House of Representatives
8 October 1903

1st Parliament · 2nd Session



Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.

COMMITTEE OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS.

Mr. G. B. EDWARDS. - Could the Prime Minister inform us when the Government intend to give effect to their intention to appoint a Committee of Public Accounts 1

Mr. DEAKIN.- It will not be possible to give effect to that intention this session, but the matter will be taken into consideration at the commencement of next session.

Mr. G. B. EDWARDS. - A similar promise was given last session.

OLD-AGE PENSIONS.

Mr. O’MALLEY. - In view of the fact that the Victorian Government is converting its old-age pensions into charity doles, will the Prime Minister set apart a day for the discussion of the old-age pension question during the present session 1

Mr. DEAKIN. - I doubt whether it would be profitable to sot apart a day dur- . ing this session for the discussion of that great question. No doubt every fresh State experiment will” be of value in affording light -which will assist us in considering the establishment of an old-age pension scheme, after we have escaped from the financial bonds imposed by the Constitution.

page 5879

QUESTION

ATTORNEY-GENERAL AS COUNSEL

Mr MAHON:
COOLGARDIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

– I desire to ask the Prime Minister whether it is intended to continue the practice prevailing in some of the States of permitting the AttorneyGeneral to appear for plaintiffs in cases against the Commonwealth ; also if, when the Attorney-General does so represent the Crown, it is intended that he shall be allowed to charge any fees ?

Mr DEAKIN:
Minister for External Affairs · BALLAARAT, VICTORIA · Protectionist

– So far as I am aware, it would be impossible for the AttorneyGeneral of the Commonwealth to appear against the Commonwealth. Whenever he appears for the Commonwealth he does so without fees.

page 5879

QUESTION

PREFERENTIAL TRADE

Mr THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES

– With reference to the telegraphed report of the speech of the Right Honorable Joseph Chamberlain published in this morning’s newspapers, I desire to ask the Prime Minister whether, in view of the fact of his having cabled his approval of that right honorable gentleman’s policy, he shares Mr. Chamberlain’s expectation that the Colonies will not arrange their Tariffs in the future in order to start industries in competition with those of Great Britain ?

Honorable Members. - Hear, hear.

Mr DEAKIN:
Protectionist

– The policy of the Right Honorable Mr. Chamberlain, of which I have expressed some approbation, was contained in a general statement of the end which it was desired to attain. The means by which that end can be reached will be open for considerable discussion. I do not deny that even the suggestion referred to may be well worthy of discussion, and I have not the least doubt that it will be fully and effectively discussed, both by my light honorable friend opposite and ourselves within a very short time.

Mr Reid:

– The Minister had better send another telegram to Mr. Chamberlain.

page 5879

QUESTION

RIFLE RANGES

Mr McCAY:
CORINELLA, VICTORIA

– I desire to ask the Minister for Defence what steps, if any, have been taken by him to place the rifle ranges in Victoria upon the same basis as those in other States, so that the charge for maintaining them shall be debited against the general fund 1 At present that is not the case in Victoria. I refer particularly to the ranges at Williamstown and in the country.

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN:
Minister for Defence · EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · Protectionist

– The question has been referred to the General Officer Commanding, and immediately I have his report the whole matter will be considered. The remarks made by the honorable and learned member in this House have been brought under the notice of the General Officer Commanding, and will have due consideration.

page 5879

QUESTION

SMUGGLING OF ARMS, SOLOMON ISLANDS

Mr MCDONALD:
KENNEDY, QUEENSLAND

– I desire to ask the Prime Minister whether his attention has been directed to the following statement, published in to-day’s newspapers : -

Mr. Woodford, Government Resident of the Solomon Islands, has forwarded to the Governor of Queensland a report stating that when the labour schooner Ivanhoe, stranded recently on one of the islands, a quantity of arms and ammunition was found to have been smuggled aboard, presumably from Queensland, and several natives were arrested and punished for smuggling. Mr. Woodford, in his report, says : - “ The statements made by the prisoners reveal the most astounding condition of affairs, and prove that the smuggling of ammunition and arms from Queensland labour ships has become an organized business.”

I wish to know if there has been any correspondence on the subject.

Mr DEAKIN:
Protectionist

– During the past few months correspondence has taken place with regard to the prevention of this most objectionable and dangerous, practice. The State Government has agreed to use its best efforts to prevent the repetition of the offence referred to, and I have now taken the further step of asking my honorable colleague, the Minister for Trade and Customs, to specially instruct his officers that every vessel leaving with returning islanders, and especially for the Solomon group, shall be examined with especial care.

Mr Fisher:

– Has recruiting in the Solomon Islands been stopped ?

Mr DEAKIN:

– I do not know, but I have seen a notification to that effect.

Mr Fisher:

-I think that the Government should recommend that it should be stopped.

page 5880

QUESTION

AUSTRALIAN TROOPS IN SOUTH AFRICA

Mr SALMON:
LAANECOORIE, VICTORIA

– I desire to ask the Minister for Defence whether his study of the report of the Royal Commission upon the conduct of the war in South Africa bears out the statement of the General Officer Commanding that the success attained by Australian troops in South Africa was largely due to their having been attached to larger bodies of troops which were led by carefullyselected and experienced officers of the Imperial Army, and that the staff duties of the larger and more important kind in their connexion were administered entirely by officers similarly selected.

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN:
Protectionist

– That very important matter is now engaging my attention, and I would ask the honorable member to give notice of his question.

page 5880

QUESTION

FEDERAL CAPITAL SITES

Mr CROUCH:
CORIO, VICTORIA

– I wish to know whether the Prime Minister has had his attention directed to certain evidence given before the Commission of Experts appointed to report upon the Federal Capital sites. Mr. R. R. Timmis, in giving evidence at Tumut on the 26th January last, is reported as follows : -

Do you say that the Government have been granting mining leases within the reserved area since the publication of Mr. Oliver’s report ? - Land has been sold by the Government within the reserved area.

What land would that refer to ? - There is some land offered now for sale : it is to be sold within two or three weeks. I bought land myself within the last twelve months after the territory was declared, and I bought it from the Government.

If the statement were made by the Premier that he was reserving the lands within all the proposed sites in their entirety, and that the Government were not parting with any of the land whatever, it would-be erroneous ? - Yes ; an advertisement is at present appearing in the papers offering some of the land for sale within the next fortnight.

I should like to know if the Minister will communicate with the Premier of New South Wales, and point out that the action referred to is in contravention of the distinct arrangement under which the State Government undertook that no land should be sold within the reserved areas ?

Mr DEAKIN:
Protectionist

– Inquiries can be made, but I should assume, until more definite information is available, that the land referred to is beyond the area reserved for the purposes of the” capital site”, which does not include the township of Tumut.

Mr Crouch:

– The witness stated that the land sold was within the reserved area.

page 5880

ELECTORAL DIVISIONS : TASMANIA

Mr HARTNOLL:
TASMANIA, TASMANIA

– I wish to ask the Minister for Trade and Customs if it is correct that the electoral division of which Launceston is the centre has been named Bass 1 This .House decided that the name of Northcote should be applied to it. I desire to know further whether the new name has been adopted at the request of a supporter of the Government, against the decision of this House 1

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES · Protectionist

– In this House the constituency referred to by the honorable member was named Northcote, but the name Bass was substituted in the Senate. There is power for the Governor-General to alter the name where there is a conflict of opinion between the two Houses ; but it was at the instance of the Senate that the name Bass was chosen.

page 5880

QUESTION

FEMALE TYPISTS

Mr MAUGER:
MELBOURNE PORTS, VICTORIA

– I desire to ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether he has made inquiries as to the number of hours worked by the women typists in his Department, and whether he will see that they are paid overtime for the extra hours worked ?

Sir JOHN FORREST:
Minister for Home Affairs · SWAN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · Protectionist

– I have made inquiries, and am informed that the lady typists have been working overtime to a considerable extent. I reiterate what I have said previously, that it is not my desire that officers in my Department should work overtime to any great extent. That desire was well known to the heads of the Department before the honorable member asked his question last week. I. have not since heard “what steps have been taken to obviate the working of overtime, but I can assure the honorable member that I will deal as liberally as possible with those who have been compelled for any length of time to work extra hours when the work upon which they are engaged - it is in connexion with electoral business - is finished.

page 5880

PAPER

Sir JOHN FORREST laid upon the table

I the following paper : - ] Electoral Act. - Instructions to Returning i Officers, Registrars, and Presiding Officers.

page 5881

QUESTION

ELECTORAL ACT

Mr CROUCH:

asked the Minister for Home Affairs, upon notice -

  1. Will the Minister prepare the necessary regulations under section 139 of the Electoral Act by which voters for the House of Representatives may vote at polling booths outside the division in which the elector is enrolled, and when ?
  2. Will such polling be permitted at any polling place, or only at selected places? and what are such selected places ?
Sir JOHN FORREST:
Protectionist

– In reply to the honorable and learned member I beg to state - 1 and 2. Regulations to afford further facilities to voters under section 139 are now being prepared by the Attorney -General’s Department, and will be ready by Tuesday next for public information.

page 5881

QUESTION

TELEPHONES AT KALGOORLIE

Mr KIRWAN:
KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -

  1. Whether the following statement appearing in the press is correct : - “ Telephone Requisites. - Many intending Kalgoorlie telephone subscribers have for some time past had their applications for connexion shelved owing to no instruments being available. Though nothing definite is known, the local postmaster (Mr. Tepper) expects a supply of all the necessary requisites to arrive shortly.”
  2. If correct, have the materials required at Kalgoorlie yet been supplied, and will the Minister endeavour to prevent similar delays in the future ?
Mr DEAKIN:
Protectionist

– In the absence of the Postmaster-General, I have to say, in reply to the honorable member, that -

Inquiries are being made, and answers will be furnished in due course.

page 5881

SEAT OF GOVERNMENT BILL

In Committee (Consideration resumed from 7th October, vide page 5832) :

Clause 2 -

It is hereby determined that the seat of government of the Commonwealth shall be at or near . .

Mr CONROY:
Werriwa

– When progress was reported last night, I was stating, for the information of honorable members, what I knew of the various localities submitted for the selection of the capital site. I dealt with Bombala and Dalgety practically as one. I regret that as the Bill stands we have to vote for them as two sites, because, there ave certain considerations affecting Bombala which, in my opinion, relegate it to the background.

For one thing, it is a well-known fact that we cannot have a gravitation scheme of water supply there. It must be a pumping scheme, and that, to my mind, is a very great objection. But in the case of Dalgety we can obtain anywhere, within a radius of 10 or 12 miles, one of the finest water supplies in Australia. I regret that the amendment of the honorable member for Richmond was withdrawn, because, in my opinion, its adoption would have given us more latitude than seems to be allowed by the terms of the Bill.

Mr A McLEAN:
GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · PROT

– The Prime Minister said he thought that the Bill as it stands gave quite as much latitude as was necessary.

Mr CONROY:

– I hope that that opinion is correct, but I am afraid that I cannot agree with it. Now I shall deal with the other sites on the list, and if honorable members choose they can discount, to some extent, my utterances on the subject when I remind them that the site with which I shall first deal is within my own electorate. Possibly for that reason I may be considered to speak more strongly in favour of it than I otherwise should do, although I shall endeavour not to overstate the case any more than I shall do in dealing with any of the other sites. But I quite recognise that in dealing with questions of this kind a sort of unconscious bias is apt to come in. There can be no denial of the fact that when honorable members visited the Lake George site they saw it under the most depressing circumstances possible. Lake George has been dry twice since about the year 1818 - once in 1838 or 1839, when, consequent upon the long drought, it was comparatively, if not absolutely, dry for a period of some four or five years ; and again, in about the year 1850, when it was dry for about a year. As far as my information goes Lake George has been dry twice in about eighty years. At the same time I would remind honorable members that by putting a dam across what is known as the Molonglo River, at a distance of only about 5 miles away, and by a cutting, and, perhaps, a short and not very extensive tunnel, the whole of the waters of that river might be diverted into the lake. I think I am within the mark in saying that the catchment area of the Molonglo, or a particular part of it, embraces something like 150 square miles. I believe, indeed, that the area is even more than that. But at all events, by a slight, diversion of one of the streams we might turn a great quantity of water into the lake. When we are asked to decide that a catchment area should be reserved for the purposes of the water supply, I would remind the Committee that Liverpool, Glasgow, York, and London have not for the purposes of their water supply secured a reservation of catchment areas. While it may be very desirable to do so - and I do not question that it is wise in some cases - still there is not the absolute necessity for it that some persons appear to imagine. For instance, there are many persons living on a portion of the catchment a,rea of the Sydney water supply. We have not carried the desire for the purity of the catchment area so far as has been done in the case of Melbourne, where practically the whole 97 square miles which comprises the catchment area of the Yan Yean and the Watts River scheme have been resumed. I should like to direct special attention to one point in connexion with the report of the Commission. In estimating the rainfall within the catchment area they have considerably understated the quantity which can be conserved. This they have set down at only 8 per cent. When I tell honorable members that in the Yan Yean reservoir, with a catchment area of only 97 square miles, nearly 80,000,000 gallons per day have been conserved, and that the rainfall within that area has been impounded to the extent of 40 per cent., they will realize how extremely low is the estimate of the Commission. In connexion with the Sydney supply too, as much as 39 per cent, of the waters falling within the catchment area have been conserved. I was somewhat at a loss, therefore, to account for the serious discrepancy between the estimate of the Commission and the quantity of the rainfall that could actually be impounded, until I was informed that the engineer responsible for this estimate had been accustomed to deal with the rainfall which is conserved within the catchment areas of South Australia.

Mr McDONALD:
KENNEDY, QUEENSLAND · ALP

-paterson. - Where did the honorable and learned member discover his facts in regard to the catchment area1? j

Mr CONROY:

– They are contained in j the report of the Commissioners, who practically dealt with it last year. Of course every year the quantity of water that , can be impounded varies very considerably. ‘ For example, if 25 inches of rain fell in ‘ small quantities upon 100 days in the year, only a very low percentage could be impounded, whereas if heavy downpours occurred, practically 60 per cent, of it could be conserved. Further, a great deal necessarily depends upon whether the rain falls upon very hilly country or upon level country. The engineer who is chiefly responsible for this estimate - I refer to Mr. Stewart, of South Australia - is a very competent officer, who has proved himself to be thoroughly conversant with all the conditions which obtain in that State. Nevertheless, he has considerably underestimated the quantity of rainfall that can be impounded in New South Wales.

Mr Brown:

– His calculation represents the minimum.

Mr CONROY:

– I do not know of any place upon the New South Wales tablelands, where such a small quantity as 8 per cent, of the rainfall has been impounded. However, it is a fault upon the right side, because in dealing with the future water supply of a city it is very much better to understate than to over-estimate the capacity of the catchment area. The one fault can be remedied, whereas the other cannot. To my mind, if the Commonwealth Government are prepared to sanction the excavation of a cutting, a great deal of water can be diverted into Lake George, at all events a sufficient quantity to make it permanent. Moreover, if we efficiently dammed the Molonglo River a very large quantity would be available for electric purposes. But even if that were not so, I need scarcely point out that at the Cotter River, which is only about thirty miles distant from the proposed site, a sufficient supply could be obtained to provide all the power that would be needed for electrical purposes, including the lighting of the city for many generations to come. ‘ If the population could absorb that supply, the Murrumbidgee would still be available, and its waters could be dammed and harnessed to our turbines. Round about Lake George there is a great deal of very fair land. Moreover, it possesses one of the advantages which I hold that any eligible site ought to possess, namely, a very good climate, and I speak as one who has lived the greater portion of his life in the back-blocks, and who has, therefore, a great aversion to the heat. In passing, I may mention that the idea that hell is a hot place originated with people who lived in very warm climates. They could noi conceive of anything more distasteful than residence in a region which was burning hot. But when some missionaries went to the north, to the land of snow, for the purpose of converting the savages there, and told them that if they did wrong they would be plunged into a burning fire, they immediately went out and killed somebody to make sure that they would get there Personally, I should prefer to live in a temperate climate in which the extremes of temperature are rather in the direction of cold than of heat. One can protect himself against cold, but not against heat. Therefore, I ask honorable members to seriously consider whether Lake George would not prove a very desirable site. I hold that the Parliamentary party which inspected that site visited the wrong side of the Lake. It would have been better to examine it from the Willeroo side, travelling there from Currawang, over country with which the honorable member for Darling is thoroughly familiar.

Mr Spence:

– I have travelled over it.

Mr CONROY:

– The site could be very easily reached by an electric line from Breadalbane, and by that means honorable members could be landed at their destination within a very brief period. I am sure that anybody who has seen Lake George when it was full would be surprised to think that it could ever become dry. When I first became acquainted with it as a lad, it was the home of fish. It was also the home of snakes - indeed, I think there were nearly as many snakes upon its borders as there were fish within its waters. To sum up, I repeat that Lake George is situate upon tableland, and possesses a fairly equable climate and a reasonably good soil. In my opinion, too,, it is possible to provide a very fine sheet of water there at a moderate expense. Further, water for domestic purposes could be delivered there at a very cheap rate. The Federal Sites Commissioners have calculated the cost of bringing a water supply from the Tinderry Mountains. They contemplated bringing it across the level of the Molonglo River. That fact is proof in itself that the waters of that river could easily be diverted into the lake. If an additional argument can be urged in favour of the Lake George site it is that what might possibly be its port in time to come - I refer to Jervis Bay - is a genuine port. In fact, it is second only to Port Jackson. It has an absolutely safe anchorage, and in that respect is unlike Twofold Bay, which, if it were to be converted into a suitable harbor, would require an expenditure of £1,500,000 or £2,000,000.

Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT

– On whose estimate 1

Mr CONROY:

– I think that on the estimate supplied by Mr. Oliver, who is very much in favour of the site, that outlay will be necessary. I can speak with some little engineering knowledge of the difficulties in the way. The Commissioners1 estimate of the cost of constructing the breakwater is very much less than the cost per lineal foot of the breakwaters at Algiers and Marseilles, whose ports are not so much exposed. The water supply of this site is taken from the head waters of the Queanbeyan River and Tinderry Creek, and one of the mistakes made by the Commissioners was in reckoning that only about S per cent, of the water would be obtainable. Knowing as I do the mountainous nature of the site, I think that a very much larger supply would be available. Sydney itself obtains 37 per cent, of the water which falls within its catchment area. The supply, of course, varies from year to year according to the nature of the showers which fall, and in some years it would run up to 40 per cent. The Commissioners estimate that it would be possible to obtain a supply sufficient for a population of something like 50,000 people, but I think that the quantity of water available would be much greater. Melbourne with a catchment area of only 97 square miles has an available supply of ‘ nearly 70,000,000 gallons per day, although it does not at the outside use more than 25,000,000 gallons daily. It will thus be seen that with a catchment area consisting possibly of 150 square miles, we should obtain still more from the Molonglo and Tinderry Creek.

Sir George Turner:

– It would be necessary to reserve a large extent of country in that catchment area.

Mr CONROY:

– It has really been reserved by nature, because the greater part of the catchment area of the Tinderry Creek consists of such mountainous country that only goats can feed upon it. It has long been open for selection for a deposit of 2s. per acre, but no one has seen fit to take it up. I would also point out that it would be possible, if necessary, to run a railway from Lake George to Jervis Bay, and by that means provide another outlet for the territory of the Commonwealth. I merely mention this matter, because we have to look to the future, and must recognise that there might be a development in that direction. I do not think that for some considerable time to come New South Wales would be disposed to hand over any great extent of territory. One of my reasons for contending that we should, as far as possible, choose a site on the main line, is that at the present time the Federal Government has no control over the railways of the State, and we are not likely to obtain that control for many years to come.

Mr Kennedy:

– Are we to allow some outside power to dominate the position 1

Mr CONROY:

– We are bound, as reasonable men, to deal with things as they are. We must also remember that, even if we had control of the railways, we should not be able to direct an increased volume of traffic to- the Capital. If it were situate beyond trade routes, we should not be able to make it a trade centre. We must, therefore, choose a site on one of the usual trade routes. ‘ If we do so, there will always be a constant train service to and from the Federal Capital without any additional expense to the Commonwealth. The traffic between Melbourne and Sydney is steadily increasing, and there is no doubt that, when the break of gauge has been abolished, it will still further increase.

Mr MACDONALD-PATERSON:
BRISBANE, QUEENSLAND

– The traffic is not increasing between Melbourne and Sydney. The line is a failure.

Mr CONROY:

– It would, perhaps, be more correct to say that the traffic of the towns along the line is increasing. Of course the two great centres of Melbourne and Sydney are so far apart that it pays to send goods from one city to the other by sea rather than by rail. But the traffic of the towns along the line is undoubtedly increasing, and honorable members should bear that fact in mind. I could quite understand the representatives of Victoria voting for a site like Albury, because it is handy to Melbourne, and nothing could be said against any honorable member who expressed the opinion that the site of the Capital should be as accessible as possible from a city. I have always thought that the section in the Constitution which shuts out the Capital from one of the big cities of the States is a mistake : but we cannot escape from it. Had Albury possessed the climatic advantages which attach to Yass, it might have been accepted as a common meeting-ground, although the selection of that site would be slightly contrary to the spirit of the Constitution, which declares that the Capital shall be in New South Wales Such a selection would be more in conformity with the letter than the spirit of the law. If it possessed other advantages, the fact that it is on the main line of communication between the two great cities of New South Wales and Victoria would outweigh that drawback, but I exclude Albury from consideration on the ground that its climate is practically the same as that of Wagga Wagga and Junee, where the heat is so intense that no one would think of selecting such a place as the site of the capital.

Mr Crouch:

– There is no great extent of Crown lands available in the neighbourhood of Albury.

Mr CONROY:

– If the honorable and learned member had passed a summer at Albury he would not disagree with my view as to its unsuitability. The land in the neighborhood of Albury has long since been selected, and there is not that area of Crown land available that we should desire to acquire. My principal objection to the Tumut site is that it is off the main line, and nothing we might do would remedy that fault. It has been suggested by some honorable members that a railway might be constructed between Albury and Tumut, but, having regard to the traffic that the line would be likely to carry, that is scarcely within the region of practical railway construction. Of course, when we remember the St. Gothard and the Mont Cenis tunnels, we . must realize that it would be possible to construct such a line. The trouble is that we have to go through a succession of ridges.

Mr Skene:

– Is there not a part called the Levels ?

Mr CONROY:

– To get there, one has to go from Wagga, and then strike towards Tumut ; but for the first twenty miles from Tumut at any rate, it is not good country for railway construction. It seems to me that under no circumstances will Tumut ever be situated on a main line of railway. I should have liked to see a railway taken from Tumut to Yass if it had been possible, but a large part of the county of Buccleuch is so mountainous, the ranges running up from the river to an altitude of from 1^500 feet to 1,800 feet, that fifteen or twenty miles of tunnelling would be necessary.

It must be borne in mind that most of the members of the Federal Parliament will for many years to come be residents of either Sydney or Melbourne, and it would be a great inconvenience to them to have to travel to a place sixty miles by rail from the main line. Furthermore, the delays in postal communication would be so great that I do not think that it would be wise to place the Capital on the Tumut site. I think that we ought not to choose a site situated away from the main line. I am in favour of considering a site like the Lake George or the Yass site, because of its proximity to the main line, and because it can be made very beautiful. If it came to a choice between Dalgety and Tumut, I should be bound to remember the many advantages possessed by the former in the way of climate and water supply, though it must not be forgotten that the engineering .difficulties in the way of constructing a railway there from Victoria are so great that such a line is not likely to be built for perhaps half-a-century to come, and when constructed would be a line of steep grades and sharp curves.

Mr Crouch:

– Tumut is out of the question. The New South Wales Government are selling land there now.

Mr CONROY:

– I know, as a surveyor, that there is nearly 100,000 acres of Crown land round Tumut which can be secured for a deposit of 2s. per acre, but no one will take it up. If honorable members think that all the land about Tumut consists of magnificent soil, I would like them to remember that fact.

Mr Kingston:

– What would be the cost of purchasing the land right out 1

Mr CONROY:

– One pound per acre, though, by appealing to the Land Board one could probably have it assessed at 10s. an acre.

Mr Crouch:

– What is its real value ?

Mr CONROY:

– From 4s. to 5s. an acre, though there is a great deal of it which I would not accept even at that price. Of course, I am not speaking of the flats, but of the unalienated Crown land. Some of the flats are very rich. Indeed, there is near Tumut land as good as any in the State, but it is very limited in area. Honorable members who were driven through the district were naturally taken to the best parts, and their attention was carefully diverted from the poor land. It is only those who have gone through the whole district who know what it is like.

Mr Kingston:

– Sellers do not place the bad apples on top.

Mr CONROY:

– No. If Tumut were on the main line, and possessed the feature of ready accessibility, I. might be willing to vote for it : but, under existing circumstances, I am not inclined to do so. Coming now to the Lyndhurst site, I at once admit that it possesses the recommendations of a good climate and an abundant water supply. The Commissioners appear to me too conservative in their estimate of the water supply available. They show, however, that a good water supply could be obtained at a reasonable cost, and that a large flow will be obtained by gravitation. To provide electric power, an immense quantity could be stored by damming the Lachlan, or, as it used to be called higher up, the Fish River. An artificial supply could be made which would serve all practical purposes for a couple of generations to come. There is a lot of fine land near the site. The soil is a decomposed basalt, which, as is well known, is generally very rich. The whole of the whinstone country there contains rich soil. There is a large area of Crown land there which, under ordinary circumstances, would have been alienated long since, but, owing to the operation of the Church and School Lands Act, which was passed thirty or forty years ago, it has been available only under lease, and men will not lease land if they can obtain freeholds. Whatever may be said of the advantages of leasehold tenure, I know that men will pay infinitely more for freehold land than for the leasehold land adjoining it.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The land in question is also exempted from the operation of the Mining on Private Lands Act.

Mr CONROY:

– Yes. Mr. Clarke. - Is it not held under very long leases ?

Mr CONROY:

– A great many of the leases have expired.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– It is supposed to be the best copper country in Australia.

Mr CONROY:

– I suppose that some of it is. At any rate, a great deal of the land in the district is still unalienated, and would pass without cost to the Federal Government. Moreover, the climate of the district is magnificent, and probably the most equable in Australia. Although the district is so far north, the summer temperature has never been known to reach as high as 100 degrees in the shade. “

Mr MACDONALD-PATERSON:

– If the honorable member had been in Queensland he would know something of high temperatures.

