supply and sewerage works, 2,892,390; on telegraphs and telephones, 269,308; on harbour and river improvements, 2,182,529; on development of gold-fields, 973,082; on development of agriculture, 597,189.
Defence. The local defence force of Western Australia in 1905 comprised 7 permanent artillerymen, 772 militia, 580 volunteers, and 2534 riflemen a total of 3943. The defence of the state is undertaken by the federal government.
Minerals. -Gold-mining is the main industry, and in 1905 16,832 miners were directly engaged in it; as large a number is indirectly engaged in the industry. Gold, silver, coal, tin and copper are the chief minerals mined; the mineral production of the state in 1905 was valued at 8,555,841. The value of the gold produced was 8,305,654, a falling off of 118,572 as compared with 1904. The dividends paid by the gold-mining companies for that year amounted to 2,167,639 as against 2,050,547 in 1904. Up to 1905 the total recorded mineral production of Western Australia amounted in value to 65,012,499 gold representing 63,170,911 of that sum; while 13,739,842 had been paid in dividends.
Western Australia ranks as the largest gold producer of the Australian group. Coal is worked at Collie, 25 m. E. of Bunbury; boring operations which had been going on between Greenough and Mullewa on the Geraldton-Cue railway line were discontinued in 1905, the bore hole, carried to a depth of 1418 ft. having failed to disclose any coal seams. The export of copper in 1905 was valued at 16,266; of tin, 86,840; of silver, 44,278. The value of the coal produced in that year was 55,312.
Industries. The agricultural possibilities of the state are more restricted than those of the eastern states, as the rainfall in the southern and temperate portion does not extend far from the coast, and the land where the fall is satisfactory is only good over small areas. The area cultivated in 1871 was 52,000 acres; in 1881 it was 53,000 acres; in 1891, 64,000 acres; and in 1905, 467,122 acres. The principal crops grown in the year last named were: wheat, 195,071 acres; oats, 15,713 acres; hay, 124,906 acres. The wheat yield was 11-83 bushels per acre, and the hay crop l-ia tons per acre. In 1905 the number ot sheep depastured was 3 ,120,703 ; cattle, 631,825; horses, 97,397. These figures show an increase for all classes of stock. There are in the state about 2000 camels. The number of sheep has increased considerably in late years. In 1871, 2,000,000 Ib of wool were exported; in 1881, 4,100,000 Ib; in 1891, 8,800,000 lb; in 1900, 9,514,000 ft; and in 1905, 17,489,402 ft; the value of the latter being 594,872.
Western Australia has very extensive forests of timber, and it has been estimated that the forest surfaces cover more than 20 million acres, of which 8 million acres are jarrah; 1,200,000 acres, karri; 200,000 acres, tuart; 7 million acres, wandoo; and 4 million acres, York gum, yate, sandalwood and jam. The principal timber exported is jarrah, karri, and sandalwood, the value of the exports being about 656,000 annually. There are 30 saw-mills in operation, employing altogether 2750 hands.
Fisheries are taking an important position; they comprise pearl shell fishing beche-de-mer, and preserved or tinned fish. The pearl shell fisheries in the north-west and in Shark's Bay have been a considerable source of wealth, the export of pearls and pearl shell being valued at 110,667 m '899, 106,607 ' n I 9 an d 171,237 in 1903. In 1892 the export was valued at 119,519.
Mandurah, at the mouth of the Murray, and Fremantle have preserving sheds for mullet and snapper. Guano beds are worked to much advantage at the Lacepede Isles. Salt is produced largely at Rottnest Island. Raisins are dried, and the oil of castor trees is expressed. The mulberry tree succeeds well, and sericulture is making progress. Dugong oil is got from Shark s Bay. Honey and wax are becoming valuable exports; from the abundance of flowers the hives can be emptied twice a year. Manna and gums of various kinds are among the resources of the country- Among the wines made are the Riesling, Burgundy, Sweetwater, Hock and Fontainebleau.
