2nd Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– During my recent visit to Queensland, serious complaints were made to me in regard to the difficulty which tradespeople there experience in getting many Federal public servants to meet their financial engagements. I ask the PostmasterGeneral if his attention has been drawn to this matter. Has the difficulty of compelling many Federal public servants to pay their just debts been brought under his notice ? If such complaints have been made to him, will he seek to provide a remedy, by regulation or otherwise?
– A substantial though not a very large number of traders have complained to the Department of the difficulty which they experience in inducing public servants to meet their obligations. In several cases, judgments have been recorded, and execution levied, against Federal officers ; but the creditors have been un- able even by that means to secure payment of their accounts. The matter has been under the consideration of the Public Service Commissioner, who is of opinion that the Public Service Act gives no remedy to a creditor unless the debt is sufficiently large to allow him to sequestrate his debtor’s estate; but, in my view, misconduct of the kind complained of can be dealt with under section 46 of the Act, “the public servant being guilty of improper conduct in allowing himself to be dunned by creditors during office hours. I- have asked the Deputy PostmastersGeneral of the various States to invite the officers against whom complaints have been lodged to make a statement of their defence. When such statements have been received, further action will be taken.
– In the case of Palmer v. Withers, although the plaintiff obtained a judgment against his debtor, a Federal public official, the judgment still remains unsatisfied. That case has been brought under the notice of both the present Postmaster-General and his predecessor, and I ask, therefore, if he has any objection to laying on the table an abstract of the papers referring to it
– Speaking from memory, a judgment was recorded against the defendant in the case mentioned, and remains unsatisfied; but the matter is still pending. When a final’ decision is arrived at, I shall have no objection to . laying on the table an abstract of the papers.
– Where officers of the Postmaster-General’s Department have to sue outsiders, will the honorable gentleman see that steps are taken to help them, in the same way as their creditors art to be helped ?
– I am not aware that the’ creditors of Federal officials have asked the Department to do anything contrary to the practice which has obtained in the Departments of the States- -that is, to see that the officers of the Federal Public Service are reasonably honest, for the reputation of the service itself.
– In Saturday’s Argus there is an account of an interview with the Premier pf Queensland, headed “Ocean Mail Contracts - Position of Queensland,” in which the following statement occurs: -
It transpired, in the course of conversation, that Mr. Morgan has been endeavouring to get the New Zealand Government ‘to take over the
Vancouver service. The New Zealand Government opened negotiations in the matter through the Federal Government, and Mr. Morgan expressed his willingness to agree to<n proposal to transfer the service to New Zealand, but as far as he knows, nothing has yet been decided, though the negotiations may be still going on with the company.
I’ wish to know from the PostmasterGeneral if anything has been done? How is it that Mr. Morgan has opened up negotiations with the New Zealand Government in a matter which is entirely within the province of the Federal Government?
– The statement which the honorable member has read is partly correct, since a proposal was made by the Queensland Government in the direction referred to. I ask him, however, to give formal notice of his question, so that I may be prepared with a full answer to-morrow.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions’ are as follow: -
asked the Minister of Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The’ answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 29th July, vide page 3753):
Clause 2 (Determination of Seat of Government).
– I regard the question with which we are now dealing as one of supreme importance, because it affects the interests, not only of the present, but of all future generations. Indeed, there is no doubt in my mind that our decision will affect future generations to a very much larger extent than it will the present generation, because, as the population of the Commonwealth increases,’ the importance of the Seat of Government - if we make a wise selection - will grow proportionately. Therefore, it would be most unfortunate if ‘ any selfish local interests or any narrow provincial prejudices were permitted to become determining factors in the choice of this site. If we could only place ourselves - I know that it is a difficult thing to do - in the position of impartial observers, say of intelligent foreigners, and could look at this matter without any personal bias or selfish interest whatever, I believe we should find it very much easier to make a judicious selection of a Federal Capital Site. It appears to me that the way in which we can most nearly approach that state of affairs is by first determining in our own minds the conditions which are most essential to the Seat of Government. Having arrived at a decision without having been influenced by an undue regard for any particular locality, we should then consider how far the different available sites comply with those conditions. After having given this matter very careful consideration, I have come to the conclusion that the most essential conditions to any Federal Capital Site are centrality and accessibility. Other essentials are an abundant supply of pure fresh water, a healthy locality, and a good climate. I am also of opinion that the Seat of Government should be established in a picturesque district, which is possessed of some distinctive features of natural beauty. Then, of course, it is most desirable that the Federal territory should contain a fair proportion of good productive land. Of course, there are other minor advantages into the consideration of which it is not necessary for me to enter. But the conditions which I have enumerated I regard as essential to a suitable site for the Seat of Government.
– What does the honorable member mean by saying that the site should be a central one?
– I mean that it should be central from the stand-point of the nearest available trade routes. Of course, I do not mean that it should be central from the point of view of a camel service or of anything of an impracticable character.
– Not from the stand-point of existing lines only?
– No. I mean that the site which we select should be capable of being made central at a reasonable cost.
– The honorable member would have some regard to future population, too ?
– Decidedly. In selecting the Seat of Government we should never Jose sight of future generations, because I believe that they will be more deeply affected by our determination than will be the present generation. Having carefully considered the conditions which I regard as essential to a suitable site, the next step is to ascertain how far each of the proposed sites complies with those conditions. Let me deal first with the western site. I have regarded this question from every stand-point, and I have looked in vain for the reasons which have induced the advocates of that site to support it. So far as centrality and accessibility are concerned, we must remember that there are four States situated to the south of Sydney, and only one to the north.
– May not the northern State become the most populous?
– Heaven only knows. I should not be at all surprised if in the not far distant future, Western Australia, with its vast territory, and its enormous mineral deposits, became the most populous of all the States. Yet it is farthest removed from all the proposed sites for the Seat of Government.
– In connexion with this question, that State has not been considered at all.
– I am very much afraid that up to the present time it has not: When we recollect that there are four States situated to the south of Sydney and only one to the north, is it fair to establish the Seat of Government to the north of Sydney ?
– Certainly ; that is where it should be.
– I am glad that ray honorable friend can reconcile such a proposal with his conscience. I can stretch my own conscience fairly, but if I stretched it to that extent, I should feel that I was false to my trust, and that I was not representing the interests of the Commonwealth as a whole, which, after all, is what we should endeavour to do.
– Coghlan states that within a few years, the centre of population will be to the north of Sydney.
-I am not aware that Mr. Coghlan is endowed with any divine gift of prophecy, or that he is more capable of looking into the future than we are.
– Very probably Mr. Coghlan has never visited Western Australia.
– The Commonwealth pays £700 a year to obtain his book, anyhow.
– Does the honorable member imagine that because Mr. Coghlan is a careful recorder of events which have transpired, he is better able to forecast the. future capabilities of the different States than we are? We must look at this matter from a more reasonable stand-point. When we consider that there are four States situated to the south of Sydney, and only one State to the north, it appears to me that any proposal to establish the Federal Capital to the north of that city is an outrage upon common sense. From the stand-point of centrality, it is certainly nothing less than grotesque. Even if the Capital were established on the western site it would be utterly impossible for it to trade with any State other than New South Wales. The cost of land carriage is so great that it would put all trade relations between Lyndhurst and the capital of any other State absolutely out of the question. Every ton of produce which was grown there, and which was not consumed locally, would have to filter through Sydney before it could reach any other State. Sydney is practically its only shipping port. If it be proposed to select the Capital in the interests of only one State, then the best course for the representatives of other States to pursue will be to stand aside and allow the representatives of New South Wales, who are the best judges, to determine where it shall be established. It is not my own view, however, that any one State is entitled to a monopoly. New South Wales drove n very hard bargain, and is doubtless entitled to the “ pound of flesh “ which she demanded! I should be the last to depart even one iota from the constitutional provision that -the Capital shall be established in that State, unless I did so at the request of its representatives; but, subject to that one condition, it is our duty to consider the interests of the whole Commonwealth.
– Will the honorable member show the Committee in what way some of the other States are going to receive any advantage?
– I shall endeavour to do so. The Constitution gives the Seat of Government to New South Wales, and we should loyally adhere to the compact. But what is the compact ? It has been contended by some honorable members that the correct interpretation of the constitutional provision that the Capital shall not be within too miles of Sydney is that it shall be as near to that limit as possible. It appears to me that that is about as absurd a contention as could be urged. The plain English of it is this : “ You must .not break the law, but you must go as near breaking it as -you can.” That is not a reasonable construction. The Constitution imposes two limitations; the one is that the Capital shall not be within 100 miles of Sydney, and the other is that it shall be within the borders of New South Wales. It would be just as reasonable to contend that we must establish the Capital as near as possible to some part of the borders of New South Wales as to urge that it must be placed as near the 100-miles limit as possible. The commonsense interpretation of the Constitution is, to my mind, that we are free to select within these two limits the site which is most suitable, central, and accessible to the people of the whole of the States, having due regard to the present and future interests of each State. Taking that view of the position, I have no hesitation in saying that, even if Lyndhurst possessed every other advantage in an eminent degree, the one disadvantage, that it can never trade with any but one State, is fatal, and should cause any reasonable person, who wishes to consider and conserve the interests of the Commonwealth, ‘ to regard it as being out of the running. Coming to the second condition, the necessity for an abundant supply of pure, fresh water, how does Lyndhurst compare with other sites? Its most ardent advocates admit that it is inferior in that respect to any of the other sites. But that is not all. If we turn to the report of the experts, what do we find? It is true that we are told that at an enormous expenditure a sufficient supply could be procured, but hat supply does not now exist. If we took any given area, and, calculating the rainfall, made provision for impoundir all the water that fell upon it, we should no doubt be able to secure a sufficient supply for a considerable population.
– Surely the fact that 125,000,000 gallons of water are daily running to waste in Lyndhurst district ought to be a sufficient guarantee of an adequate supply?
– We know, from the testimony of the Commissioners who were appointed to inspect and report on this question, that the water is not there at present.
– Then there is the report of the right honorable member for Swan.
– Quite so. The principal source of water supply to which the Commissioners referred was, they said, dry on the occasion of their visit. What sort of a source is that from which to draw supplies for the future Capital?
– There is even now provision for a temporary supply.
– The Commissioners reported that if Lyndhurst were selected, a temporary supply for the workmen engaged in erecting the necessary Federal buildings could be procured by constructing a dam some eight miles distant from the site, and the water would have to be conveyed from that point to the Capital. When we remember that the population of the Federal Capital for a very long time to come is likely to be very limited, we must recognise that it would be undesirable to select a site at which an enormous expenditure would have to be incurred to procure a supply which would be sufficient for requirements, even during the early years of its existence. At any of the other sites we should be able to obtain a sufficient supply for many years to come without incurring any expense. Where streams of pure, fresh water are running through the territories proposed to be selected, it would not be necessary to go to any expense to secure a sufficient supply. In this most essential condition, therefore, Lyndhurst is absolutely wanting and is a very bad last when compared with the other sites. If we consider the feature of natural beauty and picturesqueness of locality, even its most ardent admirers have admitted that in that respect it is far inferior to any of the other sites. It would be interesting to know what qualifications it does possess, except the one that it will give a monopoly of trade to one city for all time. It possesses none of the essential features required in the site for the Federal Capital.
– In the opinion of the honorable member.
– I am not giving merely my own opinion. I am referring honorable members to the reports submitted for our consideration. Let us take the feature of the possession of good productive land, and how does Lyndhurst compare in that respect with the other sites? The honor able member for Macquarie is, I believe, unconsciously biased, and on that account leans a good deal to one side ; although I arn perfectly sure that, as one of the strongest advocates of the Lyndhurst site, he is acting quite conscientiously. The honorable member quoted a number of figures to show that a greater area of land” has been cultivated in the Lyndhurst district than in the Monaro district, but he did not quote a single figure which was of the slightest value to the Committee in comparing the fertility of the soil in the two localities. No doubt there is a greater area of land being cultivated in the Lyndhurst district, for the simple reason that the settlers in that district have the advantage of direct railway communication with Sydney, whilst the people in the Bombala district have not that advantage, and have no possible means of exporting produce. It would be impossible for the people of the Bombala district to grow profitably any more produce than is required for local consumption ; but they have cultivated for local consumption a far greater area of land than . is necessary to enable us to prove the quality of the soil as compared with that in the Lyndhurst district. I should not have entered upon the comparison if the honorable member for Macquarie had net compared the areas under cultivation, which, by themselves, are most misleading. If the honorable member had given us the yields per acre in the two districts - the only figures of any value at all in comparing the relative merits of soil and climate for purposes of production - we should have found that the case wore a very different complexion. The Commissioners have submitted to us certain figures which they obtained from the Agricultural Department of New South Wales. They took the average yield of crops over a period of eight years, . and I find from their report that in the Lyndhurst district the average yield of wheat over that period was 11 bushels per acre; whilst in the Bombala district it was i2-i bushels per acre. The yield of maize in the Lyndhurst district was 10*3 bushels per acre, and in the Bombala district 4C3 bushels, nearly 300 per cent, greater.
– A little picked spot.
– There were 12,513 acres cultivated in the Bombala district, and onetenth of that area would be ample to test the qualities of the soil.
– How much maize altogether is grown at Bombala?
– I have given the total area under cultivation. The honorable member is at liberty to look out other statistics for himself.
– In parts of the Eden-Monaro district, as much as .£100 an acre has been paid for land on which- to cultivate maize.
– The barley crop in the Lyndhurst district produced i6’7 bushels per acre, and in the Bombala district 251 bushels. The Lyndhurst district produced i8’58 bushels of oats per acre, and the Bombala district 20’9 bushels. The average yield per acre of potatoes in the Lyndhurst district for the period mentioned was 17 tons, whilst in Bombala the average yield was 2’6 tons, or nearly double the Lyndhurst returns. Honorable members will’ see that, while in every case the yield from Bombala district is considerably ahead, in the case of potatoes it is nearly double, and in the case of maize it is nearly four times the yield of the Lyndhurst district. Honorable members should remember that these are two crops which require good land, whilst a fair crop of cereals can be grown on very poor land. The crops in respect of which the Lyndhurst district most nearly approaches the yields in the Monaro district are crops requiring the poorest land to produce them; but when we come to compare crops requiring really rich land Lyndhurst is nowhere as compared with Bombala. Taking every qualification that is essential for a judicious selection of a site for the Seat of Government, Lyndhurst is a bad last when compared with the other sites suggested. I have looked at the matter as impartially as I can, and I cannot discover a single qualification in respect of which Lyndhurst approaches anywhere near the Bombala site.
– Has the honorable member read the “ Case for the West “ ? Has he looked at the pictures in that pamphlet ?
– I have. There is no doubt that the pictures are very pretty, and the pamphlet reflects great credit on those who have got it up. Their labour and energy in the cause of Lyndhurst have been worthy of a very much better cause, and my only regret is that they have not been expended in a better cause. The next site to which I will refer is that which is called “the southern site.” So far as good productive land is concerned, it probably stands highest of all. I am not personally acquainted with the land, but I have carefully watched the stock that has come from that district during the last quarter of a century, and if I .see the stock coming from a district, and have some idea of the number of stock run there, I can readily tell the character of the land in the district. There can be no doubt that in the matter of productive land the Upper Murray site probably stands first. In my opinion it complies with all the essential conditions but one, and that is that, like Lyndhurst, it is too far from a shipping port. If there were no available site possessing the necessary qualifications nearer to a shipping port, I should not hesitate to vote for the Upper Murray site. In the circumstances, as we know them, I can only place it second. I admit that it possesses a good climate, soil, and water supply, local features of natural beauty, and all the other essential qualifications. But I think that for a Federal Capital it is rather too far from a shipping port. So far as centrality and accessibility are concerned, the Monaro sites far surpass any of the others. The town of Bombala is exactly midway between Melbourne and Sydney, and is just a little further from Hobart than from Sydney. Bombala is about as central a spot as could be obtained, having in view Melbourne, Sydney, and Hobart ; and it is about equi-distant between Brisbane and Adelaide. Therefore, so far as five States are concerned, Bombala is probably the most central by the available routes of commerce - by water communication. . Bombala is the only site which would enable the commerce of the Federal territory to be maintained with distant States. The one State which is far removed is, of course, Western Australia. That State will always be heavily handicapped as compared with the other States; but, seeing that the Capital must be in New South Wales, Bombala would afford the nearest available port for Western Australia.
– We shall travel to the Federal Capital by rail, and not by sea.
– The honorable member may travel by rail; but he must admit that the commerce of the Federal territory could not be carried on by the same means of communication.
– We should also have to reach Lyndhurst by rail.
– There must be water communication if there is to be commercial intercourse between the Federal Capital and the other States; and that water communication can only be got by one means - the world’s great highway. We see that even for distant Western Australia, Twofold Bay is the nearest port that could be selected. If honorable members look at the available routes of traffic they will see that in respect of accessibility the Monaro site is incomparable. That site is not only central and accessible^ by means of the port of Twofold Bay, to all the other States of the Commonwealth, but is also accessible to the markets of the outer world, and, having regard to the future, that is a very important consideration. If it is the intention of the Commonwealth to have a large Federal territory, and to develop that territory, it is of the utmost importance that we should be in a position to trade with any part, of the world. There is one point with regard to the Lyndhurst site to which I do not think I have referred. That site can be approached only through the territory of one State, and that appears to me to be a fatal defect. We do not know what relations may exist at any future time between the Government of that State and the Government of the Commonwealth. We do not know what conditions might be imposed on traffic by the State Government. If we turn to the Commonwealth Constitution, we find very little consolation. While prohibiting preferential or differential railway rates, the Constitution provides that due regard must be had to the financial conditions of the railways, and also to the development of the territory. Those condi-tions were inserted in the Constitution by the representatives of New South Wales in order to secure the trade of the Riverina. I have heard that said by the representatives of New South Wales themselves, so that it is no mere assumption on my part] and I give them all credit for the object which they had in view. The Riverina is a part of New South Wales, and it was quite excusable on the part of the representatives of that State in the Convention to do what they could to secure the trade of that district for their own capital. That was the object of placing those conditions in the Constitution ; and I venture to say that there is no legal member of this House who could tell us exactly what the meaning of the words of the Constitution is, or what interpretation might be placed on them by the High Court or by an Inter-State Commission. In my opinion, the fact that one of the proposed sites is accessible only through the territory of one State presents a disqualification which should put that site “ out of the running.” A Federal Capital site should be accessible through more than one State, and the sites in the Monaro districts are the only ones which comply with all conditions as to accessibility. These sites are equally accessible by water from the capitals of all the States, and are also open to communication with the markets of the world. In all other respects, the Monaro sites possess to a very large extent qualifications which I consider essential.
– Would the honorable member make Twofold Bay Federal territory?
– I certainly would, even if it were only to the extent of a narrow strip of land. I should like the Federal territory to extend right to the shipping port, so that the Commonwealth need be under no obligation to any State, but should be able to export and import, direct.
– Would the honorable member make Twofold Bay a safe harbor?
– I should do my level best to do so.
– That means a gigantic expense.
– I should carry out those works only as the increase of population warranted. It would! not, of course, be,’ necessary to go to great expense in the initial stages; but as population increased we could gradually develop the resources and carry out the necessary works.
– Has the honorable member for Gippsland seen the harbor at Twofold Bay?
– No, I have not. But I have read most carefully the description of that harbor, and have considered the opinions of experts. I do not profess to have any engineering knowledge, or familiarity with navigation, which would enable me, as a layman, to give an opinion of any value ; I am guided by the opinions of men who know.
– And the report of those men is that there must be a tremendous expenditure on a break-water.
– It may ultimately be necessary to incur considerable expense.
– A sum of £1.50,000 would do all that is necessary.
– We know that the railway from Sydney already extends into the
Monaro territory, and only a slight extension would be necessary to whatever site might be selected on the tableland. Railway communication through New South Wales could be obtained at very moderate expenditure; and there is not the slightest doubt that within a reasonable time there will also be direct railway communication from Victoria. An honorable member interjected the other night that the railway from Victoria would cost more than would the water supply at Lyndhurst. Surely there is a great difference between sinking money in a dead concern, which will give no return, and investing money in a reproductive work?
– But there will also be heavy expenditure necessary for a water supply at Bombala.
– I have already pointed out that for years to come the small population which may be expected need not incur any expenditure on that account, having regard to the running rivers which are there available. Those rivers will give a sufficient water supply for many years to come.
– But the rivers are below the level.
– When the population arrives there, further expenditure on this score may be incurred. It may be contended that the railway from Victoria would not pay for some years to come. So far as traffic is concerned that would probably be true; but honorable members should bear in mind that millions of acres would be opened up by such a land - a considerable area of which is extremely rich land. In fact, I think that in East Gippsland would be found some of the richest land on the Continent of Australia. To give honorable members an idea of the productiveness of the land, I may mention that on the river flats 100 bushels of maize to the acre is quite a common crop. Last year there were numbers of crops that went over 100 bushels to the acre on the Orbost flats. There is a considerable area of extremely rich land in the valleys of the Tambo, Snowy, and Buchan rivers. There are also good jungle lands in the McCulloch ranges. In addition to the land that would be brought into agriculture, there are vast extents of magnificent forest. Splendid timber can be obtained There is also an enormous quantity of mineral wealth. There are large iron deposits, as well as gold and silver and other minerals. In fact, I might remind honorable members that about three or four years ago a private com pany, for the sake of the minerals, offered to construct a railway to Mount Deddick, on the Snowy River, at their own expense, on most reasonable terms, as far as I carr remember. I think that the bargain fell through only because the company were not willing to agree to the conditions of resumption which the Victorian Government sought to impose. So that honorable members will see that there is not only the traffic to the Federal Capital which could be relied upon to make a railway pay. The loading of the land to a very small extent per acre with the cost of construction would pay a very considerable portion of the cost. In that way the State of Victoria would get back a considerable amount of the outlay, and the investment would be reproductive indirectly, apart from the direct traffic on the line. Looking at the matter all round, I intend to vote for the Monarosite. The Upper Murray site, as I have already stated, possesses, in my opinion, every condition that is essential, with the one exception that it is not by any means as accessible by water as are the Monaro sites ; and that is the only means of keeping up commercial relations with the various States. Except for that I should feel disposed to vote for it, because I believe the land of the Upper Murray is better than the land of the Monaro sites ; although there is a very large area of very good land at Monaro. My own firm have sold from the vicinity of Bombala some of the best cattle that I had seen in the Melbourne markets since our business was established here. Even after travelling over the mountains down to Bairnsdale, and being trucked from there - and honorable members who have any knowledge of stock must be aware that heavy prime bullocks lose something in condition in travelling over mountainous country - they fetched high prices. I do not like to mention figures from memory, but the price they realized was a record price for many years prior to that date. I think that the price has been surpassed during the years of drought, but only on one or two occasions. That is a sufficient proof of what the Monaro land is capable of producing. The climate of Monaro is probably as healthy as can be found in any part of AustraliaIt is quite true that it is cold in winter ; but the atmosphere is dr v crisp, and healthy. I have heard it referred to by doctors as an ideal site for the establishment of a sanatorium ; and any place that would be selected for that .purpose by skilled medical men cannot be objected to on the score of climate. As to natural beauty, I think that every honorable- member admits that either of the Monaro sites possesses that qualification to a very large extent. There can be no question that there is an abundant water supply, not only for stock and domestic purposes, but also for irrigation, for making artificial lakes, for motive power, for generating electricity, or for any other purpose to which water power can be successfully applied. I believe that the Upper Murray site also possesses those advantages to a very large extent. But, looking at the matter all round, the Monaro site, so far as I can judge, possesses all the qualifications for a Capital city, and it is far in advance of other places in regard to accessibility and centrality of position -that is. of course, by means of water communication, which I contend is the only means by which commercial relations can be established or maintained with the other States. If we were to show the map of Australia to intelligent foreigners, and ask them to look at the different sites and say from the stand-point of outsiders which was preferable, I am perfectly sure that nine out of ten would point to the site that is near the port of Twofold Bay. A very good instance of the view that is likely to be taken by an unbiased observer is afforded in the case of our own Senate. The Senate is composed of an equal number of members from each State. From the stand-point of the different States the members are much better qualified to give a disinterested opinion than we are, because our House represents population, and population may shift. In two successive Parliaments, the representatives of all the States in the Senate, bringing their collective wisdom to bear on the question, have selected a Monaro site by large majorities. That, I think, should have an influence with impartial minds. I sincerely hope that we shall follow in the footsteps of the Senate. If we make a wise selection we shall deserve the gratitude of future generations, but if we commit a serious error of judgment, such as I think we should if we selected that inland site, I fear that posterity would have very little reason to feel grateful for the manner in which we discharged our trust when their destiny was in our hands.