Mr CONROY:

– I have travelled many hundred miles in Queensland, and have gone right up to the Gulf. I have not been in places like Cairns, and must, therefore, take its heat records on hearsay ; but I know what the temperature can be in places like Hughenden and Winton. I admit that I should infinitely prefer a temperature of 105 degrees in Queensland to a temperature of 95 degrees in Melbourne. Moreover, allowance must be made in connexion with all coast temperatures for the humidity in the atmosphere as compared with places inland. Lyndhurst possesses an excellent climate, and that is one of the factors that we can hardly leave out of our consideration. It is impossible for us to select an ideal spot, and when I consider the feelings of many of the representatives of Victoria I am bound to confess that, so far as they are concerned, Lyndhurst is a little off the line. If we were not under the necessity of allowing that consideration to influence us, I should undoubtedly place Lyndhurst first, always considering that it already possesses certain means of communication.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Is the small set-off mentioned by the honorable and learned member worth considering’

Mr CONROY:

– I think that we are bound to take into account the facilities that would be afforded to honorable members to go to and from the Federal Capital in order to transact public business. Another feature connected with the position occupied by Lyndhurst relates to the fact that, as soon as the Wellington and Werris Creek railway is constructed - and we may reasonably expect that to take place by the time we are able to locate ourselves in the capital - Brisbane would be within almost the same distance of Lyndhurst as of Sydney. We cannot shut our eyes to the fact that the great trend of population is towards the table-lands of Queeusland and New South Wales. The northern part of New South Wales, including the very fine coast districts, will support a very much larger population than it has to-day, and it seems to me that there is a greater scope for the energies of man in those districts than almost anywhere else in Australia. If our expectations are realized in regard to the districts referred to, Lyndhurst will be much nearer to the great centres of population than it is to-day. Only last month fifty or sixty Victorian farmers banded themselves together to buy a property at Kyogle, in the Richmond River district. They recognised that very little country in Australia is superior to that to be found in the Richmond River district for dairying purposes. I hold that the northern districts of New South Wales and the southern districts” of Queensland are absolutely unequalled for dairying purposes, because the fact that there is practically no winter insures an ample supply of feed all the year round. When all things are considered by and large, and I recognise the impossibility of securing any support for a site at Lake George, I am bound to say that Lyndhurst comes almost first in the list of eligible sites. Of course it has the drawback, that it is not on the main line so far as Victorian representatives are concerned. But if we consider its claims in reference to water supply, the excellence of the soil, the large area of arable land, and the fact that it is on a main line connecting two great systems, the southern and western, and must always remain so, we must place it among those sites which are first on the list. What I have said with regard to Lyndhurst applies almost as strongly to Orange, because a radius of 40 miles from Lyndhurst would cover both sites. In regard’ to Tumut, I would only ask honorable members who may be carried away by their knowledge of the richness of the main valley at that site to remember that at times great heat is experienced there, and that upon one side of the site there is a large area of Crown lands of so little value that they have not been taken up by the public of New South Wales, despite the fact that they might have been secured by paying a deposit of 2s. per acre, and that there is a railway within a few miles of the place.

Mr Watson:

– That is not true. The railway has not been nearer than Gundagai until quite recently. In fact, the line to Tumut is to be opened on Monday next.

Mr CONROY:

– The railway has been constructed to Gundagai for a good many years, and that place is only 25 or 26 miles distant from Tumut.

Mr Watson:

– It is a much greater distance from the country to which the honorable and learned gentleman refers, which is traversed by some of the most difficult roads in New South Wales.

Mr CONROY:

– I admit that, but I am simply showing that, although the district has been settled for nearly sixty years, it has not been developed to any great extent. If the land to which I refer had been of value for grazing purposes, it would have been taken up long ago for use in connexion with far western properties.

Mr Watson:

– The whole of that country is grazed.

Mr CONROY:

– Yes, but it is very poor grazing land.

Mr Watson:

– Is the Gippsland country good for grazing purposes ?

Mr CONROY:

– Only when it is cleared.

Mr Watson:

– Just so ; and it is exactly the same with the country referred to.

Mr CONROY:

– If the same opportunities for selection had been given in Gippsland, the whole of the country would have been taken up many years ago. I quite admit that some of the land still held by the Crown would be excellent for occupation by small settlers if it were cleared. But that does not affect my general argument. Tumut is a place which, it seems to me, must always be off the main line, and I do not consider that the Federal Capital should be situated in any such locality. In this connexion I thoroughly sympathize with those honorable members who feel inclined to vote for Albury, bad as the heat at that place may be. If I had any predilection for a site in the southern district, I should give my vote to Dalgety but for the fact that it is far removed from present means of communication, and that it must be twentyfive or thirty years before the necessary railway works are constructed to connect it with the Victorian and New South Wales systems. But the incidental expense would be enormous. It would be in addition placing a severe tax upon those honorable members whose homes are in Melbourne, because no one pretends that the amount of salary paid to honorable members compensates them in any way. The amount received is to a professional man a mere bagatelle. It is not worth considering. I would sooner receive nothing whatever and not be debited with the receipt of a parliamentry salary than receive such a sum as i3 paid to us. The expenses attached to membership of this Parliament are far too great. Considering that the remuneration is not sufficient to permit of honorable members entering into Federal politics, with the view of attending to that work solely, it is evident that if we wish to retain the services in this. Parliament of members like the honorable and learned member for Indi, we ought not to select a site in a comparatively inaccessible situation. I regret to say that I think we shall, to a large extent, lose the services of men possessing the learning and the legal astuteness of the honorable and learned member to whom I have referred. This is an additional reason for not selecting a place which is off the main lines of railway communication. I confess that I should like to see a site selected somewhere in the vicinity of Lake George or Yass ; but I am bound to tell the Committee that such a site would be in my own electorate, and I may, therefore, be considered as to some extent speaking to order. The knowledge of that fact prevents me, I am afraid, from doing full justice to the site. I ask honorable members to recollect that the site which I advocate is on the main line, and that at a reasonable expense it can be made a place of great beauty, whilst at the same time it possesses all the necessary qualifications in the matter of soil and climate. We must recognise that it is impossible to obtain an ideal spot. If we wait for an ideal place to be recommended, we shall never choose a site. It is impossible to find anywhere in Australia a place to which everybody would be favourable. If there were such a place we should all go to live there.

Mr Brown:

– We cannot agree amongst ourselves as to what is an ideal spot.

Mr CONROY:

– Failing the selection of Lake George, I would point out that Lyndhurst is not far from the main line - certainly no further that Tumut. What is more, it is on what will some day be the main line to Brisbane. The Tumut site never can possess that advantage. Furthermore, Lyndhurst is on what may be called the secondary main line to Sydney. The line is of a first-class character, and not a light pioneer railway like the Tumut line. There must always be a great deal of traffic and there is consequently a greater likelihood of a more frequent train service, which would enable honorable members to reach the capital more easily than would otherwise be the case. As honorable members do not seem to favour the Lake George site, I am bound to say that the next best place is, to my mind, Lyndhurst. The cost of resumption will not be too great, the climate is much better than the Tumut climate, and the soil is quite as good. The area of good land surrounding Lyndhurst is greater, and the quality is better than that surrounding Tumut. I trust that we shall all be actuated by a desire to do the best we can in the selection of a site, looking to the future, and being determined to select such a spot as will afford the greatest scope for development.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I had intended to speak at some length, but I have arrived at the conclusion that those honorable members who desire to see a speedy settlement arrived at will best promote that end by speaking as briefly as possible, or by saying nothing whatever. Of course, it is but right that those of us who have sites in our electorates should say something on the matter, but as honorable members have pretty well made up their minds, 1 do not think that any debate will influence many votes. Having in view the fact that we have almost reached the end of the session, and that this question still has to be settled in another place, I think that I shall be doing my best towards arriving at a speedy determination if I say as little as possible at this stage. With regard to what has been said in favour of Lyndhurst by the honorable and learned member for Werriwa, I would point out that one or two factors were omitted by him, and it is to supply them that I have arisen. In addition to the magnificent metalliferous country there about, some of the best copper country in the whole of Australia is situated near Lyndhurst. It is country which the mining poople of New South Wales have looked upon longingly, lingeringly, and lovingly for many years past. The presence of copper and other minerals in the immediate vicinity must inevitably tend to build up a magnificent city on the site of Lyndhurst, if that site is fortunate enough to be chosen. As honorable members are aware the question of the production of iron in Australia is at present exciting a good deal of attention. It has been ascertained by the Royal Commission appointed to consider the question of paying bonuses, as was indeed known to many of us previously, that the big iron deposits in Australia are within this very site. I refer to the iron deposits of. Cadia and Carcoar, which are within the site selected by the Commissioners. Therefore, with coal deposits also distant only fifty miles, there are all the elements for the production of a huge manufacturing backing to the Capital, supposing it to be located there. I point out that in addition to the ordinary agricultural country which has been shown on investigation to be equal to the agricultural surroundings of any suggested site, there are all the clements which must inevitably create a huge city. These facts ought to be taken into consideration in contemplating the future. It is asserted by everybody that the sooner we can make the Capital site pay for itself, the sooner we can derive a substantial revenue from the land, the better it will be for all concerned. Here, then, I say, are all the elements for at once making the ground surrounding this site of a special value for all manufacturing purposes. These, in conjunction with its other advantages, to my mind, incontestably make out a superior case for the selection of Lyndhurst. I shall content myself with these very brief remarks, and I regret that time does not permit us to thoroughly discuss this important matter. I curtail my remarks for the moment in the belief that by so doing I shall best promote a final and speedy settlement of the question.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– Like the honorable member for Parramatta, I do not intend to delay the Committee in arriving at a decision upon this subject. But before dealing with the merit3 of the sites, I wish to express my regret at the tardiness which has consistently characterized the action of the Government in dealing with this much vexed problem. It is unfair to the House, and to the Commonwealth, that its consideration should have been deferred until the fag end of the session, when some honorable members have been compelled to leave for their homes, and when it is impossible that the question can receive that attention which its importance demands. After Federation had been achieved, I well remember that the electors were exhorted by the late Prime Minister to return men to this Parliament who would respect the terms of the Constitution. He pointed out the danger of electing individuals who might not be disposed to adhere to the strict letter of that instrument of government. I have no desire to refer to the ex-Prime Minister in uncomplimentary terms, because I recognise that it is unfair to attack any person when he is incapable of defending himself. Nevertheless, I blame the Government for permitting two prominent representatives of New South Wales, in the persons of the ex-Prime Minister and the late Vice-President of the Executive Council, to accept high judicial appointments j before this matter had been finally disposed of. The Government promised the people of Australia that effect would be given to the provisions of the Constitution, but before Parliament had had an opportunity of determining the future seat of government two of its members were appointed Justices of the High Court.

The ACTING CHAIRMAN (Mr. Batchelor). - The honorable member will not be in order in discussing that matter.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I contend that I am in order in commenting upon the absence of two prominent representatives of ‘ New South Wales who were pledged to see that the terms of the Constitution were respected. I have no desire to say anything unkind of either of those gentlemen, but it is very much to be regretted that they felt it their duty to accept distinguished judicial offices before this question had been finally decided. It was very important that the” whole of the representatives of the State should be present while it was under consideration, so that a just determination could have been arrived at. I was exceedingly pleased the other evening to hear the references which were made by the Minister for Trade and Customs to the importance of the western site. In reply to an interjection from this side of the Chamber, he declared that if a railway were constructed from Cobar to Broken Hill, thus connecting South Australia by rail with New South Wales, and if a line were built from Werris Creek to Dubbo, or Wellington, it would be possible to consider only one site, namely, the western site. He further admitted that it is our duty to legislate with an eye to the future. That being so, I maintain that no reasonable doubt can be entertained that the two railways to which I have alluded will be an accomplished fact before the lapse of many years. The importance of the country between the points to which I have referred will compel the New South Wales Government to give early consideration to the desirableness of constructing those lines. Indeed, only a few months ago, the New South Wales Parliament sanctioned the construction of a line from Cobar to Wilcannia. The Minister for Trade and Customs admits that if these lines were built, only one site would be worthy of the consideration of honorable members. Owing to the character of its soil, its accessibility, and its many other advantages, I hold that this House should adopt the western site.. W7hilst admitting the superiority of the western site, how can the Minister consistently advocate the selection of another? In speaking of the cost of resumption the other evening, the honorable gentleman pointed out that only a very small area of Crown lands was available in the vicinity of Lyndhurst. In reply to an interjection to the effect that there was a large area of church and school lands in that neighbourhood, he expressed a doubt as to whether they could be considered Crown lands. In this connexion I recollect that upon two occasions the New South Wales Parliament passed a Bill which provided for taking over the church and school lands and administering them as Crown lands. On each occasion the Royal assent was withheld. But in view of the fact that the Government had taken over the expenditure in connexion with our public school system, it was felt that they ought to administer church and school lands as Crown lands. As a result, advantage was taken of the presence of Mr. Reid in England to secure the passage of a Bill which gave effect to that object, and to that measure the Royal assent was finally given. It was clearly laid down in this Act, which was passed in 1897, that church and school lands should be dealt with as Crown lands, and should be considered as such. A considerable area of church and school lands is to be found within the Lyndhurst site, and, according to this Act, they are Crown lands within the meaning of the State law. Honorable members must recognise that it would be an advantage to select a site comprising a large area of Crown land, because, under the Constitution, Crown lands are to be granted to the Commonwealth without any payment therefor, and a large expenditure upon resumption would be avoided. Both Mr. Oliver and the Commission of Experts appointed by the Federal Government, refer in very complimentary terms to the western site. It was originally considered that Bathurst was within the 100-mile limit ; but subsequently the Commissioners selected in that district, outside the limit, a site which possesses all

I the advantages essential for a Federal city.

Honorable members who have visited the

Bathurst district will admit that it comprises a magnificent stretch of country, and that its surroundings are delightful. There are splendid buildings in Bathurst, which could be devoted to Federal purposes. There are, for example, two large public buildings which might be used for the housing of the Federal Parliament, while there are other structures suitable for use as public offices. A magnificent mansion, not far distant from this’ site, could be obtained at no great expenditure as a residence for the GovernorGeneral, and the site possesses many other advantages which deserve consideration. A feature of the western site, which includes Bathurst, Lyndhurst, and Orange, is the presence of large coal beds within a few miles. Timber can also be obtained at no great distance. It is true that the forests are not so close at hand as are those adjacent to some of the other sites, but they would furnish an abundance of timber suitable for building purposes. “We have also sandstone, lime, and marble in abundance there, while at no great distance from the sites we have the largest cement works in Australia. These are considerations which should receive the attention of the Committee, more especially in view of the scarcity of building material and of coal in the neighborhood of some of the other sites, and the cost which would be incurred in conveying fuel to them. It will thus be seen that these sites in the western district possess many advantages. The Government have practically agreed that Bathurst, Orange, and Lyndhurst shall be considered as one site, and I shall, therefore, refer to them as the western site. Lyndhurst has been very favorably reported upon, and, I am sure, will receive a solid .vote, because honorable members will know that if Lyndhurst be selected its claims will be considered in conjunction with those of Bathurst and Orange. The Bill provides that the seat of Government shall be “at or near “ the site selected, and therefore, if the western site were chosen, it would be within the power of the Ministry to establish the seat of Government at either Lyndhurst, Bathurst, or Orange.

Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT

– When did the Government make the agreement to which the I honorable member has just referred 1 !

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– It will be re- ! membered that the motion submitted by the i Government to refer the several suggested sites to a Commission of experts did not include Lyndhurst and Bathurst. I moved an amendment adding their names to the list, and the present Minister for Trade and Customs then distinctly stated that he considered that Lyndhurst, Bathurst, and Orange practically comprised one site.

Sir William Lyne:

– So they do.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– All three are in proximity, and if either of them were chosen it would be within the power of the Government or of Parliament to locate the Capital at any point within their boundaries.

Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT

– The Government have not agreed to take that view of the position.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The seat of government, according to the Bill, is to be “ at or near “ the site selected, and a fair and reasonable interpretation has been placed upon those words by Ministers and honorable members generally. When the honorable member for Richmond moved an amendment last night that the seat of government should be within a radius of sixty miles of the site selected, it was pointed out by the Minister that the words “ at or near “ really covered all that was desired by him.

Sir William Lyne:

– I did not make that statement ; I think that it was made by the Prime Minister.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The Prime Minister said that he considered the words “ at or near “ meant that the Capital should be established anywhere within a reasonable distance of the site chosen.

Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT

– But if Lyndhurst were specifically chosen, could the Government bring in a Bill declaring that the Capital should be established at Bathurst ?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– Parliament might determine that the Capital should be established anywhere between Bathurst and Orange.

Sir William Lyne:

– No great distance separates those sites.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– At the most they are not more than twenty-five miles apart.

Sir William Lyne:

– I do not think that the distance which separates them is so great.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The extreme points of each site are perhaps not more than twenty-five miles apart. Reference has been made to the question of rainfall and water supply, and I desire to briefly refer to that subject. The Commissioners estimate that the cost of a water supply for the Orange site would be very considerable, but the honorable member for Conobolas will deal with that phase of their report. It will be found that the Commissioners estimate that a water supply sufficient for the wants of 40,000 or 50,000 people could be obtained at Bathurst or Lyndhurst at a very moderate cost, and that an increased supply could be secured for a slightly increased expenditure. It is therefore impossible in this respect to take exception to the western site. The Minister for Trade and Customs said recently that, whilst he agreed that the western site would be one of the best if the railways he referred to were constructed, he was afraid that the rainfall there was insufficient. I find, however, from the information supplied by the Commissioners, that the annual rainfall in the Orange district is nearly 38 inches, compared with 31 or 32 inches in Tumut and 24 in Bombala. At Lyndhurst the records, which extend over a period of thirty years, show an average rainfall of about 30 inches. It must be recollected that the Lyndhurst site is only about twenty miles from the Canobolas, and that a large area of the land near that range, upon which the rainfall is considerable, will probably be within the Federal territory. It has been shown by the Commissioners that the western sites come out better in the matter of rainfall than the other sites. I have also pointed out that a very large supply of water could be obtained there at a very moderate cost, and that it could be increased as the requirements of the city grew. It has been the experience in connexion with Washington that a city of this kind grows very slowly ; and it is, therefore, not likely that it will be necessary for many years to come to provide a water supply for a population of more than 40,000 or 50,000 people. With respect to altitude, I think the western site must also receive consideration and support. Temperature is another important factor. Honorable members have no desire to go to a place where the summer temperature will be as high as it is in some of the sites investigated by the Commissioners. The highest temperature recorded at Bombala is 104 degrees, at Tumut 106, at Lyndhurst only 98, and at Albury 117.

Mr Higgins:

– Once the thermometer goes above 90 degrees the differences in temperature are not noticed much.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– If my honorable and learned friend had lived in places like Bourke, or in parts of Queensland, where the thermometer sometimes stands as high as 120, he would not say that.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– What is the lowest temperature which has been recorded at Lyndhurst ?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– 15-4 degrees, as against 15 ‘5 at Bombala.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– Then Lyndhurst is colder than Bombala.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– No ; it is not. At Lyndhurst they have not the terrible winds which prevail at Bombala. I did not desire to refer to Bombala, but as the honorable member has made that remark, I would like to remind the Committee of the opinion expressed by the Minister for Trade and Customs, who, in dealing with this matter, said that although two of the proposed sites were situated in his electorate, he has had no personal interest in it, but that he could not expect honorable members to live in a place like Bombala, where trees would not thrive, and only wheat of an inferior quality can be grown. Taking the average temperature for the four hottest months of the year, I find that the record for Bombala is 78-7 degrees ; for Tumut, 85-7 ; and for Lyndhurst, 78. Contrasting the records for the four coldest months, Bombala has an average temperature of 32-7 and Lyndhurst an average temperature of 35*2, or 3 degrees higher. At Lyndhurst, in consequence of its proximity to a coal mining district, coal can be obtained for 15s. a ton. and at Bathurst it costs only lis. lOd. a ton, whereas at Bombala the cost is from £1 6s. lOd. to £1 7s. 6d. The price of fuel will have an important bearing upon the chances of manufacturing. Close to Lyndhurst there are large deposits of ironstone, and, as the honorable member for Parramatta has pointed out, some of the best copper mines in Australia are not far distant. Looking to the future, we” cannot shut our eyes to the importance of the mineral deposits of the district, and to the fact that coal can be cheaply obtained there for manufacturing and other purposes. Then, again, we have to consider the large extent of agricultural land in the district. When the Werris Creek line is constructed, as it is bound to be very soon–

Mr Clarke:

– The New South Wales Railway Commissioners reported against it.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– They reported adversely to the proposal only because they considered it a little premature. They admitted that in time - and not a very long time - the necessity would be recognised of constructing a railway from W erris Creek across to Dubbo or Wellington. Honorable members know that from Bourke and Orange across to Werris Creek there is some of the finest land in New South Wales, and the necessities of settlement will compel the Government to alford additional railway communication. If a railway be constructed between Werris Creek and Dubbo, the western sice will be brought into very much closer connexion with Queensland and the northern districts of New South Wales. If honorable members look at the table of distances between Lyndhurst and the capitals they will see that, after the railway referred to is constructed, the distance between Brisbane and Lyndhurst will be only 654 miles, and between Brisbane and Bathurst about 668 miles, as compared with 841 miles to Tumut and the 977 miles to Bombala. This shows clearly that from the point of view of the representatives of Queensland the western site is deserving of the most serious consideration. There is no doubt that in the near future we shall also have a railway from Bourke to Port Darwin. I admit that some time may elapse before that work is constructed ; but it is admitted that we are not selecting the Capital site in view of the convenience of the people of the Commonwealth to-day, but that we must consider the probabilities of the future.

Mr Sawers:

– Why did not the honorable member think of Armidale ?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I admit that Armidale is a very important site, but its distance from the southern States places it beyond the limit of consideration at this stage. The western site would offer a fair compromise, so far as the northern districts of New South Wales and the State of Queensland are concerned. Even in view of the distances which would have to’ be covered under existing circumstances in travelling from the various capitals to Lyndhurst, the western site would occupy a position of great advantage. Then, again, the area of land under cultivation is a matter that should not be lost sight of, because it indicates the character of the country in the neighbourhood of the proposed sites. At Bombala, there are 12,513 acres under cultivation. My honorable friend the Minister for Trade and Customs says that trees cannot be grown at Bombala, and “ that wheat cannot be successfully cultivated there.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– Does the honorable member believe that?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I am simply quoting the Minister for Trade and Customs, who, although he tried to place matters before the House in an unprejudiced way, felt called upon to speak in those strong terms against Bombala. I do not wish to say anything unfriendly ; but I simply desire to place before honorable members the considerations which I think should weigh with them in dealing with this important question.

Sir William Lyne:

– I stated that there were no trees at Bombala, and that the country was all open.

Mr.SYDNEY SMITH. - The Minister reiterates his statement that it is impossible to grow trees at Bombala.

Sir William Lyne:

– The only trees there are stunted in growth.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I have seen trees there, and I took it for granted that the Minister referred to the impossibility of growing trees of a suitable kind. The average area of land under cultivation in Tumut during the last eight years ivas 33,329 acres; whereas at Lyndhurst there were 179,303 acres under cultivation, and at Bathurst 119,485. There was about the same area under cultivation in the Orange district. Therefore, within the three western areas - practically one, according to the opinion of the Minister for Trade and Customs - about 400,000 acres of land are under cultivation. That shows, conclusively, the importance of the western sites from the point of view of their suitability for settlement.

Mr Clarke:

– The figures quoted by the honorable member prove nothing.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– My honorable friend must admit that one of the finest tracts of country in the State of New South Wales, when its area is considered, is embraced by the western site.

Mr Clarke:

– I have said nothing against it.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I do not think that anything could be said against that country by any one who knows anything of it. It must also be admitted that when proper means of communication are provided, the area under cultivation must be largely increased. I share the regret of the Minister for Trade and Customs that the New South Wales Parliament have not long since recognised the importance of providing means of communication to these districts. I feel sure that if a railway had been extended from Werris Creek to Dubbo, and from Cobar to Broken Hill, the western site would receive a much larger amount of support than it now goes. The Minister of Customs admits that under circumstances such as I have mentioned the western site would be the only one in the running ; but because the railways have not been constructed he does not regard it favourably. It is admitted that these railways must be constructed very soon, and it is also recognised that we are not legislating merely for the needs of to-day - that it is our duty to so determine this important question that we shall conserve the best interests of the Commonwealth in the future. . I venture to say that no other site can compare with the western site either for rainfall, character of the country, facilities for settlement, extent of mineral resources, or abundance of fuel supply. At no great distance splendid supplies of building material, in the form of sandstone, marble, lime, cement and timber are available; and when the means of communication are improved, the site will be brought within easy reach of the States capitals. I admit that important influences are weighing against the selection of this site. The representatives of Victoria will probably vote solidly against it, because it would not suit their convenience. They desire to have the capital situated in a locality within easy reach from Melbourne, and we do not expect to receive much support from them. It is a matter for regret that the consideration of this question should have been delayed until this late period of the session. The Government professed to attach much importance to the requirements of the Constitution, and they certainly should have brought their proposals before us many months ago. Considerable delay occurred in obtaining the necessary reports, and we are now driven to make a selection at a time when several honorable members, owing to their anxiety to enter upon the electoral campaign, cannot be present to record their votes. I think that the vote of every honorable member should be recorded upon a question of this kind ; but that seems to be impossible at present.

Ils

Mr Kingston:

– It will be a very good thing to have a full vote. ,

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– Yes ; but that is now impossible owing to the delay incurred by the Government.

Mr Kingston:

– The Government have done everything they could to bring the matter forward as quickly as possible.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– My right honorable friend will admit that it is not fair that we should be called upon to decide it at this late period of the session, if it could possibly be avoided. In view of the immense resources of the western district, its splendid climate, good water supply, abundance of building material, wealth of coal meaures, and its accessibility, I think that the House will act wisely in selecting that portion of New South Wales as the most suitable territory in which to establish the future seat of government.

