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This book is intended for use in the State schools of Victoria, and is written in strict accordance with the Programme of Instruction issued by the Education Department of that colony.

From p. i to p. 24 there will be found everything that is necessary for the first standard in Geography, which is as follows :

“ Class II. Explanation of a map and of simple geographical terms ; geography of the locality; and to name and point out on a map the continents, oceans, and larger seas.”

From p. 24 to p. 63 is contained all that is needed for the second standard :

Class III. Definitions ; the principal physical features and the chief towns of Victoria; the principal inlets, straits, islands, peninsulas, and capes of Australasia ; the relative positions of the Australasian colonies and their capitals.”

From p. 63 to the end there is given all the work required for Class IV., consisting of:

Class IV. The outlines of the descriptive geography of Australasia ; the positions of the chief British

possessions and their capitals ; the principal islands of the world; the relative positions of the countries of the world and their capitals.”

As the fault most common in teaching geography is the attempt to do too much, nothing is inserted in this volume but what is required for the programme ; and in order to simplify the work both for children and teachers six sketch maps are added, containing no names except those which have to be learnt, the pupil being thus spared the distracting task of picking the names required out of scores of others that may be of no importance.

Of the sketch maps the first three contain all that has to be learnt by Class III., while the remaining three contain every name requisite for Class IV.

A second volume of the series deals with all the geography required by the programme for Classes V. and VI.




1.    Directions........i

2.    Dimensions........4

3.    A Plan........7

4.    A Map.........10

5.    What becomes of the Rain .    .    .    .    12

6.    Definitions........17

7.    The Continents, Oceans, and Larger Seas .    19

8.    Further Definitions.....24

9.    Geography of Victoria.....28

10.    The Surface, Rivers, and Lakes of Victoria    33

11.    The Towns of Victoria.....40

12.    Geography of Australia.....47

13.    Capes and Peninsulas of Australia .    .    50

14.    Islands of Australasia .    .    -53

15.    Straits of Australasia.....58

16.    The Colonies and their Capitals ...    60

17.    The Inlets, Islands, and Capes of Australasia    63

18.    Mountains of Australasia ....    68

19.    The Rivers and Lakes of Australasia. .    71

CHAP.    page

20.    Towns of Australasia.....79

21.    Chief British Possessions    ....    87

22.    The Principal Islands    of the    World    .    .    97

23.    The Countries of the World and their



Southern Cross.......1

Points of the Compass......2

Plan of a Table.......7

Plan of a Dining-room......8


Map of Victoria, containing all Names necessary for Class III.......36

Map of Australasia, containing all Names necessary for Class III.......55

Map of Australasia, with Names to be learnt

by Class IV........75

The World, containing Names of all Islands and all British Possessions to be learnt

by Class IV........92

Eastern Hemisphere, showing Countries with

their Capitals .    .    .    •    •    ■    .110

Western Hemisphere, showing Countries with

their Capitals.......T17


Work for Class II



North and South.—At twelve o’clock in the day stand with your face to the sun. Then walk a few steps. You are going north. But your shadow is pointing south.' All things that lie in front of you, as you look that way, are said to be north of you; but all things that lie behind you are said to be south ot you. It is good to be able thus to fix the way in which one thing lies from another. Learn which is the north, so that you can tell it even when the sun is not there. If you know the north you can always tell the south also. At night, if you look to the south, you will see the Southern Cross in the sky if there are no clouds to hide it. It has five stars placed thus—



* 1


East and West.—Stand once more with your face to the north. On your right hand is the east; on your left the west. If you get up early enough in the morning, you will see the sun rising in the east; but in the evening he sets in the west.

Between these directions there are other directions; thus—

If you point with one hand to the north, and with the other hand to the east, then half-way between these will be the north-east. If you point with one hand to the north, and with the other hand to the west, then half-way between these will be the northwest. And so also half-way between the south and the east there is the south-east; half-way between the south and the west there is the south-west; and between these again there are other directions, as the following diagram will show—


I. —In what direction do these tilings run ?

1.    The desk you sit at.

2.    The street or road in front of your school.

3.    The nearest wall of your schoolroom.

4.    The boards in the floor.

5.    The nearest fence in the playground, etc.

II. —In what directions do these things lie from you ?

1.    The black-board.

2.    The door.

3.    The fireplace.

4.    The nearest window.

5.    The school gate.

6.    The nearest post-office.

7.    The nearest police station.

8.    The nearest shop.

9.    The nearest bridge.

10. The nearest doctor’s house, etc.

III. —

1.    How do the windows of your schoolroom face?

2.    At which side of your schoolroom is the door ?

3.    How does the nearest railway run ?

The Compass.—If you make a piece of iron into a magnet, and hang it up so that it can turn round quite easily, you will find that one end of it will always point nearly to the north. We may thus make a very useful thing called a compass. For if we put any mark we please on that end of the magnet, we can always tell the north by watching which way it points. So that even if it is the darkest night the sailor, out on the pathless sea, can tell which way his ship is going. How glad he is to have a good compass !



i. An Inch.—Long ago the last joint of a man’s thumb was used as a measure, and the length of it was called an inch. We now measure more exactly, and an inch is marked off with more care. We can most easily find out the length of it by looking at one of those rules which workmen use. Notice how long an inch is, and be sure that you will know that length when you see it again.


1.    Guess the length of this book. Now measure it and see if you gave the right length.

2.    Guess the breadth of this book. Now measure it.

3.    The distance between the ink wells. Now measure it.

4.    The width of the desk.

5.    The length of your hand, etc.

2. The Foot.—Twelve of these inches are taken to form another useful measure called a foot, because it is about the length of a man’s foot. We use it when the distance is too long to be easily measured in inches. Look at twelve inches on the rule. That is a foot. Be sure you know what it looks like, and that you will know it again.


1. Guess the length of the black-board. Now measure it and see if you are right.

2.    Guess its width. Measure it as before.

3.    The length of the desk.

4.    The width of the window.

5.    The width of the schoolroom.

6.    The length of the schoolroom.

7.    How far is the foot of the black-board from where you are sitting ?

8.    What is the distance between the windows ?

9.    How far is the black-board from the wall ?

10. How far are you from the door? etc.

Measuring the distance every time after you have made your guess.


1.    What is the height of the desk from the floor ?

2.    What is the height of a chair ?

3.    Of the black-board ?

4.    Of the door ?

5.    How far is the bottom of the window from the floor ?

6.    How high is the window ?

7.    What is the height of the wall ?

8.    What is the height of the nearest map from the floor ? etc.

In every case measure the height, and find how far you have been wrong.

3. The Yard.—Three feet make a yard. It is about the length of a man’s arm, from his neck to the tip of his middle finger. It is about the length of a walking stick. You will see the exact length of a yard marked off upon a draper’s counter, for people sell cloth and ribbons by the yard. Drapers and many other shopkeepers have also sticks which are exactly a yard long, for they sell carpets, oil-cloths, and things of that sort by the yard.


1.    How many yards in the length of the room ?

2.    How many in the width ?

3.    What is the length of the playground (in yards) ?

4.    What is the width of the road or street in front of the school ?

5.    How high is the roof of the school from the ground ?

6.    How high is the school bell from the ground ?

7.    How far from the school door to the kerb of the footpath ?

When you can do so, always measure after your guess. A tape-line will be useful.

4. The Mile.—For long distances we take a measure called a mile. It contains 1760 yards or 5280 feet. Long ago a mile was supposed to be a thousand paces, but at present it takes about two thousand of a man’s paces to cover a mile.


1.    Mention four places, each about a mile from the school.

2.    How far from the school to the nearest post-office ?

3.    How far to the nearest railway station ?

4.    How far to the nearest grocer’s shop ? etc.

5.    In going home, reckon how far it is from school to your house ; if you count the steps you take, and reckon them to be 2 feet long, you may find the distance roughly.



Suppose that you wish to show how your family sit round the table at dinner-time, you might do it in this way—








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(^) Baby


You might draw something like the dark part to show the shape of the table ; and then you might put circles all round it to point out the places where you sit. A big circle for father, and a big one for mother ; smaller circles for the boys and girls, and the smallest of all for the baby.

Now that would not be a picture of your family at dinner. Nobody could fancy that this round mark was a portrait of your father, or that the other one was the least like your mother. That tiny circle could never pass for a likeness of the baby. But yet the drawing tells us a great deal. It tells the shape of the table, and the exact places where eight people sit around it.

A drawing made in this way to show the positions and sizes of things is called a plan.

But a plan may also show the shapes of things as they would seem if you were looking down upon them.

Let us make this plan a better one, and get it to tell not only about your table and your places, but also about your dining-room, and all the things in it—

Here we see that father sits with his back to the fireplace ; we see that there are two windows in the room, and we can tell where they are. We see that mother sits with her back to them. We see that Mary sits just in front of the door; and so on. We can see how all the dishes, and knives, and forks, and spoons are arranged on the table.

Indeed, that little drawing can tell us a great deal about the dining-room in a very simple way. It is not a picture, however, it is only a plan.

When drawing a plan always place the north side of the real thing so as to be at the top end of your paper.


1.    Draw a plan of your class, showing the desks, the forms, the number of children on each form, the position of the black-board, and where your teacher stands.

2.    Draw a plan of the schoolroom, showing the desks, black-boards, tables, chairs, doors, windows, and all other important things.

3.    Draw a plan of the playground and the school, showing the fences and walls, the porch, the steps, the doors, the windows, and the gates.

Drawing to scale.—If you wish your plan to be exact you must make it to scale; that is, you must settle how much smaller your plan is to be than the real thing is, and keep everything in the plan, just that number of times smaller than the thing it stands for. Suppose your schoolroom is 30 feet long, and you have room on your paper to make your plan 30 inches long, then an inch on your plan must always stand for a foot of the real thing. Thus, if your schoolroom is 20 feet broad, you must measure 20 inches on your plan, and that will be the breadth.

If you measure your desk and find it 8 feet long, then the desk, as marked in your plan, must be 8 inches long. If your desk is really a foot wide, then in your plan you must make it an inch wide, and so on.

In most cases you will find that to allow an inch for every foot will make your plans too large. A quarter of an inch will be much more suitable ; that is, you count the number of feet in the real thing, and measure off just so many quarter inches on the plan.


1.    Draw a plan of your class. Scale, a quarter of an inch to the foot.

2.    Draw a plan of the schoolroom. Scale, one eighth part of an inch to the foot.

3.    Draw a plan of the playground and school. Scale, an inch for twenty feet.

(Note—If there be only one foot-rule for the class, each child may easily make from it a paper rule of convenient length.)



When a plan is drawn of a very large area it is called a map. But it is drawn in exactly the same way, and tells us the positions and shapes of things on a part of the surface of the earth.

The only difference is that the scale is so small. In a map you have to make an inch do for a mile, or often for 100 miles, because the amount of land you wish to describe is so large, that unless you make the scale very small you would want more paper than you could get into a room.


1.    Make a mark on your paper or slate to represent the school. Draw a line upwards 4 inches long. This is to represent a line drawn due north from the school for a mile. Now draw from the same point another line 4 inches to the right. This will represent a line drawn from the school a mile to the east. Now draw the two other lines needed to make a square. This will stand for what is called a “ square mile ” of the earth’s surface. Mark in upon their proper places all the things you remember within that square mile ; the streets or roads, the buildings, the parks or paddocks, the ponds and streams, if there are any. This will make a map of a square mile of the earth’s surface, and it lies to the north-east of the school.

2.    Make a mark on your paper as before to stand for the school. Draw a line downwards for 4 inches. This is to represent a line one mile long drawn from the school to the south. Now draw another line 4 inches to the right, complete the square, and fill in as before. This is a map of a square mile lying south-east from the school.

3.    Draw a similar map of the square mile lying northwest of the school.

4.    Draw a similar map of the square mile lying southwest of the school.

5.    Draw a square with sides 4 inches long. Divide it into four squares by lines drawn through the middle point. Mark in the school at the middle point. Let a mile be represented by 2 inches, and with that scale mark in all the places as before. You will thus have a map of four square miles, with the school in the middle.



1.    We often see the rain fall from the clouds. Do we think what becomes of it ? A great deal soaks into the earth, and the grass, the flowers, the shrubs, and the trees, delight to feel it there at their roots. For they must have water if they are to keep green and fresh; without it they would die. You may notice that after hot weather, when the ground is dry, if a light and gentle rain comes, it all sinks into the soil. But we often see that the rain falls faster than it can be so taken in, and in wet weather the earth becomes so full of water that it can take no more. In these cases the water trickles away and flows into the little hollows. There it runs downward till it reaches a deeper hollow, but that hollow receives the water from many little hollows, and so it fills and runs over and forms what we call a stream of water. See how it is rushing along ! It has a great deal of force, and it washes away the earth on each side of it. See how the water is stained with the clay which it is carrying off! No wonder it has eaten quite a groove at the bottom of the hollow. This groove is called the bed of the stream.

2.    But from every side the waters are always hurrying downward, and they gather in the lowest hollow they can reach. If this hollow is really a large one we call it by a new name. It is a valley, but a valley is only a large hollow in the earth’s surface. In Australia we often call a narrow valley a gully. When all the little streams have brought their waters down into the valley, they form a larger stream, which we now call a rivulet, or, as we often say in Australia, a creek. It is usually a merry little thing, dancing along very quickly, and not at all deep. We can wade across it quite easily. But the water is, of course, always going downward, and a number of these rivulets are sure to find their way into a still bigger hollow, where they join their waters to form a river, as we call it. Now we cannot wade across. We need bridges, and people can keep little boats on it if they wish to row upon the surface of the waters. But, as the river goes on, it gathers more and more of the waters from every side, and so it grows larger and larger, till at length—what splendid bridges are needed ! What big vessels can float upon its breast! How long the pole has to be if we wish to touch the bottom !


1.    Suppose you are walking two miles north from the school, what valleys will you cross ? How many of them have streams ?

2.    So also two miles south ?

3.    So also two miles east ?

4.    So also two miles west ?

5.    Name all the streams or rivers in your district ?

6.    Name all the rivers you have ever seen ? Were they deep or shallow, swift or slow, clear or muddy ? Were the banks bare or grassy, covered with trees, or with buildings, or with wharves ?

7.    Draw a square with a mark in the centre for the school. Suppose that each edge of this square represents six miles. Fill in the courses of all the streams you can think of in the thirty-six square miles which this space stands for.

3. Hills and Mountains.—In dry weather there is no rain to fill the hollows, and then the streams are most of them dried up. But some streams take a much longer time than others to dry up, and some are never dried up at all. This is because of the hills. Where there are no hills the streams flow only after rain, and soon dry up again. But where there are hills, the rain which soaks into them oozes out slowly at their base. They are like great sponges, and they let the water flow away a little at a time. Thus they form springs, which may keep the streams full of water for weeks and months after the rain has passed away. But to be of much use in that way the hills must be high, so as to catch the clouds. If they lift their heads far up into the sky they are called mountains. A hill may generally be climbed in a comfortable little walk, but mountains are often very, very difficult to climb, and there are some in the world so high that no one has yet been able to reach their tops.

When the hills run in a very long line they form what is called a ridge, but when mountains rise one after another in a long line they are called a range. Sometimes a ridge or range may give a great deal of trouble to people who are forced to cross them. These people will generally try to find some place where the ridge is lower than elsewhere, so that they may not have to climb so high. Such a place is called a pass ; in Australia it is often called a. gap.

If you find, on climbing to the top of a long slope, that the land is flat on top, and that you may travel for a good distance on level ground before you begin to go down again, then that place is called a tableland, or plateau. It is generally cooler up there than down below.


1.    Point to the nearest hills. Do you know their names ?

2.    Have you ever seen any mountains ? Tell what they were like.

As you know very well, water will not flow up a slope, so that if there is a range of hills anywhere the streams cannot cross it. A range, therefore, always divides the streams on one side from those on the other, and in that case it is spoken of as a “ watershed.” The streams and rivers, therefore, begin in the watershed, and flow down into the valleys, or out into the plains, in opposite directions.

4.    Ponds and Lakes.—When there is a hollow in the ground, like a basin, the rain flows into it, but cannot flow out of it until the hollow is full; then the water pours out over the rim. But it has first formed a sheet of water. If this is very small it is called a pool. You could jump over a small pool, and throw a stone over a large one, but a large pool is generally called a pond; it may be so large that it would take ten minutes to walk round it. A very large pond is called a lake, so that a lake is formed when a very large hollow in the surface of the earth is filled with rain water. When a lake is filled up to the brim it overflows, so that a stream, or river, flows out of it.

5.    Salt Seas.—There are two different things that may happen to the water which thus flows from the land. By far the greatest part of it flows into the sea; but some of it flows into lakes, from which it never flows out, because the sun is so hot as to dry up the water. Therefore, as fast as it flows in, it is caught up as vapour again into the clouds.

But the same thing also happens to the sea. There also the water is caught up as vapour as fast as it is poured in, for if it were always to be pouring in from the rivers, and none were ever to be taken out, the sea would become too full. But in the hot parts of the world the water is dried up by the sun, just fast enough to balance all the rain which runs into the sea in the form of rivers. And these must balance, for it is the vapour rising from the sea which forms the clouds, and these clouds fall in rain and make the rivers, so that the rivers are always pouring back just as much water as the heat of the sun has taken out of the sea.

But when water flows through the land it always melts away a little of the salts that are in the earth, chiefly lime and common salt. These salts are too slight in amount to make the rivers taste salt to us, but they have made the sea salt in the course of ages. For the heat of the sun carries up only the water in the form of vapour and always leaves the salts behind, so that for thousands and tens of thousands of years these salts have always been left behind in the sea. The lime is taken out of the water by shell-fish and other animals to make their shells, but the salt is left in, and thus it is that the whole sea is salt.

But there are some lakes that are much salter than the sea. For if their water does not fill them up till they overflow into the sea, this is a sign that the country is a hot one, and that the water is carried off as vapour very fast;—so fast that the salt gathers more quickly in them than it does even in the sea.



