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The Boy Travellers in Australasia

Adventures of Two Youths in a Journey to the Sandwich, Marquesas, Society, Samoan, and Feejee Islands

Thomas Wallace Knox

301 pages
Library of Alexandria
The first settlement in Australia was made in 1788; consequently the inhabitants of the great southern continent are this year celebrating their centennial. Three millions of people settled in five great colonies, possessing all the characteristics of an advanced civilization, with the unity developed by a common language and a common allegiance, and the rivalry that springs from the independence of each colony by itself, are uniting in the centennial celebration, and contrasting the Australia of to-day with that of one hundred years ago. Previous to the discovery of gold in Australia, in 1851, Americans had but little knowledge of that far-away land. The opening of the auriferous fields attracted the attention of the whole civilized world to the antipodes, and many Americans joined the multitude that went thither in search of wealth. Since that time our relations with Australia have, year by year, grown more intimate. Railways across our continent and steamship lines over the broad Pacific have brought Sydney and Melbourne in juxtaposition to New York and San Francisco, and in this centennial Australian year we may almost regard the British colonies under the Southern Cross as our next-door neighbors. The writer of this volume is not aware that any illustrated book descriptive of Australia and its neighboring colonies, New Zealand and Tasmania, by an American author, or from an American press, has ever yet appeared. Believing such a book desirable, he sent those youthful veterans of travel, Frank Bassett and Fred Bronson, over the route indicated on the title-page, with instructions to make careful note of what they saw and learned. Under the guidance of their mentor and our old friend Doctor Bronson they carried out their instructions to the letter, and the results of their observations will be found in the following pages. Trusting that the book will meet the favor that has been accorded to previous volumes of the "Boy Traveller" series, they offer their present work as their contribution to the Australian centennial, and hope that the boys and girls of their native land will find pleasure and profit in its perusal. The method followed in the preparation of previous volumes of the series has been observed in the present book as far as it was possible to do so. The author's personal knowledge of the countries and people of Australasia has been supplemented by information drawn from many sources—from books, newspapers, maps, and other publications, and from numerous Australian gentlemen whom he has known or with whom he has been in correspondence. During the progress of the work he has kept a watchful eye on the current news from the antipodes, and sought to bring the account of the condition of the railways, telegraphs, and other constantly changing enterprises down to the latest dates. Many of the books consulted in the preparation of "The Boy Travellers In Australasia" are named in the text, but circumstances made it inconvenient to refer to all. Among the volumes used are the following: Wallace's "Australasia," Forrest's "Explorations in Australia," Warburton's "Journey Across the Western Interior of Australia," Alexander's "Bush-fighting in the Maori War," Smyth's "Aborigines of Victoria," Bodham-Whetham's "Pearls of the Pacific," Murray's "Forty Years of Mission Work in Polynesia," Cumming's "At Home in Fiji," Markham's "Cruise of the Rosario," Palmer's "Kidnapping in the South Seas," Buller's "Forty Years in New Zealand," "Australian Pictures," Harcus's "South Australia," Eden's "Australia's Heroes," Trollope's "Australia and New Zealand," and Nordhoff's "Northern California, Oregon, and the Sandwich Islands."