Commerce, All the great lines of steamers trading between Australia and Europe make one of the ports a place of call both on the inward and outward voyage; this makes the shipping tonnage very large compared with the population. In 1891 the tonnage entered and cleared equalled 21 tons per head, and in 1905 14-3 tons. The increase of tonnage is shown by the following figures: 1881, tonnage entered, 145,048; 1891, 533,433; 1905, 1,839,227. In 1905 the tonnage entering Fremantle was 1,176,982, and the imports were valued at 6,030,415. The shipping entering Albany had a tonnage of 519,377, and the imports were valued at 160.305. The trade of Bunbury was: shipping 92,281 tons, imports 59,197; Broome, shipping 32,191 tons, imports 48,653; other ports, shipping 18,396 tons, imports 182,739.
The trade has increased very rapidly under the influence of the gold discoveries, as the following figures show :
1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1905 147.913 226,000 404,831 1,280,093 6,454,171 6,481,309 s. d. 998 9 o 10 13 14 3 25 2 5 34 4 5 25 18 i 95.789 209,196 502,770 799,466 8,515,623 9,871,219 s- d.
6 2 10 8 6 ii 17 o 8 15 13 9 45 3 o 39 9 i About 54% of the trade is with Great Britain and 21% with the other Commonwealth states.
Railways. Western Australia is the only state of Australia in which there is any considerable length of railway lines not owned by the state. The total railway mileage in 1905 was 2260, of which 655 m. were privately owned. The divergence of the policy of Western Australia from that pursued by other states was caused by the inability of the government to construct lines at a time when the extension of the railway was most urgently required in the interests of settlement. Private enterprise was therefore encouraged by liberal grants of land to undertake the work of construction. Changed conditions have modified the state policy in respect of land grants, and in 1897 the government acquired the Great Southern railway, 243 m. in length, one of the two trunk lines in private hands. The cost of constructing and equipping the state lines open for traffic in 1905 was 9,808,458 ; the earnings for that year amounted to 1,610,129, the working expenses were 1,256,003, and the net receipts 354,126; this represents a return of 3-61% upon the capital cost.
Posts and Telegraphs. The postal business has grown enormously since the gold discoveries. In 1905 there were 295 post offices as compared with 86 in 1891. In the latter year the letters despatched and received numbered 3,200,000, and the newspapers 1,665,000; in 1905 the letters and postcards totalled 22,107,000, and the newspapers and packets 14,800,000, being respectively 88 and 59 per head of population. There were in the same year 188 telegraph stations, 6389 m. of line, and 9637 m. of telegraph wire in use, while the number of telegrams sent and received was 1,634,597. There were sixteen public telephone exchanges and 4857 telephones in use at the end of that year.
Banking. There are six banks of issue, with 109 branches in various parts of the country. The liabilities of these banks in 1904 averaged 5,206,170, and the assets 6,399,305; the note circulation was 354,810; the deposits bearing interest 1,475,616; deposits not bearing interest 3,258,294, making the total deposits 4,733,910. The gold and silver held by the banks, including bullion, was 2,129,304. The savings banks are directly controlled by the government and are attached to the post offices; in 1904 there were 54,873 depositors in these banks with 2,079,764 to their credit an average of 37, l8s. per depositor. In 1891 there were only 3564 depositors and 46,181 at credit.
AUTHORITIES. James Bonwick, Western Australia, its Past and Future, 8vo (London. 1885); Very Rev. J. Brady, Descriptive Vocabulary of the Native Language of Western Australia (Rome, 1845); Hon. D. W. Carnegie, Spinifex and Sand (London, 1898); Ernest Favenc, The Great Australian Plain, 8vo (Sydney, 1881), Western Australia, its Past History, Present Trade and Resources, etc. (Sydney, 1887); Sir John Forrest, Explorations in Australia, 8vo (London, 1875); M. A. C. Frazer, Western Australia Year-Book, annually (Perth). (T. A. C.)