Three-quarters of the world is covered with water— this salt water of which we have been speaking. Out of this vast sheet of millions on millions of square miles of waves leaping up so fresh and briny in their lonely play, there rises the land which shows its surface over a quarter of the world. When the land rises up out of the water in small pieces these are called islands, or, if very small, islets.

When a large extent of land rises up out of the water it is called a continent. It would take you three or four months to walk across any continent if you walked twenty miles every day.

Sometimes a part of a continent runs out into the ocean so as to be nearly but not quite surrounded by water. Such a piece of land is called a peninsula.

Wherever the shore of a continent makes a sharp corner that corner is called a cape. Sometimes capes run out into very long points; sometimes they are only rocky pieces of land running a little way out into the sea. The chief capes have lighthouses on them so as to guide ships safely round them on dark nights.

Those parts of the ocean that are marked off by being somewhat enclosed by land are called seas. Sometimes they are so much surrounded by land that only a very narrow passage is left by which to enter them. Sometimes they are only a little enclosed by rows of islands.

Almost the whole of the dry land forms the dwelling-places of men, who either wander over the surface


or build themselves fixed houses. If they are always wandering about they never can make much progress, and they are generally what we call savages. If they build houses, they become more settled ; they till the land, they make ships, and do many other things to increase their comfort and their power. And as men like the company of each other they put their houses as near one another as they can. So it comes that

on suitable places what are called towns grow up. There are many things which go to settle where a town will grow up. If there is a good harbour on the shore where ships can lie safe from storms that will sometimes make a town grow; a good deep river will also tempt people to make a town on its banks. If there is plenty of coal, or a fine mine of iron or copper or gold, a town will often be made near at hand for the workmen to dwell in.


Point out on a map of the world :

1.    Six islands and three peninsulas.

2.    Six rivers and six capes.

3.    Six towns and three ranges of mountains.

4.    Three continents, three oceans, and three seas.

Definitions to be learnt by Class II

A continent is a very large extent of land.

An island is a smaller extent of land wholly surrounded by water.

A peninsula is a piece of land almost surrounded by water.

A cape is a piece of land which juts out into water. A hill is a great mound of earth or rock.

A mountain is a very high hill.

An ocean is a very wide extent of water.

A sea is a smaller extent of water.

A river is water which flows through the land.

A creek (in Australia and America) is a small river. A town is formed of many houses, with shops and churches.



i. The Continents.—The land which rises above the water forms two large masses which are generally called the Old World and the New World, because one has been known ever since men have kept count of what has happened, and the other was not found out till four hundred years ago.

The New World is at once seen, on looking at a map, to be divided into two parts which are joined by a narrow strip of land. One of these parts is called North America and the other is South America. The Old World has a part very clearly divided off from the rest, being joined to it by only a very narrow strip of land. This is called Africa. The rest of the Old World forms one solid piece of land, but it is usual to divide it into two continents—one called Asia and the other Europe. There is no reason for this division, except an old custom that no one cares to disturb.

There is a smaller piece of land to the south of Asia too large to be called an island, and therefore reckoned a continent. This is our own Australia, which, when all the islands attached to it are included, is often called Australasia.

There are thus six continents. Australia is the only one that is not connected with any other. It is the smallest and the last known. The naked tribes of wandering blacks who formerly occupied it are being replaced by white men and women, who have carried to its shores the arts and comforts of older lands ; but it still has a far smaller number of people than any other continent.

Africa is mostly peopled by races' whose skins are dark, and all the centre is filled with negroes who have black woolly hair and thick lips. Asia is the largest of the continents, and has the greatest number of people. These are of many nations ; in the eastern part the Chinese, and in the southern part the Hindoos, are the peoples best known.

Europe is only a little larger than Australia, but it has a very great number of people; not so many as Asia, but as they have more wealth, better houses, finer cities, more ships, more books, and more knowledge than the people of any other continent, Europe

is the most important of all. The English, the French, the Germans, and the Russians all belong to this continent.

Next to Europe in point of wealth and knowledge is North America, where only red-skinned peoples lived four hundred years ago; but millions of white people crossed and increased in number so much that now the whole continent is held by them. The greater part of the people who live there are like ourselves, British by descent, and speak the English language.

South America, in the same way, was held four hundred years ago by dark-skinned races, but it has been seized by white men, who have married with the natives, and now this continent is mostly occupied by people of mixed race.

Putting the continents in the order of their size, we have—Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Europe, and Australia. Putting them in the order of the number of people they contain, we have—Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, South America, Australia. Putting them in the order of the trade they do, and the skill their people show, we have —Europe, North America, Australia, Asia, South America, Africa.

The Oceans.—The water which covers three-quarters of the surface of the world is one wide sheet, connected everywhere, but partly marked off by the continents, so as to form different pieces, which are called oceans. The largest of these is called the Pacific Ocean, because when it was first seen it was so peaceful. It covers nearly a third part of the earth. To the west its waves dash on the long . shores of North and South America, 9000 miles in length. To the east it carries the junks and boats of China and Japan; runs in among crowds of

islands, and waters the shores of Australia. To the north it is almost closed in; to the south it is quite open.

The next largest is the Atlantic Ocean, 8000 miles long, but only about 2000 miles broad. It takes a good steamer nearly a week to cross it, going full speed night and day. It has the two Americas to its west, and Europe and Africa to its east. It is open both to the north and to the south.

The Indian Ocean lies between Africa, Asia, and Australia, being quite open to the south. The Pacific and Atlantic Oceans have hot skies above them in the middle, but they are very cold at the north and south ends. The Indian Ocean lies wholly beneath blazing skies.

There are two other oceans which are both very cold. One is the Antic Ocean, lying to the north of Asia, Europe and North America; it is a region of ice and snow so terrible that no one has ever reached its centre. The other is the Antarctic Ocean, still colder and more dreary. No ship has ever got farther in than just beyond its very edge. Its surface is generally frozen over, and on the thick ice the snow lies heaped into mountains that never melt.

Sometimes the strip of water that lies between the Antarctic Ocean and the southern limits of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans is spoken of as the Southern Ocean, and as we shall see there is a use to be served in so doing. If we follow this plan we find that there are six oceans just as there are six continents. If we put them in order of their size, with the largest first, they would run thus: Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Southern, Antarctic, Arctic; but if we put them in the order of the number of ships that cross . them, they would run thus : Atlantic, Indian, Pacific, Southern, Arctic, Antarctic.

The Larger Seas.—In some places the ocean is partly enclosed by land so as to form what, as we have seen, are called seas. Of these, the largest is called the Mediterranean Sea, which lies between the three continents, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Its name signifies “ the middle of the lands,” because it is the very centre of all the land that was known to the people of old. It is a bright and sunny sea, famed for the deep blue colour of its waters. The ships and boats of all sorts and sizes that flit about on its surface make it look busy and often quite gay.

Between Asia and Africa there lies a long sea that looks narrow on the map, though it is really 250 miles wide. It is called the Red Sea, perhaps because the people who first named it saw it to the west glowing in the fiery sunset. It is very thickly sprinkled with coral rocks, which make it full of danger for the many ships that pass through it. There used to be no way out of this sea to the north, but men have cut a canal at that end, and ships can sail from it into the Mediterranean, so that this sea is used now as the chief road for vessels passing from Europe to Australia and to the south of Asia.

To the east of Asia lies the China Sea, so called because it is near the country called China. It is marked off from the Pacific ocean by many islands. The sea itself is 600 miles wide, but its broad surface is in some places broken by thousands of little islands, which are a source of danger. The Chinese have thousands of the boats called “junks” upon this sea. What destruction comes upon them when the wild storms called typhoons rage and roar over these waters !

A great sheet of water to the north of Australia, and enclosed by many islands, is called the Arafura Sea. The climate of it is very hot, and the people who inhabit the little islands which dot it here and there are all of dusky skin.

To the north of South America, and circled by a chain of islands, lies the Caribbean Sea, where also the climate is warm ; but the islands which surround it are most of them very beautiful, being all covered with trees and plants of bright green, rising behind beaches of golden sand or cliffs of bright coloured rocks.

The Continents are

Europe    Africa    South America

Asia    North America    Australia

The Oceans are

Pacific    Indian    Arctic

Atlantic    Southern    Antarctic

The Chief Seas of the World are

Mediterranean Sea    Arafura Sea

Red Sea    Caribbean Sea

China Sea

End of work for Class II
Work for Class III


As we have seen, rain will always fill up any basin in the earth’s surface until high enough to run over, and when this occurs there is formed what is called a lake. Some lakes are of great size; so broad that when you are crossing them in a ship you may be for hours out of sight of land, and great storms may rage on such lakes. Others are very pretty little sheets of water, so clear that it is easy to count the pebbles at the bottom. The water that overflows from them forms a river, and then the lake is said to be the source of the river. But a fountain or spring gushing out from the side of a hill or mountain may also form the source. As the river flows downward following the slope of the land, we call that side of it the right batik, which is on our right hand as we go with it; while the left bank is on our left hand. As the river flows onward it generally receives other rivers from right and left. Each of these is called a tributary, and, with its waters so swollen, the river glides onward, generally growing deeper and smoother till it pours its current into the sea, through what is called the mouth of the river. If the mouth widens gradually out into the sea it is called an estuary.

The land which rises up out of the ocean is not at all regular in shape, and it is always growing less regular, because the great waves of the sea wear away the softer rocks and leave the harder. Where the sea has thus worked out a hollow in the land the place is called a bay, but if the hollow is deep, so as to be well enclosed by land, it is called a gulf. In some places the sea has eaten out a passage between two pieces of land. Such a passage is called a strait, or, if it be very wide, a channel. If a range of hard rocks runs down to the edge of the sea, the waves will dash in vain upon its face ; a bold headland will therefore be left, such as is called a promontory, which is the name given to a high bold cape. Where a narrow strip of land has been left to join together two larger pieces of land it is called an isthmus.

There are two, of great importance, which join continents together. In all other cases an isthmus joins a peninsula to a larger piece of land.

Sometimes the surface of the land is without hills or mountains, and seems fairly level. Such an extent of level land is called a plain. If it stands high above the sea-shore it is called a table-land. If it is badly supplied with water, so that plants grow thinly and animals find little to eat on it, a plain becomes unsuited for men to live on, and then it is called a desert. When the land dips into a hollow such a place is called a valley. It may be only a gentle hollow in the land, or it may be a great hollow with steep sides, enclosed by solemn mountains.

The earth was once a great ball of melted rocks, spinning around at a white heat. As it cooled a skin of hard rocks grew on it, and as this skin shrunk it wrinkled up into those ridges we call mountains. It is now mostly solid within, and yet very hot, so that if a quantity of water passes through cracks down into the interior it is turned into steam, which grows more hot until it bursts up the earth in one of those great commotions called earthquakes. But if the steam merely finds its way out by a crack it blows up with it ashes and mud, and often some of the melted rocks from the interior of the earth ; and in course of time this forms a mountain of the kind called a volcano. A volcano has at its top a kind of basin called its crater, which communicates by a passage with the interior of the earth. Some volcanoes have been piled up with mud and rock to a great height. Very many have now grown quiet, and are said to be extinct, the rocks underneath them having cooled and grown solid. But yet there are many that are active. These mostly stand near the sea; often without much warning they splutter forth steam and ashes, while great rivers of melted rock called lava flow forth, crawling down their sides like huge streams of treacle, except that they are red hot and hissing. They destroy everything they touch, till, cooling down, they form big walls of hard stone.


1.    On a map of the world point to the sources of three rivers ; show the tributaries of these rivers ; show which are their right banks and which their left banks. Point out the mouths of these rivers.

2.    Point out three hollows in the coast which you would call bays and three which you would call gulfs.

3.    Point out three passages you would consider to be straits and three which you would call channels.

4.    Point out three isthmuses and three promontories.

Definitions to be learnt by Class III

A volcano is a mountain from whose top steam and melted rocks are thrown.

A plain is a wide extent of level land.

A valley is a hollow in the land.

A desert is an extent of land with no water, and therefore with few plants.

An isthmus is the neck of land that joins two larger pieces of land together.

A promontory is a high and bold cape. It is generally formed when a range of mountains runs out into the sea.

A strait is a narrow passage of water joining two larger portions of water.

A chaiuiel is a wide strait.

Agulfis an extent of water almost surrounded by land.

A bay is a hollow where the water runs into the land.

A lake is a sheet of water surrounded by land.

The right bank of a river is the side of it that lies, on the right hand as we sail with the current.

The left bank is the side that lies to the left hand as we descend the river.

The source of a river is the place from which it begins to flow.

The mouth of a river is the place where it pours its waters into the sea.

A tributary of a river is any smaller stream of water which flows into the river.



Our own country is called Victoria, after the name of our Queen. It forms the south-eastern corner of Australia, and is in most parts a fair and pleasant land. To walk from one end of it to the other would be a trip full of interest; starting, suppose from the east, through a region of wild mountains and tangled forests for nearly 200 miles, and then for another 200 miles through farming districts dotted thick with townships ; then out on the pastoral lands where millions of sheep are feeding, all coated with the long wool which is to be made into blankets and suits of clothes away in distant England.

Such a journey would be 480 miles in all, and would take us nearly a month if we were fairly good walkers. At its western end Victoria is 240 miles wide, but at its eastern it tapers off to a point. If the whole of its surface were cut up into pieces, each a mile long and a mile broad, there would be 88,000 of these pieces. If it were all good land, there would be room for about a million of fifty acre farms ; but when all the mountain country is counted off, we may reckon that some day about four-fifths of that amount of land will be used as farms. At present a great deal of it is only used for sheep, and as every sheep requires an acre, or often two or three acres to support him, it will be seen that a large part of the land is not very productive. There are other parts, however, which are rich enough to grow almost anything. But the land has never yet been put to its full use, for as there are only a million and a quarter of people in the country, and half of these live in the cities, there are only five persons on every square mile, which means that there is only about one man to work on every 500 acres. Thus the people are far too few to be able to make full use of the land they have.

In order to understand fully this country in which we live, let us imagine we are travelling all over it in every direction with our eyes wide open to see whatever is worth seeing. And first we shall take a trip along its coast. Suppose we have a nice little yacht to sail in, and that we start from the west. We must keep out on the rolling sea, a mile or so from land, so as to see it well, yet not be in danger from rocks. At first the shores are made of white sand-hills, then we round a high rocky point, and we are in Portland Bay, where the little town of Portland stands. From its long curving shores two piers run out into the green waters, and a vessel or two and some fishing boats are generally to be seen beside them.

The low and grassy shores gradually become higher as we sail to the east. Tall rocky cliffs frown over the sea, beaten into caves and grottoes by the ceaseless waves. These cliffs end in the high and bold point called Cape Otway, which is really a promontory. So many ships pass daily round this cape on their way to Melbourne, that a fine lighthouse has been placed on the top of it, which flashes once a minute a light which can be seen twenty-four miles away. It is a welcome guide to many a ship when the night is dark and stormy. Yet, in spite of all the care that is taken, many a fine vessel has gone to pieces off these rocks, and many a drowning cry has echoed on this lonely coast.

The shores are still high and bold as we sail east, with lofty hills and even mountains behind them, all covered with very high trees, and broken by deep gullies, wherein, if we landed, we should find cool streams and lovely fern-trees. After sailing for seventy miles we see the entrance to Port Phillip, so called after the first governor of Australia. A narrow passage leads into a fine bay about forty miles broad, which runs up into two arms. At the head of one of these lies the city of Geelong; at the head of the other, which is called Hobson’s Bay, we can see a great semicircle ten or twelve miles in length, covered with houses and churches and factories. This is Melbourne, a city which stretches back as far as the eye can reach. The waters of the bay are very much soiled by all the refuse from so large a city. At the • long piers which run out from the shores rows of vessels are busy loading and unloading.

Sailing out of Port Phillip, we pass along dark cliffs for some miles till we find them run out into a bold cape, on top of which a white lighthouse stands 300 feet above the sea as a warning to ships on dark nights. This is Cape Schanck, which is easily known by the rock, shaped like a mitre that stands near the foot of it.

A lovely coast now continues before us as we sail into Western Port, through one of its two entrances. This is a shallow bay, very much filled up by two islands, called French Island and Phillip Island. When the tide retires a great deal of the inner part of the bay is left dry, and presents wide extents of dirty mud flats. But if we content ourselves with merely sailing round the shores of Phillip Island we shall see only grassy slopes behind beaches of white sand and shell. Phillip Island, though not so large as French Island, is much more useful, having many people settled on it, their farms and little villages being visible as we sail along.

Western Port was so called by Bass, because in his famous boat voyage it was the most westerly harbour to which he came. Sailing out by the very narrow passage to the east, we pass along some barrenlooking coast, until we reach a hilly peninsula, whose end runs out into the high cape called Wilson’s Promontory. It is quite a jumble of mountains, nearly a dozen of which rise to 2000 feet in height. The slopes of their hills are covered with brush and dwarf gum-trees, but down in the hollows between them pretty little streams murmur round granite boulders and under ferny screens. The lighthouse that stands on Wilson’s Promontory is of great use to the ships that are constantly passing. A telegraph station stands beside it, from which the news is sent all over Australia when vessels are arriving or departing. It is a lonely place to live in, for the rocks are high and the sea rough, and often the only way in which one can land from a boat is to sit in a chair to which ropes are fastened, which pass through pulleys fixed to the top of the cliff, so that you can be hoisted up. Near

Wilson’s Promontory there lie many rocky islets, on which the sea-birds in the breeding season flutter about in prodigious numbers.

After getting round Wilson’s Promontory we enter a very shallow gulf, called by Bass Corner Inlet. So shallow is it that when the tide has ebbed the whole of it is only a wide expanse of gray sand, through which run four channels of shallow sea-water, very pure, in spite of the dirty look of the sand. But when the tide rises the inlet is an expanse of water not less than twenty miles broad.

Now we sail for a hundred miles and more, past a very monotonous shore. It has nothing to show but a long line of white sand-hills cast up by the sea, and the dazzling fringe of the surf beating up against them. But sometimes a glimpse may be had of the beautiful Gippsland mountains that rise behind.