Mr A McLEAN:
GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · PROT

– I have already entered my protest against proceeding in such an unbusinesslike manner, and in the absence of necessary information, to choose the site of the future Federal Capital. I desire once more to say that to me it is a matter of profound regret that so many honorable members-and especially the New South Wales representatives - should have made it quite clear by their speeches that they regard the saving of a few weeks in the final selection of the seat of government as of infinitely greater importance to the Commonwealth than the saving of £100,000 or £200,000 in the cost of its purchase or the securing of the best possible site. But as it has been determined that we shall proceed, in the absence of information necesary to enable us to deal with the matter intelligently, it behoves us to do the best we can with the material at our disposal, and to select the best site possible under the circumstances. If I were making a selection for the immediate future - say for the next ten or twenty years - I should not hesitate for a moment to place Albury first, because it possesses undoubted advantages. In the first place it is on the main trunk line of railway, which is the principal artery of traffic through the different States of the Commonwealth. In the second place it is situated on one of the finest rivers in Australia. In the matter of soil and climate it is about equal to most of the other inland sites. It can also be acquired at’ a very moderate cost. Thus for many years ,to come Albury would be the most convenient of all the sites submitted. But inasmuch as we are selecting a capital »site which is to endure for all time, it would be a mistake to confine our attention too much to the present. We should look to the future. In my opinion the site which offers infinitely the greatest advantages, having regard to the future, is the Monaro site, although not necessarily the Bombala site, which has been reported upon. Personally I am of opinion that a better site is available nearer to the Snowy River. Of course, the greatest drawback to that site is the expenditure which would be involved in constructing the necessary railway communication - in extending the Victorian line from Bairnsdale on the one side, and the New South Wales line for Cooma on the other side. But I would point out that these extensions have been already advocated and the surveys made. I am convinced that, so far as Victoria is concerned, the only reason why the railway has not been extended from Bairnsdale has been the condition of her finances. There is no doubt that that railway can be justified upon its merits, altogether apart from the capital site. If honorable members will look at the map of Victoria they will see that the whole of the country from Bairnsdale to Cape Howe on the one side, and extending from the Australian Alps to the sea on the other, has not a single mile of railway, and is consequently only partially settled. In that territory there is some of the finest land to be found in the whole of Australia. In this connexion I may instance the valley of the Tambo, and the valleys of- the Snowy. Buchan, and other streams.

Mr Isaacs:

– What population would be served by such a railway 1

Mr A McLEAN:
GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · PROT

– Perhaps from 25,000 to 30,000 at the present time, but the country is capable of carrying three or four times that population. To give honorable members an idea of its character, I may mention that 100 bushels of maize to the acre is a common crop there, whereas in America, which is the great maize country, 70 bushels to the acre is regarded as a phenomenal yield. I remember some years ago meeting a maize expert who had devoted the greater part of his life to a study of that product. He had been in Scotland, had travelled through the whole of America, and he also occupied the position of agricultural editor of several leading journals. He informed me that he had seen a few crops in America which averaged 70 bushels to the acre. I asked him what he would think of a crop which yielded 100 bushels to the acre. He replied that there was no such thing in the world. I asked him to come with me, promising that I would show him maize crops which represented 100 bushels to the acre. He consented, and the very first maize-field which we visited was a revelation to him. He admitted freely that it would yield more than 100 bushels to the acre. Subsequently he wrote several interesting articles in the Leader upon these maize crops, and our future possibilities in that direction. But, apart from these river valleys, a good deal of the high land partakes of the character of rich jungle, which when cleared is extremely valuable. Along the route of that line there are magnificent forests of timber. At the present time grey box is being carted to Bairnsdale, whence it is sent by rail to Melbourne.

Mr Henry Willis:

– What is it suitable for?

Mr A McLEAN:
GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · PROT

– For piles and a variety of purposes.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Does the honorable member contemplate that the Commonwealth is going into the agricultural business t

Mr A McLEAN:
GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · PROT

– I am not speaking of the Commonwealth.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The honorable member is speaking of the seat of government for the Commonwealth.

Mr A McLEAN:
GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · PROT

– I am speaking of the reasons which induce me to think that the construction of this particular railway line would be justifiable, altogether apart from the Federal Capital project. Of course if the seat of government were established there, that’ fact of itself would form an inducement to the State Government to proceed with the construction of the line. Moreover, that line would form an alternative route to Sydney through most picturesque country. It would also constitute a trunk line which would be very useful for defence purposes. It would also be largely used by tourists. One of the great advantages which Bombala possesses lies in the fact that it is about equi-distant from Sydney, Melbourne, and Hobart. It is within easy reach of Hobart by way of Twofold Bay, and it is the most central of all the sites submitted to our consideration. To my mind the greatest advantage of all which it possesses is that it is within easy distance of an excellent shipping port. It would be most unfortunate if the Federal Capital were far removed from the seaboard. The Boers in South Africa had a very good reason for trekking several hundred miles inland in order to secure a site for their capital. They desired to get away from’ British rule ; but we do not wish to get away from civilization. We desire to establish our Capital in a locality in which it will be likely to attract population, and a place within a moderate distance of the coast and having reasonable access to a shipping port, is the only possible site. If we acquired a Federal territory far inland we might erect a village there, but the Capital would certainly never assume the dimensions of a city. . I do not wish to say one word against Tumut or any of the other inland sites. They may have merits, but they are more of a negative than of a positive character. They certainly possess no distinctive advantage. They are far removed from the coast and . their climate is very sultry., I know that the Minister of Trade and Customs does not agree with me in regard to tliis matter. I daresay that, as in my own case, the lumbago from which he suffers, is a little less acute when he is living under a simmering sun in the interior. No doubt the climate of Bombala, during the winter months, is somewhat cold.

Sir William Lyne:

– Cold?

Mr A McLEAN:
GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · PROT

– Shall I say that it is a little cool ? It is, at all events, a dry, healthy, crisp climate, in- every way conducive to health. The best proof of the healthiness of the district is to be gained by meeting with people who have lived there for years. I recently renewed my acquaintance with men whom I met at Bombala forty years ago, and no one would have dreamt, from their appearance, that two score years had, in the meantime, passed over them. For about eight months in each year there is no finer climate to be found in the continent of Australia than that of Bombala.

Mr Macdonald-Paterson:

– A lumbago climate.

Mr A McLEAN:
GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · PROT

– I think that my honorable and learned friend, like myself, is rather too old to be transplanted there. Our object should be to establish the capital in a district the climate of which is conducive to health and longevity. Any competent doctor would say that the average life in the Bombala district is eight or ten years greater than the average life in any of the inland sites. Having regard to the future, that is by no means an unimportant factor, Bombala is admirably adapted for the pur- I poses of a sanatorium, and if the capital were established there, it would be a popular

I health resort during seven or eight months in the year. But the great advantage which it possesses over all other sites is that it is within easy distance of a port. The Bombala district runs down to the Snowy River, which is one of the finest in the Commonwealth. It is a magnificent stream, while the waters of the Delegate are as pure as any to be found in Australia. The scenery there is delightful. The rolling downs, which meet the eye of the visitor who gazes in a westerly direction from Bombala, look like the ocean. Studded here and there with clumps of timber, they stretch away for miles, and in the far-off distance one sees Mount Kosciusko. Not one of the other proposed sites possesses such advantages. They consist of dull, uninteresting grazing country, sweltering under an intense heat, and although the climate may be pleasant in winter, it is most disagreeable during the summer months. It has been asserted that Bombala will not grow trees, or anything else ; but if honorable members turn to the report of the Commissioners they will find an interesting return, obtained from the New South Wales Agricultural Department, showing the average crops grown in each of these districts during a period of eight years. The return deals with wheat, maize, oats, and barley, as well as w’ith potatoes. Wlgn we take the aggregate figures relating to wheat, maize, oats, and barley, and divide them by four, in order to get the average yield of each crop, we find that Lyndhurst gives an average of 13 bushels to the acre; Bathurst, Lake George, and Orange, 14 bushels ; Albury, 15 bushels; Armidale, 18 bushels ; Tumut, 19 bushels, and Bombala, 24 bushels.

Mr.Watson. - But for what area?

Mr A McLEAN:
GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · PROT

– The area is set forth in the report, and is very considerable. I know that some of my honorable friends who are banded together with a view to select one of these sweltering inland ovens in the western district are afraid of the competition of Bombala, and have combined to raise every possible objection to it.

Mr Henry Willis:

– What is the quality of the grain grown in the respective districts? That is an important consideration.

Mr A McLEAN:
GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · PROT

– The quality is not mentioned, but I would ask my honorable friend to state what crops furnish the best test of good land. Maize will test good land more thoroughly than will any other crop, while potatoes also afford an excellent guide. I admit that cereals - in the production of which Bombala excels. - will grow in very indifferent land ; but while the yield of maize in that district is some 40 bushels to the acre, the yield in any of the other districts is not more than about 20 bushels to the acre.

Mr A Paterson:

– The maize grown in the Bombala district is cut for green fodder. That fact is distinctly stated in the report.

Mr A McLEAN:
GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · PROT

– But the report gives a return showing the number of bushels to the acre. How could the Commissioners show the number of bushels to the acre if the maize were cut for green fodder ?

Mr A Paterson:

– They have made a guess.

Mr A McLEAN:
GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · PROT

– Bombala is not at the head of the list so far as the production of potatoes is concerned, but it is within one point of it. Without mentioning the names of all the sites, I would point out that, according to the report, the yield of potatoes to the acre, in the several districts is as follows: - 1’6 tons, 1/7 tons, 1-8 tons, 2-2 tons, and 2-5 tons. Then comes Bombala, with a yield of 2’6 tons per acre, and Armidale, with a yield of 2-7 tons. Armidale is therefore only one decimal point ahead of Bombala. The return shows that in the production of crops which furnish the best test of good land, Bombala is considerably ahead in the one case, and within one decimal point of the highest in the other.

Mr HENRY Willis:

– What about the quality of the potatoes ?

Mr A McLEAN:
GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · PROT

– I have eaten as good potatoes there as the honorable member has ever tasted.

Mr HENRY Willis:

– Obtained from Warrnambool or Mount Gambier !

Mr A McLEAN:
GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · PROT

– No. I have seen them dug out of the ground. I am reminded that the Snowy River would be invaluable for generating water power for any use

Mr Watson:

– If it could be shifted to Bombala it would be valuable.

Mr A McLEAN:
GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · PROT

– We are .dealing with the whole of the territory. I do -not mean to suggest that the township of Bombala should necessarily be the site of the Capital. I am dealing with Southern Monaro as a whole, and if we determine to establish the Capital in that district we shall, no doubt, be at liberty to select the best site there. I do not wish to further detain honorable members. I can only express the hope that when we come to a vote the best possible selection in the interests of the Commonwealth will be made.

Mr KNOX:
Kooyong

– My honorable friend who has just resumed his seat has given voice to a sentiment which I am sure every honorable member will re-echo, for undoubtedly we all desire that the best site shall be selected. I have ventured, at different stages in the discussion of this question, to join with the honorable member for Gippsland in entering my protest against the proposal to select the site of the Capital in this premature manner. I feel, however, that we have no.w to address ourselves to only one object - to secure the most suitable site for the Capital. The honorable member for Gippsland has referred to the long life enjoyed by those who reside in the Bombala district, and I have the assurance of honorable members who recently inspected that very rugged country, that whilst there they saw men cutting grain crops with sickles. There, some of the most primitive conditions of life prevail. An honorable member reminds rae that they have but small crops to gather ; but I have no personal knowledge of that matter. The people who live in this part of Australia, which so closely resembles Switzerland, lead such a calm, uneventful life, and have so little to excite them, that it would hardly be wonderful if they lived for ever. But the proposition that we should establish a Federal Capital in such a cold and inaccessible district cannot be seriously considered. There is one reason for which I and others who, like me, object to precipitate action in dealing with this question now, might support the Bombala site, and it is that if that site were chosen the difficulties in the way of establishing a capital there would probably be so great that nothing would be done for the next twenty-five or fifty years. The cost of making a railway to bring the district into touch with the outer world would of itself be so enormous that Parliament could not be expected to sanction such an undertaking for many years to come.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The cost of such a line has been estimated at £2,000,000.

Mr KNOX:

– Probably even the most conservative estimate would be very much below the actual cost. That is the almost invariable experience with regard to public expenditure.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Will the honorable member vote for the Lyndhurst site ?

Mr KNOX:

– Judging by the temper of honorable members, we are committed to the immediate selection of a site. If we select a site immediately, we must have regard to existing conditions, and to the convenience oE those who will have to travel to the Capital to attend the meetings of Parliament, not only from Sydney and Melbourne, but from the other States.

Mr Fowler:

– Is not regard to be paid to the future %

Mr KNOX:

– I have already protested against the action of honorable members in forcing on a decision of the question, instead of waiting until a time when regard can be paid to the future. I hold that we should pause, and deal with the matter more thoughtfully than is possible at the present time. The proposed sites which are situated south of Sydney, and within a convenient distance of the main line between Melbourne and Sydney, will best serve the immediate purposes of a capital, and I favour the selection of one of those sites.

Mr Kingston:

– Of which one?

Mr KNOX:

– I have consistently said that I believe the Albury district to be the best site for the capital, if we are forced to precipitately choose a site. To my mind, in choosing a site now, we are dealing with the question years before it is necessary to do so.

Mr MACDONALD-PATERSON:
Brisbane

– I am very disappointed with the speeches which have been delivered upon this subject. In my opinion, honorable members in discussing the proposed sites have made a sight of themselves. I do not like the tone of the debate. There has been too much parochialism and particularity. We have had the advocacy of the Tumut site, and of the Albury site.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– What about the Lyndhurst site ?

Mr MACDONALD-PATERSON:

– The Lyndhurst site is out of the question. The railway from Sydney to that district, in passing through Bathurst, traces on the map a dog-leg outline, of which it is the furthest extremity. I am extremely sorry that the selection of the Capital site has not been left for the future, and I express that opinion as a Queenslander, and above all an Australian. We shall all make a capital blunder if we proceed to select the Capital site to-day.

Mr CLARKE:
Cowper.

– I do not know that there is much to be gained by addressing oneself to this question at any great length this afternoon ; but the opportunity to take part in the selection of a site for the future capital of Australia is an unique one. I, and I think other honorable members, approach the question from a national point of view. In dealing with it, I have tried to divest myself of political and personal feeling, and to choose the site which, in my humble judgment, will be the best for the Commonwealth. When honorable members were given an opportunity to visit the proposed sites for purposes of inspection, I took advantage of.it to visit each one of them, and used what knowledge I have acquired in various parts of New South Wales in making a comparison between them. But as the time for making a final choice approaches nearer, the task appears to grow in importance, because the site of the Federal Capital once chosen will probably stand for all time. I do not agree, however, with those who urge the postponement of this question, and who say that we have not yet sufficient information upon which to decide it. When they speak of a future decision, they mention no time, and do not even suggest a postponement until next Parliament. I maintained, when seeking election, and I still hold, that this question should engage the earliest possible attention of the first Parliament. I undertake to say that most of those who cry out that they have not sufficient information, made no attempt to avail themselves of the facilities offered for visiting the various sites, and that, if the question were postponed for ten years, many of them would then still be asking for a postponement. I shall not dwell at length upon the merits or demerits of the various sites. If I were to vote for that site, the selection of which would most benefit the constituency I represent, I should vote for Armidale; and if I agreed with other honorable members, that we should give consideration to the possible distribution of population 100 years hence, that site would have my support. There is, however, a serious objection to it, and that is, that it has no natural harbor on the eastern seaboard of Australia, nor is it near any part of the coast where an artificial harbor could be made unless by an enormous expenditure. I regard the proximity of a harbor to the Capital as one of the first essentials.

Mr McDONALD:
KENNEDY, QUEENSLAND · ALP

-paterson. - It would be a source of great danger.

Mr CLARKE:

– It might be a source of danger if the Capital were situated near the seaboard, but if it were fifty or sixty miles inland, and separated from the coast by a high mountain range there would be no danger whatever.

Mr Thomson:

– Under those circumstances, the harbor would not be of much value to the Capital.

Mr CLARKE:

– The seaboard would always be open to attack, no matter where the Capital might be. It is stated that if Bombala were selected, and Eden were made a Federal port, it would be necessary to fortify it. I take it that it will be accessary in any case to fortify Twofold Bay. As this country grows, even though the capital may not be situated at Bombala, not only Twofold Bay but every other port which has a safe entrance, including Jervis Bay and Broken Bay, will have to be fortified. As T have stated, if I were to consider only the gratification of my own constituents, I should vote for Armidale ; but I do not intend to do so, for the reason that that site does not control a harbor at the nearest point on the seaboard.

Mr Cameron:

– Washington has no harbor.

Mr CLARKE:

– That is all the worse for Washington.

Mr Cameron:

– I do not think so.

Mr CLARKE:

– I do. We have many natural harbors in New South Wales, which, owing to the policy of centralization adopted in the past, have never been put to their proper use. An opportunity is now afforded to us to open and utilize a natural harbor, and to develop a territory which has been very much neglected in the past. We have an opportunity to acquire a territory which has. not been developed to any degree worth mentioning. The honorable member for Macquarie compared the quantity of wheat produced at Orange and other western sites with the quantity grown at Bombala. I interjected that there was no value in such comparisons. Wheat is not grown at Bombala for the simple reason that it is sixty miles away from the nearest railway.

An Honorable Member. - What about the port ?

Mr CLARKE:

– The port also is sixty miles away, and the farmers could not be expected to grow wheat and cart it down sixty miles by means of horse teams.

Mr Brown:

– In the Canobolas district they cart wheat seventy-five miles.

Mr CLARKE:

– There may be isolated cases in which the yield is so great that farmers may be tempted to do as the honorable member has described, but I venture to say that they cannot make very much out of it. So far, Bombala has been essentially a pastoral district. I do not place it in the forefront of the districts of New South Wales suitable for agricultural purposes. I flatter myself that I am too good a judge of country to fall into an error of that kind. I do assert, however, with the greatest confidence, that there is sufficient good land in the Bombala district to supply all those articles which the climate will permit to be grown there.

Mr Kennedy:

– Every particle of earth in Bombala must be tied down to prevent it from being blown away.

Mr CLARKE:

– I have heard that and other tarradiddles before, and I am becoming sick of them. If any honorable member knows of a site which upon its merits can compete against Bombala, by all means let him advocate it ; but there is no need to make misrepresentations, or to indulge in exaggeration.

Mr Watson:

– There is no misrepresentation about the wind at Bombala.

Mr CLARKE:

– We know that there are high winds there ; but will the honorable member say that there are no high winds at Bathurst, or Orange, or Lyndhurst. Every district of a high elevation must be more or less exposed to strong winds. I spent my school days at Bathurst, and I know exactly what the wind is like there. The statement of the honorable member for Kennedy that the wind blows the soil away at Bombala is on a par with the assertion that trees will not grow in the district of Southern Monaro. I regret to say that that statement was made, probably in the heat of argument, by the Minister for Trade and Customs. I find that the Minister, in 1891-, when speaking in the New South “Wales Parliament, said -

I think that if there is a district in which a railway should be constructed it is from the tableland to the port of Eden. There is no finer port in the colony, and there is no finer country at the back of it. “What does “at the back of it” mean?

It is certainly to be regretted that the construction of the line has been left so long in abeyance There is no possible doubt that Eden must become a great shipping port and a great centre of population.

It is all very well to indulge in exaggeration ; but I think that this matter is too serious to be made the subject of misleading statements. Mr “W. S. Campbell, the Chief Inspector of Agriculture in New South Wales, was called upon to give evidence before the Commission of Experts appointed to report on the sites for the Capital. Here is a passage from his evidence -

The Chairman:

– The districts for the Inspector of Stock and the Police have different boundaries. That for the Inspector of Stock is put down at 699,000 acres, carrying at least 400,000 odd sheep. It is carrying more than that at the present moment. What is your opinion ?

Mr. Campbell. I am allowing for seasons, taking them all round, and I think that a sheep for 2 acres is a fair estimate. I was not aware of that return. My view is from personal observation.

The further evidence given by Mr. Campbell shows that 700,000 acres in the Bombala district are carrying 500,000 sheep, or at the rate of 1 sheep to 1^ acres. If that is not good enough country, I should like to know what is.

Mr Watson:

– It is very fair, but it is nothing extraordinary.

Mr CLARKE:

– It is very good country. Whilst I desire that every acre embraced within the Federal territory should be productive land, I do not think it is necessary that we should have the rich agricultural area which some honorable members favour. It must be recollected that if the capital were situated at Bombala the population there would be able to draw -from the highly productive districts of Bega supplies of those articles which could not be produced upon the table-land. It is impossible to expect any one place, upon a table-land or anywhere else, to produce everything. One of the first considerations should be to secure a site at a good elevation. The bulk of our population is concentrated along the seaboard, and I ask honorable members what inducements would be offered to people bent upon holidaymaking or recuperation of health to regard the Federal Capital as a sanatorium if it were situated at Tumut or Albury. Tumut would be a perfect stewpan, and Albury would be worse still. I have a great respect for the capabilities of the Albury district, but we do not wish to have the Capital located in a district with such a high range of temperatures. The heat experienced there and at Tumut is, in* my opinion, an insuperable obstacle to the selection of those places.

Mr Wilkinson:

– We do not want to go to Bombala.

Mr CLARKE:

– Perhaps it would not suit the honorable member’s individual convenience. Probably in ten years time the situation of the Federal Capital will be a matter of supreme indifference to me ; but our object should be to so locate it that the climate shall be suitable for rearing a sturdy population. The effect of the sea coast climate upon the rising generation is enervating.

Mr Thomson:

– What about the Hawkesbury natives ?

Sir William Lyne:

– The finest race of men in Australia.

Mr CLARKE:

– It must be remembered that a great many of the Hawkesbury natives live above Windsor, some considerable distance inland. Moreover it is not before a generation or two that the full effects of climate are felt. There is a good deal of imagination about some of the descriptions of the Hawkesbury natives. It used to be thought that a Hawkesbury native was a prodigy, but I have seen men in other places quite as stalwart and as powerful. If scientists were appealed to they would with one voice attest that those who are born and reared in localities at a considerable elevation, and in a cool climate, are hardier than are those of the same race brought up in the humid climate of the sea coast. A change from one climate to the -other is good at all times, and that is one of the reasons why I wish to have a Capital site from which easy access may be had to the sea coast. When I speak of Bombala, I mean Southern Monaro. I do not bind myself to Bombala, particularly, because, as a matter of fact, I regard the site at Dalgety as possessing in some respects advantages beyond those to which Bombala can lay claim.

Another passage from Mr. Campbell’s evidence reads as follows : -

What is your opinion of the soil in this district for agricultural purposes? - It is excellent soil, but the cultivation areas will be limited. It is essentially a pastoral district, and always will be. Compared with Riverina and about Cootamundra the areas for agriculture will be found comparatively small.

I admit that readily. Mr. Campbell goes on to say -

I doubt whether wheat-growing here could conqjete with those larger areas where they have miles of land already fit for the plough. I think they could grow a better quality of wheat here, like that from Manitoba, which brings a very high price in Sydney, and reaches a price as high as ?3 a ton more. It is imported purposel)’ to mix with our poorer wheat. I should think the average here would be from 20 to 25 bushels if carefully cultivated, and it would be used chiefly for mixing with the lighter flour wheats. The land about here is difficult to work, compared witli the lighter soils in other parts of the State and otlier countries. It should come out pretty well the same as in England, where they have an average of about 28 to 30 bushels per acre, which is the highest average in the world.

No honorable member says “ hear, hear “ to that.

Mr Kennedy:

– Because it is prospective.

Mr CLARKE:

– It is the opinion of an expert. The same witness proceeds -

They cannot compete with the wheats grown in these States, America and Russia, and other large countries where a great deal of machinery is used, and they work very eheapry.

Mr. Campbell was also asked his opinion with regard to the suitability of the soil for tree growing, and, in reply, he says

I think a great variety of trees, including pines, should grow there. The pine chiefly grown is piimsinsignuis; the timber is of no value. It should grow there, and other pines should succeed. Oaks, elms, and poplars should grow well also. The black walnut should do well, and many varieties of oaks. There should be no difficulty at all about ornamental trees.

That is the evidence of a gentleman who is quite disinterested in this matter, and I hold that it entirely refutes the opinions which have been expressed by honorable members concerning Bombala. I should like to place before the Committee a few figures which will show the comparison which the land around Bombala bears to that in the immediate vicinity of the other sites. I shall give the official valuation of the lands in the different districts - valuations which have been compiled by the officers of the Lands Department. According to these, the cost of resuming 100 square miles of territory in the neighbourhood of Albury would be ?252,S00, or ?3 19s. per acre. The value of a similar area at Armidale is set down at ?317,420, or ?4 19s. per acre. The cost of acquiring 64,000 acres at Bathurst is estimated at ?1,354,065, or ?21 3s per acre. Of course that estimate includes the cost of resuming a portion of the city of Bathurst. The value of a similar area in the vicinity of Bombala is calculated at ?361,730, or ?5 13s per acre. Considering the fact that Bombala possesses no railway facilities, and is not accessible to market, surely the land in that neighbourhood compares favorably with the land surrounding the other sites.

Sir William Lyne:

– But that estimate includes the town of Bombala itself.

Mr CLARKE:

– That is so. But the improved value of the land within the township of Bombala, according to the municipal returns, is ?72,565, and the area embraced in it is approximately 6,000 acres, or three miles square. Deducting that area from the 64,000 acres, it will be seen that the actual value of the land works out at ?4 19s. per acre. The land outside the municipal area of Bombala ‘is valued at ?5 per acre, as against ?3 19s. in the case of Albury. The value of the land at Bombala and Armidale is, therefore, about equal.

Mr Kennedy:

– That proves the absurdity of the whole of the estimate.

Mr CLARKE:

– Even if the estimate will not bear analysis, the soil at Bombala cannot possibly be as inferior as some honorable members wish to make it appear. I take it that that estimate has been made either upon the basis of the rents which the the Crown is receiving from the land or upon its productiveness. Even at Tumut, where admittedly there is some very good soil indeed - the best in New South Wales - its average value is only about ?4 19s. per acre. Although Tumut is not upon the main line of railway, I should be disposed to vote for it but for its climate. It is too hot. Moreover the area of productive land - I do not refer to agricultural land - which can be acquired in a compact and symmetrical block, is comparatively limited. I will undertake to say that if we selected a territory twenty miles square at Tumut we should embrace a lot of mountainous country which would not feed a goat. That is not the sort of land that we require.

Mr Watson:

– Wherever we go we shall get that. We can get mountainous country at Bombala.

Mr CLARKE:

– We can, if we choose to go up into the mountains. At Tumut, however, we have no alternative. Are we going to take over a straggling area of country, comprising 100 square miles, which shall be four miles long by twenty-five miles wide, and which shall extend only along the river valley 1 No sensible man would ever seriously entertain a proposal of that kind.

Mr Watson:

– There is poor country within a mile or two of Bombala.

Mr CLARKE:

– But we need not take it. We can easily select a tract of country twenty miles by twenty near Bombala, which will contain very little bad land.

Mr Conroy:

– I was there upon one or two occasions, when the temperature was below freezing point.

Mr CLARKE:

– I will undertake to say that if the honorable and learned member will visit Lyndhurst, Orange, or Lake George, upon some occasions when the weather is capricious he will also find the temperature below freezing point. I attach no importance to that statement.

Mr Isaacs:

– But the report of the Commission says that the mean temperature for four months is 32 degrees.

Mr CLARKE:

– Personally, I think that Parliament should sit there during the summer months.

An Honorable Member. - Why not in winter too ?

Mr CLARKE:

– I hope that we shall not take the present Parliament as a standard of what future Parliaments will do. I pity the future of this country if honorable members are to be .compelled to sit as continuously as we have sat during the currency of the present Parliament. Some one has raised the question of accessibility. I admit that that raises one of the most serious objections which can be urged to the Southern Monaro site.

