J. N MacIntyre.

White Australia; the empty north; the reasons and remedy online

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Mr. and Mrs. J. N. MacINTYRE









W. C. Penfold & Co., Printers, SS Pitt Street, Sydney.


Mr. Maclntyre is to be commended on calling attention to the need for
populating our Northern areas. The empty North menaces Australia. Its
continued existence as a nation depends on our first line ,of defence being
manned. It is not our back door we are leaving unguarded. It is not our
hack yard that is empty. The historical processes, the evolution of Inter-
nationalism, has made Northern Australia our front garden. That we have
allowed it to be neglected, that we have built behind a wilderness, and then
slothfully neglected to improve and beautify and protect the area from
which our well-being may be assaulted, our independence be threatened, is
unthinkably stupid^ — and criminal. If Australia is to be held — it will
be held in the North. If Australia is to be free from the
aggression of marauders, it will only be because we have taken time by the
forelock, and made it impregnable. It can only be made impregnable by
settling the empty, inviting, healthy — but now neglected — North, with men
who will make it their homeland, their holy of holies, their own. Empty
North Australia menaces all Australia. The problem is Australia's. The
menace must be removed by Australian action. Whatever differences, men-
tal or moral, may exist in the minds of man, the..truth of the old adage
remains unfractured, "God helps those who help themselves." To-day
Australia can help herself effectively. If she continues in the "to-morrow"
habit, a not distant "to-morrow" may dawn with an alien flag afloat over
Northern Australia, and then the only continent, with "one people, one flag,
one destiny," will have become a land of warring interests, a land of clash-
ing strife, a land on which the sun of peace has set, a land facing the blood-
real dawning of discord, schism and dissension. Mr. Maclntyre preaches a
sane doctrine of Australianism for Australians. He shows where we have
failed to make Australianism efficient. He points out our duty, not as the
man of letters in, polished periods, but as the man of action, the man who
has lived in the empty North and has seen all that its "vacuity" portends,
who has read the portents and speaks as an Australian from the depths of
his first-hand knowledge, the man who knows that until we set out to do
our duty to Australia by making Australia safe for Australians, by utilising
to their uttermost our Australian assets and potentialities, by making full
use of our glorious heritage, the motto upon our coat of arms is a braggart's
boast, or worse still, a weakling's aspiration. In his own way, the author
has shown how to make good, the words that inspired the earliest Aus-
tralians — Advance Australia.


Cliveden Mansions, Gregory Terrace,

Brisbane, 31st Jan., 1920.

" He that hath truth on his side is a fool, as well as a coward, ij he is afraid
to own it, because of the multitude of other men's opinions. 'Tis hard for a man
to sa\), all the world is mistaken hut himself, but if it be so, who can help it ? "



/"i Tumdt

/j rumderland Srr;




/Grooft Ey;andt



In dedicating this book to their Excellencies, I am actuated by three
distinct motives :

Firstly— It was on the occasion of the reception at Burketown of their
Excellencies that I first had the pleasure of helping to entertain a Represen-
tative of His Majesty the King and of making my first speech in public.

Secondly— h^idy Goold Adams was the first wife of a Governor to
pay Burketown a visit for many, many years ; and on being presented with
a separate address by the good ladies of Burketown, we were pleased to
learn that it was the first separate address she had received from the ladies
of Queensland.

Thirdly— Uis Excellency was so interested and impressed with what
he saw and learnt on his visit through the country, that I feel sure we can
thank him for the interest that has since been taken by the Government
in our District, which at last looks as if the claims of the Gulf for prosperity
will get a chance of proper recognition.