History. Both the western and northern coasts of the colony are pretty accurately laid down on maps said to date from 1540 to 1550, where the western side of the continent terminates at Cape Leeuwen. The discovery of the coast may be attributed to Portuguese and Spanish navigators, who were in the seas northward of Australia as early as 1520. The next visitors, nearly a century later, were the Dutch. John Edel explored northward in 1619, and De Witt in 1628. The " Guide Zeepaard " in 1627 sailed along the south coast for 1000 m., the territory being named Nuyt's Land. Tasman made a survey of the north shore in 1644, but did not advance far on the western border. Dampier was off the north-west in 1688 and 1696, naming Shark's Bay. Vancouver entered King George Sound in 1791. The French, under D'Entrecasteaux, were off Western Australia in 1792; and their commodore Baudin, of the " Geographe " and " Naturaliste," in 1801 and 1802 made important discoveries along the western and north-western shores. Captain Flinders about the same time paid a visit to the Sound, and traced Nuyt's Land to beyond the South Australian boundary. Freycinet went thither in 1818. Captain King surveyed the northern waters between 1818 and 1822.
The earliest settlement was made from Port Jackson, at the end of 1825. Owing to a fear that the French might occupy King George Sound, Major Lockyer carried thither a party of convicts and soldiers, seventy-five in all, and took formal British possession, though Vancouver had previously done so. Yet the Dutch had long before declared New Holland, which then meant only the western portion of Australia, to be Dutch property. This convict establishment returned to Sydney in 1829. In 1827 Captain Stirling was sent to report upon the Swan river, and his narrative excited such interest in England as to lead to an actual free settlement at the Swan river. Captain Fremantle, R.N., in 1827 took official possession of the whole country. Stirling's account stimulated the emigration ardour of Sir F. Vincent, and Messrs Peel, Macqueen, etc., who formed an association, securing from the British government permission to occupy land in Western Australia proportionate to the capital invested, and the number of emigrants they despatched thither. In this way Mr Peel had a grant of 250,000 acres, and Colonel Latour of 103,000. Captain (afterwards Sir James) Stirling was appointed lieutenant-governor, arriving June i, 1829. The people were scattered on large grants. The land was poor, and the forests heavy; provisions were at famine prices; and many left for Sydney orHobart Town. The others struggled on, finding a healthful climate, and a soil favouring fruits and vegetables, whilst their stock grazed in the more open but distant quarters. The overland journey of Eyre from Adelaide to King George Sound in 1830-1840, through a waterless waste, discouraged settlers; but Grey's overland walk in 1838 from Shark's Bay to Perth revealed fine rivers and good land in Victoria district, subsequently occupied by farmers, graziers and miners. The difficulties of the settlers had compelled them to seek help from the British treasury, in the offer to accept convicts. These came in 1850; but transportation ceased in 1868, in consequence of loud protests from the other colonies.
The progressive history of Western Australia may be said to commence in 1870, when its energetic and capable governor, Sir Frederick Weld, began to inaugurate public works on a large scale. It was still the day of small things, for the colony, though of the enormous extent of 1,000,000 sq. m., was practically unknown, its resources were restricted, and its population scanty. However, a beginning was then made, and the first Loan Bill to raise money for pushing on telegraphs, for surveying lines of projected railways, and above all for starting exploring expeditions, passed the Legislative Council. The colony was fortunate in possessing two brothers of the best practical type of explorer, John and Alexander Forrest. The object of their earliest expeditions was to find more land available for pastoral or agricultural settlement. Vast distances in various directions were covered, and severe hardships, chiefly from want of water, undergone by these intrepid pioneers. Perhaps the most famous of these journeys was that accomplished by Mr ( afterwards Sir) John Forrest between Eucla and Adelaide in 1870. Other dauntless explorers notably Mr Ernest Giles, the Gregorys and Mr Austin had also contributed to the growing knowledge of the resources of the vast territory, and the state owes and gratefully acknowledges its debt to these stalwart and splendid pioneers. Although, in consequence of the vast amount of gold which had been found in the eastern colonies, principally in Victoria, all these explorers had carefully examined any likely country for traces of gold, it was not until 1882 that the government geologist reported indications of auriferous country in the Kimberley district, and the first payable gold-field was shortly afterwards " proclaimed " there. Exploring expeditions in every direction were then started both privately and publicly, and prosecuted with great vigour. Within five years gold-fields were proclaimed at Yilgarn, about 200 m. to the east of Perth, and the discovery of patches of rich alluvial gold in the Pilbarra district quickly followed, but the rush for the Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie gold-fields did not begin until 1893.