Mr Isaacs:

– It is insuperable.

Mr CLARKE:

– I do not admit that. The distance from Cooma t® Southern Monaro is about 60 miles, and the New South Wales Railway Commissioners have already recommended the construction of that line. I think it will be admitted that they are about the most conservative body that we could possibly meet in a matter of this kind. They would not recommend the construction of a line of railway unless they were thoroughly justified in so doing.

Mr Conroy:

– They propose to take it round by Nimitybelle.

Mr CLARKE:

– Yes. They have already recommended the construction of the line. The honorable and learned member for Indi declares that the inaccessibility of Bombala constitutes an insuperable obstacle to its selection. If he will read the “evidence of the Victorian engineers upon that point, he will change his opinion. Not only is it possible to construct a railway there, but the engineering reports are by no means unfavorable to the prospects of that line.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Who will construct it?

Mr CLARKE:

– I presume that the Victorian Government will be in a position to undertake the work. We must not assume that because money is tight at the present moment it will always remain so.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I was speaking of the extension of the railway on the New South Wales side.

Mr CLARKE:

– The New South Wales Government will construct that. If the Railway Commissioners have already recommended its construction upon a commercial basis, there will be a still stronger incentive to undertake the work if the Federal Capital is established there. Honorable members must understand that even up to date the surveys have not been very complete with regard to railway construction on the Victorian side, I understand that the last survey was made more carefully, that more time was spent upon it than on any of the .previous surveys; and I take it, therefore, that the latest cost is the most reliable.

Mr Watson:

– I think that the last esti1 (mate was. more than £1,000,000.

Mr CLARKE:

– I have already mentioned the figures. One estimate for the construction of a line from Bairnsdale to the New South Wales border is £816,000, and I think that the highest is about £1,250,000.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– £3,000,000 for the three routes.

Mr CLARKE:

– The honorable member is adding the cost of all the alternative routes all together.

Mr Watson:

– The estimate of £816,000 for the construction of the line from Bairnsdale, is a ridiculous one.

Mr CLARKE:

– If the honorable member is prepared to say that he knows more about these matters than do the experts, I can say no more.

Mr Watson:

– The evidence given before the New South Wales Public Works Committee shows that it would be ridiculous to expect to have the work carried out for £816,000. One of the Victorian Commissioners gave evidence before the committee as to the several routes.

Mr CLARKE:

– I am simply stating the approximate figures. I have no desire to weary honorable members by reading lengthy extracts from the printed evidence.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– We have read it.

Mr CLARKE:

– That should be sufficient. The evidence shows that the engineering difficulties in the way of the construction of this line are not insurmountable. I admit that, owing to the nature of the country to be traversed, the cost would be heavy, but still the line could be built.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Neither of the Governments would offer to construct it.

Mr CLARKE:

– The honorable member speaks with the greatest assurance, as if it were possible for him to foretell what they would do. A mere assertion of that kind is of no value.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– It isas valuable asis the honorable member’s statement that the State Governments would construct the lines.

Mr CLARKE:

– I have made no such statement. I have simply put the estimates before the Committee, in order that honorable members may judge for themselves whether there is any probability of the construction of the line. I quoted these figures because the honorable and learned member for Indi said that there were insuperable difficulties in the way.

Mr Watson:

– I. would ask the honorable member to take note of the fact that the lowest figure quoted by him relates only to the construction of the line from Bairnsdale to the Victorian border. It is an estimate of the cost of constructing the line to the low lands below Bombala and near the coast.

Mr CLARKE:

– There would be a still further rise to Bombala ?

Mr Watson:

– Yes.

Mr CLARKE:

– Perhaps that is so. I have no desire to mislead the House. I wish now to refer to the evidence given by a Sydney engineer as to the possibilities of the water power of the Southern Monaro site. We might well consider the great advantage that would be derived from the selection of a site in connexion with which it would be possible to utilize to its fullest extent the enormous water - power now running to waste.

Mr G B EDWARDS:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– That is the honorable member’s strongest point.

Mr CLARKE:

– It is a good one. No other site has the same volume of water - power running to waste. I do not suggest that we shall be able to bring everything into working order at the wave of the magician’s wand j but one estimate prepared by this gentleman for a temporary scheme shows that water-power equal to 20,000 horse-power could be secured. Another scheme provides for water-power equal to 19,200 horse-power, and a still, further scheme for 68,000 additional horsepower, making a total of over 100,000 horse-power available. Are we going to lightly turn aside from this consideration ? Are we to pay no regard to the fact that a perfect water supply can be obtained for Bombala? It is true that pumping would be necessary, but as it could be carried on by electric power - by utilizing energy now running to waste - it would make very little difference whether a supply were secured by means of a pumping or a gravitation scheme. The Federal Capital, if established in this district, will have ample waterpower to provide ‘for its lighting by electricity. By putting the Snowy River in harness, as the people of the United States have done with the Niagara, we should be able to secure ample power for lighting the ‘ capital by electricity, and we should also secure a fine water supply. I wish now to say a few words in relation to the Lake George site, which I visited in company with other honorable members. I was sadly disappointed with it. I went there expecting to see a lake or something worthy of the name ; but instead I found a marsh. It might be possible to construct an artificial lake there. I understand that, according to the opinions of engineers who have made the necessary surveys, it is possible to restrict the area of the natural lake, and to obtain a supply of water from the Molonglo River sufficient to make a permanent lake.

It would take some time to carry out a work of that magnitude. I would ask honorable members who object to the Bombala site ‘ because of the difficulties of connect- ‘ ing it by rail with Bairnsdale - difficulties which I candidly admit - how long it would take to reclaim Lake 1 George, and to convert it into a picturesque and attractive feature of the Federal area.

Mr Brown:

– No longer than it would take to construct a railway to Bombala.

Mr CLARKE:

– -I should not like to make such an assertion. The honorable member knows perfectly, well that the country between Cooma and Bombala presents no engineering difficulties, and that the Railway Commissioners of New South Wales have already recommended the extension of the railway from Cooma. The only objection that can be urged against Bombala is that, owing to the engineering difficulties, there would probably be great delay in connecting it by rail with Bairnsdale. I can draw my own conclusions from the evidence, and I repeat that those difficulties are not insurmountable. They certainly should not deter us from selecting Bombala when we believe it to be the best site. The honorable member for Macquarie and the honorable and learned member for Werriwa held out as a bait to this Committee the statement that there was a considerable area of church and school lands in the vicinity of Lyndhurst. Let me assure honorable members that that is not the case. The holders of the church and school lands to which my honorable friends referred were permitted, under the very Act from which the honorable member for Macquarie quoted, to apply for a new tenure under certain provisions of the Land Act. Those tenants are to-day in possession of most of the land.

Mr Thomson:

– They have leaseholds.

Mr CLARKE:

– But what is a homestead selection t Is it not a perpetual lease ? Why should the honorable member quibble in this way t

Mr Thomson:

– There are other leaseholds. nMr. CLARKE. - I admit that some of the land was offered to the public under other classes of leases, such as settlement or improvement leases ; but I venture to say that all land of suitable quality in the district, with the exception of the reserves, has been taken up under homestead selection, and that there is not an acre there which would be worth acquiring. It is unfair to mislead the Committee into the belief that we could immediately obtain possession of a considerable area of Crown land at Lyndhurst.

Mr Brown:

– In one case, we should have to buy back the fee-simple, and in the other we should not.

Mr CLARKE:

– We should have to acquire the vested interests which these tenants have secured. I wish to clearly put the position before the Committee, because honorable members might reasonably have inferred from the statement made by .the honorable member for Macquarie that we had merely to take possession of this land from the State of New South Wales.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– There are no difficulties in the way ?

Mr CLARKE:

– If we tried it, a considerable sum would have to be paid to the tenants. Unfair comparisons have been made of the areas of land under cultivation at Tumut, Orange, and Bombala. I think I have already pointed out that there is no inducement to grow wheat in Bombala.

Mr Kennedy:

– They cannot grow it there.

Mr CLARKE:

– I have a very great respect for the opinion of the honorable member ; but when lie asserts that wheat cannot be grown in Bombala, and asks me to believe that statement, he makes too great a demand upon my credulity.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Are there any iron or coal deposits ‘at Bombala ?

Mr CLARKE:

– The honorable member for Macquarie pointed out that Bathurst was not far distant from the Lithgow coal and iron mines ; but if we established the Capital at Bombala, we should not require coal. We should do all our lighting and heating by electricity, and should drive our machinery by electricity.

Sir Malcolm Mceacharn:

– How should we generate our electricity ?

Mr CLARKE:

– By water power. Mr. Pridham, one of the witnesses examined by the Commissioners, stated that in three and a quarter miles the Snowy River fell a distance of some 200 feet. The Southern Monaro district offers Us an opportunity to develop what is practically a new province. I have already lightly touched upon its advantages as a sanatorium ; and I would point out that unless we establish the Capital in a locality which will be popular as a health resort, many years will elapse before it will attain that degree of success and importance that it ought to achieve. If we erect the Capital in a basin - in a stifling climate - it will be absurd to expect people to go there.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Where can a better climate than tha,t of Lyndhurst be obtained ?

Mr CLARKE:

– I have nothing to say against the climate of Lyndhurst, but, weighing the advantages of the Bombala site against those of each of the others, I say that it is undoubtedly the best. It is a good thing that we are to be allowed a free hand in voting upon this national question, and it will grieve me very much if any other site than Bombala is selected.

Mr BROWN:
Canobolas

– I know that if this matter is to receive anything like fair consideration at the hands qf honorable members, it must be dealt with at an early stage, and that the longer the decision is delayed the less the possibility of obtaining a representative, vote upon it. Several honorable members have already left for their constituencies in the other States, so that we cannot to - night obtain the full voting strength of the Committee. If a vote is taken to-night the number of members voting will be less than the number of those who would have voted last night, but it will be larger than the number of those who will be here to vote next week. That being so, I have to choose between shortening my address as much as possible or discussing the subject at length, and risking the loss of considerable support. It is for this reason that I again feel called upon, to protest against the delay in dealing with the matter. I strongly supported the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, and assisted the Government as much as possible in regard to it. Apparently, however, they were only playing with the measure. That being so, they should have dealt with the Capital site question earlier, so that we could devote a reasonable amount of time and attention to it. No doubt one of the reasons why it has not been dealt with earlier is that the Government have not been in a position to place all necessary information before honorable members. Some of that information - such as copies of the minutes of the Capital Sites Commission, and certain exhibits to which reference has been made - is not available even now, while we have not yet been supplied with the statement which Mr. Oliver, in the report in which he so severely criticised the recommendations of the Capital Sites Commission, says he is preparing for publication by the Government Printer of New South Wales. This question is important, not only to the Commonwealth, but to the State of New South Wales, one of whose constituencies I represent, and, therefore, I am justified in entering this protest. Furthermore, the voting power of that State has been reduced by the resignation of the late Prime Minister. He pledged himself to honorable members and to the people of the State of New South Wales to carry the matter through, but he abandoned the undertaking directly a difficulty occurred between the two Houses. Surely there was no great hurry for the constitution of the High Court. That matter might have been allowed to stand over for a few weeks longer. Had Sir Edmund Barton remained in Parliament, the State of - New South Wales would have had the advantage of his influence and vote. However, that is a matter which cannot be remedied now, and it is one to which I shall not, in view of the limited time at my disposal, refer to at greater length. If honorable members will look at the map of New South Wales they will see the relative positions of the proposed sites. On the southern table-land there are two sites - Bombala and Dalgety - which are so near the Victorian boundary that a considerable portion of the catchment area of one of them is within the State of Victoria. Further west, on the banks of the Murray, and practically toppling over into Victoria, is the much advocated Albury site. Northward of it lies Tumut, and, still nearer Sydney, the Lake George site. Then, west of the Blue Mountains and on the high table-land of the Canobolas, there are clustered together, within thirty miles of each other, and practically forming the three points of a triangle, what are known as the western sites. It is on behalf of those sites that I intend to speak. I wish to urge their claims upon the consideration of honorable members. In dealing with this matter we must not confine our attention to any one particular feature, but view the possibilities of the sites from several standpoints. The members of the Capital Sites Commission were directed to report upon the general suitability of each site for the purposes intended, with respect to such matters as climate, productiveness of soil, availability of building material, possibility of an adequate water supply for a city of at least 50,000 inhabitants, accessibility present and prospective, cost of resumption - not only of the actual city site, but also of the catchment area - and other matters. Their report deals with all these subjects, and my intention is to briefly place before the Committee a comparison of the advantages of the proposed sites. The difference between the western sites is not very great. Their proximity makes their climatic conditions, accessibility, and most other features, with the exception of water supply and cost of resumption, practically identical. While I shall quote certain figures relating to the Canobolas, or more particularly the Orange site, it is to be understood that my remarks apply practically to all three sites. The whole of New South Wales was open to examination by Mr. Oliver, whose recommendations formed the basis of the investigation made by the Capital Sites Commissioners, but the western district is the only one in which he found three sites so close to each other that he was led to make a special recommendation with respect to them. As I have said, these sites practically form the three points of a triangle, and within them is what is known as the* Calvert site, which is near Mullthorpe and was also reported upon by Mr. Oliver. I ask honorable members to bear that fact strongly in mind. The table-land of the Canobolas -is the only district in New South Wales which contains three, if not four, separate sites within thirty miles of each other. With regard to the climatic conditions of the various sites, various figures appear in the report of the Commissioners, and have been quoted this afternoon. I propose merely to make a convenient comparison of the sites I advocate with some of the others which seem most favoured by the Committee. Orange, the first of the three western sites, has a maximum temperature of 102 degrees, a minimum temperature of 21 -3, and a mean temperature of 54-9 degrees-. At Lyndhurst, the maximum temperature is 98-4, the minimum 15-4 degrees, and the mean, 52-2 degrees. At Bathurst the highest temperature on record is 110-5, the lowest 13 degrees, and the mean temperature 57 -6. That is almost an ideal climate. At Bombala the maximum is given as 104’1, the minimum as 15-5, and the mean as 53-3 degrees. At the other much favoured site, Albury, the maximum is given as 117-3, the minimum 20-2, and the mean 61-3 degrees. When the members of the Commission were visiting Albury the shade temperature stood at something like 1 1 0 or 111 degrees. For Tumut the maximum is stated to be 106 degrees, the lowest reading 27 degrees, and the mean 62. When the Commission were making their inquiries at that place, the thermometer registered 100 degrees in the shade. It will be noticed upon reference to the figures that the temperature at Orange and Lyndhurst is more equable than in the case of the more favoured sites. Orange has in recent years become a summer resort for residents upon the western plains. Females and children and others in delicate health, to whom the hot, dry climate of the plains proves detrimental, almost invariably go to Orange during the summer months. I am told by friends who live in the Monaro district that instead of remaining there during the summer they make it a practice to go away. I know of one resident in the Monaro district who regularly sends his wife and family down to the sea coast during the winter to escape the severity of the climate at that time of the year. If honorable members will refer to Mr. Oliver’s report, they will find that he makes reference to the superior climatic conditions that prevail at Orange. At page 13 he says: -

The. climate of Canobolas, from the superior altitude of its site, and its position on the fall of the plateau towards the Great Western Plains, is preferable to that of any western site, and I believe that the comparatively high rainfall of Canobolas is climatically beneficial, and in no way injurious to health.

In his criticisms of the report of the Commission of Experts, at page 10, he says: -

What the evidence before the Commissioners under each of these heads, apart from the official records of temperature, may have been, we have nothing to show, but those who have had long personal experience of the various climates brought into comparison by this report, will not easily be convinced that Orange is woree off for a climate than Lake George, Bathurst, or Lyndhurst.

These are the conclusions at which Mr. Oliver has arrived after a very long inquiry and close personal observation. The rainfall figures given in Mr. Oliver’s report show that, taking the average for the last thirty years, the record for Orange is 39-50 inches, Tumut comes second with 33 inches, Lyndhurst third with 31 inches, Bombala fourth with 29 inches, Albury fifth with 28 82, and

Bathurst sixth with 24”75. This return shows the heavy rainfall that takes place in the Canobolas district, and this should be a matter of very grave consideration in connexion with the question of water supply. All the western sites have strong claims on the score of their healthy situation and equable climate. No less an authority than Sir Hercules Robinson, who was then the Governor of New South Wales, stated that the Canobolas district would eventually become the sanatorium of New South Wales, and that prediction is gradually being realized. A reference to the altitudes of the different sites may convey to honorable members some idea of their suitability as to climate. The Orange site is situated at an altitude of 2,880 feet above sea level. Albury is only 800 feet above sea level, or in other words, is 2,080 feet lower than Orange. Lyndhurst has an altitude of 2,280 feet ; Bombala, 2,400 feet; Bathurst, 2,200 feet; and Armidale, the highest of all, 3,450 feet. Tumut is 1,050 feet above sea level, or 1,830 feet below Orange. If honorable members are acquainted with the contour of the country round about Tumut they will know that it is situated in a veiy deep valley, surrounded by high hills. The area within that valley contains perhaps some of the richest country in New South Wales, and the fact that the best tobacco and maize can be grown there is sufficient to show that the climate is semi-tropical. Honorable members will do well to bear these facts in mind. We know that all elevated localities are liable to be windswept, and so far as Bombala is concerned it is. specially exposed. Honorable members who experienced the cold and bitter winds which prevailed in Melbourne during the winter of 1901 may gain some idea of the fate that would be in store for them if they went to Bombala. The Monaro country is exposed, first of all, to the moist breezes which are borne up to the table-land from the east, and then to the cold westerlies from the snow-clad heights of Kosciusko. Albury is swept by the hot winds of the west, whereas Tumut is to some extent sheltered by the surrounding hills. Orange and Lyndhurst are sheltered by Mount Canobolas, and therefore escape from the high winds to which Bathurst is to some extent exposed. So ar as the question of accessibility is concerned, both in the present and in the future, the western sites are already in touch by means of railway communication with the principal centres of civilization in the Commonwealth. The Armidale site is eleven miles distant, and it requires the construction of a deviation, which it is estimated will cost £75,000, to bring it in contact with railway facilities. The Bathurst site is six miles distant, and to connect it with the railway would necessitate an expenditure of £45,000 ; whilst the Lake George site is situated on the main line of railway. Lyndhurst and Orange are upon the main line of railway, and require no further extension. Tumut, if the Lacraalac site be chosen, would be six miles distant, and would require a further expenditure of £50,000 to connect with the railway. When we come to the much-belauded Bombala site, we find quite a different state of affairs. It is distant from Cooma, which is the nearest railway station, some 57Jr miles. The estimated cost of constructing a line of railway to connect the two places is £337,000. To extend the line from Bairnsdale, which is 176 miles distant, would involve an outlay of, at least, £1,180,500. But the through line would not give the whole of the facilities which are necessary to develop the site in question. One of the strong arguments which have been used in favour of the Monaro site is that it is near a port, which it will be necessary to connect it with the Capital by rail. Therefore, an additional 54f miles of railway would require to be constructed at a cost of £934,000. In order to provide the Monaro site with railway facilities which the Commissioners deem to be necessary, a total of 288 miles of new railway will require to be constructed at an estimated cost of £2,450,000. Then, if the harbor is an essential - as some strong advocates of the Bombala site seem to think - at least another £1,000,000 will need to be expended to make Twofold Bay a safe port for shipping. In addition, a further outlay of £200,000 or £300,000 will be involved in providing the necessary wharfage accommodation. These figures are based upon a report which was furnished by Mr. Darley, upon page 41 of Mr. Oliver’s first report. Mr. Darley who, at the time, was the Engineer for Harbors and Rivers in New South Wales, and a very able officer, estimates the cost of constructing breakwaters at £1,028,000. This information was conveyed to Mr. Oliver in a letter which is dated Sydney, 4th Sep- I tember, 1 900. It reads thus - 1

I am afraid there has been too much delay in j answering your letter of 20th ult. re Twofold Bay. i I enclose you a small hand map showing the breakwaters I would propose. The northern is 4,700 feet long, and southern, 4,850 feet long : width of entrance, l,S0O feet. The area enclosed would be &j square miles, and area of water, over 24 feet deep, 3 square miles. This would form a most commodious and well sheltered harbor. I estimate the cost at £1,028,000. This allows a liberal price for stone. It might be much less if really good stone can be obtained at each headland ; but I doubt if the local stone is good enough. I would not recommend overlapping breakwater ; they are more costly. They have really no advantages, but have some disadvantages.

That is the testimony of an expert officer who supplied Mr. Oliver with this information for the purpose of enabling him to compile his report.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– Has the honorable member seen the revised estimate ?

Mr BROWN:

– I have seen a revised estimate of Mr. Oliver’s criticism in which the cost is reduced to approximately £120,000. But if honorable members look at the revised estimate, they will see that only temporary provision is made for present requirements, and that it does not contemplate carrying out the larger work which was reported upon by Mr. Darley, and which was considered by him to be necessary if Twofold Bay were to become a Federal port. I would further point out that our experience of breakwaters along the cost of New South Wales is not very encouraging. We have expended very large sums in that direction, and we now realize that that money could have been’ expended much more satisfactorily in the construction of a coastal railway. Difficulties were encountered which were not foreseen when such undertakings were commenced. That is a matter which cannot be overlooked in the consideration of this question. Moreover, if Twofold Bay is to become a Federal port, a further expenditure will be necessary to provide it with a proper system of defence. I do not agree with those who hold that a Federal port 13 necessary for Commonwealth territory. Even if the Bombala site is selected, I very much question whether the Government of New South Wales will be disposed to transfer to the Commonwealth the control of the port of Twofold Bay. It is also worthy of notice that the Bombala site is not the only site which lends itself to a

Federal port. The Lake George site has been condemned because the lake itself became dry during the last drought; but according to expert opinion it could be converted into a permanent lake at a very much less cost than would be involved in providing the Southern Monaro site with transit facilities. Equally as cheap, from the point of view of the cost of railway construction, is the port of Jervis Bay, which is directly east of Lake George, and which from every stand-point is a superior port to that of Twofold Bay.

Mr Skene:

– How far distant is it ?

Mr BROWN:

– About sixty-five miles, lt can be brought into touch with that port, and the expenditure necessary to make it accessible from Lake George will be represented solely by wharfage accommodation. But if a port is required for shipping purposes, any of the three western sites are within six hours by rail of one of the best ports in the Commonwealth - Port Jackson. From the point of view of harbor facilities and wharfage accommodation, it is one of the best equipped ports in the world. Then let us take the Lyndhurst site. Some honorable members have objected that the BlayneyHarden line of railway is not constructed upon a scale which will permit of heavy traffic being carried. If they will take the trouble to look at the evidence, which was given by the New South Wales Railway Commissioner, they will find that that assumption is not borne out by fact. There is no reason why that line should not be used by travellers between Melbourne and any of the western sites, for it would bring the people of this city into much closer touch with the Federal territory. The Orange site is especially well served by railways. It is at the junction of the line running from Dubbo to Bourke and the line extending from Molong to Condobolin. The site lies in the angle of the two lines, the one running to the north, and the other directly to the west, and it possesses features which would be specially advantageous to a city of the character which we propose to build. We must also consider the prospective advantages. Reference has been made to the fact that the journey from Brisbane to the western site would be considerably reduced by the construction of a line from Wellington to Werris Creek. That line would bring Queensland into much closer touch with the site. South Australia would also be brought into direct communication with the site by the construction of a line from Cobar to Wilcannia, and by the extension of that line to Broken Hill we should also bring the western districts of New South Wales into closer touch with the east. If the Minister for Home Affairs succeeded in persuading the House to carry out his project for the construction of a Federal line to Western Australia, it would also bring that State into more direct communication with the site. I wish to impress upon honorable members the fact that the construction of a line from Wellington to Werris Creek is engaging the serious attention of the State Parliament, and that sooner or later, whether the Federal Capital is established in the western district or not, it will be laid down. The construction of a line from Cobar to Wilcannia has already been sanctioned, and the work has been entered upon, but the proposal to construct a line thence to Broken Hill has yet to receive parliamentary sanction. Let us see what the construction of these lines will mean in hard cash. According to the report of the experts, the WellingtonWerris Creek line would be 157 miles in length, and would cost £514,566 ; the Cobar to Wilcannia line would be 164 miles in length, and it is estimated that it would cost £510,927 ; the Wilcannia to Broken Hill line would be 120 miles in length, and it is estimated that it would cost £388,426, while a line from Broken Hill to Cockburn would be 34 miles in length and would cost, it is estimated, £219,986. These lines would extend over a distance of 41 S miles, and it is estimated that their construction would involve an expenditure of £1,119,339. In other words they would cost less than would the lines from Cooma to Bombala, and from Bombala to Eden, to say nothing of a line from Bombala to Bairnsdale, which would involve a further expenditure of over £1,000,000. These westerndistrict lines, 418 miles in length, would cost less than half the amount - namely, £2,450,000 - that would have to be expended upon the construction of the 288 miles of railway necessary to make Bombala accessible. I believe that the BombalaCooma line will, in any event, be constructed for the purpose of opening up the district ; but unless Bombala be selected as the site of the Capital, there will be no incentive to the States Governments to make the other railway extensions to which reference has been made. On the other hand the western lines, to which I have alluded, are essential, apart altogether from the question of the Capital, for the development of the State, and they will be constructed in the near future. Let rae show the travelling facilities which would be afforded honorable members if the western site were selected. Those who were prepared to live in Sydney would be able at the close of their day’s work to go to the theatre and at midnight catch a train, which would land them at the capital after a journey of six hours. Honorable members living in Melbourne might board the train which’ we are accustomed to catch at 5 p.m. and arrive at the Capital in time for breakfast. They would reach their destination about 8 a.m. If the Wellington to Werris Creek line were constructed the distance between the Federal Capital and Brisbane “would be reduced by 300 miles, and the journey shortened by eleven hours. Instead of members from that State being called upon, as at present, to travel for thirty-four hours in a train in order to go from Brisbane to the seat of government, they would have to undertake a journey which could be covered in twenty-three hours. By the construction of the lines which I have mentioned, the distance from Adelaide to the seat of government would be reduced by 176 miles, and the time of travel decreased by six hours, while the journey from Perth would be reduced b)’ 199 miles, and the time occupied on the trip shortened by forty-five hours. Another proposal is on foot for the construction of a transcontinental railway from Bourke, through the western district of Queensland, to Port Darwin. The suggestion is that it should connect with the railway systems of Queensland, which would admirably lend themselves to such a project. It would connect with the BrisbaneCunnamullaCharleville line, the Rockhampton- ^ Longreach line, and the Townsville- Winton”’” line, and passing through what, for the most part, is rich country, well adapted for stock-raising, would go on to Port Darwin. That line would not only develop a very rich territory, but would bring us into much closer touch with Europe. These are matters which should have some weight with honorable members when they are considering the question of accessibility. I wish now to draw attention to the cost of conveying goods to the several sites. Let us take, for example, the cost of coal. According to the Commissioner’s report, j Helensburg coal could be delivered at Tumut for 27s. 6d. a ton. Exeter coal, which is of inferior quality, and has very little control of the market, could be sent there for 20s. per ton, while Eskbank coal could be delivered for 22s. 6d. per ton. The cost of delivering coal at the Albury site would be as follows : - -Esbank, 25s. 6d. per ton ; Exeter, 22s. 9d. ; Helensburg, 29s. 7d. Bombala is more favorably situated, inasmuch as coal can be sent there by sea, and Woolongong coal, according to the report, can be delivered there for 19s. per ton. On the other hand, Eskbank or Lithgow coal can be delivered at the western site at from lis. lOd. to 15s. Id. per ton, so that in this respect the latter site has a distinct advantage over all others. “What applies to the carriage of coal applies also to the carriage of the material which would be necessary for the construction of the capital. Reference has been made to the productiveness of the soil in the vicinity of the various sites, and an effort has been made to show that Bombala should be selected for the reason, among others, that it is especially adapted for the cultivation of potatoes. In support of this assertion, the average yield of potatoes per acre in the Bombala district has been given. If we are to test the productiveness of any district, we must have regard not to the yield obtained from some small fancy patch of soil, but to the yield for the district as a whole. After listening to the very eloquent remarks made by some of the advocates of Bombala, more specially when contrasting it with the western site, honorable members will perhaps be surprised to learn that the Commissioners state that at the date of their report there were only 790 acres under potatoes at Bombala, whilst at Bathurst there were 8,229’ acres, at Lyndhurst 7,954 acres, and at Orange 8,522 acres. I think these figures fully answer the assertions made by the supporters of the Bombala site.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– They are conclusive so far as the cultivation of potatoes are concerned.

