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in their eyes it appears a species of centaur. And then to encounter suddenly some dozen of these monsters, shouting and galloping over their hitherto undisturbed region, must strike them with a degree of alarm which no language can exaggerate.
Many of the rivers, mountains, remarkable spots, and tracts of country, have been named by the overlanders; and though the local government sometimes disapproves of these titles, and orders them to be subsequently changed, yet they are frequently retained from the force of early habit; hence, from his choice of names, it is easy to conjecture the country to which the first explorer of a district has belonged. Some of the native names are very pretty, and their meaning is often poetical; others, again, are equally cacophonous; in general the plurality of o's is remarkable. Of those that I recollect, many, such as Bungōnia, Taralga, Omĭŏ, Illawarra, Wolumlah, and Marūlan, were sufficiently euphonous: on the other hand, there are numberless such queer-sounding ones as Wooloomooloo, Wollongong, Jemmĭcumbeen, Wolgullŏmŏrang, Sukenboka, Wog-Wog, and Bong-Bong, the latter a place about a hundred miles from Sydney, which the march of civilization (we will not call it improvement) has changed into Bung-Bung.
Upon the whole it appears far better taste to adopt the native names, wherever they exist. It is wearisome to hear of Windsor, Richmond, and other such familiar nominations at the antipodes; and perhaps not a little tantalizing when they are given to places which, as the York coachman is said to have remarked of New York, could only be recognised by being so totally unlike their namesakes in England. As for such names as "Jerry's Plains," "Patrick's Plains," "Paddy's River," and many others not more dignified, it seems a cruelty to inflict them on a new country. In after-times, when the Sydney papers teem with "fashionable movements," how will it sound that Mr. So-and-so has arrived from his seat at "Gammon Plains"? Who will ever believe in the existence of such a place? How could such a property be offered for sale? What new comer to the colony, well primed with cautions against credulity and the tricks of auctioneers, would undertake a journey to look at it? He might as well (he will think) put to sea in search of the famous "Cape Flyaway" of hoaxing mariners. Such names, in
short, should be dropped at once, and others substituted more creditable to the taste of the inventors, and better suited to the future prospects of the country.
The enterprising spirit of the overlander is not only profitable to himself, but it is also indirectly beneficial to the colony at large. By transporting stock from a part of the country where its rapid increase has grievously thinned the pastures, and produced a ruinous deterioration in its value, to another where the supply is still insufficient, he promotes the advantage of the public not less than his own. He is also, in many cases, the pioneer of civilization: through his means many a fine tract of unoccupied land, the existence of which had been previously unknown, starts into newness of life, bringing wealth to some, and occupation to many more.
He is, moreover, a striking example of the aptitude of the Anglo-Saxon for the task of colonizing, and developing the resources of a new country. Let its nature and capabilities demand in its colonists what qualifications they will, immediately a race of men starts up both willing and able to supply the demand, whatever it may be, and however little in accordance with their previous habits. Some will fail no doubt, but many succeed, and by their success become the originators of an occupation, or branch of business, which thenceforth is peculiarly their own.
Visible as are the effects, in all places, of industry and economy on one hand, and of idleness and mismanagement on the other, perhaps nowhere is the contrast so striking as in a new country. It is difficult to overstate the degree of success which may attend the man who, full of energy and hope, admits no evil to be incurable till he has tried to cure it, or the degree of discomfort which may be accumulated about the dwelling of one who folds his arms in indolent despair, and trusts to some unknown agency (to which he gives the vague name of "better times") to bring about that which might quickly be effected by his own exertions.
About twenty miles from us dwelt two men, of that class usually known as small settlers. Neither was superior to the other in point of natural talent or education. Both had begun with a small capital, both were married and stations. The means of both were alike, yet nothing more different could be imagined than the results obtained.
