Australia, forming as it does a vast island continent in the Southern world, lies to some extent within the tropical range, for the Tropic of Capricorn traverses its northern part. At present, however, its most densely populated portion lies just outside the tropics, and it is this semi-tropical part of Australia with which we have mostly to do. And apart, too, from the mere fact of Australia being between certain parallels of latitude, which makes its climate tropical or semi-tropical, as the case may be, its position is peculiar in that it forms this enormous ocean-girt continent already described.
One of the most extraordinary circumstances in connection with the Australian people is, that they have never yet realized their semi-tropical environment. It would naturally be supposed that a dominating influence of this kind would have, from the very first, exercised an irresistible effect on their mode of living. But, on the contrary, the type of the Australian dwelling-house, the clothing of the Australian people, and, what is more significant than anything else, their food habits, prove incontestably that they have never recognised the semi-tropical character of their climate all over the rest of the world it will be found that the inhabitants of different regions adapt themselves to their surroundings. For instance, the Laplander and the Hindoo live in such a widely different manner, that one can scarcely believe they belong to the same human family.