– I listened to the honorable member for Gippsland to see if I could, by any possibility, agree with him on some point, and I confess that I cannot find a single point of agreement with him. He has told us once again how necessary it is that we must be fair and impartial in our treatment of this matter; how much, for instance, we must keep in mind Australia, and not the interests of a State. He has told us, for the twentieth time during this debate, that we must take our minds off any particular State, and keep them concentrated on Australia, and he has asked the question - “What would a foreigner say if he were handed a map of Australia and shown the sites that were located thereon?”- 1 ask, in all seriousness, would it be a fair thing to show a foreigner a map only? Would not the fair thing be to show him a map and the Constitution? Would not the fair thing be, before inviting him to decide, to ask him to study the arrangement which was deliberately made by the States relative to the question of a site ? That would be the first thing, I should think, which any fair-minded man would do with a stranger whom he wished to arbitrate on this most important matter. The honorable member for Gippsland does not put the case fairly when he makes this suggestion without reference^ to any bargain or arrangement - which, by the way, he has already described as the arrangement of a Shylock. That arrangement, whatever it is. ought to be honoured by the people of Australia, not in its technique, or letter, but in its substance and spirit. That is the point we are making in setting out to argue this question. The test of loyalty and patriotism, about which we have heard so much, is in the Constitution, and I ask honorable members to keep that in mind when we consider the question of locating the site. Almost every honorable member who has taken part in this debate has rated some . other honorable member, who happened to differ from him, because of his provincialism. It is just as well that we should clear our minds from any such cant as this, because the test of what is provincial or patriotic or Federal must always be sought in the Constitution. It is Federal to keep that bond, and to keep it above any other consideration. I urge that point as a preliminary to all other considerations. We are not free to put the Capital Site where we think it ought to be if that place be outside New South Wales. And I submit that we are not free, if we intend’ to honour the spirit of the Constitution, to put it at the furthest possible limit of New South Wales, and so make the Federal State, when constituted, of less use and service to New South Wales than to any other State.
– What does the honorable member mean by “less use and service?”
– I hope to tell the honorable member before I finish my speech, if he will wait a little. If honorable members put this site on the Upper Murra)’, it will be of no use to New South Wales. And, to tell me, that New South Wales understood, when she was agreeing to this arrangement, and making it the basis of her acceptance of the Constitution, that the Federal Capital was to be located on the most out-of-the-way site that could be selected in that country, is to mis-state the position. The Constitution would not have been the law of the land to-day if the New South Wales people had understood anything of the kind.
– New South Wales voted for the Constitution without this condition.
– The honorable member has said that a dozen times, but there is no point in it.
– It is the truth nevertheless.
– There is an easy answer to it.
– What is the answer?
– It was the provision for an affirmative majority . of 80,000 whichled to such a small vote being cast at the first referendum, and if the honorable member will analyze the vote at the second referendum, he will see how immensely stronger it was on the second occasion than on the first. I hope that” he will consider that fact.
– The majority voted for the acceptance of the Constitution without any conditions.
– The electors of New South Wales felt perfectly certain at that time that an affirmative vote of 80,000 would not be reached, and that -led to a great deal of apathy, which, however, was swept away when the further arrangement was made, and the Constitution was finally submitted to the vote of the electors.
– By the politicians of New South Wales, but not the people.
– I am very glad that my honorable friend sometimes makes a. distinction between politicians and people. I am trying to say what I think is the arrangement which we ought to hold sacred. It is an outrage on that agreement to suggest any site which would make it immensely more difficult to get from Sydney than from almost any other State in the group. Take the Upper Murray site. We who represent New South Wales would have to go by rail to Culcairn, and thence to Germanton, from which point a railway would have to be made for a distance of thirty or forty miles to the site on the border of Victoria. Is there any substantial concession to New South Wales in locating the Federal Capital there?
– What concession is she entitled to?
– The concession that is spoken of in this bond - that the Capital shall be in New South Wales. When New South Wales has surrendered this land it will become Federal territory.
– Only the Crown land would have to be surrendered.
– Private land will have to be purchased ; but the bulk of the land belongs to the Crown, and, therefore, will not require to be purchased. After the land has been made over to the Commonwealth, it will no longer be part of New South Wales; therefore the Capital Site will be just as much outside New South Wales as outside any other State. I wish to know where the compensation to New South Wales comes in, for the sacrifice which she will have to make in the granting, of this land, and’ probably - for this is in the minds of honorable members - the making of a railway to connect the Capital with the nearest railway point. Is there any motive for New South Wales to spend halfarnillion for a railway, and give away all this Crown land for the purpose of fixing a Capital Site which will not be of the slightest possible advantage to her? That was not the meaning of the Constitution. Therefore, I contend, we have a right to keep the Constitution in mind before we set out to find the Capital Site, and the selection of a site must always be subject to the arrangement made in the Constitution. It isnot a fair way of putting the matter when the honorable member for Gippsland suggests that we should give a map to a foreigner and ask him . to say where the Capital Site ought to be located. Another speaker suggested on Friday that we should import an American to fix the site for. us. We need no American or other foreigner tofix the site. But if honorable members should so far forget themselves as to call in a foreigner, ido not give him a map only, because that would be misleading, but give’ him a map and call’ his attention very specifically to the bargain which is in the Constitution.
– The honorable member would not give any of the other States a say in the settlement of this question, if he had his way.
– That is just as silly, easy, and cheap a thing to say as many others which the honorable member has said. It is a libel upon myself. If the honorable member keeps repeating these statements, he may in time come to believe them. I am prepared to deal as liberally as possible with the other States, and to consent to the site being fixed where it will be convenient for their populations.
– The honorable member will not allow any one else to form an opinion on the subject. We have heard of nothing but New South Wales during this debate, and I am full of it.
– The honorable member is at liberty to express his opinion. I am now stating mine only. I do not wish him to listen to my remarks, unless he chooses to do so, but it is necessary for me to put the case from my stand-point. The matter is of. concern to New South Wales, in a sense in which it is not of concern to the other States.
– It is an Australian matter.
– The Constitution provides that the Seat of Government shall be within New South Wales, but some honorable members seem determined to honour the compact between that State and the Commonwealth only in the letter. They virtually break it in the spirit, by saying that the site of the Seat of Government shall be no further within the boundaries of New South Wales than is necessary to fulfil the literal terms of the Constitution. The honorable member for Gippsland could not find a single good point in connexion with the Lyndhurst site. Fair-minded and impartial man that he is, he omitted to state anything that could be said in favour of the Lyndhurst site. Honorable members who berate the representatives of New South Wales for their provincialism are constantly taking that view of the matter. The honorable member for Grey when he speaks will, no doubt, tell us that the site which possesses all the virtues is that which is nearest to the Victorian border, and will have nothing good to say for any site which is substantially within New South Wales, although that is the arrangement contemplated by the Constitution.
– I have visited the various sites, but the honorable member has not.
– I do not. think it necessary to visit some of them. I have not troubled to visit the Upper Murray site, for instance, because I think that sites which are only on the fringe of New South Wales ought not to be taken into consideration.
– Then the honorable member virtually contends that the other States have no “ say ‘ ‘ in the matter.
– Not at all j but I ask them to honour the constitutional bond in its spirit.
– All that the Constitution says is that the site of the Seat of Government shall be within New South Wales. I am here to represent, not the interests of any one State, but the interests of Australia.
– So are we all. But this is a bargain between New South Wales and the rest of the Commonwealth, which it is for the honour of Australia to keep. I do not quarrel with the basis of selection suggested by the honorable member for Gippsland. He thinks that centrality and accessibility should be placed first, and that climate should be the next consideration. To my mind, centrality, accessibility, and climate should be the main factors in the determination of the question. I do not, however, agree with the right honorable member for Swan that the Seat of Government should be placed midway between Sydney and Melbourne. I think that it should be located where it will be as convenient as possible to future generations, having regard to the probable trend and development of population.
– This is the first time that the rights of Queensland have been even hinted at.
– What are those rights ?
– To be treated in the same way as other States are treated.
– The honorable member for Gippsland may despise the opinion of experts ; but I think that those who have made it their business to study the movements and growth of population are more likely to be right in what they say on this question than are we who have made no such study. Now, Mr. Coghlan and other experts say that the trend of population is unmistakably to the north. It has been shown over and over again that
Lyndhurst is more central and more accessible than any of the other proposed sites. That has been proved time and again, and notably by the honorable and learned member for Wannon. He showed that for the next twenty, and even fifty, years to come it will be easier for the people of the other States to travel to and from Lyndhurst than to travel to and from any of the other proposed sites. The honorable member for Gippsland referred to the attitude of New South Wales in this matter as analogous to that of Shylock requiring his pound of flesh ; but it seems to me that, if the honorable member gives Shylock what he wants, he will see that he gets it all back again. It is news to me to learn that the spirit of the arrangement in the Constitution should be departed from because compliance with it may incidentally benefit one State more than the rest. The honorable member urged as one of his strongest reasons against the selection of the Lyndhurst site the fact that the trade from the Federal territory, if situated at Lyndhurst, might be of advantage to New South Wales.
– I said that Sydney would have a monopoly of that trade. It could not go to the other States.
– That is certainly a disadvantage to the other States, but it cannot be helped. It flows from the bargain originally made.
– Certainly not. It is no part of the bargain that New South Wales shall secure the whole of the trade of the Federal territory.
– Surely the honorable member does not imagine that the trade of the Federal territory will be confined to New South Wales? Whatever is produced there for export will find its natural market, just as the produce from other parts of the Continent does now. It is absurd to say that New South Wales will monopolize it. The honorable member for Gippsland pointed out that it would cost a great deal to give Lyndhurst a water supply ; but he did not- tell us what the pumping scheme at Monaro would cost when in full working order.
– At Monaro a supply can be. obtained bv gravitation.
– Yes. An ample supply of water, for all present purposes, can also be obtained at Lyndhurst by means of gravitation. The scheme to which the honorable member for Gippsland referred contemplates only the future. The honorable member, however, with his usual fair ness - and I should not put the matter in this way if he had not boasted of his fairness - told us in one breath what the ultimate scheme at Lyndhurst would cost, and in the next informed us that at Monaro there was plenty of water available for immediate purposes. The fact is, that just as there is plenty of water for immediate purposes at Monaro, so there is plenty of water for immediate purposes at Lyndhurst. But the scheme which has been outlined contemplates making provision for the far distant future, when the Federal Capital will contain 100,000 inhabitants. I say that, given equal populations, a water supply at Monaro would cost practically as much as would a supply at Lyndhurst. That is the point which I desire to make, and I complain of the unfair way adopted by some honorable members in putting these facts. These honorable members have accused the advocates of Lyndhurst of being provincialists, who wish to secure an unfair advantage over the other States. Consequently it is necessary for somebody to put the facts in their proper light. I put them forward to show how unfair was the honorable member for Gippsland in dealing with this question of water supply alone. In this connexion he quoted Mr. Wade’s figures, but he did not tell the Committee that that officer’s estimates were based upon a scheme for supplying a population of 100,000. When questioned in regard to the water supply at Monaro, the honorable member replied “ Monaro has plenty of water for immediate purposes.” I say that Lyndhurst also has an ample supply of water for immediate purposes, and that the two places are equal in that respect. Another point made by the. honorable member was that if Lyndhurst were chosen it would be necessary to bring the water a distance of eight miles. Surely a distance of eight miles is not a very serious consideration in connexion with a scheme . for supplying a great city with water? In New South Wales, the water supply for Sydney comes from a source fifty miles distant. ‘
– In Western Australia water is conveyed 300 miles.
– That is so, but I am speaking of Sydney, which possesses a population of 500.000. No difficulty is experienced in supplying that population with an abundance of pure, fresh water. Consequently, if we can show that a supply of water can be obtained at Lyndhurst, very much nearer than it can be obtained at Sydney, we need not trouble ourselves very much further in regard to that branch of the question. To compare the various sites, from the stand-point of the water supply obtainable - as has been done during the present debate - is pure idealism. To say that there is more water at Bombala than there is at Lyndhurst does not argue anything. Nobody questions that* statement. The point which we have to consider is, “ Will the Federal Capital be adequately supplied with water at Lyndhurst?” If that question be answered in the affirmative we need not trouble ourselves as to whether there is not more water at- Bombala than there is anywhere else. All we have to do is to see that the Federal Capital city is supplied with as much water as -it will ever require to use.
– I suppose the cost of providing an adequate supply does not matter ?
– I have already spoken of the cost. If the honorable member will look at the official reports he will find that the cost of the Bombala pumping scheme has been carefully kept out” of sight during this debate.
– The Dalgety scheme is not a pumping scheme.
– During this discussion, all the difficulties in connexion with the Monaro sites have been carefully concealed, and when any honorable member has dared to bring them forward, the cry has been instantly raised that he is a provincialist. Take the case of Dalgety. There, it is proposed to obtain a primary supply for a population of 50,000 from the Moamba River, which is the nearest gravitation source to the city site, conveying the water a distance of about thirteen and a half miles. The honorable member for Gippsland did not tell us anything about this matter in his speech. He assured us that there was an abundant supply of water in the Bombala district, but he did not inform us that in the case of Dalgety it had to be conveyed thirteen and a half miles.
– But Bombala has a river which for many years would provide the city with a sufficient supply of water.
– I am speaking of the primary supply, and not of the supply in the distant future. The primary supply for Dalgety would serve only a population of 50,000. But even that supply would require to be conveyed a distance of thirteen and a half miles. I submit that if the honorable member had desired to be fair he would have placed these figures before the Committee.
– That eight miles in the case of Lyndhurst refers only to a temporary supply for the workmen.
– The Dalgety scheme is a gravitation scheme. The honorable member said that it was a pumping scheme.
– A pumping scheme there would probably cost as much as would the Lyndhurst scheme. I submit that a fact which can be tested only in 200 or 300 years’ time is not very important in the determination of this question. 1 would further point out that the devotees of other sites, whilst emphasizing every possible drawback in connexion with the Lyndhurst site, have quietly kept in the background all these disadvantages attaching to other sites. The honorable member for Gippsland spoke of the presence of minerals on the line of railway leading towards Bombala from the Victorian side. Is he aware that there is a mineral belt surrounding the Lyndhurst site ?
– But Lyndhurst is connected with a line of railway. I spoke of minerals in connexion with the construct ion of a railway.
– Is the honorable member aware that one of the richest mineral belts in Australia - possibly in the whole world - surrounds the Lyndhurst site ?
– I hope that it is more real than is its water supply.
– Does the honorable member know that there is an abundance of gold all through that district? Is he aware that the cross country between Blayney and Harden is supposed to be full of rich copper ore, and that close to the Lyndhurst site - certainly within twenty miles of it - are to be found the iron deposits of Cadia, which are alleged to be the best in Australia?
– I did not speak of mineral deposits as an attraction in connexion with the Seat of Government, but as an incentive to the construction of a railway.
– These minerals, not being far removed from the Lyndhurst site, would constitute a splendid backing for a big city.
– Why is Lyndhurst not a big city now instead of being a one-horse town?
– The honorable member knows the reason as well as I do. He is aware that no iron is being produced in Australia, although the deposits exist there. He also knows that the reason the copper deposits arenot being exploited is because of the very defective Mining on Private Lands Act in New South Wales. Nevertheless, these rich deposits are to be found in the western district, and unmistakably they would form a big backing for Lyndhurst - if that place be selected - and one which must make it the . mo.it valuable site of all. The honorable member spoke of another possibility, and held it up as a menace to the Committee. He conceived a time - far distant, I hope - when New South Wales might come into conflict with ‘the Federal authority, and when it naturally would be terrible if we could not reach the Federal Capital without going through her territory. That is a harmonious and Federal argument to advance. What a fine Federal spirit is shown in the suggestion that we should contemplate a time - and prepare for it by taking steps to avoid any difficulty’ - when there shall be such bitter and’ dire enmity between one State and all the others as to preclude even the possibility of our travelling over the railways of that one State ! I should be ashamed to seriously advance such an argument.
– The honorable member might some day be Premier of New South Wales, and we know his provincialism.
– Mv provincialism is a little less than that of the honorable member, but I do not persist as he does in mouthing my patriotism. I am not continually denouncing every other honorable member as a provincialist. The honorable member has succeeded in making the champion provincial speech of the debate.
– The honorable member’s index finger looks rather threatening when he shakes it at one.
– I do not -wish to threaten the honorable member; it would be useless to do so. The honorable member may talk about provincialism as much as he pleases,- but I have yet to learn that patriotism is a quality that one must constantly asseverate. In connexion with this matter, actions speak” louder than words, and the attitude taken up by the honorable member during this debate has shown that he is a provincialist.
– Is one guilty of provincialism in advocating the rights of all the States ?
– That is all that I have done.
– It is only fair to advocate the rights of all the States as long as the compact made in the Constitution is substantially honoured.
– I hold that we must keep to that compact.
– I am prepared to consider, so far as I am able, every State in the Union, as long as the arrangement in the bond is honoured. I do not think that the honorable, member is prepared to honour it.
– I wish to see the most central site selected.
– I am inclined to think that the honorable member in some of his proposals is outraging that arrangement. Let me refer for a moment to the Upper Murray site. It is nearer to almost any other State than it is to Sydney, and I have yet to learn that the compact arrived at was not a substantial concession to New South- Wales.
– Not to Sydney.
– It was, in effect, a substantial concession to Sydney, because the agitation centred in that city.
– Is not Sydney the centre of the coast line, and therefore the centre of the most populated portion of New South Wales ?
– I submit that Lyndhurst is the most central site sug: gested. If we turn from the present to the future we must recognise that it will be the most accessible site.
– By means of a camel service ?
– I hope that, so far as this matter is concerned, we have left the days of camel services behind. If Lyndhurst were selected, the Capital would be within 600 or 700 miles of Brisbane, whereas if the site favoured by the honorable member for Gippsland were chosen the Capital would be 1,000 miles from that city.
– That would be too bad.
– Then, again, Lyndhurst is more accessible from Melbourne than any of the sites mentioned by the honorable member.
– The site which I specially mentioned is about midway between Brisbane and Adelaide. Then there is Perth, beyond Adelaide again, to consider.
– I am now speaking df means of communication. The honorable member has probably in .mind, not a camel route, but one which would have to be traversed by means of a balloon.
– I am speaking of a water service.
– I have in mind, not a camel route, but a railway service. I am afraid the honorable member for Gippsland is taking the radial distances which would have to be negotiated by ships or balloons, or some such means of locomotion. I am speaking of available means of communication, and I repeat that Lyndhurst is nearer Victoria and Queensland than is any of the other sites which have yet been mentioned. Now, what is . the position of Western Australia? If the transcontinental railway be constructed, as perhaps it will be, in the future, Lyndhurst will be nearer Western Australia than is any of the other sites suggested during this debate. My main point is, therefore, that Lyndhurst is the one central site proposed, because it. affords the maximum means of convenience and accessibility to almost every State in the group, excepting, perhaps, Tasmania and South Australia. The lastnamed State, of course, cannot hope to secure the degree of convenience that would accrue to others from the selection of Lyndhurst; but having regard to the great bulk of the population, and considering the drift of population, Lyndhurst is the point which gives most accessibility and centrality. What of its climate? I hav. not heard any one impugn it. No one ha3 disputed that its climate is excellent, and I would also point out that it has an adequate water supply. I say no more than that. I am not going to urge that the water supply of Lyndhurst is as good as that of Bombala, or that there are millions of tons of water daily running to waste in the district. I simply assert that there is an adequate supply at Lyndhurst for all the future requirements of the Capital. There is as much water there as we shall ever require, and we should, therefore, experience no difficulty in that respect in selecting it. The fact that it has an abundance of water, and an excellent climate, and boasts of centrality and accessibility, such as no other site furnishes, seems to me to point unmistakably to Lyndhurst as the proper site for the location ‘of the Federal Capital. I have no desire to say anything about the Upper Murray site; except that we heard the other day a great deal about its beauties and its climate. . I have yet to learn, however, that we should select a site merely because of its picturesqueness. No one has pointed out more clearly that has the right honorable member for East Sydney, that persons will not go to the Federal Capital merely to enjoy its scenery; they will go there, for the main part, to do business, and if we -provide them with business conveniences the rest may very well be left to take care of itself. The honorable member for Southern Melbourne gave his whole case away on Friday last, when he told us’ that, although Edinburgh was the prettiest city in the world, the galaxy of witty men and pretty women of which it boasted left it for tha fogs of London, because the capital was the social centre. I therefore say that we ought not to give undue importance to the consideration of beautiful surroundings. If we can secure them in addition to the factors I have named, well and good, but they are embellishments pure and simple, and not the essentials of a good Capital Site. The honorable member for Hume told us that there was an abundance of fish available in the Upper Murray, and that if one cared he might make a catch every morning. As a commentary on this statement, I might mention that I read in the report of the Water Commission which met a little while ago, that there are no fish in the river - that the stream is so muddy that the fish have been absolutely destroyed.
– Where was this?
– In the Upper Murray - in these parts. .
– Why not talk a little sense?
– Because the honorable member has a monopoly of it. He never opens his mouth but he puts his foot in it.
– And the honorable member never opens his mouth without making an ass of himself.
– T must ask that that scandalous remark shall be withdrawn.
– I withdraw it.
– The honorable member will find evidence in support of all that I have said in regard to the destruction of fish in the report of the Commission, provided that he has the intelligence to understand it.
– The fish have been destroyed at a point considerably below the site proposed.
– I have no desire to refer to any other statement . made by the honorable member who preceded me, except to say that I think his speech showed that he had already made up his mind as to tl:t desirableness of a particular site, and that all his arguments were built up to support that predilection.
– I shall vote for the district which I supported before.
– The honorable member simply left out of sight every qualification that would commend any other site, and at the same time took care to emphasize every good point associated with the site which he favours. On the other hand, looking at the question as impartially as I am able to do - and I hope that I regard the matter as one who has just as little to gain from it as has any other honorable member - I hold that Lyndhurst is the most desirable site. It is immaterial to me where the Capital is established ; but looking to the future of Australia, and to the convenience of the people principally interested in the Federal site, I think that Lyndhurst more than any other site offers the advantages of accessibility and centrality. Its climate is unquestioned ; its scenery is good ; its water supply is adequate, and it possesses, therefore, all the materials essential to the building up of a large, prosperous, and uptodate city.
-I shall labour under a disadvantage in dealing with chas; question, because the site which I favour has not been done justice in the matter of inspection. I am sure that had it been inspected as closely as have the other sites it would have stood very much higher in the estimation of a good many honorable members. Some honorable members, notably, the right honorable member for East Sydney, the right honorable member for Swan, and the honorable member for Eden-Monaro, have expressed their surprise that the Upper Murray site should have been at the last moment dragged in for our consideration ; they do not appear to have heard before of the Upper Murray as a suggested site.
– We expressed, not surprise, but astonishment.