Thus we reach the eastern extremity of Victoria, which was called Cape Howe by Captain Cook, after a British Admiral. A few low rocks rise into scrub-covered sand-hills a little way inland. Through the scrub a line has been cut like a lane to divide Victoria from New South Wales. It starts from the point of the Cape. On a little island close to the Cape stands a lighthouse, which every few seconds flashes out to sea a bright light that can be seen twenty miles away.

Names to be learnt by Class III

Capes of Victoria.

Cape Otway Cape Schanck Wilson’s Promontory Cape Howe

Inlets of Victoria.

Portland Bay Port Phillip Hobson’s Bay Western Port Corner Inlet


Phillip Island



There is little land in Victoria that is really level, and what there is lies mostly in the north-west corner. A great deal of the surface is grassy land, rising and falling in gentle hills and hollows, and lightly covered with scattered trees after the style of an open park. But the eastern part, nearly a half of the whole country, is hilly, and there are parts which are widely covered with ranges of mountains.

A long table-land runs from the border of New South Wales through the middle of the colony from east to west, and on it there is a ridge or sometimes a row of ridges called the Dividing Range, because it everywhere divides the rivers which flow north from those which flow south. Starting from the east where it is highest we find it mixed up with many branches and spurs, and here the main ridge is called the Austraha?i Aips, because in their own way they are as grand as the Alps Mountains of Europe. Very many of the peaks are a mile above sea-level, their bold heads being too high for anything to grow on them but coarse grass and hardy yellow flowers. But in the great valleys lying between the ranges and up the sides of the peaks, forests rustle, dark and unbroken.

I he Dividing Range becomes lower as it runs to the west, until it looks only like a ridge of low wooded hills on top of a table-land. At its western end, however, it becomes higher, and joins itself to a range called the Grampians, after another range of that name in Scotland, having been first discovered by the Scottish explorer, Sir Thomas Mitchell. It is a rocky chain, rising out of a fairly level country, so that if we clambered up its steep sides, over its big boulders, and among its stunted gum-trees, we should stand on a bare eminence from which we could see many miles of grassy land, dotted with farms and houses, and sprinkled everywhere with sheep.

Out of the Dividing Range flow all the rivers of Victoria. Those that go to the north could not reach any sea in that direction without crossing the whole of Australia. They gather their waters into one large river called the Murray, which flows 1000 miles along a hollow in the land, till turning west it enters the colony of South Australia and soon after falls into the sea.

All the rivers which flow to the south from the Dividing Range have only a short distance to go before they pour their waters into the ocean. Beginning from the west there is the Glenelg, which gathers the waters of a hundred little streams dancing out of the mountain ranges. It forms out of them a quiet glassy stream which glides peacefully in quiet reaches where the platypus still dives secure. This river would be very useful for ships if it were not that the sea has thrown up a bar of sand at its mouth on which the waves dash so fiercely that no vessel can cross.

The Hopkins is also a quiet stream on which boating parties like to row, or to fish in its deep dark waters. At its mouth it is impeded by rocks and sand so that no vessel can enter it.

The Barwon river gets its water partly from the Dividing Range and partly from the high ranges behind Cape Otway. In summer it is shallow, scarcely flowing at all through the sedge-fringed pools that form its course. But in winter it is generally a broad and foaming stream. It goes close to the town of Geelong, and seems as if it were going to fall into Port Phillip, but a hill which lies in the way causes it to turn to the south. It spreads out into a shallow lake, much frequented by wild-duck and other water-fowl. Then it trickles over a sandy beach into the sea.

The Yarra river rises in a lovely forest of beech-trees on the Dividing Range. It tumbles down by long falls, in lonely gullies, overhung with moss and ferns, and beneath many a waving fern-tree. Out it flows into the Yarra Flats among meadows where cattle are fattening, and slopes where vines are ripening their grapes. Then it enters the suburbs of Melbourne, from which it gathers a thousand sewers and grows dirty and evil of smell till at last it flows into Port Phillip.

The Latrobe flows through that part of Victoria which is called Gippsland, a dark and glassy stream, with grassy flats on either side well stocked with cattle. But if we were sailing on it we could see nothing beyond the river, as it is so densely lined on both sides with wattles, blackwood, and other trees. It is prevented from entering the sea by the lines of white sand-hills which the waves have thrown up; and its waters, being thus banked back, spread out to form Lake Wellington, a sheet of water twelve miles long and ten miles broad. This wide sheet of fresh water is lined all round by rows of straight trees, and there is nothing to be seen in the way of scenery. But we should be interested in the immense flocks of black swans and white pelicans, as well as duck and teal and divers, that float on its quiet surface.

A long winding passage like a river, with pretty scenery on each side, carries the water out of Lake Wellington so as to form Lake Victoria, which is

Walker & Bout all sc.

only three miles broad, but twenty-two miles long. This is a pretty lake dotted with little wooded islands. It pours its waters into Lake King, often visited for the sake of its charming scenery. Like the others, its quiet waters are fringed all round by formal rows of the white stems of trees growing out of its very edge, but it shows behind this screen very pretty views of blue mountains, the nearest ranges covered with dark forests, the farthest being only faint blue outlines tipped, if it be winter, with gleaming lines of snow.

Into Lake King there flows a fine river called the Mitchell, after the explorer of that name. It rises among the snowy heights of the Australian Alps; winds in and out among the ranges; descends to the grassy flats where thousands of cattle revel in pasture; it flows among hop-plantations, and past a busy little town, pouring its waters at last into Lake King. It is a useful river, as small steamers can sail up its lower portion with goods and passengers.

No such use can be made of the Snowy River, a long stream rising among the mountains in New South Wales. It is a rushing current, much impeded by snags, flowing through a land of tangled forest and rocky valleys. Few people as yet live near it, as the country is too wild and too thickly covered with underwood to be easily settled. At its mouth it has one of those sandy bars which so generally make the Australian rivers useless for ships.

The rivers that flow north to join the Murray are not so deep and full as those that flow south to the sea, because there is much more rain to the south of the Dividing Range than there is to the north ; for the clouds that are blown in from the Southern Ocean part with most of their moisture as they cross the ranges. Thus it happens that in summer time, while the southern rivers are still full and deep, those that flow north have little movement in them.

Yet those that descend from the highest mountains —from the very heart of the Australian Alps—are never dried up, but in the very midst of summer dance merrily on in shallow currents of cool clear water. The first of these is the Mitta Mitta, which ripples over its pebbles and round its fallen logs, flowing at first through very wild country, afterwards through fine meadows until it reaches the Murray.

The Ovens is also a shallow but merry stream, murmuring deep in great valleys among the mountains till it passes out into grassy plains, growing greater and gliding gently into the Murray. In bygone times immense crowds of diggers were at work in the midst of it and on its banks, washing out the gold from its sand; and even nowsome hundreds of Chinese are busy at the same task, their huts and joss-houses standing by the river-side in the midst of much lovely scenery.

The next river to the south-east is the Goulbourn, a stream of quite another kind ; dark and silent, sleeping between high banks of grass or of clay, on which grow gum-trees that spread their weird arms over the current. The river has been cleared of “ snags,” in order that steamers may ascend it, for the country on either side of it is very well settled ; thousands of farms cover the country, and from them come every year many hundred thousand bags of fine wheat.

The Campaspe river is the next, a stream of the same sort, quiet and still, and often much shrunken in summer when there have been long droughts. Such, too, is the Loddon river, which flows with a smooth current in a bed which is twenty feet and more below the surrounding land.

The Wimmera is a river that reaches the Murray only after a very wet season. It begins well, and is at first a beautiful stream ; but it flows out into the hot plains, becomes gradually dried up, and in the summer finally disappears. In winter its waters spread out and form Lake Hindmarsh, which is sometimes large and sometimes small, according to the wetness of the season. The Wimmera river promises to be useful, for the land on each side is very fertile, and only wants water to become extremely productive. Hence it is being irrigated; water is pumped up from the river, or carried in pipes from the higher levels, and allowed to flow over the fields in channels made for the purpose, so as to water the roots of the crops and fruit trees.

There are two lakes in Victoria which stand by themselves in the country north of Cape Otway. One is called Lake Corangamite, a sheet of water sixteen miles long, but shallow and intensely salt, for the water never runs out of it, but is dried up as fast as it flows in; the salt has thus been left behind in small quantities every year, for ages past, so that the lake is not only salt, but quite bitter. A pretty little lake to the east of it is called Lake Colac ; it is a nearly oval sheet of water, which is a good deal used for boating.

The Murray is a fine broad river, the largest in all Australia; it gathers its head waters chiefly in New South Wales among many high mountains, in valleys which are the lonely haunts of eagles. It is at first a rushing, bubbling stream of clear cold water, but after a time it grows full and deep; its waters look dark, and they are overhung by gum-trees; the banks are high ; and so the broad and glassy stream flows under a long bridge at Albury, and gathering more and more volume from the rivers that fall into it, passes into South Australia. In all its lower part this river is fairly busy with steamers, whose puffing funnels disturb the pelicans and swans upon its waters. At night these steamers carry powerful lamps, so as to light up the stream and enable the steersman to avoid the “ snags ” that here and there thrust their black points up to the water’s edge. Near its mouth the Murray river widens out into two broad lakes ; but where it flows into the sea a great sand-bank blocks the way for steamers, so that all goods have to be landed on the shores of the lakes and carried to the sea by railway over a neck of land.

Names to be learnt by Class III Mountains of Victoria

Range Grampians Austr;





Mitta Mitta











Lakes of Victoria









There are three chief occupations which keep the people of Victoria busy on the land; these are farming, sheep and cattle grazing, and gold mining. The first and second of these require that the farmers and graziers should have small towns here and there, not too far away from them, where they can sell their produce and buy their stores; where they can bank their money and get their implements mended. Thus there spring up towns of a kind which we shall call farming centres. Generally they are on the railway, or on some useful river.

But gold mining is generally carried on in a town, or close to it; for where much gold is got it generally is found in a small district, and when the miners flock to that district there towns are formed. These we shall call mining towns. But there are other causes which make towns arise; for there are two occupations employing many people, which cannot be very well carried on except in towns. The first is the making of articles such as boots, clothes, furniture, glass-ware, engines, and so on. The second is the importing from abroad of the enormous quantity of things which a million and a half of people require, and the exporting of all the wool, the wheat, the gold, the butter, and so forth, with which Victoria pays for these things.

This last work must be carried on in towns built by the sea-side, and they must be placed so as to give the ships that visit them the shelter of a good harbour.

If you look along the coast of Victoria you will find only one place really well suited for that purpose. This is Port Phillip. Corner Inlet is too shallow ] so is the upper part of Western Port. But Port Phillip has a good entrance, and is deep. Here, then, the seaport town of Victoria was sure to be, and it was sure to be on the northern arm of that port, as the western one is blocked by a sand-bar.

Thus it comes that the greatest port and manufacturing city of Victoria has sprung up on Hobson Bay.

The river Yarra which flows into that bay is deep enough to take many large vessels for four or five miles up, and allow them to lie along the wharves that line both sides of the river. But long piers are carried out into the bay itself for the loading and unloading of still larger ships. The city of Alelbourne proper lies beside the river, a solid mass of shops and offices a mile long and half a mile broad. What a bustle and roll of traffic in its streets ! See the lines of cabs and carts, the pretty tram-cars gliding along, the crowds of people pouring onward upon its pavements. Outside the central city lie the suburbs, Carlton and Richmond, Collingwood, Fitzroy, St. Kilda, South Melbourne, Port Melbourne, and so on; there are in all about thirty suburbs, which have each its own town-hall and its own mayor, each of them managing its own affairs. In the city and all that circle of suburbs nearly half a million of people dwell.

The other arm of Port Phillip has on its shores the next largest seaport of Victoria, called Geelong with a population of about 25,000. On the slopes of the bay the houses and churches rise one behind the other, mingled with trees ; while the chimneys of the manufacturing part of the town down by the Barwon river are hidden from the sea-view by the gentle hill on which the city stands. Geelong is the centre for all the western district, and has a large trade in wool, in grain, hides, and other produce of the land.

The third seaport of Victoria is IVarrnambool, which has no natural harbour. As you approach it from the sea, the first thing you notice is the big breakwater made of large blocks of cement, each the size of an ordinary room, and laid so as to form a wall that runs out to sea, in order to shelter the vessels at the piers from the waves of ocean. Behind the pier the city stands on a hill, with a large coffee palace crowning the height, and with plenty of steeples scattered here and there among the clustering houses.

The other seaport is Portland, on the bay of the same name. Its pier is naturally fairly well sheltered from the sea, but on the whole the bay is not very convenient for ships and therefore the town has not grown to much more than a tenth part of the size of Geelong. But all these splendid pastoral lands round about it, with half a million of sheep upon them, give it business to do, and therefore an importance of its own.

The industry of mining has given rise to many towns in Victoria, and still keeps them busy. Where Ballarat now stands there was, less than fifty years ago, only a quiet and sleepy valley. The gold-diggers rushed in wherever it was found that the precious metal was thickly strewn in the sand underneath the bed of the little river that wound backward and forward through the valley. At first they lived in tents, but afterwards stores were built, hotels and houses were formed; and so the town of Ballarat grew up and prospered, until now it is a very handsome city, with fine wide streets, and having in its central part very solid buildings. But if we wander a little out from the centre we shall find many suburbs of poor little houses where miners dwell, and where big mounds of stone and clay tell at once what is the occupation of the people. Ballarat has a population of more than 46,000 persons.

Bendigo also had its origin in the rush of diggers to the banks of a gold-strewn creek. Bendigo was its first name, but for forty years it was called Sandhurst, till the people took the fancy of going back again to the original name. The gold which now keeps the people busy is all got from the bottom of deep mines, where quartz is broken out and drawn by long wire ropes to the surface, where it is pounded into dust, and the fine gold it contains is taken out of it. The mines all lie in a straight line, running six or eight miles away from the city, along the course of the underground reef of quartz. But the city itself is free from mines, and is handsomely laid out. Its population is about 30,000.

Castlemaine is a smaller town of only 6000 people, but it also was once busy with 10,000 diggers. The well-made streets and solid shops of the place now indicate a settled population ; but its prosperity entirely depends on the gold mines that lie round it, four or five miles out in all directions. A large number of men, including Chinese, are always at work “ fossicking,” as it is called—that is, turning over the soil long since dug up, and washing the gold that was left in the sand by the early and hasty diggers.

Maryborough, which lies only a few miles to the west, is another town formed originally out of a rush of miners. Gold being found at what was called Daisy Hill, the country round about was soon swarming with men in search of the precious metal. It was found in scores of places, and many little towns grew up, but the largest and most permanent has been Maryborough, which is rather a flat town, but smart and well kept. Gold mines surround it on all hands and keep it busy.

Further still to the west lies Stawell, a town which grew up in the heart of the Pleasant Creek gold-diggings. At one time it was a large town of more than 10,000 people; but as the supply of gold diminished, so did the people drift away, and now not half that number live there. Gold is still to be found round about, but at such great depths that the cost of getting the quartz and bringing it up is often more than the worth of the gold it contains. One mine in the neighbourhood is more than half a mile deep. The long winding main street of Stawell, grown up by chance, and partly deserted again, is not impressive; but it has some good public buildings rising out of the cottages which form the town. Poppet-heads appear all round, but behind these you see the bold and rugged line of the Grampians looking softly blue in the distance.

Beechworth, which stands between the Murray and the Ovens rivers, is also a place founded by the diggers. A great rush of men took place to the Ovens river, and as gold was found all over the district, little towns of diggers’ tents sprang up in all directions. But the police who were sent to keep good order formed their camp at May Day Hill, in the midst of the gold-bearing district. Here a settled town grew up, the banks put up good offices, shops were built and streets full of solid houses, so that Beechworth at the present day has the look of being long settled. Its fine streets, surrounded on all sides by hills and pleasant scenery, make it a charming place to visit.

The towns already mentioned owe their existence either to the shipping trade or to mining. There are some, however, which have grown up as business centres for farming or squatting districts. In a district where corn grows freely, as it does on the Wimmera plains, thousands of farmers take their families out to live there. A town then springs up at some convenient place where they can buy provisions, their clothes, and all other necessaries. Thither, too, they send their corn to be put into trucks to go by railway to the seaport. Thus agents and bankers and many other business people gather there, and the town grows into a small city. This is even now happening to Horsham, a new place built out on the dry plains, which were very quiet and lonely twenty years ago. Now there are about 4000 people gathered in a smart town to do the business of a large farming population settled all round about.

Sometimes such a town springs up as the centre of a pastoral district. For instance, Hamilton, which lies north-east of Portland, slowly grew up in the early days of the colony, as squatters with their families settled in the western district. A solid town with good streets, good schools, good banks, and pleasant surroundings steadily formed in the heart of these grassy regions from which some millions of sheep produce thousands of bales of wool every year to enrich the squatters and keep the town prosperous.

On the Murray river stands Echuca, the centre of a great wheat-growing district, from whose farms more than a million bushels of wheat every year are gathered. Where the land is not specially suited for wheat, sheep are depastured, and nearly half a million of them have their wool every year sent into Echuca. The river flats, for many miles round about, are rich in red gum-trees, whose timber is much in demand. Five saw-mills are kept busy cutting up the logs into planks to be sent to all parts of Australia. There is yet another thing which helps to make Echuca busy. It is the headquarters of all the steamers that ply up and down the Murray river, and these, of course, bring trade with them. The town is flat and not peculiarly pretty ; but a fine feature is the great bridge which here crosses the Murray.

Two important towns form the centres of the district called Gippsland. One of these, called Sale, lies on the Latrobe river, not far above the place where it falls into Lake Wellington. It is built on perfectly flat ground, and therefore it is by no means picturesque, but it has well-made streets and a generally bright look. The long rich grass that grows on the plains and hill-sides for twenty or thirty miles all round it, fatten the best of cattle which are sent by railway to Melbourne. On the Tambo river, near the head of Lake King, stands Bairnsdale, a town that has grown with great speed of late years. For as the giant trees of the fertile lands all round about are cut down, fine grasses grow on the rich soil; these feed fine cattle, and provide both milk and butter and beef, which procure wealth for the district.

