EMIGRANTS IN AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
DURING these years the British colonies were growing rapidly in importance, as well as in size. At the Queen's
accession vast tracts of country were yet unexplored, and only a handful of English lived in the scattered
homesteads. Though the whole
 island-continent of Australia was twenty-five times the size of the British Isles, her white population in
1837 numbered only one-fourth of the people in the town of Sydney at the Queen's death.
The story of the early colonization of this far-off land is painful reading, for it was largely peopled by
convicts and prisoners sent out from England.
THE THREE SISTERS, BLUE MOUNTAINS.
The first party of settlers, after a terrible voyage of eight months from England, had landed at Port Jackson
in 1788, where their eyes were gladdened by the sight of a magnificent harbour, now the pride of the citizens
of Sydney. By the time of the Queen's accession, Sydney was a well-planned town with paved streets and
fair-sized houses, a church and a hospital. It became the centre of that eastern part known as New South
Englishmen of daring and high courage made their way across the continent, ever opening up new fields for
enterprise. The famous Blue Mountains had been crossed by three intrepid explorers, and a road had been
skilfully constructed to the rich plains beyond, where a little settlement called Bathurst had been made. So
rapid was the growth of New South Wales that in 1843 the people begged the mother country to grant them a
constitution of their own. A Governor was sent from England, and a Legislative Council was formed to represent
the wishes of the colonists.
Already a small band of emigrants had landed on the coast of West Australia, at the mouth of the Swan River,
which was so called from the number of black swans that swam about on its surface.
 Under Captain Fremantle this little colony started life. But the port which they named after their leader was
exposed to the storms of the open ocean, and the colonists were driven farther up the river, where they began
to build the now flourishing town of Perth.
But the colony grew slowly, for the distances were vast and the district was entirely cut off from the rest of
the island continent. Indeed, at one time the prospects seemed so gloomy that there was a serious idea of
abandoning it altogether, but in course of time, by the aid of convict labour, roads were made, and a
settlement formed at Albany, at the head of St. George's Sound.
Australian settlers were almost entirely occupied in sheep farming, and it was by exporting wool that the
colonies throve at this time.
AN AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINE.
By the year 1848 there were six colonies in Australia—New South Wales, including Victoria and
Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land), and South Australia. Colonists in the new
districts now began to demand a constitution, similar
 to that granted already to New South Wales, and after a time a Legislative Council was allowed to each colony,
with power to impose and levy duties or customs on imported goods, wares, or merchandise.
Fortunately for Britain, the Prime Minister at this time, Lord John Russell, was one of the few statesmen who
saw the value of the colonies, and the importance of giving them self-government, while still maintaining the
LORD JOHN RUSSELL.
"I consider it our bounden duty", he said, "to maintain the colonies, which have been placed under our own
charge. The value of our commerce, which penetrates to every part of the globe, all will admit; and many of
those colonies give harbours and security to that trade which are most useful in time of war. If our colonies
were abandoned by England they would most naturally and justly apply to some other country for protection. Who
can doubt that other countries would readily afford the protection so asked?"
 These words applied as much to New Zealand as to Australia. These islands, some thousand miles to the
south-east of Australia, already had a constitution of their own. When Queen Victoria came to the throne there
were some 500 Europeans on the coast, living wild and lawless lives, which even the missionaries were unable
to control. Such terrible accounts reached England that a New Zealand Company was formed, and Captain Hobson
with a party of colonists sailed out to proclaim the country henceforth a part of the British Empire.
In 1840 a famous gathering took place on the shore of the Bay of Islands, near the mouth of the river
Waitangi. The new Governor, who was to be under the Governor of New South Wales, sat on a chair of state, his
officers in uniform, the missionaries, sailors, and leading white men standing around. The Maoris had gathered
in force to hear the proclamation, which they hoped would bring peace to their land. By this Treaty of
Waitangi they were called on to acknowledge Victoria as their sovereign Queen, who promised protection and
just dealings with her white subjects in New Zealand. The treaty was signed by 500 native chiefs, and New
Zealand was declared to be part of the Empire.
A site for the capital was found at Auckland, emigrants flocked over from Sydney and many hundreds went out
from Britain. Many of these started a settlement at Port Nicholson, which they named Wellington, after the
famous Iron Duke. They worked with a will at their new homes, for the
 soil was rich and deep, the scenery was beautiful, and they had visions of peace and plenty.
The native Maoris were willing to sell large tracts of land, and before long some 4,000 people were happily
settled at Wellington, and a new settlement on the South Island, called Nelson. So far the Maoris had been
friendly, but soon disputes arose over the land, a spirit of unrest grew among both settlers and natives, and
the first Maori war definitely broke out in 1845. Help was sent over by the British colonists at Sydney, and
after several skirmishes the Maoris were attacked in their stronghold, and defeated by the settlers with
It was a happy day for the disturbed colonists in New Zealand when a young English officer, George Grey,
arrived from South Australia, where he had been Governor, to take over the government. Everything was in
confusion. There were still open quarrels
 over the land between colonists and natives. The new Governor assured the Maoris that for the future their
land should only be bought at a fair price, and not as heretofore, for a few fire-arms. And soon the war came
to a successful end, and just terms of peace were concluded.
All felt the hand of a strong ruler. For the first time the colony felt the blessing of peace; churches and
schools arose in the towns; agriculture was encouraged, and settlers went out from Britain in ever-increasing
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics