Queensland, a British colony in Australia, comprising the N. E. part of the island, lying between lat. 10° 43' and 29° S., and Ion. 138° and 153° E., bounded N. by Torres strait, N. E. by the Coral sea, E. by the South Pacific, S. by New South Wales and South Australia, W. by South Australia and the Northern Territory, and N. W. by the gulf of Carpentaria; area, including the coast islands, 678,000 sq. m.; pop. in 1871 (revised), 120,104; in 1873, estimated at 146,690. Of the population in 1871, 71,767 were males and 48,337 females; 47,343 were born in Australia and New Zealand, 26,296 in England and Wales, 8,564 in Scotland, 20,972 in Ireland, 8,317 in Germany, 3,305 in China, 215 in the United States, and 188 in France. The religious division of the inhabitants in 1871 was as follows: Anglicans, 43,764; Roman Catholics, 31,822; Presbyterians, 15,373; Wesleyans, 7,206; Congre-gationalists, 2,647; other Protestant denominations, 11,485; Jews, 291. No trustworthy information can be obtained concerning the number of aborigines. - The coast line, from Point Danger, the S. E. extremity, to Cape York, the most northerly point, has a general N. W. direction; it runs thence nearly due S. to the southernmost part of the gulf of Carpentaria, forming the York peninsula, when it turns W. and then nearly N. W. to the boundary line of the Northern Territory. Its entire length is about 2,500 m.
Off the E. coast, at an average distance of 20 to 30 m. from the shore, though in some places 60 m., lies the coral reef called the Great Barrier, which extends from Cape York to lat. 24°, about 1,250 m. Within this reef, through which there are frequent though dangerous passages, is a navigable sea, with an ordinary depth of 10 to 25 fathoms; but at the S. end, where the channel is widest, the depth exceeds 60 fathoms. The coast, both within this sea and S. of it, is indented by numerous fine bays, with capacious natural harbors, many of which form the outlets of navigable rivers. The principal of these are More-ton bay, at the head of which stands Brisbane, the capital of the colony, Hervey bay, Port Curtis, Keppel bay, Port Bowen, Port Denison, and Halifax, Rockingham, Trinity, Princess Charlotte, Weymouth, and Shelburne bays. The whole E. coast is strewn with islands, chiefly small. The largest, Frazer or Great Sandy island, in lat. 25°, is about 80 m. long by 20 m. wide. In Torres strait are Mulgrave's, Banks, and Prince of Wales islands, and in Carpentaria bay is a group called the Wellesley islands, the largest of which is Mornington. Along the gulf of Carpentaria the coast is low and sandy, with the exception of the S. part, where mountain ranges approach the sea.
The E. coast is generally mountainous. From 50 to 100 m. from the shore, and parallel to it, is a mountain chain forming several distinct ranges, from which numerous spurs run to the sea. The principal of these are the Gilbert range in the north, the Expedition range in the middle, and the Denham range in the south. The general height of the mountains is not more than 2,000 ft., but some of the peaks are much higher. Mt. Mitchell, S. of Brisbane, is 4,120 ft. high; Mt. Eliot, near Halifax bay, 4,122 ft.; and two of the peaks of the Bellen-den Kerr range, on the coast S. of Trinity bay, are respectively 5,158 ft. and 5,438 ft. high. Beyond the mountains, table lands covered with herbage and well supplied with water, but without trees, stretch across the country to the gulf of Carpentaria, broken occasionally by mountain ranges. Within certain distances of the principal mountains the rains fall regularly, and the plains are covered with light timber. The mountains themselves are heavily wooded. Queensland is drained by many rivers, several of which are navigable.
In the S. part most of the streams flow into New South Wales. The chief rivers that find an outlet on the E. coast are the Brisbane, which, together with the Arrowsmith, Logan, Pine, and Ca-boolture, empties into Moreton bay, and it is navigable for 75 m. by steamers; the Mary and the Burnett, which flow into Hervey bay; the Fitzroy, which, with its affluents, the Dawson, Mackenzie, and Isaacs, drains several hundred miles of country, and is navigable for 60 m. above its mouth in Keppel bay; and the Bur-dekin, which is fed by the Bowen, Belyando, and others, and empties into Wickham bay. The Mitchell, Van Diemen, Flinders, and Albert flow into Carpentaria bay. The banks of the rivers are usually high and well wooded, being mostly covered with thick hedges of mangroves and forests of fig trees and eucalypti, festooned with flowering vines. On the mountains the pine and cedar, and many varieties of trees unknown elsewhere, grow luxuriantly. - The climate of Queensland is preferable to that of other parts of Australia, it being said to resemble closely that of Madeira, and the colony has been for many years the resort of invalids from the other settlements.
