New South Wales, a British colony occupying the S. E. part of Australia, stretching along the S. Pacific ocean from Cape Howe to Point Danger, bounded N. by the colony of Queensland, E. by the Pacific, S. by the colony of Victoria, and W. by the interior territory of the colony of South Australia. It extends between lat. 28° and 37° 30' S., and Ion. 141° and 154° E. Its greatest length, E. and W., is about 780 m.; greatest breadth, N. and S., 620 m. The area, according to an official statement, is 323,437 sq. m.; according to a planimetric calculation, believed to be more correct, 308,560. The population according to the census of April 2, 1871, was 503,981; on Jan. 1, 1873, it was officially computed at 539,190. The colony of Queensland, extending from lat. 26° to 30° S., was formerly the Moreton Bay district of New South Wales, and was separated from the latter colony in June, 1859. In 1873 New South Wales was divided into 118 counties, of which 20, which have been settled a long time, are called the old counties; the others, called the new counties, are principally in the interior. - The coast line presents in general bold perpendicular cliffs of sandstone, occasionally interrupted by low sandy beaches, some of which stretch a considerable distance inland, and appear to have been covered by the sea at no very remote period.
There are numerous indentations along the shore, some of which form excellent harbors. The most important are Port Stephens, Port Hunter Port Jaekson, Botany bay, Jervis bay, and Twofold bay. - The principal ranges of mountains are the interior ranges, the great dividing chain, and the coast ranges. The former lie near the western boundary of the colony, and form the western watershed of the Darling river; the loftiest elevation is Arrowsmith, 2,000 ft. The great dividing chain extends throughout the whole length of the E. and S. E. coasts of Australia, and forms the main watershed of the country. It consists of seven main branches, viz.: the New England range, highest point Ben Lomond, 5,000 ft.; the Liverpool range, highest point Oxley's peak, 4,500 ft.; the Blue mountain, Cullarin, Gou-roek, and Maneroo ranges; and the Muniong range, highest point Kosciusko, 7,176 ft. All this series is connected with the Cordillera, dividing the E. and W. watersheds. The coast ranges lie E. of the great dividing chain, and parallel to it for a considerable distance. They generally form the edge of the elevated table land upon which lies the great dividing chain. The loftiest peak is Mount Seaview, 6,000 ft.
The space between the mountains and the sea has an undulating wooded surface, broken by spurs from the mountain range, and in some places covered with dense brushwood. The ground to the west continues rugged and mountainous for a considerable width, and at last assumes the form of an elevated plateau, a great part of which remains unexplored. Several considerable rivers rise on the W. side of the mountains, but have only the first part of their course in New South Wales. The more important are the Murray, Murrumbid-gee, Lachlan, Darling, Bogan, and Macqua-rie. The rivers E. of the mountain range are mostly small, and many of them arc dry during part of the year. The chief are the Hawkesbury, Hunter, Macleay, Shoalhaven, Clarence, and Richmond. - The prevailing rock on the E. side of the mountains is sandstone, and on the W. granite. Much of the sandstone belongs to the carboniferous system, and there are several workable seams of good coal. The Newcastle field on the Hunter river is excellent, and contains five seams, two of 5 ft. and three of 3 ft. in thickness. This field is worked extensively, and the produce, after supplying colonial demands, is shipped to India, China, and California to supply steamers.
Several other fields are known, and one is worked at Wollongong. Iron ore is found in many places, and some of it is worked. Rich copper ore is abundant in and around Wellington district. Fine pebbles are so plentiful in the Hunter river that it is supposed in some part of its course to flow over rocks of jasper, agate, opal, and chalcedony. But all these were regarded as comparatively unimportant after the discovery of rich deposits of gold in May, 1851. Gold has since found in numerous [daces throughout the colony, and in the territories both N. and S. of it. Near the frontiers of Victoria, particularly in the counties of Wellesley and Wallace, it occurs in several localities; and N. of these it is met with in several other counties, and is found on the banks of the Macquarie river. There are considerable deposits about the Peel and its tributaries, and also on the Fitzroy river somewhat beyond the N. frontier. Australia being in the southern hemisphere, the seasons are the reverse of ours; December is there midsummer, and June midwinter. Summer extends over December, January, and February; and the mean heat during these three months is about 80° at noon, tempered by the sea breeze, which begins to blow regularly along the coast about 9 in the morning, and continues till evening.
