In clearing the crowded gaols, in producing raw materials and food for the city-dwellers of the old land, they played a role of increasing importance in the grand speculation of industrialism—that experiment on which the British people have staked their capital, their mighty energy, their very life-blood.Australia emerged from the degradation of convictism by taking the place for which Spain had proved inadequate in the divided tasks of growing and manufacturing wool, both formerly discharged by Britain herself.India, China and Japan are well started on the road to industrialism. Ages earlier, larger streams had carved out the deep valleys drowned under Port Jackson.In a review of "The Food Supply and Resources of China", read during a recent Pacific Science Congress in Java, a Chinese economist, Shih Tsin Tung, concluded that industrialization and rising standards of living in China would force an increasing percentage of her 492 millions to rely on imported cereals. His countrymen, already consumers of 235 million "tan", or about 920 million bushels, of wheat, would therefore find it imperative to change their food habits. Back to Colonizing BOOK THREE THE COMMONWEALTH XXI. The headwaters of those streams had been captured in some great earth change by the Nepean-Hawkesbury river-system."The world's uncultivated areas are mainly wheat-producing land." Geographically, with her wheat lands near the coast, Australia is better situated to supply an industrialized Asia with foodstuffs than are the inland prairies of America or the steppes of Russia. Thus the harbour formed by their submergence had escaped silt. But the plain behind lacked a fit scene for immediate agriculture, the hard labour to which the convicts brought by the First Fleet had been condemned; and it was walled off from the rest of the Continent by the Blue Mountain cliffs. Australia, Physiographic and Economic.] The only denizens of the virgin land were primitive hunting tribes who, by restriction of their numbers and by elaborate taboos, had adjusted their hunting to the supply of game.
Australia certainly has need of greater self-reliance, but she is not and cannot be another United States of America, In place of the Mississippi Valley and Middle West she has Lake Eyre and an arid, almost uninhabited, central region.
Three times in the last fifty years, however, Australians of the rank and file have had the chance to verify what "the papers" told them of the changing world. Dalley sent the New South Wales contingent to Suakim, colonials on active service were scarcely taken seriously: John Bull could thrash the dervishes easily enough.