– I should like to know where these honorable members were on the 25th September, 1902, when the honorable member for Hume, who was then Minister of Home Affairs, moved that a Committee of experts be appointed to examine and report upon sites in the localities of Albury, Bombala, Lake George, Orange, and Tumut. On that occasion - at the very initiation of the proposal to inspect the various sites- the honorable member, having referred to Tumut, proceeded to discuss the Upper Murray site. He said -
Tumut is one of the prettiest and most fertile valleys in New South Wales. It will be noticed that there is no proposal in regard to the Upper Murray, though, in my opinion, the finest and most beautiful valley in Australia is to be there found - it is Tumut on a triple scale - and I hope that later on honorable members will take the opportunity of visiting the district.
At a later stage, he said -
I now come to the Bombala site, and have to say that Dalgety is not amongst the places which it is proposed to refer to experts.
I wish to draw the attention of the Committee to the fact that in the first place the Minister did not propose that Dalgety should be inspected, but contemplated taking honorable members on a visit of inspection to the Upper Murray.
– Why was not the Upper Murray site subjected to the same scrutiny as was Dalgety?
– Because the honorable member was so persistent.
– I also should like to have some information on that point. On the same day, whilst the then Minister of Home Affairs was speaking, I interjected - and the report will be found in Hansard, Vol. xii., page 16135 -
Will the inspection of the Albury site include an inspection of the Upper Murray site?
– No ; there is no need for that, because the water supply of Albury is an assured one.
Then the report proceeds -
– The honorable gentleman spoke very favorably of the Upper Murray site as being a very picturesque place.
– The matter is a very delicate one for me to refer to, inasmuch as there are two sites in my electorate which have already been put forward as suitable for the Federal Capital.
– Might not the Commissioners be allowed to report upon the whole locality within a certain distance of any proposed site?
– I hope that I shall not be called upon to give an opinion upon the Upper Murra)’ site, but I intend to ask a few members of the House to visit it during the summer months, and I shall be guided by what they think of it, and of the probability of any site so far south being selected.
– But the Albury site is equally far south.
I then urged upon the Minister that those sites should be inspected together, Dalgety with Bombala, and the Upper Murray with Albury. Coming to the next session of Parliament, an inspection was made of these different sites, with the exception of the Upper Murray site, an irispection of which had been promised.I then tried to find out the reason why Dalgety had been inspected, when there was no promise that it would be inspected, and why the Upper Murray had not been inspected, although a promise had been made that it would be. I do not know where honorable members were on that occasion. That was a year afterwards, in September, 1903.
– Was it not an attempt to get the honorable member’s vote for Tumut by a subterfuge?
– That is an unworthy suggestion of any member of the Committee. The honorable and learned member ought tobe ashamed of himself.
– I mention these matters, because it has been suggested that the Upper Murray site is a new site. I desire to show that from the very beginning I have persistently urged. that this site should be inspected, because I heard it so well spoken of. On the 7 th October, 1903, I moved -
That after the word “Tumut” the words “ including the Upper Murray “ be inserted.
I said then -
I am led to move this amendment by the fact that when the proposal to refer the various sites to a Commission of experts was under discussion the present Minister for Trade and Cus. toms referred to the Upper Murray site, and made a promise from which he can hardly escape.
– I have not endeavoured to . escape from anv promise.
– Quite so.
I do not know why I said “ quite so “ then, because afterwards it was not quite so, and the site was not inspected. I was ruled out of order on that particular amendment, and I afterwards proposed -
That the schedule be amended by the insertion of the words “Upper Murray.”
After debate that amendment was negatived, but what I have quoted shows clearly that, so far from this being a new matter, the selection of the Upper Murray site has been considered from the very beginning. If such sites as Lyndhurst and Dalgety., which were absolutely rejected by this House on the last occasion when- this matter was before it, are to be brought in, surely the Upper Murray site may well be brought in along with them. We are not selecting a Capital Site for to-day or to-morrow, but for all time, and I certainly think that it would be well even now, if there is a site which honorable members may consider better than those which have been so thoroughly surveyed, that we should have a thorough survey of that site. There is no disguising the fact that political considerations will weigh a great deal in this matter. It is a great pity that it should be so, but it is nevertheless the fact. The right honorable member for East Sydney the other night accused ttae supporters of the Upper Murray site of being desirous of getting as far away from Sydney as possible. I have possibly been the most persistent in endeavouring to secure the selection of this site, but I deny altogether that I have ever had any idea of doing an injustice to Sydney or to any other part of the Commonwealth. “Let the gall’d jade wince.” I am the keeper of my own conscience, and I intend to vote upon this matter upon what 1 conscientiously believe to be broad national grounds.
– The honorable member voted in favour of Sydney itself last session.
Mr.SKENE. - I remember that I tried to introduce an amendment of the kind.
– The honorable member knew that that was impossible.
– One thing I should like to know is what Sydney has specially to do with this matter. Our compact is with New South Wales, and not with Sydney. To my mind there are only two conceivable ways of looking at the compact. From the very beginning of the agitation for Federation I have taken a very considerable interest in the matter of the probable Capital Site. I know that in 1891 or 1892 I read an article in the Nineteenth Century, written by the right honorable member for East Sydney, in which the right honorable gentleman gave several reasons why New South Wales was not likely to come into the Federation. With one exception all the reasons stated at the time seemed to- be arguable, and that one was the uncertainty as to the site of the Federal Capital. The right honorable gentleman was afterwards successful in getting a clause put into the Constitution, providing that the Capital should be in New South Wales. I say, there are only two conceivable ideas which can occur to one with regard to that. New ‘ South Wales is the oldest and most populous of the States, and returns the greatest number of representatives to this House. I have it on the authority of the President, of the Senate, Sir Richard Baker, that the proposal was made in the first Convention, that Ballarat should be the Capital. I do not know whether it was actually proposed that Ballarat should be the Capital, but, at any rate, it was suggested.
– I can assure the honorable member that Sir Edmund Barton put it that there would be substantial agreement, and that the spirit of the Constitution would be carried out.
– I propose to give honorable members my view of the matter, and, if I understand it at all, it is my desire to carry out the spirit of the Constitution as generously as possible. In my view there are only two ways of looking, at the question. Ballarat having been suggested in the Convention as the possible Capital, naturally the representatives of New South Wales saw that there would be a chance of their having to travel a long distance out of their own State to reach the Seat of Government. The Premier of that State at the time, the right honorable member for East Sydney - very properly, I think - made a proposal that the Capital should be in New South Wales, simply in order to prevent New South Wales representatives having to travel a great distance out of their own State to reach the Capital.
– No, no.
– Will the honorable member allow me for a moment. I ask what is the alternative. Is it not what the honorable member for Parramatta has just repudiated - that preference should be given to the city of Sydney, that the protection qf distance should be considered in the interests of the trade and commerce of Sydney ? That would be an outrage upon all the principles professed by the Leader of the Opposition, the right honorable member for East Sydney, and the honorable member for Parramatta.
– It was really thought that the Capital should be Sydney, as being the oldest city in Australia.
– That was suggested originally; but we have now to deal with the restriction of distance from Sydney. There are but the two ways of looking at the matter - that the representatives of New South Wales, being the largest body of representatives returned to this Parliament, should not have to travel to a distance out of their own State, or that there should be protection afforded to’ the trade and commerce of, New South Wales, a suggestion which the honorable member for Parramatta has repudiated, and, I think, rightly repudiated.
– I repudiate it only to this extent: I am prepared to say now that New South Wales thought she was going to get some slight trading advantage from the arrangement.
– Then I must say that I do not think the honorable member can produce a single scrap of documentary evidence in support of his contention. I have sought for it, and I have listened to the right honorable member for East Sydney without discovering anything of the kind. I asked the right honorable member for Balaclava his reason for agreeing to the 100-miles limit from Sydney, and he told me that it was simply because he did not believe in having the Federal Capital in a big . city.
– According tq the report of an Interview with him, which appeared in the press a little time ago, the right honorable member said that his reason was to exclude the district of Mossvale.
– The honorable gentleman has told me that his objection was to the Federal Capital being fixed in a big city. According to my reading of the compact, it is perfectly in accordance with national instinct ‘that the Capital should be in New South Wales. The representatives of New South , Wales being in a majority in this Parliament, should not be dragged out of their own State to attend the FederalParliament, as they would have to be if Ballarat were chosen as the site for the Federal city. But to say that the object in selecting the site is to give a preference in trade or commerce to New South Wales is almost an outrage upon decency.
– But, apart from that, has not New South Wales to give up certain territory to secure any advantage there may be from the selection of a site in that State?
– New South Wales may or may not give up territory. She has only to give up territory which happens to be Crown lands. The New South Wales Government is not supposed to purchase land for us if we require a Capital Site- in that State. If New South Wales is not prepared to carry out the compact I say let her not do it, and we can purchase land on which to establish the Capital. In suggesting the site’ on the Upper Murray, it never entered into my mind, and I had no intention at all of suggesting a site which would remove the Capital to a distance from Sydney. In making the suggestion, I thought I was doing what was best in the interests of the people of Australia.
– I do not think the honorable member could find anybody in New South Wales who does not think the proposal a departure from the spirit of the Constitution.
– I cannot help what the people of New South Wales may think in that way. I have not the remotest idea as to how the matter was put before them, but I may say that, in travelling by the train in New South Wales, I met one very intelligent man, a railway conductor, who told me that, as he understood it, the intention was that the Government of New South Wales should select the Capital. He assured me that that was the way the matter had been put before him
– I accept that interpretation. Does the honorable member think that the State Government of New South Wales would select the Upper Murray site?
– The honorable and learned member spoke of the way in which the matter had been put before the people of New South Wales, and I have mentioned that one man stated the way in which it was put before him.
– What is the difference in climate between Albury and Welaregang ?
– I shall deal with that directly. The two things which I considered particularly were accessibility, not for to-day, but under reasonable conditions for a reasonable time, and a gravitation water supply. *
– On the ground of accessibility we should take Lyndhurst as being most nearly the centre of population.
– It may be in the future.
– It is, on the figures for today.
– I do not know that, but I believe that Sir George Clarke was right when he said that probably the bulk of the population of Australia would be confined to the fringe of coast lands.
– I rather agree with that.
– If we take the country from Brisbane right round to Adelaide, we’ shall find that that is the case, and in that view Lyndhurst is further north than the centre of population will eventually be.
– I do not know that. If we consider the Northern Coast district of New South Wales, and the Southern Coast district of Queensland, including the Darling Downs, I think we shall find .that the centre of population will be north of Sydney.
– I have no desire, in arguing this matter, to depreciate any State, but I may say that Queensland has not been regarded favorably, from a financial point of view, by Victorian people, for many years past. Possibly I- am doing Queensland an injustice.
– We .must not say a word against Queensland.
– All I know is that there has been a tremendous lot of Victorian money lost in Queensland. If the Victorian people had the money they have lost in Queensland and in western New South Wales they could pay the whole of the Victorian debt.
– We must not forget the money which Victorian people have made in those States.
– When I was first called upon to consider the question, I regarded it from the point of view of accessibility, and the prospects of. a gravitation water supply. Proceeding, as it were, from the Sydney end, the first place I came upon that in any way “ filled the bill “ was Tumut. That site was first reported on favorably by Mr. Oliver, who gave it’ second place, and, I believe, it was given first place by the Royal Commission. I should be very glad if a site, with all the advantages which I have described, could be found nearer Sydney ; but I think I shall be able to show that the Upper Murray site is not so unfair to the interests of that city as some honorable members seem to suppose. Some honorable members have made wild statements about the cost of a railway line from Tumut to the suggested site of the Capital.
– Would the honorable member suggest a site at Tooma itself?
– I do not say that the site should be at Tooma; there are other places in that district. What I am contending now is that the district which I favour has not been- sufficiently inspected ; and I know that my friend, the honorable and learned member for Werriwa, in discussing this matter, pointed out that,- so far as railways are concerned, the difficulties are not so great if one runs with the stream than they are if one has to go across country. I am told that in the direction of Germanton to Tumberumba there is an easy horse road for a team with a considerable load.
– There are no engineering difficulties on that road.
– The railway from Tumut to the proposed site, if selected, in my opinion, is the only one likely to be made for years, and its completion would mean that Sydney would be brought sixty-eight miles nearer the site than Melbourne. The distance from Melbourne to Tumut would be 390 miles, and from Sydney to Tumut, 322 miles - a difference of sixty -eight miles. On the other hand, the distance from Sydney to the site by way of Tumut would be 368 miles, and from’ Melbourne via Germanton, 293 miles - a difference- in favour of Melbourne of seventy-five miles. It must be remembered, however, that there is a break of gauge at Albury, and that that break is likely to continue for a considerable number of years. A further consideration is that the State Government of New South Wales would have the construction of such a line in their own hands; and it is likely that for a great many years to come - during which the Capital would be building, and the greatest amount of money would be spent on the carriage of material from the port of Sydney - the advantage would be entirely with New South Wales.
– Could not a line be made via Tallangatta?
– But to take the bestwe can, in the light of Mr. Chesterman’s report - 341 miles from Sydney and 278 miles from Melbourne, both being expensive routes to construct - the distance in favour of Melbourne would be only 63 miles.
– I can assure the honorable member that a line through that country would cost 75 per cent, extra for surveying.
– The possibility is that the line would be no more difficult to make than one from the other side. But I am taking the shortest route - that is a route which is only twenty-seven miles shorter than by way of Cootamundra. By that short route the distance would be 341 miles from Sydney, and 279 miles from Melbourne, or a difference of 63 miles.
– Why . should New South Wales undertake this work in order to give pleasant outings?
– Because such a line would open up a country for the supply of her own markets.
– The line would not pay.
– The honorable member says that such a line will not pay ; but the fact is that the New South Wales Government are now constructing railways of the kind without the incentive of. a Federal Capital. Not only have the New South Wales Government made a railway to Germanton, but they have surveyed the route for some distance beyond to the Gap. I fancy I shall be supported by the honorable member for Hume when I say that the line has not stopped at Germanton, but has been surveyed up to a place called the Gap.
– Yes, to a place eighteen miles further on.
– The line would not pay for axle grease.
– All I know is that the other day the people in that district claimed to have sent away a larger number of bags of wheat than had been sent from any district in the Commonwealth ; and I have already pointed out that the New South Wales Government are building a line without any idea of a Federal Capital. Such a work would present no engineering difficulty ; but my own idea is that the line would be constructed from the Tumut side. The Victorians would still have a long distance to travel, even if a line were made via Tallangatta.
– The line would be just as expensive one way as the other.
– The honorable and learned member does not know anything about the matter.
– The, right honorable member for East Sydney urged that the Upper Murray site was inaccessible, and he went on to contrast it with the site at Dalgety, to which the provision of railway communication would be easier. But if the Southern Monaro country is equal in quality to the other country which is being opened up by the line from Germanton, it is curious that construction should have stopped at the entry to the promised land for so many years.
– It has stopped there for sixteen or seventeen years.
– I was there twelve or fourteen years ago, and the line has not been extended since. If the country had been worthy of a railway, there is no doubt that the New South Wales Government would have provided communication before now. What I want to point out is that railways are being pushed into the Upper Murray district, but not into EdenMonaro.
– Where are railways being pushed into the Upper Murray district ?
– From Culcairn, on to Germanton, and up the Murray; and Eden-Monaro cannot have a particularly good record, or, otherwise, the railway Commissioners, who are constructing railways into the furthest parts of the State, would have turned their attention to those districts. The Railway Commissioners have taken good care to get the trade of the Murray and the Murrumbidgee for the New South Wales railways; and there is no doubt that if the Eden-Monaro country had been considered good enough, it would have been provided with railways long ago. There was one contention of the right honorable member for East Sydney, which hardly holds water from a national point of view. The right honorable member could not. understand our selecting a place which was simply picturesque, or beautiful to the eye; his opinion was that we should have a place where a large population would gather, and employment would be afforded.
– If the wealthy and leisured classes are brought to a place, business men will soon follow.
– That is so. The Constitution - and, indeed, the House, according to the vote on the amendment of the honorable member for Corangamite - is against the Capital Site being in a large city ; and, that being so, is there any sense in suggesting or contending that the Capital should be in a place where a large population will gather? If we are to follow the example of the United States, quite a different place will be selected.
– Was it policy or jealousy which led to the exclusion of Sydney ?
– I think it was possibly a matter of jealousy at the commencement, but it has become a matter of policy ; because when an honorable member moved an amendment the object of which was to effect an alteration of the Constitution in this respect, not a single New South Wales representative voted for it, notwithstanding that the supporters of that proposal were favorable to placing the Capital in Sydney. Some honorable members who at one time favoured the Capital being placed in Sydney have since told me that they are now opposed to that idea.
– I do not think so; they apprehended some danger from altering the Constitution.
– I cannot imagine any better place for. a Capital city than a site which would be fairly accessible, as Tooma would become in a very short time, and one which would be an attractive place of residence for the leisured classes. It is a central site, about equidistant between the two great centres of Australia, Melbourne and Sydney. Some honorable members may ridicule the idea of establishing a city where the leisured classes might choose to reside, but I am quite sure that the tradespeople of the place would not consider it to be a disadvantage to have there a leisured class - I d& not say necessarily a wealthy class, but a class of retired people. It might be a place where men of letters, painters, and sculptors would take up their abode.
– Such people mostly frequent the great commercial centres.
– I do not think that is the case in regard to Washington. ‘ I am assured that Washington is now one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. There are residing there not only people of artistic and literary tastes, who have long been settled in the neighbourhood, but also people who have been attracted from different parts of the world.
– There are more blacks than whites there, are there not ? It is cosmopolitan in that sense !
– The honorable member for Grampians is perfectly right.
– I was at Washington myself in 1867, and I did not admire the city much at that time. But since then, I understand, it has made rapid progress, and is now one of the great cities of the world. It has been stated that Washington was not meant to be a commercial centre, but I am not sure that it was not intended to be the commercial capital of the United States, because it was placed upon the tidal waters of the Potomac, on Chesapeake Bay, in a situation where it was quite possible that it might become a great commercial capital. We ought to establish a Capital where probably people of light and learning would choose to reside, and where perhaps some retired politicians in their old age might vegetate, and now and then give to budding politicians the advantage of their advice. The right honorable member for East Sydney found no fault with the Upper Murray site, except on the ground of inaccessibility. In respect to climate, it is in every way satisfactory. We can have any climate we like there. We can have land from 1,100 feet above sea level at Welare- gang, to i, 600 or 2,000 feet a few miles away. We could even go up to 3,000 feet. There is an excellent water supply.
– Where can we get water at that height?
– There is no question about the water supply, I believe. I am told that from the Tooma River alone we could have a gravitation supply sufficient for the needs of a very large city.
– If it is on the flats. But can we get a water supply there at a height of 1,500 feet?
– I believe that we can. Mr. Chesterman, in his report, says, with- * out any reservoirs, that we can obtain a sufficient supply for a population of 50,000 people, and that we would be able to add to it to any extent by utilizing streams further up the river. The honorable member for Gippsland gave this site credit for having all the qualifications except that of a port. I think that it would be very well served indeed by the two ports of Sydney and Melbourne. We need not trouble about a port for the purposes of the Capital city. I really cannot see that a port would be an advantage to the Federal Territory. If we had a port at Eden, it would only afford another point of attack. We already have a large coastline to defend.
– It is only by means of water that -we can give fair play to Queensland and South Australia, in a commercial sense.
– I dissent from the honorable member’s view in that respect. It is not necessary, in my opinion, to consider the Capital citY in a commercial sense at all. It is not intended to be a commercial city. The idea in leaving a large city is that we should locate the Federal Capital away from a large population.
– Then why do we need a large territory?
– We may require a large territory for the purpose of water supply. But it seems to me to be an absurdity for those who contend that we should run away from a large city, to talk ab6ut establishing another large city with a port of its own. In any case, it could become nothing more than a coasting port. I have heard it said that it might become the port for the Eastern States, but that would really be impossible.
– To what port is the honorable member now referring?
– To the port of Eden. I have also heard it said that Washington was at one time considered likely to become one of the principal ports of the United States. But the difference of a few. days - perhaps not more than a few hours - in the voyage between Europe and the United States, gave New York the opportunity of becoming the great commercial centre of America ; and if the port of Eden were the finest in the world, from its situation it would not attract the traffic which now goes to Sydney.
– Twofold Bay is practically an open roadstead.
– But my point is that, even if it were the finest port imaginable, it would make no difference to the trade routes of the Pacific, which would not pass by Sydney. If the Panama Canal is completed, vessels coming westward would have to clear the North Cape of New Zealand, and the trade route would be diverted so close to Sydney that the port of Eden could never derive any benefit. So that in that respect there is no advantage in- the Federal Capital having a port at Eden. But, in addition to that, Captain Mahan told us, in one of his articles at the time of the Behring Sea dispute, that Canada’s safety consisted in the liability to attack of the coastal cities of the United States on the Atlantic by the British Navy. That would be the case here. The idea suggested by Mr. Oliver, in his report, that we could establish an arsenal at Twofold Bay, is the most absurd that could be put forward. In that case we should have to maintain a strong force to defend the arsenal. To do so we should have to take away our ships from defending our large cities, such as Sydney and Melbourne, and use them to defend another port, established for no useful purpose whatever that I can see. Because members of the Federal Parliament would certainly travel overland to the Capital city. I attach considerable importance, as the honorable member for Gippsland also does, to the view of this matter taken by the Senate.. I attach importance to it for the reason that the members of the Senate do not represent small sections of the community in any of the States. They are elected on a broad basis by the States as States, and are therefore more likely to have a free hand in dealing with this question. In the House of Representatives we cannot discuss it without political and local considerations arising.
– The Senate represents the whole of Australia.
– That is so ; and the senators represent Australia in equal numbers for each State. Inasmuch also as they represent the States as States, and not particular electorates, they are not so likely to have a Capital site in my own back yard ; to favour one particular site as against others. Therefore I attach considerable importance to their opinion. But, so far as my own personal view goes, I attach greatest importance to the questions of accessibility and the possibility of having a gravitation water scheme. While I do not believe personally in the Monaro sites, as not being equal to the Upper Murray site, still, if the site which I intend to vote for is npt adopted, the Monaro sites would be next in favour, so far as I am concerned. I do not intend to dip into the future, and to argue as to where the centre of population is likely to be in years to come. It may be at Lyndhurst. It is all a matter of guesswork. I regret that the House did not afford an opportunity to honorable members to more carefully inspect the site which I favour in regard to water supply. If it were fully considered in that respect, I feel sure that it would grow in favour amongst honorable members, and would stand a much better chance than it now has of being selected. But still a number of honorable members have inspected the site for themselves, and those with whom I have had any conversation have been disposed to support it. In the end I think it likely that it may receive that consideration which it certainly deserves.
– I am one ‘ of those unfortunates who do not happen to have a Capital Site in my own back yard ; therefore, there is no need for me to indulge in rhapsodies with regard to any particular locality. We have had a certain amount of word painting as to the merits of the various sites that are favoured. I do not pretend to have much of the aesthetic faculty in my composition, and am, therefore, rather disposed to confine myself to discussing the question on the lines which have been followed by the honorable member for Gippsland, who presented to us what he termed a practical sketch of the requirements. But, before expressing my views at length, I should like to say that I deeply regret - not only for the sake of New South Wales, but for the sake of all Australia - that the 100-miles limit has been placed in the Constitution. The members of the Premiers’ Conference inserted that provision in consequence of a sharp piece of diplomacy, which was practised by the right honorable member for Balaclava on behalf of the State of Victoria. He saw the opportunity of driving a sharp bargain, but the right honorable member for East Sydney, with his usual kindliness of disposition, gave himself away when he allowed such a stipulation to be made. At that time, it will be remembered, it was questionable whether Federation would be accomplished. New South Wales had repulsed the overtures of the other States, and it was thought that if the Capital were conceded to New South Wales she would be induced to enter the Federation. The Constitution was altered, and, as a result, it was accepted by all the States. We should have no beating about the bush with regard to the 100-miles limit. However the electors in other parts of Australia regarded it, it is certain that the electors of New South Wales considered that the Capital was to be as close as possible to the largest centre of that State. The honorable member for Gippsland tells us that he would rather vote for placing the Capital at Sydney than at Lyndhurst.