The whole colony is subject to hot winds, which are liable to happen three or four times during the summer, and which blow from the northwest, raising the thermometer to 1250 when exposed to their influence. These winds seldom last longer than a few hours, and are succeeded by a very heavy squall from the south, generally accompanied by thunder and rain, cooling the atmosphere immediately. At Sydney the average annual temperature is 64°; that of spring being 65°, of summer 72°, of autumn 66°, and of winter 55°, showing an annual average range of the thermometer of 17°. The temperature of the country above the mountains is much lower, and at some places snow falls in winter. The annual fall of rain is 52 inches at Port Jackson, and 62 at Port Macquarie. Droughts are frequent, but the climate is both healthful and agreeable, and its influence is highly beneficial in consumptive diseases. - For 5 or 6 m. from the seacoast the country is in general barren, the soil being mostly composed of drift sand covered with a stunted vegetation. Some rich and fertile districts occur at intervals.
Further inland well wooded and fertile valleys lie between the hills, but the land on the E. side of the Blue mountains is as a general rule much inferior both for agriculture and pasture to that on the W. Above the range it consists of a dry black soil, covered with open forests and luxuriant herbage. Wheat, barley, oats, rye, grasses, maize, tobacco, and small quantities of cotton, are all profitably cultivated in different parts of the colony; and potatoes, cabbage, carrots, parsnips, turnips, peas, beans, cauliflowers, lettuces, cucumbers, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, yams, and plantains thrive remarkably well. At Sydney the market is supplied with green peas all the year round; very few vegetables degenerate, and many are more productive than elsewhere. Peaches, apricots, nectarines, loquats, oranges, pears, plums, figs, pomegranates, raspberries, strawberries, mulberries, and melons attain great perfection. The N. districts produce pineapples, bananas, guavas, lemons, citrons', and various other tropical fruits, while W. and S. of Sydney the apple, currant, gooseberry, and cherry are found to grow well. In 1871, 4,152 acres were planted with the vine, and the grapes are of the finest quality.
The total number of acres under cultivation was 417,801. There were 304,100 horses, 2,014,888 horned cattle, 16,278,697 sheep, and 213,193 swine. The climate is particularly well suited to all these animals. Horses are exported in large numbers to India; horned cattle grow to an immense size; and the wool of the sheep is very superior. Asses, mules, and goats are seldom seen. The camel has been introduced for exploring purposes, but has not thriven. Llamas, alpacas, and vicufias have been introduced. Domestic fowl of every description thrive remarkably well, and are reared at small expense. Fish are abundant on the coasts; and there is a kind of fresh-water codfish in the Murray river which weighs sometimes as much as 70 lbs. Oysters are plentiful, and turtles are procured from the N. part of the colony. Much of the soil of New South Wales is very fertile. Within a few years the improved agricultural machines have been introduced, but the attention of the colonists is still devoted chiefly to the produce of the pasture lands, wool, hides, and tallow. In 1871 the amount of wool exported was 48,700,000 lbs., valued at £4,700,000. Very superior wines are made, resembling Sauterne, Barsac, hock, and claret. In 1873 more than 200 wine presses were in operation.
The chief manufactures are leather and a kind of woollen cloth called "colonial tweed," which is exceedingly durable and in high favor among the settlers. Sugar refining is carried on to a considerable extent at Sydney; and there are extensive distilleries, breweries, various sorts of mills, founderies, tallow-boiling establishments, and docks, in different places throughout the colony. The total number of manufactories of all kinds in 1872 was 6,242. The imports in that year were valued at £9,208,496, of which £3,569,559 were from the United Kingdom and the British colonies; the exports at £10,447,000, of which £3,710,-000 were to the United Kingdom and British colonies, including wool to the value of £2,782,-000. The exports included also gums, bark, copper ore, and timber. In 1871,1,891 vessels of 706,019 tons entered the ports, and 2,123 of 794,460 tons cleared. Four fifths of all were under the British flag. Gold in its natural state is subject to a duty of 2s. 6d. an ounce on leaving the colony, and so appears in the custom-house returns; but the coined gold, having already paid this tax in the shape of mint charges, is allowed to pass free.