Names to be learnt by Class III






Towns of Vic

Mining Centres.







Produce Centres.








Australia, the smallest of the continents, is about 2400 miles long. It would take four months for a strong man to walk across it from west to east. Such a journey would be very painful, as all the western half would lie through country so dry in ordinary times that for a hundred miles together no stream or pond, or even puddle of water, is to be seen. But the eastern half of his journey would be through pleasant lands, always growing more and more grassy as the traveller approached the eastern coast, and more and more like an open park with trees dotted over it. The breadth of Australia is about 2000 miles.

In it dwell nearly four millions of people, but these are chiefly gathered along the eastern and southern rim. Indeed more than a million of the people are gathered in three places, where good harbours have tempted them to form their seaports. One of these places is Port Phillip, already described, where half a million people reside in the city of Melbourne. Another of these is a lovely harbour, called Port Jackson, on the eastern coast, whereon stands Sydney, the chief city of New South Wales. If we were to sail into it we should pass through two high capes, called the North Head and the South Head, between whose old and weather-worn cliffs there is a passage about a mile wide, leading into a lovely sheet of water winding nearly twenty-five miles inland, but never more than two or three miles broad, and opening into the most charming bays and arms, dotted here and there with pretty little islets, and all with banks of green trees, amid which the splendid houses and steeples of a great city and its suburbs are seen. Many ships are at anchor on its breast, and three or four of the little bays are lined with wharves that are busy all day long. At night it is beautiful to see the little steamers flitting about the harbour with their red, blue, and white lights shining on the sparkling salt water, while ten thousand lamps of the city glitter in pretty curves round the little bays.

On the south coast of Australia the Gulf of St. Vincent is notable as being the harbour of the city of Adelaide. If we sail up this gulf we have flat green shores on either hand, but on the right hand, a few miles back from the shore, there are pleasant hills, in front of which the city extends, with towers, steeples, chimneys, all mingled on the plain. Down upon the beach of clean sand pretty suburbs can be seen with their big piers running into deep water. The Gulf of St. Vincent, though protected at its mouth by an island, is too large to make a very safe anchorage for ships, which therefore enter a little lagoon at the mouth of a creek. This has been turned into a harbour, and it is surrounded by the wharves and sheds of Port Adelaide.

Another inlet, which, though small, is of importance to ships, lies at the south-western corner of Australia. It is called King George s Sound, after the name of the King of England, who was reigning when it was first discovered. A wide entrance leads into a smooth sheet of water, which runs up into two arms, both bordered by pleasant hills, grassy and well sprinkled with trees. The little town of Albany lies at the head of one of the arms, and here the steamers call on their way from Europe, in order to renew their supplies of coal, generally much reduced after the long voyage over the Indian Ocean.

Three more inlets are to be noted on account of their size. The first of these is the Gulf of Carpentaria, a sheet of water 400 miles broad. Its depth, however, is not great, and near the shore it is very shallow. The land round it is rather dreary. In many places it is dry and very hot; in others there are long stretches of mangroves, a kind of tree which grows out of muddy shores at the edge of salt water, where a fervid sun gives them enough heat. They are dense and monotonous where they grow, and make it difficult for any one to land among their muddy roots. The Gulf of Carpentaria as yet serves no useful purpose to man, and scarcely ever does a vessel float on its surface.

A large part of the southern shores of Australia E

form a great curve bending to the north. This is called the Great Australian Bight. Its shores are formed of cliffs unbroken for more than 600 miles, their white and brown faces rising to twice or three times the height of a church steeple out of the surf that continually smashes itself into foam at their feet. These cliffs are the edge of a great desert that stretches inland, dry, barren, and uninhabited for hundreds of miles, to the north. At the eastern end of this bight there is Spencer Gulf shaped like a horn, 250 miles long, and tapering off from a wide entrance to a narrow head. The shores round the entrance are pleasant to look on; their sandy beaches being backed by grassy hills, but the shores at the upper end of the gulf are dry, sandy, and unattractive.

Names to be learnt by Class HI

Inlets of Australia

Port Phillip Port Jackson King George’s Sound St. Vincent Gulf

Gulf of Carpentaria Great Australian Bight Spencer Gulf



The most northerly point of Australia is Cape York, which terminates the long prong of land that forms the eastern side of the Gulf of Carpentaria. It consists of a bold hill about 400 feet high, covered with shrubs, and sloping down to the cliffs which overhang the waters of Torres Strait. A very pretty island lies off the cape, with a passage of deep water between just wide enough to be safe for steamers to pass between the island and the cape. The scenery here is extremely pretty; a feature sure to be noticed is the number of immense ant-hills on the land, built of red or yellow clay, rising with pinnacles that suggest a model of some glorious abbey or Eastern mosque. The country behind the cape is a tangle of tropical forest, not occupied by white men, but given over to the fiercest of all the Australian savages, black, naked, and dangerous. The name Cape York was given by Captain Cook in honour of the Duke of York, second son of King George III.

The most southern cape is Wilson's Promontory, already described (p. 31). The most easterly is Point Danger, lying just between the colonies of Queensland and New South Wales. It is really the end of a mountain range which forms the boundary between these colonies, but is by no means a bold headland. A scrubby hillock with sandy shores runs out into the surf, and is carried for a mile or so under the sea in a line of sunken reefs, only seen when the waves break over them. From these the cape takes its name; for Captain Cook, who first explored this coast, very nearly ran his ship, the “Endeavour,” upon these rocks. Tie was indeed in very great danger of a most disastrous shipwreck as he rounded this point.

The most westerly cape of Australia is called Steep Point. It is the end of a long rocky peninsula, which runs out into the Indian Ocean. The country round it is miserable, barren, and dry. The point received its name from the sharp slope which its face presents to the ocean. A lonely uninviting place it seems, broiling beneath the glare of a fervid sun.

The south-eastern and the south-western corners of Australia are important capes. The first is Cape Howe, already described (p. 32). The other is Cape Leeuwin, so called after the first vessel which rounded it. This vessel was Dutch, and was called the “ Lioness ” in the Dutch language. It is a sloping piece of land about 600 feet high, with a covering of yellow grass, shrubs, and stunted trees. It is the first part of Australian soil seen by people on their way from Europe, and many an anxious gaze watches its dim hills rise out of the horizon.

There are only two large peninsulas in Australia. The first is called Cape York Peninsula, because it runs out into the promontory of Cape York. On the western side its surface is very level, covered with boxwood scrub intertwined with endless creeping vines. Here and there a few palms denote the warmth of the climate, and the gigantic ant-hills with their fantastic peaks are a prominent feature in the landscape. On the east side the peninsula is more hilly, and its granite ranges are densely covered with forests. Into the wild solitude of the southern parts of the peninsula gold-miners are now penetrating, and there are many cedar-cutters dwelling up in the ranges, whilst along the low banks of the rivers that flow to the east there are here and there a few sugar plantations.

The other peninsula lies between Spencer Gulf and St. Vincent Gulf. It was called by Flinders Yorke Peninsula, after an English statesman of that name. It is about one hundred miles long, and its surface is pleasantly grassed and sprinkled over with gum and wattle trees.

Names to be learnt by Class III Capes of Australia

Most northerly .    . Cape York

Most southerly .    . Wilson’s Promontory

Capes of Australia—Continued

Most easterly Most westerly South-east . South-west .

Point Danger Steep Point Cape Howe Cape Leeuwin

Peninsulas of Australia

Yorke Peninsula    Cape York Peninsula



To the north of Australia lies the great island of New Guinea, in which the scenery is very much the same as in Australia itself. The animals are of the same general class, kangaroos being the most notable, and the natives are somewhat of the Australian type; so that the island is considered to belong to the geography of Australia. Approaching the shore from the south, we should see fine sweeps of clear sandy beach, behind which rises a thick forest, the home of large crowned pigeons and of birds of paradise. Here and there a clump of cocoa-palms waves its feathery leaves and its bunches of nuts. The forest extends in long plains to the inland parts, where high snow-capped mountains raise their heads into the sky. Along the shores and up the rivers we can see plenty of native villages, consisting of huts thatched with palm leaves, where naked children and familiar pigs are swarming on the grassy streets.

The neat bridges of bamboo on which these people cross the rivers show them to be far in advance of the Australian natives. Put when you come upon a

village where all the houses are built for safety up among the branches of a high tree, you are led to suspect that the people are of fighting and blood- ' thirsty habits. To save their throats from being cut at night some of the tribes thus live in the trees, drawing up their rope-ladders after them when they go to sleep.

To the south of Australia lies a much smaller island, Tasmania ; smaller, but for the present more useful to the world, for in New Guinea scarcely any white men are yet settled. Nearly the whole island is held by black men. But in Tasmania the country is held and used by white men, and the last of the blacks who used to live in it has long since died and passed away. It is about 170 miles long and of the same breadth, so that it would take us about a week to walk across it in any direction. Its west coast is made of bold high rocks, behind which lie many mountains heavily covered with forests, into whose wild recesses miners are now pushing in their search for silver and tin; thus rough mining townships are being formed in country so wild that for a hundred miles there is not feed for a single cow. Yet all the east half of Tasmania is well settled ; its grassy plains being stocked with sheep, and its river valleys turned into good farms. The south of the island is well known for its delightful scenery.

At the entrance of St. Vincent Gulf lies Kangaroo Island, so called because Flinders, who first discovered it, found the kangaroos so tame there that they let the sailors walk up to them and knock them on the head. No men then dwelt on the island, and the animals on it had become quite fearless. They killed three or four dozen, and took them to their ship as a change from the salt meat they had so long-been eating. The island is not fertile, although

IValkcr £r Bout all so

Flinders found some very large trees growing on it when he first saw it. At present about 500 people dwell on the island, but it is still mostly covered with scrub.

A thousand miles to the east of Australia lie two fine islands called New Zealatid. They got that name from Tasman, their discoverer, who was a native of Zealand on the coast of Europe. They are called the North Island and the South Island. Each of them is about 500 miles long and 150 miles broad.    They are lands of noble forests,

of giant mountains, and rushing rivers. The North Island has fiery volcanoes and boiling springs ; the South Island has a long range of mountains, the wildest, the grandest, and the highest of Australasia. And yet in these islands there is also much fertile land, especially along their eastern side. In former times they were occupied by a dark-skinned race called Maoris, who lived in neat villages and tilled their little farms. There used to be about

120,000 of these; now they are reduced to about half that number, but instead, the islands are inhabited by half a million of white people who have come from Europe and made their homes there.

Away to the north of New Zealand, and lying 600 or 700 miles from Australia, is an island called New Caledonia, which is 220 miles long, but not more than 40 broad. Its beautiful mountains covered with forests of dark green foliage, and its level fringes of land behind the lovely beaches used to be inhabited only by wild tribes of cannibal blacks. But the French have settled in the island, and made it a station to which they send their convicts. The whole island is surrounded by. a coral reef just reaching to the surface of the sea. It is a lovely sight to watch the long waves of ocean rolling and tumbling over this reef, but within it the water is so calm and clear that the pink and blue and pure white coral growing like lovely plants can be seen at the bottom, where bright-coloured fish wander in and out among their recesses. The plains along the shore and the valleys that run up among the mountains are now being turned by the French into plantations of sugarcane, coffee, and cotton.

North-east of New Caledonia lie the New Hebrides, consisting of nine or ten islands of moderate size, and a number of smaller ones beside them. They are very lovely. As you approach them from the sea, you notice the shores of pure white sand, with hills rising behind them, all densely clothed in the richest foliage. Clumps of cocoa-palms and graceful clusters of bamboo rise here and there from the forests of dark green. These islands are occupied by native tribes who used to be cannibals of a wild and cruel nature. But missionaries who settled among them have done much to make them quiet, peaceful, and orderly. Very many of them now wear clothes, and seem somewhat civilised. Not many white people are settled in the islands, as the climate is so hot, steamy, and unhealthy.

Seven hundred miles to the east, still in the bosom of the Pacific Ocean, lie the Fiji Islands, consisting of two large and a number of small islands ; some are only low circles of coral on which sufficient refuse has been cast by the sea to make a sort of mould, out of which cocoa-palms have sprung. Others are filled with mountains richly covered with trees. The mangroves in some places rise out of swampy ground along the shores; in other places the pure white beaches are protected by coral reefs, and are only gently lapped by the clear waters. The larger islands are filled with palms, bananas, and many broad-leafed tropical plants, all woven with vines and creepers. A while ago the hundred and twenty thousand natives who dwelt there were naked, wild, bloodthirsty cannibals. Now they are ruled over by a governor sent out by the Queen of England, and work on plantations of sugar and cotton which have been formed by the 2000 white people who live on the islands. Fine fruits grow there in the orchards that are being formed, perfect forests of bananas; acres of pine-apples, great groves of oranges and other fruits that require a warm climate make many parts of the island look lovely.



The three most important straits of Australasia are Torres Strait, Bass Strait, and Cook Strait ; each called after the navigator who first sailed through it. Torres Strait lies between Australia and New Guinea. It is not more than eighty miles wide, and the whole of that width is obstructed by so many little coral islets and reefs that the passage is dangerous for ships, and it requires a careful and cautious captain to take a large mail-steamer safely through them. But, on the other hand, the shallow water and the warm climate make this a chosen place for the growth of the pearl oyster; so that fleets of smart boats are anchored here and there upon its surface, each with dark-skinned divers on board, who descend in their diving dresses, their big helmets with great glass eyes covering their heads, and connected by air-tubes with the boats above.

Each diver stays down about four hours, gathering the oysters from off the clean white coral bottom of the strait. These he puts into a basket, which, wfiien full, is hauled up to the boat. In about one oyster out of a hundred there is found a little pearl, but the inside of every shell is composed of that pretty substance called mother-of-pearl, which is sent all over the world to be made into ornaments.

Bass Strait shows no sights of that sort, but its darkly heaving waters are greatly used for trade, scores of steamers and ships being at all times busy crossing it one way or another. The rocky islets that obstruct it in some places are not built of coral, but show high and wild-looking cliffs of rock, from which the foam splashes when they are struck by the long black-backed rollers; the tops of these islands are sandy, and are covered by wind-blown bushes, beneath which, in the season, myriads of mutton-birds and other sea-fowl hollow out their nests to lay their eggs and hatch their awkward young.

Between the North Island and the South Island of New Zealand there lies Cook Strait. It is only twenty miles wide at its narrowest part, a width that would of course be ample for ships were it not that there are so many rocks; and also that there is at times a current sweeping through it which is so dangerous, that many a fine ship has been lost on its shores.

Names to be learnt by Class III

Islands of Australasia

Kangaroo Island New Hebrides New Caledonia

New Guinea Tasmania

New Zealand—North

Straits of Australasia

Torres Strait    Bass Strait

Cook Strait



The most thickly-peopled of the colonies is Victoria, though it is the second smallest. It occupies the south-eastern corner of Australia, and its capital is Melbourne, a large city already described.

North of it lies New South Wales, so called by Captain Cook because he thought that its shores looked like those of South Wales in Europe. It is a very large colony, with nearly a million and a half of people. Those in the inland parts are mostly engaged in rearing sheep, of which they have about forty millions ; the wool is carried abroad, and forms the chief part of the wealth of the colony. The people nearer the coasts grow corn and maize, fine oranges and good grapes. The capital of the colony is Sydney, a beautiful city, standing on the shores of Port Jackson, its wharves and quays being built round the little bays of that fine harbour. The centre of the city is densely crowded, and its narrow streets resound for twenty hours a day with the noise of bustle and traffic. Round the busy centre where people do their business lie a score of pretty suburbs on the shores of the harbour or stretching inland; these are either covered with nice houses and pleasant gardens, or with the cottages of working-folk.

North of New South Wales lies Queensland, a still larger colony, which stretches all the way to Torres Strait. It has less than half a million of people, but its immense territory is nearly all occupied as fine runs, on which sheep, cattle, and horses are reared in immense numbers. In the northern parts a great deal of successful mining is being carried on; but the largest city, the capital of the colony, is in the south-east corner. It is called Brisbane, and stands beside the Brisbane river. It is a busy city, though not one-quarter of the size of Sydney. The river winds through it, and on its banks are fine public gardens and handsome buildings, such as the governor’s house and the Houses of Parliament.

The central part of Australia is occupied by a colony called South Australia. This is also an immense territory, but a large part of it is wholly unoccupied, and there are districts that have not even been explored. A great deal of it is what has been called desert-land, because it is so badly provided with water. But men are pushing forward by degrees into it; they are making dams, and putting tanks to catch the rain when it does fall, and so, as the sheep find plenty of food among the scattered bushes, when the water is thus added, fine runs are formed, and wool is produced to make South Australia prosperous. Most of the people, however, are settled down in the south-eastern corner, where they grow great crops of wheat. It is here that the capital stands. It is a fine city, called Adelaide, after the wife of the King of England, during whose reign it was founded. It lies between the shores of St. Vincent Gulf and some beautiful grassy hills that rise about ten miles back from the shore. Its streets are quite level, very wide, straight as an arrow, and surrounded on all sides by park-lands, which give it a green and pleasant aspect.

All the western part of Australia is filled by the colony called Western Australia, of which also by far the larger part is desert, though a desert which men are learning to make useful by saving the rainwater instead of letting it flow away. Only a very small number of people dwell in it, and of these the greater part are gathered into the south-western corner, where stands the capital, Perth, at a place where the Swan river spreads out into a broad lagoon, breezy and cheerful. On the north side of this lies the pretty little town, shaded by abundance of trees. It is a quiet place, away from the general bustle of Australia, but is steadily growing.