– I would a hundred times rather vote for Sydney than Lyndhurst.
– I am glad that the honorable member makes that admission.
– Would the honorable member sooner vote for Sydney than Bombala ?
– Bombala would be more central than Sydney, but Sydney would be a better site than Lyndhurst.
– The people of New South Wales supposed ‘that the Capital would be established as near as possible to Sydney, consistently with the 100-miles limit. Every one must regret’ that such a site as Moss Vale, Exeter, and the surrounding district, is debarred, because it possesses all the qualities of accessibility, centrality, and all the special physical features which it is claimed are of primary importance. But we cannot now obtain that, although it is only a few miles short of the 100-mile limit, and, therefore, we have to go further afield. The first consideration with the honorable member for Gippsland was centrality. That is a wellsounding word, and makes a good head-line. I wish to know whether he means centrality in regard to population, or centrality in regard to geographical area. If he means the former, I think I can show him that he is departing very much from the centre and extending himself to the circumference.
– I mean centrality in regard to the different States.
– According to the first census which was ever taken in Australia, in 1 86 1, the centre of population was in the neighbourhood of Albury ; but census returns for i go i show that it had shifted to the neighbourhood of Lyndhurst ; that is 125 miles north of Albury ; and the. tendency is still to the northward. The honorable member for Grampians, a representative of Victoria, has admitted that in a rough way the trend of population is to the east and north-east shores of Australia. That is unquestionably so, so far as Queensland and New South Wales are concerned.
– Does the honorable member think that it will always be in that direction ?
– If the right honorable member will permit me, I will put my case in my own way. My power as a seer is no stronger than in his. I am dealing with matters of fact - ‘with statistics. We know that as regards the occupation of land Victorian electors - even electors from Gippsland - have within very recent weeks, taken themselves away, not to the north-east portions of Victoria, but to the north-east portions of New South Wales. With that commercial acumen, which all Victorians possess, these men seek “ fresh woods and pastures hew,” not on the south coast of New South Wales, but on the north coast of New ‘ South Wales and in Queensland. It is the constant rainfall which visits the north-east coast of New South Wales, and the southern districts of Queensland, which attracts population to the luxurious districts to be seen there. Any one who is acquainted with those districts - and no one knows them better than does the Prime Minister - must admit that, in (point of fertility, no soil excels that which he has seen on the north-east coast of New South Wales, and the southern coast of Queensland.
– Hear, hear. .
– The . honorable gentleman knows, by practical experience, that it is so. Naturally, the bone and sinew of the country - the farming class - will drift in that direction. I am now appealing, not to a representative of New South Wales, on behalf of a particular site, but to a representative of Victoria, whom I ask, on lines of centrality, to give his first choice, not to Bombala or Dalgety, but, unquestionably, to Lyndhurst, which is today the centre of population. In reply to the right honorable member for Swan who has practically asked “ what concern is that to Western Australia,” I may mention that Lyndhurst and Kalgoorlie are in about the same latitude. I wish to take another view of the question of centrality. I take it that the regard of the -honorable member for Gippsland, and those who use that wellsounding word, plus what they term accessibility, is for the population of to-day. If accessibility is to be applied as a test in the choice of a site, let us consider the accessibility of Lyndhurst, not from the standpoint of a Sydney or Melbourne man, but from the stand-point of an Australian. At the present time Lyndhurst can be approached by railway more cheaply and expeditiously than can any other site. Again, let us consider the possibilities of bringing Lyndhurst into closer touch with Queensland. For several years prior to the establishment of the Commonwealth, the Government of New South Wales had seriously considered the question of connecting the Great Northern Railway at Werris Creek with the Great Western Railway at Wellington or Dubbo. The cross-country line would be a connecting link for the Queenslander, who would not be compelled to take the long journey which he otherwise would have to take to Tooma, or Dalgety, or Bombala. The accessibility of Lyndhurst to Victoria by means of existing railway communication has been established here time after time. Let us now consider the accessibility of Lyndhurst to South Australia. The construction of a railway from Cobar to Broken Hill has been seriously considered by the Government of New South Wales. The construction of that line is not beyond the realms of possibility. A survey of the line has been made. I cannot say that the money has been voted yet, but there has been a strong agitation in favour of its construction.
– Does the honorable member think that South Australia wishes that railway to be constructed ?
– New South Wales, with its rich deposits at Broken Hill, has not been a bad friend to South Australia. Broken Hill has supplied a good deal of trade to South Australia, and if the honorable member means to imply that the South Australians are afraid that they would lose that trade by the construction of a line to Cobar, to connect with the existing railway system at that point, let me tell him frankly and openly that their Federal spirit is a sham. That is a harsh word to use ; but if, when 1 am fighting for a Capital Site for Australia, and trying to show the accessibility of Lyndhurst to South Australia by that route, I am met with the question, “ Do I think that South Australians wish that railway to be constructed?”
– With fair railway rates New South Wales could never divert the Broken Hill trade from Adelaide.
– If that is the only fear which the honorable member has, let me remind him that this Parliament have the power to create an Inter-State Commission, which could destroy any advantage which New South Wales may get from cutting railway rates. Apparently, he fears that South Australians are not concerned in fixing a site which could be made accessible to them and to others - generally accessible to Australia. If the representatives of every State are proceeding on the basis that their people are trying to make as much out of the Federation as they can, and to obtain their pound of flesh every time, let them not pretend to feelings of horror when they are told New South Wales wishes the Capital Site to be fixed. Let them not decryNew South Wales for requesting that the Capital Site shall be located near the port of Sydney. If one State is to fight because she thinks she will lose a commercial, and another State fights because she thinks that Sydney will gain another advantage, that says ‘very little for their Federal spirit. I trust, however, that Ave have not yet come to that sta.ee. We, as politicians, may engage in such battles. We may think it right to fight for one State as against another, but I do not think that the electors of Australia, once they were satisfied that the best available site had been * chosen, would bother very much whether one State or another gained in commerce. The average elector, whether he be in
Richmond, in Victoria, or in Balmain, in New South Wales, or in a suburb of South Australia or Western Australia, knows that wherever it may be fixed, it will be. of very little concern to him individually. Our concern should be to choose a site in the interests not so much of the people of this day as.’ of future generations. The trend of population, in the course of forty, or fifty years will not be south of Lyndhurst, but north of that point. If centrality of population is to be the primary consideration in fixing a site, I say to those honorable members who wish the Capital to be taken south, that the centre of population to-day is Lyndhurst, and that the centre in a few years will be nearer to Queensland. I hold the view that the great rival of New South Wales in years to come will be Queensland. If I were starting life again it would be to Queensland that I should go, and I think that the young people of Australia would be acting wisely if they were to establish their homes in that great State. For these reasons I think that Lyndhurst is about as far south as any representative of Queensland can go, or any representative of New South Wales can be expected to go. Let us now consider the physical features - water supply, productiveness of soil, and mineral resources - on which the honorable member for Gippsland laid great stress. It has been demonstrated here by the report of an expert that Lyndhurst, although not so favorably situated as Dalgety in that regard, has, for all practical purposes today, a storage capacity sufficient to supply with water the population that will exist in the Federal Capital in a couple of hundred years from this time. That statement has not been contradicted. It has been made, not by a representative of the State, but by no less an authority than the Engineer-in-Chief for Water Conservation in New South Wales, who, by reason of his technical knowledge, was asked to report on the water resources of various sites. His report is of such a character that no one can say that Lyndhurst is devoid of a water supply which would meet the requirements of the population of. not only to-day, but of 200 or 300 years from this time. The productiveness of the soil at Lyndhurst has been discussed by its representative here. I do not wish to throw on the table a sample of the greatest pumpkin or the largest potato which has ever been grown, and say to honorable members - “ Look at what Lyndhurst will grow.
You will get potatoes and pumpkins of such a size that your domestic accounts will be smaller and smaller; in fact, the greengrocer will be paying you instead of your paying him, if you go and live there.” I do not intend to present an argument of this character, that it would pay a greengrocer to give honorable members so much a week instead of taking their orders, the vegetables grown in the district being so heavy that, it would cost too much to convey them from house to house. We do not need to produce for your edification, Mr. Chairman, the well known potato or pumpkin which has travelled all round the shows of Australia, appearing in one place to represent the products of Gippsland, in another to show the fertility of the country surrounding Ballarat, and* in another as an example of what can be grown near Adelaide. Still, the honorable member for Macquarie has not left us without knowledge as to the productiveness of the soil in and around Lyndhurst. What he said may be supported by a reference to the condition of the people in that district. Some of the most prosperous landholders in Australia reside in the Lyndhurst district. Theirs is not an intermittent prosperity, nor is it prosperity occasioned by a gold mining rush. It is solid prosperity .which has endured for many years. Bathurst is one of the most important country towns of New South Wales. Not only is the whole district settled by a wealthy pastoral and farming class, but it has also great mineral resources. I would point out here that in the present utilitarian state of feeling, we are hot likely to extravagantly expend millions of pounds in housing the future Federal politicians and -Federal officers. Personally I am not so accustomed to dwelling in marble halls that I would feel it necessary to construct for the Federal Parliament a building which would be a replica of this. The country cannot afford such expenditure. What we desire is the happy mean between Spartan simplicity and Oriental extravagance. But even if we erected gorgeous palaces for public officers, ‘the Seat of Government would not attract a large population. The building operations there would, of course, bring many mechanics and artisans to the place, who would enjoy an ephemeral prosperity; but to attract a large permanent population the Federal Capital must be situated in a district which will afford opportunities for the obtaining of a livelihood. Lynd- hurst is such a district. “ Earth is here so kind, that just tickle her with a hoe and she laughs with a harvest.”
– The Commissioners say that the good land in the district is fifty miles from the proposed site.
– They mean the best of the land. It is all good land there, though some may be better, and some best. Nr doubt the honorable member has heard of the man who was not addicted to the habits of temperance, and who, when he heard a reference to bad beer, said, “ There is no such thing as bad beer. There is good beer, and better beer, but no bad beer.” I do not take that attitude in reference to beer, but I would apply the remark to the land in the Lyndhurst district. It is all good land. An agriculturist has only to supply energy in order to get a return from it. Its pastoral capabilities, too, are shown by the number of wealthy families in the district who follow pastoral pursuits. But, of course, not every man in Melbourne or Sydney can afford to buy a station or to purchase a farm, though there are many persons who would be glad to move to the Seat of Government if they could find work to do there. The Lyndhurst district is one which would give employment to a great number of people, because, in addition to its pastoral and agricultural resources, it has great mineral resources. Within an easy distance of the proposed site are large coal-fields, and rich copper mines. The whole district may be described as a network of the jewels of the earth. I do not wish to rhapsodize, however. As I said in my opening remarks, I envy the Ruskin-like powers of description possessed by some of those who spoke last week. It would, indeed, require the descriptive faculty of a Ruskin or a Sir Walter Scott to do justice to this site.- But if the honorable member for Gippsland had visited the district he would have seen that, notwithstanding the advantages possessed by the southern sites, Lyndhurst is still more favorably situated. The districts in the north-eastern corner of New South Wales, and in the southern parts of Queensland, are daily attracting large numbers of people. I can understand the attachment of the honorable member for Gippsland to the electorate which he represents ; but people are leaving that district to go, not to Bombala, but to the places further north which I have mentioned. Mr. McLean. - That is because there is land for sale there. I admit that the land on the Richmond River is good land ; but it is not always a good sign when you find the people of a district anxious to sell.
– The honorable member is a canny Scot, possessing all the virtues and all the shrewdness pf his race; but he finds my argument difficult to answer. It is well known that within the last six months certain of his own people formed a syndicate and purchased the Kyogle estate, in northern New South Wales, for about .£150,000. This estate has since been cut up into farms, which are now being sold at very high prices.
– Does the honorable member call the prices high?
– Yes, for farm land.
– I am told that it is excellent land, but that it is being bought for prices which are being given for the worst land in Gippsland.
– Proximity to a market has a good deal to do with the price of land. But I do not wish to be led off on a side track. The point I am making is that the people of Gippsland, who know what .good land is, and farmers from other parts of Australia, are going, not to the Bombala district, but further north, to take up farms and to make homes for themselves. Lyndhurst is practically the centre of the present population of Australia, and as population increases its centre will shift, not further south, but further north. The honorable member for Gippsland spoke against the selection of the Lyndhurst site also for the reason that if that site were chosen the result would be the aggrandizement of the port of Sydney. But that argument is at once met by tie statement that if Tooma were chosen the result would be the aggrandizement of the port of Melbourne. In dealing with a matter of this kind, one must be very careful not to throw stones, because, while it may be easy to break the windows of other sites, there is always a great risk of getting the window of one’s own site broken as well.
– The site I advocated is situated midway between Sydney and Melbourne.
– If the site the honorable member advocated were chosen, we should have to travel either by balloon or airship, because there are mountain ranges to be negotiated, and to construct a railway there would involve an expenditure of about ,£4,000,000. In considering this question, it should be recollected that the’ average individual prefers to travel by coach, rail, or steamer, rather than by balloon or air-ship. The honorable member for Gippsland, I repeat, has argued that if Lyndhurst be selected, all the trade of the Capital will go to Sydney. What would honorable members think if I turned round and declared, “ Oh, the Tooma site is a grand one. Potatoes will grow there better than in any other part of the world. So also will cabbages and pumpkins - in fact, everything is greener there than it is elsewhere, but if we select that site all the trade will go to Port Phillip “ ? If we all entertain views of that sort, and are struggling for commercial gain, the city of Sydney should be protected equally with that of Melbourne. Let us understand whether we are fighting for commercial gain or for the establishment of a Federal city, for the benefit of the population not only of to-day, but of the future. To institute comparisons between sites from the point of view of centrality, accessibility, &c, is of no use,. if our arguments when boiled down mean that we object to a. site because its selection will mean that its trade will go to Melbourne or Sydney. If that is the. view which is entertained, I can quite understand the anxiety of the Victorian press, and of many honorable members, to secure delay in the settlement of this question. I venture to say, however, that, if the feeling of the people of Australia could be tested, it would be found that they have sufficient breadth of mind - irrespective of the State from which they come - to enable them to respect their brothers and sisters in other portions of the Union, and to induce them to say that they desire in the interests of all to see the most suitable site selected. The honorable member for Gippsland has urged that if we choose the Lyndhurst gite, gain will result to Sydney. Do I understand that he has decided to support the claims of Bombala? I know that, to a large extent, he represents Victorian opinion in this House, and Victorian sentiment outside of it. Consequently, I wish to know whether he has decided to stand by the Bombala site?
– I intend to support one of the Monaro sites.
– The honorable member is a generous sort of mortal, who practically says, “Here are two apples. I will take this one, and you may exercise your own choice as to which of the remainder you will have.” He has decided to support the Bombala site. In the first place,
I suppose, that site, by a sheer accident, is situated just on the border-line . of Victoria. In the second place, the honorable member must be aware from the reports of experts, that New South Wales would require to spend millions of pounds to connect it by rail with existing lines.
– Does the honorable membet know that the railway already runs into the Monaro district?
– I ought to know exactly how far the railway runs into that country, seeing that upon one occasion I was laid up in the Cooma hospital for ten days. The fact is that I strained my eyesight so seriously in an endeavour to discover the beauties of the Bombala site that I was compelled to enter the hospital at Cooma, which is the present terminus of the railway.
– It is a beautiful little place.
– Yes; next to Lyndhurst, it is one of the prettiest little towns I know. The honorable member for Gippsland has argued in favour -of the selection of Bombala, on the ground that it possesses a seaport. But I would point out that Twofold Bay is fifty miles distant, and that between it and the Bombala site there are mountains to climb, as precipitous as are those to be found in Gippsland. During the course of this debate we have heard a good deal in reference to climate. Honorable members appear to be very desirous to secure a cool climate. I do not know whether thev expect to experience a very warm climate in the future, but, possibly, that may be the true explanation. Though during the parliamentary visit of inspection there. I was unable to attend the festivities at Bombala. I had an opportunity of asking one of its residents what the townspeople did during the summer months.. His reply was that everybody who could afford it went to the seaside. Upon being questioned as to why they did this, he informed me that during the summer the climate of Bombala was too warm to permit of their remaining there.
– The honorable member for Eden-Monaro did not say so.
– No; he could not be expected to say so. As the honorable member for Grampians has pointed out, if we desire to obtain a port in connexion with the Federal Capital, we shall have to pay for it, and we shall also require to spend money in fortifying and otherwise defending it. I wish, further, to impress upon honorable members that Twofold Bay is such a well-sheltered harbor that during all the gales experienced , upon the coast of New South Wales, no vessel ever seeks shelter there.
– That is absolutely incorrect. During almost every heavy gale two or three boats seek shelter there.
– Two or three fishing boats. An ordinary sized steamer cannot enter it. One of. the Union Steamship Company’s boats was unable to turn there because the channel was not deep enough.
– Why, it is deeper than is Sydney harbor.
-The steamer of which I am speaking had to go astern until she had got safely out of the harbor. To make that port a harbor of shelter over a million pounds sterling would require to be spent in the construction of a breakwater, and we all know that when once a Government commences to build breakwaters there is practically no end to the bills which have to be met. Moreover, apart from railway construction, millions of pounds would require to be expended to make it even an ordinary port of shelter. I have nothing to urge against the selection of the Monaro site, save that it would involve an extravagant outlay. The Melbourne press is continually crying out about extravagant Federal expenditure, and, in order to bolster up a case in opposition to the choice of what it calls a “ bush “ capital, it has dragged in millions of pounds for the construction of such works as the transcontinental railway. I freely present the journals of this city with further reasons for the rejection of the Bombala site. Its selection, I claim, would involve an excessive expenditure in dredging the harbor, so as to make it afford a safe anchorage, also a large outlay in constructing breakwaters, and in fortifying it. I wish now to give one other illustration of the weakness of Twofold Bay. It is scarcely necessary to point out that the vessels of the Australian Auxiliary Squadron never use it, either for manoeuvring purposes or for shell practice. They use Jervis Bay, which, from the point of view of safety and dimensions, offers even better facilities than does Port Jackson. If representatives from other parts of Australia merely desire to secure a beautiful harbor of large dimensions, and one capable of sheltering any class of vessel in the world, I would recommend them to visit Jervis Bay. The Lake George site, the claims of which have not been considered on the present occasion, is situated within forty miles of that port, and the intervening country presents no engineering difficulties in the way of railway construction. If their only desire is to secure a territory possessing a suitable port, so that, in the event of a conflict between the Federal authority and the State, it will be possible to reach the Capital without passing through State territory, then let me recommend them to Jervis Bay. Desperate, as we are, however - and ready as we are to fly off the handle - I do not think the time will ever come when, because of conflict between the Federal authority and the State, it will be dangerous for residents of the Federal territory to travel over that State. We are fairly bad, it is true, but we are not a lot of Bashi-bazouks, and there is no cause to fear anything in that direction. If any honorable member fears that at some time or other there may be a struggle to the death between the representatives of the Commonwealth and of the State of New South Wales, and therefore desires that the Federal territory, shall have independent means of access, I respectfully recommend him to support the selection of a site near Jervis Bay.
– Is Jervis Bay beyond the 100-miles limit?
– I think it is.
– I believe that it is more than 100 miles from Sydney.
– Will the honorable member propose its selection?
– No; for the reason that I do not wish any further delay to take place. The people of New South Wales have been fooled quite long enough, and the sooner we make a selection the better. It is often said that it was a “ bargain “ that the Federal Capital should be in New South Wales. I decline to use that word in this connexion. It was not a mere bargain, but the recognition of an absolute right.
– To a certain extent that is so.
– I am glad to have that admission from a representative of Victoria. Do not let us say that it was a concession to New South Wales. A tig for any concession. The people of New South Wales are not going on their bended knees to ask for any favour; they ask for the recognition of a constitutional right.
– Neither are the other States going on their bended knees to New South Wales.
– There is no necessity for any ill-feeling. In dealing with this matter I do not intend to have regard to any question of State against State, or to study the convenience of Brown of to-day as against the inconvenience of Jones of to-morrow. Some reference has been made to the posi-‘ lion taken up by the press. If the press of Australia find it to the interests of Australia to report the proceedings of the Federal Parliament, then, wherever the Seat of Government may be, they will do so. It matters not whether a report, or -a leading article dealing with the proceedings of the Parliament, be written in an office, in the back blocks, or in the sanctum of Syme, in Collins-street, Melbourne ; it is bound to be circulated wherever it is written and published. I do not think that the question of expense will be considered by the press in relation to the publication of the debates of this Parliament. They will give such publicity to our proceedings as may be considered desirable. In urging that Lyndhurst should be selected, I am actu”ated by a desire to conserve the interests of the whole Commonwealth. Lyndhurst is today the centre of population in Australia, and the point cannot be taken further south. It is easy of access, and- on that ground I claim the votes of the representatives of Queensland, South Australia, and Victoria. I put aside all considerations as to the commercial advantage which might accrue to Sydney, Melbourne, or any other city, from the selection of a particular site; but would point out that if Lyndhurst were selected, no expense would be incurred in providing a means of communication by railway. The existing railways supply ail wants in that respect. With the construction of a railway from Cobar to Broken Hill, South Australia will be directly tapped, while Lyndhurst will be placed in touch with Queensland by the construction of a railway from Werris Creek. I am not so moulded that ‘ I can soar into rhapsodies about the picturesqueness of the country, but I would remind honorable members that some of the most romantic sights in Australia are within easy distance of Lyndhurst. The Blue Mountains, which are close at hand, are unexcelled in point of interest l and beauty by any other part of Australia. Visitors from all parts of Australia, as well as from the old world, make their pilgrimages to the many beauty spots with which they abound, so that if we are seeking for picturesque country we shall find it at our very doors.
– Lyndhurst is also close to the Jenolan Caves.
– That is so, and to many other points of interest, to which men of business in the capital may resort in their leisure moments. After all, the Federal Capital is not likely to be a sort of Elysium where the people will wander about the streets, from early morn to dewy eve, ‘with garlands of flowers around their hats, spending their days in picnicing. It will take them all their time to bustle round and earn a living. I do not anticipate- that the effects of the scenery will . be such as to cause a new class of people to arise. The troubles which prevail here will prevail there, but if we select Lyndhurst, those who have the means and ‘ the leisure will be able to satisfy their love of the beautiful by visiting the show places of the Blue Mountains. So much for the question of picturesqueness. I wish to emphasize the point that Lyndhurst can sustain a large population. The development of its pastoral, agricultural, and mineral resources, will provide employment for a very large industrial class. I therefore appeal to those who fly the banner of the industrial classes to a greater extent than does any other party in the House, to vote for this site. Can any honorable imember point to any other site at which the industrial classes would find a more ready means of employment than will be forthcoming in and around Lyndhurst? The raw material exists there in abundance, and those who believe that a certain policy is necessary for the development of our resources, should avail themselves of this opportunity to experiment under favorable conditions. Some reference has been made to the climatic conditions of the several sites. There are some who are anxious that as cool a spot as possible should be selected, in order to make up that which they will probablylack in the future and to these I would point out that the mean temperature of Lyndhurst is better than is that of any other site.
– There is no rhapsody about that.
– It is no figure of speech. My statement is supported by the figures of the Government meteorologist.
– The honorable member can double spades on that.
– The honorable member uses a simile which I shall not attempt to bridge. The Government meteorologist shows that the heat is not so great, and the cold certainly not so intense at Lyndhurst as it is at Bombala and Dalgety - that the climate is not so warm as is the climate of the other sites. The mean temperature is certainly better. If those who oppose the selection of this site do so chiefly on the ground that Sydney would be benefited by it, I can only say that it is time that the capital of New South Wales received some advantage from the Federation. If poor old Sydney is, however, to depend upon the Federal Capital for her existence, she had better put up her shutters. But we all know that she can live without the Federal Capital. A city of the stability of good old Sydney has no occasion to rest upon the establishment of the Seat of Government close at hand. New South Wales is not in the national Insolvency Court, although I must admit that Federation has dragged her pretty close to it. The Federal spirit so overwhelmed the people of that State that they almost lost their mental balance, and supported extravagant expenditure to such an extent that the State has now to cut down her public outlay.
