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Looking south along Port Douglas Beach.

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Queensland, the ‘Sunshine State’, is situated in the subtropical and tropical belt of north-east Australia and offers a wide variety of attractions. These include the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, the delightful resort towns and islands along the coast, tropical rainforests, striking outback landscapes, gemfields, Aboriginal cave and rock paintings, huge sheep and cattle stations, immense mining fields and unique river, estuary and open-water fishing grounds. All of these areas attract naturalists, botanists, artists, photographers, bushwalkers, fishermen and boating people from around the world. The State has some four hundred national and environmental parks which are designed to preserve the rich heritage of landscapes, flora and fauna.

Originally Queensland was a part of the infant colony of New South Wales, and Brisbane had its origins as a penal settlement housing the worst of Sydney’s villains. Free settlers were not allowed within 80 kilometres of the settlement until the convicts were moved out in 1842. By 1870 most of the State had been surveyed, although there were many areas still unexplored by Europeans. The rich pastoral area of Queensland’s south-east corner was recognised early, and settlement quickly spread through the region. The discovery of gold initiated the State’s mining boom and stimulated further settlement.

Most of the State’s early migrants were of British stock, but as a result of the two world wars the emphasis broadened to include settlers from most of Europe. Today about one-third of the Queensland population are migrants or the children of migrants.

Queensland’s economy is based on a wealth of natural resources, including extensive energy sources. These include massive reserves of steaming coal, oil and natural gas, oil shale and bagasse, which is a waste product from sugar cane. The State’s rich manufac-
turing sector undertakes the processing of bauxite and copper, the milling and refining of sugar and the manufacture of heavy machinery Despite droughts, the rural production of sugar, boet cotton, fruit, meat and grain continues to expand, tourism is also regarded as a major industry

The mining boom began in Queensland in the 1860s and was heightened when pioneer prospectors Jessop and Buchanan discovered gold at Ravens-wood in 1868 This was followed by another rush in 18“2 when Hugh Mosul an and an Aboriginal boy found gold where Charters Tow ers now stands. A year later gold was discovered at Palmer River which led to a rush of some 35 OOO men to the area.

By 1873 Australia had become the largest tin producer in the world and further huge deposits were discovered a few years later at Herberton. north Queensland But it was the discovery of rich lead and copper deposits at Mount Isa by John Campbell Miles in 1923, and tbe large copper deposits at Mount Morgan in 1929, which made Queensland one of the leading mineral resource areas of the
Sugarcane harvesting. North Queensland

In 1961 Australia’s first commercial oilfield was discovered at Moonie, in south-west Queensland, followed by further oil discoveries at nearby Alton. Led by an Australian—Californian partnership, full-scale production commenced a few years later. The most recent oil discovery was that of the Rundle oil-shale deposits which contained some 225 million cubic metres of oil.

Apart from sheep and cattle grazing, the 1840s was the key decade for the birth of Queensland’s farming and agriculture industries. The first dairy cattle were introduced; the pastoral development of the Darling Downs commenced; Dr John Dunmore Lang conceived a cotton-growing scheme for Queensland's coastal areas, and the first sugar cane harvest began.

Queensland's sugar industry began expanding during the 1860s with the arrival of the first kanakas. Within five vears there were a thousand kanakas working on plantations from Brisbane to Ormiston. Today, about 95 per cent of Australia’s sugar crop is cultivated in Queensland.

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