The Island to the south of Australia forms another colony called Tasmania after Tasman, the Dutch sailor who discovered it. Miners in the north-west, sheep-breeders in the north-east, and farmers in the south, are the chief holders of the land. Its capital is Hobart, which lies at the head of a fine bay. A grand mountain called Mount Wellington rises just behind it, the suburbs of the city running up towards its bald old head, which is often wrapped in clouds. The streets are narrow, and the city has an old picturesque look, and it is visited every summer by crowds of people who wish to see the fine scenery all round it.

The Islands of New Zealand form the seventh of the Australian colonies. They produce wool, and wheat, and barley. They send frozen mutton to other lands, and have prosperous gold mines in some places. Their people have chosen for their capital, not one of their largest towns, but another called Wellington, because it is very central. It lies on the north shores of Cook Strait, and is hemmed in between the sea and a range of steep hills. It has often been visited by earthquakes, and people have made most of their buildings of wood, so that they may be less likely to topple over.

The Fiji Islands form the eight and last of the Australasian group. They export sugar, bananas, and cocoanuts. The capital is the little town of Suva, whose one street runs along the shore of a pretty harbour; a quiet and dreamy place, where white folks, clad in loose garments, and copper-coloured natives, with skin well oiled and hair plastered with lime, lounge in and out under a hot sky.

Names to be learnt by Class JII





New South Wales




South Australia


Western Australia




New Zealand





On the Yarra On Port Jackson On the Brisbane On St. Vincent Gulf On the Swan River At the mouth of Derwent River On Cook Strait On the island of Viti Levu

End of work for Class III
Work for Class IV



In addition to the important inlets mentioned on pp. 48, 49, there are in Australia two inlets of less importance named Shark Bay and Port Darwin. The former is a large inlet on the west coast near Steep Point. It is divided into two by a long sandy » peninsula; each of its two arms is about forty miles broad ; the shores of both being bare sand, or only lightly covered with dry scrubby bushes. The country round about has little fresh water, and has not as yet attracted many settlers.

Port Darwin is a small inlet in the north, notable as having on its shores the only town upon the whole north coast of Australia. Through it passes the telegraph cable, which connects Australia with Europe.

The North Island of New Zealand has three large bays. The most northerly is Hanraki Gulfj celebrated for its lovely scenery. Its shores are high bold cliffs crowned with profuse foliage, behind which rise lofty hills. Its waters are varied by nearly a score of little islands, some of them beautifully wooded. These islands are mostly volcanic, and one of them called Rangitoto, is an extinct volcano nearly iooo feet high, with a well-formed crater at its top. The gulf has some shipping on its waters, for an important city lies at the head of it.

A little farther south is the Bay of Plenty, so called by Captain Cook from the abundance of provisions, especially fish, brought by the Maoris to his ship for barter. It is a wide sweep of shore richly timbered with lofty trees, the forests being broken only here and there by the paler green of the farms which are being formed by white settlers. In the bay there are a number of small islands, all volcanic; several of these are covered thick with Flowers of sulphur, for out of holes in their surface the sulphur vapour has many a time blown like steam from a pipe, and then, being chilled, it has fallen as powder all over the island.

Hawke Bay is still farther south. It is not so

large as the Bay of Plenty, but is more enclosed. Its shores are chiefly occupied by forests of tall and valuable timber. But at intervals occur the farms of settlers where the cocoanut palms wave in frequent clusters. It is a fine sight to look from a ship at these grand forests stretching inland with rugged hills rising behind them, and away behind these again the snowy caps of the great mountains of the North Island.

Besides the straits already mentioned on pp. 58, 59, there is Investigator Strait, which lies between Kangaroo Island and Yorke Peninsula. It took its name from the ship in which Captain Flinders explored the southern shores of Australia. It is twenty-three miles wide, and being of sufficient depth, it makes a safe passage for ships. Steering up the middle of it we see the land on either side as low sandy hills sprinkled with stunted shrubs.

Besides the islands described on pp. 53-58, the following are for various reasons important.

In Bass Strait an island stands at each end midway in the passage, and therefore forming a danger to navigation. King Island at the west end is thirty-five miles long. Its eastern shore consists of sand-hills blown up by the wind, but overgrown with dog-grass. The west has shores of low rocks running out into treacherous reefs. The island is covered with a thick scrub, and is of little use. Only a few persons live on it.

At the other end of Bass Strait stands Flinders Island, the largest of a group, on which a small population resides engaged in catching seals and gathering the eggs of the mutton-birds which breed on the sandy hills in prodigious numbers. The island is very barren, and has little that is pleasing to the view.


Off Cape Howe lies Gabo Island, said to take its name from the efforts made by the blacks to pronounce the name of the cape. It is very small, but has thirty or forty people resident on it; for it has an important lighthouse with telegraph station attached, and the keepers with their families make quite a little village.

Near to Shark Bay, and forming part of the seaward side of that bay, lies Dirk Hartog Island, so called because at the beginning of this century a plate was discovered on it stating that a Dutchman named Dirk Hartog had visited it away in the unknown past. It is a miserable island. To the sea it shows light brown cliffs about 200 feet high, but in its middle it rises to three times that height, then slopes down in a parched and waterless desert to Shark Bay. It is about forty miles long, but only four or five miles broad. No people live on it.

Nearly the whole east coast of Queensland is skirted by the Barrier Reef, a line of coral islets about 1000 miles long. These rise but little above the ocean, appearing as patches of lovely coral with the sea-weed thick upon it; partly dry when the tide is low, and often lashed by furious breakers ; but when the tide is up, they are pale green patches in a sunny sea. There are only four or five places where a ship can pass through this long barrier made by the coral animal. But ships generally coast along in the smooth water between it and the shore, the passage being never less than ten miles wide, while towards the south it is more nearly a hundred.

The two great islands of New Zealand have a smaller one called Stewart Island, attached to them by way of pendent. It was called after the captain of a sealing vessel, who first discovered that it was not attached to the South Island. Its shores are high and rocky, and the interior filled with mountains that are covered to the top with dense forests. A few whalers live on the island, and a number of people who gather the large oysters which grow upon its rocky shores.

Between Spencer Gulf and the Great Australian Bight, there is a prominent point, Cape Catastrophe, so called by Captain Flinders, because as he passed by it he sent a boat ashore with eight men to look for fresh water. The men were never again heard of, but the boat was found several days later, floating bottom upward. The cape is a promontory of undulating grassy hills, ending in a low cliff.

Cape Farewell is the north-western extremity of the South Island of New Zealand. It received its name from Captain Cook who there said good-bye to the shores of New Zealand after spending some months in exploring them. It rises in successive steps of weather-worn rocks to cliffs about 600 feet highbut just a little way behind these a back-ground is made by ranges of great mountains that are often covered with snow. There is a dangerous circumstance connected with this cape. The currents that flow through Cook Strait have washed a long tail of sand stretching from the cape seventeen miles to the east. This is covered at ordinary tides, but the water not being deep it has often happened in wild storms that ships have sailed into it and been wholly wrecked.

Names to be learnt by Class IV Inlets of Australasia

Shark Bay Gulf of Hauraki Bay of Plenty Port Darwin Hawke Bay

Strait of Australasia Investigator Strait

Islands of Australasia

Stewart Barrier Reef

Gabo    King

Flinders    Dirk Hartog

Capes of Australasia





The great feature of the surface of Australia is that long chain of mountains called the Dividing Bange, which runs 2000 miles through Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria. It lies parallel to the shores, generally from 50 to 150 miles away from them ; and it varies much in height. In many places it does not look very grand to the view as the peaks stand on a table-land half a mile high.

This long range obtains different names in different places, but the part best known is that called the Blue Mountains. This name was given by the early settlers at Sydney to what seemed to them a line of soft blue lying fifty miles away, against the westward sky. The table-land is about fifty miles broad, and on it rise peaks covered with trees. What is seen from Sydney is merely the table-land itself, whose edge, sloping rapidly up from the coast plains, is at least half a mile high. The whole district is famous for its lovely scenery, for on the inland side of the table-land you come here and there on its edge, and look down from awful precipices 1200 feet high, over dreamy prospects of forest and hill.

As the Dividing Range runs south and reaches the borders of Victoria, its peaks become high and grand. It is here that the highest mountain of Australia stands. It was called by the Polish traveller who first discovered it Mount Kosciusko, after the famous patriot who strove so long to keep Poland free. The great mountain masses, covered with vast and tangled forests, run over the border and form the Australian Alps already described (p. 33).

This great Dividing Range, so long and in many places so high and so broad, is the only notable mountain ridge of Australia. Western Australia and South Australia are both without any mountains. The latter however has two ranges of hills that are locally important. The Mount Lofty Lange is a line of grassy hills, running behind the city of Adelaide with pretty fertile valleys between them. They are easy to climb, but from their topmost point, which is over 2000 feet high, a most charming and extensive view is to be had. The Flinders Range runs inland from the head of Spencer Gulf. It also consists of rounded grassy slopes, sometimes lightly timbered with gum-trees. Some of them have rocky summits rising out of the grassy slopes to the total height of over 3000 feet.

In the south-east corner of South Australia there is an interesting hill called Mount Gambier, which, like many smaller hills round about it, was once a volcano. The crater which occupies its summit is only a grassy hollow nowadays; but there was a time when it poured forth streams of red hot lava which kept hissing and scorching over all the country. It is now quiet enough, but this lava, in the thousands of years that have passed away since then, has been crumbled into rich soil, upon which green and thriving farms are situated.

Tasmania is a very hilly island, nearly half of it being covered with forest-clad ranges. The peak that is best known, though not the highest, is Mount Wellington, which rises behind the city of Hobart. Every summer some thousands of visitors pass through its “ Fairy Bower,” under its groves of fern-trees, and beside the most lovely little waterfalls up over its grassy heights, and through those fields of huge boulders which have been deposited on the great rounded top in the ages of the awful past by icebergs, when all these lands were under water. Then out they go to the summit, 4000 feet high, where a huge rocking-stone tempts the venturesome to climb and get a view of sea and bay, island and river, woodland, farm, and city, such as is scarcely to be equalled in the world.

The mountains of New Zealand are much higher than those of Australia. The north island has several ranges exceeding in height any on the continent, but it is in the south island that the greatest peaks of Australasia must be sought. There, along the west coast, from Cook Strait southward, runs the gigantic range called the Southern Alps. What an immense solitude sleeps for ever up among those snow-clad peaks, whereon the cliffs of ice, clear as crystal, yet green and blue in their lustre, rise unmelted from century to century ! The hollows up in these chilly heights, 10,000 feet above sea-level, are filled with frozen lakes called glaciers, which slowly descend a few inches in a day, cracking and groaning as they slide, and filling that lonely region with awful echoes. There are very few places where the Southern Alps can be crossed. The only road which leads over them at the place where they are easiest to cross is famed for the wildness and grandeur of the scenery to be seen from the top of the coach as the traveller bowls along. The highest peak of all is called Mount

Cook; it is 13,200 feet high. No human foot has ever trod its summit, though experienced mountain climbers once came from Europe and spent a week in the attempt to reach it. They risked their lives climbing up the terrible cliffs of ice, but after spending the whole of a bitter night on a ledge only a foot wide, with a fall of 1000 feet below them, they were forced to descend after being very near the top.

Names to be learnt by Class IV

Mountains of Australasia

Blue Mountains Mount Kosciusko Mount Gambier Flinders Range

Mount Lofty Mount Wellington Southern Alps Mount Cook



In Australia the great Dividing Range lies so near to the east coast as to divide the rivers into two widely different classes. For all the rain which falls to the west of these ranges must flow towards the interior, and it thus forms long streams, which, passing out into the level plains, become sluggish, and in hot weather dry up altogether under the fervent summer sky. Thus sometimes the traveller finds only a bed of dry sand, where at other times after heavy rains he might find a current a mile wide tossing and raging on its way to the sea.

All the streams of this sort which come from

Queensland and the north of New South Wales join together to form the Darling, a river about 800 miles long in a straight line, but more nearly 2000 miles if all its windings be followed. For months together, in the dryest weather, it is merely a line of water holes, but after February it fills with the heavy Queensland rains, and it has been known to spread ten miles in width. As a rule, however, in the autumn it is a stream about a quarter of a mile wide and from 12 to 20 feet deep. Then is the time when the steamers with their lines of barges heavily laden with wool hurry down the river. The Darling pours its waters into the Murray.

All the rains of the south of New South Wales that fall to the westward of the Dividing Range gather into two streams, the Lachlan and the Murrumbidgee. These are never dried up, although there is much difference between their summer and winter levels. They flow as dark and placid streams between grassy banks, overhung by scraggy gum-trees. The plains on either side of them are dotted with millions of sheep, while the pleasant houses of squatters who own these flocks and have grown wealthy by the sale of their wool occur every ten or twelve miles along their course. They pour their waters into the Murray, which takes them to the sea.

The rains which fall to the west of the Dividing Range in the north of Queensland form a stream called the Barcoo, or Cooper's Creek. It receives the - two names because the upper part of it and the lower part were discovered at different times, and for many years nobody knew that these were the same streams. A hundred rivulets from the ranges unite to give it a good volume of water to begin with, and it starts out upon the plains with every promise of being a great river. But the soil is thirsty and the sun is hot. It dries' up and ceases. Yet after heavy rains there may for a month or two be more water than can be thus taken up, and it rushes on to form a great lake in South Australia called Lake Eyre, a broad shallow basin of water from 3 to 10 feet deep. It is surrounded by bare-looking hills on one side and by barren-looking plains on the other. It is very salt, for as scarcely any water ever flows out of it, the salt brought down by the river has had centuries to gather. Sometimes when the Lake is wholly dried up there is nothing but a wide extent of mud, fifty miles broad ; but all the black mud is crusted so thickly with glittering white salt that it looks like a prospect of snow.

Occasionally, if Lake Eyre becomes very full, its waters overflow a little into another lake of the same dreary sort called Lake Torrens, which, however, is chiefly supplied by its own little streams flowing into it from east and west. In the very heart of Australia there is marked on the maps a vast lake called Lake Amadeus, which is, however, of the same character. Nearly the whole year it is a wide sheet of mud, crusted with glittering salt; but out of this great mud lake there rise a few bare islands of red sand, the whole view being very wretched. When the first explorers who saw this lake attempted to cross it, intending thus to make a short cut, they found that the crust of salt would support themselves well enough, but w’hen they took their horses out upon it the crust broke, letting the poor animals fall into blue mud, that rose almost to the top of their saddles. It is not very often that Lake Amadeus is a real lake of water.

The rivers which flow from the Dividing Range to the east pass to the sea by short and rapid courses. They are never-failing streams, though generally of


little use for navigation. Some of them make their courses longer by flowing either north or south for a long distance between the parallel ridges before turning towards the sea. Of this sort is the Burdekin River, which gathers the waters of 500 miles of the Dividing Range into two streams, one flowing north, one flowing south till they unite and turn eastward to the Pacific. It passes through open timbered lands, its bed being from 100 to 400 yards broad, but only filled in rainy seasons. All the year, however, there is a good strong current about 50 feet wide, and deep enough to reach one’s knees ; dancing merrily on, except where it sleeps awhile in pools with cormorants floating on its bosom, and huge alligators basking on the hot sands at either side.

The Fitzroy River also has a northern and a southern branch, and resembles the Burdekin. In its upper part it is only a slender stream which unites fine broad glassy pools; but farther down it is navigable for small vessels, and for the last thirty or forty miles it is a current a quarter of a mile broad and of good depth. A splendid bridge crosses it, and after that it widens out till, as it nears the sea, it is at least a mile across.

The Brisbane, another river of Queensland, flows into the sea near the south boundary of the colony. It is much shorter than either of the others, but is important because on it stands the capital of the colony. It is very pretty in its upper parts where it descends from the mountains. Lower down, though less charming, it is more useful, having enough water to carry large steamers forty miles up from its mouth, and berth them alongside the wharves of the city.

The Clarence River is a little larger than the Brisbane, and, like it, is also useful for ships, being

able to carry large vessels up to a town forty-five miles from the sea. There its banks are lined with wharves, but higher up the flats on either side are used for sugar-growing ; and fine plantations of cane are to be seen on either hand.

The Hunter River flows at first among lovely gorges of the Dividing Range, then through pleasant plains where sheep and cattle are abundant; then through rich flats where maize and potatoes and tobacco grow in profusion ; lastly, it enters that grimy region of coal-mines where puffing steamers and ■ shrieking engines fill the air with smoke. The staging and machinery of mines rise over all the country, and at the mouth of the stream there is heard a great din of ships being loaded with coal for all parts of Australia.

The Hawkesbury rises in the Blue Mountains, and at first flows at the bottom of deep gorges; sometimes, although the river can be heard roaring and foaming far below, it is impossible to see it, so much do the rocky walls overhang it. When it leaves the mountains it flows still lovely through the grassy plains of the coast, and then becomes a broad smooth stream, sometimes a mile wide. This part is famed for its scenery, the great cliffs being reflected far down in glassy reaches of still water. Its mouth is called Broken Bay.

The rivers of Victoria have been already described on pp. 34-39. South Australia has no rivers except the Murray and Cooper’s Creek. West Australia has a river system not in any way connected with the Dividing Range. Swan River is the most notable, being the only one that flows through country fairly well settled. In its upper part it is generally dried up all summer, and is filled with water only after the rainy season. Farther down it becomes permanent, and near its mouth widens out into a fine lagoon.

The Fitzroy is away in the north of Western Australia. It is the longest of all the streams of that colony. It takes its rise on a table-land, surrounded by hilly ridges, which are rugged and well timbered ; then it descends to fine grassy flats, long the haunts of naked tribes, but of late years penetrated by busy white men in search of gold. Round the estuary of this river, which is called King Sound, the country is low, hot, sandy, and wretched.

Into the two corners of the Gulf of Carpentaria fall the Roper River and the Flinders River. The first of these, which took its name from a companion of Leichardt, the traveller who discovered it, rises among romantic ranges, passes down to grassy flats where it flows deep, enclosed between grassy banks, then down to the vast plains, where stringy-bark and boxwood flats, with a few palms rising here and there, are bordered by muddy regions at the mouth of the river, densely overgrown with mangrove trees. The Flinders, which falls into the gulf at its south-east corner, flows nearly all its course through plains that are covered with rich grass and pleasantly timbered, a region perfectly adapted for cattle stations if it were not so very warm in summer.