The summer is hot, the thermometer sometimes indicating 100° in the shade; but the atmosphere is dry, and the heat is so tempered by the sea breezes that the nights are always cool. It is generally exempt from the hot winds which prevail in other parts of Australia. Rain falls regularly in the hot season, but a dry season is experienced every six or seven years. Most of the productions of both temperate and tropical countries can be cultivated with success. There are few indigenous fruits or vegetables, but those of almost all other countries have been naturalized. The soil is well adapted for the cultivation of cotton, sugar cane, and tobacco, as well as of maize, wheat, and other cereals, and all the vegetables and flowers of northern Europe. At the end of 1872 there were 62,491 acres under cultivation, of which 12,002 were devoted to cotton and 11,757 to sugar cane. The orange, lemon, citron, pineapple, fig, banana, peach, nectarine, grape, guava, mulberry, apple, pear, granadilla, and many other fruits, grow to perfection. In consequence of the high price of labor and the difficulty of finding a market for agricultural products, the greater part of the industry is devoted to stock raising. The downs furnish rich pasturage, and sheep and cattle increase rapidly.
Horses are so numerous that only the best bred animals are selected for breaking. Cattle and sheep are frequently boiled down for their tallow and hides, but attempts have been made of late years to preserve the meat for exportation to Europe. The staple product is wool, the quality of which increases in fineness as the flocks are driven northward. About 195,000 sq. m. are occupied for sheep raising. At the close of 1872 the live stock in the colony numbered 6,687,907 sheep, 1,200,992 horned cattle, 92,798 horses, and 35,732 swine. - Queensland is rich in minerals, principally gold, copper, and coal. Gold was first discovered at Canoona, about 35 m. from Rockhamp-ton. In 1867 several other fields were opened, the richest of which was at Gympic creek, 130 m. from Brisbane, which proved to be very rich in gold-bearing quartz. There are now more than a dozen gold fields in the colony, mostly in the N. and N. W. districts. The total gold product for 1872 was 178,308 oz., valued at £592,993. The richest copper mines are at Clermont, and the chief coal mines are on the Brisbane and Bremer rivers.
The product of the coal mines for 1872 was 27,727 tons, valued at £16,120. - Queensland is divided into 12 districts: Moreton, Darling Downs, Burnett, Port Curtis, Maranoa, Leichhardt, Kennedy, Mitchell, Warrego, Gregory, Burke, and Cook. The principal towns, besides Brisbane, are Ipswich, Rockhampton, Gympic, Maryborough, and To-woomba. The government is vested in a governor appointed by the crown, an executive council, and a parliament of two houses, the legislative council and the legislative assembly. The governor is commander-in-chief of the troops, and has also the title of vice admiral. The executive council consists of a colonial secretary, treasurer, postmaster general, attorney general, minister for lands, and minister for mines and public works. The legislative council consists of 21 members, nominated by the crown for life. The house of assembly comprises 32 deputies, elected by ballot for five years. Electors must be natural born or naturalized citizens, 21 years of age, who possess certain small property qualifications, and have suffered no condemnation for criminal acts. Justice is administered through a chief justice, a puisné judge, each of whom has associates, and several district judges.
There is no state church, an act having been passed in 1860 abolishing state aid to religion. Nearly all the leading denominations are represented in the colony, and all have numerous places of worship. Education is under the control of a board of education, consisting of six members appointed by the government, with one of the ministry for chairman. It is similar to the national system in vogue in Ireland, and is entirely free. Aid is granted to schools not established by the board, which are called non-vested schools, on their complying with certain regulations. The state also assists schools more advanced than primary schools. In 1870 there were 111 public schools, 226 teachers, and an aggregate attendance of 16,227. Of these, 89 were primary schools, with 170 teachers and 11,087 scholars. Brisbane, Ipswich, and Maryborough have grammar schools. There were also 101 private schools in the colony in 1870. The gross revenue in 1873 was £1,120,034, and the expenditure £948,750. The public debt on Dec. 31, 1872, was £4,547,850. The total value of the imports in 1873 was £2,881,726; exports, £3,542,513. Commercial intercourse is chiefly with the other Australian colonies and with Great Britain. In 1873 the imports from Great Britain amounted to £815,638, and the exports to it to £871,235, of which £534,935 was for wool.
The principal articles exported were wool, tallow, gold, copper, tin ore, cotton, live stock, hides, timber, and provisions. The total export of wool in 1872 was 17,793,-000 lbs. The entrances at the various ports in 1870 were 476 vessels of the aggregate capacity of 139,292 tons. In the same year 2,825 immigrants were landed. At the close of 1873 there were 218 m. of railway in operation. The chief lines are the Southern and Western, from Ipswich to Warwick, 176 m.; and the Northern, from Rockhampton in the direction of the Dawson river, which in 1873 was completed to Westwood, 30 m. The railways have a gauge of 3 ft. 6 in. At the close of 1872 there were 3,368 m. of telegraph wire in operation, with 53 stations. (For information relating to the geology, zoölogy, botany, and aborigines, see Australia.) - The E. coast of Queensland was discovered by Capt. James Cook, who anchored in Moreton bay in 1770. The country was at first attached to New South Wales, under the name of the Moreton Bay district. In 1823 the Brisbane river was explored by Oxley, the surveyor general of New South Wales, and the site of the city of Brisbane selected for a penal station. In 1825 the first convicts were landed there, and employed in making roads and other public improvements.
Convict immigration ceased in 1839, and in 1842 the country was thrown open to free settlers. In 1859, in deference to repeated petitions from the settlers, it was erected into an independent colony.