In June, 19 17, there came to little, forgotten, decaying, ill-used, un-
known Burketown, an outpost of the Empire in the Gulf of North Queens-
land, known as the town of goats, claypans, and glass bottles, their most
Honourable Excellencies, Sir Hamilton John Goold Adams and Lady Goold
Adams, determined to do his duty honourably and nobly to the glorious
Empire that placed under his jurisdiction the State of Queensland. The
Governor left no place unvisited that his valuable time permitted him to
visit, and see for himself and to bring into closer contact even these despised
outposts of the Empire, the courtesy and spirit of affection and nobleness
that is the birthright of most of the nobility of John Bull, and which his
delennined, dogged, democratic, and peace-loving rulers have the tact of
choosing out of his millions to act as envoys for this purpose of Empire-

We can all from our infancy look back with affection, reverence, and
honour to our first knowledge of our State Governors. Mine dates from
that glorious old gentleman, Sir Henry Wylie Norman, and with a par-
ticular reference to Lord Chelmsford, who also visited Burketown, the list
is complete up to his present Excellency.

New South Wales can also echo, I feel sure, the same sentiment, and
also the other States.

In referring to his Excellency Sir Walter Davidson, also, I can only
quote from the press of the day. Great as this admiration is for our State
Governors, there are those who exclaim that our Commonwealth Peer, Sir
Ronald Munro Ferguson, is the "daddy" of the lot, and no one who feels
and sees the sentiment towards his Excellency but can concur with those
people (even although they have never come in contact with or set eyes on



In the opening of the Annual Conference of the Municipalities of the
State of New South Wales quite recently, his Excellency thus spoke : —

"Sir Walter Davidson said it gave him special pleasure to attend the
conference, as he liked to be associated with the men of the country who
were identified with primary production. He liked to be associated with
the pioneers and descendants of the men who pioneered the country, and
especially the men who stood for decentralisation of Government works
in the interests of the community. Referring to the occurrence in the
annual report of such old country terms as village, parish, and country, his
Excellency remarked that he was pleased that the old style still applied
in this new country. They could make another England in the South. He
liked to be associated with them, because in wisely using their heads they
could make their civilisation a greater and better one than that of the old

The speech is typical of his contemporary in Queensland.

I feel certain that the earnest wish and desire of all good Australians
is to build up and make a better England in this glorious land of freedom
that is set in the Southern Hemisphere and watched over by the "Southern
Cross," and that the millions of all races of the old world will come to it and
make an Australian nation ; that in the far distant future, when the sands
of time have perhaps altered the map of the world and its races, Australia
will be a monument of glory and strength and sentiment of the British
Empire of its day. If ever human nature so changes as to forget its duties
to that Empire — anyhow, it will not be able to deny the British Empire her
living monument.

It is open without doubt for Australia to become the wealthiest and
most prosperous democratic nation in the world, and there is no doubt but
that in due time that glorious position will be attained.

Now, and for the immediate future, I would also say to the citizens
of the Commonwealth, forget not the man who wears the "returned soldier's
badge." Whatever his position, manner, or crime is, remember the badge
is the emblem that has helped to save and protect for democracy the ideals
of Christianity, this glorious flag of the Southern Cross; and if its wearers
are needy or in distress — if no better gift can be oflfered, give at least
courtesy and honour. One must not forget, either, that there are hundreds
of those who wear not this badge whose soreness of heart for its absence
should not be intensified either by reference to its absence. Not only can
this be said of dozens of Scotchmen, Englishmen, Welshmen, and Irishmen,
but hundreds of Australians, too.


So that when those sons of the old land retire to the scenes of their
early youth, their kinsmen can well be assured that their hearts were never
out of step with the glorious patriotism of their kinsmen, and perhaps they
were fighting a nobler battle in tending the home fires in their particular
spheres of residence, and doing their duty not one whit less noble for
Australia and the Empire than their kinsmen at home or on the fields
of sacrifice.

Yes, I would coo-ee a message to the old land, especially to the hills
and glens of the North country afar ofif, the land of the "bagpipe and
kilt," which I have never seen, but heard its Gaelic spoken nearly as soon
as J first heard the good Australian, as my parents disguised, by the use
of it, that which was not for youthful ears to hear. Aye, and so I love
thi bagpipes and kilt, as I can still hear their shrill notes of hope, honour,
and glory in the empty North so ably squeezed out by old Donald Miller,
of };owen, ever since T had ears to hear. Aye, and old Donald is still with
us in the empty North, playing his pipes, and still helping to shoulder the
burden of the empty North as he has so nobly done for the last 50 years
or more. There is no doubt but that the "North Countree" and our
"Empty North" are tied by a bond that will last for ever, and that it is
to be hoped this book will draw her attention to this grand land of ours
that wants more of her sons.