In Tasmania the most important river is called the Derwent, after a well-known English river. It rises in a lovely little lake, sparkles onward a clear crystal stream, through sheep stations and pleasant lands of hills and valleys; passes below the bridge of a pretty town and between many hop-gardens, widens out into a smooth sheet of water that winds among mountain ridges till it meets the salt breezes blowing in from the ocean, and then it mingles with the briny deep beside Hobart. The Tamar is the name given to a long river in the north of Tasmania formed by the union of two pretty little streams.

New Zealand is a land of splendid lakes, out of which flow full-volumed rivers. In the North Island Lake Tanpo is a sheet of blue water, about twenty-five miles each way, surrounded by wild and lofty mountains. On all hands they rise in barren but magnificent spurs, from the very edge of the lake, sloping away up to their snowy caps 8000 feet high. This lake is fed and kept overflowing by melting snow and trickling streams from all these mountains. Hence a great broad stream, the Waikato River, flows out of it in a majestic current 300 yards wide. After a mile or two the bed of this river is hemmed in between great rocky spurs of the mountain. The waters boil and foam along, leaping in masses of froth, till they throw themselves over a fall, and then the river flows on through deep forests and open farm-lands till it reaches the sea.

In the South Island the chief lake is called Wakatipu. It is long and narrow, and has two great bends in it. The loveliness of its scenery attracts crowds of tourists every summer to go by the steamer which winds round its placid bends, while the people stand silent on deck watching in deepest interest how its lovely views of water and mountain and far-off glacier and roaring torrent unfold with each fresh curve. It is kept so full by the water from melting glaciers that it overflows in several places. The chief river that thus bursts from it is called the Clatha, which, after rushing through the wild mountain regions of its birth, flows a swift, clear, cold river, through grassy meadow-lands, the water being very little lower than the banks through which it hurries.

Names to be learnt by Class IV

Rivers of Australasia











Fitzroy (W.A.)



Barcoo or Cooper’s Creek Tamar Derwent Waikato Clutha

Lakes of Australasia



Amadeus    Wakatipu




New South Wales has for its capital the large and handsome city of Sydney, the population of which approaches half a million people. It stands on the shores of Port Jackson. The central city lies between three or four of the little bays of that fine harbour, but scores of tiny steamers take the people out to their homes scattered all round the harbour, while trams and trains take others to homes lying a little way inland. The second city of the colony is Newcastle, which stands at the mouth of the Hunter river, and has a population of about 14,000. Its streets rise very steep from its wharves, and the whole place has only one great traffic. It is coal; everywhere coal. Long lines of trucks on the railway bring coal from the mine, barges carry coal on the river; while at the wharves the din of tumbling the coal in hundreds of tons into the great holds of big steamers keeps the place noisy.

Maitland stands farther up the same river. It consists of two parts, one down by the river banks, with the wharves, sheds, and buildings needed for trade; the other, in order to be out of the way of the floods, when the river rises, stands two miles away on some hilly ground.

Grafton is on the Clarence river, which is half a mile broad in front of the town. The fine wharves are kept busy by the visits of steamers that carry off the maize, tobacco, sugar, and bananas grown on the rich flats beside the river. There are forty-eight mills for crushing the sugar-cane round the town, but on account of the low price of sugar most of these have been for some time unused.

Bathurst is an inland town, the first formed after the settlers learnt how to cross the Blue Mountains from Sydney. It has steadily grown because needed as the business centre of a rich district wherein half a million sheep, and also immense numbers of cattle and horses are depastured. As it stands on the table-land, nearly half a mile above sea-level, it is not too warm for the growth of wheat, of which the surrounding district produces nearly a million bushels every year. Very much the same sort of town is Goulburn, also high and cool, with broad streets well planted with trees, and with fine agricultural and pastoral lands round it to keep it busy.

Albury is a warmer town, being down on the plains and on the banks of the Murray river at a place where a fine bridge carries the railway from Sydney to Melbourne. It is a bright pretty town, and all the district round it is made fresh and interesting by vineyards, of which there are hundreds; the Albury wines being great favourites. Away to the west lies Deniliquin, the centre of a great sheep district. On the hot plains all round it there are two millions of sheep feeding on the salt-bush and on the long grasses, and their wool is the cause of much business to the people of the town. At the junction of the Darling and the Murray there is another town of the same description called Wentworth; but, besides nearly a million of sheep round about it, there are the river steamers at its wharves to bring business to its people.

Far up the Darling is the town of Bourke, formerly called Fort Bourke. It is surrounded by plains, where, in winter, grass, and, in the long dry summer, salt-bushes support three millions of sheep, whose wool is gathered in bales at Bourke to be sent away by river or by rail. On the borders between New South Wales and South Australia there are ridges of hills called the Barrier Range. The southern end of these, at a place called Broken Hilt, is extremely rich in silver, and millions of pounds worth of that metal having been dug out of it, crowds of people have gathered round about it to work the score of mines that have been opened. Thus it comes that, down on the plain below, a town called Silverton of about thirty thousand people has gathered. It is a dry and dusty place, but has already good shops and solid stone buildings.

Queensland has for its capital Brisba?ie, through whose suburbs the river Brisbane winds; the Botanic Gardens, the Parliament Houses, the governor’s house, all are enclosed within the folds of the pretty stream. But in its lower reaches the river is lined with wharves, at which scores of vessels load and unload, carrying on the business of a city of more than 100,000 people. To the north, on a little river called the Mary, stands the city of Maryborough, not far from the


coast. It was originally formed by a rush of diggers in search of gold, but when they had taken out all the gold they could get, they found that much more wealth was to be had by cutting down the dense scrub which filled the river flats, and growing sugar, tobacco, and maize on the rich soil.

Rockhampton is a town of the same style, standing on the Fitzroy River. It was first formed by a gold rush, and there are still busy gold-mines round it, but copper and silver are now as important as gold, and more important still is the fattening of cattle to be sent south to provide the big cities with beef, or to be refrigerated and sent to Europe in the ice-rooms of steamships.

On a river still farther north stands Mackay, also the port for a district of gold and copper, but mainly dependent on the sugar plantations round about, which produce some 20,000 tons of sugar every year. On the coast farther north there is a large port called Tow?isville, after a certain Captain Towns. It is built on the side of a high hill, with one of its principal streets running along a beach of clean white sand. The weather is there very hot, but people live in this town because money is to be made by reason of the traffic passing through it to the great pastoral districts lying inland ; and also to and from a rich gold-field not far away, called Charters Towers. On the east of the Cape York Peninsula there is a still hotter town called Cooktown, which also took its rise as the port of a rich gold-field lying fifty miles inland from it. The climate is here too hot for Europeans to do hard bodily labour, and all toilsome occupations are followed by Chinese, who have a tumble-down suburb of their own in which they chiefly reside.

South Australia has only one town of any great size. It is the capital, Adelaide, a very bright and attractive place, with a population of about 134,000 ; its principal thoroughfare, King William Street, is one of the finest-looking in Australia. At the very head of Spencer Gulf stands the small town of Port Augusta, which is likely to be of future importance, for large vessels can draw up to its wharves, and this means that here navigation reaches nearer to the heart of Australia than it does anywhere else. Thus fine cargoes of wool, and hides, and wheat, and copper are shipped at the port for foreign countries. A great extent of land lying to the north of South Australia, and called the Northern Territory, has been for a time at least annexed to it. This vast tract of land has little population, but it has promises of future success. Its capital is Palmerston, a little town on Port Darwin, mostly consisting of wooden or corrugated iron buildings, with a few churches and government offices of stone. The extreme heat of the climate is a great drawback to the place, people who live here feeling as if all the energy were stewed out of them.

West Australia contains altogether a population of only about 54,000. It can, therefore, have no large towns; but there are three which promise to be important. Perth, with nearly 10,000 people, is the capital. Its fine main street, nearly two miles long, well planted with mulberry and lilac trees, is extremely pretty; the town-hall, churches, and other public buildings seeming to rise out of widespread gardens. As large vessels cannot sail into Swan river, the chief port of Western Australia has been formed at the mouth of the river twelve miles from Perth, where two piers, running out into a sort of harbour, receive the shipping of the colony. This place is called Fremantle. It is a flat town, surrounded by a generally sunny sea; whatever commercial enterprise there is in Western Australia is mostly centered there.

Out into one of the arms of King George’s Sound runs the long pier of the third town of Western Australia called Albany. It is a collection of some 200 or 300 cottages, surrounded by leafy gardens, and it runs partly up the sides of a low hill.

Tasmania has for its capital Hobart, so called after the English Secretary of State for the colonies when it was first founded. It has a population of 25,000, and its hilly streets are always fairly busy. With a beautiful bay in front of it, and a magnificent mountain behind it, the scenery of Hobart is famous, but the line of ships lying in a semicircle round the old wooden wharves of its harbour shows that Hobart has plenty of trade as well as picturesque views. In the summer time the whole city is filled with the smell of jam-making. In the north of Tasmania, at the head of the river Tamar, stands Launceston, another picturesque town. It lies deep in a hollow surrounded by hills, and its narrow streets are very much up and down in their lines. The South Esk, just outside the town, murmurs through a most romantic series of gorges known as the Cataracts, which have been turned into a lovely park for the city.

Besides the towns already mentioned on pp. 43-47, as being the chief of Victoria, the following are of importance: Benalla, a thriving pastoral and agricultural centre on the railway between Melbourne and Albury. Close to this is Wangaratta on the same railway line. It is a larger town than Benalla, but, like it, derives its importance from the wheat and oats of the farms lying all around, and from the wool of the stations which lie still farther out.

Not far from these, but on a different line of railway, stands Shepparton, on the Goulburn river, the bustling centre of the finest wheat-growing district of Australia. The bags of wheat that are gathered here in stacks after the harvest, waiting for trucks to carry them off, are in amazing quantities.

Two other towns of Victoria are of the mining sort; one is called Daylesford, which lies equally distant from Ballarat and Castlemaine. It is among the ranges of the same table-land which supplies these two towns with their gold, and the visitor who sees the poppet-heads all round at once guesses how it is kept busy. The public gardens of the town are on the top of a high hill, and are beautifully kept. Seated on their sloping lawns you can rest and enjoy a prospect of great loveliness; the little town with uneven streets at your feet, and ranges and green farms stretching far away beyond it.

Ararat is also a picturesque town, lying on the plains, but with the peaks of the Dividing Range rising just behind it. Some handsome groups of public buildings are what the visitor first notices when he approaches it. More than half the men in it are miners.

A new town of a strange kind has lately sprung up on the banks of the Murray, in the midst of a region formerly thought to be for ever a desert. This is Mildura, in the centre of fine irrigation farms. Enterprising men found out that the soil was really good, and that the desert look of everything was due only to the smallness of the rainfall. They put up huge pumps, and raised water from the river so as to let it flow over the orchards and vineyards which they planted. And now, with good soil, a lovely climate, and plenty of water, fruits are caused to grow of wondrous size and quality.

New Zealand has many good towns, none of first-class size, for its long coast and its many harbours have encouraged numerous centres to be founded rather than one very large one. The three largest are Auckland, Dunedin, and Christchurch. Auckland stands on the long peninsula which forms the north part of North Island. Two bays on the opposite coasts almost unite at this point, and so the town, which lies on the east coast, is only six miles from the west coast also. It has no very fine buildings, but its cottages, mingled with plenty of trees, its picturesque harbour, with little islands dotted all around, make it a very attractive city. Dunediti is on the east coast of the South Island. It lies at the head of a long narrow bay, with fine streets and handsome buildings, rising up to the crest of the hills, where parks of great extent divide it from the suburbs that lie over these hills. Though it is not so large as Auckland, it does quite as much business, and is a city of great promise.

Christchurch lies farther north than Dunedin. It is not on the coast, but is divided from the sea by a high range of hills, through the heart of which a railway runs to connect the city with its seaport. Christchurch is a flat city, but with a lovely river flowing through it, and with streets dignified by many fine buildings. The main city is about a mile in length each way. Round this runs a belt of parklands, outside of which are many suburbs prettily disposed among gardens and abundant trees. The splendid lands which are called the Canterbury Plains cause Christchurch, which is set in their midst, to be a very prosperous place.

Wellington, though the capital of New Zealand, is not the largest town. When the seven separate colonies which used to exist in New Zealand joined together to form one colony, this was chosen to be the capital, because it was the most central. Its wooden houses and public buildings rise in narrow winding streets from the shores of a good harbour, and slope up the sides of steep hills ; the great drawback to the city being the want of a reasonable width of level land between the beach and the hills.

Names to be learnt by Class IV

Towns of A ustralasia






Port Augusta





Broken Hill


Maryborough (Q.) Bourke

























The colonies of Australasia belong to a great empire held by the British people. These have their headquarters in the British Isles—two islands, Great Britain and Ireland, which lie to the west of Europe. They are densely peopled, these two small islands having about forty millions of population—that is, ten times as many as are in all the wide area of Australasia ; thus every person in our part of the world has on the average 300 times as much room as a person has in these islands. Indeed, it was only this crowding out that sent people away from the British Isles to make new homes for themselves, for they are lands of great beauty and of ceaseless industry. The people of the British Isles are recognised as the foremost race in the world; not the best in every respect, but the best in so many ways that they may pass for the highest type of humanity. In literature, in science, in invention, in navigation, and in finance, they excel all other people.

They speak the English language, and have carried it with them all over the world. Some of their foreign possessions, as in the case of Australia, have been repeopled by English-speaking colonists. Others have been occupied more for commercial or military purposes than because British people wanted to live in them.

Of this latter class are two places held in Europe, both small but useful. Gibraltar is a rock standing at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea. The British took it nearly 200 years ago from the Spaniards, and have kept it because it guards the entrance ; and so long as they have some thousands of men there, and hundreds of great cannons pointing out from rocky walls, no other nation can ever prevent their ships in time of war from sailing in and out as they please. Malta is a small but very busy island in the middle of the Mediterranean. It has a population of nearly 170,000 people of all nations. They are kept busy in loading and unloading vessels, for no less than 4000 ships call here every year.

In the extreme east of the Mediterranean Sea the British hold Cyprus, a much larger island, which is closely attached to the continent of Asia. It contains nearly 210,000 people, mostly Greeks, very little like the men who dwelt on the island 2000 years ago, and made it then one of the most prosperous places in the world. Yet if you travelled through it you would see relics of ancient greatness on every side.

The greatest of all the British possessions is the country of India, in the south of Asia. Here live more than two hundred and eighty millions of people, dark of skin, with figures tall and slender, lightly clad in cotton robes, and with gaudy turbans round their heads. They are of very mixed races, however, some being highly civilised, while others who live among the hills are little better than the aboriginals of Australia.

The British who are resident in India are not

100,000 in number, and of these more than half are soldiers. For India was won by conquest, and an army has still to be kept there in order to retain possession of it. But the people are on the whole glad to be part of the British Empire; they are now allowed so much more freedom than they enjoyed under their old princes, who were often tyrants; taxes are so much lighter, and the British have taken so much care to provide them with schools and railways, and have given them so much assistance    in    watering and laying out properly    the

fields    of    rice which provide them food,    that    they

are more prosperous now than their    ancestors

were    in    byegone days. The English    send    out

a Governor-General, who resides at the fine city of Calcutta, and two governors under him who reside at Madras and Bombay. India has a very hot, moist climate, which makes it unhealthy for British people to live long in it.

South of India there lies a beautiful island called Ceylon. It is of exactly the same size as Tasmania, but is peopled with more than three million persons, who are of the same appearance, religion, and language as those of India. The island is so warm, and yet so rainy, that it is covered by a most profuse vegetation. There are dense forests in some places, where herds of wild elephants still crash through the bushes ; all the roads and the little native gardens are gay with gorgeous flowers. The chief town is Colombo, where the British have a few handsome buildings, surrounded by suburbs of native huts, which are very slenderly built. The island sends away great quantities of coffee, tea, cinnamon, quinine, and other valuable products, which its rich soil and warm climate enable it to grow.

Another part of the south of Asia, called Burmah, belongs to the British. Some parts of it are thickly peopled by dark races that are half-way between the Hindoos and the Chinese. Their busy towns and queer-looking temples catch the eye of the traveller through these pretty lands. Other parts are covered with vast forests of splendid trees, where herds of elephants wander, and the tiger lurks, where the rhinoceros and the wild-hog wallow by the steaming banks of broad rivers, where myriads of monkeys gambol on the boughs overhead, and where peacocks and golden pheasants display all their grandeur. A great river flows through this country, so broad and deep that vessels can sail up it 900 miles into the interior, and past the city of Mandalay, which is the largest of Burmah.

The south of Africa forms another portion of the British Empire. It is called Cape Colony, on account of its having been first formed by the Dutch round the famous Cape of Good Hope. About a hundred years ago, when the British were at war with the Dutch, they took this colony from them. Half of the white people there are of Dutch descent, and speak the Dutch language more than English. But they live under English law, and are ruled by a governor sent out from London. By far the larger part of the population, however, are blacks of mixed kinds, not real negroes, but of the race called Kafirs. These blacks act as servants and shepherds and waggon-drivers to the settlers, whose main industry is the growth of wool, though there is a great deal now done in the northern parts of the colony in the way of digging for gold. The capital is Cape Town, built round a pretty bay, and climbing partly up the slopes of a high mountain; the white houses and lovely gardens being seen from the sea like little dots on the mountain-side. Cape Colony has a population of more than a million and a half.

