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with blankets, the weather being then very sultry, his flesh was as cold as ice, and his teeth chattered in his head: the chill was in his blood. Soon a reaction took place, intense heat succeeded its opposite extreme, and the man ran out into the open air to cool himself, for he had suddenly become as hot as fire. Next came delirium, which after a time gave place to nausea and headache. The patient then slowly began to recover, and before 'daybreak, was out of danger, though he was so worn and haggard in the morning that it seemed as if the effects of the venom, in the course of a single night, had added five years to his age. It was a painful sight to witness, for we could do nothing to alleviate his sufferings, and looked on in constant expectation of his death.

The most spirit-stirring sight which the sportsman can witness is the first view of a new pastoral district; and to the lover of the picturesque perhaps this is the most beautiful scene that Australia can afford. Little does the resident in the vicinity of the capital, or the hasty traveller, who, as the case may be, lauds or abuses the scenery of Port Jackson, or the Paramatta River, dream of the fair spots that lie far in the interior. Plains and “open forest,” untrodden by the foot of the white man, and, as far as the eye can reach, covered with grass so luxuriant that it brushes the horseman in his saddle; flocks of kangaroos quietly grazing, as yet untaught to fear the enemy that is invading their territory; the emu, playfully crossing and recrossing his route ; the quail rising at every step; lagoons literally swarming with wildfowl—these are scenes reserved for the eye of the enterprising settler, or the still more enterprising “overlander." *

Then mark the change that follows hard upon discovery. Intelligence of the new country reaches the settled districts, and countless flocks and herds are poured into the land of promise. It is divided into stations, and “improvements are everywhere erected upon it; disputes arise, and a commissioner is appointed to settle them ; bushrangers are out," and mounted police are sent to hunt them down; the wild blacks, indignant at the cool occupation of their territory, spear the cattle, and the settlers

* An overlander is one who makes long expeditions from one colony to another with stock, either for the purpose of finding new pasture land on which to establish himself, or to take advantage of a favourable market.

retaliate. The governor establishes a “protector of the aborigines,” who perhaps has most need of protection himself. To some the new region brings wealth, to others disappointment, while Anglo-Saxon energy at last triumphs over every obstacle. But Nature, as if offended, withdraws half her beauty from the land; the pasture gradually loses its freshness ; some of the rivers and lakes run low, others become wholly dry. The wild animals, the former peaceful denizens of the soil, are no more to be found, and the explorer, who has gazed on the district in its first luxuriance, has seen it as it never can be seen again.

The climate of Australia has been so frequently discussed that I should scarcely advert to the subject, did I not wish to protest against the soundness of the claim which is constantly set up for it in the colony, of superiority to that of Great Britain. Indeed, I have heard the climate at the antipodes extolled to such a degree, that I have begun to fear that the colonists would end by flattering themselves that there was no fine weather in any other part of the globe.

The majority of travellers who visit Australia declare its climate to be the best in the world. One of the very best it undoubtedly is: there are probably few countries where there are more fine days out of the 365, none where there is a more anti-consumptive atmosphere, or a purer expanse of sky: infantine diseases are unknown, and man can nowhere expect to enjoy more uninterrupted health. If he loses it, it is usually through his own fault.

If a perfect climate is to be found anywhere it is that of Sydney in the winter, where, for about three months, that is to say, during June, July, and August, it would be impossible for the veriest grumbler to say that the weather was too hot, too cold, too anything, unless he should adopt the complaint of Captain Hall's discontented friends, and call it “too temperate." The sky is without a cloud, the sun warm, without the excessive heat of summer, the air clear as crystal, and of a nature peculiarly buoyant and exhilarating.

But the only true criterion of the excellence of a climate is the growth and perfection of its animal and vegetable productions ; and after a long residence in the country, and close attention to the subject, I am bound to say that, judged by this test, the preference, upon the whole, must be awarded to the climate of Great Britain.

The question is not which is the most agreeable climate ; this is a point which depends entirely upon each man's peculiar constitution and taste. The climate of Australia is delightfully dry, but this dryness amounts to a defect. Our English moisture is wanting to produce, as it does in this country, the great luxuriance and variety of scenery and verdure, and to bring the animal and vegetable kingdom to the highest perfection. Where there is scarcely any winter there is not the full enjoyment of summer, and where there is “perpetual spring” there is virtually none.

