The Swan River Venture

Visited by the Dutch and French, but untouched by a British keel until 1827, the strange, antique land of Western Australia, then inhabited only by Stone Age men, has grown to see a modern state arise around the haunts of the Black Swan. By W. Charnley.

Possibly the strangest thing about the great continent-sized island, lying in the southern waters of the globe, is that it should have lain so long without the nations of the northern hemisphere being aware of its existence. And when at last two of them did become aware of it, neither took steps to acquire sovereignty over it until finally, by force of circumstances, it was thrust into the unwilling hands of England.

Much of Australia is the oldest land surface today on the face of the globe. Its western one third, the vast state of Western Australia, has lain exposed so long that its once-high mountains, formed of iron-hard igneous rock, have eroded down to wide plateaux.

The rock is so ancient as to be without trace of fossils or forms of primitive life. True, it had its own people, themselves incredibly ancient, Stone Age men, the most primitive type left in the world. Even these Stone Age people were recent, however, compared with the land, which at some distant age they discovered and overran.

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