Mr BROWN:

– They should be. Reference has also been made to the average yield of wheat and other cereal crops. I find that Albury stands first so far as the extent of country under wheat cultivation is concerned. According to the report, it has, in round figures, 120,000 acres under wheat, Armidale has 5,000 acres, ] Dalgety 1,700, Bathurst 51,000, Bom- bala only 972, Lake George 6,000, Lyndhurst 100,000, Orange 56,000, and Tumut 14,000. Out of a total of 423,5S2 acres, the three western sites, which are practically within view of each other, have an area of 208,783 acres under wheat. This phase of the question deserves special consideration. If we are to build a city that will have a population of 50,000 and upwards - and the estimates furnished by the Commissioners are based on a minimum population of 50,000 - we must take care to provide some means for the subsistence of the people. The immediately adjacent territory must provide a means of livelihood. It is not to be assumed that the people of the Capital will be able to make a living out of Federal governmental expenditure ; and, therefore, one of the matters to which we should give our attention is the capacity of a district and its surroundings to supply the wants of a large population. If honorable members will look at the map they will see that after passing the Dividing Range and the high tablelands, level country is reached, which, among New South Welshmen, is known as the Central Division, m which is the granary of New South Wales. Up to last year that part of the country not only supplied the needs of the State but produced a surplus for exportation to the Home market.

Mr Crouch:

– Is it still suffering from drought ?

Mr BROWN:

– No. Since the late rains the outlook has never been better.

Mr Mauger:

– How long will it be before New South Wales gets another drought ?

Mr BROWN:

– New South Wales is no more subject to drought than is Victoria, which has suffered as much in the past as has her sister State. The Central Division of New South Wales is tapped by the railway from Sydney which passes through Wellington and Dubbo, and goes on through Nyngan to the Darling, and by another line from Orange to Molong, and on to Condobolin, while the cross line from the southern to the western systems also passes through it. The Albury site stands in a better position than the other sites, with the exception of those on behalf of which I am speaking, in that it commands one of the best agricultural districts in the State, a district capable of growing wheat and producing wine, and of supporting a large population.

Mr Mauger:

– Cannot the same be said of the Tumut district?

Mr BROWN:

– No. Tumut is not an agricultural district in the sense in which we in New South Wales understand the term. It is rather a cattle district, and if sufficient facilities were given, might become a dairying district ; but it will never grow wheat to compete with districts like that extending north, west, and south from the foot of the Canobolas. This is a matter which should have considerable weight with honorable members. As an evidence of the richness of that district, I would point out i that during the late drought it not only sup- i plied a considerable quantity of fodder, but for a large part of last summer carried four or five times the usual number of stock, starving sheep being sent there from other districts. The district I speak of, and the north coast, are the only districts in New South Wales, with the exception of the high tablelands which are not subject to drought. The question of defence should also receive consideration in connexion with the selection of the Capital site. At the present time our means of communication lie open to the as sault of an enemy. The railway line from Sydney to Brisbane could easily be destroyed if a hostile expedition landed on the Hawkesbury. But when the railway from Wellington to Werris Creek is made, InterState communication will be almost beyond the possibility of attack. The Minister for Defence will agree with me that it is essential for effective warfare that our forces should be able to readily attack the foes of Australia, and to render themselves practically immune from attack. As a position from which to conduct warlike operations, the locality of which I am speaking is probably the best in the State. The gentleman who occupies the distinguished position of Chief Justice of the Commonwealth of Australia, writing in 1896, laid down these conditions for a Federal capital -

The Federal Capital should be central, easily accessible, not unduly exposed to the risk of war or invasion, and its climate should not be such as to render it an undesirable place to live in.

I have been to all the sites, and have studied the reports upon them, and I unhesitatingly say that I know of none to which those conditions apply so completely as to the western sites. The Minister for Home Affairs who has inspected some of the sites, and who is an authority on the subject, says that he would not select any of them, but I am sorry that he has not viewed the Lyndhurst site. . I ask him, however, to listen to the following description, which appears at page 46 of the Commissioners’ report -

The country is well adapted for the laying out of a fine city, which would occupy an imposing and conspicuous position. Beautiful park-like undulations rise frequently into elevations offering great advantages for the display of fine buildings. There is ample and suitable space for extension of a city, and for the creation of pleasant suburbs.

This site- has various aspects, a proportion of the slopes facing the east.

From all portions of the site charming and interesting views meet the eye. In the distance, and in some cases forming the horizon, are mountains, such as the chain of the Canobolas, the Weddin Mountains, the Nangar Cliff, and the distant mountains at Sunny Corner. To the south-east distant ranges, such as the Bulgor Mountain, limit a panoramic view of the tableland.

I trust that the Minister will give due weight to the report upon the Lyndhurst site. Although the selection of the Capital is being made under considerable disadvantages, and very late in the life of this Parliament, I hope that it will be made before we return our trust to our masters, the electors. I hope, too, that in choosing a site honorable members will not be influenced by what they conceive to be the interests of Victoria or New South Whales, or even their own personal interests, but that they will study the welfare of the unborn generations, so that the site selected shall be one which will serve the Commonwealth for all time.

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN:
Minister for Defence · EdenMonaro · Protectionist

– I have listened with a great deal of pleasure to many of the speeches which have been made during the debate, and have thrown so much light upon this important subject,, and I regret that force of circumstances has prevented us from being in a better position to deal with it. It has frequently been said by members of the Opposition that the delay in connexion with this matter is the fault of the Government, but those who are acquainted with the history of this Parliament, and know the legislative work which the Government have brought forward, are aware that the matter is being considered at the earliest moment possible. I hold the opinion that, if there is not now time for us to make a careful selection, so as to do justice to the people of the Commonwealth, if it is thought that we have not before us all the information which is necessary, it will be better to delay the matter still further than to hurriedly come to a conclusion merely to suit our own convenience, or to please a few of our constituents. History shows that the selection of a capital site has in the case of most Federations, been a difficult and troublesome matter, and that the jealousies which have arisen in connexion with the subject now under consideration have had their counterpart in similar differences and troubles elsewhere. Furthermore, the site chosen has generally been, not that which has been the best, but the result of a compromise, and the probability is that the site we shall choose will be the result of a compromise. I believe that the site which honorable members will eventually select will receive but a few votes at the first ballot. That, in itself, shows the difficulties which surround the settlement of this question, whose importance is magnified by the fact that the decision once come to will hold good, not for a week, or a year, but for all time. Once we have fixed upon the site, we cannot make a change. If the Federal Capital is to be what we all hope, one of the principal cities in this country if it is to be the pride of our race, and a city to which we can point with the same satisfaction that the people of other countries feel in pointing to their capitals, we should not allow the expenditure of a few pounds, or a few thousands, or even a few millions, to stand in the way of the realization of our ideal.

An Honorable Member. - The honorable member has now overdone it.

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN:

– Every man who considers this question with an earnest desire to do the best thing for Australia must know that if we are to spend millions upon the Capital our expenditure will extend over many years. The fact that a water supply could be obtained a little more cheaply at one site than at another should not weigh with us. We should first demand those essentials which money cannot buy, such, for instance, as a good climate. After all, the question whether a climate is good or not depends upon one’s tastes and opinions. I might prefer the breezy climate of Monaro, in which the men from Snowy River live. I might prefer the climate of that part of New South Wales to which the people of Australia could repair to recuperate after enduring the terrible heat of the coastal cities. Other honorable members might prefer a warm climate where the tobacco would grow, where the maize would top the fence, and where, also, the fogs would hang around in the winter time. It is all a matter of opinion and taste. But I take it that the majority of honorable members will agree that it is desirable that we should have a bracing climate. The temperatures recorded will give us some idea of the climate at the various sites, lt is very easy for some honorable members to say that the winds blow cold on Monaro, and that the ice is thick, and all that kind of thing ; but it is necessary for us to pay attention to the real facts of the case. First of all, let us consider the altitude of the sites which appear to find most favour with members. Albury is situated at an elevation of SOO feet above sea level, whilst Lyndhurst has an altitude of 2,2S0 feet. The latter has a good situation, because, apart from our preferences, we know that perfect health is to be found only at an elevation of something over 2,000 feet. Tumut has an altitude of 1,050 feet. I have no personal knowledge of Tumut, and I have no desire to say one word against it. I am not here to malign any particular site. At the same time I must say that any site that is only just a little over 1,000 feet above sea level is not high enough for the Federal Capital. Bombala has an altitude of 2,400 feet. At this point, I should like to say that when I speak of Bombala I refer to the Southern Monaro, to that broad expanse known as the tableland of Monaro, which includes Dalgety. We are not called upon to select a particular site to-night. The Prime Minister has pointed out that the Bill is framed in such a way as to offer a fair amount of latitude. Lake George has an altitude of 2,300 feet, and we know that it has a good climate. The elevation affords a very good indication of the climate. Dalgety has an altitude of 2,650 feet, and Armidale is situated at a height of 3,450 feet. Unless honorable members desire to make a compromise for the sake of some particular centre of population or some particular State, they must pay the closest attention to climatic considerations. I do not care a scrap for those who say that I ought to be called a Victorian representative. I came here for Federal reasons, and with the intention to legislate in a Federal spirit. I thought that all the old lines of demarcation would be wiped out ; but judging from some of the views expressed by honorable members, a broad Federal spirit is not yet universal. If there is one subject which we should approach in a Federal spirit, it is the selection of the Federal Capital site. What does it matter if the site is nearer to Melbourne than Sydney, or vice versa 1 Of what importance is it that it is accessible in the sense in which some honorable members understand the term 1 It seems to be thought in some quarters that the term “ accessible “ can be applied only to places which already have railway communication, and at which there is as much settlement as is likely to take place for many years to come. Instead of taking that narrow view of the matter, should we not rather select the Capital site with a view to the possibilities of the future, and to the possible concentration of population in localities now sparsely settled. We can only judge as to the probabilities in that regard by taking into account the nature of the country. Now let us consider the temperatures. .At Albury the highest temperature recorded is 117, the lowest 20, and the mean 60. That is a very wide range, and those honorable members who show their preference for Albury will do so with their eyes open so far as the climate is concerned. The temperatures at Armidale range from 13 to 105 degrees, with a mean of 56. At Bombala the temperatures range from 15 to 104 degrees, Lake George from 21 to 105, Lyndhurst from 15 to 98, Tumut from 27 to 106, and Dalgety from 14 to 104. Now as to the temperature at Lyndhurst, regarding which site some honorable members entertain a highly favorable view, we find that the highest record is 98 degrees, the lowest 15-4 degrees, and the mean 55 degrees. At Bombala, the highest temperature is 104, the lowest 155, and the mean 54. Any reasonable man must admit that these two climates are practically on all fours. No one has told us about the cold, biting winds which range over the site at Lyndhurst, and *yet it is shown by the figures that the temperature is, if anything, lower than that at Bombala. The mean annual rainfall registered at the various sites is a matter for consideration. Next to climate comes water supply. I do not attach so much importance to the latter as to the former, because money can secure a water supply, whereas it cannot purchase a good climate. Albury has an annual rainfall of 28- 14 inches; Armidale, 32-65; Bombala, 24-09; Lake George, 26-72; Lyndhurst, 29- 54; Tumut, 31-8; and Dalgety, 26 37. Honorable members must admit that there is a good rainfall in all these places, and if we had to depend wholly upon rainfall, no great advantage could be claimed for Bombala over the other sites. We all know, however, that although there may be a good rainfall within a given locality, provision must be made for a time when there will be no rain. We know what a drought means, and we have seen most of our rivers stop running. It was recently said, and with a good deal of truth, that there was but one river in New South Wales, and that was the Snowy River, not fed by rainfall, but from the snow-capped peaks of Kosciusko. That river does not dry up in the summer time, but under the genial influence of the summer sun, the snows upon the mountain tops melt, and the river, swollen by the snow waters, overtops its banks in the middle of summer. That is the kind of water supply that we require. If we had to depend on rainfall, most of the sites might be provided with a reasonable water supply. But we cannot rely upon rainfall altogether in Australia. I ask honorable members who say that Bombala is too cold to consider that while the mean temperature at Bombala is 54 degrees, that of London is 50 degrees, Paris 51 degrees, and Washington 56 degrees. How is it that some of the largest capitals in the world have a climate colder than that of Bombala 1 The figures show that Bombala is a place very different from that described by some honorable members. Let us go further, and look at some of the large cities in the world from which people fly in the summer time, which they are afraid to approach on many occasions on account of fever and other sickness. Take the case of Rome, which has a mean temperature of 60 degrees. The mean temperature at Tumut runs up to 61, and that of Albury to 60 degrees. There are the figures, and honorable members can draw their own deductions. It is not for me to force my conclusions upon honorable members. lt proves that there is not much in the claptrap which has been talked about the cold that is experienced at Bombala. It has been urged that trees will not grow there, and that the country will not produce wheat. During the course of his speech, the Minister for Trade and Customs informed us that nobody can live at Bombala. In this connexion I desire to quote the views of a gentleman who for many years led the New South Wales Parliament - I refer to the late Sir Henry Parkes - to whose opinions, as the father of Federation, some credit should surely be attached. Speaking of Eden, or Twofold Bay, he says -

It does not follow that because this very fine port has, from one cause or another, been neglected, that it will continue to be neglected. When that district is opened by railway communication, to which, in my judgment, it is richly entitled, Eden, which has a very fine harbor, will become the site of a very important maritime cit3’ …. I have that faith in the progress of this country that I have long foreseen that, although retarded by unfavorable circumstances, this result is certain b3’ the verv force of growth from without . . Twofold Bay has been the victim, if I may so term it, of singular neglect.- I do not say whose fault it is. lt is very difficult to distinguish ; but, certainly, before many years, Twofold Ba3’, where the town of Eden is situated … . will will become one of the most important places in If ew South Wales. I have no. doubt whatever of that. As far back as 1873 I advocated the construction of a railway to the port, to bring the traffic of Monaro to the bay.

These words seem to me prophetic.

Mr A McLEAN:
GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · PROT

– Can the honorable member quote the opinion of the present Minister for Trade and Customs

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN:

– As honorable members are aware, I always pay a great deal of respect to the utterances of my colleague, who in speaking upon this very question, said - 1 think, if there is a district in which a railway should be constructed, it is from the table land to the port of Eden.

These are the views of the Minister for Trade and Customs, and I am prepared to indorse his judgment. He said -

There is no finer port in the colony, and there is no finer country at the back of it. It is certainly to be regretted that the construction of the line has been left so long in abeyance. There is no possible doubt that the port must become a great shipping port, and it will become a great centre of population.

These remarks are to be found in the. New South Wales Hansard for the year 1S91. I believe that the honorable gentleman went even further, because a local newspaper reports him as having said that at Bombala there were to be found the loveliest women and the finest men, and that it would be the home of a great race. As honorable members will see by reference to page 21 of

Mr. Oliver’s report, that gentleman, in speaking of Twofold Bay, says -

If the seato government were to be located on the Monaro table-land, and connected by rail with the

I harbor such as Twofold Ba3r, the Commonwealth I would acquire an invaluable naval base, situated j nearly half-way between the two State capitals, that offer the greatest temptations to an enemy - Sydney and Melbourne. The eastern States of Australia would acquire a harbor of refuge, or for refitting ships in distress, or for coaling. If the Commonwealth is to have a navy of its own, or even a training ship, Twofold Bar would be a convenient station, particularly for gunnery practice, and suggests itself as the convenient head-quarters of the Naval Commandant. As the breakwaters would be fortified, the breakwaters of Eden could be made practically impregnable. With such a harbor the Common - I wealth would have two routes for reaching the various State capitals - one b’ sea, the other by land - and for facilitating the collection, mobilization, and despatch of troops, munitions, and equipments. The lumber cargoes from the other side of the Pacific could be discharged direct on the Eden wharf, and the same facilities would exist for cargoes of coal, stone, iron, roofing slates, tiles, cement, and all other kinds of building material ; and thus every State of the Federation would have a common commercial heritage in a harbor second only to Port Jackson..

I place this testimony against the wild statements which have been so freely uttered concerning this port. He goes even further, and tells us that an expenditure of £150,000 will provide a sufficiently safe anchorage for the whole of the British Navy. These are hard facts which cannot be controverted. Then I invite honorable members to consider for a moment the question of the cost of providing a water supply at the various sites for a population of 50,000. At Albury the cost would be £512,000, at Armidale £391,700, at Bombala £531,090, at Lake George £380,500, at Lyndhurst £427,400, at Tumut £200,2S0, and at Dalgety £328,000. In the case of Bombala, however, it is pointed out by the Capital Site Commissioners that -

If electricity, generated by water-power obtained from the Snowy River, as hereinafter referred to, were used for pumping from the Delegate River instead of steam, there would be a considerable saving on the annual expenses, and the total cost would then be reduced to £417,000 for water SUPPlY for a population of 50,000.

I hold that there is no question of “ if.” We know that it will be utilized. We recognise that electricity is the coming power. What is the use of honorable members talking about the price of coal when we are assured upon the authority of experts that in the Snowy River more electric power can be generated than is the case to-day at Niagara. Now I wish to say a word or two in reference to the quality of the land surrounding the Bombala site. In this connexion I am prepared to accept the figures which have been supplied by the Minister for Trade and Customs. He has informed us that the cost of resuming land at Bombala would be greater than it would be at Tumut. If the figures which he has submitted are accurate - and I believe that they are - it necessarily follows that the land at Bombala must be superior, to that of Tumut, and if to-day the Bombala land is worth more than is the land at Tumut, which has the benefit of railway communication, and is accessible to a market, what would be the difference in their respective land values, if Bombala enjoyed similar advantages 1 Here, I say, is a great opportunity for the Commonwealth to appropriate unearned increment. It seems to me that Southern Monaro is the only place where we can secure what may be termed a large territory. I am aware that the Sydney newspapers have declared that those who advocate this site wish to create a “ toy “ State. Personally, I would rather create a “toy” State than accept a small area of territory, spend the peoples’ money in the centre of it, and allow the land grabbers to come in and reap a good harvest. Better delay the selection of the Federal capital for ten or twenty years, than spend hundreds of thousands of pounds for the benefit of the land speculators who will crowd round our city, and endeavour to prevent its expansion.

Mr Cameron:

– What about the cost of the railway ?

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN:

– A number of wild statements have been made regarding the cost of railway construction. I do not believe in making bald assertions, but rather in quoting hard facts. According to official figures, the cost of constructing a line of railway from Cooma to the site - I am speaking of the ordinary steam railway, and am altogether ignoring the fact that, with the enormous volume of water at our command, we should probably have an electric line- would be about £386,000. If honorable members will turn to page 4S of the evidence which was given before the Capital Sites Commissioners, they will find the following statement: -

The revised survey from Bairnsdale rid Orbost and Bonang, near Delegate, shows that by adopting sharper curves of five chains in lieu of ten on the most difficult sections the cost of a substantial line might be reduced from .1 1,000 to i’9,000 per mile, and the lengths would be about 125i miles. By adopting a new route, viti Murrengower, Elery , and Bendock, the cost might be still further reduced to about £8,000 per mile, and the length would be 126£ miles.

Sir William McMillan:

– At what speed should we travel 1

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN:

– I cannot answer that question, but I take it that the New South Wales and Victorian Railways Commissioners would not recommend the construction of a line upon which we could not travel at a fair rate of speed -

The survey of the new route eid Club Terrace and Cann Valley to the border near Bondi, would work out over S-chain curves, with 1 in 40 grades, at about £7,000 per mile, length about 1714 miles. By adopting a more southerly route for this line, viti Little River and Cann Valley, the latter estimate would be reduced to about £5,750 per mile, and the length to 142 miles.

The figures which I have worked out show that the cost of constructing a line from Cooma to the site,, a distance of 64 miles, would be £386,031 ; the cost of a line from the site to the border, about £130,000 ; from the border to Bairnsdale, £988,750 ; and from Bombala to Eden - the railway which the Minister for Trade and Customs so strongly recommended - £931,000. Honorable members may add up these figures, which are taken from the report, and see what will be the total cost. I have dealt with the cost of the breakwater, which would be approximately £150,000, and I wish now to say a word or two as to the benefits which we should receive from this expenditure. Surely honorable members have known a railway to be constructed through fertile country, with the result that it has opened up a market for settlers, developed closer settlement, and caused the value of the land in its vicinity to be immediately doubled. In these circumstances who would dare to say that, if if we resumed a large area in Southern Monaro, the railways would not pay from the very outset 1 The district is in itself practically a State. I know that some honorable members do not share the views which I hold upon this question, but surely I am entitled to give expression to my honest opinion in regard to it ? In answer to the assertion that we j wish to build a “ toy “ State, I would point 1 out that there are members of this Parlia- ment who believe that Sydney will have no more divine right to the trade of the Federal Capital than Melbourne will have. Why should there be so strong an objection to the proposal that the Capital should be near a port 1 Why should it be said that it is unreasonable to expect New South Wales to hand over a large extent of country to us 1 Evidently the New South Wales Government have never attached much value to this district. We must have a large - territory, and it can be obtained in Southern Monaro. It is true that the site does not comprise any great extent of Crown land of value, but the fact that a site comprises a large area of Crown lands - as in the case of Tumut - does not recommend it to me. I am prepared to take the verdict of the honorable and learned member for Werriwa, who is a surveyor. He tells us that, in the course of the practice of his profession, he has travelled all over the Tinderry country, and that much of the land there is not worth more than 2s. per acre.

Mr Conroy:

– I said that it had been thrown open for selection, and that, although a deposit of only 2s. per acre was required, it had not been taken up.

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN:

– Then I beg the honorable and learned member’s pardon. If it were worth £1 per acre it would have been readily taken up. I do not wish to say anything against Tumut. I do not wish to help my case by trading on the demerits of other sites. The average value of the land in the neighbourhood of the Bombala site is stated to be about; £4 per acre, and no one would dare to say that, on the establishment of railway communication, its value would not be practically doubled. I believe that we should acquire a territory not of 100 square miles, but of 2,000 or 3,000 square miles. We could obtain such a territory in Southern Monaro, and it would then be open to us to introduce the system of land nationalization which many of us have for years advocated. There are no vested rights to be dealt with in that district ; there are no extensive towns or large cities to resume. The country for the most part consists of what is virgin prairie land. It has an unlimited supply of water ; it is close to the seaboard, and I ask honorable members whether we should not carefully consider these facts. There is such a thing as State rights, and I invite honorable members to say whether acute difficulties may’ not some day arise in regard to them. In these cases, should we select a site which can be approached only by the leave of some State Parliament, in connexion with which we should have no naval base, and, at the same time, be subject to any disadvantage attaching to jealousy and bickering on the part of two or three State capitals? Or should we select a site on the borders of two States, which might be reached by a direct line from the two principal cities of New South Wales and Victoria, and which possesses a magnificent harbor 1 That is a fair question, and we should put it to ourselves before we record our votes. I do not wish to deal further with this phase of the subject, because I think that the advantages of Bombala as compared with other sites must be obvious. It may possess disadvantages, but, if so, it is open to other honorable members to point them out. I desire now to deal with some of the other statements which have been made with reference to to this site. Nearly every honorable member seems to have had a tilt at it, and it is remarkable to learn that a solid phalanx of representatives of New South Wales intend to vote as one man against it. It is common rumour that a solid block vote will be cast by a number of honorable members from New South Wales against the selection of the Bombala site: What is the reason for this 1 If honorable members think that the selection of that site would be unjust to Sydney, they are well within their rights in giving expression to that opinion. But I contend that we should cast aside all provincial feeling. We should ask ourselves, not which is the best site for the capital from the stand-point of Sydney or Melbourne, but which is the best site in the interests of the Commonwealth. Neither Sydney nor Melbourne has any divine right to all the advantages flowing from the situation of the Capital. Why should not Perth, Adelaide, and Hobart be taken into consideration1! Why should there be objection to the trade of Bombala going to its natural port? Why should not the trade of Riverina, for example, filter to Melbourne when that city is nearer to it than is Sydney % Why should not the trade of any part of the Commonwealth find its way to its natural market 1 Any one who joins in a block vote against this particular site will lay himself open to the charge of provincialism, and it will be interesting to note whether the result of the ballot will prove the truth of the rumours which are now in circulation. I have bo right to condemn or criticise honorable members, and I recognise that I am simply responsible for my own vote. I am sure that every honorable member will vote for what he believes to be the best site ; but if we bring State jealousies into play, we shall lay ourselves open to the charge that we are not good Federalists. Let me deal with some of the charges which have been levelled against Bombala. That site has been subjected to a tirade of abuse to which I have had to listen in silence, and surely I have now a right to answer some of the assertions which have been made 1 We were told first of all by the Minister for Trade and Customs that timber can not be obtained there. I wish to show my honorable colleague that he is in error, and I am satisfied that he will be the first to recognise his mistake. If honorable members turn to page “24 of Mr. Oliver’s report, they will find that he states there that -

For possession of or vicinity to any useful deposits of building stone, clay for brickmaking, &c. , I do not think that Southern Monaro has any advantage over other southern sites ; but the inexhaustible forests of useful hardwood timber on the slopes of the coast range and elsewhere within or close to the proposed Federal territory give this site advantages over any other western, south-western, or southern, if local timber should be much used for building material.