– The people of every State are saying the same thing.
– I shall not allow the right honorable member for Swan or any other honorable member to suggest that Sydney is anxious to live on the charity of Western Australia, or of any other State. New South Wales does not intend, any more than does Victoria or Queensland, to live on the mere sufferance, so to speak, of the representative of any State.
– Queensland is not asking for any concession from the Commonwealth.
– She has done very well. She has obtained that for which she chiefly entered the Union - the abolition of coloured labour, and New South Wales played a serious part, if we measure everything by pounds, shillings, and pence, in assisting Queensland to that end.
– She helped to give Queensland a heavy duty on sugar.
– The representatives of New South Wales did not assist in passing that duty.
– No honorable member was more earnest in advocating the abolition of black labour than were the representatives of New South Wales.
– But the representatives of New South Wales did not vote for the sugar duty.
– We wished to get rid of one evil without creating another. To those who say that Lyndhurst is favoured by some honorable members because its selection would be advantageous to Sydney, I- would reply that Sydney seeks no benefit in that direction. She merely demands a recognition of her right. I believe that if a referendum of the people of Australia were taken on the matter, Sydney itself would be chosen as the Capital Site. When it is suggested that some honorable members support Lyndhurst because of some possible trade gain to Sydney, I can only say that, if there were a trade gain to Sydney, that city would be absolutely entitled to .it. For years before Federation New South Wales had her doors open to the people of the other States. She did not keep out their products, but invited them to send their products into New South Wales. The only response we get now is to be told, that those who ‘advocate the selection of Lyndhurst as the Capital Site do so because some paltry portion of trade might gravitate to Sydney. We know that last session some honorable members tried to drag the Federal territory right down to the borders of Victoria. The site chosen by this House was Tumut j but some honorable members were not satisfied with that, and they insisted upon defining an elongated Feder.al area, which might be compared to the patch upon the nether garments of a . schoolboy. It ran from Dan to Beersheba - from one end of the country to the other: They insisted that the Federal territory should extend to the Murray, and there “ were some honorable members who, if they could have done so, would have brought it in a straight line to the very confines of Melbourne. In spite of this, we are now told that those who propose to vote for Lyndhurst do so in order to secure a trade advantage to Sydney. I say a fig for all these professions of Federal sentiments. If honorable members mean business, and are Federal, they should not merely profess a spirit of Federalism, but should act in a Federal manner. I am pre pared to- act in the interests of the people of all the States. Specious arguments were offered last session, when Tumut was chosen as the Capital Site, for extending the Federal territory to the Murray River. It was «id that it was necessary to secure a doorway to the Federal Capital for the people of- Victoria. I ask whether there should not be a doorway also for the people of Queensland, Western Australia, and South Australia? Why should there be a doorway for the people of one State only ? These things cannot well be forgotten ; but T trust that since last session our disposition has undergone a change, and that there will now be no more of the struggle to have the Federal Capital placed in the backyard, so ‘ to speak, of Victoria. I hope that honorable members will be concerned to select a site that will be suitable for the whole of Australia, and, in that view, I respectfully suggest that Lyndhurst should be the site selected. Last session’ I voted for Tumut, on its record, and without seeing it. But having seen Tumut since, I must admit that this session my second choice will be Dalgety. I do not now propose to say why and wherefore. At the first ballot last session I -voted for Lyndhurst, and on that occasion there were twenty-five straight-out votes given for the selection of that site. No other site has had equal voting’ in its favour. The supporters of other sites were, by combination, successful in destroying its chance of selection ; but no other site on a straight-out vote secured as much support as did Lyndhurst Believing that Lyndhurst is practically in the centre of the population of Australia, I am not prepared to go to the Victorian border for a site. I am not prepared in any case to go nearer to the Victorian border than Dalgety, which, I think, is distant forty miles from Bombala. I ask honorable members to’ be guided in their selection by considerations of centrality, accessibility, and the physical features which have been referred to by the honorable member for Gippsland. That honorable member can now have no fear about an adequate water supply at Lyndhurst, and I cannot, therefore, see how he can fail to vote for the selection of that site. One argument used by the. honorable member I could not understand, and . that was his objection to Lyndhurst, - on the ground that certain trade would go to the port of Sydney. I ask . honorable members to consider what the trade involved would be worth. Is it likely to be of- such value that Melbourne cannot live without it, or that Sydney without it must perish in the national Bankruptcy Court? If the only argument of the honorable member for
Gippsland against the selection of Lyndhurst is the advantage that would be given to the port of Sydney, I can recommend to him the port of Jervis Bay, which is one of the best ports in Australia, and which is within forty miles of an excellent site. For the reasons I have given, I trust that Lyndhurst will be the site chosen ; but I still think that, in the interests of Australia, it would have been better if the limitation or* 100 miles from Sydney had never found a place in the Constitution, because, not in Sydney itself, but at Moss Vale, Exeter, and round that district a site might have been selected which would be unexcelled in Australia.
– If honorable members have, no desire to further discuss the sites, the next step will be to report progress, and we propose to ask the House to-morrow to take ‘ a ballot. If honorable members will look at the notice-paper, they will see that the order of the day No. 2, “ Seat of Government Bill : ballot to determine site,” appears after the order of the day. “ Seat of Government Bill.” That order will be reversed tomorrow if I am given to understand that honorable members have concluded the debate upon the sites, and, in that event, we shall take the ballot the first thing to-morrow.
Sir WILLIAM LYNE (Hume).- I do not know what the Minister desires in this matter, but I think there will be an opportunity to further discuss the question.
– -Afer the ballot, the honorable member means?
– No; before the ballot.
– The resolution distinctly states that the ballot is to be taken without discussion.
– I know that a number of honorable members intended to speak. I wish to speak myself, but I should be better prepared to do so after dinner. I do not know what is in the wind, but it appears to me that two or three honorable members who were going to speak have, for some reason or another, drawn back.
– Let us divide.
– It is useless to talk about a division. It was not intended that there should be a division on this clause, but that we should know when the debate on it had been concluded. If there is to be an adjournment now I cannot allow the matter to go without saying a few words. I have listened during the debate to some statements that are absolutely incorrect. Some were made by way of interjection, and some directly by different speakers. There are those who have attempted to cast ‘ blame upon me particularly, because the site which has of late been brought under notice was not previously, brought under the attention of honorable members. The honorable member for Grampians in the able speech which he has delivered has shown clearly what I previously said. I did not know that I had stated in this House that my objection to supporting this site, at the time when I was Minister of Home Affairs, was because it was so far south. But I knew that that was in my mind, and I thought, also, that the’ people of Sydney might object to the selection of such a site. I stated at the time, to which reference was mad*, that Tumut is situated in one of the finest and richest valleys in New South Wales, and in my humble opinion it was one of the sites that would give satisfaction as a Federal Capital. But I then stated, also, that the Upper Murray was for scenery, for extent of good land, and fdr water supply, probably the finest valley that there is in Australia. I can now repeat what I then stated. I have travelled over a very large part of Australia ; I have explored the continent as much as most men ; and I say that for picturesqueness I have never seen a valley which could compare with the Upper Murray Valley. When we dealt with the matter on a previous occasion, Tumut, with its extent of rich land, its fine views, and its magnificent water supply, appeared to me to be an ideal spot on which to locate the Federal Capital. In addition to other qualifications, it is practically half-way between Sydney and Melbourne. Those were the reasons which mainly induced me to throw all the energy I could into securing the selection of that particular site. I cannot understand how any honorable member can state, as the honorable member for Dalley has done, that he voted last session for Tumut, but that on this occasion, having seen the district, he will not vote for it.. I can only say that the honorable member must have a very dim eye for the picturesque, must have a very poor knowledge of the difference between good and bad soil, and can have no idea of the importance of a good water supply for the Federal Capital. I wish now to refer to the way in which certain sites were decided on for inspection.
That has been referred to in debate, and referred to with an evident want of knowledge. The origin of the selection of these sites was my appointment of the late Mr. Alex. Oliver considerably before the members of the Federal Government were chosen, and, certainly, before the Federal Parliament was elected. My object then, as head of the Government of New South Wales, was to select some person who knew the country fairly well, and who, taking time by the forelock, would inspect the best sites. After his appointment, Mr. Oliver inserted notices in the press, which were circulated throughout New South Wales, asking all those who knew a particularly good site to communicate with him. There were, I think, forty or fifty sites, perhaps more, in regard to which there was reasonable anticipation of their being inspected.
– Mr. Oliver gave us the best report. we have yet had.
– I must differ from the honorable member for Gippsland. Mr. Oliver’s report was absolutely incorrect in some particulars, and I regret very much that he was induced, or allowed, to issue a report by way of a criticism on the report of the Royal Commission.
– The criticism was well deserved.
– The report of Mr. Oliver showed that he was not the Alexander Oliver he was in the full prime and vigour of his life. Mr. Oliver’s report was a petulant, unfair, and uncalled-for attack, and, certainly, did his well-earned reputation no good in his last days. I regret very much that Mr. Oliver ever made that second report; and, further, it has been clearly proved that in regard to his first report he- was in one or two instances absolutely wrong, as he acknowledged, in the face of the report of the Royal Commission subsequently appointed by the Federal Government.
– Mr. Oliver carefully reported the details as he understood them, but when he found out the true facts he simply gave-them.
– That is to some extent correct; but I took the trouble to inquire how it was that Mr. Oliver dropped into so many errors. I inquired from one or two of the leading heads of Departments in New South Wales, and the reply given to me was that Mr. Oliver, either for the reason that he did not want to spend too much money, or for some other reason, did not obtain the best’ officers to make inquiries and report. There were none so competent as the heads of Departments to instruct him as to the officers from whom information could be best obtained ; but what I have stated was the reason given to me as the one which caused Mr. Oliver to fall into so many serious errors - errors which were pointed out by the Commission subsequently appointed. Mr. Oliver selected the sites which he conceived to be eligible, and reported accordingly ; and I do think that he :was extremely unfair in regard to Albury, Corowa, and the Murray districts generally. It was most unfair to those districts that he should put them on one side, simply for the reason that they were, in his opinion, too far from Sydney. As a matter of fact, I may point out to the honorable member for Gippsland that Bombala, or any other outlandish place in that neighbourhood, is further south than Albury.
– Bombala is exactly midway between Melbourne and Sydney.
– The honorable member for Hume ought to know the opinion of the House in regard to Alburv.
– Mr. Oliver had a good deal to do with forming the opinion of the House in regard to Albury. I shall not go to the honorable member for Eden Monaro for an opinion on any place other than Bombala; the honorable member seems to lose his temper whenever he discusses the matter, and that is never a wise thing to do. I could not allow this question to be discussed without saying a word or two in regard to Mr. Oliver’s report on Albury and the Murray districts. Mr. Oliver does not show in his report that Albury is not a suitable site. He does not show that at Albury there is any absence of water supply, or that the climate is objectionable - he simply gives the one reason that the place is too far south of Sydney. Finally, he recommended Bombala, having trent about a week or ten days there.
– Mr. Oliver said l&at Tumut had a good climate.
– How long did the Royal Commission spend at Twofold Bay? Ten minutes?
– I think the Commission stayed long enough at Twofold Bay to get a good idea of the piao?. I have been there many times, and I knew the district almost as well as does my honorable friend who represents it in this
Parliament. I know that one can get a good idea of the place in a few hours. All this, however, is by the way. The honorable and learned member for Corio . has suggested that Mr. Oliver said that Tumut has a good climate ; and so it has. It is unfortunate that some people wish, without justification, to vilify Tumut in every way ; and in regard to this particular district there has been a good deal of unfairness. Tumut, though not extensive, is one of the finest valleys on the Continent, and it possesses a climate in which people, who have lived for many years in hotter districts, can reside, without injury to their constitution. That, I need not say,’ is not possible at Bombala or Dalgety., where only those of iron constitution can survive.
– After members of Parliament visited Tumut, that site became out of the question.
– I would suggest that the honorable member for EdenMonaro address the House after I have finished. The honorable member has jibed at rae a good deal, but I am not going to get out of temper. It is unfortunate that the weather was warm on the day when most honorable members went to Tumut. But though there may occasionally be a hot day, still any man, woman, or child who has lived in a hot climate for many years can live there without danger or fear. That cannot be said concerning the Monaro country. Statements have been made regarding the Tumut climate, and the unheallthiness of the neighbourhood, that are not capable of being verified ; but an impression has been ‘ produced owing to which I fear there is not much hope of Tumut being selected by the House.
– Do not lose heart.
– I am not losing heart. I never did in my life. But I cannot shut my eyes to facts. Honorable members can see from the map that the Bombala and Dalgety sites -are much further from Sydney than either the Welaregang or Tumut sites. In fact, Bombala is fortynine miles further south than Welaregang, and Dalgety is twenty-six miles furthersouth.’
– Dalgety is closer to Sydney than Welaregang.
– The honorable member has repeated that statement many times, and it may be that he is right, taking the route of the present railway, which runs direct to Goulburn, then takes a direction light away west from the coast, from whence it comes round to Cootamundra. Following -that line round the distance is perhaps further, but not if we take a direct line. Honorable members can measure the distance for themselves upon the map. In a direct line I do not think there is a difference of much more than a mile or two. If the railway communication were anything like direct, it would be found that Welaregang was much more accessible to Sydney than is Dalgety or Bombala. It is not to be supposed that, for all time, the railway will remain as it now exists. Surveys have been made taking off at various points along the line between Goulburn and Cooma, and also at points to Cootamundra ; and .though it might be an expensive railway, it is possible to make a line direct to Welaregang through Tumut. But, in the state of our finances, and at this early stage of the history of the Federal Capital, I do not think that it is necessary to construct a ‘ railway at great cost in the most direct way. It may be left for future decision as to what railways are to be constructed between the Capital Site and the various States of Australia. I will deal as rapidly as possible with the various suggested sites, though much of what I have to say will, no doubt, be a repetition of what I said on the previous occasion. The harbor at Eden or Twofold Bay is, I admit, a pretty little place, but it would take a large sum of money to make it practically useful for a number of ships.
– What was the honorable member’s- statement in the New South Wales Parliament as to the necessity for building a railway to Twofold Bay?
– The honorable member has not quoted my statement.
– I will quote it.
– I dare say the honorable member will quote something that was said in connexion with some project that I was dealing with at that particular time.
– Perhaps there was logrolling going on.
– No, there was hot ; but I think there was some idea of running a railway through to Melbourne.
– The honorable member wanted to tap the Monaro country. He said it was magnificent country, with a good port.
– And that it would hold all the navies in the world 1
– Twofold Bay could be made, with a great deal of expense, a good harbor. But at the present time it is not a good extensive harbor for numbers of large ships. I say, advisedly, that one of the large ships that are now engaged in the Australian ‘trade, such as the Peninsular and Oriental and Orient boats, and even the largest of our coastal vessels, would find great difficulty in getting shelter anywhere near the wharf in Twofold Bay. I do not believe that such a vessel could even get to the wharf. But I think there is a plan in existence showing how breakwaters could be built at a cost of something over £1 , 000,000, to make it a good harbor for a few large ships.
– For the coasting trade.
– Yes. I totally dissent from those honorable members who advocate the Monaro site on account of the harbor. The world to-day is building its principal capital cities away from harbors or seaboard. Recent wars have proved that a Seat of Government should not be near a harbor where it can be easily attacked by an enemy. I do not see that there is any necessity or utility, for the sake of a harbor, to select a spot which is not nearly so good as some other places that have been suggested. When we had made the harbor, at a cost of about £1,200,000, we should have to construct a railway to climb country like the side of a house. The railway would have to run up 2,000 feet. ‘ The distance in a direct line is about fifty miles, but as the line would have to wind in and out, so as to obtain possible grades, the fifty miles would be extended to something like eightyfive. In addition to that, the Monaro tableland - referring especially to Bombala and the neighbourhood - is degrees colder than any other tableland in Australia. The reason why it is so cold is that the prevailing winds during the winter are westerly. Blizzards blow over the snow-capped mountains of Kosciusko and the Bogongs. The wind on the tableland is keen enough to destroy any man who is getting on in years, and who has come from a warmer climate. It is not a good place to which to send representatives from Queensland and Western Australia. In regard to the quality of the soil, there are little valleys here and there which contain good land, but taking the average, the Bombala country is poor. It is an unhealthy country so far as stock is concerned. A railway would have been built there long ago had it not been realized that the country was so poor. It was not a question of money that prevented New South Wales extending her railway system to the Monaro tableland. If the country had been as valuable as has been described, the line would have been constructed. It is not a difficult country through which to build a line from Sydney.
– The honorable member as Premier of New South Wales introduced a motion favorable to the construction of the line.
– I am not sure whether I did, but certainly Parliament did not authorize the construction of the railway. I am now thinking of the time when the line was extended to Cooma. What was to prevent its being carried on to Bombala ? The traffic about Cooma is so small they cannot afford to maintain a refreshment room at the railway station. I cannot understand . anyone saying that country of that kind is suitable for a Federal Capital. There have been opportunities for the development of the country about Cooma within reasonable distance of the railway terminus, but it has not developed, and closer settlement has not prospered, simply because it could not take place to the advantage of the settler. The honorable member for Gippsland has spoken of the wheat crops of the neighbourhood. There is no wheat production of any consequence.
– What does the mill crush then? Sand?
– The people there do not grow enough wheat to eat.
– That is absurd.
– It is not ; they import a large proportion of their flour, and they do not export to any extent. Indeed, I do not know that they export flour at all. Close to Bombala there are, no doubt, patches of black soil country, where almost anything will grow. But they are not extensive ; and, taking the tableland as a whole, it is a very poor place for agricultural settlement. Coming to Dalgety, I admit that I have not seen the proposed site. It may be that some of . the land in the neighbourhood is better than I. have understood. But I have never known granite country in New South Wales to be first class. It is not good for stock. I will direct the attention of the Victorian representatives to some of
– The honorable member admits that it is possible?
– It is possible, but I believe, although I have not seen it, that it would be necessary to go for a considerable distance up the river to get a sufficient fall for a gravitation scheme. I oppose a site on the coldest table-land, when there is no necessity to go there. To connect the table-land with Cooma and to continue the railway through Bombala to Melbourne, would be a gigantic undertaking, involving a huge expense. On the last occasion on which this question was discussed [ produced the surveys, from the Survey Office of Victoria, of two proposed lines from Bairnsdale to Bombala. They are called four surveys, but in reality there are only two, with deviations. The grades of the first survey which was made were one in thirty. I believe that in New South Wales there is only one grade of that kind, and an effort is being made to get rid of it - it has always been a bugbear to the Southern Railway. On the Western Railway there was a grade of one in thirty, but the Railway Commissioners made a tunnel, at great expense, in order to get rid of the Penrith Zigzag. It was found from the surveys above referred to that the ‘ curves were from 5 to 8 inches radius, and every one knows that it is absolutely impossible to run a fast train on a line with such curves and grades. When I looked at the second survey I thought that an improvement had been made, but I found that it had grades of one in forty with better curves. It did not go, however, to Bombala, but to a place called Bondi, which is I.000 feet below Bombala.
– It did not1 climb the mountain at all.
– No. It would be necessary to go from Bondi to Bombala, in about twenty-four miles I think, and rise to a height of 1,000 feet.
– There is a Bondi Pass.
– Could we not have a chute down to Twofold Bay ?
– The wheat which is grown there could be put in a chute at the top of the mountain and shot down to Eden. That is about the only way in which it could be got down with ease and comfort. I have no doubt that Dalgety is a better place than Bombala for the reason that ‘ the water supply is better - probably it is good - and it is so much closer to the mountain that I believe that the excessively cold winds which strike on the table-land of Bombala would, to a large extent, blow oyer Dalgety, and lose their extreme cold and bitterness.
– But the land at Dalgety is very poor.
– It is poor everywhere, except in patches.
– But the honorable member has not been there.
– I have never known any granite country which was much good.
– It is not all granite country.
– I am not saying much about Dalgety, because I have not been there, and I only know of it from hearsay. If there was a place other than those I have been strongly in favour of that I should have been inclined to vote for, had it been amongst those submitted, it would have been Lake George. I believe that it is next best to Tumut, and that for two reasons it would give greater satisfaction than almost any other site which has been suggested.
– It is second to Lyndhurst.
– Lyndhurst is absolutely the worst site of all, as I shall point out presently. The reason why Lake George, to my mind, would be a good site, is that the land is fairly good for agriculture, and there is the possibility of making almost an inland sea. At a very small expense, I believe, the waters of the Murrumbidgee River could be turned into it, and a dam could be erected at the lower end, thus making an inland sea.
-O’malley. - How is the climate there?
– At times it is hot in the summer ; but the climate is good. It also has this advantage, that by constructing a railway of about seventy miles, we could tap Jervis Bay, which, as a harbor, is, I believe, second only to Port Jackson. Lyndhurst is, I repeat, the worst site of all. There is nothing to recommend it to honorable members. The land is not very good. There are spots of basalt land, which are reasonably good, but, taken as a whole, the land is not good. And, despite what was said by the honorable member for Macquarie the other night, there is a grave difficulty about getting anything like a reasonably cheap or substantial water supply. That, in my opinion, is a first essential. I cb- not take the view, as some honorable members do, that we should not go west because it would be near Sydney, or because the trade would go through Sydney. I believe that if this House had the opportunity, and the 100miles limit did not exist, Sydney would be selected, even now. Therefore, I do not think that there is much argument in the fact that the western district is close to Sydney. But the Lyndhurst site is not good. If a site is to be selected in the west, let it be about Orange or Bathurst or perhaps between Orange and Wellington, where good land and a better water supply could be got than at Lyndhurst. But of all the places in the west - and I know the west as well as most honorable members do - Lyndhurst is the worst site, arid it would not have been heard of but for the efforts of my friend, Mr. Biddulph, who, to his credit be it said, in the interests of the district, has fought very long and very hard to try to prove, not that water will run uphill, but that water exists where it does not. The credit is due to him for having brought this spot so prominently forward, and kept it in evidence so long. But if honorable members are determined to go west, certainly let them go to Orange, or between
Orange and Wellington, where they could find a site which would be worthy of the location of the Federal Capital.
– The honorable member said that Lyndhurst was the best site of all.
– I beg the honorable member’s pardon, I did not.
– The honorable member said in the Sydney Daily Telegraph that he would rather have Lyndhurst than any other site in New South Wales.
– I do not think the Daily Telegraph stated that; but if it did, it only keeps up its reputation of scarcely ever telling the truth about me,
– The honorable member would not have been Premier of New South Wales if it had not been for that newspaper.
– I have repeatedly said that at Orange a suitable site could be found.
– The honorable member said in this House that the western site was the best.
– That is not Lyndhurst. I am repeating what I have said before.
– Let it pass. The honorable member has had fifteen sites suggested in his own district.
– And each one of them is a better site than Bombala. I do not know what is likely to happen in regard to the western site, but if that area be selected, I should do my level best to prevent the Federal Capital being located at Lyndhurst. I should like to see some other spot chosen.
– Will the honorable member support the selection of Orange?
– If the western area were selected, I should support Orange a long’ way before Lyndhurst.
– Is the honorable member going to vote for Tooma?
– The honorable member. will know when I sit down. I wish to say a few words in indorsement ofwhat has been said regarding the railway connexion. I desire to be fair, and trust that, on an important question of this kind, honorable members will at least give me the credit - though I have beautiful sites in my own electorate - of voting for the site I conceive to be the best, irrespective of whose electorate it is in. If the leader of the Opposition and those who are supporting a western site had not opposed my project to extend the railway from Cobar to Wilcannia, and thence to Broken Hill, and from Wellington to Werris Creek, those lines would have been in existence to-day.
– They must come.
– -The honorable member knows better than that.
