FOR roughly a century the development of tropical Australia proceeded in an atmosphere of unqualified optimism. It was almost universally believed that only capital and enterprise were needed to render richly productive of minerals and agricultural wealth the vast untenanted northern half of the continent. Agricultural successes on the well-watered coast of Queensland were used to discount a dismal succession of failures elsewhere, and a few highly successful mining enterprises caused a willing public to forget many failures. Within the last fifteen years a professor in an Australian university who dared suggest that tropical Australia was far from being an El Dorado and in any event could only be developed by permitting coloured immigrants was so pilloried by the Press that he sought refuge in resignation. But the negligible return for a huge expenditure of public money at last rendered inevitable the conclusion that all was not well, and the long reign of optimism was succeeded by a period of extreme pessimism.
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STAMP, L. Aerial, Geological and Geophysical Survey of Northern Australia. Nature 145, 433–434 (1940). https://doi.org/10.1038/145433a0