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Sermons in stones' are not more telling than are those embedded in these figures. This table contains both males and females ; let us take males alone, as they are more representative of work to do and of work done :
It will be seen that this table shows a greater, and not a smaller, relative increase in the free trade State, than did the table of aggregate population. But let us proceed further and compare the numbers of the males at the self-supporting' age :
POPULATION--MALES BETWEEN 15 AND 65.
This table shows the same movement, but in a more marked degree. Now take what is, perhaps, the supreme test, the males at ' the soldier's age':
POPULATION–MALES BETWEEN 20 AND 40
These four tables give very remarkable results. They establish clearly that the main attractions for population, and for the very
3 Official estimates.
cream of the workers, were to be found, not within the borders of tariff-protected Victoria, but within the borders of free New South Wales.
Mr. Hayter, the late Victoria statistician, in his 'General Report' on the Victorian Census of 1881, said: 'Relatively to the total population, males at the soldier's age are fewer in Victoria than in any of the other Australasian Colonies. In fact, it may be stated that the deficiency of males at this important period of life is the weakest point in the Victorian population.'
Think of this being said of Victoria, by her own statistician, after fifteen years' experience of-save the mark !-protecting the workers of that State.
It is worth while comparing the percentages of increase in the foregoing tables :
POPULATION-PERCENTAGES OF INCREASE
It is noteworthy that whilst in the aggregate population the Victorian percentage of increase is not one half of the New South Wales increase, the Victorian increase is less than one-sixth of that of New South Wales in the case of the cream of the workers—those between twenty and forty years. The last column is peculiarly instructive, showing, as it does, a continual rise in the excess of the New South Wales percentage over the Victorian percentage.
It is needful to understand the position that existed in 1866. The gold discoveries of the early 'fifties' resulted in a yield of gold in Victoria which, for the six years 1852 to 1857, averaged a value of full eleven millions sterling, from which it gradually dropped to ten, nine, eight, seven, and six millions annually, and remained at the last-named figure for several years. The population had grown from about 100,000 in 1851 to more than 600,000 in 1866; the rapid increase being due mainly to the arrival of immigrants attracted by the gold discoveries. This increase of population, whilst the yield of gold fell by one-half, naturally produced a difficult industrial position. It was at this time, and in connection with this industrial position, that the cry arose in Victoria to provide work for the workless by restricting the importation of goods.
In New South Wales gold was discovered at about the same time as in Victoria, but during the years 1851 to 1866 the average value
, of the gold won was less than one-sixth of that in Victoria. The
Vol. LXV--No. 385
population, however, materially increased, growing from 178,000 in 1851 to 428,000 in 1866. So far as gold was concerned this increase of population was less justified than that in Victoria. The total value of the gold produced, to the close of 1865, was 20,000,0001. in New South Wales, as compared with 128,000,0001. in Victoria. It will be readily understood that this large production in Victoria established the fortunes of many men in that State.
It will be obvious that when, in 1866, Victoria embarked on her policy of fighting against imports, she had available those two requisites of successful enterprise, plenty of labour and a fair amount of capital. Railway construction had begun in both States, the mileage open being 254 miles in Victoria and 143 miles in New South Wales : though only small in both cases Victoria had the advantage. The public revenue was three millions sterling in Victoria, and two millions in New South Wales, and 'per head' was slightly higher in Victoria.
It may be said that a normal population does not contain the large proportion of males shown to exist in Victoria in 1866, and that a fall in this proportion might naturally be expected. This, of course, is so, but the same condition existed in New South Wales to nearly the same extent. Thus :
PERCENTAGE, MALES AND FEMALES, IN 1866
44.01 100.00 New South Wales
The excess of males over females being only 2.34 in Victoria over the figures for New South Wales. Then again :
POPULATION, MALES 15 TO 65, IN 1866
The singular thing is that, as already shown, whilst Victoria began her thirty-five years' fight against imports with a numerically and proportionately stronger army of workers, she was found at the end of that thirty-five years to have an industrial army that was weaker in both respects as compared with that of New South Wales.
Take another comparison :
POPULATION—EXCESS OF MALES OVER FEMALES
New South Wales 1866
There is no mistaking the significance to the workers of such figures. Here is another surprising comparison
Between Twenty and Forty Years Between Fifteen and Sixty-five Years
In this table the census returns for 1861 are included. Possibly the table now following may be considered to be the most remarkable of the series :
Taking the whole thirty-five years, it will be seen that the State which professed to 'protect’ its labour from competition did not succeed in attracting even one-thirteenth as much new population as did the free trade State. Failure could not be shown in a clearer manner than by these figures.
The singular change of conditions shown in the last table, in both States, during the fourth as compared with the third period requires explanation. The years 1881-1891 covered a great boom; the years 1891-1901 covered a great collapse ; and the centre of both the boom and the collapse was in Victoria. The amount of money that toosanguine lenders and investors poured into Australia, and especially into Victoria, almost passes belief. It seems safe to say that neither before nor since have such vast sums of money been poured into such small communities as were poured into Australia in the eighties.' Coghlan puts the new capital obtained during 1881-85 at 13,002,0001.
• State-aided immigration between 1866 and 1891 : Victoria 20,000, New South Wales 60,000.
for Victoria, and 30,473,0001. for New South Wales. He-Coghlan--writes : 6
The next period, 1886-90, was marked by very extraordinary features. The average population of Australia was 3,540,000, yet, during the short space of five years, the various States overning these eople raised and expended 53,374,0001., while an additional sum of 53,714,0001. was received for investment on private account, or was introduced into the country by persons who made it their abode. But even more astonishment will be evinced on considering the detailed figures for each State. Of the large total received by the various States considerably more than one-half—54,690,0001.-was obtained by Victoria, and as the population during the five years under revision was 1,070,000, the inflow of capital amounted to over 511. per inhabitant. . . . These figures afford a sufficient clue to the astounding impetus which trade received during these years and the corresponding rise in land values. New South Wales, though not the recipient of so much money as its Southern neighbour, nevertheless contrived to obtain 28,145,0001.-a far larger sum than could be conveniently absorbed
in five years.
For the whole ten years, according to Coghlan, the Victorian total was 67,692,0001. and the New South Wales total 58,618,0001. In view of a ' per head' expenditure so unparalleled, it is no wonder that trade boomed and population rapidly increased.
The collapse came in the early nineties. The financial crash will be remembered in Australia for many a long day yet to come. Wealth, or what had been accounted wealth, disappeared by the million ; banks closed ; rich men became poor; employment decreased till the army of the unemployed grew vast ; public revenues fell till retrenchment on cruel lines became necessary. The figures in the last table show that in New South Wales the arrivals of population, which had been large the previous decade, came to a full stop, and that that State did not quite hold its own. In Victoria, where the tariff fence was supposed to guarantee employment to labour and safety to capital, the position is mildly described as having been pitiable. The census of 1901 showed, after allowing for the difference between births and deaths, that there were as many as 115,635 fewer persons in Victoria than at the time of the census of 1891. At the
At the very date when the eastern States were staggering under the burden of disaster and depression, Providence interposed in the form of the Western Australian goldfields. Western Australia relieved the situation ; it was to that State that the bulk of the departing Victorians went. The tariff had failed them in Victoria ; natural opportunities, out of Victoria, saved them. Of the 115,635 persons lost to Victoria, no less than about 75,000 were males, and, as shown in one of the tables, the excess in the number of males over females, which is generally a marked feature of Australian statistics, had, in 1901, almost wholly disappeared in Victoria, whilst still remaining very substantial in New South Wales.
• The Seven Colonies of Australasia, 1901-02, p. 760.