At page 59 of the minutes of evidence taken before the Royal Commission we find a statement by Mr. W. S. Campbell that a great variety of trees, including pines, should grow on the proposed site, and that -

Oaks and elms and poplars should grow well also. The black walnut should do well, and many varieties of oaks. There should be no difficulty at all about ornamental trees.

That is the evidence with regard to ornamental trees. It is unnecessary for us, however, to turn to the report in order to learn what may be grown at Bombala. I would ask honorable members who saw Mr. Ronald Campbell’s magnificent homestead what they thought of the trees which surrounded it.

Mr Hughes:

– We did not see a tree there ; they were only shrubs.

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN:

– It is all very well for the honorable member to make a mere assertion of that kind. I am prepared to accept the statement contained in Mr. Oliver’s report as to the growth of timber at Bombala. It is well known that some of the trees felled in the inexhaustible forests of Bombala yield as many as 400 and 500 rails each.

Mr A McLEAN:
GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · PROT

– Tons and tons of opossum skins are sent away from Monaro. If there are no trees there, where do the opossums come from ?

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN:

– I suppose some honorable members will say they must be ground opossums. Honorable members from New South Wales are acquainted with Mr. Maiden, and I would direct their attention to the memorandum written by that gentleman, and published at page 3 1 of Mr. Oliver’s review of the report presented by the Royal Commission. In that memorandum, Mr. Maiden states -

I append a list of plants I found flourishing on or about the Bombala site. The list speaks for itself to those who know how to interpret soil and climate by means of the vegetation. On the tops of the hills it is undoubtedly bleak ; but the site, as a rule, contains such excellent soil, and water is so readily available, that I believe that I could grow an)’ temperate plants upon it, and grow them well. No landscape gardener would experience difficulty in raising shelter belts of trees. I must say I was much impressed by the Bombala site, and believe it could be turned into a garden city. The so-called English fruits thrive admirably. The district grows excellent grasses. I doubt whether there is a better all-round turf in any other part of New South Wales. I am much surprised to see at page 78 that our Director of Agriculture looks upon Bombala as inferior in productiveness to Bathurst. While it is difficult to place a number of sites in order of merit as regards soil productiveness, I should like to see the evidence on which Bombala was given this low place.

Mr. Maiden then proceeds to give a list of pines and all kinds of English trees which he considers would do well there. His conclusions are based on an experience of New South Wales extending over a quarter of a century, and we have to bear in mind that he is familiar with what is grown at Bombala. Those who visited the site must have seen the magnificent pines which shelter Mr. Ronald Campbell’s residence. I think I have completely answered the assertion that there is no timber in the vicinity of Bombala. I wish now to say a word or two as to the evidence given by Mr. Pridham. Mr. Oliver, in dealing with the question of water supply, and speaking of Mr. Pridham’s report, says -

According to that report the Delegate River, though not available by gravitation for the site originally marked out at Lord’s Hill, 3’et would be sufficient for a pumping scheme, the lift being a very moderate one of about 230 feet, for a population of 50,000. Further, Mr. Pridham stated in evidence, at the inquiry held at the Public Works Department on the 7th inst., that a better site for utilizing the water supply than Lord’s Hill could be obtained, and the same witness admitted that Bombala was entitled, in respect of water supply, to be placed immediately after Tumut ;. the class, however, assigned to Bombala hy the Commissioners is no higher than a fourth.

It is remarkable that the Capital Sites Commissioners placed Bombala fourth on their list. Whatever honorable members may have to say about Bombala I do not think that they will indorse the finding of the Commissioners.

Mr O’Malley:

– They were bulldozed.

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN:

– I should be sorry to say that about gentlemen whose reputations are so good. Mr. Oliver continues -

It will be seen from Mr. Pridham’s report that the Snowy River, at a distance of about 15 miles from the proposed city site at Lord’s Hill, affords n supply obtainable by pumping equal to the requirements of a population of 500,000. But that is not all, for the same river, at a point near the junction of the McLaughlan, gives a fall of no less than 200 feet in three and a quarter miles, thus affording sufficient water-power, according to Mr. Pridham, not only for pumping all the water required and for electric lighting and tram traction, but also for operating the proposed railways from Cooma to Delegate and from Bombala to Eden by electricity, the transmission lines for the current being very much shorter than many now in use in the United States. The power thus obtainable from the Snowy River hs estimates at 20,000 horse-power, and this Mr. Pridham distributes as follows : -

In addition to this 20,000 horse- power, at a fall of 300 feet lower clown the same river, at about thirty miles from the cit3’ site, 68,000 additional horse-power could, if required, be obtained.

As honorable members are aware, the Snowy River runs through the proposed site, and, if the site were selected, the Capital might be built upon its banks. That river drops 2,000 feet in about sixty miles, so that honorable members can understand its wonderful possibilities in supplying horse-power, especially on the Victorian side of the border. I wish now to compare the order of sites as given by the Commissioners with that given by Mr. Oliver. The Commissioners, however, marie the admission that -

No attempt has been made to determine the absolute order of merit of the sites. This could only be done b3r assigning values to the respective headings, and this, as we understand it, is outside the scope of the Commission.

The Commissioners were not asked to express a definite opinion as to which, in their opinion, was the best site. They were asked only to furnish certain information, so that honorable members could judge for themselves. But, while they had regard to the quality of soil, accessibility, climate, and other such matters, they paid no regard to the possibility of expansion. If, however, there is one feature which is more desirable than another in connexion with the site for a Federal territory it is the possession of an area which will allow of the expansion of the city as the population grows. The Commissioners, in dealing with the climate of the various sites, place Tumut first, Lyndhurst second, Bathurst and Lake George an equal third, Orange fourth, Albury fifth, Armidale sixth, and Bombala seventh. That grouping of sites, however, is only an expression of the personal opinion of the Commissioners. They evidently do not like a bracing climate. I have not seen Tumut, but I have been told that is a very pretty place, and that there is wonderfully good land .there, land so good that it will cost £20 per acre to resume. Some honorable members say that that does not matter, because we shall get value for our money. But why should we pay £20 an acre for land which closeness of settlement, proximity to market, and constant tillage has made worth £20 an acre, when we can obtain equally good land in another district for practically nothing ? I know as much of the Monaro district as most men know, and I could take honorable members to places where there are large areas of good land, not merely 20 or 30 acres of it. At places like Bibbenluke and Cambalong you can get 50,000 or 60,000 acres in one piece, all of which is good. That land is used for pastoral purposes now, because it is too far from a market to make it profitable to grow grain there. There are, however, hundreds of thousands of acres of good land there. Lyndhurst and Tumut cannot compare with Bombala for possibility of expansion. They can never be more than mere overgrown villages. But if a railway were taken through the Monaro table-land, and a market given, a great city would spring up there, even if it were not made the location of the Capital. Mr. Oliver has made a much better comparison of sites than has been made by the Commissioners. The maximum number of points allowed by him is 100, and I ask those who speak of the high winds prevalent at Bombala to take Mr. Oliver’s table and analyze it. Let them ask themselves what sort of man Mr. Oliver is. I have nothing to say against any of the Commissioners, because all of them have held high positions in the States to which they belong ; but the Minister for Trade and Customs, who appointed Mr. Oliver to make his investigation, will bear me out in the statement that for experience and knowledge and the ability to obtain and sift evidence, no better man than Mr. Oliver can be found in Australia. He stands high in the estimation of the people of New South Wales, and there is no question as regards his impartiality. I ask those who visited the Bombala site to disprove Mr. Oliver’s statements regarding it. Notwithstanding the talk about the high winds and rigorous climate there, it is well known that the Monaro district is a health resort to which delicate people go from Sydney to spend the winter, and come back much better in health for their stay there. Moreover, there are many rich families who live all the year round in the district, though they could live elsewhere’ if they liked, and would do so if the climate were as severe as it has been represented to be. Mr. Oliver, estimating the value of the various sites so far as water supply, climate, accessibility, acquisition of territory and capability of expansion and general suitability are concerned, allots to Bombala 80 marks, to Tumut 71, to Lyndhurst 67, to Orange 73, to Lake George 52, to Dalgety 69, to Bathurst 58, to Armidale 48, and to Albury 35. W7as it a fair thing for the Commissioners to put Bombala, with its twenty running streams that cross the hills like so many streaks of silver, and its great Snowy River, fourth on the list in regard to water possibilities? So far as climate is concerned, the Commissioners put Tumut first; but Mr. Oliver gives Tumut 12 marks and Bombala 18, and the Commissioners based their opinion, not upon official records, but upon information given to them by a private individual. It has been said that wheat will not grow in the Bombala district ; but I know many places where it has been growing there for years. I know a paddock of 40 acres which has been under crop for forty years, and gives an average yield of 40 bushels to the acre. The reason why wheat is not largely grown there is that the district is too far from market to make agriculture profitable. The best wheat in the world for the making of flour, the Manitoba wheat, grows in a climate colder than that of .Bombala. Furthermore, we have no typhoid at Bombala. That cannot be said of the other sites. If honorable members will look at the evidence which has been printed, they will see that local witnesses speak of typhoid epidemics in the other sites, and of rivers drying up until they become mere chains of waterholes. Bombala has a good climate, a magnificent water supply, a large available expanse of land, and a central situation. It possesses everything necessary for the building of a large city. I maintain that it would be better for us to select a site so centrally situated that it would be exactly half-way between Melbourne and Sydney, almost half-way between Brisbane and Adelaide, and readily accessible from Hobart and Western Australia. We have been told that there is some doubt regarding the construction of the railway from Cooma to Bombala. In New South Wales both the Parliamentary Standing Committee of Public Works and the Railway Commissioners have to report upon proposed new lines, and in nineteen cases out of twenty the Railway Commissioners are averse to the construction of new railways, and especially pioneering lines, which are not likely to pay from the outset. They desire to work their railways upon commercial principles, and do not care about new lines, unless there is a prospect of their returning a profit.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– They are more often right than wrong.

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN:
Minister for Defence · EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · PROT; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– They err on the side of being too cautious. However, that strengthens my argument, because the proposed railway from. Cooma to Bombala has been recommended by both the Railway Commissioners and the Public Works Committee. This railway would open up a large tract of valuable country, and there is no doubt that it will be constructed irrespective of the location of the Federal Capital. I do not propose to deal further with the statistics relating to the sites because time will not permit of it. Mr. Oliver, the Commissioner for inspecting sites for the Federal Capital, two or three times in his report mentions the desirableness of the Federal

Territory embracing an area considerably exceeding the proposed minimum of 100 square miles ; and, in his description of his favourite Southern Monaro site, he advocates the inclusion of about 1,200 square miles. Recent debates in the Federal Parliament on the same subject indicate that an area of not less than 1,000 square miles is thought by a good many members to be little enough. And there appear to be weighty reasons for thinking that even a territory of this size would be too small. Let us suppose the Southern Monaro site to be the one selected. It has been estimated that quite 7,000 workmen would be employed in erecting the public and private buildings which would be at once required in the city. Many pf these workmen would have wives and families residing with them. In addition to these, several hundred men would be needed for the railways wanted to connect the Capital with Sydney, Melbourne, and Twofold Bay. At the latter place, also, a good many men would be employed on the works in connexion with the Federal port. Altogether, a population of certainly not less than 10,000 would need to be provided for from the start. With Capital and Federal port finished and in working order, the initial population would probably be smaller than that named, but the annual increase would be considerable, and in ten or fifteen years our Capital would probably equal any inland town in its number of inhabitants. Future generations may expect to see the Federal metropolis second only to Melbourne and Sydney. A necessary effect of this rapid and great increase of population must be to create a great stimulus to the food-producing industries of the southeastern corner of New South Wales. Besides this, the railways just spoken of would give that which has long been wanted in Southern Monaro - access to the great markets of the Commonwealth. The proposed territory on the tableland comprises over 1,000 square miles of basalt country, having black or chocolate soil, lightly- timbered and well watered. Hitherto, owing to lack of railway communication, sheepbreeding has been the prevailing industry, and the high prices that its fat stock have always brought in the Sydney and Melbourne markets is sufficient testimony to the nourishing properties of the natural grasses of Southern Monaro. The holdings are mostly large - 10,000 to 60,000 acres - nearly unimproved and sparsely populated.

The tableland is well adapted for close settlement, and, if cut up into blocks, suitable for dairying, combined with farming, fruit and vegetable growing, and stock fattening, must attract a large number of settlers, and prove a remunerative asset for the Commonwealth. This portion of the territory, though not embracing much Crown lands, could be acquired cheaply, as it contains only one town of 600 or 700 inhabitants - Bombala - and two or three small hamlets ; and, as has been said, being lightly improved pastoral country, it would cost, on an average, from £2 to ±’3 per acre to resume. The establishment of theFederal city in the midst of land fit for agriculture must certainly greatly increase land values from the first. The population, consisting at the beginning chiefly of officials and their families, may reasonably be expected, from the pleasant and healthy situation of the town, to increase rapidly in numbers. The place will also be the home of many wealthy and leisured Australians, and the impetus afforded to production over a large radius must give the city a certain business importance, which nearness to a busy port will augment. The resumption of SUCh an area as that now proposed would afford an admirable test of the principle of land nationalization oh a small scale. There are good reasons for expecting that the result of such an experiment would, in this case, prove successful. Large sums must be spent in buildings, railways, and harbor works ; and, as the expenditure will result in increased land values far beyond the immediate neighbourhood of the Capital and its port, the Commonwealth may fairly ask to share the benefits conferred on the whole area by this expenditure. Whether the Federal territory be large or small, the amount spent by the Government on works from which it can receive no direct return, must be much the same ; therefore, the larger the territory, within certain limits, the greater the profit, and the smaller the share of cost to each taxpayer for building the city. Among other advantages the area proposed affords, these may be briefly mentioned. The producing capabilities of the coastland and the tableland are absolutely different, but combined, they may be said to include nearly everything that can be required in the way of foodstuffs. English cereals, fruit and other trees, and flowers flourish within sight of semi-tropical citrous fruits, grapes, figs, maize, &c. As a health and pleasure resort, there is nothing in the State to compare with Southern Monaro and its coast district, which, when rendered more accessible, will attract many visitors from all parts of the Continent - those from the torrid interior and the steamy heat of our northern sea-board, to spend the summer on tie cool highlands; and those from colder regions, to find on the shores of Twofold Bay the most delightful winter climate Australia affords. The scenery is unique. From every eminence on the coast range may be seen on one hand the whole length of the snow-clad Australian Alps, and, on the other, a corresponding stretch of the waters of the Pacific - a combination nowhere else to be found - and the intervening landscape is of the most ‘ charming description. The coast district is the natural complement of the tableland. Within this compact area of 3,500 square miles we should have a self-contained and self-supporting Federal State, with its own gateway to the sea, embracing mountains and valleys, plains and rivers, highland and lowland, and enjoying a delightful, healthy and diversified climate. In the January number of United Australia an article appeared which set forth a practicable scheme by which the Commonwealth might acquire a large Federal territory without borrowing a single penny. The main fea- I tures are these. In Canada a law requires the banks to keep 40 per cent, of their reserves in State legal tender notes, and that the banks do not object to this arrangement is shown by the fact that they keep 50 to 60 per cent, of their reserves in this i form. The average amount of gold lying i idle and useless in Australian banks is about £25,000,000. Were 40 per cent, of this exchanged for Federal notes, the Government would be placed in possession of £10,000,000 for which they would pay no interest, the banks would be no worse off, and most of the gold would still remain in their hands. For much less than £10,000,000 the area I have sketched could be acquired, and the State, as ground landlord, would possess an asset yielding a handsome return from the outset, and one which would increase year by year. To resume an area barely sufficient for the future limits of the Capital would be a crime: to take only 1,000 or 1,200 square miles, when the benefits arising from the establishment of the Federal City and resulting in increased land values would be felt far beyond this area, would be a mistake. The acquisition of a territory sufficiently large to cover all land favorably affected, is the only wise and statesmanlike course to pursue. Any objections that New South Wales might offer to parting with such a large block of her territory, on the score that she would lose the land, income and other taxes derived from it, might be met by showing that the very large revenue the Commonwealth would receive from the Federal State, would enable her to hand back a much larger proportion of Customs dues than would be possible without such a revenue. I think that I have justified the claim that Bombala possesses the main essentials for a Capital site. I desire to read to honorable members the following extract from the Sydney Bulletin : -

  1. The site selected should be far away from any great centres of population, partly because there is no sense in further congesting districts which are already congested ; partly because it is necessary to find a place where a great extent of land can be acquired cheaply, and that cannot be done where population is large.
  2. It should have around it a large area of comparatively vacant land. Then the Commonwealth can acquire 5,000 square miles of country, of which it will be the perpetual ground landlord, so that the increase of land values caused by the construction of a Federal Capital will belong to the nation - not slop over the narrow limits of the Federal territory on to private land outside. The suggestion to restrict the Federal territory to 100 or 200 square miles is mere foolishness.
  3. It should be on elevated country, where the new population that must needs grow up round the new city will be a hardy race of highlanders of the kind that Australia requires for its defence - and for many other purposes.
  4. It should have good scenery, healthy sur roundings, and the best water supply procurable. It is not long since the Snowy River on Monaro and its affluents, comprised the only river system that could be said to he actually running in New South Wales. The rest were crawling, or trickling, or dry.
  5. The capital itself should beeasiry defensible, and at the same time it should, if possible, have a port of its own on its own territory. Australia can do with another port, and Monaro and Eastern Riverina want a nearer sea-outlet than Sydney or Melbourne.

These are good enough reasons why Australia should regard the Bombala site favorably. Un fortunately, they are reasons which don’t tend to the grinding of any commercial axes in Sydney or Melbourne ; they don’t show how any grist ma)’ be brought to the warehouses of York-street or Flinders-lane; and they am ‘t calculated to appeal to any hanks or land syndicates or to any of the big Sydney or Melbourne papers. The are merely based on the general interests of Australia, and the weak point about them, when they appeal for a fair hearing, is that they don’t start on the assumption that the Herald and the I Argus, and the bell-toppered city magnate, are Australia.

I think honorable members might very well take these matters into consideration before recording their votes. We have been told that there are sometimes great falls of snow at Bombala. I know Bombala well, and T have no hesitation in saying that heavier falls of snow take place at Lyndhurst than at Bombala. Snow is never more than three or four inches deep upon the ground at Bombala. Such falls rarely occur more than once a year and the snow remains upon the ground for a few hours only. Honorable members are apt to confuse the Bombala site with the Australian Alps, away to the west. The Alps are snow-clad all the year round, and that fact, to my mind, forms one of the recommendations of the Bombala site. These snow-capped hills form the only really picturesque range in Australia, and there is no doubt that they would attract tourists. If the Federal Capital were established in such a neighbourhood, and cheap and easy means of communication were provided, most of the visitors to Australia would proceed there. They would not care togo to some clammy, humid hollow, but they would resort to a site which combined beauty with utility. I do not propose to say anything further with regard to Southern Monaro except that I hope that the Federal Territory will embrace 2,000 or 3,000 square miles. I do- not anticipate any difficulty in securing such an area, because the Parliament of New South Wales and the electors of the State desire to do what is right in regard to this matter. There may be some difficulty, such as has been suggested by the leader of the Opposition, but I am sure that it can be overcome if we go to work judiciously. If a site were selected in Southern Monaro at once, the thousands of workmen who would be employed would find an ample supply of water on the spot. The expenditure contemplated in connexion with the -provision of a water supply cannot be entered upon within the first year, or even the second year. In the meantime there would be no difficulty as to water at Bombala. The capital city might be situated on the banks of the Snowy River itself, a stream which is ever flowing, and which would afford the best water supply in Australia. No large expenditure would be necessary in that regard for the present.

It was stated last night that it was all moonshine to talk about the unearned increment of the land outside the Federal area, and that 64,000 acres would be sufficient for the purposes of the Federation. Are honorable members prepared to adopt a site which shall not’ extend beyond five miles from the centre of a city placed in the middle of the territory? Would they allow the private land-owner beyond that radius to derive the benefit of the unearned increment which would accrue from the expenditure upon the Federal Capital? I am not prepared to do so, because, by adopting any such course, we should simply play into the hands of a number of land speculators. I hope that, whether the Capital be located in Southern Monaro, or elsewhere, we shall not permit land speculators to rob the public. We might as well allow Mr. Campbell, of Cambalong, to put his hand into the public Treasury as build the Federal city in the centre of his estate, and tell him that he might retain all the lands beyond five miles from the centre of that city and derive the benefit of the unearned increment. The idea is positively absurd. The honorable member for East Sydney said that 64,000 acres would be a sufficiently large area, and his statement has been supported by some of the Sydney newspapers, who have asserted that we were endeavouring to establish a toy State. I contend that it would be better to found a toy State than to submit to conditions such as I have described. I am afraid that I have already detained honorable members too long. My excuse is that this subject is very dear to me, and that I desire that honorable members should have the fullest information placed before them. I have not endeavoured to force ray opinion upon honorable members, but I have preferred to lay before them the facts of the case. I believe that each site should be allowed to stand upon its own merits, and therefore it was not necessary for the advocates of the western sites, or for the Minister for Trade and Customs, to attack Bombala. I ask those honorable members who have made assertions unfavorable to Bombala to support them by evidence from the reports. I know that it is inconvenient for honorable members to remain here, but this question is too big to be scamped over, and, even at the risk of wearying them, I must continue my remarks for a little while longer. I do not often trouble them, because I have spoken less than any other honorable member in this Chamber.

Mr Reid:

– And the honorable member has done the most.

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN:

– I do not know about that, but I have tried to do my best in an honorable way. If I desired to criticise the report of the Commission of Experts, there would be ample room for me to do so. I ask honorable members whether it was fair for the Commission to spend twenty minutes only in inspecting Twofold Bay, and to confine their remarks regarding that harbor, which should become a magnificent asset of the Commonwealth, to the statement that “ it is possible to get from Bombala to Twofold Bay.” I do not wish to criticise at length the work of the Commission, because most honorable members have visited the sites for themselves, and will be able to form their own conclusions. I should like to give a few reasons whv the Federal Capital should be situated in Southern Monaro -

  1. It is half-way between Melbourne and Sydney, Brisbane, and Adelaide, and is accessible to all the States either by land or sea.
  2. Should the enlarged area scheme be adopted a greater extent of good land is available there than at any of the other proposed sites.
  3. Being on the borders of the two principal States, it would not be surrounded solely by New South Wales territory as all other suggested sites would be.
  4. It would offer the advantage of a seaside resort for the inhabitants, easily reached by train in two or three hours.

If rich country be required we need not go to a place where tobacco will grow so rank as to be almost useless for commercial purposes, or the corn will grow over the fence I would ask honorable members to turn their attention to Bega, thirty miles from Bombala, which is one of the most productive localities in Australia, and in which almost everything required for comfort and luxury can be grown. If Bombala were found to be too cold, honorable members by travelling fourteen or fifteen miles towards the coast, could reach a climate warmer than that of Tumut. Land suitable for cultivation at j Bega brings the high price of £100 per acre, , but it would be absurd for us to think of ‘ acquiring such land for the purposes of I erecting a Federal Capital. My statement ; in support of Bombala proceeds as follows: -

  1. The Snowy River Falls would supply horsepower sufficient for generating electrical power for lighting purposes, pumping, railways, tramways, &c, &c.
  2. All descriptions of building material are found in the vicinity of the site.
  3. The site itself is admirably formed for the laying out of a large city, and the facilities for drainage are perfect ; the soil suitable for parks and gardens.

There can be no question with regard to drainage. There are no difficulties in the way, and scarcely any attention has been directed to this subject because it is obvious that a perfect scheme could be adopted.

  1. It would possess a port of its own for the purpose of trade, and as a home for the Federal Navy.
  2. All necessary food supplies can be produced in Southern Monaro.
  3. It has a great variety of beautiful scenery.
  4. It is less subject to severe droughts than any part of the State.
  5. It could very easily be made impregnable.

Upon every one of these points one might enlarge considerably, but time does not warrant the adoption of that course.

  1. The climate is the healthiest in Australia, and no kind of epidemic disease lias ever occurred. The winters are much milder than those of Orange, Bathurst, Goulburn, and many other places in the State, which doubtless is on account of its proximity to the sea, and its elevation being less than Northern Monaro. As a proof of the mildness of the winters, the most delicate persons do not find it necessary to leave the district during the coldest months, and fat stock are seldom sent from it to market until late in the. winter, as they hold their condition until stock in other parts are falling off, which they could not possibly do if the winters were severe.

Further, both the Melbourne and Sydney auctioneers will tell any one who chooses to inquire that the cattle from Southern Monaro realize the highest prices in the market. The records will prove that. The stock are sent to those cities at the end of the winter, showing that they hold their condition all through the season which has been described as being sosevere.

The climate of the. majority of the largest and certainly healthiest capitals and towns of the world is much colder than any part of Southern Monaro. for instance, London, Liverpool, Glasgow, Brussels, Hamburg, Paris, New York. Quebec, Washington, Wellington (New Zealand), and many others. The inhabitants of cool or temperate climates have more robust constitutions and a better physique than those reared in warm, enervating ones, particularly in towns. In the young generation of Sydney we have a marked example, as we find the majority of them undersized, puny, or stunted looking as compared with their more sturdy forefathers.

If we wish to judge of the climate of Southern Monaro, we have merely to look at the men who come from that district, and compare them with the inhabitants of any of our State capitals.

  1. Ifc would be on the alternate line of railway between Melbourne and Sydney.

Even if we do not establish the Federal Capital in Southern Monaro, will any one suggest that for defence purposes we shall not require to construct a railway round that neighbourhood close to the sea shore 1 I think so.

  1. The cost of the construction of the line from Cooma to Bairnsdale, or to Eden, should not be debited to the Bombala capital site, as they are very necessary works for the development of the country, and are therefore national works which should have been carried out years ago.
  2. The situation of the capital should not be chosen for the convenience of the politicians of the present day only.

To say that we shall not go there unless this thing or that thing is done is to display a miserable spirit. Rather let us defer the selection of the future seat of Government for ten or twenty years than commit a mistake which must endure for all time. As far as I am aware there is no feverish desire on the part of the people of Sydney that undue haste should be exhibited in this matter. If honorable members will divest themselves of all party feeling, they must admit that the representatives of Victoria are quite as anxious that the compact which is embodied in the Constitution shall be honorably carried out as are the representatives of New South Wales. I appeal to honorable members not to be unduly precipitate, and thereby to make a mistake which we shall regret for all time.

