LIAN COMMONWEALTH) , each colony has a governor, administration, and a Legiz lature of its own. The governors are appointed by the King, and all acti passed by the Colonial Legislatures must receive the royal assent. Each Legisla ture consists of two houses, a Legislative Council and a Legislative Assembly, the lower house being elected. The legisla tive power of the Commonwealth is vested in a Federal Parliament which consists of the King, represented by the governor-general, a Senate, and a House of Representatives. The Senate consists of six senators for each of the original states, chosen for six years. The House of Representatives consists theoretically of twice as many members as there are senators. The House continues for three years from the date of its first meeting, unless sooner dissolved. Elections are on the basis of universal suffrage, male and female. The executive power is in the hands of a governor-general, who is as sisted by an executive council. There is no established Church in any of the col onies. The denomination which numbers most adherents is the English or Angli can Church, next to which come the Ro man Catholics, Presbyterians, and Meth odists. Education is well provided for, instruction in the primary schools being, in some cases, free and compulsory, and the higher education being more and more attended to. There are flourishing universities in Melbourne, Sydney, and Adelaide.
Industries.—The chief agricultural product is wheat, of which there was a total acreage in 1918 of 9,774,658, with a production of 114,733,584 bushels. Other important crops are oats, barley, maize, hay, potatoes, sugar cane, and fruit. The total acreage of all crops in 1918 was 14,298,982, and the total value of produc tion in that year was £57,967,307. The production of wool in 1917 and 1918 amounted to 573,864,083 pounds, valued at £37,062,000. The mineral production in 1918 was valued at £26,333,000, of which the gold produced amounted to £5,408,000, silver and lead £6,105,000, copper £4,465,000, tin £1,432,000 and coal £6,124,000.
There are about 16,000 manufacturing establishments employing about 330,000 hands. The value of the output in 1917 was £206,386,646.
The imports in 1918-1919 were valued at £93,485,050. The exports were valued at £106,805,895. The chief imports were textiles, metal manufactures, wearing ap parel, drugs and chemicals, and paper. The chief exports were wool, wheat, flour, skins and hides. For more de
tailed information in relation to the commerce of the various states, see the titles of these states.
History.—It is doubtful when Aus tralia was first discovered by Europeans. Between 1531 and 1542 the Portuguese published the existence of a land which they called Great Java, and which corre sponded to Australia, and probably the first discovery of the country was made by them early in the 16th century. The first authenticated discovery is said to have been made in 1601, by a Portuguese named Manoel Godinho de Eredia. In 1606, Torres, a Spaniard, passed through the strait that now bears his name, be tween New Guinea and Australia. Be tween this period and 1628, a large por tion of the coast line of Australia had been surveyed by various Dutch navi gators. In 1664 the continent was named New Holland by the Dutch Government. In 1688 Dampier coasted along part of Australia, and about 1700 explored a part of the W. and N. W. coasts. In 1770 Cook carefully surveyed the E. coast, named a number of localities, and took possession of the country for Great Britain. He was followed by Bligh in 1789, who carried on a series of observa tions on the N. E. coast, adding largely to the knowledge already obtained of this new world. Colonists had now ar rived on the soil, and a penal settlement was formed (1788) at Port Jackson. In this way was laid the foundation of the future colony of New South Wales. The Moreton Bay district (Queensland) was settled in 1825; in 1835 the Port Philip district. In 1851 the latter district was erected into a separate colony under the name of Victoria. Previous to this time the colonies both cf Western Australia and of South Australia had been founded —the former in 1829, the latter in 1836. The latest of the colonies is Queensland, which only took an independent existence in 1859. The discovery of gold in abund ance took place in 1851, and caused an immense excitement and great influx of immigrants. The population was then only about 350,000, and was slowly in creasing; but the discovery of the precious metal started the country on that career of prosperity which has since been almost uninterrupted. Convicts were long sent to Australia from the mother country, but transportation to New South Wales practically ceased in 1840, and the last convict vessel to West Australia arrived in 1868.