New South Wales

New South Wales a British colony in the south-eastern part of Australia, stretches along the South Pacific Ocean from Cape Howe to Point Danger, and is bounded on the north by the colony of Victoria, and on the west by the interior territory of the colony of South Australia. It extends between lat. 28° and 37° 30' S., and long. 141° and 154° E. Its greatest length, east and west, is about 780 miles; greatest breadth, north and south, 620 miles. The area, according to an official statement, is 323,437 square miles; according to a planimetric calculation, believed to be more correct, 308 560. The population, according to the census of April 2, 1871. was 503.981; on Jan. 1, 1873, it was computed at 539,190; in 1881 it was 751,468. The colony of Queensland, extending from lat. 26° to 30° S. was formerly the Moreton Bay district of New South Wales, and was separated from the latter colony in June, 1859. In 1873 New South Wales was divided into 118 counties of which twenty, which have been settled a long time, are called the old counties; the others, called the new counties, are principally in the interior. The coast-line from Cape Howe to Point Danger is upwards of 700 miles long, and presents numerous good harbors formed by the estuaries of the rivers. Owing to the great extent of the colony, stretching as it does over eleven degrees of latitude, the climate is very various. Tin the northern districts, which are the warmest, the climate is tropical; the summer heat occasionally rising in inland districts to 1203, while on the high table-lands weeks of severe frost are sometimes experienced. At Sydney the mean temperature of the year is about 65°. The mean heat of summer, which lasts from the beginning of December to the first of February, is about 80°, but it is much modified on the coast by the refreshing seabreeze. The annual fall of rain is about 50 inches. Rain sometimes descends in continuous torrents, and causes the rivers to rise to an extraordinary height. Sometimes the rains almost fail for two or three years in succession. Along the coast for 300 miles from the northern boundary the soil and climate are peculiarly adapted to the growth of cotton, and that plant has already been cultivated as far south as the River Manning (lat. 32° S.). Farther south the climate is more temperate, and is fitted to produce all the grain products of Europe. Immense tracts of land, admirably adapted to agriculture, occur in the south-western interior; while in the south-east coast districts the soil is celebrated for its richness and fertility. In the north, the cotton and tobacco plants, the vine and sugar-cane are grown, and pine-apples, bananas, guavas, lemons, citrons, and other tropical fruits are produced. In the cooler regions of the south, peaches, apricots, nectarines; oranges, grapes, pears, pomegranates, melons, and all the British fruits, are grown in perfection, and sometimes in such abundance that the pigs are fed with them. Wheat, barley, oats, and all the cereals and vegetables of Europe, are also grown. Hitherto, however, agriculture has been only of secondary importance, the predominating interest being the pastoral. The greatest produce of the colony is wool. In recent years wine-culture has been extensively engaged in, and the mineral wealth of the soil has begun to be developed. The colony is self-governed, with a governor appointed by the queen, a responsible ministry, a legislative council nominated by the crown, and a House of Assembly elected by permanent residents. The capital is Sydney, with a population of 220,429; and the other chief towns are Parramatta, Batthurst, Goulburn, Maitland, Newcastle, Grafton, Armidale, and Albury, with populations ranging from 3000 to 8000.

New South Wales took its origin in a penal establishment formed by the British government in 1788 at Port Jackson, near Botany Bay (lat. 34°). The prisoners, after their period of servitude or on being pardoned, became settlers, and obtained grants of land; and these "emancipists" and their descendants, together with free emigrants, constitute the present inhabitants. Since the establishment of the colony in 1787-8, the total number of convicts sent into it from Great Britain up to 1840, when the importation ceased, amounted to 60,700, of whom only 8700 were women. They were assigned as bond-servants to the free settlers, who were obliged to furnish them with a fixed allowance of clothing and food.

In 1833 there were 23,000 free males and 13,560 free females, to 22,000 male and 2700 female convicts; and of the free population. above 16,000 were emancipists. Many whose progenitors went to New South Wales as prisoners are intelligent and estimable members of the community. Some of the emancipists, and several of their descendants, are among the wealthiest people in the colony. According to the census of 1856, barely a third of the population of New South Wales was born in Australia; about 75,000 were supplied by England and Wales, 50,000 by Ireland, 16,000 by Scotland, 5000 by Germany, and 2000 by China. The population now (1874) includes a large admixture of Chinese, many Americans, and some of almost all nationalities. From 1866 to 1872 the total number of immigrants exceeded 150,000, while about 100,000 emigrated. The emigration included 4917 Chinese, while the number of Chinese immigrants was only 1520. The number of births in each of the seven years from 1856 to 1872 was more than double that of the deaths, and in 1870 and 1871 it was three times as large. In appearance and character the native-born part of the community bear a strong resemblance to those of Anglo-Saxon descent of the United States. As regards religion, all sects are on a footing of equality, and each receives aid from the state according to its numbers; but state aid is likely before long to cease. The religious division of the inhabitants in 1871 was as follows: Church of England, 229,243; Presbyterians, 49,122; Wesleyans, 36,277; Congregationalists, 9253; Roman Catholics, 147,627; Mohammedans, and other Asiatic creeds, 7455; the remainder belonged to various minor denominations. For information concerning the aborigines, the native animals, botany, geology, and history of New South Wales, see the article Australia in The American Cyclopedia. See also Lang, New South Wales (new ed. Lond. 1875, 2 vols.); Meth. Quar. Rev. Jan. 1874, p. 155; Blackwood's Magazine. 1852, 2:301 sq.; Mission Life (Lond. 1866 sq.), 1:210 sq., 251 sq., 355 sq., 405 sq., 487 sq.

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