Therefore, a site should be selected which possesses a port of its own, and which has rich coastal country adjacent, such as Bega, with a warm climate where all the tender products could be raised for supplying the city. Should the present financial position of the Commonwealth preclude the building of the capital being proceeded with immediately, still the Federal Parliament should acquire possession of a large area of Southern Monaro and hold it in trust for posterity.

I maintain that to do so would be even better than to select a place merely because the land in the neighbourhood could be acquired cheaply. When we can obtain a thing cheaply it is generally nasty. We have no need to fear the expenditure which will be involved in the selection of a good site, because it will require to be distributed over a long period of years. I am obliged to honorable members for the attention and patience with which they have listened to my remarks, and I regret exceedingly that time does not permit me to deal with the matter in a more exhaustive way. I believe that

I could supply many particulars which would be of interest to honorable members. Unless an attack is made upon. Bombala, I have no desire to institute comparisons between that site and the other sites, because, so far, the debate has been conducted in a very good spirit. No effort has been made to decry any site with the exception of Bombala. The fact that every one considers it fair to cast a stone at that site suggests that it must stand pretty high in general estimation. To those who wish to criticise it, I say - “ Take these facts and pull them to pieces, but do not make merely bald assertions.” I hope we shall not hurriedly settle this question simply to placate a few people who desire to make something out of the Commonwealth. No doubt if we possessed landed property in the vicinity of one of these sites, we should be anxious to have that site selected, because the price of our land would be immediately enhanced. If we imagine that landowners intend to levy blackmail upon the country it behoves us to go slowly. In many of the sites the price of property has already gone up considerably. What will be the result if to-night the news goes forth that this House has selected Tumut? I appeal to honorable members not to be swayed by any personal considerations in recording their votes. I fear there will be a little of that. I believe that if the Minister for Trade and Customs did not represent an electorate which includes Albury and Tumut, honorable members would not be so strongly in favour of the selection of one of those sites. But he has so industriously, cleverly, and carefully placed certain figures before honorable members that he has convinced many of them that the sites in question are alone worthy of consideration. If. later on, we find that one site which was very low upon the list has crept up to first place, we shall naturally ask ourselves whether those sites which were frozen out early were not the victims of some combination ? I urge honorable members to make haste slowly. The people of New South Wales know very well that the compact which is embodied in the Constitution will be given effect to. There is nothing in the cry of delay which has been raised because the records of this Parliament will show the work which has been done. As far as I am concerned, I hope that the best site will be selected, and that it will be one of which we may be proud, and which will in the future form the home of a good sturdy race. I trust that it will be the greatest modern city of the world. Great opportunities lie before it. If the authorities at Washington had great opportunities, and if they have made good, use of them, how much superior to the Capital of the United States ought to be the Capital of Australia 1 I trust that in the time to come Australians will thank the men .who were careful to see that the best possible site was selected. To my mind the Capital of Australia should be unique in its beauty and utility. Other nations have fixed their capitals in the crowded urban centres of commerce, and they possess the splendours that opulence has gathered round them. Our Capital will show the reverse side on a better principle. Its broad avenues intersecting its regular squares, its frequent reservations of grass, flowers and fountains; its parks and trees ; its substantial business houses and sightly dwellings ; its schools, colleges, universities, galleries, and museums; its monuments and ‘ public buildings ; its noble rivers and picturesque landscape ; its rugged mountains and fertile plains, with Kosciusko in the distance piercing the sky and lifting itself like a heavenly dome ; these and many other natural advantages will offer a noble panorama, and a more inspiring contemplation than can possibly be afforded by any other city in the world. Our Federation will live and grow, and with that growth we shall have a Capitol expanding with every turn of the prodigious wheel of which it will be the axle. Plans for its improvement will abound. One can contemplate here the erection of halls like those of the ancients, where the eye may behold, revived, the architectural creations of bygone nations. Many schemes are worthy of consideration ; but the essential must come first. We must have new railways; the means of communication with other great cities; necessary public buildings ; suitable accommodation for Parliament, press, and people - no renting of rooms in which our public servants are to carry on the business of the nation, no placing of them in dingy lodgings like transient visitors, or postponed claimants. This will be a city that will live for all time, and it consequently demands provision for health and comfort, and all that is becoming to its importance. Whatever we do in building should be the best of its kind in plan, material and execution. All our public buildings should be of good design, and as to the Capital itself, it- should be such as will express to the beholder the stability, the dignity and the grace of the Australian nation. In it science will find a fitting home. In it that inventive genius, which in the past has so largely added to the comfort of the. poor man’s cottage, will be sheltered, and, while discharging other useful functions, will assist to give precedence to our products in the markets of the world. It is our desire, I take it, that the inventor shall have every scope in a city which will one day loom large among the great cities of the world. We also require a city that will be a fitting place in which to receive the official representatives of every civilized nation, and men of high standing in the political and social life of the .people they represent. In it those who make and interpret our laws will assemble. There also will be the great Departments in which the nation’s affairs are transacted, where public policy, internal and external, is determined, and from which the national progress is directed. Where, if not in this city of the future, can the stranger expect to find adequate representations of our people, of our institutions, and of all things that go to fill the measure of a nation’s wealth and civilization ?

Mr REID:
East Sydney

– I think I interpret the feeling of the Committee correctly when I say that there is a strong desire that this debate should come to a termination as soon as possible. At one time I did not intend to take part in the discussion, but I have come to the conclusion that I ought to do so. At the same time, I intend to make only a very few observations. In the first place, we all give the Minister for Defence the utmost credit for perfect sincerity in this matter. It is a fact that he has very seldom occupied the time of this Chamber, either in the House or in Committee, and nothing but an overwhelming sense of duty could have prompted him to make the very protracted appeal which he has made to honorable members on behalf of the site which he favours. We can only feel grateful that he has not two such sites in his electorate, because in that case we should have had two speeches of the character to which I have alluded. The Minister for Trade and Customs is in that embarrassing position. He has two sites in his electorate which are absolutely perfect for the purpose of a Federal Capital, and it seems to be very difficult for him to decide which of the two he will advocate. However, I suppose he must be allowed to take his own course. Yesterday the Minister for Defence was perfectly satisfied with the trend of events. He seemed to enjoy a perfect state of satisfaction, and he had not the slightest doubt that the time had come when a final decision of this question should be made. Indeed, one of the peculiar contradictions which he developed in the course of his speech was that whilst in one mood he was impassioned in his demand for an immediate settlement of the question ; in another, as a doubt crossed his mind, whether the choice which the Committee would make would be a wise one, he was equally impassioned for delay. That is about the position which some honorable members occupy upon this occasion. If the site is chosen according to their satisfaction, it cannot be chosen too soon; if it is not, there cannot be too much delay. I submit that the Parliament is perfectly prepared, and ought to be prepared, to come now to a conclusion upon this question. There are some things which I feel sure the Committee will avoid. I am satisfied, in the first place, that there is no desire on the part of honorable members to make the concession to New South Wales as small as possible, and it is only fair to say that I have seen no evidence of any such disposition. Then again, we must admit that no one has a right to expect honorable members to choose a site in the interests of any particular part of New South Wales, whether it be Sydney or any other part of the State. We have no right to expect that any local interest should dominate the national choice. There is another thing which I think we should also endeavour to avoid, and that is the desire expressed in some quarters that we shall bury the Capital in as remote and as secluded a part of Australia as it is possible to select. Some people appear to shrink from coming into contact, in the discharge of their legislative duties, with the healthy currents of public opinion ; but I have no sympathy with any desire to bury the capital of Australia in any secluded spot. I do not wish to bring the Federal Parliament into the midst of a great city population. In determining the site of the Capital, I should rather look, if possible, to the natural resources of the surrounding territory. What is there, after all, in the history of this great Australian Commonwealth

111’

which should induce us not to look forward, in choosing the centre of our national life, to a site blessed with the greatest abundance of natural resources ? We know very well that admirable and important as is the agricultural industry, no territory which is simply blessed with agricultural resources is likely to play any large part in the evolution of the industrial destiny of any country. Whilst I should give full weight to all that has been said in favour of a number of these sites, I think that we should not overlook the aspect of the question to which I refer. I have listened to animated and more or less poetic descriptions of rivulets, water-courses, and vegetation, and as to the possibility of landscape gardening at some of the sites. I am ready to state at once that I believe it cannot be said that an)’ one of the nine sites submitted for our consideration is not a good one. I believe that every one of them possesses a large number of recommendations, and I have no desire to utter one word of disparagement with reference to any of them. But, having given this matter careful consideration, it seems to me that there are three questions which should have the greatest weight with us in determining our choice. I agree with the Minister for Defence that the question of water supply has been magnified in a most ‘ ridiculous way. I do not feel any anxiety as to the supply of water for any population which we may have in the Federal Capital. At the same time I wish to express my sense of the unsubstantial character of the visions of a large trade and commerce which have also been associated with the selection of this site. Trade and commerce can never spring from mere political activity, nor from the presence in any particular locality of a number of gentlemen who happen to be Members of Parliament. The evolution of trade and commerce is derived from far more active and substantial sources. Deep in the heart of nature lie the springs of national development and progress, and it seems to me, with all respect to those who express different opinions, that the belief that in the future history of the national Capital we shall be able, by some mysterious process, to evolve large industrial results where there are no large resources, is due to an extravagant and unsubstantial imagination. In the industrial life of this country we know that the richness of the soil will be one great factor ; but when we consider the great hives of industry, which we hope our nation will create in days to come, we must look beneath the soil for the signs of our great future, whether of trade or of commerce, so far, at any rate, as any site which is situated in the interior is concerned. I therefore discard altogether the unsubstantial vision of wealth which is to be created by the presence of Members of Parliament on a particular Federal site. It is an absolutely unsubstantial vision, and, indeed, it would not be a good thing if it were not so. The only true guarantee of wealth and progress is to be found in the resources of a country, and where those resources are greatest there will be the greatest industrial development. I should feel rather attracted towards one site more than to the rest upon that ground. But I see in most of these sites no kind of promise of a future touch between the national capital and the national industries. We ought to endeavour to cast aside what may be the perfectly unconscious desire to bury the capital in the remotest part of Australia. One of my great objections to the Bombala site is that it comes within that category. No one can look at the map of New South Wales without seeing that that is one of the most serious defects of Bombala. I admit on the other hand that it has the advantage - an advantage which no other site enjoys - of not being too distant from a great natural port. It is useless, however, to talk of great natural ports as being factors in the development of commerce, unless natural resources lie within their range. We might have the finest harbor in the world, but if we had not the great resources which make for great industrial developments in the neighbourhood of that harbor, it would never be more than a suitable place for pleasure excursions.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Jervis Bay, to wit.

Mr REID:

– That is one of “the finest harbors in the world ; but it is within a few miles, comparatively speaking, of Port Jackson. It does not happen to be, as is Port Jackson, a natural pathway for the development of the trade of the great State of New South Wales. I see nothing in the natural resources of the Bombala district to give the slightest foundation for the belief that its port would bc an outlet for national commerce. It might serve another purpose - that of giving fresh scope for the development of our naval and military expenditure.

My own impression is, and it is not by any means an original one, that in the scheme of our future nation it would be wise for us to remove the capital of Australia a very considerable distance beyond the possibility of hostile invasion. I see in Twofold Bay an undoubtedly natural harbor - where there is excellent fishing, and I have enjoyed my opportunities there in that direction. But when one speaks of Twofold Bay as a scene for fortifications, I say that we should first invent the necessity to erect forifications, and to incur national expenditure in that, direction, by selecting such a site for the capital. We shall act more wisely if we avoid the possibility of hostile demonstrations. I wish to follow the excellent example which has been set me by refraining from entering upon any critical or unfriendly examination of the different sites. Each one of them possesses a considerable number of advantages. The question of accessibility is a matter of some importance. I do not refer to the convenience of individual members, but, believing as I do that it is our desire to place as few difficulties as possible in the way of the entrance of the best talent of Australia into the Federal Parliament, I regard the question of accessibility as being one of the very greatest importance. Any attempt to establish the national Capital in a remote part of the country would be a great mistake. Bombala unfortunately has not the advantage of railway, communication, and I admit that it should have had it long ago. There are many parts of New South Wales with infinitely less claims upon the State Government which have railway communication, but I do not think that we can expect Now South Wales to build a railway fifty miles in length for the convenience of the Federal Parliament. We certainly should not incur any such expenditure out of the Commonwealth funds. The absence of railway communication is one of the serious objections to the selection of the Bombala site, but I should not attach too much importance to that fact if there were not other disadvantages associated with the site.

Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT

– If the statement made by the right honorable member be correct the State will in any case build a railway to Bombala.

Mr REID:

– Unfortunately I am not the State Government, and the mere fact that I have expressed the opinion to which the honorable member refers would nob cause the railway to be built. If it would, the railway would have been constructed long ago, for I have expressed the same opinion on former occasions. I do not advance this objection, however, as sufficient to justify the rejection of the site. I admit that it is capable of being removed - that it may be only a transient one - and I do not assert that it is the most serious objection to a selection of the site. I certainly have a full appreciation of the beauties and attractions of the Tumut site as a country residence, and as one of the eminently desirable sites within the electorate of the Minister for Trade and Customs. I strongly object to Tumut, however, on grounds similar to those which caused me to unfavorably regard the Bombala site, although I admit that my opposition to Tumut is not so strong as is my objection to that site. I do not think the drawbacks in the case of Tumut are so great as are those associated with Bombala. In the first place, Tumut is very much more accessible in the sense of being a more convenient site, not only for the members of to-day, but for members of the Australian Parliaments of the future. M.y own feeling is that, whether we consider climate, whether we consider accessibility, or whether we consider the surrounding resources, agricultural or mineral, the Lyndhurst site is absolutely the best. It has, in one way, a disadvantage, in the fact that it is thought to be out of the track of Inter-State communication ; but those who left Melbourne for Sydney would reach Lyndhurst two hours sooner if they travelled at the same rate along the line to Harden, and thence along the other line in the direction of this site. There is railway communication which would take members from other parts of Australia to Lyndhurst sooner than to Sydney. I do not attach too much weight to the opinions of the experts. I think that the information they have gathered is very useful, but we have only two or three very simple questions to consider. I do not attach much weight to the quality of the building stone found in a district, or to considerations of that sort. They are, to my mind, trivial in the light of the future destiny of Australia. But we should have some regard to climate. In founding a capital for Australia we should endeavour to obtain, remembering the climates which most of the capitals of Australia possess, one of the best in Australia. The climate of Lyndhurst is clearly of that character. So, too, is that of Lake George. Both the Lake George and the Lyndhurst sites have greater advantages in regard to climate than have the Bombala and Tumut sites. As to accessibility, Bombala is the most remote, taking into consideration the combined convenience of the people of Australia. I find - and I have taken these figures from a report which, I understand, is reliable - that the distance from Melbourne to Bombala is 632 miles, and to Lyndhurst 443, or 190 miles less, while the journey to Bombala involves a coach ride of some fifty miles. Prom . Brisbane to Bombala is 133 miles further than from Brisbane to Lyndhurst, and from Adelaide or from Perth to Bombala is 190 miles further than from either of those capitals to Lyndhurst. The only capital which is nearer to Bombala than to Lyndhurst is Hobart. The climate of Lyndhurst is undeniably excellent. Its mineral wealth and agricultural resources are certainly equal to those of any other district in Australia. Great stores of coal and iron ore lie within a comparatively short distance. What builds up great industrial centres in the absence of coal and iron 1 We have, no doubt, great agricultural towns, but a combination of rich agricultural resources with great mineral wealth suggests a district which contains all human possibilities. I am also reminded that, notwithstanding the obstacles which the policy of the State of New South Wales is said to have placed in the way of industry, we have close to this district the beginning of large iron works. Inexhaustible supplies of coal can be obtained at a nominal rate, and there is the best railway communication in Australia with the district. It is, indeed, more central than any other except Albury.

Mr O’malley:

– Could we get 1,000 square miles of territory there ?

Mr REID:

– As well there as in any other country district, and the existing towns are some miles away. It is a magnificent district, from the point of view of natural beauty, has an excellent climate, and possesses great agricultural resources . and mineral wealth, while its distance from the capitals of the States is considerably less than that of Bombala, and about the same as that of Tumut. I ask honorable members to consider these matters. It has sometimes been imputed to our Victorian fellow members that they have been consumed with a mad desire to rob New South Wales of as much as they can of her rights in this matter. I am very happy to say that I have seen no trace of that throughout the whole of these proceedings, and it gives me great pleasure to be able to make this public testimony. I think we are about to do the best we can for Australia, according to our different opinions.

Mr ISAACS:
Indi

– I am very glad that the leader of the Opposition has acknowledged that there has been no attempt to do anything which would even seem to deprive New South Wales of her rights under the Constitution. I think that that has been proved beyond doubt by the attitude already assumed by honorable members in this Chamber, and I am very glad at the acknowledgment which it has received, not only from the right honorable gentleman, but from other honorable members who represent constituencies in New South Wales. I am sorry that it was ever thought that Victorians are capable of taking any other position. I am quite sure that my right honorable friend has to-night properly indicated the rights of New South Wales. He said, and I thoroughly agree with him, that no endeavour should be made to, on the one hand, rob New South Wales of any rights, or, on the other hand, allow any local feeling to determine in which part of New South Wales the capital shall be placed. .But this also should be taken into consideration : we should not assume that New South Wales has in this matter any rights whatever apart from the rest of Australia. It is a national capital that we are about to locate, and we should apply to all the States of Australia the same consideration that my right honorable friend has applied to the various partis of New South Wales.

Mr Reid:

– My only allusion was to the condition in the Constitution that the Capital must be in New South Wales.

Mr ISAACS:

– That postulate must be accepted in the determination of this matter. I am happy to agree with my right honorable friend that the advantages of agricultural cultivation are not a very strong factor in the determination of the national Capital site. Other things being equal, it is, of course, most desirable that the Federal territory should contain soil of a productive quality. We should endeavour to obtain every advantage, but the dominating factor must lie accessibility to the populations of Australia. If we are to allow one consideration to prevail more than another, it is the situation of the proposed site with regard to the present populations of Australia, and their probable future distribution so far as we can determine it. In determining the question of accessibility, we have one factor to regard in the matter of distance. Notwithstanding the criticism which has been given i(b their report, I think that the Capital Sites Commissioners have honestly done the work intrusted to them. The popular test of accessibility is the position of the sites in relation to Sydney and Melbourne. Sydney has been regarded by the Commissioners as the convenient point of consideration in regard to the States of New South Wales and Queensland, and Melbourne in regard to the other States of the “Union. I shall not enter into comparatively minute considerations, such as the quality of the timber growing in the various localities, or the temperature registered there in certain years. I wish, however, to correct a statement which has been made by several speakers. When they were speaking of the temperature of the Albury site, they were giving the temperature of Albury itself. They forgot to add that the site chosen by the Commissioners at Tabletop has a temperature 8 degrees lower than that of Albury. I do not think that the divergencies of temperature are in the majority of cases material, but I regard the Bombala site as the freezing chamber of Australia, since in the four winter months its mean temperature is very near freezing point. To use the words of the Commissioners -

The mean minimum shade temperature during the four coldest months was 32-7 degrees.

I would ask, how is the accessibility of the sites to be determined ? We find already in existence certain means of communication. There is a well-established and irrevocable line of railway between Melbourne and Sydney, the 2(ew South Wales portion of which is known locally as the Great Southern Line. Situated on that line, and on another great highway which can be made still greater than it is at present, the River Murray, we find the Albury site. Some of my friends from New South Wales will say that Albury is in the Riverina, and that the

Riverina is dominated by Victorian interests. I hope that the day has passed when those considerations will receive weight. If Albury is the most advantageous site from the point of view of Australian interests, I do not think it is consistent with our Federal principles, or even with those fiscal principles which my honorable friends opposite so strenuously maintain, that there should be any cavil as to the course of trade within Australia. If upon all other grounds Albury ought, as was indicated by the father of Federation, the late Sir Henry Parkes, to be the site of the Federal Capital, it is not right or proper to object to it, because of its proximity to one capital or the other. As I have endeavoured to show, it has the advantage of being situated upon the River Murray, the navigation of which may in the future be a very important matter to South Australia. The fact that Albury is situated at the junction of the Great Southern railway with the River Murray is a point worthy of our earnest consideration. The Commissioners, at page 16 of their report, under the head of “accessibility,” say : -

The site suggested by your Commissioners as, in their opinion, the best. adapted to the purposes of a Federal Capital lies about ten miles to the northward of the town of Albury, and adjoins the Table; Top station on the main southern line of railway, the centre of the area proposed as a city being nearly opposite to the 376th mile post from Sydney.

Then they give the distances by direct measurement of the site from the capital cities of the various States. They add -

Its proximity to a main trunk line of railway renders this site a particularly convenient one, as the city would from the beginning be in direct communication with Sydney and Melbourne, as well as the capital cities of the other States. The position of the site in relation to the centres of population, both present and future, is as follows : - It bears south-easterly 150 miles from the geometric centre of the present population of Australia, is 24 miles southerly by rail from the centre as determined by existing lines of communication, and is .190 miles in a direct line from the geometric centre of ultimate settlement. The through distances from Sydney and Melbourne by the shortest existing means of communication are 376 and 201 miles respectively.

Honorable members have before them the report of the Commissioners, and, after deducting from the temperature records the 8 degrees mentioned in the report, they will find that the climate of Albury is a desirable one. The site possesses all the advantages and facilities necessary for the construction and maintenance of a Federal city. I do not wish to disparage in the smallest degree any other sites, but I cannot see what advantage Lyndhurst possesses over Albury or Tumut.

Mr L E GROOM:
DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND · PROT; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; IND from 1931; UAP from 1934

– It has a better summer climate.

Mr ISAACS:

– To some extent it has a cooler climate, but that may be a disadvantage in winter, when the Parliament will probably be sitting. From a national stand-point, I cannot see what advantage is possessed by Lyndhurst over Albury. On the other hand, however, Lyndhurst has great drawbacks from the point of view of the southern States. Very little inconvenience would be involved so far as Sydney or Brisbane were concerned if either Tumut or Albury were chosen. I feel constrained to say with regard to Bombala that it would be a great mistake to choose that site. 1 fully agree with the leader of the Opposition. It is out of the way, and although it may be a lovely spot and possess all the advantages which have been so graphically depicted by honorable members, it is a matter of marvel to” me that all these virtues should only now have been discovered. lt is marvellous that a district so rich as it has been described, and so replete with all those essentials which go to make a State great, should have remained undiscovered until the present time.

Mr Fowler:

– The richest gold-mines in Australia were not discovered until recently.

Mr ISAACS:

– They were under the earth, whereas the attractions of Bombala are on the surface. I might direct special attention to the great expense that would be involved in constructing a railway from the Victorian side to the proposed site. A railway would have to be built from Bairnsdale at a cost of from £1,200,000 to £1,500,000. That amount of Victorian money would have to be expended in order to reach not Bombala, but the border of the State of Victoria.

Mr O’Malley:

– Victoria need not build the railway, because honorable members could go the other way.

Mr ISAACS:

– That would practically mean that we should be out of touch with the Federal Capital. We should have to travel 633 miles in order to reach it.

Mr Fisher:

– -What about the other States ?

Mr ISAACS:

– They are just as badly off. If Bombala were selected the Federal

Capital would be, for all practical purposes, entirely beyond the reach of Victorians, unless the State were prepared to incur an outlay of £1,200,000 or £1,500,000. No Victorians would be justified at present in voting for a site which would impose upon the State the necessity of incurring any such expenditure. Even assuming that we had a railway to the northern border of Victoria, we should still be twenty-five miles from Bombala, and the Government of Victoria would not have the power, even though it had the will, to bridge that distance by rail. I do not suppose that New South “Wales would concern herself in constructing a railway merely for the convenience of Victorians. It has been suggested that the Commonwealth might undertake the work, but I think it would be very wrong for us to do any such thing. As to the chance of New South Wales constructing the line which would be necessary to connect the Victorian railway system with the capital, I should like to refer to the report of the Commissioners. At page 38 it is stated : -

The Chief Railway Commissioner of New South Wales states that the construction of the New South Wales portion of the Bombala-Bairnsdale line could only be justified on the around of the necessity for connecting the Federal Capital, if at Bombala, with Melbourne direct. He also drew attention to the fact that the plans supplied showed undesirable grades and curves.

That statement indicates as plainly as possible, that so far as the New South Wales Chief Railway Commissioner is concerned, no railway would be Built t for the convenience of Victorians. I do not blame New South Wales. It would be unfair of Victoria to expect New South Wales to construct the line. We should, therefore, be very careful not to choose a Federal Capital from which we should practically be shut out. When I heard the honorable member for Gippsland portraying the magnificent possibilities of the eastern portion of Victoria, his words sounded strangely familiar to my ears. I have been a member of the State Parliament for many years and also a Minister of the State Government, and the honorable member’s remarks reminded me of the speeches made on several occasions when railway lines were projected. In all cases glowing predictions were indulged in, but were not fulfilled when the lines were constructed.

Mr A McLEAN:
GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · PROT

– If the capital were placed in the proper position, the Federal territory would extend to the border, and

New South Wales could not shut out Victorians in the way suggested.

Mr ISAACS:

– The difficulties in the way of constructing a Federal line would be hard to overcome. I do not feel justified in voting for a place which is altogether outside of vision, except at an enormous expenditure. If we consult the interests of Australia as a whole, we shall take into consideration the claims of Albury and Tumut to become the future seat of government. By way of preference, I should choose Albury, because it is the point of junction of the means of communication with three States. ‘I should even prefer Lake George to Bombala, because it is more accessible. I trust that when we determine this matter it will be in such a way as will give satisfaction to all. I feel that it is a very momentous question, in which is bound up a great deal of the future of Australia. Above all things, we should view it from a national, and not from a State stand-point.