– I think I know as much about the policy of railway construction for New South Wales as the honorable member does.
– I think I know more about that- particular railway than the honorable member does.
– Of course the honorable member knows everything, and he does not credit any one else with knowing anything. I brought the project twice before the Public Works Committee, and tried to get it sanctioned by the State Parliament. . Had it not been for the opposition I received from honorable members who sat on the left hand of the Speaker, and who are now saying so much in favour of a western district site, those railways would have been constructed as I desired, and there would have been very little doubt now as to the minds of the majority of honorable’ members.
– The honorablemember never wished to construct it, or else it would have been done.
– The honorable member forgets, I suppose, that when the river was “ up,” I took the responsibility of ordering sleepers and rails to Wilcannia, with a view to commence the construction of a railway from Cobar to Wilcannia, and a railway from Wilcannia to Broken Hill simultaneously. I do not know whether the honorable member was one of those who opposed me, but the Opposition at that time fought me to that extent that I could not carry out my plans.
– :Does the honorable member think that these railways will be built?
– The honorable member is younger than I am ; but I think I shall live to see them built. I suggested - and a plan of the route is now lying in my private safe in Sydney - that this railway, if constructed, would be a connecting link with Albany.
– Is not that a very strong argument in favour of Lyndhurst?
– Only on the strength of communication. I am pointing out that those honorable members who are now so anxious to prove that this railway construction would do good to Lyndhurst opposed my proposal, and practically prevented me from carrying it out.
– They did not.
– The honorable member may be of that opinion, but the records show otherwise.
– On what date was that ?
– It was done on three occasions - once when T ordered sleepers and rails to Wilcannia, and twice when I brought the matter before Parliament, a proposal to build a line from Werris Creek to the western line, and a line from Cobar to Broken Hill, via Wilcannia. I do not think it can be proved that a good water supply could be obtained for a large population at Lyndhurst without incurring a great expense and risk. If an eastern site be preferred by honorable members, do not go to Lyndhurst, but go to some other place. Now, let me deal with the last site to which reference has been made, the Welaregang site. I have given my reasons why that site was not brought forward when the honorable member for Grampians desired that it should be, and it is useless to repeat them ; but of all the sites there -is none to compare with it, either for picturesqueness, extent of good soil, facilities for building, or water supply. Before dealing with it, I wish to say in regard to the Tumut site that if there were any chance of it being selected - and I still have the lingering hope that it may be chosen before the matter is finally settled^
– Now the cat is out of the bag !
– The vacant laughter of honorable members does not prove anything. Despite what has been said to the contrary, the water supply available at Tumut comes next after that available at the Upper Murray site. The river there is snow fed, and it was proved by the Commissioners that the largest, purest, and cheapest water supply available at any of the sites investigated is that at the Tumut site.
– It cannot be’ the largest supply available. It cannot be so large as the supply available at Dalgety.
– I will not speak authoritatively; but my opinion is that the Commissioners reported that it is the largest, the purest, and the most continuous .supply obtainable. Only a short time has been’ available for the examination of the Upper Murray site; but I appeal to those who have seen it, a few of whom may intend, for various reasons, to vote for other sites, to say whether it does not stand out prominently as that which should be chosen. I do not say that it is a site which is favoured by the people of Sydney ; but it is favoured by a large section of those who live in the southern and southwestern districts, and possibly, in the western district of New South Wales. A great many of the people of Sydney are opposed to the selection of the Upper Murray site, not because it is not a beautiful spot, unequalled for its scenery, and the extent of its good land, but because it is too near to Melbourne. If there were a similar site at Cootamundra, at Yass, or in some other part of that district, it would be chosen by them at once ; there would not be two opinions held in regard to it. I think honorable members who have visited it are unanimous in stating that it is the finest site that has yet been seen. We are considering the selection of a site for the Seat of Government for all time. The growth of the Federal .Capital will not be very much within our lives. But if we are to choose a site which iop years hence will reflect credit upon us, we must ignore local jealousies, which will have died out long before that -time comes. I am afraid, however, that a number of honorable members, in dealing with this question, are influenced by the local jealousies, instead of looking to the future.
– The honorable member is the strongest evidence of the truth of his statement.
– I do not admit that I am. Mr. Surveyor .Chesterman, who has known this district perhaps longer than any other surveyor in New South Wales, is an exceptionally cautious man. He resided in the Upper Murray district for four or five years, and in his report refers to the beauty of the place, and to its excellent water supply. He says that about twelve miles from the site, and at a height of between 2,000 and 3,000 feet, water could be turned on to the Federal city from the Tooma River without the need for conservation works, until a supply for perhaps over 100,000 people was required. But, besides the Tooma River, which is snow-fed from one side of Mount Kosciusko, there are other streams from which water could be obtained. One of these is the Pound Creek, whose waters command the site by an elevation of nearly 2,500 feet, and the Mannus Creek, which is always running. The only creek where water could not be used for a town supply, though there is plenty of it, is the Tumberumba Creek. I have been told that the honorable member for North Sydney is in possession of a letter in which it is stated that there is no pure water in the Upper Murray, because the dredging operations in the higher parts of the river have covered the flats with debris, and destroyed the purity of the stream.
– I quoted a report, not a letter.
– I have been told that there is in existence a letter containing the statement to which I refer. If there be such a letter, let it be produced. The waters of the Tumberumba Creek are thick with sludge, but that is the only watercourse there which has been polluted by mining operations. The Tumberumba Creek joins the Tooma River about eight or ten miles below the offtake of the water supply, and below the watershed of that river and the creeks which flow into it. The statement only shows the length to which persons will go to detract from the strong points of a site to whose selection they are opposed. There is no purer water in Australia than the water of these creeks. Except for a few months in Autumn, when the snow does not lie, and they are supplied with rain water, they are snow-fed. I do not think it redounds to the credit of certain honorable members that they tried to prevent further information being obtained in regard to this site. The House should be given all the information that can be procured. The delay of a month, or of six months, or of a year, or of several years is of no consequence while information is lacking in regard to such an important question as this. I have in my possession a telegram which arrived to-day from the surveyor who has been sent to examine the site. I wished to ascertain the height of the spot where the two main heads of the Murray junction, and the surveyor telegraphs -
Approximate height Swampy Plain “River, where river enters gorge 1,340 feet. Present discharge here approximately 440 cubic feet per second.
That is about 26,000 cubic feet per minute. The river is in its normal condition.
– What is the height of the take-off?
– The spot referred to is not the position of the takeoff, but a place about the Murray Gates, where there is a junction of two streams.
– What is the height of the proposed site?
– It ranges from 1,000 to 1,600 feet.
– Is it 1,600 feet high at a distance of fourteen miles from the river?
– It is 1,600 feet three or four miles from the river. It is much higher at the spot referred to by the honorable member. There are parts within the site itself which have an elevation of as much as 1,600 feet.
– Then, it is really on the top of a mountain?
– No; it is at the bottom of the mountain. From the Murray the land rises between 300 and 400 feet in about two miles. From that point onward one traverses an undulating tableland.
– Is Mr. Surveyor Chesterman correct in saying that the proposed site is three miles from the river ?
– It commences between two and three miles from the river. Welaregang homestead is about two miles from the river. It is about two miles in a direct line from Tintaldra township to Welaregang, and there is a rise of between 200 and 300 feet in that distance. Then one comes to an undulating plateau, seven or eight miles in extent from its commencement to the further side where the hills rise higher, and seven or eight miles across.
– About forty-nine square miles altogether.
– That is the area available for city building sites. The telegram from which I am quoting continues -
Exact gauging impossible without proper appliances. Approximate height at junction of Swampy Plain and Indi rivers, near Bringenbrong ford, is 930 feet. Between here and Murray Gates most of fall is at upper end.
– What does that mean?
– Proceeding towards the Murray Gates the country is pretty level for about half the distance, and then begins to rise rapidly; but the average rise from the ford to the Murray Gates is about thirty feet per mile. In that short distance there is a rise to 1,340 feet, and I think that another four or five miles gives a rise to between 1,700 and 1,800 feet. That is a sufficient height to enable the whole of the Murray waters to be diverted to any portion of the Capital Site. Moreover, the stream is pure and fresh, unpolluted by sludge. It is necessarily of immense volume, being the head water of the greatest river in Australia. If those who are disposed to be sceptical will peruse the report of the New South Wales Water Commission of 1883 or 1884, they will find that a scheme is there propounded for impounding the waters of the Murray somewhere about this point, and for carrying them by means of canals down to Urana, Jerilderie, and Yanko Creeks, and other places. If it be possible to do that, how much easier would it be to divert, not only from the Tooma River, but also from the Murray, a sufficient quantity of water to irrigate land and supply an immense city, without spending a single shilling, except for pipes? I trust that these facts will convince honorable members that an ample supply of water is obtainable upon the Upper Murray. I do not know that there is any necessity for me to say much more, except in regard to railway communication. As far as Tumut is concerned, that town already possesses railway communication, via Cootamundra, and I claim that a line could easily be constructed from the Gadara Gap, about ten miles from Tumut, via the Gilmore and another creek, and the Batlow Gap to Welaregang, at a very reasonable cost.
– There is a rise of 1,000 feet between Tumut and Batlow.
– But Tumut is a long way below the top of the Gadara Gap, to which the railway now extends. No difficulty would be experienced in constructing a railway from the top of that gap to the head of the Gilmore Creek on the saddle between Tumberumba Creek and the head waters of the Murrumbidgee. There would be no trouble encountered in constructing such a line, except over about four miles of country along the Mannus Creek, where a deviation would be rendered necessary. Mr. Chesterman, who spent some time in examining this country, declares that it would be possible to build such a railway without incurring any extraordinary outlay.
– Does the honorable member say that it could be constructed without involving any extraordinary expenditure ?
– Yes. It could be built at a cost of from £4,000 to £5,000 per mile.
– In my opinion such a work would cost from ,£10,000 to £1.2,000 per mile.
– I do not think that the honorable and learned member has examined the country.
– It is quite true that there may be a gap of the existence of which 1 have no knowledge.
– There is such a gap. Mr. Chesterman has carefully examined the route, and, except over some four miles of country in the vicinity of Mannus Creek, he estimates that a railway could easily be constructed with easy grades and good curves. He does not commit himself to the exact cost of such an undertaking, but in his report he declares that the country is of a character that w:ll permit of a railway being constructed.
– He throws some doubt upon it.
– From Gadara he describes how to get to the Batlow Gap, and from there to the Tumberumba Creek. The top of the Batlow Gap is from 2,000 feet to 3.000 feet above sea level. Along the mountains, between Tumut and Adelong, there is only one difficult place, at which a tunnel would require to be made-
– I do not think there is any gap under 3,000 feet high.
– Oh, yes. The Batlow Gap is only a few feet higher than the site of that name. Then a survey has been made of a railway from Tallangatta to Tintaldra. I admit that such an undertaking would be expensive. It would cost about £9,000 per mile. Another survey has been made from Huon’s Lane right up to the Victorian side of the Upper Murray site. The cost of constructing that line was estimated at £8,500 per mile, but the engineers responsible for its survey affirm that at the time they framed their estimate., the price of material was extremely High, and that the work could now be carried out for very much less.
– For 2.5 per cent. less.
– Did the honorable member tell his colleagues of this beautiful site ?
– In detail, I do not suppose that I did, but I stated my opinion in this House.
– The honorable member for Eden-Monaro seems to have been quite ignorant of it.
– The honorable member for Eden-Monaro is so enthusiastic in his advocacy of the claims of a particular site that it is useless to talk to him about the qualifications of any other. The most magnificent site in the world would not be equal to that of Bombala in his judgment. I repeat that Tooma possesses every essential to a Capital Site. It is not out of the world. I join issue with the leader of the Opposition when he declares that we do not want a beautiful site for a Federal Capital, and that we should go to the bed-rock of commerce. He affirmed that it did not matter whether a site was ugly or not.
– He never said anything of the sort.
– I have described from memory as well as I can the methods by which this country could be opened up. I also think that if the Victorian Premier were alive to the situation he would obtain a survey of a railway from Beechworth to the Upper Murray. No doubt it would be a troublesome line to construct, but it would constitute the most direct route from Melbourne. In addition to that, the present railway from Culcairn to Germanton was intended to be the base of a line which was designed to run right into this particular site. The country has been examined and reported upon, and a flying survey has been made of a line to the top of the Yarra Gap, which is the highest point to be crossed in getting to the Upper Murray site. That line was designed and the base of it constructed before there was any prospect of Tooma being chosen as the Federal Capital Site. Why was a portion of it constructed? For the purpose of developing a country which had been too long reserved for fattening cattle and carrying sheep, because the settlers could not get their produce to market for lack of railway communication. In that country 100 acres would make an admirable farm for any family. If it were irrigated - especially the flats and the higher lands - as they easily could be, fifty acres would prove a fortune to any family. The intention is to carry a line of railway over the Yarra Gap, down the Jingellic Creek to the river, and then across the Victorian border, whence it could be constructed on the Victorian side over flat country, to right opposite the Welaregang site.
– I thought that it would run up to Tumberumba ?
– No. There is another matter to which I must refer before concluding my remarks. It has reference to my late colleague, the right honorable member for Swan. My experience has been that no Minister failed to listen to any representations that were made to him by a colleague. When the right honorable member for Swan visited Bombala, Dalgety, Tumut, and Tumberumba, I wired to him-
– To whom did the honorable member wire?
– I wired either to the right honorable member or to the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, the then Prime Minister. At any rate, the right honorable member for Swan saw the telegram, which urged them to visit the Welaregang site before returning to Melbourne. I was even denied the courtesy of being informed as to the date when they would be in the Tumut district, my electorate; It was only from outside sources that I obtained that information. I pressed them to examine this particular site, but for some unaccountable reason they did not visit it. Had they done so, I feel sure that, they would have had their eyes opened like the proverbial kittens.
– Where did the honorable member send the telegram ?
– I sent one wire to Tumut and another to Tumberumba. I felt very much annoyed at the attitude which was assumed towards me in connexion with this matter.
– I wonder that, the honorable member did not resign.
– No doubt the honorable member for Macquarie, with his high-spirited temperament, would have resigned upon any small matter.
– The honorable member did not send a telegram to me.
– I telegraphed to the then Prime Minister, who was with the right honorable member, and I think also to the right honorable member.
– Perhaps the honorable member for Eden-Monaro obtained possession of the telegram.
– That interjection reminds me of a little story which I must tell the Committee. A number of honorable members recently accompanied me on a visit of inspection to the Upper Murray site, and when we had journeyed some distance I was told that one of the drivers of the conveyances, by which we were travelling, was speaking most disparagingly of the Upper Murray, Tooma, and other sites in the district. When I asked the man what he knew about the district, he replied, “ Well, I know that it is not a very good place in which to hump your swag, or to lie under a wire fence at night.” To this I rejoined, “ But who are you ?” “ Oh ! “ he replied, “ I am a cousin of Mr. Chapman’s.”
– That is true.
– Yes ; the honorable member heard the remark. When I made this discovery I began to think that there was some deep-laid scheme to endeavour to influence members of the party against the sites in the Tumut district.
– The honorable member for Eden-Monaro says that he has no cousin in that district.
– Then he had better communicate with the police, because that was the statement made by this man.
– And he said that he was not ashamed of it.
– That is so. As an instance of the longevity of residents, I would inform the Committee that I received this evening a telegram stating that an old lady, who had lived in the district for fifty years, died yesterday at the age of 102, and that her husband died twelve years ago at the age of 103. If the right honorable member for Swan wishes to see a site selected in which we shall be able to build up a race of fine, stalwart men - a people who will practically live for ever, as he no doubt would like to do - this is the district which he should favour.
– Were the couple referred to the first persons to be buried in the district?
– I do not know; but one does not see many graves in that part of the country. I saw only one. The selection of Tumut would be free from the objections attaching to the choosing of many other sites, because it is midway, between Melbourne and Sydney. I advocated its selection before, and do so now. If we are to make such a selection that no sting so far as local considerations are concerned will attach to it, too much cannot be said in support of that site. But if honor able members object to vote for it, we have a right to select Welaregang, which is fifty miles nearer the centre of New South Wales than is either Bombala or Dalgety. It is all very well to say that Dalgety is only twenty miles distant from a railways but if the productiveness of the soil there were as great as has been described - if the land were as good and the climate as suitable for the growth of various crops as are the soil and climate of Tooma - its development would have been so great that instead of having, as at present, only a few farms, it would be literally studded with them.
– How is it that the Upper Murray district is not studded with farms ?
– It would be if it were within twenty-five miles of a railway line, but as a matter of fact it is seventy-five miles from one.
– What about Bombala?
– The Cooma country is very much like that of Bombala, and, if the land were good, it would be leased or sold in farm lots; but that is not the case.
– We have towns in the Southern Monaro, district, but there are only sleepy hollows in the district which the honorable member favours.
– If the honorable member had been with us on the occasion of our recent visit, and had dared to speak of Tooma as a sleepy hollow after our experience on the first night of our sojourn in the district, he would have been ducked in the river. At one small place we saw a dozen young men, not one of whom was over twenty-four or twenty-five years of age.
– The old people had all died off, I presume?”
– No ; as I have already shown, the residents of the district live to a ripe old age ; but not one of these young men was under six feet, and they were all fine, well set up, stalwart fellows.
– If the honorable member goes to Bombala he will find that the residents live until they are eighty or ninety years of age.
– I thought that the honorable member was going to say that I would find that they were eighty or ninety feet high. I remember meeting a young man who came from a place right under Mount Kosciusko, who was 6 feet 10 inches in height. I do not wish to unduly detain the Committee, and should not have spoken at such great length but that I felt that I was called upon to make a full statement of the claims of the district which I favour. I am disappointed to learn that some honorable members who voted last session for Tumut are now, for no visible reason, turning against their first love. If they refuse to vote for Tumut, then I would point out that, although Welaregang is on the Victorian border, the fact that it is so situated will be forgotten before we are very much older, and that there is no site that can in any degree compare with it.
– It is greatly to be regretted that the consideration of so important a matter as this has proceeded upon personal, rather than upon national,’ grounds. Three honorable members have, so to speak, eligible sites to dispose of to the Committee, and each one appears to have made it a point to voice the claims of the particular site which he favours as against those of any other district. That is a most unfortunate position for such members of the Committee as may perhaps be unacquainted with the country in which the several sites are situated. So far as I am concerned, I may say that, in dealing with this question, I am absolutely free from all personal or provincial bias. It is immaterial to me whether the site selected be in the west, the south, or the south-eastern district; with me the main consideration is that we shall select the best site within the area to which we are limited. Unfortunately,’ as I have already pointed out, the 100-miles limit provided for by the Constitution has excluded from selection what, in my opinion, are the best sites, which would otherwise have been available for inspection, and from which perhaps a selection would have been made. We are, therefore, reduced to the necessity of selecting one of the less eligible sites which are offering in other parts of the State, and under these conditions it seems to me that we should put aside all considerations as to whether a site is in a district represented by one hon- orable member or in that represented by another. We should deal with the question from a broad national stand-point, and determine which is really the best site to select in the interests of the Commonwealth. It is in that spirit that I have approached this question, and have given it consideration. I happen to know the various localities in which the sites under discussion are situated. The climatic conditions of the Southern Monaro district form the basis of ona of my objections to it. I have passed over that part of the country. I have on several occasions made a trip from Bega to Dalgety, thence to Bombala, and, via Nimitybelle, to Cooma. On one memorable occasion in midsummer - when a great heat wave passed over Sydney, and the temperature recorded in that city was about 106 degrees in the shade - I was almost frozen whilst travelling by coach over the ranges in the Southern Monaro district..
– I should think so.
– Such were the climatic conditions that, although this was about Christmas time - midsummer - I and a number of others who were travelling outside the coach, were so frozen after travelling all night that on reaching Nimitybelle at 6 a.m. we were very glad to avail ourselves of a huge log fire which was burning at the hotel at which we stayed, arid to literally thaw while breakfast was being prepared. I do not say that that was a normal experience. It may be that the weather was exceptionally cold for that time of the year ; but it struck me that as it was so cold in midsummer, I should not particularly care to pass the winter there. That the cold was so intense there, even in midsummer, may perhaps be a recommendation to those who favour a frigid climate. On another occasion I spent a summer in the Tumut district, and can only say that I never desire to do so again. For the greater part of the time the temperature was 90 degrees, even after sundown, and it was difficult to obtain anything like rest, either by night or by day.
– Why not have gone to Batlow, where there is an elevation of 1,500 feet?
– I have been to Batlow as well as to Welaregang; I am familiar with the whole of that part of the country, and I know that Welaregang is more open. Tumut is completely surrounded by hills, and there in the summer time one lives in an atmosphere of steam. That is my objection to the Tumut site. If Welaregang were more accessible, I should be strongly inclined to favour it, at any rate from an artistic stand-point. There is no doubt that it boasts of a fine stretch of country and a magnificent backing for a Federal city. I am not so confident, however, about the abundance of its water supply as some honorable members seem to be. It must be remembered, of course, that the reports which we are now receiving may not, perhaps, give us a fair indication of what the water supply always is in the several districts. Let us, for instance, take the case of Lyndhurst. We have ample evidence from the Chief Engineer of Water Conservation in New South Wales, Mr. Wade, that the Lyndhurst district possesses a splendid water supply, and yet we have the statement of the right honorable member for Swan that when he visited it the creeks were dry. He inspected the district, however, after a period of prolonged drought, and I do not know what was the water supply in the Welaregang district under those conditions. It was not visited by honorable members immediately after a prolonged season of drought, but after more favorable weather conditions had been prevailing. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro referred to the’ temperature of Lyndhurst as having been on one occasion 98 degrees in the shade. I understand that that is the highest reading on record there. A higher reading has been recorded in Sydney. There the temperature frequently rises in mid-summer to 95 and 98 degrees, and it rose on the memorable occasion to which I have just referred to 106 degrees in the shade. There is an important difference between the climatic conditions existing under these temperatures in the two districts. A temperature of 90 degrees in the shade in Sydney would, perhaps, be more oppressive on account of the greater amount of humidity in the atmoshpere than a temperature of 95 or even 98 degrees at Lyndhurst, where the atmosphere is very much drier. It is probable that Lyndhurst, with a temperature of 98 degrees, would not be so enervating as Sydney, with a temperature of 90 degrees or 92 degrees. The honorable member for Hume has several times emphasized his preference for Orange as a western site, and particularly as regards the facilities there afforded for a water supply. I have to confess that what troubled me most on visiting Lyndhurst was the water supply. There were so many conflicting reports upon the matter that I determined to write to a person whom I knew to be well acquainted with the district, and who happens to be al surveyor and civil engineer. I asked him to give me his private opinion, and the fullest information he could supply on the matter. Owing to the position which he occupies I am not at liberty to disclose his name, but I submit his opinion to honorable members for what, in their opinion, it may be worth. This gentleman is a professional expert, and I am personally confident that I can trust his judgment and his impartiality. He says in his letter to me -
If all the gravitation supplies around Lyndhurst are considered, water for 150,000 persons will be available, but of this all would not be used for actual drinking purposes unless filtered. I refer to one source, the Belubula River. I contend that this river could be dammed back eleven miles with a no feet breast, and that a lake seven miles long would result from a 100 feet breast. This could be conducted one and a half miles, and let drop a sheer fall of 400 feet, and then again, after creating horse-power, conveyed for six miles into the proposed artificial lake at Mandurama. The same thing could be done with regard to Coombing Creek. In Coombing Creek there is a supply for 40,006. In the Belubula for 60,000 or 70,000. But, apart from these, a supply from Brown’s Creek (granite drift country) would do for years for drinking purposes. Then there are Cadia, Flyers; Felltimber, Mandurama, Ponds Creeks, and a large pumping supply can be had from Hell’s Hole, west of Carcoar, on the Belubula - but the Abercrombie and Fish Rivers would, of course, give an additional pumping supply of unlimited quantities.