Sweet, indeed, is the music of the praises of our Anzac lads for the
tfharm, hospitality, and fervour of Scotland's ain folk to them, when they
were their guests in between whiles of fighting the enemy in France. Glo-
rious and noble is their love for the lads of the kilt alongside of whom they
fought in France, and there are many who state that an Anzac and a kilt
can and will storm hell and through it, and return with the bacon. Aye,
and her lasses are as the salt of the earth. And it is to be hoped that the
empty North will see more McNabs, and Mackays, and Mcllwraiths, and
Kidstons, and Philps, and Burns, and such-like in the near future. Nor
must v.e forget the Duracks, Quiltys, and Fannings of our broad empty
lands, and they serve to remind Ireland of her valorous sons also who have
toiled and won out in the North for the glory of Australia and the Empire.
And no camp of men is complete without a son of the Emerald Isle to
liven up the solitudes of the North. A whole history of fun and wit and
hun.our could be written of one Michael O'Grady, nicknamed "Mick the
Rager," an old Dalgonally man, who in that disastrous year of 1902 was
the station envoy to travel with those mobs of sheep and pilot them safetly
through the run, and not let them dally on the grass or water ; and Mick's
name, indeed, was a mighty one throughout the land, as each drover in his
turn would long afterwards have tales to tell of that "hard case," big, raw-
boned Irishman on Dalgonally, who used to make the hair stand on end of
the raw sheep station, uninitiated, Southern jackeroo drovers' men by his
language and actions.

Wales knows well of her gallant son, William. Morris H. John Bull
has no cause to complain of the reception awaiting the sons of his moor-
lands, either, or that we forget the deeds of Adam Lindsay Gordon and
others of the David Carnegie type and their journeys over spinifex and
sands. We have our places in the North of Dunbar, Stirling, Bannockburn,
Lochingar, and such-like; also Killarney Station and Cork Station; also
Westmoreland Station, Northampton Downs, and such ; with also a whole
State of New South Wales in the South, and also a New England district —


in fact, and a nation in the making, so that ye sons of Britain and Ireland
need not feel lonely or cut off from the hills and lands of your fathers;
and that although ye go so willingly to Canada because it is closer, I feel
sure when the charms, wealth, and opportunity of the empty North of
Australia are explained to you that it is the better land of the old, homely
hymn of our youth, the earthly better land of "Far, Far Away," and it
wants ten millions more of people in it, and of that number we require at
least one million of Britishers to keep in order the other nine of perhaps
doubtful beginners, and you will be all helping to make this better British
Empire in the Southern Hemisphere, and prove the strong fluxing material
in the melting pot of the new ten millions that is to keep the new nation
true and honourable in their actions in the future for the British Empire.
Gladly, however, would Australia wish to have the whole of the ten millions
of the bulldog breed alone for her new citizens of the empty North ; but,
as in the case of old, when a big station here in the North of Queensland
wanted new blood and bulls, they, when they could not find one stud herd
big enough in the South to supply their wants, went around and made up
the mob from the countryside, so Australia will have to make up her stock
from the best herds of Europe, but is willing to pay the best price for the
boys of the bulldog breed. "It's an ill wind that blows no one any good."
The bond of friendship, love, honour, and respect has been strengthened by
the hospitality of all classes of the Motherland to our Anzac lads when
they were their guests in the old country. The Anzacs one and all will
tell you they only played the game of the breed, the glorious bulldog breed,
when they rushed to see and take part in the scrap and help to get justice
done for the Empire's allies. In their own way, true to themselves, they
succceeded, and their deeds were felt and appreciated by the citizens of
the seat of Empire ; but deep down in the hearts of most of these Anzacs
will always remain, long after the horrors of war are forgotten, the hospi-
tality and goodwill of the home people, and the sentiment has added on
another two centuries to preserve for humanity the solid foundation of the
stability of the Empire, which, as long as it lasts, will act for the peace
and prosperity of the world as it always has done, as the keynotes of its
success are, and always have been. Freedom, Justice, Truth, and Honest