The year 1889 found the colony on the eve of responsible government. Two years before, a practically unanimous vote of the Legislature had affirmed the principle of autonomy, and the general election in the following year showed still more plainly the desire of the people of Western Australia for the self- government which had enabled the eastern colonies to control their own affairs successfully for thirty years. The new Legislative Council of 1889 therefore drafted a Constitution Bill, which after some discussion was forwarded to Lord Knutsford, the Secretary of State for the Colonies. This Bill was duly laid before the Imperial Parliament; but the measure was then rejected by that assembly, chiefly owing to the misunderstanding of vital questions, such as the control of crown lands, the scantiness of the scattered population, and other less important details. However, the governor of that day, Sir Frederick Napier Broome, K.C.M.G., having satisfied himself that the constitutional change was necessary not only for the immediate needs of the rapidly growing colony, but in view of the larger question of Imperial Federation, supported the demands of the Legislature in every possible way. A clear and able statement of the colonists' case, which appeared above his signature in The Times in the summer of that year, helped to bring about a better understanding of the subject; and a slightly modified Constitution Bill having been passed by the new Legislative Council, the governor and two members of the Legislature (Sir T. C. Campbell and Mr S. H. Parker, Q.C.) were selected to proceed to England as delegates to explain and urge the wishes of the colonists upon the Imperial Parliament. A select committee, with Baron de Worms as chairman, was appointed, and the matter was carefully considered; with the satisfactory result that the Bill enabling the Queen to grant a constitution to Western Australia passed its third reading in the House of Commons on 4th July, and received the royal assent on 15th August 1890.
Since then the colony has made great progress. Sir John Forrest, who was for ten years its Premier, brought to his arduous task not only administrative ability of a very high order, but a thorough and intimate knowledge of the needs and resources oi the vast colony over so much of which he had travelled.
For a long time the advantages of Federation were not so apparent to the people of Western Australia as to those of the eastern colonies, and although Sir John Forrest consistently and patiently laboured at every opportunity to explain the principles of the Bill framed by the Federal Convention which had held its sittings since 1886 in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne, the desire to federate was of slow growth. Among the objections was the feeling that so far as Western Australia was concerned the step was premature, and that the colony had more to lose than gain by Federation. This applied chiefly to the questions of tariff and free trade, and to the loss of the individual control of such sources of revenue as customs, postal and telegraph services. On the subject of defence there could be but one opinion, in favour of Federation, but that was hardly enough to counterbalance the fears of the local producer, who had become accustomed to a protective tariff. Then the gold-fields expressed a desire to be made into a separate colony, and although a numerously signed petition to that effect was forwarded to the Queen, it was regarded in the light of a party move, and did not prove successful. Still there was great hesitation on the part of many of the colonists of Western Australia to join the Commonwealth without receiving a pledge for the retention of their own customs dues for five years, and early in 1900 Sir John Forrest made a personal attempt to obtain this concession from the sister governments. He was, however, unsuccessful, as was Mr S. H. Parker, Q.C., who in the same year accompanied the delegates from the eastern colonies to London, and endeavoured to obtain the insertion in the Enabling Bill of certain recommendations of the select committee in Perth. Yet as a whole the people of Western Australia were loyal to the Federal cause, and therefore it was considered best to submit the Bill to a referendum of the electors, when a majority of over 25,000 votes decided in favour of Federation, as the Constitution Act provided that this state should have the right to enact her own tariff as against the sister states for the desired five years, decreasing annually at the rate of one-fifth of the amount of the original duty until the whole disappeared. (M. A. B.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)