Sir JOHN FORREST:
Minister for Home Affairs · Swan · Protectionist

– The selection of the Federal Capital site is a question of the very greatest importance to every resident in Australia, and one . which requires a great deal of consideration. Consequently I do not feel justified ingoing to a ballot without expressing my opinions upon it. I remarked the other evening that I should have been pleased if we had not been required to vote upon this matter at the present time, because, personally, I have experienced considerable difficulty in arriving at a conclusion as to what is the best site to select. Possibly I am not singular in that respect inasmuch as other honorable members must have experienced similar difficulty. I trust that the Committee will acquit me of any desire to defer consideration of this matter from ulterior motives. I wish to see effect given as soon as possible to the provision which is embodied in the Constitution. At the same time I cannot fail to confess that we have not sufficient information at our disposal to warrant us in coming to a decision. However, as it seems to be the desire of this Parliament to finally determine the matter this session, I shall have to record my vote in what I conceive to be the best interests of Australia. I propose briefly to place before honorable members my idea of the qualifications which, in my opinion, should be possessed by the Federal Capital site, and subsequently to indicate which of the sites submitted most fully enjoys those qualifications. I agree with the honorable and learned member for Indi that the capital should be conveniently situated to the two great centres of population, and that, if possible, we should locate it fairly equi-distant between Melbourne and Sydney. I believe there is a stretch of country between the neighbourhood of Yass and Lake George to which we have not given sufficient consideration, and which would well repay a closer examination before a final settlement of this question is arrived at. It has the advantage of a reasonable altitude, and I am informed that it possesses a good water supply. From the little attention which I have been able to give to it I think that it merits more consideration than has been bestowed upon it. To my mind it is a sine qua non that the future seat of government shall possess a cool climate. I have already said that it should be convenient to both Sydney and Melbourne, and that it must possess a good water supply. If we can establish it upon a noble, ever-flowing river so much the better. Personally, I prefer that it should be in a fertile country and that it should occupy a position upon a commanding plateau. It should be established close to some great natural feature which will prove a source of joy not only to us, but for ever to those who visit our city. From the. information which is before me I am forced to the conclusion that the most suitable site of those which have been suggested is that of Southern Monaro. I believe, however, that the site should be close to the Snowy River, which is a noble, ever-flowing steam. In point of fact it is the finest and noblest river in Australia. Moreover it lends itself to all sorts of improvements. Artificial lakes might very easily be formed by the use of its waters, which would also be employed for generating electricity. I do not favour the site which is known as Bombala, because it is not upon the Snowy River, and I hold that we should establish the capital close to that beautiful river rather than at some distance from it. I am of opinion that a site can be found upon the elevated plateau in that neighbourhood which will fulfil most, if not all, of the conditions to which I have referred. With regard to a great natural feature, I say that one cannot over-estimate its value. Honorable members are aware of the great advantage derived by many cities of the world from the fact that great natural features are in their vicinity. We know what Chamounix is to Geneva what” the Rigi and Mount Pilatus are to Lucerne, and what in our own country Mount Wellington is to Hobart. None of those cities would be the great places of resort for tourists which they are, if the great natural features to which I have referred were not so close at hand. Some of the other sites I have visited would, no doubt, be suitable, but on comparing their qualifications I could not vote for them in preference to the Southern Monaro site. I have nothing to say against any of the other sites. I admit that the climate of Lyndhurst appears to be excellent in summer and winter, and the elevation is suitable, but it does not possess the great noble and everflowing river which the Southern Monaro site possesses, nor is it so conveniently situated with respect to the great centres of population, Melbourne and Sydney. A good deal has been said about the cost of connecting Southern Monaro by railway, and in that regard all I can say is that the two States of New South Wales and Victoria have already surveyed lines for the purpose. I have no doubt they had some object in view in making these surveys. If a district similar to that of Southern Monaro existed in the State from which I come, I should not hesitate a moment about constructing a railway through it. After visiting it, I wondered that the construction of a railway through the district has been delayed so long. The soil is excellent, is capable *of supporting a large population, and if a railway will not pay there I do not know where one will pay. I have, very reluctantly, to exercise my judgment in this matter, and I have not tried to influence in any way the opinion of any other honorable member. I have to make up my own mind as to the best site to select, and I do not desire to have upon me the responsibility of influencing the vote of any other honorable member when I believe that we have not exhaustive information upon the subject. I notice that the honorable and learned member for Indi told the Committee that the mean temperature of Bombala was something like freezing point.

Mi-. Isaacs. - No, I read the words of the report.

Sir JOHN FORREST:

– I have information that the mean maximum temperature throughout the year is about 68 degrees, and the mean minimum about 40 degrees.

Mr Isaacs:

– What I read was - “The mean minimum shade temperature during the four coldest months is 32-7 degrees.”

Sir JOHN FORREST:

– That is something very different. I have been speaking of the mean temperature throughout the year. I have no desire to say anything further, but I must again express my regret that I am called upon at the present time to exercise my vote. It appears that I must do so, and 1 shall therefore vote for the Southern Monaro site.

Mr. L. E. GROOM (Darling Downs).I have no desire to detain the Committee at any length ; but, coming from a northern State I think it only right that I should raise the point that the suitability of these sites has been regarded rather from the point of view of the present than of the future, and from the point of view of the two States of New South Wales and Victoria rather than from that of the other States. Listening to the discussion it would seem to me to have been taken for granted that, in future, the whole of the population of Australia will be located between the two cities of Sydney and Melbourne, and that, when we consider the suitability of any particular place to be the Capital of the Commonwealth, our decision must be guided by a reference to those two cities. I desire to remind honorable members that, according to the evidence furnished with the report of the Royal Commission, the bulk of the population of Australia will not in the future be located in the southern parts of the Commonwealth, but along the eastern coast. It is stated that thirty years from now the combined population of New South Wales and Queensland will be about 4, 250,000, whilst the population of all the rest of the States will be only about 3,750,000. If we are to be guided by the evidence furnished by the Royal Commission, it is clear that the trend of population in Australia will be northwards, where at the present time we have almost all the unoccupied territory of Australia. Practically the whole of the territory of Victoria is occupied, and has been alienated in fee simple ; nearly the whole of the territory of New South Wales is occupied ; but only 4 per cent, of the territory of Queensland has yet been alienated in fee simple. All this goes to show that the trend of population in Australia will, in future, inevitably be towards the north. I have said that I have no desire to occupy much of the time of the Committee, but I feel it is absolutely necessary that I should enter my protest’ against a selection of the capital of the Commonwealth solely with a view to meeting existing conditions. If honorable members will look at the natural conditions of Australia, and the position in which we are placed with respect to the great cities of the east, they will see that geographically the centre of Australian population must inevitably be about where it has been placed by the statisticians, and that is at Armidale. If Armidale is considered in the light of the tests applied to other sites, it will be found to be pre-eminently the most suitable for the capital. It is on a main line of railway ; it occupies an absolutely central position according to the report of the Commissioners–

Mr A McLEAN:
GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · PROT

– Does the honorable and learned member not think that New Guinea would supply a suitable site ?

Mr L E GROOM:
DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND · PROT; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; IND from 1931; UAP from 1934

– The honorable member for Gippsland was recently very eloquent about Bombala, and he might allow me to draw his attention to the fact that there are other States in this Commonwealth besides Victoria, and that there are other districts besides Gippsland. I would be glad if the honorable member could look at the question from a national and not merely from a Victorian point of view. If every standard of suitability applied to Bombala is applied to Armidale it will be found that Armidale is the better site. The wheatproducing capabilities of the Armidale district, its suitability for agriculture, dairying, and fruit-growing, are admitted; and, compared in every way with Bombala, it is preeminently a better site. I feel that honorable members have made up their minds ; but if we are to choose a site which, suitable in every other way, will occupy a central position in view of the future population of Australia, the site selected should be Armidale. Next to Armidale, I consider Lyndhurst the best site to select, and I shall support those sites in the order of preference I have indicated.

Mr WATSON:
Bland

– I am one who has taken a considerable interest in this matter for some years past, and so anxious am I now to see it settled during this session, and so conscious am I of the short period at our disposal, that I do not propose to detain the Committee. I merely say that for various reasons, including those which relate to the climatic conditions and the question of accessibility, I intend to vote for the Tumut site. I do not propose to explain at length the reasons which actuate me in taking that step. I trust that those honorable members who desire to see this question settled during the present session will take the opportunity of coming to a vote tonight. I have taken the trouble to ascertain that there are no fewer than sixty out of the seventy-five members of the House who are actually in the Chamber or within the precincts of the House. In view of the fact that at present a number of honorable members are away in other States and cannot be here tomorrow, and in view of the further fact that next week a much larger proportion will be absent, I earnestly appeal to every one in favour of having the matter settled to come to an immediate decision.

Mr O’MALLEY:
Tasmania

– I have listened to honorable members for the last forty-eight hours, and I object to being told that I cannot speak because others declare themselves to be ready to vote. I am here, not as a subordinate, but as the peer of every member in this House j and, therefore, I shall talk when it suits me to talk. We have listened to some extraordinary speeches ; and it appears to me as though honorable members are suddenly prepared to vote now that Bombala is apparently “ out of the running.” There is collusion somewhere, bub I cannot get on to its track. If ever there was a spot set apart by the Creator to be the Capital of this great Australia - the pivot around which Australian civilization should revolve - it is Bombala. The Americans, in fixing upon Washington, selected a site close to the eastern seas. The result is that to-day members of Congress have to travel 4’,0U0 miles from Oregon, and they are pai$ 10 cents, or fid. per mile, as expenses. It is a selfish and ungodly state of things when men arrive at the stage of thinking only of themselves ; the curse of the world to-day is selfishness. We are legislating now for countless millions still unborn, we are legislating for centuries hence, and posterity will rise in its might and curse us if we select the wi-ong site. It will be a black crime against posterity if we select 11 u any place but Bombala. A number of honorable members, including the honorable and learned member for Indi, have asked how honorable members will reach the seat of government, if it be fixed at Bombala. Why, the leader of the Opposition, for instance, could step on a steamer in Melbourne and next morning be at Twofold Bay, whence he might be wafted to the scene of his legislative labours in the buckets of an serial railway. It is not two years since I met the leader of the Opposition fishing in the Snowy River, and it is that stream and not the Murray which is the national river of Australia. The Snowy River is fed by Heaven from the eternal snows of the mountains. In the very beginning the Garden of Eden was laid to the eastward ; and when I reached the hills, after having climbed Black Jack and entered Monaro, I thought of the story of Adam and Eve. I looked back over 6,000 years, and, in fancy, I could almost see the Garden of Eden at Bombala. I could see Adam and Eve leaving after they had eaten of the tree of life - for the tree of life is growing there to-day.

An Honorable Member. - They must have been starved out at Bombala.

Mr O’MALLEY:

– They were not, because Eden was an irrigation colony, with the Euphrates at hand.

Mr Higgins:

– Did the honorable member see any snakes at Bombala 1

Mr O’MALLEY:

– I saw fat snakes fit to eat, but every snake I saw at Tumut was dead. The Royal Commission seems to me to have been like some bull-dozed Commission from South Carolina or Georgia. The result is sometimes peculiar when pressureis put on a man; the pressure may notbe from without but from within, and yet it has the same effect. It is extraordinary that Mr. Oliver should have given such a splendid report of Bombala. The history of the world shows that cold climates have produced the greatest geniuses, all of whom were born north of a certain degree. I have heard some remarks about a “ toy State,” but how. big ‘ is Scotland, whose sons are all over the earth 1 How big is Rhode Island, whose sons can make wooden nutmegs ? How big is the State of Maine ? That State is not as big as Bombala, and yet it gave birth, to Longfellow. How big was Greece or Sparta ? There are more people to-day around Bombala than there were in Greece and Sparta when

Miltiades won the liberty of mankind on the field of Marathon. There are more people round Eden and Bombala to-day than were gathered on all the seven hills of Rome when she commenced a sway which afterwards embraced the whole earth. It is all nonsense to talk about population and size ; the history of the world shows that small territories and small republics have produced the greatest men. It will be the same to-day. This is the first opportunity we have had of establishing a great city of our own, where we can experiment with our socialism, as it is called. Socialism is going to rule this earth, and to destroy the selfishness and the misery that has come into the world through the greed and avarice of humanity. In conclusion, let me say this : Look where we like, it will be found that wherever a hot climate prevails, the country is revolutionary. Take the sons of some of the greatest men in the world, and put them into a hot climate like Tumut or Albury, and in three generations their lineal descendants will be degenerate. I found them in San Domingo on a Sabbath morning going to a cock - fight with a rooster under each arm, and a sombrero on their heads. I want to have a cold climate chosen . for the capital of this Commonwealth. I am glad that the Minister for Defence has put that point before us. I want to have a climate where men can hope. We cannot have hope in hot countries. When I go down the streets of this city on a hot summer’s day, and see the people in a melting condition, I look upon them with sorrow, and wish I were away in healthy Tasmania. I hope that the site selected will be Bombala, and that the children of our children will see an Australian Federal city that will rival London in population, Paris in beauty, Athens in culture, and Chicago in enterprise.

Mr McDonald:

– I desire to move an amendment before the name of the selected site is inserted in the clause.

Mr DEAKIN:
Protectionist

– We propose to recommit the clause. The course of procedure which we propose is this : We desire to pass the clause as it is ; then to take the ballot ; then when we have decided upon the name, we propose to recommit the clause, and insert the name. When we have inserted the name, it will be in order, I presume, for the honorable member to move any amendment which he wishes to have inserted.

Mr CROUCH:

– I also have given notice of a new clause. When shall I have an. opportunity of moving it ?

The CHAIRMAN:

– It will be in order for the honorable and learned member to propose his new clause after the Minister for Trade and Customs has proposed the new clause which he intends to move.

Mr Crouch:

– Will that be before or after the decision as to the site is arrived at by means of the ballot 1

The CHAIRMAN:

– It will be before the Bill goes out of Committee.

Mr DEAKIN:

– May I make a suggestion 1 If my colleague does mot submit his new clause now, we can proceed to the ballot immediately. The clause can afterwards be recommitted in order to put in the name of the chosen site. Then we can take my colleague’s new clause, after which any other new clause can be proposed.

Mr MCDONALD:
Kennedy

– I may as well give notice of the amendment which I intend to propose. After the name of the site is inserted, I propose to add the following words -

And the territory granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth within which the seat of Government shall be shall contain an area of not less than one thousand square miles.

Mr. CROUCH (Corio).- I am sorry to find a large number of honorable members from New South Wales, who have occupied most of the time to-day, objecting to further debate. The New South Wales members have made most exhaustive speeches, and when a Victorian member makes an attempt to put his views on the subject before the Committee, honorable members opposite demand that a vote shall be taken. I am in favour of taking a vote, but I strongly object to those honorable members who have spoken, interrupting others who desire to speak. I desire to read a few extracts from the report of the evidence taken by the Federal Commission on capital sites. In the first place, I must thank the leader of the Opposition for his very kind assurance that at no time during these proceedings have the Victorians attempted to delay the Bill. We are grateful to the right honorable member for his patronage.

Mr Reid:

– I withdraw it in the honorable and learned member’s case. He is a regular stone-waller.

Mr CROUCH:

– I draw attention to the fact that the leader of the Opposition has referred to me as a stone-waller.

The CHAIRMAN:

– I am sure that the right honorable member will set a good example. I have called other honorable members to order for using the term “stonewaller,” and I do likewise in the case of the leader of the Opposition.

Mr Reid:

– I think you were perfectly right, Mr. Chairman.

The CHAIRMAN:

– Will the right honorable member withdraw the word?

Mr Reid:

– Certainly.

Mr CROUCH:

– I do not propose to pro- ceed.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Protectionist

– I had intended to move a new clause at this stage, but if I can move it when we go back into Committee, I am quite agreeable to wait until that time; but I should like to know whether there will be any difficulty in moving it when the recommittal takes place 1

The CHAIRMAN:

– There is no difficulty whatever ; when the Bill is recommitted, the honorable gentleman will have an opportunity.

Progress reported.

The order of the day for a ballot to determine the seat of government having been read -

Mr SPEAKER:

– I have prepared a short statement of the practice which I propose shall be followed in the conduct of the ballot, with which I ask honorable members to make themselves acquainted.

Mr Crouch:

– I ask if, under standing order 70, which provides that no opposed business shall be taken after 1 1 o’clock at night unless the House otherwise orders, this new business can be proceeded with?

Mr SPEAKER:

– It was expressly resolved yesterday that so much of the Standing Orders as might prevent this ballot from taking place should be suspended.

Mr Reid:

– I observe that you have provided, Mr. Speaker, that should any ballotpaper not be signed it will not be counted. It is important that the utmost publicity should be given to that fact.

Mr SPEAKER:

– I am glad that the right honorable member has drawn attention to that condition, which is in accordance with the resolution which we passed yesterday. It is there expressly provided that a cross shall be placed in the square opposite the name of the site for which a member wishes to vote, and that the paper shall be signed by him. If, however, an honorable member inadvertently places on his paper more crosses than one, or hands it in without having marked it, but has duly signed it, he will, if no other voting paper has been marked and signed by him, be called to the table and asked how he desires to vote, and his vote will then be counted.

Mr Brown:

– Is it proposed after the first scrutiny to make public both the number of votes cast for each site and the names of those who voted for it?

Mr SPEAKER:

– The resolution come to yesterday, directs that the number of votes cast for each site must be made known after the scrutiny. A paper showing how honorable members vote will afterwards be laid upon the table for inspection, and can later on be made public.

The House then proceeded to the first ballot.

Mr SPEAKER:

– The votes were cast in the first ballot as follows : -

There being two names lowest on the list, I shall put them in alphabetical order to the House.

Question - That Bathurst be further balloted for - resolved in the negative.

Question - That Dalgety be further balloted for - resolved in the negative.

Mr Salmon:

– Paragraph e of the resolution passed last night provides that the site receiving the smallest number of votes shall be struck out. I ask if a cipher is to be considered a number?

Mr SPEAKER:

– I think that under the circumstances I shall not be justified in ruling that a cipher is not a number. The names of the Bathurst and Dalgety sites will not appear on the next series of voting papers.

The second ballot having been taken -

Mr SPEAKER:

– The votes were cast in the second ballot as follows : -

There are again two names lowest on the list.

Question - That Lake George be further balloted for - resolved in the negative.

Question - That Orange be further balloted for - resolved in the negative.

The third ballot having been taken -

Mr SPEAKER:

– The votes were cast in the third ballot as follows : -

As the Armidale site has received the smallest number of votes, its name will not appear on the next series of voting papers. One of the voting papers collected was not signed, but, perhaps, it may assist the House if I mention that the cross upon it was placed against the name of Tumut.

The fourth ballot having been taken -

Mr SPEAKER:

– The votes were cast in the fourth ballot as follows : -

The name of Albury will therefore not appear on the next series of voting papers.

The fifth ballot having been taken -

Mr SPEAKER:

– The votes were cast in the fifth ballot as follows : -

Lyndhurst, 24.

Tumut, 21.

Bombala, 16.

As the only sites left are Lyndhurst and

Tumut, it may save time, and the same result will be obtained, if, instead of having a sixth ballot, the final decision is made in the usual way by taking a division.

Honorable Members. - Hear, hear.

Mr Reid:

– I do not think we can deviate from the method of procedure laid down in the resolution passed by the House. At all events, it would be much better to follow that procedure.

Mr SPEAKER:

– I am content to take the course desired by the House. So far as giving effect to the resolution is concerned, I understood the right honorable gentleman to suggest last night that under the circumstances the course which I have suggested would be a proper one.

Mr Reid:

– I am quite indifferent in regard to the matter, but I think we shall do better by continuing the balloting.

Mr SPEAKER:

– As objection has been taken to a division, the balloting will continue.

The sixth ballot having been taken -

Mr SPEAKER:

– The votes cast in the sixth ballot are : -

In Committee :

Clause 2 -

It is hereby determined that the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall he at or near

Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -

That after the word “ near,” line 2, the word ‘ Tumut”: be inserted.

Mr O’MALLEY:

– Will Tumut be the name of the Eederal Capital?

Honorable Members. - No.

Mr CONROY:
Werriwa

– The site of the Eederal Capital ought to have been chosen as close as possible to a main line of railway, because it would be a great advantage to those members of Parliament who live in Sydney and Melbourne. We are under many disabilities at the present time in having to come here to attend to our parliamentary duties. The railway to Tumut can never be more than a branch line.

Sir Malcolm McEacharn:

– We can have as fast a service on a branch line as on a main line.

Mr CONROY:

– We cannot get as good a service for members of the Federal Parliament on a branch line as on a main line. I regret that, through a mistake, honorable members have not been afforded an opportunity of expressing their opinion in regard to a site near a main line, and for that mistake I blame the late Minister for Home Affairs. By the decision which has been arrived at, honorable members who live in Sydney or Melbourne will be deprived of an opportunity to attend to their parliitmentary duties at the proposed site as often as they otherwise would do.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr McDONALD:
Kennedy

– I move-

That the following words be added: - “and the territory granted, to or acquired by the Commonwealth within which the Seat of Government shall be, shall contain an area of not less than one thousand square miles.”

I should like the area to be 5,000 square miles, but I have no hope of carrying a proposal of that kind, and I feel that there is a chance of getting honorable members to agree to an area of 1,000 square miles. I do not wish to discuss the matter, because I believe that every one understands what we are driving at. My amendment will not preclude the Government from obtaining a larger area than 1,000 square miles if it can be secured.

Mr A McLEAN:
GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · PROT

– The quality and the price of the land should regulate the area to some extent. . We would not take as much land at £10 per acre as at£l per acre.

Mr McDONALD:

– It will all depend on the circumstances. Even if the land were of the very best description, I think that 1,000 square miles is the smallest area that should be obtained.

Mr WATSON:
Bland

– I do not feel satisfied that at this stage of the proceedings this proposal is likely to receive that consideration which it ought to get. I am very anxious indeed to expedite the conclusion of this business. I am very strongly in favour of the amendment, and I should like to advance reasons in favour of its acceptance when the Committee is in a more receptive mood. I do not know what the idea of the Government is.

Mr O’Malley:

– We can carry the amendment to-night.

Mr WATSON:

– If so, I am satisfied to go on.

Mr Reid:

– I am going to strongly protest against the matter being considered at this hour. It is not our land which is being dealt with. We cannot give property to ourselves.

Mr WATSON:

– I also feel that this matter is so important that it ought to receive fair consideration.

Mr DEAKIN:
Minister for External Affairs · Ballarat · Protectionist

– I understand that the leader of the Opposition desires progress to be reported, and if that is the desire of the Committee I shall offer no objection.

Mr Fisher:

– Why should it be done? It will not make a bit of difference.

Mr Reid:

– As we are dealing with the land of other people we had better think over the matter.

Mr DEAKIN:

– I am prepared to stop here all night.

Mr Reid:

– I should not object at all if it were our own territory.

Mr DEAKIN:

– The point I was about to suggest for . consideration is that the question at issue is not whether an area of 1,000 square miles at least should be taken,, but whether in a Bill which we desire as far as possible to limit to the general indication of a site, it is advisable to introduce such a proposal.

Mr McDonald:

– Exactly the same argument was used in the case of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill.

Mr DEAKIN:

– No. Before a site can be chosen, even after this Bill’ has been passed, another Bill will require to be introduced describing in precise detail and with absolute measurement the particular place chosen, and the extent of the territory chosen. We shall not be able to enter into the possession of any territory, or fix a site within that territory as the Constitution requires until they are expressly authorized by an Act of Parliament, and this Bill cannot give that authority.

Mr McDonald:

– Then what we have done is valueless.

Mr DEAKIN:

– No. This Bill will enable us to ask the Government of New South Wales to grant the Commonwealth somewhere in the Tumut, district the preferred site. It will also enable a survey i/O be made. It will then be the duty of the Government of the day to come down to the House with a measure describing the area to be taken and marking in it the precise site. I am not opposing the amendment, because if the condition of the country permits, as it probably will in this district, I am in favour of a much larger area than the minimum fixed by the Constitution.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– If we have to buy it?

Mr DEAKIN:

– That may not be necessary for I am informed that in the neighbourhood of Tumut there is a very large area of Crown lands, and it may be that the Government and Parliament of New South Wales will deal liberally with the Commonwealth by placing those Crown lands at its disposal. If that be so it would be easily possible and most desirable to take over an area exceeding the minimum fixed by the Constitution. The territory acquired might even exceed the area which the honorable member proposes shall be taken over. But we require to have all information. Nothing can be done in that direction under this Bill. A second Bill will still be necessary to fix the particular area and site to be acquired Since the amendment if carried - and doubtless many honorable members approve it - would not enable anything to be done, I wish the honorable member , to consider whether it would be wise now to make a proposition which would have to be repeated at another stage before it could be made effective.

Mr REID:
East Sydney

– If the amendment had merely the force of a suggestion I should not have the slightest objection to it ; but the honorable member for Kennedy knows that it means thatwithout consulting the State which is togive the land to the Commonwealth, and toacquiesce in its transfer to us, we are tostipulate that the area shall not be less than 1,000 square miles.

Mr FOWLER:

– Is it not wise to let the State Government know what we desire ?

Mr REID:

– Quite so ; but there are twoways of making known our desire. We may ask for a certain extent of territory, or we may say we are going to have it. The latter course is not to be adopted in dealingwith a body of equal authority. New South Wales must hand over to the Commonwealth the minimum area prescribed by the Constitution, but the taking over of any other territory would be a matter of amicable arrangement between the two Governments.

Mr Watson:

– In the last resort we might acquire the land.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– We should have topay for it.

Mr Watson:

– Quite so.

Mr REID:

– The matter is one that should not be dealt with in this mandatory way. The amendment requires some consideration, and I do not think it should be dealt with at this hour in the morning. We might obtain much more by framing it in a more polite form.

Mr Kingston:

– It is only a direction tothe Government.

Mr REID:

– That is so ; but I seriously doubt whether it is within the scope of the Bill. The Bill is to determine the seat of government.

Mr Kingston:

– To determine that it shall be a certain place within a certain area.

Mr REID:

– The seat of government must be within the Federal territory ; but the Federal territory and the seat of government are two different things.

Mr Kingston:

– The one is within the other.

Mr REID:

– But this Bill does not include the greater ; it provides for the less. It provides for the seat of government. not the site of the territory. The Constitution -distinguishes between the two matters. It declares that -

The seat of government of the Commonwealth shall be determined by the Parliament.

That is the scope of this Bill - and shall be within territory which shall have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth, and shall be vested in and belong to the Commonwealth . . .

I do not wish to press a technical point, but my impression is that the amendment is foreign to the scope of the Bill.

Mr KINGSTON:

– Would it not be better to thresh out the question after we have slept on it ?

Mr REID:

– I think so.

Mr KING O’MALLEY:
TASMANIA, TASMANIA · IND; ALP from June 1901

– I feel very strongly upon this issue. Ever since the first meeting of the Parliament, I have had a motion on the notice-paper relating to this very question. We shall divide the Committee upon it. The motion to which I refer, provides-

The CHAIRMAN:

– Order ! The question is that I report progress.

Mr O’MALLEY:

– The Prime Minister -did not ask that progress be reported’ before I rose to speak. I shall give way to him on this occasion ; but I do not intend to waive my rights.

Progress reported.

page 5939

EXTRADITION BILL

Bill received from Senate, and (on motion by Mr. D bakin) read a first time.

page 5939

HIGH COURT PROCEDURE ACT AMENDMENT BILL

Bill received from Senate, and (on motion by Mr. Deakin) read a first time.

House adjourned at 12.59 a.m. (Friday).

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 8 October 1903, viewed 7 November 2016, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1903/19031008_reps_1_17/>.