Full text: Borrowing and business in Australia

These figures go far towards an explanation of the fluctuations 
of prosperity in Australia over the period from 1880 to 1890. 
The remarkable differences in the welfare of each of the colonies 
which were sketched in the last chapter are here presented in 
condensed form. If, during the period, a remarkable expansion 
of population had taken place in all the colonies, it would be 
reasonable to assume that the capital imported had actually 
been used in development and bad resulted in increased pro- 
ductivity. But, far from this being the case, we find little to 
justify the tremendous outlay of capital which occurred. The 
highest rate of increase over the whole time was 3 per cent. per 
annum for Victoria, 51 per cent. for New South Wales, and 
10 per cent. for Queensland ; and in the state where borrowing 
was most vigorous, the increase of population was least marked. 
Even the comparison of relative growth of indebtedness and 
Population is scarcely satisfying as an index. The real question 
of how far the growth of population has kept pace with in- 
debtedness concerns rather the increase by net immigration, 
since in a country of such high standards of living and small 
population the natural increase alone could not support the 
growing debt. Concentrating attention on the increase by immi- 
gration the following position is revealed. Observing the division 
of the years between 1877 and 1892 into 5-year periods as shown 
in the last table, the population of Victoria increased at the rate 
of 1:75, 1-5, and 1-4 per cent., that of New South Wales at the 
rate of 2-8, 2-9, and 1-1, and that of Queensland at the rate 
of 5-9, 7-5, and 1-7 per cent. in the respective periods. A 
steady increase is thus apparent; but the average immigration 
per year, which is not revealed by this table, fluctuates in a 
curious fashion. In Victoria the increase by immigration for 
individual years ranged, in round numbers, from 540 for 1877 
to 26,000 for 1888; in New South Wales from 27,000 in 1883 to 
6,600 in 1888; in Queensland from 2,680 in 1879 to 37,000 in 
1883. The figures of the table, if corrected for migration between 
the different states, would need some modification, but the broad 
result would not be greatly affected. The general conclusion to 
be derived is that, for a period when emigration from Europe was 
at its highest, and when the stream of capital imports was at its 
fullest for Australia, the volume of immigration is surprisingly 
small; and this constitutes in itself an indication that develop- 

Note to user

Dear user,

In response to current developments in the web technology used by the Goobi viewer, the software no longer supports your browser.

Please use one of the following browsers to display this page correctly.

Thank you.