Adjoining Cape Colony, but lying on the east coast, is the smaller colony of Natal, which is mostly peopled by Kafirs called Zulus—a strong, well-built race, who till their little fields of corn, or tend their herds of cattle with great care, though they generally live in frail huts, shaped like a big bee-hive, with no chimney, and a door so low that they have to crawl rather than walk into them. Out of nearly half-a-million people in the colony not one-tenth part are white, but the blacks obey English laws, and an English governor is sent out to rule them. The chief town is called Durban, where solidly built streets would tempt the visitor to think he was in England, if it were not for the crowds of Kafirs on the path-ways. More than half of the

20,000 people who live in this town are blacks.

Out in the Indian Ocean, to the east of Africa,

Walker Bouta.ll sc.


lies a very fertile island called Mauritius, which forms another important British colony. Though it is only thirty-eight miles long, and twenty-five miles broad, yet it supports more than 350,000 people, who toil in the splendid sugar plantations. The island was first colonised by the Dutch, from whom it was taken by the French. But afterwards the English took it from the French, and have kept it ever since. A great number of the people are of French descent, and the French language is often spoken. White people are not numerous, more than three-quarters of the population being Hindoos and Chinese brought over to work on the plantations, for Mauritius is near the equator, and is so warm, that white people find hard work very exhausting. The chief town of the island is St. Louis, which has a population of about

60,000 people. Its streets are very sunny, and swarm with white-robed Hindoos; Arabs in little red caps ; Chinese with blue jackets and long pig-tails; and white folks in light and loose-fitting suits.

All the northern part of North America forms what is called the Dominion of Canada, where only a few of the original natives still live, these being roving tribes of Red Indians. The great mass of the five millions of people contained in this country are white, and of these, four millions are gathered round the fine river St. Fawrence, and the Gulf of St. Fawrence, which forms its estuary. The climate is so very cold in winter that the bays and rivers and lakes are all frozen over with ice some feet in thickness ; and then the whole, both land and water, is covered with a vast sheet of pure white snow. But when the spring comes all this soon melts away, and a very warm summer comes on. Then the wide plains are covered with great crops of wheat, which soon ripen under the fiery sun. The wheat is carried in immense quantities to be shipped to Europe. Another busy industry of Canada is the cutting of timber in the vast forests. Trees, chiefly of the pine class, are felled, sawn into logs and planks, and sent away all over the world. Fishing is the last great industry, tens of thousands of men being kept busy in catching and curing the most astonishing quantities of fish to be sent out as food to millions of people in other lands. Immense tracts of the interior are still only forest or prairie, the haunts of the deer and the beaver; or else they are rocky, mountainous regions, where the grizzly bear finds his retreat; but as 50,000 new settlers arrive in Canada every year, these solitary wastes are being slowly turned into the abodes of men. The capital is Ottawa, which, though not the largest city, was chosen for its central position.

Close to the shores of Canada lies the great island of Newfoundland. A large part of its surface is barren, consisting of rocky soil with bushes or stunted trees sprinkled over it. Some large parts are quite bare, but there are valleys filled with forests of pine and birch. Little of the land is suited for farming, and the severe climate prevents the people of making much use of what there is. The great business of Newfoundland is fishing. About 1000 vessels are constantly engaged in catching codfish on the great banks which lie a little way out in the Atlantic. This is a place where the sea is not more than about 200 feet deep over an area nearly twice the size of Victoria. The bottom of the sea is thickly covered with sea-weed, to which myriads of sea-creatures resort, and to feed on these there come prodigious numbers of cod and other large fish, which are caught with lines and hooks about as fast as they can be pulled up. Ten thousand men are busy from June to November each year in this work, and in the business of curing fish and of making oil from the livers of the cod. Many thousands of people are kept busy in catching and canning lobsters on the shores, or salmon in the rivers. The chief city of this island is St. John's.

The line of islands which divides the Caribbean Sea from the Atlantic is called the West Indies, this name recalling the fact that when Columbus first reached them on his famous voyage he thought he had got to India. Some of them belong to the British Empire, and of these the largest is the beautiful island named Jamaica. It is about 150 miles long, and is about a fifth of the size of Tasmania. But it contains far more people, for its sugar plantations have been famous for generations. The middle of the island is filled by what are called the Blue Mountains, whose peaks rise to 6000 and 7000 feet above sea-level, but clothed to the very summit in rich vegetation. Nearly three-quarters of the island is still covered with its original forests of dark green, but the other quarter is of a paler green, being filled with waving sugar canes, amid which toil half-a-million of negroes. Sugar, rum, and treacle are exported in large quantities, and form the wealth of the 40,000 white people who own the island. On a wide harbour of the south coast stands Kingston, the chief towm, a pretty place with a throng of merry black faces constantly passing under broad verandahs, which keep off the great heat of a tropic sun. All around the town vines and palms and banana trees make the country gay.

In South America the British Empire holds a part of the rich country called Guiana, which, being on the equator, has a very warm climate. Its hot moist air and fertile soil cause it to be very suitable to the growth of sugar, which is by far its most important industry. It is in area a little larger than Victoria, but its population is not a quarter of ours, and of the few people it has, only a handful are white, the rest being negroes and aboriginals who have become civilised. These do not really occupy very much of the land, and so its plains and its grand mountain ranges are covered by thousands upon thousands of square miles of deep and gloomy forests, where mahogany trees and palms and hundreds of other sorts grow to majestic size, covered with long mosses and orchids of gorgeous flowers. In these forests rove the jaguar, the tapir, the armadillo, and the giant ant-eater. Great crocodiles and turtles haunt the placid rivers, on whose surface grow multitudes of snow-white water-lilies; while up on the trees multitudes of monkeys, and parrots, and macaws, and humming-birds make the whole scene populous and lively. The capital of British Guiana is Georgetown.

Names to be learnt by Class IV Chief British Possessions

In Europe—Gibraltar, Malta In Asia—India (cap. Calcutta)

Burmah (cap. Mandalay)

Ceylon (cap. Colombo)


In Africa—Cape Colony (cap. Cape Town)

Natal (cap. Durban)

Mauritius (cap. St. Louis)

In America—Canada (cap. Ottawa)

Newfoundland (cap. St. John’s)

West Indies, Jamaica (cap. Kingston) Guiana (cap. Georgetown)



The most important islands attached to Europe are those busy and populous lands called the British Islands, already described on p. 87. Great Britain used to form two separate countries—England and Scotland. Its capital is London, by far the largest city in the world, its five million people being more than the whole population of Australasia or of the Dominion of Canada, vast though these regions are. England is a lovely country, green and prosperous ; farm, and park, and clover-scented meadows are crossed by roads lined with fragrant hedges, and dotted everywhere with villages and towns; while charming mansions, and the ruins of castles, and the spires of churches of olden times rise from mile to mile throughout the pleasant land. Some parts, however, are less lovely, especially in the north, where great numbers of black and smoky cities have grown up, in which are made the iron-ware, the woollen goods, the cotton cloth, the pottery, and so forth, that are used all over the world. The south part of Scotland is of the same kind as England, but the north is a mountainous region not thickly inhabited. The other island to the west is called Ireland, very green and pretty, with a large population, but not nearly so many manufactures, the people being chiefly busy in growing potatoes and in making bacon and butter to be sold in England.

Icela?id is a large island about twice the size of Tasmania, lying in the north part of the Atlantic


Ocean. Its coasts of high black rock are lashed by heavy storms. The interior parts are high, and covered with snow for a large part of the year. Rivers of ice called glaciers slide down from the giant mountains to the sea-shore. There are scarcely any trees, and the whole place is stern, wild, and black. But along some of the shores there stretches a strip of land less forbidding. It is not adapted for the growth of anything better than a few vegetables, but it has coarse grass for cattle and hardy sheep. The

70,000 people who dwell in the island make their living by rearing these, and also by catching fish, which abound on the shores. In summer the days are long, and for a month or so very hot, but in the winter the days grow shorter and shorter till there is scarcely any daylight left. During the very long nights the people shut themselves up in cosy rooms, and while the women knit and the men make toys or mend their nets, one of the party reads aloud, so that the inhabitants of the island are favourably known for their intelligence.

In the Mediterranean Sea there are three islands utterly different from this, with a warm climate in which snow never falls. The largest is Sicily, which is about half the size of Tasmania, but very different in its population; its fine plains and mountain slopes supporting about three millions of people, who export immense quantities of oranges and other fruits, as well as wheat, to various parts of Europe. The centre of the island is filled with bold ranges of mountains clad to the top in forests of oak and chestnut trees, and among these mountains stands the famous volcano called Etna. But a large part of the island is a lovely prospect of hill and dale, amid which occur at every few miles the pretty villages of the people.

Sardinia lies not far away, an island as large though not so populous as Sicily. It has about half-a-million of people, who grow wheat and maize and make wine. The interior of the island is rocky and full of rugged beauty. Most of the people live on the flat lands near the shore, but others tend their sheep and goats and swine up among the great oak and chestnut forests that cover the inland mountains. Here and there, all over the island, lonely castles of stone rise on the edges of precipices and other difficult places, reminding us how wild and lawless were the people until of late.

To the north lies Corsica, much smaller, and with only a quarter of a million of people. It is of the same character as Sardinia—a beautiful land, rich with verdure, and filled with mountains, its bold rocky shores rising out of seas as blue in colour as the neck of a peacock. Cattle and butter, wine and honey, olives and chestnuts are grown in the valleys and on the little sunny plains round the coast.

The most important islands belonging to Asia are those called the Japan Islands, lying in the Pacific Ocean. They form a long chain, and their area is nearly equal to that of New South Wales, but they have thirty times as many people. More than forty millions of those small swarthy-looking people called Japanese occupy the islands. They are somewhat like the Chinese, and are of the same religion. For a long time they would let no strangers land on their shores, but latterly they have altogether changed, and like to have English, French, and Germans to settle in their land, to carry on schools and universities, and to make their railways and telegraphs. Japan is a beautiful country, green and pleasant everywhere, with high bold mountains, lovely plains, and busy cities, the largest of which has more than a million of people in it. The whole place is like a garden, camellias, chrysanthemums, and a hundred other flowers that we prize, growing wild in that favoured land. The Japanese are a bright lively people, who welcome the visitor with smiles, and show him with pride the skill they have gained in carving and painting, in making fans and lamps, and all sorts of dainty little things. They live a simple life, chiefly on rice, in quaint-looking wooden houses or grim old stone castles.

To the south of Japan lie the Philippine Islands, so called after their king by the Spaniards, who first discovered them. They form a group of islands enclosing the China Sea. Very many of them are small, but there are ten large ones, on which live dense numbers of people of three races; the aboriginals, people somewhat like the Australians, who once held the whole land, but were driven up into the hills by the Malays, a fierce brown-skinned race, who took up all the fertile soil; and lastly, there came the Spaniards, who now hold the islands, and who treat all the others as slaves, making them work in the rice fields and tobacco plantations ; the Philippine Islands produce some of the best cigars in the world.

Close by these islands, to the south, lie the famous islands called the East Indies. Some of them are of great size. Borneo is of the same area as the colony of New South Wales, and is the second largest island in the world. The interior of it is little known, being filled with great mountains. One of those peaks raises its snowy cap two miles into the air, and all the ranges are everywhere covered with the grandest forests. For the climate is very hot, the equator passing through Borneo, yet it is very moist, and the mountains causing the clouds to descend, the trees grow to a great size. The ferns and fern-trees are rich in all the valleys. Flowers are abundant, great scarlet ones more than a foot wide, or big white pitcher flowers that contain a couple of quarts of water, together with thousands of other strange plants, grow in these forests. In the interior the people are wandering tribes of savages, who hunt and kill each other. Round the shores live the Malays, who are hard working, and fairly well civilised. They grow the sago-palm, split open its trunk, and take the sago out of it. This island supplies about half of the sago used in the world. Many spices are grown here, and the soil is fertile, so that the people find no difficulty in making as much rice grow as they need for their wants. The Dutch claim to possess Borneo, but they do not live there, while the English actually hold a small piece in the north, and both live and thrive in it.

The next largest island of the East Indies is Sumatra, the interior of which is also covered with forests, and is little known. Here, as in Borneo, one may travel for days in a sort of twilight formed by the great boughs of over-arching trees. In these forests range the rhinoceros, the tapir, the boar, and up in the branches apes and monkeys make their homes. The mountains rise to the same height as in Borneo, but Sumatra has along its coast much marshy land which, in so hot a climate, is extremely unhealthy. Yet more than three million people live in the island, chiefly Malays, who grow rice for their own food and pepper for export to other countries. These Malays form many little states, each with a rajah or ruler of its own. The Dutch claim the southern part, and have tried hard to seize it, but as the hot climate kills off their soldiers a year or two after they land, the natives have had it mostly their own way so far.

South of Sumatra and Borneo lies Java, a long narrow island entirely held by the Dutch, who make the twenty millions of Malays work hard for them in coffee plantations, for this is one of the greatest coffee-producing places in the world. Fine roads, neat houses, well-tilled fields lie all around the coasts, but the interior is filled with mountains of grand and awful scenery, many of them rising to two miles in height, and nearly forty of them being volcanoes that from time to time light up and glow, and splutter forth lava, ashes, and steam. The people seem quite happy under the Dutch rule, but it is painful to see how they bow and scrape and almost lick the dust before any white person.

Another of the large islands of the East Indies is Celebes, which is very little known. It seems like the other islands to have high mountains in the interior, but it is not so much covered with forests. Fine grassy plains fill a large part of the surface, but on the coast there is a great deal of cultivation by the three millions of Malays who dwell there, a very honest, hard-working race, who grow rice, form little states of their own, and build pretty villages. The Dutch have a few settlements on the coast, but the people are mainly independent.

Two other large islands lie close to Asia, namely Ceylon and Cyprus, but as they belong to the British Empire, they have already been described on pp. 89, 90.

Of the islands that lie close to Africa by far the largest is Madagascar, nearly as large as Borneo, being not less than 1000 miles long. It has a beautiful climate, though near the equator, for it is high, and breezy in the interior ; and on its broad grassy plains there live four millions of people, dark skinned, and somewhat like Malays in appearance, but of higher civilisation. They are all under one king, who has a pretty city in the middle of the island, where the houses are mostly built of bamboo, but neatly put together. A large part of the island is filled with forests, from the midst of which rise rugged peaks a mile and a half high. These forests are of fine trees, mahogany and ebony, mingled with palms and bamboos, and they are full of animal life : boars and porcupines in the thickets; civet-cats, squirrels, and multitudes of those pretty little creatures called lemurs up in the trees ; and great lazy crocodiles in all the rivers. The people have large herds of humped cattle and sheep and goats. They form an independent country of their own, though the French have much influence among them, and do the chief trade with them.

Near Madagascar, to the east, lies the small but populous island of Mauritius. It is held by the British, and, therefore, has been already described on p. 93.

The chief islands that lie close to the continent of North America are the West Indies, already partly described on p. 95. Of these the largest, called Cuba, belongs to the Spaniards who, long ago, killed off all the natives of the place, but when they began to form plantations of sugar, and tobacco, and cotton, they had to get labourers accustomed to work under a blazing sun. They, therefore, brought over tens of thousands of negroes from Africa, whose descendants now number three-quarters of a million—most of them slaves—the Spaniards themselves being of about the same number. Immense quantities of sugar, and much of the best tobacco in the world, are here produced, but the dangerous sand-banks which everywhere surround the coasts, interfere a good deal with the trade that might be done. Only a twelfth part of the island is really used, the rest being covered with forests, in which the _ most beautiful mahogany is cut. The mountains rise to a mile and a half in height, their summits bare and bold, but their sides clothed in tangled vegetation.

Hayti, the second largest of the West Indies, is of the same sort. It used to belong to the French, who made great profit out of it by compelling the half-million of negro slaves they had brought from Africa to toil in the plantations of sugar and coffee. But about a hundred years ago the slaves rose in rebellion, murdered or expelled all the white people, and made themselves independent. Since then they have kept the island to themselves, and they form two republics—one in the eastern half of the island, and the other in the western half. These negroes are fairly well civilised, but in that hot, moist climate, with one of the most fertile soils in the world, they produce all the food they require with very little labour. They, therefore, pass most of their lives in easy, good-natured idleness.

The third largest of the West Indies is the fertile island of Jamaica, already described on p. 95.

How different are these islands, with their hot climate and luxuriant vegetation, from Newfoundland, also described on p. 94, as being part of the British Empire. On the opposite coast of North America, washed by the Pacific Ocean, lies Vancouver Island,; belonging to the British Empire, but not yet described. It forms part of the Dominion of Canada. Its centre is filled with mountains, rising to peaks a mile and a half high. All the interior is covered with forests, but how different from those of Cuba and Hayti. They are here pine trees, dark and sombre, and in winter time buried in deep snow. It is very hard to cross these wild interior ranges, and the middle of the island is very little explored. The coasts are rocky, and broken into long silent bays with high walls of rocks, over whose brow the dark pine trees look down into glassy waters. Here and there on the shore there is a village of the Red Indians, generally only a dozen tents, made of buffalo hides, with an opening at the top where the smoke escapes. The people live chiefly on the deer and other game that haunt the forests. But the south part of the island is now being largely occupied by the British, who are there growing wheat, and are digging up the coal which is here abundant. They have a thriving little town at the southern extremity.

In the midst of the Pacific Ocean, to the north of the equator, there lies a lovely group called the Sandwich Islands, on the largest of which Captain Cook was killed by the natives more than a hundred years ago. How lovely they look with their groves of cocoanut and banana trees; their white houses and pretty little churches lying behind the shores of coral or of shining sand ! Away in the centre of the island that awful mountain stands, which is the greatest volcano in the world, nearly three miles high, and with a crater at the top nine miles wide and half a mile deep. The bottom of this crater is always boiling and bubbling, and at night is a solemn sight, the red hot lava and melted rocks giving a look of weird sublimity to the prospect. The 60,000 people who dwell on the island are not now the savages they used to be. Clad in light suits, they till their land, send their children to school, and go on Sundays to their churches. Until recently they had a king or queen of their own, but they have been lately annexed by the United States.

The Principal Islands of the World

Europe.—The British Isles (Great Britain and Ireland), Iceland, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily.

