Pathos of a new nat­u­ral world

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Visual Arts -

were obliged to re­quest ship­ments of con­victs from the mid­dle of the cen­tury.

All the colonies faced var­i­ous dif­fi­cul­ties in their early days but in hind­sight their growth, in a not par­tic­u­larly promis­ing land at the very ends of the earth, was im­pres­sive in its ra­pid­ity and in the am­bi­tions the colonists soon con­ceived for their new cities. In the many early views of the var­i­ous colonies in this re­mark­able ex­hi­bi­tion, it is the rate of growth that is par­tic­u­larly strik­ing. A few years af­ter its be­gin­ning as a tent city, Syd­ney had an ever-in­creas­ing num­ber of brick and stone houses. The ori­gins of some of the city’s schools and other in­sti­tu­tions go back to a gen­er­a­tion af­ter foun­da­tion. By 1850, the Univer­sity of Syd­ney, the first in the Em­pire, was es­tab­lished.

Mel­bourne had started later but had grown faster than Syd­ney, and by 1851 a pe­ti­tion for the sep­a­ra­tion of Vic­to­ria from the colony of New South Wales gained royal ap­proval. Months later, gold was dis­cov­ered and the wealth gen­er­ated by the dig­gings quickly turned Mel­bourne into a great 19th-cen­tury city. The gold rush also enor­mously in­creased the pop­u­la­tion of set­tlers, from less than 500,000 be­fore 1850 to more than three mil­lion by the 1880s; Mel­bourne alone soon had a pop­u­la­tion of more

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