That report, taken in conjunction with Mr. Wade’s report, sets at rest all doubt that there was in my mind as to the adequacy of the water supply to be obtained at Lyndhurst. With regard to Orange, which is so favoured by the honorable member for Hume, it was pointed out by the late Mr. Alexander Oliver that it is a suitable site, and yet it has a considerably greater altitude than Lyndhurst, and its catchment area is not one twenty-fifth of that of the Lyndhurst site for gravitation purposes. If Orange is a suitable site, then, viewed from the stand-point of the water supply alone, Lyndhurst must be a 25 per cent, better site. The honorable member for Hume has expressed doubts as to building material being available in the vicinity of Lynd- hurst ; but I find that there is an abundance of building material available in the district, whilst at Lithgow, not very far away, iron can be had, and pottery cement. I find that in the neighbourhood of Lyndhurst, if the reports of experts are to be relied on, there is to be found slate, freestone, marble, granite, trachite, porphyry, and basalt. When the honorable member for Hume was a Minister in New South Wales he received a deputation from marble masons, who asked him to give a preference to the local over the imported .marble, in order to encourage the working of local deposits. Special reference was made to the marble found in the neighbourhood of Lyndhurst, and the honorable gentleman then expressed the opinion, after an examination of this marble, that it was in every way equal, if noi superior, to the marble imported from Carrara. Although1 the honorable gentleman has here expressed a doubt as to whether there is any stone suitable for building purposes in the Lyndhurst district, we have his own words to prove that he was previously aware of the fact that such stone did exist in the district. I do not regard Lyndhurst as an ideal Capital Site. I do not think it is an ideal site; but it is, in my judgment, the best of the three sites available. In my opinion, its great recommendation is its accessibility.
– Has the honorable member seen the Eden-Monaro district?
– Yes, I know that district well. The honorable member rnust have been- asleep surely, or he must have known that I related some of my experiences in that district but a few minutes since. It must not be forgotten that if a selection of a site is made in the EdenMonaro district thirty-one miles of railway will have to be built in New South Wales through a country that is not particularly good for railway construction, as many engineering difficulties would have to be surmounted, and there would also require to be constructed 183 miles of railway to connect with Bairnsdale, on the Victorian side : that is to say, 214 miles of railway construction would be involved if the selection were made in that district. I am not sure that even a survey has been made for a railway to the site suggested at Welaregang; but reference has been made to the fact that a railway has already been extended in that direction as far as Germanton. Thai line is not a paying line at the present time, and it must be remembered that it was constructed against the advice of the Railway Commissioners. There is a ques,tion of considerable cost involved, and the honorable and learned member for Werriwa has roughly estimated that it would take something like from £10,000 to £12,000 per mile to construct a railway there. In the case of Lyndhurst, we could have fifty different sites selected, all equally eligible, and all on the railway line itself. I may add that population is trending in that direction, and that the Western site must soon become the centre of the population of New South Wales. It has a further advantage in the fact that it is on a loop line now connecting the Southern and Western lines of railway ; . in a short time it will be in direct communication with the Northern line by means of a line from Wellington to Werris Creek, or Dubbo to Werris Creek. When that line is completed, a person will be able to go directly from the farthest point north, . to which railway communication extends in Queensland, right away to Adelaide or Broken Hill, without ever going near Sydney. Lyndhurst then is on a line which, when the Werris Creek connexion is completed, will unite the three main trunk lines of the Commonwealth, and I submit that that is a most important feature in considering the selection of a site for the Federal Capital. A great deal had been made by some honorable members, and particularly by the honorable member for Gippsland, of the alleged great advantages of Twofold Bay as a shipping port.
– A breakwater could be built there for£150,000.
– I desire to point out that the port itself is not sufficiently capacious to justify the construction of a breakwater there at any cost. It is so very small that I do not know why it should be dignified with the name of a port in the sense of immensity which has been conveyed by the speech of the honorable member for Gippsland. I say that without any disparagement of the Southern Monaro sites. Honorable members who may be induced to vote for a Southern Monaro site on the ground that the Federal territory would include a port should not be misled. I have visited Twofold Bay many times ; I am perfectly familiar with the port, and I know what I am speaking about. I say that it cannot possibly be regarded seriously as a port at all, because it is to all intents and purposes little better than an open roadstead, with just a little point of land jutting out, and affording sufficient protection for a wharf, at which two small steamers can be berthed. Beyond that there is no port accommodation at the place. There is certainly an area of water deep enough to afford safe anchorage in the southern and north-western bights for vessels of no great tonnage, but so far as the rest of the port itself is concerned, it is absolutely exposed to every wind from the Pacific. A breakwater at this place would, in my opinion, be absolutely useless as a protection. It would be of no more value than was the breakwater which was recently washed away at Byron Bay, and upon which so many thousands of pounds were absolutely thrown away. If a breakwater could be successfully built at Twofold Bay, the port would not be good enough as a refuge for vessels of large draught; nor could it be made a port of any size for shipping such as one might expect would be required for the trade of a port connected with so important a place as the Federal Capital.
– Boyd’s attempt to make Twofold Bay a port was one of the greatest failures in Australian settlement.
– Unquestionably, because there are no facilities for a port there. None of the large new steamers from, say, Western Australia could go into Twofold Bay and berth alongside the wharf at Eden ;. the most they could do would be to anchor and tranship passengers and cargo into smaller boats. Honorable members who have had the experience of an eastern swell there, and of transhipping under such conditions, will not want to repeat it.
– I suppose the honorable member knows that all the authorities say quite to the contrary ?
– I am speaking from my own personal knowledge.
– Does the honorable member place his observation above that of the authorities?
– I am speaking from my own experience ; I do not care what the authorities say. Twofold Bay is only about the size of one of the coves in Sydney Harbor.
– There are forty acres of Twofold Bay.
– So there are at Neutral Bay ; but the latter is only a small portion of Sydney Harbor.
Mr.G. B. Edwards. - Twofold Bay is only a tortuous channel.
– There are only two and a half miles in the bay, including the shallowwater. The depth of water a little distance beyond the end of the wharf is abour five fathoms, but in the open and exposed area as much as. twelve fathoms, I admit, can be obtained. But no sensible mariner would dream of attempting to ride out an easterly gale in such an exposed position. If, however, honorable members desire a site in that neighbourhood, there is a splendid stretch of virgin country, all practically Crown land, at the back of Jervis Bay, which is a well sheltered harbor.
– The difficulty there is the water supply.
– I dare say some trouble might be experienced on that score.
– Is the honorable member speaking of the Lake George site?
– I am speaking of a stretch of country between Lake George and Jervis Bay. Lake George is about seventy miles from Jervis Bay, in a direct line.
– Jervis Bay is the only good port, with the exception of Port Jackson, from Rockhampton to Adelaide.
– Unquestionably. Since we are not to have a Capital Site at a fortified place or a naval station, it would be unwise to select a territory with a port. Such a situation would involve a tremendous amount of expense on fortifications, and in the maintenance of a naval station, and, in addition, we should be open to attack, especially in the case of Twofold Bay. In the latter case, an enemy’s ship would not need to come near the bay, but might remain five or six miles distant, and- from there reduce the place to ashes in no time, in the same way as Alexandria was bombarded by the British some years ago. Honorable members have, in my opinion, laid too much stress on Twofold Bay as an ideal port for the Federal Capital. Unless they have taken the trouble to visit the place I am sure they will in the future be very much disappointed at the character of the port the advantage of which they urge as one of the main reasons for the selection of this site. It would be much better if, in their advocacy of the Southern Monaro sites, they were to altogether eliminate all calculations as to a port, which may be at once said to be absolutely impracticable. I cannot avoid coming to the conclusion that, from every point of view; Lyndhurst is the best site of those under discussion, and that is the site for which- 1 shall vote.
– Although ‘ I should like to see this question expeditiously settled, I do not feel inclined, on so important a matter, to give a silent vote. If I were to consult my own convenience, and that of South Australian members generally, I should not be anxious to have the question settled for a long time to come. It is convenient to South Australian members to be able to visit their homes at the end of each week; but I recognise that a bond, which ought to be carried out, was entered into with New South Wales. It is nothing to me in what part of New South Wales the Federal Territory is situated, further than that I desire to see the site selected which will be most advantageous from every point of view.
It stands to reason that wherever the Federal Capital may be located in New South Wales, the parliamentary representatives from Western Australia, Queensland, and South Australia will have to make their homes there during the session ; they will not be able to visit their respective States each week as at present. Under the circumstances all the talk about short cuts to this place and the other does not influence me. It does not matter to me whether the Federal Capital be 100 miles, 200 miles, or even 300 miles east, west, north, or south, so long as we select the best position. But to-day I heard the honorable member for Parramatta speak of an attempt on the part of honorable members to break the agreement entered into with New South Wales. . So far as the majority of representatives from the different States are concerned, there is not, in my opinion, any such desire or attempt. I do find, however, that there is a desire and an attempt on the part of the representatives of New South Wales to dictate to this Parliament, not only where the territory shall be, but what its limits shall be; and this in spite of the fact that it is clearly laid down in the Constitution that the Commonwealth Parliament is to select territory, and to determine its area. At any rate, I am prepared to carry out the bargain, and I hope that New South Wales will act towards the Commonwealth in the same generous manner that the electors of the Commonwealth have acted towards that State.
– On the argument of .the honorable member, is there anything to prevent the Commonwealth taking the whole of New South Wales ?
– I want to take only what is proposed by the Government - the small slice of 900 square miles out of an enormous territory.
– The honorable member is too generous !
– We have been too generous to New South Wales. There was so little Federal spirit amongst many of the people of that State that they had to be treated like spoiled children, and offered a gift to induce them to enter the Federation.
– New South Wales took South Australian wheat for fifty years without placing any duty on it.
– The right honorable member would not have continued such a policy if he had not thought that New
South Wales reaped the greatest benefit. Why should not South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania have concessions in the same way as New South Wales and Western Australia? However, we are ready to carry out the bargain ; and if New South Wales is not prepared to fulfil her part, then this House will be compelled to do the next best thing. To induce New South Wales to enter the Federation, this Parliament was deprived of its undoubted right to select the Federal Capital in any part of the Commonwealth considered most suitable. But while I do not grumble about the concessions offered to New South Wales and Western Australia, I must take exception to the attitude assumed by the Premier and the Attorney-General Of New South Wales, who, in spite of the clear provisions of the Constitution, desire not only to dictate the extent, but the situation of the territory. I refuse to be a party to tolerating that kind of thing.
– The Premier and the AttorneyGeneral of New South Wales were asked to do that by the late Prime Minister.
– And more than once.
– They have not been asked to do it by this Parliament, which was elected to carry out the Constitution in letter and spirit.
– This Parliament cannot communicate with the New South Wales Government; only the Commonwealth Government can do that.
– Why should we communicate with the New South Wales Government further than to point out the decision of the Federal Parliament as to the situation and area ? New South Wales will reap all the advantage of having the Federal Territory within her border; at any rate, if the right honorable member for East Sydney had not thought there was an advantage the bargain as to the Federal Capital would never have been made. Whether that bargain be wise or unwise, it has been made, and we must stand by it ; and the right honorable gentleman who had much to do with it ought to see that his State performs its share.
– Doss the honorable member think that a site on the Upper Murray would give any advantage. to New South Wales ?
– I wish honorable members had taken the trouble to inspect all the sites. I do not profess to be an expert, but I like to make my own observations, and then obtain the opinion of experts. I had no prejudice in regard to any of the sites, but from what I had heard and read my idea was that Dalgety was the best. I visited the various places, and thought Lyndhurst looked very well. Then, I thought that Orange was magnificent so far as scenery, soil, and climate were concerned, and that Bombala would do. Dalgety, however, I regarded as the best site of all, though I had to admit that the soil there did not ‘come up to my expectations. I am glad to say that the expert knowledge’ of the right honorable member for Swan more than bears out my opinion in regard to Dalgety. But I should have been disappointed, indeed, had I been asked to cast my vote without an opportunity to visit the Tooma district, which, to my untutored observation at any rate, seems far superior even to Dalgety. The soil, of the Tooma district appears excellent, and the site can be easily made accessible. However, I do not think there is anything in the arguments as to accessibility.
– Does the honorable member consider that the selection of the Tooma site would confer any advantage on New South Wales ?
– In what way?
– No matter in what part of New South Wales the Federal Territory is situated, it must be of decided advantage to that State.
– How is that?
– Honorable members, particularly those from New South Wales, seem desirous to so hedge round the Federal territory that every penny spent on the carriage of goods or passengers shall go into the coffers of that State. There seems to be a fear that a neighbouring State may also share in the advantage.
– Where otherwise is the advantage to New South Wales?
– It has been decided that the Capital shall be in New South Wales, and I hope that it will be established at the earliest possible moment. For my part, I shall place no hindrance in the way of the decision of the question within the next few days.
– Why should not New South Wales benefit?
– If the honorable member for Hindmarsh represented Queensland, could he not point to other places even more beautiful than those he has mentioned ?
– I could tell the honorable and learned member of places in Queensland -and South Australia just as admirably suited for the Federal Capital as any I have seen. That, however, is beside the question ; we do not want the bargain altered. The honorable member for Maranoa has asked why New South Wales should receive any concession.
– I ask why she should not benefit ?
– I do not see why New South Wales should benefit, further than we were willing, as citizens of this great Commonwealth, to approve of the section of the Constitution which enables her to do so. Except for that section she would not have formed part of the union, and I should have been very sorry indeed if New South Wales had remained outside.
– How can New. South Wales benefit if the Capital Site is placed right away from her centre, and in a part which practically belongs to another State ?
– Wherever the Federal territory is situated, there will be communication with Sydney and with the other States capitals. New South Wales will necessarily be a considerable gainer. There will be tourists from all parts to visit the Capital. I trust that it is going to be a Capital worth going to see, and an object lesson to the world at large. It ought to be. I also trust that it will be situated in territory that is fit for closer settlement. We should not have merely a small area for purposes of building allotments, but contiguous to the city there should be land available for settlement, so that the maintenance of the Federal Capital and territory will cost nothing to the taxpayers. There is no reason why that should not be so. The honorable member for Parramatta has told us that the principal considerations are centrality, accessibility, and climate. But there are other considerations, which are equally important. We also want to have good soil and a good water supply. Dalgety has a magnificent water supply. Any amateur can see that it has a magnificent background for a Capital. It is an excellent site in many ways. It is a better site than Bombala. But Tooma possesses all the advantages that Dalgety possesses, and over and above it seems to have a surpassingly superior soil.
– Does the honorable member know what the records of the climate are?
– Does he know what the height of the site is?
– The land is supposed to run from 1,100 feet to 1,900 feet above sea level, within a comparatively few miles.
– Where would the Capital site be?
– If I had the choosing it would be about Welaregang. At that spot it would be about 1,100 feet above sea level.
– Does the honorable member know that it is possible to grow tobacco there?
– I am very glad to hear that, . because if tobacco can be grown there it is a proof that almost anything else will grow, and that it will be possible to grow the fruit and other produce required by the Capital city within a few miles of the site.
– I mention the growth of tobacco in order to show the heat.
– The honorable and learned member’s object is to show that the climate is bad. But we have a report from Mr. Chesterman, an expert, who says that he has lived for five years in the district; and any expert who has lived for that time in a district is quite competent to tell us what its qualifications are. He says nothing about intense heat, and nothing about intense cold. I went there almost in the depth of winter, and found the climate magnificent. It was warm during the day-time, and extremely cold at night, just as it is at Melbourne, Adelaide, and other places. There is a great deal to be said against going to too cold a country for the purpose of establishing a Seat of Government, especially as we have (representatives from warm climates like Queensland and parts of Western Australia. But I believe that in a cold climate we can grow stronger and more brainy men and women than in hot climates. That is proved from the experience of the highlands of India, Scotland, and other countries. Men and women grown in the highlands are, as a rule, a stronger and superior race from every point of view. It would be wise to have our Capital situated in a cool climate, but not in an extremely cold climate. Nothing has been advanced during this debate to convince me that any suggested site is superior to Tooma. I am sorry that so few members took the trouble to visit that district.
– Who unearthed it?
Mr.HUTCHISON.- Last session the honorable member for Grampians was able to give the House a very great deal of information about Tooma, but other honorable members did not take the trouble to see whether his information could be substantiated.
– If Tumut had not fallen out of the running we should never have heard of Tooma.
– Possibly. But when I went to Tumut I was very unfavorably impressed with the. district.
– I assure the honorable member that at Welaregang the heat on some days is just the same as at Tumut.
– But the point is that we have at Welaregang good soil and a good water supply. It is true that we also have a water supply and a good climate at Tumut. But we must have a territory that can be utilized for closer settlement. I wish the Commonwealth to secure a territory that will yield a revenue sufficient to cover the whole cost of establishing the Capital and developing it.
– Is the honorable member aware that practical people living there do not think the land worth more than ^3 an acre?
– I do not care what they think. We shall not have to pay more than the experts say the land is worth. The honorable and learned member knows verywell that where there is no railway communication land, as a rule, is very cheap. What is the value of the land, even at Lyndhurst, where there is a railway right into the heart of the country? The price of land is no guarantee of its value until there is railway communication. No matter how rich land may be, it is practically valueless without railway communication. As a rule, it is only used for growing and fattening stock, when, probably, it would carry hundreds and thousands of families. We shall get railway communication to the Federal territory, so soon as it is acquired by the Commonwealth.
– Who is going to find the money for the New South Wales Government to construct the railway ?
– If the New South Wales Government have that wisdom for which I give them credit, they will recognise that in opening up the country, either at Tooma or at Dalgety, they will be entering upon a paying undertaking. I only wish that, in the State to which I belong, we had more country as rich as some of the land I passed through in New South Wales, that has no railway communication. The sooner railway communication is afforded to some of these outlying portions of the country the better it will be for the revenue of the mother State. I deplore the spirit that seems to animate some honorable members in discussing this question. They appear to consider more what their constituents will think of the votes they give than of what future generations will think of the choice we are making. With me it does not weigh in the slightest, degree in whose electorate the site chosen may be. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro suggested the other day that people in his part of the country are accusing some of the members of the party to which I have the honour to belong, of changing their opinions with the change of Government. I would remind him that the Prime Minister favoured Tumut. But Tumut never had any chance of securing a vote from me. I favoured Dalgety while the honorable member was a member of the late Government. I now favour Tooma, because I have seen it since the honorable member ceased to be a member of the Government. I support Tooma simply because I consider that, up to the present time, it is the very best site which I have seen.
– Does the honorable member think that the selection of Tooma would confer an advantage upon New South Wales ?
– Most undoubtedly. No matter in what part of New South Wales the Capital is situated, it will confer an advantage upon that State.
– Let the honorable member look at the map and see whether that is so.
– The face of the map is going to be considerably altered when we have selected the territory. Does not the honorable and learned member know of parts of New South Wales where, railways have been built, and where the face of the country has, in consequence, been changed in a remarkable manner? That has been our experience in South Australia also. So soon as you build a railway you induce closer settlement. So soon as you have closer settlement you have considerable additions to the revenue, not only through the railways, but through the Customs. But I do not want to go into that subject, which is foreign to the matter under discussion. Without saying more. I trust that honorable members who’ have not seen the Tooma site before making up their minds to vote for other sites which they have seen, will either ask the Government to give them an opportunity of seeing Tooma, or obtain all the information thev can possibly get. If that be done, I feel sure that when the matter is put to the vote, those who hitherto voted for other sites will be of the same mind as myself. I am sorry that the right honorable member for East Sydney, who has asked when Tooma was introduced, did not visit that site. When was Dalgety first proposed?
– The first expedition visited Dalgety ; I was there.
– Although the first expedition visited Dalgety, very little was heard of it last session. It was not voted upon at that time. To-day Dalgety is very strongly in the running as a place likely to be selected, but there is no reason why Tooma should not finally be selected if it is found to be superior.
– Does tEe honorable member think there is any chance of securing a settlement of the question if Tooma is chosen?
– Does not the honorable member know that the selection of Tooma means postponing the settlement of the question?
– I do not know anything of the kind. It is just possible that the honorable member would like that to eventuate, if he thought that the EdenMonaro . district would not be in the running.
– The honorable member has no warrant for saying that.
– The honorable member asked for an expression of my opinion, and I do not think that it will be found to be very far wrong in this instance. A good deal has been urged to induce honorable members to give the Tooma site more consideration than it has received. It is not the fault of the honorable member for Grampians that it did not receive better consideration. But now that honorable members have heard of its merits, I trust that they will follow my example, and give it their first vote. If it is not selected, I shall be prepared to vote for Dalgety, and even if I am defeated in that vote, so anxious am I that this question shall be settled, that I shall be prepared to. vote for what in my opinion is the most undesirable of the other sites which have, been favoured so far, and that is Lyndhurst. I shall do anything to carry out the bargain which was made with New South Wales.
– I do not think that I should have risen to speak again on this subject, but for the attitude taken up by the last speaker with regard to- the great majority of the representatives of New South Wales, who, he seems to consider, are not actuated by those honest intentions which he claims for himself. Seeing that my view of this question is in some respects very like his own, I cannot understand why he should not allow to us that credit for honesty of intention and purpose which he is perfectly justified in claiming for himself.
– I allow it to some of them.
– It is quite a mistake for the honorable member to think that there is any organization on the part of any representatives of New South Wales to get this question decided in any particular manner. Of all the representatives from the different States, there are none so much divided as are the representatives of New South Wales. The Prime Minister differs from me ; I differ from the honorable member for Eden-Monaro, and the honorable member for Hume is supporting at the last moment a third site, which was not discovered until a few weeks ago. I agree with all those honorable members who have urged that this matter should be viewed from a national Australian stand-point. I agree that honorable members should be actuated by the highest motives in deciding this question. I claim to be actuated by none but the very Highest motives. It will always happen that we shall estimate differently the various reasons which should actuate us, and one reason which has been little thought of by many honorable members, is the question of ways and means, or the economy of doing this thing. We find that one of the strongest reasons for deciding this question in one way, other things being equal, as they very nearly are, is the desire to secure a Capital of which we shall be proud without saddling the nation with any extravagant debt. If in one case we can get a really good Capital, with a fine climate and fair circumstances all round, without expending a single penny, except upon the site itself, and if in another case we should have to spend millions of pounds on a railway, and, perhaps, more millions on fortifications, and incur all sorts of other expenditures before it could be made of any use, we should be largely guided by that consideration, although f have just as great an ideal to aim at as have those who picture the glories of this or that site. It has frequently happened that while the site of a city looked very grand with its snow-clad mountains in the distance, it did not look nearly so beautiful when it came to be occupied.’ It has also frequently happened that an ordinary looking building site has, by the art and hand of man, been converted into a thing of beauty. It is very easy to imagine that in their primitive state the sites of many Australian cities looked rather miserable.
– That cannot be said of the city of Adelaide.
– No ; the city of Adelaide is remarkably well placed for looking at, although it is ill placed in other respects. When the honorable member talks about how the people of New South Wales should look on the settlement of this question, and says he is willing to give us the whole of the bond “as it were, he would appear to be willing to grant us what he recognises we ought to have ; but the gift is not offered- in a spirit which will tend to foster Federal ideas, although he puts that as his aim. The honorable member has misread the Constitution if he thinks that this Parliament is entitled to approach New South Wales and say, “ You are to have the Federal territory in your State, but we shall demand as much land as we like, and we shall have it where we like.” The honorable member is mistaken if he. thinks that any such demand can be made with any’ hope of being successful. When it is proposed to take a piece off the end of the territory of New South Wales, and to make that piece very much larger than any one ever anticipated it would be made, we are not keeping the compact with that State, but deliberately breaking it in spirit. I believe that such an idea could not be carried out without either an alteration of the Constitution or an appeal to the popular vote of New South Wales.
– Why wa.s not the area definitely stated in the Constitution?