Some of the imports from the neighboring colonies, the whole produce of the whale fisheries, and the greater part of what is received from the South sea, are merely transshipped in the ports of New South Wales while in transitu to other parts of the world. The first railway was projected in 1846, to connect Sydney with Melbourne. In 1872 the aggregate length of railways in the colony was 405m. There are 570 post offices. Sydney is the capital; the other principal towns are East and West Maitland, Liverpool, Bathurst, Goulburn, Windsor, Newcastle, Yass, Penrith, and Paramatta. There is a university at Sydney, with two affiliated colleges; and in 1871 the colony had 1,450 schools, with 2,089 teachers and 77,889 pupils. There is a branch of the London mint, which issues gold coin, current in all the neighboring colonies and in Mauritius, Ceylon, and Hong Kong. The public press includes three daily newspapers and several other periodicals published at Sydney, and newspapers at Maitland, Bathurst, Goulburn, and other places. - The government of New South Wales consists of a governor appointed by the crown, an executive council chosen by the governor, and two houses of legislature, one nominated by the governor and called the legislative council, and the other elected by the people and called the legislative assembly.
No allowance is paid to any of these members, except to those of the ministry or executive council, which is composed of the colonial secretary, the treasurer, the postmaster general, the solicitor general, the attorney general, and the minister of lands and public works. These ministers are all required to possess seats in the house of assembly, and retain their offices only so long as they can secure a majority in this branch of the legislature. The qualifications required for a voter are that he should be a householder, or if living in lodgings that he shall be earning wages at the rate of £100 a year, and that he should have resided six months in the colony. All voters are eligible to membership. The house of assembly, composed of 72 members, makes laws within the colony not repugnant to those of Great Britain; it regulates the revenue, and makes all appropriations for the public service. Measures passed by it do not become law till they have been approved by the legislative council and the governor, who has power to dissolve the house at pleasure. The revenue is derived from import duties and miscellaneous taxes, and from the proceeds of the sale of public lands and licenses to depasture.
In 1872 it amounted to £2,794,274, and the expenditures to £2,362,482. For 1874 the revenue was officially estimated at £3,168,935. The public debt on Sept. 30, 1873, amounted to £10,829,-885. - According to the census of 1856, barely a third of the population of New South Wales was born in Australia; about 75,000 were supplied by England and Wales, 50,000 by Ireland, 16,000 by Scotland, 5,000 by Germany, and 2,000 by China. The population now (1874) includes a large admixture of Chinese, many Americans, and some of almost all European nationalities. From 1866 to 1872 the total number of immigrants exceeded 150,000, while about 100,000 emigrated. The emigration included 4,917 Chinese, while the number of Chinese immigrants was only 1,520. The number of births in each of the seven years from 1866 to 1872 was more than double that of the deaths, and in 1870 and 1871 it was three times as large. In appearance and character the native-born part of the community bear a strong resemblance to those of Anglo-Saxon descent in the United States. Since the establishment of the colony in 1787-8, the total number of convicts sent into it from Great Britain up to 1840, when the importation ceased, was 54,383. Many whose progenitors came to New South Wales as prisoners are intelligent and estimable members of the community.
Some of the emancipists, and several of their descendants, are among the wealthiest people in the colony. The religious division of the inhabitants in 1871 was as follows: Church of England, 220,243; Presbyterians, 49,122; Wesleyans, 36,277; Congregationalists, 9,253; Roman Catholics, 147,627; Mohammedans and other Asiatic creeds, 7,455; the remainder belonged to various minor denominations. For information concerning the aborigines, the native animals, botany, geology, and history of New South Wales, see Austealia. - See Lang's "New South Wales" (new ed., 2 vols., London, 1875).