Many, many years ago, a son returned to his "auld mither," who
lived on the banks of the Clyde, and recounted over to her tales of the
wonderful land of Australia, and, spellbound, she was willing to believe
nearly all about this wonderful country; but there was a limit. "Aye, aye,
my son, I can quite believe the mountams of sugar and the rivers of rum
in North Queensland, but I canna and willna believe about the f]ying-fish —
nae, nae, I canna."

However, strained as her credence may have been about the flying-fish,
what would she have thought of the tree-climbing fish or kangaroo? And
yet one would be quite within the limit to say the "jumping" jack, a little
piscatorial subject that grows up to 5 or 6 inches long, and inhabits the
mangrove creeks of North Queensland, and climbs or jumps up on to the
roots of the mangrove trees some feet out of the water, and basks in the
sun all day, is called a tree-climbing fish.

However, we can only smile and forgive the old lady, as her world
was not our world, but not the people of Victoria or X.S.W. many years


ago, who held their tongue in tlieir cheek and their finger at the nose when
her old pioneers returned from the Gulf country and spoke of the wonderful
running river fed by a subterranean stream called the Gregory, and of 'ts
magnificent lands, also of the presence of shale on the Macarthur River.
They now know the truth of the matter, but have been too tired, listless,
and disinterested to bother about it.

We can still tell the people that live on the banks of the Clyde and
Yarra that the mountains of wheat stacked around the cities of the South
would not altogether overshadow the mountains of sugar that are waiting
to rise up from the sugar lands of the empty North, which would run a
river of rum if wished; the mountains of copper rising above and going
down below the sea level, all waiting to be exploited; and the millions of
acres of sheep lands that grow the golden fleece.

However, I would not dare to invite these people to come yet and
partake of these riches, as, the way they are situated now, they will stop
there as they have ever been, unexploitable, until railways are built to open
up the means of communication to exploit them.

At the present time they are like a jagged nugget of gold some ten
feet deep in the sea, weighing some tons weight. Hundreds of people can
dive down and view same, and some of the more determined break ofif bits
of the nugget where it thins out and can be broken off easily. The Authori-
ties have been notified that the wealth is there, and some years ago boomed
and boosted it, but only understood the method of fishing for it with a
fishing line baited with gold, and when the bait was lost- — ten millions in
all — they only understand that they will yet fish it up if they can get more
bait of the same kind. Although the water is safe and free of sharks, only
one-twentieth of the people are interested enough or too lazy to dive down
and have a look at it themselves, but want toll from the lucky ones who
have broken ofT bits here and there for themselves after strenuous diving
work. And, to make matters worse, disturbing elements are allowed to
muddy the water at the particular spot, which only hampers the efforts of
the divers, and the majority of the public of the South now say that the
nugget is only a mass of rock with bits of gold here and there, and call it
a "White Elephant," and are growling about the loss of the good bait lost.

There is only one policy for Australia — that is, increased production.
Already the announcement has stirred up black hatred among the prole-
tariat, but when it is shown that only Nature is to be allowed to produce
more, and no call for harder work from her citizens required, then, no
doubt, a lot of the doubting ones will see the light better, and perhaps
admit that it is the only way to success for all.

A glance at the productiveness in the South of Atistralia as regards
its stock is here shown, but herewith is also shown the atrocious manage-
ment of the Empire's "sheep and cattle station of Australia," the largest,
fairest, finest land and climate in the Southern Hemisphere. However, we
are on the eve of light ahead, and once the people of Australia are shown
that the empty North equals, or rather that it is nearly as good as the
settled South, they perhaps will listen to the voice of reason. Then only
will they find out that the empty North is not only as good, but will far
outweigh in wealth the Southern half of Australia in later centuries.