Asia.—Cyprus, Ceylon, Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Celebes, Philippine Islands, Japan Islands.

Africa.—Madagascar, Mauritius.

America.—Vancouver, Newfoundland, West Indies (Cuba, Hayti, Jamaica).

Pacific.—Sandwich Islands.




The continent of Europe contains the most powerful countries in the world ; its people are the wealthiest, and have the best armies and the most terrible ships of war that have ever been known. Of its countries there are five that may be called first-rate powers, and in all the other continents there is only one other first-rate power; it is in North America.

These first-rate powers are, first, Great Britain and Ireland, which are called the United Kingdom, with London for its capital, the greatest city the world has ever seen—a most wonderful scene of every form of human activity. England is the name given to the southern half of Great Britain. Scotland is the name given to the northern half—it used to be a separate country—with Edinburgh for its capital. Ireland has for its capital the city of Dublin.

The second of these great nations is Germany, with a population of 50,000,000, which occupies a large part of the centre of Europe. The people are honest and serious in character, and they are the foremost in the world in regard to music, besides being at least as good as any other in regard to science. The capital is the great city of Berlin, where the emperor resides. It is a vast, new-looking city, with a fine university and a great number of barracks.

The third of these great nations is France, with a population of nearly 40,000,000, filled by a gay and happy people, who till the land well, and excel all others in making graceful articles of the kind known as “ fancy goods.” The capital is Paris, the handsomest city in the world. Though not quite half the size of London, it is yet an immense place.

Fourth comes Austria, with a large city for its capital called Vienna. The people are of the same race as the Germans, and speak the same language. The population is about 40,000,000.

Fifth comes Russia, a vast nation which has spread into Asia and covered an immense space of ground. A hundred and twenty-four million people belong to it, but these are not in general so intelligent and so well educated as those of the four countries already named. However, in the capital, St. Petersburg, the people are as clever as any in the world, and their universities, hospitals, and workshops are excellent.

Chief among the second-rate nations comes Italy, a fair and sunny land, which has been the home of civilised people for twenty-five centuries. Its capital is the famous city of Pome, to which thousands of visitors resort every year to see the ruins of wonderful buildings erected in the time when this city was the ruler of the world.

Spain comes next, a warm and pleasant land, rather barren in the centre, but with very fertile and blooming lands in the south. The capital is Madrid. Spain was once the greatest country in the world, but others have long since left it behind in the race. A part of the same peninsula forms the country of Portugal, filled with barren mountains and fertile valleys. It grows good wine. Its capital is Lisbon, a quiet, old-fashioned city, which does not increase so fast as the other cities do that have so far been mentioned.

In the north of Europe there is a large peninsula which now forms only one country, all its people being governed by the same king and speaking the same language. But they formerly were two different countries—Sweden, with its capital, Stockholm, and Norway, with its capital, Christiania. The climate is very severe; in winter all the water is frozen, and snow lies thick for several months. None but very hardy trees grow there, such as firs and pines, and the people make the most of their short summer. They are excellent sailors, good fishermen, and dig up plenty of iron from their land. These two honest and very hard-working peoples are joined to form the kingdom of Sweden and Norway.

Near them lies Denmark, a very small country, whose people are called Danes. The land is flat, but being well grassed supports great numbers of cows that supply butter and milk to a large part of Europe. A number of islands belong to this country, and on one of them stands the capital, Copenhagen. Another small country is that called Holland, whose people are called Dutch. It is a very low-lying country, so low that in many places walls have to be built to keep the sea from flowing over the land. The people are heavy, but very industrious, and make good sailors. The capital is Amsterdam, a city of which many of the houses are built on piles driven into the marshy lands along the shores of an arm of the sea.

Next to this country on the south lies Belgium, where the people are very much like those of France, and speak the same language. They are very much crowded, this being the most populous district on the face of the earth. What a place it is for toiling in mines, and factories of all sorts! The capital is Brussels, a stately and beautiful city.

Between France, Germany, and Italy, their lies a small country called Switzerland. It is nearly all filled by those grand mountains called the Alps, but in the valleys live some millions of hard-working and very intelligent people, who make good watches and toys. The capital of the country is called Berne, a queer old-fashioned town.

The inhabitants of all these countries are Christians, but those of Turkey are Mahommedans. This large country is much filled with mountains, but a great deal of the eastern side of it is very fertile, and supports a large population of the people called Turks, who dress very differently from those of the rest of Europe, and are quite different in their customs. Their capital is the beautiful city of Constantinople, one of the oldest in the world.

Turkey used to be much larger than it is now, but in the north of it a large Christian population live who used to be oppressed by the Turks. These people freed themselves and formed the three small countries of Roumania, Bulgaria, and Servia, whose capitals are Bucharest, Sofia, and Belgrade. These cities are not large, the people being mostly spread over the country in farms where wheat is grown in immense quantities, though in a rude and unscientific fashion.

They also rear cattle, sheep, and pigs in large numbers. Another minor state called Montenegro lies among the mountains in the west of Turkey. It is small and thinly peopled.

To the south of Turkey lies Greece, a land that was very famous of old as being the mother of the arts and sciences. Now only the ruins of its former greatness are to be seen, for the people are not quick and full of energy as their great ancestors were. The chief city is Athens.


None of the countries in Asia are at present of first-rate power, and indeed a large part of that continent has been annexed by the first-rate nations of Europe. Of this class is that vast country occupying the northern half of Asia, and called Siberia. It belongs to the Russians. Over its immense area there are great differences of appearance. In the south there are high mountains. In the north an immense plain of a dead level stretches for 1000 miles, all swampy in summer and frozen over in winter. Vast woods cover some of the southern parts, wherein bears, and boars, wolves, wild horses, and deer of many kinds dwell scarcely ever molested. But there are other parts which the Russians have turned into great wheat-farms. The capital of this vast region is Tobolsk, a town of brick or wooden cottages surrounded by the rude huts of the Tartar natives.

India in the south has been occupied by the British and added to their Empire. Its capital is Calcutta. It has been described on p. 89. The most western part of Asia has been conquered by the Turks, and forms what is called Turkey in Asia. It is held by people of mixed races, the larger part of whom are of the Mahommedan religion. It includes many parts that were of old powerful countries, though now oppressed by the Turks. The capital is Smyrna, a bustling town of very narrow and distinctly dirty streets.

But Asia possesses two nations which, though only second-rate in regard to fighting power, are yet of very ancient civilisation, and of great future importance. One of these is that state called Japan, occupying the fine islands already described on p. 99. The capital is Tokio, a city of over a million inhabitants, a great flat plain of neat one-storey houses; but it is becoming very much changed, the people having begun to build and dress like Europeans, and to imitate them in almost every way.

China is the most remarkable country of Asia. Its 400,000,000 people form about a quarter of the whole population of the world. Along the shores the people swarm in prodigious numbers. They are a hardworking race, who grow rice and tea and good fruits, and who are expert fishermen. They have hundreds of big cities, the capital being Pekin. They make good canals ; they have abundant schools, and universities of their own. But the interior of the country is little known to us, the Chinese objecting strongly to the entrance of foreigners.

In the centre of Asia there are spacious regions of immense height above the sea. These are claimed by the Chinese, but into them the Russians are steadily intruding. A large district, however, called Tibet, still maintains a sort of independence, with a ruler of its own in the town called Lassa. On many maps a country will be found with the name of Turkestan to the north-west of India, but it has been of late years absorbed by Russia.

Southward of this lie four states, whose position is precarious; they are very likely, after a while, to be absorbed by some of the great European nations. The strongest is called Persia, where about 7,500,000 interesting people live, all Mahommedans. The men wear high peaked hats, jackets and long robes reaching to the ankles ; they are decked with bright shawls, and fierce-looking swords and daggers. The women are seldom seen in the streets, and when they are, their faces are covered with white linen, only a small hole being left for one eye. The capital is Teheran where the Shah or ruler of this country dwells.

To the east of Persia lie two more of these states, called Afghanistan and Beluchistan. They are high table-lands, crossed by mountains in all directions. In the fertile valleys between these, live tribes of Mahommedan people, who till the soil, while on the mountain slopes there are fiercer tribes who tend their herds of cattle and sheep. The capital of Afghanistan is Kandahar, while that of Beluchistan is Kelat, both of them consisting of flat-roofed houses, with narrow streets and noisy bazaars.    .

The last of these insecure states is Arabia, which occupies the extreme south-west of Asia, a region of which the interior is mostly a desert. But tolerably fertile lands lie round the coasts. These form several little states, each inhabited by mixed races, and ruled by its own Sultan. The chief town of Arabia is Mecca, which is considered by all Mahommedans to be the most sacred of cities, because their prophet Mahommed was born there.

That large peninsula which lies to the east of India is called Further India. Part of it is held by the British as the colony of Burmah (see p. 90). The rest forms the countries of Siam and Anam. The former has about 6,000,000 of a kind of people half way between Chinese and Hindoos.

They are mild and industrious, growing rice for their food, and showing much skill in carving and in making fancy articles. The capital is Bcinkok, where nearly

200,000 people live on rafts, thus forming a town three miles long and half a mile broad, all afloat on a great river. Part of the city is on piles and part on the dry land, and the whole swarms with people who wear few clothes, but are all very busy. Anam also is occupied by a dense population, who are very like the Chinese, but it is being steadily formed into a colony by the French, who have their capital at Hue.


The interior of Africa is filled by millions upon millions of negro tribes, who, though not quite uncivilised, are not sufficiently advanced to form large nations. The only important countries that are ruled in a civilised way are along the coast. In the north, lying near the Mediterranean, is that old and interesting country called Egypt, one of the first parts of the world to be civilised. Ruins of the time of its ancient kings, with pyramids and other monuments of old, are scattered along the banks of its great river. It is occupied by 7,000,000 people of very mixed races, who are ruled by a feeble sovereign called a Khedive. He has his capital in the ancient city of Cairo.

Tripoli is the name given to a country lying along the south coasts of the Mediterranean. It is held as a province of the Turkish Empire. Tunis is a state of the same sort, largely occupied by sandy deserts, over which wander tribes of Arabs with herds of camels. But some parts on the coast are very fertile, and these are densely filled by people— Arabs, Jews, and negroes. It is steadily passing under the control of the French.

Algeria, which lies to the west of it, is inhabited by swarthy peoples of the same sort, who have been conquered by the French. They have their capital at Algiers, wThere a fine new French town and a queer old Moorish town lie side by side.

West of Algeria stands Morocco, peopled by 3,000,000 of Moors, mixed with 2,000,000 of Arabs and other races. The people are bigoted Mahom-medans, and will not let Christians dw7ell in the country. They have a Sultan of their own, who lives in the town of Morocco.

All the remaining coasts of Africa are held as colonies by either the British, the French, the Germans, or the Portuguese; but these colonies are small except the British ones, called Cape Colony and Natal, which have already been described, p. 91.


North America has one nation that is of first-rate power. It is called the United States, and its capital is Washington.

Long ago, colonists from England settled on the shores of North America, and made a number of little states, which grew and prospered. By and by, they thought they were hardly treated by the British, and threw off their connection after a bitter War. They joined into one, and called themselves the United States. They hold a vast country as big as Europe, containing more than 63,000,000 of the cleverest people in the world. They all speak English, and are in all important respects quite like the British. Their largest city is New York, with a population of one million and three-quarters, an immense and wealthy place, the second largest city in the world; but the President of the country lives in Washington, and the Congress or Parliament of

1 2

the country meets there, so that this is regarded as the capital.

North of the United States lies Canada, already described on p. 93. It forms an important part of the British Empire. Its largest city is Montreal, but the capital is Ottawa. There are parts of Canada where some of the people speak French, but the language generally is English, and the people are British in their customs.

South of the United States comes Mexico, in which the people speak Spanish, the country having been formerly a colony of Spain. It is a warm country, the interior bare and rocky, consisting of a high plateau; the shores are low, thickly covered with vegetation, and unhealthy. Outofthe 12,000,000 people only half-a-million are white, about 5,000,000 are Indians—that is, copper-coloured people of the race who held the land before the Spaniards came; and there are over 4,000,000 negroes, who were brought over as slaves by the Spaniards for their plantations.

All the people who inhabit the rest of North America, as well as all who inhabit the whole of South America, are of the same class. These lands used to be held by natives of dark and slightly reddish skins. They were not uncivilised, though their civilisation had not reached a high level. Among them came people from Spain and Portugal, who conquered them, killed out all who refused to submit, and made slaves of the rest. But the natives not being sufficient to work the rich lands, the Spaniards and the Portuguese brought over millions of negro slaves. Then as the ages rolled by, whites and negroes and native races married among each other, and so there have been formed mixed peoples who speak Spanish or Portuguese, two similar languages, but who are very dark in the skin, proud

Walker & Bozitall sc.


and fiery in disposition, and not remarkable for any great industry. They were for two centuries colonies of Spain and Portugal, but sixty years ago they threw off the connection and formed a number of republics, which are as a rule unsteady, the people often rising against their rulers, shooting them, or otherwise getting rid of them, and then putting others in their places.

That part of North America which lies south of Mexico is divided into five of these republics. Guatemala, with a capital of the same name, has about a million and a half of people, and grows coffee.

Honduras, with less than half a million people, exports mahogany and india-rubber.

Salvador is small, but has over half a million people. It suffers much from earthquakes.

Nicaragua is much larger, but has only a quarter of a million of people. It exports coffee and india-rubber ; its capital has been often ruined by earthquakes.

Costa Rica has very few people, only about half. the number of Nicaragua; but as it has a larger proportion of white people, it is more active and prosperous than some of those that are more populous. It exports coffee.

In South America the republics are much larger and more powerful. Brazil is an immense country of about the same size as Australia; but, unlike the latter, it is densely covered with grand forests from end to end, and these are filled with life. Indeed, these forests and those of Burrnah are the finest for plants and animals of any that the world contains. Brazil has over 14,000,000 of people, but these are chiefly gathered round the coasts, busy in growing coffee, sugar, and cotton. About a quarter of a million of naked savages rove about the forests of the interior. The capital of this country is Rio Janeiro, a city about the size of Sydney, but even more beautifully situated on the shores of the loveliest harbour in the world.

Next in importance is Chile, which forms a long strip along the west coast of South America. It has two and a half millions of people, who are largely occupied in mining for copper and silver. But the country also grows excellent wheat. Its capital is Santiago. Peru, which also lies along the west coast, has nearly three millions of people, but they are not so prosperous as those of Chile. The capital is the quaint old town of Lima. The chief industry is gathering and exporting guano from islands off the coast, also a kind of saltpetre from the surface of certain deserts on which it is found. But sugar and wool are also produced.

Bolivia is a country lying to the east of Peru and Chile. It is largely occupied by forests, in which nearly a million of savages wander, but there are about a million others of mixed race who form a sort of settled nation.

Argentina, or the Argentine Republic, is the name given to a great territory, chiefly consisting of open grassy plains covered with short green turf on which feed twenty millions of cattle and eighty millions of sheep, with five millions of horses. The four millions of people who inhabit this fine region export wool, tallow, skins, bones, and so forth. The capital is Buenos Ayres, a busy place, full of traffic.

The region south of Argentina is called Patagonia. It does not form a nation, being only occupied by roving tribes of savages who ride stout horses and hunt the puma, the guanaco, and the ostrich, and it is now included within the state of Argentina.

Uruguay is the name given to a broad country of the size of Victoria. It has scarcely any trees, but is covered with thick close grass, and is used for the rearing of immense herds of cattle and sheep, whose skins and wool and tallow are shipped from Monte Video, the capital, a very busy little city at the mouth of a great river.

North of Argentina and entirely inland there is the little state of Paraguay with the small town of Asuncion for its capital.

North of Brazil there lies the country of Guiana, which is held by three different European people. The British, as we have seen on p. 95, hold a part with Georgetozun as their capital. The Dutch hold another, with Paramaribo as capital. French Guiana, with capital Cayennex has very few people in it. But these are not independent countries; they are colonies of Great Britain, Holland and France.

The northern part of South America is occupied by three countries of the same class, filled with great ranges of mountains, which are covered all but their snowy tips with forests.

Ecuador, so called because the equator runs through it, has for its capital Quito, the highest city in the world. Colombia has for its capital Bogota. These export chiefly quinine and silver. Venezuela, with its capital Carpi', chiefly exports cocoa and copper.

Countries of the World with their Capitals

England .



Scotland .


Ireland .


France .


Germany .


Russia . .

St. Petersburg

Austria .


Countries of the World with their Capitals—Continued


Italy . .


Spain . .


Sweden .


Norway .


Turkey .


Holland .


Belgium .


Portugal .


Switzerland .


Greece. .


Denmark .


Roumania .


Servia . .


Bulgaria .


Montenegro .


China . .



J apan . .


India . .


Siberia . .


Persia . .


Afghanistan .


Beluchistan .


Siam . .


Anam . .


Arabia . .


Turkey in Asia


Tibet . . •


Egypt .



Tripoli. .


Countries of the World with their Capitals—Continued

A fricaCon tin ued

Tunis . . .

. Tunis

Algeria . .

. Algiers

Morocco . .

, Morocco

Cape Colony .

. Capetown

Natal . . .

. Durban

North America

United States .

. Washington

Canada . .

. Ottawa

Mexico . .

. Mexico

Guatemala . .

. Guatemala

Honduras . .

. Comayagua

Salvador . .

. Salvador

Nicaragua . .

. Leon

Costa Rica . .

. San José



Brazil . . .

. Rio Janeiro

Chile . . .

. Santiago

Peru . . .

. Lima

Bolivia. . .

. Sucre

Argentina . .

. Buenos Ayres

Uruguay . .

. Monte Video

Paraguay . .

. Asuncion

British Guiana .

. Georgetown

Dutch Guiana .

. Paramaribo

French Guiana .

. Cayenne

Ecuador . .

. Quito

Colombia . .

. ^ Bogota

Venezuela . .

. Caracas

Printed, by R. & R. Ci.ark, Edinburgh.



Director-General of the Geological Survey of the United Kingdom.

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