The climate of our own district, indeed, was one of the best in the colony, more temperate throughout the year than that of Sydney, and far more so than that of the northern settlements. The summers were tolerably cool, and the winters were varied with not a few mornings of frost, and even occasional falls of light snow. But in many parts of the colony the summer's heat is unpleasant and oppressive. The hot wind, which has been frequently described, is felt in the inland districts as well as in Sydney, but it is not, of course, called by the name of a “ brickfielder” anywhere but in the capital, where it acquired the name from the circumstance of its passing over a large brick-field, and thus filling every place with red dust. Wherever it comes, it is destructive to vegetation, prostrating the crops before it, and withering the beautiful gardens in a few hours: it does not, however, permanently affect the vegetable kingdom, nor is it injurious to man. It blows invariably from the interior, and this circumstance has led many to adopt the theory that the hitherto impenetrable centre of Australia is a vast sandy desert, over which this wind passes, and acquires its heat in its

course.

The animal and vegetable productions of Australia, though decidedly of an excellent quality, yet rather degenerate from those of the mother country, whence most of them have been imported. Throughout the colony there is a forcing tendency in the climate, which causes the fruits of the soil to ripen too quickly, and hence they are inferior in quality to those of more temperate latitudes. This failing is also apparent to the breeder of stock, who constantly witnesses this degenerating tendency in his fiocks and herds.

The native-born population (I allude, of course, only to the whites), though a remarkably fine race, and, it must be confessed, approaching very closely to their ancestors' heels in personal appearance, yet are not, upon the whole, equal in form to the parent stock. The average height of the Australians is probably more than that of the English, but when they exceed a certain standard they are apt to become loose made and weedy, thereby justifying their appellation of "cornstalks." When of moderate height they are remarkably well-shaped, broad, muscular, and active. In feature they are more like the English than any other of our descendants ; in fact it would be very difficult to distinguish an Australian from an Englishman by his appearance, for the climate of New Holland does not produce in the sons of its soil that dark, foreign look which frequently characterises the Americans and other races originally sprung from British blood, and many of the native Australians retain the light complexion and blue eyes of the Anglo-Saxon race.

The native girls are for the most part tall, straight, and goodlooking, their chief defects being want of colour and depth of chest; in these points only inferiority to their ancestors can be observed, though it is remarkable that the men have proportionably a finer development than the other sex.

A striking characteristic of the animal growth of the human race in Australia is the rapidity with which both sexes shoot up at an early stage of their youth. A native white, at the age of fourteen or fifteen, appears destined to attain the utmost perfection of form; but from that age to twenty there is not usually that expansion nor development which the previous growth had promised.

Sufficient time has not yet elapsed since the formation of the colony to admit of a fair calculation being made of the average duration of life among the native-born population ;

ut, as the bloom of their youth soon passes away, and as their climate produces such rapid growth, it may be doubted whether they will prove remarkable for longevity.

CHAPTER XII.

Character of Australian Scenery-Conflicting Statements of Travellers

Trip to Lake Omio-My Companion-A Whimsical Reception-Colonial Idea of a Bad Road— Wild and Forlorn View-A Team in the Mountains-Colonial Drivers—Chapter of Accidents—Descent of “ The Gulf” — The Snowy River-Road by its Banks—Wild Oats-Bark Canoe of the Aborigines—A Bush Ferry-The Nine-Mile “ Pinch”— Route through the Mountains-Events of the Road- A Herd of Horses in the Mountains -Skill in Woodcraft—The “Freestone” Range-Striking ContrastFirst Sight of Omio Plain-Picturesque Spot-Our Host at OmioColonial Pets-Native Companion-Kangaroos—White Cockatoos—Parrots—Story of the White Woman carried off by the Wild Blacks-A Cool Visitor-Return Home.

as it

The general character of Australian scenery, like that of its indigenous productions, is peculiar to itself. In many parts of the interior especially there is something in its wild singularity which defies the description of the traveller and the skill of the artist. Neither the note-book of the one, nor the pencil of the other, can convey it to the imagination; it must be seen to be understood. Nor is it enough to study the different aspects of its scenery

appears in the vicinity of the capital or inland townships, and along the sombre forest-girt coasts in the untrodden wilderness, and in the long-settled districts, where avarice has overstocked the pastures, and laid bare many a once blooming spot. It must be studied under every change of season and circumstance; and these vary so much that the traveller who visits the country after a long drought might justly be repelled by the uninviting aspect of a district the exuberant fertility of which, on another occasion, would call forth his warniest admiration. A very short time is sufficient to work these extraordinary changes, and the experienced colonist, who has long witnessed their progress and effects, has no reason to be surprised at the conflicting testimony of travellers on the subject of Australian scenery.

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