On their limited knowledge now, will or can they dare to say that its
pastoral lands will not carry the numbers of stock that the South carries,
and, if so, why are they not there? And if this book has not explained
that question aright even yet — well, a more able pen is necessary. It is
not the fault of the empty North — only mine.

"Man wants but little here below, and that not long," answered the
Highlander, pointing from his waist downwards, and quoting from the
Bible, when asked why Highlanders wore the kilt. And if he is a good
man, and the material good also, his equipment is sufficient to lead him on
towards wealth, health, and prosperity. And so I would say that millions
of acres of the pastoral lands of the empty North, some day when it is
opened up by railways, will be settled thousands upon thousands of small
men well equipped for their own battles of life and the future prosperity
of Australia.

And now I can truthfully quote from that delightful and true novel
written by Mrs. Aeneas Gunn, entitled, "We of the Never Never," and
agree with the Maluka of old. The empty North is so called the Never
Never because they who have lived in it and loved it Never — Never volun-
tarily leave it.

A lot of our best pioneers, unsung and forgotten, will Never Never
leave it, and their only memory is their monument. Those, however, who
were unfitted for it will tell you that it is so called because they who suc-
ceed in getting out of it swear they will Never .Never return to it. But
we who have lived in it and love it, and know its worth and wealth, know
that w^e will Never Never leave it or rest away from it. 'Tis a land that
bewitches her people with strange spells and mysteries until they call the
sweet bitter and the bitter sweet, and one can say that the first known
white man, Capt. Stokes, gave voice to that spell when he first gazed
on the Plains of Promise and named them on August 4, 1841. From that
day onwards there have been men who have toiled and sweated and loved
its bitter sweets and overcome its long delays and wait-a-whiles, thinking
to cut down and expedite "the years to come" by their industry and energy,
and conquer that same Never Never and lay it at the feet of great cities, or,
better still, lay great cities at its doors, knowing, like the Kaffir woman,
that the British-born can and will conquer anything and everything that
man can conquer, except death. And so I would say, turn your eyes to
the vast, glorious, wealthy lands of the empty North of Australia, and open
it up with railways, and let them undo and explain the silence of all these
years, and lighten Australia's burden of debt and doubt of the future as a
vulnerable portion for enemies to assail the Commonwealth.

"The world is always wanting something new —
Sensations only last a day or two ;
But there's a feeling that I'd like to bet.
If once you've known it you won't forget —
And that's the love of going up — up — up — up to the North."

And when a sufficient number get the craze, Australia is going up —
going up— going up.



If the manhood of Australia are shown its charms, which are, indeed,
as great as those of the deHghtful Httle Lady Graceful on the stage at Her
Majesty's, and the manhood as romantic and game as the pleasant-faced
author in the play, and risks the do-or-die for the prize. Fortune — who
always favours the brave — will land the lady in his arms, and in both cases
she is well worth the risk.

It is, indeed, a pleasure in life to return to the civilisation of the South
and see the good things of life that are provided for one, but only those
who have deser\^ed those pleasures from Australia can only fully drink in the
pleasures of the city, and far too many want to hang around the cities and
live for its pleasures alone ; and by the way the people of the back country
are treated, one is a fool not to join their ranks, too, if circumstances will
let him, as now the man from the back country is only looked upon as the
legitimate prey for the city. But it must and will come to an end some
day, if not altered, and the city folk be more and more confined to the old
adage of "dog eat dog," which to a great degree now makes city folk so
grasping, unreal, and profiteering.

The city folk see old Dad and Dave on the stage and applaud and
love them, but give him and his interests over to the Philistines of Politics
without a qualm, and they gorge on his wheat and produce until the situation
is disgusting. Dad and Dave are not the products of the empty North,
quite. The man of the wide, far-reaching spaces of the empty North is not
the type of the small man in the settled areas, only in character and

Online LibraryJ. N MacIntyreWhite Australia; the empty north; the reasons and remedy → online text (page 1 of 24)