– Before I have finished I hope to be able to show the honorable member that there is something in my argument. When he talks about New South Wales having demanded something from the Federation which the other States did not get, he knows full well that this was absolutely a matter of com promise, which the greatest advocates of Federation in my State had to force themselves to consent to in order to get the majority of its people to accept the Constitution Bill. The honorable member knows full well, as other honorable members do, that, at the first referendum, notwithstanding the eloquent efforts of a number of gentlemen who sit in this House, and many thousands who are not here, notwithstanding all the organized effort which was made to get the people of New South Wales to join in this great Federal movement, the people were so convinced that they occupied a position of strength, and could run independently better than any other Colony in the group, that it was utterly impossible to get them to consent to the State entering the union. Much against the wish of those who desired to bring about Federation, just as heartily as did the honorable member for Hindmarsh or any other honorable member, we had to consent to the alteration of the Constitution in some respects, one, and perhaps the most popular being that the Seat of Government should be in territory within that State. Of course we do not know exactly what transpired at the Conference of Premiers in Melbourne, but I believe that the first proposal was that the Federal Capital should not be located with-, in a distance of zoo miles of Sydney, so great was the effort to keep the Seat of Government from being in that city, and that ultimately the distance limit was reduced to 100 miles, for the simple purpose of preventing the city of Sydney enjoying any benefit from having the Federal Capital in its midst. I think I shall be able to show the honorable member for Hindmarsh, who seems to have taken the greatest interest in this point of the argument, that in the case of very many of the sites which have been proposed New South Wales could get no benefit from the Federal Government, and that all the benefit would go to Victoria from first to last. That is not keeping the spirit of the compact with the people of New South Wales. I do not think that the honorable member for Hindmarsh can accuse me of being actuated by any spirit of greed in this matter, or by any desire to see Sydney benefit at the expense of any other city in the Federation, because, from first to last. I have refused to consent to any proposal1 to amend the Constitution so as to place the Seat of Government in Sydney. Tn the first session of last Parliament a representative of South Australia submitted a proposal of that kind, and it. was opposed by me most strenuously, and, I believe, by practically all the representatives of New South Wales. When a similar proposal was brought forward in this session it was scouted; as the honorable member will recollect, it commanded only three votes. It seems to be quite clear that the representatives of New South Wales do not desire to get the expenditure of Federal money in Sydney, and, therefore, they cannot rightly be accused of desiring to get that expenditure in a remote part of the State. Honorable members can fairly dismiss from their consideration any idea that the people of New South Wales, or their representatives, are ‘simply actuated by a desire to get the Seat of Government located in some territory where the expenditure of money, the prestige, and so forth, would benefit that State to the detriment of other States, or even to the advantage of Sydney.
– Then why are they interfering with where we shall place the Capital ?
– Because they have a right to interfere. They have as much right to interfere in the settlement of this question as have the representatives of any other State. 1
– I do not admit it.
– Under the Constitution New South Wales has statutory rights, and the representatives of its people here have to see that those rights - a privilege which no other State has - are carried out fairly and in the spirit. I think I shall be able to show that some of the proposals which have been made would not carry out that compact fairly and in the spirit. As the honorable member knows, we have had a great many sites to think of. I must say that amongst all the sites which have been considered here I still recollect one, if not two. which seem to me to be better than any of the others suggested but which have not been considered. When th-i honorable member tells some of us that we have no right to approach the settlement of this question without asking the Government to postpone the consideration of this Bill in order to allow us an opportunity of seeing the Tooma site, I can, in my turn, ask him if he has seen the Queanbeyan sits, and, if not, why he does not ask the Government ‘to consent to an adjournment until he has had an opportunity to visit that site ?
– Because I understand that it was ruled out by the House.
– No ; it has not been voted on. Of all the sites I have seen, the Queanbeyan site seems to be that which ought to have had ‘the strenuous support of honorable members from all States. It seems to be perfectly healthy, to have good soil, and to possess a splendid water supply. With two hills in a vast plain, and surrounding hills in the background, it is an ideal site, which ought to have been placed in the forefront.
– Why is it not placed in the forefront?
– Because it did not get a friend like those three -or four honorable members who have battled so valiantly for different sites. It had a friend in me to the extent of having- mentioned its qualifications when the previous Bill was being considered. I argued then that it did not receive the attention that it should have commanded. It is situated in the middle of a branch line.
– In what electorate is it?
– It is just outside the boundary of mv electorate.
– It seems to be a sort of no man’s land, like that inhabited by the Irishman who lived on the boundaries of two districts, and voted for both, and paid taxes in neither. The site I speak of has never had a fair show. The members of the parliamentary party who visited the various sites arrived at Queanbeyan very early on Sunday morning, and the leader of the Opposition, with characteristic rectitude, would not agree to the inspection of any site on that day, contending that we should go to church. In the afternoon I, with some half-dozen others, having wandered a little further from our pious upbringing than the right honorable gentleman had done, thought it no desecration of the Sabbath to climb one of the hills in the district, and take a good look at the site. We were delighted at the prospect which opened before us. We saw -then as fitting a location for a large city as I have ever met with anywhere. I took notes of the features of the locality, and marked my impressions with regard to it upon a map, afterwards consulting privately with the engineers, who informed me that an excellent water supply could be obtained there. But, although that site had been reported on by the first Commission, and by several experts, no consideration was given to it when the last
Bill was in Committee. I should have been ready to visit the Tooma site if it had been specified in the first itinerary. But it is not convenient for a business man who attends the meetings of Parliament day by day, to go off on these excursions. In my opinion, there are already a sufficient number of admirable sites to select from, and in making a selection, great consideration should be given to the question of cost. I think that the building of the Federal Capital should be paid for with money derived from the rental of the land in the Federal territory, without imposing any taxation on the people of the Commonwealth, and, other things beingequal, I shall support that site in regard to which that arrangement is most likely to be carried out. When the last Bill was under consideration, the Bombala site received a great deal of support in this Chamber, and a majority of the members of the Senate voted for it. Since then, although the supporters of the Lyndhurst site, amongst whom I am glad to number myself, remain firm advocates of that site, the supporters of the Tumut, Bombala, and Dalgety sites have chopped and changed so much that we do not know now what votes they will receive. There has also been a change of opinion amongst the members of the other Chamber, who, in sending this Bill to us, do not provide for the selection of Bombala, but have agreed to a very, roundabout clause, which gives the impression that they wish Dalgety to be selected, largely, I suppose, because the Snowy River flows so near that little township. Of course, the presence of such a river, which would give a perennial supply of pure drinking water, is an important consideration. I have always opposed the proposal to adopt the Bombala site, and to take in with it Twofold Bay and the country along the Victorian border for some considerable distance westward. The idea which some honorable members hold as to the need of some sort of buffer State between New South Wales and Victoria is an altogether wrong one. If we chose a territory which would have Twofold - Bay as a port, it would be necessary in the first instance to spend a large sum of money in making a harbor there. At the present time, the place would be of no practical use as a port. I have twice had to take shelter there when travelling on small steamers from Tasmania to Sydney. No steamer of as much as 3,500 tons has gone into Twofold Bay during the last five years. It is only the smaller vessels which go there, and they experience a certain amount of difficulty in getting in .and out. Not only have we among our papers charts of the bay which give all the soundings, but we have also been placed in possession of the proposals of engineers for constructing training walls to scour out the silt, and a breakwater to protect the shipping. > Various estimates have been given for making a serviceable harbor, and in each case the sum mentioned is considerable. But, in addition to making the bay serviceable as a port, it would require an extravagant outlay to fortify it, in order to defend the Capital from outside attacks. Very early in the history of Washington, English vessels proceeded up the river and sacked the city, the soldiery even entering the Capitol, desecrating the Speaker’s chair, and tearing up the records. As we are bound to no particular district, why should we incur the risk of destruction by an enemy, in locating the Seat of Government near the sea coast? Furthermore, if we selected Bombala, we should have to make no fewer than three railways to give communication to the Capital. In the first place, it would be of no use to have a port forty or fifty miles away, unless it were connected with the Capital by railway. Then’ it would be necessary to extend the existing railway from Cooma to Bombala, in order to get rid of the present coach journey ; and, finally, Victorian representatives would not be satisfied to journey all the way to Goulburn, and then to return via Cooma to Bombala; and, therefore, would agitate for an extension of the Gippsland line to the Capital. In this way many millions of pounds would be expended, apart from the cost of the city itself. The erection of public buildings, the making- of streets, the beautifying of parks, the supplying of water, and other expenditure which is incidental in every case, will be sufficiently heavy to make it necessary for us to go very slowly at first, and nothing would justify the expenditure of millions of pounds in merely providing means of communication. Then, the proposal to take a strip of territory along the Victorian border is a complete breach of the bargain made with New South Wales. Section 123 of the Constitution provides that -
The Parliament of the Commonwealth may, with the consent of the Parliament of a State, and the approval of the majority of the electors of the State voting upon the question, increase, diminish, or otherwise alter the limits of the State, upon such terms and conditions as may be agreed on, and may, with the like consent, make provision respecting the effect and operation of any increase or diminution or alteration of territory in relation to any State affected.
While New South Wales may, under section j 25, cede a portion of her territory to the Commonwealth for the purposes of the Seat of Government, if the territory asked for is situated on the Victorian border it could not be granted without an alteration of the boundary of New South Wales, and that is strictly forbidden, unless the consent of the people of that State is obtained. Therefore, to obtain a site bounded on one side by the New South Wales border - and the argument applies both to the proposal of the Senate, and to the Tooma proposalwould involve an appeal to the people of New South Wales, who would not be likely to agree to the selection of a site much nearer to Melbourne than to Sydney, whose trade would go to the former city. I do not know why the people of New South Wales should be asked to do so. The advocates of the border sites say that it is necessary for the people of Victoria to have an open door into the Federal territory, so that they shall not be obliged to go through part of New South Wales to get there. But why should not the people of the other State’s also have an open door ? Queensland, South Australia, and Tasmania would have no open door except by passing through Victoria. This policy of the open door, as applied to the selection of the Federal territory, is a pure myth. There is no necessity to have any open door whatever. The Federal territory would be there, and the Federal power would be behind it to enable the whole of the citizens of the Commonwealth to have free access to it. I do not see what necessity exists for having this territory situated alongside the borders of’ Victoria. It might reasonably be asked, “ If the Seat of Government is located alongside the borders of Victoria, what benefit will New South Wales derive under this compact?” I hold that, under such circumstances, New South Wales might just as well cede that territory to Victoria, and inform her that the Federal Capital could be established in the ceded territory. That is the logical position. One honorable member has made a great deal of the bene.fits which New South Wales will derive by reason of having the Seat of Government located in that State. I am prepared to admit that it will obtain some benefit from that source. But the fact seems to be overlooked that New South Wales is paying very handsomely for that benefit. Under the Constitution, she is compelled to hand over to the Commonwealth, without fee or charge, the whole of the Crown lands within the Federal territory. She is also obliged to surrender the Governmental rights of that territory, and we cannot yet say whether by so doing she will not sacrifice a share of her representation in this Parliament. Certainly she will lose the power of taxing the residents of that portion of the State. To my mind it is doubtful whether - if we ever settle the question of allocating the Customs revenue upon a -per capita basis - she will not lose the. product of the Excise and Customs duties, so far as they relate to persons resident within the Federal territory. If honorable members will look at this matter fairly they must conclude that New South Wales is giving a quid pro quo for the prestige of having the Federal Capital established in her midst. Outside the site at Queanbeyan, which I regret has not received more consideration, I have, from the first, favoured the site in the Western district, which has been misnamed the Lyndhurst site. To my mind, we ought to speak of it as the “ western “ site, because one side of Lyndhurst contains very uninteresting and unprepossessing country indeed. By some error the members who formed one of the parliamentary parties which inspected this area were driven to the poorest side of Lyndhurst, with the result that some grew so tired of the country that they saw no more of it. I claim that the western site - the Orange site - is one of the finest to be found in Australia. Certainly there is no site equal to it from the stand-point of that class of beauty for which we should look in the Federal Capital city. If we merely desired to obtain wild grandeur, there would be nothing to prevent us from selecting an area in the Blue Mountains - an area near the Leura Falls, in the vicinity of Katoomba - where, according to experienced travellers, is to be found some of the finest scenery in the world. But, in establishing a fine city, we do not look for that class of beauty. We do not want to tread upon the edge of a precipice or of an avalanche. The ideal site for a Capital city is that class of country which consists of beautiful undulating hills and plains, such as are to be found in the Orange district. I admit that, according to the reports of engineers, it is im possible to obtain a thoroughly adequate water supply for a site higher than is the present town of Orange. But I would point out that between Orange and the proposed Lyndhurst site there are two or three areas sufficient to permit of the establishment of moderate-sized cities - areas which’ could be supplied with sufficient water-
– For a million of people.
– Personally, I do not believe that a population of a million will ever be settled in the Federal Capital. No difficulty, however, would be experienced in obtaining sufficient water to supply the needs of all the people who are ever likely to be attracted there. The last report of Mr. Wade - a gentleman of considerable engineering skill, and an expert in the matter of water supply - has removed any lingering doubt which I may have entertained that the Orange site would not meet all the requirements of the future Capital. Its position is admirably central. Already., lines of railway have been proposed, which would converge from the different States at Lyndhurst. Consequently, as soon as we erected our first building, we could settle there. The honorable member for Gippsland spoke of the poor quality of the soil of the Lyndhurst district. I am perfectly certain that if the honorable member had visited that country, he would have been forced to admit, with his admirable practical knowledge of land, that there are very few parts of New South Wales which are capable of feeding such a large population. The honorable member quoted statistics comparing the yields derived from land in the Orange, Lyndhurst, and Bathurst districts with those obtained from the country around Bombala, very much to the detriment of the first-named district. I have from the first questioned these figures, and practical men have pointed out the utter impossibility of their being correct. For instance, the honorable member stated that the yield of maize in the Bathurst district was i2-3 bushels to the acre, whilst in Bombala it was no less than 40*3 bushels to the acre. That would be an enormous return even in a part of the country most suitable for the production of maize ; but I undertake to say that in the Bombala district practically no maize is grown, except in the most favoured and well protected parts. What is the use of quoting statistics as to the yield per acre without taking into consideration the area under cultivation? If one sowed maize in a highly manured plot in an experimental farm he might secure a return equal to 100 bushels to the acre in respect of a few square yards of land. Owing to the prolonged drought the yields have been notoriously bad in the Orange district of recent years, and if they be compared with those obtained from small sheltered patches in and about Bombala, the result may be detrimental to Orange.
– The drought has not affected Lyndhurst
– It affected that part of the country to a very material extent. The honorable member, like the honorable member for Gippsland, has had great practical experience in farming, and if he were to visit the Orange-Lyndhurst district, and then visit Dalgety and Bombala, and look at the granitic country which prevails there, he would readily determine which of these two districts would support the larger population per acre.
– According to the Commissioners’ report, there were only 4,207 acres under maize in the Bombala district, as against 6,938 acres under maize in the Lyndhurst district.
– Quite so. Any man of common sense who visits the two districts must readily admit that Lyndhurst is better suited to agricultural purposes. I am only an amateur farmer, although I have had some litte experience in that direction; but the merest amateur would be able to say from an inspection of the two districts which is the better agricultural country. If he were to see Bathurst as we saw it on the morning’ of our last visit - if he were to look at the evidence of successful and profitable farming to be seen on every hand there - and then . compare it with the vast stretches of land in the’ Monaro country, he would recognise that the Bombala district does not comprise land as well suited to agricultural purposes as is the land in the western district. Various statements have been made as to the climatic conditions of Lyndhurst, but we cannot get away from the minimum and maximum temperatures recorded - we cannot get away from the figures collated for a number of years past; From a consideration of them I am forced to the conclusion that the climate of the Orange and Lyndhurst districts is similar in almost all respects to the climate of Tasmania, which is held to be one of the healthiest and most perfect in the world. Lyndhurst possesses many advantages. It boasts of centrality ; it is easy of access, possesses a good climate, and is already connected with the railway system of the State. Every one who has visited the district admits that its soil is capable of supporting a larger number of persons per acre of cultivation than is any of the other sites. Then we have the fact that there is an abundant supply of building material in the neighbourhood, that it possesses deposits of coal and of iron, and an ample supply of building stone, and there should be some strong reason to- justify the rejection of a district that is so admirably suited to the purposes of the Federal Capital. What is that strong reason? I have not yet touched very fully on the question of a water supply. I admit that in that respect Dalgety is the best of the sites.
– Except Tooma.
– I believe that the Tooma water supply is practically inferior to that of Lyndhurst, in the sense that the water of many of the creeks there is polluted.
– Who says it is?-
– In the report of the New South Wales Water Commission, a copy of which I saw in the chamber this afternoon, there is evidence that it is largely polluted by mining and sluicing operations carried on along the river. Evidence to that effect has been given by squatters and land-holders in the district.
– The honorable member, for his own sake, should not talk any more nonsense.
– I give the honorable member credit for that bluff honesty which is one of his chief characteristics, and he should give me some credit for honesty of motive, and allow me to conclude my remarks without interruptions of that kind. “Unquestionably the best water supply is to be found at Dalgety.
– On the other hand, Dalgety has many drawbacks which are not associated with Lyndhurst, and, in view of the last report received from Mr. Wade, I am convinced that we shall obtain sufficient water not only to supply the domestic requirements of the population of the Federal Capital for very many years to come, but for irrigation purposes, and to allow of the formation of an artificial lake. In these circumstances, and seeing that, if Lyndhurst were selected, we should avoid the enormous initial outlay of connecting the Capital by railway that would be incurred in the case of some of the other sites, I intend to vote for that site all the time. If I am beaten, I shall transfer my vote to Dalgety, because of the existence of the Snowy River there, which I consider is a very strong attraction.
– I wish to know whether the Minister of Home Affairs has received Mr. Wade’s report on the water supply of Lyndhurst, and, if so, whether he will lay it on the table of the House ?
– I shall lay the report on the table after we report progress.
Mr: BATCHELOR laid upon the table the following paper: -
Report by Mr. L. A. B. Wade on the Lyndhurst Water .Supply.
Ordered to be printed.
Reports on Capital Sites.
Motion (by Mr. Batchelor) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
– The honorable member for Macquarie asked a question just now as to whether the Government proposed to lay on the table a report from Mr. Wade. I presume that members of the Government were aware that the question was to be asked. There appears to me to be some little mystery about the matter, and I should like to ask members of the Government a question on the subject. Mr. Wade is the principal engineer of the Water Conservation Department of New South Wales. He was in attendance at this House last week, and he was prepared to give evidence at the bar of the House. While, in my opinion, it is very desirable that we should have all the information possible on the various sites, it appears to me that if the Government can have officers of such high standing as Mr. Wade in attendance day after day, they might be able also to get further information about the Upper Murray site. I am anxious that we should have the same information regarding the temperature, water supply, elevation, and other points with respect to that site that we have had regarding other sites. I am informed that Mr. Wade has again returned to Melbourne, and is within the precincts of the House. If that is so, I wish to know if it is the intention of the Government to call him to the bar of the House? I should like also to know whether he is here at the request of the New South Wales Government? On the face of it, it would appear as though Mr. Wade were being brought here as a sort of special pleader for a particular site. I have not the least objection to that, and I do not question Mr. Wade’s bona fides in the matter. But I should like to get at the bottom of his appearance here. I should like to know if it has been arranged by the Commonwealth Government, the New South Wales Government, or the honorable member for Macquarie. If he is here because of action taken by the Commonwealth Government, I- ask Ministers whether they are prepared to take similar action to secure information from engineers who have reported upon other sites, that we may have a fair opportunity to examine them all at the bar of the House. It should be made clear who was responsible for bringing Mr. Wade to Melbourne last week, and for the submission of this hurried report at the last moment, when it might have been placed before honorable members months ago, and an opportunity afforded them to study it. I have a great desire to call Mr. Pridham, and I think it is well that we should have the opinion of Mr. Wade and Mr. Pridham also upon the Upper Murray site.
– There is no proposal to bring Mr. Wade to the bar of the House.
– I desire to know whether Mr. Wade is here at the instance of the Government of New South Wales, and whether, if it is intended that he should be brought to the bar of the House to give information, an opportunity will be given to test the feeling of honorable members on the question whether other officers should not also be in attendance at the Bar.
– The Government have already expressed their policy in that matter.
Mr. SYDNEY SMITH (Macquarie).I cannot understand the objection raised by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro. It is well known that when the question of the water supply to be obtained at various sites was under consideration, the honorable members for Eden-Monaro and Hume suggested that the water supply at Lyndhurst was not sufficient for the Federal Capital. When I heard that damaging statement made, I felt it to be my duty, to have information on- the subject placed before honorable members that they might be able to consider the question in a reasonable way. It is but right that the fullest information with respect to every site should be given, and I fail to see what objection the honorable member for Eden-Monaro can have to the fullest information being supplied with respect to the Lyndhurst site. Mr. Wade is the officer upon whom devolved the duty of reporting upon nearly all the sites now under consideration, and I believe it was largely upon his opinions that the Commissioners founded their report. As I was quite willing that the fullest inquiry should be made concerning the water supply at Lyndhurst, I had no hesitation when I heard such a damaging statement in telegraphing to Mr. Waddell, the Premier of New South Wales, to get Mr. Wade to report on the water supply at Lyndhurst. I asked that Mr. Wade should supply the fullest information on the subject, and that he should submit it in writing. He did so, and I submitted it for the information of honorable members. Even then some honorable members appeared to question the accuracy of Mr. Wade’s figures, and on last Friday I moved that he should be examined at the bar of the House. A full discussion took place, and the Prime Minister, in a very fair spirit, promised to ask the Government of New South Wales to allow Mr. Wade to make a full report upon the water supply, of Lyndhurst, and that if such a report were forwarded he would lay it on the table of this House.
– I made that promise.
– I believe that the Minister of Home Affairs also made the promise. In compliance with the request of the Commonwealth Government, the State Government of New South Wales authorized Mr. Wade to make such a report for the consideration of. honorable members. I asked the Minister of Home Affairs just now whether he had received the report, and he replied that he had, and that he would lay it on the table. He has since done so. I fail to see what objection there can be to the fullest information being given on this question, especially in view of the fact that the water supply of Lyndhurst has been discussed in such an unfair way by the honorable member for EdenMonaro and the honorable member for Hume. I feel sure that when honorable members read the report that has been submitted they will find that every statement which I made with regard to the water supply of Lyndhurst is borne out by the statement made by the- highest official authority on this subject in New South Wales.
– There is a certain amount of monotony about these proceedings. It has begun to be the regular custom now for the honorable member for Macquarie, the honorable member for EdenMonaro, or the honorable member for Hume to ask that some information shall be. given, and for the other two honorable members to immediately get up and protest.
– I have not done that.
– Sometimes we have a request from two of those honorable members, with a protest from the third, and on other occasions the request is by one and the protest by the other two.
– The honorable ‘ gentleman cannot say that I have objected to the fullest information being given.
– The Government are prepared to give every possible information. I am sure that no honorable member can find fault with what they have done in this matter. They are willing that every information shall be given that can be given without delaying the progress of the Bill. We do not intend that there shall be delay, but anv information which may be obtained in the meantime will be laid before honorable members, in accordance with what I conceive to be only the duty of the Government. I do not know whether the honorable member for Eden-Monaro is quite serious in the request he made just now for information. I think that he knows as well as any of us - indeed, I think it has been stated on the floor of the House - that Mr. Wade was here at the request, I understand, of the honorable member for Macquarie.
– And that Mr. Wade was sent here by the New South Wales Government.
– But not at the request of the Commonwealth.
– Mr. Wade was not here at the request of the Commonwealth Government, but, as . he was here, it seemed to us that, if he were in possession of more information than we had previously received as to the water supply at Lyndhurst, it was only proper that that information should be furnished, seeing that, under the circumstances, it could be obtained’ so easily and without expense.
As to the report of Mr. Chesterman, that has been read this afternoon, showing the additional details.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 10.33p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 2 August 1904, viewed 6 July 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1904/19040802_reps_2_21/>.