resided on their
The first occupied part of a fine open creek, skirted with forest, which, jutting out here and there, formed several sequestered nooks, in one of which, combining the usual requisites of wood and water, he had erected his improvements, the whole of them neatly constructed, and kept in excellent repair. Two large stacks of wheat, and another of hay, stood in an adjacent yard, and the sound of the flail might be heard until a late hour every day. It was a dairy station too, and sixty or seventy fine cows were milked at sunrise every morning, and brought home from the pastures in the evening to suckle their calves. The dairy itself was a pattern of cleanliness and good order, and several sleek porkers in a sty close at hand gave evident proofs that the skimmed milk had not been wasted. There was an excellent kitchen-garden, strongly fenced in, and containing nearly all kinds of vegetables used in England, and poultry swarmed at every turn and corner. At sunset a small but well-conditioned drove of horses came home, of their own accord, from their distant pasture-grounds, to pick up anything that might be given them, and attracted principally by the rock-salt, which was strewed about the place to encourage these visits, as they are so fond of it that they will continue to lick it for hours together. It was a pleasure to witness the regularity and well-ordered routine with which everything about the station was carried on. Nor was the internal economy less creditable to the mistress of the mansion. The four rooms of which it was composed were all clean and comfortable. In the one that served for diningroom and kitchen the ceiling was hung with divers articles indicative of good housekeeping-prime joints of dried beef and flitches of bacon, interspersed with pumpkins and melons, and "cobs" of Indian corn. The furniture, though rude, was well arranged, and the dresser, made of colonial pine, was as clean and white as snow. The family consisted of three or four girls, neatly dressed, and looking happy; the eldest was busily employed in making wheat-straw hats, which we were informed were so much prized in the neighbourhood that the demand far exceeded the supply; while several well-thumbed spelling and copybooks, on an adjacent shelf, shewed that the youngest were making the best of their time. The whole economy of the station, in its daily routine, resembled that of a prosperous farm in England.
We must now turn to the contrast. A ride of a few miles only, to the other end of the creek, brings us to a very different scene. Here, too, the site of the station is pretty, but, the stock having been carelessly allowed to graze too near the place, the herbage around is scanty, giving it a faded and untidy appearance. The owner is a thin, anxious-looking man, with a restless eye and manner. He is evidently aware of the unpromising aspect of his farm, but is unwilling to take the least part of the blame to himself, and lays it all on some other cause, chiefly the ways of the country, his own ill luck, and the badness of the times. The buildings are awkwardly patched and repaired in all directions, apparently at the cost of more labour than would have been required to restore them completely. The bark is falling off the roof of the house in several places, and is replaced by unseemly pieces of dry hide, which are kept down by large stones. "They are 'going' to get new bark-when the blacks come to strip it." The cattle have strayed away in great numbers, and are to be found on everybody's ground but their owner's, while his saddle-horses are all knocked up with hunting them. "It was then too late in the season to muster, but when spring came he'd make some of them come back faster than they went away that he would." The wheat-paddock is filled with stray stock of all kinds, which never go in and out by the same gap. "Grain would be low next year, and it would be cheaper to buy than to cultivate." There are plenty of pigs 66 on the station," but they "run" two or three miles off, and are seen, on an average, not oftener than once a-month. However, "they do better' at large, in a warm country, than when pent up in a sty.” Butter there is none- "In a country where there are no navigable rivers, it don't pay' at that distance from market." Two cows are kept for milk, or rather only one, for the other is being "broken in," and seldom comes home until she is fetched with horse and whip at her heels, and when she is in the yard no living soul could milk her. "But cows," he remarks, "are like working oxen; he liked them to be rather wild at first, they always turned out best in the long run: quiet ones are apt to grow sulky."
Towards evening the report of a stockwhip is heard in the distance, and presently the hopeful son and heir appears in sight,
-a well looking and spirited youth, but utterly neglected, and wild as the horses he has been hunting. Of his day's sport he gives a graphic account, in his own desultory style:-How he has been out all day, not on his own business, but because he had been bent upon running down a certain black mare, the property of a neighbour, which had hitherto defied all pursuit, and was known (from a lagoon near which she was usually found) by the title of the "Lady of the Lake"-how they had started in chase of this intractable lady, determined to drive her into the enclosures at all risks-how they had got on her track, had found her in the ranges, had run her "breast-high," till she was forced to betake herself to the open country-how they had "stuck to her" for several hours, until at last they had brought her in, more dead than alive, to the enclosures, whence she was not to be liberated until she and the saddle had become well acquainted with each other. He winds up his discourse with an emphatic panegyric upon the horse he is riding, declaring that he improves in his galloping after the first four or five miles, and defying the colony to produce his equal.
The fond parent listens to this eventful story with intense interest, and at its conclusion expresses his entire approbation of the whole proceedings. As his son turns away he gazes after him with irrepressible satisfaction. He was no scholar," he says, but for all that he "knew what o'clock it was," and for cracking a stockwhip, or sitting a buckjumper, he'd back him against any member of the legislative council. Whether some of this energy would not have been better employed in improving the aspect of affairs at home, never seemed to enter the heads of either father or son.
As might be expected, the domestic arrangements are not superior to the external. In Australia, where the necessaries of life are now so cheap, want is out of the question, but waste and negligence will produce an imitation of many of the evils of Books there are none; and a hot argument between father and son, as to whether centipede was spelt with an x ! proves that the disputants are, indeed, no scholars."
What a widely different account these two men, precisely similar in means and station, would give of the bush! Oue is living in greater comfort than he had previously known, and