The author of this book, the late Edward Palmer, was himself one of that brave band of pioneer squatters who in the early sixties swept across North Queensland with their flocks and herds, settling, as if by magic, great tracts of hitherto unoccupied country, and thereby opening several new ports on the east coast and on the shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria, to the commerce of the world. In writing of these stirring times in the history of Queensland, Mr. Palmer has dealt with a subject for which he was peculiarly qualified as an active participant therein.
Australia was connected with Europe by cable in 1872. Queensland thus starting on its career so hopefully was nevertheless subject to periods of depression, booms, and crises, prosperity and hard times alternated. And then came the "salvation by gold." The discovery of gold came as a hope and help to all, as it came to the North a few years later. It helped to find markets for stock of all kinds and employment for thousands, and also to extend the settlement of the land and open up commerce with other countries, introducing immigrants or diggers, many of whom remained and settled in the country. But the young country had to be opened up and some degree of settlement established before mining for gold could be carried on.
In all parts of Queensland, pastoral settlement has preceded all others, including mining. Though the squatter is now, in the more settled districts, becoming a thing of the past, his work being finished and his day gone by, at the first enterprise, bush knowledge